Rest

I am really tired. Tired to my bones. And not just physically. It’s like all my emotional reserves are depleted and I don’t have any energy left to care even though there is just…so MUCH that needs to be fixed. I’m choosing to focus on things that make me happy and bring me joy. Maybe I should feel guilty about that, as I’m well aware there are many people who don’t have the option of taking a break. People whose entire lives are spent struggling to have some of the basic privileges that I take for granted because I never had to fight for them.

I wish I had boundless reserves to keep powering through and demanding justice wherever possible, but I just don’t…I’m just me, and all I have at this point is exhaustion and needing to believe there’s still good in the world, and as such I’m choosing to focus on anything but the bad for the time being. I wish there was a way to stay optimistic about humanity but still keep fighting the bad.

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Ray of light

I have a confession: Sometimes I wish I was famous. Not famous in the “oh, she can’t go buy tampons without people snapping pictures of the event” kind of way, but famous in the sense that I wish I could speak up about things and people would listen. Like the majority of people, I have a strong desire to make the world a better place, to be an influencer of good, and to inspire people to do the same.

I think about some of the people I most admire-John Green, Hank Green, Felicia Day, and Misha Collins to name a few. I see how they’ve chosen to use their position of fame to help those in need, to make people aware of the plight of those less fortunate, to bring justice to those who are crushed under the heels of our government’s evil actions. I admire them greatly, and I will gladly stand behind them and support their causes in whatever ways, however small, I am capable of…

But I’ll be honest, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Most of the time I feel like I’m yelling into a void, desperately clawing at a door people have slammed in my face. Trying to open up conversations, and get them to see the world and people in it, especially those they few as “other”, as part of this great organism of fucked up, beautiful humanity, just the same as them. To react out of compassion instead of fear. But there’s nothing there. The silence in response is deafening, and sometimes my hope in my ability to do anything of value for this rock in space, fades to a small blip on the radar.

But I will keep on trying, and I will keep on being that small ray of light, that the few people I come in contact with will know they are loved, and know that I will stand behind them and with them, and fight for them. It’s all I know how to do.

In the meantime, please consider donating/being involved in these beautiful causes:

Felicia Day's "Love Has No Borders" Campaign

http://www.gish.com/an-army-of-good/

Love

In recent years, there’s been this idea going around in pop psychology that it is impossible to love others if you don’t love yourself. While I appreciate the sentiment behind it, of learning to value and be kind to yourself, and give yourself grace, I also feel the need to say that, no, that’s not true. My love for others has very little to do with how I feel about myself, and honestly, that’s a good thing because caring about myself is a struggle to this day.

I grew up not liking myself, sometimes so intensely that it bordered on hate. There have been several points in my life where the only thing that kept me from seriously considering ending my life was my love for others. I wanted to see the people around me (specifically my husband and daughter) succeed and grow and thrive. If choosing to live had been dependent on whether I had cared about myself, there wouldn’t have been a choice.

It is 100% possible to love others while completely despising yourself, and if I had to wager a guess, I’d say that for those suffering with a mental illness that is the norm. If your brain is already telling you that you are messed up and unlovable, don’t give yourself more ammo against yourself. Don’t convince yourself that the way you feel about yourself makes it impossible to be a good person and to care for those around you.

What I will say is this: Learning to love yourself is so important, and it is possible, even if your brain is an asshole to you. I am very, VERY slowly getting to the point where I love myself. I’m learning to enjoy my quirks and my silliness, and to appreciate that my sensitivity and empathy towards others makes me a good friend. I’m truly starting to believe that even though I’m not that smart, I am kind, and kindness is incredibly underrated but arguably the most important quality a person can have.

How am I doing it? By surrounding myself with people who love and encourage me. By making a specific, conscious choice to listen to the good things they say about me and try to believe them and take them to heart. Turns out, when you practice believing something enough, eventually you actually believe…at least in my case.

Girl Mom

Tonight I was asked by the mom of a newborn baby girl if I had any fears being the mother of a daughter and fear for her. I very honestly told her that my fear gets worse steadily. Sometimes I look around and I think we’re making progress in our attitudes toward women and equality. Then there are weeks like this past one, where a boy who was told no by a girl (repeatedly for four months), decided her rejection of him as a romantic partner deserved death and took her life and the lives of 9 others.

Then I think of the times where men/boys were inappropriate to me growing up, and the lack of courage or awareness I had to tell them to stop, and that what they were doing was wrong. Sometimes I wonder how I, a girl with a naturally timid personality, can teach my daughter to be strong and to stand up for herself. That she has the right to tell someone no and maintain ownership of her own person. That she has the right to fight back if she’s being mistreated or abused.

I think, for the most part I’m doing an okay job of raising a little girl who will be a strong, empowered woman…but sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by the task and don’t know how I’m going to pull it off. Maybe those fears aren’t rational. I have an anxiety disorder, so I’m willing to admit that there’s a (strong) possibility they’re not, but that’s where I am and who I am at this point in my life.

Suffering and growth

My grandmother passed away recently, at the age of 91. Towards the end she suffered a great deal from a staph infection in her knee, and side effects of medication given in hopes of helping her failing kidneys. This was after a decade of steadily deteriorating health and mobility. After she passed, I went up to New York for her funeral. While there, I went out with my uncle to help with some errands, and talked with him about her last days and moments.

As we conversed my uncle, who is Catholic, said that it was very difficult seeing her suffer like that, but then followed it up by talking about how from a Catholic (and most other denominational perspectives) suffering brings purification and growth. Something inside me balked when he said that, but the situation didn’t give me much time to really figure out why I had that inward cringe.

Now that I’ve had time to really think it over, I figured what about it irritated me so very much. I do firmly believe that the struggle and pain we go through can make us stronger and better people. Even though I’m not religious anymore, I think there is something to learn from my personal suffering that can help me grow into a better, more compassionate, more empathetic, more loving human being.

Where I draw the line is taking someone else’s suffering and claiming it does the same thing for me. I genuinely feel like that kind of attitude leads toward callousness towards others suffering, and apathy and laziness in trying to make the world a better place. If other peoples suffering is good for me, where is the incentive to take care of others, and even the world itself? It’s such a selfish, self-centered, and presumptuous way of viewing the world.

Authenticity in practice

“I am impressed by people who are honest and kind. I am inspired by moments of vulnerability, moments of confession and compassion, moments where someone makes it clear that they are a person in need of other people and someone else makes it clear that the first person is not alone.” ~ Jamie Tworkowski

Most of my life has been characterized with the ever present struggle to express exactly what I’m thinking, feeling, and observing. I think and overthink, and overthink about overthinking. I’ve experienced full blown periods of despair so intense that at times I was sure I wasn’t going to survive, and I experienced that all with a smile on my face. Nobody ever knew. Openness has never been my strong suit. Still isn’t.

I guess that’s a big part of why I started a blog. Most of the people I admire most in this world, are those who are honest about who they are with no apology. Those who share their triumphs and their struggles, their strengths and their faults. Those who let themselves learn from others. This blog is my way of stepping into that realm. I’m not good at expressing myself verbally, but that doesn’t make me exempt from being open, even if it’s likely a lesson I’ll be learning the rest of my life.

Be good to yourself

I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling very inspired to write this post. The past few days have been weird and hard, my anxiety has been through the roof, and I’m emotionally exhausted, which tends to end up translating itself into me having a difficult time engaging in anything creative. However, I promised myself I’d be consistent on this blog, so here I am.

I know I’ll be okay, but right now it’s really difficult to think around the “my stomach is in knots, and my heart is randomly pounding like I’ve just run a marathon” feeling. It honestly just sucks. So the only thing I have right now is that I’m trying to be kind to myself, trying to take care of myself, and waiting for this to pass. I hope you all are, too.