On stress & normalization

I wrote a little thing about the necessary act of taking care of your body and mind during times of intense trauma and stress.

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Let’s talk about stress and normalization!

Let’s say, for example, there’s a national crisis affecting personal safety and liberty. Your cortisol levels shoot up, in order to prepare to defend yourself: “Fight, flight, or freeze.” Your levels don’t get to come back to normal, though, because the danger is still present. Over time, you lose sleep, get headaches, get sick, weight fluctuates, anxiety and depression increases, etc.

To deal, your body starts turning down it’s response to the danger. It normalizes it, without your active consent, in order to protect yourself. It’s why you see blank stares and impassive response from people who are longterm sufferers (i.e. refugees).

So, you NEED to manually turn down your cortisol levels so that they can keep responding to the danger, when needed. You NEED to take a hot bath. You NEED to put down your computer. You NEED to watch cartoons. You NEED to hug your family. You NEED to get a massage, take a walk, laugh with friends, go to the dance class, make the art, play with the dog. Because if you don’t, your body will decide that all of this is normal. And this is NOT NORMAL.

Also, your guilt about taking care of yourself does not serve you, or the resistance. Laugh hard. Smile wide. Let the endorphins rush in. Every single act of self love is a radical act.

The Resistance needs you.

Women’s March, Oakland

A powerful, powerful day.

I felt fired up and in awe of the collective power. I just hope we can continue to harness it, especially in aid of the most vulnerable populations under this administration.

I will follow this women into any fight:

Centering reproductive organs is problematic and alienating to our intersex and trans comrades, but I did appreciate the beautiful vulva art everywhere.

But my favorite was this person trying to find their friend on their banana phone for 20 minutes. I haven’t laughed that hard since before the election.

If these first 5 days are any indication of what lays ahead, keep your boots on everyone.

 

Someone has to save our skins.

After Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing, and a marathon Star Wars viewing (Rogue One, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens all in three days), I’ve been thinking a lot about Princess Leia lately.

I didn’t grow up with Star Wars like a lot of my (male) peers did. The only thing I understood was that she drove teenage boys crazy in a teeny bikini. I didn’t have any women in my life who knew otherwise and could correct me, for I was sorely misinformed.

It has just been revealed to me, after 30 years, that Princess Leia is a total badass. She was a leader, a trained fighter, and didn’t put up with any shit. She fucking kills Jabba with her bare hands! I had no idea!

And so I feel cheated, somehow, that I didn’t get to spend the years of my childhood dressing up as the leader of a intergalactic rebellion because all I knew about her was that she looked hot in a gold bikini.

What I’m saying is, maybe we (men?) should be more careful about how we talk about and frame female characters, because little girls are listening.

 

Also? Han Solo was a dick.

Begin where you are.

 

Just, begin.

Election Fatigue

Boy howdy, all this talk about sexual assault is just riveting! Really helps me stay focused on my day and my self-care!

 

<end sarcasm>

23 more days…23 more days…

grabsback

Today’s Reminder:

 

Source: Yumi Sakugawa

September is for lovers.

When I was a child, summer was this magnificent beacon on the hill, a shining light of hope and freedom. June signaled the end of school and the beginning of true happiness. It sounds very cliche and dramatic now, but summer truly was this feverish pitch of unbridled joy. Beach trips, swim team, sleep-away camp, popsicles, and hours and hours of un-supervised mischief. My most treasured memories were of summers spent with neighbor children and lazy days and adult-less adventures. I felt most authentic in summer, most like myself.

And then, BOOM. September hits.

September was this sudden clap of thunder. A startling jolt back to routines and chores and homework and social anxieties. It signaled the beginning of school and that meant, the countdown to the next summer.

It went this way for years. This back and forth of waiting and pining, then release and happiness. Kind of a drag to spend 3/4 of the entire year pining for a couple months!

And so, when I noticed a shift within myself a few years ago, I was actually kind of grateful. There was this secret relief at autumn’s arrival. It may have started when I finally felt comfortable in my winter clothes. Apparently, the perfect boots and coat is all it takes to feel stylish instead of like a walking blanket.

So I am greeting this September with open arms. I no longer fear the rolling tide of seasons. In finding peace with the transition of the seasons of the year, I am also finding peace with the seasons of self. My own ebb and flow of needs and desires. I am working on embracing the shadow as well as the light.

Fall is coming, and it brings with it golden light, harvest and celebrations of hard work before the darkening of winter. I am ready.

Less is less.

Today’s totally apt reminder.

 

Grass is greener where you water it.

I know it’s only just begun, but August always has this dry, scorched earth feeling. Thirsty and parched earth; no use planting anything new. A single spark can burn the whole place down. There’s a heavy stillness of wings hovering in the shade, waiting for cooling dusk to arrive.

August tests my patience.

August, in many ways, does the same to me as January. It spins me inward and slows me down. I am taking these cues, these ‘seasons of self,’ and cultivating and weeding and pruning myself as though I would a garden. There is a drought though, so I must be very particular about what I am watering.

 

And so, I am incredibly grateful for the lush, green weekend spent in the Pacific Northwest a few weeks ago. I can find this place within myself and let it carry me through this dry spell.

On seeking

Welp, I did it. I turned 30.

Lightning didn’t strike; tsunamis didn’t come crashing over me; hellfire didn’t consume all that I am and love.

But it wasn’t without some heartbreak and loneliness and fear. I tried to greet them without invitation, and remember that sometimes, things must die. I must exorcise the lingering shadows, as I am not interested in living with ghosts.

And so I am renewing my commitment to myself.

I am here. I am alive. I am the magic.

 

(photo by umberdove)