Last year was a tough year for me. Life brought me to my knees. I found myself in the depths of burnout I did not believe I was capable of falling into at this point in my journey. I naively though I had “skilled” & “healed” myself far enough along my journey, that I just wasn’t vulnerable to that level of badness anymore.
2021 sucked AND it was a catalyst for growth. It sucked AND it had some of the most truly beautiful, authentic, spiritual, soulful moments of my life. It sucked AND it made me a better person.
So tonight, I wanted to share 5 of the biggest shifts in my life (both internal/thoughts and external/behaviors) that I am taking with me moving forward:
- From Recycle – To Reuse: This first one is simple and practical. Recycling has always been super important to me. My mom trained me from early childhood to sort all the recycling, and we would actually drive the bin into town to my grandmothers each week because they had curbside service and it was not yet offered in our neighborhood. During last year’s snow storm, I watched a netflix documentary on the global impact of recycling. This sent me down a rabbit hole of research to understand the social inequalities in how and where the chemical processes of recycling occur and the large carbon footprint required in this “green” process.
I’ve always been a thrifter and a fan of repurposing materials for art, design & fashion. However, this year I really focused on repurposing packaging – from plastic to-go containers, to tins & boxes (it’s amazing how many things actually come in quality boxes that can be beautifully repurposed), to finding a use for any glass bottle or jar.
I know climate change needs to be addressed by the super corporations who’s business practices contribute the most to it. Yet, I still feel that by being better educated about the systems that are in place and my role as a consumer – I’ve made impactful behavior change.
- Boundaries: For the first time in my life 2021 required me to clearly define my own boundaries. I can acknowledge that while I was not always perfect at maintaining them, I made progress in that domain as well.
The year began with a work situation that demonstrated a need to clearly define my boundaries within my new career. When I practiced as a therapist, the limits were clearly defined and rigid. One of the many reasons I chose to leave the healthcare industry is the black and white structure of the clinician/patient relationship has too many similarities to the power dynamic of abusive relationships my clients have already had to navigate their entire lives.
Coaching allows for me to be more authentic and genuine with my clients. It’s not as rigid or closed off as therapy. This modality allows for my wise mind to guide our sessions and relationship. While I’m good with listening to my wise mind in the moment, I realized that I would need to create a basic structure for myself. These are the limits.
Then I repeated that process in all sorts of relationships in my life – both my parents, my romantic partner, friends, former clients.
Boundaries are hard. Especially for those of us in the CPTSD & ND zones. But my oh my is it worth it. I used mindfulness to observe anytime I left an interaction and came away feeling taken advantage of. Then I chose to handle myself differently the next time the situation arose. Even though it is still often uncomfortable for me to clearly state (or especially repeat) a boundary, the moment will pass. That is how change occurs. I have to change my side of the interaction, if I don’t like the way things are going.
- Accumulate Positives Wherever you Can – Accumulate positives in the short term is one of DBT’s skills for reducing vulnerability to emotion mind. The events of the past two years have been an ongoing crisis – a daily vulnerability factor that that has been placed on all of us. Since our risk factor is higher, we must be more deliberate about the skills we use for protection. Accumulate positives can be any small activity that brings you joy. You can also increase positives by choosing to shift your perspective. For example I hate sweeping the floor daily. When I engage in that behavior I can think of it as a repetitive task that I do not like or I can think of it as self care (putting in the necessary work to have an environment that is pleasing to my soul). Still requires the same amount of effort – but with a much more fulfilling cognitive process.
- Fuck Late Stage Capitalism – Next week is the year anniversary of the Texas freeze. My boyfriend at the time was employed by Daiken/Goodman – a Japanese company that operates the second largest manufacturing plant in the United States. For the entirety of the pandemic their floor workers (who makes an average of $13.50/hr) had mandatory 6 day weeks. The plant was shut down for 5 days during the freeze. Literally everyone I know, had some sort of water damage due to pipes bursting after extended periods of no electricity. These workers had no option to go to work, and received no pay because they’re hourly. Even though, they are essential workers who boosted this company to incredible growth and record profits in 2020 – there was zero assistance offered.
We live in a world where Jeff Bezos can shoot himself into space in a penis rocket, while his average employee needs SNAP to eat. Fuck the corporations and a government that has continued to prioritize corporate profit over human suffering.
The technology created in my lifetime, has created a period of abundance never before experienced by humanity. The fact that a few super elite have been able to prevent the majority of the population from reaching a higher quality of life in the past two decades is pathetic. The pandemic has allowed more and more of us to open our eyes to the true extent of un-fucking-necessary human exploration.
I have no interest in returning to pre-pandemic life. Let the systems of oppression burn.
- Fuck Greg Abbott. You can check out some of my past posts about Texas abortion laws last summer, but just know I hate this man. I hate everything that he stands for.
As a person who entered the pandemic strongly “apolitical,” I will be donating hundreds of hours of my time year to #betofortexas. The last two years have proven, I can no longer choose to not have a voice or not pay attention. Those of us under 40 have to start getting involved, we cannot continue to allow politicians who are disconnected from the realities of life to create policies that are detrimental to the PEOPLE.
On a personal note I’d like tot say – Mr. Abbott you may be a reflection of the Texas I grew up in, but you are not representative of the future of our precious state. May you rot in the “hell” your faith warns of, for there are not many actions more evil than yours. Your legislation purposefully inflicts suffering on innocent women and children.
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