on anger

via
Sometimes having a blog puts me in a weird position. I share so much of my life here, from what I'm wearing and my struggles with body image, to how I spend my weekends and what's going on with my mental health. Am I oversharing? Is this my space, your space, or ours? And how do I decide what's off-limits versus what's important to share? 

One aspect of my life I don't share a lot about is my job, mostly for confidentiality reasons. What I can tell you is that I work for a domestic violence hotline taking chats and providing advocacy, education, resources, and support. I love my job. But that doesn't mean it's not hard. As many of you know, I became a full-time employee in October, doubling the time I was working before. This is something I've worked really hard for and it helped me immensely as far as finding stability in my schedule and financial situation. The other thing it did was make me pretty exhausted. Yeah, it's 40 hours instead of 20, but that's 40 hours of pure domestic violence talk. I love what I do, I'm grateful for my position, and I feel like I'm fulfilling my purpose when I work, but that doesn't mean it's not hard sometimes. 

The first time I ever felt really angry was this summer when I was rallying for reproductive rights at the Texas Capitol. It was an amazing experience, but I felt so vulnerable and scared and pissed off. I was scared for my rights and my body, and the rights and bodies of my fellow Texans. I felt anger at the people who kept shutting us down and not listening to what we had to say. I felt anger that I had so little control over the outcome of the bill. I felt anger for people who go unheard all over, and who don't have control over their own outcome every day. In the middle of it all, I made an appointment with a counselor to talk about my fear and my anger. I realized I was just exhausted. I was using so much energy trying to fight for what I believe in, and leaving nothing left for myself. 

After about a month in my full-time position, I started feeling this same exhaustion again. I was scared and I was angry. Even when I wasn't at work, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Not only the stories I was hearing, but the articles in the news too. Especially when Dago and I started doing the podcast, I was purposefully immersing myself in news sites to gather important stuff to talk about each week. I just wasn't getting a break from bad news, scary circumstances, and anger. 

The last few months I've been doing really well, but, due to some specific incidents in the news and in other aspects of my own life, I've recently started to harbor the anger again. Every time, it seems to take more and more of a toll on my physical self, and especially my ability to form coherent sentences. As a blogger and a chatvocate, this is a big problem. I need my words! It's the one thing I have that makes sense. I've worked so hard to master being able to successfully and productive communicate with people. I bring so much empathy, compassion, and carefulness to everything I say that I am literally running out of words. I don't have enough to go around. You know what that makes me feel? Angry. Scared. Exhausted. 

I know about self-care, as it's part of my job to educate others on it, but it's really hard to motivate myself to do anything but lay on my couch and eat chips lately, y'all. Every once in a while, that's a fine way to take a break, but it doesn't actually care for me or get to the root of the problem. 

So what does all of this mean? I'm not even entirely sure. I've just been feeling a lot of things and decided it was important for me to let you know. It means I might be posting a little less, depending on how I'm feeling. It means I appreciate your constant support. It means I'm going to keep being honest in this space because it feels safe and productive, and maybe it'll even validate something you're going through too. 

How do you deal with being angry? Or scared? Or exhausted? 
 And what do you think of bloggers sharing their not-so-pretty, honest sides? Am I just bumming you out? (I hope not!)

13 comments

  1. NOT bumming me out. In fact it's refreshing to hear about someone who cares so much. When I get scared or angry, I try to surround myself with people who care as much as I do... and then engage in what I call active rest. Go see a movie, read some silly fiction, or go window shopping. Something that keeps your senses (and mind) engaged, but not on high alert. Hope that helps. Also, remember how appreciated you are!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think these conversations are so important to have, especially when you are someone who is working on and promoting the importance of self care. That has to do with all aspects of your life. Sometimes, you just get really down. You see all the bad stuff. You think people are terrible. There is a lot of stuff to be angry about. And as intellectual, thoughtful people, there's a lot of stuff to worry about and not understand and to afraid of. Negative thoughts and bad things stick more clearly in your memory. It's a scientific fact. So you have to take purposeful action to live a happy and healthy life, to remember the good stuff. One of the things that I've done this year is start a gratitude journal. Have you ever tried this? I have a journal in my nightstand that is dedicated to it, and at the end of every day I fill a page with the things I'm grateful for that day, everything from particular objects, to TV shows, to specific experiences and moments from that day. I've also started journaling, which allows me to process my feelings through writing, the way I do it best, without having to do that writing in a space where I feel a need to sound eloquent or at least be coherent. Most of all, I think it's important to let yourself feel these things and recognize those feelings as incredibly valid and important, but also know that they are not everything and develop strategies to overcome them. Each night I make an effort to put down my computer, light a candle, write about my day in one journal, write what I'm grateful for in another journal, and maybe drink some wine and listen to some good music while I do it. Decompress, process, and go to sleep with a clean chest. I've been planning to write a blog post about these things, but I didn't want to wait to get around to that before sharing some of these things with you here! I hope something in there is helpful or empowering or actionable!

    -Jen
    yourstrulyjen.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. No, not bumming me out. I get what you mean about bad news and scary circumstances making you both angry and exhausted. It happens. And I feel like the best way to deal with it is different for every person. Personally, my most-often go-to is to lose myself in books and I come back feeling refreshed. Or at least can say something like 'well, things may be bad here but at least I don't have evil wizard/vicious murderer/crazy alien trying to kill me'. ;)


    I hope you feel better! *internet hug*

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that you share so openly and poignantly about your life (in addition to the lovely fashion posts). I struggle with self-care as well. Lately I've really been working on not just coming home and numbing out with hours of television. My roomie and I have been discussing how it feels to do very mentally intensive work, and the need to shift gears and do something more physical afterwards, but also not relegating your mental energy solely towards work. I definitely struggle with being as kind and compassionate with myself as I encourage callers to be with themselves. I've been writing more lately, which has been good, and I feel like I need to sign up for some type of regular exercise like boxing or something since I get bored too easily working out at home. Anyways, you're an amazing advocate and you absolutely deserve just as much as you give to everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your honesty and I'm always so in awe when you speak about how much of yourself you give to others.
    I've always been the person to give and give until I'm left with nothing and my best friend has always felt very protective of me because of that. Her reactions to my decisions are often so hilarious, and yet sometimes so sad. Hilarious because of the way she chooses her words and how different our choices are, but sad because every so often it hits me and I realize how much more she things of my well-being than I do. Especially in college I really started purposefully putting myself first and I've started really putting a lot more thought into my words and my decisions. While I feel more self aware, I also feel less aware of who I am and what I'm doing.


    I look at someone like you, someone who's always so ready and willing to give, and I see my old self there.. and I miss it. Like, a lot. It's not that I still don't give, it's that I've become so careful with myself that I sometimes can't even remember how I would naturally want to react to something! I connect with you a lot when you talk about your exhaustion and your loss of words. The best I can think is that sometimes, it's just a part of the growth process.


    And I fully support your decision to do you and to figure out the balance between 40 hours of tough stuff, this blog, couch time, and everything else. Thanks for choosing to share. I'm looking forward to be a part of your process.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Again, Nicole, thank you for your honesty, thoughtfulness, and vulnerability. As a school counseling intern who deals with students in crisis every day, I completely understand the anger and fatigue you're feeling. It's such a real experience for those of us in the helping profession, and I'm really happy to hear that you're so self-aware about the need for engaging in self-care. Although it can be hard to practice productive and healthy self-care, I am glad you are at least taking the time to relax and just BE, you know? I'm trying to figure out what my best forms of self-care are, and I'm floundering a little bit right now. Also, I'm glad you're figuring out how your blog fits into all of this as well. I know that as much as my blog is my creative outlet and an all-around fun thing to have, I also know that it stresses me out sometimes (especially now that I'm in my crazy final semester of grad school!!). I am learning how to continue my blog in a way that doesn't stress me out and keeps making me feel good. It's all a part of the journey of life, right?! Oy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're definitely not bumming me out, you're just being real and relatable. bloggers who only show their good sides bum me out even more because they tend to make me feel inadequate or like I can't have a "perfect" life because I'm doing something wrong. When i'm feeling angry or upset, i try to focus on things that make me feel nothing but joy. A good cry fest, long nap, and upbeat playlist also help me chill out and come back feeling better.

    Do what you gotta do girl!

    I'll love you always <3
    toy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anger, fear, and exhaustion are very taxing emotions to have. I am finding that each person has to deal with their negative emotions in different ways. And each emotion may very well need to be dealt with in a different manner. After many, many years I have finally found constructive ways of dealing with my anger. Writing is a way I work out and deal with most of my emotions. It allows me to step back and look at my feelings. See them more objectively. Anger though has been a real problem until I started to study the violin. I find that when I am filled with anger, resentment, rage and all those other angry things that I can channel that through my violin. I think it is important for everyone to find something like this, but I am still exploring the idea.

    As for the not so pretty side: We all have troubles and it is good to share that. It is also good for readers to see that you have troubles too.

    Further more I must say in reference to your work and your rallying at the capital: You have my respect and gratitude for doing such work and standing up for the rights of women.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Alexandra ConsolverFebruary 9, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Hi Nicole! Enter my very first blog giveaway, up now! :) You could win eco-friendly nail polish & handmade cabochon earrings. :) Good luck!http://simplyalexandramyfavoritethings.blogspot.com/2014/02/two-day-giveaway-valentines-day-2014.html -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    ReplyDelete
  10. no totally not bumming me out, if anything you should be able to be real in your own space here! i figure life is too short to hold on to anything that doesn't help you move forward and anything that robs you of joy. anger is debilitating but totally necessary...instead of letting it take over...just allow your self to feel angry when it comes and then move forward in grace and love. we are hoping to come to tx for spring break...if it happens we really must meet!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nicole! I wish I had the ability to put thoughts into words well, but I don't. That's why I don't have a blog. It's people like you who can put those important feelings like anger into words who can make a big difference in this world. This weekend I was at a conference where the new bill was discussed, and this time in the context of how the change affects women who are carrying fetuses with anomalies seen on ultrasounds. The logistics are that babies are best visualized by ultrasound right about at 20 weeks, so structural birth defects or problems with the organs usually get seen about 2 weeks before the cut-off. Currently the bill only allows for a 2-week extension if the doctor declares the defects 100% lethal, but the truth is that the doctors are scared to make that call in this state. Abortion clinics are dwindling so that only about 35 places in Texas still even perform legal abortion procedures, and after Sept 1, there will only be 6 surgical centers in Texas that have the right arbitrary ventilation and hallway widths to perform the procedure. So I am angry, too. And I don't know what to do.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nicole, I think you are so strong to be ABLE to post and write out your thoughts and feelings about your anger and exhaustion. I, on the other hand, have a hard enough time writing out my thoughts on positive things, much less my negative thoughts. I think you have a gift of writing and being relate able to women. I think you should continue to write out your feelings. I think not only will it help you to get them out, but you will help others with knowing they aren't alone in their feelings.
    When work makes me angry, scared, or exhausted I get home and just lay on the couch and watch my shows to kind of escape from thinking about work. Probably not the best way to cope with things, but it works for me!


    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh dear, I'm sorry you've been feeling that anger! I struggle with that from time to time as well. I'll go through phases where I'm as informed as I can possibly be, but get completely overwhelmed and sucked into everything I read about, which definitely can leave me feeling angry, helpless, etc. I can imagine that would be even harder working as an advocate for 40 hours a week. I hope you can figure out a good balance and find good ways to cope with all of this. You're one seriously amazing lady, and I hope you'll take good care of yourself.

    XOXO
    Becca | Ladyface Blog

    ReplyDelete

© Writes Like a Girl | Austin Style Blog | Body Positive Fashion Blogger. Design by Fearne.