Friday, July 15, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
I did not blame her, my mom was lying on the uncomfortable emergency room gurney, with a thin gown that no matter how you tied it-it tended to open in the back welcoming drafts up and down her backside, with the fierce air conditioner blasting on her. Normally we love the air conditioning that combats the heat, but not that day, not when she was feeling crummy and out of it. I wasn't going to buzz the nurse for a blanket, I could see they were beyond busy. I just went to the cabinet, grabbed her another blankie and cuddled her in another one. It is hard to shut off that instinct to help when you know you can, that caretaker mode does not shut off, even when you are in a capable place dedicated to caring for people, that nagging feeling of wanting to help never leaves you.
She was not hurt, she was not in pain or discomfort, she was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Actually, she was recently discharged from the hospital three days prior for a serious infection and thought she was in the clear. However, after her fluid drain on Tuesday, her doctor called me stating she needed to go back into the hospital because her lab work was abnormal and she needed to be monitored and it had to be corrected.
So, in the emergency room we sat waiting for a room to clear in the critical care unit.
I, myself, had not realized how tired I was.
Normally, no one would ever notice when I was exhausted and at my breaking point. But that night, that night it was hard to hide. Although it is silly and nonsensical, I held on to never wanting to seem to others that I am in need of help or rest. Over the years of being a caretaker, I had mastered the masking of my personal needs and emotions, putting myself on the back burner...forgetting that even though the heat was steady and low that it would not exclude me from getting burned. That night, the heat had finally began to scorch my soul and I was left weary.
Over mom's soft snores, close to midnight amidst the bustling controlled chaos ensuing behind her the nurse peeked her head in the room and let me know that we would be moving mom to the critical care unit within the next hour hopefully. I nodded my head, honestly the only response I could give her.
She hesitated and in that brief moment I saw her make that decision.
That decision is the one where a health worker, caretaker, friend, family member, whoever, sees a person struggling and knows someone should acknowledge it. That decision, when it is clear that the craziness that is coming from all angles can wait for a moment. That decision, when they decide to reach out.
I sat in the dimness, head reclined against the wall, just waiting to be transferred to the floor. It took me a minute to realize that the nurse had entered the room. Immediately I sat up, apologizing for not noticing her sooner. She shushed me and sat down in the chair across from me. I was scared she was going to tell me that my mom's levels were dropping more or something upsetting, I would deal with it later though, I always did, so I braced myself for whatever she was going to say and was blown away.
"It looks like your mom has been pretty busy. She has been in and out of the hospital quite a bit lately. Are you her primary caretaker?"
"Yes", I said waiting.
"Do you work?", she inquired with a sweet look on her face.
"Full time", wondering if she was going to say mom needed round the clock care, wondering if she was going to tell me I was doing a bad job of taking care of her, wondering what she was getting at, wondering if I was failing and if she was the one who drew the short straw and was here to tell me.
"I need to ask you something, okay?"
"Okay," came out of my mouth since I was not sure what to say exactly, going over all of moms medications in my head, going over all her procedures, specialists, allergies, past appointments wondering if I had forgotten something, I braced myself for the blow I thought was coming.
"When was the last time you ate?", she looked me dead in the eyes with concern.
There was no way I could brace myself for that....because...well...what the hell? Why was she asking about my eating habits? Because I was obese? Because my mom was sleeping? Because she was nosey? Then I stopped for a moment and thought and realized...I did not know.
Quizzically, I just stared at her. I did not know, it was midnight and I was not sure the last time I ate.
"That's what I thought", she softly declared and got up and left the room.
Five minutes later she came in the room, with chips, 2 small sandwiches, and a Styrofoam cup of ice water. "I hope you like tuna salad and egg salad, it's all I can find", she said while pulling up the bedside tray and placing it front of me.
I was here for my mom and here was this nurse, pulling up the tray table to me, unwrapping the sandwiches, opening the chips and placing it in front of me and who then expectantly stared at me.
"Eat, woman", she said smiling.
And that is when I lost my shit.
I began sobbing, quietly, my chest hurting familiar with holding back emotions and knowing all too well my habit of refusing to acknowledge my need to feel and release my feelings. I sobbed because we were back in the damn hospital a week later. I sobbed because I was not Wonder Woman. I sobbed because I was upset. I sobbed because I felt alone. I sobbed because this nurse thought not only of her patient, but her patient's daughter and went the extra mile to make sure I was taken care of while I was in her sight. I sobbed because I had not allowed myself to for so long. I sobbed because I could. I sobbed because I needed it.
She did not say anything. She crossed the room and brought me a box of tissues and when I looked up she had tears in her eyes as well.
"It's okay to cry, you can't do it all", she murmured while gently rubbing my back.
I cleaned myself up and settled my soul a bit. Knowing I was okay, knowing I was going to be okay, knowing that I was going to have to take be a caretaker of myself more often.
"Thank you", I whispered.
"You're welcome", she said, her sweet smile saturating her words, "now do me a favor? Eat, woman".
So, I did.
That moment she decided to reach out, that moment she chose to invest, that moment she took to be kind and loving, meant more to me than anything else lately. That moment a stranger just did and made me suck it up and realize that I had to take care of myself was astounding.
That kindness thing? I promise you, on all that is holy in this world-first kisses, shooting stars, self-love, purposely mismatched socks, loud laughs and second chances-kindness matters.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Recently, I read a snippet of a book dedication that said, "To everyone who thinks I'm writing about you-I am". To me, that line resonated within these weary bones. Maybe it was meant in jest, maybe in love, maybe a wink or inside joke-or maybe...maybe it was the straight up truth. Maybe the author recognized that stranger's could connect and find themselves alive in well written words or maybe it was everyone the writer ever met. Maybe the author realized that every person they ever had an encounter with helped shape them, their being, their essence, their mood, and yes even their writing no matter how small an impact they had.
Currently,I am in between me's. I have one foot shackled to the comfortable, familiar, darkness while the other is toe-tapping in the uncertainty of blinding light. I'm struggling to stay the same and accept the fact that there is a phoenix begging to burst forth from my soul.
'I haven't been writing much lately', is how I would have loved to start today's blog but...that's a lie.
The truth is, I have been writing but most of it is utter rubbish or too 'dark' to share... so I keep it in draft form far away from that dreaded 'publish' button. I wish I could pinpoint why I have been so hesitant to share my struggles with depression and anxiety, but I can't. Or maybe I'm not ready. I don't know.
I do know other people are suffering. They are feeling alone. They mistakenly think they are some freak for shaking uncontrollably while they are anxious or cannot articulate thoughts or think straight, that they're beyond broken for trying to repair themselves with detrimental quick fixes or think they aren't worthy of help or not meant for a happier existence. Hell, not even happier...just tolerable.
But they're wrong.
There are people, like the author recognized, who can find themselves within words, sandwiched between sentences, paused in paragraphs and lost in the literal truth of translation.
So today, today these words are for you...and I hope you find yourself if you've been looking:
You, my dear, are not broken.
You are not lost.
You are not so fucked up that you cannot save yourself, even if that means you have to ask for help from others.
You are worthy of being written about. People will want to scribble your name with hearts on crumpled papers, stitch a sonnet together seamlessly or dedicate a whole nonsensical blog to you.
You, my dear, are a fighter, even when times get tough, even when your soul gets tired, because you are a survivor.
You have made it this far, you have overcome, you have persevered.
I know, you're tired.
But you got this more than you know.
Because you are in between you's too.
You're so tired from all this crap that's eating your happy memories, that's tearing a hole in your soul, that's making you a sad shell of who you once were.
This is where you are in a confused state, a hot mess, this is where you are halted, stuck in between yourselves. It is where you stare longingly at the past, the mistakes and pain, and cringe at the future, fearful of what it holds, and you find yourself tired.
Just so damn tired that you don't know if you want to keep going.
I'm here to tell you it's alright.
It's alright to not want to keep going.
But you will keep going.
So, take this time and take your time.
This is your time to rest.
This is your time to rejuvenate.
This is your time to make a game plan.
This is where you rise my love.
This is where you brilliantly get to scream at the top of your fucking lungs what you will no longer take, what you want, and how you're going to get it.
And you're not going to take anyone's shit, even your own.
This is dedicated to you, the lost, the confused, the ones who think no one is thinking about them or writing about them-we are. Because we need you, we love you and you matter.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Yeah...thanks I am going to pass on that.
No seriously. I don't need cheering up. I need time to sort and sift through the shattering of a life I am not sure I have ever fully embraced. If you want to get me back to being me or help me find the real me then you are going to have to let me cut myself on the fragmented pretty parts of my life that have splintered into unrecognizable elements that had neatly been compartmentalized for too long before I can suture them up with hope for a better reality.
I can handle your cheering, your support, your encouragement to 'get better', but please understand I do not need a weak attempt at 'lightening my mood'. I need to be me.
It is not that I do not appreciate your short-sighted, shallow attempt to fix a bigger problem that is raging inside my soul, but I kind of have this feeling that I should probably work through the feelings that are eating away at my will to simply exist in this world.
No, I get it. You want to see me smile. You want hear me crack jokes and make inappropriate innuendos. You want to see me participate and get back to being the old me that held tightly to the illusion that everything would be fine if I kept trudging along with my head down. You want me to make you feel less uncomfortable by pretending to be something that I am not.
However, I am not willing to do that anymore.
My soul has been awakened to what was, what is, and what could be-and I cannot go back to merely surviving in this world. I want to live. Really live.
It hurts to be awake. But the hurt does not last forever. Regret does, though, and I refuse to participate in my life by making conscious decisions that I will regret.
So when you say you want to cheer me up? Every damn time babe, I am going to tell you no and not so respectfully, if need be, because I need to respect myself by being real to me.
There is nothing wrong with this darkness that my little light has permeated. There is nothing wrong with not feeling up to putting on a facade for other people's comfort. There is nothing wrong with being level with the Dead Sea in my journey at this point in my life. It is a low point. And I am okay with that. Eventually, I am going to make it to my summit. I am going to climb the shit out of my own Everest and scream with only the joy that lungs of victory and strained sinew can enunciate ever so clearly.
But in the meantime, I am going to be here, in the muck, in the mire, in the darkness, trekking, fully aware of my surroundings, refusing to ignore them anymore.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The girl who used to say yes to everything. Seriously, to everything. Yes, even that.
If it made someone else happy, I would eagerly agree, trading my wants for their smiles believing their happiness was worth more than...well my worth. I felt indebted to others. Indebted because they simply allowed me into their worlds, their lives, their existence on this crazy bluish-green marble swirling around this universe.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I forgot that this world was mine as well, that every inch my feet claimed for their own was not a misstep, that I actually belonged where I stood. So, I did what many others do, I overcompensated. I tried to prove my worth, I tried to show I belonged, I tried to create the illusion that I was irreplaceable.
Life has a funny way of reminding you, though, that everyone is replaceable.
Could I babysit? Yes.
Could I loan them money? Yes.
Could I volunteer? Yes.
Could I raise money for another fundraiser? Yes.
Would I be on a new committee? Yes.
Would I help make crafts? Yes.
Would I stop and take a moment, just one damn moment, to myself to enjoy my world? No.
I was too busy saying yes to participate in my own life. Work. Volunteer. Donate. Outing. Work. Crafts. Helping others. Volunteering. Maybe sleep. That was repeated until I no longer remembered what downtime was, what I liked to do, or why the hell I was saying yes in the first place. It was a knee-jerk reaction, if someone asked me for something I said yes. No matter how much it put me out-I did it with a smile on my face, because I should have been lucky enough to be trusted with that responsibility.
^What kind of crap is that? Unacceptable crap-that's what.
Saying yes did not make me happier. It did not make me kinder. It did not make me more loving. Staying that busy saying yes to allthethings, simply distracted me from my life and things I wanted and needed to do.
These days I hesitate if asked to do something. I deliberate and choose what events to get involved with, I pause before jumping in, I weigh if I truly want to do an activity or feel if I should do it simply because of some imaginary inadequacies that can fill my heart and plague my head at times.
Saying no is not rude. Saying no is not mean. Saying yes and stretching yourself way too thin is rude to yourself and those you pledged your commitments to. Saying yes because you do not think you are worthy of someone's company is devaluing and demeaning yourself. Saying yes when you want to say no and forging along with a sour heart and disposition is wrong.
When I say no, I am not saying no to your event. I am not saying no because I do not have time for you. I am not saying no because I am being stuck up and have better things to do. I am not saying no because I am mad at you.
I am saying no because too many times I said yes to strangers masked as friends who willingly and brilliantly took advantage of my giving soul.
I am saying no because I like the way it feels coming out of my mouth.
I am saying no because I do not have to prove myself to anyone.
I am saying no because my worth, your love for me, and my self-esteem should not hinge on me placating you with a plastic sycophantic smile plastered on my face to please you.
I am saying no because I want to.
I am saying no because it is a complete sentence. I do not need to justify, explain or legitimize why I am not doing it to anyone, at any time.
Really, I am saying no because saying it is okay.
And because by saying no to the things I do not want to do, I am finally saying yes to my desires, my dreams, and to my amazing self.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
"New Year, New Me" bullshit? Nah, I like the old you. The old you has learned and evolved and it has got you this far in life. And it smells like macaroni and febreeze. But here's a few things to remember when crossing that threshold into a new year.
You will never be everything to anyone. If someone says you are their *everything* back away slowly because they are either lying or delusional.
You are not a half. You are a whole being that deserves to love themselves for who they are, what they want, and where they want to go in life.
You are not sorry. You do not need to constantly apologize for speaking up, for being different, for offering another perspective, for craving alone time, or liking what you like. You are only guaranteed so many breaths a lifetime do not waste them saying sorry for things you enjoy.
You are not a dump. You do not need to accept any kind of trash, toxicity, garbage or anything foul from anyone-including yourself. Accept what will help grow you into a content and healthy person in your emotional, spiritual and physical self-and leave the rest behind.
You live in the now. Keep your memories, your mementos, whatever puts a smile on your face but don't give up today's happiness while searching for a perfect day that never happened in the past.
You do not need this new year to become who you want to be. You just have to be a little brave. You have to remember that moving forward into the unknown is better than getting stuck in the comfort of the dead past. You can do it now or in five months or two years. Whenever you are ready to embrace yourself and live life fully you are ready for change. It is not selfish to enjoy time with yourself, by yourself. You are your longest friend, it's healthy to invest in that friendship. It is not being selfish to remove hazardous-to-your health people from your life. That is self-preservation and healthy. It is not selfish to try new things to be unabashed for your opinions. That is self-love.
I cannot promise you or tell you how this new year will go. I do know there will be pain and confusion. Heartache and relationships lost. There will be tough times. But there will be good too. Even when it is super hard to find. There will be kind people and loving hugs, good music and new adventures, shattered misconceptions and growth.
Do not fear bringing you-the true you-into the new day, the New Year, the future, into the light for all to see. Fear living a life where you are not comfortable existing and cannot do or say what you want out of a silly fear of what people will think.
Why are you still reading this? You know you best, so go. Do something that makes your soul happy. Don't get lost reading in between the lines and lose sight of the story that is waiting to unfold in front of you.