Wait For It

This is a Really Real Widow Post.

But also a Really Real Mental Health Post.

One of those that blur the lines because in the days after Parker died it was hard to tell where grief ended and depression began, where mania subsided and constant running for distraction took over.

That first year was probably the hardest year of my life. I found dozens of different methods to cope, trying one thing after another, some of them helping, others being left behind. One thing that kept me going was making playlists based on where I was in my grieving process. There was”Cry” and “Remembering Her” and “Joy” and the one that got the most play was the “You Got This” playlist.

One of the songs on there was “Wait For It” from Hamilton.

For me, that was my song that told me no matter how bad I felt in that moment, if I just kept fighting, things would get better. I just had to wait for it. There were nights that my suicidal thoughts were screaming in my ear, urging me to join Parker out of desperation to see her again. I would put “Wait For It” on repeat, blasting it through headphones trying to drown out the thoughts. It was one of my anthems urging me to just hold on.

I listened to the entire Hamilton soundtrack on repeat hoping that one day they’d put it on TV so that I could actually see it. Seeing it in person didn’t even cross my mind, because that was outside the realm of possibility for me. It wasn’t even on my radar. That was something that other people dreamed of, my hopes were much simpler than that.

But in the three years since then my life has changed. I’ve started seeing more of life, started seeing there is more than just survival. I knew it wasn’t likely, but just maybe, one day I’d get to see Hamilton in person. The soundtrack was such a huge part of my life, I knew the lyrics by heart, seeing it preformed would be amazing.

Tickets went on sale locally. Of course they were way outside of my price range, and they were so hard to get. I knew there was no way.

And then Wonder Woman calls me to tell me some friends were taking us to see Hamilton as an engagement gift.

What?!?!?

This can’t be real.

I spent weeks just knowing it wasn’t real. That any day now someone would tell me it was all bullshit. That I wasn’t really going. I had misunderstood, they had changed their mind, I dreamed it. I refused to get excited, I just got anxious. More and more anxious.

And then the night is here. We walk up the street and I see the marquee. Holy Shit! I’m going to see Hamilton.

Such a mix of emotions the entire show. While there was amazement and excitement and awe, there was also this mix of grief and remembrance. What if she had just realized that she could wait for it. That life could be like this. That maybe one day she could sit in a theater and see something as amazing as Hamilton.

But holding Wonder Woman’s hand, sitting beside her and feeling her emotions, feeling my own emotions, just being there. Actually being present in that moment. The audience disappeared and it was just us and the stage. My anxiety was gone, my grief was gone,

I was enthralled.

I’ve had a hard life, there’s no denying that. I’ve been through more than a lot of people can imagine. I still have a lot to process and heal. But my life is good. Honestly my life is pretty amazing and as hard as it is to see sometimes, I believe I will continue to make forward progress It might be slow progress, but it will be forward progress towards better things. And you know what?

I’m willing to wait for it.

Doing the Things.

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

Do you hear what I hear?

I mean, probably not because you’re where you are, and not where I am . . . but I hear the sound of calm and quiet and stillness.  Even my brain is quiet for the moment.

I was over emotional earlier this week and I think it was the beginning of some hypomania sneaking in, but it went away as quickly as it showed up. Now I’m just . . . calm. The feeling of stability I get where I try not to wonder when it will all go wrong again.

There are a few dishes in the sink but it’s not like I don’t feel like I can do them because of depression. I just don’t want to do them, because who the fuck really wants to do dishes. That’s the difference, when I’m depressed I get to the point that I want to clean up the mess around here and I just can’t do it, sometimes I want to have the desire to clean up the mess and can’t even find that.

But right now I’m not really fighting against that.

I just feel, okay.

And okay feels really good right now.

 

 

 

 

Poor Me

This is a Really Real Pity Party Post.

Sometimes my financial situation gets to me. Tonight, I was doing the dishes, listening to a podcast that happened to be about plus size fashion, and it hit me.

I’m never going to be able to afford those kinds of clothes!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to be where I’m at compared to where I was. Three years ago I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pay the rent each month and I never knew whether I could keep the lights on. Three years before that I was living in a homeless shelter. But even now, I’m getting help to stay afloat. I mostly wonder if I’ll ever be financially independent.

I’m afraid I’ll never be.

But today that wasn’t what bothered me.

I want more than the bare minimum. I want to be that person who can afford to do shit without worrying about it. Today I’m feeling greedy and I’m honestly in tears because I know that even if I get a degree and get a job and get off disability I’m never going to be “wealthy”. I’m always going to struggle. I will be lucky to ever reach middle class.

I’m in a better place than I was, but I still send a frantic text message asking for money when mobility leaves me and I have to take a Lyft, because that $30 just wasn’t in the budget this month.

I’m lucky to have family that helps me out that way, I appreciate that I have the help, but damnit. I don’t want to need the help. I want to be the person in a good enough position that I can hand out help and not think twice about it. I want to be the person with a house and cars and the ability to travel around the world. I want to be able to see places and do things.

I want to be spontaneous in really big ways and not worry that I won’t be able to buy food at the end of the month because of it.

I want more than poverty and for just this moment, I want even more than middle class.

I want more than I’ll ever have, and tonight, I’m having a really hard time with it. Life really dealt me a shitty set of cards and I played them to the best of my ability, but that doesn’t change where I’m at.

Normally I don’t care about money, so I’m not sure why I’m so upset about it tonight. I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal right now.

It would be nice to live that life though.

And it would have been even nicer to have a life that would have allowed me to get there.

Head In The Sand

This is a Really Real Post.

I’ve had this post floating around in my head for most of the day.

Little bits and pieces of it coming to me, but for the most part I’ve been unsure how to put it into words. Now that I’m putting fingers to keys I keep writing and erasing because nothing I put seems to fit quite right. Nothing really gets to the point I’m trying to make.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t figured out what point I’m trying to make.

This week as soon as Wonder Woman shared the article pointing out that J.K. Rowling is a TERF, I deleted the Harry Potter game I had just started enjoying. I’m kinda bummed that I haven’t read some of the newer books, but now I never will. I won’t get into the politics of it, I won’t get into an argument about it, I just won’t support a person who follows that many people who hate my fiancee just for existing. I won’t support a person who very likely, herself, hates my fiancee just for existing.

For those who aren’t aware of the terminology, TERF is Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. They have a lot of hatred towards trans people, trans women specifically. I don’t really want to spend this post writing about it, but feel free to do your own research.

Before I started dating Wonder Woman I wouldn’t have worried about this, though. It wouldn’t have been a blip on my radar.

Just like before I came out as some version of queer, I ate at Chick-fil-a, and didn’t think twice.

Just like before I lost my wife to suicide I used the phrases committed suicide and Russian Roulette and did the finger gun to the head bit.

Once we know better we do better, hopefully.

Sometimes, well, often, we learn more because the world hands us a big helping of life experience and we have to take our head out of the sand.

I’ve gotten a few messages from friends who feel that, because I’m trans-adjacent, I’m a good person to ask about Harry Potter this, or J.K. Rowling that. I appreciate that the discussion is being had. I’m glad they care enough to think about it instead of moving blindly forward with their head still buried. Please keep the discussion going. But the fact is, each of us has to decide what we’re comfortable with. Just because I deleted my game and won’t read the books I haven’t read yet, doesn’t mean you’ll make the same decision. And I won’t tell you to.

But I also won’t tell you it’s fine if you keep doing it.

I’m still not sure what my point is.

But it really pisses me off that now I need to figure out how to separate the author from the world I spent my pregnancy engrossed in. I have fond memories of reading those books, fond memories of falling asleep to the movies with my late wife.

But that doesn’t change what I’ve learned.

And now that I know better, I’ll do better.

Defining Myself

This is a Really Real . . .

Well, I’m not sure how to categorize it actually.

It’s maybe a Really Real Dating Post and kind of a Really Real Identity Crisis Post.

Wonder Woman and I are polyamorus (simply put, we can openly and separately date other people) even though we’ve been functionally monogamous for the majority of our relationship.

This isn’t really about that, but it’s about defining myself for a dating profile and I figured I’d mention the whole polyamory thing before someone thinks we’re either breaking up or that I’m cheating in a very strange out in the open way. Neither of which is happening here.

Online dating means having a profile.

Which means I need to define myself.

Which is fucking hard.

I go to the gym almost daily, but I’m not really all that into fitness.

I write almost daily, but I don’t really know anything about writing.

I love coffee, but can’t really discuss any of the finer details or even explain what I like (Starbucks is fine, thank you very much).

I love cooking, but couldn’t tell you my favorite meal.

I enjoy officiating with derby, but don’t really do derby.

I’m a widow and that changed my life in HUGE ways, but I’m not only a dead woman’s wife.

I can have long conversations about weekly doctors appointments and DBT classes and therapy, and what’s it’s like to survive with not enough money and too much trauma.

I can’t keep up with politics or anything else in the news. I don’t read or watch TV or follow any current pop culture. I’m not big into board games or even video games. I can fake my way through conversations about music but mostly have no idea who sang which songs but I might know a few of the lyrics.

And all of this seems like a really negative way to describe myself but every time I think about who I am as a whole, that’s all I see.

All the things I’m not.

So, even though I don’t believe one person can meet all of my needs and I wouldn’t want her to even if she could.  And even though I strongly believe in polyamory as the right choice for me. I still haven’t really put much effort into dating, partially because I can’t figure out how to put myself out there authentically.

I can’t really figure out who I am.

And it makes me sad.

Wonder Woman obviously sees something in me. I have friends who obviously want to spend time around me so I obviously have good qualities. But being a good friend, a good listener, a kind person, those things aren’t really who I am and what I like to do.

Those things aren’t the kinds of things you use to describe yourself to another person.

Dating is hard!

How far?

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

I’ve written about this before, but it’s been getting worse again and I feel like not enough people talk about this type of mental health. It seems too “strange” to put it into words, and also, everyone experiences it differently which makes it harder to find commonalities. The typical type of dissociation that everyone can relate to, is zoning out when driving and having no real memory of going from point A to point B, maybe even driving home when you meant to go to the store because you were so out of it and just automatically followed your normal route.

This is my experience of it.

It happens at least once a day right now, but sometimes twice, or even three times. Sometimes more, maybe, I didn’t always count. But, I’ve started keeping track on my DBT diary card.

How big are my hands? Definitely too big for my body.

How far away is my computer screen? Why is it across the room when I’m sitting right here?

Why are sounds echoing when the room hasn’t changed?

My face seems to flicker, it feels like trying to watch something on Pay Per View when you didn’t pay for it, back in the days when that was a thing.

A mouth feel like biting on Styrofoam, and a taste to go with it. I don’t actually know what Styrofoam tastes like, but this must be it.

Why is everything too small for my hands?

How far does my spoon have to travel from my bowl to my face? Feeding myself becomes a chore, no longer an automatic task.

Don’t forget to chew.

My thoughts are slowed, I feel as if my speech is too. Those around me say they can’t notice anything different.

Derealization.

Dissociation.

Having names for it helps. It is a known thing, just a shift in my perception of reality, nothing has actually changed. Knowing I don’t seem to act differently to anyone else helps too.

I’ve learned to just keep moving through it, not let it stop me from whatever I was doing. It seems to pass quicker that way.

Some people are able to identify triggers that bring these episodes on. I haven’t found any regular ones yet. I know that talking about it makes it try to happen, but I can often fight that. I’ve been holding it back the entire time I’ve been writing this. Sometimes it happens when I’m bored and lost in thought, other times when I’ve read too long at the computer, sometimes when I’m stressed, sometimes when I’m happy, sometimes none of those seem to apply.

For some people grounding helps bring them out of an episode. For me, ignoring it and moving forward helps better. Grounding or mindfulness exercises just makes me focus on it and gives it more power.

Is dissociation something you cope with? If you feel comfortable sharing, let me know what yours feels like and your coping methods.

Lets shine some light into all of those dark spaces and help end the stigma.

 

Things To Do When I’m Alone

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post.

That’s it! I’m tired of spending my alone time laying around in bed moping like some lost puppy.

I totally get it, missing Wonder Woman is like grief all over again but I can’t keep doing this. It puts me into a dangerous position especially when suicidal intrusive thoughts work their way into the mix. It’s time for a plan of attack.

I need a list of things to do.

This feels silly, why does a 38 year old woman need to sit down and write out a list of interesting things to do when she’s alone? But the fact is, once I’m alone, my mind goes blank and gets filled with nothing but sad and grief and bored and a shit load of spiraling thoughts that often land on suicide. If the way out of this mess is a list of things to do, then lets start making that list!

Creative Stuff

  • design shirts (even if I can’t make them)
  • design stickers (even if I don’t know where to stick them)
  • look up new shirt/sticker designs
  • chainmaille
  • diamond painting
  • etched glass

Cooking

  • figure out how to make a current recipe healthier
  • find new healthy recipes
  • cook something Wonder Woman doesn’t like (EAT ALL OF THE SEAFOOD!!!!!)

Cleaning

  • who am I kidding, if I’m in the mood to clean, there is no shortage and I don’t need a list

Self Care

  • finally use one of those lush bath bombs (I am my own special occasion)
  • read one of the psych books
  • read one of the grief books
  • go for a long walk, alone

Entertainment

  • get over phobia of Xbox and watch Netflix
  • get over phobia of Xbox and play video games (finally get into Kingdom Hearts)
  • play one of my many video games on the computer

 

I’m sure there are dozens more ideas I can add, but this is a good start. If you can think of anything I don’t have here let me know so I can keep this growing.