Blog Posts

Love

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[This was recorded on our porch while in Guadeloupe. Sorry for any plane sounds, dogs barking, or any other background noise. Vacation isn’t silent like I want.]

I’ve thought about love a lot recently. It’s something I always think about, but it’s been particularly loud these last few weeks. I love love. My favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day (roll your eyes, I don’t care) because it gives folks a space to be blatant and bold in expressing their love for one another. I really love love. And love is also something that caused me a lot of shame. Loving as deeply, as profoundly as I do, has gotten me hurt more than a few times. I’ve loved others more deeply than I’ve loved myself, and loved the comfort they provided more than I loved doing what was best for me. As a queer person (and queerness for some folks is as much an ontology as it is about who we love), my conception and enactment of love is seen as counterculture. Folks consider it confusing, foreign and in the worst cases, disgusting. And as a non-binary person, loving myself means being really fucking honest about who I am and how I want to be seen in the world, which requires being uncomfortable a lot of the time. So clearly my recent thoughts about love have pointed inwards, beyond how I’m interacting with the people I love. It’s been about how I as a subject interact with this idea of love.

In the past few months, I’ve stumbled across a radical piece of information: love doesn’t have to hurt. And by stumbled, I mean I got sick and tired of self-loathing, accepting the bare minimum from people (especially those who are clearly capable of loving others), and being so depleted from loving others that I couldn’t even stand to be alone, for fear of realizing how I actually felt. So I didn’t stumble – I pulled the ripcord on a parachute, and it’s been the kind of freeing, terrifying tumble I imagine skydiving to be. This idea that love doesn’t have to hurt made me take stock of my relationships (all of them), and assess if they were where I wanted them to be. Those that were draining, I cut off or limited. And those that feel rich, I’m trying to nurture. In doing so, I’ve remembered why I love love. It feels abundant in my life, and if I’m managing it well, it’s the most rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful thing I have in my possession and to offer.

As I mentioned, the fact that love holds that much significance in my life has felt like a shameful thing. That feeling of shame started once I started having romantic interactions with people: in part, because they started somewhat earlier than most folks that I know. So as I do this case study on what love means in my life, I tried a little experiment. What if I try to be single? (Revolutionary) What if I try to not place so much value in myself as a lover, and instead turn that energy inwards? A couple things happened. My mom likes to tell the story of how after an impassable relationship, she had ruled out dating, and once she stopped looking, that’s when she fell for my dad. They’ve been together for almost twenty years now. In a microcosmic way, I feel as though that’s what happened for me – finally having a relationship that was worthwhile, although the timing was off and it ended. In intentionally being alone beforehand, my fear of loving myself and being by myself became a blaring problem that I couldn’t ignore any longer. That relationship was meaningful because for the first time, I was my top priority, even while coupled. And I often use my partners as an external consciousness – a place to say my thoughts, expecting the affirmation I can’t give myself. And instead, this relationship was a playground to just have fun with another person. Our relationship wasn’t without its intensity and serious moments, but it was the first time that I didn’t feel anxious or tense being around someone. That prioritization of being single also gave me enough space to create some sort of criteria for the people I’m with, so this person was probably better suited for me than anyone else had been. And even still, as I mentioned, it ended. The timing was off, and I still didn’t feel totally comfortable by myself. I’m not far along enough to not lose myself in someone else. And despite the fact that this relationship was fantastic in many ways, I care about myself enough to not stay in something that I’m not sure of – for my sake and theirs.

In sharing this in more frenzied terms, with my therapist, she asked me, “Why not date yourself for a while?” I think that’s where I’m at. I’m nervous to do so, because I know how many corners of my life have been filled with a partner. I’ll have a lot more time on my hands. But if this process is anything like dating another person, the getting-to-know-you (getting to know and like you) phase is the most fun. I’m looking forward to “getting to know myself more,” so that when faced with a predicament, I’ll have pretty default settings.

And to let myself get on a high horse for a minute, this is the type of adult stuff I wish knew happened when I was in college, and why I share rather openly. I expected that my biggest ontological questions would be about my career, my supposed purpose. And perhaps shame on me for being so narrow-minded, but I thought that adults were somehow fixed. I didn’t know what adults thought about, but I couldn’t think about much besides my assignments and what was happening on my campus or with my family. I tried so very hard to shrink myself when I was at school – afraid to love myself, because that felt like such a powerful thing. Maybe I was afraid it would distract me. But luckily, I finished and have time to think about myself, and only myself. It’s a luxury to be my only priority, and I’m trying not to take that for granted.

 

 

 

 

 

Jumpman

Content: Depression and suicidal ideation

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Tomorrow is my 23rd birthday. And every year since I was about 15 or 16, I’ve written myself a letter around my birthday to reflect on the past year and name my hopes for what’s to come. I’ve decided to write this letter as a blog post, to also commemorate the fact that I made this website at 22 and that’s something I don’t give myself enough credit for.

Dear Allison,

Your 22nd year is coming to a close in a matter of hours. And while 22 was something with potential, that maybe would happen and you’d envisioned, 23 is entirely new territory. Have you ever envisioned yourself at 23, before these last few weeks? 23 is the first year since, what, 1996 without school for you. And there are many changes in store.

But let’s take a minute to reflect on all that 22 was. You rang in this new year with Lauren and Elliott in New Orleans – one of the first vacations you’d ever been on. And then went to Miami less than three weeks later. You got into graduate school (and let them know today that you aren’t going). You graduated college. You got a car two days later. You dated your best friend. You got your first job. You lived at home for the first time in three years. You were there for your family through struggles and milestones. You made a website and finally embraced the title of “writer.” You moved to a new state, by yourself. You got diagnosed with depression. You changed…a lot. And your life looks completely different than it did a year ago. It looks a lot how you’ve always wanted it to, when you did envision it.

And at times, that’s terrifying. The times you don’t feel enough are few and far between now, but they’re still present. The voice in your head has softened. If I have one takeaway from 22, it’s that you’re incredible. And I don’t mean that lightly, as something written in gold cursive on a placard in the dollar section at Target. But like, for real, think of everything that you’ve gotten through this year. And some things, you more than got through – you succeeded in. But perhaps one of the most dramatic changes you’ve made at 22 is realizing that success isn’t just achievement. Sometimes it is just simply getting by and recognizing that that’s enough. Personal success can include knowing when to quit. That includes people.

There’s something relieving about not envisioning a future for yourself. And I don’t mean that to glorify those thoughts at all. I’m not condoning or justifying them. Instead, what I mean is that in the past, you’ve been so concerned with having such and such goal done by whatever age (like having a license at 16, which you didn’t, or getting a job before graduation at 22, which you just barely did) that you didn’t do very much enjoying. Sure, there were moments of joy, but they were fleeting. In place of joy was determination. But now, what expectations do you have besides maintaining some of the parts of your life now, like living alone and being able to afford this car? Very few expectations can equal freedom. And that’s a good thing!

So overall, I want you to know I’m so proud of you, Allison. Considering that throughout 2017/22, you’ve said this was “the worst year” of your life, it’s amazing that you’re ending it feeling happy. Genuinely happy. And loved. And tipsy on a giant margarita. So cheers to 23, and to maintaining that joy.

Love,

Allison

Excuses

[Recorded from my car. Bad, bad for not being an attentive driver. Kudos for being a very good oral writer, tho.] Hold onto your butts, y’all. It’s a long one!

I’ve been thinking about excuses a lot lately, and for a lot of reasons. I feel like I’ve gotten into something of a rut when it comes to, I guess, just myself. I’ve spent a lot of time prioritizing other people and what their wants are for me, rather than thinking about what it is that I actually want and in turn, what I want from the same people. So, one thing that I was kind of beating myself up for, but not really, was that I didn’t apply to an opportunity recently. I had planned to apply to something after traveling for a week and then working almost the full week after that. And for a second there, I was upset at myself. I think I need to get out of the college mentality that, you know, if I have free time, I need to use it towards furthering myself somehow, professionally.

What I wish that I had done last week, rather that stressing about this application, was actually intensively take care of myself and recuperate because I’m a very…I don’t know what the descriptor would be, but I love stability, and therefore I don’t actually like traveling a whole lot. I’m a homebody. That’s the word I’m looking for. I love being at home, in my own space, and more often than not, by myself. So being away for a week wasn’t great. And then, I was like, “Oh, of course it makes sense for me to try to apply to something after being gone for a week.” Simultaneously, my partner’s car got totaled last week. So I was trying to attend to that. And I’ve been on the topic of excuses, mentally, because now I’m at the point where me saying, “I don’t feel like it,” isn’t even an excuse. I don’t feel bad when I say that to myself.

Recently, I talked to one of my students about, kind of the same thing because I’ve been thinking about excuses (and I guess that’ll be the refrain for this post), and we were talking about how oftentimes, especially going to college, you’re socialized to take up every single opportunity. You can’t say no to things. And that often means that we’re not still in being able to say, “This isn’t the right time.” We’re taught that those things are excuses, so “It’s not the right time for me to apply to this, I don’t think that um, this is the best decision for me, et cetera et cetera et cetera.” We’re told that that’s an excuse. And it’s not.

Well, I guess the next thing that I’ve been thinking about is, is talking about excuses therefore an excuse for not doing things? You know, in that, as I was not applying to this thing, I had started to put something together, you know, made my resume, started to outline my personal statement and then it was due Sunday and Friday night rolled around and I was like, “I’m not feeling it.” You know? I spent all of Friday working on this thing and I was like, “I’m not feeling it. The timing isn’t right. And plus, I’m not in college anymore, you know? I don’t want to be procrastinating.” And that’s a very luxurious thing to say right? I don’t wanna be doing two days before they’re due. But it’s true. So, like I already mentioned, I didn’t apply to the thing. And I don’t feel bad about it. I think this is only probably the second time in my life that I’ve decided to turn down an opportunity in the application phase. The other time that that happened was when I was applying to a major national scholarship my junior year of college. And I had that shit. On. Lock. Like, I had my recommenders, I knew what they were gonna say. It was a scholarship where the recommenders needed to be in different fields. I had everybody picked out, like, well before the deadline, like, I was really taking my time on this. I wasn’t trying to procrastinate. And even though I felt like I was doing everything right, I still decided not to apply because in me applying, around that same time, one of my friends from high school died. And that’s major, obviously, but it kind of put into perspective for me, that the timing isn’t always right on things. And even if an opportunity seems perfect, timing is still a detail in that. If the timing isn’t right, it’s not perfect.

So I have this Nayyirah Waheed quote bookmarked, not bookmarked, archived on my Instagram. And it says in more poetic language, even if somebody’s perfect for you, if there’s something about them that you want to change or there’s something about yourself that you wanna change to be with that person, then they’re not right for you. And I guess I’m trying to make a comparison between that and opportunities in that timing is often a component that we lose sight of. We think to ourselves, you know, “This is perfect. This is the opportunity in my field that I’ve been waiting for. It’s in the city that I wanna be in!” But there’s something. Like, it doesn’t pay or I would have to move too many things around in my life to make this thing fit and if that’s the case then it isn’t the best opportunity. But we’re so stuck on thinking that we have to be doing everything all the time and we can’t actually take time for ourselves.

So, on the point of timing being an excuse, how often do we act like self-care is an excuse for something, you know? I’m gonna stop all of this hustling that I’m doing, all of this work, and just concentrate on myself. And I can say, safely and humbly, that I have completely fucked myself this week – I completely fucked myself over this week, rather, because my to do list has more things than it does time to do the things on it. So, I’m supposed to write an article this week, I’m supposed to do my job, and then I forgot that I signed up for a leadership academy two days out of the week from 9-4. So I have to do a bunch of stuff for work but I didn’t account for two days out of my week are missing. And so, lately…lately as in like, the last forty-eight hours, I’m trying to prioritize taking care of myself. I’m trying to reassure myself that doing that isn’t an excuse. I’ve kind of – I had this attitude in college, but I don’t actually think I stuck to it, especially because I was an RA, I feel like I was kind of more talk in this sense than I was like, action, but um, I used to always say to people, other students when I was in college, “If you’re not doing well, you won’t do good work.” And I meant that insofar as actual academic work but I think that that applies across the board like if you’re not well, you aren’t doing the best you can be.

And we live in this society, I’m sure this is rooted in capitalism and white supremacy and patriarchy et cetera et cetera that tells us that we need to be sleeping five hours a night and spending thirty hours in a day working on some shit for us to be valuable. And that’s how people completely burn out, graduate from college with like, no sense of self, feeling completely depleted, having people feel like unless they hit xyz benchmark by xyz age that they’re not doing enough. And that’s not an excuse. You know, feeling like – feeling like you just can’t isn’t an excuse. I guess I’m wondering the whole definition of an excuse, what falls into that? Because there are so many times in life that I felt like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I had people tell me that I wasn’t trying hard enough and that’s not something that you can say for someone else. And I’m thinking about this especially, I know I talk a lot about my depression, and that’s because it’s something that’s new in my life insofar as having a name for it. But there are so many times that I was literally going through a depressive episode, at times like a debilitating one, and I felt like, “Oh, I’m not trying hard enough, you know, blah blah blah.” And telling myself that inherently knowing that feeling, like, intuiting if that’s a word [Editor’s note: It is. What’s up], but, knowing myself well enough to feel bad in a way I can’t work around. I know I can’t change this. But still like, I feel like that’s an excuse. And I feel like we sell people short in doing that, in that we make people feel like they’re performing at this unrealistic level, then they’re not enough.

I forgot to mention at the beginning of this, because I’m pretty focused, Happy Black History Month! And February is my favorite month of the year because Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday, and my birthday is the week after. I’ve contemplating putting up an Amazon wish list either on my social media or here, you know, to get some gifts. But, you know, in it being Black History Month, Blackness is always at the center of my mind. You can read the about page on this website, and I’m pretty sure the first sentence says “love of all things Black” or something along those lines [Editor’s note: It does. What’s up]. But, how often do we tell Black people that they’re not trying hard enough, that they’re being lazy, that if only they could try and compare to people who will never have the same life circumstances as we do, then, you know, then we could have an actual excuse for something. But “you’re not working as hard as Johnny Whiteboy, well that’s just a shame. Whatever you’re saying is an excuse.” So, in thinking about Blackness and excuses and you know, myself as a nonbinary Black person, like, when do we ever just get to fucking chill? Like, when do we ever just get to like, take care of ourselves and not be teaching somebody something, be helping somebody with something, be figuring something out for somebody, you know? To say, “I don’t wanna do that,” isn’t an excuse.

And I’d also like to add something that I’ve seen circulating a lot lately which is that no is a complete sentence. Like, explaining your rationale for not doing something, that’s what we call an excuse. It’s like when you say, “no, because” but you don’t even need to [laughs], I always thinking that I have a very monotone voice and then, you know, I do stuff like that. But, if I can replicate it, you don’t even need to [laughs] to explain your no to somebody. And I guess I should be saying this more in first person. Because I need to hear it. And I’m very good at saying things to other people and then not practicing them. Perhaps the best form of hypocrisy like telling people that they need to take care of themselves and then I don’t do it. But um, you know, you don’t – me saying, “I don’t want to,” is enough of a reason.

To circle back to the beginning, this opportunity that I wanted to apply to is for a company that I’ve always wanted to work for – well really, an organization, but it’s for an organization that I’ve always wanted to work for, it’s focusing on the exact field that I wanna be in, but it feels like, such a good opportunity. But what I need to remember is that it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Others will come, if not this exact one, next year, but something, you know? The timing isn’t right, so it’s not the right thing for me to do, right now. And that’s okay. That’s really okay. And I, of my own volition, am in a writing class that focuses very heavily on accountability, and I spent the morning before my class feeling sick because I said that my writing goal for the week was to apply for this thing and I’m not gonna have it done, and feeling so bad on myself. For what? You know?

As much as I post recordings on my website, I actually spend a lot more time just recording for myself. I find it helpful to speak things out and then listen back to them. So this [past] weekend I recorded myself for forty minutes and then played it back while I was in the shower and it felt like I was listening to a personalized podcast, but what I said to myself this weekend was, “No one cares.” Too, especially when it comes to matters of the self like whether you’re gonna apply to something for yourself or if you’re gonna do something that only affects you, then you really don’t have to explain yourself for those things if it only affects you. So what I was saying to myself is like, yeah I set this writing goal that I was gonna have this application done because it was like a creative opportunity and then I was like, you know fucking what? If anybody’s mad at me that I didn’t do this, which is not gonna be the case, there’s this tweet that I will link that says “social anxiety is conspiracy theories about yourself,” so to temper that I had to remind myself, if anybody gets mad at me for some shit that I said I was gonna do that doesn’t affect them, that’s on them, and no one’s upset. I would venture to say no one cares. Like, it’s so chill. It’s fine. And that’s not an excuse. Me, knowing – this opportunity starts before my current fellowship ends, so I couldn’t do it. Or like, I would have to make a lot of shit move for it to happen and I don’t feel all that bad for then not applying to it, right? That’s not an excuse. That’s a reason to not do something.

And so, that’s something that I’ve been ruminating on recently. So I didn’t make this, in part to reassure myself, but rather I’ve been talking to other folks, you know, about excuses and such, directly and indirectly and saying, “I might post this up” and stuff. And so, I just wanted to share that because hopefully it’ll make somebody feel better that, like, everything’s chill. And if it feels like it’s not, this is the external voice that you need saying that it’s chill.

How I’ve Been Lately

In a phrase: worse for wear. The last two weeks have been marked by my first depressive episode since I got diagnosed in October. And I’ve been getting by (just barely) with lots of Instagram scrolling, ASMR videos and generous support from my partner. But all in all, shit’s been hard. For folks without depression, imagine the following two scenarios. A) You think to do something, and say, “alright, I will. Let me spend the next half hour preparing to do this thing.” B) You get in the shower because you have to wash your hair, then as soon as the water hits your scalp, you realize you don’t have the energy to follow through. Imagine the feelings those scenarios conjure, then apply them towards nearly every action you do for anywhere between two days and two months.

And as you may recall, my New Years Resolution for 2018 is to have a better outlook. I prepared for this new year with more purposeful introspection than ever before: using my rough 2017 as evidence for how to move forward and naming what I want more of this year. I spent over an hour recording a reflection of 2017 so that I could hear, in my own words, what happened and what changed. And that’s all…helpful, I suppose. But this latest episode reiterated something I’ve known for a while. I can do all of this  mental hygiene work when I’m feeling well, but when I’m not, my mind is on two different tracks. There’s a small, regional train that stops off at different topics – “healthy relationship practices,” “self-care rituals,” “how to improve my communication.” And then there’s a Maglev that speeds towards unlit tunnels, unclear as to whether the other side is boarded up, a cliff, or whether it exists at all. And through the depths of my depression, they move simultaneously. I can hear the calm, familiar voice in my head that says everything I’m feeling will pass and generate evidence as to why those depressed thoughts are baseless. But then, the much louder depressed voice will shout things that aren’t worth repeating except to my therapist. So I’m left sleep deprived, disoriented and pretty frustrated.

And in talking about my depression – just how I talk in general, I’m trying to move away from adding a little ding positive note at the end of everything. So, after sleeping for 15 hours straight, I won’t tell you that everything’s fine.

But, there is something to be said about being proactive about these situations and realizing they will come whether I like it or not, rather than trying to combat them in a sluggish state. It’s hard to break old habits, especially when they’re tried and true ways to keep myself safe, but now I have the ability to question whether there are better ways to do the same things. This most recent episode was brought on by the knowledge that I have yet another life transition ahead of me this year. My first post-grad job is ending in several months, and I’ve made the decision to uproot myself yet again (and not go to grad school), but this time in hopes of settling, if only for two or three years. And it’s amazing how the body and unconscious mind remember the past more than our most present selves do. The first time I had to find a full-time job and subsequently move, every aspect of my life felt up in the air. And now…that isn’t the case. Sure, things will change, but I feel much more in control than I did the first time, however daunting it feels.

So, 2018 got off to a rough start. But I’m hoping that I can continue to absorb this knowledge I’m getting about myself and ding apply it towards that better outlook.

Goodbye…and Hello

2017 is drawing to a close and I can’t remember a recent time in life I’ve been this excited for an event. This year caused me to grow in ways I didn’t think were possible, under some of the worst possible conditions. Rather than a ten-second or even one-minute countdown to New Years, I’ve been counting the days since Thanksgiving, so I can wave goodbye (and good riddance) to this year.

My New Years Resolution for 2017 was simple: survive. And clearly I did, although it was no small task. To be fair, this year did have some highs. I actually did get an Elantra, I finished school, I got to see relatives I hadn’t in too long of a time, and more. But overwhelmingly, this year kicked my ass and was reluctant to hand it back. At one point, or maybe more than one, I thought to myself, “How much worse could this get?” And then the Universe would laugh and throw something else at me. So in the next twenty-one days of 2017, I’m gonna need everything to not bother fucking with me. A bitch is tired and I really just want the ten-day vacation I’m going to have starting next week. Until then, @ everything else, leave me alone.

However, rather ironically, my New Years Resolution for 2018 is to have a better outlook. And I’m a disbeliever in positivity, so I won’t say, “I want to be more positive.” But I want to feel hopeful, because time and time again in 2017, I felt hopeless. And whether or not that feeling was warranted given the circumstances, 2017 in one sentence was surviving with little hope for the future. Just trying to get by. Many times, I’ve contemplated a tattoo that said “for one more day,” after a Mitch Albom novel that I read in high school. That’s been my outlook for the last maybe…six years of undiagnosed depression and some noteworthy situations. “Let me just get through today, and it’ll be better tomorrow.” And clearly I’m still here and kicking it so that outlook has served me well I guess, but I want to move past it. I thought about finally getting the “for one more day” tattoo when I first moved to North Carolina, but instead I got the word “grace.” You see the difference?

In 2018, in having a better outlook, I want to be more accepting and forgiving (mostly of myself). I want to accept having anxiety and depression, and being single. In fact, I want to embrace those things as building blocks of who I am. I want to make positive changes for myself like paying off more debt, possibly getting a black kitten named February (!), and being more diligent about finding an apartment and job than I was the first time around. I want to be kinder to myself and extend myself the same empathy and gratitude I try to share with others. While 2017 was at times filled with senseless adversity, I want to also see the lessons and growth it provided. See! Lots of good changes in the works! Better outlook!

And finally, I’ll no longer be posting every single week like clockwork. I wanted to get into the habit of blogging regularly here, and I think I have. So I’ll probably still post once a week, but I’m not holding myself in such a death grip over it anymore, especially since the last few weeks of this year will likely be hectic.

What are you trying to change in 2018? Or better yet, what did you learn this year?

Weakness

Perhaps because I’m about to begin the daunting process of finding a new job, I’ve spent the last few weeks mulling over my strengths and weaknesses. And what I mean to say is, I’ve spent the last few weeks concentrating on my professional strengths so that in my personal downtime, I’m left to wonder, “what am I bad at?” And I’m not implying that I’m not bad at anything but…I’m bad at knowing what I’m bad at. And I’m very good at knowing what I’m good at.

I had to take a 100+ question strength finder test for work, and one of my results was “maximizer” (the writer and literature person in me hates that the labels are not consistent, i.e. all nouns or adjectives, but anyways…). To paraphrase my results, that means that excellence is the standard I hold myself, and others, to. I get special pleasure in refining people’s strengths to produce excellence. It’s “more fun…more productive…and counterintuitively, more demanding” to be this way – and I avoid people who try to make me well rounded. Instead, I just want to focus on what I’m good at. So the irony is not lost on me that I’m struggling to find my weaknesses with this maximizing trait.

But here’s the thing that always comes up when I consider my weaknesses: they’re also my strengths. This strength finder also said I have “responsibility” (cringing), which means that I take personal ownership of my involvement in situations. And while that’s bad for obvious reasons – the world does not revolve around me and we’d be in a lot of trouble if it did – that means that I care very, very deeply about the things I’m involved in. I’m supremely responsible and I also get pulled into obligations I didn’t sign up for, but still deliver. And there’s a rabbit hole I could fall into about how all of those strengths influence each other and at time become weaknesses.

Now, I’ve already written on here about how I’m trying to come to terms with my weaknesses or flaws. But I actually think that’s dangerous territory. It leads me to label things like my anxiety disorder as a personal weakness (contrary to what two partners have said, this is not true). My anxiety is neither here nor there – it’s just a fact of life. Sure, it’s probably contributed to much of my success in life because I feel like the world will literally implode unless I do my best. But I’ve learned that self-pride is more motivating than that fear of failure. In being a “maximizer,” I spent this week ignoring obvious signs of anxiety in favor of delivering results, and that ended in a moderate panic attack, which I had to see as just…being. It wasn’t good or bad. It shouldn’t have been a humiliating thing, nor was it necessarily a “good” thing. It was a wake up call and good if only because it required me to stop the behaviors I was leaving unchecked.

I’m actually trying to move away from the idea of having “strengths” or “weaknesses” at all, unless I’m asked during a job interview. The parts of myself simply are. At times those traits work in my favor, and at others, I could’ve benefited from other ones. But no part of me is inherently better or worse than another, and I think focusing on strengths or weaknesses creates such a dichotomy.

All of that to say, I’m not weak. At all. And neither are you.

Jeff, On Loneliness

This week’s post is in collaboration with my friend and fellow artist, Jeff deLeón. We’re working together on a project about loneliness. This recording is the beginning of that conversation, and it literally was a conversation, so expect a bit of background noises and overlapping talking, unlike a more formal interview. A transcript to this conversation is linked here.