Fierce Enough to Change the World?

via Daily Prompt: Fierce

Fierce:  having or showing a lot of strong emotion : very strong or intense.                      “Fierce.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.

There are several definitions that can define fierce – some having to do violence even.  But the fierce I believe I identify with most is the one listed above.  The one that involves the ability to have strong emotions.  Not the “intense” emotions of those that get their feelings hurt over everything and have an intense reaction.  The intensity that allows me to connect with others to empathize with others (when needed).

We all have this fierceness within us, but so many lack the ability to let her out.  To let her roam the earth with us.  We are timid, people pleasers of sorts.  We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings so we say nothing.  We don’t speak out about the things we don’t like and when those that do speak out we get uncomfortable with it.  Now, this is not to say that everyone that speaks out about a “cause” is doing it because they are fierce; perhaps they want the publicity or they want the negative reactions.  Speaking out, being fierce in our beliefs, our values, our morals does not have to result in negativity.  We can be fierce without intentionally offending people.  Yes, we will always offend people.  There is always someone who will get up in their feelings because they feel like others are picking on them; but standing for what you believe in is not only fierce but fearless.

“Love with a fierceness strong enough to change the world.”
Karen A. Baquiran

This may be one of my more favorite quotes.  One just discovered.  We spend so much time hating, putting others down, judging, condemning them; we fail to show love, compassion, kindness.  No wonder we live in a world with such hate and despair.  I struggle with the phrase, “love trumps hate.”  However, for the purpose of this let’s use it.  If we put as much love as we do judgment, condemnation, hate, gossip, negativity into this world we could change it.  We could make it a better place.  A place where we are not constantly at war – whether an actual war or war of words.  If we loved each other and all of our differences we could change what this world has become.  Even then, if just one person loves with a fierceness strong enough to change the world, it may not be the whole world that they change, but the world, the life of one person.  In turn, that person does the same – and now we have a movement.  One of kindness and compassion.  We can’t change the whole world all at once – but we can change the world one person at a time.

One of the things that I’m learning from the death of my brother is humility and kindness.  I have learned from others how generous, and kind, and caring, and humble he was.  I knew this about him, but I did not know to which extent this flowed.  He was fierce in his love of others. He was fierce in his life.  Unfortunately, not only was his own fierceness of love, kindness, and humility to others seen, but that fierceness of despair in himself and his life was seen – at the end.  When we are fierce it’s not just in one area of life, but it flows to all areas – which can mean that when we hit rock bottom and find darkness, pain, hurt, demons they are fierce and sometimes our ability to fight them is not so fierce and we succumb to the darkness.

Be fierce in your passions, your interests, your kindness, your compassion, your humility.  Do not be fierce in your fears, your hates, your darkness, your arrogance.  We should all be courageous enough and fierce enough to truly live our lives and have undeniable humility and compassion for ourselves and others.

 

 

 

 

Process or Regress

When you woke this morning what was your first thought?  Do you remember?  I woke up and thought, “Already?!”  It’s already time to get up?  I just went to bed – or at least that’s what it seemed like to my body and mind.

Over the last month I have run myself ragged.  I go, go, go just to stay busy.  It helps when you are remodeling a bathroom.  I get home and there is always something that can be done; except cleaning the house as that is pointless at this time.  But it never stops.  I keep busy for a reason – so I don’t have to think.  So I don’t have to process.  I can push any emotion, that has the potential to surface, to the side.  I am fully aware that this may not be the best practice, but it is what it is.  However, sheer exhaustion sucks.  I sleep at night, but who knows if it’s restful.  I don’t go to bed early because I’m not tired.  But getting up early and going to bed late is not always the best option for one’s physical well-being.

“It is what it is” has definitely become my response to a plethora of things.  “Sorry about your brother.”  “It is what it is.”  Car battery dies.  “It is what it is.”  Short temper.  “It is what it is.”  I have used this saying loosely in the past, but my favorite has always been, “It will be what it will be.”  Pretty similar in the overall meaning.  I understand that either term may come off callous; especially when using it as a response to anything having to do with my brother or his death.  What else am I supposed to say?  I say thank you, or I appreciate that, or I appreciate you or whatever, but as of late I follow with, “It is what it is.”  And really it is.  There is nothing I can do to change it, make it go away, make it better, make it worse.  It just is what it is.  If that sounds callous then so be it.  I think people assume a person should act or react a certain way – but in reality that’s not how it works.  It’s a process.

Processing emotions is like watching the waves crash on the shore.  They reach so far and wash back into the ocean.  It comes and then just as quickly retreats.  This can result in confusion, anger, frustration.  But is that not life?  Is life not a series of waves crashing onto the shore and washing back into the ocean – where it came from.  You have calm and then you have the destructive waves that wreak havoc.  The tidal waves, the monsoons, the tsunamis, the hurricanes.  A combination of warm and cold butting against each other waiting to create a storm.  That is life.  It’s a combination of great and terrible and they hit each other head-on and create a storm within you.  Their destruction is either minimal or massive.  It will destroy you or just create a little turbulence.

I am not destroyed by Matt’s death.  The self-destruction that he created, the familial destruction he created did not destroy me.  Perhaps it is slowly destroying family, but not me.  Many will say it was a selfish act – and so fucking what if it was.  You weren’t in his shoes, you didn’t know his pain, and if it was a selfish act to rid himself of the darkness, the pain, the demons, then so be it.  Who are we to judge him for that?  I get so damn tired of people using the damned phrase, “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  How the fuck would you know?  You aren’t in their head or their lives.  We don’t know what is truly going on with them.  How do we make a judgment call such as that?  It’s because people are stupid, ignorant, and small-minded.  See how destruction works?  See how I can destroy that?  See how deep anger can flow?  The simple phrase of it was a selfish act can spiral uncontrollably to something it was not intended to reach.  That is depression, that is self-harm, that is suicide.

Suicide, like drugs or alcohol, knows no boundaries.  It does not know ethnicity, race, religion, creed, sex, gender, sexual orientation.  Here are some statistics from SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education):  

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 suicides per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000.  Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Think about this the next time you decide to use that fucking phrase.  This is real.  This is a problem.

Okay, so maybe that little bit of information doesn’t really fit into this blog.  Mindless wander – from here to there.  This is how my mind currently functions.  I go from one thought to the next with no segway.  It just happens.  It’s all fragmented, but it’s also all compartmentalized.  I have made a decision to disconnect from pretty much everything and everyone.  I compartmentalize majority of everything.  It’s nothing new, it is what it is.  Life is a series of events and we process those – or we don’t.  Even when we think we don’t process them we do; maybe not as well as we should or in a healthy way, but we do.  The fact is, we must process.  How do you resolve anything without first processing.  Think about it.

Until next time…

 

 

Peace?

Peace can be defined in numerous ways; that which I will be using is:  a state of tranquility or quiet (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).  I have spent the majority of my adulthood searching for peace – inner peace.  Something I struggled so greatly to find, but I did.  I finally found it – after years of therapy and growth and change and work; there it was…PEACE.  But as Murphy’s Law states – if it can go wrong it will.  And it has and does.

It’s been a little over a month since my kid brother took his own life.  Exactly a month since we said our goodbyes.  Really since I said my goodbyes.  My parents and family believe in Heaven and Hell; I don’t.  So, I said my final goodbye.  Over the last month I have not cried…not one tear.  My eyes well up…they fill with tears but none fall.  None stream down my face in distress or sadness or anger.  They stop.  I miss my kid brother; but the fact is it has yet to really hit me.  Intellectually I know he is dead but my heart doesn’t seem to follow very well.  I have done this sibling grief thing before and I know what to expect, I think.  There will be a day when it will hit me and my heart will shatter a little more; today is not that day.

I have a support system; not always the ones I would choose, but I am lucky enough to have one nonetheless.  Most of them I have completely different views than they do; but if they can provide the support I need then who am I to judge them based on their differing views and opinions.  They truly care about me and love me – and that’s what matters.

Back to this peace thing.  As mentioned above, I spent most of my adult life searching for peace.  Something to make me okay with who I am.  I found it.  I did the work, but it was my therapist who had the most impact.  She was patient and kind and caring.  I still see her when I need to.  I have spent 8 years with her – off and on.  I was able to talk to her when I couldn’t talk to family or friends.  She listens, cares, loves, respects, offers options.  She holds me accountable, helps keep me grounded, is stern when she needs to be. Most of all, she has never judged me. And trust me when I say, I am not an easy soul to handle. I’m stubborn and headstrong. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left her office and simply wanted to throat punch her. That means she is doing her job; something she is amazing at. About 2 years ago I found that peace I had been searching for. Finally. It was amazing. I went through some things, went and saw her, grounded myself and returned to my peace.  But for the most part, I didn’t need that guidance anymore.  Then that peace…that tranquility…was ripped away.

That peace I had searched for…worked for – gone.  Just like that.  There is nothing like getting a phone call telling you that your kid brother has killed himself.  No other details; just he killed himself.  You then get the follow-up call telling you that he put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger.  I’ll spare you the details, but that was the gist of it.  Your peace is gone.  Your growth is not gone; your change is not gone; but your peace is.  Your heart sinks into your chest, your stomach is in knots, and your mind is swirling.  Nothing can prepare you for that.  The death of someone you love is hard – no doubt.  There is something different when it happens like this – by their own hand.  Their own decision.  You have no answers.  You had questions – and lots of them.  How do you get them answered?  You don’t.  There are no answers.  You can speculate, but who knows if you are right.  You will never be afforded the answer(s) to the “why?”

I am his protector – was his protector; but I somehow failed at my job – protect him from himself.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought he would take his own life.  That he would struggle with such pain and despair he would choose suicide as an option.  As his final option.  His final decision.  His final “fuck you.”  Never.  He did.  And when I learned he died my heart broke; but when I learned it was a decision he made – it shattered.  However, I am not mad at him.  I’m not sad.  I’m not happy.  I just am.  I know there is pain and hurt somewhere inside me but I have yet to discover it.

There’s so much more that can be written that would explain where these feelings – or lack there of – come from, but not today.  It’s not something I would to divulge just yet.  It’s not a story I am ready to tell.  I will.  Soon.

I’m not sure where I was going with any of this…

Until next time…

1328

 

Suicide?!

It’s been a month since my kid brother made the decision to take his own life. A decision that I understand. You see, there was a time in my life when I pondered suicide. It was a real option for me. I would have had it not been for my dog and my therapist. Life was dismal. I couldn’t see past the pain, the demons, the darkness. So, I understand.

However; because I understand doesn’t mean I’m at peace with his decision. It doesn’t mean I agree with it or support the decision he made; I don’t.

I search for answers I know I will never find. I try to pinpoint a moment when his world became unkind. When his world crumbled beneath him. When his life became so unbearable the only option he felt he had was suicide. I can’t.

Suicide?! Is it immoral? Does one go to hell? Is it the coward’s way out? In short, no. I don’t base my morality on religion. In fact, I don’t base my life on religion. The belief in a supreme being is no longer a part of my life. I believe in the Universe; in Mother Nature. To take your life does not make you immoral; which leads to the next question – do you go to hell? I don’t believe in heaven and he’ll. I believe we return to the Universe; to Mother Nature. But, if you believe the Bible and follow it’s preaching then if you are not baptized then perhaps you do. My brother was baptized, and even if he weren’t, I don’t believe a soul as kind as his would spend eternity in hell. Many times we hear and even say, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” This is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. Not all problems are temporary. The overwhelming pain and despair leads one to believe that life is no longer worth living. For that person suicide may be the only option / solution they have. Who are we to judge what’s temporary or permanent?!

I miss Matt. The reality still has not sunk in. Intellectually I know. My heart – well – she has not caught up yet. I have no cried since before the memorial service. I’ve felt the tears well up but they never fall. I’ve lost a sibling before – I a very different way – so I know what’s coming; whenever that is. But in this moment it’s not time.

For those thinking of taking your life, please reconsider. Ask for help. Reach out. Life gets better – I am proof of that. Just hang on one more day…

Until next time…