Life Update: Hemlines and hysteria

Let’s just be forthright, shall we? I am having a very hard time.

We’ve haven’t talked about The Big Scary recently, the reason being I was feeling mostly better, even functional. Until the outbursts began.

The feelings that come along with my outbursts are overwhelming, alienating, frustrating, making the problems worse. I scream, cry, throw things and the scariest part is  I don’t feel like I can control it. I blink and suddenly, I have destroyed – a favorite hair brush, a roll of paper towels, a relationship. When I am acting out, I am no longer myself – I am someone else.

I began my mental health journey on January 18, 2016. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that I would be in a more stable spot by now.

Instead, a mere week ago I almost had to go to The Facility because my Naomi Campbell-esque outbursts were getting out of hand to the point of being dangerous.

One of the hardest things for me in this is asking God for help. I feel extra angry, edgy, my defenses heightened. And I constantly see and hear about turning control over to God in situation you can’t handle.

But what about when you are not in control? What about when what you can offer to God is the pieces of something you broke, racing thoughts and eyes dilating as you turn towards the light from the darkness?

I don’t have an answer. But I do have a little story from the Bible that makes me feel better, so I try to remember it when I start feeling really down:

A bleeding woman traveled out of her way to see and hopefully meet Jesus. By law, she was not allowed to touch anyone, as she was unclean. How unworthy, alone, embarrassed she must have felt… but she thought if she took a risk and touched the hem of his robe, not only would Jesus heal her, but surely he wouldn’t even notice pitiful little her.

But he did notice. And he reached out to her.

The bleeding woman suffered for 12 years – a chronic illness, something the Big Scary will be for me. The story gives me hope – that if I just tug on the hem of someone’s robe, they will reach out to me and help me.

I’m not going to pretend like I am well versed in the Bible or like I have it even remotely figured out – just last week I felt like I was never going to hear from God and that I was going to be left in silence, and I made sure other people knew that.

But, like The Big Scary, faith takes time to build and I am not ready to give up just yet.

I am, however, ready to scale back on things, just for now. I am sleeping a lot and trying to pace myself when it comes to activities – part of the reason I haven’t been writing as much. I have also been taking more tub soaks in an effort to relax and keep the nerves at bay. Dad has been putting up some of my light fixtures I got for Christmas, but otherwise house beautification has taken a breather too.

My trip to the ER a week ago took a lot of out me. I’ve felt very slow and foggy since then, but we are keeping tabs on it. However, since then, two Good Samaritans have appeared to help me. One after said scary ER trip and the other just last night when my car had a problem. We’ll talk more about that in a later post, though.

I don’t know if this post made any sense at all, because lately I feel like I’ve been all over the place. But that’s my life right now – tugging on robe hems and trying to master my feelings.

Prizefighting

I’m having a hard time letting go of 2016.

There, I said it.

Look. I was really gung-ho about leaving 2016 in the dust – defeated, even, with me as the heavyweight champ.

But the clock changed and I was still me and didn’t feel any different.

I know, I know. I can’t wait around for things to change for me. I have to change them.

I guess it’s just weird to see the literal worst year of my entire life come to a close. In a few more days, I will be exactly one calendar year away from when my whole journey to mental wellness began.

Maybe that’s what scares me: I’m no longer new at this. This isn’t strange and foreign and unfun for now. This is my life. I have to leave reminders and use tricks to remember to take my medication every day. I go to counseling every other week, or every month, or every week, depending on how up or down I’m feeling. I have to get needles stuck in my arms for blood panels every three months. Money I could be using to self-medicate by shopping instead goes to doctors visits.

It’s hard to let go of 2016 because I clung so hard to being alive that year. I desperately tried to keep swimming in the tsunami that was 2016. I almost gave up, but I didn’t. I did a lot of worthwhile stuff – I joined multiple groups at church to try and make some sense out of this whole Jesus guy, I bought a house, I even made decisions (if you know me… you know this is practically a miracle.)

And yet I still don’t feel like the 2016 heavyweight champ.

Because of that feeling, it’s hard to look at 2017 from behind the boxing gloves. But also because of that, I have selected my word of the year.

If you’re unfamiliar with words of the year, essentially you set the tone for your year by selecting a word that encompasses what you want to accomplish.

Unload.

In boxing, to unload is to deliver a forceful punch. In my life, I need to unload a lot of things: a lot of physical objects that I have been harboring to self-soothe; a lot of feelings, like anger, embarrassment, upset; the food in my fridge that doesn’t always get to my belly. I could also spend some time away from technology – maybe instead of downloading I can unload.

All that said, 2017 isn’t my friend yet. I am prepared to unload… like in boxing.

It’s that time o’ year: New Years Resolutions

1. Minimize

The move this year made me realize just how much stuff I had that I didn’t need or wasn’t using. Wouldn’t it be great to put those barely used things in the hands of someone who wants and needs them? I’m trying to look at my minimizing as giving gifts to strangers. 
2. Learn more about the technical side of my job

I’ve been talent for so long I’ve not had to worry too much about the technical side of my job. I know how to use a different system at my volunteer gig, so if I can learn that I’m sure I can learn this, right?

3. Develop and follow a creative marketing plan for the blog 

I really enjoy this blog. I enjoy writing, sharing it with people, and taking cute Instagram photos. Sometimes I plan posts, others just come at me. I’d like to make a strategic plan – including advertising materials – to streamline my love for writing and my need to share my stories. Plus, this means getting myself in a good content creating cycle too. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, including a fun photo shoot I’d like to do to kind of make the blog more mine. 

4. Get back in to the French language

Look, I used to love love love the French language and pretty much all things French. We aren’t French – I went to France once as a teen but was obsessed with it even before then. French women have sort of a fire around them that I have connected with and I’d like to get back to it. I’ve even already started and bought one of my old French textbooks from middle school on eBay. If the fire doesn’t get me, I know the nostalgia will. 

5. Go full on Glamazon 

One thing I love about the French is their views on skin care. They are very in to taking care of their skin (despite the popularity of smoking) and lately, mine has been looking less than stellar. Maybe it’s the stress, maybe it’s gravity, but this year I’ve decided I’m going to find the right skin care regime and I’m going to stop using cheap, crappy make up. And… I’m even going to stop picking at the little blemishes that pop. Y’all pray for me on that one. 

6. Sing more

Last but not least… this one is kind of weird. I used to be a singer and while realistically I doubt just how ok I was, adults, classmates that I thought didn’t like me and occassionally random strangers would encourage my dreams of ultimate stardom. I stopped singing early on in my college career and I just miss it. I loved doing it. So I’m gonna do it. Goal: be able to sing at least once in public again, even if it’s just karaoke. 

Last year I did pretty well keeping up with my resolutions. Do you have any planned for the year? Share em in the comments!

Happy New Year!

Quitterdom

I used to put a lot of stock into the fact that I wasn’t a quitter. 

I would bust my ass to do things with people, for people, to make things work, to help other people make things work. I tried so hard to keep my word. 

2016 was the year of Quitterdom for me. It started when I had finally had enough. 


I quit a toxic relationship, which was the start of an avalanche.  

Then, I quit running from my problems – this eventually led me both to a relationship with Christ and also serious, much needed, very important help for my mental illness. Which, by the way, was just as big and scary as I imagined, if not worse. Now that I’m stable, I’m embarrassed I ran for so long. 

When I quit running from my problems, I quit doing things that didn’t bring me any joy. I said goodbye to some acitivities, relationships and general time-leeches and felt good about it. 

I began to quit running from myself. Then, I quit hiding the real me. 

And guess what? The people who really loved me loved me more. 

Myself included. 

I quit doing things that sucked the life out of me. Sometimes, I took the signs when it was really, truly, quitting time. In this process, I quit doubting my intuition. 

I also quit pussyfooting around when someone said something I disagreed with – sure, I weighed my options – but I quit smiling and agreeing with idiots to avoid conflict. Specifically, I quit keeping my mouth shut when men would insult me to my face. That’s a whole ‘nother post though. 

I quit drinking, for the most part, too, because it didn’t really do anything and just made the problems worse. I’ll occasionally enjoy an adult beverage but I am grateful that I quit it soon enough before the crutch became a serious problem. 

So I guess all of this makes me a quitter. 

I think I’m ok with that. 

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone! 

Thanks for stopping by today. I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas! I’m spending the day with my awesome family and all of our furry creatures. 

We’ve even put the cat in an elf costume already. We haven’t even cracked the egg nog…


Have a great Christmas and happy Hannakuh too! 

Special snowflakes

I was sitting in church yesterday and while waiting for the service to start, managed to have a conversation with the man next to me.

“Can you believe it’s Christmas time already?” he asked.

I couldn’t. Wasn’t it just yesterday my whole life came crashing down around me and I start rebuilding from the bottom? That was in June. Now it’s December.

We talked about the winter, and the cold, and then we talked about snow. I told him I loved snow. “Well where did you grow up? I always ask that because it’s a different kind of snow.”

The man turned out to be from Ohio, and I told him I was also from the midwest. We went on about how we can appreciate the maximum of two inches of snow, the pretty kind that doesn’t leave massive piles of grey, salt and dirt by the roadways.

I didn’t live in the midwest long enough to hate the snow. I got out while I was still young enough to look at it with wonder and play in it with a glee so overwhelming your insides could burst.

We used to make snow forts and angels and roll around until we were numb, then come inside and do it all over again tomorrow.

As an adult and now, as a southerner, a part of me comes truly alive when I see snowflakes. The child inside me wakes up with a start and runs to the window in my chest. She peers out through my eyes and shouts.

Snow!

The snow makes me feel very real, very alive, and very present. In the South, it will melt when it hits the ground. You must appreciate it now, for what it is and for the short time it will be here.

You can say the same with people. People really are special snowflakes – no one is quite just like their mother and everyone can be understood better when examined under a microscope. Everyone is falling at their own pace.

And, like snowflakes, you must appreciate them now, for who they are, and for the short time they will be here.

 

We’ll always have Paris

Picture it. It is 2005.

I am 14 years old, an American in Paris for the first time. I am wearing an obnoxious “Paris!” sweatshirt we bought at a vendor’s cart earlier that day, Converse low tops, and my dirty blonde hair is pulled back into a clip (it was 2005, I was lazy and that was a fashionable thing.)

We stayed at a small, very French hotel on I think the sixth floor. I remember the red carpet and tiny staircases, as well as the maids who would set a little scene with my stuffed animal each day for me to find after a day of touring.

Mother and I had both been studying French. She was better at it than I was, but I managed my hand alright while we were overseas. I actually understood what people were saying and I could read signs and recognized locations I had merely seen in textbooks and magazines.

One night we decided to get food from some local shops near the hotel. My mother went into a grocery store. I wandered into la pâtisserie and a thing of beauty caught my eye.

Une enveloppe.

I hd never seen such a perfect little cake in my life. It was dark, dark chocolate with a little raspberry on top. I realized immediately that “envelope” meant there was more chocolate in the cake. I went up to the counter and I ordered it, in distinguishable French, without missing a beat.

The cake was so rich I had to eat the other half the next day for breakfast.


It’s Fri-YAY here in my new house, and I celebrated making my first mortgage payment (and also tamed some road rage) with a sweet little cake. We Americans call it a “lava cake” but to me, it will always be une enveloppe – and the sweet taste independence, ordering a little cake, in a foreign land, like a local would.