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Shifting thoughts

I’m tired. This is no secret to anyone who knows me. I’m always going. Good things are happening in life, but there’s still a deep sadness and anxiety that doesn’t leave. I’m convinced it’s partially because I work so much. I’m convinced it’s also med shit: birth control and experimenting with this antidepressant that was once effective and hardly is at all anymore.

Sometimes I get stuck. Stuck in feeling like this won’t end, that I’ll always feel this way. I’ll always have to work like this. I’ll never get a break. And the number of white hairs on my head keep growing just to show how tired I am.

But what good does this thought process do? Maybe it’s accurate, but maybe not. Last time I started to get stuck I reminded myself that I’m a fighter and I won’t go down easy. Feels like another day to shift to that thinking. I’m a fighter and a survivor. And to repeat the wisdom of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, it’s not just about surviving but also thriving. I’m learning what that means for me. I can do this. Getting there is a process but I’m on my way. And so are you.

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I see the potential irony in writing this today, given it’s the anniversary of a break up a year ago.  It took me a while to get over him, but once I finally let myself do that a whole world opened up.  My life has changed so much in a year.  I’m not lost.  I’m still figuring some things out, but I’m definitely not lost.  I’ve learned what it means to enjoy solitude.  Silence.  Art in various forms.  I’ve learned to be more firm, more confident (my job at the hospital has really helped with this).  I’ve grown wiser.  Also a bit more jaded, but wiser.  I’ve experienced more loss, and I’ve cultivated new friendships and grown others.

I’ve found love.  I didn’t think I’d find it again, especially a love like this.  This is special.  And sure, maybe we all say that when we first fall in love.  I know I’ve said it before.  And at the time and in their own ways, those loves were special.  But this one is different.  It’s different in a few ways.  To start, it’s always been long distance.  We met online in January of 2017 (not through a dating site either, but an introvert group where we were both looking for friends).  We were acquaintances for quite some time.  We talked at first but drifted apart until shortly before Claudia’s death.  Being an animal lover, a huge marshmallow, and very empathetic, he reached out to offer support.  It grew from there.  I expected nothing, I wasn’t looking for anything, but it happened.  Our first conversation over video chat, I immediately felt comfortable with him.  It’s hard to explain, but I felt like I knew him very closely already.  We have such similar mannerisms, expressions, passions, the list goes on.  He felt familiar.  The longer we talked and the more deeply we grew to know each other, the more the feelings grew.  He feels like home.  Not just home in the sense of a place I go to feel comfortable , safe, and where I can rest.  But also in an old, familiar way.  Parts of myself I’d let die, I’m finding back.  Dreams I’d given up on I’m starting to realize again.  Simple things I’ve thought about doing that have always felt homey, he wants to do these things to.  The kind of places we want to be.  It’s hard to put words to some of these things, but the feelings are there.  He’s opened up a whole new word of possibilities for me.

We’ve been through some similar things.  He understands me on so many levels.  Even though I explain my thoughts or feelings, there’s really no need to.  He completely gets it, and when he explains himself first I feel like he’s speaking my thoughts.  We say the same things at the same time.  We really, really know each other.  I’m not a religious person but I’m spiritual, and I feel that side of me growing.  Our spirituality is definitely similar, and I’m starting to see more and more beauty in everything.  Little things.  I’m finding meaning where meaning had been lost.  I have so, so much hope.  I’m going through some of my own personal shit lately, but still.  This is right.  I know it’s right.  I have so many hopes and dreams for us that I won’t even get into here.  But I just *know* deep down how things will be.  I can’t wait.

One thing that’s been a little difficult is that some people don’t understand.  I get that it stems from a place of concerns, and I don’t really even blame them.  In their place I’d very likely feel the same.  I can’t expect people to understand when they’ve never spoken to him, when they haven’t experienced his honesty, openness, or his essence the way I have.  At the same time, I’ve been through some tough shit and I know what I want and don’t want.  I’m not a child, and I’m not completely naive.  I’ve changed a lot.  I kinda miss my innocence that I used to have.  But I also know I couldn’t find a love like this, least of all be prepared for it, if I was who I used to be.  There’s a reason we only recently started talking again even though we’ve been connected online since a year and a half ago.  We both needed to live more life.  And here we are.

Someone told me today that it was okay if other people didn’t understand.  If we have a rare connection and I know what’ll make me happy, seize it because time is precious.  Every day matters.

A few weeks ago he got me a plane ticket.  More recently he reserved a moving truck.  In three weeks we’ll meet.  I fly to meet him and we road trip home.  Us and his cats.  And his music.  We’re going to listen to so much music and share so many stories.  And maybe stream some episodes of some of my favorite radio shows (he doesn’t know that yet but is about to :P)  We’re going to see new places together.  I’m going to be with the man who has my heart and whose soul is connected to mine in a way I can’t really put words to.  It’s a thing I can’t explain, but I feel it and I know it.

I can’t wait.  I can’t wait to be together.  I can’t wait to share my life with someone I feel like I’ve known forever but haven’t met.  I can’t wait for him to meet my family and friends.  I can’t wait to finally visit his home town (hopefully later this year) and meet his family.  I can’t wait to go back to his current home at the end of September for concerts and to meet his friends.  I can’t wait for so much.  We all have our shit, and we’ve shared some of our biggest mistakes with each other.  We’re not perfect, but he’s perfect for me.  I’m going to be that person who rants for a little while about how fucking happy and excited I am.  I can’t make anyone understand, but I at least want people to know what he means to me and to trust that I know what I’m doing.  Three more weeks.  I didn’t want to keep this to myself anymore.  I want to share him.  I want to share how full my heart is and how unbelievably blessed I feel.  I absolutely cannot wait.

all I want

all I want is to breathe

to exhale

not to have the wind knocked out of me over and over again

to exhale because I feel safety

security

and peace

something I always long for and think I’ve found but I’m always wrong

so much changes so fast

so much can go wrong so quickly

I feel like I can’t keep up

all I want is to be seen

really seen

for someone to know I’m struggling and to ask how they can help me

to try not to make it worse

to really see how unwell I am and how much I fake it to get by

all I want is to be appreciated, to not be taken for granted

I’m tired of feeling like my efforts aren’t enough

and I wonder what it’ll take for others to see that I am human, too

I hurt, I am not okay as I pretend to be, I am not a means to an end, I deserve respect

and I wonder what it’ll take for me to escape this rat race

I wonder when my heart will be broken again

I ached with so much longing before, how different everything would be in so many avenues of this life

but it’s always the same

and all I want is for someone to understand

to take my hand, to gently hold my heart, to take me as I am

so I can finally rest my mind, my body, my heart

and breathe

Even though I worked a full shift today it kinda felt like a day off since my evening was free (worked a mid shift). Maybe because I had this free evening and some time to think, I had a lot of things on my mind.

A lot of emotions surrounding grief came up today. Grief surrounding Claudia’s death really hit me when I was walking in the backyard with a dog I’m babysitting. It hit me again later, too. I really miss her.

This is going to sound stupid, but something triggered a memory earlier. Not only do I not remember what triggered it, but I don’t remember the exact memory that was triggered, either. It had something to do with music or a movie or something I shared with my now ex husband right around the time our marriage was falling apart. And I thought about how if I ever got exposed to this thing again it would bring me right back to that dark place I was then. I thought about how odd it seems to feel like I’ve done a lot of healing surrounding this loss, and yet there’s still a ridiculous amount of healing to be done.

This thought came up again later and I had this strange curiosity. I wondered if my ex would be similarly triggered by such things and if they are still grieving. But I thought about how, while I may care about this as a friend would care, at the same time it really doesn’t matter and isn’t my concern (to the extent that it has nothing to do with my process). I don’t need my ex to grieve to the extent that I do (or have) or to have their grief look like mine in order for my grief, pain, etc. to be valid.

This is a big step for me because I wasn’t always like this. So much shit happened that destroyed me (which honestly makes me wonder if the fact that I’ve completely blanked on what made this all come up earlier is my brain’s defense against pain). Feelings like what came up earlier remind me that grief is a continuous process. It also reminds me of when everything first started coming undone, and especially when the relationship ended with me and my ex husband. The fact that they didn’t seem to be grieving to the same extent, or dealing with the same shit in general, added further insult to injury and destroyed me even more. On some level I felt that their seeming lack of pain made me feel even more crazy.

There’s an important lesson here, and it’s come up time and again in a handful of my closest relationships, all of which were romantic except for one. The other person’s validation (or lack of it) doesn’t define the legitimacy of my pain.

Don’t expect someone who hurt you to own up to it and validate everything you’re feeling as a result of the pain they caused. I’m lucky in the sense that my ex husband has since been very validating and owned up to shit. But even if they hadn’t, it was still real to me. I’ve been emotionally abused by others and been invalidated and also blamed for how I was treated. This is so wrong on so many levels, but I can’t allow my healing and growth process to be paused (or stopped completely) because someone else refuses to acknowledge the hurt they caused and call it what it is. Just as they are responsible for their actions, I’m responsible for mine. I’m responsible for my healing and the pace it takes. That’s my process to own. It’s not easy, it takes a ridiculous amount of time, and honestly, I think it’s an ongoing process that never stops. I can’t let anyone hold me back and stop me from becoming a wiser, healthier, more aware me. I own myself. You own yourself. We can take back the power we give others and help each other do the same. We’re in it together, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for people to own their shit and acknowledge it for what it is. This would not only speed the healing process a bit, but it could mend relationships I try to continue (thinking family here) and make the end of others a bit less bitter. But at the end of the day I don’t need it. I don’t need someone else’s permission to call something what it is and grieve accordingly. And neither do you. Keep moving forward.

maybe it’s too soon to say either way

but suddenly it’s not quite as hard to smile

and my movements don’t feel quite as heavy

and my heart doesn’t ache quite so badly

I don’t know when or how it started

except for maybe when it all felt so heavy, too heavy, and all I could think about was how much I didn’t want to exist anymore

and a little voice inside said, “this isn’t me”

but this voice didn’t just speak

I heard it

I listened

and I felt just a little stronger

I decided to fight back and not let it control me

was it really a choice, or a luxury that I could begin to see a little more clearly?

to see this wouldn’t last forever, and to actually believe it

I don’t know

all I know is that I’m here

I’ve survived being broken

I’ve decided not to be a victim of my pain

I am a fighter

and maybe tomorrow I will feel weak all over again

but today I lived my life and I saw hope

and it was one of the most beautiful things I’d seen in a while

I have a rare evening off.  Even though I worked today, it was only for a few hours and much earlier in the day.  I needed this.  I’m so burnt out.  Three more days until an actual day off.  I’m averaging about a day off a week and it’s never enough.

The past couple days have been a bit better, though there’s still a deep hurt inside.  I really don’t understand it anymore.  I don’t know the exact source, or if it’s really even fair to narrow it down to one specific thing.  I feel like a big part of it is hormonal (still adjusting to the med).  The rest is a combination of life stuff.  I think I’m also struggling with a particular frustration, one that’s growing.  I need something to look forward to.  I have something to look forward to actually, but I don’t really know when to expect it, and the fact that things keep changing honestly just really hurts for so many reasons, reasons I really don’t want to discuss.  And it makes me not want to look forward to it because things are always changing.  Things could change again and then I’ll just hurt more.  I can’t handle that.  Everything I look forward to or hope for has gotten so majorly fucked up over the last couple of years and it made me afraid to hope, to dream, to love, or anything like that.  I don’t want to hurt like that anymore.  But I’ve continued to take chances because I feel like that’s what life is about.  How do we grow if we don’t face our fears?  How much life will we miss out on if we don’t take chances?

This realization doesn’t make it any easier though.  I keep wanting to exhale and I fucking can’t.  I’m sick of going through my life holding my breath all the time.  I’m so tense I can’t handle it anymore.  I feel like a whiny child for my frustrations, but they’re real no matter how ridiculous they may seem.  I alternate between telling myself I need to shut the fuck up and trying to validate myself.  My emotions are so intense anymore that I want to numb out, and I often try to.  I’m so tense I can feel it all over my body but no matter what I do to try to relax it doesn’t work.  I’m so wound up.

I’m trying to get through my day to day shit and accomplish my goals.  And each day I accomplish a tiny bit more.  Thanks to my roomie/ex, putting up the garden fence went easier tonight than it would have if I’d done it alone.  I can now put the full grown plants in the ground that I bought at the market on Saturday without fearing that the rabbits will eat them.  Yayness.

In spite of accomplishing these little goals (that honestly feel like huge accomplishments because of how burnt out I am) it all feels pointless.  So much feels pointless right now, and I hate that feeling.  I feel stuck in all of my stresses lately, my hurts, my burn out.  I feel stuck in my head.  It’s like trying to climb out of mud.  Ever gotten both feet stuck and started to sink, and when you try to pull one foot out you almost (or actually do) fall over?  That’s what I feel like lately.  I feel so stuck and it feels like it’ll never end.

My memory is also getting worse lately.  It’s freaking me out.  I forget the simplest shit.  Why?  Is it the med(s)?  Is it aging?  Is it stress?  Is it everything?  I never used to be like this.  I’ll be honest, my inner anxious idiots thinks of the dementia patients at work and questions if that’ll be me in the not too distant future.  I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but it’s honestly one of my biggest fears.

It may not seem like it, especially with all of the writing I do about this lately…but I’m trying like hell to fight this.  There’s part of me that wants to think I’m a badass for working 50 hour weeks in mental health and still managing to accomplish shit at home and in my personal life while I’m going through this.  There’s another part of me that thinks this is no big deal because so many other people are managing so much more and seem to be holding it together better than me.

This was a bit of a venting session and nothing more I suppose.  I just feel so damn alone.  I know part of that is my own doing, though I’m trying to get better at reaching out again.  I really am.

dreams

another rant inspired by depression and alcohol, just what the world needed

I’m getting the message pretty clear lately

a dream about a month ago that I felt reminded me of what makes me tick, a dream to rediscover myself

the messages are written clearly around me in one form or another

“follow your dreams”

“never forget your dreams”

and my nightmares remind me of what unsettles me, my fears I face regularly now

and a job that’s slowly taking me apart shows me I was meant for something else

this isn’t what I imagined for myself

I dream of another life somewhere else, doing something else

but what *exactly*?

my dream makes me long to practice playing my guitar again and make music

though I dread to pick it up and see how much I’ve lost

and my love tells me to cleanse my dream catcher so that maybe I’ll stop having my nightmares

the guy at the store that I befriended a few years ago tells me that maybe I need more time to rediscover myself

my dreams

it always comes back to this

I don’t want to sleep, but even moreso I don’t want to wake up to this nightmare

I’m not me

this isn’t who I am

I don’t know what’s happening and why I feel and act the way I do

I don’t know how to make it more clear that this isn’t who I was meant to be, and I’m not so sure this is what I’m supposed to be doing

this life isn’t what I dreamed it would be

and yet I try to convince myself I’m still moving in the right direction

that I’m becoming who I was always meant to be

and my life isn’t over, though my mind has taken the real me hostage

I try to remind myself that I’m still chasing my dreams

even though I’m tired

even though I am not me

even though I wish I could give up and give in to the weight pushes me down more and more every day

I’m tired

I’m not me

but here I am

this isn’t where I want to be

but here I am

this isn’t what I want to be doing

but here I am

I try not to lose sight of myself, who I want to be

my dreams

I even try to learn from my nightmares

I am in so much pain

I feel like I’m drowning

I feel lost

who wouldn’t be when they wander with their eyes closed, when they push aside everything that helps them breathe a little more easily?

I am here though I feel far away

I’m trying

all I can ever say anymore is that I’m trying

the only light left anymore is that maybe there is something else out there for me

something inside of me that I’ve forgotten

now is mine, I am my own

this is all that ever belonged to me anyway

myself and my dreams