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#12 & 13: reading in a public setting; practicing self-care–massage

not much to say about #13- practicing self-care:massage.  i booked a 90 minute massage at a local place. it was heavenly! soothing music, muscle manipulation, a heated massage table !!! i think i struggle with justifying spending a huge chunk of money on something so fleeting, particularly because it’s sole purpose is to care for myself. $100+ for a tattoo…that’s fine because it literally lasts forever. around $100/month for unlimited yoga classes {which i’m not currently doing….it’s on the list} seems reasonable because you’re building a healthy practice. but $ for massage….i struggle with feeling “i’m worth it.”

on #12, reading in a public setting…i thought it would be an easy challenge. i love reading. i’m never bothered by taking a book to say a park or the beach to read. however, on two different days, my book and i went out into the world for food/coffee and reading time. i’m not sure if i feel awkward or pathetic or what, but both times, at both locations, i could barely stand staying more than 30 minutes after finishing the food or beverage before me. probably due to the fact that i used to work in cafes, and hated when people would sit at tables FOR HOURS knitting or reading or doing school work without ordering more. do i feel i must spend more to be allowed to stay and read? quite possibly….

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mists of mind

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one of the many definitions of GUILT, as defined by the merriam-webster dictionary, reads thus: a :  the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously b :  feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy 

that secondary part— feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy— i find to be deeply ingrained in me. i find myself “feeling guilt” for absurd reasons, and i’m not sure from which aspect of my life it comes from: being female? being adopted? being raised Lutheran? being working class? all of the above????

i am beyond fortunate enough to have an incredible spouse- among the bazillion of selfless and amazing things he does for me, to celebrate my upcoming birthday { a mid-decade-benchmark } he is taking me back to japan. JAPAN! i should be excited…hell, i **AM** excited, yet i find it hard to talk about. i was even going to keep it secret from my parents!

why do i “feel guilty” about this trip? is it because i don’t think i am deserving?  that i sense i am inadequate of such attentions?

writing prompt:what is true about you that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

welcome to the start of a new series–this one is DIRECTLY inspired by 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose { over on mark manson dot net }. the entire article is incredibly thought provoking and out of the ordinary, usually self-help type questions all end up sounding the same: what do you dream of? if money wasn’t an option, what would you do? etc etc etc. so, i’m starting by answering his question number 2: what is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

Read the rest of this entry

diving deeper

i know i write a lot about depression. it’s inevitable, given that it is part of my life. and, unfortunately, it happens to be a part of the lives of many of those i love and hold dear.  my last 2 posts were literally just giant passages from the book i’ve been reading { the noonday demon: an atlas of depression by andrew solomon } that i basically wanted to “bookmark” for reference later. this post is more of a reflection on a short passage i encountered a couple of days ago, and have been mulling over ever since.

“Children of depressed mothers may suffer not only depression but also attention deficit disorder, separation anxiety, and conduct disorder. They do badly in social and academic situations, even if they are intelligent and have some attractive qualities of personality. They have unusually high levels of physical complaints- allergies, asthma, frequent colds, severe headaches, stomach aches- and complain of feeling unsafe. They are often paranoid,” {pgs. 181-182}.

this excerpt is not only talking about  the child in their youth, but also within the greater context of becoming a depressed adult. and it describes CHILD ME to a tee: Read the rest of this entry

on the need to belong

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perhaps it is some sort of left-over, psychic residue from being adopted, but i struggle to feel like i belong anywhere.  i mean, in the greater, universal, scheme of things– i obviously feel like i belong in my immediate family…but that’s really about it.

growing up, i always had theatre. it was my loving, accepting family of misfits. as i age, i find it more and more difficult to discover that niche.

while searching for an image for this entry, i came across a quote that really resonated with me: “because true belong only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance,”{ brene brown }. normally, i think of myself as being full of self-acceptance…so why do i yearn to “belong to something greater”???

at work, there’s a large group of my peers that all attend the same place of worship. { that was weird in and of itself to me, getting re-use to people talking openly about their spirituality. never happened in california, THAT’s for sure! } i attended once, just to check it out, and because a good friend of mine happens to be the minister.  to put it succinctly- NOT MY STYLE. which is fine. but, it kinda hurts/aches/ makes-me-feel-left-out that they all attend there. and all find it spiritually satisfying.  i said to my friend & co-worker N today something tongue-in-cheek about not being one of the “cool kids” that attends there, and she said she maybe goes about once a month. and weirdly, i feel left out.

so, i’m left feeling a deep sense of non-belonging. even as an adult, it hurts.

sentimentality & cinema

i’m not one for overly sappy movies. yes, i love a happy ending, but not necessarily the all-tie-up-with-a-bow, pretty-package endings- drivel and fluff with unrealistic expectations. what really gets to me are films that have a more pragmatic view on life, and yet, still contain a satisfying and realistically “happy” ending.

last night, i randomly picked a movie on netflix, based on the brief description and the cast. Hector and the Search for Happiness – which is based off a french novel- did not disappoint. In it, the titular hector { played by the delightful as ever simon pegg }, feeling like he is stuck in a rut, travels the world in search of finding what truly brings happiness to people. the comedy was subtle, and the cinematography was stunning. hector’s journey was cringeworthy at times, humbling, terrifying, and eye-opening, and in the end, our “hero” hector has grown as a character and come to the amazing { yet not SO amazing } discovery that the happiness he thought had eluded him, was there all along.

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in many ways, it reminded me of another favourite film: Away We Go, which is also a journey-of-self-discovery movie.  in it, burt { john krasinski } and verona { maya rudolph } travel to various cities in north america, seeking a place to put down roots and call home, since they are expecting their first child. each city presents a host of positives and negatives, and they are faced with the challenge/reality that not everything { or everyone } it quite what it seems. in the end, they “discover” home in a beautiful, realistic, emotional, and SATISFYING way.

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“guest post”: depression

it’s no secret that many of us battle day-in-day-out with various forms and degrees of depression. i have been thinking a lot, recently, of my own on going battle with the disease that lies { as i prefer to call it }. instead of giving you all the long, drawn out history, i’m going to attempt to condense it all into brief tidbits, and then allow the “guest posts” { aka other bloggers/webcomics  i will gladly give full credit to } to speak their truths in a more enjoyable way.

my mother claims i always battled the “dark and morose” feelings and was an emotional rollercoaster even at the tender age of 4. in my own recollection, the onslaught of the disease that lies began my senior year of high school, and manifested itself as crazy, brutal, epic panic attacks of doom! { registered trademark } that sent me home on a semi-regular basis. i was overwhelmed with the thought of dying–and not in the suicidal way– no no, i was CONVINCED that i was about to die, any second. driving home from school, i would chant mantras of “please let me live until my parents come home so i can tell them i love them” or “please don’t let me die, because then my car will careen out of control and take innocent people with me”….it was horrible, and followed me through several states and into my early college career. the anxiety difused, but never fully went away { every once in a blue moon, i still get an epic attack }, instead turning into a constant monologue of self-deprecation and doubt.

this general “depression” was made worse by a year of non-voluntary, semi-confinement { also known as teaching english in a foreign country } wear my nearest native-english speaking neighbour was a 20 minute drive away, i didn’t have a car for the first 4 months, and said person was a misogynist chode. matters were made worse by the committee of elderly “gentlemen” who were my direct supervisors and made me feel like shit about myself for not being the MALE TEACHER they had requested. so enduring a year of this, on top of recovering from major anxiety, and plagued with all sorts of other demons, has left me more broken than i would be…which is unfortunate in that, besides the suckitude of making me feel isolated and unworthy and alone, that year abroad was actually quite an amazing experience. had i been placed somewhere more central, or with less old-fashioned, misogynist bosses, i’d be way better adapted.

SIGH. which brings me to the “guest” part of this post….because all these amazing people are going through similar feelings that i deal with at least on a weekly basis.

the admirable wil wheaton from his blog/mini-empire wilwheaton.net : an excerpt:   I haven’t ever felt suicidal, but I do have Depression and Anxiety. I suffered for no good reason for decades, until I couldn’t reconcile my awesome life with feeling terrible all the time. Talking therapy wasn’t ever enough for me, and I was very resistant to medication, because I believed (and continue to believe) that we are an over-medicated culture.

another incredible person the bloggess { aka jenny larson } updates often on her struggles, so i’m including not one, but TWO links…this one is about depression greeting cards and brings awareness to national mental health awareness week.  this one is more introspective, and really brings home the message that **depression lies**—When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

finally, for those of you who are more visual, i give you “adventures in depression” by the fabulous webcomic artist/site hyberbole and a halfthis is just part one of her journey, which is concluded in her most recent post “depression: part two”, where she so aptly describes what suffering from the disease that lies is really like: At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is.

with that, i leave you with this panel from hyperbole and a halfDEPRESSIONTWO8.2

when you’re feeling sad & lonely…

…you obviously stop updating your blog. { speaking from experience here }

this last month has been really really hard. i started  this project/blog in an attempt to make progress/move forward in discovering myself and the world around me. but i find myself constantly sliding backwards into old habits and old & destructive mindsets. i know writing about it would be therapeutic, but who really wants to read another woe-is-me-my-life-sucks-will-it-ever-get-better-type blog post? { ironically, some of the most helpful & reassuring posts i’ve read are from people i respect who write honestly about their struggles. so maybe people WOULD read it. hmmmmmm }

i am truly at a loss to express the depths of emotion i’m feeling. how much pain and anger and strife i am currently going through.

i am in desperate need of a miracle, folks. and i am not beyond asking for your help. so if you are reading this { all *two* of you } i need your strength. your prayers. your well-wishes. your spells. your charms. your thoughts. i need to be upheld. i need a miracle.

envy & blessings & regret

it’s phenomenal how often in my life these three things { envy, blessings, regret }become inexplicably intertwined. the “negative” states of being force me to remind myself of what blessings i have, but reminding myself of said blessings makes it painfully clear the things i am lacking. and i’m not even necessarily referring to tangible objects. here is what i’ve been reflecting on recently….

BLESSINGS

i’m not one to usually divulge such information, but since it will put it painfully into perspective, our family { self, spousal unit, 2 kitties } officially made under $8,000 for the fiscal year of 2012. that’s not a typo. under $8,000! with unofficial income { aka cash } that puts us up to maybe $10k at best. and yet, we never went hungry. we always made rent. we paid our utilities. we were able to move. we were able to insure our car and keep gas in it. because of supportive family and even strangers we have been able to keep going. what a blessing indeed! and yet, there are still huge unresolved financial burdens { old medical bills, student loans, the constant use of our one credit card when times get tight } that i mire in worry & doubt about how much longer can this continue? i have tried to take steps to become more financially stable { my job is at best 25-30 hours a week and is under $12/hr….but with awesome benefits } but the harsh reality of the economy, and my marketability have so far gotten me no where. which leads to…

REGRET

i regret all the little “life altering” decisions that, if i could go back in time and change them, would put us in a better life situation. i find myself regretting what i studied in college, or even that i WENT to college, and sometimes even that i decided to pursue my master’s degree…which seems to have made me LESS marketable instead of more.  i regret that i didn’t take more advantage of opportunities that were before me during my academic years: i should have studied abroad more, done more internships, submitted works for publication or consideration at conferences.  i know i can’t change any of things, which can hurt so deeply and { for me at least } makes it difficult to move forward with my life.  i get overwhelmed by the people around me, whether they are total strangers or people i have known for decades who seem on the surface to be struggling less than i am; than we are. which leads to…

ENVY

the inner beast. the peculiar thing is, as previously mentioned, i don’t feel/think i’m envious of tangible, physical STUFF. as a clear example, i will reference someone i recently reconnected with through the magic of social media. { i will try to keep it as anonymous as humanly possible } i can not remember a time i was not jealous/envious of…let’s call her uma. i met her in college, and she radiates warmth, vivacity, joy and is impossible not to like. i wanted to BE her { not in the creepy SWF way }. she had a childhood i could only dream of–uma’s parents were missionaries { which, in and of itself, i’m not envious of. i had a hard enough time with my own father who had ALMOST become an ordained minister. } which meant she grew up in far-away exotic countries, was well-traveled, and truly “worldly”. she was, and still is gorgeous- in part because of those qualities she naturally radiates- but also because she doesn’t try to be gorgeous. part of my collegiate envy was professional–i was a theatre major, and was certain at the time, that acting was what i was going to pursue. uma was not a theatre major, but was involved with theatre, and we regularly would get called back for the same roles….and they would go to uma. it was heart-breaking– particularly *because* of the fact that she did not want to professionally pursue acting, and i did. how was i supposed to gain experience, and hone my skills and get better if i was never given the opportunity? and uma was? sigh…fast-forward to the present day and reconnecting. she is still gorgeous and radiates this odd inner joy/peace/vivacity/beauty that i’m both drawn to and am envious of. she lives abroad…which i am envious of. not only that it’s not HERE, but that’s she has lived in so many places that i want to visit & experience for myself. and cannot { at least now } afford to. she has 2 beautiful children, and while i am not envious of the having kids { i really don’t think i ever want any }, i am envious of the capability to afford children. the more i find myself filling with envy over other people’s lives, i realize because it HURTS SO BAD that my life is lacking those things.

i’m not really sure where i am going with all of this. it is so difficult to make heads or tails of it all.