#PunchaNazi – non-violently

It is hard to keep handling my own mental and physical health issues with the country/worldwide issues that are taking place right now. Some of these things I am addressing – not to be political, but to take care of my own mental health. I can not sit idly by and say nothing because my blood boils and my anger comes out and my anxiety comes at me full force. I stop being able to handle anyone or anything.

#punchanazi is a thing right now, and I will say I wholeheartedly agree with it, especially after #charlottesville (though I’d have agreed before). You do not have to use your fists. You do not have to use violence. You can punch through an idea with words and non-violent actions.

This is a post from my friend Mona (she is my adultiest adult friend) and I hope her words echo with some part of your heart through these times:

Here’s the thing.
This is my voice.
This is how I punch a nazi. 
I am not going to take up arms.
I am not going to be silent.
I am dismayed and terrified of what is going on in our country by a man so desperate to deflect from his own illegal doings he would rather ignite a civil war in his own country.

Make no mistake. This is a distraction. But it’s a dangerous one and one that I cannot and will not ignore.

Where there are two sides, and one of those sides contains NAZIS, then that is the wrong side.

I am first generation American. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

I will not be silent.

Never. Again. Is. Now.

I have seen posts that say to drown out their chants with annoying instruments and cover them in glitter to identify them… to use their marches against them by raising money for equality pledged for how far they march. You do not have to be violent to punch a Nazi / neo-nazi / white supremacist (to me these are all the same but apparently some people bother distinguishing between them).

However, should I ever come across one and they lash out in violence at me, or anyone near me, I assure you, I will use my fists. Not out of vengeance. Not even out of rage… but in defense of those that stand for true equality in our world.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

#Charlottesville …and things that don’t.

There are many ways people seem to judge themselves as superior or inferior to others. Below is a list of things that do not make me either. Below that is what I feel truly makes the difference between great and small.

Things that do not make me inferior or superior:

  • The color of my skin
  • My (lack of, abundance of) religion
  • The gender(s) of people I have slept with
  • The number of people I have slept with
  • Who I date
  • Who I marry
  • Whether or not I graduated college
  • Whether or not I’ve had an abortion
  • Choosing not to have my own biological children
  • Having worked 70 hour work weeks
  • Having become disabled
  • Being on disability
  • To me, “Greek Life” is Baklava and Ouzo
  • How much I weigh
  • What size my clothes are
  • Stretch marks
  • Hair color/style
  • Makeup
  • Being bipolar
  • Having anxiety
  • Hearing
  • Sight
  • Being (completely not) able to cook

There are some that believe these things matter. I’m not one of them. Even that is not something that in and of itself makes us superior… but things I think do:

  • Empathy
  • Loving those that are different from you
  • Loving those that are the same as well
  • Caring about issues that don’t affect you personally… but affect others.
  • Listening
  • Wanting to better myself

It’s not what we do for ourselves that helps to make us a superior person, it is what we do for others. It is seeing that there are people that are like us and unlike us and knowing that both sets of people deserve empathy and love.

If you don’t want to be judged for your mental illnesses, please consider what other prejudices you hold in your heart, and try to stop judging others for things they do not control either. We can always do better.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

First Impressions…

It’s a little different in person than online. Sometimes when you meet a person, you just feel off, and sometimes it’s a really good idea to listen to that feeling. Sometimes you feel like you’ve known them for lifetimes, and it’s good to listen to that too.

Online, however, first impressions can be completely off base. Just because the first time you interact with someone, you’re on opposite sides of a debate, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have things in common. It doesn’t mean you can’t become dear friends. Sometimes the first time you interact with someone is on a friend’s post and you agree with everything they say… but when you talk one on one, you realize that maybe that one thing was all you had in common.

I know most people know this, but I want to bring it up because I want to remind you to give people a chance when your first thought is, “Omg, what is wrong with this asshole?” Leave your mind open enough to be surprised by the kindness or empathy or complete and total dedication to the same fandoms … We are all multi-faceted.

I am not saying to let people disrespect you, or to ignore insults and attacks… I am just saying that a disagreement can forge a friendship if you let it.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Simple Gestures, Complex Meanings

Sometimes “I love you” doesn’t come out as three words. Sometimes it’s not a hug or snuggling before bed. Sometimes “I love you” is not passionate kisses or a quickie before work. It’s not only found in a kiss on your forehead from your dad or your mom cuddling with you on the couch.

I love you takes a thousand forms. When you hear something a million times or do something repeatedly, sometimes you wonder if it’s love or just routine. If you watch and listen, though, you can find it in other words, in other actions.

I have a doctor’s appointment today and I am not pleased with how things are  going with him. I am having mood issues that I wholeheartedly attribute to a change in medication that I don’t think should have happened. C was with me five years ago when I had to find a new psychiatrist. He helped me by speaking with them when I no longer could and walked out. He knows today will be hard for me.

“Am I going to have to talk to this guy today?” In these words, I hear “I love you” because there’s really no other reason for him to even offer… He knows me enough to know this will be a hard day, enough to know I may not remain calm, enough to know I might need help, and enough to know that by the time I do, I may not be able to ask, so his question is a preemptive offer. It shows he knows all these things about me and cares enough to offer assistance because asking may be too hard.

I love you may be cooking you your favorite dinner, or knowing you need comfort food instead. Sometimes, it is simply asking how your day went, or checking in about future plans to make sure you’re all still on the same page. It could be knowing you won’t be home for Easter because it’s an important family day for you and it is knowing that he has to work that day and not giving him crap about requesting off.

I love you is not always “8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning…” It is a thousand gestures, a simple cup of coffee, a question. It is your favorite movie when you’re sad or reminding you to take a shower. Maybe it’s reminding you to take your meds (while NOT arguing – seriously please don’t ask us if we’ve taken our meds when we’re arguing), or reminding you to eat.

I love you is everywhere, please don’t forget to open your hearts to receive it.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

5 Things to Stop on Social Media

(aka “a few ways to get less people to unfollow you”)

There are obviously more than five, but earlier today a bunch of women made me remember that I am awesome and that I matter, so I wanted to pass on some wisdom that I feel matters.

1. Guilt trip “cut and paste, don’t share” posts. Yes, I really am one of your REAL friends, I do love my mother and I support those who have fought and are fighting cancer. No, me cut and pasting a status doesn’t prove any of these things. I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed at people that insinuate that I don’t care because I don’t follow the herd.

2. Answering security questions inside of innocuous surveys. Often questions like “What was your first car? The name of your first pet? Your first school? Where were you born?” come up in “cute, fun, ‘I was bored’ surveys. Not all at once, but if someone wanted your information, chances are you’re posting it without thinking about where it can be used… like to access a bank account, hack your email or other accounts by “forgetting your password.”

3. Using the word “trigger” casually. A trigger is something that severely affects someone’s emotions. They may have a severe panic attack, a painful one that makes them feel as if they’re having a heart attack. They may fly into a dissociative rage where they lash out and remember nothing. They may have flashbacks of assault, or times when they’ve self harmed. A trigger is NOT a concept that offends you, or irritates you. Using it that way is an insult to those of us who have actual severe reactions because of our past or mental health. It’s not cute. It’s not funny.

4. Reposting fake hack warnings. It’s really easy to check if a “new hack” is real or simply a chain letter that’s been going around for years. Snopes is an easy place to check whether or not a hack/threat/change in your privacy policy is real. If you google a couple lines from it, you can find out from other sites as well. Most of these have been going on since people emailed them around through AOL. They’re annoying and there’s no reason in today’s world to generate any more fear.

5. Comparing your life to what you see around you. You’re seeing what people want you to see. This isn’t their whole life. It rarely includes all of their struggles, it often highlights small things to make them seem important, and there’s often unintentional misrepresentation. I’m sure your friend Suzy looks like she has it all with her smiling children and her handsome husband. I can’t think of a friend named Suzy, so we’re going with that.. What you don’t see is that Suzy’s just fed up with trying to get ready for work while getting the kids ready for school and her husband is exhausted from the night shift and can’t help. They haven’t made love in a year and Suzy is considering filing for divorce because drifting apart has become arguing daily and she hates her life. She envies that you can go out with the girls and have a drink with dinner without feeling judged.

Honestly, there are many things to give up and many reasons why, but a couple of these were weighing on my mind today. I am a member of a facebook group and I posted that I felt like I didn’t belong. Those women I mentioned in the beginning reassured me in ten ways that I do belong, and I matter. I just wanted to share the feeling that someone gives a damn about how you feel and the ones around you feel. Since social media is often how we relate to each other, I thought this may be a way to share that feeling. Know your loved, show others they are as well.  Also, please add your own “Things to stop on social media” in the comments!

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

Pain, compassion, and frustration

As I sat here contemplating a DIY lobotomy, trying to figure out whether or not to take the pain medication I was prescribed, I realized I had therapy in a couple of hours. I, then, tried to decide whether it was better to go in severe pain as it coursed through my head like a pulsating rod from behind my right eye into the base of my skull, or go while I was loopy and entertained, but definitely not in a position to absorb information. I called to cancel last minute. Well, it was still a couple hours off but I do not like to cancel at all, especially the day of.

For me, creating a doctor’s appointment is creating an obligation and I try so hard to keep all of my obligations regardless of my mental and physical states. I try to make the necessary phone calls, show up at the necessary times. I try to drink enough water, to take my medication, to eat. I try to go grocery shopping through depression or anxiety because I do not think it’s fair to let my disabilities take away my ability to at least try to function on some level.

Days like today frustrate me. There was little I could do, I was not going to be able to function at the mental level needed for an effective therapy appointment. I could have wasted both of our times, but why? My neurology appointment is still a couple of weeks out and, as I am not having any ocular auras (and my kidney function labs were redone and fine), I have not gone to the hospital. This does mean that we are treating my intracranial hypertension (high brain pressure, there is an issue with my cerebro-spinal fluid) with pain management as long as it’s not affecting my sight. I honestly thought I could keep it from affecting my other obligations.

Obviously, I was wrong. The medication has worn off and although I can still feel pain, it’s a pain I can tolerate and maintain some function through. Six years ago, before this was ever an issue, it’s a pain I would have taken OTC painkillers for and whined about on the couch until it dissipated. Our pain tolerance changes with our life.

The same is true of emotional pain. What we could not handle ten years ago may be something we can cope with now, or due to manifesting disorders, or even simply new stressful situations coinciding with it, we may not be able to cope with them as well. All of this varies with time, situations and especially from person to person. While I would not expect a random stranger to be able to cope with this headache pain easily, this stranger may have already experienced worse pain and be prepared to handle it. It is as likely they have not, and it would temporarily incapacitate them until relief came. For all I know, you are experiencing the same level of pain right now.

Maybe I pass you in a parking lot, smile, nod, say “Good morning” and you reply with the same smile and greeting. Perhaps both of us are hiding immense pain behind that smile. Perhaps neither of us are. Maybe that cranky old man in line in front of you simply has his arthritis acting up and what you see is him coping with his pain. Not fair to the guy behind the register, maybe, but then the pain we experience isn’t fair either.

Over and over I see memes regarding not knowing the pain another is hiding or their struggles and it feels so cliche to write it, but at the same time, I have been in so much pain lately … Maybe you see me stare off during a conversation, you think I’m not listening, that I am ignoring you, but maybe it just hurts less if I let my eyes unfocus for a bit, maybe you’re sitting under a bright light and I just can’t bring myself to say, “Could you switch seats?” because I’m tired of my pain affecting me and I don’t want it to affect you.

All I really want to ask is for the benefit of the doubt, not just for me but for anyone you may encounter in your travels. You know my pain because I put it here on the screen. Not everyone is so visible with theirs. In this day and age of zero fucks given, I’m just asking that maybe you save one to give.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

No, thanks.

We’re told to do so many things throughout the days. We’re told what to do on social media and by friends, by relatives, by strangers passing by. The reality is we don’t have to do what they say and we don’t owe them an explanation.

I really don’t have to (and neither do you, if you choose not to):

  • Smile! I’m pretty anyway, thank you. I am pretty when I’m pensive and sad and angry even if they show on my face. I’m pretty in a store, and I’m pretty in a picture, even when I don’t turn up the corners on my mouth.
  • Just think positive! I have depression issues, it’s not always in my control. Sometimes I am going to be negative, and sometimes being realistic isn’t positive, and thinking happy thoughts won’t make me fly like Peter Pan.
  • Stop worrying! Sometimes my anxiety doesn’t let that happen, sometimes I have things that concern me even when I can’t affect the outcome. I’m allowed to have things on my mind that upset me.
  • Cheer up! I am allowed to be sad or gloomy or grieving and FEEL my own feelings. If I could just ‘cheer up’ on command, I wouldn’t take so many medications.
  • Stop smoking. Okay, yes, it’s really bad for my health, and I really don’t care that you think i’m prettier without a cigarette, and I’m sorry for all of your losses, but this is my body and my decision. I will do it when I’m ready and your little speeches aren’t making me quit any sooner.
  • Lose Weight.  For some people losing weight is a medical issue. For some it’s aesthetics. For some of us, we like how we are now just fine! Or maybe we’ll do it when we’re good and ready to find a lifestyle that not just helps lose weight but that we feel we can maintain. I’m glad that those diet pills worked for you, they’re really not an option for me. I’m happy for your progress at a gym but I am not comfortable going to one. This is personal and not your decision, it’s mine.

 

I could go on, but quite honestly, it might get a little repetitive as some of the things that you may say out of habit, or because they’ve been said to you so often, they all have the same answers. No. This is my body, my mind, my choice. I’m totally okay with the fact that you’re vegan or christian, that you love to smile or you’re ready for bikini season, it doesn’t mean I want to change the way I live my life or even that ten seconds of my day.

I don’t want to, I don’t have to, and I don’t need to tell you why. Honestly, I shouldn’t be forced into that position and neither should anyone else. Throughout your day, consider that others simply are not you and maybe we don’t fit society’s mold of ‘normal’ and maybe we don’t want to put on a false happy mask just to please you. Maybe we’re tired, depressed, anxious, sad or simply have resting bitch face.

We’re allowed to ignore your unfair demands… and some of us are simply tired of smiling. What do you hate being told to do most?

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~