Why Social Distancing Should Include a little Social-Media Distancing

I don’t think I need to paint a picture of how trying these times are that we are in. The days are literally blurred together right now, there seem to be more questions than answers, and I’m still not sure if I’m supposed to be concerned about toilet paper 🤔.

But seriously.

I don’t even remember what happened in between hearing the first signs of the virus in the news, and hearing that people were out buying all the hurricane supplies, and then finding out my 5 kids would be home for at least 2 weeks. It’s been a whirlwind, and, well this doesn’t feel like Oz.

We as a nation of people have been asked to do something that feels so foreign to most, social distancing; and there are many opinions and feelings circulating out there. Now, as an introvert who struggles with social anxiety and depression, I’ve been training for isolation my whole life! But all joking aside, there are many for whom the thought of social distancing will feel very difficult indeed. Some people are unable to stay home due to various circumstances, and let’s not forget the homeless or the at risk children. We can’t all do the social distancing, but some of us can and I’m willing to do my part to help, even if later it seems like it didn’t matter. That’s my feeling, and I don’t hold mind if someone else feels differently. We all handle things differently, we all see things through our individual lenses of experience.

If you are like me and my family, and you’ve decided that you are going to practice social distancing, or even if you’re unable to, it’s not a bad idea to practice some social-media distancing once in a while. Admittedly, I have spent countless amounts of time refreshing facebook to see what everyone is saying, scouring articles for new information, wondering if I have enough whatever stockpiled for my large family because everyone is reporting shortages of toilet paper and I’m not sure if I’m reacting appropriately anymore. So much stress! Everyone, including myself, has an opinion and it’s like a back and forth argument that never ends, it makes the head spin! All of the division has us looking at each other like we are all either cursed with the plague, or like we are all lunatics.

We don’t need this! We are more than this. It’s time to take a break. It’s highly unlikely that we are going to change each other’s minds by being rude to each other on social media. And we aren’t going to gain anything by continuing to plunge headfirst into contradictions about a subject of which most of us barely have a grasp anyway. In a dark time we have to stop adding darkness, and try to find the love and the light.

Today I made the effort to stop scrolling. We enjoyed the kids playing in the backyard, caught up on some things around the house, later we watched a silly movie with the kids, and then when they went to bed we played monopoly together. We have enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets. There is so much to take in if we really take this time to step back from the land of stress and opinions, and take that break. Even if you are unable to participate in social distancing, try a little social-media distancing. You’ll be surprised at just how much easier you may be breathing.

Kindness Over Everything

I gave up on making New Years resolutions years ago.

Instead I spend the whole year setting intentions and changing and growing, or staying the same as much as I can. But the one mantra I want to embrace from here on out is:

Kindness over everything.

I used to apologize for taking up space.

I said I’m sorry. A lot. Just ask my bff Terrea. At one point she lovingly offered to smack me every time I said it, but was afraid I might bruise. To be fair, I also tried to make it my resolution to not say it so much, and she was trying to help.

My point is, my entire life I felt like I was in the way. Insignificant, unneeded, inadequate. If I had something to say, no one ever heard it. I was a wallflower. Very few people saw me, really saw me.

I have apologized to poles for accidentally bumping them, people.

Sorry to bother you. Sorry, I need something. Sorry I’m sick. Sorry I exist.

They don’t want to hear what you have to say. You don’t have what it takes to keep up a conversation. What you have to say is irrelevant. You don’t know anything.

Why was I like this? I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that somewhere along the way my self esteem got knocked way the heck deep down low. I didn’t understand why people believed in me. I was a fraud. Somehow I had stumbled through life up until this point, and it was all by accident. That’s what my brain was telling me anyway.

But there have been people in my journey through life that have seen me. Truly seen me. The number is few, but their impact on me is immeasurable. They are the people who have told me what they see in me. Things I couldn’t believe at the time. But they did. It’s true what they say about happiness being an inside job. But the inside job is just the final step. It doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. I might not be in the place I am now without the love of a friend. A family member. An acquaintance of a friend who became like family. People who have come into my life and shown me that I was in a chrysalis. They held up a mirror and showed me the wings they saw folded up inside.

What I’m trying to say, if you have stuck with me this far, is that we all possess a power. Will we use it to help, or…? It’s not hard. It can be spelled out in one word: kindness. And it can be something as small as telling someone the goodness you see inside of them. Tell someone when they have done something that makes you smile. Love. Simple kindness goes a long way. Some of you will never know the stitches you put in my heart. But they hold, strong as ever. And I treasure your time. I pledge to be kind. To use my voice, which wants to be heard, to spread kindness and to show love, and to let people know when I see something in them.

Share your ideas for ways to spread kindness.

Drift With the Wind

As the new year, and new decade begin to break open, so do the feelings of new possibilities.

There’s something refreshing about a new beginning. You feel hopeful, and I’m certainly no exception to this; although it’s been a while since I’ve had the feeling. There was a time when I thought my dreaming days were over. A while back I decided to start this blog, I needed to, even with no clear direction for it.

I could just make out the shape of the thing, but it wasn’t quite in focus yet… and it became a journey of putting some very real and scary pieces of myself out there in the open where I had no choice but to deal with them. Those parts of me which were unhealed, they were stopping me from moving forward and the only person who could clear this hurdle was me.

And I’m here to say that I did the work. It was scary, but it was worth it. Those parts of me are not gone. I wear the scars as badges. But I’m ready to move onward up the mountain free from the burdens.

So full circle, I come to find that the vision is becoming clearer. And I hope that you’ll stick with me here to see this vision become clear to you.

The Feather’s Edge.

There was a woman in my life who, to this day, although she is now an angel, teaches me life lessons. I’m sure in a future post I will love to tell you more about her. But for now I’ll keep it short…She used to tell me that her father said when you saw a white feather it meant that someone soon would pass away, or that someone’s spirit was visiting you. Now when I see a white feather I feel like it’s her. And one of the biggest lessons she taught me was that you never know what can happen, you’re always on the edge of the feather… life can blow you in any direction, at any time.

I’m ready to drift with the wind.

How do you find your worth when you don’t trust the appraisals?

It’s after midnight and I’m lying here, tossing and turning and mulling over the day. Words exchanged and charged emotions that left me feeling vulnerable, and scared. For hours my brain has non stop been looking for a solution, scanning the situation for the right answers, how to change, how to be better. But something new happened this time, I stopped to ask myself why this was still lingering and taking up so much of my peace? This situation passed and things were still okay afterwards. It was just a bump in the road, and we survived. I was looking for a solution to a situation which had already been resolved, punishing myself for something that wasn’t even happening.

This cycle of anxiety seems foreign to some people and yet to many of us this is the reality of our lives. It leaves us feeling broken and scared a lot of the time and worried that we can’t measure up. We feel like we have no value. How did we get here? How did we get to the point where we feel that our worth is so low that we can’t possibly ever have an opinion, have an argument, disagree with something, etc.? There are many different paths that have led us here, each one unique in our understanding of how we have sunk so low in our opinion of ourselves. I’m ready to begin my re-evaluation. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but I’m ready to work on it.

You may have a friend, or even a spouse who needs constant reassurance of their worth to you. Now, some of them may just be a bit narcissistic, but some of us genuinely have a hard time believing that we are worthy of love. Not living in our heads, you might say that is crazy, how can you feel that way? Lots of reasons, but that’s for other posts. Lying here, with my after midnight musings.. I thought, what if I just trusted the appraiser? What if I took stock in what they told me and tried to believe it? What if I decided that it’s okay to disagree sometimes AND still sleep peacefully at night? Because it really is okay. Because I’m a person of value… and I’ll keep saying it to myself until I believe it.

Make Your Peace and Own It Too

Forgive and forget, what a complicated idea. Should we really forget things that should be a lesson to us, what if we forget and the action is repeated? How can we forgive when so many times our transgressors don’t see what they’ve done, and more often we choose to stay silent rather than to let them know what they have done. Like I said, it’s complicated.

Who is it really hurting when you’re holding a grudge, especially if you choose not to confront someone whom you feel has wronged you? Of course, the ideal way to handle it is to talk to the person, but we rarely do. And what happens is they either think they’ve gotten by with whatever happened without you realizing what happened; or they have gone so long without you approaching them that they have long forgotten and/or hope you have; or in some instances they genuinely do not realize they’ve done anything wrong. Now, I’m not telling you that the best thing to do is to never speak your piece, and there are absolutely instances where no forgiveness is justified. This is not about those times. This is about the times when forgiving can heal you. When forgetting doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting the action, but letting go of the hold it has on you, moving on from holding it against the person.

Forgiveness for people who don’t ask for it, or realize they need it is not for them, it is for you. We might be able to find a reason in our minds why they may have acted the way they did, but not always… but we can set the intention to forgive anyway. You may be asking yourself why you’d do this? I don’t know about you, but I cannot hold on to a hot poker too long. Swallowing poison does nothing to your enemy.

When we find it difficult to let go of something, and we aren’t willing to do anything about it, the time comes to ask ourselves why we are letting it have power over us and take up space in our lives. That’s something a great friend asked me recently when I showed my heart in a vulnerable moment. It was a question that freed me. It was when I began to unravel and started this journey. I thought the answer was to confront the situation, but then I asked myself if I wanted to relive the terrible feelings and deal with the consequences of the conflict that would bring me. And letting it go may not have been the number one right answer, but it is the one I chose. And it made me feel better.

The tricky part is when other people want to remind you of the thing. This is where the owning your peace comes in… it is okay to tell people that you have forgiven, that you have let go, and moved forward. Let them know that your peace won’t allow you to go backwards, because the forgetting part isn’t necessarily that you’ve written it out of your mind, but that you’re putting it behind you. It will not stay behind you if you allow it to stay in your conversations or if you’re bringing it up as a character testimony. You can make the choice to continue letting something hold a power over you and take up space in your life, or you can choose to leave it in your past, take away its power, and make room for the new and better things in your life.

Everything is an Illusion -and- A Beginning For Me

I can’t tell you exactly why putting my words out there just feels like the right thing to do these days. What I can tell you is that there have been days when I felt so isolated and alone in my feelings, and I came across a friend who shared just a glimpse of their pain, of their understanding, of their growth, and without them even knowing, it let me see that I was not alone. There is hope. You see we are told all the time to just be strong, just go on, just look on the bright side, that we are afraid to let people see what might be conceived as a weakness. So we begin the toxic practice of burying our feelings, of not letting anything perceived as negative or hurt come through. We are afraid that people will turn away from us and they do, they absolutely do. Because seeing a “weakness” in someone else makes us afraid there might be a weakness in us… or even worse it angers us because we know that we are supposed to hide that weakness, we can’t show others we are not happy and cheerful and strong at all times.

It’s these perceptions and social parameters we place on each other that lead so many to become even more broken. What if everyone could see into our hearts? Could see that just because you have a season of hard times it doesn’t make you weak… what if we could help each other understand that during those seasons we didn’t just plow through and persevere… but that we persevered because we felt those things and we handled them and we grew from them, and the handling and growth is what led us to be strong? So many times, especially in the age of social media, we see the things that people are going through, but it is through very filtered lenses. We think wow, look what they have battled and they are smiling all the while!! Why can’t I be so strong? What is wrong with me? My problems seem like nothing in comparison. We don’t stop and think that before the smiles there was pain that had to be vanquished. We forget that they are human. We forget that we are too.

It’s time for us to realize that most of the things we see out there are illusions, smoke and mirrors. One of my favorite quotes is from Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and it resonates because it is so true. Comparing what we have inside of us to what we see out there in the world is so harmful because just like the pain we are hiding, we have no idea what is behind the sunny side that others are showing. We don’t know what seasons they went through to get to where they are. We see what people want us to see. We tell ourselves that no one wants to know our pain, and we bury it. We pretend to be shiny happy people like everyone else, and the cycle continues. We hide.

I want to start a project that encourages people to open themselves up to be receptive to someone who might be in silent pain. To check on each other. To say, I’m here if you need to talk. To remind you that you are strong even if you feel weak, you are valued. I want to be a receptacle for people to put their feelings out there. Even if they are a stranger, they can reach out, send an email, remain anonymous if they wish. The concept is still rolling around in here, but I want to put it out there and make it real, even in its tiny baby stage. If this sounds like something you would like to be involved in, please feel free to comment or contact me 💖💖.

I wish you well today.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Look forward, move on, get over it, think positively… these messages cloud our systems. Don’t look weak, don’t let it get you down, you get the picture.

All of these adages have some credibility and in general they can be helpful, but oftentimes they have the potential to also be harmful. I think that in our society we are so focused on being the happiest, the most fulfilled, the strongest, that we forget the most basic and simple truth: We are HUMAN. Sometimes before we tell someone to just be happy, think positively, or to move on, maybe we should let them know it’s okay to not be okay.

For so much of my life I have thought, wow, I am so good at getting through things! I was unbothered. Life was good, I was good, it was all good! Don’t get me wrong, life has been good to me, but the times when it wasn’t, I thought that strength meant not letting it get me down. So I buried it. I didn’t get through it, I didn’t move on from it, I just covered it up and sat on top of it and kept on smiling. But a facade will always crack. It’s not solid, it does not hold up. Years of repressed negativity came creeping up and it made me feel anything but strong. Broken, weak, lost. How could I continue to smile, or flourish, or uplift others when I couldn’t even figure out how to keep myself together? I needed to not be okay. Desperate, I continued trying to replace the parts, patch up the facade, plaster a smile over the pain. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, leave the house, look in the mirror. Guilt and misery crept in because I could see the things in my current life I had to be thankful for and to be happy about, but I was poisoned by the things left inside of me I had not dealt with. Move forward, smile, be happy… I wanted those things and struggling with my toxic insides made me feel like I would never have them again. I was broken, defeated.

It’s never too late. I thought that if something happened 20 years, or even 5 years ago I should be able to just toss it aside and move on, I didn’t have the right to let it affect me so. This was just another unrealistic and unfair burden I had placed upon myself. One by one I began to face up to the darknesses that lived inside of me. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t, believe me. But I did what I should have done from the very beginning, I let myself process and handle those darknesses, I was not okay and it was okay. And as I processed, I finally began to heal. Then, and only then was I able to begin to manifest light again, to smile again,to move forward and think positively. Before I could move on, I needed to not be okay and I needed to know that it was okay.

Maybe you need to not be okay, and that’s okay. Don’t live with your darkness longer than you have to because the world wants you to think positively and move on. Because trust me, there is only so far you can go when you’re dragging a boulder with you.