I used to complain about things that other people did quite a lot, and I’d feel annoyed that they thought or felt or acted differently than I would. I still do it, but much less often. I challenge myself more often now to sit with *why* something that someone else does that doesn’t affect me (or harm them/others) should possibly annoy me. It’s an often difficult introspection. It’s a moment to realize and admit that I’m being kind of an asshole. Why do I feel the need to correct the thinking and feeling and expression of another human so that it falls in line with my own? I hope I am becoming a better person the more I do this.
I say go ahead and mourn whomever or whatever your heart mourns without shame, do it privately or publicly, and process your grief in whatever way works best for you. Blame the year, the world, the color of the sky… cry out in whatever way helps you walk through your pain. When we deny our hurts and hold them inside because we’re afraid of what others expect of us, we’re only doing ourselves (and them) harm in the long run.
It’s okay to cry out.
I love you.
Eight years ago, in April 2008, I lost a baby who was due on Christmas Eve… and then lost another later that year, who died inside me at 3 months gestation and had to be removed from my body in mid-December. I think of them at this time of year. I think of them while I trim the tree, while I make cookies, while I listen to holiday music. I still have this. I open it and smell it every year.
It still hurts. In quiet moments, at this time of year, I hear echoes of Christmas laughter that never actually existed and never will be. I still cry for them. For sure, there is sweetness in what I have, which is very much, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any bitter with that sweet.
I do not share this to evoke sympathy for myself or to bring anyone down. It is merely a gentle reminder: This time of year is difficult for so many who would do almost anything to feel more joy, and it is difficult for a great variety of often unknowable reasons. As always, remember that everyone is dealing with something, fighting something, and needing something. Without needing to know exactly what aches in our sisters and brothers, we can still offer kindness, patience, and love during times of heightened stress and pain.
Don’t worry about me, please, but send some extra love and peace to other people during this time. Look for those opportunities; make those moments possible. Give a smile to a stranger, hug a friend a little longer, hold a door, pay a tab, let someone ahead of you in traffic, say a kind word.
Kindness, above all, heals and strengthens.
Sending so much love to you all. <3
each day the sun rises, the sun sets
the world turns to create this illusion
your day may be my night
my calm, descending orb may be
your burning, rising fireball
all the while, the ground we stand solid on
is actually spinning relentlessly under us
whatever you “see” is perception driven
beauty and sadness
tragedy and joy
heartache and elation
all of these things shift forms
based on what the angle is
my lens is different than yours
yours is not the same as
his and hers and theirs
even common details
become blurry, ultimately
arguing absolutes and opinions, equally pointless
spend more time accepting
try harder to be aware and awake
be ready to receive whatever
put your energy into love
open your heart and mind
prepare to view from a different angle
try to avoid shame and judgement
see and feel and embrace all you can
expand and let in as much light as possible
before the last revolution completes
and the shutter closes forever.
could you love me?
all of me
even the parts
some people find
too emotional or flighty or
d a m a g e d?
could you love
the parts of me
that react poorly
when i’m in pain?
and would you love the
parts of me that are
s e l f i s h
and the jealous ones
and can you love
me even when
i am a bit immature
and very impatient?
could you find it
i n y o u r h e a r t
to love my whole heart
and not just the
parts of it you like,
those ones that
make you feel good and
that are romantic
and thoughtful, patient
or pretty or kind?
could you love me
if we were very different
in a handful of ways,
if I didn’t believe in
the things that you do
or if i did believe in things
that you thought were
w r o n g?
would you love
all of me
even if i hurt your
f e e l i n g s
if I had bad days
or made you
a n g r y
or if we sometimes
seem a little
i n c o m p a t i b l e?
would you still love me
if I was reckless and
wild and a bit
c a r e l e s s
or if I cry sometimes
and feel sad
for no apparent reason at all?
would you still love me
if i made mistakes
and some bad decisions
or if I someday changed?
can you love me
all the way
without giving up?
can you love me
despite all my
i m p e r f e c t i o n s
will you still
love all of me?
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Depression lies. This is a truth, and it’s something that many of us have seen or heard by now, either from firsthand experience, through therapy/counseling, or by word of mouth from a friend, loved one or article. If you haven’t learned this already, I’m telling you now. DEPRESSION IS A DIRTY LIAR. Depression tells you all manner of lies about yourself that will keep you right in its clutches. And from the pit of pain you are trapped in with it, these things sound true.
I want to tell you that not only does depression lie to you about yourself, but it lies to you about other people. And it tries to twist your personal pain into anger, bitterness, and jealousy. It hides the truth about so many things and lies to you; it lies about who you are and what you are capable of, it lies about the lives, struggles, motives and emotions of others, it lies to you about how they see you and feel about you. Like a parasite, it does this, further isolating you.
Know this: Nobody is perfect. Not a single person has the perfect: body, face, life, family, job, past, present, or future. All of us struggle under some or all: bad days, tough circumstances, past and present mistakes and poor decisions, lost loves, painful abuse, death of friends/family/children, dreams shattered, hopes crushed, illness, debt, job struggles, family problems, relationship difficulties, or failures of one kind or another (and more). This is, in fact, one large side of the coin of human experience.
We all, to some degree, suffer these things. Nobody is immune. Nobody is perfect.
The coin does have two sides. Even though it is sometimes hard to see, life is full of beauty and light, as well. (I am a firm believer that we need a balance of both “dark and light” things to be most at peace.) For those who find some way to keep pushing, growing, seeking the light and celebrating the joys in their lives, the above tribulations *do not fail to exist* and *do not fail to burden.* If those people don’t always wallow publicly in their pains, or share every painful detail of their failures with you or the world at large, it’s not because they want you to be unaware that they have pain. They are not attempting to hide their ugliness or trick you into thinking they are prefect. It’s likely because they recognize that the only way to keep a head above that strong, pulling tide is to focus on light when they can. Or maybe they are just lucky to have some small snatch of DNA that is buoyant. I don’t know.
I speak from my own heart, so excuse me my inaccuracies.
If you are hurting, struggling, or need help – if depression is LYING TO YOU – reach out. If you feel like everything is falling apart, coming undone, that others are perfect while you are not – reach out. If the darkness closes in so much that you are having trouble seeing the light – REACH OUT.
“Can you help me?”
“I want to talk.”
“I need help.”
“Do you have a minute?”
Do your best to reach out for help, to a loved one or friend. If you can’t bear to talk to someone you know, please contact a professional you know or use one of the following:
- Crisis Text Line http://www.crisistextline.org
You can text a trained crisis counselor about anything 24/7, confidentially: Text “GO” to 741-741
- Crisis Call Center http://www.crisiscallcenter.org
For emotional help, support, or information of any kind.
1 800 273 8255
Text “Answer” to 839863
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Contact about anything you are dealing with or want to talk about.
1 800 273 TALK
- Helpline Center: Quick and easy access to information about health and human services.
For answers, community connections, or hope during difficult times.
Finally: I wish I could personally help you. I would try to if your need was evident to me and/or you reached out directly, as a friend or even as a stranger. However, I cannot open myself up to anonymous persons trolling me online. I have my own pains and life issues. I am not perfect; I carry my own burdens, just like anyone else. If I’ve missed your pain or a way I could possibly have helped you, I am truly sorry. It does not mean you are not important. Everyone is important. Above all, I hope you find the help you need.
Please seek help.
Stop listening to the lies depression tells.
Do you ever get to a point where you’re feeling uninspired, in a rut or generally, well, slumpy? (A highly technical term, I know. Also, I may have made it up. Shhhh.) Anyway! I know the feeling – intimately. I believe that artists and creatives can experience this periodically, maybe even cyclically, when they’ve kind of been plugging along consistently over time… and I think it’s even more common in this age of social media and sharing where we get into a routine of posting posting posting, especially if we start feeling pressured (by our peers or just by some kind of internal need) to meet the “demand of the audience.” In my most recent “slumpy-time,” I found a way to re-inspire myself with my phone – mobile creativity helped me refocus and gain perspective.
At the end of 2014 I was feeling definitively slumpy. In the time period leading up to that feeling, I’d walked through some stressful, emotional things and dealt with some rejections that made me re-evaluate why I even make art and also to ask myself something like, “Is what I create just pure crap?” (By the way, if you find yourself asking this same question, it’s a sign that you’re totally slumpy and you’re also probably being a total jerk to yourself, so stop it, okay?) The answer to the second question, if you haven’t already guessed, was NO… and for me, that’s mostly because of the answer to the first question. I decided, as I considered all of this, that I wanted to really re-focus on why I make art, and I needed to find some way to inspire myself to get that focus back.Read More»
This was the prompt for our Self Portrait Sunday event a few weeks ago. It took me awhile of just simmering with the theme to come up with an idea. I usually do this if there’s a prompt driving my work, rather than an internal expressive need to create something specific – I think about it a little in loose terms and then wait. Eventually, something will come that *is* an internal expression… and if it doesn’t, well, the prompt wasn’t my bag, baby. 😉
Once I realized what I wanted to do, the rest of it fell into place, including the setting, details (clothing) and the words I wanted to accompany the image.
It’s good to have a strong foundation, a balanced support system, and complimentary characteristics.
My guys were good sports and very patient as I developed the idea, and we tried a few variations of the pose I wanted until we found the perfect one.
In the end, there were a handful of silly outtakes that show how much fun we had. I am very pleased with the end product – but for us, the process was just as rewarding. <3
Students with learning disabilities give their teachers some heartfelt advice. (Via Brain Highways)
Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 4, 2015
This isn’t just a message for teachers, but for everyone. It’s a message of tolerance, of learning and accepting and working with the differences in others. It’s about helping, loving, providing, and allowing room for them in our world. It’s about lifting them up by not holding them down with our rigid expectations.
In the past 9 years (and most intensely in the past year or so) I’ve pushed myself repeatedly to “unlearn” a slew of things that I was (directly and indirectly) taught that kids are “supposed” to do because it’s “good behavior” and “proper learning technique,” and I still have to remind myself of these things on a regular basis because some of them are so entrenched. But they’re silly, and I refuse to be intransigent.
Look at me when I’m talking to you.
Stop making so much noise.
To each of these: guilty. And it is always more about me than him when this happens. !
I have so much more to learn from watching and listening to what’s important rather than folding to and repeating inflexible, unhelpful rules that are shoved down our throats to keep order above all else.
When our hearts and minds are open, there’s space for light to enter and allow growth, both inside and around us. We all learn and achieve slightly differently. Molds suck – break them; let them be broken. You might learn more, too.
“Just ask me: what does your brain need right now?”