Pieces of Me

Bits and pieces of my life and of my heart.


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It’s not Me. It’s You.

This week is World Mental Health Week. Everywhere on social media people are posting their experiences, work, advice and support. This is a good thing, as, in my opinion as a mental health provider, we have reached an epidemic with the broken health of our minds, our bodies and our souls. I defy you to find one person who is not negatively effected by anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicide ideation and hopelessness. I see it in the work that I do and in the people I love, and I see it in me.

I use social media a lot. I have a Facebook account, Instagram account, Twitter, SnapChat and obviously a little blog. I love social media for all the positives it has brought to my life. I have made lifetime friends, found love,  found support and in the face of heartbreak found a community made up of strong, fierce, kick ass women who rallied around me and held me close when I could barely walk.

It has not all been unicorn and rainbows. Every so often a dark cloud came in the guise of a hateful message telling me what was wrong with everything about me. These messages are unwarranted and nasty and stayed with me for a while until I managed to wriggle free of their clutches. I chose to wish their senders good wishes, metaphorically speaking of course, and move on with being my fabulous self.

You get knocked down, you get back up again until you don’t.

This week I have been knocked clean and unceremoniously flat on my powerlifting ass. A man decided to take it upon himself on Mental Health Awareness Day to dump on me his abusive, misogynistic “opinion” of me, with cause, I only assume, to put me back firmly in my place.

He is offended by my Snapchatting, it seems. He is offended by my choice of social gatherings, the way I speak, the way I look, the way I parent. My very existence offends him so much that he wrapped his “opinion” of me in a World Mental Health Day bow and flung it straight in my face.

He was after all, “doing me a favour”. On World Mental Health Day no less.

I blocked him, as you do, but not before I took to my SnapChat account to say something kinda like this.

When you choose to attack personally someone that you do not know it says more about you than it does about me. When you take time out of your day to sit at your computer to hurl toxic abusive, misogynistic paragraphs at someone you may as well be looking in the mirror. The words you used to describe me? Let me break them down for you in a way that you may properly understand.

Self absorbed: This would describe someone who has such an inflated opinion of himself that he believes sending women messages telling them what is wrong with them is somehow doing them a favour.

Vain: See above.

Full of Myself: See above.

Also, FYI, the three things mean the same thing.

A bad parent: You told me you have two sons. Way to go, Dad for being the kind of role model that teaches boys how to abuse women.

Way. To. Go.

And last but not least your lovely sentiment of your love for all things mental health. Dude. If this is your idea of what positive mental health is and how you can contribute to it on WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, then you are much more of an asshole that I gave you credit for.

Let me tell you something about me that you clearly missed all these months stalking me on SnapChat.

I am a fierce, confident, hella strong force to be reckoned with. I am this way because I have had to fight tooth and nail to dodge toxic assholes like you my entire life. Men who tell me I am weak because I have a period, that I don’t deserve equal pay because I needed maternity leave. Men who have sexually assaulted me, emotionally assaulted me and now SnapChat assaulted me. I have been sent dick pics and such bullshit sexual messages that  I have lost count. Men who tell me they have equal say over my body and who would prefer I die in the name of all that they believe.

You weren’t the least bit original. Soz!

You won’t change me. You may knock me. I may stay down for a while waiting for my bruises to heal but you better believe that when they do I will rise stronger and fiercer than I was before because that is the difference between people like you and people like me. When you send messages to someone you don’t know telling them all you think is wrong with them you fall down a hole that is near impossible to climb out of.

The ironic thing is, only someone like me has the ability to drag you out of it when you finally realise that it’s always been about you and never about me.

Cosy up. I reckon you will be waiting down there a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonnie and Clyde.

When I was sick with cancer I had this fear that took up residence inside of me. This fear kept me awake at night for months not being able to sleep without the light on. I couldn’t breathe. My heart would beat wildly and I would allow my mind go to the places that none of us like to visit. What if I died? Who would love my boy? Would I be missed? Have I been happy in my life, really happy?
The further I got from my first all clear scan, the less I felt this fear. Life is good that way. Time does heals most things, you just have to wait it out.

Last night this fear returned. Full force. My heart is still racing, my light is still on and I feel vulnerable. My sleep was broken, my dreams scattered and as much as I love to run, I just cannot make my legs work.

Fear is a bitch. Anxiety too. Together they are like the Bonnie and Clyde of my feelings. All go, all passion, driven, focused, never giving in. Even in the light of day they stay, taunting me, laughing at me, filling my head with all kinds of nonsense.

When I was sick I wrote. Blog after blog. It was the only way that I could calm myself, purge myself, help myself. After I was sick life happened and I needed this purging less and less. Why is it now that this fear returns? Someone close to me is sick. Sick how I was sick. Maybe her fear is becoming mine? Maybe the all clear bubble has burst? Maybe this is normal? (God, I pray to be normal, whatever that means). Last night sucked. It sucked big. My Bonnie and Clyde causing all sorts of trouble. To me, to my head, my heart, my soul. “Just breathe”, I keep telling myself. Whatever you do don’t forget to breathe…

Writing helps. My heart beats a little slower. Breathing too, it calms the nerves. I know exactly what it is I am afraid of. I have always known. Maybe a post for another day. Today I just want to ease the fear. Today I wish it to take a back seat so that I can be loving, kind and patient with those I love. I wish to get the most out of my day, and somehow get these legs of mine to work so I can do the best thing I know to rid myself of these feelings. I need to run. I need to move. I have been able to outsmart Bonnie and Clyde before. Why not today?


9 Comments

My thoughts on the no make up cancer awareness selfie.

Two posts in one day? I must have something to say. 

I am taking a bit of heat over on my FaceBook page for finding fault with the latest internet craze, the “no make up selfie for cancer awareness” campaign. I just don’t get it. 

As someone pointed out who of us these days are not effected by this horrible disease? Who is not unaware of cancer and it’s tireless campaigning for money for research so that me and you and the people that we love are not effected ever again. I myself have had the disease and I applaud every single one of those organisations who make our world a better place. They certainly made me feel a lot safer when I was trying to overcome my illness.

I also get that the point of taking the photo is to take it and donate. Donate is good, really good. Every cent counts. Where I am finding a fault is how it is being sold to the seemingly thousands of people everywhere taking them. Be “brave” it says. Taking a picture without make up is “brave”?To whom is it brave? To the person who is taking it? To the person who is having treatment? To the person who has just come put the other side? Am I missing something? 

Brave like who? Brave like the people who have cancer, who had cancer, who will get cancer? Cancer bravery is nothing, nothing, nothing like taking a picture with no make up on. Nothing at all. Cancer bravery is having to tell your 9 year old son you have cancer. It’s telling your family, the people who love you. It is having operations and being pumped full of poison. Cancer bravery is living on illness benefit and trying to pay the bills on thin air while not being able to walk down the stairs out of sheer exhaustion to cook your son dinner because you are a single mom and you are the care giver, the bread winner, the everything whether you have cancer or not. Cancer doesn’t give a crap about who you are or what you need to do.

Obviously this has struck a nerve and yes, I know that it is more about how I feel about my experience than a bunch of selfies so I will just say this.

On of the nicest things that someone did for me when I was going through treatment was show up at my door with a weeks worth of groceries in her arms. It was what I needed the most and she just knew. That was what helped me more than all the money in the world. More than all the photographs too. By all means, if you are someone who has taken a selfie and donated then thank you but not everyone is doing so and if you really think about it, it’s not that brave.

Donate blood. Donate platelets. Your time for a local charity. Buy someone groceries. Show us that you care in a tangible way. When you have cancer it is really hard to ask for help. Most of us don’t. Show us you are brave and beautiful by lending a hand.