Dream on, Kid

Fantasies of being someone else

is not really about the belief

the hope

that it is possible

this truth now fails to evade me

and I have made a sensible amount of peace with it

You see,

it actually boils down to that hour

that minute

those few seconds where I escape the madness of being myself

therein lies the cause of craving

In Which the Wave Ends

I knew the wave of mania would end at some point. It stuck around for a good while, which was fortunate. But I’ve been expecting it for days, and the end finally arrived today, riding in with a cloud of rain as opposed to the cloud of fire that accompanied Moses and the Israelites. During these times I tend to have a lot to say and absolutely no words to say them with.  It’s when you’re restless, but you’re struggling with idleness. Your hands search for anything and everything as a means of occupation. You clean the bathroom. You sweep the hall, the kitchen, the laundry-room. You wash the dishes three times. Four times. You wipe the stove top and the counter down. You open the window, close the window, open the window again.  You pick at the strings on your guitar, but your fingers and your mind are too disconnected at the moment. It’s not music. It’s noise. And you finally force yourself to sit down and accept that you don’t really know what to do anymore.  You’re itching for some sign of life. A roll of thunder. A burst of laughter. Something. Anything. But the weight of silence, which first came crashing down, seeps into your skin and you slowly accept that there’s nothing. Nothing but the sound of the fan whirring on medium and your shallow breathing to fill the void. It’s these times that I take a deep breath and tell myself, “all you’ve got to do is survive. Just keep surviving. It doesn’t matter if you don’t do anything productive at all. Eat cookies, drink water, watch television, read, don’t read, daydream, toss, turn, settle down or don’t.  Just don’t give in.”

In Which I’m Learning to Continue

I tell you one thing about depression/anxiety: they truly do make you feel like you have missed out on a chunk of your life.  There will be moments in which you question if some memory of your is accurate or being altered by mental illness stained glasses.  There will also be times where you try to recall who you were before they developed or if the personality traits you have now are actually yours.  In the end you sort of get this feeling that you have to start all over again. Like, “Nope. Scratch that. *balls up life in a wad* Time for a new start.”  Then when you realize that this is COMPLETELY impossible you feel stuck and disappointed.  There’s also the burden of shame that comes along with it because some of the things you said/did during your lowest moments are things you want to erase.  I remember when I was a little kid, probably 7 or 8, I borrowed a stuffed reindeer from my friend. That’s right. I used to borrow stuffed animals from people. AIN’T NO SHAME IN MY HUSTLE!!! But my friend actually brought it with her to school one day and I liked it so much that I asked if I could take it home with me.  She consented to the slumber party and parted ways with her reindeer for the night.  Well I promise I have absolutely no idea how it happened (swuuuuurrrr I do not) but some time between getting home from school and going to bible study one of the antlers came clean off. I mean I have no idea what ever happened to it. The whole antler disappeared. I felt so guilty about breaking her precious toy that at night when I went to bed and said my prayers I secretly prayed for the day to start all over.  The prayer went a bit like this: “Dear Jesus. Please send me back in time. When I wake up in the morning let it be today again. Amen.”  I was sure that I was going to wake up and start that day completely over.  You couldn’t tell me that it was going to be a new day…until the next morning when it was in fact a new day.  It was then I learned that it’s not possible to go back and start over all of the time. It’s possible to go back and right a wrong sometimes.  It’s possible to pack up your bags and just leave everything. But it’s still impossible to completely start over. At the end of the day you’ll still be you and what has happened will still have happened.

In society we like the idea of new. Feeling brand new, buying brand new, being brand new.  We don’t really feel comfortable with continuing past/through the present. Especially when the situation is uncomfortable or upsetting. But much of life is uncomfortable and upsetting. The first day of daycare/kindergarten.  Taking the exam for your license.  Moving into your own home. Breaking up with someone.  Losing a friend.  Losing a loved one. Starting a new job.  It’s inevitable that things will occur that we have to endure instead of enjoy.  And in the process of living you’re going to make a mistake, so you’ve got that to deal with on top of everything.  It can be an overwhelming feeling that just makes you want a re-do button or an emergency exit. In fact you can feel pressured into believing that you have to restart in order to make it. I’m learning now that it’s really okay to just continue.  Even if you’ve made the mistake or a couple. Just keep going (don’t keep making the mistake but don’t quit either).  We’re also put in a position of having to meet certain goals by certain times (like getting married by a certain age or completing school by a certain age) and if you don’t reach that goal in that time frame people will express to you that you should just quit. Find something new.  You truly have to know what’s right for you. If that goal is still your goal then continue.  Hell, if you reach the goal you still have to continue on to the next goal. Life isn’t stationary nor is it reversible.  You can stop. You can try to turn around, but your days are still going to tick on regardless of your own direction.

I always get mixed up somewhere in these posts and I’m pretty sure I did in that second paragraph. So I’ll give an example from something recent to help tie my loose ends.  I decided to enter a lyric competition just to get my feet wet. I’m not saying that I’m….I don’t know any super songwriters that you guys may also like but I’m going to say Lianne La Havas because the woman is a queen with impeccable writing abilities. But I figured it would be worth a try to shake things up, I guess.  Well I already prepared myself to not win because for one I’m an amateur writer who needs to improve upon my skills. Regardless of my lowered expectations I was still disappointed that I didn’t win (like how you Saints fans feel. Y’all should just accept that the Saints haven’t gotten it together since that superbowl win…..).  You may be like “Amber this example is terrible. What’s the point if you didn’t have expectations?” Oddly enough, I expected not to win so I already asked myself what I planned to do if I didn’t. I wondered would I just give up? Say writing isn’t for me? Take the loss and cry about it then decide on another path?  Then I remembered how I got started writing lyrics. The summer that I dropped out of college I was lost in the sauce. I was struggling with the idea of having a future and a purpose.  Earlier that year I had stumbled across the video for “Ghost of You” by MCR (and if you haven’t seen it you should because I cried real tears after watching it. REAL TEARS).  After falling in love with the song and video I started to listen to their other music. Then I would read their interviews and magazine articles because they are hilarious. And I ended up reading the story behind the song “The Jetset Life is Gonna Kill You” which I won’t fully detail but the song is based off of Gerard Way’s drug addiction. After I read that I could not listen to that song. I just could not do it. Only after 4 years could I listen to it without dying. Weird, I know. But his whole story about his struggle with depression and drugs and how he was a complete mess when they first started the band almost killed me.  In fact in one of their movies where they revealed a little of their tour life Gerard collapsed under the influence of drugs and had to be helped up by a band mate. When he got up he said in this slurred drug/alcohol induced voice, “I’m going to be alright.” And you know I cried like Prince said doves do. Because he survived and he began to use his platform to address his past and help others who had similar struggles. It was then that I decided I wanted to write songs. I’m not a musical protegee. I was in band and took piano, but I’m not…Beethoven or anyone. I still play piano at an intermediate level after SEVEN YEARS! But I want to write because I want to share a message with people.  Not one of judgement or hatred or even pity. But I wanted to be like, “It’s okay to feel this way. You’re not alone. You’re not broken,” because at that time I felt alone and broken. And here’s this alternative rock dude in a group of dudes who almost all did drugs (I think Ray was the only one who didn’t) whose telling kids to live on. So I didn’t win the competition, but I know what I want. And therefore I will continue.

I used to have the quitter syndrome. When things got tough or didn’t go my way then I would just quit. Throw in the towel. Throw in two towels. Throw out the towels with the bath water and the baby. Then these past few weeks I started to watch Steven Furtick online because I work every Sunday so I don’t get to go to church. My attitude had gotten extremely rotten especially after it was revealed to me that two coworkers were speaking poorly about me when I wasn’t around.  It was to the point where I was using verbal profanity which as you know is not my thing.  Then it clicked in my head that getting mad was not helping. I wanted to quit that job but what then? So I decided to turn back to Jesus. I backslid on backsliding. Jesus had to be a fence. He had to be the whole darned house with the way I was feeling.  And one of the sermons Pastor Furtick taught was about chasing your purpose. Then another one was about Jonah and the whale. And the two meshed together for me because the sermon about Jonah taught that God’s provision is not always our preference.  And the one about purpose taught that purpose is not stationary; we have to chase it.  So now I’m thinking that there’s a time for everything. It may not be my time, but my purpose is still the same. This may not be exactly what I want right now because I would prefer to have a stable career, a Jeep Wrangler, my own house, etc but my needs are met. My bills are never past due.  My family helps look out for me even though I don’t deserve it and didn’t earn it. And it’s okay. I see some of my peers doing really well in school or on their jobs and I start to feel bad that that’s not me. Like they need to have a recall on Amber’s because I’m not functioning properly, but I have to remind myself that we all move at our own pace. I’m probably moving slower because I’ve accumulated some baggage on the way, but I’m learning to drop a piece of luggage here and there to lighten my load. It is legitimately okay.  Another point Pastor Furtick made was that we can’t tell our stories too soon because if we tell them too early we’ll only be able to tell of the pain, but not the purpose/provision. And I realize I have been trying to tell my story completely too early.  When it’s storming all you can see is the rain and wind. All you can speak on is the storm so it starts to feel like there will never be any sunshine. But if you wait until after the storm, when the sun is out, you can speak on the rain, the wind, the sun, everything. That’s why I say it’s okay to continue.  You can be Gerard speaking about addiction after he overcame it. You can be like Maya Angelou or Viola Davis. Like Oprah. If you feel like you can’t start over, it’s all good. If you feel like some screw up and you’ve messed up opportunities you’ve had you don’t have to have a redo. Continue.  Because there really is someone out there like you who could use you to share your story. To inspire them. To remind them that they can make it. Just keep going.

PS: I never did tell my friend about that reindeer. I guess she forgot about it or she just let me have it. In fact, it’s at my house right now…..With one antler……And I still haven’t forgiven My Chemical Romance for making us believe they were getting back together.  Fallout Boy did it. Why can’t y’all!?!?!

Stories Pt. 4

I’ve been peeking into Donald Miller just a tad bit, but I admit that I am guilty of reading another book at the moment.  I’m easily distracted; what can I say? But I’m going to push through my muddled commitments and do a post on stories because I have to dedicate myself to something.  I can’t always quit half way through my plans, ya know.

My last post about stories (or the post before that…who knows) delved into the inclusion of other characters to make for a better story.  But I got thinking about what happens when there is the loss of a major character in your story?  I think about books like “The Book Thief” and “Harry Potter” or even anime (since they specialize in killing people off) such as Naruto and Hunter X Hunter. These all involve a plot line that eventually involves the death of a character to further the storyline.  Unless we’re talking about Naruto in which every single person dies. Not really; that’s a reach, but if you watch the show you know my pain. I haven’t forgiven them for Jiraya yet. Naruto already lost his parents, guys. How could they kill off his mentor like that? HOOOWWWW!?!? Anyway. I specifically mean stories that are going good and then bam, the antagonist dies.  I even consider people who are living pretty terrible stories in which they are fairly villainous and yet continue to live on with no qualms.  It’s entirely intriguing how things pan out in life and almost how unfair life often is.

Back when I moved to Jackson in the eighth grade I started out being very lonely because in those grades, people tend to already have cliqued up.  Since I was the newbie I had to find my place among preformed groups.  One particular group I was invited into involved a guy named Brian who was very laid back, but whenever he spoke it was usually comedy gold.  I ended up taking art class with Brian junior year of high school and our friendship grew because we saw each other more often.  We started a group in the class called LME which stood for the Lame Crew because all of us were corny. It was corny within itself.  I am a thousand percent sure it was my idea because only I could come up with something so idiotic.  But everyone gained a nickname in the group and Brian’s was Rev because he was very much like a pastor in his quiet demeanor, but his vast humor.  Brian also had this bad habit of telling you things about yourself that you needed to hear, but really didn’t want to hear. “Amber, did you know you have cankles?  Your legs are jiggly. Your boobs are sagging.”  And let me tell you, I appreciate him on the boob thing because I was a size C wearing bras with no underwire and that was like wearing no bra at all.  Thanks a lot, Ma. You really didn’t care about me, did you!?!?  But Brian was a gentleman. He always walked my friend Rocky (she had that nickname before the group was formed) and me to class. He would wait for us even if that meant that he might be late for his next class. He made sure no one said anything disrespectful about us or put their hands on us in any intrusive way. If someone tried to grab our legs or some other body part he would step in and say, “Aye, don’t touch them like that. You don’t know her like that.”  After we graduated I went to Mississippi College which wasn’t too far from Jackson, but Brian ended up going to a school miles away though still in the state.  Since we were no longer seeing each other daily we didn’t talk as often.  When I say we didn’t talk as often I meant we didn’t talk at all.  I was caught up in surviving Western Civilization and hanging with new friends I had met in my dorm.  I honestly didn’t think about Brian at all except when he popped up on my Facebook timeline or my twitter feed.  Less than half way through the year I got a message from him asking me how everything was going.  I told him it was all fine other than suffering through Chapel and New Testament (the most boring class I have ever taken to date). I’m used to Brian being a listening ear so I’m droning on about school and how I don’t really like it. I’m sorry, but I talk about things I know best and I know nothing better than myself.  It’s a terrible habit. After my long drawn out complaint, I hit him with the usual “How about you?” You know. You can’t talk about yourself all the time (note to self).  He then told me that his cancer had returned and that not too long after he had moved into his dorm he had to be hospitalized.  I was never aware that he had any form of cancer so I was at a complete loss to hear that he was even further away in St. Jude Hospital.  He of course tried to stay positive by saying that they he had been doing alright and that he had gotten to meet the Memphis Grizzlies. You know when you’re young, you don’t think that people your age die, especially from cancer.  A classmate had passed junior year after a car accident and it was terrible going to school the next day. His closest friends were in the halls screaming because his desk was empty in art class that day.  The grief counselors could only do so much.  But you think of that as a once in a lifetime incident.  Like no one else is going to die until we’re old and crusty.  So as Brian spoke to me about how things were going good, I took him at his word.  In my mind he’s going to do  his treatments and be out of the hospital in a month or two.

Around January we text again and I ask how he’s doing. He tells me he’s still in the hospital, but that everything is fairly okay.  I then ask how he’s doing emotionally and mentally because I know he was excited to start college and that he had to be disappointed because he was spending his freshman year laying in a hospital bed.  “It’s hard. I can’t walk on my own anymore.  I got to go home for Christmas, but I had to come right back.  I’m always tired.  It’s just hard.” (please note it may have been Thanksgiving when he got to go home. I won’t lie and say that I remember which holiday.)  And what do you say to that? No one wants to hear any cliche statements about “it’ll all get better” from someone who still has full functionality in their limbs.  I flat out told him I didn’t have the words to say and that I didn’t know what to say.  He accepted my admission with a deeply understanding kindness.  That’s the last I remember speaking to him. Sometimes in the next couple of weeks I kept thinking to text him, but I got caught up in my self and I never did.  I won’t deny my thoughtlessness in the situation. I should have just picked up the phone and sent a simple text, but I didn’t.  Not long after that I saw a post on FB stating that he had died due to the cancer.  And all I could think about was him laying in a hospital bed, unable to walk, and tired. Until he took his last breath. And that’s just as messed up as it can get.

I find it funny that I’m still kicking around God’s green Earth when I can barely get myself to not sleep the day away, but people like Brian who had real goals and had a real impact on people have their stories end abruptly. Sometimes I start plotting on ways to end my story and yet I wake up another day unlike many around me. The classmate, Chris, who died in the car accident was the same way.  He was a star athlete at the school, his mother’s only child, and an extremely cool person.  He had the status of popularity in school, but he was humble beyond comparison.  He always made our class laugh or smile.  I remember the day after his death I had to go to art class, which was the class I took with him.  I already dreaded what that would be like because the school was already deathly quiet that day and I imagined that class would be worse.  When I say we all were crying, we were all crying. Those of us who weren’t crying were damn close to crying.  Finally after the grief counselors calmed some of the students down and we all sat muddling in our individual grief for about thirty minutes another classmate who had been close to Chris finally said, “Why we crying? Chris would roast us for this. He wouldn’t want us to be in here crying, man.” To which we all laughed because it was true. Chris was king of roasting people about their outfits or something they said so we knew that he wouldn’t want us to spend our whole day in a cloud of sadness. It helped to lift our spirits even though we could all see the empty desk that belonged to him, and we all knew that he would never get a chance to sit in it again.  Stories don’t always end like they’re supposed to.  I wish I could explain why and how, but I can’t.  When his mom got up to speak to the school I wish I could tell her why her son was the only one in the car to die. I bet his best friend, who happened to be the one driving, could explain what happened.  I bet he wished that he knew why his friend was thrown out of the window of the car he was driving. How he was at the wheel, but it wasn’t him who lay in the street dying while a nurse tried to get him to hold on. Yea, it ended up coming down to the message “Don’t speed. Don’t skip school. Wear your seat belt.” But plenty of people speed. I’ve skipped school before. My stepsister to this day STILL doesn’t wear a seat belt. So the question of why still exists.  You know they always say the good die young. I’m not sure how much I support that statement, but I do feel like a lot of good stories end entirely too soon.

I go back and forth with myself about my own life story and about furthering the plot, developing my character, and getting past the conflict.  I have a hard time doing any of that. I mean ANY of it.  You’ve read my whine posts on here. I’m constantly alternating between optimism and depression. But I also think about people who had good stories and didn’t get to finish them and how that’s bullshit on my part because I choose not to live a good story when they didn’t get a chance too.  Now, I do acknowledge that I can’t control how another person’s story ends so if it ends abruptly I literally can’t do anything about that. But I can do something about my own story. And even with those people being characters in my own story I know how much impact they had. They helped push my story along in great ways, so I kind of want to honor them by making sure it doesn’t go to shit in a shoot.  It also makes me wonder about what kind of character I am in other peoples’ stories.  Will they say, “Amber was an asshat” or “I used to cheat off Amber in class” (which is probably true because I’ve been told blatantly that I’ve been cheated off of….like…why….)?  My current job is working in laundry at a hotel. It’s not glamorous and I didn’t even really want the job, but it’s a long story how that all went down.  For a while our housekeepers were short staffed beyond belief and they would get stuck doing 20 rooms each some days.  After I learned how to make beds I went around and helped make up beds in between loads of laundry or at the end of the day.  I still try to help even though they’ve hired some additional help.  Yesterday one of the housekeepers had to leave early for training at her new job.  To make matters worse one of her rooms checked out a day early so she had an additional room to do.  I asked her did she need me to help, and even though she told me she thought she could handle it I went ahead and made up her beds in that room.  She told me she wanted to put my name down for employee of the month for helping her, but I could much less give a fuck about employee of the month.  I want people to say, “Amber really helped me when I needed it,” whenever I do get a new job and leave. To be honest, they don’t even have to acknowledge that I’ve helped at all. As much as they can talk about my hair or my glasses or my annoying laugh they can’t say I didn’t help without it being untrue. One of my coworkers told me that another worker talked about how slow I move when I’m picking up laundry on the floor. And I could give air to a fish for how much I cared. Because for what someone says negative about me, I ensure they can say something positive. I’m not really doing much, but I’m trying to do something because I hate not to leave a footprint. And I’d really hate to be an useless character in someone’s story.  See guys, I’m not as anal and asshattish as I sound on here.

As I end this, my cousin texted me and told me that he was watching an anime and how it didn’t look like it would have a happy ending. And let me just say Anime is the devil, Naruto is trash, and I am sick of being treated this way!  Also that in reference to my last post about being broken I’m doing better, but I’m still sleeping too much and not eating right now.  I’ve learned to just take a hot shower whenever I think about self harm and I’m supposed to be going to get a tattoo on Friday to help divert my attention from it. So bear with me. I’m trying not to get on here and go into a full blown depressive rant, but we know how that goes.

 

Broken Vessels

Contradictory to what it looks like, I have been reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” I’m doing another post unrelated to stories because I feel like whining tonight. I kid, I kid. I’ve just had a couple of things on my mind and I wanted to explore these thoughts a bit more.

When I think about the way I respond to imagined or real discomfort I feel ashamed. I won’t get too into the details because that would be repetitive, but I will say that most of my methods are unhealthy.  Then I began to consider how some of my peers deal with their issues and how their methods can also be unhealthy. So now I’m thinking, “what the deuce is wrong with us?!?” I used to be quite judgmental towards drug addicts, sexual deviants (what I mean are people who engage in culturally sexually deviant behavior. Like having multiple sexual partners is socially seen as deviant behavior. Or someone who engages in unprotected sex), and the like. I was always thinking what was the deal with those folks. How could you ever do drugs? How could you sleep with so many people? I don’t get it.  How could you even  consider killing yourself? That’s cowardly.  To me those things were so foreign that I thought whoever engaged in related behavior was flat out crazy.  My friends and I would talk about those kind of people.  They would be the butt of our jokes and even the thought of being grouped into those categories was an insult.  I admit that I was a little douchebag in my younger years (whose to say I’m not now….).  After my depression/GAD started to develop I began to engage in self-destructive behavior.  I stopped eating and lost over twenty pounds in the process. I might snack just to rid of the urge to vomit that came with prolonged hunger, but the act of eating seemed like a weak humanly need.  Almost animalistic.  I scratched myself. Wrote insults on hidden body spaces where they couldn’t be seen.  I stopped speaking to friends/family without explanation. I slept like sleep was going out of style.  I would spend some of my summers days in bed until three in the afternoon.   And when I look at these habits that I still sometimes indulge in I’m just like, “Amber, you boob….this is ridiculous. Grow up!” It seemed like I should know what I was doing wasn’t right and that I should just stop. But I was struggling to stop and this was inexcusable.  I studied Sociology for a semester and one of the things I remember from the class was that there is no such thing as common sense because many of our behaviors/beliefs differ per group.  AKA we all have different cultures.  I believe that those of us with mental illness, who have experienced traumatic experiences, who have been bullied, who are sick, etc have created our own subculture: the broken vessel subgroup.

I step back and consider how I feel like I’m broken. I never feel like I have anything together or anchored down.  I’m always looking for the greener side of the grass. I’m consistently unhappy. I’m not taking my antidepressants because that seems like work and I hate the fact that I have to work and fight to think like a regular person. Each time I ponder a solution I always assume that I can only achieve peace through death.  I just feel like everything about me is broken.  Then I look at how I respond to these feelings and I realize that I’m just doing the best I can to self-destruct at a slower rate.  I’m trying to fix myself the best way I know how, but the ways that I know aren’t very sufficient.  So now I’m thinking about people who do drugs, starve themselves, have willing unprotected sex, etc and I’m like they’re broken people trying to fix themselves too.  If you’re unhappy, you may try to solve that with cocaine or ecstasy (if you’re unhappy and rich mostly as those are drugs higher on the rung).  If you feel too fat because you’ve been ridiculed for your size then you’ll throw up all of your meals.  If you’ve been told you’re unattractive or worthless you may engage in sex with multiple partners.  These are some seriously broad generalizations, but you get what I’m going at.  You’ve established that something is wrong with you (broken) so you’re trying to right that wrong (self repair).

I also think to myself that I pity those around me because they’re dealing with a broken vessel that they have no idea how to repair.  And the more I try to fix myself, the more I push away from them because I don’t want them to help me in the repair process. I want to fix myself. I want to believe that I’m not THAT weak to where I can’t solve my own problems.  And as we know we cannot handle everything on our own and that’s perfectly fine. Even though I know this, it feels far from fine.  I have a difficult time accepting help. I don’t want people to know I’m broken because what do most people do with broken things? They throw them in the trash.  So I’m sitting around trying to glue all of my shards back together and it’s just a hot ass mess. And when the feeling is painfully acute I feel like I can implode. It’s unbearable.  Some things I say and do I just feel like an idiot for and I want to take all of those things back and tell people, “I’m sorry I’m a work in progress. I’m honestly doing the best I can.  Don’t leave.” And other times I want to shove them out of my personal bubble so that I can prevent them from leaving; I just eliminate them first.  It’s greatly frustrating and I wish I could better explain, but emotions are hard to pen into words.  Being broken is hurtful because we want others to help fix us, but we don’t want them to know we’re broken.  If you admit that you need help then you’re subliminally admitting that something is not right about you.  People don’t want projects for friends or spouses.  They want completion. And you’re trying to get there on your own due to fear and it’s just a vicious cycle that’s consuming every bit of energy you have.

I was exhausted at work today.  I really wanted to just get in my car and drive to no man’s land.  Somewhere in the hills where the goats mysteriously climb mountains (really, how do they get up there…).  I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I didn’t want to laugh at anything. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone.  I think I was reminded how unhappy I am when I returned from Florida because the drive back was like awaiting a prison sentence.  It’s back to work. Back to responsibility. Back to aimlessly wandering in this world.  The weight was so obvious that my coworkers kept asking me what was wrong. To which I wanted to reply, “GET OUT OF MY FACE!” and then I would run away and never return….Donald Miller said he believed that there is a force in the world that doesn’t want us to have beautiful stories so it wears us down until it has us questioning the reason for living. My brother in law says that he believes that when it gets darkest in our lives this means that a breakthrough is coming; we’ve just got to hold on until the breakthrough comes. And I’m wondering if I’m the only person whose sick of holding on. Why me?! I’m a genuinely caring person. I help those around me. I encourage my friends. I don’t set fire to people’s homes or rob the elderly. Why am I on the brink of self-destructing at every moment? Why can’t I get a win in for once? I’m tired of being in the loser’s circle. I can’t imagine how people who have terminal illness or are constantly in pain deal with continuing to live. When I say that I am barely making it, I mean that I am BARELY making it. Then I consider telling someone about the thin thread I’m living on and the only way I can describe the feeling is shooting myself in the foot.  And don’t get me started on praying about it. I’m just….ugh. That’s as much as I can say on that.

I try to be forgiving with myself as I further understand why I do what I do. I really am just trying to survive.  A comic on tumblr said that we start out as mushy things.  Then we face rejection and so we build this protective shell to keep ourselves safe from from the pain of the rejection.  So in the end we’re just metal shells being run by mushy things.  I think that best describes what it’s like to be broken.  We’re just patching ourselves up to save/protect ourselves and we’re still just broken people on the inside.  It’s very interesting to think about.

Thus my nightly whine is complete. I am now off to watch Golden Girls and sip cranberry juice.

Throwing People

I’m stepping away from my story “series” for this post because I haven’t had time to read these past few days.  I don’t want to backtrack unless I’m adding additional information so I’m just going to do a personal post tonight.  Not that those weren’t personal, but they felt more formal than I plan for this to be.  My sister had her marital ceremony today and it was beautiful. It was hot. I’m pretty sure I got sweaty and musty at some point from being in the sun, but as her ceremony is not about me one sweaty, musty monkey don’t stop no show.  As we are still in Florida for the night she decided to have dinner following the wedding. They didn’t have a reception because some of the family said that they would prefer not to attend a reception (like it was their decision to make).  Now, my sister’s dad and my mom are divorced and have both remarried.  So there is her dad’s side and my mom’s side.  Much of my mom’s side of the family could not attend the wedding due to the cost of the staying in the area and the distance. So my brother really wanted us to pull together to go to the dinner. I, on the other hand, did not want to go.  It’s enough pressure on my usual limitations to attend the wedding. I’m not great at small talk and I do best by myself (for reasons frequently stated in my posts). So I definitely did not want to attend the dinner with her dad’s side of the family because they are very close to one another and I always feel like the odd man out even with just my family.  It’s a crowded restaurant with people I am not close to who are extremely connected. That’s like a buffet for self-criticism and anxiety and I’m already not taking my AD’s so I declined my invitation.  Now, my brother and parents are not one hundred percent familiar with how I am or how I feel because I don’t disclose this information to them.  I’d prefer not to have anyone I am close to or related to know any of my personal feelings on anything.  They may know which football teams I despise (Ole Miss, New Orleans Saints, Auburn….). They know I don’t like people touching my feet. But they don’t know how I feel about life in general.  My brother discussed being open and not being isolated. He wanted me to know that he didn’t want to pressure me into attending the dinner, but I felt really bad because I wanted to tell him that I could much less give a flying duck and a partridge in a pear tree about what he wanted me to do. I’m not really keen on considering my family’s feelings towards me. I love them dearly, but I prefer that we don’t be close.  It’s terrible, I know. But I’m not comfortable with them knowing what makes me glad or sad. I don’t like to tell them when I’m down. I don’t like to tell them when I have something good going for myself.  I sometimes slip up and disclose information and the regret is immediate.  The saying, “can’t trust them far as I can throw them” pertains to how I feel. And I don’t have much upper body strength. I can only throw babies, and I prefer not to throw them because…that’s immoral, inhumane, and probably illegal too…..

It’s difficult for me to say that I don’t care about what my brother wants me to do because I look up to my brother the most out of everyone I know.  I admire his honesty, his drive, his humility, and his humor.  Back when I was knee high to an adult (because who has ever been knee high to a grasshopper….) I was afraid of the dark.  I would fall asleep with my light on and Ma would come later and turn it off once I was out. Oddly enough now I can’t sleep with any light on. The light from the DVR box annoys me to no end. I have to turn the whole box off or it will irk my very soul.  It’s probably a result of the emo phase I went through. I blame My Chemical Romance. (I’m kidding, I never went emo. I just really like the color black and Coheed and Cambria…) I used to ask to sleep with ma if I woke up during the night, which was literally every night.  After I turned seven years old Ma flat out kicked me out.  It was actually storming to high hell the night she kicked me out, too. And I was sleeping on her FLOOR so I wasn’t even in her space. The lady is heartless. I ended up asking my brother to let me sleep in his room, and it was perfectly fine with him because he sleeps heavily anyway. He wouldn’t have even noticed me if I didn’t wake him to ask. After that, I was like his shadow. He liked video games then I got into them.  He like car shows so I got into them. Now I admit that I genuinely like these things, but I didn’t even show interest in them until after he did. So it’s not that I don’t genuinely care about him. I just don’t care that he cares about me, if that makes any sense.

I’m very defensive about myself. I may not think much of myself, but I do what I can to protect myself. Unfortunately, I tend to protect myself in unhealthy ways. I resort to isolation and silence.  If you ask how I’m doing I’m going to say that I’m fine even if I’m not. Why? Because I don’t trust you to know that I’m feeling pretty shitty. In my mind I’m wondering what you plan to do with that information. Then I’m assuming that whatever you plan to do with it is going to be disappointing to me so there’s no need in even revealing anything to you.  It never fails that I never get the response I ever want when I speak about my actual feelings.  People mean well so I don’t fully fault them.  People struggle to respond to what they can’t relate to so I don’t even count on them to be my “savior” or confidante.  I hate to say it, but I don’t have a three strike rule.  I have an one strike rule. You have one time…ONE TIME to disappoint my feelings and after that I feel like I can tell you nothing at all. Needless to say, I tell no one anything.  I don’t speak with my family/friends about how I feel about the recent police shootings. We don’t discuss politics. We don’t talk about mental health. Unless they read what I write on here they won’t know what I think about much. Even then, I’d probably act like I didn’t know what they were talking about if it came up for discussion. It doesn’t matter what my brother says about openness; I prefer to keep it that way.  I don’t want the hugs or the high fives. I just want you to leave me to my destructive devices.  If you don’t think we’re close, that’s great! That spares me from probable disappointment.

This is the reason why I get that funny look when people ask when I plan to get married. That really funny look. I mean it’s not funny but it’s funny. Who would evaaaaaaaa marry me? What kind of next level desperation…. I go through brief moments of wanting people in my space and in my circle. But I don’t know how well I would do with it being constant.  I’d have to work on my personal issues prior to getting in a relationship because that would be unfair to a spouse. I get shifty eyed enough being in shared spaces with my family for prolonged periods of time.  I’m barely hanging on with staying with my granny even though its to help out. I just like to be by myself. I probably wouldn’t be saying that if this were the end of the world and I had no choice but to be alone.  But people are exhausting. Just as with the dinner tonight. By the time we’d left the wedding I was already starting a mental list of things I did wrong. It’s exhausting, but rewarding but exhausting.  And it rarely feels rewarding.

Don’t get me wrong. I still care for people, but just from a distance.  When one of my brothers on my dad’s side of the family went to the pokey I didn’t reach out to him. In my defense, it was hard to reach out to him.  I’m not at all close to his mom so I wasn’t up to date with where he was or how he was doing. Plus, I was living 200 miles away at that time.  But I did consistently watch his brother’s facebook page for updates and checked the newspaper.  Him and I were never chummy so it’s not like either of us were itching to communicate. But once he was released he did contact me which made me seriously uncomfortable. I told ya, I’m more comfortable with emotional distance. God, I’m going to end up with a house full of hedgehogs. I would say cats but cats are the kind of pets who plot to kill you in your sleep so I’ll settle for some good old hedgehogs. I’m the person who wishes the best for you, but will never tell you.  I’m like a ball of “what the fuck.”

So I’m done with my rant. I would say, “don’t judge me” but I realize that my habits are entirely unhealthy and irregular so if you did then there’s not much I could say. I would say that I’m going to post tomorrow night, but I’d probably be lying because we’ll be heading back to Mississippi tomorrow. So uhhhhh, monday…..yea….

 

Lies in Disguise

I feel like I’ve said this a million times but it bears repeating: I suck at titles.  Moving on from that little ditty, today I shall briefly discuss a lie, a well dressed lie.  A lie that wines and dines. It’s the type of lie to court you all year long then break up with you in November so that it doesn’t have to buy you Christmas or Valentines presents.  This lie is so big that acknowledging its presence is like breaking a taboo.  Now that I’ve built up all that unnecessary hype, I can get to the point.  The lie I am referring to is as follows: you’ve got to earn your mental illness

Now, because I’m not very savvy with my vocabulary I’m going to break that down because I know that it sounds…..wrong. I am indirectly directing this towards people who have had no significant trauma in their lives. And because they feel like they have not experienced anything big and bad enough to cause them to “catch” a mental illness, it invalidates their having one.  This is the type of lie that makes you feel as though you had to earn depression in some sort of way, had to work for it. This lie is dangerous.  You could have grown up in the nicest home in the nicest suburb in the safest town and still develop a mental illness.  And because you may not have gone through something life altering such as the death of a loved one or growing up on the streets does not mean that your mental illness is not real.

People always want to know HOW you ended up with depression, HOW you ended up being bipolar.  Its like the story of the lame man in the bible about whom the people asked whose sin resulted in his ailment. They’re always searching for the sin in your life or your parents’ lives to give reason to your issue.  Mental illness needs no reason at all to latch on to you and make all attempts to crush you.  The brain and all of its serotonin and other onins sometimes just are not balanced in everyone regardless of background.  Can background and environment make a huge difference? You bet your bottom dollar! But if you feel like you have absolutely nothing in your personal history that could be the root of mental illness don’t let that stop you from accepting that you might have a mental illness. You know why this is not the idea thing to do? Because when you don’t accept it, you don’t seek treatment for it. You think that your irritability is just because your being a bitch. You think that because you spent the last three weekends laid up in your bed that just means that you’re lazy and unmotivated. You begin to believe a plethora of negative things about yourself when the root of the problem is not a personal defect.

You don’t have to deserve mental illness. It doesn’t stop it from being real. It doesn’t mean that you’re faking it. No matter what anyone else says. And the biggest thing you need to know is that its never your fault.