self-expression for the self-strong

what matters

“Is it real?” vs. “Is it useful?”

I talk to Meamare, my car. I tell her good morning each time I start her up to go to work, and I thank her each time I park. When the weather is bad, I encourage her to stay steady and sure, and I lavish praise on her when she, inevitably, gets me home safely. Together, she and I make driving safe and efficient and enjoyable.

Does this mean I believe my car is a person, deserving of the same courtesies and emotional support I would give a friend?

Or does this mean I am playing into my psychology in order to cultivate a sense of gratitude for my primary means of transportation and a sense of calmness in times of dangerous road conditions?

Here’s a better question: does it matter?

What matters is whether or not a particular belief is useful. A belief’s objective reality can be difficult or outright impossible to prove – if you can prove that my car does or does not have a spirit, go right ahead! – and so its reality ceases to be important. What remains is usefulness.

Does this belief enhance or enrich my life? Does it aid my functionality and my happiness? Does it avoid any negative impact on my mind and body?

If it is both helpful and harmless, then it is useful, and it may stay.

Is my car a person, or does acting as though she is simply serve my psyche?

It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that I am a happier, more mindful driver because I talk to her. And that’s best for everyone.

My Daily Focus

Because of a move across the states coming up in early July, my life is suddenly far busier than normal. Every weekend is filled with a major event or activity, and I’ll be slowly decluttering my home and packing during my weeknights.

In order to avoid burn-out, I compiled a list of Daily Things That Matter. I’m sharing it here, in hopes it may help those of you in similarly chaotic situations – or perhaps those who just need to refocus on what matters.

  • Sleep a lot.
  • Eat well. Listen to your body.
  • Tea is soul-medicine.
  • This is not the time to tough it out and suffer needlessly. Take migraine medicine when you need it.
  • Pick a few tasks to accomplish each day and focus only on them. Don’t worry about the rest. One day at a time.
  • Do well at work. Use your time productively.
  • Exercise. At least fifteen minutes. Period.
  • Journal daily. It is happy-making and grounding.
  • When you need a break, take it. Express yourself, rest yourself, pamper yourself, push yourself, all when you need it.

When you find yourself overwhelmed, what things go on your This Matters list?

Ungender Yourself

Don’t like pink because you’re female. Like pink because you like pink.

Don’t watch sports because you’re male. Watch sports because you want to watch sports.

Don’t be tough because you’re male. Don’t be compassionate because you’re female. Be strong and understanding because you’re strong and understanding.

And, as pointed out by Anthea in the comments, don’t avoid things you genuinely enjoy just to rebel against the gender norms. By doing so, you support the very stereotypes you dislike.

Don’t pretend to hate flowers because you don’t want to be girly. Don’t pretend to love fruity drinks because you don’t want to be manly.

Be you. Forget stereotypes. Like what you like. Dislike what you dislike.

We don’t need to assign genders to personality traits, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. We don’t need to assign genders to colors, moods, decorations, and professions.

Be you. Like what you like; do what you love. Don’t let your gender dictate or restrict your life. Don’t judge others’ genders based on what they love and what they do.

Just be. And let others be.