So Suanne – February

Hi, I’m Suanne. I moved to Houston with my pink-haired daughter in December; While, I’m a bit of an introvert, I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can over the coming months. I wanted to share, this first time out, something inspirational, that would give you a sense of who I am and why I’ve come on board to help Carol with this amazing resource.

The months leading up to our Presidential election last year were really stressful – I removed my share of friends and family from Facebook because of the daily conversations about how the results of the election could directly impact my immediate family, not to mention friends and other humans. Slowly the main focus of my life shifted from being a creative woman, mom, blogger, who thought about burlesque costumes, rhinestones, coding web pages, planning workshops, and learning how to be a good dog mom into someone whose time was nearly consumed by the focus on the election and fear. Election day began with so much hope, and as the night dragged on our living room was filled with stunned silence, and then it ended as I cried myself to sleep.

I prepared for the move from Virginia to Texas in a fog, and somewhere in that time plans for the future were blunted, my blogging slowed to a trickle, and my plans to develop workshops for our community here stopped – how can I empower others when I feel so tense and afraid? It took a little time but fog lifted and I knew it was time to take care of my Self; How can I fight the good fight if I’ve got nothing left to fight with?

First, I needed to recognize where I was; Tense, depressed, afraid, wrapped up in the news (fake and real) so tightly that I hadn’t caught a Pokemon in weeks. I consciously stepped back just a little, no more reposting every single article on Facebook…heck, I stopped reading every single article. I made a choice to narrow my news sources to just a few trusted outlets and have made a habit of only checking them a couple times a day – usually first thing in the morning and then again mid-afternoon. I know I can rely on my Facebook blowing up if something really big happens.

I found turning to Twitter is a constructive way to deal with some of my angst, on Twitter, I know that I can directly respond to things I find particularly upsetting, or dumb – because there’s a lot of dumb. A quick short message directed at the (ir)responsible party and I can move on. And while I don’t want to totally check out or ignore what’s happening, I do need to move on because life is happening all around me and I’ve missed out on enough in my lifetime – I not prepared to give up more (certainly not 4 more years) we have to find ways to thrive not just survive.

I’m ramping up on little acts of self-care – there’ve been a lot of bubble baths, with Corona’s, wine, port, whiskey – WHATEVER! It’s bubbles, booze, and a great Spotify playlist, or a cheesy movie on my iPad, I’ve always loved a good soak, is there something you’ve always loved to indulge in? Swings at the park, blowing bubbles in the backyard, playing with a kitten, coloring in a coloring book, going out for an ice cream cone, seeing a $1 movie, there are a lot of ways to unplug and let go…like catching Pokemon.

I’d gotten really down on myself for gaining some stress related weight, but let’s face it I’m fat, these 16 or 20 pounds did not make me wake up suddenly fat, I was fat before (except when I was a tiny figure skater but that was 30 years ago) and I’ll likely continue to fat with or without a fight over basic civil rights. I bought a couple new pairs of jeans (Macy’s store closing sale thank you) and I’m calling it a day – no more negative self talk because my favorite pair of jeans don’t fit. I don’t need another excuse to feel bad, or something so negative to focus on when I’m trying to avoid thinking about the state of our States. Is there something you can “let go of” that will lighten your mental burdens? None of us need to look very far for negatives right now.

Doing good for others always makes me feel good, and volunteering gets me out of the house with a sense of purpose, so Social Notes is a way to meet new people and focus on things closer to home here in Houston. There are so many places to volunteer, it doesn’t have to be consuming, you don’t have to take a seat on a board or spend time at committee meetings, you can simply be a worker bee who show’s up, talks to people, and gets things done. Having a sense of accomplishment and control always makes me feel better.

I know I’m not alone with this, but I feel so alone… so, I’ve promised myself that I’ll set aside time to attend as many functions and groups as I can to see what type of flavor I can add to the group and event descriptions on Social Notes. My last bit of Self care is that I’m going to focus on relationship building which is, ultimately, what Social Notes is all about, and if I can do that I know I won’t feel so alone during whatever happens in the next four years.

Remember “We are stronger together”.