There is not much to say that has not already been said. I am angry. I am hurting. I am confused. I am tired. I have been riding such a wave of emotions We have all picked sides. We have decided that, no matter who … Continue reading Life Is Not Complicated, what are you doing to change things?
On May 28, 2014, people of all ages, genders, religion and socio-economic status lost a universal icon.
Before going on to glory, Dr. Maya Angelou touched the nation in ways too profound and too numerous to describe in a short blog. Attempting to do so would slight the memory of a woman whose contribution to society was larger than her magnificent life and as deep as the words she blessed us with through her poetry and her vivid narratives. The passing of the writer, civil rights activist, actress, dancer, director, academic and U.S Poet Laureate made national headlines as people across the U.S began sharing stories of how this remarkable woman inspired, encouraged and motivated them. Too bad it took her dying for social media to shift their attention away from the bizarre, foolish and mundane topics that dominate our consciousness every day.
I think it’s unfortunate that reports about Dr. Angelou’s health suggested that we were on borrowed time with this legend yet we did not duly honor her while she was here to enjoy it. It’s a sad sign of the times. I’m pretty sure that in the coming weeks her books and her poetry will fly off the shelves or be downloaded at a furious pace as if we are trying to make up for lost time having missed an opportunity to acknowledge one of God’s most perfect gifts while she walked among us. I am happy Dr. Angelou has gone on to a better place. Part of me believes deep down, she noted how shallow and distracted and numb to responsible thinking we have become; that she was all too happy to leave this foolishness behind. Inasmuch as she worked to make a difference, at her core she was always different; that is because she never settled to just be; she always strived to BECOME. Become smarter, greater, stronger, better.
Maya Angelous’s death summons up a painful reality: we have lost sight of the people and the experiences that shape us. We have stopped focusing on what matters and traded our common sense for drama that has absolutely nothing to do with improving our lives. When did we as a society, as a people, just stop striving to make a difference? When did we give up on progression? When did we resign to simply be average, to just exist instead of live? Why do we rush home to watch reality TV but when Mom, Dad, or grandparents call, we send them to voice-mail because we “don’t have time right now”? When did “turning up” at the club begin trumping going to church and family dinners? When did we decide it was more important to be our children’s friends than it was to parent and raise adults who respect their elders and themselves?
Dr. Angleou stopped trending on social media days after her passing, yet 2 weeks after a noted couple said “I do” in Europe, I can’t escape the pictures and the “sightings” and the entertainment buzz surrounding nuptials you weren’t even invited to much less remotely affected by. Meantime, I spoke to friends who read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” so many times the pages of the book are worn and their lives are forever transformed by Dr. Angelou’s stories. Yet Dr. Angelou’s words are relegated to pithy status updates and memes that barely register amid the glare of nonsense.
I have lost the most important people in my life. I will never again have an opportunity to tell them how much they mean to me, how much they contributed to my life, how grateful I am that they love me and support me and teach me. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. My loved ones knew how much I adored them. I just want to remind all of you, tomorrow is never promised. Ever. From a Dr. Angleou to a dear family member, God does not play favorites. When it’s time for Him to call them home, he will do so without hesitation. Don’t be caught off guard, with unspoken words and feelings, wishing for that one last time.
I won’t stand on a soap box and pontificate about how I choose to think positively and take on my days like a Gladiator, wielding swords at my challenges, waiting on the Universe to decide: “thumbs up”, let challenge live; “thumbs done”, finish them”! No. … Continue reading Life Is Not Complicated, you always have options…
One morning, I was reading some of the feedback left on my “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” page on Facebook. I have never been one to rest on laurels, and while I am gratified with the positive feedback so far, I want to stay connected with my readers, and address the positive reactios, as well as any issues or concerns they may have. While scrolling down the page, one post caught my attention. Stopped me, dead in my tracks. It read simply, “Depression, is real…”. I was so moved by this statement, I had to log off for a few hours, just to get my bearings and refocus.
Deliverance, the chapter in LINC that addresses depression and the stigma and fears attached to this debilitating illness, was one of the most difficult chapters to write. As I explain in the book, I too had my misconceptions (and admittedly, some misgivings) about depression. Honestly, up until the moment I realized one of my best friends was battling that monster, I had not met a single person (that I know of) who struggled under the weight of this mental oppression. Once I had been introduced to depression, I realized if I wanted to help my friend and preserve our friendship, I needed to understand what the illness was all about. So I read, I researched, I asked questions…I asked a lot of questions. I learned that there were people around me who I never would have imagined were depressed. People who contemplated hurting themselves, people who retreated from “life” for days; anything to stop the suffering. I made it a priority to educate myself so that I could support my friend, and others who simply need to BELIEVE there is hope. I am not an authority on depression, nor do I purport to have all the answers. But I do know, that people very close to me sometimes live in darkness. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I remind them… they are not alone. That darkness is not permanent. However, they have to want to “turn the light on”. They have to want to pick themselves up, and find a reason to live for. Seek out the things that matter, and realize that if they disappear, others will hurt. Kids, spouses, parents, friends. One of the greatest, most valuable lessons my mom taught me, and that I discuss throughout Life Is Not Complicated is, I matter. No matter my circumstance, no matter the opinion of others, no matter my struggle and quite frankly, no matter how successful I become, nothing should define more than my own opinion of me. We need to know our worth, our value. We need to realize we deserve happiness, love, understanding. These things mean so much more when it comes from us first!
Yes, depression is painful, and oppressive, and frightening and draining. But YOU are strong, and worthy, and valuable and necessary. This affirmation should be your light in the darkness. So I ask anyone who is drifting off, and tempted to retreat into mental despair…turn your light in. Find your way back. People who love you, are waiting. People who understand are waiting. Don’t discount what your support system can do. Turn your light on.