The longest shortest year

You can’t explain the first year to someone who hasn’t experienced the death of a parent. There are no words or explanations that can give life to the grief, the pain, and the loss that you feel as you navigate your new life.  Everything I’ve ever done that involved my Mom will literally never happen again. Not a birthday, not a Saturday afternoon, not a walk, not Christmas or Thanksgiving, and in that first year, you experience all of those firsts.  The first year of complete void and nothingness in the place where your Mother used to be.

“I just don’t know how you do it.” I have muttered to friends and people I love who lost their Mother, truly believing that I did not know how it could ever be done.  Also, truly believing, that my time to walk that path had to be many years from that particular moment.

How does life go on when the very star, the sun that centered your universe shoots beyond your line of sight and into another galaxy?  I don’t like to say she flickered out because I know she’s shining somewhere, brighter than ever.

How does life go on in the after of complete loss?

It just does.

What was I going to do?  Quit my job and stay in bed all day?  I mean, ideally, absolutely… that’s exactly what I wanted to do.  I wanted to fold into myself and sink into my memories and never come out, never come up for air, and never figure out how to do life without my Mom.  Well, being out of paid time off cured that want pretty quickly and I went back to work.  I was a complete zombie, but looking back, I think it helped.  I know it helped.

You go back to work, you pick up where you left off with TV shows you enjoyed, you visit friends, you go out-of-town… you. just. do.

You don’t “move on”, it doesn’t get better, time does not heal, none of those platitudes are even remotely true.  You just keep moving forward each day and hope you feel a little more able than the previous day.  Grief changes.  It permeates your being and becomes a fixture in your everyday, it becomes as much apart of you as the skin that stretches over your bones and it seeps into your molecular makeup.  You carry grief like a backpack filled with hardback books, all of those books written for and by your Mother.

At first, grief takes the shape of unbelievable sadness.  That sadness extends beyond any sadness you will ever feel.  Then, emptiness.  Emptiness as you wake up, slowly, and realize this world continues to exist without your Mom.  There will, quite literally, always be the before and after.  There is who you are when your Mom was here and there is who you are after your Mom is gone and those people are very different.

I was not okay for many, many months.  Mom went into the hospital on 10/20/2017 (one year ago today) and passed away on 10/24.  She was buried 10/28.  I don’t remember much of the last 2.5 months of 2017.  On New Years Eve I cried because I didn’t want to start a new year without her and I begged Chad to stay home from any events.  I couldn’t imagine facing an entire calendar year without her, though staying home wouldn’t stop that year from coming.  Nothing, not even the death of your most beloved, stops time.

Winter turned into spring and spring flirted with summer and if you’ve never broken down and torn apart the home your Mother lived in, I do not recommend it.  It was the impossible task.  Her sweet little items, her clothes, her cat, the list was endless and it all needed homes and those homes could no longer be in that house.  That house is still an open wound to me.  I dream about it often and she is usually there with me.  Even if you’re an adult and you have your own home, wherever your Mom is, that is also home.  When that home is gone to you, when every home from your childhood is no longer part of your life, you realize the only ties you have to those memories are the memories themselves.  That first time when you realize you can never, ever go home to your Mother again feels like having a heart attack.

It’s been the longest shortest year of my life.  It’s been years ago and it’s been as recent as yesterday.  I used to absolutely love the month of October.  Way before the culture of Pinterest and scarves and pumpkin spice, October was my birth month and I was obsessed with it.  I loved fall, I love the leaves, the colors, everything.  This month, I’ve tried so hard to enjoy those things that I love because Mom loved them, too.  It makes sense that she died on the day the foliage peaked.  I’ve tried so hard to find her in the cooling temperatures, and in the reds and golds that scatter the hillsides.  I know she’s with me, but boy do I miss her physical presence.

Often, I replay the Friday to Tuesday turn in the ICU at King’s Daughters through my mind, trying to remember every single detail.  There were moments of laughter and terrifying moments of fear.  There was not one single part of me that thought I would never her bring her home when I drove here there on this date one year ago.  She was in a great deal of discomfort.  We listened to the Johnson Central/Ashland game on the radio and I tried to distract her and give her Dylan’s stats for the game and for the entire season.  It worked out perfectly that Central played Ashland at Ashland since that’s where KDMC is located.  Tommy and I got her to the ER, Andi soon joined, and we waited.

We waited what felt like an eternity.

Around 5:00 am, she was finally given a room in ICU.  Stage 4 cancer with pneumonia certainly warranted intensive care.  The nurse asked Mom a million questions, and finally, asked her if she had a living will on file with the hospital which is a standard question.  She burst into tears and said, “I’m just so tired” and I said, “I know, Mommy, we’re almost done with the questions and then you can rest”.  I will never forget the look on her face and how she wilted, and even more so, how apparent it was that she was ready to rest.  She was so ready to rest.

Some of the memories I have from those four days haunt me.  The memory of her sweet face looking at each and every one of us as if she was memorizing our faces gets me every single time.  She wanted to go home, but at the same time, she didn’t want to leave any of us.  I remember feeding her her last good meal, baked potato and salad from Wendy’s.  Tommy, Melissa, myself, and Chad surrounded her bed and she commented how handsome Chad is with a beard and was in the best spirits.  This was Saturday night. With Sunday came saturated lungs that only worked at 37% anyway, ever complicated masks to help oxygen flow, and ultimately the bipap mask that sealed the deal.  It was horrifying.  That mask was miserable and I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask her to wear it for one more second to accommodate an arbitrary date.

She was everyone’s everything and that is not an exaggeration.  She wasn’t the same Mother to me as she was to Tommy and Andi — she was what we all three needed.  She wasn’t the same sister to Sharon and Pam — she was what each of them needed.  She was everything.

The fruition of my Mother’s faith came to pass on my 31st birthday.  That’s a beautiful and absolutely truthful way to put what happened that day, but it doesn’t begin to encompass the feelings I have since navigated.  I have been very angry.  Not about my birthday, but losing her in general.  I get very mad at the choosing of my most precious, wonderful person and not someone else who I feel deserved death more.  But, that isn’t even close to how it works.  She was ready.  That 110 pound shell was done.  Even still, coming to terms with the how and why is extremely difficult.  But, I think I have found that peace or I am at least actively working toward it.

As I sit 4 days out from that anniversary, the marking of the first year and my 32nd birthday, I chose to write and post this before the exact date.  My Mom would not want me to dwell on the sadness on that day.  If she could have changed it, I know that she would have chosen to pass on another day, but that isn’t something you ever get to choose.  And honestly, that’s okay.  It’s okay.  It was a special day to her before and it is the most special date to her now.

There will never be a day that I don’t miss her.  Not one.  But, I know that she isn’t here in this unexplainable void and sadness.  She is in the sun, she is in the leaves, she dwells in goodness and light, in the voices and faces of my siblings, her sisters, and my niece and nephew.  I find her in the mirror, sometimes.  I find her in my own voice pretty often.  I find her, always.

I will find her always.

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183.

I talk to God about you and I ask Him what you’re doing.  I hope He hears me. I hope you do, too.

I imagine you walking through fields of flowers, flowers I’ve never seen, but I try to cling to the colors of what might be.  I wonder if your hair is still red, do you still have freckles, and if your hazel brown eyes are still the same. I hope I would recognize you if I saw you, but I can’t be sure..  You’ve visited me in dreams, just like you were on this Earth, and in those dreams you look the same, but I know you’re different, too.

Is your house beautiful?  Is it a cottage like you dreamed?  Are Sawyer and Sally there? How close do you live to Mamaw and Papaw?  Granny and Papaw? I have so many questions, six months worth of what ifs and what could I have done differently and every variant thereof.  I sleep under a blanket of your pictures and it was supposed to just be for a while, but now it’s comforting. Sometimes I lay my face against your picture and cry.  Sometimes I just whisper, “Oh, Mommy” and sometimes, I don’t say anything at all.

I think Heaven is real and you are there.  I think about it a lot. I think about what it would be like to hug you again and feel you embrace me with both arms wrapped around me.  I want to ask what it’s like to have full use of that left arm, to feel no nerve pain, to be whole. I never wished for more time or prayed for it.  I just prayed that you wouldn’t suffer because I knew I could handle thinking about what you have gained easier than I could watching you deteriorate.  I told you that in 2016. I said, “Mommy, I can do this. I can put you on the point [family cemetery]. I can do this life without you before I can watch you suffer on this Earth” and we both teared up, eyes big, staring at each other.  Your eyes told me you didn’t want to leave me as much as I never wanted you to.

I wish for more time now.  I have a lot of trouble with the last two and a half months of your life and coming to terms with not seeing you enough.  We talked everyday, but I didn’t visit enough and I didn’t change my routine. I remember lamenting over not wanting you to feel like I thought you were dying.  I can’t explain it; I knew you were dying, but I didn’t think you really would, which I realize sounds insane. After you died, 3 books about healing scriptures came in the mail to you.  You ordered them at the beginning of October, so I don’t think you thought you were dying, either. You didn’t plan to leave me here. You didn’t plan to leave on my birthday.

My life is measured in who I was before 10/24/17 and who I am after; Those two people are not the same.  In some ways, I am much better. The kindness and softness you offered people is something I aspire to have and be and something I could never quite reach prior to losing you.  Maybe it’s part of my call to fill that gap, though I will never be as kind and inviting as you, I imagine. I feel like I have aged in dog years in the last 183 days. I feel like it’s been one million years and one day all at the same time.

 

 

Everything I have written since October has been some form of a letter to my Mom.  It’s gut-wrenching to read anything I wrote just after her passing and relive that initial loss and pain.  I try to go there as little as possible. I thought I would shift gears in this particular blog and change the voice and stop writing as if I am speaking to her.  I am always speaking to her. I carry her with me in my heart everywhere, but life requires me to be present and I have to keep pressing and pushing myself forward.

I could probably teach a masterclass in loss and grief.  If you’re reading this, you might know me personally or you just follow on social media. You’ve likely watched as my posts veered away from my Mom and back to real life.  Life continued and that is still the craziest thing to me. I had to go on. At some point I realized that moving forward was not forgetting my Mom because of course I could never do that.  Moving forward was healthy, it was living, it was part of the process. The long, never ending, arduous process of grief.

For several months after she passed, time stood still.  I went through the motions of holidays but I don’t remember much about any of those particular days.  On New Year’s Eve, Chad and I went to a friend’s house and I had to heavily self medicate because I was so worried someone would ask me how I was doing.  Spoiler — absolutely awful was the answer. I hardly remember anything about that night other than being in a room full of people I love but feeling like I wasn’t there at all.  I was different, but I knew I had to find my way back to myself.

More often than not, tears sting my eyes at the mention of her name.  When I see pictures of her, I cry and smile at the same time. The joy my Mom brought to my life was unspeakable and everything since her passing has been marked with tangible sadness, but still, we move forward.  She would want it that way. Mom would want her legacy to go on exactly how she lived; full of hope, kindness, and love for people and the Lord. She would want nothing more than for all things concerning her homegoing to be worked together for her children and grandchildren’s good.  She placed her entire life firmly upon that word found in Romans.

I miss my Mom.  Every second of every single day.  I’m not lying when I tell you that a single hour does not pass without her crossing my mind.  I was her clingy child, I held her hand as an adult when we were in public together, I rested my head on her shoulder in church, I was very affectionate with her to the point that I probably annoyed the life out of her.  Never did I truly envision my life without her, without her voice, her laugh, the hilarious faces she would make during conversations, her sometimes too close talking, and how she would bug her eyes out and just peer right at you.  I just didn’t know how this would be. The answer is hard. It’s very hard.

My love for her transcends time and space.  No matter where she is in the universe, she is with me in my heart.  I hold on to that when things get hard, when I feel like I can’t go on without her.  My sweet little Mommy, the most beautiful person I have or will ever know.

I have no idea why I picked this hill.


kathy
This is not great

If we’re keeping it a buck, I don’t respect Donald Trump.  I rarely use the title of President in reference to him, not because he isn’t my President (I am an American, so technically…), but because I’m petty.  Not “I’m a whining libtard that’s mad that he won” petty, but I think he’s a disgusting, vile, garbage human petty.  He doesn’t deserve my respect.  He never will.  I would also tell you that I respect the office of President far more than he ever has or will.  Don’t @ me.

Still, I’m not trying to see a mock up of Donald Trump’s severed head float through my news feed like I’m watching Game of Thrones.  Not because I respect him, but because I do have a shred of humanity left (barely) and I try to leave any and all severed heads to Ned Stark in the land of white walkers and make believe.  It’s not a great look, it’s not art (I don’t know, do I get to decide what ‘art’ is? I’m guessing no…), it’s actually pretty revolting.

That being said, it’s Kathy Griffin’s right do whatever in the world that Kathy Griffin wants to do.  If this is her art, she gets to do it.  There are typically consequences to garbage like this, just like ol Kathy found out, and that’s part of it (ask the Duck Dynasty dude about saying stuff and getting fired).  See, that’s how freedom of speech and freedom of expression works.  You can sever Donald Trump’s fake head and show it off to a camera, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to call you an asshole for it.  It simply means that the government cannot come after you.

Take that in again. Read it one more time.

In the same way that you have the right to be offended by this, that, and the third, Kathy Griffin has the right to express herself freely, without worry of persecution from the government.  I mean, the secret service totally has to come to her house and make sure she’s not a real threat, but nothing should be done to her.  She should not be arrested or ‘locked up’, as I have seen so eloquently expressed on the book of Face.  That’s not how it works according to the Bill of Rights and if you don’t like that, you gotta call 411 and get the number for Jimmy Madison and the boys.  These are facts only.

Personally, I don’t feel like we should be in the business of depicting the death of anyone, much less the current US President.  Not everyone agrees with me and that’s cool, I don’t really get that, but I digress.  Anyhow, I figure if you are mad online about this picture, you were surely mad as a hornet when all the pics of Obama being hanged, etc., popped up in your timeline, right?

obama
This, too, is not great

Right, guys?

I don’t know, I guess I missed that outrage.  Maybe I was off the internets that day.  Maybe you kept it to yourself and didn’t feel the need to write a post about it on your wall?  Maybe I’m just Facebook friends with folks who didn’t get amped up over Obama slander. Who really knows?  Also, I mean, there’s also the subject of the history of lynching black folks in this country and how racially charged those effigies were, but I’m sure we don’t want to touch that.  It’s kinda uncomfortable since you were maybe super disgusted and outraged by this Trump picture and not so much by Obama’s likeness being hanged.  Yikes.

I didn’t even know Kathy Griffin was still a thing or relevant until this, so I guess she got her wish.  Truth be told, I imagine getting her own name back out there is what this was really about anyway.  Perhaps that is a bit cynical?  Do I think she hates Donald Trump?  For sure.  Do I think she hoped it would be a huge story and get her name out there?  Yup.  Do I think she’s really sorry?  Not a shot.  And I don’t care that she’s not.  I don’t care if she really is sorry.  She doesn’t matter to me.

The thing that really gets my goat is the righteous outrage regarding this bull and the silence when it’s someone that you don’t like.  I’m here to tell you I don’t like the picture, I think it’s awful.  And if you didn’t think it was disgusting when it was Obama, then Lord have mercy, why have you bothered to read this far?  Do we have anything in common at all?  I would guess not.

I’ve been extra, super good about not posting on Facebook about Trump, unless my comments on news stories show up to you, and in that case, I’m sorry — I have to have an outlet.  So, I took this to my blog and if you chose to read, yay, hi!  You probably regret it.

But, hey man, I had fun writing it.

If I can change, you can change, we all can change

Yes.  100% just quoted Rocky.

Hidy ho, it’s your friendly neighborhood Democrat coming back for more.  *waves*

Let me start by saying, humility has never been my strong suit when it comes to being intelligent or funny.  Those are two things I really value and the ugly side of me wants to be the smartest and the funniest sometimes at the expense of my better judgement and almost always at the expense of kindness.  Smug is a really good way to describe me when I think I’m right about something, and I know that.  Guys, I know me.  If you’re reading this and I’ve ever hurt your feelings by attempting to make you feel stupid in order to make a point, trust me, you aren’t alone.  I’m not at all proud of that, because unfortunately, I think I’m right a lot.

Anyway, yesterday, I read this article about the smugness of American liberalism and that thing bothered me.  Not just bothered me, but it convicted me.  Deeply.  If you’d like to read it (or skim it, it is extremely lengthy) click here.  Fellow progressives, I’m not saying I agree with the entirety of the text, but I am saying that I wholly agree with the sentiment.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I had a different family, lived somewhere else, and was not 90/10 outnumbered when it comes to my political ideology and beliefs.  However, I choose to live in eastern Kentucky.  Nobody held a gun to my head and made me buy a house in Johnson County, I wanted to.  I wanted to stay.  My life is far from an echo-chamber (I am loving that word today) of yes men and women when it comes to how I see the world.  When I was younger, I was insufferable.  I look back at my Facebook statuses and my twitter updates from elections before and wince.  I called Republicans morons and classless and other things because I thought I was smarter.  How silly that you vote this way, you just haven’t met people different from you, I would think.  How silly, indeed.  But, not them… me.

The last year and a half has been a a steady evolution for me as far as learning to speak TO people instead of AT them.  I unhid all of the conservative folks I’d hidden on my FB, to start.  I thought, you know, this is bull.  I can’t sit here and act like I’m all tolerant and just be constantly reading opinions of folks I agree with.  Next, I started commenting and conversing.  I started asking questions — and most importantly — I started listening.  People think what they think and believe what they believe for A LOT of reasons and you learn a lot when you back off from trying to get them to change their minds (they wont) and move forward with finding a place, any place at all, that you can agree.

As long as it remains respectful and never steps into racism, into misogyny, or into hatred, I’m open and willing to talk to you.  I don’t have a choice, really.  I don’t live in a blue bubble.  My bubble is red, and I am a teeny tiny blue dot, swimming against the current, and I’ll just keep swimming.  I’m stubborn like that.

Conservative friends and family, most people who identify as liberal and progressive that I know are a lot like me.  Some of the kindest, most accepting, loving people with hearts beyond anything I have ever known.  Progressive/liberal friends and family?  Most of the people I know personally and interact with on a daily basis are hardline conservatives, and they, too, are some of the kindest, most accepting, loving, big-hearted people I know.  I know we’ve got bad apples on each side, but as someone who knows a lot of both sides, I promise you, we are more alike than we are not alike.

The narratives seek to divide us, and it’s working.  The internet is a big place, full of a lot of facts, and unfortunately, a lot of lies.  If you’re just reading stuff that aligns with how you think, you aren’t challenging yourself.  Brietbart doesn’t have the answers, and neither does the Huffington Post.  I think the best thing we could all do is put down the memes and talk to one another.  I may not convince you that I am right, but I will give you something to think about and another angle to look at, and I think that’s invaluable.  But, that’s just me, you guys.  I’m not gonna like Trump, you never liked Obama, but I think we like each other, and that’s pretty cool.

 

sunday evening coffee break

Evenin’ y’all.

Last week, I said I was going to start a weekly reflection series and I’m totally trying to stick with that.  However, last week, I called it Sunday Morning Coffee Break, and I’m gonna be real — I’ve barely gotten out of bed until this evening.  Not because of depression (as outlined in my last update), but because I decided to take the day for lazy.  There’s nothing like doing literally nothing, and even though I’ve cooked two meals and been to Walmart, I’ve still had a solid reset which I desperately needed.

On Friday I started bi-weekly therapy and I feel really good about it.  One of my biggest fears in talking to someone about my ‘problems’ is them thinking that my problems aren’t real or they are stupid.  I hate feeling stupid.  Ask Chad, ask anyone that knows me really well, I will NOT do anything that makes me feel dumb.  It’s a huge complex that I have and it correlates with not being good at something (whatever the task may be).  If I am not good at something, I will literally never try it again.  It’s maddening.  And silly.

Anyway, I can’t tell you how many times I said to my therapist, “I feel so stupid” and she would gently assure me that whatever I feel is valid, and it is certainly not stupid.  I told her how difficult it is for me to be honest with people about what I struggle with because outwardly, I seem very together, and people often dismiss me and move on.  That’s one of the most painful things you can ever deal with in mental illness and insecurities, someone saying, “What do you have to be so upset about?” — it feels like a knife in the chest, especially if you REALLY love that person.  You honestly have no real idea what someone is struggling with internally, and a gentle, “I’m here for you” is far more beneficial than criticism and harsh words.  Ahem.

I think therapy is going to be a really good thing.  I am really trying to pull out of this awful depression place and for the last 3 days, I have felt more like myself.  I have often thought that I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, because around the same time every year, when the sun sets earlier and the days get shorter (even slightly so), I tend to struggle.  Hence the the reset today.

On September 1st, I started a bootcamp challenge with Jamison and Emma and I’m super pumped about it.  I desperately want to master my macros, eat better more consistently, and learn some new workouts.  The best news is, I haven’t blown it this weekend with my eating.  I can work out and kill it, but my eating is an atrocity.  Y’all.  I absolutely love to eat, I can never tell you how much.  Eating brings me so much happiness, especially when I am going through depression issues.  It’s the only thing that clicks and even though I can make myself workout, I can’t make myself dial in my eating.  So, making it through this whole weekend and staying within my guidelines has been super inspiring for me.  I’m excited to wake up and destroy a workout in the morning.  I also bought Oreos at the store, so what am I really even talking about?!

Honestly, I hope September is a touch more kind to me than August was.  I struggled with a pulled muscle, depression, and just over all a bad month.  So, I’m excited to see the calendar change and get another shot at the next 30 days.  The first 4 days have been pretty stellar, so here’s hoping.  Well.  Other than Kentucky football.  That’s enough to shove you into depression and make you drink, guys.

Happy Labor Day, everybody.  Enjoy your Monday off.  🙂

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credits to you if you made this and I stole it from you

I want to break up with depression.

I often wonder what it’s like to love someone through depression.  I thank my husband almost daily for sticking with me and never flinching at my darkest moments, my most graphic breakdowns, or when I just can’t participate in life.  Still, I feel extremely selfish.  I know that he loves me and even though I have always been clear about how unwell I can be, I feel selfish that such a good, kind-hearted person is stuck with me.  He chose me, sure, but could he have really known how deep my depression can run?  How debilitating my anxiety can be?  There’s no way to understand the emotional cave that I back myself into, and most of the time, all he can do is watch it happen.

This might scare you, but I haven’t wanted to be alive for the last two weeks.  I’ve tried, I’ve counted the reasons to stay on this Earth, and it always ends with me begging God to just take me.  No, I don’t have a plan to commit suicide, I just don’t want to be here.  I don’t want to wake up and go to my job, I don’t want to participate in social functions, I don’t want to do anything but lie in my bed and wait, knowing that if I didn’t wake up, I would be in a much better place.  Still, it’s extremely scary to feel that way.  I’m getting help, I’m praying, I’m adjusting medications.  This is the truth of a chemical imbalance.  Like it or not, you don’t have to believe in it and you can think I’m crazy, but this is my real life from time to time.

Still, it genuinely tugs on me when I think about what Chad sees.  I’ve spent the majority of my teenage and adult life struggling with these feelings, but only for the last few years have I really considered how it impacts someone else.  I’ve never thought about what it feels like for your spouse to look at you and admit that sometimes they don’t want to be alive.  Chad knows me, he knows that if it went too far, I would reach out and ask him to help me, or to intervene.  But, still.  What a horrible blow to the stomach when someone you love is in so much pain and you can’t just fix it.

And really, that’s the thing.  You can’t just fix it.  You can only be patient and love someone through it.  You can only be present, and say I love you, I’m here for you.  The worst thing you can say is, “you’ll get over it” or “what do you even have to be sad about” — that doesn’t help.  That makes it worse.  For all the times someone has said that to me, it only makes my guilt dig a little deeper for being so broken.  I will not ever feel like I deserve the unconditional love of someone as good as Chad, but I also very clearly realize he is mine because he can handle this.  And I thank God for it.

For today, I am on the upswing.  I don’t feel that vacant, empty feeling in my chest.  I don’t feel the weight bearing down on me like a load of bricks stacked tall on my shoulders.  I’m excited about the long weekend, I can’t wait to unwind and enjoy some time at home, and I’m hopeful this downward pattern will not continue. You must know that I don’t choose this.  I would never wish these feelings on anyone, not even my worst enemy.  If you are reading this and someone you love is suffering with depression, don’t give up on them.  Speak gently, love fiercely, and know what they are going through bears no reflection on you or your relationship with them.

If you see something, say something.

My sister in law sent me a text a couple of months ago and used the phrase ‘if you see something, say something’ and that really stuck with me.  I’d never really heard that phrase used in such a context.  Anxiety has always taught me that nobody really wants my opinion, my compliments aren’t valuable nor are they wanted, and it’s better that I just keep my mouth shut than put myself out on a limb and reach out to someone.

I’m saying…. to heck with that.

When you reach out to another person, your ego is on the line.  That’s why it’s easier to sit silently and let words go unsaid.  Rejection is a lot bigger and a lot more all encompassing than being turned down for a date.  Rejection in friendships hurt.  Reaching out and getting little in return is an anxiety suffers nightmare, which is why when folks lose touch (a natural part of life) people like me tend to never reach out again after an incident of being shut out.  Personally, my nightmare is passive aggressive behavior.  Something I have worked on, at length, in the last 8 months is ridding that behavior from my life.  I’m certainly not perfect, but I find it to be infinitely more productive to mean exactly what I say and to not lay out a code and hope others find some sort of inference in my shade. [If you are reading this and thinking ‘well, this whole post is micro-aggression’, you’re wrong. I am speaking strictly to my own intentions with words and my own behavior.]

But seriously, why are we silent when we have something to say that could brighten someone’s day?  A genuine smile and a compliment to your cashier at the grocery store, a comment on a picture of an old friend, reaching out to someone and asking how life is, these are all easy things.  For me, now, it’s less about what response I get in return and more about knowing that I made the effort to put positivity out there.  I didn’t let words hang in the air and go unsaid out of fear of rejection.  Learning to navigate life since addressing my struggles with anxiety has been all about casting fear out and letting kindness and love in.

Human interaction is difficult.  Heck, guys.  Being a person in this world is hard.  It’s not easy taking on the task of different personalities, someone’s deeply felt hurt, and coming out on the positive side.  In my mind, the best thing we can all do is continually extend kindness to one another.  Granted, in so many cases, some folks are just deeply nasty and maybe don’t deserve it, but it’s not about them.  It’s about you.  It’s about how soundly you can sleep at night knowing that you projected kindness and positivity as much as possible that day.  The sooner we all stop giving people the interaction they ‘deserve’ and start giving them the interaction that is best for our own mental and emotional well being, we will plainly see how positivity shapes things.

In the spirit of full disclosure, for the entirety of writing this, anxiety has told me that I am a joke, a fraud, a liar.  That I am not truly a kind person because I have a sarcastic personality and I struggle with various issues including my own pride.  That people will roll their eyes and talk about how fake I am and I shouldn’t even post this blog.  That is okay.  Every single day is a struggle, every interaction will not always be positive, and that’s just part of life.  Nothing is perfect.  But, I feel like there’s at least one person reading this who agrees that they feel uplifted when someone simply offers them kindness.

So, today, if you see something, say something.  If you’re scrolling through your social media feeds and a friend looks beautiful, tell them.  If their child made you smile, tell them.  If you miss someone, say it.  If you love someone, say it.  There’s no good reason in this world to hold onto those words today or any other day.

Happy Sunday, everybody.