I’m Surprisingly Not Really Surprised, But I Sorta Am

I’ve been stoked all week for Pride Week here in my city.

There are a lot of events happening, and I’m going to a couple of them, including a Drag show & a “Pride in the Park” day, where a bunch of things will be going on, all at once.

I feel so much empathy, and a strangely welcoming aura, that I don’t get from many groups, when I am in the LGBTQIAP community presence…it’s comforting and strengthening, to me.

Stupidly, I’m welling up with emotion as I type this, I’m just…

Well…anyway.

I’ve been so excited for this, I’ve been talking about it in my office, trying to see if there were any other women who might, possibly, be interested in going to one of the events. The drag show, the park, whatever. I just…kind of wanted to share the wonderful experiences I’ve had with others.

And, instead, the commentary I received back – wasn’t very complimentary.

It wasn’t outright horrible, but…it was, backhanded, snickering, in some cases, spluttering and a quick look of disgust, before quickly covering it with polite disdain.

It was, to say the least, really disheartening, to me.

You see… I’m Pagan.

I am already a minority.

I came out to my coworkers after a long 6 months of debating with myself whether I should or not, way back in 2000, when I started working with some of the same women I still work with today.

We live in a mostly-Republican state, pretty conservative, and yet, I’ve never had a really bad reaction, in this city, from anyone I’ve told about my faith. I feel I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard, as I know there are many who face regular discrimination over their religious beliefs.

These women had absolutely no trouble accepting that I had a non-mainstream religion…

And yet, I can honestly say, that I don’t feel as though anyone who is not hetero, would feel comfortable coming out working there.

Granted, there ARE a couple of women who are totally accepting and friendly towards non-hetero, so I won’t say it’s everyone.

But I was….sad, disheartened, and I felt a little let down.

Which is stupid, again.

They don’t owe me jack shit.

But…I can’t ever, really, be my true self around them.

And, that’s just another layer between them and me that must be applied and maintained, for everyone’s comfort.

*sigh*

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The Journalist & the Journey

I want to place a caveat here, because I write a lot about my depression & my anxiety.

I am not looking for sympathy when I write about these things.

I write about my anxiety and my depression to get them out of my head, to make them leave my body in the only way I know…because I’m so damned uncomfortable talking out loud about it.

I honestly get very shy and squeamish whenever someone brings it up to me in person, and will more than likely blow the conversation off.

(There is a small, very small, number of people who can get me to talk about sensitive subjects without shutting down, getting irritable, or making jokes about it & laughing it off)

But, I can write them down, here.

Even knowing that there are people out there, who know me in my real, everyday life, who read these entries, I can still put these raw, personal posts here, and somehow – feel comfortable with it.

I don’t know how that works, but it does.

It’s my form of self-therapy.

I’m the journalist, and this is my journey. No particular destination in mind.

Blowing Out The Candles in My Dreams

I woke up this morning with tears tracing down my face.

I’d had a dream, & I remembered most of it.

I had gone with my cousin to a bookstore. Now, this particular cousin is more like a sister to me. She & I grew up extremely close. We’re only 10 months apart in age (I’m the elder, not that that really matters, but I could see you out there, wondering).

We used to spend our summers together, my aunt (my uncle had died when we were very little) would send her to our house for a few weeks, then later, I’d go stay with them for a few weeks in southern Minnesota.

We squabbled like siblings, we laughed like best friends, & we ganged up our parents, & snuck around as teenagers do, just as though we were more than mere cousins.

So, when I talk about my cousin “L”, it’s more as though I’m talking about a sister I never had.

Back to the dream. L & I had entered this super cool bookstore, which came complete with its own specialty bakery &, of course, cafe/coffee shop.

You were even able to special-order decorated cakes for occasions, & the bakers would decorate them to your specifications.

In my dream, I hadn’t had my birthday yet. This is important, later.

We browsed a bit, found books to buy, & sat in the cafe & had some cake, talking about things, catching up, since I haven’t seen L for a while. (Truth, it’s been months, & we would do this naturally)

L talks a mile a minute, so I let her blow her steam, keeping quiet & enjoying my cake, knowing she’ll listen when I tell her about my life. She always does, but, as an only child, she’s used to certain things, always being able to go first in a conversation being one of those things. I don’t mind.

Some who think they know me might scoff, but I really am quiet. When I care about someone, I’ll just sit & wait for the other person to talk themselves out completely before I speak, giving them my full attention the whole time.

When we were finished, we packed up & got ready to leave.

But first, I went over to the specialty cakes area. I’d seen a cake I wanted for my birthday, which, in my dream, hadn’t happened yet. And all I wanted was for the decorator to do some simple words on top – nothing major or fancy.

I’d filled out an order card with my contact information, & gave it to the bakery for the special-ordered layer cake.

When I spoke to the decorator about the cake, she misunderstood me 3 times, pulling out 3 different cakes, none of which were the ones I wanted. So, I finally walked her to the case & showed her the exact cake I wanted & told her that all I wanted was a simple handful of words on top.

She told me “We don’t decorate that cake. You can’t do that. Why would you even want to?”

At this point, my cousin had walked off to talk to some friends, so I was alone, and frustrated with dealing with someone who just didn’t seem to get it.

“I just want someone to put ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ on top of the damn cake, is that so hard? I always spend my birthday alone, my kids don’t come home, my parents leave the state, my friends don’t remember, or don’t live close enough to be here…I just wanted something nice for myself. Forget it!”

At this point, I walked out, with cousin L scrambling to catch up to me.

She asked what was wrong, but I wouldn’t tell her.

Later, I get a phone call from the bookstore. Could I please come down & pick up my order?

I told the lady on the phone I didn’t have an order, but she was adamant, & that I needed to pick it up.

So, I went.

When I get there, the cake is done, exactly as I ordered, and when I go to pay for it, she won’t let me, saying someone else already took care of it, although she won’t tell me who.

I take my cake & go home, wishing I had someone to celebrate with.

That’s my wish every year.

Does making wishes on candles in dreams count?

Nary a Word

Depression doesn’t normally give you the choice in when it comes upon you.

You don’t get to say…

“I’m not going to be depressed today, because I choose not to be”.

It’s not a matter of “fake it till you make it”, either.

It can be a sneaky bastard, too.

It doesn’t always hit you over the head with a brick, driving you to your knees in sorrow.

It can be slow.

Crawling up on you a little at a time.

You are going on, every day, with your normal routines…work, home, etc.

Not realizing that somewhere in there, you’ve forgotten a household chore – and now, here it is, 3 weeks later, and there’s mail all over the floor & piled on the counter as well, some you’ve opened, some you haven’t, but all – largely ignored, because you’re too apathetic to pay bills and answer invitations.

There are dust bunnies floating across the floor, because you haven’t vacuumed in weeks, and cats shed.

There are dishes in the sink.

You’re almost out of knives in the silverware drawer, so you’ll have to wash the dishes soon, you know, but – – apathy.

Depressíon.

And no one outside of your house has a clue – because no one ever sees it.

You have high-functioning depression.

You have created very convincing masks, and everyone believes you when you say you’re “fine” .

And on the weekends… Nary a word.

Silence rules your world – you don’t speak. Not even to the cats, because, why bother?

The one time you let your voice out is…surprisingly, to sing – with your mp3 player going, earbuds tight in your ears, sitting on your front step, eyes closed, not caring who hears you singing out loud for Goddess’ sake!

Well, singing helps with anxiety, & you’ve had your fair share of that lately, too, so, go you. Who gives a shit if the neighbors all heard you belting out P!nk’s stuff, and some of Mike Shinoda’s newest songs?

No one called the cops, at any rate.

But, it doesn’t really help…not really.

There are small moments of laughter, you smile, sure…

But that black cloud lurks, lingers, clings…to your every movement.

Like a child’s fingers tugging on your pants’ leg, you always know its presence.

Even when others do not.

And most never do.

I am a master of disguise.

And I say nary a word, most days.