Tuesday, June 26, 2018

42 Acts of Kindness

Someone once gave me the advice that social media should never be a place of full honesty. Authors should engage with their audience, be approachable, but not expose their rough edges for fear of alienating readers.

Ultimately, everyone wants to be entertained, to forget about the world and its trials, and not be reminded of them by their favorite artists.

Whether it's good advice is questionable, but as depression has garnered more of the spotlight lately, and too many great artists are losing their fights to suicide, I find I can't maintain a happy-above-all persona with much grace.

Depression has long talons. Its grip digs and shreds. It drapes a veil across our eyes, casting the world in shadows. It sits on our shoulders as a chattering demon, drowning out the voices of those who care.

And when we refuse to acknowledge it, to speak of it because it might diminish others' opinions of us, we amplify its chattering.

Yes, we get help. Yes, we take medicine. But there are no magic therapists or special pills. For some of us, it's the way our brains are wired, and the fight is lifelong.

My first demon started whispering in my ear when I was 8. My first suicide attempt was shortly before my 11th birthday.

Some days are crystal clear, filled with rainbows and bird songs. But others are wrapped in storm clouds. I'm a fighter, and I'll keep fighting until I have no energy left for it. We all have struggles, and we all are stronger when we band together, when we lean on each other, when we have others who help us navigate the darkness.

I don't mention this now because I feel like vomiting dialogue, but because I have a purpose, and I need your help to fulfill it. The past few months have been dark again. Some of it's because of personal and family reasons, disappointments and diagnoses that have been hard to process. Some is because of politics--the constant news cycle of grief and violence and the resurgence of acceptable selfishness, racism, prejudice, and bigotry. And some is my depression not allowing me to see much light.

I can only fully control the latter.

I want to do more than just see the light. I want to BE it, even if I am only a tiny candle. I want to step outside the shadows and cast brightness into the world so that maybe others will see hope in the darkness.

To do this, I've decided to perform 42 random acts of kindness.

42, because on August 10, that will be my age. Every day until then, starting June 30, I'll perform one random act of kindness every day and post it on Twitter and a dedicated group page on Facebook. I'm asking everyone to help me by casting their lights into the world so our tiny candles can collectively make a beacon. I will NOT be posting my efforts here or on my Facebook author page. This isn't about my books or my writing, and I want to keep it that way. I want people to feel welcome to join in even if they aren't interested in reading the Ærenden series or following me in any form.

I just want these 42 days to make a difference.

So, here goes... find the official 42 Random Acts of Kindness group page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/202862097088504 and post your acts of kindness so others may be encouraged to do so. If you can only do one or a dozen, great. If you can do all 42, fantastic. Anything and everything matters.

Likewise (or if you're more comfortable, instead of), post on Twitter and/or Instagram using the hashtag #42RandomActsOfKindness.

Thank you for letting me speak.

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