Monday, November 16, 2015

#prayfortheworld

The last few weeks have been hard ones for the whole world.  It seemed that everywhere I looked, people are spewing hate for those who disagree with them while simultaneously saying how "love is the only way" and how open minded they were, as opposed to whatever group of people they were disagreeing with.

Then, Friday night, a post showed up on my instagram feed.  #prayforparis.

I flipped into my news feed and sat there reading in shock about the attacks.  The deeper I dug, the more I found.  By Saturday night, most of Facebook was covered in the French flag.  And just for a moment, as it was on 9/11, the world came together to let go of the things that had captivated them for weeks, things I see as offense taken where none was intended, and focused on the real offense against humanity.

My heart is heavy.  So much destruction in Paris, Beirut, Mexico, Japan, and Baghdad.  All in just a few days time.

I have come to the conclusion that this is what world war three looks like.  It looks like sniping at every little difference we find between people who do not agree with our choices, and then momentarily bonding over terrorism.  And then, two days later, going back to crying over how "so and so is a jerk for looking at me wrong!"

We are headed into a world were everyone is loving and no one is loved.  Where everyone is against bombings and shootings, but no one will look farther than their own pet politics to find the true culprit of why people go to such lengths to make their points.  We label anything that disagrees with what we think as "bigoted and mean", never noticing how our screaming about how wrong they are is also bigoted and mean.

 There are those who claim that prayer is part of the problem.  Do not pray for the world, change it!  I am confused as to why one cannot do both.  Can we not take a moment to address whatever god we believe in, before we stand up and change the world?  Must we be either pray-ers or do-ers?

I truly hope I can be both.  So I offer my prayers, but I also offer my hands.  I will continue to pray, and I will continue to do.

There is true evil in the world, and we must fight it.  And if we do not let go of the petty offenses, we will never be able to truly come together.  We will lose the right to have a voice.

Everyone deserves to have a voice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What Do I Want?

Several years ago I discovered a movie called "The Women".   I was interested in it because of the cast: Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, Annette Bening, Candice Bergan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Eva Mendes, Bette Midler, and more.

There is a part where Bette Midler's character asks Meg Ryan "What is it you want?" and the next scene shows Meg Ryan's character making a list with the heading WHAT DO I WANT?

The whole exchange between them made me stop and reevaluate what I was doing and why I was doing it.  Since then I have made many lists with that same heading on them.

What do I want?

I also tend to break them down into smaller headings:  Personal and Family.  Some things I want for myself, and while they will impact my family, they are for me.  Some things I want for my family, and while they impact me alone also, I want my husband to be working with me to make us stronger.

My last list like that is over 3 years old, and today I am feeling that I need a new one.  Some things never change, like doing fun things with my hair and nails; and some things do not need to be on the list any more because I am a different person now.

And some things need to be on the list that were not there before.

These are the really important parts, the new additions.  Things I did not consider previously, or did not even see as things I could, or maybe even SHOULD want for myself.  Because really, most of the things that need to change on the list are things I want for me.  Things that give me permission to quit taking care of other people instead of taking care of myself.  That is the whole point of the list after all is said and done.  WHAT DO I WANT?  Not want do I want for my siblings, or what I want for my husband's family, or for my best friend.  What do I want for me and my family?

And, truthfully, the family list is short and concise.  And much less important really.  Not because my family is less important, but because I am so very good at taking care of everyone but myself.  I am a caregiver, a protector, wiling to drowned if that is what it takes to keep everyone else afloat.  So the family portion of the list is really just there for that part of me that needs to think about other people first, so it knows that I have not forgotten that I am not the only person affected by my choices and changes.

The rest of the list is there to remind me that in order to do ANYTHING for anyone else, I must first take care of myself.  My husband is great at taking care of me, but it really is not fair of me to expect that he do everything.  He is a very busy person and me expecting him to "keep me happy" is utter nonsense.  I am a big girl after all, an adult even.  I am ultimately resposible for my own happiness.  He adds to it, and greatly I will add, but he should not be responsible for it.

So I must take charge of my own disaster, for disaster I am.

I have given everything I had, my time, patience, energy (mental, emotional, and physical), and effort to everyone but myself and my husband.  And while I can commend myself for the sentiment, it has left me with a broken heart and wounded soul.  My sweet husband has done his best to protect me and keep me together when I am out of all capability to hold myself together.  But really, this needs to stop.

I have to keep enough for myself and for my husband.  He deserves more than the scraps left after I have given my all to my siblings that refuse to give back.  He should not have to be always filling me up so that I can attempt to function.  This is supposed to be a partnership DAMNIT!!!  We should be taking care of each other, not just him taking care of me.  I want to take care of him too.

So a new list is evolving.  I am going to need to track down my favorite silver sharpie and my industrial roll of butcher paper.  The list best is created with a permanent marker and a LARGE writing surface.  And since the writing on the walls is not acceptable, butcher paper is a great substitute.  And cute washi tape to hold it up, just because.  

So, rebuilding my reserves commences.

What Do I Want?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Stuck: A Gramatical Dilema

Stuck. STUCK STUCK STUCK.

That is how I am feeling, and the part of my brain that is franticly looking for a way to deal with it has come up with a new plan; if I say it enough times, it will not mean anything anymore. 

Stuck stuck stuck.

I am fairly positive stuck is an adjective; but in English it is not definite if it is a permanent or temporary one. 

I am stuck.

Temporary or permanent?

I am tired, I am hurting, I am stressed, I am hungry.

I am short, I am straight, I am white, I am loved.

I am stuck.

This is where a second language would come in handy, but my Spanish is very rusty.  Give me a minute.

*searches for Spanish-English Dictionary online, my paper one is not helping*

Huh... this is interesting.
_______________

stuck

atascado
 
stuck
adjective
 
1. (trapped) 
a. atascado 
Help me! My leg is stuck between two rocks! 
¡Auxilio! ¡Mi pierna está atascada entre dos rocas!
 
2. (fixed) 
a. pegado 
All of the magnets were stuck to the side of the fridge.
Todos los imanes estaban pegados al lado de la nevera.
 
3. (unable to continue) 
a. atascado 
I'm stuck on this question. Can you help me find the solution? 
Estoy atascada en esta pregunta. ¿Me ayudas a encontrar la solución?
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First days

My heart hurts today.

School has started for most everyone around here.  My Facebook feed is full of kids' first days in every grade possible, from preschool to college sophomores.

This was not the plan.  At over ten years married, I was supposed to have kids by now.  I should be talking about how me and my daughter were arguing about what to wear for picture day.  I was supposed to be helping my son find the best superhero shoes ever.  I am supposed to be crying because they are growing up, not because they are not here.

My house should be filled with kid noise, not TV and music and movies I use to fill the silence.

I do not know how this happened.  Or why it happened.  This was not the plan.

And today, I cannot muster the strength to deal rationally with where I am, let alone where I want to be.  All I can do is find the grace to be at opposite ends of the spectrum in my joy for my friends, and my heartbreak for me. 

And the worst part, I cannot even tell them how much my heart aches watching them.  How fair is it for me to rain on their parade of how proud they are of their kids? 

Not fair in the least. 

And so I sit at home trying not to fall to pieces over something I cannot control and cannot change.  It is what it is, and somehow I have to find my strength and find a way to stand tall, even when I am crying. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Difficulties

Today is being difficult.

I was so excited.  The hubby got up early for work, and I got up with him.  I was going to be so productive and... then I lost my spark.

I've spent most of my day doing "nothing".  I tried to clean the office, but really didn't get very far at all.  I turned on my favorite TV show to help cover the silence of my home.  Then I switched to music, because I was just sitting watching TV, not listening as I went about my tasks. 

And my head hurts.  I know that people say that if you have a migraine you cannot function at all; that can be true, but for me, I can do many things still, I just have to be very careful.  I do not drive, I do not work outside by myself.  I also do not seem to be able to read for long periods, and my ability to focus, which is in ruins anyhow due to the severe anxiety I am dealing with, is beyond shot. I can still type fine though, and my brain keeps going whether my head is splitting down the middle or not.

This means that I am having a hard time sticking to anything for longer than about 10 or 15 minutes.

I have started three projects this morning, and none of them are going to get finished.  And I need to go put the laundry in.  Hubby is running out of socks No bueño.

Excuse me,  my 10 minutes are up and my brain is looking for something else to look at.  I think my quilting magazines are calling my name.

My word this is a messy post.

Maybe I need a nap.  Lets try that.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tea Weather

I am so looking forward to it being fall.

At 8 pm in the evening this time of year it is not quite dark out and my poor tired brain has a hard time winding down.  My husband says I'm a lizard; I look for heat and light and stay there.  But once the sun begins to set, my body and mind begin to slow down. 

I think it comes from growing up on a farm.  Summer meant up from 5:30 am till 10 pm.  School starting meant we could sleep in till 6 or 6:30 and tried to be in bed by 9 pm. 

My hours are my own to set now, but I wonder sometimes how much my body remembers those years and has a default that says that the sun being up means I should be too.

I do not particularly love winter these last eight years or so.  For a few of those years we lived in a small town that has snow from October to April.  I have a driving complex as a result.  I am a fairly good driver, but I worry immensely about other people not knowing what they are doing and me not being able to react fast enough.  I have no fear of dying in a bad car accident, but I do have a fear of living through one.

For the rest of those years, I dislike holidays.  I love decorating, and having candles that smell like pumpkin and leaves, cinnamon and pine. I super stress about family get togethers though.  For Thanksgiving I stress about the food.  I eat gluten free and am never sure what I will be able to eat or not and tend to fall off the wagon between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This adds even more stress and anxiety to the mix, not to mention migraines.  And for Christmas, I always want to find exactly the right present and stress so much that I end up having to buy something last minute that doesn't fit at all.

But I love fall.  I get to wear boots and scarves and sweaters!  I love scarves and sweaters!  And I get to turn the heat on in the house, which means I have to wear socks because we set our thermostat low.  And the only thing I love more than sweaters and scarves is SOCKS! 

I drink more tea in the fall and winter.  100+ degree weather in the summer means that tea is not a favorite beverage, and I begin to miss it by the beginning of July.  And me and tea go a long way back, longer than me and my husband.  I came to the conclusion long ago that my Welsh heritage is fairly dominant.  I sing a huge amount and fairly well with little training and there is no problem that tea cannot help at least a little bit.  My favorites are herbal and rooibos teas.  I do not favor traditional teas much at all, which is odd, but since nothing else I do is quite traditional, I suppose it is only to be expected.

The only problem right now it that, although it is September by the calendar, the weather seems to have not noticed that it is time for things to cool down.

I have attempted to have tea three days in a row now, and mostly end up leaving it to cool down before I drink it.  My husband keeps asking if I have forgotten it.

"No, I am waiting for it to cool off.  It is too hot to drink hot tea."

He laughs, shakes his head and brings me my tea.   

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Coming Home

Lately, I feel like I am disappearing.

Like pieces of me have fallen off and gotten lost. In many cases, I did not even notice till I went looking for them, and suddenly, they are gone.

And it is not just that they are missing, but that I do not even know what they were anymore.  Some instinct has sent me in search of... something; but at the end of that search, there is just an empty spot.  I do not know what I was looking for, but whatever it was, it is gone.

When I was 20 I had an emotional breakdown. I got to the total, complete end of my rope and got on antidepressants.  For almost a year, I worked with my Dr. and a counselor to figure out the best tools for me to use.  The pills only took me from rock bottom to feeling level, but never happy.  Or sad.  Or anything actually.  And I wanted to feel things, so I looked for other tools. 

After that year, I started getting off the antidepressants.  And it was slow going. 

I am exceptionally sensitive to medications that alter my body chemistry in any way.  When we were first married I was on birth control.  After the first six months I called the Dr. to see if I could try a different kind.  She asked why.  I responded that my side effects were making life hard for me.  She asked what side effects I was having.  I asked if she could pull up the list and when she did, told her I was having all of them, other than the life threatening ones.  I had a new prescription by the end of the day.

So even on a very small dose of antidepressants, I had to go slowly.  I went down a milligram at a time.  For the 10 mg I was taking, it took me another 15 months to get off completely.  I spent more time getting off than I spent on the full dose. 

By the time I turned 23, I had been off the meds for almost 6 months.  Unfortunately, my brain had rewired itself.  Emotionally I felt like I was 15 again.  I had to relearn how to process things, and did so at a rate that amazes me looking back. 

Part of me wonders if that has to do with my missing pieces. 

Six years later, is my brain finally catching back up to who I was before?  And is it that, while I was trying to relearn how to process my emotions, and rewiring my brain to work the way I wanted it to, some things got left behind as unnecessary. 

Funny, I typed that as a question and looked at it for a second and realized, it is not a question, it is a statement.

And the next thing that comes to the surface as I type: A huge part of why I have been feeling like I have is that I cannot find what I am looking for subconsciously, and so my conscious gets a little wigged out.  And I get anxiety that I cannot connect to anything.  Not because I am losing it, but because I am missing something I thought I had.  And the thing my brain wants to use to fix things is no longer where it was. 

So the big question is, how do you find something when you have no idea what you are looking for?

While I cannot, and truthfully do not, want to go back to who I was at 20, I do wonder what she knew that I have lost.  And, if I knew it once, is it still there somewhere? 

Because if it is still there somewhere... I just have to find it.

So maybe I am not looking for something with no idea. 

I am looking for something that feels... familiar.  Something that feels like coming home.

And that is not no idea. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Seeing clearly


Yesterday I was running through my instagram feed and saw a post by a woman I follow who I have never met, but really wish I could.  Her pictures are perfect, but she is so real about how her house is messy and her kids run wild on occasion.  Her name is Kelle Hampton, and you can find her @etst on instagram.

Her post yesterday was a list of five random things.  One of them was that she has almost called her hairdresser three times in the last month to get her hair cut short.  I started to comment, and after a few minutes, realized I needed to actually write out an experience I had just recently.  It is way longer than I feel is polite to put in a comment on instagram.

About a month ago I got my hair cut short, like pixie short. I was pretty much not willing to consider going that short, except my husband kept asking if I was going to try it, because he thought it would be fun.  (Side note: when we first got married, he really liked my hair long, but after my first drastic cut from the middle of my back to my shoulders, he decided that as long as I was happy, he was happy.)

So finally I called a friend who has cut my hair on and off for over 8 years, one I trust every time to do a great job. She loves it when I come in; I give her a feeling I want (edgy, rocker, classic, etc.) and a length I am comfortable with and she does her magic.   

When I got to the salon I asked her what she would do if I was willing to let her do anything.

"Anything?"

"Anything, any length."

"Awesome." Did a quick search on her phone and found the picture she wanted. "This."
Super short with long side swept bangs in front.

"Do it."

I almost never wear contacts anymore, my eyes get dry after only a few hours.  But I knew she would go short if I let her and I had to watch.  My vision is bad enough that, without correction, everything gets fuzzy about a foot out.  Usually I wear my glasses and only see before and after; the in between is a fuzzy blur.  This time I wore my contacts because I had to see it happen, had to watch every strand fall as she cut it off.

My last few months have been hard ones, even by my normal standard.  I have been working so hard to make changes, but it is so frustrating because so much of what I am working on is internal, with no proof of effort or any visual proof of change.  And to watch that hair fall around me, I could let go of some of the things that have been holding me back.  Things I have been working on but couldn't quite shake totally free of.  I was so happy.

The really funny thing, when I was done I got in the car to go home and started crying.  Not over my hair, but over the things I had left in a pile on the floor.  I felt so relieved and free.  I cried all the way home.  My husband loves my hair, I love it too.  I may never go back; but maybe I will.  Just to get that feeling again; to watch the weight fall to the floor in a brown curly pile. 

Hair grows back, problems you left behind return to be problems again.  But if even just for a moment you can see who you want to be, who you were meant to be, you can fight for it.  And when you lose sight of it, sometimes it takes a crazy step to remind you of what you wanted and how you plan to get there. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

...

 It's been a bit.

Lately, I've been trying to write a book.  Crazy, I know.  And for some reason, trying to write a book needs to be done on paper.  I need to fill a notebook, need to write corrections in the margins, hide the evidence of such an endeavor under my mattress.  Okay, I haven't really hidden it, at least on that scale.  My notebook lives on a shelf, sandwiched between my regular journal and my control journal. 

And just for the sake of clarity, my control journal is about things like house work schedules and routines that keep my life under control.   Routine is my friend, as is organization.  Sometimes I hate it, but it is important to my sanity, so I love it even as I hate it.

I digress... my book so far is about ten pages long.  And much of it is similar to how I write here.  Random things that I am thinking about and want to express but am totally unsure of how accurate they are to the rest of the world. 

I learned a long time ago that my brain works differently.  Part of this is the severe depression and anxiety, which color everything in the worst shades of fear and frustration.  Some of it is that I am a girl, which means that I have a filter that takes everything and dissects it.  Most of it is that I am me, and I have a filter all my own that changes nuances and tweaks perspective.  Sometimes my filters are a good thing.   Sometimes they are a not good thing.  And sometimes, my filters go missing and things get CRAZY. 

Right, my book.  I'm worried about it.  I really want to write it, but I'm afraid to share it.  So much of it is extremely personal.  Some of it is painful truth about what other people have done and how I have or am reacting to them because of their actions.  I don't want to hurt anyone, but I don't want to be afraid to tell my stories either. 

But lately, I am afraid of everything.

Afraid of the future, because I have very few dreams and even fewer goals.  And you cannot build on nothing. 

Afraid of the past, that it is set on repeat and I'll never break the cycle.

Afraid of today in the context of past and future.  I should have gotten up earlier today; not stayed up so late last night.  I should go do this or that, but what-if-that-is-the-wrong-choice-? type of fear.  So afraid of doing the wrong thing, I don't do anything, and kick myself for it, for days after.

Part of everything is that I am mostly anonymous online.  No one knows my face, and I try to be general with my specifics.  There are no names of anyone, to keep it private while being public.  If I share my notebook with people, I have to hand it to them.  Watch them read it, hear them critique it out loud.  And right now I cannot take being told how to tell my stories.  How I should be more positive, more upbeat.  How I should look on the bright side more often, how I don't really need to tell it with such candidness and honesty.  How personal it all is and do I really want to have people reading it. (The funny thing about that one: I want to share with people, just not the people involved in my stories.  I want to write a book and have none of my family know I've written it.)

So, I'm writing. But as of yet, I don't know how it will turn out or how to get it where I want it to go.  Maybe I'll just type it all up eventually and put it up here.  People can find it but I can stay in the background.  Because really, that's what I want, for my book to create a space for people to find their clan.  For all of us to love who we are as individuals, and learn to be accepting of where we are in our respective journeys.  Whether it is learning acceptance of who we are, or loving the space where we are letting go but not moving on yet, or moving on to better things.  That is what I want my book to be.

I have no idea if I can do that.  Re-reading that, I am terrified. I want so much, and am really not sure I can pull it off. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hunger Games

It's amazing how different the same thing can be at different times in your life.

I've read the Hunger Games series three times since it was published.  The first time I was caught up I the action, thinking about how everything wove together.  Trying to figure out what was really going on that she couldn't see. 

The second time I was angry.  She had no right to fall apart, no right to not be strong and to keep going. 

This last time, I just see the emotional damage each choice inflicts.  I see the pain and the drive to do what is right, but having no idea what "right" really means because you are sure that there is information you don't have that would change how you choose.  But choose you must; and so you do your best, only to come to the other side of the choice and suddenly have all the information you didn't.  All that is left at that point is to blame yourself for not seeing, for not knowing, for not choosing differently, for not being better.

The first book came out when I was 21.  Being caught in the action was part of where I was at the time.  On anti-depressants and feeling little, the books gave me enough speed to get sucked in and not get bored.  They have enough detail to give a good picture, but left enough to my imagination that I could almost see things happening.  They let me live someone else's emotions, but without pulling at my own.

Fast forward 5 years.  I was finally off the meds after a ton of work and determined to not fall into that black hole again.  I was not going to fall apart ever again, I was stronger than that.  How could she not be that strong?  How could she fall apart?  I was so angry.  Looking back it's because I knew I didn't have the luxury of falling apart, but was on the edge of it myself.  Holding on by my teeth and fingernails, anger was all I had left.

Now, at almost 29, I cry the whole way through the series.  Each hard thing she faces, I see my version of.  Admittedly nothing that horrific, but damaging all the same.  And I wonder how my story will end.  I wonder if I will ever be whole again.  I will never be the same certainly, but when push comes to shove, will I ever be the person I want to be, or have I lost that chance. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Success

I just realized something really important.  Success for one person cannot be determined by others.

Every one of us have goals.  Things we want to be, things we want to achieve.  And everyday we make choices to be successful at those goals.

I have been told by everyone what I should be, should want, how my success should look.  And they are all wrong.  I should have a baby, I should want a career, I should have a job, I should go back to school, I should do laundry a certain way, I should want more out of life, I should be better by now, I shouldn't be depressed, I should be happy all the time, I should grow up and move on, I should be on medication for my mental issues, I should be better than I am, I should try harder, I should get more sunshine, I should lie about how I am, I should fake it till I feel it, I should hide what is going on, I should choose to be happy. 

Here is the truth:  I am alive and, for the time being, that means I am a success.  I have not given up on life, I have held on and kept fighting.  I choose to stay alive everyday, that is my goal.  And my current record for that is 100% successful.   How is that not enough? 

Being alive when I wanted to die is the strongest, most courageous thing I have ever done.  And, today, that is enough for me.