***This happened back in September 2019, but I’m just now publishing in April 2020. 1. because we are in the COVID-19 quarantine, and I have committed myself to write everyday, and 2. because I never want to forget***
Every now in then, you get a rare opportunity to do something you never thought you would. For me, this is usually an adventure. But this time, it was a lecture.
Yeah…never thought a “lecture” would be on my bucket list considering I’ve had a few negative ones in my day, but this time it was. Out of an ordinary day scrolling through Facebook, an event popped up that caught my eye. The Clinton Presidential Center and the the Clinton School of Public Service were bring Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Little Rock, Arkansas…and tickets were free.
If you are the RARE exception to the public that does not know this Supreme Court Justice/Pop Culture Icon/Gender Equality Fighter/Dissenting, Strong, Super-hero of a woman, please allow me a moment to tell you why I’m obsessed with her (note: if you don’t want to read it, I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to watch the documentary about her entitled, “RGB.” Cannot recommend it enough.) She went to Harvard Law where her husband was attending, and when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer (a 5% chance of survival rate at this time), she not only took her classes, but helped him complete his, as well, WHILE raising a two-year-old at home. She still graduated top of her class and did all this on an average of two hours of sleep a night. She transferred to Columbia University her senior year after her husband got a job in New York and graduated top of that class, too. After graduating and enduring insane amounts of sexism, she went on to fight for gender equality. Without her, the constitution would not recognize women. Without her, women serving in the military who become pregnant would be discharged instead of taking leave. Without her, men could not claim caregivers on their taxes or claim social security if their wife passes away.
To spare you boring details, let me give you the recap on how I got in the lecture: All tickets were claimed within 10 minutes; they decided to move the event to a larger venue (Verizon Arena – and still free); I saw this hours after the event was posted, so I put my name on the waiting list just KNOWING I wouldn’t get in; two weeks before the event while mindlessly scrolling on my phone, an email popped up that I got in – I had a few hours to accept or they would give the ticket away; I dropped everything and went on September 3, 2019.
All 16,000 seats in Verizon Arena were filled. 15,000 remained on the waiting list. Because it was a general admission event, people were camped out all day. My friend Justin and I got there an hour before doors open. AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, our friend Callie never got off the waiting list, so she volunteered to work the event so she could still see her and texted us that no one was lined up at the back entrance at all. So we got insanely good seats, and I still can’t believe my luck.
I am really trying to spare you my rambling, so I will tell you this: Former President Bill Clinton introduced her, Nina Totenburg of NPR interviewed her, and RBG exceeded all expectations. I cried four times (not a crier). Here are my takeaways:
- If you tell someone you’re going to do something, do it.
No one knew she had cancer again until it was announced on August 23, a week and a half before the event, that she had successfully completed radiation. When asked why she didn’t cancel the event, because it would have been completely understandable, she simply replied, “I told the Clinton Center that I would be here. So I’m here.”
2. “Just do the work.”
She said when she first became a Supreme, they gave her crap stuff to do. She asked Justice O’Conner why, and she replied, “Ruth, just do the work, and it will get better.” So she did, and it did.
3. Remain calm (chanting this to myself for eternity). Don’t get your feathers ruffled
May Ruth reign forever!
First of all…if you have never seen the movie, Office Space, stop whatever the hell you are doing right now and go watch it!! It is a comedy, but it’s real….it’s so real. We (including myself saying “we”) often say things like “_______ never prepared me for the real world.” Would you like to be prepared? Go watch that movie right now. Besides the AMAZING soundtrack, here’s why:
1. You might be educated….but you still don’t “know”:
2. You still struggle with confidence issues, especially when trying to “sell yourself” without seeming like a cocky asshole (especially when asked “what makes you different”):
3. You will probably consider quitting and doing literally anything else:
4. The older you get, the more uncomfortably inappropriate people are…yes, in a “professional environment,” too:
5. When corporate bosses/consultants come in, they will tell you they want you to be “free,” and “creative,” and “express how you really feel”……THIS IS A TRAP! More than likely, they don’t:
6. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVENESS EVERYWHERE!!!
7. You will have at least one job (probably more) that will make you a shell of a person/make you hate EVERYone:
8. Yes, this will happen, too:
9. Loyal, good people will steal your office supplies. Guard them with your life!!!
10. There will ALWAYS be that one co-worker that has to comment on EVERYTHING. Worse, it seems like they might be trying to get a laugh?
11. Office equipment is the worst (we really can’t update this 1980s model?):
12. Corporate visits are like your parents saying “we need to talk,” even if you’ve done nothing wrong:
13. Know the difference:
14. You will feel fat being overly eager for “community food”:
15. But never…NEVER forget:
By this time, thousands of posts have been written about Robin Williams’ death. Most I’ve read are flawless. Some are tributes, but with a nuance I find disturbing….
I’m sure everyone (like me) wants to know “why.” It sucks, doesn’t it? This beautiful soul that bought laughter to millions across the world for decades. He’s seemingly touched everyone’s life in someway or another. The funniest man in the world. The king of laughs. One of a kind. A family member to us all.
Unfortunatly, I can’t tell you exactly why, but I would like to address some of the seemingly harmless statements I’ve heard. These statements lie in the gray area and often go unnoticed – because they aren’t meant to harm or to dispute character or are even meant disrespectful. But I have something to say; and I really do want to share some things about depression that I want people to know. Here are some statements I’ve heard following his death:
“You’re 63 with 3 children and seemingly SO much- you’d take your own life? you’re 63 man- finish this thing out!”
“I’m no longer a fan. I can’t forgive him for this”
“He’s so funny! Why would he do this?”
“He’s the last person on earth I thought would do this because his life is laughter!”
First of all, let me start by assuming that anyone reading this doesn’t know me (probably true). I’m a 27 year old woman. I live in a very nice suburban home, came from a christian family, have true friends, have a wonderful companion in my husband, am educated, valued, a hard worker. I’ve been given many awards for both work and things like voted “most talented” and “most popular.” I’ve got it good.
I suffer from depression
It is, above all, a completely unfair and unexplainable disease. And that’s why NOTHING will ever explain Robin’s death, not even the Parkinson’s Disease, because it is unjust and cruel. It is a disease without reason. That’s why being 63 with 3 children doesn’t matter, and most of all, that’s why his humor didn’t have a damn thing to do with this. To the world, his humor was untouchable, but to Robin, it’s very possible that he felt he lost it.
It is a disease that consumes the mind. All of it – emotional, logical, ethical, creativity…ALL of it. It takes WHO you are. And when you get that low, you’re not thinking like you normally would be. I’ve been depressed enough to consider suicide as a viable option. When you’re in your good states, you don’t even recognize that part of yourself – it feels a little like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. But I’ve got to tell you, when you’re in your bad states, you don’t remember that. You feel like a burden on everyone’s life. You hate yourself when you see quotes that say things like “today, chose to be happy,” and you try…GOD, do you try….and you can’t. And because of that, you sink further down and hate yourself more.
“What is wrong with me?? Why can’t I just be good? Why can’t I just be happy?”
I’ve never cut myself, or actually attempted suicide. But I promise this thoughts are mental abuse on your own brain. and then comes the support: “You should get involved with a church group! That will make you feel better!” or “let’s get a drink! You’ll feel better!” or even the tougher ones “you’re a strong, capable, privileged woman. The bottom line is you have everything you could possible need. Get it together.”
“Yes…I do….then why do I feel like this? Why can’t I get out of it?”
You might even feel like you can fool yourself once and a while by “choosing” to be happy. It makes things worst. The monster is right there waiting for you when you take off the mask. It’s a disease of the mind. It controls you. It’s like a a bug caught in a spider’s web: the more you struggle to get away, the more it consumes you. If you stay alive, you’re still just struggling and stagnant. For those few moments I considered suicide as a viable option, I can’t explain it. All I can tell you is that in those moments, it felt like the best option. Maybe for the reason or not burdening anyone else with my problems, Maybe for not being “Debbie Downer” anymore, maybe for not hurting anymore (or worse, when you get past the point of hurting and into the place where you feel nothing), maybe for not having to see the people you love and care about be so hurt or helpless in your presence anymore. I can also tell you that in that “feel nothing” place, hurt turns into a good emotion, because it means that you feel something. That you are alive and human. The bottom line of it is that there is no. damn. reason. It’s a murder. It’s not you. It’s not who you really are. It’s something that’s hijacked you.
I am depressed. I am a great person. I am selfless. I serve other. I’ve seen counselors. I take medication. It doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in full support of continuing the battle to fight the disease. But I can tell you as a person that has been doing it for over 10 years, it’s taxing, and it’s hard, and there’s very little hope of ever truly leaving it (cue “Hotel California” song).
PLEASE. For anyone out there struggling with this disease (and I say this for myself as well): FIGHT. Let Robin Wiliams be and inspiration of what happens after death. You are worth it. You are loved. You are loved and important.
To everyone else (and please note being sad and being depressed are different things), please have mercy. Please be understanding. You’re not expected to understand, and please don’t try to connect like you do. Just let the person know that you love them, that you don’t know what’s going on, but you will be right beside them the whole way while they figure it out. Please have mercy on those that have committed suicide. They were not in their right mind, they were more than likely trying to act selflessly instead of selfishly, it’s an impluse made or incorrect and delusional knowledge.
Let us all try to understand, even if we do not agree, before disposing because of judgement. It’s real. And I’m glad it’s being talked about. And I’m so very glad for Robin William’s life.
Maybe you’re new here.
Maybe you’re not.
I’m plain old’ Lauren.
I am an ambiguously complex girl.
I’m in the wrong place, but not at the wrong time.
My “city” is even ambiguously complex. It’s in two states. Two southern states at that. It’s either two cities or one, depending on whether you place “AR”/”TX” or “USA” after “Texarkana,”.
To begin, let’s call it “two cities.” What we have in common: the name, the bible-thumpers, the lack of culture, an interstate, Wal-Mart, dog-parks, convention centers. Where we differ: city government, liquor laws, fair grounds, state pride, taxes, and bumper stickers (There seems to be a large number of people trying to discreetly tell the world not to mess with Texas. Don’t even think about it).
To quote an exert from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” Although, I think I’m figuring it out. You see, about 3 years ago, I was ignorantly happy. I knew I was a hard pill to swallow, I knew I was a little too abrasive, I knew I loved myself, I knew I love the capital city I lived in at the time, and I knew I didn’t want to get married (and certainly never wanted kids), because I knew…I KNEW that I could never love someone to the standard that I think spouses should love each other. I’m not a selfish girl, but I’m independent (to a fault at times) and can tend to push people away. You should know that in the past year, I have married, become a step-mother, stopped working in nonprofits (something I have worked towards since I was in elementary school), moved to the type of place I SWORE I would never live in again, and because of that, am forced to surround myself with people who I would never allow in my life.
I want you to know that I don’t regret one damn thing. Because that I love the dude I married more than the standard I originally held for spouses loving each other. That does not mean that I have never fantasized about choking him. Or that I haven’t put myself in a dark place wondering why the hell he still loves me. We are not in the cupcake stage. We’re in a “real” stage that I have only seen in one other couple in my ENTIRE life. ONE. I say that to defend him and our marriage, but that is not why I’m writing today. I’m writing about the other stuff.
I am unbelievably unsatisfied with all of the rest of my life. That’s not entirely true. Knowing I made the right decision to be with him makes everything else more tolerable – let’s just say I “nothing” it, because I am, after all, a “blessed” person. I nothing this town, I nothing the people in it, I nothing my job, I nothing my social life, I even nothing my ability anymore. Because it’s one of those places you just know won’t get better. There’s no problem to the people here, it’s me that’s unsatisfied, not them. Except for a girl who is living out the exact same scenario that I am (she moved from New York). She understands.
Oh yeah….aging isn’t helping. Late twenties means your body, friends, priorities, fun, and stamina ALL change.
But my greatest…my GREATEST problem…is for the first time in my life, I lack passion. And that has directly impacted my hope. Because to me, passion drives hope (careful, that can be either good or bad. Cool it, Voldemort). I want to write, but I have nothing to write about (if you’ve read this far, you see what I’m talking about). I want to paint, again, but I have no inspiration to paint. I want to explore new things, but there is nothing new here, unless you count the newly renovated Taco Bell on Stateline. I want to change the world, but there is no “problem” here. They don’t want change. I want to find pride in my work, but it’s very clear that I’m here to make a profit. And there’s no competition. If they want to replace me with someone with far less abilities, they can. And it would work. And I have no where to go, no hope for a raise, no inspiring projects, no real stimulating work.
Ladies and Gents, I need stimulation. How do I find that? What do I write about? How do I draw it? I can’t get out in nature anymore (sweet pine trees, man!). I tried to join the Young Professionals group (the entire process is a plug for themselves and how to get more people in the group), I’ve tried to find a good hang out (Olive Garden ain’t what it used to be). Guys, How do I find passion? How to I get back to the point where I feel like I’m living the width of my life?
I actually don’t mean to sound so whiny. I’m hoping that randomly pouring my thoughts out with start to churn up some creativity. So bare with me as I may have to write nonsense for a while. I don’t want to be here, but I’m fine being here for now. I gave up everything I loved for something I loved more and have no regrets. And one day, I’ll look back and say “How did I live without passion?!” But until then. I’ll write and ask questions. So to all the “Dear Abby” people out there. Please advise.
Because I’m going ham on GIFS today (I apologize if that phase is out….but I can’t stop). I’m feeling particularly snarky about work today, so here’s a Pulse Point on being an Events Manager:
How I feel when the newbies are telling me they’re not having much “fun” at their assigned job and want to do something else:
When they tell me we need to add another event to the calendar:
When I realize JUST how ignorant some of the “professionals” I’m surrounded by are:
when I walk in to my office:
When one of the co-workers I do like and I talk:
When someone who knows NOTHING of struggle talks to me about their “stuggle”:
When someone’s lack of planning pushes us managers into an emergency state:
When I leave work:
So here’s one thing I’m about:
I’m about words. All of them. Even the ones you may not like.
I’m not about abusing those words. Words can be taken WAY too far with the extreme. Especially now that we are ALL about the internet – and, trust me, I think the internet is incredible. I’m a huge fan of Grumpy Cat, Gifs, Memes, Buzzfeed, and certainly seeing if Beyonce has that “thigh gap” today (that last one was a joke…thigh gap is the some of the dumbest S&%# I’ve heard in recently). BUT we in the I.W.A (Internet With Attitude…Straight outta Computers…rollin’ on Chrome) get real gangster and real brave – and that’s fine to a degree. We need some abrasive people every now and then; but if that’s not who you are, DON’T BE THAT PERSON ON THE INTERNET. Because it make the wonderful World Wide Web full of extremes, and that brings me to today’s blog post (*WARNING* cuss words could be used):
Does anyone else realize how EXTREME we’ve become?? You’ve got to be either conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, White or minority (even in areas where white is the minority), cat person or dog person, feminist or oppressed, living a horrible misunderstood life or living the champagne life. Not being a hater…but can’t we be some of both (in some areas, not all. You’re entitled to be a little extreme). Even the words “hate” and “love” (extreme words) have been devalued because of the extremity of their over-usage (guilty). And then I ran across a quote from the writer Joan Morgan in her 1997 hip-hop feminist manifesto When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: “a feminism brave enough to fuck with the grays.
The Gray Area. I love it.
Why are we so insistent on drawing a line in the sand? Just because my husband is the head of the household and is a man and makes the most money…that devalues me? Perhaps you should visit my household. I don’t feel like I must devalue him to find value in myself. And I think that’s the major problem: those extremes cause us to feel the need to devalue things in order to add value to other things – we are all bred bullies. Instead of working our ass of for a position, we have to find reason why the person in that position is not qualified, instead of showing (and PLEASE note I said “showing” not “telling”) why we are the most qualified. Congress can’t agree on ANYTHING because it has to be the republican way or the democratic way. You want to know the real reason I beleive the divorce rates are going up? Because we have been taught that it has to be one way or the other.
Y’all. It doesn’t. There is so much value in the Gray. Things are wonderful in the light, fluffy, rainbow stages and things REALLY, REALLY suck in the depressing, gut-wrenching, heart in physical pain, can’t breath moments. But life isn’t the songs on the radio, folks. Real life isn’t. Real life is in the gray areas. I’m NOT saying don’t strive for exceptional, just embrace life when it’s not exceptional. DO. NOT. FEEL. ENTITLED. YOU. ARE. NOT. ENTITLED. You are earned, satisfied, passive…etc. But never entitled to anything above human rights. But it’s all up to you…so get out there and start doing the work. Because a mediocre job is better than no job at all, and that asshole that leaves his towel on the floor loves you unconditionally every. damn. day. And that..that gray area…is pretty exceptional. Sorry to get preachy. But this post is as much for me as it is you guys. I hope this might ease some tension and spread some love and above all, spread some appreciation for things/people in your life. Shanti, folks!
P.S. An article about my favorite song on the newest Beyonce album actually inspired this post, check it out here.