This is How I Sustain Myself in a World that Feels so Wrong
My life's journey has been an interesting one. Like everyone else's, my personal journey has had its ups & its downs. Considering I am here today, still living, still breathing & enjoying an abundant life, all-in-all, I'd say my journey through life, thus far, has been a positive experience.
My journey, & my experiences, & the life I have been privileged enough to live, have inspired me. My own journey has lead me to endeavour to extend myself, to stretch, to contort myself into any shape necessary to help others in having a positive experience in their own life & their own journey.
It has always seemed to me, that I have a purpose. This purpose has never been the pursuit of success in its own right, but rather, success as a means of providing for others & affecting change through generosity, through sharing, through doing all that I can for others, even if the help & support that I provide comes at the detriment to myself. This is who I want to be & this goal is what has always driven me through life. It drives me to be kinder, gentler, & more helpful. It drives me to work harder, to do more to inspire compassion & spread the message of empathy, because I believe that compassion & empathy will heal & cure us all.
...& then I watch the news.
When Compassion Seems Impossible This Is How I Keep My Heart OPEN & WARM
I watch the news, or I read news-related posts on social media & it's hard. Just today, I logged into Facebook & read this heartbreaking story about a woman named Barbara Kentner. Barbara was a 34-year-old Anishinabee woman from Thunder Bay, Ontario who passed away on July 4, 2017 after an 18-year-old boy through a trailer hitch from the window of a moving car as he & his two friends passed Barbara & her sister in January of 2017. The trailer hitch hit Barbara & the 18-year-old boy gave himself congratulations by saying "I hit one"...
Feeling Broken Down
Barbara's story is such a disgusting & shameful act of complete racism. As I read about what happened to Barbara, I hung my head & felt a deep sense of sorrow for the loss of life. The weight of this incident is compounded by the growth of the acceptableness of racist, sexist, homophobic & divisive rhetoric that is becoming increasingly normalised.
Everyday, I wake up to some new atrocious, reprehensible thing that Donald Trump has tweeted, said or done. I hear about some unacceptable way that a child has slipped through the cracks & suffered at the hands of parents who, had the system not been broken, wouldn't have been left with unfit parents or guardians. Another school shooting has occurred & doesn't even make headline news because these shooting are just SO common place now...
...The list of atrocities just goes on & on. People say bigoted things, treat each other badly, harm one another, repress one another, & live in tumultuous separateness, all to the detriment of social progress. When you add to this, the disregard with which we treat the world we live on, our willingness to refute & ignore unalterable facts in favour of making money & our insistence on idolising detrimental & deplorable icons who contribute nothing to the world, while we ignore those doing good in this world, sometimes, it can all feel hopeless & like a little bit too much.
Nourishing Myself With Music & Remembering Who I am
I have a personal mantra...I have a number of personal mantras by which I live my life, but the one that I want to focus on for the moment is this: no matter who you are, I am me. What this means to me is that, how a person behaves or acts & what they believe, does not dictate how I interact with or treat that person. Who I am &, more importantly, who I WANT to be, dictates how I treat that person.
To frame this idea in a more tangible way, what I am trying to say is that the only answer to hate is love. The only answer to negativity is positivity. I want to spread love & positivity, so, with the knowledge that, no matter what happens, these are the characteristics I must have in order to maintain personal integrity & remain true to myself, how do I put this mantra into practice?
It starts with the realisation that when I speak about affecting change, the only change I can foster, with any amount of surety, is change within myself. I can't tell people that how they behave is wrong. I can't force someone to see things my way. The only thing I can do, & this might sound familiar to you, is BE THE CHANGE I WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. When I speak about being the change, however, there is a certain amount of introspective nourishment that I require to recharge & to fill up my proverbial cup.
The funny thing about the internet is that is can drag you down into despair, & it can lift you up to harrowing heights of joy & hope. The internet introduced me to my own personal well of hope from which to draw hope-sustaining water, & it goes something like this:
Music has always been what moves me. As a child who wanted so badly for my older brother to think I was cool, it was Black Sabbath & Iron Maiden that I connected with the most. As a dark & isolated teen who insisted on dressing in black & ruminating in sorrow, it was Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy & Tool who kept me connected to life. As an adult prone to indulging my natural inclination to close myself off & dig my teeth into deep & internalised journeys of introspection, I have sought out music that resonates with me on a deeper level.
Consequently, I often find myself marinating in the words "when it's all gone, something carries on. And it's not morbid at all, just when nature's had enough of you. When my blood stops, someone else's will have not. When my head rolls off, someone else's will turn. And while I'm alive, I'll make tiny changes to earth".
Fully immersed in these words, I find myself encouraged to continue.
A One Woman Riot
With my cup full, & whatever is inside me, be it a spirit, the freak happenstance of biology, or an old soul who has walked this earth in numerous incarnation, nourished, I am, once again, a woman on a mission.
I am on a mission of change. Not the sort of change that can be inflicted or imposed. The sort of change that takes place on the micro level in an effort to inspire change on the macro level. Join me?
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About The Author - Britten Thompson
Who is Britten? She's a reticent little beast born in the wilds of Northern Alberta to a foul-mouthed, French-Canadian father & an angry, stiff-upper-lipped mother. Britten is, almost always, wild-haired & poorly dressed. She recently left the beautiful & untamed chill of Canada for the blistering & somewhat oppressive heat of Australia. Her list of pastimes is short & includes reading, writing, petting cats, overeating & alphabetizing things. She's a fan of Windex on Facebook because who doesn't want a streak free shine? She dreams of one day writing a super-awesome novel that affords her & her partner a comfortable lifestyle, a large property, a few horses & the means with which to foster children in need...or just becoming a red panda.
When Britten isn't writing, reading, or organizing things in her home, she can be found cuddling with her boyfriend, arguing about why Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the history of ever, browsing Gumtree for a future cat or kitten, or contemplating days gone by, the passage of time & how ridiculous it is that humans have yet to evolve enough to grow a third set of teeth.