I Don’t Like to Read Anymore :(

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Lately I’ve hit the worst and longest lasting reading slump I can remember. For at least a couple months now I have struggled with picking up a book (any book) and reading it. I’ve tried a multitude of genres and subject matter, so I don’t think that is the issue. I’ve tried books of different lengths and even graphic novels and books with lots of pictures and still find myself throwing most of them to the side relatively quickly and just losing interest. I’m starting to worry this may be my new normal.

But WHO AM I if I no longer like to read? Reading and being a devoted reader has been such a huge part of my identity for so long that I feel lost without the passion for books I’ve always had. If you aren’t a reader, I know you will probably think this is a stupid post, but if you are like me and love to live in other worlds through print, you probably get my sense of despair and existential angst over this matter.

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Bad Night

Tonight was a bad night. The pain, isolation, and despair came crashing down so hard and fast that I crawled off the couch and collapsed onto the carpet, on my side, in a loose fetal position and just wept. I gripped the beige carpet fibers in my fingers and pulled as the tears pooled below my cheek. I pinched myself. I aimlessly pummeled the floor. The anger exploded in that way it always does, boomeranging right back into myself. I considered my options. All the ways it could end. The option of reaching out for help. The feeling that grasping for that help would only inconvenience others. After all, my husband has to work tomorrow, he needs his sleep. I can’t take the car, who would bring it back to him?

Eventually, I made my way outside. Hoping the cold would numb it all. I walked on the icy, wet grass and then took a seat on the deck stairs. Soon my feet were frozen numb, and my body curled inward, instinctively seeking to conserve its heat, even as I wished that I could bear it long enough to freeze. Dark thoughts of black toes breaking off soon made hypothermia a less attractive ending. If only it were like a Jack London novel, a slow nodding off into warm, cozy whiteness.

Eventually, I found myself back where I started, on the couch, hoping to find comfort on electronic waves, here in the place where lost things seem to gather in today’s society. I soon stumbled across someone else crying and hugging a giant stuffed giraffe and it soothed the edges just a little. Now, I can only hope tomorrow is brighter.

Brutally Honest Writings from a Depressive State

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Today I thought I’d share a few excerpts and snippets from journal entries written while I was in a deeply depressive state. Often, writing these thoughts and feelings out has been healing and maybe even life saving, as it gives me a way to focus the negativity without harming myself. I hope that by sharing these very personal thoughts, that it might help others who struggle with depression to feel less alone, and give those who don’t quite understand true depression a feel for the mental suffering endured by the clinically depressed:

“I’m so anxious today. I feel that there is little hope of my brain ever letting me live in peace. I’m so exhausted by the pain, fear, and despair of existence. I wish there was a simple ‘check out’ button when you can’t deal with life. I don’t want to harm myself but I don’t want to live this way anymore either.”

“I think way too much about death – always have. Death to me always represented freedom, a way out of unbearable life circumstances.”

“I often feel (and sometimes am certain I KNOW) that I am far more mentally ill than anyone else notices. I believe I hide it well, but often feel on the edge of snapping.”

“Only my pride and fear of complete loss of control restrain me from self-annihilation in the worst of my moments.”

“I don’t want to be hospitalized, I don’t want to cross that line, but I wonder sometimes if that is what I need.”

“I am so tired of fighting these self-destructive impulses and wondering what in the hell is wrong with me that I have them in the first place.”

“Why am I tempted while riding in the car to grab the steering wheel and spin us into oncoming traffic? I cross my arms tightly just to make sure I don’t act the thought out.”

“Why do I feel such a depth of emptiness and despair that I lay in bed wanting to sink my teeth into my skin until the pain finally ebbs away?”

“Why do I fear physical pain more than anything in life, yet feel the urge to inflict it on myself?”

“There are no good options. All this rage, anger, and pain. If I inflict it on others…I hate myself. If I inflict it on myself…I hate myself. There are no good options.”

(If you like this post and would like to see more, please comment and let me know! I was thinking of maybe sharing more of these in the future if anyone finds them helpful.)

Racial inequality and injustice – why should I care?

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This post isn’t about one particular incident, but the numerous incidents of the last few years that have happened in the public eye. I know some people who still claim there is no real racial inequality or injustice in our country, but I just don’t see how someone can truly feel that way. Perhaps they don’t want to believe it is true or they are listening to media that spins everything a certain way, I don’t know. But I don’t see how anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave can say that racial inequality and injustice are not problems in America.

Now, on to the next question…why do I care and why do I think everyone else should care? I know some people who have posed this question or at least implied it. Why do I, a white woman who lives somewhere between poverty and middle class care so much about racial inequality and injustice that doesn’t affect me? Because it DOES affect me. It affects us all. So below I am sharing some reasons that I personally care so much about this topic. Some of the reasons are personal and some are universal, but they all make me care very much.

1. I care about racial inequality and injustice because I have seen people I love experience it. Growing up I had a step-father named Charlie who was African American. I loved him dearly and considered him family, but many people thought it was wrong just because of his race. I care because my mother had two white children but she also had a child who was half African American. When that child died, people told her it was “better off that way”. They never would have said that about me or my other sister. I care because when my husband and I fostered we saw a huge difference in the way schools and even our prior church treated kids of other races. Some in our church even told us it was wrong to take in kids of another race. One school secretary said she wished that those of us who foster would stop bringing “kids like that” to their school, yet no one ever had the nerve to say that about our white foster kids.

2. I care about racial inequality and injustice because it breeds hatred and violence, which affects us all. When people are angry, hurt and oppressed, many turn to violence to show their rage. I do not condone these violent reactions, but I do understand them from a psychological view. When no one listens or cares about your suffering, it is natural to want to draw attention to the pain. Often people end up choosing negative ways to do so because they don’t know how else to get people to notice and care. And when violence breaks out, it is no respecter of persons. Anyone may become a victim, even you and your kids. That is a reason to care very much.

3. I care about racial inequality and injustice because prejudice grows. The LGBT and African American communities may be two of the most oppressed groups in America right now, but they aren’t the only ones. As a woman, I know women are oppressed and disrespected in many ways too. As are Hispanics and Jews. I could go on listing, but the point is that when we approve of prejudice in any form it spreads and can rapidly grow out of control.

4. I care about racial inequality and injustice because I love this country. I love the ideals of equality for all and the “land of the free”. I was proud growing up to say I was an American. I loved knowing and befriending people from all different races and cultures. I loved growing up with heroes and role models of different colors. Now I’m not as proud. Slowly this country is feeling more and more hostile and uncaring. High profile people are saying blatantly hateful and cruel things about people who are different than them. Even worse, many vocal supporters agree with them. I still believe in the American dream, but I fear many others don’t.

5. Lastly, I care about racial inequality and injustice because I am a Christian and Jesus cared very deeply about those subjects. He cared about the hated and oppressed and fought constantly with those doing the oppressing. WWJD? He sure wouldn’t be hating on the poor and mistreated.

Is the ‘Twilight’ Saga really all that bad?

Along with the throngs of female fans, it seems that the ‘Twilight’ saga has another group that feels just as passionately about the series, although their feelings go in another direction.  It seems anywhere you go, whether it is online or in person, whenever the subject of the ‘Twilight’ movie or book series comes up, people take to their corners ready for a fight.  I’ve never heard someone say they “kinda liked” the series, it is either a love/hate situation it seems.

My question is for all the ‘Twilight’ haters out there…is it really worth the effort?  Now don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with the many men out there who have been dragged to the theaters by their wives or girlfriends to see what is obviously a chick flick.  Of course, I don’t blame those women, I myself have made my husband accompany me to each movie premiere…after all, what good is a romantic movie without the one you love?  Of course, the movies don’t seem to put him in the best mood, so maybe it backfires.

I also have to admit, that while I thought the books were decent, they will never be great literary masterpieces.  Ten years from now, the movies and the books will likely just be reflected upon as a fad.  I also must admit that while I do like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, I prefer them in other roles.  Stewart is much better in sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek comedies or horror flicks, and Pattinson can be a great dramatic actor as shown in ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Water for Elephants’.

That said, I still don’t get the excessive hate that radiates from some ‘Twilight’ critics.  Is the series really that much worse than many other teen movies?  Isn’t adolescence somewhat marked by ridiculous displays of emotion and endless drama?  And even if you want your vampires to suck blood rather than sparkle, is it really hurting anyone?  It’s not like all of the classic literature and movies about vampires will be overthrown by this one series.

Also, did you ever realize that by spending so much effort and time degrading the ‘Twilight’ series you are actually helping it to grow?  Even negative publicity is still publicity after all.  You might want to ask yourself as well why you want to spend so much time thinking about something you hate.  Is it a sort of masochism?  Hmmm….just some things to think about.