Caring, emo, sharing

Sharing Is Caring . . . To a Point

Honesty is important to me but I realize now that some topics don’t need to be breached.

In trying to communicate and exhibit integrity, I crossed the line into a territory where I’ve shared too much.

I need to NOT avoid or repress feelings. They should to be reflected on and processed.

However, my emotions can change, moment to moment, so I don’t need to cater to EVERY thought.

There’s an art to being tactful when hashing out one’s sensibilities.


First of all, the feelings and thoughts we have are important, but they’re not concrete truths. They are merely our own perceptions, opinions, and points-of-view; no one else’s.

At the same time, the feelings and thoughts we have are NOT unique. What differentiates me, from you, or the next human, is response; action.

We all have choices regarding how we react to feelings, thoughts, circumstances, etc.

Attempting to repress emotions is a chosen act so we may as well take the time to acknowledge how we feel and why we feel that particular way. Allowing this process will likely lead us to the most appropriate action.

When we bottle our emotions up, we run the risk of losing control.

When we lose control, we’re caught off guard, which makes us more likely to act inappropriately.

Self-sustained sensations rooted in fear, such as paranoia, worry, obsession, etc., only lead to suffering of oneself.

Another fear-based sentiment is guilt.

There’s no need to feel guilty for feeling.

Feelings are not set in stone. Feelings do not dictate who we are at our core.


When a feeling or thought, first enters my noggin and it wants to stay, I (again) need to process it (not push it down). I will look at the “how I feel,” “why I feel that way,” and go from there.


Feeling #1: I’m worried about how I’ll do on a project for school.

I’m worried because I’m afraid of failing. If I fail, I’ll lose my funding, I’ll look “stupid,” etc.

Solution: I don’t need to indulge in worst-case scenarios because they’re hypothetical and if I do my best, I should have nothing to fear. If I allow my “worry” to take over, I’ll be wasting energy that I COULD be using toward a resolution, and even be, potentially, setting myself up for failure.

If I didn’t do my best, I need to take responsibility for that. No scapegoats!

To make “my best” happen, I will make sure I have all the information I need. If the professor prepares an outline, I’ll use that as a checklist. If I’m not sure about something, I’ll ask questions. Just because I may want some things spelled out for me, doesn’t mean I lack intelligence. I’m just being thorough in sorting semantics. When I assume, there may be a breakdown in communication. I’m not a mind-reader so if there is confusion on my part, I’m responsible for asking relevant questions to clear it up.


Feeling #2: Someone said something to me that, sort of, stung.

This comment hurt my feelings. Why did it hurt? Because I took it personally. Why did I take it personally? Maybe, there’s a ring of truth to it. Maybe, it triggered a painful memory.

Solution: This one’s tough. Maybe, confronting the culprit would only engage the person, thereby “rewarding” their negative behavior. Maybe, they “know not what they do.” Maybe, I did something adverse, and they’re reacting to it by lashing out. Maybe, it was meant as a joke that crossed a line.

How I choose to react, depends on any particular situation.

If I provoked said “attack,” I (again) need to take responsibility by addressing what is transpiring.

If it’s a conflict with someone I know, I should, probably, express how the comment made me feel; create a boundary. While, I’m not a mind-reader, neither is anybody else.

If it’s someone that I’ve never seen before and will never seen again, I could, by all accounts, refrain from delving into any further contention.

Sometimes, not taking action is the best action. Again, it’s all about how I CHOOSE to expend my energy.


An activity I perform routinely is to reword, what could be, subconscious or unintentional self-depreciating phrases.


Examples: Above I spun “asking questions makes me feel stupid” into “there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be thorough, which can be done by asking questions.”

“I am neurotic.” vs. “I am methodical.”

“I am weird.” vs. “I exhibit character.”

“I’m never satisfied.” vs. “I evolve.”

“I can never stay in one place for too long.” vs. “I am worldly and love to travel.”

Etc., etc., etc.


It takes just as much effort to indulge in negativity, as putting positive vibes out there.

If you aren’t a nihilist, why not choose positivity?

Adapt, Balance, Change


I’ve become, quite recently, truly (in the plainest of terms) grateful for my stroke.

The reason being, it’s given me a real chance to redefine myself, and what I think is pivotal to my well-being. I have the time to actually become the person I want to be.

That is a gift. No more coveting. The world is my oyster. The sky’s the limit. Yes, because of my new-found, so-called “handicaps,” I’m supposedly limited to what I “can do.” But, not really. I have the mental capacity and resources to navigate around obstacles. It takes longer, but what are we in a hurry for anyway? Think about it.

When I had that significant change at the blink of an eye, I spent the following year, working my ass off, trying to regain what I’d “lost;” hoping everything would be as it were. I wanted my life back.

Once that year went by in my stroke recovery, I was devastated. I thought I’d be so much further than I was. I went through the stages of grief, mourning my past-self. I was in a very dark place, feeling very disheartened. After months of debilitating depression, I finally came terms with how different my life had become and will always be. I tried and am trying, to find what will makes me content in the moment, while continuing moving forward, especially in recovery. I’m trying to find self-worth.

With being labeled as disabled, I believed for a time, that I no longer had anything to offer anyone. Pre-stroke, I used my trade (tattooing) to show people I cared, to make money, and to travel. I gave newlyweds, birthday girls/guys, etc., tattoos as gifts. I made trades for things I wanted/needed. I could afford to visit peers/friends or offer rides places because I was always working.

Since the stroke, I’ve had to rethink my Love Languages (see, Support and Forgiveness, January 23rd, 2015.). What makes me a “good friend?” What am I physically, emotionally, or spiritually able to do now to show people that I care?

I have no money. I can’t, legitimately, drive. I can’t tattoo.

What CAN I do?!

I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received. Without it, I couldn’t have survived the first year of recovery. Not only did people visit me, but there were numerous benefits on my behalf. There was a place, online, where people could donate. All this started happening before I could even begin to fathom what was going on. No joke, in October 2013, I was out-of-it for nearly 3 weeks, but, without knowing it, I was being taken care of. Words cannot describe how much that means to me. With that support I was able to get through that first year financially and emotionally. I had a roof over my head, rides wherever I needed to go, kind words and encouragement, etc.

My mother helped get services in place: Medicaid, Disability, the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver, etc. She gave me what I needed to be able to figure out what I want. In one word: my mama gave me “SECURITY.”

Medicaid helps me maintain my health and keep my doctors and therapists in cahoots. We’re a team. I love it.

Social Security Disability Insurance gives me money every month, which I use to pay bills.

The TBI Waiver provides me with, basically, loopholes with insurance, and services through an agency of my initial choosing. That said organization, first and foremost, hooked me up with a service coordinator (SC) and a councilor. My councilor has been with me since the beginning. I got lucky with her. Unfortunately, I had to go through 4 or so service coordinators in a year, and threaten to go through another agency, in order to reach the SC I have now. But, such is life, and we’re sure making up for lost time now!

Through the TBI Waiver, my service coordinator was able to get me funding with TBI Housing. Now that I have my own apartment, I have food stamps as well. They definitely lesson the financial burden. I’m, also, going through ACCES-VR (formerly Vesid) to make myself more “employable.” Namely, they’re helping me with driving lessons and going back to school; stuff like that. I figure, even if or when I start tattooing again, I could adjust my schedule accordingly. I’m not worried about it in the least.

So, on paper, things are going quite well.

There are some hiccups in regard to my health but I’m working on those too. I have to remember that I’m NOT a typical young woman anymore. The best I can to do is to take care of myself. Believe it or not . . . the alternative . . . THAT would be selfish. When I slip up on the things I need (or need NOT) to do, not only do I suffer, but the people who care about me suffer, as well (maybe even more-so).

That mentality has changed a lot of things for me. I used to think that giving all my energy toward other people mattered. I set myself lowest on the totem pole. I put other people’s needs and happiness before my own, because I thought that if the people around me were happy, I’d be happy too. I didn’t want to make waves. I wanted everyone to “like me.” I kept silent and sweet. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” right? Not necessarily. I now realize, you can be pleasant without sacrificing your self-respect.

Throughout my stroke recovery, I’ve been working hard at, not only my abilities and health, but my character too. Like I typed, previously, “I have the time to actually become the person I want to be.” How cool is that?!

So, I ask myself:

1.) What DO I THINK makes a solid human being?

Integrity. “Word is bond” (Wu Tang Clan, c.1993.). I like that phrase. It embodies everything I want to accomplish. I look at it as encompassing honesty, loyalty, following a certain moral code, strength in the face of adversity, etc.

2.) What qualities do I find in people I respect and admire?

I don’t believe in accepting hand-outs. I believe in working for what you’re given. I have to keep in mind, the services I use now, are in place because I NEED them. You’re not taking advantage if you’re in need. 

I respect conviction. Even if I don’t agree, I admire people who sick to their guns but allow room for discussion; debate, even. 

I lost a lot with my stroke but it’s okay because, in turn, I grew a backbone. I learned to say, “No.” Now and again, I try to keep up with the Joneses, but more often than not, if I need to sit a round or two out, I do. I’m still working on that. 

3.) What qualities do I find in the people I truly love unconditionally?

I appreciate when people are honest, while treating me as a peer. “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” (Judge Judy, 1997.) And, patronization or babying does’t do anyone, any good.

I would do anything in my power for the people I care about. That’s not a lot right now. Still, the people I love, don’t expect much but still make me feel special and held in high regard. 

4.) Would I date me?

Nah, brah. However, I’m starting to like myself and exhibiting more self-respect than ever. I’m getting there.

5.) After all is said and done, what do I think’s most important?

Integrity. Honesty. Loyalty. Strength in the face of adversity. Hard work. Conviction. Respect.

All these things matter to me, but NOT at my personal expense. Some overlap. Some contradict. But, it’s all about finding a balance. Allowing some vulnerability without victimization, pride without conceit. Finding self-love without selfishness. Knowing when to fight and when to walk away. Exhibiting discipline without obsession. Etc. Etc. Etc.

. . . : Make way for “Mariah 2.0” : . . .

Ask yourself versions of these questions and see where you end up.

Fine-tune yourself.

Above Photo by James Via