The Real America: Navajo-land

“The best part about the experience was that most outsiders are not invited to attend…The Navajo people have often been wounded by outsiders, so it is important to be very intentional about establishing positive relationships, built on genuine appreciation and respect.”

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Kid Cudi is a brave man

Kid Cudi is a brave man. Speaking openly about something that is shameful for many people, takes true bravery. There are far too many that suffer in silence for years without detection. I happen to be a fan of the guy, I affectionately call, “the Man on the Moon”. He is strange and out there and quirky and I love every bit of it, because I can relate. I’ve always felt quirky and out of alignment with the rest of society. One of my favorite songs of his is “Pursuit of Happiness”. Until today, I never really gave the lyrics much thought. Today I realized there seems to be something hidden beneath the lyrics of the upbeat anthem. Back when it was popular, I just thought that is was a cool anthem that had a positive outlook. I was wrong. I listened more carefully to the lyrics and it became clear that he was struggling. He opens up the song talking about smoking weed, then he spends the rest of the song basically saying that other people don’t understand his pain and his struggle. At the end of the last verse, he confesses that he’d rather lie awake in a bed full of sorrow. That sounds like depression to me, but I missed it, and I missed it for years and that’s one of the biggest problems with depression.

I’ll admit that I’ve recently come out of what I didn’t know was depression. Yes, that’s right, I didn’t know. I think I always kind of felt that way and didn’t know how unhealthy my thoughts were. I am thankful that my depression never led to suicidal thoughts, but I have at many intervals, felt hopeless. A lot of things had to fall apart in my life before I really recognized the seriousness of my condition and start to piece it back together. I have never been to therapy, nor have I been on medication. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have helped, but financially, it wasn’t feasible. Instead, I decided to change some key things about my life. I began working out, I began focusing on what I ate, and looking for ways to change my outlook. I realized that in many ways I had created my own negative environment and that I actually am the key person that decides my reality. I know now that the world is what you make it. Your reality is simply the sum of all of your feelings about your life. If you don’t like it, then you must actively change how you feel about it. We have a lot more power over our minds than we give ourselves credit for. I didn’t know that while I was going through it, but that was my experience.

I want to put emphasis on the fact that that was my experience, because I feel so much healthier today than I did 10 months ago, but my experience is very different from many others, and maybe they aren’t able to just change their outlook without the help of a therapist or medication. I believe that each one of us has a fighter in us, but sometimes it gets hidden beneath the deafening disease of depression. I have been to low places, and sometimes I still get waves of that feeling. But when that happens, I search my soul and I find a way to fight for my happiness. For me, going to the gym has helped me bring out the fighter that I didn’t know was inside of me.

What I want you to remember is that depression does not always look like you think it should. It could be in a successful person, or it could laugh a lot, it could be funny, it could be creative, it could enjoy being social, it could be a lot of different things. I have never said out loud and publicly, how much pain I was in a year ago. I just fought it out on my own. I was surrounded by loving people, but I never talked to them about my pain. I felt shame about it and still do when the topic comes up. I want to put that shame to bed and I want to acknowledge that it is part of my story. It is part of many people’s stories, but the problem is, for too many it is the only chapter of their story. They don’t see a way out and they continue to exist in a dark room, figuratively and literally, until their life ends, intentionally or naturally. I am grateful that I am learning for the first time what happiness feels like, and I feel sad that so many will never know what that feels like.

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