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Life of V

The journey from being broken to being queen

Month

June 2015

Letting my fingers do the talking…

I am feeling the urge to write, but I don’t know what to say… for now the title line is blank, I really have no idea where this will go. I’m feeling oddly okay with just pouring my brain into my fingertips. Fly, you little buggers, fly.

I’ve got a 3 hour track of the most beautiful classical music ever created, I’ve had coffee, I’m forcing myself to sit up straight (don’t slouch… tits out, that’s what mom always said… Jesus, that’s awesome). So. Where shall we begin?

How have I been lately? I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. Sometimes it’s really hard to truthfully answer in the moment, so I usually just say “getting there” and then just move on. That’s the truth, I’m getting there, but there’s obviously more to it than that, but if I went into it, like some of you ask me to, I would be dead from exhaustion. So, let’s do checkpoints, sort of…. I’ll keep saying “getting there” and just take it at face value. I’m always working towards a greater goal, and sometimes I have setbacks, and sometimes I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was. Sometimes I slide back a few steps and have to pick up the pieces and find some mental superglue and stick myself back together. I sometimes feel like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz “they took my brains out and threw them over there, and then they took my heart out and threw it over there” and I’m a pile of blubbery mess. But like Scarecrow, I have friends who help me retrieve the lost pieces of me and together we stuff me back together and we move on. Sometimes it takes a while to find all the stuffings. I suppose I could do without some of the stuffings… I’m pretty padded as it is. I could stand to unfluff a little.

There, a segway!! I have discovered walking trails! And more importantly, some really comfortable shoes. Two pairs of shoes to be exact. As my baby blue Nike’s near the end of their life, I started using my gym pair as my everyday pair (partly because I had a brand new pair of sneakers sitting in a gym bag and face it, I haven’t been to the gym in a whiiiiiillllle… again, working on it) so I thought fuck it, I’m going to use them and go walking. Fuck yes. They’re good walking sneakers. I can lose weight walking and hiking more yes? Huzzah. And then there are the work shoes… my old work shoes were SHIT. I didn’t realise how badly they were shit until I couldn’t get out of bed one day after a 6 hour shift in them. Well, fuck that. I need to be able to move. Something had to give. And then the bestest boss in the whole wide world gave us all great news… we were going to be able to get a SERIOUS discount on a new pair of work shoes. So, as any sane kitchen bitch would do, I promptly ordered a pair of Birkenstocks. FUCK YES. The first day I wore them in the kitchen, I cried at the end of my shift because my feet and legs were completely pain-free and I was so happy. I was so happy in fact, I put those awesome sneakers on afterwards and walked home. It’s a 10K walk home. Can I get a fucking hallelujah!? It was necessary to add that swear. My mind was blown. But my feet weren’t! Having sneakers and work shoes that don’t make me want to murder everyone I set my eyes upon is kind of a game changer. I don’t hurt as much, so I walk more. A lot more. I get off the bus several stops early so I can walk and take in some fresh air and some quality me time… I pick one of the voices that’s buzzing around in my head and I listen to it and see what it has to say. I’m not saying I hear voices people, calm down. They’re all my own voice, they’re all my ideas, but they’re all screaming at once and it’s hard to sort all that out and not be so anxious all the time. If I start listening to one at a time, gradually, it gets quieter, and then I can sleep for once. So, the moral of the story here, get comfortable shoes and your life will change. I cannot stress this enough.

Since I’ve started walking, I’ve been finding more energy to go walking. There are some nice woodsy trails near my apartment building and I love being in the woods, so off on the trails I go. I try to cover every loop in one go, sometimes it takes me a couple of hours, and sometimes I stop and sit on a tree stump, but I find I always want to keep going. I sweat my ass off too, holy shit. The breezes sure are welcome when they come along. Or the rain, ahhh…. cooldown. My legs burn like hell for the first half hour at least, sometimes longer. I should have stopped at times and stretched and maybe eased up a bit, but I felt pretty determined to see if it would eventually stop burning and make that happen ASAP. It felt like it took forever. but all of a sudden, it hit me, I wasn’t burning anymore, and fuck, it was nice to walk through the woods, over rocks and tree stumps and moss and pine needles. It reminded me of all the walking and hiking and camping I did as a kid. I lived in the middle of nowhere. It was constantly a long walk in the woods, usually with a book and a snack. Well, guess who’s going to revisit her childhood habits? They were good ideas. I feel I might have an idea to possibly manage my anxiety and panic attacks.

Chad and I went camping this week. We brought enough food to feed an army, and brought more than half of it back with us (we’re not smart) and we have a giant tent (it’s at least a 6 man tent), with a front sunroom. I guess we went more “glamping” than camping (I’ve only recently learned what that term meant). Glamorous camping. hahaha. How do we come up with this shit? I found myself working on remaining calm and not letting myself get frustrated while setting up that monster of a tent. It took us 20 minutes total to set it up, and we were slow, and methodical, and except for when one of the rods popped out of its pocket and hit me right in the mouth (ooh, it bloody hurt… I had a fat lip for a while) I didn’t lose focus, my patience, or my temper (and I only swore a little bit when I got punched by the tent). CHad was quite proud of me. I was quite proud of me too. Every other camping trip, I’ve wanted to hurry and get the tent up because I always felt I had to be in a hurry to do everything and I really don’t know why. I can’t for the life of me remember why I always felt I had to hurry to get everything done perfectly the first time, and to say yes to every single request that was asked of me, whether I knew what to do or not. I’m realising that I have been completely insane for years, not just in the last few months. I had another one of those epiphanies the other day. It’s hard to put it into words without making myself sound like the center of the universe, but here it goes. I feel one of the reasons for my anxiety and panic attacks are because I cared too much about doing everything and doing it all perfectly and making it look like it was effortless, like I totally knew what I was doing all the time. I don’t know where the hell those expectations came from but I would never expect that from anyone else, why the hell would I expect it of myself? So, I’m going to circle back to my scarecrow metaphor, and the stuffings I can’t find. I think perhaps it’s time to stop looking for some of the stuffing haha. So, in a way, I guess this my way of saying “my give a damn’s busted” 😀 I need to lighten up, really enjoy life more, not let myself be weighed down by having to behave like I was a programmed robot. So, that’s what I’m going to do. But I still need to move forward. Here’s to starting over.

The camping trip really was awesome. We hiked and picnicked, cooked over the campfire and discovered that the Celebration oatmeal cookies with the milk chocolate on the bottom makes an AMAZING s’more. Best of all, Chad and I reconnected after months of darkness. We had FUN. We laughed, we explored, and we ziplined again! Last year, I was so terrified because I had no idea what to expect. This year, we were a little more mentally prepared. I’m sad to say I still wasn’t physically prepared for that hill climb. Jesus. Halfway up, we cross a dirt road, so I asked for a break, and of course was obliged. Seriously, if any of you want to try ziplining, go to Anchors Above. They’re really nice. Because I was nervous, I made jokes, and some real eye rollers too. I joked about being jiggly and out of breath, and the fellow there was nice as could be. Bless his heart. Chad and I decided that this would be sort of a symbolic thing, because I’m all about symbolism and shit. We made it simple. I went first. The adrenaline made it hard to think. I will admit, I was still scared shitless. It’s high up! This was a jumping off point. To change. To do things that scared us. To do things we found exciting and exhilarating and fun, to enjoy the life we’re given. To change the things we don’t like about our lives, one step at a time, to get to our happy place. A starting point. A promise to try. To always work for it. Because we deserve it. The beginning of a commitment. It really was because once you stepped off the platform, there was no going back. Holy shit it was amazing. I had my headphones in, and I sailed above the treetops, with Strauss’s Blue Danube dancing around my brain. So much green. I spun a little too, so I got to look in all directions. Exhilarating. But I was holding on for dear life. My sore arm muscles are a testament to how hard I was white knuckling it. I suppose if life doesn’t scare you a little bit, you’re doing it wrong, eh?

The second jump is the fast one. It’s 900 ft long and last year it was one long shriek from top to bottom. But it sure is fun. Oddly enough, the fast one scares me less. I wanted to jump off the edge and yell something sweet to Chad, like “I love you” or something. But as I jumped off and started to pick up speed, fuck me if I didn’t inhale a bug. And in all my brilliance shouted “I ATE A BUUUUUUUUUUG” back at Chad… I could still feel its feet wiggling in my throat by the time I made it to the bottom of the mountain. Added protein I guess. RIP little fella… sorry. So much for profound.

All in all, a great week, and I’m comfortable with calling this a jumping off point. Something has sparked in me and I am developing a new interest. Once I really think I can stick with. And hone. I have discovered I really like hiking, and am going to use that to start getting into shape. I bring my mp3 player, and I sometimes so a little dance in the woods if a good dance tune comes on and no one’s around lol. Sometimes I stop for a couple of minutes to let the burn recede, catch my breath, and drink some water. Like I’m sure everyone did when they started hiking. It took a long time to get this out of shape, I used to think if I didn’t start losing weight within the first week of working out that I was going to fail. Jesus, what was wrong with me? Unrealistic goals and timelines, no wonder I was stressed as fuck. I’m working on calming the hell down, so far, short hikes are helping. And I love camping. I loved it when I was a kid, I love it as an adult. And I’m going to do it more. Why not? Exactly.

So there it is… I think you’re all caught up on the fabulously exciting world of crazy old me. Not quite as exciting as it could be, but hey, I just jumped off my starting point… i’m working on being interesting 😉

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Reinvention

I have spent so many of my years with depression. I have often felt like I’ve been acting my way through life, adopting different roles along the way, but somehow always pretending to be something else. I’ve been who people needed me to be; a daughter, a caregiver, a student, a tutor, a problem solver, a leader, a follower, a devoted employee… I’m not saying that’s not how life works. I know that if I’m going to live in this world, I’d better be able to give something back to it. But for years, I replaced the word “something” with “everything”. I felt somehow, if I wasn’t giving all of myself, I wasn’t doing it right. Go big or go home, right? I went big. I had a pretty good run, but I crashed and burned. I ran out of fuel, I guess. That’s how it kind of feels. I lost my source of energy, and went off the deep end.

I need to find a new way to refuel. I’ve mentioned this in past journal entries. I guess they say older and wiser for a reason, because it took me this damn long to realise that I can’t run on autopilot forever. That’s when the robots win. I’m not going to be rocketed into outer space if I take some time for myself. I’m not so shitty a person that I don’t deserve a vacation now and then. I’m a person, just like everyone else. Can someone please tell me how in the sweet Jesus fuck I couldn’t figure that out until I was 31 years old? I guess I’m not the brightest bulb on the string, eh?

I have never taken it easy. And I’ve finally realised I am my own worst critic. Why am I such a bitch to myself? What did I ever do to me? Well, I did plenty to me, and I’m paying for it now. The mind and body can only take so much before it starts to fall apart. Like a car. Stuff breaks. And if you let it go long enough, more stuff breaks as a result of that initial break. If I’d just taken the time to check the rotors, I wouldn’t have had to replace my brakes twice. Yes, that happened. Shut up. By the way, I sold Ludwig. Have I told you about that yet? I’m actually still kind of heartbroken. What the hell is wrong with me? Ugh, at this point, the list of what isn’t wrong with me is shorter. I feel like an old car, ready for the junk heap. But instead, I’m going to take the time to restore this one… bring her back to her former glory. After all, at my age, I qualify as a classic. Huzzah! Of course, I’m going to make some adjustments. Some improvements. Victoria 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever, I don’t understand that shit. If I was a car, I want to be Lola, on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (if you get this metaphor without going to Wikipedia or IMDb, high five!)

Aaaaand, I’m calling myself an old car. Jesus, where does my mind go? The Marvel Universe, ultimately. Yay! Nerd.

Moving on. I had to walk away from this post for a day, because my brain was beginning to feel crowded with all the things I want to say, all the ways I want to explain how I want my life to change. Because I know they have to change, and because I don’t ever want to be back where I was. Those were dark days, and I still have them, but I can’t have people fighting for me if I’m not willing to fight myself. So I’m going to fight, but I am going to do it on my terms. For all those years, I was a good person in ways that other people wanted. I’m 31 years old, and I think it’s long overdue for me to be a good person in ways that I want. I mean, it’s not like anyone owns me and can tell me what to do. I used to think that way. I used to think I owed everything to everyone, and now it’s time to realise and announce to the world that I am not for sale anymore. I am no longer going to put my health and happiness second. I’m too old for that shit.

Here’s how it’s going to go down. I’m not sure how long it will take, because sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back, but eventually, I’m going to be able to have my shit together and I’m going to be able to really live for me. I think it’s key to managing my anxiety and depression. I don’t think I’ll ever be free of anxiety attacks, panic and that feeling of utter defeat, but if other people can climb out of it and tuck it neatly in their mental closet, then so can I? Why not? I’m a person like everyone else. I’m average in some things, but there’s gotta be something I’m good at, something I can focus on when it comes to managing my anxiety and keeping panic attacks to a minimum. I can’t possibly suck at everything. That’s the old way of thinking. I’m too old for that shit too.

Jeez, this post is turning into my one woman show over here. This is going to go on for a while, so here’s your change to go pee real quick and put the kettle on. I’ll wait. Okay, we good? We good.

At the age of 31 (jeez, I like saying that, don’t I?), I caught a good look at myself in the mental mirror. And the physical one too. I hardly recognised myself. And I didn’t like what I saw. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been able to talk to someone, or because I’ve been given some medication to try and bring a little balance to the chemical and hormonal mess that is me, but I could see a little more clearly. While I need to tighten the strings a bit when it comes to my diet, my exercise regimen, and my willpower (or lack thereof, all three cases…), I need to do those things at my own pace too. I’m planning a major overhaul here, and I need to do it at my own pace. I’m going to push myself, but I can’t be angry with myself if I have to lighten up a bit sometimes. I’m not this hard on other people, why am I this hard on myself? I couldn’t answer that honestly (there was some momentary “you’re an asshole and you deserve to suffer” mental talk, but I’m training my mind to talk to me in my mother’s voice, assuring me that I am indeed, not a shithead). I’m probably making no sense, because I’m trying to describe every thought process, and all the voices are talking at once. If you’re keeping up even a little bit, thanks.

I started walking. And I’ve been doing alright with it too, I must admit. I got me one of those fitness tracker thingamabobs (wow, computer dictionary recognises that word but asks me to change got to to gotta… what a world) and most days, I exceed the recommended fitness goal for it, so that’s something. Also, while wearing it in the kitchen, the Misfit Flash registers working in the kitchen as “intense activity” (which gives me more points for being awesome) so, yeah… that’s why I hardly go the gym… or never go to the gym (working on it Dwight!! I promise… baby steps though). I am le tired at the end of le day. (pardon my French)

I am going to go to an outdoor yoga class on Sunday (provided the weather cooperates). I like yoga. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to work up the will to set up the mat in the living room and reach for the ceiling. I’m using Sunday as my exercise day, and I’m hoping it will jump start something in my brain to make me keep going. Again, I sound like I’m a car.

My diet still kind of sucks, but not really. I eat a lot of healthy foods, I loves my food groups. I’m old school. fruits veggies, grains, dairy and meats. But I eat junk too, because… well, because I eat a lot (hence the booty). I’ve made peace with it, for now. I’ve got other things I need to focus more of my energy. Like learning how to let go of some of this panic and worry I feel about everything so I’m not driven into an early grave. I eat to cope. At least most of the time it’s something crunchy like celery and carrots, an apple, or crispy toast. But sometimes it’s something crunchy like chips or chocolate bars with wafers in them, and sometimes that toast is smothered in Nutella. I’m not sorry. Nutella is worth it.

I need a mental overhaul too. Again, baby steps (I like saying that even more than I like saying I’m 31… oops, oh well) Speaking of being 31, this revelation is the gift that just keeps on giving. In that mental mirror, I saw someone who was in her 30’s but couldn’t name one thing she felt she was good at. What the actual fuck? How does that even happen? How did I let myself fall so far? I feel like I should have seen this sooner, but I guess there’s nothing I can do about it now. I still have time, I hope. I’m going to go with that. My self esteem was pure shit. **I swear a lot. I should be sorry, and even I think I should maybe be sorry, but I’m not. It’s me. There are worse things in this world than cuss words.** Shouldn’t there be an ever growing list of things I’ve done, learned, said, thought, uh… tasted?… that make me who I am? I look back and the only way I can describe it as I felt like a robot, programmed to work, be upgraded, and perform based on those upgrades… and that’s it. No downtime. Again, why exactly have I been so hard on myself? Why did I think I was such a shit person to deserve that kind of assault for that many years? I guess I was more messed up than I knew. This is why it’s going to take me a long time to fix. I took a long time to break.

So, reboot time. New outlook, new me… but the beta version. I’m testing things out. Seeing how they feel, because I never took the time to notice these feelings before. If I don’t like it, I’m not going to do it again. Cancel that code, and rewrite it. Until it works. Now I’m not a car, I’m a computer. *sigh* *wtf*

Okay, this post is long enough… if you scrolled down to the bottom without reading: tl;dr Midlife crisis happened early, thankfully, no sign of menopause yet. There are no more fucks to give and I’m reinventing myself and trying to feel less like a firework about to explode. Wish me luck.

Frolicking through the trees

The other day, I took a walk. I didn’t have to work, so I could do whatever I wanted to, and I got up on time (yay me), got my sneakers on, got a TImmies, and took off. I had a few loose goals I wanted to accomplish, taking a walk being one of them, but I decided that if they didn’t get all done today, big deal. CHECK! I decided on a whim what direction to take, and just started walking. I found a really nice little woodsy trail near my home, and WOOHOO! It felt great! I had my headphones on, and just went. Came to a fork in the trail? Didn’t matter. There wasn’t a plan for where I ended up because I had nowhere to be. So I went exploring. And I found a moment. Something that almost passed me by. Something I would have seen as a child and thought “ooh my, how interesting” and explored.

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There’s marshy muddy swamp pond all around that, and if I teetered too far, I was gonna get muddy and soaked. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have looked twice at this (I mean, besides the fact that it was icy and snowy at that time). But something inside me said “So you’ll get wet if you fall in? Big deal.” So I crossed it. And I didn’t fall in.

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It has been a long time since anxiety and depression have kept me from being that boundary pusher. Moments for myself are so few and far between, because there was always something weighing on me. Since my surgery, I’ve felt the need to make life simpler. Take on less, enjoy life more. Everyone should be able to put their needs ahead of anyone else’s sometimes and just disconnect from as many things as possible and get back to bare bones, and build on it from there. After such a mental crash, I am rebuilding.

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