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!

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4 Black Lives Matter Myths Debunked | Decoded | MTV News

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Why ‘Black Lives Matter’ Is Important

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Emerging From The Darkness

I am emerging from the darkness. I am once again feeling stronger. After a few weeks of being down, dancing between two emotions; numb or melancholy, the fog is lifting.

Every so often I slip into a low. As my mother puts it, it is like a blanket that covers me and keeps me from being myself. I agree with her, partially. It is like a blanket, or a fog, or a haze that descends upon me. The usual happy go lucky demeanor takes a back seat. I get introspective, contemplative, quiet, and yes- moody.

However, I am still me, this is a part of me. Is it mild depression? Is it just part of my personality? The need to pull back now and then and take stock of my life? I don’t know. It doesn’t bother me, not too much at least. It doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t last. The only time it ever lasted I was on the wrong meds/too strong of a dose. Then I withdrew pretty much all together and spent any time not at work lounging or sleeping in my bed. That is not where I am now. That is not where I have been for a long time. 

To me, there is a certain beauty to darkness. I think embracing it now and then is important. Is it painful? Yes, but it also leads to growth, to joy, to a stronger version of me. Embracing it, as long as it is not stopping me from fulfilling my responsibilities (much), or totally cutting everyone out of my life, or having suicidal thoughts (which I don’t), then I say, embrace away. 

Still, there must be a balance. The dark cannot overtake the light. I mustn’t dwell for too long. Life is too precious, too fragile, too beautiful to focus on the misery and the sadness for an extended period of time. 

I was sort of due for this little segue into the land of sorrow. Uncle John’s birthday was just a week ago. There are other changes going on in my life that I was not thrilled to hear about. I have not been focusing on maintaining a positive attitude. There are a few stressors that had been weighing me down as well. Mix that all together and it’s a perfect recipe to backslide a touch. 

Besides, if I get too comfortable in life, if things are going too smoothly, it makes me a tad uncomfortable. I spent so many years overwhelmed and miserable due to my undiagnosed anxiety disorder that peacefulness can actually be unnerving at times. Realistically I suffered from my anxiety issues for years (at least seven years totally undiagnosed, three of those years experiencing panic attacks that scared the bejesus out of me). Just as I began to learn about my anxiety disorder and seek treatment the health of several relatives went into decline, one right after the other. 

In some ways, I’ve had a rough go of it since I was 17 years old.To be clear, not as rough as many in this life but this is my life, my journey, and my issues to deal with. Sure there were pockets of calm in between but also a lot of chaos, a lot of stress, a lot of… well… a lot. Not to mention the amount of growth a person does in those years regardless of other factors. 

So here I am, learning to adjust to a new normal. One I never imagined but one that I am content with. A normal that sadly doesn’t include people that I assumed would be around a lot longer than they were. A normal that still battles anxiety and depression. A normal with more amazing friends than I dared to believe possible when I was younger. A normal that includes healthy relationships with my family. A normal that is all mine. Yes, I am emerging from the darkness once again.

Destroy

I want to run away. Far away. I want to wreck everything I have built. I want to fall, into the abyss that I’ve outrun for so long. I want to break free from the restraints. I want to let the gray overtake me. I want to wallow in the sadness that is floating at the edges of my life.

But I can’t. That’s not what grown ups do. That’s not what I really want. It is just what I feel, a little bit. I am scared. I am taking stock. I am borderline unhappy at the moment. I am plotting my next move. So my instinct? My urge? Run. Wreck. Destroy. Topple all the pieces. Why? Because I can. Because then the slate is not clean but it is a fresh start.

Life runs in cycles. I am currently in my low. No, I am not bi-polar or manic depressive. At least not that I know of. I am missing Uncle John. I’m missing Grams. Aunt Marianne. Papa. I have odd dreams of them, some of them, or all of them. I have dreams of living relatives in odd situations. I have dreams that the ones that have passed on are still alive, even though part of me, even in the dream, knows they are gone. It is so odd and confusing.

There are changes happening. Changes I cannot control.

Unhappiness is important sometimes. It forces us to take a good, long look in the mirror. It is time to get really honest with myself. Come up with a plan. Not a “life plan,” that is too extreme. Maybe a year or two plan. What are my next steps? Where do I want to be?

In the meantime, I will just fantasize about destroying it all…

A Stupid Thing

The past few weeks I have had several dreams of my friend T, the one who vanished on me a year and a half ago. In these dreams I miss her so much it hurts. There is an ache inside of me when, in these dreams, I run into her in the oddest of places. Stores, salons, homes of friends, relatives, or strangers. 

The location changes, the people tied to me running into her changes. However, the initial confrontation is nearly always the same. I can feel anger, perhaps even hatred, radiating off of her. Somehow we are forced together, forced to interact. I am nervous. Here is this person, this friend that I loved for so long. She truly helped to change my life. It’s painful, seeing the disdain in her eyes as she looks at me. By some miracle, as we are forced together, cautiously, oh so slowly, things begin to shift. The anger starts to dissipate, my nervousness is melting too. 

Somehow, we find our way back to being friends. 

In daylight, I know that this is far fetched. Knowing that back when our friendship ended I did call and text for several weeks without a single response. Her departure was devastating but soon eclipsed by the loss of Aunt Mickey and Gram. I think in some ways, my grief over the demise of our friendship was swallowed up wholly and ignored. I can only imagine that is why it still haunts me… 

Back to present day and the stupid thing I did. Friday I had an inspired idea that I would reach out to her. With all the time that had passed maybe it was time to rekindle our friendship. I was nervous as I called and after a few rings I was sure she wasn’t going to answer but then I realize, she did answer. 

“Hello,” she said neutrally.

“Hey, T, it’s Kelly.” I was excited like a little kid, maybe the dreams were prophetic.

“Yeah.” 

“You’ve been on my mind a lot lately. I wanted to see how you are doing.” 

“I’m fine.” Click. She hung up.  

I was not entirely shocked. I was a bit crestfallen. I was also aware. It was time to let go. Totally. Completely. 

The only people who will be in our lives are the ones who choose to be. She has chosen. She doesn’t want to be in mine. It’s painful and it sucks. To be clear, I am not putting all the blame on her. I’m sure she has her reasons, just none that she ever shared with me. So I cannot illustrate wrong doing on my part, not because I am blameless but because I am not aware. 

I kicked myself for having called. I could have left it alone. I’m not that person though. If I feel, in my gut, that I need to do something; I do it. Did it bring up fresh hurt? Yes. Did it solidify where things are in my life? Yes. Is it time to move forward in that area of my life and not look back? Abso-fucking-lutely.

The World Just Keeps on Spinning

The only constant in life is change and my life has experienced more than a few lately. I’ve not written because… Well, I didn’t know how to word things or what I wanted to address. It has been so much…

My Uncle John passed away December 2nd.  He went back into the hospital back in November. During that time it was discovered he had a bleeding ulcer in his small intestine that was actually cancer, stage 4 to be exact. The hospital recommended hospice care and said there was nothing left to do. Uncle John said he was going to fight to the very end and fight he did. He was hospitalized for approximately two weeks. Got out before Thanksgiving and seemed to be improving. We were trying to get him into a local research hospital but it was too late. 

He went back into the hospital the Friday after Thanksgiving and passed that Monday. It threw us all into a bit of a tailspin. Grief is a tricky bastard, as I have said before. Suddenly there were funeral arrangements to be made, potentially flying relatives in from out of state, notifying people of his passing, writing an obituary, etc. Of course, my job was amazing which was one less thing to stress about. 

During this time, the boy (and he is a boy) that I wrote of from my past, The Marine had come back into my life. Things seemed to be going well until my Uncle’s health took a turn for the worse. Then the Marine bailed on me. Well, I’m sure in his mind his behavior was acceptable but for me, it was the last straw. I want a partner in my life, in good times AND in bad. When he couldn’t be there for me during such a dark time I knew that I had to cut him out of my life. I did attempt talking to him about things. It fell on deaf ears. So I did the only thing I could. Cut him out of my life for good. Deleted him from my phone, from social networking, blocked his number. I wish him well, I just can’t have him in my life. It isn’t healthy and it isn’t fair to either of us. 

Despite these recent losses, I am feeling stronger than I have in a very long time. The family is sticking together and my friends have been a godsend. Things are coming along. Nowadays, I’m focused on all the goodness there is in this life. Yes, there is sadness, darkness, loss but there is also love, light, happiness, and laughter. 

So as I wrap this up for today, I would like to leave with a thought of gratitude. I am thankful for a full belly that came from a lovely breakfast with my sister and my best friend. I am blessed to have the money to go out to eat and wonderful company to share a meal with. I am thankful to be able bodied and remove the snow from my driveway and sidewalks. I am thankful for the love of my dogs that is unwavering. Have a wonderful day people 🙂

In Memory of a Great Friend…

Last Saturday, February 23rd, I learned that a friend of mine had committed suicide. When I found out, I was at work, about two-thirds of the way through my shift. I had stepped in the back to get a drink of water and happened to check my phone. I saw I had a Facebook message from a good friend of hers. I read it and my world started to spin a little. He let me know that my friend CK had passed away. I was in shock, a state I remained in for the rest of the day.  I quickly fired a message back to ask how, etc. She was 32 year old, like me. She had several health issues like Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn’s disease but I hadn’t heard of her having recent health issues or needing hospitalizations. In the pit of my stomach I knew. I knew already how my friend died. Maybe not the method used but I knew she had committed suicide.

CK and I “met” over ten years ago now on some message boards for a show we both adored, La Femme Nikita. She was very passionate about her support of the actors, their characters, and every social issue imaginable. She often got into heated discussions on the message boards and was occasionally banned. While I didn’t see the need to get so worked up  over something online I respected her intelligence and her passion. Somehow, we started communicating. First just some back and forth on the boards themselves, then emails and instant messages. CK  came along at a time in my life when I would stay up half the night on my computer chatting away with multiple people, cruising the message boards, reading things online, and watching television.

As time passed our communication went on to include birthday cards delivered via snail mail, a gift of CD’s she sent to me, and phone conversations. We attempted to meet up when she lived in Ohio but, “The Blackout,” occurred and we both decided that driving several hours when there was no electricity it may not be the best timing.

At first, I felt weird having an “internet,” friend but then I realized that times had changed. It didn’t matter how we knew each other, we were friends. We would talk about our lives, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, etc. We leaned on each other in tough times, encouraged each other in good times. I knew of CK’s health issues fairly early in our friendship. What I didn’t know was the volatile dynamic between her and her mother.

Several years ago CK and her mother moved from their native Ohio to Arizona. The hope was that the warmer climate would make life easier with CK’s medical issues. Perhaps without the bitter cold winters or the humidity her fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis would be tolerable and she could put her Master’s degree to work.

It wasn’t until she was living in Arizona that stories of the fights between her and her mother started to seep out. I was definitely concerned but it seemed like old hat. She kind of blew it off after venting and I figured she was a very strong person, she could handle herself. I don’t know that I’ll ever know the true level of nastiness that CK endured during her too short lifetime.

Sometime during the last year CK and her mother got into a huge fight and she wrote her goodbye’s on facebook. She expressed she couldn’t live this way any longer. She was on the waiting lists for public housing but she said those lists could take years. She couldn’t afford to live on her own, she had nowhere to go. She was going to end it. When I read her status update I immediately started calling her cell phone and home phone. No answer on either. Sitting in my family room in Michigan I was at a loss as to what to do. Then an idea hit, I knew her address, I new her name, her phone number, her mother’s name. So I looked up her local emergency services and called to report her threat of suicide. With all the privacy laws nowadays the dispatcher couldn’t tell me much but she assured me the police had been out to CK’s home and spoke with her at length. My friend was safe. I didn’t care that that was all the information I could be given. My friend was safe, I was relieved. CK ended up in the hospital after that but when she got home she called to thank me for caring. She even assured me she wouldn’t let things get that bad again. It was at this point I started to learn how bad things could be between CK and her mother. The situation with her father was no better.

In the months that followed CK seemed to be doing all right. Sometimes they would fight but they’d have some decent patches too. So when I found out she had shot herself, I was completely shocked. A part of me wonders if I had been a better friend, would she still be here?Was there something I missed? Something I could have done? Should I have pushed her harder to leave her mother’s home and move in with a cousin or aunt or friend that would have been healthier, more stable? Logically, I know that there is nothing I could have done to save my friend. She had attempted suicide several times in her past. She was in a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. She felt trapped by her situation, her mother, her health.

CK was an amazing woman. She lived passionately and truthfully. She was always herself no matter what the circumstances. She had a loving heart, full of compassion. There is so much she could have done in this world had her life not been cut short. Despite the fact she wasn’t on this earth for very long, she made an impact. She challenged people, she encouraged, she supported, she inspired. CK, this entry doesn’t even begin to do you justice. I don’t know that I have the words to adequately describe the person that you were. Wherever you are, I am confident you are now at peace, without pain, and filled with love. Thank you for being my friend all these years.