Alone

One of the things I have loved most about derby is how incredible the community is. I’ve spoken about it before, you walk into a rink with a few dozen women and feel like you’re home. Or at least, at home I feel that way. I have family there. I’m among my peers.

It took me a little while to get there. At first, the fact that I was surrounded by doctors and lawyers and people who were doing real things, felt really overwhelming to the part of my brain that still doesn’t know how to answer when people say “So, what do you do?”

“Well, I’ve spent 20 years trying to get a 4 year degree, and I’m disabled . . . Ummm, ummm . . .I’m trying to figure out what’s next.”

But eventually, they told me they wanted me around enough times that the doubting part of my brain started to actually believe it, and now, I walk into that skating rink and I know that I’m one of them, even on the days that my brain tells me I’m not.

And then I show up at something bigger like this and I’m reminded that I’m alone.

In the real world, my bright pink hair becomes a conversation starter. My outfits put people at ease when I nervously start talking to complete strangers for no apparent reason about completely off the wall topics that most people avoid. Those conversations help me connect to people in ways that most people don’t. I offer insight and information that most people don’t have. I end up with little connections everywhere. I’m awkward but it lets me own it.

This is derby. I blend here. But also, everyone runs in packs and I’m alone for a good part of the day while Wonder Woman is NSOing. It feels like every time I sit down to watch a game, someone is going to end up talking about that girl who was sitting alone acting awkward and eventually it will be figured out that I’m the only one here that’s alone among a thousand other people.

I’m also not all that into derby right now. I enjoy NSOing when my brain cooperates, but mostly, I don’t have the concentration to just sit and watch. I barely have the concentration to make it through a conversation.

I’m here because I wanted to do it back before I crashed. Back before I lost my concentration again.

I came anyway because it isn’t safe for me to be home alone all weekend. I needed a babysitter because I couldn’t be alone.

So instead, I’m in a car alone, listening to the rain, feeling alone in a group of people knowing that if my fucking brain would shut up, I could probably have a decent time like I did at BOTAS, but instead this feels like a punishment because I’m sick. And I know that it isn’t like that. I know I could have stayed home but I know that would have been a horrible idea for me. Right now I’m not sure if this was the right idea either.

I hate my dumb brain. I’m not suicidal, I’m not even horribly depressed or manic. I’m anxious as hell, I’m tired, I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m exhausted.

I’m alone even though I know I’m surrounded by people in so many ways.

I’m alone even though I’m not.

Reach

This week has been rough.  In between the smiles and the grieving through joy, there have been two celebrities that have died by suicide.  This means my Facebook feed has been filled with the public outcry of “please reach out for help” and “check on them they can’t reach out” as well as the quick, re-shared blogs and blurbs of suicide helplines and text lines.

Compassion porn filling my screen like some sort of virus.

These conversations need to be had.  Those numbers need to be prominent and saved in everyone’s phones but the question is, how many people who shared those numbers actually saved them in their phones so they have them quickly available if they, or someone close to them needs them.

Not many of us who struggle even save the numbers until we are in trouble.  We always think, not us, never us.

And when it comes to reaching out, or reaching in, it’s a two way street.

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I am responsible for my own shit.  And Parker was responsible for her own shit.

Six months before she died we had a fight.  She came out of the room and I happened to see her grab the box of medications, I checked on her and she told me she was getting the homeopathic anxiety medication.  The next day she checked herself in to the inpatient crisis unit and admitted that she had been planning on overdosing.  I found a hoard of medications while she was inpatient and I trashed them.

There were more fights between that day and the day she died.  None of those triggered that response.  The day she died, the medication was in the room and I heard her take them, but I had no reason to suspect it was anything more than her regular night time meds.

It was her responsibility to reach out while it was also the loving thing to do to reach in.  It was not my responsibility to save her, that was only something she could do.

And now, here we are 2 years later.  I’m fighting these thoughts most days.  I’m living with an amazing woman who is in the exact position I was in.  It’s my job to reach out and it’s the loving thing for her to do to reach in when she’s in a position to do so.  If in the end I lose my battle with this damn list of labels, that’s on my shoulders, not because she didn’t see the signs, or do enough, or check on me.

My shit is my responsibility.  It’s wonderful when the people around me support me as they are able, but they have their own shit, and that is their responsibility and unless I speak up, they don’t know what I need.

Unless I dig my way out of my black hole long enough to hold a hand up, they can’t reach down and grab it.

Now, go save the crisis numbers in your phone, you don’t know when you or someone close to you will need them.

Yes, you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number
1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line
741-741

 

 

Two plus one

At one point yesterday I told Wonder Woman, “I’m ready to get this day over with so I can start looking forward to the next date.”  This major one is over and the next one is a happy one, the day I met Wonder Woman online.  I jump from date to date in my life, a whole list of them stacked up.  I _know_ that need to learn mindfulness and it’s something I’m working on, and in ways I’m succeeding, but also, going from one date to the next has been a survival mechanism for so long, that unfortunately old habits die hard.

When you are constantly fighting suicidal thoughts, as each major milestone passes, you are looking for the next one, and when traumas start happening, those dates, unfortunately, get added in there too.

But mindfulness is happening as well.  Driving to the beach yesterday I started thinking about and talking about some string of things that needed to happen and mid spiral I stopped and said that that would stress me out so I just didn’t go there.  That’s something that’s hard for me because I need to have my plans and my lists and my ways of knowing that I have everything taken care of to make it to that next major date without everything falling apart.

And why wouldn’t I need, or at least feel like I need, all of those things in order?  I mean, in reality we have very limited control, but the feeling of control is what keeps us moving forward.  If we had no control we would throw our hands up and give up when things get hard.

Self Saving Warrior Princess does all of the things, but learning how to do them and not try to over think and think ahead of every spin and twist and turn is a big difference.  Staying present right now but still keep on top of what has to be done, and let go of what I can’t handle . . .

That’s some serenity prayer shit right there.

And even twelve step programs count how long it’s been since you last relapsed, even they fluctuate between one moment at a time, and focusing on how far you’ve come.

Two years plus one day since I last saw her.  And maybe now I can focus on counting something else for awhile.

Maybe.

And if not, that’s okay too, I’m working towards accepting me where I am.  It’s so damn helpful that I have a lot of other people doing the same.

Circus Pants

So, first, the backstory to this picture . . I had this pair of somewhat baggy pants with stand out black and white designs on them. I loved them, but they were way outside of my, back then, long black skirts and “hide in me” clothes.

But, no where near as my wild “HERE I AM” style that I rock now.

We called them my crazy pants.

Please ignore the political stuff behind the picture . . . that wasn’t the point.

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I wonder what Parker would think of my style now. I’d love to hear her take on it. I mean, I know she’s up there telling me to rock on with my bad ass self, but I honestly wonder what she’d really think and say. She would, of course, have some smart ass comment. I think she’d go blind from all of the pink if she didn’t pass out first because last thing she knew, I hated pink. It was all green, all the time before she died.

She didn’t say a lot on my facebook stuff, she didn’t comment on many of my posts, got frustrated that I shared as much as I did, but I swear, Facebook memories with stuff like this are such a wonderful thing.

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Sometimes, when it seems like I’m reliving the past with the dates and the accident memories or whatever, then I get something like this, with the I love you’s hidden in the comments . . this is why I check each day. The conversations between Kidlet and I, and Parker and I, and other friends. . . the inside jokes that remind me of all of the good times in between all of the shit.

Reliving the bad stuff helps me make it less and less painful, it helps me desensitize myself to the trauma I didn’t really have a choice but to survive. And reliving the good stuff just keeps building myself up to survive more and more.

Meanwhile I’m also working on building the skills to live more in the present, but that’s something that’s taking time and a lot of healing. I’m getting there slowly.

I wonder what happened to those crazy pants. I think they might be a permanent part of me now. All crazy, all the time.

 

Smile through it…

One of the things that hits me over and over again as my memories come up, is not just how often we had shitty things happen, but how often Kidlet is smiling in the pictures I took of him . . smiling in the face of really shitty stuff.

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That really became apparent after the accident. He wanted pictures of everything, from the wounds to the Xrays, to the various casts, he had a plan at the time (and it needed to be documented for insurance anyway), but it meant lots of opportunities to have the camera out. We have so many pictures of him in various stages of healing, throwing a grin for the camera.

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And the truth was, he was laughing and happy through most of it. There were shitty moments but we found ways to be happy.

I talk about resilience and grit and how I have a sense of humor in the face of all this. I talk about finding the joy and laughing when I want to cry.

Sometimes I wonder which one of us started that, did I learn it from Kidlet, or did he learn it from me?

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I know he went through a lot and I know these smiles weren’t just for the camera. I remember the first time after each major thing where I’d hear his first real belly laugh. Mostly it was with his online group of friends through the computer or the Xbox, and I’d finally release the breath I’d been holding. By the way, these are the same friends he still has, some of them have been commenting on my posts and holding me up now.

But the smiles typically came within moments or hours. Even while he was still laying on the ground after the accident he smiled and cracked jokes. Even in the trauma room he was making jokes through the morphine . . .okay, that was drug induced probably. In the days after, figuring out how to get him into the house and how we were going to make it work, he was joking about how crazy our luck was. And smiling.

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We fell apart, we screamed, we raged, we cried, but we came back together and smiled.

We found the joy in all of it.

Quit Smoking.

Really real post about the flying motorcycle with insight into my brain and my world if you want it.

Five years ago today I wanted a cigarette and was having a hard time leaving the porch.

It was 5 days after Parker and I got out of the homeless shelter. My anxiety was in full swing. I finally had a safe space again and was having a hard time leaving it.

Kidlet had come to stay with us. Our first time having him for more than a few hours in 6 months. It was like his 3rd day with us.

Parker finally agreed to go to the corner store to get me smokes after I drove her nuts. She didn’t want to go but you know… telling me no typically ended in melt downs and being out of smokes didn’t make it any better. Kidlet went with her.

They were walking down the sidewalk. How much more freak can an accident be?

Motorcycle gets hit by car, goes airborne, hits Parker in the head, lands on Kidlet. Kidlet caught a flying motorcycle cause he’s badass like that.

I still hear his screams in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I still remember the driver telling me “as bad as the screams are, it’s worse when they are silent.” And how much that both comforted me and chilled me to the bone.

Kidlet got through that like a champ and started showing his nature of resilience and grit and smiles in the face of bullshit challenges that are totally unfair.

Parker had a “moderate” concussion that I don’t think any of the doctors took seriously enough. It’s one of many things that I kept fighting and advocating and “what the fuck-ing” in the midst of all of her head problems but…. yet another “overweight emotional woman” situation and I won’t get on that soap box right now.

All cause I wanted a cigarette.

And yeah yeah . . . Not my fault, could have happened to anyone. But if I would have gotten my own damn shit, or not have smoked in the first place.

And you wonder why sometimes it’s so so hard for me to ask for help or accept help….

Or tell people no. Or not offer help to others when they are having a hard time asking or blah blah blah.

So so many layers and I know why I do a lot of what I do. And knowing so many of the whys make it harder to untangle.