Friday, May 30, 2014

#Activism

I've heard a few criticisms of what some have labeled, "hashtag activism." It's centered around the belief that it is a passive, lazy way to do something about an issue. So, I started to think about it and come to my own conclusion about it.

For me, I find some Facebook status posts to "Raise Awareness About Breast Cancer" to be less awareness-raising than some hashtags I've followed on Twitter. When someone posts a color or a location on Facebook with no other explanation, I cringe. When the person is asked what it's about it turns out that it is the color of the bra being worn or where the purse is sitting, respectively. So, when the "WTF?s" start rolling in, the answer is something like, "It's a game for Breast Cancer Awareness and you post the color of your bra or the place you put your purse."

Um, and what is this really doing for cancer awareness? And, do people really need to be made "aware of breast cancer"? I mean, I'm pretty sure at this point in the game, people are in the know about it. Wouldn't posting reminders to friends to do monthly exams; to schedule mammograms; and to see the gynecologist for regular checks do more for awareness? Or, how about posting links to places to donate money to research? Maybe encourage friends to donate their hair from their next haircut to organizations who make wigs for patients? I even know people who participate in different fundraising activities like races and walks for which they collect sponsors, so there's another option.    

From what I've seen of hashtag use, it gets people thinking, talking, and/or researching the topic from the get-go. The hashtag isn't tweeted on it's own, with no other content like the bra color or the purse location. People usually make a statement on the topic. Sometimes a link accompanies it. But, if all goes right, the hashtag trends and brings the topic to more people, like #YesAllWomen did in light of the Santa Barbara shootings last weekend.

Hey, if someone like Rush Limbaugh criticizes it, I tend to think it must be something done right.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spinning my wheels

My husband and I just returned home after a visit to see my family in C-Town. This trip opened my eyes about some things and the return drive gave me more than enough time to think. A lot of time on the road turns into a lot of time in my head...A LOT OF TIME.

Here is a list:

  • It is hard for me to accept that my need to visit isn't always as important to those I would like to see. My youngest nieces still get excited about my visits. It's so awesome to pull in the driveway and have three little girls waiting up to see you. Some of the other kids are older and have really active lives so excitement about me coming has waned with time. I went out to eat with some of the family and one of the older kids didn't even say two words to me or Shawn. This was heartbreaking for me. 
  • The ache and longing for a child doesn't get easier. 
  • It was great to be able to see a different side of talent in one of my older nieces. We were able to see her perform with her a cappella group. My usually experience of her non-academic life is to see her play hockey and soccer.
  • I need to suck-it-up and schedule my hysterectomy. The discomfort from the endometrioma is becoming more frequent.
  • The full break-up with retail work needs to happen. 
  • I'm getting closer to 40 years old everyday and something's got to give. 
  • I love my family and friends and good food and laughter.
So, that's that and now back to my regularly scheduled schedule.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Attempting to explain the unexplainable

I haven't posted in awhile, but have thought about it many times. Many things have weighed on my mind, but I had no real words to put to all of them. However, life and all it's happenings have brought me to this point.

The month of May started off in a low place. Friday morning I got a call from my mom telling me that my cousin's ex-husband had committed suicide. It was quite surreal and stunned me. I immediately thought of his three sons and wishing it wasn't a part of life they now had to face.

In no way will I pretend to know what they are going through. Also, I wish not to speculate as to their father's reasons. I have brought up my thoughts on no one knowing the absolute truth of someone else's journey.

People have said that suicide is a selfish act and it leaves people behind with questions which cannot be answered. I can understand people having that perspective. Actually, I probably thought it at some point; and, if I was more closely connected to someone who committed suicide, I might have those thoughts again.

My own view of this comes from an understanding of the darkness. The darkness is not rational; it doesn't allow for clear answers to questions loved ones ask. When the darkness sets in, it creeps into the mind and then clouds its ability to see life clearly. It can make you feel like a burden to those around you; feel like your darkness is causing them pain, too.

Obviously, I'm alive to write this post. I have, so far, managed to keep my depression in check enough to not actually attempt anything. Others deserve the credit for that more then me; my mom saving me 11 years ago by making me get out of bed and taking me to see a psychiatrist; my medications; my psychiatrist; my therapist; and Shawn. However, even with all of those people and things, depression is very much a struggle I have to face.  I have feelings of failure and weakness because I haven't been able to conquer the monster of depression; haven't been able to come off meds; haven't figured out how to stave off anxiety attacks; haven't learned how to shut-off my mind. I have wished to no longer exist, I cannot deny that. For me, though, that has really been as far as it has gone.

I just feel like I can't judge those who commit suicide because I understand the darkness and despair that can overtake someone. I have learned not to expect rational answers to questions about what someone has done when he/she couldn't be further from a rational state-of-mind.