What do you say in a moment like this?

After I posted on Tuesday about talking about uncomfortable feelings, I noticed my cousin had posted on the status of one of his friends.  His friend had basically posted a suicide note.   

There were some, “don’t do this” messages and a few, “hey man, give me a call” messages and a couple, “I hope this is a joke” comments as well.  It turned into a huge thread trying to locate him to stop anything from happening. 

I don’t know the guy, he lives in San Diego, but I was engrossed and followed it for the afternoon.  A group was created and discussion about his mental state and the issues he’s been dealing with lately were all discussed (including the idea that he’s in some legal trouble or has made a mess of his life and may or may not simply be faking a suicide in order to disappear). 

I guess it just made me sad.  Although a few people were mentioning that they had recently seen him and he seemed fine, I just wonder if he had tried to reach out to friends or family in the past few days.  Funny how something so definitive opens up the conversation about mental illness a heck of a lot faster (although you could still kind of sense the discomfort from some of the commenters and the fact that they were talking around him, still not to him).  To the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t been found one way or another yet.

My sister works in the mental health field and each year, she rounds up the fam to participate in a local charity walk for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The idea behind the walk is to destigmatize talking about mental illness.

She also has her own personal history of mental health issues. That’s why it was even harsher that she was one of the ones this weekend who ignored my comments that I was unhappy and lonely. The friend I reached out to also has had bouts of depression.  And perhaps my mom’s avoidance of my comment was a silent suggestion that I take up her method of coping with uncomfortable emotions?

I’m not saying feeling unhappy and lonely = checking into a psych ward, but I’m saying feeling unhappy and lonely and wanting to talk about it but being shot down = amplifying those feelings and feeling like they are wrong or bad and that I’m more alone than I thought.

Now, I’m sorry to say, but yes, I read Get Off My Internets (sometimes it crosses the line to just plain mean, but I like how it makes fun of the ridiculousness that is blogging). Yesterday I read a post critiquing fashion bloggers’ advice to “spruce yourself up to shake off depression,” to which partypants says, “Because when you suffer from clinical depression so crippling that it’s a monumental effort just to go to Walgreen’s for tampons, the least you can do is put on jeans and lipgloss so we don’t have to look at you.” 

I’m the first person to try to make an effort with how I look, to fake it til I make it to get out of a funk, but I realized with those words that I don’t know what a serious mental illness actually does to you.  A funk is not depressed.  Yes, I get sad, yes, I get lonely, but when I step back, those uncomfortable emotions make me happy to be alive to feel them because the alternative is not something I’m interested in. 

This one time, at church camp (yeah, I said it), a girl said she’d never kill herself because she likes herself too much.  She was made fun of for being so…well, I don’t know really…confident?  What? Like it’s so cool to be depressed and not like yourself?

But, that stuck with me, I guess because I feel the same way. Even if it makes me conceited to admit, I like myself.  I’m awesome.  And I’m fortunate enough to have balanced mental health that allows me to feel the uncomfortable emotions, but not let them take over.

But I still think the world would be a better place if people could talk about their emotions and if people would listen and talk back. Why not start with you?

Time is on my side.

My sister’s bridal shower is this afternoon and mostly, I can’t believe it’s here.  One thing (among many) that has bugged me about my sister’s upcoming wedding is the fact that she had such a long engagement. In all honesty, it was probably pretty average. They have been engaged for a yearish and their wedding is next month (“41 days,” she would gleefully pipe in here), so 14 months altogether.

I know there are plenty of people who do the multi-year engagements and I apologize if that’s you and I know everyone has their own reasoning for such things, but I don’t get it. I worked in the events industry for about two years and know first hand it doesn’t take that long to plan a wedding.

I also know first hand that a long engagement drives the people around you crazy. Even my mom, who is thrilled to be a MOB and has seemed to delight in the process thus far, said recently that my sis was in super wedding mode and that’s all she talks about or something to that effect. This confused me because my mom said it like it was a recent development.  Maybe she hasn’t been paying attention for the last year?

This incessant wedding talk and her perception that she is the most important person in the room at all times and her wedding is on everyone’s mind constantly might be why I am bothered by the long engagement, it might also be because it’s not how I would do it and obviously my way is right and much better.

In fact, just this morning, I decided I’m totally eloping or something very similar.  Yep, I said it here first, so mark my words.  No need for the fuss, the ridiculous cost or the hushed drama of a big production.  When I get hitched, I just want to get hitched.

I have also considered that the long, drawn out engagement bugs me because I am actually excited about it as well and would like for it to be here because it will be a fun event. The thing is, though, that when they picked their date last year, I thought it sounded so far away, yet now it seems so close.

With the shower, the bachelorette party, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and actual wedding all hurdling toward me, I’ve realized that events that seem so far in the future will arrive regardless of how I spend the interim.  The time passes if I spend it enjoying the moments just as it will pass if I wish away those moments for events or milestones.

It’s truly not that I’m so unhappy in the present, it’s just that my mind is always thinking ahead to what’s next and I know I miss out.  The big picture in the future is built by the small pictures right now anyway, right?

Like the inability to recognize freedom of choice, I’m good at noticing this fatal error in other people, but not controlling it in myself.  A friend recently posted to Facebook that she wished it was two weeks from now so she would be a flight to Europe.  I’m not great friends with her, so I didn’t feel comfortable replying, but I would have loved to tell her that, yeah, Europe is great, but so are all the little moments that she will experience in the next 14 days before she leaves.

I didn’t tell her, but I’ll tell myself.  In the next 41 days before my family from the midwest descends on beautiful Arizona, before I don a terrible dress, but adorable shoes, before Lucky twirls me around the dance floor, I will be enjoying (and reminding myself to enjoy when needed) the in-between.

Timelines

Let it be noted that Saturday was the official day that my mom expressed that her biological (grandma) clock is ticking.

It was a birthday dinner for both my future bro-in-law and me. Sis and FBIL were discussing how his sister is eager for them to have kids since she just had her first and she wants the baby to have a close-in-age (hopefully girl) cousin. They said they will have one in about a year at the very earliest because they’re basically gonna start trying two months after the wedding.

Mom: “I’m just happy you’re talking about having kids so soon.” And there it was.

In all honesty, talking babies two months after being married seems crazy to me, but it works for them (and apparently for my mother as well).  Timelines are so personal and I don’t think we should look at or judge others’ nor do I think others should look at or judge mine, but perhaps that’s the bigger concern about them…that other people will judge. 

Like weddings and babies, everyone thinks they did/will do it right.  And they did/will…if they do what’s right for them.

So you know what?  F “other people.” I’m looking to, in fact, live my life…as I was meant to, as I want to, as it happens.

As it happens is a big one for me. I’m a planner and think ahead quite a bit and I’m not sure how to change that, but I’m trying. It’s hard not to think in terms of timelines – timelines as I always thought they’d be, timelines as compared to others’ – but I’m working on being grateful for the now. 

So, where does my mom’s revelation + my desire to do what’s right for me leave me?  Yes, it’s nice being the younger sister; the weight for getting married and having babies is a little lifted, but I still feel it. 

My girl Oprah says:

God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself.

The timeline I’m meant to have and the NOW that happens in it is better than the timeline I spend so much time and energy trying to control and it’s better than the timeline that family pressure tries to impose.  Letting that roll off my back and giving up a little control is good.  Repeat.

Quotes like that seem to make their way into my life when I need them. Sometimes through blogs, movies or yoga instructors. I think on them, I write them down, I go back and connect the dots.

Today I collected my thoughts and created one of my own. It’s a good thing I’m not famous because this is probably not cohesive, let alone helpful, but it’s what I’m focusing on today:

If you want to do something, then really do it. In the moment, without what might have beens or what might bes.

I think that the life that comes from that will be better than any timeline.

Back in the Trenches

I feel a little silly being upset over the end of a mini-non-relationship with Non-Mush.  BUT, I’m watching a good friend go through the beginning of a new relationship – that started around the same time mine never did, ouch – and I realized if things had continued to swim along, I’d be equally as thrilled about it as I am now bummed about it. 

Plus, it’s okay to FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.

Maybe it’s not the loss of the relationship specifically, because it wasn’t necessarily anything yet, but the loss of what it could have been, what I wanted it to be, what I thought it might be.

I’m making him a guidepost, a reminder of the quality of guy I deserve, the excitement I should feel at the beginning of something. 

I’m taking my lessons – 1. when it feels right, go all in so you’re left with no regrets, 2. trust your intuition and call a guy on his B.S. when he needs it – and moving on.  Maybe, kinda.*

Well, moving on but totally lamenting the fact that I now have to kiss twelve more frogs until the next good one.  I’m not saying this because JWOWW told me so, I’m saying this because I’ve lived it and it’s true. 

TGISWOTSD —> Non-Mush = FIVE months and approximately 12 other men (not all of whom I actually kissed, it’s just a saying people)!

There are A LOT of men out there.  Most are not for me, but there’s only one way to sort through them to find my Prince Charming.  I’ve got to get in the trenches. 

But you know what?  I don’t wanna.  I mean, yes, I will and honestly, I do want to, but with more focus on the Prince Charming part, less on the trenches part. 

For now, I’m completely overwhelmed by the rigmarole of online dating and the sheer volume of idiots / jerks / douches on the sites.  The whole concept is just not sitting well with me right now and I have no clue where to start to meet a man organically.  Okay, well I have some idea, but planning is very different from execution. 

When my desire to get out there again comes back, I’ve got my post-breakup hair and post-breakup bod ready to go.

To quote one of my fav movies…”head up, young person.”

*Maybe, kinda because I’m straddling a fence right now.  Part of me wants to say, “if you don’t want me in your life [romantically], you don’t get me in your life [at all].”

Another part is piecing bits of our last conversation together and thinking this is a bump, a feeling out period and that we actually could be great together.  For that part of me, it still feels right to give it another shot with Non-Mush. 

I realize that if I was paying attention I wouldn’t think that was an option, but this falls in the no regrets category and even though looking into my magic ball, I assume I’ll find a man who makes me wonder why I ever wasted my time, I don’t want to what-if this situation.

Enjoy the Ride

Yesterday, I felt like this:

Not just about this:

 

But about this too:

Honestly, I did a little of this at work:

That’s not actual crying, that’s just tearing up.  So, I self-medicated:

After work I had to go here:

(The chiropractor, not a masseuse.)  While there, I got this:

From a new girlfriend asking me to hang out this weekend.  Out of my comfort zone, but I said yes.  That helped a little, but I was still feeling sad, so I wanted to go home and do this:

Brie…yum!  And this:

That would be actual crying.  Instead, I did this:

And went on yet another one of these:

There was a little of this:

And A LOT of this:

And this:

Sometimes you just have to:

And:

Oh HELL no. That did not just happen.

What didn’t just happen, you ask?

I did not have a (very realistic) dream that I was pregnant. I blame Bridezilla my sister.  We went bridesmaid dress shopping over the weekend and not only is her other bridesmaid (her soon-to-be sister-in-law) pregnant, she has total baby brain, so pregnancy was a dominant conversation theme. 

Yes, the woman who is having a 14-month engagement is already plotting her 2-month wedding-to-knocked up turnaround.  And she bought a mom car last week. I’m assuming the mom jeans are next.  Perhaps that’s just how competitive I am.  Ha!  I’ll show her, I’ll great dream-pregnant and push one out first! 

I don’t have them ALL that often, but pregnancy dreams used to scare me.  You know, back when I was getting some?  I was in no way ready for a baby and was always concerned that it was my subconscious’ way of telling me I was, in fact, with child.  Yeah, totally not getting any and totally not prego.

I did not miss my ex-ex-boyfriend recently and consider emailing him to tell him that I was sorry and wrong and that he was right, my recent decision to go for what I deserve in love was really just me flirting with bitchiness and we should get back together and I’ll be a good little wifey, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

I did not then think about how TGISWOTSD was supposed to get me over the ex-ex and then get kinda sad about him too.  But with way less desire (like none) to contact him.  Funny how the [quasi-]good guy is easier to stay away from than the toxic one. Probably because one of the last things TGISWOTSD said to me was that he just didn’t see our relationship going where I did and one of the last things the ex-ex told me was that I was his one.  Who doesn’t want to be wanted?

I did not consider just sleeping with Rebel and getting it over with in an attempt to make a rebound actually work for me for once because I know that replacing a hurt with a disappointment doesn’t actually work for me.

I did not get propositioned for sex on OK Cupid.  I mean, there’s absolutely NO WAY I actually got a message that said “so would ya hook up if it was worth it enough?Ive kinda had a fantasy but havent had a chance for it to happen.”  Horrible sentence structure aside, ew. 

I did not realize today is my half-birthday in a mild panic.  Or maybe if I did, I realized that six months is long and I’ve got some time to become even more awesome before I turn 27.

Nope, none of that stuff happened.  I have a completely normal and healthy subconscious and love life.

Unplugged

I’m going off the grid (starting yesterday).  During the holidays I took a little time away from technology by default, but this week I’m making a conscious effort to unplug for no reason at all (well, it is on my 101 list).  I imagine I’ll be well-rested, well-read and my shoulders will move away from my ears.  I’m going to be social.  Imagine that.  I might also attempt to figure out my life and create a plot to eliminate senseless crimes against the English language.

I’ve scheduled this post and tomorrow’s WWW update to go up while I’m on detox.  If they bore, feel free to abort the mission, but come back next week when you won’t be reading posts I cranked out in one night!

Dear Mini-Me

Reverb 10, Day 21 Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

Are you ready girl?  It’s going to be a big year.

Pursue everything you want with reckless abandon and continue to amaze yourself.

Put yourself out there – in romantic and platonic relationships, career-wise and with anything that makes you a little uncomfortable.  You can handle it.

Write, write, write.

Take care of yourself.  Working out makes you feel good physically and emotionally.

Floss and take your vitamins.  I know you hate this ritual, but we both know it’s best to keep it up.

Take it easy on the alcohol, chocolate chip cookies and french fries.  You feel and look better without this crap in your system.  And while we’re on it, you don’t need all those chemicals packaged nicely in a can labeled Diet Coke either.  Your ass, skin and digestive system will thank you if you focus on the good stuff this year.

Appreciate and take care of your family.  Be supportive and flexible when it comes to your sister’s wedding.   

I know you want to have a serious boyfriend to take to her wedding.  This may or may not happen (don’t want to ruin the surprise!) but you’ll have a great time either way surrounded by loved ones.  And if you followed my earlier advice, you’ll look fabulous!

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  If he’s not the man who is sitting here with you in five years, move on.  He really is an amazing man (and sexy!) and he’s out there making his way to you. It’s never going to happen if you have someone else parked in your boyfriend spot. 

You’re abstaining right now and you should keep that up for as long as you want to.  When you decide you’re ready again, use condoms, girl.  I don’t care how pretty his face is, you don’t know where his shame shame has been.

Another reckless behavior you need to ktfo:  texting while driving.

Don’t forget to take some down time to rejuvenate your spirit.  Life only gets crazier as you get older.  Be selfish while you can.

PLEASE contribute to your retirement fund!

Oh, and 26 is not old and neither is 27.  They’re great ages and lady, you are like a fine wine.

Feel Your Feelings

Reverb 10, Day 19 Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I’ve had a charmed life and no one likes the poor, little rich girl being all “woe is me” about her so-called hardships, but I learned my favorite lesson about emotions back in college when my roommate, another poor, little rich girl, was going through her parents’ divorce.  Her counselor told her that it was okay to feel her feelings. 

Why do women have to be reminded that it’s okay for them to have feelings, feel them, express them, work through them?  Whatever the reason, when I feel like my feelings aren’t valid or that my life has been too sheltered for me to be distressed, I just remind myself it’s okay to feel my feelings. 

I worked through some heartache and relationship and work baggage this year and I was healed in the little moments.  I found comfort in the rhythm of my runs.  I found comfort in slow rituals and taking time for myself.  I created and validated a ritual of staying in bed with my feelings if I wanted to, knowing it would heal whatever I was going through and the next day I’d get up, mental health a little more intact. 

I was healed by confronting some of the shadowy lurkers of my past and by just closing the door and walking away from others.  I got over some things in my past by jumping into new things, which is a good band-aid, but perhaps in 2011, I will work on actually healing them. 

I feel like I’m in a good place right now, but everyone has their days and everyone has things from the past that pop up and pinch them right in that spot that makes it hurt all over again.  When those days come up, I know that it’s okay to feel my feelings and work through them however is right for me.

A Cat Lady, But a Wise and Sexy One

Reverb 10, Day 10 Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Recently, I made the decision to change my approach to dating.  I haven’t quite been able to put it into words – although now I kind of have the urge to spend the weekend mind mapping it out, savant style.  Yes, yes, I’m going to need one of those sticky poster pads and lots and lots of Sharpies, SB Double Shots and mac and cheese (but only the kind in the blue box).

Anyway, last night on a date (#2) with a man whose nickname is in the works, I realized I had revised it again.  It’s an evolving idea, but basically, it’s about being true to myself – who I am and what I want.  Seeking out what works for me and not wasting time on something that doesn’t.  And not apologizing either way. 

Sometimes it makes me feel like a crazy cat lady who spends her weekends reading bridal magazines (and has the event basically planned with just one little, last piece TBD), taking at-home fertility tests (just to make sure) and trolling eHarmony – checklist in hand – for THE ONE. 

Sometimes it makes me feel like a confident, sexy bad-ass who has fun, gets what she wants and doesn’t understand the meaning of the word settle.  These mixed feelings are why it’s ever-changing.

I’m proud that I paused, stepped back, saw something that wasn’t working and attempted to change it.  I’m excited for the adventures this wise decision will undoubtedly bring me in 2011 and beyond.