Finding the Purpose of Anger

It’s a new day friends and if you’re like me you have an emotional hangover from what some call a presidential debate. I personally like to call it the ‘old white man say/yell things show’™ and you are welcome to use that if you’d like. I had so many emotions just from that hour and a half that I could probably write several blog posts on this viewing alone, but I’ll try to make it brief.

The biggest emotion I felt last night was anger. Anger, for those who have not been following this blog for a long time, is one of the most difficult emotions for me to process, accept, and display. I avoid it all costs and it typically results in me crying (which I did last night) and wanting to run away, trying to do whatever I can to make it stop. So, as someone who is constantly trying to improve and be better, I made it a point to stay; stay in my anger and feel the ways in which this anger is helping me. I was angry for a lot of reasons, and I am not going to sit here and try to explain why it hurts to hear people debate human lives or attack someone who overcame a drug addiction. What I will discuss is how such anger is helping me grow.

Last nights anger was felt in the pit of my stomach. My therapist has taught me to visualize where I feel my emotions so that I can really sit with it and work through it. It been a real game changer with the emotions I find more difficult. In my stomach there was a burning sensation and when I closed my eyes I could see yellows, reds, and oranges- there was a fire burning. My first instinct was to put the fire out, which I attempted to do with ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s half baked, obviously). That sort of worked as a short term solution, but as soon as I stopped the fire grew again. I thought to myself ‘how do I make I stop’ and then I realized I was asking the wrong question. I didn’t need it to stop I needed to listen to it and that is what I did.

I sat in my room after getting ready for bed and reflected for a minute on the heat. I unpacked some of the emotional abuse that occurred on the stage as it brought up memories of my own experiences. I validated the feelings of anger as right and fair, instead of a burden that needed to go away. I put my hand on my stomach and thought about the anger others must be feeling in this moment and what pain people who were literal topics of debate might be feeling. I thought about the kids that were and/or are bullied and how it would feel to watch that debate with the harsh words used. I thought of all of these people as my clients that have and will sit with. Then, with each thought and validation the anger dwindled, not to be mistaken with the anger going away.

Feelings don’t disappear until the job they were created to do is done. There is a good reason for that- we need them to create change. For example, if I got sad and never dealt with the sadness and pretended not be sad, that doesn’t mean that sadness is gone, it just means it’s hanging out somewhere else. Typically, this is a place where we tried to lock it up in, but instead it comes out in anxiety, alcohol use, cutting, unexplained anger, etc.. However, if we keep it where it’s supposed to be and we work with it and do what needs to be done, we get a healthy goodbye. Like when I was really depressed and went to therapy and started medication and sat with my sadness for a long time, not letting it go until I was ready. I want a healthy goodbye like that with this anger, so I am keeping the embers burning to help me remember why it is I do what I do.

What I do as a social worker, involves advocating for people and I care about people a lot. I’m a cancer moon, ya know? Advocacy work is political in nature and this fire is a direct result of who and what I care about. These embers will burn until I see people are given justice, fairness, kindness, and the right to live regardless of health, the color of their skin, their differing abilities, their gender, their sexual orientation, and the list could go on. I’m not sure the embers will ever truly go away, but I am going to keep them with me as a reminder that there is work to do, nitty gritty hard work.

I am currently in a space to do the hard work. I have gone to therapy and processed a lot of my own trauma’s and experiences. I feel safe to do this work right now and that could change. If you are not in that place, please know it is okay to lock those feelings up if that is what feels best for you right now. I am not here to tell you how to process your own reactions/feelings. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel safe. Perhaps it’s holding space for it and perhaps it’s watching 6 hours of Real Housewives of New York. I’ve been both people (sometimes in the same day) and that’s okay.

If you’re reading this and angered (or any other emotions) by any of the words I have said here, perhaps reflect on where in your body you’re feeling it and why these emotions are coming up for you. And please, please, please use the contact link to chat with me further about this or any other post.

I love you all, including my anger.

A[wo]men

flames dance

across the lining of my stomach

and i pray for rain

that only comes when

the embers are ready for it

-finding the purpose of anger

From the Year of Change to the Year of Stability

Hello loves, I would first like to start off by thanking you all for the kind words after my post about Alex Wolf. I am so happy to hear all the people that also want to live their life like Alex. As I continue to follow those words, I would also like to share that this will be my last post of 2019. Taking a bit of winter break for myself and focusing on building more stability and grounding. I will return in 2020 with more to talk about and *fingers crossed* more interviews. So for today, I would like to do my own year in review. Thank you, Spotify, for the idea.

My greatest hits of 2019 include:

  1. Travel Girl  (feat. Hawaii, Rhode Island & Myrtle Beach)
  2. Ending a Relationship (feat. my ex)
  3. Alaska to New York
  4. Goodbye first job, Hello new job
  5. Got a new therapist, who dis?
  6. Dating (half of NYC)
  7. Oops, I got robbed on the train
  8. Forever Missed (feat. Alex Wolf)

I am officially coining 2019 the year of change. There were so many ups and downs. Constant, life changing events were thrown in my direction. I would like to say I handled them with grace and ease, but I absolutely did not because I am human. I stumbled about as if I were a new born dear trying to walk. It was not pretty. I find something quite beautiful in that ugliness of living though. A bit of a contradiction, I suppose. Yet, it simply is the epitome of human life to fall and get up and fall and get up. It is how we learn to do most things in life. How can that not be beautiful in its ugliness?

While I reflect on the past and the ways that I careened through the year, I would also like to look toward the future. Typically, each year I make a list of things I hope to accomplish. I know, v. original. I went back in my blog for 2019 to see what my list said… There was no list. When 2019 began I was in a deep, deep depression. The future seemed bleak and if I remember correctly the only thing on my list was to heal. A to-do that I believe is never quite finished. We are always healing from new marks that find their way to us. Though, as I make my way to the end of 2019, I am in a completely different headspace. I now have the tools to help the healing and the wisdom to know that nothing is permanent. Things change, always.

With that being said, I want to highlight some changes I hope to see in 2020:

  • Learn a new hobby (knitting?)
  • Continue to work towards obtaining my LCSW
  • Reduce CC debt by 50%
  • Travel (Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska, Maine, Spain)
  • Build strong relationships
  • Run a 5k
  • Fall in love with myself again, and again, and again
  • Write more
  • Scroll less
  • A new president

If 2019 was the year of change, I would like 2020 to be the year of stability. All that change I went through was vital to my own growth; however, I want to feel more grounded as I enter this new year. This is also why I intend to take a break from writing for the next month. I plan to use that time to focus on my goals and come up with a concrete plan. I was a bit willy-nilly with how I moved through the world this year. I was very much reactive, rather than proactive. It is my hope to now become proactive. A trait I believe is curated as we age. In 2020, I will become 30 years old. Another decade will have passed in my life and I hope by the time I get there I understand myself in a deeper way and care for myself in the way I care for others.

They say we are creatures of habit, so I am encouraging us to create a habit of self-compassion this year. Let’s become so in love with ourselves that we can’t help but feel safe and stable in our own arms. Coin this year whatever you feel you need to move forward. Perhaps you need change, perhaps you need stability, perhaps you need something totally different. Just remember that your path is for you. Figure out what you need and let it guide you.

I will greet you all again in January, until then spread love to yourself and to others.

A[wo]men

it’s me

in the dew of the morning

in the dark of the night

through the forest

and the depths of the ocean

in the sunshine &

the moon

love & heartache

growth & regrowth

i am with me through it all

-you are your best partner through life

 

The Inevitable Connection

Hello folx. So, this weeks post is going to be a bit shorter because I am gearing up to do my first post on the most recent interview I did! I am so excited with how it is turning out and *Alert* you are not going to want to miss next week’s post. It will bring all the feels. Of course, I can’t bring all the feels without some serious dedication to transcribing and really getting deep into the work, hence the shorter post this week.

So, here goes the quick snapshot:

Tears flowing, ice cream in one hand, hitting the ‘continue watching  button’ on Netflix in the other, and on-again, off-again napping throughout the day. That was my Sunday- a ‘straight out of a rom-com’ scene. My body was on empty and I tried all day to refuel it with anything that I thought would make it happy.

‘You wanna go on a walk, girl? How ’bout a nap? Is she hungry?’

Turns out, I was exhausted from dating.

I called some friends to tell them how I was feeling. I told them how I feel empty, how I can’t believe I am still thinking about my ex, and how I keep meeting these really great guys and I can’t seem to move forward with any of them. They all responded with the same exact words: “You’re trying too hard.” Okay, rude, but like… so real. Thank goodness for friends and therapists, amiright?

So, I deleted the apps. I erased the accounts. I’ve called off the search for now.

I’ll be honest, the sense of relief that came from that small act was unreal. I couldn’t believe how much pressure I was putting on myself and how easily I could take that pressure off. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this, but sometimes I feel like I am going a million miles an hour and I can’t slow down because if I do I will fall apart. Of course, I always do slow down and I do fall apart and that breakdown is the catalyst for me moving on. A lesson I seem to keep forgetting.

I think that’s why I was putting all my energy into dating. I didn’t want to spend time thinking about all the hurt and change I experienced in a months time. I was recently reminded of everything I’ve gone through. In one month, I left a job and started a new one, I moved across the country and then moved again across Brooklyn, I quit drinking coffee, I went through a major and minor break-up. It almost feels unreal because I blew right past all of it. So, I am finally slowing down. I am sitting in all the change that I have endured and letting it wash over me.

The beauty is that we have all experienced some change in our lives and I am sure you can attest to the grieving process it can evoke. Just remember, that change is inevitable and that’s a beautiful thing because it’s just another way we can all connect to one another.

And as a sneak peak into next weeks post: The story-teller went through some big changes of her own at a young age and it has impacted the major changes she is going through today. I hope to connect more with you all next week through this brave and honest story.

A[wo]men

Fire and ice burn up through her throat,

a tornado inside.

“I can feel it,”

Water flows from her eyes,

sinking into the creases of her smile.

“I’m human.”

 

Life Updates

Okay, folksies, I want to first and foremost apologize for my missing post last Sunday. I was travelling and honestly the thought of writing a blog post while on a ferry sounded like it would hurt my head, so I left my laptop behind in hopes that you would all forgive me. I feel like you do because my readers are kind, loving, gracious humans, right? Great now that that is out of the way I have some v. important life updates.

Number 1: My posts may become more irregular. I know this is not very convenient and I apologize for this. I am hoping to post at least once every couple of weeks, but I also don’t want to make any false promises. You’re welcome. Why is my writing going to become more irregular? I have some super exciting news! I am teaming up with my good friend and co-worker as we start work on WRITING A SHOW! This project is something my friend Beth has held onto for a very long time and one of my greatest passions is watching TV, so it just seemed like a good partnership. We started writing last night and honestly y’all, I think it could really be something. I am not going to give the deets away, but I will keep you updated on progress and such.

This project is something I have desperately needed because life has been a tad stressful these last couple of weeks. I have had two days that I just couldn’t function. I felt as though I was in a haze. I am usually pretty good at checking in with myself and figuring out what I need and that has not been happening in the last few weeks. My sister is going through some pretty tough things right now and the hardest part is knowing that I can’t be there for her. Living away from family is tough. Living away from them on an island is tougher. It is strange that as a child I used to dream of living far away, changing my name to Mia, and falling in love with a British boy. (Way to many Mary Kate and Ashley movies encouraged this). Now, as a 27 year old, I find myself calling my parents daily and crying because I am homesick. 13 year-old me wouldn’t even recognize this B. I do feel lucky though, in the sense that technology (as much as I bemoan it) gives me the ability to transport home. I can video chat, text, and call to get pieces of home that tide me over before I get to go visit again. And for those of you wondering, my sister is doing as best she can for now, she was having a tougher time than usual over the past couple of weeks. She is a tough cookie though, so I know she will make out of this battle. #fuckcancer

I also feel lucky because I have people here that are beyond supportive. The great part about working for a mental health organization is that they understand that mental health is important! (Not always though and those orgs need to get their shit together.) My supervisor encourages me to take the time I need and that makes a world of difference. I also have really solid friendships that I am forming and feel comfortable talking about the things I am going through. It feels like only a short while ago I was writing about being friendless and struggling to fit in. Now, this little/big island feels more and more like a place I could stay as each day passes. This may also be due to my other life update… I’ve started seeing someone! See, I told you life has been a little crazy. He has been incredibly supportive and helpful as I struggle with being away from my family and the work/life balance we all work to achieve. I am not going to say much more than this because as much as I am an open book, he is not, and I would like to respect that. I will say though, he makes me very happy.

Which brings me to my last life update: Work. Work is busy and fun and sad and exciting and tough and every other emotion I could think of. I am still loving it, but I am not going to lie, it is a little overwhelming. I have nightmares about my kiddos and their families constantly. I try to disengage after work, but some days are harder than others. When I was sitting in school and my teachers constantly talked about self-care and burnout in the field of Social Work I thought I was hearing what they were saying. I clearly did not. Self-care is sort of a trigger word for me now. Feeling stressed about not doing self-care, I’m pretty sure, is the opposite goal the word is looking to achieve. I’ve begun to replace it with self-compassion and that has helped. Compassion allows me to see myself as I see my clients: human. I think that is where the haze came from the last two weeks. I was avoiding the feelings I was supposed to be feeling all under the guise of self-care. I didn’t want to accept that I make mistakes or that I can have bad days or that I can’t help everyone. I am trying to be better at looking at myself as I do my clients. What strategies will help me get through today? Today I choose to do 1 minute of deep breathing, leave space for me to cry, and call my mom.

Oh and in case y’all forgot, it is Mother’s Day (quick go call your moms too!). I feel obliged to tell you all… I am not a mom, I am not pregnant, and I don’t own any pets. However, most of the mom’s I know are the mitochondria of life. (The powerhouse of the cell, for those of you forgetting your high school bio class.) I have the absolute pleasure of getting one of the best mom’s known to womankind. She does what needs to be done, sometime in sacrifice of herself. She has shown me kindness, love, and compassion. She has taught me the power in vulnerability, the strength in weakness, and how to multitask like a badass. So, I conclude this post with a poem by Nayyirah Waheed:

my

mother

was

my first country.

the first place i ever lived.

–lands

Invite the Negatives

This week was hard. That is the best way I know how to describe it. If you know me at all, you know that I feel with all of my being, and I took a beating this week. Not only did I have personal issues, but I had hard work decisions, family messiness, and (as we all had to experience) the slaughtering of children in a school… again. This week was just hard.

So, I sit here trying to decide what I want to write about. What piece of life will bring the happiest ending to a not so happy week. I don’t think I have processed any of them enough to find some powerful wisdom to end my blog with. All of them still hurt. And maybe that is the point for today; sometimes life is just hard and there are no magic words that make it better. That is okay.

I feel that in our society we are apt to think that the only thing we should want to feel is joy and if we don’t feel joy we have somehow failed. As Emma Gonzalez so gracefully proclaimed, “We call BS!” It is okay to feel upset and angry and sad. In fact, it is 100% natural. It took me a very long time to accept that. We need to care for ourselves by fully accepting all parts of ourselves.

People often think of self-care as the equivalent to treat yo’ self and that misses the mark completely.  Don’t get me wrong, I also think it is important to treat oneself every once in awhile… I have the Dooney and Bourke purse to prove it. However, to me self-care is sitting with yourself, everyday, for at least a moment, and checking-in on your feelings and allowing yourself to wholly embrace those feelings. You can also do this in the bathtub if you so prefer. I encourage all of you to take 5 minutes out of your day today and just feel everything you are meant to feel, without telling any emotions to go away. You can’t have positives without negatives. THAT’S SCIENCE.

I would like to end this post with a poem I wrote when I sat with all of my emotions, after hearing about the Parkland School Shooting.

Hurt me again.

Not because I like the pain,

But because pain is all I know.

When the gun shots sound like melodies,

The man’s force is a gentle hug.

I am taught that violence is not the answer

And yet pain is all I know.