While I’m no artist, I do love a good pun. Have a wonderful Friday!
I’ve recently been writing a lot on Steem and forgot to schedule my post for here!
The last couple of weeks have been insane and my soul craves peace. Maybe a weekend hike is in order.
I think we can all accept that people make mistakes. Some of them are worse than others, there’s no doubt about that, but mistakes often result in shrugged shoulders and a comment “Hey, we’re only human.”
So then, I wonder, why do we not extend the same courtesy to units of people? This could be a married couple struggling to parent, an organization that didn’t make exactly the right statement, or friends who didn’t offer the words of comfort you were looking for. Certainly, credit should be given for trying, right?
I’m not saying we need to throw a parade because a white supremacist says “hey, maybe people of color have value.” That would be stupid, because they should have come to that conclusion well before lighting their tiki torch and going on a rampage. A simple “I’m glad you’re trying to be better” will suffice. And then a lengthy conversation about why they felt an entire group of people didn’t have value before.
When a church realized that it’s statement that “people of any faith, or of no faith at all, should be troubled by the increase of intolerance in both words and actions we see everywhere,” was being touted by white supremacists within their midst as a statement supportive of their bigoted views (how? But whatever, I guess) and they update their statement to say “White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.” That’s the type of statement that should have you thinking “this organization has struggled with race relations in the past. Good for them for trying to move past it, they might be worth some consideration.”
Ultimately, I think that a lot of the horror we have been seeing is due to a serious lack of respect for one another. While not every attitude deserves respect, the person holding the bigoted attitude would benefit from respectful education about why their attitude presents a problem.
Do you always have to be the one to engage? No way, you need to engage in self-care and (at least for me) that often means not engaging other people. You say what you can and then you step away.
People make mistakes, that’s just part of the gig. Organizations are made up of people and even though we are better together most of the time there are also times when we fall short.
Anne gives herself freely to each emotion as it passes through her psyche. Surrendering completely, into the depths of despair or the heights of ecstasy.
Marilla is afraid to feel. A life of hard experiences has taught her not to expect too much, lest she be disappointed. Her moments of passion have led to some of her biggest regrets.
Sometimes I am Anne and sometimes I am Marilla. Often I am nervous to give in completely. In some ways this is good. As an adult I need to function on a day-to-day basis and one can’t do that very well in the depths of despair. In other ways it is terrible. I struggle to give in to the sweet moments that come, moments saturated with love and safety.
When I get excited about something, echoes of “next time dad gets paid” ring through my head and I remember all the “next times” that never came. The clothes that didn’t fit, the activities I didn’t even ask to participate in. Other times I remember being on the giving end of a Secret Santa and I struggle to express how excited I get to be able to do the same for another struggling family.
The blessings of being a mother to daughters that feel deeply are not lost on me. They show me every day that you can give in to those feelings and still be worthy of love. I know this because they have my love. Every day I find it easier and easier to give in to my highs and lows, to feel them fully. During these times, I am Anne. Feeling the delights of extreme happiness and the depth of sorrow or grief.
Where do you find yourself? Are you mostly Anne, mostly Marilla, or somewhere in between?
When I started talking about my own self-care as it relates to mental health, I had no idea July was minority mental health month. I am not a minority, but I can definitely empathize with the challenges associated with getting help if you feel like something is wrong.
In that spirit, NAMI has some amazing resources and I hope you’ll check them out. If you want something a little more accessible to kick off with, Emilie and Bridget did a fabulous podcast on this topic recently. Stuff Mom Never Told You is not a new podcast, but I recently started listening to it religiously when Emilie and Bridget started hosting, so it’s new to me. But I was on a roll with the mental health piece so I also listened to this old episode about maternal mental health the other night (it does make washing dishes a little more exciting) and I really got me right in the “mom gut.” Talking about mental health during and immediately following pregnancy is hard. There’s such a thin line between normal and not normal.
Please, please, please – talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong. It can be discouraging if you can’t find someone to listen. But we are out there, people who love you and want to hear your story.
To my own “stuff”, I had my first therapy appointment on July 26th. It was such a relief to be with someone who started out by saying I wasn’t crazy for feeling overwhelmed and emotional. It was a relief to be with someone who said we would take some actionable steps to deal with stress. While I am not at all opposed to medication, it was nice to be with someone whose first instinct wasn’t to medicate me. A wholistic approach is exactly what I want and need.
I also recognize that as a white woman, being in therapy is such a privilege. I am not faced with social stigma that comes from seeing a therapist. I am better able to pay that co-pay. If it does come down to needing some medication, that is something that can be managed. In unpacking my invisible knapsack I can arrange to see a therapist that shares my racial and socio-economic background. If you are looking for someone who looks like you (representation matters so much!) please check out Ourselves is Black. They offer a state-by-state directory of mental health professionals of color. You can also visit the Black Mental Health Alliance for state-by-state resources.
Sometimes self-care takes on a sexy veneer. There’s something very chic about having a bubble bath, getting a mani/pedi, or having a facial. There is almost never anything sexy about crying in an office because you feel overburdened and like you’ll never feel like yourself again. But this part of self-care is way more important than soaking in the tub or having pretty nails.
What can you do to commit to taking care of your own mental health? What can we do together to help you get there?