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When September Ends

It’s September first.

Those of you who know me, know that September is a tough month. My SAD usually gut-punches me right about now, as I get fed up with feeling overheated, itchy, and achy from the summer heat and dryness. Add to that the anniversaries of my father’s death in 1999 and my sister’s disappearance in 2003, and September usually bites pretty hard-core for me.

So, I’m checking in. I figure today is a good day to take stock, to assess, and to look forward.

I’m generally doing well. This summer hasn’t been so hot, so there has only been a few bad days for my heat-related issues. I had one bullshit low day… Started out down, my daughter got sick so I had to scramble to cover my shift so I could be home with her… It was a bad bad day. Usually, I can feel my antidepressants catch me, and that day I felt like I fell through a hole in their safety net. I called on my lifelines. I texted with Ziggy and Mr Awesome. I put out a call for help on Twitter, and finally, I made it through my day, ending it with an Ativan and reading the Bloggess until life didn’t feel so awful anymore. I woke up the next day feeling fragile, but better. I pulled through.

I’m meeting new people and making New friends. I got a new tattoo, a gorgeous tigress on my right calf. My relationships are going so, so well. Ziggy lives nearby now, and we get to see so much of each other. I’m even going on a trip with him next month to LA and I’m going to meet his family. He’s staying with me this weekend while Mr Awesome is camping with his girlfriend. Mr Awesome and I are doing so very well.

It’s been almost a year since I started the Cymbalta. The unremitting pain I was in is a memory. The brain fog and bullshit lies of the Bitch are pretty much gone, too. I’m stronger, braver, and more fierce.

I feel alive. And there is joy in being alive. My life is full and fascinating. My kids are unbelievably amazing.

I am happy and strong.

I still dread September and its hurts and its bad memories. I know September 10th will be a tough day and the memory of my father’s final hours will be more with me than they sometimes are. There is a hole in my life that is shaped like the aunt my children will never know and that is a heavy weight for me. Maybe, this month, I will take the kids to CapeDisappointment and tell them stories of my father. Maybe I’ll buy some Cindy Lauoer and Madonna albums and dance with my daughter who looks so much like my sister that it hurts me to look at her sometimes. And in sharing the stories of the good times, maybe I’ll make the sad memories hurt a little less. 


Joy

Two years ago, things blew apart with Wash. Hurting, and lonely, and facing a quiet summer without him, I turned to the modern lonely hearts club, the Internet. And I found on Twitter a sweet and funny guy who was bored at work and wanted to chat about all sorts of things. And we became close friends, and pretty soon, my day didn’t feel right if I hadn’t heard from him in the morning. And I’d go on dates, and would leave them feeling unsatified, because the person I wanted to be dating wasn’t them. It was him. 

And I was deeply unhappy, not realizing that the Bitch had snuck through a crack in my defenses and ravaged me again, so stealthily this time, I didn’t even realize it happening, instead blaming my marriage and my breakups and my job for my deep sense of sadness and dread. I couldn’t sleep in my bed, so I resigned myself to uncomfortable nights in the couch, further eroding my closeness with my husband. I felt friendships begin to crack, and even though I had a new job that I loved and wanted very much, I felt like I was failing, drowning in the darkness.

The bullshit thing about mental illness is how your own brain lies to you. The Bitch will tell you that you are fine, that everything else is fucked up, and convince you that the problem belongs to everyone else and it’s their job to fix it. 

The Bitch whispers sweetly in your ear that you are alone, that you are doomed to fail, and that no one cares anyhow. She convinces you that fighting is pointless, so why bother.

Something in me was strong enough to realize that I needed to fight.

And I couldn’t do it for myself. It had to be for someone else.

There used to be a spot I drove past, every night on my way home from work. There was a break In the fence, there, and no guardrail, and every time I drove past it, I would think of how easy it would be to drive off the road, drop the many feet down to the freeway below. I could see myself doing it, see the crash scene, the emergency crews, everything. But then I would see my husband, widowed, and trying to explain to the kids what happened. I’d see my mom, losing another child to mental illness. I’d see my kids, my sensitive and gentle son and my daydreaming wisp of a girl child, and I’d keep driving. I’d spend another restless night caught in invasive thoughts of falling off cliffs and bridges, waking to a panic attack and wanting to vomit. 

Heavy stuff for a blog post titled “Joy”, but bear with me here.

I realized a few weeks ago, that I had always fought for other people. I needed to beat my illness for them, for my husband and my kids and my mother, because they counted on me. My mental illness, the depression and anxiety and ADD, was something I needed to overcome because they needed and deserved a healthy mother, wife, daughter, friend. 

I didn’t think I was worth fighting for, on my own. My language was never that I deserved to be a healthy person. 

Last year, that sweet and funny Twitter friend flew up here to visit me. We’d never met in person, and I was scared of what might happen. I was scared that the spark that was online wouldn’t exist in the real world; I was more scared of what would happen if it was. I was in a new job, a position I had coveted and worked hard for.

I was miserable.

Everything hurt, all the time. I barely slept. My marriage felt, to me, like it was falling apart. I felt like I was under-qualified for my new position, and I badly missed my children and my friends. The spark was there with my new partner, and the Bitch was right there with it, telling me he’d never come back, that the happiness I’d felt with him would be snatched away too. Finally, a romantic weekend I had planned with my husband had fizzled. I spent it sad and weeping. My depression snatching away another chance at happiness. 

That week, I went to my doctor. I started medical treatment.

And, I just realized recently, that was the very first time in my life that I made the decision to get well, to fight like hell, FOR MY SELF. 

I finally realized that I was a whole person who deserved to be healthy and well and happy. I realized that I was the best person to fight for. That I deserved a shot at joy.

This year, I had the strength to go to a con, with my partner, Ziggy.  We went to Furlandia, here in Portland, and It was amazing . We had a magical weekend together. My husband and his new parter took the kids to the coast that weekend, and we all got together for dinner that Sunday night to share stories and celebrate Ziggy’s birthday.

And I was awash in something I hadn’t felt except in brief glimpses through the worst years of my illness. 

I felt joy.

I see the pictures of myself from the con and I don’t recognize me. My body is relaxed, comfortable, not twisted and tense from pain. I’m laughing, hard. That weekend, I danced. The joy is there, in every line and freckle.

And in my falling dreams? I no longer wake sweating and shaking, bracing for the fall. in those dreams, a breeze catches me, and I grow wings, and I soar.


update

I’m still here, and I’m still writing. But I haven’t loved anything I’ve come up with recently. But all y’all get worried when I don’t post… Which I appreciate so very much.

I’m doing well. Moving forward. I survived Christmas, and had a fanatic new year. I got to ring it in surrounded by love… Kisses from both the men in my life and a New Year’s Day filled with the laughter and love of my heart family. 

The Cymbalta is, cross my fingers, still working. I’m still excercising and, now that the holidays are over, I’m getting back to eating better again. I took a class at twisted yarn shop in Portland last weekend, and I’m inspired to try some new techniques. Work is gong well and thankful slowing down. I’m happy to be back in the rainy cold season. This weather makes me so happy. 

My marriage is going amazing. The medication allows me to sleep soundly next to my husband almost every night. I’d don’t think that would ever happen… My kids are well and happy and growing. I’ve gotten a lot of close snuggle time with my boyfriend over the last month-ish. 

Life is good. Thanks for reading, and happy new year to you all.

Loves. 


underneath

Your laugh
It strikes me from afar
An uncommon thing
Like a wild bird

The quirk of your wide mouth
In a smile
Barely formed
Nearly there

The soft grunting sigh
The humor in your eyes
The beauty of your jaw
As you scratch the stubble there

I hear it in the rasp of your voice
The quickness of your thoughts
‘I love you’ hovers in my mind
Unsaid

Hidden
Like your laugh
But shimmering there
Behind every thought


Single

Somehow, in the busy-ness of life, I’ve managed to not write since February. I haven’t needed to. Life has been full and fulfilling and fun.

And then last week happened.

I had the perfect weekend planned with Wash. My kids and my husband were out of town. He came over, and we made love and are deli sandwiches for a late dinner and we stayed up late watching anime. We went out for a huge breakfast the next day and went for a long walk and watched more anime and he went home.

And I’m not sure how everything happened afterward… He’d told me his girlfriend knew about our weekend, but it turns out she didn’t. He had told me she knew how close we were, but she didn’t. He had told me a lot of things, and I’m not sure how true any of them were, anymore. I know what I believed, that he was stuck in a relationship that he really wanted out of, that he clung to our time together as a source of peace and renewal. I had told him his relationship seemed unhealthy, to seek help and to, possibly, get out of the relationship so he could heal and learn who he really is.

He decided to stay with her. And I hope they can make it work. I really do.

But I know that means there is no place for me in his life now.

Because so much has been said out of context, behind people’s backs. Because confidences have been broken and lies have been told and people have been badly hurt. I was called some hurtful, horrible names, and it’s time for me to be done.

He asked for time. I told him I loved him, always. He said he loved me too, and good night, for now.

And I know that the last I will likely hear from him.

The two of them an have their life. I wish them the best. I never wanted them to break up, except when I thought it was an unhealthy place for both of them to be. I never wanted to replace her… simply to have a place of my own. And ultimately, if I had known that she did not know how close the two of us were getting, I would not have allowed the relationship to progress like it did. If I had known that she did not give her blessing or consent, I would have bowed out much, much earlier. Before things got so heated. Before they got so intense.

Before I fell in love. Before he loved me back.

So.

After five years of other partners and lovers, I’m, essentially, single again, at least from the poly perspective. My boss asked if I was taking a break from dating, and I said I think I am. I have Mr Awesome. He’s the best husband a girl could ask for. He’s been amazing throughout this whole crazy couple of weeks. I have Velah, who lets me cook for her and brings me Starbucks cards. I have Jirris and Moredena who send me concerned texts, and the amazing girls at work and my twitter peeps.

In other words, single. But not alone. Never alone. Not with the amazing people I have around me.

I’ll heal. It’s summer. There will be harvests and picnics and July 4th and my birthday. I have my art and my work and just maybe I’ll be a little better about writing here again. I’m thinking it’s me who needs the break, after having two relationships end in the last eight months. Take some time to get to know my own head again, recover from the hurt and bewilderment of how things crashed and burned so quickly with Wash.

Time, I think, to dip my toes in the ocean, examine my belly button for a while, and let the universe carry me along to my next destination.


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