Life · mental health

Just Let it Go, Damn It (the Frozen song remix?)

headdesk.gif

I’ve been somewhat silent on mental health matters since that time I declared my profound hatred for cranberries. Since then I’ve changed medications and have been working very hard at making small lifestyle changes that will effect my mental health in positive ways. Overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’m definitely in a better place and those scary thoughts that were beginning to take over have subsided for now.

Even with my major attitude shift there’s one thing I’m still struggling with: figuring out how to let go of stuff. This isn’t something new for me. Whether I want to blame my anxiety or chalk it up to a personality flaw, dwelling on things (particularly negative ones) is something that my brain specializes in. Lately, I find myself feeling bad or due downright angry (sometimes both) about the fact that I never feel supported by the majority of people in my life. All the times I’ve been depressed/suicidal the last few years I couldn’t help but feel like there weren’t many people who cared. I feel that way often, to be honest. I hear stories from my co-workers about the troubles their families/friends are experiencing and all the things they try to do to help them and I always think “Wow, that must be nice. I wish I had that.” I’ve lived in Charlotte for 13+ years now and I can’t even get people to visit me during good times, let alone the times when I could really use it. People always try to make me feel guilty for not coming to see them or for taking vacations, but I don’t think that’s really fair when I’ve gone to visit them multiple times over the years and they never reciprocate. Boyfriend and I have been together for a little over 3 years now and he’s never even met my family or some of the friends I have because nobody has ever come to meet him. Most don’t even ask about him. Or my book, or my cat, or most of the other important things in my life. Tell me, wouldn’t your brain be trolling you, repeatedly saying “nobody cares” if that’s what you dealt with most of the time?

*sigh*

I can’t change other people. I am smart enough to know that. I can’t make people want to spend time with me or want to be a bigger part of my life. And that sucks. Nothing good comes from dwelling on it though and letting it make you feel like garbage. That’s the part that I’m struggling with though. I tell myself to just let it go and stop worrying about it, but I can’t always help it. It’s hard to just turn your brain off or force it to focus on more positive things when it’s on some kind of destructive vendetta against you.

Brains can be really stupid sometimes.

 

Life · mental health

Fuck You, Cranberries

[Trigger Warning: Don’t read if easily triggered by talk of depression or suicidal thoughts]

fkiojit

I had a meltdown over tea today. I couldn’t figure out why my shitty bladder/kidney problem has been so flared up the last few days. That’s when I decided to check the ingredients in the new pomegranate-green tea I recently purchased. Lo and behold, there the culprit was, right in front of me the whole time: cranberry. Fucking cranberry. Cranberry is a giant no-no with the condition that I have, as it’s one of the many foods/beverages on the long list of things that will most likely have me writing in pain on the floor an hour later, whining about the utter injustices of bog-grown fruits.

The meltdown wasn’t really about cranberries or the tea that I am no longer able to drink (Although I did really like that tea). The meltdown was just one of many that I’ve had lately over a completely arbitrary event – sometimes real, sometimes imaginary. Because that’s what life with mental illness is like. Combine it with chronic pain and you have a recipe for disaster just waiting for you. A recipe which probably contains cranberries.

I mentioned a while back that my brain was starting to mess with me again. My depression had crept it’s way back in and was starting to be a real jerk. A few weeks later I went to my doctor and asked them to increase my dosage of the medicine I was taking. Because my luck and my body are absolute garbage, upping my dosage did not have the intended effect. In fact, it had the exact opposite effect. Within days I stopped sleeping, my anxiety skyrocketed, and I became so depressed that I forgot how to function. The only good thing is that I wasn’t sad anymore. I wasn’t anything, actually, as I stopped feeling almost all emotions entirely, except anger. When I wasn’t acting like an angry, irritable psychopath, I felt absolutely nothing at all. Not happy. Not sad. Just…nothing. My medicine numbed me out so much that I became this big empty void of bitterness and exhaustion. My energy levels disappeared and I was in pain all of the time because all the stress made all my other health issues flare up. I was miserable, but I stuck it out, hoping that within a few weeks my brain would balance itself out and that the medicine would start helping.

But it didn’t.

Fast forward another few weeks and I was laying on the couch in the middle of the day (I left work early that day because I was tired and couldn’t concentrate on anything and, frankly, I just didn’t give a shit anymore. It was not the first time.) telling Boyfriend that I wanted to be dead because nobody cared about me anyway. I don’t have many friends in my real life to talk to and my family isn’t here. Even the few people who knew what I’ve been going through didn’t seem to really care that much. They might say things like “Sorry you’re feeling bad,” but when you’re so depressed that you can’t remember to shower and are having suicidal thoughts, “Sorry” doesn’t really mean that much.

Yesterday I went back to the doctor and was put on another medication and given the recommendation to see a psychiatrist. I know there should probably be some relief in the fact that maybe this medicine will help me and I’ll finally feel like a normal functioning human again. But, if I am being honest, I’m so broken down and empty lately that relief feels pretty far away.

I hate this feeling. I hate depression and all the terrible ways it has ruined my life. I hate my anxiety and the way it makes me afraid of everyone and everything. I hate getting up every morning, feeling like all I want to do is crawl back into bed. I hate not feeling like I’m never good enough and that everyone hates me. I’m tired of turning into this raging Hulk-like person (minus the muscles) for literally no reason at all. I’m tired of going to bed every night wondering if I’ll actually get some sleep, then worrying about it to the point that I give myself a headache.

There are some things in my life coming up that I should be excited about, but it’s been hard to feel excited about anything. I really hope things start to look up soon so that I can actually enjoy them. In the mean time, here’s a giant FUCK YOU to my depression…and to cranberries.

Life · mental health

Self-Care and the Art of Forgetting How to Breathe

bd65c4c68e7b0cd1de865d5f9a09e297

Earlier this week I got a much needed massage after work. While I was there I thought about something I wrote last year when I was working on short stories for a self-care book idea I’d been throwing around. I have no idea if that idea will ever go anywhere (probably not), but I felt like sharing my story about massages with you anyway. (It’s a little lengthy, so I apologize if you were looking for a quick post.) Enjoy.

~~~

I got my first massage when I was 25-26 years old. It’s somewhat absurd that I even waited that long, given that at that point I had spent a good 10 years whining about the neck and shoulder knots that I suffered from frequently. Prior to that I had been a little weirded out by the whole concept. Laying on a table with a stranger touching your naked body sounded more like something you’d see on Pornhub, not something that I would voluntarily pay money for. (I mean, porn is free nowadays. Why would I pay for it?) I finally changed my mind when one of my massage therapist friends, who I imagine was tired of listening to me bitch about my shoulders constantly, told me to man up and just do it already.

And that’s how my career as a porn star began.

Not really. It was, however, a life-changing moment for me. It had opened up a whole new world of pain-relief and relaxation that I had never experienced before. I walked out of my first massage feeling like I was swimming in a bowl of warm Jell-O. There wasn’t a single tense muscle in my body. Why had nobody told me how amazing massages were?! (Oh, yeah, they did. I was just too busy creating pornographic scenarios in my head to listen.)

Since that day I’ve gotten one or two massages a month. It’s a tad expensive, but the effects it has had on both my physical and mental health have made been totally worth it.

Despite how much I enjoy massages now, I can’t lie to you and pretend that it’s not still a little bit awkward at times. If you’re as socially inept as I am, receiving any kind of service from a stranger is going to be at least mildly uncomfortable. I am one of those people who will literally pay an extra ten dollars to have food delivered to their house so that they don’t have to go to a restaurant and interact with the people there. This solution does present its own set of problems. Like the fact that I have to answer the door and talk to the delivery person. I never know what I’m supposed to be doing when they show up. Should I be ready, waiting at the door when they arrive? Should I just open the door before they even knock or is that creepy? Should I be in some other part of the house, pretending that I actually have better things to do than stand around and wait for my food for an hour? And let’s not forget what I’m wearing. Am I supposed to change and put on a normal-looking outfit or is it okay to be in an adult onesie, completely unzipped in the front with my bra hanging out? I mean, delivery drivers are probably used to seeing all kinds of stuff when they show up at people’s houses. Would they even notice if I was half naked with bunny-clad feet?

I always envision myself acting completely normal in situations like this: There’s a knock on the door. From somewhere down the hall I casually yell “Just a minute!” because it’s Friday night and I am actually doing something other than stalk the pizza guy through the window. Perhaps I have a cute outfit on and am in the process of getting ready for a date. Or perhaps I have my glasses on and a pencil tucked behind my ear, indicating that I’ve been working on the next great novel. I answer the door with a smile and say something like “Oh, that was fast!” Then we exchange money and make brief small talk about the weather or our plans for the weekend, before I calmly shut the door and go about eating my dinner.

That’s how I always expect things to go. That’s how it probably plays out for normal people.

For me, this is what actually happens: There’s a knock on the door. Having been pacing back and forth, staring out the window for the past hour, I already know the delivery person has arrived. At the first sight of their car I quickly duck behind the nearest piece of furniture so that they can’t see me looking out the window. Once they knock I panic a little, wondering if they saw me act like a spaz through the curtains. I try to casually yell “I’m coming!” but it comes out much higher-pitched than intended, because apparently I’ve turned into a twelve year old boy going through puberty. I open the door just a crack because I don’t want the animals to escape. I don’t open the door far enough though and end up tripping over myself in the process of trying to get onto the porch. Meanwhile, the dog senses that someone has arrived with either food or the intention to kill us (possibly both), so he gets in the window and barks his head off like a small fluffy asshole. The pizza guy mumbles something at me that I can’t hear because the dog is so loud, so I just stare at him blankly. He repeats himself, this time a little louder and more slowly, because obviously I don’t understand English that well. We exchange money and he hands over the food, which is the perfect cue for me to try to make the situation even more awkward for both of us. I try to say something clever, but it comes out in one long mumbled string of words. Howaboutjsjfjhrummphummmsausage. Heh. He then realizes that I am completely unbalanced and possibly contagious, so he says good night and runs away from the porch as quickly as possible. I then attempt to squeeze back inside the door with as much grace as possible. This proves to be difficult, however, as the dog is still in a frenzy and trying to run past my feet and because I now have a pizza box in one hand. At that point, I abandon all hope of resembling anything close to normal and hope I just gave the guy a good enough tip that he doesn’t black list my house.

Is anybody else hungry now? I feel like I need to order a pizza.

Can you see why having to spend an entire hour in the presence of a stranger could be a little bit of an issue for me? (We haven’t even gotten to the part about being naked yet.) I can’t even interact with a delivery person for thirty whole seconds without going into full moron mode.

The good part about massages is that you aren’t expected to talk. You’re allowed to talk, but if you prefer to lay there in total silence the entire time then that’s fine, also. It’s supposed to be your hour to relax and unwind and it’s probably a lot easier to do that by not talking the entire time. This works out in my favor, given that chit chat is obviously not one of my specialties. Howaboutjsjfjhrummphummmsausage. Heh.

My comfort level with a massage therapist depends on how well I know the person. If I am receiving services (That sounds dirty, doesn’t it? I swear that was unintentional.) from someone that I have met previously I am going to be more relaxed and less self-conscious about the whole thing. If you’re lucky, like my friend Christy, who is a massage therapist and services me regularly (Okay, that one was intentional.), then I will be comfortable enough to show up, get naked on the table, and proudly announce that I haven’t shaved in a month and am starting to look like Sasquatch. Poor Christy. Why she even lets me schedule appointments with her anymore is a wonder.

Now, on the occasions that Christy or my other preferred therapist is unavailable, I am willing to see someone new. This is where things can get a little weird. There are very few places you show up, are told to take all your clothes off, and try to relax. At least when you go to the gynecologist, or some other medical appointment, they know how uncomfortable you are and try to make the whole thing go as quickly as possible. It’s probably super uncomfortable and embarrassing for them, also, so it makes sense. When you show up for a massage, however, it’s a completely different kind of atmosphere. There’s dim lights, soothing music, and the pleasant smells of aromatherapy. (At least, I assume they are supposed to be pleasant. Personally, I think it just makes you smell like a hippie.) There are table warmers and soft, comfy blankets. It’s easy to see why most people are instantly relaxed in that kind of environment.

As you’ve probably noticed, I am not like most people.

Having anxiety means that I have a very difficult time relaxing. Even when I am actively engaging in a calming activity, my brain never shuts off. Nobody’s brain ever really shuts off (except those people who think that “raw water” is a thing), but you know what I mean. Most people can quiet their brains and stop thinking about important things when they need to. They can just enjoy the moment they’re in and experience what’s happening around them. I hate those people. I am jealous as fuck of those people. For me, turning my brain off means that I am slightly less fixated on the one hundred potential things that could go wrong at that given moment or in my life, in general. I can’t even turn my brain off at night when I’m supposed to be asleep, which is why I frequently have insomnia. (If you’ve never stayed up all night worrying about whether or not fleas were going to form a small battalion and take over your bedroom you’ve never really lived, my friends.)

Compound my anxiety with my general self-consciousness, it’s virtually impossible for me to just relax around strangers. I make a valiant effort when I am on the massage table. I know that I’m not going to get much benefit from the whole thing If I am tensed up and feeling stressed out the entire time. Even still, there’s no way I can just lay there and put my brain on “Do Not Disturb” mode. (It would be really handy if this was an option though, no? Dear smart people, make this happen in the future.) Instead, I oscillate between forcing myself to relax and being hyper aware of myself.

Here are some examples of the things that pop into my head while I’m getting a massage:

Therapist: “Just take deep breaths and relax.”

Me: Am I breathing deeply enough? Did they say that because they know Im not taking deep breaths? Okay, try to focus on your breathing. Just breath in and out, very slowly. *Takes a few deep breaths* Who the hell needs to be told to breathe? Me. Thats who. I cant even be good at BREATHING. What is wrong with me? Okay, stop. Just freaking breathe and stop worrying about it. *Takes a few more breaths* Am I breathing too loudly? Am I supposed to be breathing through my nose or through my mouth? Oh shit, has my mouth been open this whole time? What if I fucking drool on the table? Thatd be so embarrassing. I wonder how many other people have drooled on this table before.

*Therapist pulls blanket down to massage my lower back*

Me: Wow, this feels amazing. Im basically laying here topless. I wonder if he/shes picturing me naked. Im glad they cant actually see anything, even though Im technically naked right now. Oh my god, is my vagina hanging out?! Im freaking naked in front of this person and Im probably exposing my vagina. *Panics* Okay, seriously, stop it. The blanket is draped over your bottom half. How would your vagina be hanging out? Youre being ridiculous. Just focus on your breathing. Fuck, have I not been breathing again? How do I keep forgetting to breathe? *Takes a few deep breaths* I wonder if theyre going to touch my butt. The last guy touched my butt without any warning. I mean, I guess its okay because hes supposed to do that, but still, it would be nice to at least warn someone before you go touching their ass. I wonder I anybody has ever farted while getting a massage before. That would be so embarrassing. *Represses the urge to giggle* Mmmm, this is nice…”

*Therapist moves blankets so they can access my legs*

Me: Is my vagina hanging out?! How do I check? Should I say something? If I was exposed they would be nice enough to readjust the blankets and cover me up, right? Stop it, Kiersten. Your vagina isnt hanging out. Relax, damn it. *Takes a few deep breaths* I really hope I remembered to shave this morning. What if I did, but I missed a big spot? Theyre probably going to tell the other therapists that I dont even know how to shave my legs properly. Ugh.

Therapist: “Okay, you can flip over now.”

Me: They didnt even touch my butt. *Repositions self under blanket* Now what am I supposed to do? Should I keep my eyes closed? Otherwise its going to look like Im staring at them. Yeah, thats it, Ill keep my eyes closed. *Opens eyes to see what therapist is doing* Oh shit, they saw me. Do they think Im being creepy? Should I say something or just keep quiet? Just close your eyes and breathe again. *Takes a deep breath* But seriously, how do I know if Im breathing right? Why dont they go over this with you in the beginning? Oh my god, did I just fart?

Therapist: “Okay, our time is up for today. I’ll meet you out in the hall once you get dressed.”

Me: “Thank you.” *Checks to see if vagina is hanging out*

By the time the whole thing is over my muscles feel fantastic and I have no choice but to feel relaxed, as my brain is so exhausted from playing ping pong with itself that it eventually goes numb. I put my clothing on, thinking about how great I feel, and wander over to the mirror hanging on the wall. That’s when I discover that I am as much of a mess on the outside as I am in my head. My hair is typically in a bun directly on the side of my head, there’s black makeup smudged all over my eyes, and I’m so greasy from all the oil the therapist has used that my skin is actually shiny. (Not to mention that I smell like a hippie.) At that point, I walk out of the room to meet my therapist and casually ask “So, was it a good for you as it was for me?”

Fortunately, most of the paranoia I experience during my massage sessions are unjustified. Pretty much everything that I am worrying about has never actually happened to me. There was, however, one particular incident that had me wishing I could crawl under the table and light myself on fire.

I stopped by the massage studio after a particularly exhausting Monday at work. The therapist was someone I hadn’t been to before and he was really good. So good that I actually let myself decompress and just enjoy the massage, rather than lay there overthinking about whether or not I was breathing. (For the record, I don’t take very deep breaths. My anxiety makes my breathing somewhat shallow most of the time. This may or may not be why therapists are always reminding me to breathe. They’re probably paranoid that I’ll pass out or die on their table and that wouldn’t be very good for business, would it?) I was proud of myself. I was being less weird than usual that day. The therapist and I even chatted a little bit at the beginning of the session. Maybe I could act like a sane personal after all!

That’s when I touched his crotch and ruined everything.

To clarify, I didn’t intentionally grab his crotch. It just ended up in my hand. I don’t go around touching other guys’ genitals at random, even if I find them attractive. This was completely by accident.

I had been laying facedown on the table while the guy worked on my neck. He went to reposition himself from the side of the table to the top of it, near my head, and that’s when I got a handful. At the exact same moment I lifted my arm to move my hair out of my face. The movement was intercepted by the therapist’s junk, which came directly into the path of my hand.

For a few seconds I wondered whether or not I had actually made contact. “Maybe I just brushed his leg,” I pretended. But alas, I couldn’t even lie to myself to make it less embarrassing. I most definitely touched his crotch. It was like an unseen force had guided his penis directly into my palm so that for the rest of all eternity I could look back on that moment and be forever humbled. (“You got a promotion at work? That’s great news. But hey, remember when you accidentally felt up your massage therapist? Haha. You suck.”) Well played, universe. Well played.

My heart rate spiked as I silently panicked over what I should do. Should I apologize? Should I assure him that I was not trying to sexually assault him? Should I make a joke to lighten the mood? I couldn’t have thought of a joke even if I had tried. The universe was already laughing its ass off at me. I was clearly the joke here.

I did nothing. I was too mortified to even say anything, so I just laid there for the remainder of the session (which, thankfully, was only another ten minutes) and tried to will myself out of existence. The therapist never said anything either. He went about his job and pretended that nothing ever happened, which I suppose is a sign if professionalism. Or perhaps he was also as mortified as I was. Who knows.

I got dressed and left that place as quickly as possible, but not before leaving my digits with the lady at the front desk. I didn’t want to make him feel cheap after that tender moment we had shared together. Believe it or not, he never called.

Since I’ve started getting massages I’ve learned a few things:

  1. For starters, massage really is a good form of self-care. This won’t be the case for every single person, but for me it’s been beneficial. Despite my awkwardness and my tendency to be slightly paranoid while I’m on the table, it has been great for my overall well-being. My depression and anxiety can make me feel pretty shitty, both physically and mentally. Even on my good days, my body is pretty tense, which causes a lot of knots in my neck and shoulders. This tends to cause headaches. I can’t speak for everyone, but I find it difficult to go about my day and try to maintain a positive attitude when I’m in pain. Massage has been a great way to help me alleviate some of that pain and make me feel a little better overall. I’m not going to call it a cure for anything, but it’s a nice way to unwind and make my body feel good.
  2. I suck at relaxing. I’m not even good at relaxing when I am actively trying to relax.
  3. Apparently, I also suck at breathing.
  4. Under no circumstances is it ever okay to grab a random stranger’s crotch.
  5. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, you should always check to make sure that your vagina isn’t hanging out.
Books · graphic novels · mental health

My Brain Sucks. Let’s Read Graphic Novels.

Readers, I have a confession to make: I haven’t been reading many books lately. If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning you’ve probably noticed the lack of book reviews and posts in general. Part of this is due to the chaos that has been ensuing at work the last few months, resulting in a very exhausted Kiersten by the time five o’clock rolls around.  The bigger culprit is my depression, which has decided to pay a visit and stick around for some undetermined length of time. I’ve spent far too many hours the last few weeks (months?) binge watching shows on Netflix and staring mindlessly at social media, rather than pick up the dozens of unread books on my shelves.

Believe me when I say it’s not for lack of trying. In fact, even more frustrating than how behind I am on my reading count for the year, is how many books I’ve begun and quickly abandoned because my brain can’t stay focused on anything for more than five minutes. *Long, frustrated sigh*

Cue my small, but growing collection of graphic novels. For now, I’ve come to accept the fact that I may not be doing the type of reading that I want to, but I have found a solution in graphic novels. My brain seems to be able to take in the shorter length and less daunting nature of graphic novels. Rather than picking up a 400+ page book and immediately feeling like I can’t absorb it all, I can pick up a graphic novel and stay absorbed for only about 100 pages. Even if there are multiple volumes to the story (as there often are), I know I don’t have to read them all at once, which, for whatever reason, is more palatable for my overwhelmed brain at the moment.

I normally feel guilty, like I’m letting my readers and myself down, when I’m not reading much. At this point, I am familiar enough with the cyclical nature of depression and the effects it has on me to know that it won’t last forever and that beating myself up over it will only make me feel worse. For now, at least I have found a way to feel like I’m still reading and able to stay engaged on the blog.

Check out a few of the graphic novels I’ve read recently. (Reviews to follow)

Life · mental health

Humiliation, Table for One

pet-423398_1280

I woke up today feeling better than I have in several weeks. The sun is shining, both outside my window and is beginning to peek out of the dark corner of my brain where it has been dormant as of late. I’m thinking more clearly and can actually focus again. Even writing this post, I notice that the words are flowing more freely from my brain to the keyboard, which sounds like an obvious thing that would happen, right? I hate to admit it, but something even as simple as that has been a virtually impossible task during my brain-induced fog.

So, what is the reason for my sudden change of mood? Honestly, I have no idea. Considering the events of this past weekend, I was beginning to think that I would never be anything other than a sad sack of crap ever again.

I mentioned previously that I have been feeling super lonely lately. To combat those feelings, I tried to force myself out of my comfort zone a little and *gasp* make some new friends. (Oh, the horror!) There’s a Facebook group that I’m a part of for women who love to travel. The group consists of women all over the world and is a great resource for getting new travel tips/ideas. Periodically, they have in-person meetups, like the one they scheduled in Charlotte this past weekend. When I learned of the event a few months ago I had been excited to get to sit down with some of my fellow travelers and swap stories. If I was lucky, I might even make a few new friends in the process. It all sounded good, in theory, but I feel like I should have known better. By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling pretty negative about the whole situation. (Thanks, anxiety! Love you.) I got up, got dressed, and drove over to the coffee shop where the meetup was, determined to stick it to my anxiety. I went inside, ordered a cup of coffee and sat down at an empty table. But that was about as much victory as I was going to get that day.

I sat at the table for 10-15 minutes, wondering how I was supposed to know who I was supposed to be meeting. It should have been easy to tell, right? A table full of women. I swear, it was like the universe started laughing at me at that very moment. Practically every person seated in the place was female. I sat there a little while longer, trying to gather up the courage to go from table to table, hoping to find my party. I glanced at my phone, hoping the group had put out a  message about where to meet them, but all I had was a message from Boyfriend saying “You got this!”

But I didn’t have it. That was actually when I completely lost my shit and started to tear up. My social anxiety seized hold of me at that very moment and sent me into full panic-mode, prompting me to abandon my coffee and the whole endeavor and run back to my car crying.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel too great about myself after that. Even though nobody from the group witnessed my embarrassing display (at least I hope they didn’t), I felt humiliated and defeated anyway. Perhaps humiliation looks good on me, because, for whatever reason, I’m feeling more like my old self today. The fact that I can even write this post and get a small chuckle out of it says a lot.

Maybe next time I’ll just drink my coffee at home.

 

food · Life · mental health

Ice Cream Blues

I realized today that it’s been some time since I last posted anything. I’m not sure if my last few posts even count, as most of them weren’t book-related or terribly interesting. I’ve been in a bit of funk for weeks now – not super depressed, but just depressed enough that I don’t have much desire to do things I normally enjoy. I’ve been reading, but it’s taking me forever to finish the books that I start. I keep telling myself that I should try to blog or write, but my stupid brain always leads me back to the same question each time: “Why bother?” (Hello, Negative Nancy, so nice for you to stop by and visit a while.) I’ve been feeling quite lonely lately, as well. The people I used to be close to have all moved away and the few friends I still have here I am not particularly close with, or they just never seem to have time for me. While I normally prefer to do things on my own for the most part, lately I keep finding myself wishing I had some other people to do things with, even if it’s only on occasion. This past weekend I took a short trip by myself. I did my best to enjoy myself and did all my usual activities – exploring, checking out the local bookstores, and eating lots of yummy things – but the whole time I kept feeling like something was missing, like I would have really enjoyed having a travel buddy with me for once.

On top of all that I managed to injure myself over the weekend. I’m not sure whether it’s a stress fracture, a sprain, or what (I’ll be going to the doctor tomorrow), but I managed to mess up my foot from all the walking I did on my trip. Having to lay around all week with my foot elevated and shooting pain whenever I try to walk really hasn’t been doing much to brighten my spirits, believe it or not.

I don’t have a happy note to end this on. I just wanted you guys to know that I’m hanging in there and that I’m still here. I thought about writing this post earlier in the week, but even that felt like too much effort, especially considering the entire time my brain has been trolling me and telling me that nobody wants to hear about my problems anyway. *sigh*

Thank you, as always, for being here. I appreciate you all. ❤

(Since I don’t have any book-related things to talk about, I offer you this delicious picture of some taiyaki ice cream. Because ice cream helps make everything better.)

Life · mental health

Wtf Am I Supposed to Wear? (And Other Things That Keep Me Up at Night)

44c4a1469925fa9d842e2ce89c1ae3c1

Perhaps it’s due to all the excess stress at work recently, but I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, despite the fact that I’ve been crawling into bed by 9:00 every evening. Early this morning, at the wee hours of 4:30, I was wide awake again. I gave up a few hours later, once Merlin decided that those lumps underneath the covers (aka my feet) were deadly enemies that must be destroyed. Truthfully, I was somewhat grateful for the excuse to get out of bed, having exhausted my mind with a major issue that has been haunting me lately…

What the fuck am I supposed to wear now that I’m 30?

You can roll your eyes at me if you want (I know I probably would if I was reading this), but this is a legit concern that has been bothering me lately, along with a few other key 30-something related issues. Remember last year, when I was panicking and having a major existential crisis over turning thirty? I look back at it and chuckle a little bit, because it really was no big deal. I’m still me, chugging along, trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I’m doing with my life. (I’m beginning to suspect that I will continue to feel that way on and off throughout my life and that it has nothing to do with my age.) Nothing major happened. Well, except one thing. Despite the fact that my eating habits have remained the same and I exercise regularly, I’ve noticed some small, but noticeable changes in my body. My metabolism has slowed and I’ve gained a few pounds. Only a few pounds. No big deal, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. Considering my 20 year battle with body image and eating issues, I didn’t handle this particularly well at first. I admit that I almost relapsed, due to that stupid little voice in the back of my brain that likes to troll me and tell me that my weight and appearance are important and are tied to my worth as a human being. Fortunately, I’ve had some time to adjust to my new 30-year old body and was able to pull myself off the edge of another downward spiral. Phew.

But, there’s still one problem.

I’ve noticed recently that some of my clothing is a little snugger that it used to be. It makes sense, as much as I want to rebel against it. As someone who detests shopping for clothing, I’ve put off fixing my wardrobe for as long as possible. I’ve reached a point, however, where I’ve grown tired of trying to squeeze my slightly larger hips and ass into jeans that were skintight to begin with, so I’ve had to begin shopping for new clothes. *Cue second crisis*

During a recent excursion to Hell, I mean, the mall, I all but had a complete mental meltdown. There really is no better place for it, after all, with all those bright lights and hundreds of staring, obnoxious sales people. (Just picture it: Me lying on the floor of the mall, sobbing and pulling her hair out as a kiosk saleslady runs over and attempts to spray me with free perfume samples.) Even my failed attempts to shop online have led to the same frustrating, confusing conclusion that I don’t know how I’m supposed to dress anymore.

Body changes aside, I’m not the same person that I was in my twenties. I’m successful at my job and work in a professional office setting. I don’t go out as much as I used to anymore. When we do go out we hang out as more relaxed, casual places, rather than loud, stuffy bars and clubs. I actually care about being comfortable now. Suddenly, all the tight, short dresses and high heels in my closet feel completely out of place in my life. When I’m not at work, I typically wear jeans or yoga pants with something comfortable on top. I wear flat boots and converse sneakers. I’ve started wearing my glasses all the time. But what am I supposed to wear to work? What about when I’m going out? My jeans, nerdy t-shirts, and cardigans are fine for when I’m hanging out at the bookstore or coffee shop, but what about the rest of the time? I’ve been struggling for years to figure out how I’m supposed to dress in the semi-professional/business casual environment at work that still allows me to express who I am. But, honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to express anymore. Places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are too old for me. Forever 21 is too young. So where am I supposed to buy my clothes? Why is there no store for people like me? They can call it “Leggings & Lace” or “Mid-Life Moxie.” “Wine and WTF is On My Shirt?” Even if they had these stores, I still probably wouldn’t know how to dress myself, considering I’ve never been particularly good at these things.

Not long ago I got brave and added purple streaks to my hair. It’s on the underside and there are few of them. You can hardly even see them unless my hair is up and there is good lighting. Still, I know they’re there and I like them. I like my slightly funky, rebellious hair, even if nobody else realizes it exists. (Especially Boyfriend, who is colorblind.) Is it okay for me to have purple-streaked hair now that I’m thirty? I don’t know. Do my nerdy tees and converse sneakers make me look like I’m trying to be younger than I am? Again, I don’t know. How do I figure out the balance between being comfortable, but still looking professional enough for work? I DON’T KNOW. All I know is that I have a closet full of clothing meant for my 20-something year old self that don’t feel like “me” anymore.

I’m going shopping again this afternoon. Wish me luck.