Reviewing John Green’s ‘Turtles All The Way Down’: Mental Health Awareness On Point

One of the challenges with pain – physical or psychic is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can’t be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language.

I’ve been wanting to review a book on this blog since I started it and I’ve finally managed to finish one. This book is fantastic to start my journey into book reviews because of its focus on mental health, since that’s is one of the main focuses of this blog.

John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down is a testament to what it means to be alive and how some of us have to struggle every day just to make sense of ourselves and the world.

Mental health is difficult because it’s not obvious to understand like a broken bone or an open wound. There’s no easy or clear fixes, and there’s no way to truly comprehend how another person experiences things. It’s like an opinion, everyone’s is slightly different or very different, and it’s hard to pinpoint what that means.

Aza Holmes is a typical teenage girl, except her anxiety is real and raw and out of her control. Her struggle reminded me of my own struggles with anxiety and depression. My fears are nowhere near as intense as hers, but I understood her. I understood how isolated she felt and how difficult it was for to stop her intrusive thoughts. It can be absolutely crippling.

I know because I’ve been in her shoes and it’s terrifying.

Her friends and family want to understand and want to help her, but they find it frustrating when nothing can fix it. When there’s no way to verbalize what you need, communication can break down and make everything worse. It can make you feel guilty and it can make you doubt yourself. It can even make you feel like you’ll never have any semblance of a normal life, but you can.

It takes time and effort, and self-awareness. The road gets bumpy and there are hard bad days, but that doesn’t mean it won’t smooth out again. The trick is just learning how to handle those bumps and what kinds of triggers cause them. Then you can begin to heal, to recover. Even if it’s something you deal with with the rest of your life, that doesn’t mean it has to be all-consuming.

That’s the heart of this book, watching Aza go through her illness and deal with the symptoms. There are many times she loses control completely and does things to herself that she knows are wrong and quite frankly, ridiculous. But it’s not her, it’s not who she is, it’s her illness; the voice in her head that she can’t control.

We rationalize in our heads that our meds don’t work, so we don’t like taking them, and that it doesn’t matter if we treat our illness because it’s always going to be there. While these thoughts aren’t rational, they’re normal. And learning to cope with them is hard work and changing the way you think doesn’t happen in a day.

We see some of Aza’s future and she has a full life, but her illness is always present. It doesn’t prevent her from getting married or having kids. It doesn’t mean she can’t travel or have hobbies.

It just means taking it one day at a time, making sure to take your meds and know your limits. Find a routine that makes you feel stable. It won’t make every single day perfect, but it will improve most days. And at the end of the day, just making it through the day is a success story for some of us. There’s nothing wrong with that.

John Green wrote a fantastic book that I loved and there’s a great story in there separate from Aza’s mental health, but that’s the whole point. Your mental health doesn’t control you, even when it feels like it does. It’s only a small part of a bigger picture, omnipresent but not the main subject.

And that’s what makes it beautiful.

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Laziness and Depression + Life Updates

There’s a razor sharp line between these two things and I often don’t know which side I’m landing on. It’s like once I stop doing something even for a day, picking it back up again is so hard. It becomes the biggest burden and they say that you can’t blame everything on your mental illness, but once you jump in the hole, it can be close to impossible to crawl out of it.

I had intended to post on this blog frequently, if not daily. I was so excited because I wanted to tell my story and then my mood began to fluctuate and it got more and more difficult to start blogging again. Not to mention, I was pumped for Nanowrimo this year and I never got around to doing my outline, so I’m only 250 words in and stumped. Not to  mention, I haven’t done any writing for my content mill job cause the pay doesn’t seem worth the effort I put in, but I digress.

There’s a lot of good news on the horizon just out of my grasp; things that have the potential to get me active and excited and feeling good about myself. I got a part time job and it’s in retail, but it’s not customer service. I’m working fulfillment for Target, so while I may have to help some customers find items, I will be primarily working picking and packing online orders, which actually sounds fun to me. I’m nervous, but only in the sense that I want this to work out. I don’t want to panic and have a meltdown like I’ve had at every other job in my life. I just want this to be good and that leads me to my second piece of news:

I bought a bike.

I am so tired of walking everywhere and while I recognize that I’m getting exercise, I’m always so sweaty and exhausted. Plus, it always takes 2x the amount of time it would take if I had a vehicle. At least with a bike, I’ll be able to go more places and have more free time, even if I’m still a bit sweaty and exhausted.

I do have bike phobia though because I don’t have great balance, but I got a bike with the two big wheels and basket in the back, so now it’s just going to be adjusting to riding that and learning how to navigate the streets of Hollywood, Fl.

My first few times riding have been an exercise in stamina. I’m using muscles I’ve never used and they are screaming at me; i’m sweating and veering, trying to stay safe and not hit pedestrians or a car. It’s the workout of my life and I can’t wait till it starts getting easier.

The last couple weeks have seemed so busy, even though they weren’t especially, but i’m so much more active and it’s been wild. I haven’t adjusted or figured out what my new life is supposed to look like or be and i don’t want to fall behind because of laziness or depression, i need to keep pushing forward cause it’s finally starting to feel like i’m getting somewhere.

I used to have dreams growing up that didn’t go anywhere; dreams where i’d be trying to cross a street to reach somewhere or someone, but I’d never get there. The endless hallway dream where I’m lost and it doesn’t matter how far I go because I’m never going to reach the end, but it’s starting to feel like that’s changing. I’m changing and it’s for the better.

I feel like this post got derailed a bit, but it’s been so long since I posted anything and I just wanted to talk. I’ve finally got something to say. My life is full of highs and lows, dips and impossible mountains to climb, and I’m trying to deal with it as best I can.

So I guess, my number #1 advice always to combat the laziness and the depression is to keep looking forward. If at best, you make it to tomorrow, good for you. Try again and again each day until you start making progress you can be proud of. You’ll get there.

That’s all any of us can do.

Today, I’m Talking to You About Me

Hey! Hi! Hello!

I don’t do this too often because as a blog reader, you’d rather be reading my content and not my behind the scenes figuring stuff out, but I haven’t checked in in a while so here I am.

This post is in conjunction with my Month End Reviews as I didn’t yet write one for september because nothing happened. September was weird month. Not bad or good, just weird. I had a lot of issues with sleep and keeping up with my meds, but it’s also the first month I didn’t have a part time job supplementing my income while I wrote and I didn’t make as much as I wanted. I’ve fallen way behind in rent and I keep getting disheartened by my choices, so instead of working to fix the problems, I’ve kept trying to distract myself.

And the downward spiral has tightened just a little.

But the thing is that I know I’m not broken and I know I can get more done; I’m just lacking the focus and motivation, and also the energy. I’m tired constantly. I’m disorganized and I’m feeling very amorphous. I don’t have a set schedule or routine, so I’m free floating or falling and I don’t know where I’ll land. I’m lacking direction.

But I’m in the process of maybe monetizing this blog or starting a new blog to monetize and we’ll see how that goes. I want to reach more people and feel like I’m doing good, and that starts with me doing something to take care of myself. Even if we don’t believe it, you can’t take care of anyone before you take care of yourself and that’s important to remember.

More updates when I get my act together and start doing things again.

Potential

po·ten·tial
adjective
  1. having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
noun
      1. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or            usefulness.
      2. the possibility of something happening or of someone doing something in the              future.

For all the differences that Ian and I have, something is the same at the core of who we are…

When I look at Ian, I’m in awe of him. I’m in awe of everything he’s struggled to do with his life and how he’s survived it. I see all the potential he has, I hear it when we talk and I am amazed by the sheer breadth of his knowledge.

I know his potential because it’s my potential; the potential that I’ve been afraid to see in myself because I fear failure and because I’m always giving up when I should be moving forward.

Potential is everything and it deserves to be nurtured, and given the chance to grow and blossom. As humans, we thrive on our potential; it’s what makes us who we are and what makes us tick.

Potential isn’t just the ability to go after goals you know you want to achieve, it’s the ability to do things you haven’t imagined or dreamed of yet.

Potential is atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders; a blessing and a curse.  A burden, but one that is able to be conquered.

Potential carries big beautiful dreams of greatness, but also fear and anxiety of failure.

Potential is about overcoming that swirling pit of darkness and lifting the world up high, letting the sun’s glow rain over you and the world you live in.

The beautiful thing about potential is that it’s not just yours, it can be shared and used to affect others, help them with their own potentials.

Live your greatest potential, fight for it. Not just for yourself, but for everyone.

Build yourself up so that others can also build themselves; we’re not alone in this world and sharing our potentials can make the world a better place.

That’s what I hope for myself and for Ian because my potential feels stronger around him, and maybe together we can save ourselves and the world can thrive too.

August: Month-End Review

This is totally late because I forgot August ended.

August was another transitional month for me, which as annoying but I’ve continued to learn about myself and that’s helpful.

I learned in August that it didn’t matter how many hours I worked, my social anxiety was always going to crop up and cause problems. I learned that I needed to take charge of the life that I wanted for myself.

Writing is what makes me happy, so I dove into trying to make that work for me. Right now, I make about $100+ on a good week, but I think I can do a lot better than that.

I write for a content mill that pays me a small amount for a big chunk of time and words. While this sucks, it’s giving me a steady weekly income while I search blogs and websites that will pay me that amount or more for 1 blog or post.

I think this is a viable starting point to make a small living for myself and as I learn more I can market myself to companies and make even more.

My current stretch goal is to be making $3000+ a month by march.

I don’t need a whole lot of money, but I want to start building a savings and I want to be able to provide for myself and the people I care about.

So, what I can say about August is that it helped me solidify what I wanted and what my goals were, making them that much easier to work toward and ultimately achieve.

I’m gonna work my way back up to posting more blogs, maybe a Wednesday and Saturday blog or something. I will keep you all updated.

Also, I got two bunnies and they are the cutest. Their names are Dodie and Pauli.

I’m Refusing To Be Quiet

I know I haven’t been blogging the way that I want to and not in the way that you deserve as readers. Life happens and it’s not an excuse, but my mental health is a fragile thing and sometimes, I just don’t know what to write.

But I want to make time for this because I love it and it’s important to me. It’s mine, my personal thing, and I don’t ever want to give that up regardless of who’s reading it.

After trying over and over to work a regular job, my social anxiety has caused me to shrivel up and become someone who has to work from home. I don’t want to leave the house most days. I am desperately trying to organize myself so that I can be the person I see myself as… a writer.

And the first step is to write.

I’m still working on making that a habit in my life even though it’s one of the few things I feel comfortable with and love doing. It’s truly the only way I know how to really express myself.

When I speak, I get tongue-tied and trip over my words. I never really know how to say what I want to say, but if I write it down, the words flow so easily.

This is my true voice. The one that doesn’t stay quiet, the one that shouts and screams and is the loudest on the page.

So, I’m always talking about ways I want to move forward and things I want to do to get organized and rebuild myself in the way I want. Today, I put some post-it notes on my wall and I hopefully will put more up.

These notes tell me good morning; they remind me to smile and take my meds. They tell me to stretch or listen to an audio book or take a shower if I’m not feeling my best. I hope to put more up.

I want to remind myself that I have goals; goals like writing more daily. I want to do nanowrimo this year. I haven’t had the time to try since I was in college because life got in my way, but since I’m pushing myself to start a writing career, this is something I want to do.

I spent so much of my life fearing failure and it made me physically sick. I turned myself into a mental horror show and the black sheep of my family and I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting my potential because failure scares me. There is no real failure, only the failure to try and i’ll be the first to tell you how isolating it is not to try.

I have big ideas and dreams that I want to share with the world; i’m finally in a place where I’m ready to achieve them. I see a future for myself when before I just saw darkness, and if I can find my way out of that, I can create myself into anything I want.

Stop being quiet; be the you that chases dreams and catches them. There’s not a star that’s out of your reach if you believe you can. Trust yourself. Take on the world and be loud about it.

As a sidebar, Thomas Edison has some motivating quotes so I’m just gonna make a little Thomas Edison Mood Board here.

 

 

 

Bullet Journal Pages / Ideas for 2019

A quick list of pages that I hope to include in a bullet journal I’m hoping to start in 2019. I want to be better organized, and I want to have a place where I can check off and ensure that I’m doing what I’m supposed to, making time for important things and also relaxing with a book or movie.

I want to visually see that I’m making positive progress in my life and I think a bullet journal can help with that.

  • Calendar 2019
  • Future Log
  • Monthly Calendar + Notes
  • Weekly Log
  • Daily Log
  • TBW (To Be Watched) List
  • TBR (To Be Read) List + Book Tracker

  • Writing Tracker
  • Recipes + Grocery List + Meal Tracker
  • Budget + Bills + Spending Trackers
  • Saving Jar
  • Self Care Tracker + Daily Chores Tracker
  • Mood Tracker

  • Inspirations and Quotes
  • Goals + Dream Board / Mind Map
  • Blogging Ideas
  • Rabbit Care Stuff

A light in the darkness

is hard to see, obscured

by distance, a dim glow, but

it will grow: getting brighter

until it becomes the sun

lighting up your whole world

and freeing you from the dark,

so you can shine bright too.

Follow your light. Don’t give it up.

Don’t let it go out.

 

I know how hard it can be to see your future, to know that you even have one. I’ve been in a place where everything was empty and I kept thinking: this is it, this is all there is and I can’t change that. I was wrong, but it wasn’t really me who thought change was impossible, it was depression.

Part of having depression is recognizing your reality is sometimes not real; it’s not the truth, but that’s something you discover for yourself. It can’t be told to you. Just because you believe there’s no place in te world for you, it just means you haven’t found it yet.

There’s never going to be easy answers. There’s not a manual or a guide for dealing with demons because what works for someone else may not help you, and when you’re sitting alone in the darkness, I know that it’s difficult to believe anything will ever be different. You either start to resign yourself to a life of misery or try something you’ll regret, and neither of those is okay.

But this isn’t a post about having faith that things will get better, it’s about finding the reason to have faith. You have to find your light, your reason for living; the thing that makes everything worthwhile because that’s how you move forward and that’s how things get better.

When I couldn’t find a light or a reason, nothing was worth trying. I didn’t think I could do enough to make a difference for myself because I didn’t have anything to hold onto to. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person or a mantra or an object or an idea. Whatever it is, it resonates in you and it’s your weapon to fight back the darkness and you’ll learn to fight with it; even if you stumble or fail, it’ll be okay because you’ll have your light. You can get back up and try again, even if the progress seems miniscule it’s enough because that means you have hope.

Hope can get you through anything. It doesn’t save you, but it enables you to save yourself.

It’s a process; as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The walls can crumble, glass can shatter, everything can fall apart, but it can be rebuilt. It can be better than it was. All it takes is time.

Give yourself that time. Shine your light. It’s not a race or a competition; you’ll get there and when you do it will be beautiful.

You’ll be happy. I promise.

Mental Health and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

“Hope is being able to see that there is a light despite all of the darkness.”

—Desmond Tutu

Like so many days recently, I got up and got ready only to collapse and fall again. If you’re me, getting back up doesn’t always work.

My emotions are fragile and sometimes they don’t even need a trigger. If I’m too tired and I start to doubt myself, I get caught in a thought spiral and the anxiety overwhelms me until I’m sobbing uncontrollably.

Most of the time, the easiest thing for me to do is get out of the way and go home because otherwise, I’m a burden to my job or my friends or my family, and I don’t want to be. The more time I spend with people, the harder it is for me to control my anxiety.

It’s hard for me to trust people because I’ve always felt misunderstood and different my whole life. Yes, I know that everyone probably feels like that, but some people handle it better.

Some days, I’m absolutely fine. I can be productive and I can do the things that make me anxious. Other days, the world closes in on me and everything becomes a problem. I let fear and anxiety get the best of me, and it’s honestly life ruining. I get so overwhelmed that it spills out of me and I don’t know how to put it back inside me. It hurts me so much when I feel like I’m failing and pushing myself harder to not fail feels even worse, so I get trapped in a vicious cycle of negative emotions. It really really sucks.

My aunt calls it a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which when I decide I can’t do something, then it comes true. I don’t think she’s wrong, but I can’t change how my brain works, or at least I don’t know how to and therapy hasn’t given me answers yet or shown me how to find them.

And often it’s all too much for me and I lose myself for a few hours or a day; I bury myself in the darkness, but I’m finding more and more that it’s not all darkness anymore. There is light in my life and whenever the darkness

But, on a brighter side, I’m beginning to find something that does work for me; writing works. There’s still a few kinks in just getting started and not getting distracted, but it works and that makes me happy.

So, even though I stumble and fall a lot when I deal with other people, and even though it’s so difficult for me to go out and be a person, at least I have enough good things and happiness that I can get by.

I can make just enough to support myself and I can hang out with my best friend, and I’ll survive, and things will keep getting better if I keep moving forward.

I have to believe that.

 

Focus:

This is a word I ignore more often than not like i’m a 10-year-old with ADHD, except that i’m not and I need focus more than anything in my life right now.

I’m a chronic procrastinator and I let myself be distracted whenever I feel like it. I’m distracted now, but instead of Twitter or Tumblr, I decided blogging might be a slight upgrade.

I haven’t been around as often as I’d like recently because I haven’t much to say. I’m rebuilding routines again, or so I’ve told myself. I had a plan to restart my life and get stuff done, but so far i’m just sitting at the bottom of a deep hole.

So, I need focus. I need to write, even when I don’t want to. I need to take more shifts at Pizza Hut. I need to wake up early instead of sleeping till 1 pm, and then falling asleep at 4 am. That’s why routine is so important and without a rigorously scheduled job, my routine has been slipping and getting worse daily.

I sound happier because I am happier, but I’m not doing what needs to get done and that has to change right now, before I get myself in trouble again.

So, the key word is focus.

Focus on my life, focus on what’s important.

I know that I want to write, so I should write. I know steadycontent is not the most ideal of writing jobs, but it’s something and if I want to keep it, I need to keep doing it. I need to pick up blogmutt and any other site I find that will pay me to write for them.

And I need to help Ian get his stuff on Ebay. I’ve been avoiding it cause I’m afraid to do it wrong and I don’t want to screw it up, but the not doing it at all is probably worse.

I am smart. I can figure this out. I just need to focus.

Update: hopefully, I’m going to start a bullet journal soon because I think the organization methods with help me out a lot. I just need some spare money to buy a journal/colored pens.

 

 

Panic! At The Disco “Pray For The Wicked” Tour in Sunrise, July 31

I have been hyped about this concert for weeks because Panic! At The Disco is my favorite band. Brendon Urie is the ultimate showman, fresh off his Broadway run in Kinky Boots and I was thrilled to see how he had evolved over the past year.

I brought my friend this year, and while I knew he wasn’t 100% into music, I knew he would have fun and this was going to be an experience for him; he’d never been to a live concert and what actually ended up fascinating him was all of the technical components.

The theatrical nature of this tour was immediately apparent from the album itself. Pray For The Wicked is an album that radiates high energy and living for now even in ‘Dying in LA,’ which is a ballad about being surrounded by all of the things in life that we want, but that are just out of our reach, which is the quintessential Hollywood story. You’re just another face in the crowd, another dreamer, and at the end of the day you still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. You’d rather be dying in LA than living not in LA.

Having gone to the Death of A Bachelor tour last year, I was amazed by how Brendon took what was already a spectacular show and amped it up for the new album. He already used a lot of lighting and visual effects with each song, but this year he was able to use pyrotechnics as well as laser light effects to supplement the screen visuals.

Dying In LA 2018
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 03.20.54
This Is Gospel 2017

 

 

 

 

 

To add to the theatrics, he also had risers that could lower him down under the stage and bring him up from below, but the crowning achievement of the Pray For The Wicked tour had to be the piano which floated over the audience on a rig as Brendon sang ‘Dying In LA.’ The tone was so similar to the piano version of ‘This is Gospel’ from the Death Of A Bachelor tour, but the extra ability to not only be in the audience, but above the audience really created a magical moment for the fans.

The other magical moment being ‘Girls/Girls/Boys,’ which was particularly special this year because one of his opening acts was Hayley Kiyoko, internet LGBT+ icon, who has a song called ‘Girls Like Girls Like Boys Do.’ And of course, like last year the audience participated with colored hearts in the pattern of the rainbow flag symbolizing the LGBT+ community.

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 04.35.47
Hayley Kiyoko and Brendon Urie performing Girls/Girls/Boys in Toronto, Ontario.
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Hayley Kiyoko in Sunrise, FL

 

And no Panic! At The Disco show is complete without one Brendon back flip

 

and the return of what will always be the song that defines Panic! At The Disco, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’…

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 03.57.15
I chimed in with a haven’t you people ever heard of… closing the GODDAMN door. NO!

They played all my favorite songs, new and old: ‘Ballad of Mona Lisa,’ ‘Nine In The Afternoon,’ ‘Say Amen (Saturday Night),’ ‘Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind),’ ‘Nicotine,’ ‘Hey Look Ma I Made It’; but something fun Brendon always does is amazing covers. Last year, it was Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Billy Joel’s ‘Movin’ Out.’ This year, he kept ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ because he says he wishes he wrote it, but his other cover blew my mind.

Cyndi Lauper wrote the music for Kinky Boots and my first thought when he brought up the musical was that he might perform ‘Soul of A Man,’ but he surprised by choosing Cyndi’s Lauper’s most famous song, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and I did have fun. I was not expecting that at all and it was so nice to just experience it in the moment.

I really can’t wait to see Brendon Urie continue to develop and evolve in his musical taste; while I miss a lot of the lyricism from the older albums, I really appreciate the energy that Brendon brings to his new music. It may not always be as unique as the sound used to be, but you can’t deny that Brendon loves what he’s creating and it shows; the energy that he puts into it comes out in his live performances and you can really see that what he’s doing is a labor of love for himself. And that’s a wonderful and beautiful thing.

It’s not selfish to create for yourself because when you release it into the world, people relate more because it speaks volumes about you as a person, and Brendon as a person is full of love and positive energy that he just wants to give back to us.

Nothing beats ending a concert with ‘Victorious,’ he did it last year and he did it again this year because “all my friends were glorious, tonight we are victorious.” It’s a crowd pleaser and it ends the night on an electric high note that buzzes long after the concert ends. It brings us together as we all go back home to reminisce on a night long awaited.

And it was a night we’ll never forget.

Equalibrium

**I wrote this back in April about 2 weeks after meeting Ian**

Sometimes I meet a person who has the ability to change my perspective without even trying. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does… the entire structure of my being is shattered and rebuilt.

That’s what he did.

I met a boy who’s brain thinks so radically different from mine, it’s almost surprising we find things to talk about. Where I’m emotional and metaphorical and abstract, he’s logical and practical and linear.

He taught me about war, while simultaneously preaching peace.

He taught me about taking life (guns and bullets) and creating life (soil and plants).

And I taught him about fiction and its effect on reality; the truth and untruth in words. I took his experiences and made them stories, learned from them: how to be a leader, how to make something from nothing, how to be a true friend.

That’s how we work, a balance between learning and doing, exploring and being, adventure and quiet. It’s better together.

July: Month-End Review

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July
‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ’em what your worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y
Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gonna leave ’em fallin’ down down down

This song got stuck in my head as I was writing this.

***

This has been a slow month, full of stops and starts.

I’m behind on my rent again because I quit my job and I’ve spend too much time panicking rather than being proactive. That’s just how I am, everything makes me anxious, so if I feel even a little off the world topples on it’s axis.

I’ve been very unbalanced this month, almost unhinged. Also, extremely tired. I have a habit of going to bed really late and waking up in the afternoon, not really rested. I keep forgetting to take my meds.

So my goals going into next month are:

  • Developing a good day to day routine. I have post-it notes for things I want to get done, but I need to be better about doing them and not being distracted instead.
  • Writing, writing writing. Both for my freelance job and this blog. I’ve been less than consistent and I need to be better about that.
  • Read something. I keep telling myself I want to review books, but I can’t do that if I don’t read a book, so I’m going to get on that.
  • Budget. I already spend less money on coffee and fast food, which was a huge problem for me. Now, I just need to make enough that I can save some money.

Those are the main things I think. My biggest concern for myself is consistency in my whole life. They say it takes 30 days to develop a habit and I need to develop habits. I feel like I waste a lot of time when I should be doing something productive.

I spent so much time sitting in an office, sitting on buses, and now that I spend a lot of my time at home not a lot has changed except for me being lazier. It feels like I’m waiting for something to change.

When I’m going places and doing things, it constantly felt like forward motion, but the progress was in a direction that I didn’t want to travel. Now, I’m changing directions and it’s not the smoothest transition, but hopefully it does improve in the next few months.

I’ve always felt like I’m supposed to write; the version of myself who can do anything exists on paper and I’d like to bring her to life.

July is always a very weird month for me because it’s the month where I try to plan events to go to, and then I need money that I don’t have. This month I attended FL Supercon and spent ~$300 and another ~$300 on Panic! At The Disco tickets. That’s a whole month’s rent that went to something else and now I’m behind.

I believe I can catch up, especially if I don’t plan any other big expensive events. It just sucks having to stress constantly because of my poor budgeting decisions, but I know I’m not going to another convention or concert for probably another year, so since July is coming to a close, I can really start to grow in August.

So, let’s save some money and form some productive habits and then take over the world.

That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

My Favorite Show Is Getting A Reboot (Or a Sequel? a Continuation?)

I made a post a month ago about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my favorite show, and why I love it so much. I’ve always thought that the show’s themes are still relevant and that it has existed far beyond it’s time.

At San Diego Comic Con this year, it was announced that my show was getting rebooted and as a fan who loves the show dearly, that scares me. Joss Whedon, who created the original show and characters, will be an executive producer with Monica Owusu-Breen as showrunner.

Recently, Joss Whedon has gotten a lot of negative press over his time with Marvel Studios and his direction of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), but also committed acts of adultery that spanned back to his time on Buffy and led to his wife divorcing him. He has long been heralded by press and the media as a feminist, but in recent years that image was torn down making a return to the show that gave him that title very terrifying.

However, things are looking interesting because Owusu-Breen has been a writer on Charmed, Fringe, Alias, and most recently Marvel’s Agents of Shield which is the project of Joss’ brother, Jed Whedon and his wife Maurissa Tancharoen. She is hoping to cast her main character, who was thought to be Buffy but may be another new slayer, as a black female lead. She herself is also black, so having the added diversity on a show that was very white is a huge plus.

She received a lot of backlash from fans because the show has long been iconic, and the actors cannot and should not be replaced. She responded that she agreed, that there is only one Buffy, one Willow, ad infinitum to the rest of the cast. She admitted to being a long time fan and that she wouldn’t want to retell the story that was already told.

That’s hopeful and comforting.

The show has meant so much to me for so long and there’s been years that I’ve wanted more episodes, more story. I’m still apprehensive, but I’m willing to watch. I’m willing to wait and see.

I don’t yet if it’s going to live up to the legacy that came before it; Buffy has big shoes to fill, but I’m hoping for the best.

Shifting Perspectives To A New Me

I talk a lot about making changes and specifically about perspective.

One of the most important things to remember about perspective is that it’s fluid, or it’s supposed to be. There are close-minded people who are convinced that their way is the only way, but you can choose to not be like them; choose to have an open-mind because it’s going to open worlds you didn’t expect.

Today, I changed the layout of my room because that’s supposed to help re-orient your brain to give you a fresh perspective. I did this for a few reasons:

  • because my room still didn’t feel like my room. I wanted to do something different with the layout to make it feel like my own. Also, i’m not a fan of floating beds, so I had to push it against a wall.
  • because now that I work from home, I wanted to find ways to differentiate home and work mode. I’ll actually be doing work mode in the living room, but reorganizing the bedroom was an extra step to making it home.
  • because I felt like it. It doesn’t need to get more complicated than that.

This was a very tangible thing for me, but other things I’ve don’t to change my perspective are a little bit less tangible, but still important. I changed my social media accounts.

I made a new facebook entirely, so I could clear it out and have a new, more private facebook for people I’m actually really close to. Also, my twitter, tumblr, and instagram got new usernames.

I’ve always been a fandom account on the internet, but lately as much as I still love my favorite shows, I’ve drifted from it being the main thing in my life that’s holding me together. So, all of my usernames have changed and they’ve become an amalgam of Lexi scribbles; lexibbles is my online writer persona. It’s not a pen name, but it’s a branding.

Rebranding to lexibbles is a way for me to say that who I am now and who I want to be seen as is a writer. That’s why I started this blog and minus a few hiccups, it’s still going strong.

I want to make my voice heard in ways that I never have before and that’s why I need to shift perspectives and see a new me.

A me who writes and who does things for myself.

A me who is curious about the world and wants to try new things.

A me who wants to be more than I ever was before.

A me who feels like me.

So that’s what this is, a new perspective, a new voice, a new branding, a new me.

Hello me!

I’ve Been Thinking…

…about who I am and what my goals are, what I stand for. I’ve been thinking about my recovery and how I’ve struggled.

I’m still struggling. I struggle every day to focus on important things and get what I need to get done. I’d rather let myself get distracted because it’s easier, because it hurts less (except that usually it hurts more).

It hurts because I actively make myself worse when I don’t do what I need to do. I stay up too late, get too little sleep, forget my meds or basic hygiene. It’s a mess.

I’m at a point where I want to start being a better person for myself because I know that it’s going to help me feel better. It’s hard to get stuff done when it feels like you’ve got too much to handle and your slipping fast, but it’s important to make it managable.

I made a post about to do lists and I would love to take that a step further and say outlines. Now, this is something I don’t do enough of and I think I want to start. So, let’s say I have a to do list with 3-5 items on it. We could break that down more and see what steps or actions I need to take to complete each of those things.

For example, I have a a specific to do list for writing. I write for a content mill and pick up articles, so I’m going to start breaking those articles down to make them even easier to write.

If I have a 1500 word article and three sources, let’s start by reading those sources and then making headings and deciding what points I need to address in each of those headings. Then, if I still need a few extra words, I can pad with just a tiny bit of fluff and repetition.

Also, scheduling is a good tool as well; don’t just list the items you need to get done, schedule time for them, either an allotment of hours (2-3 hours) or a block of time (3 pm -5 pm). Get into a routine and create habits.

The reason I get so distracted is because I don’t have a lot of routines or habits. I’m not used to being productive and making the most of my time. I often joke that like 80% of writing is being distracted with the other 20% being short burst of writing, but that’s not the most effective way of doing anything. Not only do I waste a lot of time, I don’t get anything out of it. I’m paid a set amount for each article, if I waste all day procrastinating writing one arcticle, then I don’t make as much for the time I spent working on it.

So, let’s review: continue list-making, break it down into smaller chunks by outlining the steps to completion, and schedule time to get it done.

Then, afterwords we can have fun.

‘Please, Don’t Touch Anything’ Leaves Me Itching To Touch Everything

Miss me? I’m sorry I dropped off the face of the planet, but I have two reasons (excuses).

One is that I didn’t have any updates that wouldn’t be me complaining about my life and I’m trying to ease up on that. I still want to talk about my recovery, but not every post.

Two is that I’ve just been in a post-con depression/slump. I haven’t managed to get back to a normal sleep cycle and I’m still trying to balance out writing and a part-time job, so things are hectic.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, though I want to talk about a game I discovered cause I miss game reviews. I do want to do a book review, but that will have to wait until I read a book.

So, the game I want to talk about is Please, Don’t Touch Anything and it’s so clever that I can’t do any of it without a walkthrough. I’m not always the best at brain riddles, but once I know the answer, I love going back to see how that answer was discovered. It’s weird, but for me it’s not picking my way through a haystack to find a needle, but having the needle and thinking about process of how I got it that makes me giddy.

I have more fun analyzing the process than going through the process , I guess.

But what’s fun about this game is that you get to press a button and destroy the world, over and over, and depending on what choices you make, you get a different ending. This can be anything from not pressing the button, to a crack opening up in the earth, to illuminati confirmed. Aliens, tentacle monsters, and killer robots all make a world ending appearance.

I also love that this game has little nods to other popular culture: the robot is Bender from Futurama and there’s a reference to V for Vendetta (but you’re also denying him entry to the country a la Papers, Please). There’s even a Stanley Parable easter egg. There’s 25 different endings.

This game is hilarious. It’s weird and cryptic, and it’s like a better version of every don’t press the button game ever. The biggest issue I have with it is that it is so hard to figure out the riddles, because it’s not like the give you a riddle, just hints to different endings and you have to figure out what goes where to make the earth go boom.

That being said, it was the most fun and I would absolutely play again. If you haven’t checked it out, go do it and remember: please, don’t touch anything.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’m going to derail this post once more because I was watching a Game Theory video about how video game movies suck because they they focus on the action of the game and not the story, but more than that a movie takes away the interactivity that you have with a game and I think that’s part of the reason that I’m starting to enjoy gaming more as a media type, when I’ve always been the observer who watches too many tv shows.

I think this is me trying to take an active part in my life again, to interact even if it’s with characters in a game. But even, like watching youtuber let’s plays and even Game Theory, it’s a small disconnect from play the game myself, but it still sometimes feels like i’m interacting and learning with the youtuber or letting MatPat’s theories make me over think a simple narration choice because it get’s me excited and involved. Because of watching let’s plays and Game Theory, I’ve been discovering games that I actually have downloaded and played. I think that’s pretty radical.

Okay. I’m done now, off my soap box.

Con Lyfe!

Since I’m going to be running around at Florida Supercon today, I just wanted to do a quick post about why I love conventions and why I think they’re important.

Normally, I would try to do the full 3-4 day experience, but I didn’t have the money this year because it’s been a bit up and down in terms of being employed and able to work, but even just doing a con for one day is a magical experience.

I’m taking Ian with me and it will be his first ever con experience.

For Ian, he is trying to start a business and he is extremely interested in the business side of running a con and signing up to be a vendor at a con. Apparently, this will be market research for him.

I want him to have fun though and fun he shall have.

Cons are amazing because the people who attend cons are people who are passionate about what they love and there’s an energy that permeates any convention because of that passion. People are excited to be there and to be around people who love what they love. That is a beautiful thing.

It’s not just meeting your favorite celebrities; it’s meeting other fans who love what you love and talking to vendors, who are passionate about creating because it’s what they love. It’s having a day (or days) that’s just about celebrating yourself and what you love.

There’s nothing more positive than a convention experience.

So, let’s go have some fun.

Making To Do Lists

I mentioned that I’ve been feeling pretty down for the last few weeks.

It’s understandable because I feel like the job that I got is a repeat of a job that I had a year ago when I was more depressed than I’ve ever been, and I think that took a big toll on me. So, even when other parts of my life were getting better, that was still holding me back.

That’s not what this post is about though; this post is about making lists and goals to get myself back to where I was. I made the decision to quit the job, which means that I need to work on getting a new job. I mentioned already that my roommate is getting me a few hours at pizza hut, which helps enormously, but in the interim, I have also been working on freelance writing.

I joined a content mill (which is not the best pay, but you have to start somewhere). So, writing pieces for them will help pad out the money i’m not getting elsewhere.

Also, I got an e-mail last night for a digital copy editor job that I applied for. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified enough for that position, but I was asked if I wanted to write copy for them. I absolutely said I would love to.

So, here’s the part about lists because I need to start getting organized, especially if I’m working freelance. I’m going to be making my own hours and getting paid by the project and not the hours I spend doing it.

Right now on my phone, I’ve made three separate to do lists.

The first is for the day to day things that need to get done. Things like showering and laundry and cleaning and taking my meds. Even though, my goal is to work from home, I can’t and shouldn’t let my hygiene suffer.  I know how bad that can get and what not caring about myself can do to my mood, so I want to get a routine in place.

The second is a list of what projects I want to work on including this blog, but also how many pieces I need to take on for the content mill (right now just two; they can vary in length) and writing the test for the other writing job, so I can start getting other projects with them.

The third is my fun list. It’s a list of what I am reading and watching, which can also play into writing reviews for the blog. As I pointed out, I don’t want this to just become a lot of somber, stale, overly personal posts about my life and my mental health recovery. I want to do fun stuff and invite you readers into my interests in the hopes that you’ll find something that you’ll like. Plus, I believe that the things that interest us play into our mental health. I think that we relate to ideas and media that speaks to who we are.  Lately, I’ve been watching Game Theory videos on youtube and learning about new games, so I’m psyched to do something like that here because we can learn a lot about ourselves from the media that we consume.

Right now, I’m jumping between 3 different books (1984 – George Orwell, Brave New World – Aldous Huxley, and Turtles All The Way Down – John Green); I’m not too far in any of them, but you can and should be expecting reviews when I do finish any of them soon.

Game Recommendations, even if I haven’t played them:

Detroit Become Human is a very thought-provoking game about a world with androids, so if that interests you at all go check out jacksepticeye’s let’s play on youtube.

I’ve done several game reviews already, but Night In the Woods is still a big one for me and jack does a let’s play for that as well. That one is super relatable in terms of growing up and not knowing what you want to do with your life and having friends who seem to be growing up faster than you. Definitely check that out.

So, my advice today is to make lists:

What do you want to do? What do you want to get done? What do you want to work on?What kind of routine do you want to have for your day? What are your goals, short-term or long term? What’s important to you? What’s going to make you feel more fulfilled?

Ask these kinds of questions to yourself and see what you come up with because the answer won’t be the same for anyone reading this post. It’s going to help make you more productive even with the things that are just fun.

If you do make lists, have more than one. There’s going to be things that are very important and have time limits and have to get done TODAY, and then things that you want to work on over the course of the week or month. So, it’s important to prioritize and maximize what you can get done.

Feel free to ask me any questions or for any recommendations. I’m not an expert, but this is what’s helping me right now, and I’m happy to chat with any of you about it.

Remember to always do what works for you and what’s best for you.

Road Bumps

I’m still here, I promise. It’s been a very rough few weeks and I’ve been shy about blogging about it for a few reasons:

  1. My parents do read my blog and I get the impression that they read it because they want to know if I’m doing things I shouldn’t be doing and to be honest it’s not a fight I want to have with them. I feel like I am dealing with my feelings on my own and at this point, I would just rather not have their input.
  2. I wanted to step away from talking about myself so much and getting so personal was not a bad thing, but I felt like I needed to keep some stuff to myself for awhile and process that before putting any of it out into the world, but I’m here now so I’ll talk about it.

I think that I’m quitting my call center job and before anyone riots; I really believe this is the right choice for me and also, my roommate is assisting me in getting work at Pizza Hut. Now, there is a lot to unpack here and I do realize Pizza Hut is going to be a major cut in salary and hours, but to be honest, money’s not important to me other than getting my rent paid. I am not someone who needs to make a lot of money. Money for me does not equal happiness.

Being at the call center gives me a lot of anxiety. It’s not even stress, it’s a pure feeling of being uncomfortable and it’s not the type of calls or the customers; it’s just talking so much; I feel like I trip over my words. So much of it is tied to fighting constantly on the phone with my parents and not knowing what to say, but also having had another call center job that I had similar anxieties going into, while also being in a living environment that stressed me out and increased my depression, both made being in a call center very difficult.

I sometimes burst into tears logging into my computer and phone systems. I’ve grown to have very negative connotations associated with a call center environment.

At this point, I’m willing to do anything else. Hopefully because a lot of my other issues have improved like my home life and having a friend that I trust, that will help me continue to forge this new path.

One of my biggest problems in the past was feeling so depressed that I couldn’t envision a future for myself. I can see that future now and I know it exists and I just have to find the right road to travel.

There might be bumps along the way. I might have small backslides like this, but as long as I am trying to move forward, I’m not afraid. The problems only exist when I give up completely and  let myself suffer.

As long as I can see the path ahead of me, I know I’m going to be okay.

What’s To Come

I’ve been getting way up close and personal with my life lately, but I really want this blog to be a balance of a few different things. It’s about writing a story, my story, but my story is more than my life experiences, more than the advice I want to give and the lessons that I’ve learned (in some cases, lessons that I’m still learning); my life is also about my hobbies and interests, my process of creation and the way my brain works.

I want to do more reviews because talking about existing media and why i like it, why I think it’s important, is a big part of who I am. I want to read more and do book reviews. I downloaded a whole bunch of books recently, but sitting and finding the time to read them without getting distracted has been difficult. I’d like to get more in depth on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, American Gods, even Rick and Morty. There’s just a lot I want to say and explore because learning about what you like and why you like it is how you develop your creations.

I especially want to be able to keep up a level of consistence on this blog because with blogging, consistency is everything. The more you force yourself to write, the easier writing becomes, and it’s just important for me to keep writing and to be consistant.

What I want to say is thank you to everyone who reads my blog; I am here because of you. I am here because while my life is nothing special, I hope it’s relatable. We’re all human and we all struggle. That is something that can be very difficult to voice, but I’m here to be that voice.

When I talk about my struggles, it’s not just me that I’m talking about: it’s all of you who have ever felt like me. It’s to the people that have struggled to understand their feelings. I do this for you, and doing it for you is beneficial for me as well.

Part of the reason I’m so interested in talking about the process of writing, about the media that I obsess over and love dearly is because these things not only help to inform my writing, but also my recovery process. They help me and I’d like to think I can introduce you to something that might help you, or give you a new perspective on something you already know about.

All stories, fiction and nonfiction, strive to connect to their audience and one of the ways  they do that is by giving them something to relate to, something to think about. I said to someone recently that acting isn’t acting; yes, you’re playing someone else, a character, real or not real, but what your doing is looking for that character’s truth. Acting is about honesty, finding the real in the not real.

Writing is the same way; writers are truth seekers. We’re trying to find what’s missing or what’s wrong and make sense of it. Every story is a human story if you look hard enough, because all stories are told by humans and we tell stories in the way we relate to them.

So, what this post is about is that I might step off a bit on baring my soul for awhile. If something happens and I feel like it’s important, I’ll share it, but I need to back off a bit and shift my perspective. Hopefully, you like what’s to come.

 

It’s Important To Make Plans

I am a homebody and most of the time I am content to spend a night by myself with pizza and netflix, but after having depression for so long and hiding from people, I grew to need people.

And the fact is we all need people even when we don’t think we do.

I understand introverts need that time alone to recharge (because I am also an introvert), but they need interaction too. It’s good for them and it’s healthy.

Spending time with others improves your mood, it improves your energy levels and your habits. When I wasn’t seeing people, I let my hygiene suffer, I slept at odd hours and was tired all the time, and I was just sad.

So, conclusion: It’s good to make plans.

Doing things keeps you active, it keeps your mind active. It’s stimulating. Having conversations with friends, being able to touch someone makes the chemicals in your brain flow and flood: serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline… Being with others heightens those things because laughter is contagious, so is happiness.

Being around people is so beneficial and especially in a society where we are technologically so connection, but seem to have forgotten real human connection, making plans is crucial.

It does have to be something overly planned or expensive. Coffee dates are cliche, but it is a good way to get to know people and catch up with old friends. It’s always fun to challenge yourself to things like cooking a new meal or adventuring to a new place, but sometimes just hanging out and talking, watching a movie on netflix, or playing video games together is really enough.

The point is that it’s better to share it with someone than just doing by yourself. That’s not to say don’t ever do anything by yourself, alone time is great, but make sure you don’t close yourself off too much.

You learn more by doing more with different people, so when you can go have fun with people.

Xibalba

Travel the  moonlit stars,
across galaxies; lightyears
from the milky way

to an underworld most dark.
An epic battle for lost souls,
seeking peace in our shattered lives
and hoping to find a light.

We wait in breathless pauses
for answers to questions unasked.

Finding Xibalba;
the fear that lives in shadows.
It must be suffered to
pass through the veil of evil
into promise, love,

hope:

Pandora hid you,
Buried you deep
in her box of evil.

The tiniest glimmer;
nearly invisible
if you didn’t know to look.

It lives in dark corners
…in Xibalba,
An other-world Underworld.

It fades, it flickers;
fits and starts (until)

we break free

and we find true and perfect
peace.

 

 

 

Why I Started A Blog

Writing has been in my blood since I was small. I grew up reading books. I have a vivid memory of my Dad trying to read Moby Dick to me when I was far too young to understand Moby Dick.

But I loved books, I loved stories. I always wanted to write and I started with poetry. I’ve dabbled in fan fiction and roleplay. I’m obsessed with character driven plots and unique story structure. I want to explore good writing and my own writing because it is such a core part of who I am and how I’m built.

I’m also on a journey of recovery, which is what I talk about the most on this blog because if I can help one person understand their emotions and their struggles, that’s enough. It’s not just helping me to learn about myself and grow, but it’s to share my story with others who maybe don’t know how to voice what they’re feeling.

I used to have major depression and it was so severe that I didn’t see a future anymore for myself. I was existing, but I wasn’t living.

I was also diagnosed with anxiety, but it was so buried I confused the two. Now that I’m happier and am on a path towards my future, I can pinpoint my anxieties much better. I still struggle with it. It’s still a work in constant progress, but it is getting better. This blog is here to chart that, to show that depression doesn’t last forever and anxiety doesn’t have to rule over your whole life.

It’s okay to struggle as long as you pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Life doesn’t stop because you’ve stopped; you keep growing older, but not growing up or changing. That’s where I am now, changing and growing after being stagnant for so long. It feels like tumbling down a hill, going faster and faster, and hoping that when I get to the bottom, I’ve survived the fall.

I worry often about failure and backsliding. Every time I miss work or I’m running late, every time something happens that shifts my perspective into the negative, I get terrified. That’s my anxiety and it is a beast of a thing that I never realized was so big because my depression overshadowed it.

But I see the little changes in myself that make me stronger and better. The simplest things like feeling the need to make my bed in the morning and showering. It’s hard to admit that my hygiene got so bad because it’s embarrassing, but it did. I can vividly remember being so passive and uncaring about living in filth. It’s actually quite disturbing. I won’t say that my room is sparkling or immaculate now, but it is cleaner and my own personal hygiene is actually back to normal.

So, why did I start this blog?

To connect to others like me, to share my story and my voice with the world, and I can honestly say that it’s really been a positive addition to my life. It’s helped me assess my issues and deal with harsh truths, while also noting the good things and the progress I’ve made.

The more I write on it, the more I want to write on it.

I hope that feeling never goes away.

Not Lost, But Found

I’m stronger now,
braver too

because I have you.

I’ve been reborn: a phoenix
drenched in fire, and risen
from the ashes; forged by
iron and steel [molten].

You make me possible when
I used to be impossible.

I’m new, spreading fragile wings
preparing to run, to leap, to fly.

I’m not broken, not lost, not afraid.
I build myself from the wreckage,
with hope and love and strength;
resilient and determined
to succeed in anything I try.

All this because
you found me.

 

June: A Month-End Review

Wow. We’re almost at the end of June.

It’s been like 2 months since I started this blog; 2 months since my life started changing for the better and that’s absolutely amazing.

I’m excited. I’m thrilled. I have stuff that I’m looking forward to and a job that while stressful, I don’t actually hate that much. Things are really really good.

I do still get big waves of anxiety sometimes and they are related to the work that I’m doing, but having the time away from the job where I can be by myself or be with Ian helps so much. It’s very calming and rejuvenating, and then I can deal with the stress again.

It’s really about finding that balance and while I’m not quite there yet, I’m definitely getting closer.

July is going to be a fun month for me. I think I’ll finally start settling into a work groove, but I have actual events planned with Ian that hopefully are going to be a blast.

One is a full day at Florida Supercon, which I did 3 days at last year, but I couldn’t take that much time off work and it’s a little expensive for Ian, but I think one day will be enough. It’s Ian’s first convention, so I think it’s gonna give him the convention bug and maybe we can save and plan for a longer event in the future.

The second event is Panic! At The Disco’s Pray For The Wicked Tour concert at the end of the month. Again this is an event I did last year (Death Of A Bachelor Tour) and it blew my mind. I had so much fun. It’s also going to be Ian’s first concert, so I’m hoping that he enjoys it. It’s my gift to him for taking care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself and for helping me become the person that I’m becoming.

I really can’t wait.

So, what I can say about June was that there were a few fits and starts, but I do think that I am making progress and that I am really growing up. That’s important to me. The funny thing about progress is sometimes you don’t notice it because the changes seem so small, but those can sometimes be the most important ones.

I am happier than I’ve ever been and that’s all I’ve ever really wanted. It’s never been about money for me, it’s about doing things with people I love and enjoying the time that I have. Don’t get me wrong, money helps a lot, but it’s not what’s important to our growth as people. What is important is our connections to others and how we choose to be seen in the world.

The only other thing I want to say is that I know I was making blog posts daily and consistency is important, but I’ve been busy and trying to sort a few things in my life, so I have missed a few days. I promise I’m still here and keeping up this blog as best as I can. There won’t be any huge gaps in content. I’ll never go more than a day or two without some kind of update. My readers mean a lot to me, so I’m definitely not going anywhere.

I hope that we all continue to improve ourselves as we head into July 2018.

It’s Exhausting Talking About My Depression and Anxiety, But It Helps Me Understand Myself Better

I’m depressed sometimes.

I’m anxious sometimes.

Usually, I’m happy to open up about my issues, but sometimes, especially when I get embarassed, I can’t talk about it. However, I also wanted to say that I had to step away for a few days from my job, from this blog, and even from Ian (that one was more about him than me, but I think it actually did me some good).

Progress is hard; it’s Sisyphus and the boulder, and sometimes you’re pushing and it feels like going nowhere. The burden is too heavy and all you want is to breathe.

I’ve taken a few days away from work, which sucks because I’m not making money, but it’s like restoring my body and my brain to factory settings.

I don’t want to be the person who calls out of work because the anxiety is too much, but sometimes I have to admit that it is.

I went to my job yesterday, spoke with one of my supervisors about why I missed the last 2 shifts and he encouraged me to push forward, but understood why I was feeling the way that I was.

When I got back to my desk and started logging in to the systems, a wave crashed over me and I started sobbing. Another supervisor talked to me and I took a bathroom break to pull myself together, but it didn’t work.

I talked to one more supervisor and agreed I would take one more day to pull myself together. I do feel better now; not only because I took one more day, but also because I spoke with my bosses. I let them know what was going on with me, and we can move forward from that.

I let this blog go a few days without a new post. I had been consistent for awhile now and it was weird not to have a post going up, but I think that I had to process my feelings for myself before I could put them out in the world.

I’ve been changing a lot,  I’ve been growing up and it’s been rough; some days more than others, but the big thing is not giving up. The fight isn’t over until you’re dead or the last one standing.

So, let yourself fail when you need to, let yourself be vulnerable and fall apart because sometimes, you need that to show you what wasn’t working. That’s okay, as long as you remember to get back up again.

Know your weaknesses and your strengths, and live.

Not Just A Smile

I can’t get enough of Ian’s smile because I know it’s always real, always. He doesn’t perform, doesn’t fake it.

There’s nothing more honest, more genuine than a real smile.

It lights up a face, makes it shine brightly.

Be around someone who makes you smile, who makes you laugh, who makes you stare and listen and wonder about the world around you.

It’s the best feeling, when you’re lighter than air because you’re happy

and a smile is all it takes to push away the darkness and lift the heart.

I don’t need anything else.

One smile and everything’s better.

Just knowing I can make you smile makes me smile.

That’s all it takes.

 

 

Struggling With Anxiety

I’ve read a lot of anxiety discourse, so I figure I should throw in my own two cents.

I had an anxiety attack this morning and for those people who read my blog and criticize me for me for not always pushing through, I’m sorry. I know when my body and my brain is telling me I’m going to make it worse.

I work in a call center and sometimes it’s too much for me. The beep from a call coming in makes me jump out of my skin. Even when I know what I’m doing, it’s so hard for me to explain it. Sometimes I can’t get my words out without my tongue tripping over them.

Sometimes, it’s fine. Sometimes, I can push through and make myself do what needs to be done. Sometimes, I can’t.

I hate that this is me. I hate that there are days I just give up because I can’t win the fight. I can’t even fight the fight. It’s a switch and when it flips, there’s nothing I can do.

It’s gotten a lot better, but I still have days when I just surrender without even trying.

I spent over an hour crying and deciding what I wanted to do, even though I knew I had already decided.

My last anxiety attack happened after my first driving lesson. I was filled with regret for not learning sooner, fear that I’d wreck Ian’s truck or somehow mess up so bad that he wouldn’t even want to teach me anymore; I had a whole myriad of feelings that built up and spilled out of me rendering me useless.

And today, that’s happening, but it’s work related. I’m afraid of being the person that I used to be, who worked myself into a tizzy at a moment’s notice and ended up quitting because of it. I’m afraid of failure and saying the exact wrong thing. I’m desperate to be better but I don’t know how to do that, so I start panicking and I get flustered.

It sucks.

I wish understood all my feelings better or that there weren’t so many them. Then, I could pick them apart and deal with them one on one, but the sensation is like drowning. It’s getting overwhelmed by all the thoughts and the feelings, and losing sight of how to cope with them.

The thing is though, I’m pushing myself harder than I ever have before. I’m using every bit of strength that I have. So, it’s not surprising that some days I just don’t have it in me. Some days, I need to recover, so that I can try again and do better the next time.

In the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy asks all the potential slayers, “Are you ready to be strong?”

Yes. I am.

I can do this. I will do this.

Not for Ian. Not for my parents. Not for my therapist or my friends, but for me.

So, I’m going to fight. Maybe not today, but tomorrow and the next day and the day after that…and so on, until I can say I’m strong.

If life’s not worth fighting for, then what’s the point? Make it worth fighting for.

On Being A Writer

It’s taken me a long time to adopt the word writer for myself because I always felt like I didn’t write enough to get that distinction, but what I realized was that despite going long stretches not writing, I always came back to it as my way of coping and understanding myself and my world.

It’s what I love and what I’m passionate about, regardless of how good I am. That’s not important because the more I write, the better I’ll get.

I write so that I can share my experiences, not because I think they’re special or unique, but because they aren’t. I want people to know that they’re not alone in the world and that I understand what they’re going through. This is how I coped and how I moved forward even when I was surrounded by darkness.

I needed it to keep me alive | grounded | together.

I’m fascinated by the way the brain absorbs and processes information. For me, it’s text-based. I process words because I’ve been studying, reading, learning out of books my whole life. Ian learns by doing, with his hands and with technical manuals that explain how to with diagrams. My friend Stephanie is a visual artist and graphic designer. She learns best in pictures: lines, curves, shapes, patterns.

I understand the way it works and I enjoy watching it happen, even if I can’t exactly do it myself. Ian shows me how to learn by doing and it’s not that I can’t, but it’s not natural for me. It’s rewiring synapses and coding to be different and better.

But writing is still home. It’s what I always come back to. It’s comfortable even when it’s challenging because I know that when I push myself I will ultimately succeed. The other way takes a little more effort, which isn’t bad, but can be stressful.

But stress is why I write. I take that stress and release all the pent up feelings in words on a page. I start new and fresh and bold on a blank sheet after the other is full and messy. I write and I write and I process all the fears I’ve fought and ideas I’ve had and choices that I’ve made. I make sense of all of them.

That’s what works for me. That’s why I do it.

What works for you?

The Key to Everything: Believe in Believing.

It is important to have faith because to believe in something or someone can give you untapped strength.

Believing in anything is what makes us passionate, gives us confidence and a reason to fight.

When I say faith, I don’t necessarily mean religion.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having faith in God. It’s something that people have used since the beginning of time as a belief system, it’s a way to believe in something bigger than yourself with other people, so that you can share that belief with them. The group mentality helps to forge a stronger belief system, which is mostly a great thing, but it’s not a post about my religious beliefs, so I won’t get into it.

Religion is something that never worked for me personally, but I know that for a lot of people it helps a lot. My mother went to church at least a couple of times a week and it gave her the strength to fight off her cancer, until it was too late.

For myself, I prefer to believe in people; I need to believe in myself and my own strength, in karma, in teamwork. I have to believe that if I try, if I put in the effort required, I can make a difference and be better for it.

I’m always striving to be the best version of myself that I can be, and to do that I had to believe in something. I used to feel hopeless and lost; I didn’t know where I was going or what I was supposed to be doing. I had given up.

When I met Ian, we got to know each other and we talked at length about ourselves: who we were, who we are, who we’re becoming; what we wanted and needed out of life. Ian is someone I believe in; he gives me all the strength and the confidence I need to push myself forward when nothing and no one else ever did.

Ian told me about his own darkness, his own demons, and the struggles that he experienced and then he explained how he got through them. A lot of it was talking to people who felt the same way about their own lives, believing in each other that they could get better, survive, live.

We all have demons, but what keeps them at bay is knowing that there’s something bigger, better, stronger than them and that’s belief. It’s finding the reason to fight back and when you do, that’s how you win.

It’s not immediate, it’s a process,  but the more you believe the better things are going to get and feel.

I’ve spent more time in addiction anonymous groups than I ever wanted to or needed to (i’m not an addict, but that’s another story), but the serenity prayer that addicts use is actually really helpful.

nap_dv21095

Accept what you can’t control, and do something about the things that you can. That third part about the wisdom to know the difference, that’s where I struggled the most. For the longest time, everything felt out of my control and I had accepted that everything was out of my control. I didn’t fight to gain any control because I didn’t think it would help, but that was lying to myself. That was ignoring myself and what I needed, and it took me a long time to see that.

That poem doesn’t need a belief in God to be real, it just needs a belief in something. It needs a belief in yourself and your willingness to move forward and change for the better.

Believe in something, anything at all; whatever makes you feel stronger and use that to take on the world.

 

The Truth About Honesty

I am a very honest person, too honest.

I can’t keep a secret and it’s not that I’ve ever been into gossiping, but everything for me is a story, so it’s not just a fact or an idea, but it grows into something with drama that sounds interesting no matter how dull it might be.

The thing about honesty though, is that sometimes your truth isn’t someone else’s truth. Sometimes perspective and bias cloud judgement and color something in a different light than someone else might see it. That can lead to friction between people, and more than that it can really hurt.

Both people can be really passionate about how they see the world and their interpretation of it, which isn’t a bad thing. Both people have valid opinions and both are true to that individual.

Sometimes damage is what makes honesty hard; when you speak your truth and the other person just won’t hear it, won’t accept it. It breeds desperation when it’s something that is deeply important; when all you want is to be understood, to be listened to.

But what the truth is should only really be important to the person who believes it. It’s not about convincing someone else to believe, but knowing yourself that what you believe is real, is the truth.

It makes you stronger and more confident.

You know what you believe. That inside of you is absolute truth (for you), and that’s valid. So use it for yourself.

It doesn’t matter if someone else believes it. It doesn’t have to be true for them. You life is your own and you move forward on your own.

And if one person doesn’t believe you, someone else will.

You can’t force your truth on another person, no matter how much it hurts, but you can accept that it’s your own truth and fight for it.

Use it to your advantage, to show the world that you’re better than they think.

That’s how you make them believe your truth.

 

 

Letting Go… (Part 2)

People say all the time to let go of the toxic people in your life; the people who hold you back and who make you feel worthless. Those people aren’t wrong, but I think that they are missing part of the equation.

Some people have terrible relationships with family, but it’s hard to let go of family because we’ve built society around family units being of the utmost importance. When there’s no where else to turn, there’s supposed to be family and when there’s not, it can be very heartbreaking.

The point i’m trying to make is you can’t force a relationship and you can’t force someone to see a perspective that they aren’t willing to see, which is awful sometimes but it’s normal and it’s okay.

You can put space in your relationships with people when things get to be too much, and if down the road those people want to reconcile, you should try and be open to it.

If it doesn’t work and it’s still negative, fine. They aren’t worth your time, energy, or health.

But people do change, they grow and they learn from their mistakes. Forgiveness is key.

So don’t bring that unnecessary toxicity into your life, but always be the bigger person. If the wounds have healed enough, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try again, but don’t push, just let it happen.

It’ll work out for the best in the end.

It always does.

Letting go…

I had a conversation today about letting go of anger, being the bigger person, not fighting back when it’s not worth it to fight.

I am the least aggressive person I know; I don’t get angry often, I get upset and I feel hurt. Sometimes certain people get under my skin though; people who know how to make me feel my absolute worst.

And the truth is that I let them. I challenge them, I scream and I yell, I say the things that I know will trigger their own anger.

Why?

I’d rather walk away. I’d rather not feel that anger or that hurt. It’s not worth my happiness or my self-esteem , and I’m tired of clouding all of my good vibes with bad ones.

Anger is heavy, it’s like a weight, a burden you carry with you throughout the day and it only gets heavier the longer you dwell on it.

The fact of the matter is that there’s a difference of opinion. I know how I feel, I know what I believe, I know myself. Anyone who assumes something different can think what they want, it doesn’t affect my truth.

Let go.

Let every negative thought, feeling, person go because they are only holding you back from becoming who you truly are. You don’t need that. You don’t deserve it.

Be free of anger and live your bliss.

You’ll be better for it.

Let go.

Riches to Rags: the difference between hell and happiness

I’ve talked a lot about my journey on this blog because my goal is to be inspiring and to help people who feel like me to become someone they can feel proud of and confident in.

I’m not quite there yet myself, but it’s a work in progress and a choice that I make every day.

Today, I want to talk about where I came from. I’m a daughter of privilege. My dad owned his own company and while he was never a Fortune 500 superstar, he did well enough that I had everything I ever wanted and more. I never had to work for anything and I was more spoiled than almost everyone I met.

I was always drawn to people who were a lower class than me. I never fit in with people who were presumed to be “like me.”

I wasn’t happy. I was an empty shell filled with the material wealth that looked like happiness, but was really just fluff. It took me a long time to figure that out. I had everything, but I was missing connection; I was missing a sense of home, family, closeness that I didn’t understand I needed until fairly recently.

I always felt like the outsider in my family, but I was told that was normal. It is in some ways, but not in others. Anytime I’ve spent time with other families, they seem like a real unit that has real conversations and spends time together, and are just more open to each other lives.

My parents love me; I know that, and I know that they’ve only ever wanted the best for me, but over the years our relationship has strained to being almost torn in two. Most days, I can’t even communicate effectively with them. Sometimes I can, but it’s really dependent on if my parents think I’m being productive and independent. That can really hurt me because I’m doing my best and it’s been a long, difficult road for me. I try to share my life with them, but I don’t always feel like I can.

It’s no one’s fault, or it’s both of our faults; it’s just that we have our own perspectives and due to circumstances beyond our control, it’s hard to see a situation in a different light.

I lived in a house with eight strangers, a constant rotating door of people I didn’t connect with. It made me more depressed, more lonely, more stressed. I didn’t have a space to myself, which I think was the biggest problem. Unless I’m living with friends, I really want the ability to have personal space. I’m an introvert and I thrive on that.

It’s a big deal, especially when I work in a call center and I’m talking to people all day. I just want to be able to come home and decompress and not have to deal with more people.  I think that was a big factor in me quitting my job and eventually getting myself kicked out of the place I was living. I couldn’t handle so many people that I didn’t feel connected to in any way.

Which meant that even though I was surrounded by people, I was hopelessly alone and drowning in anxiety and stress.

In the process of rebuilding my life, I’ve found personal space and I’ve found someone who I love spending time with. Both of these things have given me so much more balance in my life, which makes the stress of work infinitely less stressful.

I still breakdown, I still cry, I still have moments of doubt, but it’s so much easier to push through them and keep trying to fix myself.

I’m happier now in my little not air conditioned room (I have an industrial fan) than I have been my whole life. In former blogs, I talked about my house never feeling like a home because it was so sterile and museum-like. It never felt truly lived in. I love my mismatched furniture, I love putting convention photo ops on my wall, I love having baby catci and an orchid to take care of and discount shopping at Good Will.

I feel more fulfilled, more open to growth. I have things that I can fight for and earn, which maybe is why I never grew up before. I used to have everything without lifting a finger; I didn’t feel like I had to grow up cause everything was already there for me.

It took me dragging myself through utter hell, barely surviving, to learn how to be myself. Now, I can say that I fought for and earned my happiness myself. I think that’s all my parents ever really wanted me to do. I just didn’t have the ability until recently to make that happen.

Things are good. I’m okay and you can be too.

If you ever think that you’re life isn’t working, isn’t right, or good enough. Wait.

Find the opportunity to change things because something will happen that changes everything. Give yourself the chance to grow because you never know what will happen 5 or 10 years down the road.

This is never what I expected for myself, but it’s my life and I’m starting to really love it.

 

Consent and Coercion

I have a spotty history with intimacy.

It’s something that I struggle with because having an actual connection with someone is what’s most important to me in any relationship. I don’t connect to people easily.

When I was a teenager (15) and didn’t have a clear understanding of relationships or sex, I pushed myself to please others while not receiving any real pleasure myself. I thought I was supposed to, so I did.

My first kiss was my best friend’s ex-boyfriend. It was underwhelming.

My first boyfriend was an online boyfriend and when we met, it was nothing more than half a blowjob.

There were a few more blowjobs with others, but nothing was ever done to me. I didn’t really want it.

At that age, I wasn’t even intimate with myself.

When I was 21, I had sex for the first time. It wasn’t my choice; I let someone else decide for me. They pushed me to consent, so I did. I wasn’t happy about it and I gave in because I felt like I should.

This was someone that I liked a lot, that I was close to and he liked me too; it just wasn’t enough to respect me when I repeatedly told him I wasn’t ready. He made me feel like I had to say yes.

We never spoke again.

It took me 7 years to be intimate with another person again. I tried, several times, to meet people and be close to them, but I froze every time someone came near me.

I became obsessed with masturbation.

In the last year (28), I pushed myself to be intimate, but those experiences meant nothing to me. I was having sexual experiences with people I barely knew because I wanted to overcome that original experience that had left me so damaged. It didn’t really work. I felt dirty, like I wasn’t being true to myself.

There were some guys who I did like and our time together wasn’t awful, but I was not in a mental place where I was making rational choices for myself, so it didn’t really feel right to me to continue anything with them.

My sexual experiences with Ian have been the purest I’ve ever had. There’s a level of comfort and safety with him that I’ve never felt before. Ian and I have a relationship that’s free of labels and expectations, but we have a connection that’s undeniable and we don’t need sex to make our relationship special or enjoyable; it’s just a nice bonus.

I still haven’t really figured out what exactly incites a connection with someone; it’s not always something I’m aware of, but a feeling. I just know when I want something and when I don’t.

What I want to say is to love yourself, trust yourself. Your body knows what it needs.

Don’t let anyone coerce you to consent to anything you’re not ready for or aren’t interested in because ultimately you’re going to regret it. I thought I was fine for a long time, but I realized much later that having sex before I was truly ready for it really affected me.

So, listen to yourself and don’t believe others who think they know what’s best for you. Virginity is a construct, it’s not a mythical unicorn that will ruin you if it goes away, but what is real is your feelings and your consent.

Sex is a choice; it’s a decision you make for yourself and no one else. Your partner makes the same choice for themselves and when you’ve both made the same choice, it can be something really beautiful.

Maslow Knew What He Was Talking About

Abraham Maslow, psychologist, known for his theory on the hierarchy of needs, really understood what we need as people to function properly within society. As someone who went through a long period of constant struggle, not having my basic needs met was making me feel worse about myself and my situation.

It was until I found Ian that I had somewhere to sleep that I felt safe, had access to food without having to spend all my money, and had a close friend that I could count on. Before him, I was alone, I was doing what I could to survive, but I didn’t feel safe and I wasn’t able to achieve any of my other needs because I had no foundation to stand on.

I’m working now, I have a home, I’m getting social interaction, and maybe soon I’ll start getting praise at my job. On the side I have this blog and I’m much more self-aware of my issues. I’m going to therapy, and working on a lot of self improvement.

So even though, I haven’t quite reached self-actualization, it feels closer than  it ever has before and having gone through this process of trying to get my needs met so that I could be a better person, it really shows me how accurate this theory truly is.

Feelin’ Myself (Kind of)

The more I’ve been growing and changing lately, the more I feel like myself. I feel like the person I’ve been longing for, that I’ve wanted to be for so long, but never had the motivation or energy to become. She’s not fully formed yet, but she’s there and every day she’s becoming more solid, more real.

At the same time, I barely recognize this person. I spent the better part of the last decade feeling dead inside, feeling depressed, broken, and not like myself at all. So, to actually feel alive again and feel like myself is still this strange and surreal process.

It’s a little bit scary and a little bit exciting. I’m finally moving in a direction instead of sitting in the middle of the road not knowing where to go next. I want so desperately to get there as fast as I can, but part of me knows I need to slow down. The harder I push myself, the easier it is for me to derail the progress. The point is that I’m no longer stagnant. I can see the changes happening and they feel great.

I no longer feel the constant urge to die, I’m not so lonely that I can’t stand it, I’m not looking forward to a future that seems distant and hopeless. Sometimes, I think it’s dumb that it took me this long to get some semblance of myself back. I’m going to turn 30 next year and I feel like I wasted my 20s with depression and self-doubt. There are so many things that I would have loved to do, but never did. Opportunities that I gave up.

I regret it so much.

But now is the time I’ve chosen to put myself back together because I got tired of living in the darkness, so I have to take it for everything it’s worth. I have to believe there will be new opportunities, better opportunities. I have a better sense of myself now, so I can better navigate the world.

If I can survive everything that happened to me, I can survive this too because I’m stronger now than I was, I’m better now than I was, I’m smarter now than I was.

I’m ready to be me again.

Driving Lessons, Screw Ups, Progress, and Personal Days

So the thing about change is sometimes you need a break because it’s all too much. I’ve been doing a lot lately; making a lot of progress in the right direction. It’s really not surprising that I needed a mental break.

Sunday night, Ian gave me the first driving lesson I’ve had in over 12 years in a Walmart parking lot. He even brought traffic cones. Needless to say, I was in a pretty constant state of panic. Ian drives a truck. It’s not huge or anything, but it’s still a truck. Most days, I can barely handle walking, let alone controlling a moving vehicle, but I digress because I did it (badly, but I still did it).

Left-handed parking was easy after a few attempts, but the right-handed parking was giving me problems. I ended the driving lesson actually feeling shook and covered in sweat. That’s how much effort I was putting in. I maybe had a miniature breakdown and laughed until I cried while Ian was gathering traffic cones.

I was exhausted and we still had to make dinner (it was like 11 pm) and I had work the next day.

We stayed up until 3 am and I was falling asleep fast. By the next morning, it felt like I was hit by a train. I just needed to rest, I needed a break… so I took a personal day. It’s not something I was planning to do or something I want to do again, especially after my last job. But at my last job, I hadn’t been making any forward progress. I hadn’t been learning or growing, and now I am.

It just got to be a little too much, too fast.

Let’s address dinner for a minute though, 1) Ian is working on better time management so we can stop making midnight burgers and 2) the recipe was stuffed peppers and we forgot tomato sauce. It was too late to buy anything from the store and all the nearby food places were closing, so we couldn’t order a pizza. We found some frozen pizza at home.

The next night, since I took a personal day, we attempted stuffed peppers again. We skipped a step and forgot to brown the meat. Also, we didn’t have quite enough tomato sauce. We may salvage that food into something else if we can, but we ended up ordering a pizza.

The point I’m trying to make is that life moves fast, you do things and you make progress, you screw up plans, but you make it work. And if at the end of all that, you feel like you did too much, you take a personal day. You recuperate and try again the next day.

I don’t want to be the person who takes too many personal days; I was that person and I hated that person, but I respect that I’ve been busy lately. I’ve been doing my best. So, it’s okay and I’m okay.

Let’s try again.

EDIT: I explained badly why I took the personal day. It wasn’t wasn’t about staying up till 3 am and being tired, it was about feeling emotionally fragile after my driving lesson.

It had been so long since I’d tried to drive and it’s such a stressful learning process, but more specifically my own history with why I didn’t learn to drive really affected me and it took a day to process those feelings and even after Monday, it was still making my week harder.

But I went to work Tuesday through Friday. I tried to move past my feelings and deal with normal work stress. It was a bit shaky, but by Friday, I actually felt good and happy up until I got told that my parents were disappointed in me for taking a personal day.

So there it is.

Lexi loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer (A Lot)

One of the first things people learn about me is that my favorite tv show will always be Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that I’m determined for it to always be a part of my life for more reasons than I can count.

I believe it is one of the most important shows of our time, not just because it opened the door for other shows like it (Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, The Originals), and not because it’s well-written and deserves more recognition, but because it unlike the majority of tv shows like it is about the human experience.

Buffy is a teenage girl; she’s in high school and going through the process of growing up like we all do. She has all the same trials and tribulations. She falls in love, makes friends, makes mistakes, loses people she cares about. She has a life and she has a destiny to protect the world from demons, vampires, and the forces of darkness. This is a responsibility that she was technically born with, but it was also thrust upon her and she’s the only one who can do her job.

Season 1 is about Buffy accepting that responsibility, even though as a teenager she has a lot of other worries, such as school.

Season 2 is about first love, first heartbreak, and ultimately forgiveness.

Season 3 is about identity and Buffy coming to terms with her role as a vampire slayer, when she finds out she’s no longer the only one and graduating high school, learning who you’re becoming.

Season 4 is about separation, going to college, feeling lost, alone, being distanced from friends and family.

Season 5 is about family and losing family. Choosing your own family. Sacrificing for your family.

Season 6 is about depression, addiction; not knowing who you are anymore and how to find yourself again.

Season 7 is about power. It’s about using that power, sharing the power. Finding that power in yourself and being strong.

These are just the major themes that Buffy addresses, but that’s only part of what makes it so uniquely beautiful. It is flawed at times, but it’s such a human story, that it’s okay for it to be flawed because it is a story about growth and growing up, and making mistakes, and coping with those mistakes. It’s about living life when life gets too hard to be lived.

When I watched Buffy for the first time, I saw a tv show that made me care so much, that made me feel so passionate. I grew up writing, but Buffy was what made it real. It made writing mean something more to me than words on a page. It linked it to reality, to human emotion and experiences. It showed me that fiction could also be truth, a universal truth.

What’s really fantastic about Buffy is that did every single one of these things while being equally witty and entertaining, and having action-packed fight scenes and high romance and drama, and you know, vampires. It played in every genre and every emotion, so there was really something for everyone.

My love of Buffy is about the characters, the plot, the themes, the acting, the writing. It’s literally everything (maybe not the cinematography, but that got better in later seasons). It’s ingrained in my heart and my bones. It’s become a part of who I am and much like Buffy shared her power with others around the world. I want to share this show with people who haven’t seen it, particularly young people.

Buffy is 20+ years old now and people are still enjoying it, it has a bit of a cult following, but it deserves a mainstream following. It deserves to be the kind of classic tv that everyone should see.

It’s not just some silly vampire show; it’s about people, humanity. It’s about life and the great spectrum of emotion and challenges we all go through.

I can’t recommend it enough.

Sometimes I have to rant about musical theatre

One of my greatest passions in life is theatre, specifically musicals. They say with musicals, when the emotion is too great, you have to sing about it, and if it’s greater still, you have to dance. It prides itself on spectacle and song, which are two of Aristotle’s Six Elements of Tragedy, but which I would argue applies to all of storytelling.

There’s a lot of people who say that musical theatre is not their thing because in their mind musical theatre is like a specific genre of music rather than its own media. People like to imagine that all musical theatre sounds like it comes from the 1950s. Obviously it doesn’t, but I would also say that these people haven’t found the musical that speaks to them.

As a storytelling medium, musical theatre has a lot of elements that an audience can relate to. Maybe it’s the characters or the plot or the music. As humans, most of us have a favorite book or movie or song or band, so why not a favorite musical? There’s no reason to assume that there isn’t one musical that could grab you.

I’ve already talked about a lot of my favorite musicals, but I want to say that I have very specific reasons that each musical speaks to me.

Hamilton‘s love of writing as well as the musical’s rhythms/lyricism.

Spring Awakening has relatable themes, beautiful music, and heartbreaking characters.

Heathers‘ is witty and fun, and adds so much to what was a very cult film.

Next to Normal is raw and real, and the story of a family falling apart because of loss is tragic. Ultimately the end does give a little bit of hope.

Those are just a few examples of some of the musicals I love and why I love them. There’s plenty more, but my point is I bet you could find the musical that fits you. I dare you to try.

People CAN Surprise You.

For a long long time, I always believed the worst in people. My perspective had been shadowed by my depression , my struggles, and my inability to get myself out of it.

The people in my life who did try to help me never understood that I was not capable of helping myself in the way they wanted. I won’t say this was their fault or my fault, but it led to a lot of bad blood and communication continuously broke down making things worse. I needed something different, something more than what was being offered. It took me a very long time to find that.

I needed stability. I needed to find support, and I needed it from someone that I trusted and could talk to. I didn’t want to feel like I was being lectured or talked down to or by not doing what they wanted, my feelings were somehow in valid.

I needed someone to work with me, so I could work on myself. I found that and it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

I got time.

I got stability.

I got better.

It was so surprising for me because I had never experienced that with anyone who had helped me in the past. It was new and almost baffling how much someone do in a small amount of time.

I know that you know I’m talking about Ian. I’m always talking about Ian because before Ian, I’d never had someone displace their whole life for me. He saw how badly I was in need, and he did something about it, something I will never forget or stop being grateful for.

I’m changed because of his small act of kindness. And I just want to put out into the world, the same amount of care and love that he showed me. He’s the kind of person we should all be striving to be.

I hope one day I can do something for someone just like me, someone who needs a little guidance and a little help to see just how strong they can be.

Inspiration for Writing and for Life

It’s really funny to me that instead of getting a creative writing degree, I chose to get an English literature and theatre degree. My passion in life is writing, but I often tell people that what it really is is storytelling.

Storytelling is how I see the world; the process of living is a story that we’re creating one day at a time. Each day is like a page, as we age and move forward, we enter into new chapters. This metaphor is contrived and lame, like yes, life is a linear progression, but I think the part about life that makes me envision it as a story is how we move from day to day; there’s routine, but then something will happen that’s surprising, that’s tragic or magical or uplifting. It’s like the world changes in those split seconds because you evolve and become someone who you weren’t before.

Life is truly about those moments.

But inspiration can be found anywhere, not just in the big life-changing moments. It can be in the smallest of actions. It can simply come from a change in perspective or a smile.

Sometimes, when I’m with Ian and we’re both working on our own projects, I find myself watching him. I see his focus and his process of solving problems. It’s like I’m watching his brain function, but something about it is mysterious, an enigma, and the longer I stare, the less I can figure it out. I can’t help but be fascinated.

Ian inspires me; he inspires my writing because i’m constantly learning new ways of thinking from him, but in the same way, he’s inspiring the person that I am. He’s inspiring bravery and confidence and creativity.

We rarely do the same things when we hang out. There’s always a new adventure, a new chance to learn something or improve ourselves. We’ve recently implemented The Super Secret Sunday Broward Breakfast Adventure Society where we pick a cool recipe and try to cook it. The first recipe was Eggs Benedict.

We love exploring and taking long walks. We love being in places when there’s no one around to watch us. We love seeing the world in new ways.

Ian’s a thinker. A problem solver. He likes taking things apart to make different things. 80% of the time, I have no idea what he’s even talking about, even when he explains it. So sometimes, I just get him to yell SCIENCE while I stare blankly at him.

He’s so passionate about his work and that’s what’s fascinating and inspiring. He wants to know about everything, so he learns everything. Maybe he’s not the best at anything, but that doesn’t matter because he’s good enough to make it work.

Inspiration is surprising. It comes to us in mysterious ways. I started this blog, because I read a blog post by a friend of mine and I wanted to write again. I talk about Ian so much because his passion is my passion.

You can find inspiration anywhere you look, but not if you’re paying attention. That’s when you’ll miss it. Let it come to you.

It’s really not difficult to be happy

I talk about happiness a lot on this blog.

I also talk about having depression and anxiety, and feeling worthless. I spent almost a decade being sad. I thought happiness was mythic and ethereal. It didn’t really exist, not for me anyway.

But you know what happiness is… it’s people, it’s forming friendships and bonds, it’s living for yourself.

My problem for a long time was that I didn’t connect with people; I let myself grow so lonely that I actually couldn’t stand to be alone. It got to the point where I barely knew how to talk to people. I became a social recluse (except for online friends, who were great but not enough to quell real loneliness).

There’s nothing more contagious than laughter, especially a friend’s laughter.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a hug from someone who makes you feel loved.

There’s nothing that gets people through there day or week more than knowing they’re going to see someone they care about.

I’m not saying that you always have to go out and have adventures (although I love a good adventure), but I also love just cuddling on the couch for movie night. I love cooking together and just long conversations about random ideas.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be with someone who means something to you. The rest will work itself out.

Our connections to others are what make us better, stronger, more interesting.

Communication. Collaboration. We’re not meant to live and die alone, we’re meant to enjoy the company of others. Our interactions with others are how we learn and grow; we build ourselves and each other through our relationships.

So, the real reason i’m happier now than i’ve ever been: I found a best friend who I trust and care about, who inspires me and teaches me and I’ve never felt so whole.

Pride Month: Bisexuality and Me…

It’s Pride Month and as a member of the LGBT+ community, I want to talk about this.

Hi, I’m Lexi and I identify as bisexual. It’s not a thing where i’m super loud and proud, but I am attracted to both men and women. Simple as that.

I’ve never had any kind of relationship with a woman, but I know very well that I’ve had some big crushes on quite a few (I kissed a girl once [my best friend in hight school] and I liked it). In general though, I’ve never had any really solid relationships, just friendships and friends with benefits and that one online boyfriend we don’t speak about.

The thing is I’ve always kind of struggled with my sexuality, it’s never been a very core part of who I am which is okay. I’m also not super strict with labels. In high school and college, I was drawn to theatre arts and LGBT+ community cause they were the misfits and I had always felt like a misfit. For a long time, I identified as a LGBT+ Ally, but in recent years, that’s changed.

Pansexual was the first term I applied to myself after years of being an Ally. I thought it fit and I still think it does. I don’t care about gender; if I like someone I like them and it’s about the person that they are.

At some point, I transitioned to identifying as Bisexual. I think because it simply made more sense to me. But really, I’m comfortable with either term. I also like the idea of identifying as Panromantic Bisexual. I feel like my feelings are genderless, I like the person that you are not the gender that you are, but i’m attracted to the gender. If that even makes sense at all.

I’m probably explaining myself into a hole. I’m not overly educated in the politics of sexual identity, which is why I don’t talk about it a lot. But because it’s Pride Month and I’m still a part of this community, I felt like I should just say it one more time:

Hi, I’m Lexi and I’m Bi (and also Pan).

What I’m Learning From Ian…

I’ve said a few times that Ian is someone who challenges me and who I learn a lot from. It’s not just that he teaches me about war history or science or even that he’s going to be teaching me to drive soon. It’s that he teaches me how to challenge myself.

When I’m with Ian, I’m braver. I force myself to try things I’ve never done. I have always been a person who watches; I observe from afar as people do things, make stuff, live their lives. But when I’m with Ian, I stop observing and I start doing.

For whatever reason, Ian is my safe place and he’s my support system, so being around him allows me to open up parts of myself that I usually shut down. I’m working on being that person outside of my friendship with Ian.

Sometimes, I sit and stare while Ian’s working and figuring out problems. It’s fascinating and it’s something I want to start doing for myself. I realize that it’s something I’ve done with writing, but it feels different. I’m just putting words on a page, building sentences and paragraphs, creating stories, but I wish I had the ability to do more.

Yesterday, Ian put a rifle in my hands and it was the most awkward thing anyone in the world has ever witnessed. I literally had no idea how to handle it even though I was only holding it. My awkwardness level was at about 110%, but apparently after about 5 minutes, I managed to be 10% less awkward. Minor improvement, but still an improvement.

My point is that with time and practice, I can learn practical skills and in time be a version of myself that is better equipped to survive this thing called life. It’s something that I only came to realize and understand from spending time with someone who does just that. He researches, reads manuals, practices until he can adequately achieve what he wants.

I remember when I first learned how to fold an origami crane, it focused my mind and I relaxed. I distracted myself from what was hurting inside me. If I focus on learning to cook, learning how to drive, learning anything really; that’s a coping skill. Not only would I be taking productive steps forward, I would be healing and I think that’s really amazing.

Ian has done so much more for me than he can ever understand and all I can do is thank him, and agree that I will pay it forward, which I will. I’ll help anyone I can and I’ll use the skills I’m learning to make the world a happier place.

I’ve Changed…

A lot.

I am leaps and bounds from the person I was a year ago or even 6 months ago. A year ago, I was starting a massive downslide. I stopped caring about my job. I had events planned and all I wanted was to distract myself from the things that were making me unhappy.

I took days and days off of work; my check got smaller and smaller. I got on FMLA for anxiety, when the real problem wasn’t anxiety. I was having personal problems at the transitional house. I was constantly stressed, constantly having to deal with people I didn’t want to deal with. I didn’t belong there, but because of the stress from home combining with work stress, I turned into a mess.

I was sleeping late, missing buses, not taking care of my personal hygiene, and if I did go to work I was crying and had to leave. I was full-scale broken.

I hated everything about my life.

I wanted to die, but I didn’t have the energy to put anything into motion.

After I moved out and was on my own, I suffered. I lost my part time job that I also couldn’t handle. I wasn’t cooking food cause the place I chose to live had a defunct kitchen. It was filthy and roach-infested, and the guy who owned it was just mildly creepy, but it was a split-second choice I made just to get me off the streets.

When he sold his place, I lived in a motel for 2 weeks, still pretty depressing and not the nicest place. I was in shambles because I had no job, I had no hope, I had no options. I didn’t know what was going to happen or where I was going to go.

I had so many thoughts about how I ruined my life, how I destroyed myself, but at the end of the day I did it because I truly wasn’t happy and all I wanted was a different life (I knew the life I was living wasn’t mine).

I took a little time, but after I met Ian, things started changing because I found someone who understood what I was going through. I found help. I found hope. My stress levels went way down. I managed to find a job (the same job, a call center).

It scares me just a little bit that it’s a call center, but like I said I’ve changed. I’m not the person I was a year ago. This is how I know : I wake up at 6 am, I make breakfast for myself, the night before I shower and pack a lunch, I show up early for the bus.

I am exhausted, but I’m happy. I’m stressed, but it’s normal stress. It’s the kind I can challenge myself to overcome.

I’ve come so far and I finally believe in myself when I never did before.

It’s not the best life, but it’s mine and it’s finally enough. I can build it into something beautiful.

Not to mention, I started this blog, which gets me writing and being creative. That’s a great bonus too.

Panic! At The Disco’s ‘High Hopes’ Is Everything I Needed Right Now

Brendon Urie and Panic! At The Disco’s new album Pray For The Wicked is shaping up to be one of my new favorite things. I’ll go out on a limb and just start by saying that nearly every single thing Panic! does is amazing and I love every single one of their albums.

Brendon’s vocal range is actually to die for and I really can’t get enough of listening to it on the daily. I already fell in love with the first two track releases on this album, (Fuck A) Silver Lining and Say Amen (Saturday Night), but High Hopes spoke to me on an entirely different level.

Lyrically, this song really hit home for me. Through everything I have been struggling with, I always believed that I was meant for something good, to do something good. I had ‘high hopes’ as Brendon calls them, but I lost my motivation and drive for a long time. Now that I’m getting it back, the fear of failure looms in the shadows.

Had to have high high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high high hopes
Had to have high high hopes for a living
Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling
I was gonna be that one in a million
Always had high high hopes

I am not Brendon Urie and my ‘high hopes’ aren’t fame and stardom. I don’t make music, but I write and I want to reach an audience with my writing. I always believed that I could write something that made people listen, that made them think.

I was always shouting pointlessly into the void, but when I wrote it down it always made so much more sense to me. That’s how I knew that writing was something that I was meant for. It was how I was going to share myself with the world, how I would contribute, and this song validates that feeling. It makes me believe that I achieve something bigger than myself with my writing, and that’s all I want.

More than that though, this song recognizes the struggle, my struggle.

Mama said don’t give up, it’s a little complicated
All tied up, no more love and I’d hate to see you waiting
They say it’s all been done but they haven’t seen the best of me
So I got one more run and it’s gonna be a sight to see

I’ve gone through hell in more ways than one. Writing always kept me going, it kept me alive, but I didn’t always give it the credit it deserved. I didn’t use it to my advantage or shoot for the stars when I should have been. I wasn’t ready to. But now, what I want is to

Stay up on that rise
Stay up on that rise and never come down
Stay up on that rise
Stay up on that rise and never come down

The only other thing about this song I want to touch on is how it celebrates being different; how being unique is what’s going to separate you from the crowd and make you shine brighter.

Mama said
It’s uphill for oddities
The stranger crusaders
Ain’t ever wannabes
The weird and the novelties
Don’t ever change
We wanted everything, wanted everything

It may be a struggle for us in the beginning, but that’s what makes us stronger. That’s why we fight harder. That’s what makes us worthy and beautiful.

I love this song, and I hope I get to see Panic! At The Disco and Brendon Urie live again this year. It would mean the world to me.

Conquering Fear

As someone who lived with fear my entire life, getting over it wasn’t easy. It took time and effort, and quite a bit of self-awareness. I’m not talking about the fears that are tangible, but the intangible: fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of moving forward.

For a long long time, the idea of conquering those fears was an impossibility. My brain couldn’t comprehend it. I felt like I was stuck; there was no light, no hope, no freeing myself from the fear.

One of the things that helped was writing about it; starting this blog has been literal leaps and bounds in my recovery. It’s helped me process feelings, as well as allowing me to feel like I’m helping others who might feel like me.

Also, talking about it; both with therapists and friends. I have mentioned in posts that therapy has been a long and difficult road for me because it took me a long time to work out the mechanics of it and to be open to it. Venting to friends is something I did often, but I think it is also something to monitor. Yes, your friends want to be there for you and help you, but they have stuff they’re dealing with too and constant negativity from you can take a toll on them.

The thing with fear is you have to bring it into the light of day. If it lives in the shadows inside you, it’s festering and growing; then it’s harder to get rid of. You have to pinpoint the fear, be specific: know what you’re afraid of and why.

I was afraid to be homeless. I was afraid of living on the streets because I did it once for about 5 days. It made me realize how much I couldn’t handle that situation, that I didn’t want to live like that.

But I was so unhappy where I was living that I broke myself until homelessness was my only option. I knew that if I didn’t confront the fear I couldn’t heal.

I got lucky; I met someone who gave me a home and gave me the time that I needed to better assess everything I was feeling. More than that, I began to find a way out of the darkness.

I had been in survival mode for a long time and being in survival mode meant not planning for a future because I didn’t even know that I’d have a future. It was about getting from one day to the next, but nothing beyond that.

I was allowed the time I needed to shut down the survival mode, to start planning for a future, and that helped quell a lot of my fears. I had gotten to a point where my options were limited, but having the room to explore new options helped.

That’s how I started building myself from the ground up. That’s how I pushed away the fear and the doubt. Time can really work miracles and I know this because I’ve never had that kind of time before. Sure, there were endless days where I did nothing to better myself, but it was because my brain wasn’t functioning on a level where I could. I was too busy worrying if this was my last day of being safe. When I knew that I was safe, it opened doors that had been previously locked.

They say time heals all wounds. It also makes you fearless.

I was late to work.

This doesn’t sound like a massively huge thing, but the last time I worked in a call center, I was constantly late or I was leaving, not working at all, or just plain calling in sick. Today was day 3 of training at my new call center job and so I immediately began to panic.

Just this morning, I had spent 25 minutes composing a blog post (that will be up in a week) about change, and specifically how I feel like I’ve changed as a person. When I had my first job, I never regulated myself or created a routine. I woke up 15 or 20 minutes before I had to leave for the bus. I didn’t care if I showered or brushed my teeth. I was a literal mess.

Now, I wake up at 6 am. I cook a simple breakfast. I drink coffee. I take my time and focus on waking up. I shower before I go to bed and brush my teeth. I also pack a lunch. Before I get dressed in the morning, I put on deodorant and  I brush my teeth again.

It’s a routine, my routine.

This morning, I was afraid that I had somehow ruined all my progress by being late, even though nothing about it was my fault. The bus simply didn’t show up and I had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus.

But the thing is that being late didn’t change the fact that I woke up at 6 am, or that I had a productive morning and left on time to catch the bus. I had no control over the bus and therefore, it didn’t affect anything about me at all.

Yes, I was late, but I got over it and my dad at work had been better than the days before. I was more awake, more engaged, I felt like I was learning. The best part is that the day didn’t lag or drag on.

So, I guess my point is perspective is important. I’m still developing my new one. The old me was panicked, the old me would have accepted my lateness as something that I did because I was too lazy to leave earlier.

Now, I believe that I can try my best, but inevitably some things will go wrong. It doesn’t always have to reflect on you. Sometimes, it’s out of your control. If you stay positive and do what you need to do, in the end, it will work out.

If I can believe that, so can you!