Random blather

This morning I read this article on xoJane about apologizing. The part that stuck out at me wasn't the main point of it, though:

Our reluctance to say sorry when we’ve been wrong often causes more harm than our original offense. We argue, we gaslight. We force the person we’ve harmed to justify, over and over again, their right to feel hurt by our actions, and then we still deny them that. We make them the enemy, we become the injured party. We demand apologies for having to think of ourselves as less than good people. And we don’t learn. - Ijeoma Oluo 

I only learned the term gaslighting more recently, but the phenomenon is familiar. It's something I've lived through over and over. From when I was somewhere around five years old, my feelings were not only invalidated, but I was made to feel like I was crazy, overreacting, too sensitive, too emotional... When I got picked on, harassed, and bullied, I'd get upset - I'd try and stand up for myself, but beneath the surface I was internalizing all of it. Eventually I would crumple emotionally, and run away to cry my face off.

I've been pondering recently...

Social media makes life - even personal life - oddly impersonal. We click "like" and feel like we've REALLY supported someone (emotionally, or in their work), instead of actually giving real tangible support. For example, someone is fundraising for a project or a charity, or showing their artwork, and we click "like" and feel like we did something good to support them, when really we did nothing. We no longer feel any obligation to actually put our energy or money where our mouth (or mouse?) is. We don't really show up for people.
We post our thoughts and feel like we're actually talking to people, but when we read people's posts, we feel like they weren't really trying to communicate with us. So few people will actually respond to a meaningful or heartfelt post in any earnest or genuine way. We'd rather assume it wasn't for us, or maybe we feel uncomfortable, and we decide it's best to do nothing.

It's been a while now since I've come out of denial about my illness. I've had some time to at least begin to grieve the losses that have come with it. Friends, family, future plans, hobbies... my loss list is long and detailed. I have also been able to receive some gifts from my illness - it's not all loss. But the gifts don't make the loss any less real, any less difficult.

One of the bigger things I've lost is my ability to be gainfully employed. I haven't been able to work even part time in over two years. All the shame, judgment, and social implications aside, there is something that feels degrading about having my daily purpose and to an extent, my financial independence stripped away. These have probably been the hardest for me to adapt to. And yet, adapt I must and I will!

IMG_3494
Me, at peace, making art in my home studio, 2013
I want to maintain this elusive calm in my work life

There are at least a couple people in my life who've recently brought up the topic of nostalgia. It's not just thinking about or idealizing the past though, it's this recognition that there is something they're longing for that isn't present in their lives anymore. 

I feel it too. Sometimes I don't realize it until something twigs this burried memory of a feeling I can rarely tap into anymore.

Pride Parade

Sometimes you feel it in crowds, at a festival or a concert. Sometimes you feel it out in nature with people who are special to you. Or on a road trip driving late into the evening with the music blasting. Or your first time in a new city at sunset... 

Goodbye 2013. 

BB Day 27

You rivaled 2012 for how shitty I often felt, both physically and emotionally. But I also had some reprieves and glimmers of hope, showing me that change may be slow, but it's still possible. 

You were at once one of the hardest and most important years of my life. I'm tempted to say "good riddance", but that wouldn't be quite right...instead I'll say thank you.

For a while now, I've been questioning whether or not Vancouver feels like home. Just a few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel and give somewhere else a shot. 

wilting hydrangeas

Even if it meant leaving my amazing healthcare team, renting out our house, and (dog forbid) moving. I was just sick of being here! (This sentiment seems to come in waves and this was a particularly strong one.)

So, I was thinking this morning... life is weird. Stupid small things seem so important when they're not, we fuck up on the most critical stuff all the time, we hurt each other, and love each other, and it's all so fragile and gone in the blink of an eye. 

As some of you know, I read and loved Brené Brown's Daring Greatly. I only just recently remembered to go back and listen to the last couple of podcasts the did for the chapter-by-chapter read-along she did on her website. You can still get to all of the read-along posts here (there's an audio file attached to each post - I'm not sure if they're accessible on iTunes anymore). Even if you haven't read the book, but especially if you have, these little audio/podcasts are about 20 mins each, and really add a lot to the discussion around the content of the book.

I really loved and got a lot out of a part from the Ch. 7 audio, so I transcribed some parts to share them with you, and bolded the biggest takeaways.

Since my creative energy started flowing again over the last several months, I've been frittering a lot of time away on various projects. Writing Chronically Yours, sewing, drawing, painting, working on my 365 project. That on top of the usual things I do these days: self care (sleep/eat/exercise as able; go to appointments/get tests/take supplements and medications), house stuff, garden maintenance; rest, rest, rest... I've been feeling a little all over the place. Not exactly what I was going for.

You got to push, got to shove
I've got to eat before they eat me
Got the crown and the cup
I've got to write to my family
And say, "I'm calm and feeling warm."
I'm not quite there, but I'm close
And it's a world of difference​

(Life on the Nickel, Foster the People)

Sometimes life is fine and dandy, and you can just let it flow. Just live. Just be. Other times, life smacks you upside the head and says WAKE THE FUCK UP. You realize that a lot of things are really wrong, and they have been for a looooong time. At this point you can either stick your head in the sand and maintain the status quo, or answer the wake up call. If you answer, you're signing up for hard work. If you don't answer, you're signing up for more of the same. Neither one is pleasant, but one at least holds the potential for things to get better.

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