Read the room dumbass

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Today I remembered what it was like to be in Middle School again.

Or Elementary School,

Or High School.

They all blur together.

Someone posted something,

I don’t know them very well,

but I thought they were hurting.

I misunderstood the post.

I’ve never been very good at reading a room.

I also don’t do small talk.

I don’t connect to people over “Hi” and “What do you do for a living?”

I connect to people over really real shit.

So, I thought they were hurting.

And I reached out, to say things that felt right to say in the situation.

From the little I knew.

From the bits and pieces I’d seen come across my page.

Nothing specific, but just generic, heart felt, ramblings.

It’s funny, it was about how we are all both the hero and the villain in a situation depending on who is telling the story, and how that is okay.




It turned out their post was actually about the cat that was pictured.

And not a vague book with a random cat photo attached.



And I quickly became the villain in their telling of the story.

And in their friends telling of the story.



And that is okay.

I know that I did what I always do.

I tried to be really real and open and honest and heartfelt and vulnerable.

And I got reminded why it’s dangerous to do that around people you don’t know well.

And how it can be unsolicited advice.

And how it can seem like I’m standing on a soap box.

And how it can appear that I’m being overly intimate.



When the situation was over, I told myself, and those around me, that I was fine.

I understood.

It was no big deal.

But I wasn’t fine

I had reached out.

I had been my big bright shiny self.

And I got my hand slapped.

And the second my hand was slapped I checked that persons facebook to see who our mutual friends were, who was I going to be embarrassed in front of.

And I fought back and forth between dirty deleting and leaving it there.

And I started questioning all of my good intentions and wondering why I wasn’t normal like everyone else?

Why I can’t just see a cat picture as a cat picture?

Why do I talk to strangers in grocery stores and have us hugging before we leave the line?

Why do I have deep conversations with Lyft drivers?

Why do I have no conversational boundaries?

And as the day went on I shrank further and further into myself.



It isn’t a big deal, most likely.

I was out of line, I didn’t know this person and it wasn’t my place to help even if they were hurting.

I was too wordy and had no idea what I was talking about.

I was butting my face where it didn’t belong.

I know better than to comment on posts, I don’t do it often, because I’m afraid of that embarrassment when I read the “room” wrong.

I often read the room wrong.

Its why I’m super quiet in a group,

but talk non stop one on one.

It’s harder to have that large scale embarrassment if only one person is there to witness your fuck up.

So, today I remembered why I’m both quiet and loud, depending on the situation.

Today I remembered why I try so hard not to be too much.

And I’d love to say that this doesn’t bother me and I can move on,

but that’s not the case.

I learned my lesson.

And, before someone reads this wrong, no one responding to that post did anything wrong.

I came out of left field with some big emotional response to something where it wasn’t warranted, and there was a reaction of “WTF” and, because they don’t really know me, “Who the fuck”

But, it was still a stark reminder that I am not like everyone else.

And sometimes that really really hurts.



Quiet

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

It’s quiet.

Even with the music playing there’s an underlying quiet to the night.

She’s already sleeping.

My brain is slowing wandering,

not racing,

just gently moving from one thought to the next.

Gentle,

but not kind.

I’m trying to counter each thought as they come.

I got up early this morning,

got out of the house.

I had plans after.

Errands that needed to be run.

Instead I slept.

After waking up early, I figured a nap was fine.

But that nap didn’t want to end.

Wonder Woman picked up the groceries,

and brought them in,

and put them away.

I barely registered that she was home.

Eventually she let me know that there was dinner.

I dragged myself out of bed.

I feel like there’s so much I’m not doing.

I’m blaming myself,

as if its some character flaw.

If only I tried harder,

pushed myself more,

I’d pull through this.

I had more I wanted to write.

Counterthoughts to these thoughts.

But I’m yawning.

My eyes are heavy.

Time to go back to bed.

The Days Before

This is a Really Real Widow post.

A few days ago, the last picture I ever took of her came across my TimeHop.

A couple of weeks before that was the video I took right before she went in for surgery.

The surgery that technically had nothing to do with her death.

But stress adds up.

For a long time, I wanted to blame it on the anesthesia.

It felt like she was off from the day of surgery,

but I also think desperation was setting in.

Who knows.

It won’t change the outcome anyway.

It’s only the 6th . . .

her actual death day isn’t until the 8th.

Or the 7th if you consider when she actually took the pills.

These final few days before the yearly anniversary of her passing are so so hard.

They drag out slowly.

Little memories popping up here and there.

Emotions running on high.

I know the actual day will feel like I finally let out the breath I’ve been holding for the past week.

It always does.

I talked to Kidlet about having a virtual get together with friends.

Friends that knew her.

Maybe even friends that wanted to get to know her through our stories.

When I brought it up to him it felt like the most important thing in the world.

For him, the day doesn’t hold as much weight, but he wanted to go along whatever was most healing for me.

I don’t know what I’ll end up doing that day.

Right now the gathering doesn’t seem as important.

Honestly, each year I feel like it’s not a big deal this year.

And then I find myself holding my breath anyway.

This year I keep trying to relax.

Trying to unclench my shoulders.

Trying to stay in the moment.

Trying to remember that these days are important where I am now.

That it’s far more important than wrapping myself up in the emotions of the past.

Today I stood quietly while the vet administered the medications that allowed Trillian, the grumpy old lady of the house, to peacefully drift off.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in the room for that process.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to be there for this one either.

But I stood there beside Wonder Woman,

rubbing her arm and reminding her that I was beside her while she pet her sweet kitty through the whole process.

I wondered if Parker took her last breath that peacefully.

I wondered how different it would have been if we had been able to offer my dad the same humane way to end his not so gradual demise.

Death is inevitable.

It’s the only thing we know for certain will happen when we take our first breath.

It still comes as a shock on the day it arrives.


Ouch

This is a Really Real Chronic Pain post.

Most of the time, pain is just a part of who I am.

This slow current that runs just underneath my skin.

It spikes and sparks in different locations at different times.

But it’s just there.

I take my daily medications and go on with my life.

I try to do things that will help,

and I’m not always great at keeping up a routine.

Some days, the pain becomes unbearable.

The quiet hum beneath the surface becomes a constant roar that takes over everything.

I can’t get comfortable.

Everything just hurts.

Today is one of those days.

My body is screaming.

I use various meditations and coping mechanisms.

I spend time trying to just sit with it,

ride it out,

bringing my focus back to my breath or the project at hand every time I start to focus on the discomfort..

I take medications of varying types.

My narcotic that is only used for extreme situations.

I use my medical marijuana/cbd,

normally taken at microdose levels that just take the edge off.

Today I’ve increased the dose to intoxicating levels.

Even the calmness that comes with being high doesn’t keep the pain under the surface.

I use topical creams.

A heating pad.

I distract with various activities.

I constantly shift positions,

laying down,

sitting up,

walking around the house.

Its one of those nights where as much as I want to let it just be,

it feels unbearable.

I want to yell,

“Make it stop.

Please.”

I take an anxiety medication,

maybe if I can just calm my brain a bit.

Everything hurts.

Logically, I know this will pass.

I know this is just a period in time,

I know I’ve been through worse,

and I know, I’ll probably go through worse again.

But, in this moment it feels unfair.

I don’t deserve this.

I sit in the quiet house.

The white noise of fans all around me.

Right now,

this is what is.

And maybe,

writing this,

will make that a little easier to cope with.

Anger is Uncomfortable

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

Anger is uncomfortable.

I’m not good at it.

I’m good at rage.

So very good.

That feeling that bubbles up and explodes forth from my mouth.

Covering everyone around me.

And then,

it dissipates.

But anger is harder.

That anger when you have been wronged,

betrayed,

hurt.

The anger that needs time to work through.

Anger is uncomfortable.

And sometimes,

things can’t just be fixed.

Sometimes it takes time

Sometimes it takes a lot of processing.

And I never learned how to be okay with being angry.

It’s always been black or white.

I am angry and you will hear about it until it is fixed.

Or,

I am angry and I am done.

Now it’s,

I am angry,

but over time this will be okay.

I just haven’t learned what to do during that time.

How to be angry while still living a loving life.

Anger is just hard for me.

Anger is hard to sit with.

It’s hard to allow myself to be angry.

Anger just kind of sucks.

All of the things

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I started a new form of crafting last week.

A tiny little stamped cross stitch project just to see how I liked it.

After finishing that one, I went to Walmart and got a larger one, as well as a printed embroidery project, because honestly I didn’t notice they were different.

I can see myself doing both of these on a regular basis.

One more calming meditative skill to add into the rotation.

I love that this one is so portable.

I sat on the front porch in the sun the other day working on my current project,

I haven’t been able to do that since my chainmailling days.

I’m sure that particular craft will come back around at some point as well.

There’s still a bin of supplies in the basement.

The house feels foreign and strange.

While Wonder Woman hasn’t been deeply depressed for our entire relationship, there’s always been some level of it there.

And she’s never had energy or motivation.

That’s different now.

Even positive change is stressful.

Right now it’s entirely possible that she’s running a bit too high, medication induced hypomania,

but she’s been so low for so long that it’s honestly hard to tell what her new normal will look like.

She’s working closely with doctors, and it’s a process I understand very well from going through it on my own.

But the change in household energy and dynamic is hard.

I’m used to directing every little thing.

Or at least waiting until the last minute for it to be done.

I’ve always had this quiet anxiety in the back of my head about things that were her responsibility,

but that I could see her putting off till the last minute.

Sometimes they didn’t get done at all.

We spent this first 3 years of our relationship making sure that we didn’t overstep boundaries.

Those boundaries were drawn with red sharpie, keeping my problems and responsibilities separate from hers.

I didn’t realize how much I was emotionally dancing on her side,

while not saying anything.

Now, all of the things are being done.

Household tasks are handled without my input,

or at the very least, without any hesitation.

She’s working through her own paperwork and logistical stuff,

only asking for my input when it is needed.

And it’s strange for me.

In every relationship we have roles that we play,

and often those roles are comfortable, even if they are dysfunctional.

Our roles are changing.

Change is hard, even if it’s good.

We, as individuals,

and also as a couple,

are unfinished projects.

Over time things are going to change and become more clear.

There is no final picture.

We will keep adding to it,

going back and removing stitches that aren’t quite right,

incorporating new colors.

Each time there is anxiety as we wonder what the next version of the picture will look like.

We are not the same people we were during those first conversations on the internet.

That’s a really good thing.

But learning, and relearning each other is a process,

one that will hopefully be repeated many times over the years.

Change is hard and uncomfortable,

even when it’s positive.

Discomfort is part of growing.

It’s just a matter of learning to sit with it.

So Many Trains

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

My brain is full of thoughts running in so many different directions.

But it’s a calm chaos that I’m not used to.

I’m cleaning the house.

Deep cleaning that hasn’t happened since she moved in.

Deep cleaning that has been especially needed for the past year or more.

Staying home around the clock has been horrible for both of us.

It’s all been falling apart for awhile.

Should I have seen how bad things were?

Should I have seen the storm that was brewing?

I knew things were hard,

but I didn’t know how hard.

My life is spent talking openly about my struggles.

I shine light into all of the dark spaces.

I talk about the things that are hard to talk about.

But sometimes, people don’t know how to reach out.

How to put words to the struggle that is brewing within.

“I’m fine, this is fine,” has been a running joke in our house for as long as I can remember.

But it wasn’t a joke.

But, that is her story to tell, if and when she is ready.

My story in this, is that I was caught off guard.

I have craved stability for most of my life.

I keep finding it and losing it again,

crisis after crisis ripping the rug out from underneath me.

It’s hard to talk about that part.

But, supporting someone I love,

understanding how hard this all is,

being there as she finds her feet again,

doesn’t mean my difficulties with the situation aren’t valid.

Many people have supported me through my own struggles,

especially her,

and being on either side is hard.

But I can’t speak to her side of this.

My side is valid too.

I’m saying that to reassure me, not only to remind you.

Sometimes,

it feels like every time I find my own feet,

something pulls the rug.

This time I’m not falling down.

This time I’m creating my own stability in the middle of chaos.

I’m finding ways to control what I can.

Organizing my space, our space, to organize my mind.

Things will be okay on the other side.

Sometimes, you need a wakeup call to realize it isn’t working,

but that’s just an opportunity for change.

An opportunity for growth.

Sometimes, the rug being ripped out,

just shows you that you shouldn’t have the rug there in the first place.

Family

This is a Really Real Extended Family post.

This is a post about being estranged from birth family.

This post contains politics, differing beliefs, pain of loss.

Today, my Facebook and photo memories were full of pictures with my niece and nephews.

Without planning it, my sister, the kids and I, tended to get together around this time every year.

I had 3 pictures in a row of me holding my first nephew. Each year around his birthday I was lucky enough to see him, and get a picture as he aged.

I had 2 pictures with my niece, a year younger than her brother.

One picture with the youngest, a year younger than his sister.

The last time I saw them was just over a year ago, before the pandemic was even a thing.

We would regularly talk over video chat. My sister lining all 3 kids up in high chairs at the table and sitting the phone where I could talk with them all.

My sister and I have very different beliefs. She is a conservative born again Christian, super into a her MLM essential oils and anti science including vaccinations, and I am super liberal and queer.

We managed to coexist. We avoided those topics. She didn’t seem to judge me for my life and the way I lived it.

As the election got closer, she began posting more and more about her beliefs.

She posted an article that someone connected queer folk to pedophiles. She posted articles against transwomen, and trans rights. She became more verbal with the beliefs that directly hurt me.

I distanced myself more and more, unfollowed her so that she would no longer show up in my feed. I’d occasionally check her page for pictures of the kids. I enjoyed watching them grow.

It’s been 6 months since a video chat. She had the kids call me shortly after my dad died, to give me something to smile about.

She posted and texted me around the time that Trump was getting banned from various social media outlets. Telling me that because of something she posted, they were shutting down her Facebook in 24 hours and I could contact her via text.

I didn’t respond, I knew that Facebook doesn’t give you warning, she was just feeding into the political bullshit.

A few weeks later she was back on Facebook, I knew because she was reacting to my posts again.

I realized I was censoring my posts, not wanting to start family drama, not wanting to alienate anyone, not wanting to call her out on her bullshit.

I added her to my restricted list, she can no longer see what I post. At the same time I did the same with my youngest sister, and made sure my mom was still on the list as well.

I’ve slowly gone no contact with the family I lived with for the first 17 years of my life.

I didn’t make some big announcement, I haven’t addressed any of it with them.

I last heard from my Mom on Christmas, we exchanged 2 or 3 mundane texts. Before that it was Birthday wishes from her.

She’s even further down that rabbit hole of QAnon. Her beliefs aren’t just against who I am as a person, they are downright scary. She jumps from one conspiracy theory to the next, I had to tell her point blank to stop sending me messages about them. It took her awhile to listen.

My youngest sister is doing well, as far as I know. She doesn’t advertise her beliefs so I have no idea where she stands, but she’s so involved with the other two that it just feels safer to distance myself there as well. Every few months she messages to see how I’m doing, but rarely responds to what I say.

It’s painful. The memories are painful. The fact that I have to sacrifice the relationship with my niece and nephews is hard, probably one of the hardest parts of this.

But, I have an amazing chosen family. I am surrounded by people who choose to love me for who I am.

And I’m thankful for that.

Work in Progress

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

This is a Really Real Health post.

TW: Mention of weight, exercise, and food choices, but in a body accepting way.

I haven’t written a long post in a couple of weeks.

Short posts detailing my current day to day stuff have been ongoing.

It’s a different way of communicating.

But less cathartic.

When I’m doing well I don’t feel the need to write the long, soul spilling posts that have become such a coping tool for me.

And I am doing well.

I’m slowly figuring out what is mood and mental health related, and what is habit learned by months and months of being depressed.

I’m working on not judging myself for either.

A couple of weeks ago I got on a scale to see if I was above the weight limit for something.

It’s frustrating that many things aren’t built for someone my size.

But, the truth is, I am bigger than many things allow for, and I’m accepting that it isn’t my fault.

I am allowed to exist as I am, and it’s sad that there are things that won’t accommodate me.

I’ve started speaking up. Letting professional offices, especially those in medical settings, know that they should consider having some seating without arms, seating that will accommodate all body types.

But anyway,

I got on the scale again recently, and realized that even with making conscious food choices, and moving intentionally, I haven’t lost any weight.

And honestly, I felt okay with that.

I’m moving around easier, I’m enjoying the things my body can do for me.

I’m working on stretching and strengthening the muscles and joints that help me get from place to place. I’m working on gaining more mobility,

more stamina.

Some days I’m still sleeping more than I would like.

My mood seems a bit better, and I’m more productive on the days that I sleep less,

but I can’t always get myself out of bed in the morning,

even when I go to sleep early.

And that’s okay.

I’m a constant work in progress.

Pushing myself gently to do a little more than I think I can.

But loving myself either way.

And when I can’t love myself as I am,

I accept myself as I am.

I remind myself of all of the things I have survived and overcome.

I remember that my body does amazing things for me.

Movement helps with that.

Especially yoga,

it helps me get in touch with my body and my mind.

It helps me push just a little bit further.

Also, the videos I’m following remind me that it’s okay to modify things in ways that fit my body and my ability that day.

They remind me that it’s okay to need props and items that help.

They remind me that every body is different,

every body has different abilities.

And that every body takes up space.

At the end,

in my Savasana pose,

they remind me to take up as much space as I want.

To open my body and feel comfortable, instead of shrinking myself.

It pertains to mental health as well.

So often we try to shrink our emotions and our symptoms.

We try to fit into a box created by the world.

Right now I’m feeling that I’m not disabled,

but that I’m differently abled.

Not everyone can open up and share their struggles the way I do.

Not everyone can see their vulnerability as a strength.

Not everyone can change lives by speaking their truth.

Well, that isn’t quite true.

Everyone will change lives if they speak their truth.

But speaking our truth is hard.

Accepting our truth is hard.

Accepting ourselves is hard.

Accepting myself is hard.

But I’m doing it.

And lately,

more than accepting me as I am

I’m loving me,

for who I am,

and for what I have to offer.

It may not be the type of productivity that this capitalistic world sees as valuable.

But I’m learning,

because of those around me,

that value isn’t just monetary.

It catches you off guard

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

I’ve been dreaming a lot since my dad died.

Part of it is trauma, but also, one of my medications has a side effect of vivid dreams.

I remember a lot of dreams now.

Last night I had one that I kept waking up from, and then falling back to sleep into the same dream.

Over and over again.

Kidlet was still little, probably 10 or so.

Parker was there.

We didn’t really fight, but something happened and we decided it was best if we broke up.

The emptiness consumed me.

It woke me up,

and it was still there as I lay awake.

And it was waiting for me when I dozed back off.

This was a hard one.

Normally, when I dream about my dad or Parker, even within the dream I’m able to recognize that they are dead, and this is unreasonable.

But this time I didn’t.

She was still there, but was so far away.

I craved her comfort, but it wasn’t available.

It wasn’t a violent breakup, it was understood from both sides.

At one point, we were laying in bed together, talking, and I just wanted her to hold me,

I’m not sure if I asked,

but she didn’t.

She was there, but too far away.

We were both sad that it didn’t work out.

I think that made it harder.

The more I write about this, the more I see it was a grief dream.

It’s still hard to have that kind of grief.

I feel like I’m betraying the life I have now.

The love I have now.

Mostly,

being a widow is just there.

It’s far easier now than it was 4.5 years ago when she died.

It’s just another piece of the story that makes up my life.

But sometimes it comes to the forefront.

I feel tears just under the surface.

I miss her unbelievably much.

I miss that life.

Even though I don’t want to go back.

Seeing her right there,

just out of reach.

The pain is so real, and raw.

It feels so new.

Like it was awoken from within me.

Today,

being a widow,

is hard.