Welcome to Midnight

900 years of time and space, and I've never met anyone who wasn't important. - Doctor Who

The Doctor’s words of wisdom…

Another year is over.  Finally over, or unfortunately over.  I hope it was a great year for you.  It wasn’t really one for me.  But that’s okay.  Because a new year is a time for change, a time for healing.  Change is absolutely terrifying, but it’s also one of the most profoundly beautiful things in the universe (which has to do with the title of this blog, Le Chatelier’s Principle).

Every year at this time, people all around the world make resolutions.  Today is a time to take an honest look at our lives and rebuild them.  And that’s what I plan to do this year.   For the past year, I have let my struggles with depression, self harm and anxiety rule my life.  For the past year, I have fought my demons, winning sometimes and losing sometimes.  For the past year, I’ve fought my demons mostly alone, because I didn’t feel I deserved to share, to reach out, to ask for help.  This year will be different.  My promise to myself is to not let my belief that I don’t deserve help get in the way of my asking for help that my friends and family are waiting to give me.  I’ve survived this year, and that’s a great thing to celebrate.  But what I’d much rather celebrate is my commitment to not be ashamed of my truth.

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The following was taken from the TWLOHA blog and was written by Jamie Tworkowski.  It can be found here.

Five.
Four.
Three.
Two.
One.

The ball drops and fireworks. Resolutions are made.
People scream and people kiss and is it possible to change?
Is it really truly possible to leave the past behind?

Welcome to Midnight.

Another year comes to a close. Another year begins.
With a moment in between.
Why the fuss?
Why the fame and fireworks?
Is it more than hype? More than something else to sell us?
Is there something to this holiday? Something true inside it?
Because isn’t there something inside us that aches for change…
Dreams it to be possible…
To let go.
To hold on.
To leave it behind.
To start again.
To be new.
Is it possible?

If you’re reading this, if there’s air in your lungs, then you’re alive today tonight right now.
And who can know how long we have here…
And is it a gift? Was it ever a gift? Did that ever feel true or could that one day feel true?
Are there things to fight to live for?
Moments and people… Weddings and children and all your different dreams…
Love…
Is your life more than just your own?
And are there broken things you were made to fight to fix?
Broken families, broken friends… Injustice.
Will you move for things that matter?

Wouldn’t it be nice if change took just a moment?
Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy?
Midnight and we’re new. Midnight and the past erased. Midnight and we’re free.

It seems to come slow. It seems to be a surgery.
Forgiveness. Healing. Sobriety. Letting go. Starting over.
It seems to happen slowly over time.
One day at a time, the choice made new each morning.
Will you fight?
Will you fight to be healthy?
Will you fight to be free?
Will you fight for your story?
Will you fight to get the help you need?

Change takes more than a moment, but maybe there’s also something to this celebration of a moment, something to the way it speaks to us, something to the way we fear it, and dream it to be true. Maybe it’s the most honest moment of the year.

It’s possible to change.

Welcome to Midnight.

Here’s to the possibilities.

Peace to You.
jamie

Sleeping Beauty

In Sleeping Beauty (or at least the Disney version), three fairies give gifts to the infant Aurora.  Flora gives beauty, Fauna gives song, and Merryweather was going to give happiness, but ends up using her gift to weaken Malificent’s curse.

Beauty, song and happiness.  It is my understanding that as a fairy godmother, they could give almost anything as a gift, and yet they chose beauty, song and happiness.  Why?

Beauty and song.  These are very Disney-princess-esque.  Although I would like to be beautiful or be a great singer, I’ve found that I can actually manage just fine without those things.

What about happiness?  At first glance, I think happiness does seem like a really good gift to give someone.  After all, who wouldn’t want a child to grow up happy?  But I think giving the gift of happiness is still not the best.  There is value in sadness.  Not the numb sadness that is part of my life with depression, not the kind of sadness that drags on and on and on, not the kind of sadness that leaves you unable to do anything.  But a healthy, normal kind of sadness has value.  It forces you to take a step back and reflect.  It makes you stronger, better.  It makes your life more 3 dimensional.  And that’s not a bad thing at all.

So if I were a fairy godmother, I would not give someone the gift of beauty, or the gift of song, or the gift of happiness.  Things like safety, intelligence, character, bravery…these are more useful gifts.  But if I had to choose one gift to give to someone, I’d give them the gift of self confidence.

In Disney movies, many (most?) of the villains are vain.  One Direction has a song that goes “you don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s what makes you beautiful”.  Our culture very much pushes the idea that people, especially women, should not be confident, or that they’ll be more attractive if they aren’t confident.   All of this despite numerous studies that actually show that confident individuals are generally found more attractive than individuals who lack confidence.

In a world where beauty, song and happiness are all considered more important than self confidence, we need to reevaluate what it is that really matters.  Beauty and song are meaningless without self confidence, because no matter how beautiful you are, or how lovely your singing voice, if you don’t believe it, you can’t be happy about it.  Self confidence isn’t something to fear, it’s not arrogance, it’s not thinking you’re the best that ever walked the planet in every single area.  It is simply believing that you are enough.  No more, no less.  That you have strengths that make up for your weaknesses.  That you are not undeserving of love, success, happiness and anything else that people strive for.  And that, is worth so much more than society gives it credit for.

Executive Function

I rarely if ever cry, but a while ago, I read a blog post by Alyssa at Yes, That Too, that made me cry, partially because it brought back painful memories, partly because for the first time, I’d found someone who understood, who was able to articulate my experiences.  You can find it here.

The blog post dealt with something to do with getting stuff done.

It’s a skill called executive function.

I don’t have it.  Or at least I don’t have enough of it.

That’s one of the several reasons why I have a provisional diagnosis of ADHD.

“My record for most homework assignments completed between getting on the bus to school and the end of the day? Seven.”

I used to do almost all of my homework on the bus going to school, or during the 10 minutes or so before class started.  Now that the number and length of homework assignments has increased, that doesn’t really work for me, and I’ve found that if I do the homework between midnight and 4am the morning it’s due, I can generally get enough of it done to pass most of my classes.  Even so, though, with larger assignments, or on days when there’s homework that really isn’t made for doing at odd hours in the morning, I can’t get them done.  Not because I don’t want to do them, and not because they’re difficult.  Because planning to get an assignment done at least a day before it’s due takes more effort than doing the assignment itself.  It’s fine for daily assignments, to do it like that, but with projects that are meant to take weeks or months of work, that’s when my inability to plan and organise my time becomes a grade-threatening problem.  Sometimes I have someone help me create an hour-by-hour calendar with reminders, but even with that, it’s sometimes difficult.  And incredibly frustrating especially when the project in question is something I find really, really exciting, and it’s something I actually want to do but somehow can’t.

“[Including] an after school extra math class I was in because my school wouldn’t put me in my level of math class until I got organized and that’s a thing I’m not capable of doing myself. (No, they did not offer any help with doing so or methods I could use. Because if I’m so smart, I should be able to figure it out. Or something.)”

When I was in the fourth grade, one of my teachers (who was very, very awesome on the whole and just didn’t really understand my difficulties and because I was eight, didn’t think to ask me, not that I could have articulated it at that point) decided that since I wasn’t doing the work because I was bored in class, what I really needed was a little incentive.  So she talked to some other teachers and I don’t know who else, and they decided that I could have a pull-out class and spend some of my lessons working on something interesting my classmates didn’t get to do with another teacher in another classroom.  Which was absolutely great.  I was really excited.  And then they said that the condition for this was that I had to hand in all my homework.  On time.  I tried.  I really did.  And I still couldn’t manage to get every piece of work done on time.  So I didn’t get to join the pull-out class.  Because special ability-appropriate education is only for students who have age-appropriate organisational abilities which I didn’t have then and still don’t have now.  The school had a couple of study skills classes where they taught methods that students could use to get and stay organised, but they all assumed a certain basic level of organisational ability that I didn’t really have, so yeah.  That didn’t work either.

“I had no trouble whatsoever grasping the academic content. It was not a challenge. Getting the work done was because the attitude was still “if you’re so d*mn smart just do it, god, what are you stupid or something?” I’ve been there. I’ve been there so much it’s not even funny. No one said it in exactly those words, but I’ve been there. Usually I was lazy, which isn’t true, bad at time management, which is kind of true but doesn’t get at the root of the problem, or doing too much, which has sometimes been true but also wasn’t the problem.”

This is the paragraph that made me cry.  Because after years of being called lazy, stupid, stubborn, uncooperative and all kinds of other stuff, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone, and that this isn’t entirely my fault.  I’m not stupid, even now, with the IB programme, which is supposed to be hard and whatever, the material itself isn’t challenging.  I learned most of it myself from the textbook the summer before school started.  What’s hard is getting the work done.  All of it and on time.   It happens sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it happens but because I’m willing to make sacrifices and I feel drained for days afterwards.  And what’s the hardest?  That nobody, not one, thought to ask me why I was struggling before they assumed I just didn’t want to do the work.

I read blogs primarily to find some reflection of myself in them. And normally I see bits and pieces of me. This blog post, though, for the first time I felt like someone understood something that has been destroying my confidence in my ability long before my anxiety came along.

Executive function. There’s a word for it, there’s a word for what I’m going through.

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Disclosure: The quotes were taken from the post I mentioned and linked to and are not my work.  They collectively make up 14.8% of the original post (by number of words).

Friend Love

Friend Love

I’m seventeen.  A lot of my classmates are experimenting with relationships, with the idea of love, and I am too.  I’ve been in love (or so I think, anyways), but there have been moments where I was drawn to someone but it didn’t feel quite the same.  Was it love?  Was it friendship?  I didn’t know.  Then I came across this comic and it described my experience so completely that I knew in that instant, that I’d finally found the word for what I was experiencing.  So I thought I’d share it here, because it’s a really cute comic and it meant something to me and maybe it will mean something to you.