Authentically Me.

This is a Really Real Identity Post.

A few months ago I wrote Defining Myself, an identity crisis post where I was having a hard time figuring out what to write in a dating profile.¬† I wrote out all of the things I’m not or didn’t do wholeheartedly, but it was hard to describe who I am. A few people on Facebook told me I should put just what I wrote.

I never did.

But lately a few people have told me how amazing it is that I’m not afraid to be my authentic self.

I was taken aback every time I heard that.

I hadn’t described what I do as being my authentic self, and I definitely was, and am afraid.

I just wear the clothes that appeal to me. I dye my hair the colors that I love. I write my story and share my truth because it’s cathartic, and also because it educates and helps me commiserate with other people.

It took me hearing other people say it for me to realize I am authentically and (mostly) unapologetically me.

I still don’t know how to describe who I am, but I’m realizing I do live my truth.

There’s a meme that floats around “Be so authentic that it inspires others to be themselves.” Or something like that. I have a hard time believing that is who I am.

But others tell me that they are learning to speak their truth and live their truth because they see me doing it.

And I have to admit, the more I live my truth, the bigger and brighter my smile gets.

I’m still anxious, almost constantly. Way more anxious than I think a lot of people realize.¬† Being true to myself is hard in a world that doesn’t quite get people like me.

There’s another meme, “Speak your truth and see who sticks around. Those are the people who get a spot in your blanket fort.” I posted that once and was privately told that they didn’t get the point in sharing that, because, duh. (I’m paraphrasing.) I explained that for most of my life I didn’t realize that was how this worked.

I was worried about fitting in with everyone, being liked by everyone, not standing out and blending into the crowd so I wasn’t really seen.

I’m just now, within the last 3 years, realizing that life is too short to be anything but who I am.

It really sucks that it took her death to make me realize this.

But now I’m surrounded by people who get me and want to be around the real me. I am surrounded by more and more people. I have a supportive group of friends that is unlike anything I’ve ever known.

I’m not like this to inspire others. I’m like this because hiding, blending in, and being anyone other than myself was part of a slow suicide that happened for years.

That said, I do appreciate hearing the stories of people who beginning to live their own truth. It takes bravery to stop blending in.

I’m glad I get to be a part of that.

I deserve love.

This is a Really Real Mental Health post.

I’m surrounded by love and I deserve to be. That’s a profound statement coming from me, especially the second part.

I. Deserve. Love.

Sometimes I can’t remember that.

Sometimes, especially now that I’m “living my best life” I wonder how I deserve any of this.

“You deserve happiness, we both do.” Wonder Woman and I mention that (or some variation of it) to each other on at least a weekly basis. I need the reminder when things in my head are dark.

I look for the other shoe to drop whenever things are good. Things can’t be this good, not without something going wrong.

And the thing is, when I’m doing well things still go wrong. Deciding not to have surgery threw me for a loop. I sobbed in Wonder Woman’s arms, I sobbed in the shower, I sobbed while writing the post about it.

But I kept moving forward.

And now it doesn’t seem that bad. It was a blip on the radar in an otherwise great life.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have an amazing fiancee. We communicate better than I could ever imagine. Our relationship is so gentle and calm. I love her and feel loved in return. I still look for things to fall apart. I still wonder what thing I’m going to do that will drive her away.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I have a derby spouse . (It’s a derby thing.)¬† They are one of my closest friends. We check on each other on a regular basis, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. We encourage each other constantly. They are exceptionally kind to me and I am kind to them. I still wonder what I’m missing. Are they just pretending to be my friend. Am I really worthy of a friendship like this?

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

I’m in a new relationship. It has flowed together so smoothly. We are spending lots of time learning about each other and our lives. I care for her and feel cared for. And I still look for the other shoe. I’m waiting for someone to get upset with this polyamorus situation and call and end to it. I’m waiting for her to to decide that I’m not right for her.

I’m surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There are other important friendships, people I have known for years, people that supported me through Parker’s death, best friends, close friends, those friendships that can’t be defined.

I am surrounded by love, and kindness, and caring,

and I deserve it.

There’s my family that loves and supports me, sometimes by telling me hard truths that I need to hear, sometimes financially, sometimes by loving me in the best way they know how.

I am surrounded by love.

And I deserve it.

You deserve it too.

Bounce Back

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I started an all day, 5 days a week, Partial Hospitalization Program last Wednesday.

The school semester started today.

Therapy every Friday afternoon.

Derby and NAMI Wednesday nights.

I need to get back to the Gym.

Somewhere in there I need to clean the house and grocery shop and cook dinner and pack my lunch.

I keep expecting myself to be 100%.

This weekend I got so mad at myself because Friday I ended up melting down. I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. I was overwhelmed. I was realizing that there was so much that needed to be done with school starting and here I was away for the weekend.

But the alternative was staying home alone for three days which didn’t feel like the greatest idea either.

So while I was in the car trying to nap I was also beating myself up. The crisis was over, why couldn’t I handle this?

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

They only let me come home because I’m safe.

But that doesn’t mean the thoughts are gone.

That doesn’t mean this mood episode has totally passed, even though I try to act like it has.

The good news is, Saturday and Sunday were a lot better. I was able to relax into the flow of a tournament. I met some new people. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in awhile. I watched some great derby.

I enjoyed myself.

But the knowledge of what was coming as soon as I got home was still looming over my head. I looked at my classes online a few times. Tried to read some of the coursework. The words got jumbled in my brain. My focus isn’t quite where it should be, quite where I need it to be.

I’m overwhelmed.

And that’s okay.

Because I’m not 100%. I’m not even 50%. I’m not suddenly, overnight, all better, just because they let me come home.

I still have a lot of healing left to do.

I need to cut myself some slack.

No one is expecting perfection.

Except me.

Except me.

Except.

Me.

Maybe this isn’t the semester to worry about deans list and honors programs. Maybe this isn’t the semester to return to full time classes. Maybe passable work and part time classes are just fine.

Maybe a messy house and Instacart and frozen meals.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider some priorities, even if just for now.

Maybe I’m allowed to be less than 100%. Maybe even less than 50%. Maybe I’m not expected to be suddenly, overnight, all better.

Healing takes time.

Working on myself has to be the top priority.

Otherwise, I’ll never bounce back.