Journal, Thoughts, Writing

my thoughts on the terrorist attack in New Zealand

When I started this blog I made a promise to myself to talk about whatever I wanted to as openly and raw and real as possible. And somewhere in this promise, right at the end actually, I made a promise to myself to talk about everything except race and religion.

For a few reasons

a) I’m not as educated on these topics as I would like to be

b) There’s a bunch of backlash that comes with talking about those two things

c) As much as I believe those are both things that should be talked about, it also tends to divide people and I didn’t want this space to be like that. I wanted to have a space that didn’t have anything to do with either of those topics, a space where none of those things had to matter.

I say this a lot but I truly have grown a lot since I started blogging and there have been things going on for some time now that I’ve continued to ignore on here, for the same three reasons I gave above.

And I can’t do that anymore.

 

“You cannot be an ally if you shy away from confrontation

-Vianna Goodwin

If you watch the news or you’ve been on Twitter today, there’s a chance you’ve heard about the terrorist attacks in New Zealand. Earlier today, Brenton Tarrant walked into two  mosques in Christchurch New Zealand and proceeded to open fire at the people praying inside the mosques.

So far, there have been 49 killed and 20 seriously injured. The shooter, a 28 year old white man with an 87 page manifesto with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas.


To everyone who blamed his actions on mental illness I say this:

There is no excuse for a racist, radicalized adult who thinks it’s okay to hurt innocent people. And I would just like to clarify that not every terrorist has a mental illness and not every mental illness makes you violent.

He is not mentally ill, he is a terrorist. It is not just an act of violence, it is terrorism. And there is no excuse, there is no fucking excuse for the crimes he has committed.

Terrorism has no religion. No colour. No country.

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I’m just going to leave this here for you to think about

This is about so much more than just a hashtag. This is about the 49 people who lost their lives today and the 20 others in critical condition.  This about the hate directed towards the Muslim community. To those who live in fear, who are not safe in their homes, in their mosques, in their cars and in their schools. Who go about their daily lives petrified, wondering if each day will be their last.

50 million hashtags or tweets or Instagram captions, may spread awareness, but they will only change so much in the long run.

Read the entire thread. And do something about it.

Your hashtag will not save a life, but taking further action just might.

I don’t want this to just be a headline. Big news today, and then nothing tomorrow until the next terrorist attack.

Here are some ways to support New Zealand’s Muslim community

 

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Thoughts

self lo(ve)(athing)

Might Delete later

It’s just something I’ve been thinking about. Loving and loathing. Myself.

It’s something I’ve been becoming more and more aware of lately. For example recently I posted a photo of myself of my Instagram:

And in this moment, despite the fact that I wasn’t smiling, I was happy. I liked my appearance and how I felt, I liked my edgy hairstyle and the way my cousin’s hoop earings (that I originally didn’t think I could pull off) suited me.

Fast forward to two days later (today) and another cousin of mine and I decide to have a phtoshoot. And at first I’m excited because I feel pretty, and confident and all those other wonderful thigs you should feel when you’re channeling your inner model best friend

But that changes pretty quickly. As I look back on the photos, which I had felt so happy about at first, I begin to notice all the things I hate about myself.

My stomach for one. My flabby, strechy, grossly unattractive stomach.

And so I downloaded FaceTune, which if you don’t know, is a photo editing app where everyone covers up their biggest insecurities not limited to teeth and flabby stomachs.

And halfway through the editing process I paused and I swear in that moment I hated myself a little more.

I’m a big believer that everyone is beautiful and everyone deserves to love themselves. And here I was, trying to make my stomach look smaller.

So I stopped and deleted the app. And now I’m hiding out in a room in my aunt’s house, reading some previous Friday 6PM posts on body image as Mac Miller’s voice comforts me.

Thinking about that makes me think about all the times I’ve missed meals (partly because of lack of appetite, partly because I still can’t get the image of how much smaller I used to be out my head) and the other times I would be so sad that I would eat and eat until I felt so disgusted with myself that I would refuse to leave my room.

It just sucks.

I’m so aware of everything I do that I realise in the moment that what I’m doing isn’t healthy and continue to do it anyway.

I mean pro: acknowledging this means I can change that

Con: it still means for now I still lack positive body image

Here is the photo regardless because as much as I hate my body, I’d hate myself more if I didn’t share this regardless

xxxChips

*all credits go the owner for the featured image

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Thoughts

what i’ve been listening to lately

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where do i go? //VAGUE003

“all those, all of the pieces that they’ll, they’ll never show”

the motion //Drake

“when they need a favor from your man, they don’t leave you alone
but i guess that’s just the motion, yeah
….
then that phone doesn’t ring
when they got everything, that’s the motion”

can’t get happy(demo)//kailee morgue

“but my brothers gettin’ taller and I’m only feeling smaller”

“do you think that you could love me if i can’t get happy”

“I’m scared I might fade away if no one tells me I’m okay”

serial killer //Lana del Rey

“do it for the thrill of the rush”

stupid deep //Jon Bellion

“what if all the things i’ve done were just attempts at earning love”

Shutter Island //Jessie Reyez

“My straight jacket’s custom-made though”

“For a second I forgot I was a bad b*tch”

monster(under my bed) //Call Me Karizma

“monster, monster under my bed come out and play ‘coz i need a friend”

sweater weather //The Neighbourhood cover by Korantemaa

“head in the clouds but my gravity’s centered”

dna //Lia Marie Johnson

“they look at me like i look at you”

it’s not you it’s me //bea miller

“i’m leaving you for me”

🌙

xxxChips

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Journal, Thoughts

a million little pieces

15/01/2019

01:46

I don’t know if I’ll get better. Or if I’ll live long enough to finish my before I die list. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a friend like Leonard or meet someone who makes me feel the way reading Tigerlily does. I don’t know a lot of things.

But I do know I want to hold on. And I hope that I am strong enough to. I don’t know how long it’ll take for the scars to fade, or if I even want them to. But I do know that I live in a world where people like Leonard exist and that gives me hope.

I know nobody is planning on swooping in and saving me, for two reasons. One, I’m not a damsel in distress and two, the only person who will ever save you is yourself. I feel like that’s the only way I won’t relapse,getting better for the right reasons.

I don’t really know how to feel about a million little pieces but I know that it did something for me, and I don’t think I can quite put into words something I don’t understand yet.

But it was special, in its on way. Not like The Catcher In The Rye or Tigerlily or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, books which mean everything and more to me.

It has it’s own special place in my heart.

I want to get better. I want to get better. Fuck. I want to get better.

I don’t know if I’m strong enough.

And it’s too late for a quote stolen off of Pinterest to save me now, or maybe even for love letters to myself. I think I need to accept and move on and be analytical and firm if that makes sense?

 My mental health is still being figured out and I’ll probably be recovering for the rest of my life but I do know what I need to do to get to the point I want to be at. And if I get there and I’m not happy then maybe I’ll give up. But for now I’m holding on. Partly for myself, partly because a part of me feels like I owe it to Leonard, a man I never even knew.

But I find it cool how you don’t even have to know someone and they can change your life. Impact you in ways you didn’t think were possible. I will grit my teeth and I will slug it.

I will take the bullshit if that means someday I’ve got my own apartment doing whatever the fuck makes me happy and that list gets completed.

I will pick up the million little pieces of myself and put them back together. Differently this time. I’ll do it my way. A million little pieces, and I can be whatever I want to be.

There is no blame.

Just a choice. Yes or no. A decision, I’ll have to make over and over again. To get better.

And I hope I choose yes.

I hope I choose to hold on.

For myself. And for a man I never knew.


I finished reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey a while ago and I got the urge to write this the second I finished it.

I’m fine… I think

 

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Friday 6PM

Friday 6PM ft. Mary

Get To Know Me Questions

How would you describe yourself to a stranger?

Describing myself is something that is always so hard for me. It makes me uncomfortable when people ask me about myself. It’s something I’d really like to get better at. That being said, I’ve been trying to work on introducing myself as a writer when someone asks me about myself. This is not what I’m doing for a living right now (I’m working in an office, not writing) but it’s the thing that I am in my heart.  If I had to come up with some words as well maybe I’d use passionate, dedicated, loyal. Sometimes soft and emotional. A little bit tough. A lot of awkward.

Which 5 songs are on the soundtrack to your life?

I’m sure I’d answer this question differently every single time based on my mood but here’s what I’m feeling right now:

 “Release” Pearl Jam

“Silver Lining” First Aid Kit

“Comedown” Bush

“Eyes to the Sky” Joseph

“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” Pearl Jam

My very favorite band is First Aid Kit but I’d say my favorite genre is 90’s alternative rock (2nd favorite genre is probably folk rock or something of the sort).

What are some of your goals for 2019?

Ah, I love making goals! Right now my two biggest goals are finishing my novel and buying a house. This year I’d also like to get a draft done of my next project, get some short stories published, and stay consistent on my blog. But my most important goal this year is to just write something every single day, no matter what that is.

Do you ever see yourself blogging full time?

I certainly would love to be spending a lot more time on my blog and connecting with humans on the internet, but I don’t think that blogging will ever be my sole focus. Fiction is my number one love, and I’m hoping that someday that’s what I’ll get to do for a living. But I really want to keep up with my blog on the side of that because I find it very therapeutic and I love connecting with other like-minded people this way.

Who inspires you?

So many people inspire me, from my family to prolific writers to bands to random people walking on the street. To narrow it down to blogging, though, the blog I love most, hands down, is Fire and Joy run by Nirrimi Firebrace. It is the most beautiful blog I have ever read and I have gotten lost in its pages for hours more than once. It doesn’t hurt that Nirrimi is an incredibly talented photographer and the imagery on her blog is just as beautiful as her words. And also — she’s just a wonderful human being all around!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Ah, I am definitely a night owl! If I ever get time off from working a “normal person” 9-5 schedule I gravitate towards staying up until 2AM naturally. I definitely feel a little sleepy for the first few hours I’m awake.

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General Mental Health Questions

Do you have any advice on managing your mental health while waiting to get help (eg. being put on a waiting list)

It really sucks that this is a problem that people have to deal with. I’m certainly not a mental health professional, but I can say what has helped me manage anxiety personally. Meditation always helps when I do it consistently, and there’s a lot of free resources online and via apps for guided meditation. Also, exercise is super important; sometimes I find that the only way I can calm myself down is to go for a walk. Honestly, it’s super simple but deep, belly breaths always help me too.

What have you learnt about yourself through your mental health journey

The most important thing that I’ve learned is that other people’s brains don’t work the way that mine does (honestly, this can probably apply to any person on the planet, because we’re all so different). I used to think that I was just weak for not being able to handle life the way that other people can. When I realized that not everyone deals with what I do I was able to find a lot more kindness for myself. I’ve learned that I can be incredibly sensitive, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think that that sensitivity is a superpower; that I’m able to feel things more deeply than other people. Anxiety isn’t always bad. And the times when I can really accept that it is something that is part of me I am able to manage it best.

Do you use any apps for your mental health?

Yes! The meditation app that I use is called “Insight Timer.” It has tons of guided meditation options but you can also just use it as a timer that will go off every few minutes so you get a sense that your meditation is progressing.

I also use “Digital Wellbeing” which is part of the settings on my phone but I know that there’s other apps out there like it. Basically I limit myself to 30-45 minutes of Instagram a day because I find that if I don’t I’ll spend all day on it, get absolutely nothing done, and feel terrible about myself. And I do not have the Facebook app on my phone at all for the same reason.

Lately I’ve also been using this app called “Woebot” which is kind of cheesy but also fun. This little “robot” texts you every day and chats with you about various strategies for managing mental health. It’s certainly not a replacement for a real therapist but it has been a positive supplemental tool.

I’ve also just started using the notes app on my phone to make lists (this was  suggestion from Nirrimi, at Fire and Joy). I find that I can be pretty forgetful, especially when I’m feeling particularly anxious. I’m hoping that this helps me remember things a little better.

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Therapy

What made you seek therapy ?

I’ve been putting off going to therapy for years. I have known that I have an anxiety disorder since about sophomore year of college (I’m now 27, so about eight years ago) and I’ve never worked up the nerve to go before. I always knew I wanted to go but I would always think “oh I don’t have time for that right now.” And then, this past fall, I had a series of really terrible things happen in my life over the course of a few weeks. I was desperate to gain control and to make the situation better, and the only thing I had control over was myself. So I decided to finally take that step to gather the tools that will help me become a better version of myself.

And honestly, I wish I had gone years ago.

What misconceptions did you have about therapy?

I was so worried about what my family and friends would think about me going. I didn’t want my parents to think that they failed me. And I’ve also always had this strange complex where I worry that maybe I don’t actually have anxiety and I’m overreacting (that is a bit of a paradox, I know) so I don’t actually need to get treatment for it.

None of that really mattered once I got there, though. No one has questioned why I’m going and certainly, no one has accused me of not having anxiety after all like I was worried.

How can I build the courage to start therapy?

Just remember that bettering yourself is something that you have control over. I was so worried about family and friends judging me for going — but there’s nothing shameful about wanting to feel better. And the more often I go, the more comfortable I feel admitting that’s where I go.

Honestly? My best advice for doing anything that you’re afraid of is to just take a deep breath and do it. I know that’s hard. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean that it is easy. But the longer you put something off, the scarier it becomes. I know because I’ve put a lot of things off. And I’m still fighting that particular beast.

After your experience with therapy so far, would you recommend therapy to someone?

Absolutely. I’ve been able to sit down and talk about some really difficult situations in my life that are causing me a lot of anxiety with someone who is completely unbiased and simply has my best interest at heart. She’s been able to help me with solutions that I would not have come up with on my own, and she can point out different perspectives. I almost never want to go to therapy before I get there but I always feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders when I leave.

Do you have any recommended resources for someone who can’t afford therapy?

I may not be the best person to provide advice on this, but I’ll try. I know that some therapists offer sliding scales based on income. I also imagine that in certain areas nonprofits may provide some sort of resource for therapists. And I’m also wondering if there are support groups out there for people with anxiety/depression, like there is for addicts and alcoholics (AA/NA). If not, they should exist!

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Pursuing Dreams

What’s your dream?

My biggest dream has always been to have my novel published. But there are smaller dreams in there, too, like published stories and a successful blog and a family and a home.

What’s stopping you?

Ah! This is where I want to say “well no one has published me yet” but the reality is that I’m stopping myself. I don’t spend enough time writing, and I definitely don’t spend enough time submitting. I need to overcome the paralyzing fear of not being good enough and just sit down and do the work. Sitting down is always the hardest part.

Do you think people’s opinions of your dream has affected your confidence in chasing your passion?

It absolutely has. The thing that almost always keeps me from writing (or from sharing my writing if I’ve already written it) is the fear that it isn’t good enough. It is so hard for me to let go of perfection and to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to resonate with my art and that’s okay. I am always picturing that imaginary audience who is sitting there, waiting to judge my work.

I’m trying really hard to push through this and just focus on enjoying the process. I hope I get there someday soon.

Are you working on any cool projects at the moment?

Right now my big project is my novel. I finished the second draft back in October and I’m just now picking it back up. It’s a story about a father and daughter cleaning out the family house after everyone in their family has passed away or moved elsewhere. It’s about grief and family stories and dealing with the past.

I also have an idea for a collection of linked short stories but I’m having a really hard time getting started on that one.

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Anxiety

How long have you struggled with anxiety for?

Looking back, even though I didn’t realize it until fairly recently, I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. I was a very shy child and found simple things like interacting with distant relatives or playing games with other children nearly impossible. It’s been better at certain points of my life and worse in others. I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t feel nervous about something.

How did you identify your triggers and what do you do when something or someone triggers your anxiety?

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my triggers are. I can’t always tell why I’m feeling anxious when it happens. I have been able to identify a few things with my therapist, which has been a great help. As an example, I’ve always been really anxious about doctors/hospitals, and I’m working with her to try and figure out exactly what that fear is about, since I’ve never been sure. Otherwise, journaling can really help me identify what it is that’s bothering me. But sometimes it takes a few days before I really know.

When something triggers me, I try to take a lot of deep, belly breaths and try to distract myself from whatever negative thoughts are spiraling in my brain. I also tend to call my boyfriend a lot, but I kind of think that’s a bit of a crutch and I’d really like to stop burdening him with my anxiety so often.

What things has your anxiety prevented/ stopped you from doing?

So many things! The main thing right now is that I want to share more of my writing/art in general but I haven’t been able to. It feels so vulnerable to share blog posts/Instagram posts and often I’ll put off doing it because it scares me. In the past it’s kept me from sharing my fiction, making friends with people that I really connect with, moving out of my parent’s house (still live here), and many other things. It almost kept me from studying abroad in 2011 which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I can’t imagine what I’d be like now if I had never gone.

Do you have any tips for calming yourself down when you feel anxious?

Lately I’ve been trying to distract my brain when I get stuck in an anxious spiral with the “categories” game. For example, I try to think of as many different kinds of trees I can. Aspen, Pine, Maple, Willow, etc. until I’ve gotten my brain out of the negative loop and I feel a little bit calmer. Sometimes those adult coloring books are also a good way for me to distract my brain for a little while. Other times, I just have to sit with it and accept it and just let it pass.

Do you think it’s healthier to focus on the healing than the anxiety?

Something that I’m trying to learn to do right now is to try not to fight the anxiety. The moment I fight against the fact that I’m feeling anxious, it turns into a full-blown anxiety attack. If, instead of fighting it, I accept that it’s there and try to work through it, it tends to resolve quicker. I guess in that way I am focusing on the healing — focusing on breathing deeply and distracting my mind while I just accept that I am anxious and that’s the way it is.

 

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xxxChips

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