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Life of V

The journey from being broken to being queen

Tell It Like It Is

So, I got a new day planner a couple of weeks ago. It was an idea for how to start writing down things that happen in my life and in my brain, as well as writing down the things that are causing me stress and anxiety, so I can maybe start to see a pattern and squash it like a bug. I’ll let you know how that goes. But it’s a gorgeous planner and I’m a little bit smitten with it and I bring it with me everywhere. Maybe that’s a good sign.

Each month has a tab. Ah, swoon. On that monthly tab page, it looks like this:

 

IMG_20161030_175648389.jpg

Some are cutesy. Some are motivational. I’ve decided to use these as a theme for the month ahead, interpreting everything I do into some form of symbolism because that’s how I am. November is “Tell is like it is” month. I’ve a bad habit of bottling things up and letting them eat away at me until I crash and burn. This month, I am going to work at conquering my fear of saying what I really feel when it comes to something I feel is important. I have spent years being told (and believing) that my thoughts and feelings don’t matter. All you’re worth is that you can do for other people to make their lives easier. I know that it’s that ugly cloud of depression and insecurity that makes me think this way, but some habits are fucking hard to break. But this month is a month of quitting. Quitting keeping things held back and bottled up. I have to shatter this mindset that talking about my feelings makes the people who love and care about me uncomfortable or inconvenienced. If something  bothers me, I need to find a way to talk about it, or else it will destroy me. And I don’t want to be destroyed by something that. I want to be destroyed by an asteroid or something like that.

I don’t take care of myself very well. I am realising that more and more lately, and I am struggling to think of a reason why I shouldn’t treat myself with the same respect, dignity and love that I treat everyone I care about. I’m discovering that depression and anxiety have plagued me my whole life, it was just undiagnosed and unrecognised because I hid it so well. I hated myself when I was younger. I wanted to be thinner, funnier, prettier, smarter, more perfect, but I could never get there. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I know now that I was full of shit. I was plenty back then and I’m plenty now.

I still struggle with knowing I’m enough, let alone plenty. Since I lost my mother, I have felt lost, without my biggest fan, my other half. I have struggled to feel whole. I have the most wonderful partner in the whole world, loving friends and a sweet and close family that drives me insane, but even all those blessings, and I feel… incomplete. I’ve felt that way for a long time, and I am struggling to find those missing pieces.

So bear with me friends… I’m about to get very open and very honest.

A Better Place

A few days ago, Chad and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve found someone who’s been able to handle the fact that I’m kinda messed up in my head, and still been able to see the human underneath and love her. In the past, it’s sent people running, and I just kind of got used to it. When the chips were down, most folded. Chad raised. I’ve never had such a connection with someone, a deep understanding and acceptance of the whole package. So we celebrated all this with steak. 🙂 We’re real partiers too. We clinked glasses filled with non-alcoholic drinks, made out in our little corner of the dining room of The Keg, and giggled and stared stupidly at each other like it was our first date. It was nice.

We stayed up late talking, like we did the day we met, and talked about everything from which was the best Star Trek (TNG, obviously), our future plans and dreams, the differences between vegetarian and vegan (neither of which we would ever be, unless they invented a bacon tree), the changes going on at work (I’ll get to that), and even remembering that our anniversary was also a sad one, for it was the day Canada lost Jack Layton. We both admired him, and it comes up in conversation every year, because I was the one who broke the news to Chad the day we met.

I’m very lucky to have Chad in my life, and I don’t even think I understand how lucky. He’s been by my side during the toughest moments of my life, and carried me through when I couldn’t bear it. He’s been there when the darkest parts of me clouded the real me and helped me break through and come back (hopefully) stronger. I wouldn’t be here today without his love, and I don’t even think he knows how many times he’s saved my life.

So, here’s to five years. I love you more than all planets orbiting all the stars in the universe. Thanks to you, I’m gonna be alright.

Alive

I’ve been told a lot that I have no filter. My first chef used to walk behind me while i was prepping for service and in a singsong voice say “filter” to remind me to shut the hell up. I talk a lot is what I’m getting at.

I used to apologise when I’d catch myself babbling on and on about something. I was trying to be interesting, useful, someone worthy of being liked. It took me too goddamn long to realise that I already was. It’s so hard to really figure out what was going on in my mind during all these years of self doubt. It almost seems ridiculous now, but hindsight’s a bitch, or something like that. I don’t apologise for talking anymore. I’ve got things to say.

So, while I still have no filter, I am much more aware of the cloud that always looms in the background. I used to feel like I was drowning. But it seemed normal. I thought this was how life was supposed to feel. Fuck that. I need to take back my life.

I was born in a thunderstorm, I grew up overnight
I played alone, I played on my own
I survived

I wanted everything I never had, like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived

I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change and nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope just lies, and you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

I found solace in the strangest place, way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a strangers face, and it was mine

I had a one way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change and nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope just lies, and you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

You took it all, but I’m still breathing

I have made every single mistake that you could ever possibly make
I took and I took and I took what you gave, but you never noticed that I was in pain
I knew what I wanted, I went out and got it
I did all the things that you said that I wouldn’t
I told you that I would never be forgotten, and all in spite of you

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

A Million Years Ago…

You know how people interpret things differently all the time? And how that’s never created any sort of conflict ever, like whatsoever? Okay, yes, that second question was sarcastic, it sounded better in my head. But it’s still my intro to the world today.

I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago. As gracefully a tapdancing buffalo, I slipped in a icy parking lot and my ankle bent at an unnatural angle and I felt/heard a very loud snap, followed by someone swearing. Oh wait, that was me. I was in and out of hospital (painkillers, x-rays, poking and prodding, bending and twisting until I yelped, Chad wheeling me into a wall, the whole shebang) in less than 2 hours. On a Saturday night! We either beat the bar rush 😉 or we just got damned lucky. I made jokes with the nurses, doctors and x-ray techs, and at one point asked for tequila. I don’t drink.

After a week on crutches, I am now in a cast boot. It was a little rough at first, but I’m able to walk now, and having the boot makes me feel steadier on my very tender and very weak ankle. I still have to work… gots bills to pay and such. I did take a few days off when it first happened, mostly because my boss is a nice guy and didn’t want to feel guilty about stepping over me when I’d crumple on the line. HA! Nah, but seriously, he was pretty insistent. Elevate that shizz… that’s what he told me. Sounds like a pretty good life motto, eh?

Which brings me to part one of where my intro fits in. After breaking myself repeatedly and being gimped up for more than half a year, I’ve had a lot of time to just sit and think. TO finally face the demons and take a really good look at myself in the mirror. Metaphorical mirror. I don’t sit and stare at myself in the mirror all day. I check myself out and jiggle my boobies in the morning mirror like every other woman, but that’s about it. I need to change my perspective about a lot of things. Something isn’t working and since I’m a goddamn adult, I need to address this. Immediately.

Come on this epic journey with me. Is it okay that I’m scared of what I’ll find? Of course it’s okay. I mean, there could be nightmarish stuff beyond this point. Spiders and shit. Skeletons? Donald Trump? Yeah, that’s what nightmares are made of. (Please don’t vote for Donald Trump. Hate and fear are not the solutions. It’s supposed to be a nation UNITED, not divided and colour coded. Someone who is dead inside cannot lead a nation filled with life and love.  #LovetrumpsTrump)

When you’ve got a lot of time to think about everything because you’re cooped up and immobile for a while, you think about some weird shit. Once I get past current events, and the sideshow that is the US election (get your shit together people. It’s your country, not Jersey Shore), I looked inward. My brain is always making noise, and I’m always trying to calm it down. I decided to look at it like my closet. Organising my closet means I have to purge some things. Usually a lot of things. Check to see if they still fit, if they’re stained or torn, if I’ve worn them ever or in the last year. If it’s a staple that always stays, or if it’s a piece of my history that has some special meaning. If not, unload it.

I find myself very anxious to be around people. Don’t take it personally. I love you to pieces, I just find it very exhausting and nerve wracking to physically be in your presence. It’s not you it’s me, and I’m not just saying that. I fought against my introversion for years. That’s not how you’re supposed to be. You’re supposed to be social, right? That’s how the world works. It’s hard to describe the feeling and thought process, it didn’t matter if I liked it or not, it’s just what was done. Feelings weren’t a part of everyday life, they were private. Something that were yours and not to be shared with others. Because they didn’t matter to anyone else.

I recognise that now as the cloud of depression and anxiety that has always hung over me. What’s the saying? Hindsight’s a snarky bitch that makes you go DUH! Something like that. I told myself that I had to earn the right to do the things that made me happy and to talk about my feelings and for some reason that’s what I believed. I was a stupid kid. I’m a stupid adult too, but I’m working on figuring shit out.

As I got older I went into robot mode. All I wanted to was to make sure that my mother was proud of me and that I became who she wanted me to become. It’s coming up on two years since she died and thinking about her is bittersweet. I wanted to make her the happiest person alive and I grossly misread the rules. She wanted me to be successful. So I read that as “become a doctor or a scientist”. I feel like I let her down when I dropped out of Acadia after my first breakdown (which I didn’t call a breakdown. I was in denial even back then). Then I went to culinary school for 2 main reasons: 1) I liked to cook and I was good at, having had lots of practice from childhood.. thanks grandmas and mamma. and 2) Community college is a shit load cheaper than university and it was only a 2 year program at NSCC. I could be earning a decent living and no longer be a burden on my parents. Notice how complicated that second reason was. That became my focus. Ah, to be young and stupid again. I don’t like being older and stupid. My boobs aren’t as perky and I don’t have as much energy.

So, I’ll be older and wiser. Time to rethink I ever thought, because the cloud is lifting. I’m getting better. I have my days, like everyone else, and I have more of them than a lot of people. I just don’t fight them anymore. My breakdown last year really was a blessing. I hate to say that, because it’s bittersweet. It’s good because it’s made me discover myself, but it’s borne out of my mother’s passing. I think that’s the hardest thing I have admitted. There’s today’s breakthrough. And I’m crying. Okay, I can get through this.

I really have learned a lot about myself since I stabbed those poor pork shanks and cried in the walkin that night. My feelings of guilt and sadness and desperation came to a head that night. I scared the shit out of Colby, the other cook on the line with me that night. Sorry buddy. Please don’t be afraid of me anymore. ❤

I felt so much sadness in losing her, it began to crack the facade. I felt so much guilt about so many things. I promised her I’d visit her again the night before she passed, but I didn’t. I’d had a panic attack at home with Chad and a splitting headache resulted. I took that night to myself to sleep off the headache and the next morning… well… that still tears me up. I’m sorry mom. I know you understand, but I’m still sorry. I hate that my last promise to you was broken. I had such a good track record. Why did it have to go out on that note?Fucking life eh? Oh wait… hey… did I just make a funny? No… well, maybe…?

I also felt guilty because I was trying so hard to act like nothing was wrong. And that I was afraid that I was still failing. If that’s not a contradiction, I don’t know what is! No wonder I’m exhausted. I felt guilty for not being to do more to save her. Guilty for still not being able to pay off her funeral bill, guilty for laughing at something, guilty for crying, guilty for changing and failing at resisting the change… I was a trainwreck waiting to happen. Now I feel guilty for having cracked. It’s never ending, and it’s exhausting.

It’s also exhausting to think that for a while, I was trying to go back to what I was like before.Trying to reboot to the last known safe point. That’s not how real life works and it took me far too long to learn that. I feel I could be much farther ahead in my recovery if I wasn’t so goddamn stubborn. Recently, a friend told me that there is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi. 

kintsukuroimeme

 

Thanks Matt. That was really sweet of you to share. Since I’m all about interpreting things, I think I might know what you were getting at 😉

I’ve been listening to a lot of Adele lately. I haven’t bought an album in a long time, but I just love Adele and 25 is my favourite of the trilogy. She reminds me of the good old days somehow. But young and vibrant and new. One of my favourite songs on 25 is A Million Years Ago (roll credits). This song touched me first because of one line in the chorus “I miss my mother” and well, I can relate to that. From a mental health standpoint, this song was clearly written for me.

I only wanted to have fun
Learning to fly…
Learning to run…
I let my heart decide the way
When I was young…
Deep down I must have always known
That is would be inevitable
To earn my stripes I’d have to pay!
And bear my soul

I know I’m not the only one
Who regrets the things they’ve done
Sometimes I just feel it’s only me
Who can’t stand the reflection that they see
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother; I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago

When I walk around all of the streets
Where I grew up and found my feet
They can’t look me in the eye
It’s like they’re scared of me
I try to think of things to say
Like a joke or a memory
But they don’t recognize me now
In the light of day…

I know I’m not the only one
Who regrets the things they’ve done
Sometimes I just feel it’s only me
Who never became who they thought they’d be
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother, I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago

A million years ago

Thanks for understanding me Adele. I wish I could see you in Boston when you’re there Sept 14th. Those tickets went FAST. Sept 14 is mom’s birthday and I feel like she’s around me when I listen to you sing.

MmmKay, that’s enough interpreting for today. If you’ve read this far, you must not be working today 😉 Sorry it’s so long… I just scrolled back up and holy shit.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Hello friends,

 

I’m still in my rut. Failure to launch. I’ve been teetering on the edge of this pit of anxiety and depression. I’m scared to fall. I imagine it like the memory dump in Inside Out. I actually just watched that movie yesterday and holy crap is it ever cute. And I relate to it a lot. Of course, we want Joy to have control of the helm. But all of the core memories, no matter who’s touched it, builds us into who we are. I forgot to look back at the core memories that made me a good person because my depression had kept me from finding them. Depression only showed me the memories that were making my islands crumble.

I haven’t had a panic attack in a while. Something in my brain is trying to creep in and say “aren’t you due for a meltdown?” and I’m scared it will happen. Mostly because I feel like absolute dog shit when it’s over. I look stupid, I make a scene, I cry, I put up the walls and I flop into a fucking pile. I make everyone around me uncomfortable (I love you all for saying it doesn’t, but face it, it does… it’s making me very uncomfortable, it’s not a picnic for you, I am aware. I love you. And thank you for saying it) and I have enough of this shit on camera as it is. I don’t know how to make it better. But dammit, I am going to try. I’m tired of this bullshit.

Breathe. I need to remember to breathe. I go into autopilot and I forget that I’m not a robot. I’m not perfect. I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I can forget to clean a spot. I can be a few minutes late for something. I am allowed to not know something. Why is this so hard for me to remember? *sigh*

So, I try again. I reread my last post, and I want to focus on one of them since it is seeming pretty vital at the moment.

“I am aware that anxiety attacks are still a possibility, and depression will still be ever looming in the background, but I’m at a point in my life where I can adult better than I used to. I understand better than I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that was part of why I deteriorated. I’m not saying it was 100% the medication I was prescribed, I’m just saying something’s working, and I feel more in control of myself and my future. Drugs and positive reinforcement. And coffee. And classical music. And laughing. And coffee again. And talking about my everyday epiphanies. The lessons I have to learn over and over until they finally stick. And coffee again.”

I do like my coffee. Ha! I don’t know if it’s the chicory in my coffee or what, but every morning, I get a whiff of very crispy bacon when I take my first sip and as a fat girl, that makes me very happy.

I need to laugh. I need to listen to classical music. And I need to have everyday epiphanies. And I need positive reinforcement. I’m like a puppy being trained haha. I need to learn how to adult. It’s hard!

I’ll never not struggle with my mental illness. I can only take it day by day. I have to remind myself every day that I have come a long way and that setbacks are okay, as long as I learn from them and move forward instead of staying in the same place.

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