Emotional Over Fictional Characters

I just saw The Fault In Our Stars. Of course it was amazing. I liked the book better in most respects, mainly because in the book I identified most with Hazel’s parents (not sure when I turned into a grown up, but that cemented it) but in the film her parents weren’t well developed as characters. That’s all I’m giving you for a review. People far more qualified than I can say more things more eloquently than I can. What I am going to do it talk about how the movie made me feel.

Well, had to break for a minute to have an uncomfortable conversation and I’m super not okay right now. So I’m going to make this really short.

I was sick often as a kid. Sick in the hospitals/endless tests/scary as fuck way. I don’t talk about it. I’m not going to talk about it. Not now, not here, not to anyone. What I will say is that John Green got a lot of things right. I was never terminally ill, but I thought I was. When no one tells you anything you suspect the worst. And no one told me anything for a very long time.

Fuck, I’m sitting outside in my dad’s back yard staring at the tree that I climbed up in to read Hamlet when I was 11 or 12. The tree has been cut in a way that there are no more low branches and I’m not even sure where I used to sit.

I hate my living situation right now. I hate it and there’s nothing I can do but wait it out and hope that I’m not making a huge mistake. If I’m not around here much it’s because I’m just trying to cope with real life.

I’m trying to be positive, to choose to be happy. Some days that goes better than others.

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Movie Recommendation

I just watched The Deep Blue Sea directed by Terence Davies and starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston, based on the play by Terence Rattigan. I haven’t seen the play version, but the movie was incredible. It was as if they took my brain and put it on film. I really want to write something eloquent but I’m just stunned. It wasn’t even that I identified with one particular character, although Hester hit rather close to home. It was more that I related to the entire film as a whole. Watch it if you want to see a moving depiction of depression and failed relationships.

Whew.

Seriously, watch it. Unless you hate violin music, as apparently everyone who leaves Amazon reviews does. There’s a lot of violin music.

And we all know how I feel about Tom Hiddleston.

It’s a story about a woman who feels suicidal, told in a series of flashbacks, set in the 1950’s. I cannot get over how accurately they portrayed her mental state, and how little understanding there was in that time for mental health issues. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

“‘Tragedy’ is too big a word. ‘Sad’ perhaps, but it’s not Sopocles.”

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I’m Back, So Let’s Do the Darkest Post Yet

I have internet again! Yay! I’ve missed you all and I realized I keep promising a post about suicide, but then never writing it. Because I don’t want to. I really don’t want to. However, as with most of these, I feel it’s something that needs to be said. I’m mentally ill. I’ve grappled with suicide. If you have too, maybe you’ll find something here you relate to and you can know that you’re not alone. If you haven’t dealt with suicidal thoughts personally, maybe you know someone who has. Let me give you a small insight into those thoughts.

Fair warning, this is going to get dark.

I don’t remember how old I was when I started self-harming. I remember that my favorite methods at first were picking at my skin with a safety pin until it bled and lighting matches and putting them out on my skin. I cut a few times with a knife, but I had this weird phobia about wrists, and the pain was too sharp. I wanted something that started slow and grew in intensity. I used to cut off my air flow with my hands until I lost enough consciousness for my hands to drop limp. Once I started smoking (at 14, I think?), I put cigarettes out on my arms and legs. I used to slap myself in the face often (multiple times a day) and I would often punch my face or my legs. I would be so stressed that I would scratch my face bloody while I slept. Self-harm was a stress release.

The first time I thought about suicide seriously was some time in 6th grade. I was severely bullied and I felt completely alone. I have always been a goofy, chipper person, but that is a defense mechanism. I have always felt apart from those around me- still do, in fact. In 6th grade, though, it was unbearable. Then I met the girl who would be my best friend throughout middle school and most of high school. She saved me in so many ways.

Sometime between age 14 and 15, things got bad at home. To be honest, I don’t really remember much. I stopped keeping a journal for almost 2 years. When I try to remember what was so bad, I start to feel panicky. I think it was mostly just that my mom and I stopped getting along. My brother had moved out and my step-dad and I didn’t like each other. I had no allies at home or at school, except for this one friend. She was in a similar situation at school, and her home life wasn’t great. We were inseparable. Our obsession with Thelma and Loise probably tells you everything you need to know about our relationship.

I made a couple half-hearted suicide attempts at that time. Nothing serious, nothing anyone ever noticed. They almost felt like practice runs. I was making a plan.

Now, I’m quite sure there are plenty of people in the world (my mother included) who would/will say I’m being melodramatic in calling what happened next a suicide attempt. True, there’s no physical evidence, no lingering physical scars, no one ever found out about it (except I think I told my best friend). That being said, the plan was made, the note was written, and it was very real in my head.

I was spending the night at my friend’s house. We spent very few nights apart. On this particular night, we were downstairs in her brother’s “bedroom.” It was really just a space that had once been framed to be a room, but abandoned mid project. But it had a TV, a VCR, and 2 mattress stacked so we could slide them apart and have 2 beds. We used to do these horror movie marathons as often as we could. We’d rent a bunch of horror movies, R-rated if we were at her house, PG-13 if we were at mine. We’d watched a bunch and she fell asleep. I got up, got dressed, placed the note on my mattress, and started walking upstairs.

A few weeks before, I played a really cruel trick on her (that I maintain was funny, but way too mean). The basement steps were the sort of slatted steps where there’s no back to them. I hid underneath and grabbed her ankle as she walked down the stairs. It scared the shit out of her and we’re both lucky she didn’t fall and break her neck. She hadn’t paid me back for that yet and I was afraid of what might be coming.

Anyway, so I started walking up those stairs and I stopped at the stair where I’d grabbed her ankle. I looked back at her sleeping, mouth open, one arm hanging onto my mattress. It hit me that this was so much worse than grabbing her ankle. I’d be leaving her alone and I knew with absolute certainty that she couldn’t live through that. I didn’t want her to die but I didn’t want to live. I stood on that step for at least a half hour. I hated things at home. I hated that my feelings weren’t taken seriously. I had PTSD but didn’t know it. I was depressed and scared. All I wanted was for the pain to end. I had such debilitating stomach aches (PTSD), panic attacks that I didn’t know were panic attacks (PTSD), and the feeling that everyone who was supposed to love me and take care of me either abandoned me or considered me a burden. I didn’t see a future where any of that would change.

But I loved my best friend and I couldn’t bear the thought of her waking up to that note.

So I crept back down the stairs, tucked the note away, crawled into bed, held her hand, and wept silently. Shortly after, she went to one of our teachers and got me help.

Then, less than a year later, my dad killed himself. Now, once again, there are people who would/will argue that my dad did not commit suicide. Alcoholism is a disease, etc. It is a disease, but he let the disease win. In my mind, that is suicide.

A couple weeks ago I was as close to hurting myself as I was that night at my friend’s house. The difference now is that I have so many wonderful friends. I told everyone near me that I was worried about my safety. They got me through.

I’m not better. I’ll never be better. Sometimes I’ll idly think about ways to kill myself without realizing that I’m doing it. When I catch myself, I’ll text a friend and make myself do something positive. I don’t want to die. I really don’t. Not now. Not with so much ahead of me. But sometimes life feels like too much and I don’t want to live it anymore.

If you relate to this, please, please seek help. Hopeline is a good resource, and they even have an online chat if you’re like me and don’t want to pick up the phone.

Nothing in my life is where I want it to be right now, but I know that suicide is not the answer. Something changed in my that night on the stairs. I never hurt myself again. I couldn’t and I can’t. But the thoughts can be just as damaging. It’s hard to see a way out or a reason to keep going. I try to give myself little reasons, like, I still have ice cream in the freezer, I want to know how this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race ends, I want to finish reading my book, etc. I’ve found that if I can just get through one day at a time, things eventually look a whole lot better.

Please know that you are important and you are needed. Whether we’ve met or not, I love you and I want you to stick around. We can get through this together.

<3

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I Haven’t Abandoned You, I Promise!

I’m so sorry, you guys! I had to leave my apartment rather suddenly and I’m staying with my dad. He apparently is unaware that it’s 2014 because he doesn’t have internet. I’m going crazy. These past couple weeks have been some of the worst of my life. (Not because of the internet thing. I’m not quite that shallow. Although it has been extremely difficult for me to get through the day without it. Sure, I could go to a coffee shop, but he doesn’t live near a coffee shop and this blog is a little too personal to write in public.)

Anyway, please don’t think I’m gone. I’m still here. And I have some things to say about abandonment and depression and suicide . . . I just don’t have the time to say them right now.

If you’re of the praying variety, I’d appreciate any prayers in my direction. If not, any good thoughts/vibes/anything that you can send my way would be awesome. I’m really struggling right now. I really need to talk about it. But I just can’t right now.

I love you guys. You’re a huge support for me when things are rough, and I hope I provide some support for you. I’ll be back as soon as I can. I miss you more than I can say. I can live without Facebook and Buzzfeed, but it’s harder to live without you.

<3

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An Old Poem

I apologize for not having posted for awhile. I’ve been busy. I’m essentially fleeing my apartment, crashing with my dad for a few months (hopefully) before moving out of state to live with my sister and her family and go to college. So I’ve been frantically packing and trying to get things in order. Moving is expensive. Moving twice in 5 months is really expensive, especially since I hadn’t planned on it and have almost nothing saved.

Anyway, I’m packing and getting rid of anything that I don’t want to pay to store then move out of state. In going through boxes, I found a poem I wrote for a friend of mine when I was a senior in high school. My friend, who was not a close friend but someone I partied with, died suddenly. She was 20 years old and she fell down an elevator shaft late one night. She’d been drinking and trying to light the way with her cell phone. While I had lost my dad at 15, this was the first time I’d lost someone my own age.

This poem doesn’t have a title, but it was folded up with this handwritten on the outside: Germaine, RIP at 20 years old. Thanks for the smiles and the hugs. Thanks for making me feel like I BELONGED. Thanks for making Eric happy. The world is less without your smile. Falling from the sky shouldn’t hurt.

Here’s the poem (in its unedited, over-dramatic, teenage angst glory):

Let’s go around the loop.
I’m not fit for this world.
I’m scared of the silence at night
when I hear trucks outside my window.
I’m scared to think of real things.
What if I cry?
I’d never stop.
Just yesterday
driving home
thinking of her
and
what if I’d said yes to a cigarette?
I wanted to.
Now she’s gone and she’ll never bum me one.
She’ll never smoke
She’ll never drink
She’ll never hug
She’ll never look so damn cute that people want to hate her
but can’t
because she’s too sweet.
It’s icy outside
and I’m sliding around
and I’m scared I’m going to hit a tree.
I’m just not fit for this world.
Why can’t I cry?
Why am I crying?
Inside
not out.
I’m scared of the cold.
It’s cold with no arm around me
and I’m scared to be alone.
Let’s go around the loop again.
Spray paint on a bridge saying
“RIGHT NOW”
What if right now doesn’t work for me?
Tell the gods I’m listening
I’m just busy right now.
My own pathetic life
wrapped in my own pathetic dreams.
There’s no reason to write
when no one can read.
No one can comprehend.
I’m too young to be here.
I’m too young to do this.
Where was my childhood?
Playing “Luke Landwalker” loses its innocence
when I’m too scared to go outside.
I shouldn’t know the meaning of rape.
I shouldn’t know the meaning of death.
I shouldn’t know the shake of fear
or the taste of tears.
Let’s go around the loop again.
Trying to clear my head.
What’s she going to do?
Is he okay?
What were her last thoughts
before she hit the ground?
Why do I feel guilty?
Other kids worry about college.
I worry about what’s growing in my friend’s stomach.
I worry about a boy I don’t even know
getting charged for tresspassing
after watching a girl die.
I worry about my health.
I don’t want to be here
but I’m not ready to leave quite yet.
How many coats of paint can you put on a wall
before it falls from the weight of it all?
One more loop.
Light a cigarette while there’s still time.
We all die anyway so what’s the difference?
Is it harder to lose a dad at 15
than a daughter who’s 20?
Will asking the question change the answer?
What do you do
when you don’t know what to do?
Death is a natural part of life
but I don’t appreciate that logic.
Logic is for people who have no souls.
Paint a picture, goddammit!
Pain is not beauty
it just is what it is.
A broken heart is an understatement.
You can cry until your pillow’s soaked
but it won’t bring them back.
Will driving backwards reverse time?
Let’s go around again.
Fuck the assholes
who joke about death.
Too often I’ve been one of them.
I dwell, I know
but if I thought I could help it
I’d try.
A girl is gone
but time goes on.
Let’s go around the loop again.

 

“The Loop,” for anyone wondering, is a path that all the kids drove around art school to smoke. The day of Germaine’s funeral, I spent half of the school day driving around The Loop over and over again, crying and chain-smoking. It’s been 8 years and I barely remember. But this poem brought a lot of it back. I thought it was worth sharing.

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I Like You Better When _______

I had a review at work the other day that was not exactly the best review I’ve ever gotten. But there was one part of it that actually hurt my feelings. As always, I was told that I am too chatty. I have gotten the same criticism on every review since kindergarten. Yep, I’m chatty. It doesn’t interfere with my work and it rarely interferes with others’, so I don’t really take it personally. Except this time my boss said that I seem to be chattier when I’m happy, and we really need to go back to where I was 6 months ago. I wanted to ask, “When I was going through my soul-crushing divorce?”

My ex husband used to say he liked me better when I was depressed. That I’m annoying when I’m happy. My mom has said the same thing.

It’s awfully frustrating to know that you are liked better when you’re depressed. I work so hard to be happy, but to what end? I’m not trying to be annoying. I’m genuine in everything I do, both depressed and happy.

I just finished reading I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell. The writing was a little more pretentious than I usually prefer and it didn’t really have an ending, but I’m glad I read it. He has some great stories and he talked about addiction in a very matter-of-fact way. It’s just something some people go through and it doesn’t make anyone a better or worse person. (To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with pretentious writing; it’s just not my thing. It’s the same reason I don’t enjoy most poetry or classic literature.) He also talked a lot about his song “Blank Generation” and his album cover that has a picture of him with the words, “You make me _____” written across his chest.

I feel like my entire life has consisted of me telling me that they like me better when _____. “I like you better when you’re sad.” “I like you better when you’re drunk.” “I like you better when you’re not following your dreams.”

I like me better when I’m happy. I like me just the way I am.

I saw a thing on Tumblr today that I seriously want on a t-shirt. It had 4 phrases that I am going to start chanting in front of the mirror.

“I will not hide my mental illness for your comfort. My existence doesn’t require you’re approval.”

“Just because my mental illness is easier some days than others doesn’t mean it isn’t real and serious.”

“My mental illness doesn’t make me strong or interesting. I do.”

“Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you have to behave a certain way. All mentally ill people are different, just like all people are different.”

It’s been a rough couple of weeks but my sister and her family are on their way to see me right now. I have a few things I need to get done before they get here. I haven’t had much ambition, but at least I know that they will still love me, even if I still have some dirty dishes in my sink. They don’t like me better when anything. They just like me.

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Small Acts of Kindness

I’ve had a tough week. It’s nothing I particularly want to talk about because I’ve been talking about it all week. My friends are supportive and have listened nicely, but they don’t seem to understand the fundamental problem. I know there are solutions to the issues I’m facing, but I am mentally and emotionally incapable of carrying out those solutions. This week, for the first time in my life, I feel mentally ill. The trauma that caused my PTSD occurred when I was 6. I was diagnosed with clinical depression sometime when I was in middle school. I was diagnosed with PTSD a few years ago. But I have never felt mentally ill. I have always felt like a bit of a weirdo, but a fairly normal person who has bouts of mental instability. This week, though, I have no doubt whatsoever that I am indeed mentally ill. I have spent the entire week paralyzed with anxiety, unable to sleep or take proper care of myself. My apartment is a wreck, I’m constantly crying, and my shoulders are so tense that I can’t lift my arms over my head without severe pain.

The external causes for this are minor. My landlords are doing some repairs in my apartment and they are poor communicators and I had a very uncomfortable conversation with my brother. That’s it. But my brain is so broken that I have not reacted well to having my home disrupted. My home is my safe place. Without my safe place, I’m reduced to a cowering pile of useless terror, apparently. I’m faking normalcy well enough, I think, but it’s wearing.

I was thinking a lot yesterday about random acts of kindness that have made my life better. It calmed me down somewhat and I actually got a decent night’s sleep. Then today I had a fairly good day, and another small act of kindness by a stranger once again made my day. I’m a big proponent of these little acts, as they go a long way toward improving someone’s day.

I’d like to share some that have stuck with me, starting with today and going back to when I was a little kid.

Today I decided to go see the Veronica Mars movie. I needed some alone time and I’d been really looking forward to it. It was good, and if you’re a Veronica Mars fan you will love it. It felt like an old friend coming home. But that’s beside the point. I tried to take a shower before I left, but the hot water wasn’t working, so I just threw on some old jeans, a Star Wars shirt, and a hat to hide my gross hair, and left. I got to the theatre and actually found a good parking spot, which never happens in that mall, so I was already feeling a little better. I bought my ticket and headed in. The ticket taker was a young, mentally challenged man. He tore my ticket and told me that he really liked my outfit, especially my shoes. I thanked him and he told me I looked amazing. I thanked him profusely and told him to have a good day. We waved at each other when I left.

A couple years ago I was meeting my ex-husband and a couple of his friends at a restaurant. (I have probably shared this story before, but it’s worth sharing again.) My marriage was crumbling and we all knew it, although no one talked about it. I’d had a long day at work and desperately did not want to go out to dinner. Traffic was bad and I was running late. I was stressed and miserable. I pulled into the parking ramp and paid the $5 to park. The parking attendant said, “I hope you’re meeting someone special because you look wonderful. You have the most beautiful smile.” I thanked him, parked, went inside, and had an uncomfortable dinner. The thing is, I didn’t mind the uncomfortable dinner because that man made me feel so good. On the way out I told him that he had completely turned my night around and I really appreciated it. He thanked me for smiling and talking to him. He said most people don’t acknowledge him as a person.

I was in the hospital when I was in 2nd grade. I had to undergo all sorts of invasive tests to determine the cause of my gastrointestinal distress. It was scary and unpleasant. For one test I had to drink a whole bunch of barium sulfate. I was trying so hard, but eating or drinking anything made me sick and this stuff was disgusting. I was in tears and my mom was at the end of her rope. A nurse stopped by and saw me struggling. She took me by the hand and led me down the hall to a little kitchen. She pulled some chocolate syrup out of the fridge and squirted a whole bunch into my glass. It still didn’t taste good, but it tasted good enough to finish the glass.

Around the same time, some friends and I were meeting at a park to play. We stopped at Dairy Queen and used pocketfuls of change to buy a couple slushies to share between the three of us. I whined about wanting my own and picking my own flavor, then I dropped it and spilled it everywhere when we got to the park. My friend could’ve easily said, “tough luck.” I wouldn’t have blamed her. Even at the time, I knew I’d been a brat but I wasn’t yet mature enough to apologize. Instead of acting like any other kid that age, she handed hers over to me and we shared.

None of these people probably remember any of this. Likewise, I try to be a good person and I’m fairly certain that I’ve made someone’s day at least once, but I don’t know for sure. These little acts can be the difference between life isn’t worth living and maybe things will be okay. I am mentally ill. I know I am. I know because I’ve spent all week scared of my landlord for no good reason. However, these little acts are what keep me from giving up.

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Hero Worship

I called my brother three times over the course of three days before he finally called me back. When he did, our conversation didn’t go as I had hoped. I wanted to tell him that I got into school. Starting in the fall, I will finally be a college student. It’s happening eight years later than I wanted, but it’s finally happening. My brother has always been the biggest supporter of me going back to school. Yet, he wasn’t thrilled. Instead, he spent nearly a half hour trying to convince me to call my mother, forgive her, and reconnect. I don’t want to call my mother and there is no possible way I can forgive her without at least getting an apology from her. I made it clear that she needs to apologize if she wants to reconnect and she has not done so. I made it clear to my brother that this was not an option.

However, when I got off the phone, I wanted to email my mom (I don’t actually have her phone number) because I desperately want to please my brother.

I went online and appealed to a mental health support group that I am a part of. They were immediately supportive right away and reminded me of all the reasons why I should not contact my mother. Then I texted some friends. Then I finished off a bottle of wine, watched Game of Thrones, and went to bed early.

My misery in this whole situation is that I love my brother above all else and I desperately want to please him, but we don’t really know each  other anymore. He is the only person in my life who is biologically related to me and has known me my whole life. He is and has always been my hero. I love him and adore him. He’s my big brother.

The problem with memory, especially memory viewed through a PTSD lens, especially memory of a trauma when viewed through a PTSD lens, is that it tends to be inaccurate. When I remember that night where my father threatened to kill me and pushed me down the stairs, I remember that my brother saved my life. In my mind, he is back-lit in golden light, like when Stacker Pentecost steps out of his Jaeger to save young Mako Mori in Pacific Rim. My brother has become this near-mythological figure. In reality, he did what any 12-year-old would do: he got his 6-year-old little sister to safety and called our mom.

My brother was the person I called when things got bad with my mom. He would come pick me up and he would calm me down. He’s the person I went to when I was a teenager trying to make it on my own with barely any money. He taught me how to drive. He took me to see Les Miserables when any other self-respecting teenager would’ve taken a girlfriend. He introduced me to so many nerdy things that I still love and obsess over today. He has always been my idol.

When he joined the military, I was devastated. I didn’t know how I’d deal with him being so far away and I couldn’t handle the thought of something happening to him. I didn’t cope well. He came home briefly when our father was in the hospital, but didn’t stick around long enough for the funeral. We’ve never talked about it. I told myself that he couldn’t stay because he was in the military. Maybe that was true. I don’t want to know if it wasn’t. Every time he was in the Middle East, I resolutely did not think about it. I was so opposed to the war and the thought of my brother being a part of it was more than I could deal with. The thought that he might die was something I could not think about. He did several tours, and we communicated less each time.

When he came home, he stayed out of state.

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Solid Life Advice

When I was in high school I had a drama teacher who was wonderful to me. She encouraged my dreams and nurtured my talent, ultimately helping me get into art school. We still keep in touch, 9 years later. I worry that I am a disappointment to her. After all, she’s a published author and playwright. She has two beautiful children and is still involved in the acting world. She was one of the very few adults in my life who supported me, and I let her down many times over.

She gave me the best advice- both for acting and for life- that I’ve ever received. I was doing a play directed by her in which I played a character that was upset. I don’t remember which play it was, as I did several with her and I always played upset characters. You see, I can cry on command, and that makes me valuable for a very specific role. Especially in high school. Anyway, so I was playing a character that was upset, but there was a problem: I couldn’t stop laughing at one particular line. I tried, but it was no use. The line was funny and I couldn’t say it without laughing aloud.

I went to my teacher after rehearsal. I was so frustrated and I needed her advice. I take acting seriously, and I took it seriously then. I probably took it more seriously in high school when I believed that I was going to be an Actor and everything I did mattered. I explained my situation: my character was supposed to cry three lines later, but I couldn’t help but laugh. How do I make myself not laugh at something that is funny? It’s so much worse when you know you’re not supposed to laugh. Then what was once mildly amusing becomes hilarious.

She told me, “Whatever you’re feeling is the correct thing to feel.” That changed my life.

With acting it gave me freedom I’d never had before. With this specific situation, it meant that just because my character laughed, it didn’t mean she was happy. I could turn that laughter into tears more easily than if I were to try and not laugh and then try to cry. With every subsequent character, it allowed me to give them more humanity. When I played a little girl dying of cancer who so desperately wanted to be an astronaut, it let me use the fear I felt for my own bleak future. When I played a frazzled receptionist, I was able to take the stress of my life and bring it out in panicked typing and phone calls. It is the first thing I think of when I portray a character, and it was my first insight into method acting.

It gives me a certain freedom in life as well. I don’t know if any of you remember that really stupid Comedy Central movie from 2002, Porn ‘n’ Chicken, but there’s a philosophical line that goes, “If you want to eat a pizza, eat a pizza.” (Side note, stupidity aside, I love that movie.) It’s the same thing. Basically, it gives my emotions validation. If I’m happy, then it is correct to be happy, even if no one else around me is happy or if the person I’m with tells me that I’m “really annoying” when I’m happy. If I’m sad, I have every right to be sad. It doesn’t matter if other people think I should be over my dad’s death by now, or if other people view something as good news but I don’t. Whatever I’m feeling is the correct thing to feel.

Day before yesterday I got a letter from my college. It kind of hit me that I’m going to college next fall. I’m moving to a new state and I am going to college. My sister and her whole family jumped up and down and cheered. My coworker brought me flowers and chocolate. I have cried myself to sleep two nights in a row. I have cried in the car. I have cried in a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train, in a car, in a tree, in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse . . . you get the idea.

You see, when I was a teenager and all of my classmates were going off to college, I was jealous. I didn’t know how to go to school and all of the people in my life who should’ve been supportive were not. For 9 years I have struggled just to go to school. Now that I’m going to a shitty 2-year school with the hope of transferring, I am upset. Yes, I want to go to school. Yes, I want to move in with my sister. Yes, I want to be a teacher. Yes, all of this is good. But I am upset because it all should’ve happened a long time ago. I had big dreams and the brains and grades to match, but I was missing the biggest piece of the success puzzle: a support network. It’s not fucking fair and if I want to be upset about it, then I’ll be upset about it.

I have a solid support network now. They’re just not biologically related to me. I love them so much and I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am. But I wish the family I was born with had been the family I deserve.

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Happiness Makes You Cry

Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. It’s partly because I’ve been busy and it’s partly because I’ve been happy. I don’t feel as strong of an urge to post when I’m happy.

Let’s go over my last week or so.

A week and a half ago I took a friend of mine to go see a screening of Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston. It was beautiful. The cast was talented, the interpretation was interesting, and the costume designer is now my personal hero. Anyone who puts Mr. Hiddlesface in ultra-tight pants and then a nearly sheer gown becomes my favorite person in the world. After the show, my friend took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant. We ate and laughed, and then I drove her home. I’m in Minnesota, so it was a long, slow, slippery drive, but it was worth it.

Then I had a date with a very nice man. We went to see “Elephant’s Graveyard” at a local theatre. The play was beautiful.

Work has been good. I’ve applied to school and expect to start in the fall. I went on a few more dates with the same man, all fun. A friend asked me to collaborate on a graphic novel with her.

There have been a couple frustrating days. Last Saturday the lock on my apartment broke and I realized just how shitty my landlords are. I went 13 hours without a lock on my door. I was 5 and a half hours late to work. But my friends are kind and after work I went out to a show (a circus arts variety show) and things got better.

Happiness is hard for me to cope with. I don’t trust it. It never lasts and I can’t seem to manage to enjoy it while it’s here. Every time I have a particularly good night, I find myself wishing I could just end things so they would end on a positive note. It’s a fleeting feeling, but it’s still there.

I’m hoping to change that. School is a new adventure. I’m moving away from the city into a small town. I’m moving in with my sister and her family, trading a life of quiet solitude for a house filled with kids and pets. I’m going back to school after having been out for 9 years. New adventures. New experiences.

I read an article today about how creative people process things differently. It was interesting to read something that I could relate to so strongly that didn’t have to do with mental illness. It’s helpful to have reminders sometimes that my PTSD isn’t the only thing going on in my brain. Just as it is nice to remember that sometimes I have two weeks in a row where things are pretty good.

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