this is how i spent my lunch break:
this is how i spent my lunch break:
canada was fun. it feels almost unreal that we were only there for a couple of days! just a quick stop, presentation, radio interview, gala, meeting, and home.
we’re heading back to canada in april to bring our program there.
i had conversations with friends this weekend, and went out with them last night. it was so needed. i have a problem with letting my life fall apart because i obsess over work, and it becomes the only thing that’s important to me and the only thing that’s real. i let my friendships fall apart, and i didn’t realize that it was because i didn’t trust my friends. not because they aren’t trustworthy or because they did something wrong, but because i don’t trust anyone.
it’s something that richard has pointed out to me before, but i guess i didn’t see it playing out in my friendships with women, until it did. i thought one of my closest friendships was falling apart, and instead of trying to salvage it, i explained it away, “we were drifting apart,” “well, i’m busy anyway,” and i hid the hurt. when i actually talked to her, she was surprised that my mind went there, as though we weren’t as close as we are.
i’ve always known that this is something i do in romantic relationships, but i didn’t recognize that i put up a wall with my friends, too.
it’s something that will take me time, and energy, and effort, and vulnerability to tear down. but i want to.
i read this today, and it resonated so much with me that i want it tattooed all over my body:
i still can’t settle down. i still make weekly plans to leave dc and start a new life. i’m a gypsy and a wanderess.
next month: canada, colorado, maybe portland! we pick up our passports tomorrow.
i’ve worked hard for this❤
Something I’ve learned about myself, or may have known for a long time, is that I operate best in a crisis. Where there is no crisis, I find that I’ll often manufacture one, whether it’s picking a fight with a partner or putting myself in a risky situation.
I thrive in the nonprofit sector because there’s always a crisis. There’s always a problem to fix, if you’re paying attention. And I know how to respond, when I’m overwhelmed, when I’m pushed beyond my limit, when I’m not sleeping at all, when I barely have time to eat. I put all of my focus and all of my energy toward responding to the crisis.
Oddly, I feel more overwhelmed when there’s no emergency. There are a million things to do, but nothing is urgent. Nothing is life or death. Everything is just a task that somehow, indirectly, fits into the larger scheme of things, but it’s hard for me to see it that way when I know that there won’t be instant results. The little things make me antsy and anxious and exhausted and overwhelmed.
But when it’s life or death, I perk up like I’m being given a free throw. I am calm, I am patient, I am collected. I am always ready to rise to the occasion.
I remember being unrealistically calm during childbirth. It took more than 55 hours of labor before Max was finally born. I was in overwhelming pain. My midwives gave me the option to go to the hospital; they didn’t know what was happening or what to do. They didn’t want to break my water, because they didn’t know how long it would go on, and then someone said I could try pushing, when I wasn’t fully dilated, to see if I could break my own water and give birth. For whatever reason, I wasn’t worried. I knew that I didn’t need to go to the hospital, I didn’t need a C-section. I had a completely natural, 55-hour labor, and I pushed to break my own water and pushed my baby out. And I did it before midnight (11:28pm), so I won a bet in the process.
I’ve recognized for years that I don’t need to function like I’m in survival mode anymore. But, I’ve failed to appreciate this unique ability as something that has set me apart in my activism. I’m able to function in survival mode for others who are in survival mode. I’m able to fight for other people’s lives as though I’m fighting for my own. And it’s effective, because I’m all in.
That’s not to say that I shouldn’t be taking better care of myself. I know that it’s not sustainable to take on everyone’s crises like they’re my crises. I’m working on setting boundaries in my life, that are important for me and important for the people that I want to help.
I’m not helping you by protecting you from the consequences of your actions. I’m always torn because there’s a part of me that sees that people need unconditional love, and I don’t want to be the one who sets conditions. I want to be there for others, and especially those who have nowhere else to turn, but I have to do it in a way that doesn’t harm me.
After offering her six months of rent-free living, after she has robbed me twice, after I’ve gone out of my way and consistently felt walked all over, I’m setting boundaries. And so I’ve asked her to leave, and it’s long overdue.
Things are still going exceptionally well.
Still, I’m struggling to find balance and to keep everyone happy and to figure out what I want out of my life.
hashtag mid-twenties crisis
say no. say no. say no.
maybe if i put it in bold, i’ll remember.
I consistently overcommit myself. I believe so deeply that I can do everything, that I can somehow be in 10 places at once, that I don’t need breaks to eat or sleep or do human things.
I took this job because I wanted to be happy, and for some reason, happiness has historically meant to me that I don’t take care of myself. That I let my home fall into shambles. My bed has been broken for months. My dresser has been broken for months. I just kinda move along, pretending it doesn’t matter. Waiting for someone to take care of the things that I’ve convinced myself are unimportant. I become obsessed with work. I become obsessed and addicted. The hits keep on coming.
Every time it seems like I’ve reached my peak, I manage to outdo myself. It’s so thrilling and unreasonable. It just seems to get better and better and better and better.
but I crash hard and fast. I hit these breaking points, and I look around and wonder why I’m so tired and why my life is in shambles. I don’t understand balance. When I’m in, I’m all in, and when I’m out, I’m all out.
i’m having lunch with ben tomorrow. weeks ago, i would’ve said that i had strong feelings for him, and now i can’t even remember what that might have felt like.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working with a group to tackle gender-based violence from a different angle: focusing not only on healing womxn but on healing men.
I know that we cannot end sexual assault by teaching womxn how to avoid being assaulted. I know that we cannot end street harassment by teaching womxn how to respond to harassment. We need to continue to give womxn and LGBTQGNC people the space to share their stories and to learn to assertively demand respect, even just to learn that they deserve respect. We are most frequently the targets of violence, and as such, our stories and experiences need to be centered, so we can heal.
But, for me, healing is not something that I can do on my own.
I know that my abuser is suffering, too, in ways that he may not recognize. Our culture of toxic masculinity hurts everyone. And while I’ve repeatedly chosen forgiveness as my path toward healing, I haven’t figured out how to forgive someone who’d hurt me again if given the chance.
I told myself that, through forgiveness, I’d find peace. I sat down with him, with the goal of learning to see him not as a monster but as human again. But I don’t know how to forgive in a way that doesn’t require those who have hurt me to change, or to want to change – to forgive in a way that doesn’t reinforce their power over me.
How can I sit with you knowing the ways that you’ve abused me, ready to forgive and move forward and heal, when you perceive my forgiveness as weakness and use it to hurt me again? How can I help you heal if you maintain that there’s nothing wrong?
And then I have to remember that this work is not about me. I’m working to bring about slow cultural change that may or may not ever reach the specific people who abused me, but will reach someone, someone just like them, who is ready to change.
I always think about the chart I made: a thermometer that gave him points for every day that he was sober. A point and a half if he was able to go out without me, to stay sober without my help. He had to accumulate points to get the things he wanted. I built in room for error, because I knew I couldn’t expect to cure his alcoholism this way.
I’ve had to learn that I cannot force the will to change on anyone. But I can popularize healthy masculinity. I can work to provide men with the tools and the space to overcome the ways that they’ve been socialized to suppress emotion and enact masculinity through brute force. I can work to undo the associations of emotion with weakness and strength with violence. I can learn how to help men become whole.
And as the mother of a boy, this work is so essential.