Just a thought... No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. [Robin Williams]
This is Mental Health Week in Canada and I'm so glad to have something really meaningful to share here, thanks to a former morning competitor.
First off, I've been more than a little worried about my own, of late. I've taken on a lot, and one week ago, I even had an interview fall through the cracks: I hadn't put my live Facebook chat on the Teresa and Amy Show in my calendar and I awoke literally FIVE MINUTES before we were to go live. As Rob hooked us up, I ran a brush through my hair, dabbed on some concealer and lip colour and jumped into a chair. I put on a bra, undies and a zip-up jacket. Didn't have pants - honestly.
Held up my phone above me for at least half an hour to try to get just my face in - not too many chins - and did the interview. It's a blur and I won't be sharing the video (I haven't even seen it yet) as I'm pretty sure I looked like death warmed over (as my mom would say). Not all of us are as brave as Jann Arden!
But that's just one thing that's happened. My mental cogs are slipping and I have had a great deal of trouble keeping straight the commitments I've made recently. I'm being more careful with my calendar, for sure, but I still don't love the way it's laid out.
My right hand, Rob, has been busier than usual editing an audio book we've recorded (not mine - it's already out) while I've been keeping up with increased requests from the folks posting my Walmart pieces. It's not a burden, it's something I signed up for. (Getting snark from people about me using my own time and website to post links to those articles - that's a burden. Buh-bye.)
Don't get me wrong. I'm so bloody lucky I can hardly begin to calculate it when it comes to nasty correspondence from faceless critics. Yes, I do include a few real doozies in my book and I've received more kindness in response to those poison pen letters than you can imagine. But a lot of the reason I don't actually invite nastiness is that I don't delve into areas of controversy, therefore the knives don't usually come out.
People know I despise lugubrious liars and con men in politics and if anything they read from me is a surprise, then they're quite likely in the wrong place. I am grateful not to be on the air in Toronto anymore, lest I sever my tongue daily from biting it.
What does this have to do with Mental Health Week? I want to take a moment to salute a fellow morning broadcaster. I didn't get to know Newstalk 1010's John Moore very well; we go back and forth occasionally on Twitter, and that's about it. But I was aware - as were his listeners - when John took some time off for mental health reasons. Just one week ago today, he shared those reasons upon his return and it's truly worth the listen. Click on the photo below to hear it.
I am lucky not to have faced the vitriol of people who hate my politics or my face or my beliefs, my skin colour or my sexuality. There's plenty of that out there and I count myself fortunate. Yes, I've blocked some people on social media who were needlessly cruel or rude - and it's felt great. My playground, my rules. I won't have my day ruined by someone who won't even put a face where the silhouette shot is, or include their real name.
It was bad enough when a relative (by marriage) posted a Maxine cartoon - not legit - about immigrants to Canada being like birds at a feeder, blah blah blah. After reading her post, which had been copied and pasted to death, I didn't know what to do except hit MUTE. I was bothered all day by the fact that someone in my own family tree - albeit on a different branch - thinks like that.
But was it worth a fight? I didn't have the energy. My mental health is worth more than trying to change the mind of someone who has spent 50+ years feeling and believing that way. Denying climate change. Hating Trudeau. Condemning people who believe in wind and solar power, because tar sands put food on her family's table. I harken back to the AA Serenity Prayer once again and its last line: "...and the wisdom to know the difference." I can't change anything there.
Although my Dad feels much the same way as my Alberta kin about a lot of those issues, at least with him I can have a conversation - sometimes slightly heated - and we both come out feeling respected and heard. Facebook and its ilk offer no such outcome, most of the time.
Listen to John Moore's piece. Hear a man standing up bravely in the face of haters. Pledging to take better care of himself. It's something I'm going to do and why I'm taking two weeks off journaling after this Friday. If you know our family calendar, you'll understand why. But I'll be right back here tomorrow!
(@erindavis on Twitter)