Judge, Jury, and Executioner – Guilty As Charged

This past weekend was interesting. I had a few conversations with different people about vastly varying topics that all came together (somehow) on one of the drives home. Ya know, during the debrief conversation with the Hubs after an all-day social outing. Everyone does that, right?

These conversations can be either enlightening or argument inducing, thankfully it wasn’t the latter and left me with a new little gem about myself I can carry into interactions moving forward.

Conversation One: my sister-in-law came to visit this weekend with her brand new baby boy. We got away one afternoon and walked around Fashion Island so she could get some of her favorite treats to bring home to Reno and during one conversation we discussed her new role as a mother.

She had a difficult time conceiving, suffered from PCOS, went to numerous doctors, tracked her ovulation and did rounds of scientific intervention via a pill I can’t remember. All she wanted was a baby. The stress was unbearable and she began to question her worth.

If she couldn’t have a baby, what kind of woman was she? (her words not mine) This statement led to ‘conversation one.’ She sat on one end of the spectrum regarding womanhood and I realized that I sit very far on the other.

Conversation Two: this actually had multiple conversations intertwined but I want to stick to the largest point because it led to convo three. And yes you guessed it, this convo involved my arch nemesis, love.

I don’t even like writing the word love, just seeing it makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable and blehhhhhhhh. But if I’m being honest, I feel like the word love is another one of those words that get overused and holds no value anymore. People just say it all willy-nilly and it doesn’t seem right (to me).

So with the above mentioned in mind, conversation two was with someone who loves a whole lotta people, would literally do anything for their large group of friends and family, who also includes me in this circle.

The thing is I have a hard time believing any words of admiration thrown my way because, well, they say it to a lot of people so how do I know it’s not bullshit?

Conversation Three a.k.a. The Debrief with Hubs: I like to hear how my Hubs percieves topics regarding relationships because usually, we have two different understandings or presumption. So I brought up convo two to hear his take…

Apparently (according to the Hubs & does seem to be true) if it were between believing someone and not believing someone, I would err towards not believing someone. “If there’s no smoking gun or proof, you don’t take it to be true,” said the Hubs, “and sometimes it makes talking to you more difficult than it needs to be.”

To stay truthful I did ask him to give me an example, and it’s because I don’t like guessing. I don’t want to assume it might be one thing when it could be another. I like to stay ahead of the ball, so why bother fucking around with assumptions when I can get a straight answer by asking the question head-on.

And without missing a beat, he provided one. And to stick with being truthful, his example is an argument we’ve had a few times and because I’ve yet to see it in action, I don’t believe it. 

His other one-liner for the car ride home to be noted is, “you make it my job to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.” I gather he means it’s not everyone’s job to put on a trial for the judge and jury which just so happens to be me.

Okay, but how do all three of these relate to one another? Well, the conversation regarding motherhood is the base for this trifecta. I don’t operate based on opinions of others or what ‘everyone else does,’ because it comes back to my mom’s good ‘ol saying, “if they jumped off a bridge, would you?”

If you aren’t giving me ass, grass, or cash, you outta keep your yipper closed.

Society has been putting pressure on women for a zillion-bajillion years for no other reason than, ‘they said so.” Literally, the weakest fucking argument known to mankind. You’re not a good woman unless you get married, have babies, and be this well-rounded individual who can manage the household and ALL THE ERRANDS.

My response to the societal norm? “Oh HELL no!”

Just because I’m a woman I’m expected to get married and have children, and I don’t buy it. Just because people say they care for you, doesn’t mean they do because actions speak louder than words and I gotta say, a lot of people will say it but not act like it.

The moral?

And just because I know this about myself, now I can pay attention to when I’m starting to get a little judge and jury. This is a good quality to have, but not in all instances. Some things don’t provide proof and I have to learn how to trust.

#balance

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude towards the strength I possess that helps me have those hard conversations. Growth is hard, but my ears are finally open. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging.

 

 

 

Grey Street & The End Of The World

My emotional IQ is low when it comes to my own self-awareness. It’s so easy for me to see what’s truly bothering others, but when it comes to myself I’m clueless.

Anger and okayness are the only two, that’s it. A few years ago I noticed most of my anger came from feeling sad and because I wasn’t okay with feeling weak (sad) I easily shifted the vulnerability to anger and violence.

This felt like a massive breakthrough, except I wasn’t necessarily doing anything to correct my bad habit with creating a ruckus. It was just easier to recognize I was actually feeling sad and trying to bury it by creating the ruckus (creating my own chaos).

One medium I’ve always felt able to express myself with is music. And whaddya know, the songs that spoke to me the most were the ones that could do the Emotional IQ talk for me. Did that make any sense? haha.

For example, Grey Street by Dave Matthews has been one of my favorite songs from the band for over a decade. I never thought much about why only focused on how it made me feel.

And for a better part of that decade, I was unconsciously belting out the lyrics that described me perfectly.

Oh, look at how she listens
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out onto Grey Street
She thinks, “Hey, how did I come to this?
I dream myself a thousand times around the world
But I can’t get out of this place”

[Chorus]
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

[Verse 2]
How she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears it doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her it might
She says, “I pray
But they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself?
To get out of this place?”

[Chorus]
There’s a loneliness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
When all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart

[Verse 3]
There’s a stranger speaks outside her door
Says, “Take what you can from your dreams
Make them as real as anything
It’d take the work out of the courage”
But she says, “Please
There’s a crazy man that’s creeping outside my door
I live on the corner of Grey Street
And the end of the world”

[Chorus]
There’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
And though it’s red blood bleeding from her now
It’s more like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all the windows
And setting fire to this life
She could change everything about her
Using colors bold and bright
But all the colors mix together – to grey
And it breaks her heart
It breaks her heart
To grey

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is pay attention. You’re smarter than you think.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude towards this protein bar tasting like a maple glazed donut, haha. What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

Give Yourself A Break – Strive For Imperfection, Instead

This morning on my drive to work I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Jen Gotch Is Okay…Sometimes. It’s described as a podcast that “is weird and original and funny and honest—just like me.  Each week I’m going to get in your ear, tell you about my fears, my pain, my triumphs and hopefully in the process help you become more self-aware, build your own emotional intelligence, and more than anything else, FEEL LESS ALONE.”

It drops every Tuesday and has become one of my favorite listens on the drive to work. I missed this Tuesday’s episode so I caught up this morning and wow, did it hit home and put into perspective what I was blogging about yesterday that I didn’t know at the time I was blogging about. Does that make sense? 

If you missed it, yesterday’s blog Cutting Loose Ends talked about how I’ve been struggling with carrying the thoughts and opinions of others while trying to fight the urge to self-isolate and block out. Let’s not get it twisted, it’s still annoying how much people dump on unsuspecting souls. The trick is to not let it stick and define you.

Yesterday I think was I was blogging about (but didn’t know it at the time) struggling with perfectionism and after this morning’s episode about striving for IMPERFECTION, it gave me some perspective on what I wrote about yesterday, weird right?

Here’s why letting go of perfectionism will help me let go of other people’s actions:

Trying to ‘live up’ to other people’s expectations is a waste of damn time. I want to be successful both personally and professionally. This need to excel at excellence means trying to do everything to the best of my ability, a.k.a. as close to perfect and efficient as possible and I don’t want to let anyone down so I put a lot of value in what others think and say about me (which pains me to write because ew, I wish this wasn’t true) and forget I do this, hence yesterday’s frustration.

This does nothing but distracts me from my own inner voice. I know me, so I should listen to her more often because when I’m constantly filling my head with what others have put on me, it stifles my inner thoughts and feelings. So fuck that shit, I need to be more self-aware so I can internally combat this.

She continues on to say:

“What if we just decided to be imperfect?”

Being comfortable with being imperfect actually helps us achieve more since we’re not overwhelming ourselves with undue pressure. “Let’s not worry so much,” Jen says. “Let’s not try and strive for something that actually isn’t achievable because you just end up feeling awful all the time.”

“We still need to have aspirations, but what if what we aspired to was to be better than great and less than perfect? I think we could manage that.”

She lists three sweet spots to focus on while striving for imperfection, here they are:

  1. Say no to the ‘having it all’ culture – this doesn’t help you focus on the now. When you focus on the ‘having it now’ aspect of life, it forces you to dismiss the achievements of today and yesterday and leaves you feeling never enough or satisfied. Let’s collectively agree to knock this behavior off!
  2. It’s okay to fail – all I have to say about this one is if you never fail how are you supposed to learn? Growth comes from standing up after falling and learning from your mistakes. Let’s all agree to fail a little harder!
  3. Done is better than perfect mentality – I suck at this one, it was even hard to write, but I can acknowledge what it’s trying to convey. If you get tied up in all the little details nothing will ever move forward. This isn’t promoting laziness, it’s promoting to take a breath in the middle of that big project and acknowledge the fact it’s not going to be perfect no matter how hard you strive for it (project, relationship, the dream) to be. Focus on completing it, not all the little tiny ways it’s going to be a shitshow.

Hopefully, this helps you in the same way it helped me peel back the foggy layer that was suffocating my brain yesterday. Gotch ended the episode by asking her listeners to ditch perfectionism and do ‘all of the things you’re waiting to be perfect, to do.” Challenge accepted, and I hope you join me.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude about seeing my brother-in-law tonight and having a cookout! What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

Speak Truth To Bullshit

I find myself shrinking away from political debates because there is too much misinformation being slung around that it’s nearly impossible to have a decent conversation.

The amount of “drive-by” online journalists is appalling. These individuals haven’t been trained, or understand the basic rules regarding what’s considered news and how important it is to share only credible sources.

If you’re confused, these are the people who spend way too much time on the internet fighting with strangers in the comment section and share every article from every online ‘source’ that is geared with like-minded people and then spout off information after only reading the header and by-line.

But, I digress. This is only a small portion of the problem and admittedly, I’m biased against these random peeps because I did go to school for journalism. This isn’t the main topic of today’s post, so I’ll get on with it.

If you haven’t heard what’s going on at our borders then you might have been under a rock the past week/month, and if it’s a nice beautiful rock on Cabo, do you mind sharing some space with me?

Just kidding, kinda.

Here is what I constantly hear being thrown around half-hazard. “Separating families at the border is the law, everyone must follow the rules! All you Dems just hate Trump and are looking for an excuse to pile on the hate, this has been going on for years! If Republicans wanted to change it they could, they’ve got the majority! Trump to the press – if this was such a terrible law, why didn’t the Dems outlaw it decades ago, it’s their faults!

All of this is bullshit and here’s why.

  1. Separating families at the border isn’t a federal law, never has been. There is a policy that was put in place back when Clinton was president and has been used by border patrol at their discretion for the last two decades, and they didn’t participate in the family separation until last month when Jeff Sessions and Trump stated this ‘zero tolerance’ policy.
  2. There is a distinct difference between policy and law, stop using them interchangeably. The difference between a policy and a law. A policy outlines what a government ministry hopes to achieve and the methods and principles it will use to achieve them. It states the goals of the ministry. Laws set out standards, procedures, and principles that must be followed.
  3. Yes, the Republicans hold the majority but you still need 3/5ths vote to pass anything and not all Republicans and Democrats will vote according to their party. I think John McCain is a perfect example within the last year. So while shouting they hold the majority is true, it doesn’t mean anything will easily pass, even if every Republican voted similarly there’s still a need for the Dems to vote similarly, too.
  4. Trump blaming the Democrats is also utter bullshit. He signed so many damn executive orders the first six months of his presidency, why the hell the sudden urge to wait for the legislature? Because this is a stunt (in my personal opinion). We have a president who is a reality star and hasn’t worked for a damn thing in his life, living out his ‘biggest role casted’ on a world stage, and it’s fucking embarrassing.

Fact Checker: Separating families at the border isn’t family law, here. The distinct difference between policy and law, here. Understanding the ‘Republican majority,’ here. Trump blaming the Dems for what’s happening while plugging his mission to build a wall and why I think it’s all a big fat stunt, here

Trump has embellished since his inauguration when he stated it was the most attended precision in history! So how come there are still those refusing to wade through the bullshit to find the truth? Is it because it’s easier to follow than lead?

Bottom line: what’s happening at the border is traumatic for both the officers and families. If we’re the world police and responsible for setting an example for the rest of the country, lets’s act like it. We all know this isn’t the best solution, those children don’t deserve to experience any more trauma.

Shout all day about, “it’s the parent’s fault and they are the ones that put their kids in this position.” Nobody got anywhere pointing the finger at everyone else and displacing blame. Take responsibility,  rise above the bullshit and let’s set the example for how to treat those desperate enough to risk everything to live in a country that isn’t a living nightmare.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for the luck I was given to be born in this country.

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

The Difference Between True Belonging & Fitting In

School was out for the next couple days because a snowstorm blew through upstate New York and I was excited to have the day off to play in the snow. After getting bundled up and prepared to be in the frigid temperatures until exhausted from fun, I went outside to find my two siblings to play.

After searching the front and backyard, checking the neighbor’s yard and woods behind both our houses, I found them hiding behind a snowbank across the street. They were making snowballs and giggling.

When I went to jump into the ditch with them, they both scowled before letting me know I wasn’t invited. “Go away, you’ll tell on us. You’re no fun.”

“You’re no fun,” was a phrase I was familiar with, both my parents used it to fling it at me when I didn’t laugh at their jokes or understand what they thought was so funny. My siblings and parents shared this and no matter how hard I tried to fit in with the jokes and fun, it never worked.

I tried to be fun for years and then succumbed to believing I wasn’t fun and lived out their truth.

After reading through the first half of Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown I finally felt like someone understood how I felt when it came to family.

She speaks about the moment she didn’t feel like she belonged in her family and how it affected her until she was in her mid-forties.

“Even in the context of suffering–poverty, violence, human rights violations–not belonging in our families is still one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit, and our sense of self-worth. It broke all three for me”

– Braving The Wilderness, page 14

And when our heart, spirit, and sense of self-worth breaks, there are only three outcomes according to Brown’s research data…

  1. You live in constant pain and seek relief by numbing it/and or inflicting it on others;
  2. You deny your pain, and your denial ensures that you pass it on to those around you and down to your children; or
  3. You find the courage to own the pain and develop a level of empath and compassion for yourself and others that allow you to spot hurt in the world in a unique way.

The pain I feel is deep, so deep I don’t even know where the roots are to rip them out of my being. While I’m no expert, I will honestly tell you I’m extremely good at doing numbers one and two.

For years I tried to fit-in and for years got rejected, but I continually knocked on that door hoping it’d open and the outcome would change (not just with family).

Constantly setting myself up for disappointment made me the expert at numbers one and two. Anger has been my shield for MANY years and honestly, I’m still fucking angry.

I’m afraid of losing my anger armor. If I don’t have anger protecting me, then who am I and what will happen to me if I leave myself vulnerable and open to other emotions?

In Braving The Wilderness, Brene defines the difference between fitting-in and true belonging which sounds simple because on face value who doesn’t know the difference between fitting in and belonging? It’s in the word.

Her clarification between the two words was the flashlight I needed to start navigating my way out of the cave.

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in an by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitues for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

She goes on to add true belonging also includes having the courage to stand alone when it’s needed, and feel comfortable with that decision. i.e. standing up for what you believe in wholeheartedly, even when you’re surrounded by different opinions.

I’ve been trying to fit into family and friend relationships for my entire life, basing my worth off what they’d give me in return. You get told throughout life that ‘family is everything’ and ‘all you have is your family,’ so it’s a confusing message when you don’t feel like you’ve ever belonged which makes it even more difficult to stop knocking at the door.

This new understanding of true belonging has lifted a burden off my shoulders I didn’t know was there. True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are, therefore freeing me of the responsibility to feel like I need to fit in.

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place–you belong every place–no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” — Maya Angelou

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for the relationships I have at my office. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

I Know Suicide

I’ve had two friends try to commit suicide and another one succeed. Once when I was seventeen, and twice within one month when I was twenty. These experiences are why I have zero tolerance for those feigning ignorance regarding suicide and mental illness, and why 1-800-273-8255 Your Life Matters might’ve sounded like a rant…

Two days ago I wanted to write this blog instead but chickened out because I didn’t want to come across as insensitive or bragging…I don’t know, my anxiety was telling me I’d fuck up the delivery and I didn’t want to disrespect anyone.

What’s changed? I believe understanding mental illness and all of its tangled branches is important to our growth as a population AND community. We need to do the work, together, and how does that happen? By talking about it.

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We were seventeen and extremely close. Every night after school we’d meet under the street light, sit on the curb and talk about our day, our future goals and what our parents did to piss us off.

After months and months of spending time together, we tried to date. It only lasted a week. It just didn’t feel right, we were SO close. The day after we broke up he skipped class and hung out with a mutual friend.

At the end of the day, that same friend came running to my house after dropping him off to ask, “what the fuck did you do? He said he wanted to try the 24 pills in the 24-hours thing, he’s been out of it all day and I don’t know how many, if any, he’s already taken.”

Before he could finish his sentence I had sprinted off towards his house in just my socks. My heart was pounding louder than I was pounding on his front door. His two sisters answered, the youngest one in tears begging me to not call the police (he was on probation for drugs).

He was laid up on the couch, unconscious. His face didn’t look normal and I freaked out, jumped on top of him and shook him while screaming his name until one of his eyes opened and then rolled to the back of his head.

I was shouting questions to keep him awake while his youngest sister was shouting, “please don’t call the cops, mom will be home soon. He can’t go back to juvie!”

So I didn’t.

Instead, I went back home and waited, and waited, and waited. Deep down I knew I should’ve called 911. I fucked up, he was going to die. I sat on the front porch waiting and waiting.

Finally, sirens came.

All I remember is running out to the front yard and losing it in the lawn. He spent two days in the hospital, got his stomach pumped and the story his mother told was, “she had hidden her muscle relaxers in her migraine medicine bottle. It was her fault he had taken the wrong pills.”

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We were closing together and it had been a long night. We both had gotten our ass kicked with the late dinner rush and per usual, I was behind the grill helping push tickets out. It was stressful but my coworker was feeling the pressure more so than me.

For the past couple of weeks, he had been living life medication free and not by choice. A problem with insurance refusing to cover its portion of the payment for his meds left him powerless and unable to afford his stabilizer.

He suffered from schizophrenia. When he was on his meds you’d never know, but when he was off them, you knew.

This night hadn’t been his night. He had lost his temper on an elder couple when they spilled their drink and demanded he clean it up and bring them another. Instead of letting it go he walked out with a child’s sippy cup and told them, “this might suit you better.”

The couple complained and he got reprimanded by the manager on duty. After the scolding, it went south fast. We got our ass kicked, food wasn’t coming out quick enough and when I jumped on the grill to help he lashed out.

“Where the fuck is my food!” he shouted while launching the stack of grill trays toward me on the other side. I responded with an equal amount of anger and chucked a plate in his direction.

He disappeared.

Me and one other server were stuck trying to play clean up and catch up.

I found him later mumbling in the breakroom, pacing and unable to sit still. All I remember is he kept repeating, “tell my mom I love her.” When I pushed for him to explain he bolted out of the breakroom.

He had been writing suicide notes and had only managed to grab two of three he had written. After finding and reading the note I brought it to my manager’s attention. My manager claimed, “he’s doing it for attention, forget about it and go home.”

I called the cops anyways.

They put him in holding, got him his meds and he now lives in South Florida.

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She didn’t have a stable schedule at work. She’d work for months and then I wouldn’t see her for weeks. Sometimes she was the life of the shift, made the hustle fun, had a joke for every moment and was full of life. 

Other times you couldn’t approach her. She was silent, deadpanned, and unresponsive no matter how hard you tried to make her smile.

“Not today Shannon,” my coworker (who had been around awhile and knew her the best) would tell me. “Today isn’t her day.”

She suffered from depression and bipolar. She was in her late forties, still lived with her mother and didn’t have any family of her own.

After a couple of years knowing her and honestly being pleasantly surprised each time my shift coincided with hers, one day she didn’t show up.

The next day we found out she had committed suicide, Mom found her. The hardest part was working the next week knowing when she was supposed to be there and having to pretend like it didn’t happen. Nobody wanted to talk about it, not the managers or a majority of coworkers.

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The first story I shared is mostly why I didn’t want to write this post. I carried guilt for many years, even despite the fact we were still friends for a while after this instance. It felt like his family and our mutual friends blamed me.

For the few who knew, his overdose was never mentioned without noting I had broken up with him.

I now know this wasn’t fair. He had been struggling for many months with hard drugs, pills and staying in school. Me breaking up with him wasn’t mean or “the ultimate friend zone” jab. The relationship didn’t feel right when after I was expected to kiss him, and I couldn’t pretend because it wouldn’t be fair to either one of us.

He was depressed and struggling to fit in at home. He had his own issues to sort out with no information or help from the adults in his life. Bottom line, he (and everyone else) is responsible for his own actions. He popped the pills.

The second story opened my eyes to the importance of having affordable access to medication and truly understanding a person with mental illness is powerless to their disease when left without meds.

He couldn’t help it how he acted off his meds. If he had a choice I’m sure he would’ve chosen to not manage life with schizophrenia.

And for the third story, I don’t think I ever grieved her death. Whenever her name got brought up it fell quiet, so we all pretended like it didn’t happen and never let ourselves go there. It’s like she never existed, and that makes me extremely sad because she was an incredible lady.

There’s a bit of information or understanding to be learned from all three narratives, and I hope it further drives home my point that mental health matters. You’re life matters and may we all remember, everyone is fighting their own daily secret battles, so be kind.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for these three difficult life experiences that opened my eyes to a whole other (semi) understanding of the importance of mental health. What are you feeling grateful for?

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

1-800-273-8255 – Your Life Matters

We are way behind the bell curve when it comes to understanding mental illness and it grinds my gears when there is no compassion or tried understanding. And I get it, not everyone is capable of understanding or compassion but what the hell is everyone else’s excuse?

Yesterday my husband and I ate a late lunch at our favorite sushi restaurant here in Orange County (Minato Sushi in case you’re wondering), and I overheard the table behind us discussing the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

The adult son claimed, “Kate Spade’s suicide was more of a shock than Bourdain’s, at least he had a long history with substance abuse.”

I tried not to glare. How can one suicide be more shocking than another? Isn’t all suicide terribly shocking? And to me, it sounds like he’s trying to justify one suicide over the other by understanding the public personas each person put on while out in the public, which leads me to the next two questions…

How come we have to assess “who is more broken” in order to determine our own emotions about someone else committing suicide? Since when does suicide make sense? And PS: just because you feel like you know celebrities, TV personas, etc. doesn’t mean you have the full story.

Let’s talk about mental health. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States? According to the CDC, it is now the number one fatal injury across the states, surpassing automobile accidents.

In this same report, the data shows men (in every age group compared with women) kill themselves at a higher rate than women. See that diagram, here.

This stat shook me, too. How come men are more prone to suicide? Is it because of the societal pressure to be a strong figure who provides, never cries, and will always come swooping in to save the day on their white horse for the family?

It’s impossible nowadays to have a one-family income support the family. So let’s let this ideal die with the same notion woman aren’t as valuable as men in the workplace and everywhere else.

I proudly stand with the women’s movement, chant for equal pay, and felt relieved when the #metoo campaign caught fire. And I also have that same passion forward thinking in regards to how we’re raising our young men. This ain’t 1950, boys can cry if they want to, too.

Suicide is defined (like I’m sure you know) as a death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering or planning suicide.

Suicide is a MAJOR public health concern.

Logic made a hit record about suicide prevention. Jada Pickett Smith and others in the spotlight made a statement about their own personal struggle with mental health issues. Conversations are happening; let’s collectively continue improving our understanding of mental health.

What’s the first step? Does anyone have any ideas?

I think misusing the term mentally ill is a good starting point. We’re in a culture where words don’t matter because they can be slung anonymously over the web. We self-diagnose and label others easily and incorrectly. Not everyone is a narcissist. Mom’s an asshole but she’s not mentally ill. Not every school shooter is mentally ill.

Words matter and we should be careful with them.

Once we regain the word maybe then we can begin to redefine it in a way everyone can understand. Mental health is the umbrella word like marketing is to communications. Mental illness includes everything from panic attacks and anxiety to bipolar and schizophrenia.

Suicide is complicated and sad regardless of who commits the act. May no one reading ever know what it feels like to truly believe family, friends, and children, would be better off without you in their lives. If you’ve had suicidal thoughts or are having suicidal thoughts call 1-800-273-8255 for help.

It’s okay to not be okay and ask for help. Your life matters.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for everyone sharing their own personal mental health story to help spread the awareness. What are you feeling grateful for?

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

 

 

 

What Do You Want & What Do You Need

Have you ever asked yourself what do you want people to know about you and what do you need from them? I’ve never asked myself outright but my friend Brené Brown asked me in Chapter Six: Disruptive Engagement. So here we go, friends…

Q: What do you want people to know about you? 

A1: I want people to know that respect is extremely important to me and that I firmly believe its something earned and not given. And because it’s so important to me, I strive to show the same respect I’m given. Respect is a two-way street, like I said, it’s earned not given.

To answer Aretha Franklin’s burning “R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me” question, to me respect means you care enough about me that you’re not going to disrespect my boundaries after I took the time to voice them to you.

Respect means a lot to me personally and professionally. If I don’t respect you it’s incredibly difficult to deal with or connecting with you.

It’s also why I give Momma’s out there a shit ton of credit because I don’t know how you all do it with as much ‘free advice’ that’s given or blatant disregard for your wishes when it comes to your kid(s). My least favorite statement from folks is, “ya know what you should be doing” or “what you ‘outta do is..”

It’s not that I think I know everything or that I can’t learn from my elders, but ninety percent of the time it’s coming from someone who is speaking to me as if I’m the child and they’re the parents, which leads me to my next point…

A2: Do not speak to me like I am less than or as if I’m a child. My second least favorite activity is when people try to speak to me like a child because let me tell you, I haven’t been a child for a long time and I could probably argue I never got to be a child.

The person who has been taking care of me the longest is myself. I’ve had a lot of life for the short amount of time I’ve been around, so show me some respect and speak to me as an equal, not a youngin’ who doesn’t know her ass from her anus.

I’m smart, strong, and enough.

Q: What do you need from people?

A1: I need to be heard. There is nothing more frustrating to me than not being heard, and I mean actually heard. Not what you think I meant, what you were saying to yourself while I was talking, or what you think is better for me.

When I take the time out to communicate, I need you to actually listen and understand my perspective.

“When people talk, completley listen.” — Ernest Hemingway

Here’s a handy-dandy listening flowchart if you’re confused what I mean by listening wholeheartedly. Thanks, Hubspot! 

good-listener-infographic.png

So how’d ya do on the flowchart?

If I am heard, then I feel respected.

Now, ask yourself (and possibly leave it in the comment section below. Sharing is caring!), what do you want people to know about you and what do you need from those people?

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling grateful for the time I had with my Husband this weekend. We saw A Quiet Place on Friday, Saturday he took me out for Date Night and Sunday we did a few air museum tours and cuddled on the couch. What are you grateful for today?

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

There’s a little something-something I want to get off my chest, something I want to say, not need to say.

I have been pretty open to those who’ve asked and in my writing with you all, about taking the time to understand myself, love myself and care for myself. This process has involved a few self-help books (Heyyyyy Brene Brown, I LOVEEEE you) and a couple therapy sessions and an acceptance I can’t do this thing overnight.

It has to take time and patience to dive into the pain, mourn, and then accept what is. What I’m saying is, this is going to be a forever process and I’m in it for the long haul.

Some of my sharing shines a light on some insecurities I have regarding me as a person and my family upbringing. So I want to say this: don’t get it twisted, no matter how confusing or frustrating I am with past circumstances, it will never change the way I feel about my family.

I love them. Nobody can replace my Mom or Dad, ever. And I would still kill for my brother and sister, even though we’ve hardly seen each other over the last five/six years. Yes, some shit got fucked up. But I’m not going to carry it with me for the rest of my life.

Everyone has baggage they’re trying to unload. Sometimes the washer is full and it has to wait, sometimes the luggage is locked and you can’t find the key, and other times you can acknowledge it needs to be unpacked, but that it’s just not going to happen for some time.

We all have problems. Mine are mine. Yours are yours. No problem is greater than another. My Mom did the best she could, so did my Dad, so is my brother and sister, and so am I. The most rewarding part of this entire process for me has been accepting who I am and embracing me.

Denying myself made me an angry person. Wishing relationships were a certain type of way does nothing but set me up for heartache. It’s crazy you operate a certain way for 25-plus years and then one year happens and fucks it all up.

And that’s where I’m at in this very moment with all of you. This year threw everything I thought I knew out the window, and this blogging practice is me trying to figure out what the hell it all means.

Life is crazy man, and we’re all trying to figure out how to keep our arms and legs inside the rollercoaster so they don’t get chopped off. Don’t judge my story (or the people in my story) based on the chapter you walked in on.

There’s my peace. I won’t repeat it again. I love my family, nobody is going to replace them and it doesn’t matter how far away I am, they’re mine until the end of time.

Happy Friday!

(I forgot about this the past two times -_- I’m awful) Currently grateful for the maple glazed donut One protein bar giving me life this Friday morning. What are you grateful for? Tell me in the comments.

Cultivate it.