Category Archives: mental illness

ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr f*** everything: venting and then doing some real s***

This post is gonna be bad and sort of stream-of-consciousness venting but it ends okay so hang in there!

Here it is:

Ugh forever. Fuck everything.

I was fired up on Wednesday but now ughhhhhhh.

Look, there have been a gazillion pieces on how even if someone voted for Trump for “non-racist” reasons, they still voted for racism. If you don’t buy it after folks like Scalzi break it all down for you in the easiest-to-understand terms, you’re not going to buy it from me, so I’m not going to write another one here.

There have also been a gazillion pieces written on the Electoral College (google it). I fucking hate the Electoral College, since it basically means my California vote is worth less than, say, a Wyoming vote because something something rural Real America(TM) slave state history blah blah blah. So I’m not gonna write one here, either.

Don’t even get me started on the gazillion pieces about how the left needs to understand Trump voters more because blah blah blah. I get it; many of them are losing traditional jobs that aren’t coming back because #robots and they’re mad, but many of them are also assholes who hate that they had to see a black dude on TV for 8 years and sure as fuck weren’t gonna look at an old lady for that long even if she’s white. You can guess where I come down on that argument so I’m not gonna write my own take here either.

So here’s what I have to say: ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. The next four years are going to be apocalyptic. I’m especially excited for the inevitable Pence presidency, because, let’s get real, our Cheeto-Elect is not gonna last more than a year, tops. He’s never had to do any actual work in his life, and he’s just now realizing that the Presidency involves reading and sitting still and receiving criticism and not staying in Trump Tower among his gold-plated accessories unless he ventures out to grab him some fresh pussy. He’s going to resign, and if not he will be impeached, because the GOP would vastly prefer working with Pence (ugh) and, let’s face it, Mr. Cheeto has already committed about a zillion impeachable offenses and will accumulate more in his first five days in office than Nixon managed in five years. Pence hates gay people and women especially and is going to do his fucking utmost to take away our rights, so that’s gonna be GREAT.

And then there’s the worst part: the violence and harassment against minorities. This violence has existed for centuries, duh, but now it’s been validated in the mainstream by the dude who’s gonna be president. People are fucking scared. Hundreds of incidents a day have been reported since Nov. 8: women randomly getting grabbed walking down the street, Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off, black people called n****** who should “go back to Africa” (because it’s not like our white ancestors dragged their black ancestors from Africa against their will in chains, but okay, sure), anyone who looks vaguely Hispanic threatened with deportation (not that anyone should be threatened with deportation, but I’m almost tickled by racists who can’t tell the difference between someone of Asian descent or Mexican descent).

Also the environment is over and maybe there will be a nuclear war and Marie Le Pen will be elected and I can’t shop at Macy’s anymore and I’m a privileged-yet-depressed white bitch and I hate myself.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything.

Ughhhhhhhh foreverrrrrrrrrrrrrr fuck everything. Also something about safety pins?

Okay. Thanks for listening. Now let’s do some shit.

Planned Parenthood Donation Link

ACLU Donation Link

Southern Poverty Law Center Donation Link

I told you the post would end okay!!

 

 

 

It’s our turn to fight

I haven’t written in a long time because I was job-hunting. I have a new job now. So yeah, I’m back.

And this is my election post for the day (also found on FB).

Last night I was despondent. For a few moments, my depression reared its head in the ugliest way. I barely slept.

This morning, I realized a few things:

I am white
I am well-educated
I have an amazing job with amazing benefits
I have an amazing support system
I am cis-het
I live in California

Barring a national overturning of Roe v. Wade or an uptick in assault on women in general nationwide, my rights and I are ok for the foreseeable future. Which is why it is now my job to fight for others.

For people of color, ESPECIALLY women of color
For those who don’t have the chance to go to college
For the unemployed, under-employed, and disabled
For the uninsured or those soon to be uninsured
For the poor
For the LGBT community
For people in places like Flint (STILL NO CLEAN WATER Y’ALL) and Ferguson and Standing Rock.

If you are like me and you enjoy many tremendous privileges, it is also your time to fight.

In municipal politics
In state politics
In national politics
In our communities
In our homes

I’m scared tbh. But I know I’m not nearly as scared as those in the marginalized groups above. So it’s on me. It’s on us (that mostly means you, white people).

I start by setting up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, which will be crucial to the well-being of women and girls and even men in the coming months and years if the ACA goes down. And then I research my next steps.

To 2018 and beyond.

Much love.

Orlando, Guns, and Love: I’ve had wine so here we go

FYI: If you think it’s totally okay for private citizens to be able to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles easily in the United States, you might as well go find another blog post to read because you will not like this one. Have fun!

Okay.

So here we are again. The worst mass shooting in modern American history. At least 50 dead, dozens more injured, countless families destroyed, law enforcement in Orlando stretched so thin they can barely handle it, endless twitter and facebook posts with prayers for the dead and injured, Presidential speeches and political rants.

Prayers and thoughts are nice, but they aren’t keeping AR-15s out of the hands of evil assholes, misogynists, terrorists, and homophobes like this asshole who did this today. They aren’t teaching our children to resolve feelings of anger and hatred in therapy instead of with violence, or to see all humans as worthy of respect and life even if they are different from them.

Here’s some shit I am doing now in light of this and other mass shootings. If you think that human life is more important than some asshole’s need to carry his AR-15 to the Chipotle or some douchebag’s discomfort at possibly having to pee in a shitty Target bathroom next to someone whose birth certificate says a different gender than the one they currently identify with or some religious fanatic’s fear of the power and value inherent in women and LGBT individuals’ existences, I hope you’ll do some of it, too.

  • Donate: I’ve just donated a small amount each to these two organizations:
    • Fund for Victims of Pulse Shooting via Equality Florida (
      GoFundMe): https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund. Equality is the official LGBT civil rights org in Florida and they’ll be working with their attorneys and other organizations to distribute these funds to the victims and their families.
    • The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence: a decades-old organization dedicated to common sense gun control and ending gun violence! http://csgv.org/
    • Obviously there are other organizations as well, but these are just a couple, so if you have a spare $1 or $10 or $100 give to groups who are fighting common-sense gun control.
  • Read/get informed: 
    • I followed @igorvolsky on Twitter; he is the Deputy Director for the Center for American Progess action fund. He is tweeting the names of members of Congress who have accepted money from the NRA so you know who NOT to vote for in November or future elections if you care about stopping these mass shootings regardless of motivation.
    • This article also details the members of Congress (mostly Republicans, but some Dems in there too!) who voted AGAINST the act to include perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities as protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law. The law passed, but not easily. If your Senator or Representative is on this list, and you give a shit about LGBT and disabled people, do not vote for these asshats in the future, and call them up and tell them why!
  • Vote based on this information: 
    • This Fall, I’m voting for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States, not only because she is NOT a giant sentient Cheeto with a yellow wig who spews racist bullshit on Twitter every 3.5 hours and wants to have sex with its daughter, but because I strongly agree with her on many issues- especially women’s reproductive rights and gun control. She has an F rating from the NRA, which is the best failing grade someone can get if you ask me!
    • I’m a California voter, and so will also be voting in the Fall for Democrat Kamala D. Harris for US Senator to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer. Her opponent in the race is also a Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, but Sanchez voted in 2005 FOR a bill that would shield gun manufacturers from responsibility in some lawsuits when gun sales result in tragedy. Sorry, Sanchez, that was one mistake you’re not gonna live down with this voter!
    • That’s just me; whatever state or district you live in, use the information in the section above and your own research to vote for candidates who support making and enforcing laws that will keep assault rifles, which are, you know, for ASSAULTING PEOPLE and not to hunt quails or whatever because COME ON, out of the hands of dangerous people. Also vote for candidates who speak of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender/gender orientation, sexual preference, age, etc. with respect. People don’t pick up an assault rifle, a pistol, a knife, or even their fists in a vacuum. The Planned Parenthood Shooter spoke of “baby parts” after storming a Colorado PP and killing three people, including a police officer; according to some reports, the piece of shit who murdered fifty people this morning was angered by seeing two men kiss in Miami months ago and had a history of domestic violence. That kind of homophobia and misogyny and anger isn’t all innate; these messages are reinforced by both private figures in our lives and, yes, public figures, too. What our elected officials say matters. When someone insinuates that all gay people are evil sinners, or all abortion providers are murderers, or all Mexicans are rapists, or all black people are thugs, or all Muslims are terrorists–people listen to this shit, and it poisons them. We can’t control what a given individual learns in their home growing up or from their friends or their place of worship, but we can control, to a certain extent, what our elected officials say to their constituents and their children. Vote for people who don’t say racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or other terrible shit.

So that’s what I’m doing and thinking. What are you doing? Seriously, if there are major things I’m missing, please tell me, because I want to do more. I’m sort of tipsy from drinking anger-wine tonight to dull the pain of this shitty world, but I’m fired up and want to do things because I am sick of this. I don’t even know if I’m going to have kids, but if I do, I want them to grow up in a better country and world. I also know there’s a huge mental health angle to all this, but it’s something that’s hard for me to tackle because I HAVE a mental illness and there’s so much to unpack with that all I can say for now is that the vast majority of people with mental illness do not hurt anyone and are non-violent (the same way that the vast majority of Muslims or white guys or anti-abortion people do not ever hurt anyone). That being said, it’s still something to discuss–I just don’t know how to do it tonight. If anyone has any resources, I would love to read them.

Finally, I’m just so, so, so sorry for the victims in Orlando and their families and friends, and for the global LGBT community. I love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

 

ATTENTION, IMPORTANT NEWS: LOOK AT THIS WALRUS CAM!

I have been dealing with a lingering depressive/anxiety episode, and it wasn’t getting much better, and then someone shared this on one of my fave comment boards: it is a LIVE WALRUS CAM! YOU CAN WATCH THE WALRUSES ALL SUMMER LONG 24/7! THIS IS AMAZING!

This is a live feed of the walruses, who are doing some really good walrusing (?) in Round Island, Alaska all summer. Per Science(TM), the walruses congregate here to chill, basically, when they’re not having sex, which is in the winter. According to Wikipedia, it’s called a “haul out,” but I’m going to go ahead and call it “Walrus Netflix & Chill,” but without the requisite binge-watching of Arrested Development (seasons 1-3 only, because S4 was middling at best). They basically spend a lot of time sleeping and sometimes swimming around with their friends before sleeping more. They are adorable and I love them and they have entirely cured me of depression.

Okay, so that’s not true, but they are just GREAT, and how cool is it that I can watch these walruses and listen to their walrus sounds and watch them as they walrus from the comfort of my bedroom in HD? What a great time to be alive, so go FUCK YOURSELF, DEPRESSION! WITNESS THESE WALRUSES, AND BEGONE!

walrus-cam
I AM THE WALRUS…SO GTFO DEPRESSION

 

 

I Want To Be These Sunbathing Turtles

Friday morning, I took my usual walking route in Golden Gate Park around Stow Lake, and there was a great deal of #nature happening. I was particularly impressed by the minimum twenty-five (possibly more) sunbathing turtles I saw every ten feet or so around the edge of the lake:

 

It was an unusually sunny morning, and these turtles were OWNING life. They just sat on or next to each other, motionless, and soaked up the sun, completely oblivious to the crowds of tourists snapping pictures of them. They were basically a posse of Victoria’s Secret models on a beach vacation with Leo DiCaprio, but less narcissistic and more sober.  There were also flowers and a fountain in the park, and it was overall just a gorgeous day.

Then came Sunday, which was Bay to Breakers. B2B is San Francisco’s annual footrace/drunken walking orgy. It is like Halloween on crack, and when I went to the local market to buy cucumbers (I ran out, and I really like them, OKAY?), there were so many people on the streets in varying degrees of undress and intoxication and body-painted-ness that I started having a major panic attack and barely managed to stumble home, shaking, in time to take a xanax. I passed out, and when I woke up several hours later, I immediately thought back to last Friday and those turtles, and how calm and zen they made me feel. Those turtles have life DOWN, you know? I mean, the sun comes out, and they just swim over to the nearest available log or stone and chill out with their buddies. Why can’t I be like that?  Well, I guess I don’t live in a man-made lake in a protective shell, and, like, I am a sentient life form who requires income to survive, but you get what I mean. Why can’t I just take a page from their leathery, slow-moving book of turtle-y life and chill out once in a while?

Anxiety, alas, does not that work that way. We all need some degree of anxiety to survive–even the turtles must experience something akin to a fear response when a turtle predator, like…a lion (???) approaches–but for those of us whose anxiety is triggered more easily by a variety of factors, it can be a huge liability.

I’m lucky, though–my anxiety is mostly manageable with therapy, drugs, sleep, drugs, exercise, and the support of family and friends…and drugs. I know many of you fight the good fight with these and all the other tools you can muster, and I salute you. I wish for you and for myself that, in the midst of all the nuttiness that daily life throws at us, every once and a while we get to be these sunbathing turtles, posing for tourists on a log, our reptilian faces turned craned up towards the sky. Happy Monday, Turtles!

 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments, especially if you are a turtle, because your perspective would really be appreciated here and also it would be pretty cool if you guys learned how to use the internet. 🐢

Sometimes We Are All This Delicious, Mangled Cake

Yesterday, it was twenty degrees out and snowing (IN EFFING APRIL), my broken foot was aching from the cold, and I was stuck in my parents’ house. I tried writing and failed because my head was foggy from weather-induced depression. The family dog, also suffering from cabin fever, was determined to spend the entire day either licking my nose or biting my right forearm (not sure why my arm and nose are yummier than other parts of my body) in spite of every treat, game, or other scheme designed to distract her. I was PMSing and on the constant verge of tears. So, after a few hours of trying to be productive and positive, I gave up on and decided I was going to bake an AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from scratch, because IT WAS AN APRIL SNOWSTORM OF DEATH, SCREW EVERYTHING.

The cake itself turned out beautifully; the icing was easy to prepare and tasted great. Then I tried to put the icing on the cake, and it turned out like this:

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I don’t know what happened, but every time I tried to apply icing to the surface of the cake, it, like, tore the top of the cake up. I tried a knife, a spatula, a spoon, my fingers–it was all a bust. So, after mangling my beautiful cake with ill-applied icing for ten minutes, I gave up and began to cry.

Now, I realize that crying over a badly-iced cake is…not rational. But I was SO tired of the day, and my aching foot, and my foggy winter-in-April brain, and all I wanted was to PRESENT A PRETTY CAKE TO MY FAMILY AND EAT IT FRONT OF THE SAD-EYED, HUNGRY DOG AS RETRIBUTION FOR HER NIPPING AT ME ALL DAY! WAS THAT REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK, UNIVERSE?

My mom, engaged in reading on her Kindle, basically rolled her eyes at my temper tantrum, and I snapped, “OH, FUCK IT!” and spooned a glob of cake-and-icing into a bowl and took a bite.

It was delicious. My parents had some for dessert and loved it, and the dog looked at us all as we ate with a satisfying mix of envy and yearning in her eyes (HA, DOG, THAT IS WHAT YOU GET).

As I sit here typing this and eating more of my leftover mangled cake, I realize that yesterday I WAS this cake: messy and ugly, but yummy inside. I took a useless, gross, bad-mood day and tried to make something good of it. We all do this–some of us more often than others–and the results are mixed. Sometimes we rally and create a beautiful masterpiece, complete with vanilla fondant and sugar roses. Sometimes, our best achievement is a shower and clean pajamas, and store-bought cake if we’re lucky. Most often, though, we end up somewhere in the middle, with a delicious chocolate-and-cream-cheese glob of almost-but-not-quite greatness to show for our efforts. All of these outcomes are okay, because despite the messy icing, we are all sugary goodness underneath.

Today, the sun’s out, and the cake will be gone soon if its current rate of consumption continues unabated, as will the snow. I hope you make the best cake you can today 🙂

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Witness the sad, cake-less dog in the middle distance.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post; please leave a comment below, or share or like if you’re so inclined!

 

Bad Blood and Mad Love

You know that feeling when you wake up after a week of being sick and stuffed up and achy and the cold or flu or whatever the hell it was that was making you miserable is just GONE and you feel fabulous? That just-after-sick feeling? Well, that’s similar to the way I feel when the veil lifts after a depressive episode. After the crapfest that was the past few days, that’s how I feel right now. Flyin’ high, and also motivated as hell. I’m ready to kick depression and anxiety’s ass and take some names. I’m gonna get in shape and heal my foot and write thousands of words a day and learn to grill fish and take a multivitamin and be a movie star. I’m high and I’m singing to my mental illness, adapting the words of the glorious Tay-tay:

Hey depression: Remember when you tried to write me off? We used to be mad love, but after what you’ve dooooone, NOW WE GOT BAD BLOOD (HEY!).

This feeling won’t last, of course–that’s the thing about feelings, they never last. But it’s an important feeling. It’s an anchor, a dock I can tie my boat to when the waves get rough. It’s a third nautical metaphor I can’t come up with right now.

compass
It’s a compass to shore? Eh? No, that sucks. Sorry, shitty writer here.

It’s a high partially fueled by the amazing support I got in the comments on this blog, from facebook posts and texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s from knowing I’m not alone.

I wrote that post the other night in the aftermath of despair, wanting desperately to connect and pay forward the kindness my mother shared with me to the internet at large. I wanted to see if I could help others and let them know they aren’t alone. I did, to a certain extent, but those same people made me realize that I am not alone, too. Really realize it.

So depression and I may have some bad blood, but you guys and I? Y’all, we got MAD LOVE.

HEY!

Would love to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post, and do share and like, too.

 

 

Medication Frustration

This is the top drawer of my bedside table, a.k.a. the “med drawer”:

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This is where I keep the stuff that most folks organize neatly in a medicine cabinet. Mostly, it’s full of your typical and over-the-counter remedies: ibuprofen, pepto bismol, benadryl, cold medicine. It’s also where I keep my meds for anxiety, depression, and migraines. It’s a necessary, if messy, drawer. Usually, I open this drawer at night to take my daily medications without so much as a thought; it’s automatic, an action I’ve taken every night for years.

Sometimes, however, I really fucking hate opening that drawer. This week is one of those times.

I’ve been on some sort of daily medication to treat anxiety and depression pretty consistently since I was sixteen, which makes fifteen years of me opening this drawer (or its previous incarnations at my parents’ house and other apartments and dorms) every night. I’m incredibly grateful for this drawer, for the drugs in it (which have changed over the years several times–if you want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of prozac vs. zoloft vs. lamictal vs. lexapro vs. a couple others I don’t remember at this point, I’m your gal) and for the doctors and therapists and friends and family members who have helped me get my shit together and get the help and medication I need to treat my anxiety and depression.

And yet, right now, I really hate that fucking drawer.

I hate that I have to cut my lexapro doses into little quarters as I wean off a higher “winter” dose to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I hate the bitter taste of the pill residue that gets caught in my throat sometimes when I don’t cut the pills perfectly. I hate the fact that that higher dose made me incredibly drowsy in the afternoons for two months and eliminated my libido. I hate that these pills make it hard for me to lose weight and even, sometimes, to experience joy. I hate the fact that I rely, to some extent, on a pill to make myself “normal,” if there is such a thing.

I know that these feelings are valid–and likely temporary. I also know that there are alternatives to medication that I may try down the road in addition to my current therapy regimen. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they work, that’s great. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they don’t work, that’s okay, too, and meds will still be there and probably still be able to help me from falling into a non-functional depressive black hole.

I sincerely hope no one thinks that I’m saying meds are inherently bad or that no one should take them; I don’t think that at all. If you are feeling low, and especially if you are thinking of harming yourself, please go get help, and if a doctor or therapist thinks meds will help, consider their advice seriously. I’m also not advocating that anyone take meds if they truly feel they aren’t working for them. Basically, I’m the non-judgmental ninja over here, promise!

All I’m doing is sharing with you that, for whatever reason, this week I’m just tired of the process. I’m tired of opening that drawer. I think it’s okay to be tired sometimes. It’s okay to hate the drawer and to feel grateful for it at the same time. I hope, if you have a drawer, you know that, too.

 

 

The Thirty-First Year of the Jackie

So, it turns out that–despite the existence of alcohol and chocolate–I have made it to my thirty-first birthday. A year ago today, I was in a sort-of-impressive-sounding corporate job with a four-hour round-trip daily commute and an email addiction. I was really depressed, and so, shortly after turning thirty, I took a leave of absence which ultimately led to me quitting my job. It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, with the possible exception of going into that super gross hot tub at Myrtle Beach during our senior trip in college (those flesh-eating viruses are NO JOKE).

Now, one year into this journey off the beaten high-achiever path that I’ve dutifully followed for most of my life, I’ve achieved a new milestone: being proud of myself on my birthday.

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it really is. Once I was legally able to drink, I stopped enjoying my birthday. Every January 5th brought on a contemplative funk during which I lamented my lack of achievement and progress during the previous year: “Some people my age are olympic medalists! Half my friends have graduate degrees! Look at that guy; he’s only twenty-three and he makes so much more money than I do! Look at that girl; she’s only twenty-five and she’s married with a baby!  What have I done? Look at how worthless I am!”

I once expressed this attitude to one of my coworkers at Google a few years back. She was a pretty cool chick and refreshingly honest, and she was baffled by my view of aging. She’d lost a close family member at a young age and birthdays inspired gratitude in her–she was always happy and relieved to make it another year. I remember nodding and chastising myself internally for not being grateful enough for my birthdays and for not having cancer or losing an arm to that Myrtle beach hot tub, and then going right back to dreading early January and berating myself.

This year, however, is different. When it comes to traditional measures of success, this year certainly hasn’t touched most of those that preceded it. I can’t say that I work at a fancy company. I can’t say my salary is XYZ bucks per week. I can’t talk about awards or kudos or performance scores at work, or drop the name of any executives I work with.

What I can say, however, and what I’m proud of, is that I’ve had the most new experiences in the past year of my life than in the previous eight put together. These experiences ranged from good to bad to everything in between, but they made me think (and blog) about myself and the world deeply, and in different ways than I have before.

I experienced the joy of realizing that I could write, and write well(ish), and write enough words and sentences and paragraphs to make a whole book-type document that people might want to read. I experienced the excitement of getting an agent, and the subsequent anxiety and boredom of submitting to publishers.

I experienced the love of my family, and the grief of saying goodbye to a family member, albeit a furry one. I also experienced the excitement of welcoming a new love into my life, though this created drama with my old love, which was iced coffee (sorry bae).

I experienced the stress and exhilaration of travel, from people-watching the crazy costume-clad nerds of San Diego Comic Con to getting knocked up by food in Florence and trudging through the rain in Paris in super ugly shoes and seeing Britney dance way worse than when I saw her on tour when I was sixteen.

I witnessed two amazing couples get married on opposite-ish sides of the country and cried my eyes out both times because I AM A SAP, OK?

I experienced breakdowns and bad nights, and discovered new coping mechanisms to pick myself up when I fall or when the world seems too much to handle.

In short, I experienced life, and I had the time to really take it in, as opposed to watching it all pass me by. And, for the first time since I was a little kid, I’m proud of myself for that fact alone. I’m proud of myself for trying to live well, and I’m grateful to all those people (both IRL and on this blog) who have come along on the journey with me this year.

So, here’s to the thirty-first year of the Jackie! May the thirty-second be just as interesting, and may you still be interested enough to tune in and read about it once in a while 🙂

Love,

The Birthday Girl

 

 

Visualizing Utopia

I took an involuntary blogging hiatus over Thanksgiving due to the DeathColdwhich laid me out flat for a good eight days; I’m still hacking up phlegm on an hourly basis (you’re welcome for the mental image).

As a return to blogging post-DeathCold, I was going to do a beauty post with my recommendations from my latest Allure Beauty Box, but I couldn’t because my mind is still spinning from the latest high-profile incidence of domestic terrorism that took place on Black Friday at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs as well as the revelations regarding Laquan McDonald’s murder at the hands of police last year, among, as usual, other horrific things.  Hell, as I’m typing this, my Twitter feed is telling me that there is a mass shooting incident ONGOING in San Bernardino with as many as 20 injuries possibly reported (Update as I finish this article: 12 dead possibly. My God.)

I’m so, so, so tired of this. Exhausted, in fact. Aren’t we all?

I’m so tired of the culture of violence, especially against women, children, people of color, and the poor. Tired of the racism and Islamophobia. Tired of the unwillingness of so many people to see that things need to change, from rape culture to reasonable, commonsense restrictions on gun ownership and use (BTW, if you want to post a comment here on how gun violence is solely a mental illness issue vs. gun availability, please just don’t. As a mentally ill person myself, you’re not gonna convince me and I’m sure I won’t convince you. Feel free to ignore this post and go find someone else to talk to about it; the internet should have plenty of safe spaces for that. Thanks in advance.).

I feel like I do what I can, you know? A lot of you feel that way, too, I bet. We donate money to causes we believe in, support and vote for candidates to public office who we hope will be able effect positive change. And yet, it still feels like nothing gets better. Part of this, I know, is due to the fact that we have access to news of horrible events 24/7 thanks to social media. Awful things have always happened, but now we hear of them more often, with video and audio recordings of the carnage as it happens to bring the horror even closer to home.

So what do we do? What do I do, not just to make the world a better place, but to keep myself sane? Other than continue to donate money and vote and speak out where I can, I’ve had to rely more and more these days on a super-lame-sounding but effective technique to keep myself going: visualization.

About a month ago, I read the fantastic book The Feminist Utopia Project, which is a collection of about sixty stories, cartoons, interviews, fake news articles, etc. imagining a better future, courtesy of dozens of feminist thinkers in many fields. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not that big into feminism. Reading this book gave me a new tool to deal with the horror of the everyday world: visualizing utopia.

When things get awful, like they are getting right now in San Bernardino as well as in thousands of places around the world, I try to take a breath and imagine that fifty or one hundred or two hundred years from now, those who come after me (or maybe even me, if I’m lucky) will see a world that is measurably better than this one. One where the term “mass shooting” is only discussed in history class, the way we discuss the Spanish Inquisition today. A world where we take care of our planet instead of treating it like a disposable coffee cup. A world where no one’s life is better or worse than anyone else’s simply because of their gender identity, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or where they live in on the map. A world where religion, if it exists at all, is ONLY a source of peace and inner strength for believers and a cause for generosity and love rather than an excuse for hatred. A world without violence. A world where gun control is a non-issue because no one feels like they would ever even need a gun to protect themselves. A world where a woman can go for a run in the park at 3 am with no worry for her safety. A world where no one is homeless. A world where no one is hungry. A world where fewer people are sick, and those who are receive free, top-quality care from medical personnel who are caring and well-treated themselves. A world where there are no borders, and people pass freely from one place to another, sure of hospitality and interest and love wherever they go. A world where I spend every day cuddling with doggies.*  In a word, utopia.

Today especially, we are really, really far off from that world. As it seems to do every couple of days, my heart is breaking for a new group of victims of violence as I type this. I don’t want to become desensitized to it, but I want to believe that things can be better. I want to believe in my utopia. I choose to believe in it today, and I actively wish for it. If the holiday season brings anything good with it, any sort of power, let it be the power to bring humanity closer to this utopia, or any version of it. I’m visualizing, hard. I hope you can take a moment today to visualize it, too. If enough of us do, it can only soothe our souls and bring us closer to making it a reality.

Peace. And I promise, back to beauty posts and funnier shit later this week.

*Ok, this one is a little selfish, but, come on, what is Utopia without doggies?

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Roxie would definitely be part of Utopia.