“Freedom, by definition, is people realizing they are their own leaders.” – Diane Nash
I’ve recently felt like I shouldn’t be writing or posting because there are so many other more important things happening in our world right now. Writing all about me seemed selfish, like I didn’t deserve the right to do it when things seem such the opposite of “normal”. Every time I’ve tried to begin a post I haven’t been able to finish because I veer down some rambling road about empathy, letting fear win, and the sadness I feel expressing my voice when so many others are in pain. I’ve been struggling the last year, and especially since November, with feeling all over the place, unsettled, unable to let my light shine, which I know is ridiculous because I am sitting in a place of extreme privilege and deeply fear how many in our world are struggling. Navigating this internal stuff of feeling selfish posting anything about myself, I’ve tried to funnel down the negative feelings into a bundle labeled mostly “out of my control”, to get a grip on the fact not everyone is going to agree and inevitably, bad things will always happen. But I think, like many others I’ve talked to, that’s a hard pill to swallow because I know we have to be better than this. Better than the fear mongering, better than turning a blind eye, better than letting violence take a commonplace in our communities, better than pretending we no longer care about education, the environment, the arts, or healthcare, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on.
I’m a planner (read: borderline control freak) and it drives me NUTS having people represent me in ways that I don’t believe even begin to align with the values we have, politics aside, as a collective American people. But now, there isn’t a lot I can do about that. I know, I can call my congressman, I can sign the petitions, I can voice my outcry for all children, for fear of our public lands, and for the degradation of my sex. And I have, and I will continue to do these things and more. But even with those things, it’s hard to not get weighed down by all of it. Then, I slowly started unwinding the bundle of “out of my control”, to possibly break it into pieces I can control. I’ve been reading a really good book, Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny, that focuses on overcoming fears, sometimes that a person has held onto their entire lives, in order to be able to finally focus on the clarity of what you actually deserve from your life. I woke up this morning with the itch to write, like most mornings, and I finally said screw it. I’m tired of the darkness of sadness and drama dictating how I will flow my creativity. Stanny is very forward in her writing, letting you know that if you’re devaluing yourself from the beginning then you may as well just write off your life to unhappiness. (Also listened to a great cast from Molly Mahar on a similar topic yesterday.) So for now, I refuse to silence the things that bring me joy because we are stronger when people are happy, and this is my tiny crumb. I finally realized that there is power in me upholding the things I can control, because there are so many that don’t have that option and me squandering it, that’s selfish. For the first time in a while, I’m turning into the light.
(Lettering by Ali Makes Things)
This is a life and photo and travel journal. And it’s mine. I’m not pretending I’m perfect, and this isn’t life-shattering material, but maybe, just maybe, it will make someone else smile for a second. Maybe watchusroam.com will bounce someone off of their Facebook reel full of all the things we really can’t control, and give them a few minutes of joy with a new recipe, a new hike, or in my wildest dreams inspire someone to do better. Because maybe there’s enough bad, life-shattering stuff to focus on now. I’m going to start regular posts again if for nothing more than the simple realization life is too short to not do the things that make us happy, even if we don’t feel happy in our circumstances all of the time. It is exhausting to always focus on the bad. I’m also putting more weight on my 2017 word, CONNECT, to be more connected to the things I can help save. I’ve started with joining a Lean In Circle for local Seattle creative women, closely following our National Parks, and becoming a Seattle Times subscriber. And if you find yourself in a similar boat, a little overwhelmed by negativity and not sure where to start, begin with one thing, one small thing to bring some light. A gratitude journal, a day spent in nature, join a community group like Lean In, light a candle, read Overcoming Underearning, anything but staying stagnant in your silence. Stand in your light and shine it bright, love and be kind. To yourself first, to others, and to mother nature.
“There’ll be days you’ll need me by your side. And that’s alright.
Your whole heart is a village, everyone you love has built it and I’ve been working there myself…
that’s where I’ll be, with a front row seat, to watch you live your life well..” – Cam
Cheers to doing better ~ Amanda