Wake up

Tw: suicide

If you’ll do me the honor of putting on Wake up by NF while you read this, it’ll set the mood.

I’m sitting at the feet of the Nelson Mandela statue right now listening to this song on repeat.

Someone good committed suicide recently. Someone so kind. Someone too fucking good for this world. And I’m so goddamn torn up about it, that I can’t even form sentences.

She was one of many who were plagued by monsters. The kind that attack your mind and make everything so dark that you can’t find your way out. She fought them to death.

It’s so easy to write off suicide as weak. It’s so easy to say “they should of decided to live.” It’s so easy to shame those who suffer from mental illness. It’s so easy to forget the people who are different than us. It’s so easy to judge another’s suffering by ambiguous standards. It’s so easy to write a shitty blog post about suicide.

I’m so tired of being embarrassed and ashamed that sometimes I can’t keep my depression and anxiety locked away. I’m so tired of running away when the panic sets in. I’m so tired of hearing the excuses about mental illness. I’m so tired of hating myself. I’m tired of fighting.

I want people to wake up. I want communities to stop pretending they don’t play a part in suicide. I want people to not give up on us. I want you to stop excluding someone your friends call weird. I want people to stop walking away when they don’t understand a panic attack. I want you to go after the kid crying at work. I want you to ask how are you and not be afraid of the answer. I want you to reach out to someone you know and ask if they are ok. I WANT YOU TO ASK HOW TO HELP SOMEONE SUFFERING.

All it takes is one action. One moment. To change a person’s life.

I know what you are thinking. Families feel the strain of mental illness. Husbands and wives watch the person they love become a shell and they don’t know what to do. Sisters and brothers get tired of checking on their sibling. Friends are tired of the person turning down their invites. Sometimes they just want this disease to go away.

I get it. We get it. We need to stand up with our pain. We need to scream “here it fucking is. I carry this monster with me and I am not ashamed.” We need to ask for help. We need to get help. We need weapons to keep fighting. We need to get up when a hole in the ground seems like a great idea. We need to stop believing we are worthless because it’s not true. We

I want you to know what ever monsters that you carry with you, they are not bigger than you. You keep on fighting. This world is not better without you. Put down that knife and back away from the fucking ledge because we need you here. We need you.

So many of us have felt that temptation. So many of us planned it. So many of us almost did. So many of us tried.

I’ve been on that bridge, friend. I’ve wanted to watch all my pain fall with me. It takes everything to pull yourself back from the edge. Don’t let those monsters take you. They don’t deserve your life.

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Sometimes Depression is Annoying as Fuck.

I feel like no one talks about how annoying depression can be as the person experiencing it.  More often we talk about how we don’t want to be treated during a depressive episode.  Or, how people can be shitty during a depressive episode.

But, I just want to put out there that my depression annoys the shit out of me 90% of the time.  I want to hit Depressed Lindsay with a tire iron.

Ok, so that was violent and uncalled for. Good job, self.

These feelings just pop the fuck up like I don’t already have stuff to do and inconvenience the shit out of me.  Like a bunch of paper-cuts on my brain.  And, I currently have a paper-cut under my thumbnail so I feel like I’m an expert in this field.

If people think it’s confusing because you are randomly leaking from your eyeballs – imagine how I feel.  I don’t even know why I am crying right now.  I CAN’T EVEN LOGICALLY EXPLAIN THIS TO MYSELF – HOW CAN I EXPRESS MY FEELINGS TO ANOTHER LIVING HUMAN?

And then, you have to expend all this extra effort to get out of bed, shower, and leave the house – because apparently being a hermit is not socially acceptable. I’ve been aware of this “hey, lets just melt into a puddle of violent self loathing and sadness,” for about 5 years.

It’s like going to a really terrible state fair – all the rides are the same and literally everything is gray. Sad Ferris wheel. Sad tea cup ride. Uber jolt-y kid roller coaster. Moist funnel cake, with a side of shit lemonade.  I expend all this energy trying to leave this awful fair, but it takes FOR FUCKING EVER because all the exits are blocked.  So, I ride these rides and go through the motions until I can get out.

It sucks. And, I’m annoyed by it. The end.

Joburg Zoo & Constitution Hill

In this edition of Lindsay (+ hot husband sometimes) does South Africa, I’ll share my photos of Constitution Hill (with sad feelings) and the Johannesburg Zoo (with not so sad feelings). Choose your poison. Also, I wrote them in reverse order.

On Sunday, we trekked to the Johannesburg Zoo.  By trekked, I mean we walked a mile to the train then got off the train and walked what was supposed to be another mile, but was probably more like two miles because google maps IS A DIRTY LIAR sometimes. Because we walked google maps took us through this fancy neighborhood which was not at all creepy and if my mom was here she would be trying to climb walls to see the houses because she’s nosy.  Then she’d get electrocuted by one of those fences and hopefully it give her super powers or something.  Or we’d get arrested for burglary.

(Also, burglary does not sound like it should have two r’s. Thanks english language.)

We finally arrived at our destination despite the lack of appropriate signage and google maps FAILING.  This zoo was clearly not the best zoo. I mean, it was nice…but weird?

Upon entering we were accosted by a nice gentlemen who wanted to take our picture (the kind they take and then you pay for) and I said oh no thank you (because I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this interaction).  His response was ever so tersely “IT’S PART OF THE EXPERIENCE. LET ME TAKE YOUR PICTURE.”  Did you just imagine him talking in a demon voice? I did.

Hot husband being one big muscle was, of course, hungry, because cardio. He went to the snack truck which was, again of course, out of everything.  Including water. No water for you.

We began our promenade around the turtle enclosure where a young family was VIOLATING THE RULES BY TRYING TO FEED THE TURTLES. WHY DO YOU DO THIS HUMANS? WHAT CAN’T YOU FOLLOW THE RULES? Hot husband noticed this immediately and I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  Clearly, I was wrong again. Don’t tell him I said that.

We then saw Violet the Turtle try and fight Buttercup the Turtle.  Turtle fights don’t really show up well on camera.

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Turtle fight:  evidence or lack thereof

Photos from our adventure

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Then, we had to trek back and beat the rain.  Oops. Overall successful event despite walking 9 miles.

The next day, I took myself to Constitution Hill where the Constitutional Court of South Africa sits and the historical prison #4 sight.  Initially, I was hopeful because I managed to leave the house and do a thing – always a feat of strength if we are being honest. Then, I asked some guys where I go to pay for a tour (to be fair to myself, they were at a desk in what I didn’t know was the Constitutional Court welcome center.  I was then promptly told that I “shouldn’t go places alone because then I ask the wrong people the wrong questions.”

I feel as though this is a philosophical statement, because it is clearly not based in any level of reality.  Am I not supposed to go anywhere unless I have someone to go with? How do I know I am asking the wrong person? WHY DON’T YOU HAVE APPROPRIATE SIGNAGE FOR THESE HISTORICAL SIGHTS? IS THAT NOT A REASONABLE REQUEST?

Anyway after I was verbally dressed down by a very mean bus tour guide – I found my way to the further spiral into situational depression.  Photos are no substitute for experience, but Prison number four was a horrible place were people were treated very badly for crimes, political activism, and for simply breaking curfew until 1983 during Apartheid in South Africa.   The guide showed us the solitary confinement cells and after she finished discussing the conditions and various stories, she allowed us to look around.  I walked into the entrance of one cell which was the size of a small half-bathroom covered in writing and swathed in darkness from the lack of light through the tiny peep hole door, and I felt terror.  The tiny room was so loud, violent, sad, and I felt like my chest was going to explode.  There are not many places that make me want to hyperventilate while simultaneously ugly sobbing, but this is definitely number one.  There’s not much more I wish to write about it, but I suggest you google it.

Following the tour of the prison we visited the constitutional court which was full of symbolism for traditional South African justice.  Twas beautiful.

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The Spin Instructor

I’ve recently decided to go to spin classes as an alternate form of exercise and except for causing a sore vag from the seat – I have to admit that its pretty ok. (I’m not sorry for admitting that. My vagina is a tender beast)

Last night, I have to admit I developed a mild crush on my instructor for to reasons:

1. His playlist was fire (delicious South African beats, Lady Gaga, Whitney, a remake of “You don’t own me” and ABBA).

2. He vogued and made us boogie on our bikes. He probably could have said “TWERK BITCH,” and I would have tried.

The majority of the class did not have as much fun as I did. I will cop to getting down on my bike and singing really, really loudly. Also, sweating like it was my damn job.

I have pretty intense anxiety sometimes and doing things with my body publicly is more likely to send me spiraling into panic than be fun. However, this time around I felt good and for one hour I stopped caring so much.

I almost asked for his playlist, but that was a bridge too far last night. All in all it was a great 60 minutes.

Until I got home and realized that I left the hose on refilling the pool and almost flooded the yard a smidge. Oops.

Am I sitting in a recliner on my husband’s patio?

Yes.

Was the recliner always there? No, I just moved it because patio chairs are universally uncomfortable and I want to be comfy as fuck right now.

Am I wearing storm trooper socks? Yes. They are at target in case anyone is interested.

This is heavenly.

Today is Friday and I am in South Africa with my dogs and hot husband. Well, he’s at work. In any other time and place during my adult life, I would have been working. I’m actually mildly petrified about not working. Not working leaves a whole lot of time for me to think, which means I am really good at it in the worst way possible.

You may be asking yourself, “Well, why don’t you work?” The answer, as with all things in my life, is complicated. I am taking some extended leave and going back to my other job every sixty days. Teleworking wasn’t an option and being apart from hot husband was probably going to give one of us a nervous breakdown (by one of us, I think we can all agree, I mean me). I love working, but I wasn’t happy and we are financially stable enough to afford this situation temporarily.

I am probably on the cusp of taking a two year leave of absence because hoorah, marine corps. Part of me has a sinking feeling about this, but the other part thinks that maybe it’s time for some changes. Or something different. Maybe its time to do the things I want to do. All those things I put off or didn’t do because I was focused on work.

So, I made a list and I’m going to do the things I want to do. Except go shopping because let’s face it I have a minor obsession with clothes and shoes. And stuff.

Sometimes it’s not even big stuff. It’s just putting the recliner on the patio because I can. Or insert any other thing you want to do here. Write. Photograph. Go see things. Eat good food. Have fun.

I know this is coming from a place of privilege. I know many people do not have this option. I am lucky. I also need some time to figure out who I want to be when I grow up separate from the ideas of others.

#yolo

I tried to cure my perpetual anxiety with hot yoga and I almost died

Also, I know that anxiety isn’t particularly curable, but let’s just pretend.

If you have ever woken up with an invisible body sitting on your chest, then you know that you will spend an innumerable amount of time TRYING TO GET THAT FUCKER OFF YOU.

So, I decided to go to hot yoga for the first time since 2013. I remember the heat being great for pretending that I was sweating out my feelings and stuff.

And breathing. Zen. All that good shit, right? I went to the class in shorts surrounded by posh yoginis and their obligatory yoga gear. I took off my shirt because I didnt want to spend the class fighting with it falling over my head because it was too big and I suck at being prepared.

Everything started out fine. I couldn’t really breathe. My chest hurt. But it was fine.

Then I started sweating like I was in the goddamn desert in a parka. I had to go to the bathroom to wipe the sweat out of my eyes. I had no grip on my mat BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T I REMEMBER TO BRING A TOWEL SO THAT I WOULDN’T SWIMMING THROUGH A POOL OF SWEAT. That’s right. I was swimming in sweat. The teacher had to get me a towel because I was fucking up her class with my ineptitude.

Then when I finally could grip my mat. I couldn’t see straight anymore and was pretty close to vomiting. You know that feeling when you haven’t had caffeine and your body is raging against you because HELLO ADDICTION. No? Well, ok. My stomach was violently close to expelling acid because I didn’t eat.

So. I walked out 50 minutes in to a 90 minute class. I left my mat (I am sorry I knoe its bad form) and walked to the grocery store to get something to stop me from fainting. And, I am ok with that.

There was a time I would have kept going and made myself sick, but you know what? It’s not worth it.

Sometimes quitting is ok. It’s really not necessary to go full excorist vomit in a yoga class I paid for.

I spent the rest of the day with the heaviness in my chest until I started arguing about current events with hot husband. Go figure.

Two Truths and a Lie

It seems like an ongoing theme in my life that the truth isn’t really that important to other people. But, it’s important to me.

Some of the most shitty parts of my life vice getting slapped in the head with a metal pole and the violent depression that followed revolves around lies.

I’m not sure what it is about the difference between honesty and dishonesty that makes me feel unhinged but there’s nothing like a well timed lie and the eventual discovery to break my sanity into a million pieces.

I go through the seven stages of grief every single time like it won’t happen again.

And spoiler alert, it always happens again. I’m not sure why I never see it coming because its like a bullet train that’s about to hit me in the face.

Good therapy will tell you that people don’t change and the only person you can control is yourself. But, people don’t change, right? So, what the shit am I supposed to do when faced with this existential crisis again?

If I’m honest, this has been a problem with all the guys I dated except one. That one, to my knowledge, was unfledgingly honest and at that particular age I was too clingy.

A few years ago, I thought I worked really hard not to be clingy and insecure but then I found out about internet sexting and how that can ruin ones self esteem. I won’t tell you all is well and that it never creeps up on me like my period exploding at 4 am. It does and it hurts almost as much as the first time I was cheated on physically.

It must be me, right? I’m hard to be honest with. I don’t have good reactions to the truth. As another former lover would say “you didn’t want me to do xyz anyway so I didn’t tell you the truth.” This person was right. I didn’t want xyz to happen. And then it did. Over and over again.

Does anyone ever check up on old lies like they are friends? Is that just me? If we are trying to delve deep in my psyche, I guess I like hurting myself. I try not to sit around and do this because its bad for my mental health and the words obsessive and “stalker” get thrown around but I’m tired of hiding the fact that this hurts. And, lets be honest. Y’all do it too.

So, it hurts. It makes me feel unhinged. It may be dramatic and seem petty, but you know what?

I have a lot of fucking feelings and a lot of faults. And the shit that hurts the most is never going away, so all that’s left is to put my brain back together and keep trucking.

Because there is one thing I know for a fact. My life isn’t ever going to get easier. I just have to deal with the hard punches as they come and keep getting up. Eventually, I will get stronger or I will die.

It’s one of those days

Dear MJ,

We’ve never met and I’m sorry about that.  It’s an unfortunate part of the life/death thing.  It sucks.  I am writing to you, because I don’t have many people to talk to and I feel like I’m stuck in an emotional earthquake right now.

As you might know, we have a common person in our lives (or…we did when you were alive) that we love.  I feel like I am failing that person. I mean, I feel like I am generally failing, too, but I don’t think that matters as much for the purposes of this letter.

Have you ever felt like you aren’t good enough for the person you love? And, that makes you scared that they are going to wake up realize that you are one of those lame ass marbles in comparison to the shiniest marble in the pack.  You know, like the cool one that reminds you of a galaxy.  You are so happy that this cool marble likes you even though you are dull and have cracks all over your frame.  This marble saw you when no one else ever did.  Really saw you.  Or that’s what you thought at least (and thinking is almost as good as reality, right? Ok, maybe not). But other fabulous marbles come around and the galaxy marble likes to be around other cool ass marbles.  Here you are, still a dirty marble and you are sitting on the sidelines watching them go be awesome. It just hurts, because you miss your marble and no matter how much you call out to them – they don’t see you anymore.

So, you get more cracks and chips.  You fall apart piece by piece.  You are jealous.  You are pissed off. Generally these are not good costume additions to your lackluster-ness.  Then you start to disappear.  You become a ghost again.  Watching but never acting.  Waiting but they don’t see you anymore.  And, that’s generally where I am at, MJ.  I am so sorry.  I promised you that I’d take care of this person.  I’m still trying to do my best, but I fear it will never be enough and I’ll disappear for good.

That’s pretty scary.  How do you love someone without trying to change them and still preserve yourself?  How do you love someone when the situation is so difficult that it makes you hate everything?  How do you love someone when your heart feels so broken? How do you love someone knowing they will hurt you? How do you keep going when things have been so hard? Also, how do you do this when they suck?

You’d think I’d have this shit figured out. Sorry in advance.

I feel like I’m trying to fill my cracks with Elmer’s glue when I need superglue.  I feel like disappearing is the best option even though I promised I would stay and protect the marble.  I feel like I’m trying so hard to make this work that I’m losing parts of myself.

I know you don’t have the answers, MJ.  I know you can’t tell me how to care for this person.  I know you aren’t here.  I just feel like I’m in quicksand and losing my marbles. Simultaneously.

I know what you are thinking. I sound crazy as fuck.  Feelings are just feelings.  And, they suck.  I’ll be better.  I’ll get better.  I’ll get up tomorrow and try again.  I’ll put the pieces together even if no one can see me anymore.

And, I’ll keep loving the marble.  No worries.  Write when you can.

Love always,

Lindsay

 

There are some feelings that only trudging 9 miles can solve

I’ve been running into a lot of life’s little (shitty) roadblocks lately.

And it makes me want to punch walls.

1. A crappy hotel that I paid far too much money for.

2. The inability to get a changed paasport through my husband’s job (its a long story that’s too complicated to explain).

3. $2000 in vet bills so that I can take my dogs to south africa. Plus $4700 to move the dogs. (Yes, I know I made the choice to go to South Africa in the name of love and family but I can still internally freak out about the cost).

4. The lab estimating the amount of blood they needed wrong after I left Virginia to come to North Carolina. So I had to call several vets to see who could do this barrage of tests only to be met with confusion.

4. Continued uncertainty about life after next May.

This makes me, clearly, miserable to be around.

As such, I went for a walk this evening and ended up trudging nine miles to work myself out.

Unfortunately, now I’m still awake at midnight. But at least I’m less angry.

Cheers to all the people out there trying to work shit out when life sledgehammers your plans into a billion pieces.

Representation Matters

TW: body image

No doubt, you have seen many of these posts and you are rolling your eyes right now. It’s ok. I get it. You can leave.

For those of you staying… *ahem*

Caveat 1: I have a lot of privilege and I have no idea how it feels to wake up every day and be told my skin color is wrong or that my gender identity is offensive or that my desire to represent myself according to my beliefs means people have the right to treat me badly. There are so many people out there suffering because society hates who they are. My self image issues are small in comparison.

As you may have previously read, I am on the fatter side of things. I also have problems with anxiety and depression and sometimes these diseases manifest themselves in a particular hyper-fixation on my body and how it looks. Or how much I weigh. Or if my lower belly pooch looks particularly large today. Or if my dress is too obscene because i have beast (from Beauty and the Beast) legs. Why is it that if I wear a dress and heels I feel particularly scandalous?? Is my face getting fatter? Do my arms look too much like sausages? Am I gaining weight? Did I really need to eat that bag of m&ms? Did I walk or run for one hour today? Are people noticing that I eat a lot? Are people noticing that I eat really fast and clear my plate? Are my shorts too tight? Can I feel my pelvis bones when I lay down or is it layered with fat?

That’s about 50% of the things that I think. I am 20 pounds heavier than I was 4 years ago. At the end of 2012, I was massively depressed and suffering from PTSD. And while I relished the one time the scale said 129, it wasn’t healthy.

Circa 2013

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This was at (almost) my lowest weight. At the time, I thought I looked awful and bigger. I probably only gained 3-5 pounds. I used to weigh myself every day and feel bad all day if I weighed more. I wasn’t starving myself, but I would torture myself.

Fast forward to five years later and 20 pounds more (approximately because I don’t weigh myself right now).

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Note: Not actually that tall. Heels.

Note 2: I know I used a wedding picture. We are making progress but I’m not at full fledged bad picture level of sharing.

So, here I am. Five years later. Still working on accepting myself and trying to be healthy. I’m a lot stronger now which I remind myself is important. I try to eat right even though I get pickle cravings. Intense pickle cravings. But I also try not to restrict myself from good food that I want to eat.  Which brings me to my point as to why representation matters.

I shop online and I look at social media. I see all the fabulous people with their beautiful bodies and both admire them and look at myself like I’m disgusting. Which brings me to my point:

Being able to see different bodies, races, sexes, beliefs is so important to being able to figure out self-love. There is nothing that makes me feel better than to see someone feeling beautiful being who they are and rocking it.

Nothing makes me feel worse than to see those same people being told they don’t deserve to feel good about themselves because they don’t fit a mold.

I love going onto websites and seeing different models rocking clothes. I love seeing people walking down the street with all kinds of swag and rocking their bodies.

I hate when the general public sees someone in wearing clothes and being happy and tells that person they can’t/shouldn’t feel good in their bodies.

So if no one tells you today, I want to tell you this:

1. You are worthy.

2. Your body is beautiful and it is like no one else.

3. I hope if you try a new style or wear something you were afraid to wear out in public that you think of me cheering you on.

4. Your body deserves to grow, exist, and change.

5. Please don’t torture yourself to look a certain way.