Tag Archives: New Years

Onward in 2017

2016 was a harrowing experience in many ways for many people. Personally, I have been blessed with health and prosperity this year, though I have watched current events unfold with great sadness and concern. The awfulness of 2016 seemed to happen all around and just outside of my life and the experience tested my personal endurance to witness suffering.

I’m grateful, though, not only for the stability and good fortune that I and my loved ones enjoyed this past year, but also for the learning and growth I experienced as a world citizen. In the last twelve months, I had my eyes opened to the machinations of many systems of oppression and circumstances of inequality that have made me angry, uncomfortable, and desperately sad in turn. I began to identify privileges and prejudices in my self and in those around me that I never recognized before, and felt empowered to work against them. For the first time in my life, I really started to pay attention to the events happening on the global stage.

I can’t say that I didn’t sometimes feel the immediate need to turn inward and cocoon myself from all the ugliness that the world had to offer — when I was too raw, too disappointed, I utilized my unique privilege as a white, cisgender, American female to withdraw from it all, and just listen.

That’s the most important thing I learned this year: the importance and the value of shutting up, and listening.

At BlogHer ‘16, I attended a transformational panel on the value of, and how to be, an ally. It was delightful, powerful, and humbling. Ultimately, one of the primary effects on my person following BlogHer was to stop blogging as much. Yes, I was busy with work, newly pregnant, and lazy, but I was also suddenly very aware of the terrible inconsequentiality of the whole thing. As I said in my very first post upon launching The Real Sarah C, “how wonderfully self-important of me”, to establish this soapbox for my own personal use, when all of the things that I want to write about, all of the things that I think ought to be read about and discussed, are not things that are happening to, around, or within me. I started reading and talking to the people that were “in the trenches”, and I stopped writing quite as much. It just wasn’t that fulfilling anymore.

I don’t know what, if anything, will change in 2017. Not just for me — will I continue to write for myself? Which causes will I become involved in? — but for all of us. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing going on in the last few weeks since the presidential election. And I get it — I’m not pleased with the outcome either, but I’m hopeful. Not just because I have this annoying tendency toward eternal optimism, but because of the tremendous response from all corners of our world. People are awake; not all, and not always in the ways they need to be, but I see some progress. That alone is worth celebrating. And all of the work we have left to do, that’s worth looking forward to.

Advertisements

Play nice

It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow, that time of year when we lay the law down upon ourselves (or not) and get real (or don’t): lose weight, make amends, do better. We resolve to improve something about ourselves or our lives because the turning of the clock from one year to the next is supposed to psychologically prepare us for a clean slate. Still, the landscape of broken promises that lies across the frozen tundra of February and March can attest to the futility of the exercise. Every New Year’s resolution is made in full acknowledgment of the years’ past and how they were infamously squandered.

I haven’t really made a New Year’s resolution since I was eleven and I resolved that in 1998, I would resolve to make no more resolutions.

It’s been working out for me, I think, because that was I promise I made to myself that I could actually keep. More over, it was a promise I wanted to keep. Why set myself up for failure and disappointment by publicly declaring a lofty goal that is more societal construct that actual personal passion or desire? To hell with that — I just want to be happy in my own skin. I want to see the people I love and care for be happy as well. But this year, maybe I’ll bring the New Year’s resolution back. You can do it with me.

Maybe, for the year 2015, we should all resolve to be a little bit fucking nicer to each other.

Just-Be-Nice
For realz.

There is no reason I can think of that increased mutual respect, appreciation, and care for one another as individuals wouldn’t be accepted by each and every one of you. And if you want it, you gotta give it, baby. That’s how it do.

But it do, Mr. Gamble. But it do.
But it do, Mr. Gamble. But it do.

I just can’t think of a good reason to be a jerk. Having a mental illness doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole. Not even being a schizophrenic gives you the right to be a dick. I don’t care if you’re an unmedicated bipolar in your ninth month of pregnancy (been there, done that; I wasn’t handed a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card) or an over-worked, underappreciated retail slave. We all have our our horror stories, our various loads of baggage, our scars and battle wounds. I will gladly help you carry the load. I will even share war stories with you. But I am not going to stand still while you displace all of your emotional trauma onto me. No one on this earth should serve as another human being’s emotional punching bag. You can be miserable, if you need to be. You can be a fucking troll, if that’s what gets you going. But I’m not going to stick around for it — I owe you nothing.

Granted, I’m bipolar and sometimes I can be a raging bitch — I’ll own that. My husband refers to my daily allotted patience and stamina for social interactions as “people points.” Time alone or in small groups of close friends will typically replenish my People Points. Frustrating, emotionally exhausting days or large groups of people cost me a lot of People Points. There have been times when I have maxed out my People Points before the day is over, then I was unable to manage a stressful situation when it arose. The shit hit the fan, and — MAN DOWN! — I lashed out at those around me. But even then, even in the throes of my deepest, darkest, most disassociative behavior, I knew that what I was doing was wrong, and I most certainly apologized once the dust had settled.

There are no real acceptable excuses for lavish rudeness — unless you’re an honest-to-goodness psychopath, you know when you’re doing wrong. The kind unmitigated malice that used to exist behind closed doors and cold shoulders is now on message boards and Facebook feeds. We’re hungry for it. We lustily turn to our friends’ posts just as the comments get juicy, either jumping in feet first or sitting back to enjoy the carnage for sport. These are school yard fights for a new age, only no one calls out the bullies any more, because at one point or another, we have all been the bully.

Resolve not to be. Peaceably accept that the Internet is never going to be the platform from which you will be able to have an intelligent debate or discussion on any topic, and let it go. See your college roommate’s Facebook post on the insidiousness of Chemtrails, take a deep breath, and keep scrolling, my friend. Your blood pressure will thank you. Yes, that commentor did use “literally” to mean “figuratively” — let it go…

And remember: Be. Nice.
And remember: Be. Nice.

Finally, happy birthday to my wee little blog! The Real Sarah C is a year old! Woo-hoo! I am so stoked to have brought this project so far, and so grateful to all of the readers, subscribers, and commenters. Mahalo!