But it’s who we are.

Kesha put out her newest song this week, entitled “Praying” and I will be the first to admit that I ran the whole gambit of emotions listening to it, including the compulsion to listen to it on repeat for hours on end. Although the song itself deserves more words than I could give, it actually made me think about a different post I’ve been chewing on. (But don’t worry-there will be a Kesha post before I leave this state.)

I met up with a friend this week for coffee before I make the journey. She and I have been friends since second grade-making that just about 18 years. We’ve been strong friends since freshman year of high school and I consider her one of the people I hold most dear and close to my heart. It was during this coffee meeting that we talked about our lives, the directions they were heading and without breaking the level of commitment to each other, we spoke of doubt and concern and fear.

I told her that we didn’t have to tackle the heavy stuff, and she told me that that was who we are. I don’t know about you, but having a friend who you can make jokes with and take on the messy bits with-without fear of judgment or losing conversation flow is one of the nicest things I think a person can have. She makes me so sad that I’m actually leaving this state, because I won’t get to see her face.

But I had a point.

Sometimes you have all these external battles you have to face. Work, school, bills, moving, other people. And these battles can take the form of physical, mental and spiritual ones. But sometimes you have internal battles. Depression, anxiety, doubt, fear, a lack of self-care. And those battles are no less important. They just also happen to be really hard to fight, because sometimes they coincide with external stressors.

Life is hard. I’m not going to sugar coat it. And so many times I have a heart to heart with myself about what it is I’m doing. Because it feels like I’m just a drop in the ocean of chaos. There doesn’t seem like there’s a meaning, a purpose to everything. And that’s such a hard place to be-because you’re the only one who can pull yourself out of it, but you’re the one in there fighting.

Love doesn’t mean coddling and over-protectiveness. Love isn’t shielding you from every bad thing that can happen. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be in pain, be scared, be sad. Love isn’t something that covers everything in bandaids and rainbows. Especially when your heart is in the right place.

Love is the thing that keeps you from giving up because it’s hard. Love means letting yourself get hurt because that’s how you grow and that’s how you learn to be a light for others. Love is the reason that you wake up every day, facing those battles that feel like they’re too much to handle.

I saw a post the other day on Facebook that said something like: “You were born to bring love to someone else. They need your laughter, your kindness, your hope. That’s why you make it through the tough times-so you can be a light for them.”

And I made a comment on that post that said just five words.
“And that person is yourself.”

So many times we forget that if we don’t pay attention the our own needs and our own brokenness, we can’t possibly do all the good we aspire to do. You are worth every ounce of love and laughter and empathy that you give out to others. And it’s not being selfish-it’s your duty.

I’ve spent a long time angry at the idea of God. I felt abandoned, I felt forgotten. I ran so far in the other direction that I passed deity and went straight to bitterness. And I spent a long time there. But bitterness can only take you to the rock bottom you were so desperately trying to avoid. I spent a long while looking for answers to those big questions, those “Why?”s. And I can’t say I have the answers. But I have the ones that keep me going, hoping for a better tomorrow. Religion and self-care have a lot in common. And whatever the “truth” looks like to you-if it isn’t wrapped in unconditional love, it’s just not the truth.

I think that each person has their own idea of truth, the truth that is true to them. And if that’s Christianity, that’s okay. If it is Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Paganism, that’s okay. Because at the end of the day, you can only do your very best. And that very best is love. The love that doesn’t prevent pain, but endures it. The love that doesn’t disguise fear and doubt, but prepares you to battle it. The love that reminds you that you are just as worthy of happiness and empathy and care and hope as everyone else. No matter where you find that kind of love, it has to start within.

“I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come.
I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying.”
-Praying, Kesha.

No.

Three days. It feels like a countdown to doom. Just a couple short moments until the world as we know it pauses. I know that good things come from dire places, but doesn’t it feel a little *too* dire?

I’m trying. I’m trying to be the optimist here, to be the person whose logic and reasoning skills are intact. I’m trying to not let the fear and the crushing weight of all that is happening allow me to come undone. Really.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are a great many things that I feel. There are facets of my life that both thrill and terrify me (in the exhilarating, stressful way). And then there is just three days from now-when all the lowest things about human society become what everyone sees of my country.

I know I have a few international readers-and I do hope you see this for what it is and not an insult to your reasoning skills-but I have a message. A request, really.

Please do not look at January 21 and think that all Americans are like that. Please do not think we all hate differences, are afraid of people who aren’t the same as us. The loud minority is drowning us out, but we are here and we are fighting. There are those of us who care for the water and the planet we live on, who weep at the injustices at Standing Rock. There are those of us who value the lives of other human beings, both those who look like us and those who don’t. There are those of us who love openly, and rejoice when others can do the same-regardless of whether or not it fits our idea of love. There are those of us who are working to make the world better-not drag it back into hatred, ignorance, bigotry and fear mongering.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. I am.

But do you know what I know?

I know that in dire times, good comes. When human kind needs it most, who should appear but Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Shirin Ebadi. The list goes on.

I can’t wait to see who our next humanitarian leader is. Maybe I’ll get to meet them. Maybe, dare I dream it-I might be them.

Sleep peacefully, readers. Be safe, be loved.

You have value. You are valid. You are irreplaceable.

We’ll make it. Together.

I’m Sorry

I feel the need to talk to you all, and I’m struggling with words-but things still need said.

So I’m going just make this post about what really matters-love and acceptance. I won’t-and can’t-give into hate, especially with what happened yesterday/this morning.

You are valid. You are loved. You are valued. You have worth. You have meaning. You are needed. You have purpose. You are important.

Here are links to some of the blogs I’ve written that are necessary right now, I feel, and the more important ones have ** beside them.

** Orientation and Gender Validation

Sexual Assault Facts/Survivor Story

My Letter to the Stanford Victim

Inconceivable.

** Sexual Assault Resources

Women’s Rights

When Push Comes to Shove

** We The People

** Enough

 

Please know that this day is but one of many. And although what you are feeling is valid, our battle is only just beginning. I will be out there, fighting for rights-yours and mine. And as long as we all know that oppression isn’t something we have to just accept, we will never be defeated.

All I ask is that we do not give into fear and hatred. That is the currency of the people who were elected-not us.

Together, we are stronger. Together, we will live.

The sun will rise again.

Nos cœurs sont avec vous.

It’s important to note that I do not speak French, but I took the title from someone I believe does (and I Googled it to make sure it was right) but if it *isn’t* correct, someone let me know? I don’t want to be offensive.

I had to look up Bastille Day, because I didn’t really know what it was. Turns out, it’s an important celebration because of the French Revolution. So I can understand why there were loads of people out today in France. I mean, in my city, during July 4th, there’s a little thing we call Red, White and Boom which draws half a million or so people-all for an independence celebration. And yet, it wouldn’t have even passed my radar, had not one vile thing occurred.

Just a month ago, I was writing the words about pain and sadness and frustration because someone felt the need to attack a group of citizens. A few months before that I spoke of how my heart hurt for Paris, and how love would conquer hate. And here we are once more. Seventy-seven people lost their lives today while they were celebrating freedom in their country and I am sure that more people were wounded. The truck which plowed into people was fully armed, all the way to explosives and grenades.

How do you tell people that you’re certain that the will of the many will outweigh the actions of the few? I grappled with that for a while after Pulse. How do you preach words of love and acceptance while friends and family members vanish instantly from your life? What can be said to heal people who just wanted to enjoy time with their families?

Nothing.

No words can be said to spare the pain, or ease it.

I remember just a couple years ago, I was at the funeral of a childhood friend who had died by suicide. I remember feeling so shaken because I couldn’t find the words which accurately described just how I felt, or to remove the weight and pain from my heart. And I looked at his family and realized that I couldn’t say anything-because words didn’t fix anything.

Words will do nothing so long as that is all they are. Well-wishes can only touch the surface of the pain and sadness which are and will be. It is only when they are followed by actions-by the continued efforts to value and protect life that words mean anything at all.

You see, it doesn’t matter if you spend all day speaking words of love and peace if that is all you do. You must live the life you speak of. You must live it in every action. And even then, the reality is-it just might not be enough.

I know this all sounds a little bleak. I find that each time something of this nature comes across my news, I am both disgusted by it and empassioned by it. We are all suffering. Each and every one of us. And we have to help each other.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -The Once-ler.

Heavy Hearts

To say that the recent events have no affect on my life would be a lie. Although they are not as personal for me as Pulse, I am a human being and as such, I find the amount of violence and death to be devastating. And let me say, I am sorry for the loss of life for all people-both in the recent attacks in the Middle East and the shootings in the States. Violence is never the answer.

I wrote the response to Mr. Sterling a couple days ago, and I know that it was just words. Words are how I grieve the failings of humanity. As a writer and as a student, we are taught to focus our thoughts into sentences and papers, as a way to combat ignorance. For now, that is all I can do: combat ignorance.

You see, it isn’t a simple answer and solution situation. Generalizations are one of the most dangerous tools humans possess. Not all feminists hate men. Not all men are rapists. Not all cops are evil. Not all people of dark melanin are bad people. I can think of two historical periods in which generalizations caused devastation on a massive scale. The first, as I’m sure most are familiar with is the Holocaust. Jewish people, Gypsy people, Gay people, people with impairments and others were taken away and massacred for being different. And it happened here in America too. It wasn’t Jewish people, people of Asian ethnicity or the slave trade I am referring to, although there were troublesome times there as well. It is the Indigenous population I am referring to. The systematic slaughter of people who were different.

I am just one person. And so are you. It is not wrong to want justice for crimes committed. It is not wrong to  hold police officers in high regards while also holding them to high standards. It is not wrong to ask for the law to pass just judgments.

The easiest way to make the changes we want to see in the world is to vote. I mean it. We vote on the people who are meant to lead us, to protect us. It takes not long at all (I was able to cast my ballot in the primaries in less than 10 minutes.) and it will affect you for ages to come. So with all of this in mind, I am going to implore the readers of my blog to use their better judgment.

I’m not telling you who to vote for. That isn’t why I’m writing. And that most definitely isn’t what I am saying. What I AM saying is that these incidents of violence and hatred and death will not cease if the person we elect as president is a hate-spewing, violence endorsing, racist, sexist, philandering, desperate monster. It will, should a person like that become president, become worse. And what happens when it is your children? Your parents or spouse or siblings? Will a presidential vote bring lives lost back? No. Will a vote stop all of the problems? No. But if you do nothing else, please, please make sure that the racism and hatred stops before it makes it to the White House.

I know a lot of response videos have been made for rallies, but this is one of the ones I have watched several times over. I hadn’t meant for this post to become political, but I guess it has.

Misha Goes to a Trump Rally

Fix You

There’s a gaping hole of hatred and bigotry in the world. Not too many people are safe these days. Muslim places of worship are attacked just the same as Christian places of worship. Booming cities in Europe and America are attacked just the same as cities in the Middle East. SAGA (sexuality and gender acceptance) individuals are gunned down just the same as people of color. Death, injustice, hatred, persecution. It fills the news, it divides, it destroys.

There are people who spew anger so fiercely that it is as a volcano, the devastation follows wherever they go. They speak of things they do not understand, promoting actions which will do nothing more than hurt people, damage humanity and suffocate the truth values of being human. They rile the masses, using catch phrases and soundbites to make their claims validated, evoking the misplaced anger many feel but do not know where to direct.

The thing about evil is that it will continue to spread if good people stand idly by. It isn’t the failed attempts which bring death-it is the lack of trying altogether.

There are people who sit in their pews, their prayer rooms, their offices and homes uttering phrases like “my heart goes out to you” and “I’ll pray for you” and “a moment of silence”. But when that is all that happens, nothing changes. Evil does not need riots and violence-it needs apathy. Prayers and thoughts and well-wishes cannot be the only thing that happens. It will change nothing. It doesn’t matter who hears you or how powerful they are. If you stand by with your thoughts, you are giving the terrible injustices of the world your permission to carry on.

I invite you all to take a chance. Go out and do something. You don’t have to conquer the world. You don’t even need to fix every problem. But each small action is a stance against what is wrong. And that is the real meaning of life.

Snow Falls Slowly On the Mountain

Hi there everyone. I’ve been taking things slow for a few days. I really miss the chances to just connect, to just simply be-without emotional necessity. I’ve been working fervently on several things all at once and I needed a chance to clear my head. So that is precisely what I did. And I really wanted to share my Ramadan experience in light of the recent attacks in Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But now I think I want to do a little bit of introversion as far as blogs go. No expectations, just thoughts.

I love thunderstorms. That should surprise no one. I often compare my existence to storms, hurricanes and weather of assorted variety. But one of my favorite things is when I’m so connected to the storms. I believe that the thunder and lightning are the sky spirits speaking to us, and I whenever there is a big storm, I go out on my balcony and sing to them. And the coolest thing is that when I reach a really emotional part, a power chord or a really high note, the storm inevitably picks up with a momentary deluge, thunder clap or lightning show. It’s my very favorite thing about storms.

I spent Litha (summer solstice) in quiet meditation. -Here’s where I should probably give you the Campbell’s soup (condensed) version of some things.- So ever since I left the church some years ago, I haven’t found a way to pray without feeling like a monster. So when I say “pray” I very strictly mean “rejoice in my blessings” not “ask for things”. When I do have things to ask for, I light a blood candle and ask, no ceremonial “Please may I…” stuff. So just know that it is VERY unusual that I asked for guidance. I can talk about the particulars of my belief system later if people are interested.

I used a couple meditation videos for spirit guides and began my journey. I’d heard from several people that their guide came to them very quickly (or not at all) and either said nothing or gave them a present (like a gemstone or a kiss on the cheek). So I tried to mentally visualize my way through the exercise, trying not to focus on animals I dearly love, faces of ancestors and the like. So it was my great surprise when I was not greeted by a “realistic” looking spirit, but a great big stag made of dimly glowing light (I found a picture on Google). And when given the chance to speak, all he said was “Why do you seek that which cannot be found?” He nudged a small present (yellow box, red ribbon) towards me and inside it was hope, glowing like sunshine. And then he was gone.

Stag spirit animalOdd, I thought. And very peculiar-because I hadn’t really been searching for anything. So I asked a couple of spiritual leaders I trust, and they were helpful, but nothing really *stuck* so I waited a week or so and tried again. This time, it was the same stag, made of light. The meditation exercise I was listening to mentioned finding out their name, and I asked. “My name is Snow Falls Slowly on the Mountain” he said. “So it has been found, She Who Guides the Water.” That was the name he gave to me. I thought that was pretty nifty, thanked him for coming to me and ended my meditation.

So where does that leave me? Well, I’ve had some time to get everything sorted, and I think I have some answers.

That which I seek: myself
What cannot be found: the perfect version of myself, which fits into each niche perfectly
What I found: the perfect version of myself that I need, the one I deserve to love.
It took until today, when the storms rolled across the sky that I understood why he called me She Who Guides the Water. It’s the storms.
Yellow=creativity. Red=passion.
The stag of light is symbolic of a great change coming, a shift in life meant to be interpreted as a call to preparation.

I thought this was probably the nicest spiritual milestone I’ve come across. And I’m sure there are people out there who would love to break it down, as though my spiritual journey weren’t valid. It is, though. And I don’t want to spoil it, but I had a dream this morning about the specificity of that shift, and let’s just say, my future is looking bright indeed.

And what’s more? My application for the new apartment (or lease is just about up in this one) was approved-without a cosigner. Turns out, when I stop panicking every second of every day, life lets me focus on the positives. I have less than 3 weeks to get everything set for moving because ready or not, my life is changing.

celebration.jpg

I’m probably going to do a double-post today. The next one will be more structured, more typical of “me”. But we’ll see I suppose. Happy Tuesday everyone!