On learning to change…

facebook-addiction.jpg
I’d probably never use the word “addict” to describe myself. Even at my worst (which was when I was in my early-20s), when I was engaging in seriously questionable behavior and activities, I never would have said I was an addict. I say this because while I have a very malleable personality, when I’m doing doing something, I’m just done. There’s no weaning process. I just quit doing the thing.

But I am definitely addicted to my phone. It’s literally the first thing I look at every morning. I’m not even that important a person! It’s not like I have some high-powered corporate job where universes may have imploded overnight so I must immediately jump to action. No. I’m a stay-at-home-mom and a writer. If something implodes in my world, I’ve either done it myself or I’ve been watching it coming for some time.

I find myself checking my phone for new texts or Facebook updates or emails without even thinking about it. I’ll be looking at my phone, set it down, and pick it up three second later thinking, “Um, didn’t I just do this?” It’s embarassing. I’ll admit it.

And because I’m so easily persuaded (please don’t even dare me to a drinking game. I will take you on and I will win, but it will be at great personal loss…to my digestive tract), I read things on the interwebs and get emotionally invested in them. Sometimes that’s fine; most times it’s not.

So when, after the most recent election, I opted to take a hiatus from Facebook, I felt remarkably good. I wasn’t getting worked up about seriously stupid things. I didn’t feel the need to rant. I wasn’t compelled to lay waste to certain (very ridiculous and obviously  hyperbolic, but somehow still believed by the masses) false claims. I disengaged and I suddenly felt happier.

It was kind of like how I’ve felt when I’ve spent a week eating nothing but Taco Bell and Totino’s party pizzas and then I eat a damn vegetable for the first time and all of a sudden, I don’t feel like I’m tetering on the edge of my own demise. I want to get out and do things. I want to be active. I want to have real conversations with people I really care about. I want to get out of bed and do something more than watch 30Rock for the fifty-seventh time this year.

But then I go back and I end up pulling that oh-so-obviously-an-addict stunt. “Just one little hit.” And oh god, it feels so good. That burn, the fire in my gut, the tension in my neck. I know that ultimately it’s not going to be good for me, but dammit, I’m going to say my piece!

And the cycle starts all over again.

After this election cycle, I’m really starting to re-think how I engage on social media, if at all. Even in just the last three days, I’m finding it so much more productive to have real, geniune conversations with people that, while we may disagree on certain issues, I care about. It’s about being willing to educate (rather than yell) and be educated (rather than roll my eyes and snark).

So I’m hopeful that I can stay away from my phone (and specifically from Facebook) for a little longer this time. I’m hopeful that I’ll spend all this free time researching and developing my own thoughts while engaging with others. And I’m really hopeful that I won’t feel the draw back to whatever it was that made my feel so good a week ago.

nablopomo_badge_2016

On fighting the fight…

picard.jpg
I’m still at a loss today. I was hoping that a good sleep would help me wake up refreshed and ready to face a new day. Well, the sleep didn’t come. I woke up in the middle of the night and actually thought, “This has to be a joke.”

Sadly, it is not.

I’m still working through whatever it is my anger looks like. I don’t know what or who to be angry with (if anything or anyone at all). I just know I’m angry. I’m coming to realize part of that anger stems from the fact that my candidate has never lost before. This was my fifth election and until Tuesday night, I didn’t know the feeling of losing on such a large scale.

Traditionally speaking, I’m not a sore loser. Most of the time, I really don’t care if I win or lose, I’m just happy to be in the game. And maybe I’m being naive this time, but I don’t think I’m being a terrible loser about this. I’m legitimately dumbstruck. How did this happen? Could I have done more? What more was there to do? Someone please explain this to me!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had (maybe sometimes still have) some really ugly thoughts floating around in my head. I’m not going to voice them because it’s not beneficial to anyone, least of all myself. And if anyone says they haven’t had a single ugly thought this entire election, I’m gonna have to go ahead and call bullshit.

Here’s what I’m willing to say right now, though.

Please don’t tell me to calm down. I’m, frankly, being really friggin’ calm right now. I’ll calm all the way down when the black, brown, LGBTQ, female (and countless other disecfranchsed) populations tell me it’s okay to calm down. Until then, just…don’t. I’m allowed to process all of this in my own way and in my own time. We all are.

Please don’t quote scripture at me or tell me God is in control. Don’t do that unless you’re also willing to put all of that in action. And I don’t mean just praying. Praying is great (if that’s what you do). Sending good vibes and good energy into the world is great (if that’s your thing). But it absolutely does not stop there. I’m struggling right now to figure out what it is I personally  need to be doing in the coming weeks and months. That’s going to look different for all of us, but we all need to be willing to take action.

Please don’t tell me how to process my feelings. It’s going to take time. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, we’ll reach a place of acceptance. A lot of us are in full-blown grief mode right now. I need those five steps. I don’t need trite platitudes or meaningless advice. I need space and time. Please grant me that. Ask how I’m doing or what I’m feeling, but don’t try to fix me. Not just yet.

Tuesday night was a devastating loss in more ways than I can possibly count right now. It’s going to take some time to move through and past it and to figure out what to do next. But you can bet I’ll be doing something.

nablopomo_badge_2016

On losing my luster…

zombie unicorn.jpg
“If you could say one thing to Hillary Clinton today, what would it be?”

What about all the things I’m going to have to say to my daughters?
– What a time to be alive!
– What a time to be a woman!
– What a time to raise daughters!

None of these things have the excitement and anticipation they had yesterday. My spirit feels utterly crushed. I’m a person that can almost always find the good in a person, in a situation, in a circumstance. I can’t find that today. The weather in my town matches my heart. It’s dreary and cold and sad. My normally optimistic outlook on life…it’s just…gone. I don’t know how I can be expected to be okay with anything right now. My country is the laughing stock of the world (and seriously…we had BREXIT to follow. I don’t think anyone thought we could be that crazy. Joke’s on you, World). I feel like a rotting unicorn. Yesterday, there was an air of hope in me. I was happy and confident and ready for an evening of champagne. Today? I feel crushed and burdened. I don’t know how to sparkle right now. My glitter is just crusty, crappy sand and mud.

But I guess the thing I most want to say to Hillary is THANK YOU.
For being brave.
For being smart.
For being kind.
For persevering.
For trying.
For offering hope.
For humbly accepting defeat.
For taking this seriously.
For giving me someone I can tell my daughters about for decades to come.
For being like me.
For being flawed and damaged.
For owning it.
For not letting that define you.
For not putting up with anyone’s bullshit.
For showing generations of girls they don’t have to either.
For proving yourself a worth contender.
For giving me a candidate I could get completely behind.
For showing me that I, too, could be a brave woman.
For being the kind of woman I can tell my daughters is worthy of emulating.

I knew I would cry today, no matter the outcome. I had hoped I would be crying and dancing with my daughter. But today, I cry and I hold her and I tell her that everything is going to be okay. I don’t know that I believe it, but I need her to. She’s too young to know what’s going on. I’m glad for that, in some ways. I don’t want her to feel the weight and enormity of what’s just happened. I need her to keep smiling and playing and running too fast. I need her to be happy for as long as she can. I need her.

nablopomo_badge_2016

On reliving the past…

calvin.jpg

If you could redo one moment in your life, what would it be and why? How would it change who you are now?”

I don’t particularly like looking back on life and wondering how mine could be different if I’d have made choice B over choice A. There are certain things I wish I’d have done differently…stayed on the cheer sqaud through my senior year, purchased the wedding gown I first fell in love with (both times), not cut all my hair off…things like that. They’re all fairly insignificant things, in the grand scheme of things.

But when I think about the big mistakes I’ve made? Nah. I made them. I own them. They’re part of my story. I can’t change them so I choose not to think about “what could have been.” I wouldn’t redo a single moment.

Especially not on a day like today.

It’s Election Day in America. And it’s a big damn deal this time around. Sure, one could argue that every election is a big deal. But this feels bigger than normal. This is the fifth presidental election I’ve had the priviledge of voting in. Every time I’ve voted, I’ve done so thoughtfully and after careful consideration. I do the best I can to educate myself on all the candidates (which swiftly turns into *both* the candidates), as many of the issues as possible, and try to geniunely engage with people on the whole political spectrum.

This years is no different in that regard.

How it is different is that, for the first time in my life, I’m also considering two other people when I make my choice: my daughters, one who is two years ol and one who has a few months yet to cook. My choices now affect not only me, but them. And that’s a big deal.

So tonight, as I eat my pizza rolls and drink from my HRC crystal tumblers and don my Nasty Woman tank top, I’ll watch election coverage with my husband and one daughter. And long after she’s been put to bed, we’ll have an announcement of who our next President will be. I’ll stay awake as long as possible, fueled by carbs and ginger ale and hope.

At some point, I’ll cry. Happy tears, I’m hopeful. But I’ll cry.

nablopomo_badge_2016

On not feeling the love…

Bang head

One of the most frustrating feelings for a writer is wanting to write, but not knowing what to write about. Even more frustrating is what I’ve been experiencing lately: not caring about what I write about.

All the things on which I’d normally have plenty to say – motherhood, politics, religion – it’s all just gotten too…much for me recently. There are too many opinions and FAR too much judgment. Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive to it these days. I’m just exhausted. I try to invest myself in the things I enjoy or the things I tend to be well-versed in, but I keep finding myself annoyed or iritated every time I do.

I want to engage. I really do. When I see things that are interesting or thought-provoking, I want to share the information. When I see things that are odd or ill-informed, I want to add my two cents. When I see things that are rage-inducing or just plain stupid, I want to call it out.

But I’m tired.

I’m tired of being shamed for the things I do, say, think, enjoy, or believe. I’m tired of the sideways glances when I’m asked my opinion or position. I’m tired of everyone finding something to be pissed off at or offended by.

Sometimes I want to be the person that just says whatever the hell she’s thinking with no regard for anyone else’s feelings. But when it comes to certain topics, that’s just not useful and only leads to more contention and people believing certain stereotypes about “people like me.” I get angry enough that I have to walk away from conversations because I know it’s the most healthy thing to do…for all parties involved.

I’m ready to all but call in quits on the social media front. I get too upset and annoyed far too often. I want to write a huge blog, laying out where I stand on this topic or that and just be done with it.

But, of course, that’s not realistic. Not for me. I could walk away for a while (I do it a couple times a year), but I always come back. It’s where I find new topics or interesting perspectives.

So here’s what I do know: I’m tired of being mom-shamed, politi-shamed, religi-shamed, whatever-shamed. I’m sick to death of having my thunder stolen or having my thoughts and talents ripped out from under me, only to be either lambasted or paraded around like their someone else’s. I’m really tired of feeling like I’m not allowed to be angry about any of that.