Are you facing challenges and obstacles right now?
Have you had an embarrassing failure or defeat?
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This is one of those weeks when I don’t even know what’s up or down, or right from wrong.
I usually say this jokingly, but it feels like a legitimate question in light of recent events, but “what year is it?”
No matter the failure or the obstacles it’s still not a reason not to.
I’ve spent so many days since Tuesday just twelve stepping my emotions from confusion, horror, disbelief, anger, frustration, disappointment… I know you get it. You’ve felt (maybe still feel) it too. There’s been this like burning in my eyes, maybe subconscious tears that just won’t fall.
I even wondered what I could write about that would be worth writing about tonight when all I’ve been able to talk about with anyone is that thing that happened on Tuesday. (Yes, I’m trying to write this without actually mentioning names).
Perhaps I would just write, “I love you” and tell you that it’s still NOT a reason, NOT to.
Just like feeling blah right now is not a reason for me not to write to you.
Words Guide Me Home
So much energy and thought wrapped up in this process and the result that I’m literally done. I’m tired of being out to grass in fields of WTF just happened, how, why, how could they, who would… what if… and if only.
I’m ready to come home.
Home to the place where I’m not freaking out about the end of civilization, wondering if people even learn from history or running hypotheticals of whether or not I should be building a bomb shelter or wondering if every person here thinks like there. And on and on and on.
It’s literally maddening. Not only is it a waste of energy, but it’s also a trap for which you literally cannot find the door to escape because there are not answers to any of these questions or fears.
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Not only did the wise words of those around me walk me back a bit towards home, but I’ve found solace in the words of a great man who lived almost 2,000 years ago. Who was a decent, forgiving and compassionate even though he was the most powerful man in the world?
There’s something comforting about reading the words of someone who was Emperor of a civilization that is now in ruins. We really are all dust and we’re only here for a moment. We have no time to waste when there is still good work to be done.
No time or energy to point of what he said, what she said, for it’s truly a futile and fruitless endeavor. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man (or woman!!) should be. Be one.” (It’s okay Marcus, I take no offense to you saying, man. Even that is not a reason not to).
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I Take the Good With Me
I choose to carry the moving movements with me. The moments that made me so proud to be a woman, so proud to live in this time. When I sift everything that was said or done there is one moment that just sticks to me.
My words from an unpublished piece from months ago say it all:
“WOW, just WOW. I am just awestruck after watching First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Tears glisten my eyes and the fire of my dreams burns in my belly as I reflect on her powerful words. Do you ever just stop and awe at how amazingly lucky we are to live in this time? How EVERYTHING seems to be changing continuously, blasting down doors with every great achievement? Think about it. In 2016, you can be whoever you want to be if you are willing to push for it.”
Isn’t the contrast in emotions so striking now?
Push the words and the nonsense aside and ask yourself what’s really changed? Nothing, really. You are still you, and you can still be inspired by this. You still can’t control other people, their words or their actions, but you can still control you!
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And ALL OF THAT nonsense that’s happening, is still not a reason for YOU not to.
I choose to carry these uplifting feelings with me, even though results might make me feel the opposite right now. I think it’s even more important now to remind ourselves of these sentiments, to let them infuse us, propel us, keep us moving, not stuck in mourning.
3 Reasons to Continue Dreaming
Now on the reverse side of this (dark side of the moon perhaps, just kidding, not really, have you seen that supermoon?), I find myself needing to eat my own words (because I’m on empty and I need something to fill me with hope).
Listen, whether it’s your dream or someone else’s journey to achieving dreams and goals is not an easy one. But, that doesn’t mean that we let the dream die.
#1. Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Who You Are, Only You Can Decide That.
Don’t listen to haters, naysayers, pessimists, and shit-disturbers who will try and drag you down with their words in 140 characters or more. Forget the criticisms!
Yes, even when they are literally in your face screaming obscenities, even when you’re afraid, even when you’re feeling hurt. I’d go so far as to say especially when.
Hatred is not a reason for you not to.
#2. There is No Ceiling on Your Dreams, Except the One Built By You.
Time and time again history has proven that something seems impossible until someone does it first. There are also many disappointments and failures leading up to the one who makes it.
Who will you be? Is there something you will do first? Or someone who is doing what you want to do, because if they did, so can you!
The entire history of women has proven this wrong.
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Yes, you don’t always get what you want. You may not get there first, but you will make it that much easier for the next one who tries, and isn’t that what matters?
Ceilings, walls, barriers, blocked ways, internal or actual are not reasons not to – they are reasons why you must.
#3. Your Heart, Character, and Intentions Do Matter, Especially in Contrast.
People are paying attention to your behavior and your words. Do you act with character despite any situation? Are you worth “following” (and I’m not talking about on social media)? What message does your life broadcast? What is your legacy?
Even in a time when people seem to feel like they can say or do anything without consequences, we cannot lower ourselves but continue to be an example regardless.
Another’s behavior is definitely not a reason for you not to. “When they go low, we go high, say it with me now.”
So I ask you, who will you be? Will your actions or beliefs about “reality” be built on hatred and fear? What walls have you recently built? Will you stay behind them, or break them down?
What do you stand for? Will you let any of this fool you into believing they’re reasons not to?
But Still, Not a Reason, Not To
She may not have won, but I’m STILL with her, and everyone who dares to dream to push into new territory on behalf of us all. When right now I’m lost for words I look to myself a few short months ago, and aim to ignite these feelings once again:
“That ball of fire in my gut that pushes me past whatever anyone may think or say about me, my so-called limitations or others thoughts on what I should be doing.
And even if you fall short, no one can say that you didn’t try or put yourself out there. Even if you’re rejected, it’s not a reason not to.
And if you fail that’s okay too, mourn your failings just as long as you pick yourself up and keep on keeping on. Sometimes that’s in a completely different direction, but without failure, you would never have arrived there. Her story isn’t over, neither is yours or mines. Not being elected, is definitely not a reason for her not to, nor you.
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Yes, Even If You Fail
Something about this entire thing has reminded me so much of this one scene from the movie Love Actually (maybe it’s the holiday spirit). Maybe it’s how this dude says his peace to the women he’s loved but he knows he’ll never have, that makes me think of how she might be feeling.
She gave her all, but it wasn’t enough “to win,” but it’s probably enough trying. Time to move on. To what, she probably doesn’t even know.
Something about the words, “To Me You Are Perfect” also makes me think of how so many of her supporters feel about her – how I feel about her. Yes, she isn’t perfect, but no one is. You aren’t, I’m definitely not, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.
No need to apologize either, no one feels like she failed them, sometimes it’s just not up to you. But even that is still not a reason not to.
Even if you fail, you’ve cleared a bit of the path for the next person and the next person. Perhaps the first female President will run because she believed she could because Hillary believed she could (ya know what I mean?). Even if you may never know your silent supporters, it’s not a reason not to.
Seeing someone fail, seeing someone try, is just as motivating!
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Either way, to me YOU are PERFECT. Never forget that. No matter how you feel or if you think failure is defeat, it’s not a reason not to or in positive (aka proper English) it’s a reason to.
And now it is enough. I shall move on, or at least do my best to. Because all of this is NOT… (finish that one for me).
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Because you’re not just fighting for you, you’re fighting for everyone who comes after you.
Every girl or woman who believes in themselves, all because you showed them how.
What’s your reason to keep dreaming?