#9: Get Real; Get Raw.
This is actually not a post about vegetables, you guys!!
Some of you may know that I started yoga a few weeks ago. I really like it – I actually take the time to stretch, I can do more than I had expected, and it is very calming. I’m relatively flexible, but my muscles are pretty tight… that kind of sounds contradictory, but it’s not… anyway, yoga is different, you know. There are certain ways to hold poses, focus is placed on breathing, movements differ from other forms of exercise, etc… it takes practice. On top of this, I don’t practice yoga as much as I practice dancing… so, it’s taking me even longer. Anyway, I’m getting a bit off topic. I went to a yoga class last night. Now, while I need to develop my skills a bit more, there is one thing I am really good at: setting an intention for class. I am a professional intention-setter, so this part is my jam. Last night, I set the intention to find the right words for this Journal Entry…let’s see if it flows better than my yoga practice, ha! Hold on tight!
So, first… Happy 2-month birthday to Orange Fedora! Yay, super exciting! I figured in light of this celebration, and in light of last week’s events, it was time to get real. Some of you already know me pretty well, others are new to my style. I am straightforward yet gentle (I hope!), as I don’t find much use in tiptoeing around things. If you ask my opinion, I will give it. If I don’t have one, I will tell you why. If you ask me something that I don’t know, I will tell you… and then I will likely read everything under the sun to become an expert on whatever it is you asked me.
When I was a child, I was never satisfied with a simple answer. I always asked, “but, why?” If no one could sufficiently answer me, I headed to the bookcase in the living room and read the encyclopedias (how much did I just age myself?!). Yes, I have always been a nerd, haha! This quality has served me well, however. As a nurse, we are supposed to question: get a good history, start to piece together the puzzle… we are not just to know HOW to do something, but to know WHY we are doing it. I would say 99% of the docs I worked with appreciated this about me.
“But, why?” now serves me as your health coach. I have done extensive reading and research on nutrition and overall health and wellness. (Note that health at Orange Fedora includes body, mind, spirit, love, and expression.) I combine this knowledge with my science background from nursing, as well as my vast personal experience. If I write something, post something, or tell you something in conversation, you better believe it is not because I listened to a 30-minute webinar or read about the latest fad diet. Oh no. I deconstructed and questioned EVERYTHING before placing my personal seal of approval on it. So remember this: when I say something, I have either lived it, learned (and questioned!) it, researched it, interviewed people about it, or otherwise studied it.
So, onto the actual point of this entry, which will likely be much shorter than what I’ve already written. I mentioned in the beginning (I think in Journal Entry #1) that this Journal would be a space for the more cerebral topics of health – and I have touched on some good points – but now we are going a bit more raw.
This week has been one sprinkled with sadness. Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. The reactions to their demises. I saw a large outpouring of compassion over social media: people reaching out, offering their support to those who may be suffering in silence, the Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) on every other post. This made my heart happy to know there are people who care so genuinely.
I only saw one disconcerting post. This person said that the actions of the two who took their own lives… she said their actions were selfish. My jaw literally dropped. I have heard this perspective before, but for some reason I was stunned. I was not angry when I read her opinion; I was sad. I sighed and thought to myself, “Oh wow. She really doesn’t get it.” I always try to be compassionate toward people who lack awareness about heavy topics, and I do this by trying to find a positive. The positive that I could find in her statement is that she is blessed enough to have never experienced the darkness; for that, she is very lucky, and I am glad for her.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I would never begrudge anyone that… but, please, do your homework first. These people did not commit suicide to prove a point, to draw attention, or to make a statement. That is absurd. It is impossible to behave in a “selfish” way when surrounded by such darkness. At that point, you can’t even understand the concept of self. All that exists is the darkness. There are many people (some to whom I am very close) who struggle with real depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health conditions… and they are working hard, getting help, having conversations with friends, and finding their joy. I am so proud of them for that, and so happy to see their progress. However… there is a line that one crosses from dealing with a mental health condition to becoming suicidal. It is a breaking point. Hope is lost. The struggle becomes crushing. The darkness is consuming. It is very different. I doubt that anyone reading this is of the mindset of the woman who called suicide “selfish.” So, I ask that you politely and respectfully speak up if you do hear someone with this opinion.
If by chance there is someone reading this who is teetering on the brink of that breaking point, or who is presently fighting a battle with mental health… please, ask for help. Call the Hotline, a friend, a family member, a doctor, the guy at the grocery store. Anyone. You may not feel like anyone could possibly care, but they do. You may not believe someone can help, but they can. You may not think you can climb your way out, but you will. Grab your armor and flex your muscles because you are about to win the battle AND the war.
I leave you all with this: for every right, there is left; for every north, there is south; for every yes, there is no; and for the depths of darkness, there is brilliant light. Of all the equally opposing things in this world, I believe that between darkness and light, there is actually a slight advantage: light tips the scale. I’ll take that to the bank.
Rest well, Kate, Anthony, and all others who have been lost to the darkness, for now you are bathing in precious Light.