Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Maybe Being Upset is What Changes the World

Is it possible to let go of being sad or upset about a big something, a little something, one of those I’m-sure-I-got-screwed-in-there-somehow something? Asking for a friend, and for all of humanity, and yes, I’m asking for myself, too.

I’m sad and tired and upset, maybe more than ever. No, that’s not really true. I’ve been more sad and more tired and more upset countless times.

Most of the times I’ve been upset have been personal.

Early Intervention and doctors evaluations. Hearing “I’ll say it now… this is not just a speech delay.

The phone call on a Sunday afternoon to hear of a failed or successful suicide. That sometimes, for some people, suicide seems like the only choice left.

A kid being mean to your sweet, shy son on the bus, or at school.

A dried booger on the bathroom wall.

A failed relationship that once meant everything.

Not being able to stop it when somebody you used to love no longer knows you, or you them. When there’s nothing to do to fix it.

The very best of the good moments are personal, too.

Hearing “I love you,” from somebody other than family because family “has to” but other people saying it means they see us, know us, and love us anyway.

Hearing an unborn baby’s heartbeat. More vast than the ocean.  

Seeing his unborn baby face.

Holding a newborn baby for the very first time.

Holding your newborn baby for the very first time.

Smelling his bald babyhead that’s like no other smell in the world.

Seeing his baby features in his face today, seven and a half years later.

Hearing him say “guess what?” when once, you wondered whether he’d ever speak.

Seeing yourself, already and finally.

Bent-over belly-laughs.

Friends who have known us more than half of our lives.

New friends.

Unexpected life paths that end up being just right.

Being seen, and being okay with that, even though being seen makes us uncomfortable.

Making fun of ourselves for crappy self care that maybe just isn’t so crappy after all.

The liminal moments, when the world stands still and is quiet, even the tick-tick of the clock.

When we forget that we don’t enjoy playing and play.

The best good moments are greater than the worst. At least, they are for me.

These days, checking Facebook makes me feel like we’re all always upset. We say “It hasn’t even been a month!” and wonder how this is ever going to get better. How we’re ever going to get better with the type of people in charge who are supposed to lead us and protect us and instead endanger us. Threaten our children’s educations.

Threaten what this country was built upon.

We have Facebook, though, and just like that, we’re no longer upset all alone.

We’re upset, together. And that gives us the strength to resist. To march. To make phone calls even when we don’t like talking on the phone, especially to strangers.

We remember that it was people who were upset that gave women the right to vote. It was upset people who made owning other humans illegal. Sad and angry people reminded the rest of humanity that love is love, and that God loves gay people. It was upset people who made sure kids with special needs have the least-restrictive environment. Can attend school with their typical peers.

Upset people change the world, over and over again.

So maybe, letting go of being sad or upset about a big something, a little something, one of those I’m-sure-I-got-screwed-in-there-somehow something isn’t necessary. Maybe, holding onto it and doing something about it matters more.

We resist.


kristi rieger campbell finished post for finding ninee This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I’m upset, I…”
(or “I get really upset by…”)


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  • Ryan Peter Perez - Of course being upset is what changes the world, I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t the saying…”our biggest motivation is our despiration?” When I see families walking in support of awareness, or speaking up for their children when they cant do it for themselves or when a mom looks for alternative forms of medicine because they realize that a well behaved child isnt the product of a pill. It all falls back on the fact that “Being upset is What Changes the World.” Its our duty to advocate and fight! Stay strong.February 10, 2017 – 10:11 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I don’t think I’ve heard the saying ”our biggest motivation is our desperation,” but I like it and suspect that it’s very very accurate. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.February 11, 2017 – 8:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - #resist
    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
    This is my new motto.
    I love your title: Truly, maybe being upset does change the world. I sure hope so.
    We are strong together, Kristi! We are strong together.
    Hugs.February 10, 2017 – 10:43 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It’s a good motto, Linda. For sure. Here’s to being strong together. And huge hugs right back.February 11, 2017 – 8:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Facebook is one of those things. I took a mostly 45 break for my birthday today, meaning I did not read any stories starring the US pres today, but I did receive a lot of lovely HB messages on Facebook from friends. The first would have made me upset, but I got so much from friends. I see how being upset can help, but it can hurt too. To what degree do we take being upset and allow it to spur us on to action? You even deserve a late start with this place, as you are so dedicated to it come Thursday nights, but a lot of things right now are getting you upset and I’ve seen that. It’s okay. We all get it and I hope I can translate my feelings of upset into something like you’ve done here. I’m going to try. Thanks Kristi. We can feel upset together and all make a difference, somehow. You’ll see.February 10, 2017 – 11:24 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think you’re right Kerry. I do think that not feeling alone when we’re upset helps a lot. It also helps to spur action and new ideas on what we can do when it feels helpless and hopeless.
      I’m happy to read that you took a 45 break (don’t know that term) that allowed you to get all wonderful happy birthday messages from Facebook but ignore any crappy news feeds about the cray cray DT tweeting about gigantic conflicts of interest, like why it’s not okay for a business to stop carrying a clothing line that nobody wants! (oops – rant barely averted).
      Happy birthday again, friend!February 11, 2017 – 8:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @TheGoldenSpoons - I do believe it is upset people who make changes. Whether we agree or disagree with the outcome – it was people upset with the previous administration that voted for this one. Regardless of “sides,” it really does make me sad that these political times are so divisive and upset-inducing. And, oh Facebook – I almost can’t even go there these days.February 11, 2017 – 11:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It makes me sad, too, Lisa. FB is crazy. But it’s also helpful when stuff happens (at least for me) that makes me be like WAIT WHAT???? It’s like a mini-validation that I’m not crazy. Still though. UGH.February 11, 2017 – 8:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I read this this morning, but I don’t trust commenting from my phone.

    I just LOVE your last line. That is the truth isn’t it? I tend to withdraw and that accomplishes nothing but making me feel sad and secluded. At the same time I need the secluded breaks from all the noise.

    Yes to hearing a baby’s heartbeat! And oh yes to seeing the heartbeat flicker when you thought you’ve had a miscarriage and the fetus is too little for the heartbeat to be heard.February 11, 2017 – 5:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey Kenya, yeah, I think it’s easier to withdraw. Honestly, I haven’t paid attention the way I pay attention now like, ever, which makes it tempting to withdraw. But then I sit here and get all mad and Robert comes home and I cry about it and getting on FB sometimes and seeing other people are also not okay with certain things makes it somehow better.
      AND OH WOW. I can just imagine the elation of seeing the flicker of a heartbeat when you weren’t sure it’d be there!! MAGIC.February 11, 2017 – 8:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Perfectly said…you mentioned Facebook and seeing the upset all over Facebook and it’s so true. In some ways, it makes it harder for me because my entire feed seems to be filled with angry and upset people and sometimes I just want to turn it all off, but on the other hand, it shows that people care — and that is more important and continues to give me hope that the world will continue to change, but that there are enough people out there who will make sure it changes for the good.February 12, 2017 – 11:19 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I so hope you’re right about the upset people making changes. Some of what’s going on these days is simply unbelievable. GAH.February 15, 2017 – 5:36 pmReplyCancel

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