“Love in Violent Times.”

I woke up feeling a lot of anxiety yesterday. While running a few errands I couldn’t shake all my anxious thoughts.  At every stop light I could feel a wave of worry pull me under its current. It was just one of those days I felt unbalanced and out of control.

I don’t have many days like that, but when I do they come on out of nowhere and leave me feeling crazy.

Today is September 11th. Remembering how much that day impacted life as we know it, got me thinking about a book I read once. “Rose: love in violent times” by Inga Musico. In the book Inga describes how a Native American tribe believed that after an act of violence it takes seven generations to not be effected by it. I am not sure if it truly takes seven generations but the idea of violence causing a ripple effect in our lives is absolutely true.  I have seen it firsthand.

So now here we all are after one of the most violent events in our generation’s history, carrying on with our lives walking around with this open wound of violence right underneath the surface.

Yesterday when I got home from my errands I sat down and wrote in my journal. I made a list of all the things I worried about from the start of my trip until the end. When I finally finished the list and re-read it tears welled up in my eyes and I laughed. I couldn’t believe when I actually put them in writing how stupid they were, and yet I honestly worried about every single one.

My list was as follows:

Worried I would hit someone because of my blind spot

Worried I was a bad driver

Worried Dominic’s wasn’t the cheapest grocery store once I was in it

Worried I eat too much

Worried my jeans looked like Mom jeans

Worried I shouldn’t have bought everything I bought

Worried about the winter

Worried about money

Worried I wouldn’t find a new counselor

Worried Deanna (my old counselor) was mad that I didn’t say goodbye

Worried if Phill thought I was annoying

Worried that I was turning into a snotty bitch

Worried that Andy thought I was a snotty bitch

Worried I was a bad driver

Gas light came on- worried about the price of Gas and our economy

Decided not to get gas because I didn’t want to worry about Gas

Worried Phill would think I was an asshole for leaving the Jeep on empty

Dreaded doing the dishes

The thing I realized when reading it back to myself is once I let the negative thoughts stay negative- it was all downhill from there. They just spiraled into more negative thoughts and more things that I couldn’t control. Until I was worried about the collapse of the economy and the end of the world as we know it.  But this whole process of self-hatred and panic started with letting in the self-doubt.

Yesterday also happened to be National Suicide Prevention day, and a lot of people who have been driven to self-harm, or those who offer support were flooding Facebook with photos of love written on their arms. After my day yesterday, it especially struck me as really important, to write love on our arms.  I have never self-harmed in the sense that I physically hurt myself, but I beat myself up on a daily basis. I let negative thoughts change my perspective on who I am and how the people I love view me.

I met up with Erin and talked about TWOLA and we both agreed all of us could use someone to write love on our arms, to remind us to not be so hard on ourselves and to love one another.

We ended the night hanging out with one of our favorite ladies in the entire world. Priscilla, Erin and I made cupcakes and listened to Aretha Franklin on vinyl and encouraged each other to not only be positive, but to give ourselves the grace we show everyone else and love ourselves even when we make mistakes.

Thank God for friends like that. And I hope that on the days we don’t write “love” our arms we remember to write it on our hearts, and encourage the people we love. Because everyone has their own battle with the mirror, and it makes it a hell of a lot better when you have friends to help carry a heavy heart and if your lucky, laugh about it with you.

(Our friend Sue Regis from Regis Glass Art participated and wrote love on her arm in glass!)

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