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.

Advertisements

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.  🙂

14225345_10101063772509801_1064167242895555579_n
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.

Alena, why are you the way that you are? Idk.

So, I’m gonna try to shine up this turd a little bit.  My Mama and I had a big long talk yesterday about my writing wherein she really encouraged me to do this thing.  I mean, how many freakin’ times have I said I am gonna do this thing?  Who knows.  I looked back in my archives and I’ve got blogs dating back to 2012, so I’ve been trying to turn over a cold engine for four years.  But, this time, I feel like I might be onto something.

While I can’t really tell you if I will ever ‘make it’ as a writer or a blogger or whatever, it’s seriously the only thing I have ever been good at other than eating and sleeping.  I’m the Michael Phelps of naps and snacks, for sure, but not really anything else.   I’ve never really been able to come up with a sleek title to this blog, the dang hyperlink is just my name, and that’s always really annoyed me.  There has to be something that sets me a part, right?  I have thought that to myself approximately 3024823094823904823490823490 times and typically come to the conclusion that no, there’s really not, and my grammar isn’t even that great, so I go on with my day.  But, here I am again with a new title/look, and a new approach.  Kind of.

I always get the best ideas when I’m running and by the time I get back to my house, I forget them.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the beginning of a beautiful blog about growing up in Appalachia planned, and literally forgot every single word by the time I sat down at my laptop.  Still don’t remember it.  I just know I really like being from a small, Appalachian town, even if every single human in this whole place fundamentally and vehemently disagrees with me.  I drive around in my little old lady Rav 4 with my Hillary Clinton bumper sticker just to make people uncomfortable.  Guys, I love it.  It cracks me up when people speed up on 23 to pass me and stare me down.  I mean, I flat out cackle.  Sometimes I even smile and wave.  I physically cannot help myself.

Anyway, my point (that previous paragraph wasn’t even a point) is, I don’t have an angle.  My sister told me last night, “your angle is your honesty” and that’s true.  I’m honest about being a big ol feminist, a big ol liberal, and a big ol Christian and I get those things don’t go together for some of y’all.  I don’t have the chops for a lifestyle or design blog, I don’t want to just talk about politics because ew, I don’t want to just talk about Kentucky Basketball even though I love it pert near sinfully, I can’t Mommy blog because I don’t have kids, I don’t want to Christian Wife blog because I’m not cut out (nor do I want to) tell you what you are doing wrong (and all I am doing sooooo right!), the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.  So, why not write about everything?  Right?

Truth is, I grew up in a holler in eastern Kentucky.  I have a bachelor’s degree that I don’t use, but still consider myself a student of history.  On any given day, I answer an estimated gazillion phone calls and people get my name wrong at least once.  Alena isn’t an easy name to say with a thick drawl anyhow.  I’m not country, but I am country.  I say stuff like pert near and anyhow to be funny, but don’t regularly use them in every day language.  I do sometimes use really colorful language and that’s hard for people to reconcile with my Jesus loving and I’m sorta sorry for it, but y’know, you aren’t me so don’t worry about it.  If you are reading this, I have probably hurt your feelings, but little do you know that I have probably worried myself to death thinking about how I hurt you.  I cope daily with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.   Facebook politics drives me absolutely insane, I hate ill researched political memes, and Lord, I dislike Donald Trump even more than all of that.

Y’all know this stuff.  If you’re new here (oh my gosh, hi!!!!), you’re learning it.  So, maybe I’ll cover a little bit of everything.  Maybe one blog will be for you and the next one wont be.  Regardless, I promise you it’ll be the most sincere thing you’ll read today or that day or whatever day you stumble across this hot mess.  I’m gonna talk about marriage and fitness and macros and stuff you hate, but maybe stuff you love like pizza, Doritos, sour beers, and cats.  Wait, that’s just stuff I love.  Maybe you just wanna pop in here and creep, or maybe you just wanna feel better about your own life.  That’s fine, too.  I’m good for it. I don’t know how to really get this thing off the ground, but scouts honor, I’m giving it an honest go this time.

SERIOUSLY, I’M NOT JOKING THIS TIME YOU GUYS.

one hundred eighty two point five

 

[I wrote this 4/25 and sat on it, decided to share it anyway]

Six months is one hundred eighty two and one half days.

Yesterday, while sitting outside on my deck, I realized that six months ago, I turned 29.

Six months ago, I struggled to get out of bed.

Six months ago, I bailed on a birthday party because I was convinced everyone there hated me and only invited me because they felt sorry for me.  Anxiety told me so.

Six months ago, I finally went to the doctor and said — I can’t do this anymore.

One hundred eighty two and one half days later, here I am.  I still fall apart.  I still question if I am good enough or worthy.  I still have days where I lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry.  There are days that I struggle and I come home and go straight to bed.  There are days where I feel like I could burst through a wall with how happy I am.  If you are reading this and waiting for the leaf to turn and for the light to shine on your next 182.5, it’s coming.  It will happen.  I promise.

What in this world will happen in the next 182.5?  I turn 30 and I can hardly believe it.  I don’t feel any sort of crisis about it, honestly.  I feel a lot of peace.  My 20’s were largely spent figuring out what in this world I am doing.  Guess what?  I still don’t know.  I had this idea that my job would define me and that’s not how it turned out, really.  Maybe I should be doing something else, but I don’t know what that would be anyway. But, my job doesn’t define me.  I don’t find who I am in the place I make money, and I’m okay with that.  I find my my worth in the faces of the people I love and in being the bright spot in their day.  I find my worth in places I never thought to look.

Even though I really have no idea what I am doing, I feel more at home in my own life than I ever have.  I think that 30 will be a good look.  I’m not in a hurry, I know that.  I’m just enjoying it.  Whatever ‘it’ is — I’m loving it.