Heavy

I haven’t been writing recently. There really is not a good reason, and yet there are millions of excuses. I don’t often talk about feelings very well unless I am writing. Anytime that I don’t want to stop and think about something heavy happening in my life, I stop writing.

I have always done that. Sometimes I can recognize it fast, other times it takes longer. I’m not super down or dealing with things that are too heavy. No need to send out the men with straight jackets to lock me away.

Things are just heavy enough to keep me quiet.

Politics, COVID, healthcare working, shutdowns, unemployment, homeschooling, choices about sending kids back to school this year, to mask or not to mask… which promptly circles itself directly back to politics.

All things that I am not willing to talk about with people, keyboard or reality. Why do people have to be so mean? So petty when speaking to other human beings? Why is it so hard to accept that everyone has their own opinions? They don’t have to match yours. They SHOULDN’T match yours. They don’t live the same life as you. They haven’t seen the things that you have, not have they learned all of the things that you have. They have seen and learned their own. We can accept that as a difference and use the literal words ‘Embrace your differences’.

However when that becomes put to the test, the claws come out.

I have never seen so much ignorance as 2020 has brought to our lives.

There is no escaping it.

You can’t log onto anything on the internet without seeing it.

You can’t go to the grocery store without being accosted or glared at for whichever side of the mask debate you land on.

You can’t watch television, or speak to half of your friends or family without it coming up.

I understand that they all have purpose, and a good reason for debate. I absolutely see the point.

But DAMNIT this all is heavy.

Burn that sh*t to the ground

Forgiveness mode has been in affect for me this last few weeks. This is something that I come in and out of every few months so this time I chose to force myself to stay out to deal with itm instead of running to hide the way I normally do when it gets too deep.

The best thing is that there is always new things to forgive yourself for! Especially when you’re a hot mess like me. Forever throwing new things into that basket of things to work through.

My current favorite thing to do on this journey is actually a well used method that I brought back. The good old trusty empty notebook that I sit down with. After searching my whole house for actual writing utensil that aren’t for my children’s homework, I find the most comfortable spot in the house. I turn on some back ground music that won’t distract me.

And then I sit there. Drawing a damn blank. Every time.

However after a forced start that lasts the whole front of the first handwritten page I tend to unleash. I find myself finding out which way is the best to let whatever feelings out.

Sometimes it is written as if I am speaking, or yelling, at the person that is affecting me the most.

Sometimes I am berating myself for the dumb move that I made at some point.

For a long time it was written to the people that died. Whether they died because of natural causes or suicide. Whether I was yelling at them for leaving me, or I was telling them the newest thing that I feel they missed out on.

I write until I honestly feel like I have nothing more to say about it for the day. I make sure that I am honest and frank. I say the things I can’t say out loud. Don’t hold back. Write as if no one will ever have the chance to read it.

And then I rip it out of the notebook, walk outside and burn it. Safely of course. All in the name of safety.

But burn that shit. To the ground. Let it turn into ashes that the wind will send flying through the air.

Imagine those feelings flying away are little chips off the block that is building up and getting in your way.

And breathe.

Just a little slice

The porch swing sways gently.

The birds are quiet except the occasion chirp.

The outdoor animal’s have scurried to find cover.

The trees are swaying with the breeze.

The sound of the rain hitting the earth soothes my soul

Almost more then the precious coffee in my thermos.

So here I am

 

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Rocking back and forth on the swing

light blanket covering my lap

content with my coffee

reading my newest self help book

I think I may have found a slice of heaven.

 

Outside the box

Sometimes life gets heavy enough that I need to find simple ways to be able to pull back. I know that I have spoken on this before but this isn’t a one time a year type of thing. I have noticed that it seems to be worse for me  during colder months but we all have them randomly thru the years I assume.

I usually find a few different things to be able to lighten things up and vary between them. Most years it starts with photography and works its way into funny animal videos before ending with being able to watch the television show Funniest home videos. There are times that I add other things in, depending on how I have been feeling in the weeks before this.

Sometimes I watch a lot of Youtube videos that welcome soldiers home. I really enjoy the ones that involve surprising family members with their homecoming. Those are almost always guaranteed to make cry, and sometimes that is exactly what I need at that point.

This time I actually find myself watching movie series obsessively. There are three or four of them that I have fallen in love with over the years and I have been lucky to have them all available to me to watch. Some I own and some I can find on different platforms available to watch, in order.  I am positive that my husband thinks that I have lost my mind, seeing as he is not the type of person to watch movies he has already seen very often.

Even though I understand that adult life can be quite monotonous I feel as though I am failing at it. Just like most other adults I struggle to keep my spending under control and pay my bills on time. However I think that I forgot to keep things fun and enjoyable enough to let it all balance out to each other. I find myself more afraid to spend the money on the things I think would be fun, in fear that I would not be able to keep up with bill paying and other necessary needs for my family.

So here I sit, watching my movies instead, on the cable network that I struggle to pay for.

 

When the words take away your air

So there is a tv show that I keep seeing on television that has caught my attention. I first saw the preview as I was sitting with my husband watching a tv show. It hit me like a ton of bricks, where he was able to sit and not even notice that my world had tilted on its axis.

The first few lines in this preview was a man saying something like “You’re not going to believe this, but John (or Jeff or whatever his name is) committed suicide”. I have seen this preview multiple times but I am not able to remember any of the rest of the preview. Each time I see it I get stuck on this sentence that starts the commercial off. I imagine that this man is talking to a buddy, and this is the normal way that they talk to each other so the offhand delivery itself doesn’t catch my attention.

What catches my attention is the idea that I have to spend the rest of my life being affected by lines like these. Its been over a decade since I had to hear those words said in a much softer way to me. A decade since the whispers would stop as I walked into the room, or down the hall, just to have them start again after I passed by. A decade since I had to try to find new pieces to start rebuilding myself since he didn’t think about how it would be affecting anyone else.

Who am I kidding it has almost been TWO decades.

So that’s where this kicker just seems to keep kicking.

18 years later, a whole different life later, and yet it still has the ability to kind the wind out of my lungs better than almost else.

Blew my mind

I was watching a youtube video the other day of Jason Segal and Bryan Cranston when they stumbled upon an interesting topic. 

Not many actors find themselves qualified to talk about suicide in front of a camera. These men are no different, however they were speaking on behalf of an author/director that they both knew. 

 David Foster Wallace. 

To be honest, i know none of this mans work. I know very little of his story. 

What i do know is that in September of 2008 he committed suicide after a lengthy, likely life long, battle of depression. There are plenty more specifics that I will chose not to add in here, but that information helpes me understand who would be able to blow my mind with just a few sentances in book. 

As Jason Segal says it, there is a woman who had attempted to hurt herself. She finds herself at the therapists office afterwards and this conversation happens. 

Therapist: Why did you want to hurt yourself? 

Survivor: Laughs and says “Youll never be able to help me if you think I was trying to HURT myself. I was trying to STOP the pain.” 

I’m not going to lie, this blew my mind. Please understand as a person deeply affected by suicide in my life, i felt as if i understood the mindset of someone leaning towards this decision. While I am sure this knowledge is out there, I suppose I have never heard it said in my language until then. 

I have always felt that they were running from demons that were bigger then them. Some maybe are unable to keep up with lifes demands, or find themself heavily relying on a substance. 

I watched the battle in my best friends eyes but NEVER understood it. I couldn’t see the signs, I couldn’t understand the feelings, and I flat out missed the pain behind the walls. 

I vowed to never again miss the signs, but it continued to happen to other people around us and we were startled and devastated every time. 

The masks they wore changed. 

The pain ate away at them. 

Until they only could focus on the relief. 

What are you to do, when the thing that hurts you the most is invisible? When your own body attacks you. When your mind never takes that break, and gives you that ability to regroup before the next big thing hits. 

At what point does it become socially acceptable to seek help? 

At what point do people understand that this is the same thing as any other medical diseases or disorders that you could have been born with? 

At what point is it socially acceptable to admit defeat? 

Every day you see people quit their diet, their relationships, their jobs and their schools. 

How do you quit your mental illness that you didn’t ask to be born with? 

In a sea of darkness

Have you ever felt like you were the light in a sea of darkness?

Have you noticed that it is so much easier to judge someone or something, than it is to be empathetic? It seems as if as humans, we are unable to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and understand what it must be like. Instead, when you look around all you ever see is what is wrong with everything.

What a sad kind of world that we live in when we recognize failures over achievements?

Was there a switch that was flipped somewhere to turn people into the judge and jury singlehandedly without ever hearing the testimony?

Have we finally hit the point in this world where kindness is never coming back? Where we believe that speaking bad about a person looks good on us?

We are so immune to people’s feelings and bodies being hurt that we fully believe that the best thing to do when you are around it is to pull out your phone and record the event?

We don’t want to focus on the horrible things, blocking out the war zones and death tolls in war impacted areas, but we want to capitalize on senseless tragedies that happen closer to home.

We certainly don’t want to focus on the kindness either. So we don’t pay attention to any charitable events or money-raising efforts, unless it is to point out how much of a scam they are.

We certainly can’t trouble ourselves to attend most of these events for the sake of good. Oh no, instead people show up to be able to see for themselves how the efforts being made are being wasted. So we sit there in our classy dress attire, making sure that you look just right for the part, all while judging the color of someone’s dress. The fact that the shoes or purse does not match the outfit. What would have possessed that person to get that haircut? She is too fat for that outfit, or he isn’t buff enough to pull off that shirt. You just can’t believe that the couple that just walked by you are still together, because EVERYONE knows that they fight like cats and dogs, sending him out to cheat and her to drink. Who cares that you have never seen any of that, because if the gossip mill said it, it must be true right?

Does any of this make you think of you? The group of friends that you are around, or maybe even your family?

Shame on you.

Shame on them.

Shame on all of us for letting our world get like this.

We all played a part. Either by participating, or sitting back and watching.

We need to do better.

We deserve better.

Be kind.

Teaching your younger self

Have you ever wanted to go back and give yourself advice? I sure have.

If you could go back and give myself advice at different ages growing up, what would it be?

I would love to go back and tell an extremely self-conscious twelve-year-old that she was beautiful. To stand firm for what she believed and not to let bull-headed teenagers, including herself, get in her way. She had so many plans! She knew what she wanted to do when she was older, had found her first love in a boy who treated her pretty good and other than fighting with her parents every once in a while her life was going pretty smooth. I would teach her to believe in herself, and to realize that everyone has their own body type that they were born with. You just have to learn to love yourself a little more so you can accept and appreciate what you were given.

**You are Beautiful**

I would go back and tell a heartbroken 16-year-old girl who was learning first hand about losing some one she loved that the world will keep turning. Her world was rocked to its absolute core, but she will stand back up and put her pieces back together. I would tell her to be stronger than she had ever been. I would tell her that just because one boy could not wrap his head around staying around to live his life until it got better, that it was absolutely not a reflection of her. I would hold her tight and tell her that despite the miscarriage, despite the loss of the person she thought would be the love of her life, she will survive.

**You are stronger than you will ever realize**

I would go back and tell my 19-year-old self that being a single mom at 19 would not define me. This hiccup would turn out to be the best turning point of her life, and that jackass that chose to walk away from his son would never be able to emotionally or physically harm them again.  I would try to steady her world a bit and help her get her footing settled back into the right direction if I could. However all the times I started in a direction and had to back pedal to try a different path just made me focus a little harder.

**Mistakes are the worlds way of teaching you humility**

I would go back and tell the 22-year-old woman that adoption didn’t have to mean goodbye.  I would help her understand that sometimes the hardest choices are the safest. I would remind her that heartbreak is an old friend by now. And my advice that I would give her would be to give herself a break. Life happens in mysterious ways and it is ok to admit defeat and take some me time. You can’t be a great mom to the one you already have if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

**Forgiveness IS an option.  You are only human.**

I would go back and tell my 25-year-old cynical self that good things can happen. It is easy to become calloused and bitter. Putting up walls to shield your heart is healthy, as long as you have a way to break it down safely. If your wall has become a way to hide from reality in such a way that you can no longer recognize good things when they come your way, you may need rethink some things.  I would tell her to go on that date with the boy she worked with. Let her neighbor bring her flowers. Let that smile happen.

**You ARE worth it. Good things CAN happen to you.**

 

If you never try…..

Making the decision to make changes or try something new is hard. This idea to put my feelings, my thoughts, my inner peace onto paper for everyone to read is daunting. 

My opinions can be different from yours. 

My feelings can feel different than yours. 

My eyes can see the same thing that your eyes see, but I can still see it different than yours. 

I can still say it. I can still put my pretty little fingers to these nice keys and type it out. I can still express my thoughts. 

So can you. 

Let it all hang out

In a world where I have always been very outgoing, I have never really understood someone’s decision to become or stay introverted. 

I mean why if given the choice, would you chose to spend time alone versus time with friends and family? Having people around tends to lead to laughter and a general sense of well being in opinion. I have spent most of my life being told that laughter is the best type of medicine. 

I never had to worry about going out to eat by myself. I never gave thought to going for walks by myself since I had an endless supply of people to call that would accompany me. When I was home alone I quickly got on the phone with a friend or blared music and danced around like an idiot. 

As a reader, even when no one was available to hang out or talk on the phone, I always had a different dimension of friends. I would open a book and fall into this alternate universe where I was not bound to the chains of my little town. I would find joy, love, peace, sadness  and anger within the chapters that I hungrily plowed thru. 

When that didn’t interest me any longer, I began writing my own. First it was short stories, normally about a young girl like myself finding the love of her life and living happily ever after. When things in my life started to not look so bright, the stories felt the same treatment. The more often I wrote,  the more often I wanted to write. Soon I would lose hours a day into these characters that I would make up, causing my friends to think I was crazy. 

The books got longer, more complex, less romantic. That’s when I started to notice another trait about myself. Strangely for such a confident person who was loud and crazy, even on stage in front of a crowd, I couldn’t share my work. I became fiercely protective of it and would bite people’s heads off for trying to catch a glimpse. 

When I finally started to share any part of my writing I noticed it was similar to trying to tell someone my deepest darkest secrets. The biggest problem here I think is that if the person I shared with had ANY negative thing to say about what I had written, I hated them for it. It wasn’t friendly criticism in my eyes. They had betrayed me. Fiercely. I had no idea how to handle those feelings. 

It started to get to the point that I would let someone read it, to spell check or edit it, and then I would receive it back and throw it in a drawer. I wouldn’t look at it for weeks, months even. I am positive that I still have some laying around in totes that I saw too many handwritten notes on my beautifully typed manuscript. 

I still write, pretty often actually. I have gotten no better at handling people’s opinions on these stories that I make out if pieces of me. I have never brought my writing anywhere to have someone outside of my family edit it, which I like to blame on money but I trully believe is just plain fear of rejection in any form. 

This blog is meant to help me overcome the fear of other people reading things I write. This is my middle ground at attempting to believe in my own writing. 

Side note to all of this, is that as I have gotten a little older I have become more introverted myself. I now have found it awkward to hang around big groups of people and have noticed my own social circle has deflated quite a bit. Some by choice, some by disagreements that were too powerful to ignore, and others by death. I finally have learned that the good side of spending time alone is the ability to get to know your own self.