slow

This time of the year we are always confronted with people so stressed out and angry about the acquisition and consumption of material possessions that they seem to lose sight of what really matters. “It’s the holiday season” people say. I wasn’t aware that greed and animosity was a holiday. Wasn’t aware that you had to stress yourself out so bad to avoid judgment of petty assholes who equate care and love with material crap. If these people are in your life, that’s their problem, not yours.

This morning while driving to work, I was increasingly aware of the stressful experience that is commuting during December. People honking at you for merging lanes in a merging area, or honking to turn right and pedestrians be damned. Like, yes sir, your need to get Somewhere Important supersedes the need for the disabled elderly man crossing the street. Sure.

Stop hurrying. Stop beating yourself up for not doing enough. You’re doing just fine. Tell the people in your life that you love them or that you care about them. Thank them for something mundane. If you’re into gift giving, then give them something small and meaningful. It isn’t about the money, it’s about the time you want to spend with them, the short time we have on this amazing planet.

Life is too short to forget what’s really important.

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Grounded

Blogging from the back of an Uber. That’s painfully 2018.

The state of things is scary right now. Every time I wait for the news to load, the dread rises: am I going to see one more horrible story? More death, more sadness, more hate? With every passing day and every passing headline, I try to simply remind myself how lucky I am despite circumstances that leave me feeling overwhelmed.

“I am grateful for…” has become my mantra to keep afloat amidst the insanity and thoughtless hate and violence. I feel guilty for being lucky, for being safe. For the privilege of my existence.

How to keep grounded and keep my faith in humanity and the universe and the unknown when there is so much groundlessness outside my front door?

Grounded

Blogging from the back of an Uber. That’s painfully 2018.

The state of things is scary right now. Every time I wait for the news to load, the dread rises- am I going to see one more horrible story? More death, more sadness, more hate? With every passing day and every passing headline, I try to simply remind myself how lucky I am despite circumstances that leave me feeling overwhelmed.

“I am grateful for…” has become my mantra to keep afloat amidst the insanity and thoughtless hate and violence. I feel guilty for being lucky, for being safe. For the privilege of my existence.

How to keep grounded and keep my faith in humanity and the universe and the unknown when there is so much groundlessness outside my front door?

choice

It’s nothing dramatic. I just don’t know how to be vulnerable. Someone told me it wasn’t a matter of choice, but something that just is. Or something like that.  I worried even that sharing that I didn’t know how would push everyone away.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. It isn’t a choice, it simply exists as a state of being. You think your armor is keeping you from being vulnerable. You convince yourself that you can’t let anyone in. The illusion is that your armor isn’t keeping others away, it’s a cage keeping you in. Pushing everyone away. And I don’t want to push everyone away. My guard that has been up for so long is starting to come down and it scares me.

To people who have known me many years, you might see how this is a big deal. Trying hard to make sense of everything and recognize that control is an illusion. I mean, I know it, but the reality is always harder to swallow. To those people who have listened to me late at night when I’ve been at my best and my worst, I thank you. My communication style can be a bit of whiplash, I can imagine.

The broken record of my anxious late night thoughts, telling me I’m never enough. Well, fuck that. I am enough. I am more than enough. I am whole.

How do I become un-apologetically myself when the fear is there below the surface telling me everyone’s going to throw me away like they used to? I guess I just have to have faith in myself, in the universe, and in the good of others.

It helps my being to be helpful and present for others. If you are reading this, I appreciate you in my life. Everyone needs a bit of gratitude amidst the utter shit happening around us daily.

Gratitude for the people who are willing to call me on my bullshit, and laugh with me (and sometimes at me). I don’t say it nearly enough, but here is my big giant cheesy thank you.

xx

choking

Choking on these words I want to say and don’t know how. Standing still, frozen in place by my inability to express my feelings. Why do I feel so small and powerless? Chained in place by these words that want to come out and every time I’ve let them out in the past, they’ve brought me nothing but pain. Instead, I retreat. I don’t know how to be different. I’ve never been given the opportunity to give these words without immense pain. How do I move forward, how do I stop from shutting down when I am so afraid of being shut out?

Simply admitting this, admitting these words, feels like unnecessary melodrama. Too much. Not enough. Never comfortable. Time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And the words? So simple, so here the are before I remember to retreat again: I am enough. 

whole

Anxiety is a beast with many heads. Depression, self-doubt, racing heart and that awful tight cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me feel like everything is wrong. My insecurities about everything become the dominant voice in my head and even though I’m aware of it, I can’t just let it go.

I am whole. I am enough. But sometimes the anxiety rears its awful medusa-like head and I become this needy, scared person. At this point, it’s simply incredibly frustrating to be so aware and yet not be able to flip the switch and make it go away. I am not my anxiety.

Afraid of communicating badly, I end up overthinking and making even less sense. The overcompensation that happens from when I’m in a period of terrible anxiety is almost laughable.

Mental health is weird thing. Everyone takes care of their problems so differently. I tend to reach outward and seek comfort in others in an attempt to get out of my head. I know that if I retreat inward, I’m not yet strong enough to not drown in my own murky insecurities.

I am whole. I am enough.

Undone

Let my hair down. Let my shell dissolve as if I am being pulled apart seams you cannot see to see everything I never let anyone see.

And allow truths and scars long hidden to surface.

Feels like falling apart. Uncharacteristically open and raw. It’s beautiful and frightening.

Undone.

value

If I were to define myself solely based on the value I’ve made in someone else’s life, how do I decide what my own value is to myself? Were I to define my value in that way, would it be based on friends gained, friends lost? The number of people we accumulate over the years is constantly in flux. Friends and family come and go. Would it be fair to make a judgment on how valuable I am based on not the number of friends I have, but the friends kept over a duration of ten years? Fifteen years? Twenty?

At 31, the number of close friends I have remains similar to that which I’ve always had. There are a few friends that have managed to stick around me for an extremely long time, for which I am grateful and amazed. I wonder how they can put up with my antics, and if I have supported them in the ways they’ve needed. Obviously we cannot judge ourselves solely based on the value we have to others, but it’s a good marker if you have good people around you for long periods of time. People who are willing to be  honest with you, willing to hear your honesty, and understand that the ebb and flow of life changes us all.

The people I surrounded myself with at 16 when I was extremely unhappy are no longer in my life. I wish them well, but wouldn’t want to revisit those toxic relationships. That did not add value to my existence. It had me questioning whether or not I should even be alive.

So what is our value? How do we judge ourselves? By the number of friends we have or the lovers we’ve taken? The jobs and promotions? Everyone will decide on their own how they measure success and value.

light

Trigger warning: this post deals with depression and suicide. If you are sensitive to such topics, please read at your own risk.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Depression shows no mercy and makes no distinctions in who it takes prisoner. It doesn’t care if you are a housewife, a student, or a beloved television host. For those of us who manage to escape the its dark cloak enough to see the light, we are the lucky ones.

As someone who suffered from chronic depression for years, I can attest to the intensity of the feelings of confusion, hurt, anger, and fear. The apathy. And while I was terrible at hiding it, many are not. Depression doesn’t have one face, one feeling. It encompasses such a spectrum of feelings that you can’t categorize it so easily as the trope would have you believe.

My depression is etched into my skin in pale thin scars that nobody else seems to see. My depression is etched into years of my life that I tried to escape from. Depression didn’t care who I was and suffered no fools. It doesn’t care who you are or who loves you. You are the only person who can pull out of it… and some folks cannot.

What makes me the saddest is trying to grasp how acutely someone must feel pain, the depths of their pain, if they actually take their own life. It causes something inside me to break. Thinking of the hole they leave behind, the life and the possibilities that will never have a chance to be. It’s like the weeping angels from Doctor Who which snap people out of their timeline and send them some place/ some time else, to feed off of their potential energy.

That light is now gone out.

The stigma around mental health especially in the US is completely absurd and devastating. Suicide rates have gone up something like 30% in the last 20 years. We can be the change. So let’s be a little more empathetic. Hell, let’s be a LOT more empathetic. Let’s love harder and listen more. Ask someone how they’re doing. Don’t diminish someone’s worry. When they tell you how they are, really LISTEN. Be present.

Let’s help more lights stay on.