Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Focus

It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to update you! As I mentioned in Friday’s post, I was intending for this to be my first post since my hiatus, but of course shit happened which I had to talk about! Anyhoo, many apologies for my lack of writing! I’ve been caught up with assignments and trying to get healthy around that.

So where do I start??

I’ve had a hair cut!

New Profile Pic 2

And I fuckin’ LOVE IT! I’ve wanted to do it for years, but I’ve always been too scared. This is when I realised that I attached waaaay too much of my beauty and confidence to my hair, so I finally decided to have it cut before my birthday in July.

 

My yoga classes took a break over summer, so in the interim I’ve been going to the gym; I’ve found a great one local to me, part of the Energie Fitness chain. Membership is really cheap and you’re not bound to a contract either so you can cancel any time. I’ve always been a little bit petrified of gyms; full of super fit people, I often felt like as soon as I walked in, people would be staring in shock at how unfit I am (not caring that I haven’t always been like this), especially when I get on the crosstrainer LOL. But of course it’s not like that; everybody’’s in the zone, doing their own thaaang and I’ve actually become quite addicted to it! It’s not only great for physiology, it’s also great for mental well-being. Plus it gets me out of the house so I’m winning on all fronts.

 

My body is also getting to used to my new AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs), Lacosamide. So I’m only on 100mg twice a day at the moment, finally off Keppra (wooooooo). But, when I first started on Lacosaminde, I developed a strange side-effect of urinary incontinence. Imagine my horror at the age of 32, suddenly leaking and having to purchase incontinence pads! I’m not ashamed to admit that I did cry a little and the only advice my Epilepsy Nurse could give was go to the internet, while my GP advised me to go to the toilet more. The latter only helped with the fact that as well as leaking, I was always bursting to go. It didn’t help with the leaking in between go’s. However, it seems to have finally settled down… until my next dose increase I guess….

Other than that, my epilepsy seems to be responding to the medication. I’ve had four seizures in almost two months which is INCREDIBLE!

 

Don’t get stressed

Another piece of advice my GP gave me was “to not get stressed” in order to reduce the seizures; people do not seem to realise who fucking annoying it is to hear that, as if we look for stress. For fuck sake.

 

However the GP did give me some good advice in terms of what I focus my energy on. At first what she actually said was that I didn’t have a focus and when I challenged her on that considering it was only the first time we’d ever met, she then rephrased: be careful what you focus your energy on. With this in mind, on Tuesday I saw my therapist and she said something very similar. She noticed that I tend to focus a lot of my energy on what other people are thinking about me and what they’re doing, very futile things. Instead of doing this, what I should be doing is focusing on myself: my journey of self-discovery, and what I’m doing now, in the present (Gestalt therapy is great for this, focusing on the present, being in the present).

Guilt and shame

I also don’t give myself enough credit for what I’m doing or who I’ve become: I’m a highly intelligent and incredibly creative woman. When I put my mind to something, I do whatever it takes to get there and I think that sometimes I give the people around me more credit for that than myself. My therapist told me that she’s observed that I carry a lot of guilt and shame, which is why I don’t like admitting the positive things that I’ve accomplished. And I think she’s bang in with that observation considering the psychological abuse I was subjected to all of my life. As a child and adolescent, although I was ambitious I was also very submissive and scared to rock the boat because I would be second-guessed and put down, so I would bend and sway to the music of others. A lot of this was also in seeking approval and validation from the people around me, whether they be on social media or real life, be they white, black and my family in particular.

 

Furthermore, guilt and shame is generational: many Black women before me have been prohibited from speaking out, speaking up and drawing attention to themselves, for fear of being shamed or bringing shame to the people around them. They’ve been forced to retreat into themselves which is a behaviour they’ve passed onto us, their daughters and granddaughters.

 

Now I’m going out on my own, drawing a lot of attention to myself and although at times I’m soaring high, I also doubt myself and look down at the ground beneath me, looking for reassurance but also scaring myself shitless. When what I should be doing is focusing on what I am doing, not what is happening around me.

 

I felt like I needed to share this epiphany with you all, because I’ve been trialling this new mindset since my therapy session and although at times it’s incredibly difficult, it is also incredibly liberating. In a way, I had already started the process when I stopped making YouTube videos a few months ago; I was responding to every single negative comment especially and with all the negative I get on Twitter sometimes, I was really taking the opinions to heart, allowing them to beat myself up. When I first decided to stop, it was to protect my mental health, but now I realise it’s about me focusing on what’s important: me and what I’m doing. My videos were not only a critique on the institution and society; they were a celebration of the person that I’ve finally learnt to embrace. I’ve also learnt not to respond to everything on Twitter, because it’s not only taking the focus away from what I do on social media, it’s also taking my focus away from myself.

XOXO

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Social Media: Counterfeit Reality?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we interact with each other, especially online, and there’s definitely a dissonance, which I think that people think is excusable because we are online.

Some of my most stressful interactions with people over the past year have been via social media, probably because I’ve retreated from reality out of fear. This is a genuine and logical reaction following a traumatic experience, to develop fears and phobia. However, the problem with the online ethnography is that people become cocky, and forgetful of who they really are; they forget to mind other’s feelings and emotions and there’s this saying we used to chant as kids:

sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me

Bullshit. You can mute and block people, however the words live forever online. Furthermore, they live for as long as they can in your mind. For me, words are like a broken record player on loop in my mind.

Now instead of talking in parables and riddles, I’ll finally relate my theories to examples: the more exposed I’m becoming on social media, the more hype I’m getting, but also negativity, which if I’m not careful will have a negative impact upon my mental health and Epilepsy. Words do hurt. And these people don’t know me; they just see a version of me that they don’t like and therefore attack it.

The week before last it was members of a Facebook group attacking me for a recent blog post. Last week, in another Facebook group I was (I feel), singled out by the host for promoting my blog posts in the group. I wasn’t the only person in the group who was doing this, yet I was targeted by name and told not to do it by the host. This made me feel incredibly small. And it also made me feel attacked. Furthermore, when I looked back, I’d seen that I’d only posted two updates. Anyway, I was reprimanded for using the group “inappropriately”, because it was only for networking not sharing blog posts. But there’s a way of relaying information to one another and singling one person out for something many people do, feels like an attack.

I don’t care what we’re going through in our realities, it’s no excuse to single somebody out for an attack. You may be the Queen of fucking Sheba – just because you host a group, it doesn’t mean you stop being respectful to others. Furthermore, you don’t know what that person you’re picking on is going through in their own reality. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried and struggled to sleep that night, because in my mind I’m thinking why did she pick on me? even after I apologised and challenged her, and the following morning I had a seizure, which has taken me days to recover from. Some of you might think that I overreacted. Well, we’re just different people aren’t we? And that’s how I felt about the situation.

I did try mindfulness, but it really doesn’t work in the dead of night in situations like this either.

I’m not going to lie, it hurt even more that this was a sista too and I’ve had issues with her in the past (which I won’t even get into on here), and this is all on social media! We are yet to meet in real life….

And this is where I feel the cognitive dissonance is. If I were to meet her in real life, would she be this brash to my face? I very much doubt it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Sisters

When things began to fall apart in my career and my personal relationships, I decided that I wanted to seek out new friendships but I was mindful about what type of person I was looking for.

As a disabled person of colour, I’m a double negative minority and the people I was surrounding myself with were not getting that, which was why we were falling out.


I needed sisters of colour around me.


There were actually some sisters that I already knew and I just drew closer to them. They saw me hurting and didn’t even wait for me to come, they just reached out and rang; For example one of them, I hadn’t even seen or spoken to in seven years, reached out on social media after seeing everything I’d been through. When we finally spoke on the phone the other day it was like we’d been talking every day! We’re making plans to meet up soon and we’ve been keeping in touch on WhatsApp.

One sister, I call my little sister. She has been with me through thick and thin. We’ve known each other for years; she was there through the heartache with my family. We started Teacher Training together and we were supposed to make it to the finish line together. She stood by me while my childhood best friend disappeared and I continued to cheer her on regardless of my own situation. Now she’s an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) and we talk on the phone for hours about my woke-ness (she prayed for it!) most weekends and I listen to her tales of teaching teenagers (which I surprisingly don’t miss! LOL). She bought her first car this weekend and I am SO PROUD of her. I can’t drive, you’d think I’d be jel right? Heck no! She saved up for the car, bought it herself ❤️


And then there’s my Bumble Bestie; I just cannot believe I met a sister through a frickin’ app! And one I have so much in common with! Music, art, film, fashion, politics. We’re both in interracial relationships, therefore we both understand the struggles of becoming woke after falling in love and therefore the emotional battle of being constant educators; We both also had very similar traumatic childhoods, almost parallel. I do not think I could longer go a day without talking to her.


I’ve realised that in life, you really do need friends that you can connect with and relate to. It means so much for your self-concept. Before, I was so lonely that I would surround myself with anybody and I would call these people my best friends but they didn’t know me. They didn’t know when I was really happy, sad or really suffering.


Now I have friends I can go to when I’m feeling suicidal because I’ve had multiple focal onset seizures all afternoon and can’t get out of bed.

Or when my partner has accidentally said dumb shit about structural racism and thinks I’m overreacting to his comments.

Or when I’ve been able to go for a jog for the first time in a year.

All of my sisters are with me for all of my seasons. 


Posted in Blog

Charlottesville: White Christian Ignorance

Quick rant.

I just stumbled upon a blog post by a person who used the analogy of their eating disorder to compare the compelling evil of Satan to the evil we witnessed in Charlottesville over the weekend. According to the blogger, the power of Satan is compelling people to lie and commit acts of evil. The blogger used the example of their eating disorder as an example.

To say that I am speechless is an understatement.

The person who wrote this, follows my blog and is therefore going to see this for which I am not going to apologise. (Before I proceed however, I’ve had a severe eating disorder myself and I’m not denying its evil hold, so I can empathise with the struggle.)

My mother used to always say that we give the devil too much credit, and for once I am going to agree with her. What we witnessed over the weekend was terrorism:

the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

So this is how the events on Saturday unfolded…

According to an article in the Guardian, Virginia has one of the most relaxed sets of laws in the US. Alt Right groups came from different states, having chosen their territory, like a sniper marks its target. These terrorists came with guns, pepper spray, eggs, clubs, vehicles.

They came to kill. 

Speakers, such as the white nationalist Richard Spencer, had planned to address the Unite the Right crowds descending on a public park to defend a statue honoring the Confederate general Robert Lee, which is set to be removed by the Charlottesville authorities. It was the largest event in recent times organized by emboldened far-right racist extremists.

But the police had to cancel the event, due to the tension between the two opposing sides, which then erupted into violence, when the alt-right attacked the other side with a vehicle and then with the rest of their weapons.

That’s not satanic possession. That’s terrorism.

People on social media are saying that Antifa and BALM (Black Lives Matter) were just as much to blame for the violence. Firstly: 

Secondly, if I came at you with a club or a knife, what the fuck would you do? Would you just stand there? The left were protesting against the celebration of monuments of slavery, to which the right responded with violent opposition. This was war. The violence came from the alt-right. 

Furthermore, to dismiss these acts as “signs of the end times” (which is also what the blogger referred to the attacks as), is a dismissal of hundreds of years of black suffering, and therefore displaying hundreds of years of white ignorance, which is why this was allowed to happen. White supremacists want to bring America back to a time before colour touched your soils, however America is built upon racism – the blood, sweat and tears of people of colour. Your rivers run with the outpouring of that suffering.

When are you white people going to get it?

Does blaming demons for you past console your white guilt?

Medieval Supremacy

If you would like to read more on the history of White Supremacy in Charlottesville, then I highly recommend this article: Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville,  (2017) by Josephine Livingstone.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

The ❤️ of Strangers 

I am so overwhelmed by the love of strangers right now. I’m part of this amazing Epilepsy support group on Facebook, and one of the moderators came up with the awesome idea to do a box swap. Anybody who signed up, would receive some details about one person in the group, and would have to make up a box of “goodies” to cheer that person up. 

I received mine today:


I was so overwhelmed by the love of this stranger that I burst into tears!

It’s breathtaking what the kindness of strangers can do ❤️

Posted in Blog

Social Media: Let’s Get Personal

This is going to be a VERY angry post. After my last post on mental health, I had some negative feedback on my personal Facebook page from somebody I know. We came to blows and after her comments, I had to block her.

 

People were comfortable when I was only sharing posts of me smiling, because that’s what social media’s about right?

 

Putting on a show for one another’s amusement.

 

We tell each other what we had for breakfast; we post pictures of our cute little dogs; we check in on our trips to Ikea (I actually did that yesterday haha), and the sad posts are okay as long as they’re temporary. People don’t care about our pain if it doesn’t have a sell-by-date, and I’m sorry but that’s the truth.

 

Since I’ve become sick, lost my job and become more outspoken about race, more and more people on my personal Facebook page have criticised me for “moaning” on their newsfeeds. This is regardless of balance too – I’ve shared the positive and the negative. 

 

How dare you tell me what to share about my life?

How dare you tell me what to post on my own Facebook page?

I have to scroll past your trash whenever I log onto Facebook, while I’m lying in bed crippled after a seizure or depression. Or both.

And by the way, thanks for fucking asking if I’m okay.

If you don’t like what I’m saying, scroll the fuck on bitch.

Eye Roll

Talking to a close friend about this, and taking her advice, I had to come to the decision that I’ll no longer to posting my blog to my personal Facebook page. And that’s tragic, because it appears that I’m now writing to the world and not my home. However, it protects my mental health, and it reduces stress, which will hopefully reduce seizures (by the way, my Zonisamide has been increased, I’m not fucking happy. 500mg, on top of the Keppra, AND anti-depressants???? For fuck’s sake. But of course, people on Facebook are sooooooooooooooooooooooo tired of hearing me moan about my fucking epilepsy because it hasn’t gone away yet).

Every day shows me who my enemies are; I already know who cares, I need to focus on that.

Furthermore, haters is a sure sign of success – I’m pretty sure that somebody somewhere successful said that.

You Got It Dude

Thanks for reading guys, and I also want to take this time to thank you for your support.

XOXO