I’ve been silent for a while in the blogging world. I’ve missed writing, but I’ve been afraid. I was a little freaked out. A couple of weeks ago, I took a sick day. I wasn’t feeling well, was exhausted, and I knew that the rest of my week was going to be full of long days. Sure, I could have made it through the day, but I was running on empty. My tank was sucking fumes. The morning I stayed home sick, I took things slowly. Eventually, I ended up on my patio with my iPad and a cup of coffee. I was going to write. When I logged into my blog, I was shocked. Someone from my office had logged on earlier that morning, but I was NOT in the office. I immediately changed my password and set the blog to private. Continue Reading »
Recently, a fellow blogger requested access to my previous blog. Of course, I had no qualms about allowing this person to continue to read my story. We have walked this same path together, and she has become someone special to me. I love and admire her strength, a strength I have often drawn on as an example for myself. Today I finally got around to logging into the old blog. I hadn’t read a word of that blog since May. Many, many times, I have considered logging in and writing. The story in that blog was a major part of my life. It is a story without a satisfactory ending and a story with thousands of unanswered questions. Many stones have been left unturned, many angles are left to explore. Flipping those stones, searching for the answers, and exploring those angles could easily become an obsession. I know that all too well. I could spend the rest of my life seeking answers to WHY? HOW? WHAT HAPPENED? I know now that I will never, ever find those answers. Some things are inexplicable. There are no answers to some questions. Sometimes certain situations simply defy all logic. Continue Reading »
The past couple of weeks have been downright grueling. My stars and planets have been out of whack. Karma has come around to smack me in the face. I suppose it’s natural for bad spells to happen from time to time. Luck often runs in cycles. Let’s just say that I haven’t been enjoying many aspects of my life lately. While I haven’t lost sight of the good things in my life, it felt very much like the universe was actively working against me. Day after day was filled with nothing but stress, defending myself, advocating, explaining, reassuring, tap-dancing, oh…and a little crying thrown in, too. Backstabbing at work in the highest form. Bullshit and crap from people in my life who should NOT matter at all, people who are as insignificant as a pimple on my ass. Thankfully, it appears that the problems at work have stabilized, until the next round, that is. The stress was exhausting. Continue Reading »
Yet again, tonight I wrote a blog that is not being posted here. It was frivolous. It was a good blog post, and I might post it at some point in the future, but it was a cover-up. It was cheerful, and I don’t feel cheerful. It was lighthearted, and my heart is not light. If I would have posted that entry tonight, it would have been a lie.
I wonder why I was prompted to write the lighthearted post tonight? I think it was to prove that I was OK when I am NOT doing OK. I wrote it, and it sat there like something disagreeable in my stomach. It was heavy. The lighthearted blog post felt heavy like a shroud. It was a lie. No, there were no lies written in the post, but it was still a lie. It was not ME.
As I sat here looking at the words I had written, my phone buzzed. An email had come through, so I stopped staring at my blog post to switch over to look at my email. It was a blog post notification from a fellow blogger. She had not made an entry for a very long time, but tonight something had prompted her to write once again. I clicked through to her entry, and I grew cold as I read. She wrote about an experience she had this evening. It was an experience that I have had in my dreams many times, over and over.
She had attended a function in public and someone she cared about very much ignored her presence. She was invisible in the loudest, most obnoxious way. She was monstrously invisible. She was so horribly invisible that this person who was ignoring her felt the need to shield others from her. Do you understand what I mean? Backs were turned. People positioned themselves in a way to shut her out. She was monstrously invisible. How this made her feel was not important to this person who was once her best friend. Her humanness was not important. She was to be ignored at all costs. Kindness or acknowledgement was not allowed. No, the monstrously invisible are not subject to the same hospitality or kindnesses that may be shown to strangers. Smile at a stranger. Hold the door. Wish them a good morning. But the monstrously invisible are treated as if they are the living dead, a ghost, a horrible specter. Avert your eyes. Shield your loved ones. Go about your business as quickly as possible. Act with determination, be preoccupied. Maybe the monstrously invisible will think you didn’t notice them. Maybe they will slink back into their place of blackness.
I have had this dream over and over. She experienced tonight what I have only lived in nightmares: the gesture of greeting that is ignored, the smile that fades on the lips. As she wrote, her pain was palpable. She was real, right? She isn’t a monster, right? She has feelings, right? She matters, right? Of course she does, but there is no way that I can tell her. I don’t know her. I don’t know where she lives. I don’t even know her real name.
All around people are hurting, and they’re hurting deeply. Last night, I saw a website about (and I may not remember right) a national “Are You OK?” Day. It was an Australian group whose idea in creating the day was to aid in suicide prevention. The premise was to reach out. Ask some one that looks troubled if they are OK. Reach out to someone you may not know well, but who is going through a challenging time. The day was about the power of kindness. A kind word, a kind gesture, a hug, a pat on the back, showing someone that they are valued, that they DO matter, can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine how little effort it takes to make someone’s day. Reach out. Be kind. Please.
Tomorrow that will be my goal. I will reach out where I see a need. I will be kind in her honor. In the honor of the monstrously invisible, I will try my best to make those around me feel valued.
During my lunch break today, I called a friend. I needed to hear a friendly voice. I was feeling sad and stressed out. I needed to talk to someone who cared. Basically, I needed a friend. Instead of keeping those feelings bottled up inside, I called someone I knew would understand. We talked about many things, but eventually we discussed what depression feels like. She had written in her own blog a description that I had found terrifyingly beautiful, accurate, and true. She wrote that depression is “like some thick, wet, blue, velvet cloak trying to smother the life out of your heart….” I understood. I have been feeling the weight of my own depression these past few days, and had been describing it in my own mind. Maybe that’s part of the process, the trying to understand and interpret that crushing, muddled feeling.
Her description is a whole lot prettier than my own. I told her that my depression feels like cotton. My mouth, nose, face, every part of me, feels like it is stuffed with cotton batting. I am unable to make facial expressions. If someone were to ask me to smile, my brain could not tell my face what to do. That must be where the “cotton” feeling comes in. I feel like a rag doll. I have a face, but it is blank. Fighting for expression, fighting to act like a human and not a stuffed inanimate object, is exhausting.
Last week, when I received a funny text picture from a friend I see infrequently, I replied. “Thanks, that made me smile. In fact, I laughed out loud.” He responded that he was glad and that I needed to smile more often. He said that I’m pretty when I smile. I felt embarrassed. I knew just what he was referring to. We had seen each other at a conference in May. I could see that he felt I had changed. I was not the same person I had been just a few short months ago. I was sick. I didn’t laugh or smile like I once did. I wasn’t any fun. I was the expressionless rag doll, and that made me feel ashamed of myself.
Talking to my friend today helped me tremendously. Our conversation went from serious to silly from moment to moment. We are two people struggling with loss, fear, pain, and depression, but we are also able to laugh. God, I find strength in that. There are good people in this world, and I am learning to reach out to them. I am learning to accept help when it is right there for the taking.
I’m not sure why I have so often been faced with loss in my life. Actually, I try not to think about it too much. I do know that I have had way more than my fair share of bad luck and loss. It would be staggering if I were to write it all down. On the other hand, I have had so many wonderful blessings, too. The one thing I have learned as I have been faced with adversity in my life is that there is an OTHER SIDE. Climb that hill, keep putting one foot in front of the other, trudge through the crap that life throws your way. There IS an OTHER SIDE. Right now, though, that other side seems so very far away.
Of course, I am feeling bogged down. There is so much on my plate right now, and not much of it is good. That’s when the depression kicks in. It’s almost impossible to fight off when life is throwing buckets of crap my way. I feel myself sinking under, and I’m tipping my head up to try to catch a breath of air. I need to BREATHE, but there does not seem to be a place of comfort. I’m trying to trudge along and get to the other side of this. I want to get to the BETTER SIDE. I’m trying. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, but it feels like I am fighting a pretty strong wind.
As I drove home from work tonight, like always, I listened to my iPod. The song “Drink Me” by Anna Nalick came on my player. Drink me. That made me think. The words of the song made me think. “Drink me, baby. Slowly, I’ll disappear… I’ll get smaller with every swallow.” Wow. That is how I feel. Little sips of me have been taken. Just a little bit at a time. A little here. A little there. My glass, which was once full, is now almost empty.
I allowed it to happen. “Here, take a little bit more. Is there anything else you want or need? Is there anything else I can do for you? I am strong. I will bear the weight. Here, have a little bit more.” I gave too much. I emptied out my own glass.
Sometimes I miss the old blog. Those of you who read the “Other” blog will understand why I miss it. You will certainly know why it has been a positive experience not to write the previous blog any longer. Without dwelling on it, or spilling the beans so to speak, I will just say that the old blog dealt with one not so pleasant subject. One subject, and I beat that subject into the ground. Getting rid of the old blog was difficult emotionally, but WordPress made it surprisingly easy. Just a couple of clicks and hundreds of blog entries were gone. A year and a half of the worst times in my life were recorded in excruciating detail, but I am glad that they are gone.
This new blog is still taking shape, and I’m trying to find my voice. I’m still wandering down this path and searching for my place in this world. I am beginning to become friends with this new blog, though. By disallowing myself to dwell on the old subject matter, it has helped ME not to dwell on it as well. Sometimes, though, it’s not easy. When I was hurting or upset, writing helped, and I miss that one final outlet.
Even though I deleted the old blog, I was able to take something very important along with me. While the blog had become something of a nemesis, the friendships I made in the blogging world carried me through some very difficult personal times. I have found that these real friendships are much more healing and more valuable than the thousands of words I threw out into cyberspace. Those words are gone, and sometimes that loss saddens me, but the network of support that those words built still remains.
As my former blog readers know, I wrote about searching and seeking answers. I wanted reasons, and I wanted meaning. I didn’t want to go through hell and have it mean absolutely nothing. Even though I could not change the details or results of my situation, I wanted to think that I hadn’t walked away ruined and less of a person. Well, I’m still working on that one, but the load is beginning to lift.
I’m still learning, and sometimes I falter, but I am beginning to trust my heart once again. I am beginning to listen to the tiny voice of reason that had been there (sometimes shouting!) all along. Now, when the going gets tough, and it sure does get tough at times, instead of pouring out my heart, soul, anger, pain, and a variety of other negative emotions into my blog, I pick up the phone and I reach out to a REAL person.
Last night was one of those nights. I tried all of the things that usually help turn my thoughts to more positive things. I had a Special Pepsi. I cleaned out a dresser drawer. I spent some time ironing, but I still found myself pacing around with way too much on my mind. Finally, I picked up the phone and called a blogging friend. She has been there for me through so very much this past year. Last night was no different. Within moments, I was laughing out of control. I smile even now as I think of the silliness of that conversation. What was important is that she had me laughing at myself. She brought me out of the rut that I had tripped and fallen back into face-first.
If there is nothing else good that has come out of all of this pain, that friendship across the miles will be something that will always be special to me. My sweet blogging sister and I have laughed, and we have cried. We have cussed like sailors, and wondered together over signs from the spiritual world. Although we met through shared experience, and not such a good experience to have, our friendship is so much more now than the sadness that brought us together. So many other blogging friends have touched my life, too, and offered help and hope to me in horribly difficult times. I often think of us as little planets. Sometimes our orbit intersect. Other times, our worlds are further apart, but we are still there in our blogging universe.
A year and a half ago, I wrote my first entry in the “Other” blog. I don’t think there was a single day that I didn’t write an entry. I know there were days when I wrote more than once. My readers yelled at me, cheered me up, wanted to smack me, and offered me cyber hugs.
Interestingly, several fellow bloggers/readers and I began our journeys around the same time. A year and a half later, we are all still here. (Amazingly….Thankfully!) We are older. Maybe, we are wiser. Some of us are happier, while some of us are still looking around in disbelief as we continue to survive in the aftermath. Sadly, some are still in the midst of the confusion. I believe I may be a little of each.
If you read the “Other” blog, I thank you for the love, support, and friendship…even if we did not connect on a personal basis. If you didn’t read the “Other” blog, thank you for reading this one. This blog is ME. This is my real life and who I really am as a human being. There is me to ME than the one subject of the “Other” blog. This blog is about the things I hold dear, the things that make me smile or tick me off, the little things that I see in my ordinary life. While the “Other” blog was my heart, this blog is my life.