Wednesday, 7 February 2018

I'm a Dang Unicorn

So I was drunk. Smoking, standing outside of a bar talking to a stripper. Sounds like the beginning to a really hilarious detailed joke, but it definitely isn't. 

It's the beginning of a story about one of my nights last week. 

Three beautiful boys, who have become some of my most favourite people in the past couple of months, were inside the bar pulling their lives together enough to bumble out to the car to go to our respective homes and fall into a drunken sleep, but I was standing in the falling snow with a lit cigarette in between my freshly-tattooed fingers, talking to a stripper. I was drunk and filled with such a great amount of happiness and peace that I thought I might burst. 

I remember at one point, as I was standing there, I made a comment for at least the fifteenth time that night that I loved snow because it looks like glitter falling from the sky. I said that comment to the stripper and a random man standing to my left as I threw my head back, leaned against the building, and took a drag of my cigarette. I inhaled that menthol as deeply as I could and closed my eyes as tightly as they would, taking in the moment that I was having. This moment where I was freezing, but warmed by the copious amounts of beer and love that I had in me. This moment where I was happily letting snow moisten my glasses because it made the lights look like prisms in my line of sight. This moment where I was being told, for the third time that night, what a valuable, beautiful human I was, and that despite the things that have been done to me in the past or recently by people? I'm still worthy of love and don't need to place my worth in that. 

My constant go-to when talking about my most recent breakup is that I am working to fix me. I am taking time with myself to make me a more complete and fantastic human. 

So I recited those lines for the millionth time in the course of the past month to the stripper and guy that I was standing next to (I feel it must be noted probably now that said stripper is one of my friends who is just gracious enough to dance to basically any song I want, so the night was spent watching her red hair and boobies on stage swinging to Blind Melon and Marcy Playground and Hanson, much to the misery of the other patrons of the strip club, but to the complete and utter delight of myself and my boys. I love her dearly and am very grateful to have her in my life.) as I mused about the last boy I shared my home with. It wasn't an angry conversation, or even a conversation filled with any kind of sadness; just a conversation. I talked about how grateful I am for the nine months I had with him, I talked about what a beautiful person he is and how I hope that nothing but gorgeous things happen in his life because that is what he deserves. And then I moved on to talk about all the fantastic things that I deserve. 

Because I realize that now. I have reached this place over the past several weeks that is made almost entirely of so much peace and I can't help but find myself falling back into the mentality of Danie from fourteen years ago... Nineteen years old, aqua-blue hairs, always on the lookout for an adventure and laughing about/relishing every single moment that she has been gifted with the kind of excitement you would only find from a little kid on their birthday (but in my case, the birthday would be Nicholas Cage themed, catered by PBR and Rumplemints and would result in every party goer leaving covered completely in glitter and breath that smelled like Christmas). There was never a moment that nineteen year-old Danie didn't find something to be grateful for. Not one second passed that she didn't have a reason to fall in love with life.

And now? Fourteen years later? I feel like I am finding that Danie again. It started in little spurts that I hardly even noticed at first. I would find myself in another petty argument with the ex-boy and rather than taking my mind to a hideous place and being hateful to myself or to him, I would click into positive, beautiful ways to resolve the argument so that we could both end up with smiles on our faces. I would come into work with a sense of complete and utter excitement about the people that I would get to meet and new things I would get to learn, rather than a sense of dread for having to trudge through yet ANOTHER day of selling my soul for a paycheck. 

And now, today, it's become a fully-fledged thrill for existing. I find myself excited to write and draw and crochet and can't believe how much I have begun smiling again. It's been such a really beautiful transition to have gone through almost completely by accident. 

I think that accident finally snapped into place last week at the bar. After my stripper friend went inside, far too cold to continue enjoying the snow as much as I was, the guy who had been quietly standing to my left for the previous fifteen minutes piped up, "You know, I don't like that you feel like you need to fix yourself because of the way someone treated you." To which I became almost instantly defensive because I never saw anything wrong with acknowledging and wanting to repair things that were broken; which I told him. 

His response? "What makes you think that there's something broken in you just because someone else couldn't see your worth? You are worthy of love just the way that you are, even if the idiots that you were with before didn't value it. Someday, someone will meet you and love you exactly like you are and you won't have to change a thing. Just imagine how happy you'll be then.

And then I was floored. Completely unable to process anything to say in response to him. Why DID I feel like there were pieces of me that were broken because the ex-boy or my ex-husbands couldn't see the value in me? Why was there always something nagging in the back of my brain telling me that I am not worthy or good enough because I was rejected by people who had no idea how to be in the types of relationships that I want to be in (which, to be clear, is not unreasonable. My relationship expectations are actually so wildly reasonable that it is ridiculous)?

I sat and gaped at this wise, drunk stranger for a few minutes, unable to articulate the cataloging of thirty years of negative self-thought that I was doing in that moment. After sifting through portions of the multitude of thoughts racing through my mind, I snapped out of it, forced this man to hug me, thanked him, and made the decision that I am now running with at full speed. 

I'm fucking valuable. I am a real-live amazing woman who doesn't need anything more than what she has right now. I am enough for the people in my life, and until something more exciting comes along? I am more than enough for me. I'm finding this peace in my own little heart all by myself that is allowing me to grow my confidence, my love, and my insatiable excitement for existing, and I don't think that I could be more delighted about that if I wanted to be. 

I am so unbelievably content most days because I know that I am at peace with me now. I can look in the mirror not hate what I see. I can take a step back and recognize all the goddamned badass shit that I can and do do (lol). I can see all the worth that I have spent the past fourteen years losing in shitty relationships and work and anything else that I could use to excuse letting my heart turn to bullshit. 

That won't happen again. I will not let my personal worth be determined by anyone else but myself. I will stop listening to the hideous things that are said to and about me by people who are angry with me. I will stop placing my value in other people's opinions of me. 

Because I am a dang unicorn anywhere I want to be, and I can see it now.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Feel Everything...

So I had a miscarriage last month. 
No. There's really no easy way to put that information out there, so I thought I would just get it out of the way. I had something happen to me last month that I had never dreamed would happen, that I had no comprehension of how to handle. I have been thinking about writing this post and going back and forth on it for weeks now... It's something I've had no way of understanding how to process and honestly, I chose to work to ignore because it is such a foreign, scary, painful thing for me. But I need to get it out. I have been holding it in for a little longer than I should have, and the time has come...
Near the end of October I suddenly couldn't stop eating and my tits got huge and I literally couldn't stop crying. I hadn't given it any thought until my fifth day in a row crying at work, when my co-worker told me that she was going to go get me a test because it was ridiculous that I hadn't even considered the possibility of being pregnant. The following week I took eight tests. I obsessively took tests. Each little line got darker and darker with every test and after the eighth? It was decided. Danie was pregnant. 
If you know me, you know that having a baby is basically something my little heart has wanted for years and after the first test, and the third, and the seventh, my quiet excitement came roaring to a head and I was almost giddy. 
The following weeks turned into total excitement... everyone at work was thrilled and brought me gifts and snacks and giggled with me about the little thing that was happening in my belly. We spent weeks musing about baby names and what colour its hairs would be and what adorable things I would crochet for it. 
Every day when I went home I was plagued by fear, though. The fear of what my sisters would say and the fear of what the boy would say. He was so violently against babies and pregnancy that I was certain he would immediately leave and I'd never see him again when I told him. But there was only so long that I could find excuses for not drinking before he started to suspect something more than, "I'm trying to be more healthy," and "I've decided I've just been hitting it too hard, so I need to take a break."
I went for a real test in a real doctor's office and they confirmed what all those little pink and blue lines had been telling me for weeks. The boy knew why I was going to the doctor, so when I got home he was sitting on the sofa, looking gorgeous as can be in the morning sunlight, waiting for an answer. I came in smiling, still delighted with the excited baby conversations I'd had with my friend on the way home from the doctor, The smile on my face that held so much promise of a tiny creature that I could grow and love for me, meant something different to him; he had interpreted it differently. He thought the smile brought the promise of nothing growing inside of me and everything staying the same as it was. 
But there was something inside of me. And it was half his and half mine and when I told him, I saw part of him break. He got up and went for a walk almost immediately and I was left alone and reeling with my own thoughts. If he would come home, if he would talk to me about it, if things would ever be the same again.
Three hours later he came home with a bottle of my favourite cola and sat with me. He played video games and we didn't talk. Not even one word. We sat in silence as we went about our night. 
And then, in the middle of an episode of South Park, he grabbed my hand and tangled his fingers with mine. In that instant, a wave of relief washed over me that was so heavy that even thinking about it right now, two months later, it still makes my heart hurt. That moment of solid love that I felt, knowing that despite all the fears he had, he was there? That's what I needed in that moment. It washed almost every last bit out fear out of my heart and gave me a safe place to feel even more comfortable and excited about the idea of the thing that was happening inside of me.
We then spilled into weeks of talking about baby names and what we would teach it and what sex we preferred and what ideals we wanted to instill in it and how if it was a girl it would never be let out of the house. We laid in bed and talked about what would happen if we didn't work out as a couple, and how we would make it work. We talked about immunizations and religion and sports we would teach it. 
Then our pets found out. Suddenly, one day, they both became obsessed with laying on my belly. The cat walked up to me and laid his head and paws on my belly and the boy said, without even a second thought, "he's cuddling the baby," and my heart melted. Because no matter what was going to happen with us, I had those brief, fleeting moments of beauty that every girl imagines being a part of after watching too many romantic movies or reading too many books. 
No sooner had those words been spoken, though, things became complicated. I started to bleed. A lot. I started feeling more sick than I had before, and more tired, and more scared. And even then, on the scariest night? He was there. 
And then he wasn't. 
The day I lost the baby, I had never been more terrified. I had spent several of the days prior to that day in the hospital with things being poked into me and blood being taken out of me and tears falling for fear of whatever was happening. My sisters were there, but I preferred to be by myself, often not telling anyone where I was so I could process what was or wasn't happening to this little thing that I had become accustomed to in the previous fourteen weeks.
I was fourteen weeks and three days pregnant, and I was in the hospital by myself waiting. I was sitting with an overly chatty woman who refused to sit in any seat unless it was immediately next to a random stranger and who was super into telling every minuscule detail of her life to anyone who would occasionally glance in her direction. I was sitting with an elderly woman who had fallen and ended up with literally half of her body completely bruised. I was sitting with the overwhelming weight of the world on my shoulders, knowing something wasn't right.
And then it was gone. The baby was gone and I had no idea how to do anything but cry. For days. I holed up in my house and refused to talk to most people and cried until there were no tears left to cry.
My yet-to-be-named baby was the size of a lime. I spoke of it with such great promise and excitement for what I was finally going to be able to experience. I felt giddy and looked forward to my upcoming appointment—the one in which I’d hear my little one’s heartbeat and see it's little body for the first time.
It is a deep and terrifying experience to lay helplessly splayed out and bottomless with a technician sitting silently on a rolling stool feeling around and looking for answers amidst the muted room. I stared at the dimly-lit wall to my left and cried because I couldn't see anything on the screen. I couldn't see the little dark smudge I had seen the weeks prior. I couldn't see anything. I know I'm not a professional, but I know what was missing from the screen, and it was the tiny creature that I had been working carefully to create for the previous fourteen weeks.
I couldn’t stop myself from breaking the silence. “Is it gone?” My voice shook, not wanting to face my reality. She didn't even offer a cursory, "I'm not able to answer that question because I'm just a technician." She was silent, and with that silence came all the answers that I needed. It was gone and so was all the hope that I had built up over the past couple of months.
Back in the hospital room, my sister sitting next to me in her glittery Christmas jumper, which seemed entirely offensive, given the circumstances, the doctor returned and started saying things...
"Just not viable."
"You didn't do anything wrong, the body is just very aware of what will and won't work."
"Future pregnancies are still possible."
"Drink lots of water."
And all I could think was that I had left a lamp on at home and I needed to not be in that room anymore. I needed to be out of that room and building.
I had kept all the photos of each pregnancy test (the ones I took because OMG I needed to show SOMEONE, ANYONE what was happening, because I couldn't talk to the boy about it in the first weeks that I knew.) Up until a week ago, eight photos had been lurking on my phone as a painful reminder of what I lost every time I would go into my gallery to show someone a photo of the pup or my dead piglet. Eight photos that stabbed me right in the heart with their little pink and blue lines.
I have no idea why I had kept them. Maybe it's because they were a reminder to me that I was able to get pregnant, and get pregnant again. Maybe I just wans't able to let go of the reminder that I was at one point.
Seven days later, on Christmas Day, I deleted the two pregnancy applications on my phone, unsubscribed from the pregnancy newsletters that I read daily, and deleted the week-to-week countdown on my personal calendar. I didn’t need the sad notifications reminding me of what could’ve been. I stopped replying to people's messages asking me how I was feeling, how I was coping, if I was eating. I stopped thinking about it completely. I needed to move forward. I was pretending to be strong and doing what I felt I needed to do.
I kept the eight pictures of the positive pregnancy tests that it took to convince me I was expecting and stored them on my phone until a week ago, then I decided that everything needed to be deleted just as if this had never happened—as if this baby had never existed.
As I attempted to erase the painful details that accompanied this experience, my symptoms faded. My bloated tummy, my tender breasts, the constant wave of nausea, and my ability to smell literally anything from a mile away all disappeared as I came to grips with my boyfriend moving out and learning how to live alone again.
I cried every day for six days. And then the tears suddenly stopped. I stopped crying for the baby and for all the loss that I had been carrying with me. I work to stay as busy as possible. I throw myself into my job, my crafts, and my friends in an effort to not have to think about the the loss.
But every so often, I think about it. I feel sad and sometimes still cry as I stumble across a toy someone bought for it, or a thoughtful text that was sent to me wishing me a healthy and happy pregnancy.
I read an article the other day by a woman who had lost her baby and her words put my mind at ease. Made it more simple for me think about what happened without being terrified of what it would stir up...
"It’s okay to run and find a private place to ball your eyes out because one more person announced their pregnancy 'while they weren’t even trying.' It’s okay to feel shameful for your reaction, all while sharing in their joy.
It’s normal to feel sorrow in between the happy moments of your life. It’s okay to feel frustrated when women continuously ask when you’re going to have a baby because 'you’re not getting any younger.' They don’t know your story. I used to be that woman who so carelessly and ignorantly asked that very personal question.
Feel everything.
Know that it’s fine to miss someone you never met. Know that there are no rules to this thing. It’s simply okay to not be okay sometimes. It’s okay to do you."

Sunday, 7 January 2018

cold to warm to cold...

I met him when it was cold. I was wearing a jumper brandishing an elk skull in the chilly weather of early April in Wyoming. For the weeks after I met him I would spend days tucked into layer upon layer of leggings and trousers and undershirts to keep the bitter chill of three feet of snow and wind outside of me rather than inside. My layers and I would walk the several blocks to his apartment, stomping through the glittery snow, wildly anticipating the moments I would get to look at his face, hear his voice, and see what was in store for our time together. I had missed the cold so much and adored that Wyoming had decided to love me enough to gift me so much snow within the first few months of me returning to it, that my cold months after meeting him were doubly perfect.

His apartment was always warm. He would let me in and I would strip off layer after layer whilst telling him about my day or hearing about his. We rarely went on adventures outside of his apartment in the cold weeks, instead, we snuggled in for movie nights and cracking open cold ones, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes his friends would join us. It was always an adventure and always different. Music that filled his heart the most would travel with the much-needed warm air between the yellow walls of his apartment whilst I cooked gigantic meals. We would sing off-key to all the most sad and angsty songs until I served our meals up and we would sit and watch shitty tv and learn about one another. We slowly discovered the little things that made one another giggle and cry and swell with love. We mused over the things that we had in common and play fought about our differences. 

I spent those cold weeks carving my new self out of ice, anticipating new growth as the spring shifted both outside and inside my body. I carefully monitored my mind and my heart, along with the newly budding sweetpeas outside my living room window, waiting to see what gorgeous things were going to shoot forth with the upcoming changes in the weather. What colour would they be? How gorgeous were their blooms going to come out? How long would it take for them to achieve full growth?

We then spent weeks in the sweltering heat of his downtown studio apartment. We would spend hours tangled, sweaty limb entwined with sweaty limb, refusing to let go because holding one another was so much more important than relieving ourselves of the staggering heat that had overtaken our bodies. Our only movement was our toes gently tickling the other's foot, so as to not exacerbate the already overwhelming warmth our bodies had been filled with. Every now and again, a tickle would cause a spasm that would radiate through one of our bodies from our feet and end in a gentle glance and smile between one another, knowing that was exactly where we were supposed to be at that very moment.

The melodic tunes and tear-filled lyrics of one band or another floated through the air and he would sing the words to me with every bit of conviction that he had inside of him, occasionally pretending to burst into tears, which would throw us into laughing fits lasting the entire night. 

My heart was filled with such an abundance of warmth that I had a legitimate fear that it would burst into flames at any given time, which would only be natural given the ridiculous dry heat that Wyoming chose to bestow upon us. We would dream about trips we wanted to go on together, people we wanted the other to meet, and films we desperately wanted to watch together.

and it's cold again. Not just in the air, but in my heart. It sounds so stupid to say aloud, or rather type, but it's true. In the morning I need to put on extra layers of cloth on my limbs and strength in my heart. 
It's been a month since he moved out and I am fascinated by the shift that my heart has made in that time, by how quickly it became icy after being filled with such a tremendous heat for so many months. I speak to him and there's a corner that still has a pocket of warm affection for him. I see his name pop up on my phone and I am instantly sent back to the sweltering summer lying on his bed between his cats, sleep still in our eyes, words still so, so gentle. But it is only a momentary warmth before I realize my insides only know how to ache with his presence. That ache that you get when you have spent too long waiting at a bus stop in the middle of January. That ache that permeates beyond your skin, freezing your muscles in place, and stopping every other function of your body. The primitive response your body has to save itself by retaining as much necessary warmth as it can.

But I fear there is very little sustainable warmth left. I fear that any warmth that might be hidden in the secret spots of my heart needs to be reserved for myself because I don't think that I can withstand this again without fixing things. I don't think that I WANT to withstand this again. Too many changes in temperature can destroy something, so I want to cultivate warmth for myself. I want to work on rebuilding that little fire in my heart until it is a roaring blaze that cannot be stifled by anything Something that I have complete control over. 
It was the most tremendous, gorgeous nine months of my entire life, and I cannot believe how fortunate I was to have been able to feel the things that I felt, see the things that I saw, and experience the things that I experienced. There was beauty like I have never seen and pain that will undoubtedly haunt me for the rest of my life. I will never be able to look at these past nine months as anything but tremendously valuable, but now? Now it is time for me. Time for me to keep watch of my own heart and tend to the things in it that I need to so that when the spring comes? I will get to find out how gorgeous those blooms within my heart that only I get to plant are going to come out and how long it take for them to achieve full growth. 

This heart is mine and I will make it through this cold spell by myself and for myself.

i'm going to save my own dang self...

A year ago Thursday, I was left. I woke up at four in the morning and bundled my now ex-husband into a gigantic truck with a thermos full of hot cocoa and as many snacks as I could fit into a grocery bag. I hugged him one last time and sent him driving halfway across the country to a new life that I genuinely hoped would bring him as much joy as he deserved, which I have discovered was a lot.

A year ago Thursday, I stood in the calf-deep snow and cried gigantic tears on the side of the road. The snow was falling around me like I was starring in a cinematic masterpiece as the heartbroken heroine who's life was falling apart right there in front of my house, and I bawled in the freezing cold for fifteen minutes, surrounded by glittery fluff and freezing cold air. 

A year ago Thursday, I started my new life by myself and thought that I would never survive it. I spent so many weeks completely allowing myself to deteriorate. I drank until I couldn't think anymore and let my life fall apart to the point that the people closest to me were terrified I was going to do something awful to myself. I let myself fall into a depression whose depth I had no concept of. I just dropped myself in like a rusty penny into an endless wishing well and went with whatever was going to happen, hoping something would catch me and I wouldn't have to do any of the work. I didn't work to fix things, I didn't push myself to look at what had brought me to this hideous place, I just plummeted and decided not to put any safeguards into place that would allow me to rescue myself were I to have the desire to stop my descent. 

And then I met someone, many someones, who saw me, maybe didn't realize I was falling, but rescued me anyway. They scooped a girl up and unknowingly saved her. I had my airs of sassy drunk sadness that made people laugh and want to spend time with me, despite the serious undertones that existed in what they perceived as jokes about self-hatred and suicide. We drank and giggled about how much we hated people and became a safety net for each other and all the hatred soon faded and turned into laughter. I found myself crying much less frequently than I laughed and felt grateful, so genuinely grateful for these people that had stumbled into my life.

I had a depressed beauty that drew a fellow sad human to me late one Friday night in April. A fellow sad human that I immediately felt a kinship with because his self-created purgatory of misery seemed almost identical to mine. We became almost instantly inseparable and I fell madly in love with his gentle kindness and the way he held me like it was literally keeping him alive. I allowed myself to forget that I had things that needed fixing in my heart in lieu of his nasaly voice singing Conor Oberst to me late into the night as the hot summer heat rolled in. I forgot that I had work to do in my head because I was so distracted by his stupid blue eyes and the way his long ginger eyelashes caught his tears when he unashamedly got too excited about something he felt so passionately about that he couldn't stop himself from falling to pieces. I couldn't help but forget that I needed to fix me because the way his hand clutched onto mine whilst we were together felt so completely like home.

We spent all of our time reveling in our brokenness by drinking as much as we could and making so many poor decisions that it is almost staggering to think about now. It all seemed so beautiful, and even today, as I sit here and type this, I look back at those nights, windows open, empty beer cans surrounding our tangled limbs, I smile so sincerely for the love that I was so, so fortunate to have been able to feel. It felt so completely simple and raw and real that I never once questioned even a single moment of it. I only allowed myself to fall entirely into that feeling so I didn't have to think about anything else. I fell so hard and so suddenly that I had no idea what was happening until it was nearly over.

But now? A year on from that crying girl on the side of the snowy road? I'm just a sad girl in a different place and I am completely furious with myself. Those blue eyes have left, those hands don't reach out and tickle mine until I lock fingers with them anymore, and that voice hasn't sung to me in many moons. I have suffered a series of losses that I hate myself for allowing, and I have spent the past month reflecting on the work I did and didn't do during my divorce and have realized that I fucked up and robbed myself of the valuable time that I so badly needed to make my heart whole again by myself because falling for someone else made everything so much easier. It was so much more simple for me to focus my energy on loving someone else than to have to learn how to love myself genuinely and entirely.

So this year, I have decided is mine. I went into last year with the intention of living for myself and fixing every broken piece that my exes and friends and I created within myself, but I let that promise that I had made to myself, that promise that was so desperately important, fall apart with the flash of that crooked smile and the promise of a case of cheap beer. 
I'm not going to let that happen again. I need to re-learn how to love myself again with the ferocity that I love everyone and everything that I encounter with. I need to stop focusing all of my attention on everything else because it's easier than looking inward and learning to love my broken pieces and fix the ones that are hardest for me to love. I am going to choose to pick myself back up and remember why I am valuable for me, not for anybody else, just for me. I am going to stop putting everything I have into the wrong humans, and cultivate beautiful things that make my heart feel happier. I am going to stop making decisions that are going to hurt and clutching onto hideous things because my romantic heart is so addicted to the idea of holding on. I am going to finally, for once, do this for me and only me and become the strong, fully capable, not-always-crying girl that I know I am worth pushing to be. 
I'm going to drop myself down again, but this time, it's going to be down a well lined with as many stunning, amazing, worthwhile things as I can get my paws on. I'm going to plummet until I am whole again.

I'm going to save my own dang self.

Friday, 23 June 2017

I am not the same person I was...

As I stroll through the different parts of each of my days and nights lately, I find myself baffled by how my life has completely shifted into something that I had no anticipation it would. I didn’t wake up the morning of January 4th, freezing and utterly alone for the first time in my life, thinking that everything was going to be okay. In fact, for dang near a month I wasn’t sure that anything, any part of my life would ever be okay again. For the entirety of January I went from my bed to my couch and back to my bed for days at a time, completely lost, fearful, and emptier than I can ever remember having felt. I would go out occasionally, usually to bumble the eight blocks to the bar in a trashy tee-shirt so I could quietly drink myself into a crying mess with minimal attention.

I spent almost the entire month of February with zero confidence in my own strength. There was none. I spent weeks at a time refusing to leave my house, eat, or socialize. I curled myself around my puppy in clothes I'd been wearing for what must have been longer than recommended and watched full seasons of shows I’d seen a billion times before so that I didn’t need to focus on anything but the ugly situation that I was allowing myself to spiral further into. February, I thought about killing myself almost constantly. February, I was certain I had lost every good part of me that existed, and that it had been replaced exclusively with gigantic heaps of anger, resentment, and sadness. Most days, if I didn't wake up crying, I started crying the moment my eyes opened and would cry myself into a coma and fall asleep for brief periods throughout the day. February was the furthest I had ever felt from believing that I might have a normal existence ever again. I believed I was so broken and far gone that there was no fixing it, so I stopped talking to people, stopped even toying with the idea of a doctor or medication, and almost completely stopped eating. 

Then there was April. Suddenly, on a gorgeously sunny Saturday at the beginning of April I decided I didn’t want to feel broken anymore. I made the conscious decision to be happier, make healthier choices, and start to mend my own stuff because all the crying and sad songs in the world weren't going to do it for me. I had sat on my porch in the rain the previous day in hopes that the water pouring from the sky would wash away the pain I had been harboring for months. I watched as gigantic raindrops splashed on the table and was taken by the way they hit my cherry blossom tree and sent the petals gently gliding to the ground beneath them. I remember sitting there with my book in my hand praying that the rain would fall on me and let me start again like those petals…

I wanted to find a new purpose, a new me. Much like those petals would eventually be trampled by dogs and people and snow, compacted and pushed into the ground where they would provide tiny pink bursts of nutrients to the earth below them, I wanted to finally give up and stop fighting against myself and everything around me and fall into something more purposeful and fulfilling. Something that could make me feel like me again. The me who nourishes people, the me who feels strong, the me who knows how to fix her bad days. I closed my eyes and listened to the rain, wishing harder than I'd ever wished before, that I would be able to find the strength to come through this.

And so I did.  

That night, I went out to the bar to see a friend I'd not seen in several years, despite every part of my anxiety and depression telling me not to. I went out fully expecting to completely hate it and want to come home immediately. I went out with no makeup, awful hairs, and looking fully like a lazy slob. My friend and I hugged and I met some incredible new people. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking to my friend and sharing photos of cats and puppies with these beautiful new people I had met. I woke up in the morning with a smile on my face for the first time in I have no idea how long. And then everything was different. I had decided to say yes to something I had spent the past four months avoiding. And it was worth it. I took a walk the next day and felt like I was finally able to breathe again. Like I had been suffocating myself for years and my lungs were grasping at as much air as possible to make up for nearly a decade of deprivation. Everything felt different, looked different, smelled different. I walked and felt the breeze on my face as I let Andrew Jackson Jihad sing all of my most favourite songs into my ears; a concert for one as I completely rediscovered what it was to be alive.

I spent that day in utter bliss, finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone speaks so highly of. I felt like I had been traveling down that dang tunnel for forever and the end was finally, finally in sight. And that day fell into the next week, a week of mending my heart by actively deciding to begin functioning again like a normal human being. I started cooking meals, not that I was eating them initially, but I was inviting people to my house and delighting in watching their faces eat the things I had so lovingly cooked. I started taking my puppy for walks. I started saying yes to things. I started going out and meeting people. And have since met some of the most incredible human beings, probably in the world. Some of them? I literally cannot even imagine my life without them; I can’t comprehend how I existed before they came into my life. Before I knew their hugs existed.

I have spent the past two months completely, without any hesitation, increasingly happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I, of course, have had evenings where I’ve had too much to drink, I’ve had days where I just couldn’t look in the mirror, but at the end of each of those nights? I have been goddamned thankful for the life that I have consciously decided to begin forging for myself. I chose to let go of the resentment, the anger, all the hideous things that I was clutching on to for dear life. I have spent more nights going to bed with a sore face from smiling than I ever have in my whole existence. I’ve wasted more mascara from laughing until I cried than most people could afford. I have hugged more people in the past three months than I ever did in the past thirty-two years.

My whole life right now, despite low moments, can only be described as blissful. Accidentally blissful, and I am so thankful. I’m thankful for all the old friends who caught me when I repeatedly threw myself off a metaphorical mountain of emotions. People who weren’t scared of my ugly depression. I’m thankful for my dog for always knowing when mommy needed a cuddle and readily giving them out. I’m thankful for my new friends, who have shown me an entirely new way to laugh, live, and feel good about myself. And I’m goddamned thankful for myself, for deciding to take control of my life and make it something that I am not miserable with anymore.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

I thought wrong

I had assumed that because I'm balls-deep into my thirties that I wouldn't have to deal with the agony of growing pains. I thought I had left those unbearable nights lying in bed with every part of my body aching because each one of my cells decided to work overtime to build me in my pre-teens. I thought that I wouldn't have any more nights lying in my bed, tears pooled in my eyeballs, willing my body to just shut down because that would hurt so much less than the heat radiating in my knees and what felt like my shins being pulled apart.

I clearly had been mistaken, because then January 2017 happened. The first day of this year was spent like the first days of the previous six years... Snuggled on one end of the couch with my husband on the other end. I gazed at him just as much that day as I did the first day I met him. I watched his face and imagined what it would look like when he got older. I listened to him talk about whatever was playing on the telly and imagined what it was going to be like three days from that moment. I closed my eyes and willed every part of me to remember what it felt like to have this person I'd been in love with for what seems like forever so close to me. In the darkness of my thoughts I sifted through sixteen years of plans, dreams, memories, and emotions.

The second day of the year was a flurry of excitement. Our house was full of people who were helping fill a gigantic truck with all of the things I had come to know as OURS. Books and art and records and dishes. Our entire life had been reduced to boxes labeled either "Dane" or "Danie." All the memories I had spent the previous night mulling over had been carefully packed into boxes that had no way of indicating all the years we'd spent loving their contents beyond the clumsy notes written on their sides.

And then we drove. During the drive I snuggled my puppy and imagined all the possibilities that we were driving towards. I organized and reorganized the plans and thoughts in my head. I reveled in the excited confidence that I was certain I would experience once the drive had finished. I smiled to myself as I imagined all the things that I would do, watch, listen to, and eat. In that moment I was astronomically proud of the strength that I believed I had built within myself to wade through this mess that we were driving towards. I anticipated no tears, no drawn out dramatics, and no pain.

And then the fourth happened. I woke up and immediately lost every tiny speck of courage that I had been clutching onto. It was six in the morning, chubby flakes of puffy snow were falling all around us, the air smelled of all the fireplaces that had been lit the previous night, and I was holding him and hoping that it was cold enough outside that our bodies would freeze together and I'd have just a little more time with him. When he got in the truck I watched him. I saw every move he made as he situated himself to drive away from me. I knew them before he did them, and knew that he was gone, but had I secretly hoped that he'd come out and hug me just one more time. Hoped that he would wrap the arms I spent my entire life pining after around me and place one more kiss on my forehead. But then he drove away and I immediately began to sob heavy, marble-sized tears into the snow. I waited, hoping he would pull back around the corner. I waited and cried for twenty minutes, thinking that maybe he got lost and might still be coming. I cried until I felt the thin glaze of moisture begin to freeze in salty sheets on my face. I waited until I realized that he wasn't coming back. He made his decision and left me. 

Once I remembered that I had legs that were functional, I waded through the snow back into my house and laid on my bed and sobbed for hours... and the hours turned into a day... and then that day fell into weeks, which turned into a month. The agony that I would come to experience was like nothing I had ever known in my life. I would spend days huddled in blankets, begging for the pain to dull however it could. Praying that the hurt that my heart was feeling would shift to a toothache or a stomachache or a goddamn stab wound. I would have taken anything over feeling like my actual heart was dying. 

But over the past several weeks, I've realized that it wasn't dying. Parts of it were shifting and growing to take the shape of my new heart. The heart that I have spent years wishing that I had the strength to accept. The heart that cares more about me than everyone else. The heart that I have now decided to begin falling in love with above anything or anyone else. My heart is becoming my own. 

For the first time in my life I am living alone and it's terrifying and exciting and relaxing and horrific all at once. I have begun to file away the past sixteen years of memories... Placing them carefully on high-up shelves that I have no intention of visiting on a regular basis. I am running the fingertips of my mind over every thought, insecurity, heartache, excitement, frustration, and expectation I've seen over the past several years and taking the pieces that I know I will need and putting the rest away so that I don't need to stare at them anymore. 

Because I don't NEED to. I am finding myself growing in ways I had never anticipated. I am discovering new hopes and dreams and desires that I had never given so much as a second thought prior to now. I'm caring more for me and my heart than anybody else's. I'm filling my cup up first and not allowing myself to be afraid of what people will think if I don't immediately stop caring for me so that I can care for them. And it's exciting. I am so thrilled with the peace and empowerment that most of my days are filled with now. 

Sure, there are still days that all I want to do is lie down and cry and replay every destructive memory I have. Days that I beg for a relief from the pain my heart is going through... But those days are coming less and less often, and I know that it is because my heart is finally getting to the place it needs to be for me. Not for anybody else. Just me.        

I'm finally growing into the me that I was always meant to be. I'm growing and I plan to take advantage of it as often and with as much delight as I possibly can.

Saturday, 20 August 2016


Sometimes you just need to make the best of your situation because it's not always as bad as you may think it is. Maybe you're stuck in a rut. You may be struggling paying bills, worrying about your children, hating yourself for getting so out-of-shape, or dealing with any other variety of ugly shit in your life. Sometimes, just dragging yourself out of bed and attempting to put real clothes on seems like Herculean feat. Sometimes, you may feel like you are entirely alone and have no idea where even start. But struggles at the moment don't HAVE to mean struggles for the rest of your life.

Do you guys think I relish waking up every morning to a husband who resents me, a sister who thinks all the decisions I make are bad, and a stepchild who loves calling me a "fucking bitch?" Do you think that me feeling like I've lost all of my closest friends makes me jump for joy every day?

Because in reality, I wake up some days feeling completely lost. I'm in my own bed, wrapped in my familiar tartan sheets with my cashmere-soft dog giving me all the warmth he has to offer, and still, I sometimes feel like I have no idea where I am. I feel like I'm a stranger in my own life. I will sometimes look in the mirror and see a complete stranger looking back at me. And I hate that. All of that.

What do I LOVE though?

Sometimes, my husband will roll over in the early mornings on a weekend he'd rather sleep in, our eyes still bleary from another restless night's sleep, trying to adjust to that beam of hot, Texas sunlight peering in through the tiny crack the curtains above heads. In those moments he will hold me, kiss my face and tell me not to worry about making breakfast because he's got it. And it's always the best fucking breakfast I've ever had. Every time. And sometimes, completely out of nowhere, he will clutch on to me as if I am his life preserver, kissing my forehead and reminding me that despite the occasional lull in our marriage, he is so, so thankful that we've stuck it out.

Sometimes, my just-discovering-himself step-son will sit and quiz me for hours, as if he is trying to construct his own mental encyclopedia of all the things I can tell him about skin, zombies, computers, and the way the world works. And in those conversations we learn about one another and find one more small fiber of respect and appreciation for one another. Sometimes, he will offer to help with the dishes and my incessant compulsion to reorganize our many overflowing bookshelves, pantry, and fridge. Sometimes, he will do everything he can to make me laugh because he can see that I need my chin lifted up.

Sometimes, my blue-eyed, growing-too-fast step-daughter will just text me to tell me she misses me and all the baking, painting, and Minecraft we do together. Sometimes, she'll call me just because, and she will tell me all the things she's learning or looking forward to.

Sometimes, every now and again, one of my bffs throws me a bone and we talk like miles and months and years and deaths haven't ripped us too far apart from one another. Sometimes, they make me feel like they care about the things I'm going through and struggling with and those times ease a tremendous amount of my stress and anxiety.

Sometimes, I'll finish a piece of art, or cook a meal that has superseded the last one as the new best thing I've ever made. Sometimes, I wake up so energized that I immediately get to cleaning the kitchen, mopping all of our millions of tiles, and even find the energy to take a photo of my face that I don't hate.

And sometimes, I will have to stop myself and really evaluate how many of the small, hundreds-of-times a day beautiful things fall into my life. The things that are easy to dismiss because there are "bigger fish to fry."

And that's not okay, guys. I know that. I know that spending more time focusing on minuscule bank account balances, overdue bills, and how we're going to buy groceries next doesn't make my heart feel better. Those big things take over some days and I feel like running and never, ever looking back. But what will that solve? At the end of the day, I'll find a false sense of relief for about three weeks and then realize that I am missing all the gorgeous things in my life because I decided to run from them.

Sometimes, we need to pause and realize that maybe we're too close to the situation, and that the mountain of things in front of us isn't made entirely of ugly things. We need to remember all the people who love us, the fact that we're still alive and breathing, and that it isn't always as bad as it may seem. I get that occasionally life can get in the way so much that you feel nothing but frustration and disinterest in the things or people you usually love, but that doesn't mean that you just cut them out. If you love playing guitar, fucking find new songs to learn and play them. If you are passionate about cooking, get a new cookbook and find that spark again among the new ingredients and flavours. If you have had someone in your life for almost two decades, go on a freaking date and take time to discover the things that made you fall in love with them in the first place.

Sometimes, it's okay to just allow yourself be happy and find your way through the shitstorm in front of you when you have more strength and maybe even an extra hand or two to save you from getting lost. You aren't alone, even when you feel like you have nobody else that you can rely on for positivity. There are people that love you despite all the things you may hate about yourself, and sometimes, THAT is enough.


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