29 July 2016

The things I've done for Danie

The term "self care" has been very popular in my e-circles lately. If that's not the case for you, that's significant, though I can't fully explain why. If the vitriol hasn't been especially disturbing or if the violence hasn't seemed egregious... if you haven't been pushed to having fat tears plop from your face then I guess I tip my hat to you for remaining an "other," free to exist outside the current tense racial climate currently stretching from sea to shining sea. I'm black, so I don't get to opt out. Also, I concede this recent bloom that has Americans opening up like orchids to display their inner colors has been interesting to watch.

If you haven't shaken your head or creased your brow, it could be because you don't get it and/or you don't care to understand the significance of where we as a country are right now. Again, maybe you see yourself as an outsider absolved of any negative impact and therefore free to be apathetic. Admittedly I'm guilty of seeking/seeing the personal in the political. There are people I have considered friends planning to vote into the White House a person endorsed by a group that would have me swinging from a tree (as in "dead," not "tire swing") because of who I've dated. Calling that knowledge "hurtful" is an understatement. To know I've shared good times with someone who cares so little for me and people like me is beyond disappointing.

I've been stressed. It's not only the deep-seated fear of a nefarious police officer but also the niggling suspicion that - should something happen to me or a member of my family - those who would stand for us would be fewer in number than I had imagined. (And yes, I have imagined.) It's frustrating. I have lived in manner meant to be a testament to the value of my life, to show that I matter. That's to say I believed in respectability politics - right up until I accepted that the idea didn't work in practice. If someone thinks I am lesser, there is nothing I can do to change that. Additionally the onus of being fair-minded should not fall to me.

So yeah, I've had a lot on my mind recently. I've cried and I've prayed more frequently than at any other time in my life. I began to let hopelessness seep in. I thought dark thoughts. I became more cynical. I started to miss my normal self. I had to take action. I had to do things for Danie.

Logging out of Facebook

Probably the best thing for my mental health was logging out of Facebook. True, this post will appear on Facebook, but that's an automated publishing rule that requires zero effort from me. I may stay logged out until November 9th. Maybe longer. I mean I'm not curious yet as to what I've missed in the last three weeks though we all know I'm super into kids and pets in Halloween costumes. So we'll see. As I began to lose faith in humanity, Facebook consistently delivered the most visage-contorting content.

There were times I wanted to comment "so THAT'S what you think of me." There were so many posts that made it obvious people weren't thinking - memes that fundamentally negated each other. But mostly what got to me was the selective heartbreak. Specifically, it was Dallas. I cried for those officers like I cried for Philando Castille and Alton Sterling and Walter Scott. But my "friends" did not. To  be clear, avoiding any post or any comment is understandable. It's a difficult choice to decide to share one's politics. But to stay silent on some deaths - to ignore Pulse or New Orleans only to be heartbroken by Dallas is to say "these humans are worth more than those." I disagree with that. I thought I knew people who disagreed with that. I saw people I thought were just opting out decide to weigh in on Dallas. I saw who was - and who was not - worth their emotion. I wonder what those people are teaching or showing their kids about kids like my nephew and niece, or adults like me and my brother. A (white) friend of mine reached out to have a conversation and just say "hey, I see it." It was monumental. I didn't realize how much I needed to know someone cared until someone did. I checked out before Baton Rouge, so my data analysis is admittedly incomplete. Still, I had seen enough.

Slowed my run to a walk

I do not like running. I tried. I got pretty new sneakers. I accepted help from my running-est friend. I practiced on the treadmill. I switched back to wearing contacts. Yet, I dreaded it every time. I thought of excuses not to do it. I somehow found myself working extra late. I would do an hour of cardio on the stairs and just not have the energy. I wouldn't do my laundry so I would have nothing to wear. My only effective motivation was to see my friend and not be a complete disappointment to her. Don't get me wrong, she was always encouraging. I just don't like to be terrible at things. I'm terrible at running.

Admitting to my friend that I didn't want to run gave me anxiety. She was accommodating of my limits and it was good to see her so frequently. But I was only having fun once it was over. So I rehearsed my reasons. I called her on the phone to explain. She was fine with it (because she's rational) and also came up with a great alternative that actually gets me excited. Now we do stairs. We do a lot of stairs. It's great.

The view from the top of the stairs.

Went with PokemonGo

I joined PokemonGo the day after it was released. I'm now a level 18 Pokemon trainer. I LOVE it. Love it. First of all, I get a prize for walking as much as I do. It takes 2, 5 or 10 kilometers to hatch an egg. I've hatched quite a few eggs. I recognize that may not make sense to you. Let me back up.

The premise of PokemonGo is (I assume) the same as the game. You trap the pocket sized monsters in tiny balls and only release then when you force them to fight. If you don't want them, you give them to the professor who gives you a candy made from named after the same pocket sized monster that you then use to evolve the monsters you want into stronger fighting machines. It's not noble and it's a testament to our communal naïveté that the concept wasn't perceived as cringeworthy then as it is now. Still, I am here for it.

Players have to venture out into the world in order to advance in the game. I've met people at Pokestops, where I get supplies, including the eggs that have to be hatched by walking. So, yes, some Pokemon are born in captivity. I've walked longer and different routes to gain kilometers and find different Pokemon. It's been a great experience. Don't worry. I pay attention to my surroundings and pull off to the side of the sidewalk to catch my monsters. I never played when it was a card game. So everything is new. It makes me happy, though I have heard people bashing it. I literally got off a bus earlier than I intended because a guy was ranting loudly against PokemonGo and segued into an All Lives Matter defense. I left a Jigglypuff behind and everything. It was too much before 9AM.


So perfect.
I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time. It will get its own post. There are simply too many discussion points to add to this post - though let's take a moment to recognize how far we've traveled from the sentiment at the start.

SDCC was nothing short of magic. I spent four days in a very happy bubble. I checked in with reality a couple of times to see humans were still being awful to one another and I was happy for my respite.

I've been taking care of myself in other ways as well. I stopped cooking. I don't like it. If I had +1, perhaps. But I'm just me and I can be quite basic when it comes to food. Fine cuisine is not necessary.

I also listen to Hamilton at least once a day. Full disclosure, it's what's inspired me to "write like I'm running out of time," because "I am not throwing away my shot." I mean the cast flat out asks "who tells your story?" It's me!

It's been a rough year. Doctors have just given my grandma three months to live. So it's not about to get easier. Still, I feel prepared. I know what I need to do. I need to remember myself. And take care.