Friends, I’m really struggling. It’s difficult to fully articulate the trouble I’m having. In a way, it boils down to a tension, a tug-o-war between what I’m feeling and what I hear from the community I should be feeling. I feel stretched, pulled in opposing directions, pushed into an emotional corner, and I don’t know how to react or deal with it all.
Here’s the nut of it: All the rallying cries to not be afraid, not be cowed, not be intimidated, and all the righteously indignant declarations of fortitude and perseverance are stirring, glorious examples of the best possible mindset, the reactions to aspire to. But I am afraid. I am sad. I am outraged and angry.
Yet, I am so weary.
It feels as if I, in my safe Midwestern town and with my good fortune in job and home and family, have no right to be weary and hurt and afraid. It feels as if I, being so recently out and so remote from the cultural experience of those whose journey to authenticity included finding sanctuary and solace in the bars and clubs and associations of IRL LGBTQ community, am not permitted to feel grief at the hate constantly flung at this community, that I’m somehow an interloper to this communal outpouring of grief. It feels as if my grief and hurt and sadness and anger are regarded as false, as not counting, as a burden to an already burdened community. It feels as if my emotional reactions are a betrayal of the fight that went before me and a weakness in the face of the fight that lies ahead.
Mind you, no one has said these exact words to me. But every “we will fight”, every “rise up and march”, every “we will not be silenced ” pierces my heart, indicting my feelings as cowardice. Because I currently cannot muster the courage and energy to raise my fist and voice in protest. I’m bruised, wounded. It feels like too much. It feels never ending. The hate and danger burn like fire. The fear and paralysis burn like ice.
Yet I am, today, safe and whole. There are people in my daily life that love me. I have a home with comforts and necessities. I have an income that supports me and those I love. So how — I hear screamed at me by my inner saboteur and the faceless media — can you feel this overwhelm, this acute injury?
I can say only that I feel it. Yes from the horror at the Orlando tragedy, but also from the constant, ubiquitous negativity that floods every media feed and story. The stress of political and social strife, of brutality and hate, of unkindness and inequality pervading the news and social interaction is at a peak. It seems hardly possible to go to any public place (physical or virtual) and not encounter some form of aggression, hate, unkindness, or discrimination. What you wear, who you love, where you come from, who you do/don’t worship, what you do for a living, what you think about issues trivial and momentous…all are reasons today for someone to hate, injure, or murder you. I wear at least six of those targets as a Hispanic fat gay non-binary FAAB lawyer every day.
That kind of insecurity and instability naturally inspire fear and dread in my heart. My instincts scream for me to make myself safe from it all, to withdraw, be still and quiet, to avoid attention. Yet the community demands we risk those dangers and assert ourselves, put ourselves in the line of fire to preserve the future from these tragedies.
This is right and good and noble. I cannot speak against that call to action. I would be a part of it. Yet, I still am afraid and isolated from the stronghold of the movement. What good is a fearful, timid soldier? How can a weak tool complete a task?
Only in the strength of many can the fearful become bold, the weak become strong. Room must be made for people to feel what they feel without derision, without guilt. In our rallying for tangible action, let’s not trample those who aren’t able to run at the same pace, or at all.
Peace & love & light to you all. May you find strength, validation, support, and love in your community both physical and virtual. 🙏
Pingback to Daily Prompt – Struggle
A friend posted a poem on Facebook tonight about how her heart feels shattered, like a broken vase, after the deaths of her beloved brother this month, and sister barely a year ago. Her pain is laid bare in the imagery of a shattered vessel with missing pieces.
Many of her friends commented with love and support, though some feared her poem was too despairing.
I have felt the same pain after the loss of my father, grandmother, and mother. Each were dear to me in unique ways, but that shattering was the same each time. It lingers, latent and receding, but present and real. Her moving, plaintive cry in this post spoke to my heart. My brief comment on her post is the lesson I learned from each of those losses. I gave it to her, hoping it would provide a degree of hope and bring a brief respite from the despair.
“Grieve. Heal. Remember. Cry. Laugh. Continue to love. And when the time is right…pick up the shards and fit them, together with your memories and love of them both, into a beautiful mosaic heart full of life and light and the wisdom of your experience.”
What we all know, each to their own degree and according to their own experience, is that life goes on inexorably. We either live it or it passes us by while also dragging us with it. Grieving makes mindful, intentional living a daunting, bleak task. It’s so hard not to drown in the tide of tears.
That’s the moment when you need a reminder that when the piercing pain subsides, the heart once shattered is still strong and whole enough to hold the love and memories of our beloved. And if there are still some cracks and missing pieces, just know that they serve a purpose: the light gets in through the cracks and shines brightest out the windows left in the shape of the loves gone on.
Love and light and peace and healing to all of us. May we all build our beautiful mosaic hearts from the shards of our grief. 🙏💙🙏
Lately it seems that I have more grumbling, discontented thoughts than I like. And I don’t want to veer off into a habit of posting snark and complaints. So I’m making another conscious effort to be positive and find the good, at least one good thing, in each day
Today I’m going to a continuing legal education seminar on intellectual property law developments. Could be boring, but I’m betting it won’t be. Because it starts later than my usual time to get to my office, I’m taking the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. A real, sit-down breakfast with plates and forks and everything. A big change from the sandwich or wrap I usually snarf in the truck on the way to work.
This little restaurant in my neighborhood is usually packed for breakfast on the weekends, but I got right in this morning. A lovely glass of pineapple juice and a tasty meal with no wait for a table…a very good start to the day.
I have been so busy, so focused on getting to a certain point in professional advancement, in being thought a success, in self improvement, that I may have missed a few important milestones on the way. I think my career tunnel vision has blinded me to an achievement that must’ve come years ago but I am noticing for the first time now. I have mixed feelings about it. I seem to have reached a stage of maturity in which I am reconciled to things I’ll never do or be, and am content to focus on what I am doing and being. Does that mean I’ve given up dreaming? Have I capitulated to inevitability? Have I quit on myself?
I read a snippet of something on the internet recently, a fragment of creative writing full of angst and grit and pretension. It’s the kind of thing written by someone with more depth of vocabulary than depth of experience. A piece of well-written prose that paints a picture entirely different from what the writer intended, because the writer can’t possibly imagine, in his utter lack of practical knowledge, the experience and emotion living in the words he chose. It’s as if he saw in his mind’s eye a grimy, sad, dusty, Mad Max landscape of dramatic and violent change, when the real view out the window of those words is the weathered, age-worn, tattered, remains of real lives exhausted during the slow decay of existence. Both views are full of sadness and regret, but the poignancy of the latter is lost in the clangorous note of unreality in the author’s description.
The author describes a person who sees a problem in the world, who knows it’s cause, and after cursory attempt to rectify the evil in the world, decides that mankind is doomed and so we all may as well be resigned to our fate and lay down to die. That overly dramatic, angst-ridden capitulation screams of immaturity, of inexperience with actual defeat after laborious effort against strong opposition.
Yet, does that criticism, which I admit smacks heavily of cynicism and world-weariness, brand me as the jaded voice of someone worn-out and devoid of vision, of dreams for the future? If I say the author doesn’t know what weariness after labor really is, I imply that I do know and am weary. Does that mean I’m advocating the very capitulation that I criticize the author for imagining?
Don’t write this off as my feeling old. I don’t feel old.
I feel compacted, pushed-in, dented, bruised. Yet, I continue my labors, both personal and professional. I keep going. Am I continuing my labor only out of habit and rote repetition, having lost the ideological fire that started my journey? If so, is it something I can reclaim? Do I want to reclaim it?
This uncertainty is unsettling and I can’t even fully explain why it is so troubling.
There is no quick answer, no comforting platitude that will soothe this ache. Only great effort of mind and deep search of the soul will yield any insight. That’s why the weariness of labor of any sort is so dangerous. It robs the energy for enlightenment.
Well, I pretty much neglected this blog in March. Kind of a shame, following such a good effort in February. But, it’s April now, springtime on the American prairie. Since spring means renewal and fresh starts, I’m treating April as another fresh start to blogging. I’m setting a loose goal of weekly posts. We’ll see how that goes.
Today started of epically Monday-ish, with a full iPhone reset/restore and non-functioning badge readers at work. But things picked up and it turned into a productive day that I’m proud of.
One good thing about today (and many days over the last few weeks) has been the steady stream of compliments I’ve received since my video segment aired at the all-employee meeting on St. Patric’s day. I was quite nervous when HR and the film crew showed up in my office unexpectedly to film a short employee engagement video to be shown to the entire company. But it turned out to be really fun and they edited it so well that it wasn’t totally cringe-inducing to see myself on the screen.
Since the meeting and after the video was uploaded to my company’s intranet, I’ve received dozens of enthusiastic compliments from folks near and far in my company, saying how much they enjoyed it and how much they admire my bow ties. 😎 How cool is that!?
Folks appreciate that an executive can be fun and funny for the employees and is relatable through something as quirky as a fun bow tie. That’s a very good thing!
Faltering in my positivity streak…
— — — — —
Noisy, painful, and dark – that’s what the world feels like right now.
- North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas- legislated hatred & bigotry
- Suicide Bombings
- Burning children
- Dead trans* women
- Police violence against POC
- Refugees ignored, targeted, vilified
My heart is exhausted and my mind is numb.
Hatred, indifference, misogyny, discrimination, unkindness, reactionary politics, bombastic rhetoric, and invective spewed indiscriminately at anyone, anything, and any idea or ethos that doesn’t fit in a predetermined “normal” box. All difference, diversity, and authenticity reviled. Threats of violence, ostracism, even imprisonment or internment being bandied about like poker chips by not just internet trolls, but also by men (and some women) in positions of power…just for existing as women or queer or trans* or black or Muslim…
The world is looking pretty dark. The noise, the cacophony of hate is physically painful. I’m having trouble finding the good things that have meaning in order to celebrate them.
This is why I don’t watch the news or listen to the radio. This level of poison in the atmosphere, the seething hatred making the air and sea and earth burn…it is too much.
My heart and mind recoil. But where is there any solace, any refuge?
As I write this I’m fighting to keep my eyes open. One day of actual work and I’m beat at 9pm. Granted, I have just had four days off in a row in which I did next to nothing and, as a result, actually using my brain today felt extra hard.
But I didn’t have more than three meetings and only a couple of drop-ins from my boss. I even wore my favorite, ratty, indeterminate salmonish colored sweatshirt and comfy jeans with no tie as a sort of self care slash wearable security blanket moment. I really shouldn’t be this tired.
Whatever the cause, my familiar, beloved bed awaits and I can sleep a good sleep before getting up and doing it all again tomorrow. Vacation is over and I gotta get back into the swing of working hard.
Good night, peeps!
I turned 47 today and, as a is my habit, I took the day off from work. Actually, I took yesterday and today. The 4-day weekend has been awesome. Lots of rest and very little thinking about my work. That’s been great.
Today has been really low-key. Slow start to the day, talked with my Lulu before she went to sleep, watched some home improvement tv, and then ran a few errands. I wore a bright bow tie, which always makes me feel good. Although the skies were blue and the sun a cheery brightness, it is really cold and windy outside. So, now I’m hanging out in the coffee shop inside Barnes & Noble, looking at wire jewelry books and drinking a grapefruit soda with my warm blueberry scone.
So I missed posting yesterday, because I did spend the day in my pjs watching shows on my DVR. It was a pretty great way to relax and turn my brain off. A good thing for yesterday.
Today I’ve been fighting technology difficulties with my 10+ year old MacBook. Struggling to get my old iPhone backed up before resetting and passing it on to a friend. I’m close to success, which is a good thing and makes me happy.
So, this is it, the end of my self-designed 29-day challenge. I set out to blog every day and find at least one good thing about every day. Although I made up for them, I did miss a few days of posts. But I succeeded in finding at least one positive thing worth mentioning for every day in February.
I’m counting the effort a success overall. The aim all along was to get back to a habit, an instinct to positivity. I felt like all the stress in my life and all the debilitating negativity online and in the world had led me into a pattern of negative thoughts. I was seeing the annoying, the infuriating, the depressing, and the sad first, before anything good. That’s an express train to self-defeat and depression. So I decided to assert my will over my own mind and give myself a challenge.
If I’ve learned anything from the effort it’s that I can choose how I react to and think about the world. I don’t have to wear rose colored glasses. But I can acknowledge the negatives without allowing them to take over my worldview. I get to determine whether my day is good or bad. Even when others treat me badly, I can choose to stay calm, find a positive lesson, and seek a positive outlet.
Realistically, not every day will be good and there are times when I’ll let it get to me, or lose my temper. But the meta lesson is that there’s something to learn, something positive even in those misses. That’s a very good thing.
Well, I didn’t spend the whole day in my pjs.
Had a slow start, spent some time watching tv, and then dressed & went to the shop for a few minutes before going with my brother and sister in law to our monthly supper club. We have a group of art friends that we get together with once a month. We rotate picking the restaurant. It’s usually really fun and the food is usually an adventure.
Tonight was fun. The conversation was interesting and non-controversial. That’s good, especially since there are elections coming up and a few of our number are vocal, nay, rabid when discussing politics. We had a nice meal, good visit and enjoyed each other’s company. A fine Saturday all around–one very good thing.