When you first meet me, I’m painfully shy and have a difficult time carrying a conversation (especially if I don’t find you particularly interesting…shhhhhh…)
And once I warm up, I’m a passionate flailing-muppet-arm word-vomity mess. Without a filter. I overshare. I’m brutally open and honest to a fault. Some may even call me abrasive or obnoxious.
Especially when you get me going on issues I’m passionate about.
This has been something that has become painfully clear to me over this past year on my path to a deeper sense of self awareness.
And so, here I am, with a whole lot to say about things that directly affect me and the people I care about, trying to figure out how to speak about them and gently educate people who may not be aware of them and/or strongly disagree with them.
There’s a fine line to walk and, over the past election season especially, I have witnessed all sorts of variations of communication and debate.
If you read my most recent post, you’ll know that I’ve been struggling with how to balance activism and staying informed about the current state of events in our country with my own mental health.
I struggle with whether or not I’m just using it as a crutch or an excuse. I struggle with guilt in not participating in ways others are.
As the Women’s March approached, I wrestled in my mind with it. While I now live less than 100 miles from Washington D.C., I am nowhere near my amazing, strong feminist friends. And I have pretty crippling anxiety regarding crowds and loud places. So the idea of going to one of these events, let alone by myself, seemed impossible. There were some smaller events locally, but even the idea of going to one of those stressed me out.
And so I stayed home, glued to social media. I was inspired and energized and filled with love and hope, witnessing literally HUNDREDS of my friends attending these events all over the country and even world.
I’ve seen dozens of think pieces, of Facebook posts from friends and strangers, telling me how I should feel about myself and my outlook on this year. I should feel lucky, I should take a good hard look at myself and realize that it’s all my damn fault that I’m not happy (forget about the fact that we have no control over some very serious shit that can happen like death and poverty and mental illness and abuse and it’s a very victim-blaming way to think about it to tell us we can just snap out of it.)
Personally, I’ll admit that 2015 was the bigger dumpster fire for me. That was when my depression had gotten its worst ever, and shit hit the fan with my marriage. 2016 has been a year of growth and rebuilding my life.
But for this country, 2016 has thrust me into a huge amount of worry. But that’s out of my control in many ways.
So what are my take-aways for 2016? What have I learned? How have I changed?
CW: Trans murder rate, murders of POC, this damn election
I don’t even know where to start. It’s not hyperbolic when I tell you that I am deeply grieving for My America right now. The America that was just beginning to acknowledge people like me as worthy of rights like marriage, adoption, protection from being fired because of my identity, and other things that so many people take for granted.
I could fill this page with empassioned wailings about how concerned I am for the safety of myself as a queer woman and my other LGBQ friends, my trans friends, my friends who are people of color, Muslim, immigrants, disabled, lower income, single mothers, people with uteruses, women…
Yes, these concerns exist and are so visceral I feel it seething out of my body, feel myself getting hives, unable to eat, bawling all day at work, and feeling like a tightly coiled spring.