can’t sleep.

I can’t sleep.

Not surprising given my mind is running a mile a minute with thoughts and yet a bit surprising given the fact that I went to bed at 6:30 pm yesterday and slept through the night until work this morning.

I’m exhausted but I think my body is on its own schedule right now, so I suppose I’ll use the time I have wisely and try to process through some of this mile a minute thoughts (if only thinking burned calories, amirite?)

My last post had the highest views my blog has ever had. People seem to have a lot of thoughts about it and a lot have reached out to me in various ways to offer support, encouragement, advice, etc. and I appreciate all of the effort on everyone’s part. It means a lot to me. One of the biggest pieces of advice I continue to get is to go talk to someone so I suppose I will use this space here to address that in a broader context so that I don’t have to continue saying the same thing over and over again. So, here we go!

Honestly – I don’t want to.

I know that sounds like I’m being a brat but it’s true. Counseling is an intimate thing for me and I had the same counselor for 7 years while I was at Brockport and it took probably 4 years of me seeing her for me to actually trust her enough to show up consistently to work through my shit. Even after that, I would say 90% of our time together was me complaining. I’m a firm believer in counseling, I think it’s a beautiful thing, I encourage everyone to try it, and I know that it can be incredibly helpful. I literally became a counselor because I believed in it so much.

The problem is that in order for counseling to work you have to be willing to do that work, and I’m just not right now. I’m fucking exhausted. And honestly I’m sick of always having to go to counseling. I have gone for so much of my life because bad shit happens over and over and over and honestly I’m at the point where I’m just sick.of.it.

It seems like these two mindsets are conflicting, and they probably are, because HEY! I’m a gemini, that’s what we do – but in all seriousness, I don’t want to pay money to go talk to a counselor who is going to tell me things I already know and help me put together the puzzle behind why I’m feeling the way I am right now.

Let me break it down for you –

I have an incredibly deep rooted negative self-image, the product of childhood friendships that were toxic, an unhealthy and at times emotionally abusive relationship with my father, sexual assault, toxic relationships, medical issues, family trauma, medical trauma of my own and various other life events all wrapped up in a nice genetic predisposition for lack of serotonin production.

I have always felt this way about myself/my life/my achievements/my worth. I’m just usually a lot better at covering it up so that none of you worry about me and I don’t have to explain myself.

The problem is that I am utterly drained by grief right now, to the point where I am exhausting all of my energy just to get out of bed and go to work each day since losing my aunt. Thanks to a shitty guy, I was so wrapped up in bullshit when she died that I literally didn’t even mentally process her death and now I am slowly losing my mind at the thought of life without her. Because of this, I quite literally CANNOT keep up appearances and pretend that I love myself/have positive aspirations/believe I have a good future etc. I just can’t. I have no energy left to give to devote to that and so what the world is seeing is the full force of the inner thoughts I have had time and time and again for as long as I can remember.

I am not kidding when I tell you I do not remember a time when I loved myself. I do not remember a time when I believed myself to be worthy of love. I do not remember a time when I thought myself worth anything.

What I remember are times when it didn’t consume me. Thanks to medication, I’m able to go about my life and not have this become something that runs my day to day in a full force way.

Right now, is not one of those times.

And I’m not saying I’ll never go back to counseling or that I don’t think it will work for me – I’m sure that I will at some point when I’m able to. But I’m saying right now I am fucking exhausted and sick and tired of feeling like this day in and day out and I don’t want to have to go to another doctor and pay another medical bill to hear all the ways in which my thinking is distorted. I know it is. I know it’s me. I know that ‘only I can change how I respond to situations’ or whatever but my god can’t I just get a break from it every now and again?

I feel like there’s more anger coming through than anything else when in reality I’m just tired. I’m fucking angry too, but I’m just exhausted and I can barely get up in the morning let alone “look for the positives”. It’s a lot easier to say to people than it actually is to do sometimes.

Maybe it seems dramatic to some of you. Maybe it feels like I just want attention (to those who think that I say a big fuck you) but the only reason I’m even talking about it online is because this is the only thing I have the energy to do right now. I know that if I started talking about it in person I would actually lose it and scare everyone even more and I don’t want that so this is my solution. I am not physically capable of crying and breaking down in front of people in person because the shame of that feeling may actually destroy me. It’s hard enough facing people in person who’ve read this. No one has to read this. No one has to say anything but at least I can get things out of my head and put somewhere for a time. This is my temporary fix.

While I’m being honest, I just want to say that I know – I know I need help. I know I could make small changes. I know that being depressing and negative gets me no where and attracts no one – I know. But it’s all the more frustrating when the rational side of who you are knows those things and the irrational side has taken over and you can’t stop yourself from feeling or thinking a certain way. I know that the way to catch a boyfriend isn’t by telling the world how crazy I am but at the same time, do I even want someone who doesn’t know who I really I am? cuz this is it. 
And it sucks even more when you know you’re letting everyone down while it happens, too.

I’m even questioning my faith which I know is upsetting like half the people in my life and would completely upset my aunt, but again – I can’t help it. How am I supposed to believe in an all powerful, healing God when I watched her faith remain strong and unyielding in every dark moment of suffering, just to watch her die in the end and not get the healing she’s promised? She spent her whole live devoted to God and what hope do I have if someone like her wasn’t able to beat cancer (or even got it in the first place).

On top of that – I just sit and think about how I have wasted SO . MUCH. TIME. Going to school for a career that literally threw me away when she was diagnosed. Spending years romanticizing a toxic relationship into something I believe resembled love when it was actually the complete opposite. Sacrificing my time and energy into all these things that just blew up in my face leaving me with nothing but time spent – all time I could have spent with my aunt.

Time I could have spent finding the right career that would have let me have balance or the right relationship that would have let me get married and have her officiate my wedding and see me walk down the aisle. Things that would let me get healthy enough to actually have a baby and have her with me in the delivery room to hold her the way she held me when I was born.

But I can’t go back. I can’t get any of that time back. And now she’s gone, and I am still alone. Still lost. Still depressed and still trying to make sense of what the hell it’s all supposed to mean. And I know that feeling this way and being this negative won’t further me to anything in the future – but I don’t even care right now. I can’t care. I have no energy left to care because it’s all spent. All of it.

I want to be the person everyone says they know I can be. But I honestly don’t know how.
I appreciate everyone saying that I matter, or that I’ve left an impact on them somehow. It’s nice to hear. I think we don’t do enough of that until people are gone or hurting. We don’t tell them what they mean until it’s too late and I appreciate everyone who’s done that. I love you all so much and so deeply and I’m sorry that I’m not able to put that into words right now.

But I can’t pretend to not feel this way. I can’t pretend like I’m okay because I’m not. I can’t pretend like I want to go to a counselor because I don’t.

What I want, is to know what it feels like to be happy and not have to utilize medicine and therapy to get there for a change. What I want is to stop letting people down by feeling the way I do all the time. What I want is to sleep and wake up not feeling tired. What I want is to come home and have someone to share my life with. What I want is to have someone hug me and let me cry until I fall asleep and have that be okay.

Thanks for reading – Even when I don’t respond, I’m paying attention to what you say.

Advertisements

harsh reality

30 years.

In two months, I’ll be 30 years old and I have absolutely nothing to show for it.

No partner. No pets. No home of my own. No children. No career accomplishments. No contributions to better the world. Still upset with my weight. Still unable to love myself.

And still no fucking clue how to just be happy.

 

I remember being 16 and thinking of all the things that lay ahead of me -all the ways I’d contribute to the world. Dreaming about my wedding day, sharing my life with someone and starting a family. I remember thinking about how hard I’d work to find a career that had meaning and gave back to others somehow. Planning what it’d be like to decorate my home and create a family. Waiting for the day I could get my own dog.

I’m going to be 30 and I’ve literally done nothing.

What’s the point anymore? What am I even trying for? I have spent so many years prioritizing things and doing everything terribly fucking wrong just to end up alone for almost 7 years, no closer to a family or a career or even owning a dog. I wake up. I work. I go home. I go to sleep. Repeat.

What is the point in anything anyway? I watch people spend their whole lives searching for better, only to end up facing the worst kinds of ends. People who are inherently good with their entire being and suffer the worst. People who work so damn hard to get what they want and end up with nothing anyway.

Is this as good as it gets? Waking up every day to work to pay off student loans that were acquired for a career I lost? Paying medical bills for doctors who just keep telling me all the things that are wrong with me? Buying things to fill holes in my life left by the lack of relationships and intimacy and feeling like I matter to anyone?

This can’t be what life is supposed to be about. But year after year it never changes. I wake up waiting for the day I become someone who finds meaning or contentment in the life I have and it never comes. I wait for the day that I don’t have to rely on medication to feel normal and it never comes. I wait for someone to find me worthy enough to share their life with me and they never come. I wait for the day that I feel like I’ve made an impact somewhere and it never comes.

And I’m miserable. And I’m tired. And I’m bored. And I’m stuck. And I’m sad. And I’m confused. And I’m lost.

Time seems like it drags on forever but I realize I’ve just wasted 30 years for absolutely nothing and I can’t get them back. I just sit here watching my friends find love and happiness and have children and do good things and I remain still, stagnant and unchanging. What am I even chasing anymore and what is the point? It doesn’t matter what I want in the end. Things will still happen that I can’t control and I will still be here.

Alone.

And I will wake up tomorrow and it will be the Same. Damn. Thing.

 

I suppose there’s nothing left to do other than accept that this is what my story amounts to and stop living in the fictional world I’ve created in my head.

Third Post’s the Charm

I have to admit, writing out those first two posts was very therapeutic. I think there are things I’ve held inside for so long that just writing them down and putting them out there really lifted a weight off my chest that I didn’t realize had been crushing me all these years. I have no idea how many people chose to read it, and honestly, it doesn’t even matter. The mere act of putting my story out into the world was exactly what I needed.

So, it’s been a while since my last post because I wasn’t anticipating how good I’d feel after the first two – but also because I’ve been rather busy. I’ve been dealing with a lot of medical things and finally getting answers to a lot of things that I’ve struggled with for a long time, which I’m so grateful for.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with constant sinus infections/head colds. I get them at least once a month, on average, and for the last few years they’ve been happening more often and more intensely. Last year I got sick for over a month and there were numerous occasions where I was so congested I actually fell over when I sneezed or coughed from dizziness.

Now, as hilarious as that was for me to tell people at the time, it’s something I’ve carried a lot of shame around because it makes me an unreliable worker and person. I am utterly devastated at the thought of letting people down and I absolutely hate having to tell someone I can’t attend/do something because I am sick (again). I know it’s something people have been frustrated with me for, and understandably so, but it was always so hard for me because I truly was horribly sick and wasn’t trying to be flaky.

One thing people may not know about me is how much I center my self-worth around my work ethic. I have worked my entire life towards creating a professional identity for myself and become a contributing employee to whatever place I work for. I’m incredibly driven and will spend every minute trying to ensure that I am making things more efficient, putting out the best quality work I can possibly do, while also adding value in some way. I’ve put myself into situations where I chose to focus more on school and work than my friendships or spending time with my family. To me, my career has always been most important to me. When I get sick all the time, I know that negates that work I’ve put in, in that it makes me appear unreliable and flaky. Calling in absolutely destroys me and I am so hard on myself when I must do it to rest and get better.

The problem with all of that, is that I really DO get sick enough that I need to call in or I won’t actually get any better. Unfortunately, there are typically consequences associated with that and it’s something I’ve always been worried about as an employee no matter where I’ve worked. No one likes when their co-worker comes in super sick and coughing everywhere but if I called in every time that happened, I’d probably get fired within a month. I’ve always been thankful for bosses who understood that I was dedicated despite constantly getting sick and seemed to understand. I’ve had my fair share of bosses who didn’t believe me, however, and they’ve only perpetuated my fear of letting others down as I’ve gone on. Thankfully, I finally have an answer that may help this problem.

About three weeks ago, I got a sore throat like I usually do, and didn’t really think much of it. After three days, however, I woke up with neck pain so horrible I couldn’t move – I mean like, full swelling in my neck and pain so bad that showering almost made me pass out. I went to the doctor and they weren’t sure what was going on so they ordered a CT and X-Ray (I had had a migraine two days before with vision obstruction). They sent me home and told me to go to the hospital if things got worse. The next day, I woke up with swelling so bad in my tonsils I was choking on them. I have never experienced swelling so bad in my life. I went to the hospital and was sent home with no more answers and was feeling very discouraged.

Thankfully, I went back to the doctor and they referred me to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor to try and get some answers since I’ve been on 4 antibiotics in the last three months due to sickness. My X-Rays showed no acute issues but did show that I have reverse lordosis in my neck that was likely irritated due to the inflammation in my glands from the sickness.

The ENT was an expensive but beneficial trip and I found out that I have a deviated septum that has been causing drainage issues and inflammation because of a spur in my left side. This is something seemingly simple but has made all the difference for me. To just know that I’m not crazy and that I have an actual diagnosis has helped me immensely. It explains so much of the things I’ve struggled with – why it happens so frequently, despite the seasons – why others weren’t getting sick when I was – why medicines weren’t working, and steroids were the only thing that would provide relief.

So now that I know that, I’m at the point where I am waiting on some blood work and go back in a month to determine if I will need surgery to correct the problem, which is likely. That is a bit scary, but for now I’m going to revel in the relief of having some answers after so many years struggling with this problem. Especially being a singer, having constant sicknesses that take away my voice has been so difficult. I hate having to stop singing because of sore throats and missing work because I’m exhausted from not being able to sleep due to coughing.

I also saw a chiropractor for the reverse lordosis and after just one treatment I am feeling so much less pain in my back and neck. I’ve felt pain so long that I honestly didn’t even remember how it felt to feel normal. I have two appointments a week for the next month to get myself into full alignment and I’m really looking forward to feeling my best after this is all done.

 

This has all really inspired me to continue to work towards finding the answers and correct treatments I need for the other things I struggle with. My PCOS and Thyroid issues are my next big things to tackle and I’m hoping that I will be able to come to a place where I feel like I have a handle on them. I really want to lose weight for health reasons and I am so scared I’ll have to get surgery soon if I can’t get a handle on all these things that make me gain weight and keep weight on. I’m looking into some anti-inflammatory diets right now and plan on working with a dietitian soon, but I know this will be the biggest battle I face when it comes to my health. I hope that I can make some small changes, if nothing else, and start to feel a little better.

After watching my aunt go through cancer and battle so many health challenges, I am really scared I am going to face the same struggles she did as I get older because I have a lot of the same medical issues she had, and I have the same problems with weight she did. I don’t want to keep putting off these lifestyle changes anymore, but I’m also scared that I’m not mentally prepared to do it all. Food has always been my source of comfort and giving up the things I love is not going to be easy for me to do at all. Not to mention the fact that I hate like, everything good for you. It makes it very hard for me to eat better when I barely like 4 or 5 foods. And when I say I don’t like them, I mean like once I tried to eat salad for 5 days in a row and literally gagged while consuming it. That’s how much I hate a lot of foods.

So right now, I’m focused on doing some research and trying to motivate myself to find a way to get to the gym every week, even if its just to walk for a while. If I can do that, I’ll move to the next phase and see where it takes me.

But since my last post, I’ve made a lot of progress in my 30 things in my 30th year list and I’m pretty proud of that. Here’s a recap of what I’ve done so far:

  1. Do something that scares me
    1. I posted these blog posts for everyone to read some pretty personal things about me.
    2. I told a boy that I liked him, flat out, even though it terrified me. He didn’t want to pursue a relationship, but that’s okay because honestly it felt great to just say how I felt for a change instead of wondering where things were going to go.
  2. Make a concerted effort to be more financially responsible
  3. Try a little harder at my appearance (i.e. style my hair, maybe wear makeup)
    1. I wore makeup to work on Friday and everyone was so shocked haha
  4. Read ALL THE BOOKS (or at least 50)
    1. Currently halfway through my first book of the year and I’ve joined two book clubs!
  5. Write more often – feelings, fiction, prose, doesn’t matter – just do it
    1. Counting these blogs as part of this because it’s felt great to write these.
  6. Pay off a student loan
    1. Paid off my first one yesterday! It felt so great and now I just want to pay off even more!

 

I’m thinking that for my next post, I’m going to start a series on diving into relationships that have defined me in some way. I’ve been thinking a lot about my love life and future and the road blocks I face, and I think that exploring my past relationships with boyfriends, friends, family and others will help me work through those. I guess we’ll see how I feel and where that will go but, in the meantime, I just want to say thank you to all of you out there for taking the time to read these things and talk to me about the posts I’ve shared. It means a lot to me. I hope they help you as much as they’re helping me.

Body Image and Alllllll the Baggage it Brings.

If I’m being honest with  myself, a lot of my self-loathing is centered around negative body image and all that it brings with it. I’ve had a horrible relationship with food my entire life and some lousy genetics to go with it. On good days, I don’t actually think about what I look like, how big I am, or whether or not others find me attractive. I can go about my day to day and not feel like I’m burdened by my size or appearance. The problem lies in the bad days, which are far more frequent than the good. Those are the days where I feel utterly crippled by my size and completely disgusted with my appearance so much that I typically make matters worse by seeking comfort in my favorite foods.

Body image is something most people, particularly women, typically struggle with so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that it would be one of my biggest battles. What I think people don’t realize is the depth that my insecurities go when it comes to my day to day interactions. There are things I replay over and over in my brain on a loop that sometimes drive me absolutely insane and it becomes exhausting. When you struggle with disordered eating habits and negative self-image, you also feel an intense hatred and shame towards yourself for enabling the destructive behavior you hate. For me, that materializes in binge eating and making constant jokes about  my overeating, general slovenly nature and desire to be the “fat and lazy” person I assume people think me to be based on my appearance. So, let’s start at the beginning, folks….

I have struggled with body image my entire life. High school was utter hell for me trying to navigate how to be the kind of girl boys wanted to talk to and date, despite the fact that I wasn’t a size 2. I’m naturally a goofy person so I typically leaned into the humor thing to cover up my shame but it all came to a head when I was about 15 and slowly stopped eating normally and focused my attention on athletics to try and shed some weight. This is when my battle with food really started and I remember how amazing it felt when I lost like 45 pounds and guys suddenly paid attention to me, girls complimented me and I had to have all my marching band outfits taken in. (Marching band was cool – COME AT ME). I joined the field hockey team, didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and ate only peanut butter toast for dinner most nights after getting home from my games/practices/work/rehearsals etc. and suddenly I was wearing size 8 pants and feeling like I might actually be attractive.

My confidence was short lived, however, because like most young girls come to find out, I still wasn’t good enough for myself or for other people. I was a size 8 but not a size 4. My stomach wasn’t flat. I really couldn’t run without wanting to die (I have asthma, and heart complications I discovered late in high school) and despite being a healthy size, I had a group of friends who constantly teased me about things and called me names like “Big Hoss” and “Hoss the Plump” (now – your instinct will tell you to be mad at these people and say ‘they’re jerks!” and you’re not wrong – they were – but they were also 15 and idiots who hadn’t grown up yet. We were all idiots and jerks back then so go easy on them) and I can remember distinct moments that ultimately led to me having a more strained relationship with food throughout my time in high school.

I remember being so excited to wear a bikini one summer because I finally lost enough weight and wasn’t afraid to show my stomach and one day my friends and I all went swimming and we played chicken — you know, that game where the girls are lifted on the guys shoulders and fight till one drops — and when I got put on someone’s shoulders, another one of my friends was on the deck of the pool shouting “no God, my eyes” and making fun of my size. That was the first night I went home and tried to make myself throw up after eating. I remember crying and realizing it was too loud to hide from my parents so I cried myself to sleep and just hoped I could do better at not eating the next day.

The second time I tried to make myself throw up was after my boyfriend and I had gone shopping. We got home and laid all our clothes out on the floor to show his mom (because apparently that’s the cool thing to do) and he compared my polo shirt to his because his was a small and mine was a large and made a comment about how I weighed more than he did (I will remember our weight at this time until I die because this moment is so engrained in my memory – I weighed 142 pounds at the time, he was 137). I left his house that night and tried so hard to find a way to become bulimic, silently, so I could stop gaining weight and become a girl who wore a small t shirt size.

Me at my smallest weight
(One thing to note: I thought I looked fat in my senior picture…but I also thought that flipped out blonde hair looked good so what do I know?)

 

 

Fast forward and I got into a healthy relationship, found my first experience with what I would call my first love, and my battle with food was set aside for a while and I had started to gain a little more weight again. I didn’t care as much because I was happy and felt loved, but I did notice some stuff changing with my physicality and my gym teacher noticed too. That was when I discovered some issues with my heart and my doctor ordered me to stop doing extracurricular physical activity so that I could figure out what was happening with those. Turns out, I had some weird murmur thing and some issues with a signal, had to wear this freaky monitor thing blah blah blah but I ALSO had polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism which are notorious for causing weight gain and can run rampant without physical exercise to keep them under control. My first semester of college I gained like 100 pounds and my relationship with food got even worse. I couldn’t binge and purge because the purging part was too loud and difficult for me to accomplish (and if you don’t believe me, ask one of my sorority sisters what I sound like when I vomit – it’s insane how loud I am) so I fell into a depression about it and began to cope by binging all the time.

Since the beginning of college, I’ve had a binge eating disorder that I have struggled to cope with. I had these tendencies even as a kid, though. I remember my parents cleaning my room and questioning why I had all these spoons hidden near my bed because I ate peanut butter by the spoonful at night in secret. It got so bad once that I got the flu shortly after and threw up peanut butter and couldn’t eat it for like a year.

I eat horribly as it is – and I will be the first to admit that – but somewhere along the line my relationship with food became this toxic, shameful thing that I would use to cope with my loneliness, frustration, stress and sadness. I can remember times during grad school where I would eat an entire pizza and then instantly get sick not because I wanted to purge but because I physically made myself sick by overeating and I couldn’t stop. It was horrible and upsetting but I couldn’t bring myself to stop doing it, and it was only exacerbated by the fact that losing weight was much harder for me as someone who had a genetic predisposition to weight gain.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make by telling you all these stories? I’m glad you asked!

Body image is a horrible, horrible beast that has hung over my life for as long as I remember. Because of the way I struggled when I was younger, and a size 8 (and a gorgeous girl, if I might add) I look at who I am now, and I cannot even fathom how people could tolerate the person I’ve become let alone find it to be something worthy of love. If that girl got made fun of and had a hard time finding people who found her attractive, what hope does the woman I am now have?

(The woman I am now)

 

This is the way I think. Every. Single. Day.

What’s different now is that people are nice enough not to mock me to my face or tell me how they really feel because they recognize it’s probably rude to call someone a “pink whale”, regardless of how rooted in truth the statement is. My weight and subsequent shame surrounding my weight has held me back from SO MANY THINGS I would love to do, and I hate it so much.

When people want to go to shows, or concerts, or theaters, or theme parks, I have to worry about whether or not I will fit in a chair. Like – what? That’s insane, but it’s a very real concern I have now whenever I do an activity and it’s even more embarrassing at the event when my whole body is uncomfortably spilling over the sides of chairs and touching everyone around me and I’m hot and sweating and just generally a monsterous beast. I have to worry about how much I’m going to sweat if we walk around a lot, or if I’ll be in pain because I’m not used to doing that much physical activity. I hate it so much because when you’re with a group of other people you never want to be the one that holds other people back, so I have adopted this philosophy of just not going to avoid ruining the good time for others. If I don’t go – I can’t feel ashamed by the fact that I can’t fit in a chair. If I don’t go – no one has to go slower so I can keep up.

But in adopting this philosophy, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much and I’ve gotten in this cycle of just not doing anything. I don’t have fun at events because I’m so anxious about what will happen, or I simply don’t attend at all and feel isolated and alone. It becomes this vicious cycle, too, because I think about trying to meet someone or go on dates and realize I’m a really boring person. Not because I’m actually boring or want to be, but because my weight has literally isolated me from being able to experience life the way others do. I do the same, boring things, day in and day out, not because I necessarily want to, but because physically I am limited in what I am able to do comfortably. And don’t get me started on what my weight has done for the idea of sharing intimacy with another person…

Well, fine, since you asked – how can I possibly date anyone if I’m so ashamed of my body I don’t want to be seen in public let alone intimately? That fear has basically stopped my dating life in it’s tracks. You see, I’m not the girl who gets noticed because you find me physically attractive – this I know – but I am someone people generally like talking to and interacting with because as I mentioned before, I am privileged in that I’m smart, talented and humorous (I’m also SO modest) so I can be quite engaging when you get to know me. At any rate, despite the fact that people like to talk to me and find me to be interesting, I’m never the girl people want to date, and I believe a lot of that is due to my body image. I don’t look like the girl you want to bring home. I look like the girl you want to ask for advice or tell your problems to before you call your girlfriend to go out that night.

But more importantly – even if I was the girl you wanted to bring home – I wouldn’t be able to believe you. I wouldn’t know how to trust that you were genuinely attracted to me because I am so disgusted by myself that I can’t fathom someone else may have a different opinion than mine. And my body image has left me with such negative self-worth and isolation that I’ve inherently cut myself off from attracting other people. There’s nothing attractive about someone who’s self-conscious and self-deprecating. People aren’t attracted to the girl who’s always putting herself down. But I don’t know how to be anything else. I don’t know how to change my own opinion.

How do you learn how to love yourself?

I’ve never been able to answer that question and I think it’s ultimately led to a big hole in my life and is the fundamental reason I’m not happy.

Now, the response I will get here is likely “oh my gosh, you have so much to offer though! You’ll find someone. The right person is out there who will love you for you!” and I’m not saying that those aren’t kind things to say, or even false things, but also – it doesn’t make it suck any less.

I have not been in a relationship in like 6 years. I have developed this sarcastic, hilarious exterior that talks about how much I hate cuddling, and I don’t want your hot breath on my face when you sleep next to me, boys are too demanding, I don’t want to compromise my wants and needs to take care of someone else – and honestly, those are actually all true things – but it’s not representative of the way I truly feel towards relationships, it’s just easier to say all of that then be the pathetic single friend in your group of all married and committed couples who are buying homes and having kids together while you’re going home every night and re-watching the Office for the 13th time alone while you eat pizza and troll Instagram.

What I want, is to start a family and share my life with someone who is genuinely interested in me. I want to have a partner to grow with. Someone to invest my time into and support while they do the same for me. I want to be loved in a way that only a relationship can give (I know I have a lot of people who love me, and I’m so grateful for that, but this is a different need). I want to trust that someone truly wants me as their partner and loves the person that I am.

What shatters that whole desire is my body image. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to trust that someone could love me for me. Can they love my personality? Sure. That’s easy (until I become irrational and start tweaking out for no reason other than I’m a girl and the wind is blowing outside- that’s for another day, though). I don’t know that I’ll ever be happy with how I look and feel. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to make fun plans and not start a long chain of endless thoughts on the “what ifs” that will come with me doing that activity.

I just don’t know.

And I hope that someday this will go away. But for a girl who’s overweight, this is the biggest obstacle in my path right now. This is something that plagues my thoughts every single day in almost every activity I do.

Some days, it’s just really freaking hard to deal with.

I think too much and now I need to write about it….

Okay before we begin what will likely be a short novel filled with random ideas and thoughts, I need to tell you all, dear readers, that I have typed, deleted and re-typed what was going to be my beginning sentence 4 times now because every variation I read had some grammatical error that I was self-editing and tried to fix to please my graduate professors who would likely throw up at the ridiculously long run-on sentence I have now typed out. So, with that being said – please be warned, this will be riddled with grammatical inaccuracies and likely contain an exuberant amount of split infinitives and dangling participles designed to take you on an emotional journey rather than please your concise, well thought out, hearts.

I turn 30 this year.

I’d like to point out that while I might physically turn 30, I don’t know that I’ll mentally turn 30. The idea is a bit too complex for me to fully comprehend as there are some days it feels like I’m still 22, bumbling around like Taylor Swift thinking everything will be alright if I just keep dancing around like an idiot.

I’ve done a lot of self-reflection over the last couple of months and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not very happy with my life. Now, I know what you’re thinking – GASP – Kayla, say it isn’t true! You’re so positive! I can’t fathom you’d ever speak negatively about yourself, your looks, your life, your status, your direction, etc. etc.  – I know. I’m as shocked as you. But all kidding aside, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember and the unhappiness I’m describing goes deeper than anything I think I’ve experienced before and its left me with this emptiness that I am struggling to move past. In the past year, I left my job and totally switched career paths, thus leaving behind the very thing I spent the better part of 9 years working towards as an adult, went from living alone, away from my friends and family to living with a roommate and mere minutes away from friends and family, and lost the best parental figure I’ve ever known to a brutal battle with cancer.

And while there have been wonderful things that have happened throughout my life and this past year, I feel like I am starting over with absolutely no direction. I’ve given a lot of thought lately about what I want to be remembered for, what I want my legacy to say when I’m gone, and usually I become so confused and overwhelmed I take out my phone and ignore the question by playing a game.

I think what’s tripped me up the most is wondering how many people in my life know my true, authentic self (and subsequently – what IS my true authentic self). I know how I WISH to be portrayed to others, but I’m not always aware of how others perceive me to be and I think that information is important when questioning the type of impact you have. I have a nagging suspicion my love of literature has led me to romanticize ideas and build up expectations for others that aren’t always realistic to how people interact with one another. As a result, I’m left disappointed in the relationships I have, always feeling like I don’t get back what I give to people. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder, what DO I give to others? Do I have an impact at all? Do I offer anything besides surface level friendship and self-deprecating and often distracting humor?

 A while ago, I asked a close friend of mine to tell me what they think matters most to me and their answers honestly stunned me. They weren’t necessarily wrong ( I think they said something like, friends and family, music, helping people – which are all true things) but it surprised me that it differed so much from how I would describe myself as a person and what I value most ( for example, the thing I value most is my work ethic and being viewed as someone who contributes and betters whatever it is I work on; I value passion and drive and gravitate towards other who are similar, I appreciate creativity and creative outlets of all kinds and prefer simple things like dinner with friends, movie nights in and reading to outlandish adventures or outings at bars because I like the intimacy they give; I’m emotional to a fault and sometimes have to backtrack because I let emotions cloud my judgement in important situations— that’s how I would describe myself). While it’s unfair of me to assume someone should just KNOW all of that, it still bothered me that the answer I was given wasn’t anywhere close to my own perception of who I am.

I think I’ve thought a lot about this more recently because my Aunt passed away and I saw what an incredible legacy and lasting impact she’s left on not only me, but every person she ever knew. She was without a doubt the most confident and unapologetically authentic woman I’ve ever known and there was no question that everyone who knew her saw her for who she was, through and through.

I think one reason I worry that people don’t have a real sense of who I am is because I choose which parts of me to let people see. I’m a social chameleon, capable of adapting to the crowd that I’m in order to fit in, so it’s sometimes hard for me to even decipher who I truly want to be versus who I think I need to be in order to gain acceptance. I am someone who doesn’t shy away from explaining past traumatic experiences or how I’m feeling (hello, facebook, my old frienddddd) but I also don’t typically elaborate on the true depth of those emotions for the sake of others.

For example, if someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t typically give them the full truth of the answer because I know that the truth would likely make them uncomfortable and they’d be unsure of what to do. Additionally, most people who ask how you are don’t really want you to be honest, they just want you to know they made an attempt to connect and then move on with their day. Now, that may sound harsh, but it’s inherently true. We don’t ask “how ya doing” to have someone respond with “actually, I’m horrible and let me tell you why” – we ask because it’s socially expected for us to ask, and we hope the person reciprocates with the same and we move on to a short, surface level empty conversation before diving back into our phones/work/kids/etc.

So, in an effort to be more transparent and to get some things off my chest and into the universe somewhere, I thought it might help if I wrote out some of the complexities of my unhappiness to try and start figuring out where to move forward to change that. I think the transparency will help people learn a little more about the person I actually am, rather than just who I choose to show people. Maybe that will change opinions about me, maybe it won’t. I’ve decided to start using my blog for this because well… it’s a blog. More than that, I find writing out my thoughts and feelings therapeutic, but I think it’s important that I share that with others too in order to take it a step further. Maybe my thoughts can help inspire/encourage/motivate others, or maybe they can just help shed light on why I’m the specific brand of weird that I am.

Most importantly, I think we always wait to reflect on our relationships until a person is gone and I don’t want to do that. I want people to know how I feel about them, how their friendship/mentorship/love has changed me, for better or worse, before it’s too late to tell them. I also want to be able to change the depth of my relationships before it gets to be too late for me. And, in some aspect, I truly do believe in the idea that feelings are truly felt until they’re expressed to someone else and I think a lot of the reason I feel so unhappy with the trajectory of my life is that I’ve bottled a lot of this up and haven’t shared it with anyone in it’s entirety. Enter the internet….

With that being said, I’m long winded so I certainly can’t post it all in one sitting (well… I could…but the likelihood of anyone reading through it all is slim to none…. Unless you’re a past co-worker who wants to turn me in – HEYYYOOOO – bad joke…long story…maybe you’ll learn the tale late). So for now, I’ll leave you with the idea that sparked this whole project of mine.

As I mentioned hours ago, I turn 30 this year.

With that, I’d like to do 30 things in my 30th year. I think this will help give me focus and direction as I explore why it is I’m so miserable, and hopefully will help me, as they say, “find myself”. So here is my list:

  • 1.       Do something that scares me (posting this nonsense might count as this – TBD)
  • 2.       Volunteer somewhere
  • 3.       Spend more time with my nieces/nephews
  • 4.       Make a concerted effort to be more financially responsible
  • 5.       Make an even more concerted effort to eat healthier and avoid early death from organ failure.
  • 6.       Actually use the gym membership I pay for.
  • 7.       Travel outside the country (or plan a trip to do that – see  number 4)
  • 8.       Make an honest effort to go on a date with someone I don’t actually know.
  • 9.       Try a little harder at my appearance (i.e. style my hair, maybe wear makeup)
  • 10.   Get a dog
  • 11.   Visit my friends who live out of state
  • 12.   Go to NYC and see another broadway show
  • 13.   Sing in some type of performance-based thing (musical/choir etc.)
  • 14.   Explore my spirituality and faith and grow closer to God.
  • 15.   Read my Bible more
  • 16.   Say no more often and find balance in my work and life
  • 17.   Plan and organize things ahead of time rather than flying by the seat of my pants
  • 18.   Help someone with something even if I don’t want to
  • 19.   Forgive people for things I’m holding on too
  • 20.   Call or text my friends more to see how they’re doing rather than just to complain about things
  • 21.   Be more attentive during conversations and live in the moment
  • 22.   Spend less time on my phone
  • 23.   Read ALL THE BOOKS (or at least 50)
  • 24.   Write more often – feelings, fiction, prose, doesn’t matter – just do it
  • 25.   Pay off a student loan
  • 26.   Learn how to do something new
  • 27.   Be nicer to my family even if it’s super hard
  • 28.   Buy less things and invest in more experiences
  • 29.   Take more pictures with people
  • 30. Be more positive and talk about myself with less negativity.

So there you go folks, that’s my list. I’m also open to suggestions if there are other things people think I should add. I’m all for ideas!

So this is the start of my journey. If you’ve read this, thanks, friend – I appreciate that you care enough! I don’t know what will come next, but I’m hoping it will be interesting enough that you’ll stick around.

As I think about what comes next, I need to say this – I am fully aware that I am a very privileged person in many avenues and as a result I think I sometimes down play the impact that certain things have had on my life. As a counselor I’ve been trained to connect to the emotions rooted in a persons experience and can often find the deeper meaning buried in something seemingly small to others, but I struggle immensely with connecting to my own. At any rate, I’m going to attempt to do so by being brutally honest about the things that plague me most in my never ending thought parade in my head. There is a large chance that while I will not name names of people who are involved, there is a strong likelihood that you may know who I’m referring to, or be the person I’m referring to. It’s not my intent to degrade, demean or demonize (alliteration for the wiiiiin) anyone with these posts. This is about ME. No one else. Also, let’s remember there are two perspectives to every situation and I am likely just as much at fault as anyone.

I just want that disclaimer out there for anyone who may read things later on and become frustrated. If you find yourself frustrated, please just talk to me. Connecting is more or less what this whole thing is about.

With that, I leave you all until next time (whenever I decide that will be).

Depression Is

I am utterly exhausted.

It turns out that masking your emotions and keeping up a good impression is an immense amount of work. I am not equipped to continue to act as though I am not completely and utterly lost.

But that’s what depression is, right?

Depression isn’t sadness or anger that manifests as sleeping through days only to wake up more sad and angry.
Depression is waking up and smiling when someone asks her how things are going.
Depression is “can’t complain” and “oh you, know, same old stuff” so that the person she’s talking to isn’t obligated to actually listen to her crippling sadness.

Depression is deleting that facebook status, text message or tweet so that people don’t read it and assume she’s fishing for attention.
Depression is being terrified of posting the emotional blog post meant to cope with emotion because the last one made it’s way to her boss.
Depression is not admitting the depths of her torment so that she don’t scare people into making her situation worse when they realize the reality of her present thoughts.
Depression is holding on to her pain and fucked up thought process so that she doesn’t burden someone else’s mind with her already unbearable load.
Depression shares the lyrics, poems and words she hopes you’ll see reflect her pain on the inside but then says “oh I just liked them” when you ask why she shared them.

Depression looks like smiles and laughter and sarcasm attending parties or lunch dates, when she’d rather cry and stare at the wall.
Depression is not getting offended when her friends tell her that she’ll “never get a date with confidence like that” or “maybe if you weren’t so cynical all the time someone would want to be with you”.
Depression is blindly allowing people to tell her, “you’re amazing” after they just criticized her personality, because pointing out the contradiction would be “negative”. Depression is taking pictures of other people so that she doesn’t ever have to be in them.
Depression wishes she had more pictures with the people she loves.
Depression is going to the event where everyone will ask her to talk about her life she hates and chatting with everyone.
Depression cracks the joke before you find time to pity her.

Depression cries herself to sleep at night, desperately wishing someone cared about her enough to want to hold her.
Depression goes to bed alone every night still believing in love and celebrating the joy their friends find in one another.
Depression avoids looking into mirrors to see the outward appearance that the world deems unattractive but smiles graciously when you tell her “you’re so pretty when you try”.
Depression pretends like “trying” to be more fit/active/pretty is annoying so it feels intentional when you’re not getting the more polished version.
Depression lets you find her dates on tinder even though the thought of someone meeting her face to face and running from her appearance leaves her feeling empty and ashamed.

Depression works tirelessly to be positive and uplifting for those around her because someone always has it worse.
Depression has to pretend your unintentional comments haven’t left her feeling envious and upstaged.
Depression needs to “stop” and “love herself” otherwise no one else will.
Depression can’t answer the question “how are you” honestly without ruining her chances at finding love, success or new friendships.
Depression has a million reasons to smile and be grateful, but can’t seem to reach them even on the best days.

Depression will go to sleep alone and wait to see who reads/comments on her posts but still not fully comprehend being loved and cared for.
Depression can’t show her face to you because nothing so ugly and worthless should take up your time.
Depression can’t let you see what she really looks like when she’s broken.
Depression doesn’t trust you not to walk away when she does.

Depression is exhausting, and I am drained.

Sky in the Deep

IMG_6283.PNG

Title: Sky in the Deep
Author:
Adrienne Young
Hardcover:
 352 pages
Publisher: Wednesday Books (April 24, 2018)
Rating: 5/5

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.”

If you’re a fan of fierce AF female lead characters you absolutely HAVE to read this book! Adrienne Young has gifted this world with a gripping story rooted in family and honor that features characters you’re sure to love.

Eelyn is a 17-year-old (because this is YA) Aksa Viking devoted to her father and her tribe. Wielding an axe, this girl is a total badass alongside her best friend as they go into battle against the Riki. Eelyn never expected to see her brother, long-since dead from his last battle, fighting alongside her enemy. Eelyn follows her brother, leading to her capture by the Riki, and is then faced with the challenge of surviving in an enemy tribe while learning the truth of her brothers betrayal.

Eelyn is the character every girl wishes they could be – she’s fierce, she’s loyal, she’s beautiful, she can kick your ass and she’s unbelievably stubborn. Young does a phenomenal job developing her into this complex character as she battles her desire to return home and hatred for the Riki against her internally caring nature and love for family. Young’s writing will have you rooting for Eelyn to escape while you are simultaneously pining for her to remain with Fiske, our handsome love interest.

The world is rich with Viking culture; battle, spiritual guides and rituals, and some all-to-real violence that paints a vivid picture of the dangers our main character faces as she is thrown into an enemy camp. Young balances honesty to culture with gripping story telling that leaves readers completely immersed in this violent and captivating world. Young does a fantastic job weaving in romantic and family subplots that enhance the storyline rather than feel out of place or overused.

At it’s core, this story is about defying the odds and unity. Eelyn starts the novel as a character hell bent on proving herself in battle and destroying her enemy. Along the way, Eelyn sees that both the Aska and the Riki share a common enemy and must work to unite the tribes to work together, overcoming generations of hatred.

I absolutely loved this book and it’s a must read for anyone who loves YA novels that feature complex and fierce lead characters without a lot of frill and excessive emphasis on the romantic subplot. You get all the feels AND all the action. It’s a win-win and definitely a five star read!