Chester Be.

#RIPChester

This one hit me hard. Harder than I thought it might.

Yes, I’m a Linkin Park fan, but I’m not a diehard fan. I never went to any one of their concerts, and I don’t feel anxious about the fact that I never will now. I can’t even say that I really grew up listening to Linkin Park because I was already in my 20s when they came out. But their music was, indeed, a soundtrack for many years in my life- important years.

As a newlywed and then as a young mother I listened to Hybrid Theory and Meteora. Through my divorce and the events prior to and after it, there was Minutes to Midnight. I skipped over A Thousand Suns and most of LIVING THINGS, but I played the heck out of Hunting Party. Their music was always there. In fact, I was listening to Hybrid Theory during a mad housecleaning session the weekend before the tragic event of July 20, 2017.

And the truth is that, in a way, I do feel like I kind of grew up with the guys in Linkin Park. We’re all about the same age and I distinctly remember them all as young, skinny 20-year-olds just like I was. And I saw them grow up and evolve, just like I did.

Aside from all of this familiarity, however, there are other reasons- deeper reasons- I feel such sadness over the death of Chester Bennington. Not only did the music world lose an iconic powerhouse, but a whole family lost their husband and father. Bandmates lost their friend. People lost a voice they connected with and who reminded them that they were not alone.

But mostly, I feel sad that Chester Bennington felt so much pain that death was the only way out for him. He must have just been So. Freaking. Tired of battling his own mind.

I know a thing or two about that. I have battled with depression for more than 20 years. I know what it is like to feel debilitated to the point of immobilization; I know what it is like to feel in all honesty that there is just no way out and nothing- NOTHING- can pull you out of it. It feels like drowning. And you honestly believe that the world would be better off without you because you have nothing to offer but damaged goods.

It is not a pity party. It is feeling extreme pain. Mental illness produces an invisible pain that, cruelly, also comes with stigma. When people are in extreme physical pain, they take extreme painkillers. Cancer patients are given morphine. People coming out of surgery are given percacet or oxycodone or whatever. People with mental illness are not given anything, or they are given numbing medications with dangerous side effects (one of those being, ironically, suicidal thoughts). Mental illness often goes undiagnosed and untreated. That’s why so many people end up self-medicating and then suffer from substance abuse. So stop judging alcoholics and drug addicts, and have a little compassion.

I wish I could tell every single depressed and tormented person out there that they are loved. Even if I could, I know from experience that sometimes that doesn’t help because, well, sometimes *nothing* helps. But if you can just hang on… hang on and ride it out just a little bit longer… it will get better, I promise. Even if it’s just for a little bit.

As for Chester B….. I don’t know what I believe anymore as far as life after death. I do know he is finally out of his misery. He is no longer in pain. I feel horrible for those left behind and my heart and compassion goes out to them. Now is when things will get really hard. But hang on. It is always darkest right before dawn.

Advertisements

Hormonal

I wonder if my hormones are starting to turn. This week I’ve been quite “off”, dipping low with a sense of despair and acute lack of confidence. I feel I can’t do anything right or well enough. This could all be because I’m not making as much money as I was this time last year. I also feel overwhelmed, like I am doing too many things and not really accomplishing much.

Or rather, doing too many unimportant miscellaneous things and not working on bettering myself or in income-producing activities.

In a way, it’s par for the course. Over the last few months I have spent countless hours going back and forth with dental insurance companies, health insurance companies, comparing policies and trying to get referrals to oral surgeons, gathering tax documents, documenting expenses, researching HELOCs and other rather unsexy things, reviewing our overextended finances, budgeting, paying the bills, doing things with the kids, doing housework. On top of that, I have worked two trade shows, sold a house, and tried to keep up with my regular freelance work, all while struggling with laggy internet and a computer that’s on its last legs.

I am not complaining. I am happy to be able to do all these things for my family. And to be perfectly clear, the fact is that my husband does help with housework, my boys do their own laundry, and I have done fun things with my boy. I even got to go see Frida’s exhibit at the Dali while the hubby installed windows in the house. So it’s not at all horrible and I am not trying to be ungrateful.

But I do feel overwhelmed. Disorganized. Like I can never catch up. As soon as one thing is handled (like health insurance) another one pops ups (like taxes and my fucked up finances) and in the meantime my businesses aren’t growing and the dust bunnies are piling up in the hallway. I know my husband is tired and overworked, and that I’m not bringing in even half of what he does, and all of that adds to my anxiety- because I don’t want him to work so hard, I want him to have quality of life. I don’t want him to feel resentful. I already feel his energy is so much heavier than it was last year. And I’m terrified of being financially dependent on someone.

In the midst of all of this, I have begun to think I am really losing my mind- for real this time. My fears feel huge. Depression has been looming. I have been uptight AF. Loneliness is loud. Today I was so anxious I could hardly breathe.

I will be 40 this year.

I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Food Stamps

In early 2009 (around the time Obama took office but before any of his policies were put in place), I applied to for food stamps. I was denied.

I was literally starving- and I do mean literally in the proper sense of the word. I had almost no food in my house, my car was getting repossessed, I had no car insurance and certainly no health insurance. Here’s the thing though: I was working two jobs at the time. The economy was really bad in early 2009, I had just gone through a divorce, and was reentering the workforce after being a stay-at-home Mom for five years. Things weren’t easy for me. I could have really benefited from ACA, SNAP, and a few other assistance programs because I really was in need.

Republicans love to say that people on welfare are lazy, that they’re drug users and they love to mooch. That simply just isn’t true. Are there people who buck the system? Well of course. But the fact is, as of 2015 the vast majority of people on some form of government assistance were employed. The problem is they were employed in low-paying jobs like fast food or child care (see a study here). Also, most of the assistance goes to children.*

It seems that a lot of people who have it easy or who managed to pull themselves out of poverty love to judge. By stating that “people on welfare are lazy” they’re automatically and apathetically passing judgment on others who are struggling to make ends meet. So what if a portion of those people are bucking the system? That is their own karma to bear. There are plenty others who don’t have it as good as you do. And if you’re in a position where your tax dollars are going to help someone else, you really don’t have it that bad, and you should be glad.

*This is one of the reasons Planned Parenthood is so important, you conservative Republican Christians: if you don’t want to feed all these extra children, then how about we help people not have so many kids in the first place? Did that ever occur to you??

Wise Woman

This morning I went to the vet’s office to pick up flea meds for my pets. There was an old black woman waiting in the lobby with her little dog on her lap. She was wearing a turban around her head. I looked back and smiled at her. Something about her called out to speak with her. I said¬† good morning , and she replied good morning in a very sweet Jamaican singsong voice.

She explained her little dog was a Chinese Crested. She told me she took it from a lady who said she could not keep her any longer because she didn’t want to keep beating the dog. The old woman said, “how can you possibly look at this little dog and beat it? Some people should¬† not have children, much less animals. And if they don’t love themselves they cannot love anyone else“.

I liked her a lot.

Inauguration

Here is the transcript to donald’s inauguration speech.

It sounds just like something Hitler would say, healing up its wounded Germany. The scarier part? All the people treating him like the Furer. Seriously, they’re thanking God for sending him.

This is why history is important. There is nothing worse than ignorance Ignorance and close mindedness are very, extremely dangerous.

The reason we’re in this situation is because of lack of education. Ignorance is always the enemy.

If more people were aware of what fascism looks like and how it starts; if more people had read Orwell’s 1984, I think they’d be more aware of the danger that is in front of us.

The gist of it

Today, an unqualified narcissist is taking office at the highest seat in the United States, making him one of the most powerful people in the world.

I’ve been told by a lot of well-meaning people to give him a chance. This is coming from people I love and trust.

And that’s where it gets really weird for me.

Throughout this campaign/election fiasco, I watched that man. I wanted to see what it is that his supporters saw. I went in with an open mind, because that’s what I do- I hear both sides. I am a Libra, after all. That’s what we do. And the things I heard coming from this man’s mouth and the way he delivered his words made some things very clear to me.

This man expressed disrespect for women on more than one occasion. He obviously does not like Mexicans, and I know from experience that “Mexicans” means all Latinos to most white Americans. He does not think highly of Latinos.

I happen to be a woman, and a Latina.

If you know me, and you think a sexist and racist is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country…. I can’t help but feel a bit of a disconnect. Like you’re not completely, really on my side. You can acknowledge that this person looks down on certain kind of people, and know that your spouse is one of those people, and still think he’s great… it’s a very weird thing for me to process (alternatively, if the case is you don’t believe he really feels this way… I really would just scratch my head, because you either didn’t really educate yourself or you have a very particular sense of perception).

Also, since I am not a Republican, I care about the wellbeing of others around me who are even more marginalized, and I cannot help but cringe at the way I’ve seen this man treat and talk to others. There are many, and I do mean MANY other reasons I think he’s unfit for the job, but we’ll leave it right here.

The people who have followed this man have watched him conduct himself in a way befitting a high school jerk, and they still think he’s just the bestest. I am going to leave my husband out of this group, but to the rest of his staunch supporters: if you can watch him make fun of people’s disabilities, disrespect POWs, threaten free press, constantly whine on Twitter, treat women -including his own daughter- like meat, and still think he’s awesome…. I really, honestly, wonder what is going on with your morals, and I don’t care to know you at all.