Wednesday, October 5, 2016

30 Days of Militant Self Care: Day 5

I mean, just look at his face? Too cute.
What goes into your mind isn't easily erased.  Today was about treasuring something that has had a positive aspect on your life and revisiting it and why it has lasted in your mind.  Maybe it is something happy.  Maybe it is something sad.  Maybe it is something scary.  Some things that go into your mind leave a lasting impact.  And it is time to revisit it.

I recently reread one of my favorite books, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.  I discovered the book last year and it quickly became one of my favorites.

The reason I fell in love with this book is not just the adorably happy raccoon on the cover. I mean, he's amazing, but not the only thing amazing here.  Lawson lives with mental and physical illnesses, and in this book she describes the ups and downs of such a life.  But the point of Furiously Happy is that even through the dark times, you can choose to try.  To make memories that are funny or ridiculous or "what the fuck was I thinking" moments.  You will have good days.  And you will have bad days.  It's what you choose to do with yourself that matters.  Not the illnesses inside of you.  This book is a collection of moments, stories, and even essays of Jenny's life.  They all have to do with living with mental illness, but they aren't the point.  Having mental illness isn't the only thing that defines a person.  It's easy to write someone off as "Oh, they have ADD" or "Well, she has depression."  Everyone person living with mental illness is more than that.  I am more than my depression and anxiety.  I am more than the back problems that plague me.  I am me.
Jazz hands!

One of Jenny's most amusing anecdotes is her father's taxidermy business and the many little creatures she has come to possess.  Her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, features a Shakespearean dressed mouse holding the skull of a smaller mouse in a delightfully Hamlet way.  In her manner of collecting ethically killed creatures, she came to own two happy little raccoons.  Which she occasionally has attempt to ride her cats.  It is just stomach cramp inducing hilarity.  But it is also poignant.  I know what she feels because I've felt it too.  The days you can't bring yourself to get out of bed.  The days where the only thing you can accomplish is taking a shower.  The days where logically you know someone is just an asshole and it shouldn't matter why they critique you, but it hurts.  Jenny's words are real and having some of the same mental illnesses, her words reach down into my heart and pat it gently saying, "We got this.  You're not alone."  I highly recommend this book to anyone living with mental illness.  Not only is it laugh out loud hilarious, but it helps you know that you're not alone in the struggle.

Stay tuned for more adventures in militant self care!


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