blossom and bloom

bloom

A lot has been floating through my mind lately.  From seizures to medical procedures to just…a lot of weird stuff, it’s been a rough past year – but I’ve learned so much about myself already.  That I’m capable of becoming what I want, that I can chase and catch up to my dreams, and that putting positivity out in the universe means it will come back around to you.

My therapist said he can tell I’m so much more confident than I used to be.  I’m finally getting used to my body and loving that despite all my medical flaws, but I’m finally here.  Years of dysphoria from ballet have lessened, and I have a very healthy attitude of “This is me and I’m not apologizing for it anymore.”

The last 4-5 months have been a roller coaster.  Someone I never expected to come along did despite my strong desire to stay single/not even get into the dating scene.  Ever since, I’ve been on a roller coaster that seems like it never ends with him.  I’m about to rent a house, and getting utilities established in my name is a daunting task.  I’ve been through so much back-and-forth this week that I’m exhausted.  I need a nap daily.  But what gets me through is that the house is one I’ll be proud of, one I’m ready to come home to and to be happy, to be relaxed.  I’ll even have a craft room.

Speaking of crafts, I’m starting up my home crafting business again soon.  For a while back in 2009-2010, I created and sold crocheted goods at Kami-con (back then, held in Tuscaloosa).  I undercharged by a lot, according to the calculator websites I’ve been using, but it was a good learning experience.  When the festival up in Steele, AL – Cukorakko – starts, we’re hoping to rent out a booth or table to sell stuff.  Anything to help with rent and still being able to live life.  I love handcrafted goods.  Everything is unique, and everything has a piece of the maker’s heart in it.  (That’s why it’s so easy to want to keep things…)  I’m also getting back into painting.

So many times I’ve thought, “am I ready for this?” And the answer is: of course.  I’m 27.  I am grateful for my mother letting me stay in our house as long as I needed, but it’s time.  To walk into the living (ha) room and see the spot where my father died and his mother before him is painful.  In the back of my mind, I can never separate that from the way the room is now.  His final expression still haunts me.

He would be thrilled for me, for my future.  When I think about how he would have thought about my life path, I feel nothing but warmth.  His high school graduation card to me read something to the effect of, “keep being just the way you are and you’ll be able to accomplish anything in life.”

I’m not perfect by any means, but I have drive.  I have ambition and a tender heart and a pretty good sense of humor (unless I’m in a bad mood).

Every day I’m working on blooming from within.  I can only see myself blossoming more from here.  With every test life throws my way, I learn something new about myself.  And there’s nowhere to go but up.

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the universe unfolding as it should

(Both. Both is good. But this is essential. You only get one life with yourself.)

Lemme be real: I’m probably gonna blog the same stuff a lot and that’s because I’m honestly too lazy to go back and check. Y’know, this ain’t an essay.

Good memories. I just wanna say that I’m glad the parts of the brain responsible for memory and smell are close together. The other day I needed something I thought might be in my dad’s top toolbox so I opened it, and out came rushing how he used to smell — sawdust, traces of old varnish…that sort of thing, being a patternmaker/woodworker. It was comforting, like he was there again after 9 years, just somewhere in the house. It made him feel tangible again.

Career (in)adequacy. I make a difference, sure, but I always feel like I could be doing more. There’s nothing more I love about my job than seeing genuine smiles on people’s faces when they leave satisfied, and I need to hang onto that when I’m stressed at work. 

We had a patron, a guy just a few years younger, ask me for help on his job application one day because the wording was really weird in one section of questions. I tried to help him reason it out, but felt bad because I had no idea either. About a week later he returned with a huge smile on his face, and told me he got the job. That was one of the moments that made me remember part of why I’m a librarian.

One thing I’ve learned over the last few weeks is how much I need to put myself into more training, to really throw myself on the librarian track instead of being so passive. I signed up for an online seminar available through work and am going to seek out some of those certificates you can receive online for learning different coding skills, etc. Anything to get myself serious about being the best version of me at work too.

Personal life. I’d quote The Big Lebowski and say “new shit has come to light,” but this isn’t new, it’s just been thrown into stark (yo who else can’t wait for GoT?) lighting lately. The way I communicate with people I care about can use a lot of work but as I said, this isn’t new. I just need to finally get my shit together about it. Keeping it real is fine, but a cooler head would be nice. A more diplomatic way of expressing things has been my goal. I’m strong and have inner patience I know I just have to tap into, and I try to give myself time before I answer something I might get volatile about real fast now.

Keeping my mental illnesses in check has been the ongoing struggle it’s been especially since I was 10. I’ve been making baby steps though, ever since Friday. So far, things have been okay. Learning how to adult is a frakkin’ rollercoaster.

Everyday, I try to tell myself: 

Whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should.

And…

I will change the things I cannot accept.

everywhere life is full of heroism

everywhere life is full of heroism

This will absolutely be a long, winding blog because I haven’t made enough time to get my thoughts together more, and also because it’s 2am and work in the A.M. is a thing unfortunately… 

But I have been through Some Things in 2016 that I needed to put down for later blogs.

This year has been very mentally challenging (and physically – stitches in my tongue! Story for another time, worth it). I’ve been on meds after meds as they adjust everything, but I’ve had close calls with my own mental darkness.

And I haven’t wanted to admit or even acknowledge this for a long time to anyone but my mom and therapist, but it’s time to continue the conversation when it’s finally being even somewhat discussed.

There were so many times this year when the only thing keeping me from attempting suicide was the thought, “but I’m worth too much money in tattoos.” Ridiculous, right? But it worked almost every time. What kind of weird mental illness response…?!

I know I’m worth more than ink. “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here.” (Max Ehrman)

It’s been a year of great things, too. I’m working every day on building up my self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve learned lessons about not being so reactive, to chill as best as I can, and don’t stress about things that might happen or that have in the past. 

“Do not stress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” (Ehrman) This is most especially what I need to work on. Insecurity is getting a punch anytime I feel the slightest inkling.

Be the best you that you can be – that’s what I’m striving for. As a friend quoted to me from Oprah, “When you know better, you do better.”

The only thing I ask in companionship, whether platonic or not, is to be patient with me while I work through this and I will do the same with you for any of your changes.

I’m starting off 2017 early. Who needs an arbitrary revolution around the sun to start a new year anyway?

speak of the devil

Jumping off my post before last, back to epilepsy!

December 8, I was working on one of my two papers due for the end of the semester.  I was stressed, worried about graduation the coming Saturday the 12th, and about the paper.  I had a paper due the next day as well — both of which were to be 15-20 pages — so as you can imagine my mental state wasn’t the best.

Around 10:30pm I had a seizure.  Of course, I didn’t know anything until I woke up to my mom telling me I’d had one, and making sure I was okay.  Again, we searched for my glasses and once they turned up and I rested for a few minutes, I resumed my paper, determined to finish by the midnight deadline.

I finished it just before midnight (but at what cost?), and god only knows how it ended.  I only made it to 14? maybe? pages, and I haven’t read it since.  I emailed my professor the following day and explained why the ending might suck.  She commented that it did end a little “unceremoniously” but not in a bad way — I still ended up with an A in the class, so it must not have been too terrible.  At least the first twelve pages of the paper made sense.

You’d think that’s it, but…

Later that night, around 2, I had another seizure.  I was still awake at that time, which was surprising given the postictal state is usually one of heavy sleep.  I woke up breathing extremely hard and practically on my stomach, and I remember mumbling to Mom (who had come in again) that I was tired of being woken up to hear I had a seizure.

She decided to take me to the emergency room after the second one (because it was previously unheard of for me to have more than one in one day), and everything checked out fine.  I got a CT scan, got prescribed some klonopin, and went home to rest.

By the time graduation came around Saturday, I had two dark-purple black eyes and a scratch on my cheek.  I think patrons at work thought I’d been abused.  Thank god for Ben Nye concealer, as I was able to hide that mess for graduation.  When I walked across the stage I practically danced.  After a harrowing week of feeling like crap, my mind in another world and not allowed to rest up after that first seizure, I still graduated.

Whenever I think about how I’m not sure I’d survive something, or I think I can’t do it, I just remember that I walked for graduation and finished two papers the week I had two seizures in a row.  I can do anything.

 

learning to love myself

I know I’ve got more to write on my epilepsy, but I wanted to take a break from that.  It’s already exhausting to live with; even after years, you think I’d be able to handle it.

Anyway.  I wanted to talk about body image, and my journey with learning to love myself and love my body.  Because it has been a grueling journey with so many lessons along the way, and I want to document it somewhere.

I don’t remember when it started.  Probably as with most young people, I assume pre-puberty or puberty is when I started noticing my body.  As it changed, so did my self-esteem.  Where I once gave no real thought to how I looked other than insecurities about my glasses (had ’em since I was 7), I couldn’t stop noticing myself.

Ballet was somewhat of a nightmare after that moment that I started paying attention.  I compared myself to the other girls — ridiculous, given they were all the typical ballerina body standard and I was still more muscular and stronger than they were — and this process went on until I quit when I was 14.

Even then, my body was all I could think about.  I felt like I would never become as thin as I wanted, and my body dysmorphic disorder controlled my life.  Even when my then-boyfriend told me I was beautiful, I never believed it.  I felt like I didn’t deserve compliments, and that I would never be happy with myself.

After college, I gained a lot of weight.  I got comments on it, and even after I lost all the weight again thanks to my thyroid issues, I still have trouble with the comment “you look so good now!”  I don’t like the way it implies that I didn’t look good before, because now I know that’s bullshit.

It took me 25 years to love my thighs.  I don’t know what caused it (much like I don’t remember when my body dysphoria began) but I remember thinking “why the hell am I so worried?”  Body standards are ridiculous anyway, and I felt myself and my worldview change when I realized I am worth loving and that nobody who matters is gonna give any damn about my thigh size.

It took me 26 years to love myself.  I still have trouble, of course, but for the most part I’ve given myself due credit.  I think, think, my good characteristics outweigh the bad, and even if they don’t, life is about learning every day.

That’s a thought that’s helped me too.  You aren’t who you were even ten minutes ago, much less a week or years ago.  Everyday is an opportunity for change, for understanding yourself and how you can better the decisions you make or the way in which you live your life.

It’s certainly a process, but I’m on the right track.

accepting a disorder (1/?)

(This got really long somehow.  Blame it on being in the mindset of writing final papers.)

I was thirteen when I had my first seizure, then none again until 2008.  Now it’s up to eight total in my lifetime, from the years 2008-2015.  (Two in 2008, one in 2014, and five in 2015).

Needless to say, this year has been the roughest year of them all in terms of my epilepsy.  But one thing is for sure: I’ve learned a lot about my own disorder and the way it affects me specifically.

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feels good to be here.

December 12 at 9am.

Here I am, age 26, almost to the end of the grad school journey.  I’d like to say it’s been a long and arduous journey but honestly, it’s been a blur.  Yeah, I’ve done lots of paper-writing and presenting and all that, but with working at the same time it’s been hard to cement it all into my memory.

But that doesn’t change the fact that come December 12 at 9am, I will have my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science or Studies or whatever the trend is now.

Four and a half years ago, I became a first-generation college graduate.  December 12 at 9am, I will become a first-generation grad school graduate.  To say it feels surreal is putting it lightly.

When I was in college and my dad died, I was fortunate enough for the situation not to derail my education.  I took a week off, then went back to school — to my studies, to living on-campus, to “typical” college life.  It helped me find something I could channel my emotions into, though in some ways it stunted my grieving process.

(But is that ever over??)

When I first began my college journey, I felt I had to do well “to make Dad proud.”  But somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking about it in that way.  I didn’t even consider him in the same thought process as my good grades and good schoolwork.

Slowly, I realized I was becoming proud of myself.

Like RuPaul said in the third season of Drag Race, “it would be great for your father to be proud of you, but the truth it’s about you being proud of yourself.”  In the swirl of early- to now mid-twenties, I’ve come away with that lesson’s impact the most of all.

Do I appreciate the sentiment of others being proud of me?  Sure, I do.  It means so much to have the support I have over the years.  I’ve gotten lucky that my family has been behind me 100% of the way and has helped us countless times.

I appreciate it, but at the end of the day, it’s about you being proud of yourself.

And I am so, so proud of myself.