Admittedly the most peculiar comparison is comparison itself. In a time we're expected to not pair our proses with another for the sake of sound self-awareness and confidence, the alternatively commendable trait is to make a personal mishap seem lesser by asserting that "things could have been worse." For fear of falling too victim to this habit, I slowly began dissecting who and what it was I was comparing myself to in order to bring resolve to my newfound chaotic state. My emotions and peace of mind became the hardest facets to corral; where previously easy to be sifted through I had to make the active decision to take better care, fine-tooth-comb style, in order to keep from what I could only recognize as spiraling. As I noticed a very precise change in not only my thinking but my own self-asserted action, there was no fall into oblivion. It was all figuratively splayed out in front of me, similar to a smorgasbord of battles to choose from, although I was the one who had already done the picking. By the time I had realized the comparison didn't fall within the standards of anyone else, simply that I was in desperate need to make room for all of my emotions, not just the ones that benefited both me and the spectator(s), I had begun to crack another code. One that assumed the tactics of self-care I had avoided in the belief I was detrimental to myself were actually the tactics that kept me feeling like I had something to work for, not to be someone who just works. In lieu of favoring "one over the other," it seemed in all aspects of this dissection in progress that both hands came into play. Though any shred of positivity tends to flatter, my intent was to never feel better about how I was outwardly perceived, more so inward. Given the task at hand, the question presented itself: why not both? On the basis of conflict resolution, whether an actively assumed position or involuntary, to have an idea such as replacing conjunctions in everyday conversation seemed to graze a level of insignificance that was truly not even worth considering. Nevertheless, the idea hung in the air long enough for me to encourage myself that any step, no matter the size, was worth taking and I began the test of switching "but" for "and" in order to better understand why it was so impossible to live soundly with my own attest. Instead of negating one feeling for another, by suggesting "and" was making room for both statements. In the event I habitually said "but" I made sure to write down in what context I used it and how to obliterate use of the word altogether. Where I found most difficult was at work: the probe of most of my tendencies to push emotion to the side, only to make room for what was in my best interest as an employee, not a human being. The sound presented itself as excusatory and I tended to grow increasingly angry when I caught myself using "but" to negate any further protest of one happening over another. My intent was to bring myself into perspective less than formerly bringing other concerns into the light. To focus more on what it is I was projecting inward vs outward became more of a task than changing a pre-determined reaction from within. To suddenly welcome anything and everything I began feeling in place of what used to be a constant consideration for everyone else first and foremost felt both like a wave of extra information and the opening of floodgates, neither one accommodating the other. Eventually, the desire to keep everyone else at bay to not concern otherwise grew heavier and I felt an off switch power itself. Where I had assumed the acknowledge of my discontent with myself was only available to those I had told, my curiosity peaked in wondering if anyone could visually recognize something within me was missing. Comprehending the obvious came faster than the active thought to accept both and multiple emotions as they came, not hiding one on a shelf to dust off another. Where only the best is presented to those willing to share, the aspects of what we are not are what allow the "and's" to surpass the "but's." To expect those onlooking from the other end of a lens or the other end of text to acknowledge a piece of my puzzle got lost in transit as doing the opposite of what I was being so hard on myself for in the first place. Simply expecting them to put their pieces to the side to help you look for yours was going to result in no one's puzzle getting finished. The feat I had to ignore as an obstacle was that this sort of thinking is what invested me in this journey. By spending more time worried about something noticeably wrong in you by others, you are keeping yourself from tending to your "and's" for someone else's "but's."