I'm not going to lie: I'm exhausted. And I don't mean physically. Emotionally and mentally, I'm drained.
There is so much awful happening in the world right now, and it's impossible to get away from it. It's on the internet, the news, commercials, in conversations--everywhere. Hell, I think about it when I walk outside and am confronted with a hotter summer than I ever remember.
It's like I'm drowning in bad news and hatred.
But I am here to remind you to breathe and give yourself the space and time you need.
It's time to "put on your own oxygen mask before helping others." If you're on medications, make sure you take them. Talk to a therapist (if you don't have one, find one, even if you're neurotypical). Log off the internet for a while. Set boundaries about when and where certain things can be discussed. If you're into meditation, make sure you do that. Spend time with loved ones and snuggle your pets.
Do whatever you have to do to get through. We're in this together. I promise.
Me? I'm going to take a nap and get back to working on some radical art like the Aces High, Jokers Wild series.
P.s. If you're in the Denver Metro area, come down to Enchanted Realms in Colorado Springs
tomorrow (Sat. July 27) from noon to three for a book signing. And be sure to drop by MALCon's author's nook to say hello the weekend of August 9th.
I've been thinking about creating some sort of manifesto for this endeavor for a long time now. I started it months ago and let it stew. I knew I wanted to do something for the kickass outcasts--the people who embrace their true selves and uplift one another and fight for change, no matter how small. But I wasn't sure how to create a banner for us. A rallying cry. Something to look to when we're feeling beaten down and low.
Something clicked today and it finally came together. I don't know if this will resonate with you or not, but it's the core of what I'm hoping to accomplish here at Wandering Jotun: this community of outcasts and weirdos, all lifting each other up and creating the change we need.
So, I present to you, The Kickass Outcast Manifesto (image, with accessible text beneath).
I was talking to my therapist about love and the conditions people in my life have placed on it. Most of them don't feel like conditions. It's not an overt "I only love you if..." statement. Most of the time, it comes in the form of a "I don't support/agree with/understand X, but love you anyway." It becomes a love in spite of not because of.
As I was listing off some of the moments I've noticed recently, my therapist suggested that, perhaps, I was also placing conditions on loving myself.
[Insert brain explosion here]
There are certain things we've all heard that become internalized extremely quickly:
I never quite realized how easy it is to take those statements and let them become stipulations on your own self-love. I'm no psychologist, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if a lot of (at least my) self-loathing and guilt and frustration comes from buying into these, and not letting ourselves feel good until we've accomplished them.
That's the thing: there's literally no way to reach these impossible standards.
Telling ourselves we can't be happy or love ourselves unless we're perfect or thin or working 60 hours a week, or whatever--that's not healthy. And it's just as painful as someone else setting conditions on when and how they love you. Maybe even more so, since it's such a subtle, internal process that we often don't notice it. I certainly didn't.
I kept telling myself I had to wait to put effort into this endeavor because I didn't feel queer enough, or deep enough into the popular sides of pop culture. I kept letting myself push off the happiness this work brings me because I didn't feel I could do it perfectly enough.
I wish I could say just recognizing the limitations we place on our own self-love would make them go away. It won't.
But realizing the conditions we set on loving ourselves is a huge first step toward actually allowing ourselves to be happy in a world that prefers us miserable.
So jump in with me: what conditions have you set on your own love? What social pressures are holding you back from doing things that make you happy? Tell me in the comments and we can sob together.
Nonir is a queer pagan nerd and writes about various things in those realms.