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.

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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.

True Pacifist or Genocide? Which Will You Choose?: Undertale

Apparently, I’ve played more games lately than I care to admit, but Undertale is so unique in it’s execution however, that it very literally blows my mind. All the kudos to game developer Toby Fox.

Very few games offer you the choice to spare or kill a character, but Undertale does. The closest example I can think of for a game that does something vaguely similar is Until Dawn, which tells you near the beginning that sometimes ‘not making a choice’ is the right choice, but it’s no where near the level that Undertale takes it to.

There are three routes you can choose in Undertale: True Pacifist, Pacifist, or Genocide. What determines each of these routes is essentially how many game characters do you as the player choose to spare or kill. What elevates this is if you replay the game, it remembers. It knows you’ve been there before. It knows if you’ve changed.

Undertale is a game that employs the use of timelines and while each timeline is independent of the others, the game is designed for replay because choosing different options will illicit different responses. Also, if you’ve died, when you speak to a character again, they may refer to the fact that they know you’ve died or that they’ve killed you before. It can be a little disconcerting.

So, let’s chat about some of the other really fun and unique things about Undertale:

The characters are all amazingly unique. This includes the main ensemble cast: Flowey, Toriel, Asgore, Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, and Alphys, but it also includes the full ensemble of monsters that live in the underground. Each character is so rich with individual flare, and also lots of puns and clever jokes.

This is one of those games where I’d love to gush over each and every detail, but not only is the list way too long, my heart knows that it’s so much more satisfying to discover them for yourself. Here is a much shorter list of some things to look out for:

  • Onion-san!
  • Dates with the Skele-bros (Sans and Papyrus)
  • NAPSTABLOOK
  • Metatton
  • The Annoying Dog (but also any dog in the game, such as Greater and Lesser Dog)
  • TEMMIE!!!!!
  • Monster Kid

Mostly, this is a list of a few of my favorite characters (character is almost everything in this game), but my point is that there’s a lot to see and do in this game; a lot of monsters to talk to.

And the more you play, you might notice different events take place. The game assigns you a “FUN value” when you start playing and that could determine something like a random phone call from someone during gameplay or maybe seeing a character from a different timeline (like W.D. Gaster’s followers).

It’s all very unique, interesting, and above all fun. I will recommend this game to anyone. Originally, when I heard about it, I thought that maybe the hype was too much. I wasn’t a gamer and I didn’t care to look into what I was missing; when I finally did though, I found out that this game was beyond impressive in characters, plot, gameplay, etc. It fires on every single level and is just overall a great game.

Play Undertale!! You’re absolutely not going to regret it.  The Annoying Dog says so.

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!

May: A Month-End Review

Not gonna lie though, It’s Gonna Be May is maybe my favorite meme. 

Holy Cow! I’ve had this blog for a whole month and a lot has changed. I’ve been on the biggest upswing I’ve had since I can remember, but also I’m on the precipice of a new job.

I’m no longer jobless or homeless. I’ve kicked off starting over and it feels amazing. It feels terrifying and exciting and I’m ready to jump; leap off the edge and keep running,

This is what I wanted. It’s a new beginning. I turned 29 this month and it’s my last year to turn my life around. There’s only so many times I can screw up and start over. I want this to be the start of my new life entering into my 30s and leaving the trainwreck that was my 20s in the garbage where it belongs.

I have a best friend, someone that I trust more than anyone. And he has big plans for himself, plans that he’s been struggling with for a decade, but I can see him succeeding and that makes me happy. I want us to build each other up and help each other live to our truest potential. I think both of us are capable of things we can’t even imagine on our own, but together it could be glorious. I’ll help him with as much as I can.

I’m started talking with another old friend, who is trying to get his own blog up and running. He’s asked if I can do some editing for him and I’d be honored. His story is a lot like mine. It deserves to be heard.

Anyways, my new job is in a call center. That scares me a little bit (since I quit my last job, which was also in a call center), but to be honest, what I’m feeling most is relief. I’m going to be working again, making a steady income, getting my life in a proper direction. That makes me happier than I’ve been in so long.

I’m in a much stabler home life, or at least, I’m somewhere I feel like I can make a home.  I can make it mine. I have a support system now, someone I can go to if I need anything or just if I need to talk, and that is better than anything I could’ve asked for.

So, we’re moving forward and if I stay at this momentum, who knows where I could be in a year or 5 years. I want to write a book, I want to see the world, I want to experience life.

It all starts now (my story starts now).

I want it to be a good one.

 

Choices

Every single day, we make choices. Big, scary choices and little, simple choices; some choices that we’re not even aware that we’re making, but they’re all important. It’s important to choose, even if the choice is not to choose.

Almost everything in life can be a choice. You choose to get out of bed in the morning, you choose what to eat and what to wear, you choose whether you’ll go to school or work or wherever. Maybe you think you don’t have a choice, that you have to go to work and in a way, you don’t really because it’s a responsibility; it’s something you’re supposed to do, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have free will. It does mean however, that you have to sacrifice something.

If you skip work, you won’t get paid. If you miss too many shifts, you could even get fired and then that can snowball into a situation very similar to mine. You could end up not being able to pay your bills and then possibly homeless. If you think about it like that, it’s easier to choose just to go to work.

But something that you should keep in my mind for yourself is to choose happiness when you can. Yes, work sucks and for me, it wasn’t just boring and unfulfilling; i was genuinely in tears daily. I couldn’t focus on my job because I had personal problems at home. My life was in actual ruins. I chose my own happiness.

That choice was not immediately apparent. It looked like I chose to quit my job, that I chose to be homeless. It looked like I was choosing laziness and that I expected to be taken care of instead of making my own way in the world.

And I understood that was what it looked like; I questioned my own motives every single day. I knew that something as wrong though, that the person who was going to work and was living in the transitional home, it wasn’t me and I wasn’t happy. I was surviving.

It wasn’t enough.

So, I chose to stop living the way I was living. I chose to start over. I chose to let things get worse before they could get better.

And now, I couldn’t be happier. This is the life I wanted for myself; a life that I chose and that I built for myself.

Choose happiness for yourself. You won’t regret it.

How Role-Playing Saved My Life

Online roleplaying is something I’ve been into on and off for a long while. When I first started, I learned how to accurately tag posts (which I hadn’t been doing on my personal blog), but I still had default tumblr themes. It was through roleplaying that I learned how to insert a theme via HTML on to tumblr, how to make a navigation page, and how to create a character.

Originally, I did celebrity RPs with Colin Morgan as my character, then I branched into Disney character RPs, a Glee RP, and then creating OCs (original characters). In the Disney RPs, I used my character as a way of exploring my own mental illness. I did asylum RPs, so my character would be afflicted with disorders such as MDD (major depressive disorder) or separation anxiety. I once applied for a character with ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), but they thought my version was not right for the atmosphere of the RP group.

I really enjoyed RP groups because it allowed me to have a social circle online and become close with people who I enjoyed writing scenes with. It also allowed me to practice writing in groups.

Later, I started writing fan fiction and I learned that having one character to control is a lot easier than two or more, but more than learning about writing, I was taking care of myself. I was distracting myself from the stuff that was making me so unhappy in my life.

Roleplaying on tumblr was keeping me alive; it was occupying my mind and letting me live a life that wasn’t my own. The more I did it, the more I dedicated myself to my characters, the less I was thinking about how awful I felt. I think what kept me going with Roleplay groups was the idea that I would disappoint someone if I wasn’t posting.

I didn’t care about myself, but I cared about my character and the people I roleplayed with. I cared about this fake life I created and it sustained me, but I wasn’t growing. My characters were doing things, meeting people, having lives, but I wasn’t. Sometimes, I would get so involved that it actually was effecting my own mental health playing the character and that got scary.

But all in all, roleplaying kept me alive. It gave me a place to go to when any other alternative would have been detrimental to me and I can’t thank it enough for that.

Attitude is Everything

For a long time, I was awful to myself and I was constantly complaining whenever anything mildly inconvenient happened to me, but my life was falling apart around me. The big stuff (the homelessness and the joblessness) were really really bad, but that made the little stuff worse.

It was like I couldn’t stop myself from being negative, about my life and myself and the world. I felt like I was dead inside; I lost my passion and my drive, and the worst part was I didn’t care about any of it.

Sometimes, I said I wished things would change, but I couldn’t do anything to enact change. I had no hope, and it was easier for me to give up. I couldn’t even focus enough to come up with viable solutions to my problems. I wasn’t doing anything more than the bare minimum to survive. I hated it and I hated myself.

When I met Ian, that’s who I was. It wasn’t me, but I didn’t have the ability to be my true self. The longer I stayed with him, the more I got to breathe and reconstruct myself; I came back to the real me.

I started feeling positive. I felt like had finally found a place I belonged and I was ready to build to something better. I found that when I talked to family and friends, I no longer complained constantly, I no longer told people I felt awful and everything was the worst. My attitude had completely changed.

What that meant was that I stopped feeling shitty when little things went wrong. Even if I was slightly bothered, it didn’t ruin my whole day like it used to. I felt lighter, less pressured by everything around me. I started feeling happy; I am actually happy.

My attitude about my life changed and I changed. I love being happy and I don’t want to lose that feeling. I want to keep being positive about my life, keep taking opportunities, keep growing because when I feel good, I can make others feel good.

Happiness is contagious; kindness, a smile, laughter matters. I don’t just want to be happy for myself, but I want to spread it to others. I have a light in me and now that it’s shining, I hope that I can share it.

We all deserve to feel happy and we deserve to be the best versions of ourselves, so have a good attitude and be genuine, be brave, be kind: you’ll get everything you deserve. Not necessarily what you want, but definitely what you need.

I promise you that.

Writing Is How I Make Sense Of The World (and how I make it mine)

“Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you”

Sometimes I write in circles (which has nothing to do with my love of circular plots, except for that one time because it was badly written and extremely contrived) because I’m trying to find a connection; I write until it clicks, until it sounds right, until I know that I said exactly what I wanted to say.

I want to write the truth and that’s not just facts or figures, or charts and graphs. It’s also what’s pure of heart, it’s intention and hope. It’s knowledge and bravery, and what’s real.

I want to write about humans, who we are and what we feel. I want to speak to those who live in the dark, but want to know the light. I want to offer a hand to hold, a small spark of what could be in a world of what is, a promise for the future of every person.

Writing is how I know myself and how I know others. It’s how I learn and communicate. It’s how I see the world: all bits and pieces of a larger story.

There’s an idea that art imitates life and an opposing idea about separating fiction from reality. I believe that art does imitate life, but I also believe some stories do stray far from reality, but that even when the context isn’t real, the emotion is. We can’t fabricate that; so, even a situation that is completely unfathomable is still grounded in something real.

I am fascinated by people, by humans and how we live; each of us comes into this world without choice and then we are given free will. We are products of how we’re raised, the media that we see, the other people we meet.

We should never discount what we can learn from the world around us and what we can learn from ourselves because we’re all extraordinary. Inside of us, we have the capability to do anything, we only have to want to work for it: that’s potential and all of us have it.

When I look at the world around me, that’s what I see. I see beauty and promise and potential. Imagine if everything awful that happened in the world had an equally amazing counterpoint. The world could be that much more beautiful; it could if we stop limiting ourselves. Desire is only about 10% of the equation, the other 90% is effort.

We make what we want to make happen. So be free, be loud, be great because there’s nothing stopping you.

Do something with your talent, your voice…because I’m going to.

2018 Revised Goals

“When you fall, do it gloriously: collapse like a glass building, sink like a gigantic ship and when you’re done sinking and collapsing, build yourself with your own wreckage.”

I began 2018 with a long list of resolutions, things that I wanted to change about myself. At the time, I was still living in the transitional home, so one of my goals was to move out. Other goals included:

  • I wanted to be better with my mental and physical health, as well as self care.
  • I wanted to start seeing a therapist more often.
  • I wanted to work on my personal hygiene which suffered because of my depression.
  • I wanted to walk more, eat out less, hopefully lose weight, and drink more water.
  • I wanted to write more.
  • And I wanted a more active social life.

In the last 6 months, I started to sort out a few of those things, but mostly I snowballed into a lot of revised goals for the year.

I did move out of the transitional home in February, but not in a way that I was happy about or proud of, but I am now much more stable and renting a room. My mood is a lot better because of Ian. He’s been the majority of my social interaction, so I definitely need to work on widening my circle more, but not in the way that I tried doing before.

I started this blog, which has me writing a lot more and thinking about the future writing projects I want to work on (memoir/self-help and After the Fall).

I left my part time job in November, and now 6 months later I have a full-time job again. I’m back in a call center, but with a significantly different home life and a much more positive attitude. I’m ready to take on this opportunity and build on it.

I have a therapist now that I like who has been helping me for almost a month; I started depression meds, but I have to see a doctor/psychiatrist to get the prescription refilled.

My personal hygiene isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better. A little more work there and I’ll feel even better.

In March/April, I spent almost a month eating exclusively Mcdonalds because it was cheap and the kitchen where I was living was defunct, but now I have a fully working kitchen and food stamps, so I’m grocery shopping and learning to cook.

I take walks with Ian and I walk to my therapist appointments and sometimes to Ian’s place.

Ian’s going to teach me to drive, so I can finally say that I learned and get my license, and then if I can afford it or if my parents want to, we can get me a car and name it something ridiculous.

So I guess my new list of 2018 Revised Resolutions Redux is as follows:

  • Make more friends. Widen my social circle. Join a club?
  • Keep taking walks and being healthy. Cook more. Drink water.
  • Continue seeing the therapist and keep up with meds.
  • Keep my job and use it to open doors to new opportunities.
  • Learn to drive and maybe get a car.
  • Self-care. Self-care. Self-care.
  • Keep writing, especially the blog, but don’t forget about the projects.
  • Don’t give up and keep following this path to happiness.

 

sym·bi·o·sis

It’s never been about labels
or love.

It’s bigger, better, brighter.

You and me. We. Us—
making everything from nothing.

cosmic. kismet. providence.

Seamless symbiotic synergy.
Simple: like breathing, blinking…

being.

Particles intertwined;
yin and yang. Beautiful
           together

But two without one [without the other];
atoms breaking, bending, broken
(shattered) because we belong

in synchronicity—

barreling. Spinning. Orbiting.
Closer and closer; converging…

Sparking. Voltaic.
Essential for each other

to survive.

 

 

 

What The Ouroboros Means To Me

I use the ouroboros on my blog for a lot of reasons. The ouroboros is “a circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity.”

For a very long time, I have been seeking a feeling of completeness in my life. I have spent too long missing parts of myself. While I understand that I am growing and changing, and never truly complete, I think that you can achieve an almost. I think you can feel good about who you are and happy with yourself. That’s what I’m striving for, to feel at peace with who I am, to feel like I’m on a positive track to becoming someone I like.

Another reason I love the ouroboros is that it’s like a story. It encompasses itself and speaks to greater ideas outside of itself. It has a beginning and an end, but they meet to make the story whole, continuous, a constant progression.

The other idea that I believe the ouroboros speaks to is balance along with infinity. I want to live my life balanced, to have a positive energy and flow. That doesn’t mean I want to forget sadness or suffering because that has made me a stronger person, but I want to be able to move forward with conviction and confidence.

I want to feel infinite.

I have so much potential growing inside of me and it’s screaming to be let out. That’s why I started this blog. It’s why I’m speaking out about my struggles and trying to find myself. We shouldn’t have to feel alone because we’re not alone. We have each other and we can fight together.

I’m probably going to get an ouroboros tattoo in the future, when I have the money, because I want to remember that I’m whole, I am infinite, and I can get through this.

The only person who has ever stopped me is me and I’m done standing in my way.

A Messiah Complex and Happiness

It’s been pointed out to me that I deify Ian and maybe I do, but I have my reasons.

It’s also been pointed out to me that I have had a lot of people help me along the way throughout my life. People like my parents, Esther (the house manager at the transitional home), my aunt, etc. Yes, these people all helped me; they gave me tough love, but came  through when I really needed help.

The thing about Ian and why he’s so important to me and why I credit him with saving my life is that he listened to me, really listened and he opened his home to me (when I was a complete stranger). More than that, he made me feel hope and promise when no one else ever did.

I took the initiative six months ago in a very irresponsible and impractical way to reboot my life. I quit my job and left the “home” I had with literally no where to go. I floundered around for quite awhile, just barely surviving, until I met Ian and he wanted me to do more than survive.

I wasn’t living a life. I was getting by from day to day without any promise of a real future. He offered me a future again, gave me time to sort my thoughts and get focused. He talked me through all of my demons. He was a friend when I had no friends.

So yeah, I deify him. I scratched and clawed my way here, but it’s only because he gave me the strength I needed to do it.

But here it is:

I do want to thank my parents for loving me enough to let me learn how to fight on my own. I know I hated it and I struggled and things were darker than dark, but I’m better for it. I’m stronger and I’m learning myself how to be the kind of person I want to be. That’s all because they got out of my way and let me figure it out myself.

I want to thank Esther for giving me a home for three years. I know I was a problem child often and especially near the end, but I needed to go for me. I wasn’t living when I was living there, I was stagnant and I couldn’t stay that way. I’m not proud of how I left, I regret it so much, but I think it was really the only way for me to grow up.

I want to thank my aunt for being the voice of reason in my life, the kind ear. She put up with so many crises and tantrums and insanity. But she was the one who kept me grounded and treated me with the respect I needed. While she gave me the fair assessment that some of my choices were wrong, which I agreed with, she never made me feel like I was the worst person in the world for quitting my job. She talked to me instead of lecturing me. I really appreciated that from her. She gave me the balance that I needed between tough love and nurturing.

My family and Esther, and probably many others, did help me (financially as well as what I mentioned above). They got me to this point where I am now and Ian helped me get the rest of the way there.

I’m starting a job soon and I feel ready to take that on now. I’m more focused, more motivated, and I just feel better prepared.

I feel happy.

 

 

Dissection

a poem from the Vivisection series.


I separate your flesh and slide my hand into you.
I want to pull out your insides, to let the blood
and tissue swim between my fingers.

I trace the bones that form the cage around your heart,
counting each of them, preparing to crack, shatter,
and splinter each one if it will get me to your heart.

I will puncture the fleshy organ and see the blood
spill from the wound. I need to see each cavity
and all the emotions filling it.
I want to feel the pulseless aorta and know
that it once beat in a rhythm only for me.

As I descend down the digestive tract,
I tear and rip my way through the stomach lining,
releasing all the butterflies that haven’t flown
since our last kiss.

I made this endeavor to find something left,
something in you that I can keep, but
there’s just the memory of our love,
the shadow of me painting your skin
and bones.

All I know
is that I want it all back.
I want you back.

 

 

Self-Sabotaging and Me

Awhile ago I came to the very scary conclusion that a large part of why I am in the situation that I’m in, why I’ve suffered so much is because I self-sabotaged every good opportunity that I had. Each time I did this, I slipped further and further into a pit that I thought was bottomless. I’d get depressed and I’d get sick, then piece by piece things would get worse.

I spent a lot of time blaming others. I can admit that now, but I will also say that when I was feeling my worst, no validated my feelings or acknowledged that maybe there was more going on with me. I think that contributed to me self-sabotaging. Part of me believed that if things fell apart harder and were overall worse that someone would help me the way that I needed.

By the time I realized what I was doing, I was too far gone. At that point, I really really did need rescuing. I needed stability and a home. I needed someone who was willing to listen and not judge me for my mistakes.

And I actually found someone, somewhere I didn’t expect.

It’s getting better. I’m calm and breathing. I’m stronger and I’m ready to fight for control of my life, which I lost so long ago.

I’m gonna take it back.

Find Your Voice

I made this blog for myself and I made it to help people like me, who have struggled to find their voice and have struggled with feeling like they’re alone. I want them to know they’re not and I want them to know that anything that they’re feeling is valid. Maybe it’s one side of the story, but it’s their side and it’s just as important as the other side.

Feelings are real and they’re genuine, whether or not they match up with someone else’s point of view. You feel them and you believe them.

My blog is not here to blame or to call anyone out on anything. I am not angry at anyone, I’m not starting arguments, I’m not pointing fingers. I’m growing up and I’m pulling out pieces of my past and seeing what’s salvageable. The past should stay in the past, but there are lessons worth learning about the past, things that I never processed for whatever reason.

I thought I was broken for a long time and now I know I’m not. Now I know that I need to find the good in my life because there is good in my life.

In a way for me, it always felt like a switch was flipped; there was a safety net and then there wasn’t. I’d been coasting through life with no purpose for a very long time, but it was okay because I was taken care of. Then I wasn’t and things snowballed much quicker than I would have imagined.

I was sinking, drowning, dying and I didn’t have the motivation to pull myself out or to fight. I begged for guidance and for answers, but it was never what I needed because I was always being pushed to find answers elsewhere. I’m stubborn and I was used to getting what I wanted, but I couldn’t.

It sucked.

I continued to let myself go, to let myself feel worse and worse, to get myself in dangerous situations, to risk my health and my life. I was very far from being okay.

Now, that I’m finding a foothold and I’m climbing out of the hole I dug myself, it’s important to me to give back. I don’t ever want anyone to feel some of the things I felt because those feelings are toxic and they help no one.

But I am aware that there are people who have felt like me; who are so lost that they don’t ever think they’ll be found. To those people, I say: you’re not alone and you will be found. Keep screaming, don’t be silent. Someone will hear you.

If you need to talk, talk to me. If not me, then find someone you trust. Don’t be alone in this.

I’m writing this for you and I’m writing this for me. I found my voice and I can help you find yours.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. I’m listening.

I Know Who I Am

It’s tricky sometimes to know yourself. In theory, you should know yourself better than anyone else, but in truth it can be confusing to pin down the big important things.

Little things are easy, they’re interchangeable, fluid from one day to the next. A single moment can shift your entire attitude about something small. Your favorite color. Favorite food.

But the big stuff, that can almost feel like a part of your DNA. It’s not just something you do or like, but it’s chemical; as familiar as your skin. You need it to live.

You’re not going to not going to know it instantly, but it’s something that grows with you and becomes you until you don’t even recognize yourself without it.

I’m a writer. I need to write to express myself, to be passionate, to be heard.

I’m a bleeding heart. I care about my friends more than anything and seeing them succeed in something they love makes me happier than anything.

I’m a survivor. Nothing is going to kill me, not even myself. I can’t always fight, but I won’t fall.

These are intrinsic things that I know about myself and I see things like this in others. We all have a true potential, a voice, something worth sharing with the world. How we do it, that’s where it gets messy. We learn these things about ourselves as we grow, as we figure out not just who we are, but who we want to be and ultimately what’s most important to us.

Who we become is an ever changing journey. Sometimes, we see reflections of ourselves in others, but never actually recognize it in ourselves. The more self-aware we become though, the more we know about ourselves. It only makes us stronger.

So, ask yourself, who are you? What drives you? What are you passionate about? What makes you happy? Who do you want to be?

The answers may be easy, but they may not be. Maybe they need to be refined. It’s not necessarily something that is entirely set in stone, more like clay. You, as a person, are molded from the clay and the shape can change, but the material doesn’t change.

I have always been a writer, but I don’t always write.

I have always loved and cared about people, but I’ve been sequestered and spent months where I was alone.

I have wanted to die more times than I can clearly remember. I’ve wanted to give up because it was the easier choice to make.

So just because you’ve found and grabbed on to what you think of as your core self doesn’t always mean that you are each of these things every moment of every day. Life happens. Depression happens. You lose sight of yourself and darkness takes over, but when you find yourself again, you’ll realize what’s still a part of you.

Those are the important things. You keep those. Those are who you are.

Feeling Safe

What I’ve truly wanted for a long time is to be stable, to feel safe. I haven’t had that in a really long time. I felt it so strongly when I was with Ian and his Dad. It wasn’t just a roof over my head, they wanted me to be comfortable, to put the pieces of my life back together and they included me in so much.

The word safe just means “free from harm or risk,” which I would have been in if Ian hadn’t taken me in, but I venture that the feeling of being safe is more than than. It’s feeling protected, which I always knew I was with Ian. He usually had a knife or handgun on him when we went out at night, but the point i’m trying to make is feeling safe isn’t just physical safety, for me anyway.

It’s being safe from the negative thoughts in my head, from being so stressed and unhappy that I was shutting down parts of myself to avoid feeling it. Ian cleared my head, he gave me time to feel calm and not so on edge about my life. It gave me the chance to figure out how I was going to start over.

I’ve been comparing myself lately to a computer, that I unplugged myself and let the screen go black and then restarted. Now I’m in the process of opening up programs and looking through what’s there… what got saved and what didn’t. I definitely lost all of the tabs on my internet browser, and I’m not hitting restore. I don’t want them back.

I had screamed that my job was not the job for me, that my living situation was not for me either, and I ran away.  I made dangerous choices, but they were my choices. I was no longer stuck with rules that didn’t make sense, I was shaking off the grind of wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, rinse, repeat. It wasn’t my life, I was dead inside.

All I’ve wanted for years is to feel alive again and that life was only making me more dead.

I think I got off topic, but also kind of not. My life before now, I said was unsafe and what I meant is that the longer I was there, the more I died, the more I faded out of existence. And to me, it made perfect sense, but it didn’t to anyone else.

I felt alive when I was with Ian; we went on adventures and made breakfast together and late night grilled cheese sandwiches. I had people to talk to and I had been alone for so damn long that I craved the attention.

Even though we’re just friends, Ian let’s me touch him (not sexually, but like intimate)  He let’s me hold his hand and lay on him and be close. It’s so comforting for me because I haven’t had a lot of intimacy recently and a lot of intimate experiences (yes, this one’s sexual) that I have had didn’t make me feel safe or happy. Mostly I felt used. Ian’s never once made me feel used and that means a lot to me.

So much of feeling safe and being safe has to do with trust. The people I’ve lived with before I didn’t trust them. They were nice, but I was so disconnected (and maybe that was my fault), but I always felt like I didn’t belong and that the people I was with weren’t meant to be in my life. It was like living with perfect strangers for years. Even when I did get to know them, I still didn’t really feel like I did.

I trust Ian; I’ve only know him a month, but I know more about him that my own family. He’s my best friend and when I’m with him, I know that I’m safe and that I can do anything because he’s got my back.

Starting From Scratch

I’ve alluded to this and mentioned it in posts, but now I’m going to formally blog about it.

Back in August, I was missing a lot of work; I would take the bus there, walk in the building, go to my desk and the tears would start. I was having daily emotional breakdowns. I’d spend half an hour in the bathroom crying and then go home. I hated it.

In November, I stopped going to work altogether. Two weeks later, they called me to ask what was wrong (I was on intermittent FMLA, but it didn’t cover that much time). I told them I had to quit because I couldn’t handle it anymore. They had been waiting for me to do this. They didn’t want to fire me.

My Dad and Step-mom were so angry at me for quitting, but they didn’t understand how stressed I was even when I tried to explain it. I needed to quit for my sanity, so I did and it got worse from there.

I managed to get an extremely part-time job at Dunkin’ Donuts, but I wasn’t very good. In general, I don’t like working with food/drinks. It makes me uncomfortable because people are extremely particular when it comes to that and it gives me a lot of anxiety.

About 3 weeks into working at Dunkin’ Donuts, I got a second parttime job at a new sandwich shop called Baguette Abboudit because I wasn’t getting enough hours or making enough money. Balancing two jobs did not work. I was constantly freaking out at Dunkin’ Donuts that I needed to be at Baguette Abboudit and I was so stressed that I got very sick.

When I went into Baguette Abboudit with a cold (on a day I had already told them I was working at Dunkin’, but Dunkin’ had sent me home early), I ended up get fired.

Dunkin’ never gave me more hours. I was becoming more and more agitated with my living situation, which I had never been happy about. It was “transitional living” and I had been living there almost three years. I felt angry and stuck. My life wasn’t going anywhere.

I ended up getting myself kicked out because I couldn’t stand to be there anymore. I literally made a Facebook post saying I felt unsafe and needed a place to stay; my parents told my landlady and she took offense, which was not the original reason for the post. I tried to explain that by unsafe I meant being there made me feel like a danger to myself. She didn’t care.

At that point, I was homeless, I was too stressed to go work at Dunkin’ Donuts. I spent one night with my friend and then moved to a different part of town which was too far away to keep my job.

So, I moved in with an older man, who was renting to share his bedroom with females was were 20-30 years younger than him because he wanted the company. He rented to multiple girls. I was one of three girls. I slept on the couch while he shared his bed with the other two, and they definitely did more than sleep.

It was another place I didn’t belong. I worked a vacation sales job for a week and a half, enough to pay my rent, but it didn’t stick cause I was still stressed and unhappy, and I can’t do that kind of work when I have other stress in my life.

The older man sold his condo and paid for two weeks for one of the other girls and me to stay in a pretty dismal motel room. It sucked, but it was a roof over my head, which I wouldn’t even have in 2 weeks.

Things were looking bad, really bad… and then I met Ian and my path to really starting over began.

He took me into his home for three weeks, even though there wasn’t a lot of room for me and he didn’t have to. He disrupted his own life and his dad’s life, and both of them really took the time to include me and talk to me about my issues.

So now, I’m renting a room from Ian’s Dad’s friend. I’m feeling happier. I don’t have a job, but prospects don’t seem quite as bad. It’s still daunting though and it’s not exactly working out like I wished it would.

That’s the story of how I got here and how I disassembled every part of my life, so I could start over and rebuild from the ground up. I needed a new foundation, one that was stronger and more stable. It wasn’t smart or safe, but I won’t say that it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Growing up, I was on a path. I hadn’t fully formed or decided who I wanted to be yet, but then my mom died and all the potential I had seemed to die inside me. I lost my light and I lost the path, but I kept going because life doesn’t have a pause button. I went until I lost myself and lost who I wanted to be; I couldn’t get back to it because I didn’t know where I was or where it was, or even who I was.

trail-through-tall-trees-in-a-lush-forest-at-low-gap-shenandoah-national-park-virginia_300x

I screamed and I screamed into the endless void, but nothing ever answered.

Eventually, I had to make a choice and the choice I made was a forced restart. I unplugged myself and now I’m running through all the programs again.

I just need another chance to prove I can do better this time. I want to do better.

UPDATE: I GOT A JOB! and I’m gonna keep this one.

The ‘This Is Fine’ Meme Encapsulates My Entire Personality Perfectly

“This is Fine” is who I am. I’ve lived like that for years, maybe my whole life, not really caring one way or another what happened to me. I don’t fight for myself, I don’t try to improve because I’m used to the damage. It’s been this way for so long that it’s become my normal even though it’s not normal and I’m not okay.

I think there’s a person screaming inside of me who wants me to fight, who knows that I have so much potential, but I’m not using it and they’re pissed. I’ve been trying to pick up the burnt pieces of my life, but something is always missing; it’s never enough to put me back on track.

I’m scared and I cope by not letting myself feel it, by ignoring that everything is on fire and turning to ash around me. Maybe I’m just waiting for it to take me too. I hate it.

I hate that I can’t make myself into someone better, someone who is able to take charge of their existence and move forward. That’s what I truly truly want, but I don’t know how to be that person.

It’s gotten to a point where I believe that I have no control over anything in my life, even when I very much do have control and so, I find myself slipping further and further away. I try to shut down my brain, so I don’t deal with the stress or the drama, but in the end, I do deal with it until I get physically sick. It’s awful.

I want to fight for myself. I want to be strong. I’m tired of hiding, of pretending that it’s fine. I’m better than that.

I want to be more than just a survivor. I want to live. 

A world of promise…

I got a job today. Finally. It’s not the best job and my commute is going to suck. I’m a bit worried about getting home at night. Not to mention, it’s not great pay either, but it’s a job and I needed this more than anything. It was the one thing holding me back when I desperately wanted to move forward.

It’s okay that it’s not my ideal job. I’m going to keep trying to get my ideal job. I’m going to write and keep up this blog; I’m going to work my ass off to save some money and try to be a more complete version of myself, who’s more balanced and more in control. I want to start feeling like I’m alive.

All I’ve wanted for so long is to feel stable, to feel like the cogs were turning in the right direction. Now, they feel like they are. I have a home, a job, income. I have a best friend who I would do anything for. I have hope and promise. I have a world of tomorrows in front of me.

I was so close to the end, but this is the beginning. This is my new chapter and my chance to be something different than what I was. I have squandered opportunity after opportunity, but this is it. I have to take it and run, build on it. The future is wide and open.

I see the chance for a better, more beautiful world. My world. It starts now. Doors that had been closed are opening. It’s like I finally found the path that I had lost so many years ago. I’m following it to the end this time.

I’m ready to take on the world. Bring it!

 

Glory Greatest Game: Papers Please!

Glory to Arstotzka! Greatest Country!!! 

Papers Please! is a game that initially doesn’t sound interesting or fun. No offense to game developer Lucas Pope though because I’m actually about to tell you that this game is brilliant.

Conceptually, it sets the player in a fictional country, Arstotzka, separated by a wall, much like East/West Berlin and you have been selected as a border control agent (possibly the most boring job one can conceive of). But then you start playing and the world becomes real. Really real.

It starts off simple, deny everyone who is not an Arstotzkan citizen, but then it gets complicated fast. You start letting more and more people in; the rules start getting stricter: entrants need a passport, an entry visa, a work permit if they’re working and you have to cross check the documents against each other and against the person in front of you. It’s bureaucracy at it’s finest.  Any discrepancies and you have to interrogate them. You can even detain them for any number of reasons and halfway through the game, you get a gun in case of terrorist attacks.

You are allowed two mistakes per day before they start docking your pay; you do not want them to dock your pay because you have a family. If you can’t keep them fed or keep the heat on, they will get sick and die. This is important because it creates conflict and interest.

Throughout the course of the game, you also discover that there is a secret order, the Order of EZIC, who is trying to overthrow the Arstotzkan government and you can choose to help them, or not. It’s possible that glory greatest country, may not actually be glory greatest.

Based on how you play, there are 39 different endings mostly dictating whether or not you go to jail, escape to another country, take your family with you, or managed to successfully help EZIC.

What’s so surprising about this game is how involved you become. You get so pissed off at the people who don’t have all their entry papers and you take a sick delight in detaining people for contraband. You also get people who give you things like business cards to the local strip club or who try to pay you off for entry, which adds a lot of personality to the people coming through the border. There’s one guy who shows up multiple times, never has good documents, but there’s something kind of likeable about him. Maybe his determination and persistence.

Anyways, I really love how the game creates a story that as a player, I don’t think you’re really expecting. When I game, I’m always trying to find the story and this one is so nicely tied into the gameplay. It unfolds so naturally and really just raises the stakes for you as a player because you really have to decide what you care about most: is it your family, your job, your country…or maybe, it’s your life.

So, all i’m going to say is I love this game, play this game. You may not think it’s worth it, but it’s worth it.

Glory greatest game Papers Please!

Therapy Is Ultimately A Good Thing

I’ve been in and out of therapy for over half my life, and I’ve gone from thinking I didn’t need therapy to knowing I needed it, but not knowing how to express myself, and then finally coming to terms with what I wanted to work on and get out of it.

The first thing they tell you about therapy is that you need to shop around for therapists; you won’t instantly click with every therapist you meet. Sometimes you’ll feel like they aren’t helping you at all. Other times, you won’t want to share with them and then they can’t help you. There’s any number of reasons why a therapist doesn’t work for you, but it’s important to remember that another one will work.

You are not irreparably broken. It’s not that therapy isn’t going to work on you. It’s more like it’s the right time or place.

Therapy is a two way street. You have to want to be helped before anyone can help you. That’s not always a conscious decision; you can say you want help, but still be resisting it because talking about the problem is too painful or you’re not self-aware enough to know what the problem is. That’s okay. It’s normal.

There’s always other options, such as apps like TalkLife and 7 Cups for therapy/community support for mental health. If you are set on finding a therapist in your area and starting therapy, but don’t know where to start: have your physician or insurance company recommend someone.

When it comes to actually sharing your feelings, my only tip is to be open and don’t hold back. It’s scary, but they need to see you at your most vulnerable and they need to know what you’re holding inside of you. If it helps keep a blog or a journal to start to work through your feelings; then when you talk to your therapist, you could use those thoughts to help pinpoint the bigger issues.

You can also talk to your friends, people who know you and see if they’ve got any insights. That’s how you become more self-aware.

Therapy is a very deeply personal experience, but the point of it is that you can talk about it with someone who is qualified to give you life advice and help you see your life from another perspective. They’re there to listen, to be a sounding board, to be an unbiased opinion, to show you how to cope. To be honest, that’s something anyone could use, not just those of us who are struggling with mental illness or feel like their life is going nowhere.

There’s always been a stigma surrounding therapy that doesn’t really deserve to exist. There’s nothing wrong with needing help. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know yourself a little better.

You’re therapist will probably tell you not to be afraid to cry. Their office is a safe space. It’s not always the easiest thing to do to cry in front of others, but letting yourself be able to cry isn’t the worst decision. You’ll get out the emotion that you need to and you’re therapist can help you process it.

We’re not infallible. Our therapist is not infallible either, but talking to someone helps. Learning coping skills helps. Knowing that you’re not alone helps.

And then one day, it’ll be okay. It won’t be perfect, you’ll still stress about life and have bad days, but you’ll be better equipped to handle it. It won’t be the end of the world.

You’ll move forward with your life.

Affirmations

I Deserve… 

  • I deserve happiness.
  • I deserve friendship and love.
  • I deserve peace and hope and wellness.
  • I deserve to smile and to laugh.
  • I deserve to feel safe and secure, to feel wanted and accepted.
  • I deserve to have the whole world at my fingertips, to feel connected to people and be able to let them feel connected to me.
  • I deserve life, all of life.

 

  • I deserve to feel the bright light of a warm sun and the cool breeze against my skin.
  • I deserve to breathe deep and fill my lungs with oxygen.
  • I deserve to have living-giving blood flowing through my veins.
  • I deserve everything that the universe has to offer me.
  • I deserve to feel and to be alive.

I am…

  • I am beautiful, inside and out.
  • People like me because I’m open minded, i’m honest, I’m smart.

 

  • I am a friend.
  • I care about others.
  • I seek happiness so I can share it.

 

  • I am strong, a survivor.
  • I’m resilient and unbreakable.
  • I don’t give up.
  • I can stand up, rise from the ashes.
  • I am a phoenix, born again.

 

A letter to my mother

Dear Mom,

I hate myself because I can’t remember you. Not in any real detail. I don’t even have any pictures left.

I remember that you went to church.

I remember you jogging at the park.

I remember knowing that you were sick, but I don’t remember what it felt like.

I don’t remember your face or your smell or your smile.

I remember I didn’t cry when I found out that you were gone; I think it was because I already knew before they told me. I remember hearing the most painful wailing sounds, your mother grieving after she lost her second child. I remember not wanting to know what it was, wishing I couldn’t hear it, pretending it wasn’t real.

I think that was the moment I separated myself from everything. The person that I am has always protected myself, has always been resilient; if something is too hard to deal with, too big to wrap my brain around or my heart, I close myself off from it. I let it fester and rot and die, and I think that’s how I’ve been living for the last the 14 years of my life, ignoring the tumor that was losing you.

I’m writing this letter to heal, to treat the wounds and the scars. The last picture I had was a photo of Abuela, you, and me. You had cancer peach fuzz and I had god awful bangs that wouldn’t stop curling and I was wearing a shirt that I borrowed from you and kept. Abuela looked like she always did, like the matron of the family. The frame was ruined and I couldn’t take it with me when I moved, so I walked away from that, buried it with every other memory I had of you. I’m trying to unbury them now.

I’m trying to remember what I lost because when you died, a part of me died and I need that part back. I need to remember who I was before I lost you, who I wanted to be. I need to rebuild myself and I need your help, your memory, to do it.

The truth is I always felt like an outsider in the family. I was happy, of course I was happy, but I think it was hollow happiness. I spent so much of my youth with Abuela, or being shipped off to other family members, or alone in my room. I didn’t really spend that much time with you or dad. Sometimes I think that was why I couldn’t stop myself from crawling into your bed every night until I was nine (that and I always slept with Abuela in her bed, so it made sense). I wanted to know who my parents were.

I think I feel guilty because I don’t have a clear picture of you in my head, just snippets of memories like that time you tried to teach me to rollerblade or all the mornings driving to Academy of the Holy Names. I remember that fender bender we got into once on the way to school and how Chester never left your side at home.

These are all things that I know happened, but I still feel like I never knew you. I can’t describe your personality. That’s why I’m guilty because you’re my mom and you died before I got to know you, before you got to know me. I feel like I losI the chance at a real family because now it’s all broken and I don’t know how to put it back together.

You were the glue that held the family together. Without you, there is no family. I don’t belong and that hurts me because I want to have a family. I barely know what one is anymore.

I just want to know how to put myself back together, how to move on without you because I haven’t felt alive in years. I never grew up and I need to grow up.

I love you, Mom, but I think I have to let you go for real. I think I have to let myself live. I just want you to be proud of me.

I can’t tether myself anymore to what could have been. I just need to build something new for myself and that’s okay.

I’m okay and I’m getting better.

Thank you for being my mom and for loving me the best that you could. That’s what I want to put out into the world, the idea that we should all love to best of our abilities, that we should give of ourselves to others if they need it.

That’s what I’m keeping for myself, that part of you.

I hope my life will be a great one.

Happy Mothers’ Day

Goodbye.

Love, Alexis.

Seedship: Where Will You Colonize?

Ian found the game that combines the best parts of both our interests. That wasn’t even a thing I was looking for, but here it is…. so let’s talk about it.

I got a text about this game Seedship created by John Ayliff. It’s text-based, which immediately interests me because it’s telling a story and it’s a story that feels very familiar.

So, I’m a big fan of The 100, which follows the lives of 100 juvenile space criminals as they return to a radiation-soaked earth to find out if it’s survivable. Five seasons down the line, we’ve learned that it is survivable, but that doesn’t make survival easy. Bonus: they are now introducing a ship full of space prisoners who have been in cryosleep for ~100 years.

In Seedship, you play as an AI unit (which was also a thing in The 100) who is manning a ship that is carrying 1000 Earth survivors in cryosleep and is tasked with finding a habitable planet to colonize.  As you traverse the galaxy, you are given choices for your survival, which not only include choosing a planet, but also what to do when problems arise on the ship. Things like saving power by shutting down 74 cryo-chambers effectively killing them or dodging a meteorite to prevent it from hitting one part of the ship, but could damage a different part of the ship.

When you sustain damages, your planet scans can become fuzzy. You have the option to send out a surface probe, but you only have 10 of them, so choose wisely. Then when you do finally decide on a planet to colonize, it runs through the scenario on how your people survived and what kind of society they had ranging from Palaeolithic to the Information age to Cosmic Enlightment.Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 18.39.03

Conceptually, this game is very simple, but it’s got a lot of possibilities, which I really appreciate. I feel like they built a little universe and that universe is what’s driving the game as well as the story. With storytelling, it’s usually either the characters or the plot that is driving the story, but rarely is it the setting. In a way, you as the player/the AI are driving the story based on the information and choices that you make, but that information about each planet is what’s guiding the choices you make.

I do believe that setting is more important than we often give it credit for. It’s not just the place or time something is happening, it informs facts about the character such as socio-economic status. That’s not a thing in Seedship, however the information that you gather is what helps you decide if a planet is habitable and then, if you do choose to land there, it informs the game what kind of life your colonizers will lead.

My conclusion to this little review is I definitely like this game. I think it provokes a lot of thoughts about humanity, how we live and survive in this world, and how we’ve evolved. Also, it’s a quick little fun thing that has endless replay value whenever you have a few minutes to spare.

You can download the app for iOS/Android, or go here: Play Seedship

Let me know what you think, and if you played, what is your planet named?

 

Dissecting Depression

I’ve been battling depression for the better part of the last decade. I’ve been in and out of therapy, on and off meds; I was even once in a 30 day rehab for addiction and mental illness (but i’m not an addict).

I have self-sabotaged, relapsed, backslid more times than I can count.

I am terrified of what happens to me if I don’t constantly feel like this because I don’t know what that means, but also my therapist thinks I feel guilt about something. She’s probably not wrong, but I don’t know what yet (actually, maybe I do or at least, partially).

Wanting to get better and actually putting in the effort to get better are two radically different concepts. It’s harder than you think to be open about your flaws, open about your feelings, especially when you’re not even sure if they’re valid. It’s a process and it takes a lot of time and effort.

More than that, sometimes you don’t know exactly why you need therapy just that you do, and pulling out the past can be painful and ugly and brutal, but it’s the catharsis that helps. It’s letting go of the things that have been holding you hostage for years.

Becoming self-aware is hard; most people are not self-aware and for the longest time, I wasn’t either. There were many many years where I barely knew who I was. I would tell myself constantly that I felt like I was living the wrong life; I had gone so far away from where I started and gotten so lost, I didn’t think there was a way out. The process of figuring out who I was, how I felt, what was the most important to me was how I was able to decide what I really needed.

Sometimes, it feels too complicated to maneuver, which was my problem and it’s still something that I’m trying to navigate. Everything in my life felt like one catch-22 after another. I quit my job so I didn’t have money so I couldn’t pay my rent so I was homeless, and on top of all of it, I was so depressed and anxious, which was why I quit my job in the first place. I dug a grave for myself that was so deep, I couldn’t see a way out.

I hated myself. I deserved to feel like this. I was broken and ready to give up. Hopeless.

I would crawl inside of myself and live with the guilt and sadness until it actually killed me, but I survived. It never got me. Even when I wanted to die, it wasn’t enough to actually kill me.

Maybe because I knew I had to write this, I had to tell people that they aren’t alone. That their feelings are valid, that things can get better even if doesn’t seem like it for a long time.

I would tell them that they’re strong, stronger than they know. When it comes to fight or flight, I’ve always been flight. I never challenged my demons because they scared me and I didn’t want to lose. I didn’t want to make it worse.

But you have to fight, you have to make the choice to live. Every day. Choose life.

Even if all you do is get out of bed or take a shower, that’s something. It’s enough. The more you fight, the stronger you get and you’ll be able to slay your demons.

It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. Have one good day and use it to build more good days. Start believing that you’re worth something because you are. Tell yourself one good thing about yourself every day until you see it too.

Just don’t give up. I didn’t.

Passion is the only reason we’re alive

There’s a quote in Buffy the Vampire Slayer about passion. It reads:

Passion…it lies in all of us. Sleeping, waiting, and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir, open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us, guides us… passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments; the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d truly know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank… without passion, we’d truly be dead.

I am a person who thrives on passion. It’s what gets me through every day. When you love something or someone so much that they become a part of you, that’s passion. It’s what gives us a reason to get up every day and live. I have true and real passion for writing. It lives in my bones and it wants to be shared with the world. When I don’t write, those are my darkest times.

I get so consumed by depression that thoughts don’t make it out of my brain. They stick and they seethe, but they don’t become anything. They exist as static entities without the ability to gain momentum or growth. That’s life without passion. In a way, that’s all depression is, a loss of passion; an empty void in your soul that seems to feed on itself. It saps your energy, your motivation, your purpose. You lose what’s really important to you.

I’ve been there. The edge of the precipice with no reason not to jump because there was nothing left fighting for, not even myself. Passion means caring. It means giving a shit about something because it resonates within you. When it doesn’t, that’s true terror; when there’s nothing to ground you and nothing to hold on to, nothing to hold yourself together… what do you do?

You find your passion, or you die… because life’s not worth living without something to live for.

Looking for ‘Home’

I can’t really remember the last home I had. I know all the places I’ve lived, where I grew up, but the idea of a home never sunk in for me. That’s not to say that I haven’t liked the places I’ve lived or that I didn’t feel safe when I was there (except for a few places I’ve stayed recently).

The dictionary defines home as: “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” When I lived with my parents, that was their home, not mine. It was always immaculate and never really felt lived in. It never really felt like I belonged there and my parents were always pushing me to be independent and move out on my own.

In college, I had dorms and then an apartment with friends, which was so much fun. It was never home though because I always knew it was temporary. Since then I’ve lived in more dorms, an empty apartment that held nothing but my self-loathing and depression, and then the transitional home.

It wasn’t that it wasn’t a nice place. It wasn’t that there weren’t nice people. I just felt so entirely disassociated from it. I hated how it made me feel about myself. I lived there nearly three years before I essentially threw a temper tantrum and got kicked out. I just couldn’t allow myself to be there anymore. It tore me apart, but I knew I couldn’t stay. I had nowhere to go.

I bounced over to craigslist and rented a “shared one bedroom condo” … the landlord was nice, but in a creepy way. He was older and just wanted young girls to share his bed. I slept on the couch and he left me alone because I was nice.

For two weeks, I lived in a motel room (creepy landlord sold his condo); I had to share it with another one of the girls he rented to (he rented to 3 girls including me).

When I met Ian, I was about to check out of the motel, I was at a loss for where to go. He took me in because he wanted to help me, cause he saw that I was good person and that I could be better if I wasn’t drowning.

The apartment he shared with his dad was the first time I felt like home. Ian and his Dad are not my family, but they treated me like I belonged there (it was with the understanding that I couldn’t stay forever). I felt included in their lives for the 3 weeks I lived there and they went so far out of their way to help me in a way no one had ever done before. It got to the point where I did feel like family.

They found a room for me to rent and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, and maybe this isn’t home exactly, but it’s good and I still get that feeling when I’m spending time with Ian.

He’s the family I choose. He’s home.

Turning 29: I still don’t know how to adult

It’s my birthday and while I’m not 30 just yet, I’m close enough to be terrified of the fact that my life still doesn’t make sense. I don’t really know what I want to do or achieve.

When I was growing up, my parents loved me, but for the most part didn’t want me seen or heard. I was so spoiled and never wanted for anything. It was all handed to me or done for me.

When I was 14, my mom passed away from breast cancer. She had gotten sick when I was 11 and I didn’t really experience it so much as I actively avoided it. After she died, I buried all my feelings and pretended to be okay. I never went through the grieving process. I still haven’t and it’s so difficult because there’s so many things I don’t remember.

In truth, I didn’t spend a lot of time with my parents. I sequestered myself in my room, while they watched Fox News. When I wasn’t doing that, they sent me to stay with my abuela (my mom’s mom), who further coddled me.

After my mom died, I convinced myself I was fine, but I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t want to move forward and I really believe, part of me is still that little girl who lost her mom. I never learned how to drive, I got a degree in college that pertained to my interests, but wasn’t my true passion, and I self-sabotage every big opportunity in my life until all that’s left is the depression and worthlessness.

I never learned how to do anything for myself, so it’s something i’m having to teach myself now. I have to rewire my brain into being an active participant in my own life, which is all I really want. I want to feel alive, I want to feel like I’m contributing something to this world.

I have a story inside me, a whole life that has intense peaks and valleys. It’s hard to track how I got where I am now, but I’m finally at a place where I want to move forward and grow up. I’m so scared to fail, but if I don’t try, the alternative is pretty depressing. All I know is that I can’t keep going like this because it’s actually killing me.

When I started 2018, I needed a change. I ripped my entire life apart because I was so unhappy. I had a long list of resolutions, things that I wanted to do to start over and the last 5 months have been a shit-storm because of it, but I’m looking forward to it getting better soon. I really believe that it will.

Happy Birthday to me. Let’s make it a good one.

Let’s Talk About Adaptation/Remediation

I could talk for days about adaptations, The whole idea of taking existing content and modifying it to fit into a different structure is endlessly fascinating. Obviously, a lot of people hate adaptations and you can’t entirely blame them because most adaptations don’t work.

People grow attached to a story in its original format and all the very specific little details that comprise the work. When an adaptation loses those details, it can be very upsetting for someone who treasures the original source material.

So, there’s another word in media theory for an adaptation, which is remediation; the idea that you can “appropriate the content of one media into another,” but remediation is also the idea that you can mix and match, so it doesn’t have to be a strict adaptation. It’s like a very elaborate crossover of media content that doesn’t always have to relate in any way.

One of my favorite examples of remediation is a youtube video called Buffy Kills Edward, because Buffy is a vampire slayer and vampires don’t sparkle. It even manages to include a clip from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Robert Pattinson, who played Cedric Diggory and Edward Cullen, is dying. Link below.

Buffy Kills Edward

Having mentioned Harry Potter, I just want to say that it is probably the most interesting example of adaptation due to its widespread appeal, but it’s become almost an amalgam of itself at this point because it’s taken over so many types of media. There’s the books, films, theatre, spin off books, spin off films, a literal theme park, an interactive website, and a phone app game. Not to mention all the merchandise. Marvel comics vs. the MCU is another great example of adaptation that has also become an amalgam of itself.

But there are literally so many examples of adaptation/remediation, I could make a list, but you wouldn’t want to read it (the entire Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was based on a ride at Disney World, which was later adapted to the film and Johnny Depp’s iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow). What is really interesting though is the media in which the original content is not as popular as the remediation/adaptation. Sometimes you come to discover the original source material after learning more about the adaptation.

Another thing to think about is that adaptation/remediation doesn’t have to crossover media or the media doesn’t have to be a book to movie; that’s only one specific kind and probably the most used form of adaptation. A cool example however, and one that worked pretty spectacularly was The Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum, which was remediated into Wicked by Gregory Maguire to be told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West, which later became an extremely successful Broadway musical, also called Wicked.

While I don’t want to talk forever about specific adaptations and their strengths/weaknesses in this post, I will list a few of my favorites and maybe I’ll give them their own posts.

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman vs. American Gods the TV show on STARZ
  • Heathers the film vs. Heathers the Musical
  • Horns by Joe Hill vs Horns the film
  • American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis vs American Psycho the film
  • American Idiot by Green Day (Album) vs American Idiot the Musical

Ian and Me

Like I know I talk about Ian A LOT, but I have a lot to say. I spent three weeks living with this person, and before I went to stay with him we had only spent a few days texting and had met in person once (granted, that was literally 12 hours together).

I’ve never gotten to know someone as quickly or as intensely as I got to know Ian. The closest I’ve come is my friend Jacob, but that friendship primarily existed in facebook messenger.

I guess the first thing I want to say about Ian is that we exist in very different worlds, different mindsets, but together we balance each other out. If you were to create a venn diagram with Ian and me, there would be very little overlap, but that means we have a lot to learn from each other.

A few facts about Ian:

  • He is 33.
  • He was in the marines.
  • He is very logical, pragmatic, and hands-on.
  • He sucked at school, but he loves to learn.
  • He has an understanding of electrical and mechanical engineering, and wants to one day work with robotics. He built a 3D printer and 3D printed a buttplug.
  • He’s starting his own business pretty much because he wants to find more advanced ways to slack off.
  • He knows far more about science and chemistry than I ever will (don’t even ask how many things we set on fire)
  • His truck doesn’t have a horn in it, but he’s planning on fixing that, eventually.
  • Despite all of this, he says he has huge knowledge gaps and doesn’t really know as much as it seems. The gap is math.
  • He’s also learning to cook and he’s pretty decent at it. He has a pepper fetish.
  • He has about half a dozen firearms but is very strict about firearm safety.
  • He gives me lectures on the history of war and also on science, but when my eyes glaze over and I look at him blankly, he just exclaims “Science!”
  • He’s allergic to cats??? which I didn’t see coming because he literally keeps cat treats (he calls them yum yums) to give to stray cats.
  • He’s very sentimental about his penguin blanket.
  • Also he makes the most inhuman vocal noises I’ve ever heard. Like he can make a dual tone, which should not physically be possible. Apparently, he can’t do it if I make him smile or laugh, which thank god.
  • He refers to pee-ing as taking a wee.
  • He can crack every bone in his body and does so often, while I cringe.
  • In the marines, he learned how to poop in 20 seconds, but now refuses to do so.
  • Probably a Ravenclaw, but I can make a convincing argument for all the Hogwarts houses.
  • I can disable all of his motor functions by tickling his sides near his hips.
  • Seems serious, but actually the biggest goofball. I can’t take him anywhere.
  • And if that’s not enough, he also gardens.
  • He’s hardcore (said in the voice of someone who is 12 years old).

A few facts about me:

  • I’m 28 going on 29.
  • Hufflepuff.
  • My entire knowledge base is from books, television, and media.
  • I love to observe and listen because that’s how I learn new things.
  • The act of storytelling in every form means the world to me.
  • I’m a social media junkie.
  • I can find anything on the internet.
  • I’m very much a those who don’t do, teach kind of person.
  • I’m the nicest sarcastic asshole you’ll ever meet.
  • I have very few practical skills.
  • But I’m absolutely hilarious all the time.
  • I dislocate my knee a lot, sometimes while laying down.
  • I dared Ian to pee off a bridge once at 3 am and he did.
  • My fingers are double jointed, literally all of them.
  • I accidentally pulled Ian’s door off it’s hinges.
  • One of these days, I’m actually going to punch Ian in the face and it will be an accident.
  • I use the hyperbole “i’m dying” whenever I’m stress sick.
  • If I find something so ridiculously funny for whatever reason, I will hyperventilate for no less than 30 minutes and not be able to breathe.
  • I wish I read more books like I used to.
  • I watch too much Netflix, like way too much.
  • If you touch my nose, I will immediately scream bloody murder (or scream later when we’re trapped together in a confined space).
  • I can’t drive, but Ian says he’ll teach me. I’m waiting for him to regret that decision.
  • I am fascinated by people like Ian because knowing him feels like peeling away layers of skin and finding something completely different and unexpected under each layer.
  • One of us is a figment of the other’s imagination.

So, as you can see, there’s not a whole lot that we have in common. We’ve read a few of the same books, but mostly we’ve recommended books that the other has wanted to read, but hasn’t yet. Also, we both love Undertale and I’ve introduced him to some games he now loves.

Because I’m a writer, I’m literally so fascinated when I watch him work on something or when we talk. Our conversations are actually endless. We never stop having adventures. It is possible that we are Mae and Greggory from Night In the Woods (Crimes? Crimes). We literally create elaborate setups so that it looks like we’re actually crazy people, except we are actually crazy people. See below.

tumblr_p7aqiba7q61vsst0wo1_400

But I guess, I wrote all of this to say that I really appreciate having someone like him in my life, not just because he rescued me or helped me back on my feet, but because he’s genuinely a great friend and an interesting person, and at this point, I don’t know what I’d do without him.

PS: don’t ask about the buttplug.

 

I need to start making goals

One of the biggest problems I have is that I waste every day and nothing productive ever gets done, which wouldn’t be a huge problem except that I have no income and a lot of bills to pay. So, I need to set some goals, things that I have to get done each day and stretch goals for the extras that I’d like to get done if there’s time/energy.

Technically, this blog falls under stretch goals, but I really want to get in the habit of writing again, so I definitely want to make time for this, if I can. There’s a few scheduled posts already, but hopefully I’ll do some more before I get a job and become eternally busy.

With that said, my biggest goal is to find a job. I have a promising interview tomorrow and if I get it, it might mean that I can really start rebuilding my life. So i’d like to do a few things like put in 5 applications daily, come up with a template for a cover letter, start reading some books on fields that interest me. My degree is in English Literature and Theatre, and I almost got a masters in Publishing. However, I’m also really interested in social media management and marketing. That’s something I could be helping Ian with in the future.

Other goals I have include getting more consistent with therapy/meds. I just got back on medication for depression/anxiety last month, but due to moving around so much and the stress of potential homelessness, I haven’t really kept up with it.

In a more vague sense, my goal is stability. Ian helped a lot with that and it’s definitely getting there, but I need to take it the rest of the way and I’ve failed at that in the past. I think it might be different this time though, this feels different. Maybe because I got so close to rock bottom, I didn’t think I was going to make it. Maybe because I found a friend who won’t give up on me, so I can’t give up on myself. Whatever it is, I have to make it work.

The stretch goals are my more personal goals: writing more (keeping this blog), reading more, being more social, having more fun. The last few years of my life have been a whole lot of darkness, of not really living, and what I most want for myself is to start feeling alive again, to have a purpose for my life.

This is how I start, by organizing myself and pushing myself to be better.

Niche, Bitch

There’s no rhyme or reason to my posts on this blog. My interests are varied, but also incredibly specific and I link them up in different ways as often as possible.

Maybe eventually, I’ll plan a schedule that’s more regimented, like Poetry Fridays, Review Wednesdays, Personal Post Sundays… but I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m just really hyped about having this blog and whatever I get excited about, I want to share. I have a bunch of posts scheduled for the next week and they’re all different.

If there is something that you’d like me to blog about, message me. Comment. I read everything.

Also, if something is particularly annoying (like how I go on and on about Ian), I mean… I’m probably still going to post it but, I’ll try to schedule it on specific days or tag it properly.

I really like comments

This is not a blog post, just a PSA. I’d love to talk to anyone reading this blog, so if you want to drop a comment, I will absolutely definitely respond. I promise I don’t bite.