mental health, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Powerlessness and You

Today, someone messaged me and asked how to deal with the feeling of being powerless, and the ensuing emotions that resulted from that feeling. They also said that they would feel so bad that they weren’t pursuing anything else, out of solidarity for those suffering. I answered the inquiry, and I wanted to share with you what I said to this person:

First of all, I totally understand the feeling. When things are happening on a greater, grander scale (like national or even global decisions), it’s natural to feel like there isn’t anything you can do, and that leads to feeling frustrated with yourself, getting depressed, etc. And I don’t want to say that it’s “good” that you feel that way, but it’s a better response than not caring at all.

And sometimes it’s not even on such a big scale. When we see someone in our life who is in pain, we want to make it better. We want to fix the problem. And when we can’t, it feels like a failure. We take on their suffering because we believe that somehow it balances out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. I mean, put yourself in the other person’s shoes: if you were to find out that someone was suffering on your behalf, would that make you feel better? Probably not.

Ultimately, though, it’s about balance and finding a direction to turn your emotional response.

For me, personally, regarding the bigger scale issues, after the election and after the first few weeks of just feeling like the world was ending, I started getting more involved with activism in my area. Nothing huge, but this week we met up with some people and wrote to our local and state representatives. Next, we’re planning an event to help raise money for local organizations. That feels good. It feels like something, and it keeps me rooted in knowing that I am a part of the ‘good side.’

On a smaller, more personal level, I’ve also been getting back into the mode of creativity, because I know that people need something good to look at when things in the world seem pretty dark. This is the time people need art and words and anything to make them feel a bit better. If I can use that to bolster the spirit of someone who is suffering, I will.

And really – take care of yourself. Feeling bad in and of itself will only wear you out. Enjoy the things that you love and be grateful for them, and look for ways that you can reach out and be there for people having a rough go of it. Remember, you need to secure your own oxygen mask before you can assist others with theirs.

Once again with regard to the bigger stuff, this is a particularly good read that a friend posted on Twitter this week, and it was something I absolutely had to read.

I hope this helps. Hang in there!

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Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 4

Why does it always feel like the holidays are some kind of competition? A contest to see who is charitable enough, who is good enough, who has enough money and time to be the best gift-giver or receiver out there? But the fact is this: you don’t have a thing to prove. Do as much as you’re able, and if you give from your heart, be satisfied. The people who matter will already love you, and you deserve that love. Let it in.

mental health, Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 3

It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. Everyone is moving a mile a minute, completely engrossed in their own needs, desires and ambitions. Even as they all rush around you, take a few extra seconds to notice where you are and what is happening. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and remember that only you get to decide how you are going to handle a given situation. Don’t take the stress and burdens of others on your own shoulders.

motivation, Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 2

Not every day is going to be packed with good will or even productivity. There will be bad days, even during the season where it seems like everything should be red and green and silver and gold 24/7. Try to be present. When bad things happen, acknowledge them for what they are – seconds, minutes, hours – and then, move on and make the decision to feel the way you want to feel.

inspiration, motivation, Uncategorized

Holiday Affirmations: Day 1

During December, I’m going to share 30 small affirmations/mantras/whatever you want to call them to help people feel good during this time of year. I love the holidays, but I also know it can be fraught with stress and anxiety and not-so-great tidings. I hope these help you. You deserve it.

It’s okay to not be “in the spirit” as soon as December rolls around. You don’t have to immediately be in the ‘deck the halls’ mode, nor do you have to compete against anyone else for how important the holiday season is. You do you, at your pace. You get to decide what this all means, ultimately.

inspiration, Personal, Uncategorized

32 Lessons: Part 2

Literally wrapping this up at the time when, 32 years ago, my mom decided that she had gotten through all her favorite shows and would go have me already, even though frankly she didn’t know what the big deal was about.

17. Take care of your teeth as much as you’re able to. And on that note…

18. Forgive your genetics. There’s nothing you can do about it. Take it easy on yourself.

19. Choose happiness now. Don’t wait until you’re in another place or ‘until I accomplish this thing’ or ‘until I am finally doing that thing.’ Make your happiness a priority this instant, even if it’s not easy.

20. Stretch. Take deep breaths.

21. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Even if people try to tell you that you shouldn’t, or people disagree with your tastes. It’s your space. You get to choose who you let in it.

22. One day, you’re going to realize that your parents are just like everyone else. And that means you get to choose what your relationship is like with them, especially when you are making your own decisions.

23. Try not to burn bridges. You may want to cross them later. But if you do, grab a boat. Swim if you have to.

24. Always get your feet wet. This isn’t actually a metaphor; like, when you go to the beach, put your feet in the water. Jump in the pool. Never say no to hot tubs.

25. Never be afraid to laugh or cry or be excited or be down. Your emotions will always be there. If you internalize everything, you’ll explode.

26. Listen.

27. Ask for help. It’s never easy. It never gets easier. But do it, when you’re able to. You don’t deserve to suffer in silence.

28. Sing in your car. Dance in the grocery store.

29. Stretch. I swear by this, actually. As much as you are physically able to, even if it’s while you’re sitting down or lying in your bed. Move.

30. Read self help books, but know when it’s time to write your own book. Not everything will work for you the way it works for other people. Just keep trying until you figure out what is effective, and then develop yourself from there.

31. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has been at a point where they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. Maybe it’s something big like LIFE™ and maybe it’s just taxes. Don’t be afraid to find someone you can talk to and ask if they can walk you through it start to finish. Ask questions.

32. You are awesome, and you deserve love.

inspiration, Personal, Uncategorized

32 Lessons: Part 1

So, tomorrow is my 32nd birthday. And I thought it might be fun to share 32 lessons I’ve learned during the span of my lifetime to this point. I like doing lists like this anyway, but I hope maybe it will be interesting for people who follow me or read my stuff. I’m dividing it into two posts: 16 today, 16 tomorrow. Enjoy.

1. Travel, when you can. Even if it’s just within your own city. Check out places you’ve never looked before. Wander. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Just experience the world outside of your home.

2. It’s always easier to say ‘no,’ so say ‘yes’ whenever possible. Try everything. Open yourself to new experiences, even if they seem inconvenient or uncomfortable.

3. Everything makes a good story. Even the terrible shit (especially the terrible shit).

4. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about yourself. Never be ashamed of your interests or the things that make you who you are. So long as you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want. On that note…

5. Be nice. It takes little effort to be kind. You can disagree and dislike someone or something without being a jerk. Show some compassion. You could literally save someone’s life.

6. Enjoy solitude when you have it. Be comfortable with yourself when you are alone. You’re always going to be stuck with you; might as well make friends.

7. It’s never too late to apologize, if you want to.

8. This, too, shall pass. Depression, anxiety, crises. Pure joy, happiness, sleep. It’s all temporary.

9. Make the things that you would like to see more of. Don’t produce content because it’s what you think you should do. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll wind up resenting it.

10. Say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘excuse me.’

11. You cannot control how people think or feel. The only thing you can do is decide how you’re going to let them affect you. Don’t take their baggage personally.

12. You’re never too old to appreciate cute animals.

13. Nobody else gets to decide your relationship with the universe. Pursue a faith and spirituality that speaks to you, from your heart, and not out of any sense of obligation.

14. You are made out of stardust. Your existence is magic. You are a miracle. Every day you are living is a day more than so many other people. You are literally awesome.

15. Be honest. With everyone. With your family, with your friends, with strangers. But honesty doesn’t have to equate with dickishness. Tact is your friend.

16. Surprise others. Keep people guessing. It’s really, really fun.

Creative Advice, Writing, Writing Tips

Woe is You, Maybe, But WHOA is Me!

I read a piece in the New York Times today that I found during my nightly looksie of the Twittersphere. It was tucked away between political ramblings, San Diego Comic Con calm down and adorable doodles. It was about writers and their perspective on their body of work, and how there seems to be this constant malaise after pieces are done. According to this writer, at the end of the day, writers can’t even stand to look at what they’ve done, and there is this terrible feeling of disappointment.

And I found myself tipping my head and feeling really, really sad.

During my twenties, I owned the whole image of ‘serious’ writers as these downtrodden, perpetually anxious, sighing lot. “Writers are supposed to be miserable,” I was essentially told. “Happy writers aren’t good writers.” Being a writer meant, if the ‘classic’ examples were to be any indication, hating the process, loathing the words themselves and doing it because it was a calling. For if we did not, then who would? It all came off very masochistic. And not even in the good way.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to the twenty-something me, shake her a little and go, “Yeah, okay, that’s garbage. Stop looking at that shit and go write something you’ll love.”

And I don’t just mean the content itself, but the whole process. Write something you’ll love making. Write something you’ll look forward to looking at. Write something that you can hand off to a friend and be like, “Hey, man, I wrote this thing. All of these words came out of my brainstuffs!” Don’t look at what you’ve written as some sort of reminder of your mortality or some posse of gargoyle antagonists sitting on your shelf, waiting for you to go to sleep so they can whisper thoughts of fear and failure in your ear. Put party hats on your books. Sure, the early stuff probably is ripe with terrible prose, but laugh at it the way you would at baby pictures.

Yeah, dude, we’re all going to die (unless someone is here and willing to give me robot parts, because seriously, sign me the eff up). So if you’re going to take on something as your art and you are going to be spending at least a decent portion of your waking hours doing it, then maybe you ought to at least like it, right?

Poetry, Writing

Draw Your Heroes

I can’t fly or deflect bullets with my hand
But I can put pen to paper and create worlds

I can’t commune with the dead or crush resurrected corpses
But I can draw new beginnings and better times

I can’t wave a wand and summon marvels
But I can shape creatures out of clay and cotton

I don’t have a shield or a belt or a thousand mechanical servants
But I have a voice that can sing or scream or comfort

I don’t wear a cape or a suit of armor, for battle
But I do have comfortable shoes and soft clothes, for getting to you

I don’t have super powers

But I am full of love

And I can’t turn the world back but I can keep people looking forward

 

5 Things, how to have a day job, Uncategorized

How to Survive Bad Work Days

  1. Remind yourself that it is only a temporary badness. Nothing bad lasts forever.
  2. Acknowledge that you do not deserve to feel bad just because something bad is happening around you. Your feelings are valid, yes, but it’s not somehow ‘coming to you’ to feel that way. You do not ‘have’ to feel that way.
  3. Love the good things in your life. Count them. Say ‘thank you’ to them. Focus on them.
  4. Find something to do with your hands. Whether it’s squeezing a stress ball or doodling or writing, move your hands and focus on that instead of the world.
  5. Once it’s done, let it die. Tomorrow is another day.