So, how about that election? It’s a new year and a renewed commitment to my blog which was lagging there at the end of last year. Being that we have a new exciting/controversial President-elect, a new congressional balance, and many changes in the wake I thought it appropriate that our first poetry party of this new era be about and around politics.
Yep, you heard me right. This will either be amazing or sink into the deepest waters of blogpost detritus. No matter what country you live in, what language you speak, your age, or political alignments please put your thoughts about anything politics into poetic form and join us for #NewEra poetry. The best thing about poetry is that it can be freeform, #norules!
There are however rules for Memee’s Poetry Parties:
The hashtag for this month’s party is #NewEra. I will post a reminder for final submissions and a call for you to let your followers understand that voting occurs offsite and you’d like them to go to the punchbowl, read all the submitted poetry, and vote for their very favorite.
Submission deadline is Tuesday, January 24th, 2017, at 23:55 PST. Submit now!
Voting opens at 00:05 PST on Wednesday, January 25th and ends on Tuesday, January 31sh at 23:55 PST.*
All participants get a badge, and the favorite poem will be featured, reblogged, archived for posterity and that poet will receive a one-of-a-kind badge representative of their achievement. Winner announced Feb 1st, 2017.
Questions? Comment below or follow the link at the top of every page entitled “Memee’s Poetry Parties.”
Okay, so I know I’ve been away the last few weeks. And I want to assure you that I have started some wonderful blog posts, but haven’t quite finished them or uploaded them yet (obviously). This is just a quick one to let you know that, yes, indeed I am still alive and still active (in mind) on my blog. And also that I have decided to start a new feature. It won’t be on a specific day of the week, just time to time.
I love reading. Last year I began the year wanting to read a specified number of books which I felt was reasonable and attainable. Sadly, I started off great, but then kinda slumped off. I found myself distracted by nothing but wasted time on stupid Facebook click-it games and binge watching Netflix. I already log and write reviews (when I feel compelled to do so) on Goodreads. Telling you that I will be sharing them with you will not only provide me with accountability but also commitment to reading for leisure. And it certainly can do nothing but help with publishing blog posts.
Funny… I just realize I began a book review in 2015 for your pleasure and it is still sitting in the draft queue because something pulled me away from writing it and I never picked up where I left off. Perhaps I shall make that my second review and just leave it “unfinished.” What do you think? Should I share my freshly read but incomplete review or should I re-read it so I can finish my ending thoughts on the book? Please leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts or answer the poll question. Thanks!
This year I have a goal of creating structure in my life. I have a personal coach helping me to stay focused on my short-term goals and my long-term goal to be completed this year. As part of that structure I bought myself a Passion Planner (which was a Kickstarter success in 2014) and it’s pretty thrilling. I will review this planner /organizer, which is unlike any other planner you’ve used, soon! Although more of a product than a book it will be my first of this series.
I often blog about mental health issues because I have lived a life of great strife. Strife I self-inflict and strife cast against me. It’s not just me that hurts me. I have been tremendously hurt and traumatized throughout my life by others. My body hurts me: I suffer from chronic migraines, chronic pain, chronic fatigue and to top it off, I am bipolar. I am an extrovert who often finds herself isolated and alone. Usually I am in self-imposed exile, but it’s not always physical exile. Many times I feel socially exiled because my life looks and feels so different than those of my family and my friends or perhaps I am with them physically but doing my best to put on a brave face and appear “happy” or “normal.”
I have great friends. True friends. They love me and support me in spite of my mood swings, irritability, insecurities, and socio-economic status. They are there for me if and when I am willing to reach out to them and let them help me. I have great friends because I am a great friend whenever I am capable. I am steadfast in my love and loyalty to them. They have earned it and so much more.
Today’s quote honors those friendships and the struggles that I know we all face, whether they are similar to mine or entirely different. Everyone struggles. Everyone suffers. Everyone hurts sometimes. And to get through the struggles we must endure it is essential that we never give up in our faith and trust in God — or the life process, karma, insert your belief system here — that things will get better. Each struggle is independent of the rest. Some people do appear to live harder lives than others, but that is not because we are not all equally deserving. God offers blessings to us each day if we can crawl out of bed, put on our shoes, and live our life with our mind in the moment and our eyes on the lookout for blessings, which are there for us to find.
This quote is also chosen today because it is the holiday season which is commonly a very, very difficult time for people. For some it is the additional costs associated with the holiday. For others it can be feelings of obligation to others we do not agree with. Even the fast pace of the clock ticking down to Christmas can add great stress to those who are otherwise happy. The fact that it is Christmas (a typical family-oriented holiday) causes pain to those who are or think they are alone. Social expectations that this is a happy, merry, time of cheer can cause additional pressure to those who struggle to maintain balance and stability with their moods (anxiety, depression, mania, etc.).
It is also an election year with a highly contentious and divided reflection on the outcome and future. This is the third spire of why I have chosen wisdom from Winston Churchill. I hope you will find it helpful in bringing to you strength and courage to persevere through your dark times, whatever the cause, even if only for a day or a moment.
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If you’d like to play Words Crush Wednesday along with me here are the details:
Cut/paste and follow these 3 simple rules:
(1) Always pingback to the site you discovered #wcw on with every Words Crush Wednesday post. In this case, that’s me: memeesmusings.com!
(2) In your post, use the badge they’ve created just for you – In this case, you’d use the Panda badge (size doesn’t matter), just grab it below.
(3) Tag your post #wcw so the Words Crush Wednesday community players can find you.
(4) Optional: When you are ready, create your own badge for those you inspire to play Words Crush Wednesday. If you do not create your own badge then your inspirees MUST use the badge from the blogger who inspired you — it’s on your post — so be sure to make it easy for them to find. (P.S. I create all of my graphics on Canva.)
If you wanna play #wcw with me, grab that panda badge!
I have been in therapy a good portion of my life and I don’t have a definitive diagnosis as such. They keep changing it to suit the therapy group I’m participating with at the time. I don’t know if they don’t know how to categorize people like me or if it’s ME, because part of my own complaint is the ability to morph into what I think the ‘person in charge’ wants to hear.
In the latest therapy effort, I’ve tried hard not to do that and to be as honest as I can about my problems. I still feel pretty mixed up about it all though. I do a group therapy session about once a week (it’s a long drive and our weather has been bad, plus I’ve been sick a lot this winter so far) so I don’t always make the group session. In that group we deal with addictions of various kinds, of which I didn’t ever really think I had any, save food, and so I have been resistant to the process. Others deal with drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions and the usual type of stuff. I’ve felt like an outsider. I’m also a good deal older than most of the women who attend that group, and I’m further along (in my own estimation) in the healing/dealing process.
It’s been odd therefore to realize that in that group I’ve discovered some depths to my own mental illness that I hadn’t considered before. The group is a trauma group, all of us in there have suffered some sort of traumatic event, whether it is childhood or spousal abuse, abandonment, physical abuse or whatever fits under the umbrella of “abuse.”
And again I’m worried that I over-identify with the ailments of the other patients. One has pretty severe OCD and through her sharing I’ve identified some traits of that in myself. I always knew I had elements of OCD, but I thought they were pretty minor (I continue to think that), so I never thought I ‘had’ OCD.
I overthink things. And this ‘letter of introduction’ if you want to call it such is getting too long.
My own problems include:
Dysthymia (or major depression)
Possible bipolar II (depressive bipolar disorder)
Possible BPD (borderline personality disorder)
Very mild (to me) OCD
Agoraphobia (very mild)
It sounds really stark and overwhelming listed out that way. I don’t think if you met me IRL, you’d even suspect any of these. I have learned over decades to hide them well. Privately I know I have some issues and I’m not comfortable around people. Someone recently told me I have a true introverted nature, which in psycho-speak means I draw energy from myself best, and I expend it when I have to be around other people. Being in crowds exhausts me and I don’t do well if I’m forced to wait for things or if someone is holding up the progression. I find that I’m becoming more vocal about it, and this leads me to want to stay home. I’m embarrassed by being that way, but I’m finding it happens more and more. People stare at you if you are grumbling to yourself about what an asshole the guy in front is being. Or if you openly ask this asshole if they are EVER going to conclude their business and get the %$@# out of your way. I have anger issues.
Well that’s enough about it for today. Thanks for inviting me here and for listening.
Author’s note: I was invited to Letters of the Mind by B.L. Memee of Memee’s Musings, and I thank her for offering this chance to address mental illness in a safe venue.
About the author:
I’m Melanie. I have been diagnosed with major chronic depression. I also deal with social phobia and anxiety.
I’m a 56 year old woman who was born and raised, and remains in Utah in the United States of America. I have degenerative bone disease (type undiagnosed), diabetes and the mental health issues [I’ve discussed], and therefore I am under disability and retired now. I am widowed (going on five years in February). I live alone and have one pet, and I prefer it this way. I am considered reserved. I am Mormon in faith, but I am not judgemental nor do I consider myself holier than thou or anything. I try to be open-minded and accepting of everyone. I TRY. 🙂
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi
The wonderful photograph was taken by Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!
About the author:
I am a survivor of incest, teen pregnancy, emotional abuse and multiple family estrangements. It sent me to the edge of suicide but I stepped back and have been finding my way ever since. I have begun the healing process and now try to share with others in hopes of making sure no one feels alone in their pain. In “Scars” I address emotional scars, self-doubt and internal struggles.
What to make of scars,
so pitiful and weak.
Oh, physical scars,
how I envy you,
those of skin and bone.
You can be seen.
You scab over, heal,
pain ultimately subsides.
But oh, the scars of the heart,
they’re jagged, deep –
I’m amazed my heart still beats.
You’re hidden, unseen,
with pain that never quite
oh how you lie,
pretending to be healed
while cruelly laughing,
waiting to rip open,
to make me doubt the progress
I have made.
You shout, “Look at me!
Yes, I remember you well.
You remind me where I’ve been.
You helped make me who I am.
But you don’t own me anymore –
your time is past.
You are only a scar, not
my innermost being.
This beautiful piece of writing is by Demetra Szatkowski. This is a coming-of-age story about politics, belief systems, and being female. Everything except for the title above and the photograph is credited to her. She posted this on Facebook and said we could share it. I am happy she is allowing us to share it because that is what I wanted to do as I read it, share it far and wide with every woman I know. I hope you will enjoy it.
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I am 12. My family is on vacation in South Carolina.
“I don’t think a woman should be president,” I say contentedly, walking alongside my parents.
They both disagree.
“No, women are too emotional,” I say. “And I can say that, because I am one.”
I am 14.
I have decided that I’m not a feminist. “Feminism is stupid,” I say to anyone who brings it up.
It’s not even a real thing. I get things out of this system too. I know how to work the system. If I can manipulate men to get what I want, then that means I win. Men are not smarter than me. I have already discovered that I can flirt to get out of things, and that if I wear a low-cut shirt and bend over, it is distracting. I like having these advantages.
I am 16. I have just started driving, and I have a NOBAMA sticker on my car.
I know nothing about politics, but I was raised with Republican grandparents and parents who followed suit. I know that my grandfather is smart and so he must be right. I know that Republicans are for the people who work, and Democrats make the way for lazy people who want the government to hand things to them.
I argue with the people in my class who make fun of me. “Obama shouldn’t get to be president just because he’s black,” I say. Black people aren’t a big deal to me. I don’t even see color.
I am 18.
I like being cat-called. I smile and wave back at the men who do it. I laugh at other women who say they don’t feel safe. I feel safe, because I know how to handle myself. Anyway, it’s just boys being boys. That’s just how men are. It just means I’m attractive. Other women should face reality and deal with life.
I am 19. I am teaching yoga. I think politics are stupid. I don’t see why everybody can’t see that we’re all one. I think that if we could all just live in the woods everything would be fine. Politics have nothing to do with who I am as a person.
I read an article about yoga and cultural appropriation. I decide it isn’t real, because I’m doing a good job and helping people by teaching.
I am 19. It is fall, and I have started school in Vermont. My roommate is from New Jersey. The election is happening in November, and this is the first time I’ll get to vote. I still think politics are stupid, but being able to vote is exciting, plus my teachers always said I should. I am going to vote Republican, because I know my family is smart.
But my roommate is also very smart, and her family has a lot of money. And yet she is a Democrat. And when I ask her questions, she has an answer for all of them. And when she explains different policies, I realize that my actual values align more with hers than with the Republicans. I feel a bit ripped off. We watch the debates. And I love Obama. And I vote for Obama.
And he wins, and it’s like a fun game, and I happily move along with my life.
I am 20. I read stories about girls who have been raped. I have friends who have been sexually assaulted. I remember boys grabbing my butt without asking in high school. I start to wonder if it’s all connected. I learn what “rape culture” is.
I am 20. I stop wearing makeup. I stop caring so much about what my appearance looks like. This process is extremely difficult for me, and takes me months of anxiety and tears to get used to. I am angry that it is so difficult. I am angry for the 12-year-old girl that felt she needed to start wearing makeup in the first place. I am angry for the 12-year-old girl who wrote lists about how she could make herself more attractive. I realize that people are still nice to me even when I don’t look “pretty.” I realize that it is society who has been telling me I need to look put-together, I need to wear bras, I need to shave all parts of myself.
I am really fucking angry when I realize how much the ideas of powerful men have controlled my life. I am really fucking angry when I realize how much my teenage thoughts were taken from me by society.
I am 21.
I am in San Francisco. I am walking alone, and I get cat-called the most I ever have in my life. At least once per block. It is unbearable, the comments are disgusting, and it is irritating. I am mad. Sometimes I tell them to stop. Most of the time I feel too unsafe to say anything back, so I have to ignore it.
I feel angry that I live in a world where I feel too unsafe to even be able to defend myself.
I am 22.
I own a yoga studio. It has been 10 months of owning a yoga studio.
I become disillusioned with the drama-filled community. I google, “I don’t want to teach yoga anymore.” Up pops an article about cultural appropriation.
This time, I understand it. This time, I research for hours and days upon end. I read everything. I am uncomfortable about everything. I do not like it. But I understand it. I recognize the truth in it.
Research leads to topics about social justice in general. Dreadlocks are appropriation too? I watch videos and read articles written by people who are not white.
I am upset. I don’t know what to do with this knowledge, because no one around me wants to hear it.
I am 22. While my internal world is crashing down, my outer world is opening up.
I read about the refugee crisis in Greece. I decide to go.
I am scared. I am met with resistance and fear from people around me. But I have found a group of volunteers online who are actually there, who are able to calm my fears. I trust them, the people who are actually there.
When I tell my parents I’m leaving, my mom says, “Well, that’s noble.”
My dad says, “Watch out for the Muslim men, because they will want to hurt you.”
I turn 23 while I am in Greece, in a camp full of single Muslim men. A camp I had been terrified to go to because my entire life I have been taught by the world that Middle Eastern men want to rape blonde girls like me.
But bigger than my fear is my conviction that I do not want to live in a world where that is true. I feel that I would rather die than have to live in a world where I am always afraid. A world where I hope that stereotypes aren’t true, but am too scared to go find out and know for sure.
I think that the comments about Muslim men are based in racism, but part of me is afraid that I am wrong. I think, those beliefs had to come from somewhere, right? I am afraid that society is right and that I am wrong.
And I am not wrong. I am so fucking not wrong that I want to scream it from the rooftops and yell at every single person who had the nerve to say that I was. BECAUSE I WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE WORLD.
I meet the people that negative articles have been written about. I hear first-hand the stories of tragedy and war. I hear the other side of the story. I begin to understand, truly, how the media shapes our views.
The newspaper writes an article about me where I say that America is partially to blame and people from home attack me in the comments in ways I didn’t even know were possible. And I do not care, because they are not there. They do not see what I see.
And I come home and I am upset because how do you convey that experience to people?
I am 23 and I am laying on the couch at my best friend’s apartment while he tells me the history of the Middle East, that he majored in in college but I had never learned about before.
I start crying as I begin to understand the layers upon layers of the history of the world, and how different events have impacted each other, the mistakes people have made. I can relate the history to the stories of people I have met in real life.
All of a sudden politics feel extremely important.
I am 23.
It is before the primaries.
“I just don’t like Hillary Clinton,” I say. “We should have a woman president, but not her. I don’t trust her.”
Someone I respect a lot shares an article about how sexism has shaped our views about Hillary.
I read it and am not sure. The whole country says Hillary is a criminal. At least some of that must be based in fact, right?
I talk to people who confirm my views. Then I talk to other people, and they say, you’re wrong.
I am 23.
I have decided to travel, by myself. I am in Vietnam. I adore Vietnam. I buy a book on the history of Vietnam and start to read it while I am in the country and it is like magic, to be able to see things in front of me as I read about them.
I take a tour of areas of war by a war veteran.
I go to the Vietnam War museum and I have to stop over and over again to sit quietly with tears running down my face as I try to absorb everything my country did to that country. History I have never learned, not in this way.
I realize that politics not only are important – they are a matter of life and death.
I am 23. I start reading books from perspectives of people who are not like me. I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which makes me inconsolable for hours. I read the autobiography of Malcolm X. I understand what he means, about knowledge being the most powerful thing. I read article after article after article on racism, on sexism. Articles written by people of color, and articles written by other white people who say “I have been there too, and this is what you need to work through.”
I am 23. I am with people from other countries. “We quite like Hillary,” they say. “Our leaders like dealing with her, she is really intelligent. We don’t get why people from your country hate her.”
I am 23. I watch as an unqualified man gets to run for president because he has a ton of money. I watch as he is excused from his racism. I watch as he gets to say anything he wants because people are tired of political correctness. I watch as he brags about sexual assault.
I watch as men excuse his actions away. I watch as women excuse them away, and I see my 14-year-old self explaining why I’m not a feminist. I feel incapable of describing how this is the same. How oppression can be so deeply rooted that we do not even know it’s there.
I am 23.
At least a quarter of my country thought this man would be a good president. Around half of the country didn’t think he was bad enough to get out and vote against him.
I am 23 and am told that I’ll grow out of being so upset about this one day. I am told that when I’m older, I’ll understand that this is just democracy. I am told that because I am 23, I’m not able to see that everything will really be okay.
I am 23. I am told to be more positive, that I should not be so angry, that I should really be getting over myself so that we can move forward as one.
I am told that I am too vocal. I am told that I am not being vocal enough.
Next week I turn 24.
I am not putting up with this any longer.