And Add a Sprinkle of Glitter…

Baggage… We all carry it. What’s in your baggage? Daddy issues, tragedy, grief, bitterness, shame, hatred? Maybe your baggage is full of rainbows, unicorns, butterflies, and glitter? Like most people, you probably have a combination of all of the above.

It is interesting because baggage is usually referred to in a negative context. If a divorced woman enters into a relationship with 5 kids and her ex cheated on her, people might say “she has a lot of baggage… you sure you want to be with her.” Frankly, this is a ridiculous statement. Yeah, this woman is carrying some stuff with her but we are all lugging shit around! Baggage can contain anything ranging from wreckage to joyful wonder.

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on my own baggage. I just finished graduate school and haven’t started my job yet. I’ve got some time on my hands. Anyways, I realized something about myself that frankly shocked me. A lot of the shit that I have in my baggage is leading me to see myself as a victim. Ugh! Even writing that sentence disgusts me. You see, I’d like to see myself as a confident, thriving, and powerful woman. Instead, I have let past resentments, losses, pains, discriminations, etc. shape me into someone I’d rather not recognize.

I am incredibly grateful for my life. I am actually pretty happy and resilient most of the time. But when I really start to rummage around within myself, I find a lot of dust, grime, and cobwebs surrounding some stuff that I should have let go of years ago. In some ways, that stuff has driven me to succeed. It has driven me to prove people wrong. My baggage has shaped me. Who am I without it? In other ways, my baggage is weighing me down and holding me back. My arms are starting to shake under the pressure and the rest of me is starting to sweat. Maybe it is time to put it down, open it up, and reassess what belongs and add a sprinkle of glitter.

It must be impossible to rid yourself of baggage entirely. If we did, we’d be empty husks connecting with nothing and no one. But I’m learning that we can unpack and reorganize our baggage. It takes courage and hard work but it can be done. Today, I have decided that I am a victim no more. I am going to take hold of what control I do have and leave the rest to fate or the universe or God or whatever or whoever is grater than me. So here’s to unpacking, decluttering, reorganizing, reassessing, minimizing, and repacking baggage. Cheers!

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And Just When I Thought You Considered Me A Human…

Crack my head open

On your kitchen floor

To prove to you that I have brains

– Alkaline Trio

When you are disabled, much of your life is spent proving your humanity to others. Too often, disabled people are objects; objects of your pity, objects of your existential strife, objects that someone needs to care for, objects of your inspiration, I could go on. Objects are acted on and not interacted with. And when we get too comfortable with our illusion of humanity, someone will always be there to shatter it. Someone, so graciously, reminded me of my objectified existence today. They really deserve a medal for preventing this disabled chick from using her own brain.

The thing is, she meant well. Most people do. Long story short, plans were unnecessarily changed in order to accommodate my disability. No one asked me. They gave me a vague reason for the change. I was living in ignorant bliss until today. Then someone opened their big mouth and said “well, we changed the plan for you, because you know, your disability.” When I explained that the change was unnecessary, she replied “I guess we should have asked.” Nailed it! You definitely should have asked! You see, we could chalk this up to a learning experience and call it a day. That’s a part of what I will do. The other part is that I will do my best to explain to you, dear reader, why this is fucked up. I want you to be better than that.

These people forgot that I am a human! I am not a delicate flower. I will not whither if you offend me. I will not be crushed by your carelessness. And you are not an almighty force that makes or breaks me. We are 2 fellow humans so let’s treat one another as such.

Fear also factors into this. They were afraid of offending me. Maybe they were afraid of needing to help me. Maybe they were afraid of the discomfort of watching me do something in my own way. Who knows! The point is, YOU ARE BRAVER THAN THAT!

Through my time working in community mental health, I have learned a few things.

1. We are all just a few intensely shitty experiences away from the things we fear the most… Maybe that is living on the streets, or becoming terminally ill, dyeing, becoming disabled, etc.

2. People experience intense discomfort when faced with this concept.

I get it! It makes me pretty uncomfortable too. So what do we do? Truthfully, I do not know. But one thing we can do is BE BRAVE and remember one another’s humanity.

To illustrate my complicity, here is a story. I was on the bus the other day when a young guy in a wheel chair gets on. He started talking about how he was pretty newly disabled from a traumatic event. When he was sharing his story, I felt really emotional. I was faced with those really common/pesky existential concerns. I felt really bad for the dude. But I think what I did wrong here is that I made his stuff about me. I was not brave. I made him an object.I think it would be pretty accurate to assume that he has no interest in my pity. He is probably interested in being treated like a resilient human who went through some rough shit. He probably has lots of opinions, and favorite movies/bands/books, and hobbies. He is more than that disability. He is complex. We are all complex.

TLDR: Objectification is easy and weak. Be brave and recognize humans for humans.

Almost There…! ๐Ÿคน๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŽข

It’s the eve of my second to last quarter of grad school and I am feeling anxious as hell! There’s this part of me that can taste the savory end and this other part of me that is preparing for a bungee jumping adventure and my harness is a touch too loose. It doesn’t help that I’m starting out 2018 like a clumsy toddler fumbling for a lost pacifier in a ball pit. My dryer is producing this God awful burning smell that we are trying to fix before it starts a house fire. I just found out that my dog has a tooth fracture that could lead to her becoming very sick if we don’t spend $2000 to get it fixed. I almost dropped a bottle of tabasco sauce on my head but it landed on my coffee grinder instead and shattered the most vital piece of the grinder. Super grateful that it wasn’t my head! Oh, and I got my dates mixed up and missed my first class. Not sure why they decided to make school start in the middle of the week, as opposed to starting at the beginning of the week, but hey! And this morning, my graceful self snapped a handle straight off a mug. Just call me she hulk!

I just feel like a god damn hot mess, y’all! And I just want to feel like I have my shit together!

The start of a new quarter means more evaluation and more criticism! And let me tell you, evaluation and criticism do not always make you feel like you got your shit together. In reality, I know it is so not that bad. In the end, it will make me a better therapist. It just starts to weigh on you after a while. It doesn’t help that I have not managed to make good friends in this program. I mean, I have people I can chat with but no one that I can really talk to. No one to look forward to seeing at school. And that human connection is so crucial to perseverance. Don’t get me wrong. I have the will to get through this program. I have a great support system outside of school. It would just help to have someone on the inside, ya know? Then maybe I wouldn’t do things like miss the first day of classes.

When I decided to go back to school, I thought it would be like re-living my years as an undergrad… It so isn’t! At this point, I just can’t wait to get that degree and start making money again. And I think this is an unfortunate mindset to have. I try to remain positive and embrace the moment, but it is just not working. I want to wake up everyday excited to go to school and internship but nope! Can’t do it. It doesn’t help that I am a slight germ-a-phobe and my internship site is not for the germ avoidant.

I need an attitude adjustment! One of the other interns at my site is constantly sing songing “I need an attitude adjustment.” I think I am going to adopt this mantra. And the other sassy one says “I don’t know if I want to be a therapist anymore.” Rough times where it is tough to be positive.

But here’s the thing… The hell of grad school will be worth it in the end. I will get to be paid for something that I enjoy. I get to hold a space for human vulnerability every day. I get to keep learning things that I find interesting and worth while. And I can continue growing in my humanity each and every day.

I write this for cathartic release. I write this to give myself an attitude adjustment. I write this to remind myself to pull up my big girl panties and stop bitching.

And so it is…“`