PTSD and the Unfiltered Reality of American Racism

PTSD and the Unfiltered Reality of American Racism

“The deaths of 2 black men by hanging, and calls for investigation, explained,” read the vox.com headline just three weeks ago. Shocked, I googled for more information.

In separate parts of California, the bodies of two Black men were found public execution style, eerily reminiscent of a Jim Crow era lynching in the late 19th century. Like a record on repeat, police tried to rule it out as a suicide. The LA Medical Examiner made a statement claiming that this was normal.

But honestly, I’ve only seen dead bodies hanging in books and movies. Suicide is a problem in America.

If hanging yourself in public was a normal occurrence, we would have seen it.

In our civilized society we haven’t heard too much about Black men hanging in the town square in quite some time. At least not in my lifetime.

Slavery and Jim Crow were such ugly periods we don’t even want to look at them. We don’t want to trace scars with our fingers, feeling our way through the deformity. I remember when teaching James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” to high school students in Oakland, they would ask with trepidation: “Why are we reading this?” It’s awful. It’s horrible; so ugly. And it hasn’t really changed. Mainstream media just stopped broadcasting it.

Slavery may have been abolished in 1865. It’s been 56 years since the Civil Rights Act, and yet racism is alive and thriving. Systemic racism has been re-envisioned decade after decade, and with time it has evolved into a white noise. Some of us can’t even hear it, while the rest of us cringe.

Lately the white noise has become static electricity around the world. People are feeling the divide in various ways, and it can no longer be ignored. We have lived together in a systemic racist society since the founding of America. The only difference now is that a great many of us have been taught to believe it no longer exists.

But systemic racism hides in plain sight.

Many of us question it because we don’t hear about it in mainstream media. When we do see a Black person, or any person of color (POC) on the news, it’s mostly through a white washed or negative lens. Take the character Chidi on the show “The Good Place,” for example; and listen to the way CBS Evening News tries to gloss over the execution of a 12 year old boy with a toy gun, Tamir Rice.

This propaganda is the continuation of a concept founded in the 1700s. Entertainment has always been for a majority white audience, a topic I’ll discuss further as this blog series continues.

We’ve carried too much history into the 21st century. It has taken 400 years to see a white cop tried for killing a Black person, and we still have yet to see if justice will actually be served. It’s an uncomfortable fact that a part of the white community has been framing and murdering Black people since our ancestors met, just like it’s an uncomfortable fact that a part of the Black community is at war with one another.

Trauma is a very real, raw experience. If it wasn’t, we’d all have gotten over our childhoods a long time ago, and emerged as a society that leads in mental health. 

It unfortunately stands as truth that Black people have been wronged in every facet of American society: in our academic institutions, the judicial system, banking, the workforce. Not all Americans know this because public approval is gained by making the people believe that these injustices are justified— a tactic that began to gain public approval for slavery.

How many times have we heard the death of an unarmed Black man justified with comments calling him a thug, or statements like “he shouldn’t have ran”? Meanwhile, white thugs and terrorists like Dylann Roof somehow get escorted away from the scene of violent murders alive and in handcuffs.

It’s clear that the wrongs afflicted to POC have nothing to do with running from the police, or how people live their life.

Ask yourself when the last time you heard a racist comment from:

A friend

Family member

Coworker

Yourself

We all have. It’s in our social conditioning.

Black and brown people know systemic racism is alive and well in America. It’s old news. Ancient, even.

Most of us know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While levels of trauma vary, such as a dog attack as a child or abuse by a loved one, it has been proven that repeated exposure to traumatic events have long-term consequences. These issues can become generational, even cultural. In the same way every one has some familial pattern to break such as addiction and other codependent behaviors, cultural patterns also get ingrained into our psyche.

PTSD affects us as a nation, but not in the same way. In Dr. Joy Degruy’s Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, she describes how systemic racism has shaped Black communities. We’ve been here building this country alongside of each other, but we are a society divided; fragments floating in cyberspace. And for what? A nation is only as strong as its people.

Degruy demonstrates three main categories of PTSS behavior as “vacant esteem,” “ever-present anger,” and “racist socialization.”

First, I’d like to explore what Degruy states is “the most pronounced behavior pattern associated with Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” — ever-present anger.

In Black communities, this anger stems from living for generations in systemic oppression. At birth, our immediate worth is determined by the family we were born into. How that family grows and what is passed down to children depends on the tools mom and dad inherited to navigate through society. If your ancestors were slaves, the tools inherited would be to “endure and survive under extremely oppressive conditions.” This is like having an abusive parent times 3 million. Not only does your parent treat you like you don’t matter, society treats you that way too.

In rapper Del the Funky Homosapien’s song “Corner Story” he outlines a typical day walking through Oakland. On the way, he describes what’s happening in his neighborhood, which includes gun violence, discrimination, institutionalized racism, and a glimmer of hope. At the end he says “We hide our shit so the Nation don’t see it there.”

And most don’t see it. Many of us don’t even bother to look, and when confronted with it, rebuff it as if human life means nothing.

We can avoid learning about racism just as easily as we can avoid going through ghettos.

A propaganda tactic from slavery has convinced a significant piece of the American population that it is an entire race’s fault they have been shafted.

Statistics continuously report that Black people are still at disproportionate disadvantage.

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration’s Council of Economic Advisors for the President’s Initiative on Race found that Black and ethnic groups were disastrously behind white in every facet of society. The domino effect of discriminatory practices reformed over centuries has built a gorge between American people.

The study revealed that white people continued to earn much higher salaries, and “retain employment during a downturn economy,” as well as “spend a smaller percentage of household income on housing; own stocks; and gain a substantial net worth.”

In the early 2000s, Dr. Robert Jensen found that it would take another 150 years to close the gap between Black and white wealth— and that’s if systemic racism was getting better!  Underfunded school systems are in majority Black communities. Jensen’s research found that “members of racial/ethnic minorities” are less likely to “have access to computer technology in public schools and at home during… schooling.” Some of us teachers have seen this first hand. My first intimate experience with how deep the divide goes was when a high school student of mine didn’t know how to move the curser on Word to the next line.

Now with the coronavirus pandemic, that time frame seems more unlikely, given that the first cuts to public schools are conveniently in the poorer communities where education is needed most, and companies are continuing to downsize.

While we all suffer from some measure of inconvenience, the Black community is once again at higher risk, since they were never given full access to the societal luxuries the rest of us take for granted in the first place.

As a result of being denied equal access to opportunities, Black and ethnic people have to work harder for the same level of success. That’s not to say white people don’t hustle for what they earn. Yet imagine if you were not hired, or your resume was just passed over, by the job that brings in money. Or, if your grandparents and parents were denied the home loans that made the family wealth possible.

This disparity did not happen on accident. It happened very purposely when America was founded. We’ve been living in an outdated, barbaric system that has sustained in different forms for centuries.

It’s no wonder why the people are angry. In the words of Del, “Fuck being calm, I’m like a shell-shocked vet from ‘Nam”.

Denying another person’s reality is called gaslighting, and in 21st century America, half the nation continuously gaslights the other. “Everyone is treated equally; the past is gone.” Meanwhile, the dead black body is so common in American culture, we make excuses for why it’s ok.

Three weeks have passed since the hanging deaths Malcolm Harsch and Robert Fuller. I can’t find any updates.

On July 6, 2020 I woke up to a DM that a group of white men tried to lynch a Black kid in Indiana. The video was posted by Sean King and I’ve linked it here. Mainstream media may have silenced the truth, but technology and research has advanced to catch the unfiltered reality of American racism. To claim we have accomplished equality when, in fact, all the evidence proves otherwise is just perpetuating the chasm between the disadvantaged and equality. In a society that claims to be patriotic, that should be enough to piss anyone off.

The “White Problem:” An American experience in racism

The “White Problem:” An American experience in racism

The earliest memory I have of noticing my race is when I was very small. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, staring at my thin legs dangling freely above the floor. I looked at them and thought, 

I wish I was white.

What could make a little girl hate the color of her skin? Many of you reading now have experienced this feeling. Feeling like you can’t get “too dark” in the sun, or that sense of unease in a room full of crowded people where none look like you. This question would be asked primarily by those who never had to think about skin color.

To be clear, I am not Black. I’m Italian and Puerto Rican, yet I was raised, and told, that my ethnicity is 100% Italian. As an adult, I understand why.

The interactions with those in my community were crucial to my development, my self worth, and unconsciously dictated the opportunities for advancement in American society.

I am light enough to pass for full European descent. This passing privilege allowed me to hear the explicit secrecy of what my peers and society said about Puerto Ricans and Black people. But I was Italian, so no harm, no foul, right?

I grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 80s and 90s. The demographic then was primarily white, or those who now identified as such. They were Italian and Irish Americans whose ancestors assimilated to white culture generations before.

Barely any of the adults spoke their native language outside of a few words, if that. 

I remember there were three high schools. Everyone knew the reputation for them all. We knew where the nice houses were, and what neighborhoods were “bad.” We didn’t know how they became that way, but we knew enough to stay away.

My hometown was structured much differently than California, where I live now. One noticeable difference is that people are more greatly divided by distance depending on their socioeconomic status, and more times than not, that meant racial and ethnic differences. Those of us that had darker complexions on the better side of town were assimilated to white culture. 

This was my first unconscious observation of systemic racism. Back then, it was simply a different experience. A separate socioeconomic class was just minutes down the road in my hometown, but always in a separate school district.

I’m sure some things have changed since the days of my youth, but the town is still divided. As is the rest of America.

We learn what is “normal” or “acceptable” from the information around us. This process is called socialization. Our beliefs about the world are shaped by who our family is, what we see and hear in our neighborhoods and communities, what we learn in school, what we watch on TV and see in movies, the music we listen to. These are all factors in shaping our culture, and in turn, identities.

A perfect example of what I viewed as “normal” or “acceptable” as a child of the 80s is this old commercial for Seaside Heights, NJ that a friend posted on Facebook. Through her now-adult eyes, it’s nostalgic and filled with happy memories of the Jersey Shore. Through mine, I only saw what was missing— Black and brown representation in a dominant white culture. It’s no secret integration into mainstream society was lacking in the 80s. It is a huge secret that Black and brown integration is still severely lacking in America.

You may be thinking, But we’ve come a long way! I see all races on TV now. There’s a lot of rich Black and brown people! And I agree with you.

We have come some ways, but we haven’t gone as far as some might think.

When you consider that an average of 90% of the people who control the information we receive are white, it’s not surprising that the world didn’t see a Black Disney princess until the year 2009 when The Princess and the Frog hit the box office. Along with Hollywood, white people dominate:

  • Teaching jobs
  • College professors
  • Film directors with top-grossing productions
  • What music is produced
  • What news is covered
  • Which TV shows are aired
  • The US presidential cabinet
  • Military advisor positions
  • The majority of US governors
  • US Congress
  • US President and VP

This means that every major sector of American culture is shown from white perspective. To see this from your own point of view, think of the following:

How many teachers of color did you have growing up compared to white teachers?

How many college professors?

How does the news you watch typically portray Black and brown people?

How do TV shows portray them?

Are the two similar or different?

We understand who we are and our place in society through the process of social conditioning. You’ve heard the metaphor, a baby’s brain is a sponge. It’s true. We’ve been soaking up information from the time we could see, hear, taste, and touch. What “it” is depends on who you were born to, in what country, and of what culture. And in America, the dominant culture is white culture.

Here and now over the world, thousands of people have flooded the streets protesting the murder of another unarmed Black man in America, George Floyd. And like a song stuck on repeat, the same responses come out of both sides. Protesters demand justice; while others blame the victim. Regardless of our feelings, the fact is that Floyd is one of countless Black men and women that have lost their lives unnecessarily due to excessive police force.

It’s an age-old tale. In fact, the original police force were called the Slave Patrols because the whole point was to capture runaway slaves. Back then, a cop could murder an unarmed Black person too. As you’ll see in the upcoming blogs, there are still many ties in 2020 dating back to a time that many claim is so far gone that it should be irrelevant.

But to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Or in this case, where you’re stuck.

Sociologist Robin Diangelo assigns this widespread lack of knowledge about racism to the fact that “nothing in mainstream US culture gives us the information we need to have the nuanced understanding of arguably the most complex and enduring social dynamic of the last several hundred years.” It’s no wonder half of our country thinks racism is over.

Our system pretends that education is fair, that the justice system is fair, that health care is fair. Our media portrays different races and ethnicities like we are all equal when statistics prove time and again that we are not. We continue to live in a dominant white culture. 

It’s a privilege to believe that hard work is all you need to succeed when the system isn’t working against you.

In the upcoming posts I will attempt to break down the various complexities of racism into digestible sizes. As you will see, the stink of systemic racism is a root bound deep in US soil that that has kept our country divided since the dawn of America.

Although most of us who are not Black work hard for what we have, we walk around daily with the privilege of falling somewhere in the middle of the racial hierarchy. A hierarchy that you will find has woven a dominant white culture into the fabric of our society so subtly, it’s convinced many people over centuries that the victims are the problem.

Comments like, “if they would only work harder there’d be a different result” are only good for those who aren’t at the bottom of a system that was built to keep them there.

All the Black and brown kids throughout history who thought, I wish I was white. Even the Uncle Toms in the back can hear it: I wish I was white. I’ll remember for the rest of my life, but I don’t wish I was anything other than I am anymore, especially after watching girls turn themselves orange for some color. Our individual experiences with privilege and disadvantages will vary. A privilege for me has been my ambiguous ethnicity. 

I left my hometown a long time ago and became a chameleon among the masses. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder how much worse my experience would have been if “Puerto Rican”–or godforbid, the PC phrase “African American”– was checked on the demographic box of my hometown school? 

Keeping Up With the Coronavirus: Managing the mental health pandemic

Keeping Up With the Coronavirus: Managing the mental health pandemic

It’s week four of the coronavirus pandemic quarantine in the Bay Area. To keep my mental health in check, I walk the trails by my house daily and have noticed a shift. People move to the side of the street instead of playing chicken for sidewalk space. Where there once were slight nods of recognition are now smiles and a wave hello. On the trails, we walk at a distance. When we pass one another we acknowledge each other before facing the other direction. Some wear masks. Some don’t. Others exclaim how great it is to see another human being. 

Here in the Bay Area we’ve been on lockdown since March 17, 2020. Since then I’ve noticed a change in people. Some have become hyper vigilant, ready to pounce over the slightest perceived offense. Others are going about their days, making the best with what we’re left with. Then there are those that don’t know what to feel, as the illusion of control crumbles down around them.

All any of us can do is our small part in keeping ourselves healthy and be conscientious of others. The coronavirus is out of our hands from that point. 

According to pandemic psychology, the hoarding mentality is a pretty common means of control. It’s not hard to see why. Many of us function in fear that the other shoe will drop at any moment, that we’ll get hurt some how some way, and in order to avoid a catastrophe we’ll hold tight to anything that can provide relief, even toilet paper. 

When the masses start panicking it creates a domino effect. Chances are, if you’re surrounded by people who panic, you’re likely to panic too. But buying into fear doesn’t make the situation better. Getting mad at others for keeping their cool won’t make the situation easier to deal with. Yes, the threat is very real, and in order to get through the coronavirus pandemic we must take precautions. 

There’s another side to the quarantine that many do not see. With most distractions removed, we are given the opportunity to take a true inventory of our lives and the way we’ve been living day to day. Many of us just go through the motions, believing we have no choice in how to live this thing called life. Staying busy and keeping our calendars at the point of boiling over is a great way to avoid digging deep into our needs and addressing issues that feel out of our control. 

By closing the world, we’ve been handed an opportunity for change. 

We’ve learned to appreciate what we have by the removal of the in-person experience. While it’s fun and healthy to treat yourself, it’s common practice to displace discomfort with shopping, alcohol, overeating, and general American consumerism.

We practice the art of buying more, but the current circumstance begs the question “for what?”

With nowhere to go and nothing to do, the only option is to face ourselves. We are left with a choice of whether to continue drowning ourselves out, or face the person you have become.

Who are you?

Do you like who you are?

Do you like what you do? 

Do you like how you feel?

We’re being forced to slow down. 

America is a country that prides itself on workaholism. We race from one thing to the next, barely stopping to breathe, consumed with entertainment, survival, comfort, and for some, luxuries. We’ve worked hard to get where we are. Now there’s some time to enjoy it. Yes, the coronavirus is threatening our physical and financial health. No doubt that these are troubling times. 

Conversely, we can still fulfill our duties to society while enjoying the time off. You are allowed to be grateful for friends, family, health, a roof over your head, or clean water even when there is suffering.

Pleasure becomes idle when pain is absent.

Many of us get so caught up in work, we forget why we work so hard in the first place. Allow yourself to enjoy the extra time to cultivate relationships with others and yourself. Isn’t that why we fight for our lives?

Depression is a major mental health concern surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Psychologists predict there will be long-term mental health effects due to financial inequality, as well as have adverse effects on children who are in the midst of a world trauma. Staying calm and remembering why life is precious will collectively shrink the stress level, and allow us to be there for our most vulnerable. Just because we can’t physically be together doesn’t mean we can’t be there for each other. 

We’ve been presented a chance to change the course of our lives. Whether it’s in career, home, or self, there’s ample time to reevaluate where we’re headed. I know it can be difficult to think that losing your job can have a silver lining, but repeating the mantra “everything is working for my highest good” will help even if you don’t necessarily believe it.

Mantras move you in directions that benefit you until one day you realize you were right the entire time! What we focus on multiplies, whether positive or negative. We make decisions everyday which we’d like more of. 

We’re being given a chance to reactivate our creativity. With so much time on our hands, many of us are getting to those projects we felt there wasn’t time for previously. Even if you’re not in the mood to be productive, practicing self care in any way is good for the soul.

Be good to yourself.

Revitalize yourself with candle lit baths, home cooked dinners, journaling, family time, and whatever makes you feel good. Getting back to our core selves will indefinitely boost creative energy in the short and long term, as well as keep us mentally stable! 

This is by far not an easy process for anyone. We’re all going through a period of uncertainty leading into the unknown. The only form of control we have is over our own mental health and how we’ll use the time that’s been handed to us. Will we evolve within ourselves, and in turn, as a society?

In all its complicated simplicity, the coronavirus pandemic has sent a message that we might not understand until it’s viewed in hindsight, and there’s a high probability we won’t have this time again. I hope you decide to use yours wisely. 

Recommended crystals:

Aquamarine

Amazonite

Green aventurine

Smoky quartz

Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

Identity Lies in the Age of Ancestry.com

One of the most emotional experiences of my life occurred when I received the results of an ancestry.com DNA test. The entirety of my existence, my family lineage, were sent on a tailspin. So many things made sense. Yet feelings of anger, relief, betrayal, and satisfaction ping ponged throughout my body. It’s a turmoil people who know their biology never have to experience.

Identity Crisis

You look in the mirror and see a person, you see yourself, but who are you? It’s an identity crisis that sends many off their natural path. It’s an isolation that chains you to always wondering why security doesn’t grow like it does in others. It’s a root rotting in an outgrown space.

So many of us live our lives this way. Doesn’t matter what we were told by family or how deeply we are loved, that gnawing feeling never goes away. It’s no wonder why DNA tests have become so popular.

Although sex was taboo in our great-grandparents and grandparents day, they sure had a lot of it. And with random people. Husbands and wives cheated. They had children outside of marriages, but no one talked about it. It was swept under the rug, never to be spoken about again. They could take secrets to the grave then. But not anymore.

Our current society is demonstrating how important identity is for a sense of self. Parents in modern society should think twice before trying to conceal an aspect of another’s identity. Families can promote irrevocable damage for lying to children their entire lives. And isn’t that a fair response?

Intuition

It’s not emotionally healthy to lie to a child. The adverse effects of being lied to manifest in very personal ways because we all have an intuitive nature that just knows. There is a bond with people who share the same genetics that isn’t there with someone who isn’t our biological parent.

That’s not to say love isn’t there, but that innate, indescribable knowing is at a miss. It’s better to know why than to live an entire life questioning yourself and the way you feel.

Just to be clear, it is not ok to make decisions about another’s identity in order to save yourself from feeling the consequences of your life choices. Lying does not protect children. It forms an unstable foundation that supports a false reality. One that will most certainly be shattered in the age of technology. The emotional pain that people go through when they realize they’ve been lied to their entire lives by the same people who claimed to love them is like blunt force trauma to the soul.

Adult children are feeling this across the globe. A well-cited woman named St. Clair describes the feeling as “the floor falling out from under her” when she found out her biological father wasn’t her real father. A friend and I discussed the feelings of abandonment felt when a biological parent doesn’t come and “find” us. I noted, however, that many Boomers have trouble navigating computers, so our feelings of abandonment might be self inflicted.

Triggers

Yet these negative feelings are the way our bodies respond regardless of logic. For each trauma we experienced, emotionally or physically, our bodies keep the feelings stored in a memory bank. Each time there’s a perceived trigger, we feel the same sensations we did when the trauma was actually happening.

When my biological father popped up on my DNA match on Ancestry.com, I instantly wrote him a message. At that point I had looked for him on and off for about 9 years and had been on ancestry for 4 of them. After he didn’t respond I felt anger, sadness, betrayal, unworthiness, indifference, and probably a hundred other emotions.

However, I had an intuitive feeling that maybe this Boomer didn’t know how to navigate technology. Whether or not it was true, I held onto that thought until the negative emotions subsided, and I accepted knowing my DNA as good enough.

An entire year went by before I received a message back. Turns out my intuition was right. Although I had all that time to get over it, even though I felt I had released the need to know, the wave of feelings came rushing in all at once. But this time it was met with an unfamiliar sense of closure.

In the following months, I learned a lot about the other half of my genetics. Unknown medical information, unexplained patterns of behavior all in the light. Nature versus nurture is a real thing. The lost puzzle piece was found and I can finally put the gnawing feeling to rest.

Closure

From the perspective of a child growing up in secrets, it is far better to grieve together in honesty than to live a life of falsities. I would rather feel the initial shock with a solid foundation in. honesty than years of aftershock with raw emotions always boiling beneath the surface.

With quick DNA testing sites like 23andme and ancestry.com, life has found a way to bring ancestral secrets to light in order to heal generational trauma. Too many people have walked this earth living a lie. Too many have brought their secrets to the grave, leaving loved ones always guessing. Forcing people to forget. But this is a new age.

At the click of a button we can uncover generation of secrets. We can find the truth of our lives. The only questions is, are you ready to receive it?

Crystals for healing emotional trauma:

Carnelian

Aquamarine

Citrine

Self Care: What it is and how to do it

Self Care: What it is and how to do it

A few years ago, the concept of self care was foreign to me. Work was all consuming. If I wasn’t working, I felt guilty. If I felt tired, I would simply push myself through the uncomfortableness. The only time I allowed myself to rest was when I passed out. And eventually I crashed, hard, in the form of a nervous breakdown. Some of us are just so stubborn that the Universe intervenes and forces us to listen. That’s me. I’m some of us.

The message was loud and clear: Self care actually keeps your batteries charged. Imagine driving your car without stopping for gas, or bringing it in for an oil change or a tune up. Those time outs for repair are what keep the car running. Without it, you’ll find yourself broken down on the side of the road. Our bodies work the same way. Whether it’s your muscles or your brain, we need time to recoup the energy we’ve exerted out into the world. Self care is how we keep going.

“There is one thing that must be understood: self care is about you, not anyone else.”

It doesn’t surprise me that I’m not the only one who had trouble understanding the concept of self care. Society demands so much from us. School, work, partnership, children, and family are priorities in most people’s lives. Sometimes those priorities become overwhelming and it’s easy to forget about ourselves. These are the times we must stop and think: What good am I if I run myself into the ground?

Self care comes in many forms. But there is one thing that must be understood: self care is about you, not anyone else. Self care is not doing something someone else wants to do. Self care is not putting your needs aside to take care of someone else. Self care is about your needs.

Self care is saying no to someone else when you already have plans for yourself. If you’ve started running a bath, and your partner or child calls for you to do something, you have the right to say no. You have the right to take that hour to just be without interruption. Unless there’s fire, flood or blood, there’s no need for you to stop what you’re doing. It can wait.

Same goes for plans. It’s true that some occasions call for you to suck it up and go, especially if it’s important to a loved one. But there is a line to be drawn. There is no reason to put yourself in a bad predicament for someone else’s enjoyment. Bad predicaments can be financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. If you don’t have money, don’t go. If you have work tomorrow and missing it would severely hurt your financial situation, don’t go. There is a measure of guilt, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel good about making the choice that was right for you.

“There is no reason to put yourself in a bad predicament for someone else’s enjoyment.”

Which brings me to my next point. Don’t wait around for someone to do things with. Trust me, I know it’s frustrating to always be alone. But it’s even more aggravating when you sit around wasting precious time you could’ve been using to do the things that you love. Whether that’s hiking, seeing a movie, eating out, or going to a museum or gym, it’s important that you don’t neglect yourself just because no one else in your life is interested in the same activities.

Take time for yourself while making your priorities a priority. This means getting your work done when it’s supposed to be done and not waiting until the last minute which results in a half ass product, or no product at all. Many people love to self sabotage with procrastination. All this does is continue a cycle of shame and guilt that keeps you locked in a cage of self hate.

You might lie to yourself and claim that trip or that date was necessary, but when it detracts from the goals you set for yourself all it becomes is a distraction. Putting in work to reach your goals builds self esteem and confidence. Neglecting responsibilities only drags you into despair.

“We are responsible for the choices we make.”

There are two polar opposites: those who give themselves too much, and those who deny themselves of everything. Neither one of these choices are healthy. An excess of anything is unhealthy. Someone or something is always on the hurt end of the stick. Whether it’s your credit, your parent’s retirement fund, or your goals, excessiveness will catch up eventually. Spending money on trips, clothes, and other experiences are nice and provide us with a sense security and well roundedness. Yet when it’s done to such excess that it negatively affects our day to day lives, the fun and niceties have become a problem.

On the other hand, making yourself a martyr and denying yourself any pleasures is just as bad and is no doubt hurting you. Making yourself a martyr breeds resentment. Eventually, this resentment is directed toward your kids, your spouse, or whoever it is you feel you have to deny yourself for. At the end of the day though, it’s more than likely no one asked you to forgo every little luxury. We are responsible for the choices we make. The key is to find a healthy balance.

Maybe you can’t afford much, but if none of your clothes fit, is it really going to break the bank to spend less than $50 on a pair of pants at Target or a thrift store? Giving ourselves what we need, be it a pair of pants, higher education, or a spa day, it necessary for our ultimate fulfillment so we can be our best selves for the ones we love.

Whether it’s saying yes to more things, or saying no, it all starts with acknowledging what you need.”

So do yourself a favor, and take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. Know that no one is perfect and we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We are here to learn, not have it all figured out. There’s a great deal of self control that comes with self care. Wherever you fall on the self-care spectrum, know that you have the power to balance it out and bring stability into your life.

Whether it’s saying yes to more things, or saying no, it all starts with acknowledging what you need. Be honest with yourself about what you really want, then take that first step. Once you do, you’ll be empowered to do it again, and again, and again. Next thing you know, self care becomes second nature.

Listen to your thoughts. Take a moment to feel the sensations in your body. Our minds and body tell us when something doesn’t feel right, when it’s time to relax, and when we must make a decision that is better for us in the long run. Follow your gut feeling; don’t ignore them. The sooner you start taking care of yourself, the quicker you’ll restore yourself to sanity.

Recommended crystals:

Rose Quartz

Blue Kyanite 

Girasol Quartz