Things I Wish I Could Say

* That mental illness is not a virus.  You can’t catch it from me, nor will it simply “clear up on its own.”

* That coming out of a depression cycle isn’t about choice. You can’t always “Choose Happy”. Sometimes, you just have to sit in that dark place until the sun comes out.

* That sometimes the medication works, and sometimes it doesn’t,  quite. Sometimes the anxiety is just too much, and it’s overwhelming.

* I’m not going to go “postal”, but if you see that I’m in a foul, irritable & touchy mood? Let it go & let me be.  I’ll get over it. But, if you poke the badger, don’t bitch when you get bit.

* No, I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. It’s my right, under the law, to keep it to myself. Stop being nosey. If I wanted you to know, I’d have pulled you aside & told you.

* Anxiety isn’t always obvious to detect. I go through every day wearing it like a jacket. A straitjacket.  But most people would never know.

* No, there is no sure-fire cure.  Some people get through it, to them it’s a phase of life, like puberty.  But not for everyone. Some of us will deal with this for life.

* Mental illness isn’t always about being medicated. Sometimes it’s about having someone who will listen, & will be there to walk with you through the dark places.

* It’s hard to maintain friendships when you’re in the dark places.  You don’t feel worthy, & you beat yourself up a lot about not being a better friend. 

* But, that’s when you need friends the most.

* Depression isn’t always about being a sobbing mess.  Sometimes, it’s just a cloud of gloom & dread that hangs over you, & follows you everywhere. 

* I can have good moments, happy moments – even days, & still have depression.  Sometimes, it’s the difference between just a handful of minutes.

* I will not get over anxiety just by someone telling me “Don’t worry about it. It’s not that big of a deal”.  Anxiety doesn’t care. It’s irrational worry

*Telling me to “Lighten up” just pisses me off. Stop it.

*Don’t put me on a suicide watch list. I got over that thought years ago, when my EldestChild was born.  But it was there, at one point.


Into the Hush

Tonight is Christmas Eve, and I am spending it alone for the first time in my life.

Christmas is not my holiday, so I’m not as upset about this, or lonely, as one might think. It’s truly not that big of a deal, now that I’m in it.

Plus, we celebrated the gift-giving & dinner on my holiday,  Yule, so I did have that holiday experience.  And it was bittersweet… but I had some happiness mixed in with the grief. It balances, to a certain extent.

My children all scattered to celebrate with their other family members, or with friends, my parents are at home, quietly celebrating my Mom’s birthday – which just so happens to be tonight.

I took down the tree tonight, denied the house of its decorations. And that was ok, too.

Funny, but it was actually kind of a relief to turn my house back to normal operating mode.  I even started a load of laundry – completely domestic chores, not holiday -related at all.

And now, I’m showered, in my jammies, & relaxing…knowing that tomorrow will bring me the opportunity to do anything I want.

I can sleep in.
I can stay in my jammies all day, if I so choose.
I can eat when I feel hungry, nap if I feel tired, read, play games, craft.
With the holidays behind me, & no more pending orders in front of me, I can craft simply for the pleasure of it. Make anything that strikes my fancy.
I can sit in the still & the quiet (cut occasionally by the antics of the fur fools -2 cats, a dog & a ferret )

I can go into the hush, & be still.

When does that happen anymore?


There is no such thing as Pure Truth.
There are half-truths, opinions and theories,  little white lies, fibs and falsehoods.

All tinged with truth, shaded with it- saturated, sometimes,  but never wholly pure.

Truth is fluid and changing, flexing itself around the circumstances and actions of those viewing it.  It slides around corners, twisting itself into complicated knots; then suddenly unwinding into simplicity and clarity at the oddest moments.

But, never is there a pure and shining one and only Truth.

Opinion varies the hue of Truth, according to the person living in the moment of it.

Challenging to seek, impossible to hold onto, Truth squirms in the grasp of the Seeker, slipping from their grip, only to shine enticingly at them from behind the next tree, down at the end of the next forest path.

If only I could get to the Truth, you sigh and gaze longingly after its escape.
I’d be happy if I could just know the Truth.

But the Truth can be a hive of wasps for the Seeker. It stings and burns those who have not prepared, armored themselves against the possibility of pain.  It scars, Truth does.  Searing a path of light in its wake, it clears away all distraction, all the garbage we surround ourselves with in our daily lives.

It strips away the defenses and leaves you vulnerable and bare to its blazing light.

But it can also set you free.
As long as you don’t seek to keep it hostage.

Truth is subjective.  Your Truth and mine are not alike, possibly wouldn’t be friends, maybe wouldn’t even notice each other in passing or lift a hand in hello.

If you seek Truth, keep this in mind.
Truth is never pure.
It may cause you pain.
But along the way, if you let it…
It can set you free.

Journaling /Journeying

When I was a kid, I had a diary.
Red, faux-leather, with a golden lock to ostensibly keep people from reading my deepest/darkest.

I could barely write block printing when I got it, but I had somewhere to put all the fascinating 6 yr. old thoughts & occurrences of my life.

“Got up. Got dressed. Had breakfast, but the good cereal was all gone because brother ate it to get the prize.”

“Went to school, and had fun at recess.”

Went to my friend’s house & played Barbies, then Mom said it was time to go home, so rode my bike back.”

Thrilling, riveting stuff.

As I got older, the diary morphed into school notebooks, endless scribbles of horrid poetry & strange bits of stories.  I was Emo before it was a thing, minus the dyed hair, stark makeup & cool black clothes. 

It was all in the attitude. Down with authority,  up with the weird & morbid!

Plus, my mom wouldn’t let me dye my hair, wear Emo makeup, or dress in all black. 

“Down with authori… yes, Mom, I’ll be down in a second!”

As an adult, I hung onto the notebooks, but I also started using a typewriter to put down my thoughts. Then, a computer.

And then…*cue choirs of angels in Gloria Excelsis*…

Along came the INTERNET.

Heaven. Nirvana.

Every so often, I feel the need to pour out everything. And here, I can do that, in a format that gives me an audience. Maybe a small one, maybe somedays, a nonexistent one. Maybe all the voices in my head gathered together & decided to take up Internet identities in order to placate me, to show me that at least there’s someone out there, reading.

And yes, I vent, I mourn, I share & I rejoice. All in the same place- here, my blog. To some, this may seem to be bi-polar, or mutiple-personalities.

But it’s not. Those disorders are much more complicated than what I go through.

So, if none of these entries seem to “flow” in any discernible order, don’t worry.

This is my life.
Up, down, sideways, twisted.
With moments of random sanity.

I just journal it when the mood strikes.

But as someone once said (don’t ask who, I have no clue)

We all have chapters of our lives we don’t read out loud.

I Don’t Think That’s What They Meant

I’ve always known that reading to my kids was good for them.

Expanding their horizons, showing them different worlds, different people, cultures, ideas, crammed in the pages of a bound book.

And there are books on all sorts of topics for kids now.

Books just for the pleasure of reading an entertaining story, books for education.

There are books for potty-training, for bed-time, for learning to deal with siblings, leaning to cope with the death of a pet, learning how to be better at this or that, for learning everything from alphabets to zydeco music playing.

I know that reading – reading almost anything – broadens anyone’s mind, not just a child’s.

But – the other night, I added a twist.

OnlySon is 16.  And he and I both understand that he’s far more esoterically knowledgeable than most people think.  We talk to each other in a manner most wouldn’t expect a parent to talk to a 16 yr. old.

I talk to him more as I would another adult.  Well, at least, another adult who just so happens to be my 16 yr. old child.  There are still some subjects we both agree are not appropriate, not – ugh – comfortable for either of us.  And our agreement works.

He can handle it – and he respects me for respecting that about him.

So, the other night, I was reading a new book I’d picked up at the book store – Augusten Burrough’s “Magical Thinking”.

It’s a hilarious set of stories about things that have happened to him in his own life.  And he freely admits that he’s “emotionally damaged goods”, so, even while I can feel bad about the fucked up things he’s had to experience growing up, and since, I can laugh along with him as he laughs at himself.

I sat and chuckled, snickered, and gut-busted laughed for 2 hours straight after bringing this home and immediately sitting down to enjoy it.

Of course, OnlySon had to know what was so funny.

So – I read a chapter – out loud – to him.

All about how Augusten had found a “rat/thing” in his bathroom, and proceeded to destroy it, then to go on to practically destroy his bathroom in order to rid himself of the taint of the rat/thing’s infestation of his life.

It’s funnier in the book.

And, after hearing the story, my son proceeded to tell me about a story he’d read – about a man who’d chugged half a soda, only to find a ground up frog in the can…..

The things we do to one another for the sake of a good story. *urp*

Later than night, I was standing in the bathroom, contemplating the meaning of life (brushing my teeth, actually, but close enough), when I heard EldestDaughter downstairs.  The cadence and rhythm of her voice told me she was reading a new story to the ToddlerTornado.

And I was struck by the coincidence, and the slight difference of the subject matter we’d each chosen to read to our sons.

At least… well, leaning out of the bathroom, I was pretty sure my new book was still sitting by my chair.

I don’t think that’s what they meant when the “experts” said “Read to Your Children”.


The United Colors of Netflix

I’ve been obsessed with foreign places for the last few months.

Oh hell, for the last few years!

Ok, for most of my life.

There, truth at last, satisfied?

I, a small-town born, Midwest farm-raised, mostly sheltered all my life woman, am intrigued, and absolutely fascinated, with far-away places.

And, I’ve found a way to sate some of this yearning for travel through the wonders of… duh du du Dah! NETFLIX!

Yes, Netflix.

“China Revealed”. “Miss Granny”. “Empresses in the Palace”. Visions of cherry blossoms, silk kimono, and Buddhist temples, right in my living room.

“Queen” was the flavor and flair of this evening. Instead of China or Japan, tonight I chose India as my entertainment meal. Sort of a Hindi “Eat, Pray, Love”, without Julia Roberts, but with some smashing music and subtitles.  I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something uplifting, and don’t mind reading while you watch the action.

Who knows what’s up next for me, where I’ll be when next I sit down to spend some time with far-off strangers?

Actually travelling is not an option for me at this point in life…

So, I salute you from amidst these United Colors of Netflix.

I’ll be watching!


The Shape of the Day

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. It’s my biggest (no pun intended) personal demon.Demon Wrestling

Chocolate makes for a good snuggle… but a bad case of eater’s remorse later.

My first memory of the issue is when my mom looked at me, getting ready to dig into dessert after supper one night – and her saying “Honey, maybe you shouldn’t have so much ice-cream.  You’re starting to get a spare tire.”

I think I was about 7 or 8 at the time.

Growing up, my mom made healthy meals -meat, potatoes, vegetables.  Dessert didn’t automatically follow every meal, and we lived out on a farm, so there was no store nearby to grab snacks all the time.  I worked hard on the farm, taking care of horses, helping with calves, chickens, running up and down the barn stairs from hayloft to ground with the cats and dogs.  I rode horses all the damn time.

In high school, I grew to be 5’7″, and weighed approximately 130-135 lbs.

And yet, I was considered the fat girl.

Sandy & Me

I’m the one on the left – my junior year

Does this girl on the left look fat to you?

And yet, I always felt that way.  Because of the way I was treated by classmates, among others.

And so the girl I saw in the mirror was, in my eyes, fat.

Objects in the mirror appear larger than they really are?

I have old pictures from my first wedding, too, that show me at that 130 lb. mark, at the age of 23… and I’ve been told that people thought I looked too thin in my dress.

But at the time… I still felt fat.

I’d had a baby, who was 3 yrs. old at the time of the wedding, and I’d lost most of the baby weight by that time, true, but I still had the “baby belly”, that little bump that… never… quite… goes… away.

So, I must be fat, right?

I had another baby at the age of 24, but lost the weight fairly quickly the year after, thanks to long walks & a good friend who I walked with every day. Back down to 130 lbs.  But still feeling fat.

And then… I got married for the 2nd time.  And slowly, over the next 10 years, I gained, and gained, and gained.  The first few years were good, and then the marriage started to go south.  My self-esteem crumbled like soggy graham crackers in milk, as my -at the time- husband slowly started pulling his love out of the marriage, and putting it all into our son.  Baby number 3.

I never lost that baby weight, not completely.

At the time of our divorce, I was at my heaviest.  I have no true idea what that weight was, as I refused, at that point, to even look at a scale.  Even when I went to the doctor, I would stand on it backward, and wouldn’t let the nurses tell me what the number was.  I told them that it was because the numbers made me neurotic.

In fact, it was because I was ashamed.  I was, truly and really, fat.

There are very few pictures of me at that weight – I refused to be in front of the camera most of the time, ducking out on one reason or another.  When it was unavoidable, I’d do my best to “hide” whatever of myself I could, tucking myself in behind others in the frame, or “sucking it in”… a meager attempt at best.

I would say that I was probably somewhere between 250-275 lbs.

After the divorce – I lost a good bit of that weight.  I started eating better, started exercising.  I felt better, inside and out, than I had in a long time.

And yet, I still struggle.  There’s more I want to lose, a better shape I want to be in.  Health concerns and just emotional well-being are the 2 things I want this for now.

It’s slow going.  I have multiple food allergies, which knocks out a fair bit of healthy foods I could be eating.  Some of the most favored diet foods – cucumbers, melons, bananas, pineapple – all of them could kill me due to my allergies.

But I work at it, in my own way.  Healthier foods, smaller portions, more exercise, no more soda – only flavored water.

The struggle is real – and it’s time people stop shaming others.

As a child, I might have been a little chubby – but that’s no reason to compare me to the Michelin Man.  Maybe there shouldn’t have been any ice cream in the house?  And who was supposed to teach me about healthy eating and self-control?

As a teen, I wasn’t heavy at all.  I was just the right weight for my height – and yet, because I wasn’t emaciated, and you couldn’t hang clothes from my collarbones, I was called fat in school, and shamed for it by my peers.

As an adult, I finally took back my self-esteem from others – and stopped letting people put me down in subtle ways like my ex-husband had, little by little.

Like the recent co-worker who told me that I “really look like a girl today” on the day I wore a dress to work.  The same co-worker who, upon being told that I’m actually 10 years older than her, remarked that it was my red-dyed hair that is the only thing that makes me look younger, even though she evinced surprise at my actual age.  And, upon being shown a picture of my sweetheart, looked up at me in total shock and said “Really?  But he’s so good looking.”  As if I weren’t good enough for someone she thought was that handsome.

Whether she realizes it or not, she’s a bully.  And I refuse to be ashamed and bullied anymore because of my shape.

So, I still work on my weight, but I’m not doing it for her.  I’m not doing it to “prove” anything to anyone.

I’m doing it for me.  I’m doing it for my sweetheart, and for my kids, and my grandson, so we’ll be able to have many more years as a family.

And that’s the shape of the day.

Existential Weekend

I’ve been rearranging the furniture in my living room over the last few weeks. Shuffling the couch, rugs, chairs & tables around, usually by myself- trying to find my Feng Shui, I guess.

Every once in a while, I know I like to shake things up, change my perspective of the world, see things in a different light.

And moving the furniture around is merely a physical representation of that.

I’ve been in limbo for a while now, waiting for things to change, waiting for him to arrive, waiting, waiting…waiting.  I know that true change takes time, but I hate waiting. I don’t get to do anything about what he’s going through right now, & the things that have to change for him before he can get here.

But, I want to affect something. I want to make a change, for a change.

So… maybe the couch would be better over there?