When your reality’s already been a scary place and bad things are happening in the world, it can feel overwhelming. It’s hard to hear news about suffering and tragedy when you might be worried about your job, what you have to feed your kids tonight, if the landlord will raise rent again or how much the next prescription will cost. World news can feel like a double whammy for those of us trying to heal from trauma we’ve either survived or are still looking for a way out. Make pen pals with someone in Israel for a real eye opener. Getting through a regular day can feel like an Olympic feat for those of us dressing fresh or fading wounds. Hi God? Who ordered the double crap burger? Also I said fries not brutalize. 

There was a lot of fighting in my house growing up. Many of our low income apartments were as dangerous inside as they were out. As a result I tend to avoid conflict, sometimes to a fault. I don’t like violence. Too many front row seats at drug raids taught me that hitting, crying, punishment and threats don’t fix anything. Now instead of seeing my neighbors beat each other with mailboxes I’m seeing many of us attempting to slam the other side with memes and scolding posts. Even God, Jesus, Buddha, Buddy Christ get turned into ammunition when we’re feeling powerless. Remember Pulp Fiction? I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger… Ease up Jules. I long for a humane society just as much as the screaming vegans but’ve noticed chasing people with flaming kale flags only makes them run away. Other times, like after a day of non-stop, intrusive thoughts, 9 panic attacks, 2 flashbacks, a critical incident, 4 more child abuse reports and 3 irritating meetings where that one person will just not stop pushing thier own single-minded, fear-fueled, rigid agenda I can’t even care about anything other than putting my head back on my body. What can we do instead of panic, argue, punish, fight or hide? 

Here are ten things to try instead of running away or running them over:

1. Kill your Television Really. Cancel your cable. Unplug the idiot box or movie theatre screen. Carry it outside. Put on a helmet and safety goggles (Because I love you and don’t want you to get hurt.) and smash it. Watching t.v literally programs our thinking. I could tell you all the boring research on how media images ruin our lives but it’s very sad and I want you to feel better. I had a Harvard professor once so just trust me. 

2. Make Art not War Take all the fragments of your smashed idiot box and turn it into an avant garde sculpture or mosaic. You could even buy paints, brushes and glue with the money you saved from cancelling your cable. Art heals. How do I know? I make art and was an art therapist. Coloring outside the lines makes us smarter by opening new problem-solving pathways in our brain, healing old hurts and allowing us to get better at life. Every toddler is a creative genius. 

3. Breathe Seems obvious but when we’re angry, scared and stressed we forget. Try this: take your index finger, hold one side of your nose closed and take a deep breath in. Breathe out of your mouth. Then take your index finger and hold the other side of your nose closed and take a deep breath in. Breathe out of your mouth. Keep alternating and breathing until the urge to drive off a cliff subsides. Now take your index finger and put it in one of your nostrils. Now take a selfie. And post. 

4. Laugh See how funny you are? You should probably wash your hands though. Back in the terrifying days of my frightening childhood I learned, along with my siblings, that almost any problem could be solved by putting on a costume, adopting a character and acting out some funner, parallel reality in the woods, a sand pit or our favorite, the cow pastures. It’s hard to feel bummed when you’re twirling on a hillside in a ball gown made out of a Twister mat. 

5. Eat For those of us recovering from eating disorders this is either a yes or a no. I’m not suggesting we eat or starve our feelings. The goal is simply to maintain stable blood sugar. When bad things happen I don’t want to feel anything. Staying hungry helps until it doesn’t. A simple way to be ok is to have a snack. Maybe cook something fun with a friend. Maybe take yourself out for a happy meal. Maybe share a loaf of bread with a goose. I actually saw a homeless friend doing just that this weekend. I say friend because anyone who shares food is a friend in this world. 

6. Walk a Mile This isn’t about cardio but it is good for your heart. There’s a great Sublime song, What it’s Like, about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. The best way to stop being mad or afraid of someone is to try and see life from thier perspective. We might stand there all pissed off at first saying ‘yea but what about me!’ And I get that but if we all stood there saying me, me, me we’ll never get we, we, we all the way home. That’s a metaphor for peace…or maybe pigs. Same difference. Try this: Make a timeline of all the bad things ever done to you by someone else. Cry. Get mad. Feel sad. Go to therapy. Then make a timeline for each person who hurt you identifying all the bad things that happened to them. Now try crying, feeling mad or sad for them. I’m not saying I want to make friendship bracelets with the guy who molested me for a decade I’m just saying I get that it was never about me and knowing that has really helped.

7. Jazzercise If you don’t know about this cardio-dance craze which swept the nation in the 80’s please stop reading and watch this video. Then dance around in purple spandex to your favorite iTunes until you sweat. It’s very good for you. 

8. Go Play Outside Put your phone away. Turn off the radio. Do not buy that dirty, tabloid magazine. Take a hike! I’m serious. Bonus points if you either bring or meet an animal along the way. Unless the animal’s a bear, a cougar or worse, a politician. People think or get us to think we have to be connected to the big issues all the time, doing something to save the world or fix the problems. Prove that we care by liking their post or putting on one of those pink hats and protesting. Guess what? God. In Chris Rock’s (a huge self-confessed terrible, awful, very funny sinner) new special he says this great thing about letting go because of faith. If we really believe in God what’s there to worry about? Don’t come home till the street lights are on. Maybe by then some of the problems will be solved.

9. Kiss My husband has a beard. The struggle is real. Keep it simple and no, you’re not stupid if simple sounds hard. It is. That’s why Barnes and Noble sells so many books on how to be happy. The truth is we don’t need a Ph.d or passport to be happy. Pet your cat. Hug someone you love. Snuggle up with your favorite blanket. Phone a friend. Hold hands. The little unplanned moments of human connection and comfort are the secret to true happiness. This is where I think poor people who’ve been through hell are kind of lucky. We don’t have big money to spend, fancy people to impress or huge expectation-strings of greatness attached to the end of every handshake or inheritance. Unfiltered reality, outside the palace is harsh but pure. Morning coffee, in a real bed with my husband and our dog is nothing short of a daily miracle.

10. Dream Imagine how nice we’d all be if we got enough sleep? I don’t like pills but PTSD can wreak havoc on inner peace so usually before bed I meditate. The Honest Guys on YouTube can talk me down most nights. I like thier Australian accents. In deep REM sleep our bodies and minds engage in healing and restoration we can’t accomplish any other way than for us to let go. It’s as peaceful, helpful and hopeful as it sounds. 


There’s nothing new under the sun- Ecclesiastes 

I wrote this after seeing a request for kindness from my brother to the world this morning. 

I love you brother. Be ok. Love, sister 

39 thoughts on “Be Ok

  1. “I’m just saying I get that it was never about me and knowing that has really helped.” So, so true. And that realization is freedom. Also, you’re right on about #1. In college I helped organize a campus-wide event where we brought in our tvs and smashed them with baseball bats.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Imagine a world with 37% more art and kissing. That’s a world I’d like to live in. I feel like if we can pick one of these each day, and start over every 10 days, we can at least create a more fulfilling life for ourselves, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey E
    I love this post. So much of it is true. Having gone through most of this ( not the husband with a beard) but mainly the anger issues and being the one who was aggressive and seeing people around me get affected, I guess I did similar things. Of course this was before I became a Count a few thousand years ago, when I was still small and my Uncle was still Alive.
    I 100% agree with the television and the breathing and everything you said.
    Much love

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Count, I’m glad life has spared you a bearded husband πŸ˜‰ but sorry to hear the first thousand years were otherwise rough. It would seem however, you’ve turned anger and aggression into wisdom and great writing of your own. Sometimes I think artists are among the lucky. Congratulations on trading in your tv for trips to the Mariana Trench. A good choice indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you:)
        I do feel we’re made writers for some force makes us go through all this and in the end we’re left bursting with experiences and gifted the capacity to feel better than others.
        And we break so many times that it’s easy to break of a little piece of me and put it in a poem. We’re lucky I guess. Lucky to have been smashed a bit I guess. I have an extra room here I’m already at the Mariana islands and got wifi for a bit. The challengers deep awaits me early tomorrow. Offer still open

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is really excellent! Love the list and in my personal universe, nine of those ten have been remedies for me as well. For No.7, a friend swears by belly-dancing, and personally we’ve been known to jump around pretending to be kangaroos in the privacy of our home as a stress release, and the dog and I like to chase each other around the dining table making growling noises or playing tug-of-war with a rope. We don’t have to buy into the cultural misery – how did that wise saying go? Sufficient to each day is the evil thereof?

    ❀ to you and all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Belly dancing and wild rumpus with dogs sounds so fun! Have you ever seen Chocolat? A great film with the pre-DV Johnny Depp. The little girl in the film hops around with her imaginary friend Pontoof (I know I’m botching the spelling) Hop away the evil; a wise choice indeed. Love right back to you ❀️


      • Yes, great film! πŸ™‚ And if you want to read a book with a great plot twist – the plot twist that got me the most out of anything I’ve ever read – I can recommend “Chocolat” author Joanne Harris’ “Gentlemen & Players”. The moment I realised I’d been duped, I had to start the novel all over again from the beginning to find out how the naughty Ms Harris had done her duping! Hahaha! It’s a “whodunnit” but it’s very hilarious, and told from multiple points of view, which is one of the tools used to pull the wool over your eyes… Something for a rainy weekend, that will leave you smiling and shaking your head for ages. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t wait to read it! The last fun book I read was called Life Under Stairs about the hierarchy of Edwardian servants (one of those discount silly books at Barnes and Noble). I loved it. A good whodunnit sounds great. Thanks Sophie!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s