Not Running

Last week here in Texas, we had a monster winter storm that knocked out power and water for millions and put the hurt on all of us. And after the sun came out and just when I thought I had a chance to start getting things caught up, I had something kicked out from under me. Luckily, my friends and family have come through but there have been a lot of setbacks, too. Funds are tied up, plans fall through, and obstacles keep coming up constantly to maneuver around.

In the past, my first instinct was to run and hide, to just sit and endure my pain and fear by myself and let it damn near drown me. Most of all, I wouldn’t even think of putting my thoughts and feelings into words and sharing them. Why?

1) I used to think if I kept writing through a personal crisis that would jinx me. I used to think if I wrote the Universe would kick the shit out of me even more. I linked shit happening to my writing. It’s taken me a long time to see and realize that’s not how it works. And if anyone tries to make think otherwise, it won’t go well for them.

2) My father once said to me he couldn’t believe God would sit on his throne in heaven and hurl shit at humans just because he could or for any other reason. He didn’t think the Almighty Himself worked that way. But then my father also used to say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, too. I will admit in the last year I’ve had moments where I’ve been alone in the car raging at God so badly I’m surprised my words didn’t singe my car’s ceiling. But lightning bolts didn’t shoot down from above and slam me in the ass or anything else. Instead, things just kept on going like they’re doing now.

All my life I’ve been told to have faith, faith in the good in this world and that things do get better. I’d like to add another one to that: have faith in yourself. Over the last four years I’ve been telling myself and others that you’re so much stronger than you’ll ever realize.

But my faith in myself has always been shaky at best. I’ve always questioned my decisions and tried to figure out if they were the right ones. I’ve always tried to think things through when I can and hope for the best. That’s hard to do when there are still echoes from the past where I had my decisions relentlessly questioned and judged for what I know see was for no damn good reason. I know with all my heart and soul that no one has all the answers and that’s okay.

Another thing I’m beginning to realize is that life isn’t, and shouldn’t be ‘go go go’ all the time. Because in reality, it’s more like ‘hurry up and wait’. I think it’s more like not every single damn decision needs to be treated as immediate life-or-death. Living at that high rate of demand will wear you down hard and it’s not necessary. I mean, you’re going to get things kicked out from under no matter what and unless there is a real immediate need to make a decision, don’t treat every decision like that. And if someone doesn’t agree with that, to hell with them.

Here are the lessons I’d like to share here from this personal storm I’ve been through so far:

1) Breathe: still the best damn piece of advice I’ve ever gotten.

2) Don’t make every single decision in your life feel like a huge life-or-death do-it-now type of thing. Very few decisions are of that magnitude.

3) Once you make a decision, all you can do is go forward and deal with the results no matter what they are. Questioning something once is done is complete and utter fucking bullshit.

4) Take care of yourself. Be sure to eat, try to rest at least if you can’t fall asleep, and be sure to do something that puts a smile on your face.

5) Don’t be hard on yourself. There’s no need to hard-ass yourself every moment of every day. Been there, done that, and have the scars and memories to deal with for the rest of my life.

6) No one has all the answers and if someone thinks they do, walk away from them. You don’t need that kind of shit in your life.

Find a way to break the silence of your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to share things like I do publicly but be sure to do so in your mind. I used to think I had no right to my thoughts and feelings at all but over the last four and a half years, I’ve been telling myself I do. This is what is keeping from running and hiding when I don’t need to.

Problem or Solution

Do you want to be a part of the problem, or part of the solution?

This is a question I’ve seen asked over the years but especially in the last month or so on a national political scale. But what does it mean?

I would think of it like this: to be a part of the problem is not acknowledging there is a problem, or minimizing the scope and depth of a problem, or worst of all, saying you’re not a part of the problem at all because you’re not doing something wrong.

Now I could write about this on a national political scale but I’ve decided to narrow it down to my own life because I’ve had a bit of a light-bulb moment and want to think it through out loud here.

My initial thought when that light-bulb came on in my head was like everyone else I have problems. But then I asked myself: what am I doing to solve them? Am I just putting out fires and putting band-aids on things? Or am I working towards long-term solutions? And if I’m not working towards long-term solutions, why?

That last question usually gets answered with: ‘It’s complicated.” My response to that now: “Like no shit, really?”

Why not work towards long-term solutions? Am I afraid someone’s going to come after me if I do? No, I’m not afraid of some mythical asshole or some whining hand-wringing asshole either. Now I’m telling myself this on a daily basis, and sometimes more than once a day: if someone has a problem with me or what I’m doing, or not doing, then they can put on their grown-up clothes and come to talk to me about it.

I think today’s light-bulb moment is coming from the realization that I’m not wanting to sit and wait for shit to come down that won’t be coming down unless someone makes an effort. And in the grand scheme of things, my piddly-ass existence doesn’t warrant that level of a shit-storm. I know shit can happen all the sudden like a 18-wheeler barreling down on you out of nowhere on I-10 downtown. But all I can do is what I do when I’m on that freeway: keep going.

For so damn long, I have felt like I have to just sit and twiddle my thumbs while waiting outside the principal’s office waiting to get called in then passive-aggressively chewed out over some bullshit. But here’s a newsflash for the world: I’m not a school-kid anymore and most of all, I don’t have to put up with passive-aggressive or hand-wringing bullshit even if it’s just inside my damn head.

Now I will freely admit I’ve made a shit-ton of mistakes in my life. But guess what? SO HAS EVERYONE ELSE! I used to think everyone else in this world had their shit together and I didn’t and never would. I’ve known that’s total bullshit for close to six years now.

Just because you get knocked on your ass doesn’t mean you can’t get up and keep going. Yes, I know there are people in this world who are fucking assholes and want to keep you on the ground. Don’t let them do that, and don’t let them live rent-free inside your head even if they don’t know they do. Evict their sorry asses once and for all say: You’re not my problem so you’re not my solution either.

We all know what our problems are. And we know we can find solutions to them. It’s just finding the will and the determination to make those solutions happen. It’s something I’m trying to figure out but that’s okay. But in encouragement here I want to say this to my readers here:

Be a part of the solution, and not part of the problem.