May 2017 // The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Here

Summer doesn’t officially start for another few weeks here in the northern hemisphere, but in my heart and mind, it’s already here. This is my favorite time of year but to be honest, I’m not sure why. The heat is intense, the bugs are everywhere, and the threat of severe weather is worrisome but something about the season makes me feel alive and happy again. I love the rain that rolls in the evenings and the warm nights I spend on bar patios with friends. Summer is when new connections are forged, and beautiful memories are made. I’m so ready to see what June has in store for me.

But before I do, here is what I am currently:

Writing some essays, or, I am learning how to write essays anyway. I’ve decided, I think, that becoming an essayist is the dream. I’m hoping to learn by example. I’m consuming popular longform non-fiction pieces from my favorite publications, reading print magazines, and this month I’ll be diving into some work from one of the greats, James Baldwin. So, the writing around here is going to get a bit more serious, and some of the fun and personal type stuff, book reviews, poetry, etc., will probably be moving to Tumblr.

Planning the design of the first issue of Zen and Pi the zine. I now I have been talking about this forever, but this time I mean it. I wanted to complete one project this summer, and this is it. By the middle of August, I need to have something ready for print at the very least. I’ll have more info next month.

Making some big home improvements! I haven’t written much about my house, but that’s because I hate it. We bought it years ago, during the recession, when we didn’t know what we were doing. We got a good deal, but it needs a lot of work. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that home ownership isn’t exactly for us and we’ve barely made any progress fixing this place up but if I ever want to be happy here, or sell this place and find a home I love, I have to start. First up is a new swamp cooler, then paint, then flooring maybe?

Anticipating Game of Thrones season 7! Okay, so GoT doesn’t actually premiere until July 16th, but it’s all I can think about, as far as media and pop culture go. Outside of that, I’m looking forward to Denver’s Pridefest the weekend of the 17th. I wish the parade wasn’t scheduled for the same day as Father’s Day though. Every year I feel like I have to choose or try to squeeze in both.

Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the many used books I’ve picked up over the past few weekends. I finally finished The Mind’s I: Fantasies And Reflections On Self & Soul by Daniel C. Dennett and Douglas R. Hofstadter. This is my second attempt. It was still hard to get through, but this time I really tried, and it was so worth it. I’ll still need a third read through though.

Watching Sense8 and House of Cards on Netflix. Sense8 is visually amazing, the acting is on point, and sci-fi enough to get you out of your head and away from all the crap going on in the news. House of Cards is the opposite. It’s this world, only worse, which, I’ve learned, can be therapeutic in its own way. Plus, Claire Underwood is the smartest, sexiest, most badass female character I love to hate at the moment *heart eyes emoji*.

Feeling better! Last month my doctor expressed some doubt that the medication we started with would keep my ulcerative colitis symptoms under control. I won’t know for sure until I’m off of the steroid I’m on for short-term relief, but so far, through tapering off, I’m still doing okay. I think this is a good sign. If I feel good through the end of June, I may be able to stay on these meds rather than moving into harsher options. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Needing a little reassurance from the universe that all this good in my life isn’t a sign that terrible things are on the horizon. I don’t know how to feel gratitude and practice mindfulness with all this anxiety. I don’t deserve so much in life, I’m worried there will be hell to pay eventually.

Loving the fact that my local Alamo Drafthouse is hosting a WOMEN ONLY screening of the new Wonder Woman film and gives no fucks about the backlash from weak egoed men. I’m also living the fact that they offered free tickets to the new creepy movie. It Comes at Night for rewards members. Seriously, if there’s an Alamo Drafthouse in your city, there’s no reason for you to go to any other theater. If there isn’t, bug them until there is.

Hating that I’m losing my route next year. It’s a lot to get into, a lot of politics and specifics I’m not even sure I’m allowed to get into but basically, the school district I work for is experiencing an employee shortage, and things have to change to maximize the people we have. So my easy-peasy route with the perfect hours and the awesome kid is going away, and I have to make some tough choices next year. Also, I still hate Donald Trump and every single Republican asshat pushing cruel and destructive healthcare and environmental policies. I cannot wait for midterm elections!

Hoping the summer passes slowly, but I know it won’t. The winter months drag on for eternity, and the summer is never long enough to recover from the cold and drab and depressing. Maybe I’ll learn how to slow down time?

All in all, this month was good, but I may have been too busy looking ahead to really appreciate it. I have to try harder to appreciate where I am. Where I am going will come soon enough, and when it does, I want to know I enjoyed every step of the way there.

So, how about you? Was May good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in June? Are you as in love with Claire Underwood as I am? Let me know in the comments (:

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Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for these posts come from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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May Your Terror Make You Brave

Hello, and happy Tuesday friends! I hope you all got to enjoy the holiday and are starting your work week a whole day later. Three-day weekends can be nice, but sometimes the worst kinds of Mondays are the ones that land on a Tuesday. You wind up more tired, less motivated, and more aware of everything you don’t like about your life. All you want to do is crawl back into bed, I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of think of today as a fresh start, a reset of sorts. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“may I never lose
that terror
that keeps me brave”

— Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn: Poems “Solstice”

The world is getting to be a scarier and scarier place. Every day I wake up and turn on the news, despite my anxiety, and hear nothing but war and death and instability. These things used to happen elsewhere and to other people. I used to feel safe in my city and in my little bubble, but the bad things are creeping closer and closer, and I’m having to really confront what kind of person I will be in this new world.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I am afraid to go places. I am afraid of events that draw big crowds and attention. I am afraid that a day out with my girlfriend will end in tragedy. I am afraid of the hatred all around me.

I know it isn’t people who are the enemy but ideas and ideas can lurk in any skin, age, and gender. Unlike those who only see the danger from the other side, I see it everywhere. I feel the tension all around me, and I am terrified to become a casualty of it.

I want to hide away, but I am trying hard not to let my fear win, but there is a new terror now. I am afraid of how I will act if tragedy does hit close to me.

I’m not just talking about guns and bombs either. Every day there are new videos posted online of fights, assaults, and harassment based on race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation and in nearly everyone there are bystanders in the background watching it all happening and doing nothing. The hateful know that the natural tendency of the general public is to keep silent and keep to themselves. No one wants to get involved, no one wants to get hurt.

I never want to be one of those people. In my eyes, they are almost as guilty as the perpetrator. I want to be one of the ones who stands up for what is right.

But then, last week, two men were killed and another injured for doing just that. They stood up to a man ranting and directing hatred at two young women, and they were attacked for it. I won’t lie, that has me terrified now too.

There was a time when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, lately, it seems there is no end to the way people can terrorize one another and no end in sight for the war happening in secret all around us. So, what can I do when I feel too afraid to leave the house and too afraid to let those who want to keep me there win?

I try to remember the worst case scenario. Not the hatred, not the violence, not even the prospect of losing my life. No, the worst case scenario is to become something I’m not. To become a part of the problem. To let my fear control me, or worse, turn me into someone filled with hatred and willing to do anything to feel safe again.

This week, when the world all around you feels on the verge of violence, and you worry you might be the next victim, remember that there are worse things than death and that there are ways to live and die that are preferable to others.

What I am really afraid of is living my life cooped up and alone, cut off from humanity. I love people. I love experiencing life alongside other people. I want to feel like I am part of a community. I want to feel joy, and wonder, and curiosity with others. I want to feel connected to the rest of the world. That is a big part of what makes life worth living. Other people!

We should be able to go out and be with each other without feeling so afraid. Human beings are social creatures. Human beings are also rare creatures in this universe. We should be treating each other better than we are and we should be helping each other learn how.

What we all should be afraid of is being part of the reason everything keeps falling apart. What we should be terrified of is becoming more and more disconnected from one another. What should be keeping us up at night is the prospect of losing our humanity and of becoming something dark, and lonely, and mean.

We should be afraid of becoming ruled by fear. We should be afraid of succumbing to evil ideas about who deserves to eat, to work, to live. We should be afraid of succumbing to ideas about when we should act and when we should speak up.

I don’t want to be too afraid to be human. I don’t want to live my life cowering inside, or holding back, or keeping quiet when I see people being hurt. The terror of what I might become is what will keep me brave.

How about you?

***

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You Have to Believe It

Hello, and happy Monday friends! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t exactly happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, a reset of sorts, every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“What makes you think you deserve to be happy?”

Thigh High

I read this some weeks ago, and my immediate thoughts were not positive ones. What does make me think I deserve to be happy? Who told me that and why do I believe it? Maybe none of us really deserve it. What does it matter in the grand scheme of the cosmos whether or not any of us is happy, or suffering miserably until death? It doesn’t.

So, why do I think that just because I was born, and I am here, I should get something out of it?

A feature of the human condition is endless frustration between ourselves and the universe over what we feel we deserve but are not getting out of life. We’ve all heard that life is unfair. We don’t want to believe it when we are young, but we learn it as we grow older. We learn that you don’t always get what you want and that good doesn’t always win. We learn that our hard work and sacrifice will more often than not go unnoticed and that the universe doesn’t owe us a damn thing.

We come to understand this, but we draw the wrong conclusions.

We grow bitter over time and sometimes, having nowhere to direct our pain and feeling a desire for understanding and control we turn the bitterness inward and believe that we don’t deserve happiness. It must be something within us that makes the world hate us so. There must be a reason that the scales are so tipped against us. There must be a reason that other people get ahead and we are stuck where we have always been, doing what we always have, and feeling shitty as ever.

But the real truth is, sometimes it is that shitty feeling that keeps us from moving forward.

Sometimes we hold on to these toxic worldviews, worldviews that, often, other people have put into us. People who didn’t believe they deserved better or happier either. People who were frustrated with the indifference and unfairness of it all. Those people drew the wrong conclusions too. They thought that because they didn’t deserve something, that you don’t either, but they are wrong.

The sad part is we all deserve better, but that doesn’t mean we’ll get it. The good news is, just knowing that can give you a better perspective and change things. Just knowing that you have the right to reach out and pull all the good things that come your way into your life and that no one has the right to take any of it away, can make your world a very different place.

If you think all you have is all you are ever going to get, you stop looking for more. When you think that this is what you get you think of your life as a punishment you accept and even seek out pain as a punishment. When you think that you don’t deserve to have the same as everyone else you set yourself apart as less than anyone else and inflict the greatest cruelty on yourself. If you do this and expect that some sign or someone will come along, tell you differently, and magically change things, you will be disappointed, because even if they do, it won’t make any difference.

You have to be the one to say it. You have to be the one who tells yourself that you have earned every breath, every joy, every hope, and opportunity. You have to be the one to tell yourself that you deserve more and better, and you have to believe it because no one else can make it so.

No one has the authority to tell you what is for you and what isn’t. No one is judging you or weighing what you have given against what you get. There is only you up against a very harsh and hard world. You may not be able to have it all, the world may not open for you and suddenly show you the way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do what you can and get what you can, while you can.

This week, walk like you deserve to be here, work like you deserve more, and talk like you deserve to be heard. Love and accept love like you have earned the right to. Imagine a life where you are happy in all the ways you aren’t now and simply tell yourself that is what you deserve. You deserve more money, more consideration, and more respect. You deserve not to have to hurt so much, worry so much, stress so much. You deserve to feel good about who you are and what you look like. You deserve to be confident and to be accepted.

I’m not asking you to do anything different, I just want you to know, you are deserving of better and more. I want you to tell yourself that until you believe it, and when you hear your mind ask back, why? I want you to have an answer.

Maybe the universe doesn’t care, and maybe it doesn’t really matter either way in the long run, but I care, and you care, or you should, because you only get one chance at this, one chance! If there is no other reason why it is that. You get one chance, and no one has the right to limit you or give you less than what you’ve earned.

You, like everyone else, was born, has lived, and suffered. You were given a beautiful but limited gift and whether or not it was only down to chance doesn’t matter, because we all have the right to make the most of our miracle.

But you have to believe it to make it so.

***

If you like this post heck out my weekly-ish newsletter for some existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering + some interesting reads from others. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

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You Have a Right to Be Here

Hello, and happy Monday friends! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t exactly happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, a reset of sorts, every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”

― James Baldwin, Collected Essays

I’m working on being honest about all the bad things I think about myself and how damaging those thoughts are. It’s taken a lot of work, but I’ve gone from the bad thoughts occurring to me and me just accepting them as truth, to being able to see them for what they are. They are thoughts that come from somewhere that is not me, somewhere in my mind where I have less control and so, and am less responsible.

Understanding that has made a huge difference. What I hear in my head is an echo of my past that has become a habit, a habit so ingrained that it takes real effort and strength to fight. The more I remember this, the more I fight, the easier it gets, but old habits are hard to break and sometimes, I still believe that I have less right to life than anyone else on this Earth.

When I was young, I was told I was stupid a lot.

Now, as an adult, I believe that my mind works in some defective way and that the ways it is defective are somehow my fault. If only I would be better, think better, learn to grasp something obvious and easy then I could finally stop being such a burden and a hindrance to everyone around me. I believe that I am the reason that the people around me are frustrated, angry, sad or stressed. I believe that my stupidity it the cause of all the problems around me, even the ones that aren’t mine.

I believe that this, and my many other flaws and deficiencies mean I don’t deserve to be here. I don’t deserve to be loved or to love myself. I don’t deserve to be successful or to feel pride in my accomplishments. I have no right to look another human in the eye or to demand respect, to be heard, to be counted among the beautiful, the intelligent, the “normals”.

These thoughts live in the back of my mind and subtly influence the way I walk through the world, the way I carry myself and speak to people. These thoughts make me small and quiet and cautious. They make me feel sad and serious, and constantly anxious. I worry about overstepping my place or lowering myself further by saying or doing more stupid things every day.

It’s hard to live this way, and it’s wrong.

There is part of me that knows none of this is true. There is a part of my that genuinely knows that I am smart and good and worthy of all the good this world has to offer and so much more. I am strong and talented and capable. I am loved and deserving of that love. I am something special, and I am just as normal as everyone else.

I have the right to live and breathe and make my life into something I can go to my grave satisfied with, same as anyone else. No one else has the right to hinder that, but we often forget the ways we can hinder a life and a pursuit of happiness. We put our shit on other people and forget how our own wounds never closed and how a few words can break a person.

I have been a victim of other people putting their shit on me when I was vulnerable, like many of you.

So many of us carry around false ideas of who we are and what we are and are not worthy of. So many of us were told by someone who’s opinion we held dear that some part of ourselves was “bad”. So many of us have internalized this filth, and we are having the damnedest time letting it go.

We think we are ugly and stupid. We think that we never have and never will get it right. We think that we are broken and beyond repair. We think that we were set apart and built wrong from the beginning. We spend our lives hiding, making ourselves small, putting ourselves lower than anyone else because we think it is our place.

We all have it so wrong. I’ve never met a person who wasn’t fighting a battle, who hadn’t been hurt, who was suffering and struggling same as me. Every person I have ever met, even if we had nothing in common, even if I didn’t like them, even if I thought they were mean, or hateful, or toxic, I have never met a person who I thought didn’t deserve to be on this Earth.

This week, I want you to know that you that you deserve to be here, and I want you to practice saying that to yourself.

Try talking to yourself like someone you love and respect, someone you think the world of, or simply someone who has done you no harm and whom you have no desire to do harm to in return. Remind yourself that no one is perfect, that no one has all the answers that not one of us is inherently better than any other. Each and every one of us is lucky to be here and that lucky accident should never be wasted on believing such filth about ourselves.

This week, I’m asking you to tell yourself that all the bad things you think about yourself are not your own thoughts, they are the result of other people being people and forgetting that their words can hurt too. I’m asking you to remember that every person matters, and that means you too.

It isn’t easy but I’m asking you to believe, a little more every day, that you have the right to every breath, every step, and every bit of happiness and peace you can get your hands on because it is the truth.

***

If you like this post heck out my weekly-ish newsletter for some existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering + some interesting reads from others. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

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When You Can Only Do a Little

Hello, and happy Monday! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t exactly happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, a reset of sorts, every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

— Edmund Burke

Most Monday’s I do well. I wake up motivated and get right to work. I write. I plan. I work. I do all the things that look like I am on my way somewhere in life, and then, I fizzle out by Tuesday morning.

I never make it further than that because every week I go from feeling like I can do anything to feeling like my dream is too big, too impossible, too hard to ever achieve. And anyway, I’m not smart enough, or interesting enough, or good enough to get there. So, I give it up again and make no progress.

Sometimes I have to give up because my body is too tired. Fatigue kicks my ass. I overdo it one day, and I need two to recover.

Sometimes I give up because other obligations get in the way and leave me with nearly no time for my personal projects and dreams.

But mostly it’s my own mind getting in the way, telling me I am too small to do big things in this world, telling me it’s better to do nothing than to do a little.

My mind is lying.

I can’t count the number of times I have looked back and thought that if I had only done a little something every day, I would be so much further along by now. I wish I had done one small thing every time I sat staring at a screen feeling anxious and overwhelmed before opening Twitter or Facebook and giving up. Sometimes I get caught up in that though, in self-pity and disappointment, and I do nothing still, but I want to try to find a better way.

It’d be nice to have the time, the energy, and the confidence to do big things all day every day but I have to accept that just isn’t me. I have to accept that for me it will have to be a lot of tiny step all adding up over time, for now. I have to look at my dream in a new light. I have to break it all up into little bits that don’t feel so overwhelming or impossible for little old, boring, and bumbling me. I have to work through it all, one tiny step at a time, looking down at the path rather than up at the destination.

Today, I can take a few notes. I can think of one idea. I can write one post, one paragraph, one sentence. I can draw one little doodle. I can find some inspiration, or ask one question. I can reply to one comment. I can learn one new thing. I can research one step pf the process. I can read a few pages. I can do one lesson.

I can find one useful thing to do, in just five or 15 minutes to get me where I want to be.

This week, do one small thing every day that brings you closer to the life you want. Don’t think about the big goal. Don’t think about all the reasons you can’t do this. Don’t think about all the other people in the world who do it easily and better than you. Don’t think about the impossible. Just think about this one step, this five minutes. Do one small thing and celebrate it when you finish.

You can apply this to anything too. Want to help the environment? Produce a little less trash today. House is a wreck? Clean just one room, one corner, one shelf. Want to get healthier? Drink one glass of water. Take one walk around the block, around the building, to the water fountain and back. Want to feel happier? Write one good thing that happened today. Say one nice thing to another person. Don’t know where to begin? Ask one person for advice. Ask one person for help. Ask one person for support. It all starts with just one step.

Big things are scary, but small steps are easy. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. Tell yourself it’s okay that you aren’t there yet. You are trying, and you did something!

This week I am going to make a list of little things I can do when the big things feel too big. I’m going to take it all step by step, moment by moment, and when I look back a year from now I will be a little closer, or hopefully, a lot closer, but it really doesn’t matter, as long as progress is made.

P.S. A bit of caution before you go, sometimes procrastination and small things look too much alike. When you do small things, you have to do them with mindfulness. Ask yourself: How is this small thing helpful?

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If you like this post heck out my weekly-ish newsletter for some existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering + some interesting reads from others. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

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April 2017 // My Birthday Month is Over

May snuck up on me guys! I wasn’t ready to start looking back or looking forward, I was too busy just enjoying the right now. April was good! It was my birthday month if you remember me mentioning it in my last “Currently” post and I celebrated it the whole just as I hoped to. I hate to leave this time behind, but it’s time to take the focus from selfish wants to bigger things. It’s time to see what May has in store.

But before we do, here is what I am currently:

Writing to-do list after to-do list after to-do list. I’m trying to stay on task now and come up with a real plan for starting and completing real projects where I make real tangible things to make some real tangible money. I love blogging, but I want to do so much more. I say that every month I know, but I realized that I have to work on building the right habits. I have to learn how to plan and how to work through my fear and doubts.

Planning a summer project. In just a few weeks my schedule is going to change a bit, and for the easier, I hope, and I’d love to use that time to start a small practice project. I failed miserably at the A to Z Blogging Challenge, but instead of letting it go or giving up, I think I’d like to make a zine out of the thing. I Think it will be a good stepping stone to bigger things next year.

Making a real effort to produce less trash. I’ve started to face the ways that I am personally responsible for the current state of the planet. I use too much energy. I waste too much water. I produce too much waste. I want to do better. I’m starting by replacing a lot of the disposable items I buy with zero waste alternatives.

Anticipating the contagious feeling of freedom that comes from working with children about to go on summer vacation. When you are an adult who works in the public education system, you can’t help but catch a little of the enthusiasm and happiness that the children exude around you. I have to work through the summer, but still, it feels like I am looking forward to days spent outdoors, in parks and next to pools too.

Reading a huge book, intimidating in both size and subject matter. The Mind’s I, edited by Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett, is a collection of writings from some pretty big names on how we develop a sense of personhood and the difference between self and soul. It’s very interesting, but it’s not easy. I also read Orlando by Virginia Woolf this month, a surprising and beautiful story about a man who becomes a woman and lives for over 400 years.

Watching The Handmaid’s Tale and American Gods two shows I was super excited for last month and two shows I highly recommend you check out. I highly recommend the books too! This month I am looking to House of Cards which looks even scary than the Trump Presidency and a welcome escape.

Feeling tired, so, so, tired, and a little down. I think a lot of it is because of the steroid I’m on to suppress my immune system. It’s working, I feel better, but the side effects are rough. My moods, my appetite, my energy levels, they are all over the place but I’m tapering off of them, and I’m hoping for the last time for a long while. It all depends on whether or not my other medication works. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Needing a new place to write for. Femsplain, the first online publication to accept my work, and pay me, is closing its doors. They have a new project, Aloe, of which I am also a contributor, but Femsplain was my first home, and I am sad to see it go. I’m trying to see the silver lining. This might be the kick in the ass I need to move on to bigger and better things.

Loving the return of thunderstorms. This year has seen some pretty extreme weather already this year, but here in Colorado, we are in a slow build. My favorite time of the year is coming, the time when they afternoon storms roll in like clockwork. The best ones though come in the middle of the night. I wake to rain pounding the windows and thunder rolling overhead. I snuggle in next to my girlfriend and concentrate on the storm. I feel safe, and loved, and warm, and alive all at once.

Hating that it’s only been just over 100 days since this new administration took over. One hundred awful, scary days, and so much more to go. I’m grateful that so far most of what him and the Republicans have tried to do has failed, but every morning, when I wake up and turn on the news, there is an immediate sense of anxiety. Every morning I wait to hear in what ways that man has embarrassed or endangered us all.

Hoping all the momentum I see building on the left keeps growing and carries us right into the midterm elections next year. There is a movement, people are coming together all over the country, nearly every weekend, to protest, speak up, and resist in all the ways they can. I’m excited!

So, all in all, this month was the best so far this year. It was a time for me to be selfish and take in a little extra attention from loved ones. It was a time of healing and of getting used to my new normal with this illness. I’m looking forward to May and to continuing to grow surrounded by the love and support I know I am lucky to have. I’m looking forward to bigger things and a better, more focused, more motivated me.

So, how about you? Was April good or bad to you? What are you looking forward to in April? Are you going to buy me a birthday gift? Let me know in the comments :)

***

Check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

The inspiration for these comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

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We are Not Okay, and That’s Okay

Hello, and happy Monday! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t exactly happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, a reset of sorts, every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“I do not believe anyone can be perfectly well, who has a brain and a heart”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’ve struggled my whole life with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and a general sense of guilt for just about every wrong ever committed. I’ve believed I didn’t deserve love, or happiness, or even my life. The weight of who I am and who I was is heavy on my heart while the weight of who I will be and when I will die weighs heavily on my mind.

I think about how time is running out, and I’ve made so many mistakes, and I’m not sure if this life I’ve is better than another life I could have had.

I don’t know whether to step this way or that, quite my job or stay, move to a new state or learn to love the one I am in. I don’t know if people like me or why I should care. I don’t know if this political party is right or the other and I don’t know how to fix myself or the world. So I am frozen, and I have no way to work through it or even know if I am alone.

I am not okay.

I feel so much, every moment of every day that in order to focus and move forward in life I’ve had to learn to shut it off, to zone out, to numb myself. We all do it. When we work, when we are with family and friends, when we are posting selfies, when we are posting witty comments on the timeline, and especially when we are alone. We shut off all that emotion, we do it our whole lives, and we forget how to cope with what it means to be alive.

I am a thinking, feeling, wanting human being, and it hurts. It’s confusing and scary and damn hard. It’s humiliating and terribly unfair, and I’m tired of trying to pretend it isn’t.

I can get through my day with a smile. I have to because to bring all the baggage of the human condition to work, or home to my girlfriend, or dump it on my friends, seems cruel. But if I am shutting off my “humanness”” just to get through my day, my life, then who or what am I? And why am I here at all?

I am not okay, at all, and but I don’t think very many of us are.

Billions and billions of us of us are going to and fro working our little jobs and connecting. We talk, meet for coffee, hold meetings, network, and update our statuses, but none of it seems to get to all that anxiety and fear we carry. We never admit that just inside ourselves below the facade, we show the world is an ocean of panic.

And it only seems to be getting worse. All this technology, bringing us together, they say, but I only ever feel pulled further and further away from who I really am. I mean, if the selves we are bringing together are only shells, pretending to be happy, pretending everything is fine, then we are only going to get lonelier and lonelier, and we will never learn to cope with what it means to be human. In the end, pushing it all down is only going to make the ocean of anxiety below the surface bubble and rise, wholly out of your control.

So, this week, take a few furtive glances inside yourself and ask, are you dealing with your fear, your pain, your uncertainty? Are you letting yourself feel human? Get below the surface, deep down, in the parts of ourselves we never visit, where all the deep questions are asked and never answered.

Get uncomfortable with what is down there and with who you are, and admit you are not okay.

We are not okay, but that’s okay. If you aren’t okay, it means you are alive, and aware, and feeling. It means you are human and functioning just the way you should. Don’t ever be ashamed of that. Don’t ever hide it and don’t ask others to either. Instead, talk to someone about it, and let them talk too. Maybe if we say it out loud, that life is hard, and we have no idea what we are doing, and that we are afraid, we’ll feel a little less not okay, or at least a little less alone.

Life will still hurt. You will still suffer and be afraid, but at least we won’t be pretending.

At least we won’t be afraid of who we are.

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