When This is all Over

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There has been something weighing heavy on my mind lately. We are living in a different world than we were at the start of 2020. People are inside more than ever, and every day our lives are changing because of the coronavirus.

Yet, I have seen so much compassion for those on the front lines. People are reaching out to those that are losing members of their families. For those who are the unfortunate ones that have gotten the virus. I am amazed by the outpour of support of one of my contributors of this blog, you can read about her story here. I see it on social media. I see it everywhere. I make it a point to thank those people who still have to go out in the world where they are at risk every day.

Yet, we are not always compassionate when life is good. We forgot in these times that there is still real hate out there, and it affects our society as a whole. Look at the Asian Americans that are being attacked simply for being Asian. The coronavirus knows no race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. Is it not possible that we, as a whole society, can be these empathetic to everyone we come across? Not just when we are in a pandemic. A wise person told me recently that we are more alike than different.

When this is all over, let’s be better people. Let us put people in power that want to help the people without a voice because they are the disfranchised. I hate getting political here, but we have seen how politics are being chosen over helping people. Let us remember how, since people have been sheltering in place that the environment has been helped and improved in a short time. Let’s have compassion for people dealing with anything that is taking over their lives. We can be better people, we have been doing it for a month now.

I am by no means not part of the problem. How many times have I not said thank you for someone doing their job? I know that sometimes I feel disconnect because I am an introvert, but now more than ever, I crave connection to others. I want mental illness to be recognized by all as a real thing that we have to solve. There are so many problems in the world that we need more compassion and empathy. We are the human race, and we need to do better, not just during a pandemic.

One last thing. If you have to go out into the world, make a plan, and limit yourself to exposure. Get items delivered if at all possible and make sure that you sat thank you to those who have to work in this crisis. If you see a nurse, paramedic, grocery store worker, delivery drivers, or anyone who still has to brave the world because they are essential, be kind. These people are the real heroes of this pandemic. Always stay safe.

Always Keep Fighting

James

You can visit the author site of James Edgar Skye here.

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Follow the Clues to Find the Light Inside

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The light. You may ask what I’m talking about, but what you may not understand just yet, is that you have the answer. The light, the spark, the fire within is something you have the means and ways of tapping into, you have the ability to not only find but let blaze your path intended for you in the world. As early as childhood you’ve been given clues, like breadcrumbs, as to how your light is defined, what incredible gift you possess, and how to share it. You know those clues that at one time may have been labeled as annoyances or stages or phases.

That time you doodled all over your notebook and failed that geometry test, the obsession with colors and paint, the music that played over and over in your head, the voice that would come out sometimes only in the shower, being compelled to help animals, people or bugs, the speech you gave that brought you to tears, the engine you took apart and put back together over and over just because, the way your heart was pulled to the outdoors in nature, or the pages and pages of quotes and stories in the hundred journals you have from family and friends.

Whatever it may be, whatever pulls you to your center, your truth, what makes time non-existent, that “thing” you do that drives you, gives you reason, makes you smile to your core is it. You may not recognize it quite yet, or you may have known since you were three years old, or you know, and you just don’t know what to do with it, but that my friends, is your light. That light is your passion, your gift, your reason and a beat so loud in your heart that you should not, you cannot, ignore it.

Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Ask yourself, ask what your passion is, and close your eyes and really listen to that quiet but strong voice, and the answer will present itself. We are all incredible humans, but our biggest issue is that we forget just how amazing we are from the inside. We hide from our truth, we push aside the possibility for the practical, we fear, and we question, and we lose the entire meaning of why we are here. We are here to share that light, that gift we all are uniquely created with.

I implore you to open your eyes, your heart and listen closely. Follow the clues down the path of what is meant to be for you, and as you walk toward your truth the more that is revealed, embrace it and share it. This is it, this is the time for you to live each moment, love every day and fill the world with kindness and compassion, do that, your way and the only way you do best. You have choices in this life, choices that are hard, easy, scary, sad, happy, choices that can change your course, but if nothing else, choose You, your truth and choose to shine the light from inside so that when you leave this earth you leave knowing you knew Love.

Much Love,
Lisa J

The Next Leap

Being a part of a mental health movement makes me proud. If you know any of my stories you know I am not full of pride. What mental health movement? The one you experience reading The Bipolar Writer. We are a part of something bigger. We are here to stay and we are going to teach along the way.

But …

There is also a bigger problem.
How can we teach and not preach?

How can we educate when not everyone wants to be taught?

How can we communicate?

We write most of our symptoms, what can sound like complaining when in reality we are expressing ourselves. We say what it is we do not want to hear but what about what we do want to hear? What are the “normals” allowed to say to us that we are ok hearing? You hear me?

Think about it

What is it that we want to be told?

Communication is s two-way street. It is easy to spout off what we don’t want but that’s when it sounds aggressive and talking about our diagnosis can be misconstrued as whining. There has to be an approach where we meet in the middle. This discussion must be had for a stop to the stigma. So I ask you,

What is it you want to hear when you are experiencing an “episode” or if you are feeling depressed, manic or paranoid? Let’s communicate what is ok to say and encourage the conversation to merge confusion and understanding. I believe it would be a great leap towards eliminating the stigma. It would most definitely be a beneficial conversation.

I’ve posed this question on my personal site and the response was good but I believe this should be asked of a larger audience. It is an important question. If you are a normal reading this, what questions could we answer for you to understand? By no means am I trying to separate us because we are one in the same but the reality is we are separated.

Lets #speakup! and #stopthesilence. Here is your opportunity to be heard once and for all.

Be kind.

Be considerate.

Be proactive.

Judged

Desolate

Undermined

Lost

Confused

Misused

Berated

Segregated

Stigmatized

In Society’s Eye

Chastized

Minimized

Categorized

Broken Ties

Ostracized

Penalized

Compromised

Systematically

Demoralized

Better off Dead

Thoughts in this Head

Regretfully

Ever Said

Made to lie

In this Painful Bed

Night, I dread

Light, I seek

Judged

Instead

Let’s Talk About Our Bellies

Let’s talk about bellies.

Specifically, our lady’s bellies. Now, I’m not trying to put guys out, nor their bellies; but I am a lady, and I can only speak and write about my own belly and therefore, my generalized assumptions of other ladies’ bellies. But should you – a dude – find yourself inspired by these words, please share them far and wide with your dude-bellied friends.

As I stuff my face with an office danish I nonchalantly just stole, I am reminded that summer is almost here, and so is our ridiculous obsession with the long-sought-after “summer body.” The problem here is that once summer arrives and we’re confronted with bikini weather, we’ll haul ass back to the gym to start furiously working on looking presentable.

Repeat after me: “Summer is coming. I have a body. Therefore, I WILL have a summer body.”

All of this obsessing has got to stop, but before I tell you why (like you don’t know), I am going to empathize. One summer a million years ago, I went back to the motherland for a couple of months to see family, sneak some booze, party it up with my girlfriends like only a few 16-year-old’s can do…you know, regular summer stuff. This happened to be the one and pretty much only summer where I really expanded. Growing up, I was a skinny girl. I didn’t know to be proud of it, because I had never battled weight problems, so the idea of being skinny and gloating about it never really crossed my mind. When I started to develop, I started noticing that getting boobs wasn’t going to come without a disclaimer, and before I knew it, that damn muffin top started to rise like yeast. Along with it came other weight gain in uncomfortable areas, and I think that was the first time I discovered how God-forsaken chaffing was. So, when it was time to vacation like a boss and squeeze myself into a bikini, I hit that proverbial, teenage wall – nothing fit and I look like that can of biscuits when you pop the lids on either side. What I didn’t know was that I was still growing and developing, and although I ate like a raccoon, I was simply at that stage of girl-hood where I had to sit with my awkwardness for a little while longer.

My mom was always skinny, as well. She grew up eating like a linebacker, never gaining a single pound. Contrary to me, she owned every piece of that spotlight, and she made sure you knew it. My mom is, by nature and her own choosing, a brutally honest and loud little beast. She has never cared whether her words will lift you up or bury you, and that’s something for which I’ve both admired and resented her. That summer of bikini-not, she made sure I knew where extra parts of me were growing, whether I wanted to hear it or not (I didn’t). Regardless, I began to look at my body as something apart from who I thought I was, like some alien life that took a different route somewhere and started to grow all wrong. I didn’t know anything about eating healthy or God forbid, moving my body and sweating out the crap I ate. All I knew was that I was somehow fat, and that fat needed to go. Immediately.

I dieted. I failed. Oh God, I failed so many times. I hated the way jeans made my belly puff out in the front. I hated how every shirt I used to wear back when I was skinny was now a dooming reminder of a body I used to have. I hated how I bought and picked my outfits based on how much coverage there was to hide my problem areas. And I absolutely hated how I subconsciously hid my belly in pictures when I was at the beach or anywhere where my belly was exposed. I remember pictures of me with my hand on my belly, trying to stand taller in hopes that this will make me look skinnier. And that summer was the breaking point – I came home to my mom’s honest demand – lose weight. It was like a punch in the throat.

Nowhere in my teenagehood did I understand what it meant to be healthy. I never looked at my body as my own, as a living, breathing part of me that only thrived when all parts of me were on track – mind, spirit, soul. The words with which I described my body were mean and cruel and rarely ever honest, but I never stopped myself from saying those things. And so my body took the hits. I remember my lowest point, sitting on the toilet in my bathroom, pinching my belly in my hands and physically yelling at the fat to go away.

If only I knew then what I know now, right? But life doesn’t work that way, and nowhere in our span of time and Universe does a life of a teenage girl work that way. Now, I’m not here to write you a happy ending, where I got some sense and started eating right and doing yoga and losing weight and loving my mom’s brutal and loud honesty. In fact, the reason why I wanted to write this (for so long, by the way) is because everything I later learned as an adult and a yogi has led me to the point of returning to my younger self to tell her (and you!) that:

Our bellies are sacred. They are the seat of our power, our love, our connection to ourselves, each other, our world, and our purpose. They are not meant to be cut down, chiseled into, or shrunken in order to fit jeans, stereotypes, or fear-based expectations. Allow them to grow with nourishment, rise and fall freely with breath, and give life to children, ideas, and even your damn self.

When I went through my yoga teacher training, I was constantly reminded that my belly was where God lived. And because I believed that God existed, I believed She was very much like me – at heart, still some teenage girl with her belly in her hands, trying to grow into her awkward body so that she could finally believe in her wild, overwhelming spirit. And little by little, I stopped pausing in mirrors on the way to try on a bikini, hoping that if I walked a little straighter, my belly would not show. I cut that shit out. I didn’t have time for it. What I had time for were ideas. What I had time for hid in lunchtime sessions of writing and booking trips to Nepal and Mexico and opening my heart so wide to my everything so that I could finally start that book I’ve been meaning to write. I believe in all of these things, because I can feel them, one by one, in my belly – that same belly that puffs out when I eat a danish I stole; that same belly that knows things my mind simply cannot. I trust that belly now more than ever before, because it’s where the seat of my power is, where I can surrender to a knowing that is far greater than any logical knowledge I could learn from a book. It’s the place where I connect my ground with my spirit, two fingers above my bellybutton that I pierced back in high school. I never want to lose or pinch or yell at that sacred space again.

Our bellies give life, whether that’s in the shape of our stories on paper or our children in cribs. Don’t hide it under a tunic or under a sheltering hand. It’s something to behold, something to honor and celebrate. It’s unique to us, and us alone. It shouldn’t be stereotyped or insulted or manipulated to look like someone else’s. Why wish to have anyone else’s power when you can have your very own?

Take care of it. Take care of yourself by acknowledging that you are strong, capable, healthy, flawed, and a standing representation that you will never back away from your own potential. Your duty to yourself is not to explain or justify your body – not even to yourself. And I could say something cliche like – you are perfect just the way you are – but that’s a lie. You’re not perfect. You’re a mess, nine times out of ten, who is trying to keep it all together without overdoing it on wine on a Tuesday morning; but you’re also a badass, divine creation in a meatsuit of a body, destined for much bigger things. Never let a day go by without reminding yourself of this one, true fact.

 

xoxo