Progress Made

It’s a funny place I find myself in, sitting comfortably in my mid-thirties, rid of all the angst of my late teens to mid-twenties. I still recall the emotional turmoil I was in, the loneliness, the anger- so much anger! Despite the ability to recall it all, in vivid detail, it also feels like a lifetime ago. The suffering definitely helped to shape who I am, but that person, that version of myself seems foreign to me now.

I remember… staying up all night, watching tv and chatting over AIM with 5 people at once and writing two pieces at a time. I remember all the pent up rage over my (perceived) inability to live a normal life. I remember the feelings of isolation, desperation, and loneliness that overwhelmed me. I remember having my first full blown panic attack one night around 1am, while watching Vanilla Sky, wondering if I should wake my parents to take me to the hospital or let them sleep and maybe find me dead on the couch in the morning. I let them sleep and hoped and prayed I wasn’t having a heart attack and dying like I thought I was, like I felt I was.

I remember… writing dark and twisted poetry about the fury, the sorrow, and romanticizing suicide. I never truly considered it but it felt like such a tempting escape from the misery I was in.

I think back to all the crazy that I attracted to my life during that time. The drama filled people who seemed to find me like I was a magnet and truth be told, I probably was. It seemed like one friend after another was in crisis. My friendship circle consisted of self-harmers, pill poppers, and the like. It was also filled with people who had been dealt some really shitty hands in life but year after year they continued to be the victim rather than become the heroine of their own life. I remember one often repeating, “I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve all of this.”

I remember… finding solace in the darkness of depression, the depression that anxiety drove me into. Misery does love company and I found my tribe. I remember feeling so liberated being able to share the chaos and storms that were swirling within me. I was no longer alone in my looney tribe of misfits. We were all wounded in our own ways and suffering but we had each other and that made it less lonely.

I remember… the clouds starting to lift in my life. The poetry dried up and I feared I was losing my creativity. I remember that the down moments came less frequently, the mood swings not as severe. I remember feeling at odds with myself because I didn’t recognize myself anymore without turmoil. Sometimes, even now, a little part of me misses it. For the creativity that is. There is something about angst and writing that go hand in hand, at least in my twisted mind.

Yet, I wouldn’t go back to it. I like being in a happy place now. That’s not to say my life is perfect but I am more appreciative now. I understand my anxiety better and have a better handle on it. I’m thankful for my struggles because there are somethings one cannot fully understand without experiencing them, mental health issues being one of them. Yes, I remember my battle and I’m grateful for it but I am so content to be exactly where I am right now. 100_0291_2.jpg

Education

I have long known that when it comes to our government and politics I am, to say the least uneducated. I don’t really have a good concept of how things are supposed to work. I know there are ‘checks and balances,’ that involve our three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial). I know that one major premise of our government involves the separation of church and state (which a certain party seems to conveniently forget). I know there was a cartoon when I was a kid that talked about how bills are made into laws… Even as I write this I know how woefully ignorant I am…

Considering the current situation our country is in and my general distaste for not knowing things, I’m seeking out an education on the basics. I’m researching,  starting to study the Constitution, Bill of Rights, learn more about civics etc. I’m reading up on other political parties and what their stances are to find what truly reflects my values and belief in what a government should be. I’ve been following what our legislative branch has been voting on and who is voting what. I’ve called more senators in the last week than I have my entire life. I’m done sitting on the sidelines. I’m done being the person that complains but does nothing. We are supposed to be a government for the people, by the people. Sadly, too many of us have sat back on the sidelines allowing corporations, lobbyists, and the like to take over.

Our government, as it stands, does not serve the best interests of the people. The only way that will change is if the people make it change. I’m not telling anyone what party to support, who to vote for in different elections, etc. What I am saying is, if you’re unhappy about the way things are do something about it!shutterstock_252537448.jpg

Mourning and Moving Forward


shutterstock_558143062.jpgI am sure it comes as no shock but I’ve been in a bit of mourning with the current political climate. I don’t know that it is even so much the results of the election but the sheer ugliness and divisiveness being expressed towards anyone that has different views. Being totally transparent, yes I was disappointed by the results of the election. However I know that we are not always going to get our way, you win some and you lose some. I’ve done a good job of sort of blocking it out since then but with the inauguration a whole new wave of ugliness has crept in, not to mention I have no choice but to face reality.

I’m not writing this post to rail against our current officials or trash talk his supporters. That sort of thing plays out on Facebook day in and day out. I’m tired of it. I’m writing this because I need to find a way to move on. I need to find a way to use my voice to share some positivity and tolerance. Many of us are disappointed as of late. Regardless of who had won the election, many of us wonder how anyone could vote for XYZ candidate. However that does not solve anything. Accusations and cruelness only serve to breed more contempt and anger. I’m looking for a higher road. If you’re happy or unhappy do something about it. Use your voice!!!

A couple things I have discovered in the last couple of days:

Countable (website and app)

https://www.countable.us

Helps you to identify your representatives, keep you abreast of current issues, and provides an easy platform to get your voice heard.

Petitions on WhiteHouse.gov

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/#signapetition

You can sign or create a petition that, with enough signatures, will illicit a response from the White House.

A couple last thoughts:

“We have far more in common than that divides us.” Jo Cox.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi (though I’ve heard he wasn’t the one who said this)

First Step…

They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting that it exists. Well, I’ve long admitted that I have issues; with anxiety, stress, social anxiety, trust, insecurity, abandonment, need for control, need to fix everything, take care of everyone, etc. Ok in all fairness most of the issues stem from anxiety/social anxiety. I’ve known that ALL people could benefit from therapy while actively avoiding going to therapy. I did try it once, but it was the wrong fit and quite disastrous. Also, being (mostly) self aware I knew a lot of the things I need to change/work on/address so… How would discussing it with a stranger help me, really?

shutterstock_139247051.jpgStill… As the anxiety/stress was leaving my shoulders and stomach in knots, as I was reeling from the emotional fallout of some big decisions, and knowing that I deserve better in life I finally sucked it up and sought out therapy. Again.  I called my insurance stuffs, found a recommendation, and made an appointment. Even making an appointment led to my active mind kicking into overdrive. My therapist treats people in his office or at his home. His home was closer and also better parking options not to mention the day that worked best for me happened to be a day he was working out of his home. Enter active mind: I’m meeting a man I do not know, in his home, and I’ll be alone. Is that really safe?  Is that wise? What if he is creepy? What if he is some weirdo? What if, what if, what if? The two biggest words that roll around in my brain. Ok. STOP. BREATHE. 1. If your health insurance/employment is recommending this person he probably checks out. 2. If he is some psychotic, monster he probably wouldn’t have passed whatever screening was necessary to be recommended by reputable companies. 3. Just hush noisy brain. Hush.

For anyone who has never gone to therapy, the first session mainly revolves around paperwork, dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s, establishing what is bringing you in, in a nutshell. The first appointment we didn’t discuss anything huge. Right away I felt at ease with him. He reminds me of my uncle John that passed away. He has a plant growing in his living room, the same kind of plant that my sisters and I gave to our relatives for Christmas one year as kids. I felt comfortable.  I also realized pretty quickly that he was perceptive and picked up on the things I wasn’t saying. While we didn’t cover anything deep or significant, I felt lighter. He gave me some ideas to consider, a few challenges in how I think about things.

At this point I’m about 5 or 6 sessions in. I can definitely see it helping me. I was right, I know a lot of the things I need to work on but it does help having someone neutral to discuss things with. I’m finding that I am getting better at stopping my mind from spiraling out. My aunt says I am calmer, less nervous. The thing I’m finding, I didn’t fully realize how neurotic I was until I started making positive changes. I was explaining one of those realizations lately to my best friend and told her, “I was so crazy before, the thought process that would have been going through my head over something so insignificant, but now, I am ok with making this inconsequential decision and not analyzing it to death or assuming what the other person could be thinking.” She was very  gracious and told me I wasn’t crazy before but that my brain was definitely very busy and that it must have been exhausting. True dat. 

Lonely

Lately I’ve been feeling a little lonely, sort of wishing I had a partner in crime. Some would assume the feelings of loneliness are being brought on by the fact my one sister is recently married and another is recently engaged. Maybe that is the culprit but maybe it isn’t. Most of my adult life I have gone back and forth between loving my total independence and the single life and being lonely, wanting someone to share my journey with, someone more than my family and amazing girlfriends.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I definitely wanted a relationship, desperately. Except I would still hold men I was interested in at a comfortable distance. Eventually they would tire of not getting anywhere, me closing them out, and things would fizzle. Go figure. I even went through a phase around the age of 21 or 22 where I had decided I wanted nothing more than to get married, have kids, and be a stay at home mom.

When I was 26 I feel in love for the first (and only) time. I was all in for the first time in my life, probably to a terrifying degree for the guy. To be fair he was the first one to bring up the idea of marriage or kids but I was the one who ran with it. I remember writing him letters when he was in Iraq to discuss parenting styles. Oh Lord, I was hopeless. I figured if that was the track we were on, we needed to communicate and make sure we were on the same page with major issues.

Anyway that train imploded and sometime after that I decided I was good on my own. I had experienced love and I loved it but then I experienced heartbreak and disappointment and that sucked. If I could not go through the disappointment and heartbreak and hurt feelings again I would be quite happy. A slew of horrible dating experiences later and I was definitely content with the idea of single for life.

As time has gone on there’s been a few guys that I’ve left my guard down for. A few different men that I could see myself having a relationship with. Ultimately none of them worked out. There was the teacher with two first names that I really clicked with. We could talk and laugh and joke in person and via text. I was attracted to him. He was an animal lover. Seemed perfect right? Until I found out he was into threesomes. I would rather have an open relationship over group sex any day. Only 2 people in the bedroom please and thank you.

shutterstock_337991192Then there was the older guy that came out of nowhere. He was totally unexpected but somehow he got past all of my walls. We would talk every day on the phone, for hours, about everything. So despite our age difference, despite the fact he had 2 kids from a previous marriage, I was open to seeing where it went. He would say the most amazing things to me. Like rom-com amazing things. Until he said one of the most awful things a man has ever said to me… “I don’t see you being a forever thing, I’m sorry.” Well damn. That hurt!

Next there was what seemed to be an online dating success, MM. We met through OkCupid and we were seeing each other loosely, for 6 months. Yet our dates were spread out to maybe 1 or 2 a month. We never got to the point of defining what we were or whether or not we were exclusive.  Then one day he ghosted.

Why am I writing about the dating failures and hurts? They have been haunting me. My ex, appears in my dreams, snapshots of happier times. I know that what I miss is not reality by far. I miss the idea of who he was or what he represented. I miss the other few guys that I let in as well. I am feeling the sting of being let down or hurt. I’m feeling the pangs of loneliness, and yet, I still celebrate the freedom that my single life affords me. When I imagine my life, my future, there are things I feel like having a relationship would hinder. I never want to be that woman who has to check in with her man before making plans. I don’t want to be that person who puts her man above everyone else in a gross way.  I don’t want a man talking down to me or patronizing me.

Yet… Sometimes… I don’t want to be alone. Sometimes I want that person to share inside jokes with, tender moments, laughter, silliness. I want that person who has my back in tough times, and to celebrate the good times with. I want to experience an actual, healthy relationship.

What’s a gal to do?

Processing

IMG_1047I’ve been processing a lot lately. I’ve been evaluating myself, my life, my relationships.  I’ve been looking at what brings me stress and what brings me joy. I’ve been focusing on my motivation and gratitude. I’ve made tough choices, I’ve made changes, I’m leaving myself vulnerable in ways I haven’t in a long time. It’s been scary and difficult and painful but I am moving in the right direction.  I couldn’t have done it without my support system, my family, my close friends.

I still have a long ways to go. I’m realizing that this world and all its ugliness is leaving my soul tired. It’s depressing and makes my heart hurt. It makes me want to run away, buy an island (like I have money for that), and never interact with the world at large again. Instead I need to be a force of change. I can’t run, I can’t hide. I can only do what I can to make the world a better place.

I have to let go of what I can’t fix because in truth, I want to fix anything and everything that brings me sorrow. I am accepting my limitations rather than dwelling on what I cannot change. I’m letting go and opening up at the same time. It’s hard, I don’t like to let go, but it’s a process and one I’m committed to.

Heavy Heart

shutterstock_306532232My heart is terribly heavy right now. I’m feeling the urge to do something, anything to try and be a positive impact on the world right now. I don’t even know where to start. I’m mourning the lives lost in senseless and unnecessary violence. The current state of affairs in this country of ours is depressing me. As in, one day off, I barely got out of bed and I laid there crying as I read articles about the horrific events happening lately. My heart is hurting but I’m also feeing led to speak out and make a difference. To get involved and do what I can as one human being who sees the need for change and to affect others positively.

I ask that you check out these three videos I’v seen in recent weeks. I ask that you watch these videos with an open mind and an open heart. I know that some people feel like BLM is creating ‘more racial tension’ in this country by focusing on race. I ask you, how does one fix an issue if we can’t admit it exists in the first place?

Trevor Noah we should all be pro black and pro police!

click here

4 Black Lives Matter Myths Debunked | Decoded | MTV News

click here

Why ‘Black Lives Matter’ Is Important

click here