Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Lens of Suck

I think there are two types of people: Those who ignore, and those who despair. Both approaches to pain are bad. One is naive and the other is depressed. Today, however, is about the latter.

Because oh boy, am I the latter. I despair in my trials with a raincloud over my head. And I sulk, religiously, because what else is there to do?

A lot of my fellow Soldiers are likewise. We look at our wheelchairs, or our walkers, or our medications, and we shake our fists at the sky. We throw our cards off the table, because what a horrible hand we have. We see the entire world through that lens. A lens of "Why is it always like this?" "Why is this worth doing at all?"

In order words, everything is through a lens of suck. You're twelve again.

Want soda?
Want to see a movie?
Okay, well... Want to go to DISNEY WORLD?
...Mickey is creepy.

Ugh. Everything sucks. Woe is me and my terrible, horrible, inescapable life.

I look back on it after one of those days, and I laugh at myself, because I tend to look a tiny bit overdramatic. Just a little ridiculous. Despite my knowledge of the insanity, however, I could never seem to escape the cycle. That is, until I drove to the airport.

Okay, that's a jump, but stay with me, I promise. Recently, I was visiting relatives, and that necessitated a long drive to IAH. I'm stuck in a gray Honda, which smells of mostly fast food and anxiety, and I stare at the scenery. Not that there's much. Worn down asphalt and the occasional F-150. I inwardly sigh in defeat.
Thrilling. Settle in, Mere, it's gonna be a long day. The despair cycle begins.
We roll to a stop at a red light, and I look out at the road. It looks a little worn and sad. If it were a person, I'd probably give the road a hug.

Then I look a little closer, and it all evaporates. Because, aw, there's a tiny cluster of squat, purple wildflowers near the curb.
...but that's amazing. Hardly anything grows in The Lone Star State, and yet things still pop up on there own accord. Tiny things, and yet still not withered or dried out in the Texas sun. Which, natives will tell you, is like living in a George Foreman.

And, suddenly, I feel a tiny glimmer of hope.
Why don't I treat life like this more often and look for things like this? After all, despair doesn't just feel terrible, it's also very draining. It's often the little things, all collectively, that make life worth it. Our suffering suddenly becomes bearable in the pinhole of light.

Look for the little things. Get your lens checked. Maybe change them out.

And for goodness sake, drink some water. Because it's only going to get hotter from here.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


"I can't do sports with my scissor gait."
"I'd never join debate with my stutter."
"How could I do X with -X physical or mental difference-?"

I note these thoughts cropping up almost every day, both in myself and fellow Soldier brethren. ADHD, walker, speech impediment. Doesn't matter -- any difference can make you exclude yourself from things you might have tried otherwise.

But it's not the activity so much as it is the people, now is it? Different is judged. C'est la vie. The different compare themselves in light of their limits, and those without them feel elevated for it. "Oh, well, I'm faster than the wheelchair kid, at least."

If anyone without a difference happens to read this, I encourage them to show a spirit of accommodation toward those who I consider fighting a battle, oft completely hidden, or if not, surprisingly internalized since birth. The battle that we're in our own bubble. The battle that we're oh-so-special, be gentle, don't overwhelm them, the poor simpletons (Not true. We're just as smart, often smarter.) The battle that we're a low bar for people to hang on to elitize themselves.
No, elitize is not a word. Yet.
Hey, Shakespeare made new words all the time, right?
Point being, we with our differences, however noticeable to the eye, all fight a battle, which is, sadly, usually bottled up out of shame. Hence my personal collective term for the community of different. Soldiers.

Soldiers, try new things. Don't disqualify yourself. I say from experience if something is worthwhile, SOMEONE will accommodate you.

Finally, to those not in the trenches: Be that person who accommodates. We don't live in a bubble. We're human. Insecure. Always.
Tell us we can. It means the world to us because we don't hear it often, even if it's very, very true.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Power of Pick-Me-Ups

This weekend has been... well, a test of my longsuffering, as I like to call it. An introvert by nature, yesterday I was dragged from here to there and back. People and things everywhere. My brain was about to collapse in on itself.
Today? The opposite. Lots of studying. Being holed up in my room like a hermit or a monk. I usually relish in those times of study. However, it's not as fun when that study is forced upon you. Then again, who realistically expects high school to be the prime of their life anyway? The only group of people for which high school should be the prime of life is bullies in coming of age movies.
I think we all bite off more than we can chew at times. Heck, sometimes we have no choice. My mother, bless her, has been filing taxes at our kitchen table for the past three hours. That being said, I've seen a lot of my ADHD tribe, and those with other conditions, try to unrealistically push past fatigue via their own willpower. Me? Oh, boy, I'm not immune either. I like to pretend sometimes it's an old t-shirt I never wear -- shove it in a dresser and willingly forget it exists. 'I'm not tired,' I say empathetically. Even though I can literally feel the dark circles forming under my eyes. Go figure.
Sometimes, you have that one thing on a hard day that is the single thread you hold on to. The one thing keeping you sane and pushing you forward. For me, that thing is a few things. Writing, my dogs, sparkling water, music, a walk to a lake near to my house. For my dad, it's fixing old cars. For my mom, it's watching Friends and Queer Eye on Netflix. For my brother, trick shot videos. To each his own, but the point remains. We all have a pick-me-up.
Especially for my Different-Abled brethren, but for anyone who happens to read this, I encourage you to find a pick-me-up or lean into the ones you have. You may think yours weird, but they certainly can't be as strange as mine. (Name one person you know who finds personal solace in sparkling water.) Trust me. Those pick-me-ups are vital to your well being. We're all human. Humans need rest. In fact, your work will be better for the rest as well.
Sharpen the saw, or it gets dull.