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[Applause]>>Tracy Clayton: Thank you! [Applause] Ahh staaaahp. [Laughter] [Applause] This is what I needed, because I’m terrified right now! [Applause]
[Cheering] I should say, please lower your expectations,
‘cause y’all started here, and now I gotta make sure that I get to a point where that
amount of love is warranted. Hi, everybody! Nice and responsive, I love that. My name is Tracy Clayton, and this talk is
basically going to be about how I did a horribly public job of not taking care of myself on
my timeline. The title of my talk is Log Off, Fam: Self
Care In the Timeline Era. Now it’s a little bit of a spoiler, because
this is how I believe how we take care of ourselves in this era. My story is a long one, it’s taken me too
long, in my estimation, to realize that such an easy thing can be really hard to do, and
even harder to realize when you should do it. So I have decided to lay myself upon the sacrificial
altar and bare my soul and all of my embarrassing public anxiety attacks and meltdowns, in hopes
that there’s something you can identify with, that you can learn from my mistakes. Don’t be like Miss Sofia from The Color Purple. [Laughter] Also, I don’t know, I’m just
going to talk for a while and see what happens. [Laughter]
Chapter One. I decided to bring drama into the presentation
with chapters. Chapter One: 1995. So here’s some background: I believe, I
guess I can’t prove it, but I’m positive I was born with the most oppressive case of,
I guess, infant anxiety disorder that you can have. It’s just something that has always been
with me, I’ve always been afraid of everything, but I didn’t know why. As a kid, I couldn’t spend — I could not
do sleepovers at friends’ houses, ‘cause I’m like I don’t know where your hiding
spaces are, if something happens, I don’t know where your knives are. Yes, I’m five years old, but you never know. So that always kept a big part of myself inside,
which I guess is pretty much all of myself. I knew that I was funny, I thought I was funny
at least, and interesting, but having to convey that and talk to other people in real life,
it just flooded me, even as a kid, with, oh my god, what if I say something stupid? They’re going to laugh at me, and I don’t
have any proof at this age that laughter will not physically kill me. [Laughter]
So I just really wanted to avoid that, which is how I think I became a writer, or leaned
into writing eventually because I was like, oh! You can talk to people, not have to open your
mouth or even look at them? Sign me up all the way up! I’m here for that. [Laughter]
So in 1995, I got my first computer. I know that it was 1995, because I got it
for Christmas, and I also got the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. [Laughter] Shoutout to Shoop Shoopin’. [Laughter] And that’s also the first time
that my family and I got on the internet. We had the little America Online floppy disk,
it wasn’t floppy, the ROMs, the things — you all know what I’m talking about, if you’re
old enough, I guess, you know what I’m talking about. [Laughter] And almost instantly, I was talking
to people. And I don’t think I realized how significant
that was because, here am I, who I don’t like to talk to anybody. But on the internet, it’s like talking but
not really because you are writing, and maybe the people on the other end exist, maybe they
don’t. [Laughter] But it was a space to learn how
to talk to people, which I didn’t really know how to do, and it was a space to fill
that social need without having to leave the comfort of my house, where I know where the
knives are, I know where to hide if somebody breaks in. It started in the creepy AOL and Yahoo chat
rooms, which my mother should have been a little more tuned in about? But it was ’95, we didn’t know about how awful
people could be on the internet. I did find out how awful people can be on
the internet when I started posting on message boards. Yeah, that’s where the title for this whole
talk comes from. There was a message board that I absolutely
loved, being in Kentucky, getting into hip-hop, The Roots, D’Angelo, and all these other folks. And the message boards were amazing, because
I could talk to people who lived with other black people. And I was like, what! This is amazing! And I guess there’s no fancy way to say
that I learned how to interact with humans and be social, but I also learned how to navigate
some really shitty parts of the internet. I’m assuming I can say shitty. I hope I can say shitty. [Laughter]. I mean, the message boards are just the best
and worst of everything, because there are people who are smart and like to have good
conversations and are funny, and then there are the people who were there because they
literally were not hugged enough as children. It was early trolling, I guess. But I learned how to deal with the negative,
as I’m learning how to talk and communicate on the internet. And since I did it so much, I got good at
it. So fast forward, a thing called Twitter pops
up. At this time, I’m starting to realize the
message boards are cool, but I cannot cut out the awful part. You sign up, you see everything, there’s
no mute feature, you can’t unfollow anybody. So when Twitter happens, I’m like, let me
see what this is about. I think I started in 2009, my memory is barely
there anymore. My first tweet was, “Okay, I’m here. Now what?” And I deleted it after a week. I was like, this is the dumbest thing I have
ever experienced. [Laughter] What’s the point, who am I talking
to? Who are you people, I don’t know, what’s the
point? And I realized, that is the point! Or at least it is for me. I have been a journaler, as somebody who number
one didn’t discover therapy until she was well into her 20s, and somebody who has always
written better than she speaks. I’m definitely one of those people who had
— not a LiveJournal, I had a Blogspot, I think. [Cheer] Shout out to Blogspot! [Laughter] So of course whenever I was upset
and needed to vent, I’m going to Blogspot and everything is terrible and school is awful,
I’m the only black person, and nanana. And so eventually, I went back to Twitter,
I still don’t know why, and that’s how I began to use Twitter. I had like 12 followers, I knew three of them,
that’s it. I tweeted like no one was watching because
nobody was watching. And, you know, at the time, I’m working little
menial jobs, answering phones for who knows who, for what reason, I couldn’t even tell
you to this day. And as that’s happening, I’m tweeting about
how much this really sucks. And as I’m getting older and I’m noticing
that there’s this sense of doom that I feel all the time. I’m, like, working myself through that. I know that I wasn’t talking to anybody,
and I know there was nobody that had the answers, but it just felt good to get it out of my
body someplace that was not a LiveJournal, at least somebody can maybe see this somewhere. And I think there’s something really positive
and powerful about somebody being able to bear witness to your story and what you’re
going through, even if you know that they are or are not. So eventually, I don’t know where I went from
“this is terrible” to “I cannot live without this thing and I’m going to be here
all the time.” But that’s essentially what happened. And eventually my followership, my audience,
grew. And since I was already being my complete
self, for better or for worse, often for worse, I was used to sharing TMI, just being really
really painfully open sometimes. And as my followership grew, hmm, if they
are following me and I’m being my actual complete self, maybe that’s not a bad thing! So I continued to tweet as if no one was reading,
even though they were. And at the time my job didn’t know what Twitter
was, so I could say all the cuss words and do all the things. That was beneficial because I find that that
is what makes it easy for someone to connect with you, is when you’re being honest, whether
that honesty is, like, I fucked up this thing yesterday, or I believe this really awful
thing, and it confuses me and I don’t like it. That is what allows someone to see pieces
of themselves, [sneezing], bless you! And that paid off eventually because I began
getting jobs from the internet, which is a very rare thing. I got a couple of freelance writing jobs,
as I got older, I was no longer 12 years old when this was happening. And a lot were more social media-based, great
experiences, and I think I was working for TheRoot.com, and that was my first job where
I was supporting myself as a writer. I was like, I don’t care what the job is,
this is really fucking cool. And the coolness factor increased when I got
a job at Buzzfeed. Chapter Two: “I Work For The Internet.” This is in quotations because once I got the
job at Buzzfeed, which I almost didn’t take because I didn’t want to move to New York
City. No shade to New York City, but a little bit
of shade to New York City. [Laughter]. I was like, I don’t know that this is what
the Lord wants of me. [Laughter]. So, you know, whatever. I did it anyway because I was 30 years old
at the time, didn’t have any kids, I thought I knew the man I was going to have kids with,
but that’s a whole ‘nother conference and a whole ‘nother talk. [Laughter] But my grandmother was getting
older, we were talking about putting her in a home, and my mother was getting older and
she had to have another eye surgery. I’m just like, this is not a great time
for me to leave my folks, mypeople. And they were like, you don’t have any kids,
just come out for six months. I was like, I guess I can say yes, fully intending
to take my black ass back home in six months. I got a six month lease, that was it. I stayed a little bit longer, about 4 years,
some of you notice that my memory is shit. It’s almost gone, and mostly because of
— this is how depression works, it’s a thing it does, it makes every day seem like
the next day and the next thing the next day. And also, I’m bad with dates. [Laughter]. But it ended up being the best and worst time
of my life, working at Buzzfeed. The best time because it was fun! It was, like, this huge adult computer room
where you can wear whatever you want to work? What!? No more casual Fridays? I don’t have to pay $5 in some weird thing
to wear jeans on Friday? This is amazing. And I’m 30, and then I was one of the oldest
people in the company, which was news to me. [Laughter]. So… no shade, no shade to anybody who may
be feeling shade from that. [Laughter]. But it was fun! I met some of the best people, like people
that I love and adore to this day came from there. There was tons of freedom, I don’t know that
I was ever on time for work, and they didn’t fire me for that, which they honestly could
and should have. And there was so much startup money around
and this feeling that you can do whatever you want and that’s what we were told! And Buzzfeed was a fantastic place to do that. They were very much like, you have an idea,
try this thing, if it works, then everybody’s going to do it, which was a thing. Or if it doesn’t work, just pitch it out,
we’ll do something else. We got money, basically. And that ultimately, about two years down
the road, led to Another Round which — [Cheers] Maybe you heard of it, maybe you haven’t. That’s the thing that changed my life, and
I am told it’s changed the lives of other people, so that’s not too shabby. And also it was diverse, not so much in the
current capital D Diversity way. I think I was black hire number six or so,
and it was a lot, you know what I mean? Which is sad, that in itself is an essay on
so much that is wrong with America and media in general. But I was like, I can sit down with black
people at work and not have to code switch the whole time. It’s amazing. And what was not great, it was one of the
hardest and most difficult times in my life because diversity is not the same as inclusion. We didn’t start talking about inclusion until
years later. And essentially once they got black, brown,
“diverse” folks in the door, that was kind of it. You know? In the beginning, that was enough, because
it was so different, especially from where I came from. My smallest office went from four people,
I was the only black one, to 20 people, I was the only black one. You know what I mean? It really impacts and affects the way you
are able to produce and be productive and focus and feel good about yourself. So that part wasn’t great, ha. I think that after all of the fun and the
dazzle of all the happy hours and the t-shirts, they gave us so many t-shirts, y’all! [Laughter]. My gosh. And after all of that wore off, I was like,
hmm! Some of this isn’t really fair. They’re expecting black writers to come
in and be able to pull a million clicks per post, like Chad can do, well, Chad is white
and his audience is built in. If I write a post about how much I love the
Girlfriends series [cheer], yeah, shout out to Girlfriends! Then my editor is like, I just don’t think
this is very relevant. Of course you don’t, Becky! [Laughter] You don’t watch Girlfriends,
you know? [Laughter]
I guess I say all that to say that yes, Buzzfeed was then and could still be now one of the
best, if not the best, newsrooms to work in then, because they were so open and liberal,
or at least seemed to be. But what we forgot, and what I did not realize
until much later, is even though they were the best, it was still really fucking awful. We were the best of a trash heap. [Laughter]. Which, I don’t want to take anything away
from them or us, being the best of that trash heap, but there was so, so much more work
to do. So the way Another Round came about is about
two years after I was there, Heben was there, she was full time black number one, I think. Don’t quote me on that. But we were there, and things aren’t really
going great, like this post I wrote about race didn’t do very well, I can’t imagine
why, heh. And this is still back when Buzzfeed was like,
let’s try this thing, if it works, we will keep doing it. If not, we will move on. So they wanted to try podcasts, I had never
heard of podcasts, because I was just like, isn’t that like NPR? And isn’t everybody on NPR white? And not my deal. Heben, who is secretly a 47-year-old woman,
loved the podcast and the idea. And so we went for it, we had no idea what
was going to happen, and it became evident to everyone else but me, I think I was the
last one to notice, that this would become a Thing, a big thing. And it did, it got really big, and it got
big faster than we expected. I think it grew in a way that the company
was not prepared for. And I say that to say that scared money don’t
make money. And to keep feeding something that is doing
so well with, like, chicken wire and a piece of chewed bubble gum, which is what we were
working with [sneeze] bless you! Bless everybody when you sneeze. [Laughter] Just know that’s what’s in my heart. [Laughter]. But we were basically on an island, doing
this thing with very, very little resources, very little attention, which is great, we
could do what we wanted to do. We had this amazing, amazing team of producers,
all women, actually diverse, different racial backgrounds, different sexuality orientations
and identifications, it was amazing! But, us being on that island meant that when
we asked for another producer, because it’s getting a little hectic, you know? Eh, well, we don’t think you need it, and
you don’t think that we need it because you haven’t been paying attention to us on this
island. So we really did it for as long as we could
— we did it for longer than we could, actually, and for longer than we should have, because
it’s draining. It’s draining. Also, we weren’t doing a seasonal structure,
so it was a perpetual, weekly show. If I can go back in time, with all the other
things if I could change, I would change seasons. If you do a podcast, do seasons, because it
can drain you very quickly. So we got to a point where everybody is tired,
everybody’s run down, we are tired of asking for more resources. This may be around the time when I believed
the company was about to do the pivot-to-video thing, which everyone was doing, you know. Had they came out and said that, we would
have understood. But I do know that there was one time when
we were like, what do we have to do to get more resources? We were told, flat out, do video. Cool, that’s the opposite of a podcast. [Laughter]. And we didn’t do it, we didn’t want to do
it because it’s the opposite of a podcast, that’s not what I’m here to do and we should
have the option to not do it. Anyway, long long long story short, they eventually
decided, I believe, not to fund it anymore. That sucks, but we were given legal ownership
of the show which, even as angry as I have ever been at media, I have been really grateful
to Buzzfeed for this, because they didn’t have to do that. Why they did it? Open to interpretation, depending. But they did it. And I now know that being able to own your
work is one of the most powerful, powerful things ever. And now the show gets to live on [applause]
should we decide to do it again! I will say, though, and now this is not meant,
or intended to be, a mud fest. This is not about the shit that Buzzfeed did
to us. I will say, though, we do not own our back
catalog, even though other podcasts from Buzzfeed do. Mmm. I’m just saying. I’m not saying anything about it, I’m just
pointing it out. Ooh, is that a hiss? Yes! [Laughter]. So the road there was really, really draining. I remember the most where I was, like, you
know, I think I might be depressed. And there’s a lot of odd shame that comes
with mood disorders, mental health. Even though I was at a point where I could
talk about being anxious, in my head, depression was like, oh, no, I am sick. It took a long time to even tweet I was depressed. Anxiety is like sexy depression. [Laughter]. It’s IN right now. And depression is just, like, my only reference
was those depression commercials, where it is like, are you sad every day? [Sad voice]. Yeah! But I don’t want to be like this lady, she’s
going through it! [Laughter]. So I got the inkling and the feeling that
this was affecting me on a level that I was unfamiliar with and unprepared to deal with. And once we were given the ownership of the
show, we went on hiatus, even though some people were like, you’re lying to us, it’s
never coming back. Not true. We still don’t know where it’s going to
go. It’s 50/50. We own it, we can do whatever we want, which
is a really good thing. And as soon as it went on hiatus, I was like,
y’all owe me a break. You owe me some rest. You did this to me, is how I felt. And of course, when depression hits, it’s
rarely because of one thing. I was also getting older, family stuff was
happening. But this did not help. So I decided to take the steps to go on medical
leave, and get myself together. I had an amazing therapist, somehow managed
to get my hands on a psychiatrist. None of these are easy tasks. Both of mine are black women, which is an
impossible task. [Applause]. Yes, I definitely credit them with me being
on stage today. So I was on medical leave when I was — I
had been on medical leave for, I don’t know what the technical terms are, I wasn’t getting
a paycheck, but I was still employed by Buzzfeed, still on medical leave, don’t know how I
didn’t get evicted but I did it. So when the news of the layoffs came, I’m
like, you can’t fire somebody when they’re on medical leave, that doesn’t include me,
is what I thought. However, your girl got fired on her day off,
kinda like Craig from Friday. [Laughter] So I remember the day that the
announcement that they were ex-ing the PodSquad came. I am at home, buried beneath pizza boxes and
blankets, you know the way a depressed apartment looks. I’m watching and I can’t believe this
was happening, and the only thing I can do is tweet, the only way I can support them
because I wasn’t going to leave my house. I had developed a fantastic case of agoraphobia
in addition, even talking to people face to face was hard. When you are depressed and you’re tired,
your cognitive ability is limited. It is hard to physically look at somebody. I forget simple words all the time, and I
pretend it’s because I’m quirky, but no. My brain does it all the time. I’m glued to Twitter, and that same day, I’m
in my email, and I’m like, oh, so, me too? I’m fired, too? While I’m on medical leave? First of all, sounds illegal. [Laughter]. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. But from then on, I was glued and attached
to that screen because, again, my anxiety, this is how I dealt with things when they
happened, since 2009 or whenever I joined Twitter. That’s how I dealt with it. And I was just looking at it all the time. So first, the PodSquad was fired, and then
all of my friends were getting fired. People who were so smart and so creative,
a lot of people who had been there for years and years and really helped to build the company
and make it what it was, I had a front row seat for the worst concert I have been to
in my life! And the thing is, like, I am front row center
for this, watching every day, and I’m so mad and so pissed at everything and everybody. But I wasn’t on Twitter just to watch that,
I was on Twitter constantly because I’m always on Twitter constantly. And social media now, and all of our timelines
are, like, blinking, like breathing. And I really resent the cafes that are, like,
no cell phones. Talk to people like your grandparents did. I don’t want to hear that, my grandparents
were not on their cell phones because they didn’t exist. [Laughter]. Point blank, I don’t want to hear that. [Laughter]. But I was there, and I also — I had to really
divorce, well, a thing that we need to do is to divorce ourselves with the notion that
Twitter is just Twitter. It’s got an off button, yes, but people
meet on Twitter, fall in love, they cheat on their spouse on Twitter, have break babies
on Twitter, get jobs and are sometimes fired on Twitter. Once you have something that impacts your
life offline, it is not a “just” anything anymore. So I was there because I was hurting, and
I was trying to alleviate that hurt, but I was trying to use the thing that was hurting
me the most. And there was so much going on that I couldn’t
see it, or see that’s what was happening. And a lot — another thing I didn’t realize
is a lot of the tweet storms I did then were anxiety attacks, because anxiety can look
different in everybody. Sometimes it is rocking back and forth in
a corner, hyperventilating, you cannot breathe, sometimes it is staring off into the distance
and not being able to speak. Sometimes it is freaking out on Twitter, that
was me in a heightened emotional state, and that can also count as an anxiety attack. I was there, I was in a spiral, inertia is
a very real thing. Since I was always bouncing from depressed
thought to depressed thought, I stayed there because that’s inertia is. If you are depressed, you are likely to stay
depressed, unless you do something to help yourself not be depressed. What I did after this awful concert, I went
to the afterparty! [Laughter] Who does that? [Laughter]. I was like, this concert is awful. I want my money back. You want to go to this afterparty? [Laughter]. See what it’s doing? No, I didn’t want to, but I did it again because
inertia, that’s what it was forcing me to do. So again, I’m watching all of my friends be
hurt, and I just had a month long, or months long, I can’t remember, anxiety attack in
front of the entire world. I should have left that afterparty, for a
lot of reasons. One, I was physically exhausted. And I think that’s a thing we don’t think
about, mental exhaustion can translate into physical exhaustion in a lot of ways. Me, I can tell when I’m tired because I’m
very, very prone to anxiety attacks. I can’t, like, I don’t have the energy to
fire up that part of my brain that walks me through my coping skills and says, everything’s
okay. I’m just tired, because this — as soon as
I wake up, everything is awful. Everything is awful. I should have logged off because it was impeding
my healing in ways that I did not understand. It kept me from healing, like, it’s not
like I started to heal and then it kept me from it, I didn’t heal and I couldn’t
heal. And the reason for that is trying to get over
the flu in a room full of people who are coughing and hacking and sneezing with the flu. You have to remove yourself from the thing
that is making you sick, physically or mentally. That’s just how it goes, a broken leg will
not heal if you are trying to run a marathon on it. Those are just the facts. I know this now, I called this chapter, Last
Call at Last. Oh, okay, I should leave. This isn’t working. And I felt bad for it taking that long for
me to realize that what I needed to do is log off, even though I now understand why. And another reason that I know I need to log
off is because Buzzfeed is too successful, and I can’t mute enough people or block enough
hashtags or words, I still love so many people who work there and I want to support them
in their work and know what’s going on with them. And also, like, I was trying to find Airbnb
in Louisville Kentucky so I can visit my family. I found a perfect Airbnb, yes, I can do this,
and I scrolled down and it said, ranked number one Airbnb by Buzzfeed. I’m just like, can we pause it? Can we — give me a break. I need a break to breathe, I just need a break
to get away from it. I mean, I don’t know if I ever will, honestly. It is really, really hard. Even though it is really, really hard, I have
managed to make some really, really amazing strides in pulling myself out of this pit,
again, thanks to my medical team that I was able to keep, even without insurance, just
because they are good people. And also because when it happened, Twitter
sent so much money. My Venmo and my Cash app were dinging the
entire time. I didn’t ask for money, I wasn’t expecting
anything and — [Applause]. I was scared I was going to cry. But the community kept me alive, kept me afloat,
and it’s another example of how this thing I love so much is the thing that is hurting
me. But I finally cared enough about myself to
make sure I was going to those therapy appointments, and to the psych appointments, and make sure
I didn’t let down the people that had reached into their own pockets. I am going to cry. [Applause]. So my folks, my new community helped keep
me afloat. And I’m better! I’m better now. I’m still really angry. I’m still super angry. [Applause] But I at least know now that I
need to log off, because even though social media is like blinking and breathing, it’s
not. Twitter has an off button. You can log off of everything that you want. You should keep blinking, though, refreshing
all the eye moisture and stuff. Breathing is also important. You should not stop doing that. But it feels like breathing and blinking,
but we need to remember that — we can live without it. You can take a break, and people won’t forget
you, that’s a thing that I was worried about since I basically started my career on Twitter. I was like, if I’m not tweeting all the time,
everybody’s going to forget me. I hope that’s not true, because I’ve been
teasing a break and a vacation from Twitter for a while. And that’s because all of my friends that
I have been so angry on behalf of have at least appeared to have moved on, and they’re
happy, we have new haircuts, new jobs, everybody’s skin looks great. [Laughter] And I had been fighting with Buzzfeed,
legally, because I was given a completely insulting severance package, and I’m just,
like, well, this is a mistake. You know, I just need to let them know that
they messed this up and whatever. It didn’t quite go the way I thought it was. So I’m going back and forth with them and
fighting an insurance company who was denying my benefits because they saw pictures of me
smiling on social media. Literally, they saw me on vacation and at
a wedding. And I’m like, my therapist told me to do both
of those. So I’m fighting them and Buzzfeed, and they’re
corporations with money and lawyers that know how to stall and tire you out. I only have this much energy as it is, but
I wanted my money, but I didn’t need it. I was surviving somehow, thanks to Twitter
and thanks to everyone in my life and my support community. When I realized I didn’t need their money,
and that what I really wanted was a sense of justice and that no amount of money would
have given me that, I contented myself with being able to do this, to tell my story. Because I didn’t sign an NDA. [Loud Cheering]. I wanted to. I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to sign
that NDA because that would have meant that I would have gotten money that I thought I
was due. But it’s much, much more important for me
to tell my story. And I was freaking out backstage just now,
it’s been a while since I got this nervous before a talk. I know what I can and can’t say because I
have a lawyer. I learned that those are helpful. But companies still have power that I don’t,
they can be intimidating, what if I say something they don’t like, then we’re locked back
into lawyers, or me, a black girl, publicly speaking out about being mistreated by a company
prevents me from working with other brands? Through that fear, I knew that I had to
do this because I WAS so afraid. And I know that… Sorry. [Applause of Encouragement]. I know that anything worth having is truly worth the fight
to get it. If nothing else, I want someone to look at
my story, and all of my mistakes, and me being annoying as hell on Twitter. And if nothing else, she tried. If nothing else, she did not take this sitting
all the way down. Sometimes I was reclining a little bit. [Laughter]. And I just kept thinking about everybody,
you know, the black folks still at Buzzfeed, and I wanted to speak out for them. I felt like such a failure, and I realized
that just trying, just risking it, it’s a gift that I hope I can give to somebody
because there’s always, there’s always a little piece of yourself that you can find
in stories like this, even if you can’t slay the dragon, trying to slay that dragon can
help inspire somebody else to do the same, or make them feel less crazy for even seeing
the dragon that nobody else really sees. So I’m going to attempt to divest myself of
Twitter, and say this last part, and then I’m going to wrap up. Gratitude, I don’t know if anybody follows
me on Instagram. But recently, I have started a gratitude journal. And when I mentioned it to my therapist, we
had a really interesting conversation about how gratitude can be healing. She said it before I really got it, and I
was like, all right, that sounds fake but whatever. [Laughter]. But it really, really does help, and it helps
because, again, depression robs you of energy and your memory and it really robs you of
hope. And that sounds really, really corny. But hope is a thing that makes us feel like
change can happen. Hope is a thing that leads to motivation. Motivation is a thing that leads to action. If you don’t have that hope, then you never
get to that point of action. And the challenge of trying to find something
good in something shitty that happened is really empowering because it sort of neutralizes
some of the bad. If I can think of something good that I got
from this experience, then I can’t wish that the experience didn’t happen. I’m not ALL the way to the point where I can
give a list of all the good from this, because I’m still angry, I’m allowing myself to be
angry, trying to be less angry on the timeline. Shout out to anger, yes. [Laughter]. But some of the great things that I got are
a sister, Heben Nigatu, my co-host from Another Round. [Applause]. Yes, give it up for Heben. I have an amazing platform that I pray every
day that I’m using responsibly. I’ve gotten a community of people that I have
never even known, seen, or met. And it also — it helps to, the journal provided
me with an, what am I, like a physical manifestation of the good things that happened in life. Depression programs your brain to only focus
on the negative. Anxiety makes you do the same thing, because
your anxiety is making you be like, don’t forget this bad thing so it never happens
again. With the journal, I get physical proof that
there are still good things around, and I can still do things consistently, which is
really hard. Gratitude and empathy are the greatest gifts
that this entire experience has given me, and I look forward to the day, I don’t think
I’m there yet, but I really look forward to the day that I can say, thank you for the
darkest days of my life. Because I think that that is an amazing goal
to have, and it sounds like a fantastic feeling to have as well. So I’m thankful for a lot. I’m thankful to be here in front of you all,
that you all are here listening, and hopefully this helps everybody log off. Everybody get off, log off for a while. Even if you don’t think you need therapy,
go, just to make sure. [Applause]. And
even if you don’t think you need to log off, just do it for a week, and make sure you will
be okay. If you were not okay, once again, go to the
therapy part — [laughter]. Keep your head up, believe in yourself, and
try to find things to be thankful for, even in impossible places. I talked too long, the end. [Applause]. Thank, y’all! [Applause].

James Carver

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