Selfie

I am self-reliant.

It’s something I pride myself on, my independence, my ability to stand on my own two. It’s seen me through a lot of tough times, & shown me that I can do a lot more than I ever thought I was capable of.

But that’s also how I was raised.

My parents are strong, independent people. Born in the mid-40s, they were raised by parents who taught them that hard work was its own reward; that success was not about making millions, but was about achieving personal goals, while being a good, caring person at the same time. I’ve strived to emulate that same strength of character. 

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself while getting my hands dirty, too. As my dad has always said, “Shit washes off”, so I dig into a job, getting filthy in the process, waiting till it’s finished before I clean up. Then I can sit back & enjoy the results of my labors. 

Of course, there are some things that are sacrificed in the process. 

My clothes, for example…

I have some that are permanently stained, torn & stretched, frayed & ruined beyond redemption due to wearing them while doing this type of work. 

*sigh*

My hands…

Although skin replaces itself & heals, the scratches & calluses are there, temporarily, & the arthritis- well, that is there permanently, & vehemently objects, but I insist right back just as obstinately.  And I win. For now, anyway.

I’ll pay for it later.  I know. 

But, the benefits I’ll reap from this are good enough for me. 

I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I took care of my mowing myself. I trimmed the bushes in the backyard. I raked & cleaned up the trash by the fence. I was the one who started cutting down the trees by the fence with the chainsaw. (got stopped by the rain – can’t use an electric chainsaw in the rain…Right?)

It’s enough for me to know that – I am the one who can do these things.

I – don’t need anyone to do these things for me. 

I might want someone to share my life with…

But I don’t need them to breathe.

I am my own selfie.

Breathe In

Breathe In…

Realizing that I am stronger now than I ever have been, I can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone I choose.

Breathe out…

Let go of those who want me to be someone I’m not, the ones who say one thing to my face, yet something else behind my back, the ones who tell me “I’m only saying this for your own good”, as if they know me better than I know myself.

Breathe in…

Remember that I don’t have to follow anyone, I can make my own path through the forest.  

Breathe out…

I answer to no one. My choices are my own, my actions are my responsibility, and I will take whatever the consequences may be.

Breathe in…

I may be alone right now, but I am strong enough to be. I AM ENOUGH, ALL BY MYSELF.

Breathe out…

If they aren’t willing to commit, why would I want them here, anyway? If it’s so easy to walk away…keep walking, and don’t come back this time, because I won’t be here, waiting. 

Breathe in……….

Mindless Drivel

 There are days when I just need to be alone inside my own head. These are the days when I seriously retreat from society. I don’t talk, won’t pick up my phone, & many times, don’t even leave my house.  It’s just me, decompressing, processing, trying to work things out inside myself, before I have to interact with society at large once again.

On these days, it’s best to just leave me be.

I’m not fit company for anyone when I’m wandering inside my own head. Let it go. 

I’ll be fine.

If my decompression days get disrupted, it can throw me off for yet another week, struggling to get through, because I didn’t get that time for myself. 

If I’m out of touch, not answering, leave it alone.

Please.

I’m not lost, I don’t need help, I just need to recharge, regroup, & relax.

And while it might seem like mindless drivel to someone on the outside looking in, to me, it’s the little things, if not dealt with promptly, that end up becoming the largest issues for me.

I used to shove everything down, all the time, stamping on the emotions, the little hurts, the aches and pains of daily life…until they would suddenly burst forth like a volcano. And then, everyone within the blast radius would get burned.

So, when I take these days, it’s not just for my mental health…it’s to prevent Krakatoa 2.0

Full Dark, No Stars

There is a part of me that dwells in Silence; content, quiet, serene. She is the Watcher, the one who sees – everything, and speaks nothing.  When I sit in that realm of silence, I hear all the whispered words, notice the changes of mood, of feeling, and gather the minutiae into myself. I…observe and learn.

There is a part of me that dwells in Chaos. Frantic scurryings of thought, painful jumbles of words, and the ever-present hisssss of static whispers sounding in my head, too loud to shut out, not loud enough to discern a pattern. When I am in chaos, I tense, not knowing which direction to take, too much input coming in, I panic & shut down, overloaded & shaking. I…exist in constant fear and anxiety.

There is part of me that dwells in Rage. Heat courses through my veins, surging as I fight my way through the trials in front of me. Electricity rockets through my brain, lighting up the centers of pain, sending my voice into overdrive as I announce my anger, vent my frustrations at that which seeks to defeat me. When I dwell in rage, my mouth runs a mile a minute, close behind my brain, almost tripping me into inexcusable words…almost. The warrior takes the reins & lashes out, burning down all in her path. I…am fury and storm and destruction.

There is part of me that dwells in Joy. Simple, thoughtful moments become transcendent through a smile, a word, a gentle touch. Extravagance is unnecessary, for joy is little things…a hand holding mine, a secret smile, a whispered affection, watching the joy of a loved one, giving a gift for no other reason than because I can, and like seeing them happy. When I dwell in joy, I am effervescent, laughing & totally relaxed and tightly wound, all at the same time. I…am sacred.

And there is part of me that dwells in Darkness. She with no name, no face, no voice or meaning. It is the bottomless pit, with no reprieve; the crushing weight of ages presses in without relief. There is no “up” in the black, no down, no sideways, no out. When I dwell in darkness, I am alone, numb to all emotion, cut off from all, even myself. I…am Full Dark, No Stars.

Those who wish to know where I dwell at any moment must know the key to seeing. 

Eyes…and hands.

Watch them, and you’ll know which way the sky turns. 

It Has A Certain Ring To It…

I’ve been slightly obsessed with – rings – lately, & I don’t know why.

You see, I’ve never really been much of a jewelry person. Oh, I’ve always had a couple of pieces that I wear, ones that I rarely take off, like my pentacle necklace (representing my faith), & some tiny gold hoops that sit in the top cartilage of my left ear (pierced by my best friend shortly after high school).

And each piece of jewelry that I wear usually has a story behind it, a personal meaning for me, that is the reason it gets worn.

So, what’s the story behind my recent need to wear more & different rings? 

Not a clue. Really, it’s odd.

But, here’s a brief description of what I’m wearing on my hands right now, & what they each mean. (In no particular order of importance to me)

First up – Right hand:

Thumb – A sterling silver pentacle ring. Again, representative of my faith, & a daily reminder to myself to balance the elements of my life.

Index finger- triple fidget ring. This ring represents my kids to me. I have 3, & a lot of times, they make me fidgety.😜

Ring finger- sterling silver ring with oval amber stone. This stone for me represents healing & preservation of memories. 

Left Hand-

Thumb- electroplated sterling with cz & opal inlay stones. This ring I purchased through an introvert group page, and to me, it’s just really pretty & subtle, while having some “spark” to it. I love the blue-green tones of the opal.

Pinky – This has 2 rings. The first is a simple band of hematite, which is a protective stone that “bounces” outside negativity away from me. I have a tendency to pick up easily & take on other people’s emotional states if I’m not careful, so this is a necessary accessory for me.

The 2nd ring is a gold band with 7 white sapphires. This is extremely sentimentally important to me, as it was my sister, Midnite’s ring before she passed away in 2009. My beloved Nephew gave it to me after her passing, & I wear it in her honor.

Ring finger – sterling silver 2-strand braided band. No, I’m not married. This ring I specifically bought for myself. It reminds me that I am truly the only person I can always count on to take care of ME, and that I need to remember to rely on myself, have faith in myself & trust that I will always get through the tough times.

I’ve been let down, abandoned, hurt, mentally, physically, & sexually abused in my past. I’ve made it through everything. Yes, I have friends & family who’ve helped me in the past with dealing with some of those situations, but the one, constant thing in my life has always been – ME, obviously.

This ring is my reminder to never again put all my faith in someone else, or try to rely on believing that others will be there…because too many times, they haven’t been. It’s my “Stand tall on your own two” ring.

There are other rings I have, that I wear occasionally, but these are the semipermanent ones for now. This is the story I wear on my hands at the moment, & whether there’s anyone out there who sees these rings & “gets” this story – I know it. I’m living it. And this is my current expression of it.

Tremble

Anxiety has been so bad tonight. It’s been bad for the last couple of weeks.

But not to look at me.

If you just look, I am normal – smiling, joking, & getting along, doing my work, handling my business…

This is the face of anxiety.

But…

Take another look at the eyes.

Take a good look.

There’s tension there.

There’s a twitch, just there in the corner of one eye, constantly fluttering.

There’s a tightness around the eyes, pulling at the edges, headache darting between the brows.

The smile looks almost real, though, doesn’t it?

Slightly wilted, tired, resigned.

But it fools the masses.

And makes sure that no one notices the trembles.

The hint of vibration that never leaves.

My body is wound so tightly I feel like an over-tuned violin, ready to snap as soon as the bow draws across it the first time.

And this – is the face after the crash.

The face that no one sees.

The worry drawn tight over the brow.

The grief and guilt filling in the mouth.

The resignation that smears the vision.

Knowing it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

Nobody gets to see this face if I can help it.

It shatters the illusion that everything works. That I’m Ok, all lights green across the board, engines full and running at capacity.

This is the face after the mask comes off.

I’m tired of hiding, of pretending. I’m tired of everyone thinking that anxiety is just a random worry.

It’s not.

It’s real, it’s painful, it’s constant & it’s not something I can be rid of just by “calming down”.

I take medication every day to control the worst of it, or I probably wouldn’t be able to function.

This- is my reality.

It’s not the whole of who I am.

But it is real.

And that’s what I’m here, blogging for.

To be in one place where I can be real.

My nephew and I talk honestly to each other all the time. We don’t pull our words back, because we don’t have to. 

But there are times when I need to see the words in front of me, splayed out like a bloody corpse, flayed, raw & bleeding all over the page.

Therapy at it’s deepest level.

Minus the shiny buckles on the strapped jacket.