How is your 2020 going so far?
Life is weird.
We spend our time on this one moving globe and then we depart whenever it is decided, and whenever it happens.
I feel like the majority of my blogs (and my thoughts in life tbh) have to do in some way with my refusal to fully accept this. I get it, I understand it, but I always grapple with things I don’t find fair because sometimes they really really hurt, and sometimes they affect people in ways I don’t think is deserved.
Yesterday, we lost a man who was an icon and true legend in sports, but who has also hurt someone else in the past in a specific way that I’ve been hurt, numerous times, and it’s sent my emotions on a pure tailspin, of really bad triggered childhood and adult memories, but also great memories of watching games with my mother growing up, and seeing him be the sports star that he was. We also lost his daughter, a whole nother family, and other humans who were simply taken too soon. It’s left a looming shadow over a lot of people’s energy, and brings me back to my struggles of life being unfair. I can not imagine how terrifying their final moments were, and I can not imagine what their family members are feeling right now, but love is transcendent, so I will try my hardest to exude nothing but that today and every day. Try. Baby steps.
I didn’t set any New Years’ resolutions this year because I find the word is setting yourself up for a too high expectation and eventual failure. I did set some goals though, that I am working on gradually entering into my daily life in a healthy and productive way that will help ensure hopeful success.
So far I’ve been eating a good amount better. Baby steps.
I’ve been drinking less alcohol and drinking more water. Baby steps.
I’ve been saying “No” more. Baby steps.
I’ve been working on being more punctual. Pleading the 5th on that one.
I’ve been putting my foot down and getting myself out of toxic situations that I don’t deserve to be in, and being honest in my thoughts and words about them. Baby steps.
One of the ones I’m having a great deal of trouble with is trying to work through my extreme fear of death.
My mom was a hospital teacher for the Board of Education, meaning she taught terminally ill kids for 35 years before she retired. Yes, it’s an insanely rough job, but someone has to do it because education is important and owed, and my mother is one of the few angels on earth who has the extreme strength and compassion to deal with the weight of a job like that. Before that, she was a special education teacher, a school teacher, and a principal. Her entire life has been the definition of compassion, wanting to help give kids the childhood, love, and belief in themself that every child deserves, no matter how long their time on earth.
When I was little and I was off from school, I would go and keep my mom company at work. As a child actor, and also just someone who loved people (Peter what happened?!), I often ended up reading stories to her students and befriending them. The trauma of that was constantly making new friends, and them passing away. At my young age of 5,6,7 etc., I handled it well but it also hurt and I knew it was “wrong”. To the point that when I was like eight years old, I wrote a letter to the president of the United States, after so many of my beautiful little friends had passed away from the AIDS virus. Little Petey was a tough little cookie.
The pros were that I understood that death was a natural thing at a very young age, and as a child, I definitely lived my life to the fullest. I was taught to live and lead with my heart, but also to have the intelligence to dissect and comprehend reality. The cons were that I now realize I developed a slight obsession with all that is unfair about life, and an almost crutch of an inability to move past it easily. So often nowadays, I wish I had some of the mindset of little boy Petey, who was simply stronger, braver and more resilient than adult Peter currently is. My 2020 is in many ways about that search for that strength.
In the past couple of years, I’ve had friends lose both their parents, friends take their own lives, exes die, and mentors and neighbors from the apt building I grew up in, pass away. It comes with being an adult and getting older. I know this, I get this, but my empathy sometimes still takes the way I absorb it way too far.
Do I want to care less? Absolutely not. Do
I want to be able to handle life in a realistic fashion that I’ll be able to take the weight of the world without literally taking it or without wanting to disappear into my bed forever? Absolutely. So, here we are.
I’ve been delving deeply into meditation and reading even more than I did before in hopes to work on all this. One of the largest responsibilities we have as adults is to face our traumas, face our fears, and heal. I can not stress this enough:
Face. Your. Traumas.
Face. Your. Fears.
I’ve now realized my fear of death very much stems from my fear of failure, that my fear of dying stems from going too soon before I feel like I’ve been able to do the things I’ve wanted to do or things that I think would make me “matter” or leave a lasting impression on earth. This is progress. Now it’s not a blanket fear of death. Now it’s the knowledge that my empathy makes the struggles of other’s lives exceptionally hard for me, and that I need to continue working on my quest of truly loving myself. I need to not be scared of dying because I feel invalid, I need to know that I am valid because I am a good person and that alone means that I have lived a worthwhile life. Pride and ego, leave with you when you leave this earth. Kindness does not. Kindness leaves a lasting positive effect long after we are gone. And that alone, makes us all so so very valid.
Again, baby steps.
Thanks for coming to my Ted talk about death LOL. I didn’t plan on it being that. I hope I didn’t scare you. And if I did, maybe you should go down a little path of rediscovery like I’m doing. We can hold hands and uh, cautiously skip. Hit ya boy up. 😉
I’m going to leave you guys with a couple requests, do one or do them all, but if you made it to the end of this article, a. Thank you, and b. I genuinely ask that you do at least one.
- Think about a trauma you have and think about a way you can begin to handle it.
- Give yourself at least ten minutes of clear headspace today.
- Look in a mirror and say one thing you love about yourself before you leave your house today.
- Think of a way you love to treat yourself that you haven’t in a while, and schedule a time to do it.
- Smile at a baby or an elderly person.
- Tell someone you love, that you love them, and tell them why you love them.
Yesterday one of my favorite human beings on this earth said: “It’s a short trip on this rock. Don’t let it slip by.”
Ditto, y’all, ditto. Xx
Peter William Dunn is a born and raised New Yorkers, who is currently a freelance writer, producer, director and sometimes actor in the city.
His professional passions include: film, music, literature, helping other artists thrive and all around storytelling
His personal passions include: puppies, babies, black and white milkshakes, and attractive men with accents (he has an extra strong track record for attracting emotionally unavailable men, but don’t tell him we told you that, and don’t yell at him for speaking in third person right now).
His current loves are his dog, Domino, a whiskey neat, and in case you didn’t know, his mother is the greatest human being on earth ❤