With Desired Effects…

this weekend was legendary.  friday’s work was hard and annoying- mice turds, scummy tubs and christmas tree removal.  fears of last weekend’s blowout still ringing through my brain.  not one to be dissolved into misery, not anymore at least, i pasted a waxy smile to my face and reminded myself how short life is, and cautiously stepped into Friday Night.

when your partner of ten years takes mood altering medication, you never know what face you will see at the end of the day.  one weekend smiles.  next weekend you are homeless.  one weekend is hot and heavy, sex, sex, sex.  the next weekend you are face down on the floor, sobbing.  with the uncertainty of days of wine and song, or nights of hyperventilating sobs, weekends can be a scary place, and have lost most of the glittery dancing, cocktail clubbing,  Thank God It’s Friday-ing times i used to live for.  so it was with supreme eggshell-walking i planned on not planning out how my weekend would go and with trepidation i watched the clock.  i crafted.  i cleaned.  i failed at crochet again.  i wrote.  i read.  i texted.  i went to the gym.  i ate.  i filled time.  i was.  i sat.  i thought.  i worried.  i chewed my nails.  i picked my cuticles.  i texted.  i snacked.  i ate mindlessly.  i worried some more.  i panicked.  i flipped out.  i cancelled plans with friends.  i texted.  i pretended.  i faked that nothing was wrong.  i stared out the window until 2 AM when i saw his car pull up.  i froze.

clumpy snowy steel toed boots walked in.  boots came off.  wooly-socked little feet.  a “hey baby, how are you?” and a kiss.  i smiled, cautiously.  the weekend had officially begun.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/daily-prompt-copies/

My Name is Theresa. And I’m a Realist.

I realized something the other day when people were still throwing new year’s resolutions about, and i was steadfast in my resolution to not make any resolutions. i was sitting quietly in the car as we drove around Atlantic City listening to Christmas music. we were trying to get the last of the holiday spirit before it disappeared into the chaos of another three hundred-and-some days. i watched the blazing marquees blink and flash and i wondered what was in abandoned and broken down buildings. i watched the groups of casino-goers scuttle about and i saw lonely people trudging home from their late night jobs. i felt so small, like you do when you are disconnected from rushing crowds and noisy happenings. i wondered, as you do, what those people were celebrating, and felt lonely for not being a part of their fun. i was quiet and introspective, like you are when you miss your friends and wondering if they were missing you too.

there was talk about what we would do if we were to inherit a lot of money. my boyfriend and i were dreaming of owning a campground or a bed and breakfast, and building the house of our dreams and traveling. realistically unrealistic, but with the right circumstances, possibly attainable miles and miles in the future. we talked about the past, and things he used to do in his old neighborhood, and like i do, i listened, wondering what my childhood would have been like if i was in his shoes. talk of ‘the way it used to be’ was brief, if only because it’s just talk, and there’s no potential in dwelling on the past, so the conversation went back to buying a boat and a camper, specific kinds of dogs, special vacations, all excited with possibility. my life being what it is, however, full of so much missed opportunity, so much disappointment, i didn’t give myself the chance to get filled with dreams. or even hope. i’m a realist. and we realists know better. we live in the now. we only allow ourselves realistic thoughts. we don’t dream or make WISH BOOKS or say things like “someday i’d like to…”. we just can’t. we can talk about the future in the short term, on practical attainable goals like- “in six months after we pay off our credit cards-…”, or “after i lose ten pounds, i’d like to-…”, or “next week after i finish work for the week-…”. attainable. practical. realistic. i am a realist after all.

i wasted a lot of my life wondering about the ‘what if’s’, and crying over my problematic past. neglectful parents, correctable mistakes, broken promises. these are things i know. but these are also things that i can no longer do anything about. they are done. they are in the past. they are the past. thankfully.

the future? i want to believe, and dream and hope and wish. but i can’t allow that. i don’t want to say, “after i lose 100 pounds i’ll buy that bikini to wear on our caribbean cruise”– there is just SO MUCH WRONG with that. it’s almost laughable. i won’t say things like, “i would like to go back to school if-…” because, well, i just won’t.

i can however, let myself say, “after my car is paid off next summer, i’ll feel more relaxed” and “by next year, our credit cards will be paid off, and we’ll finally be able to breathe a little easier”. these are things i can say. these are things that will happen. these are things that i know (*knocks on wood*, barring some unforeseen disaster- that is NEVER out of the possibility). but MOSTLY, for the most part, BASICALLY, (probably) those are things i know.

now, having said all of that, i still WANT things to happen. like, winning the lottery, or getting a huge burst of creative energy and also a miracle publisher and get my books onto shelves. or losing 25 pounds. i can hope for a dream job for my boyfriend. i can dream that my son will find his way through life easier than i did. but will i wait for it? will i dream about these things? will i allow myself the luxury of HOPING for them? absolutely not. i’m a realist. and realists don’t do that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/daily-prompt-forward/

Who Can It Be Now?

If i had the choice to be ANYONE in the world- living or dead?   *thinks*  I’m surprising even myself by saying that i’d choose being me- no matter what. and although my life has been one fucked up hotmess after the next, i still wouldn’t ever change being good ol’ *Miss Tee*, if for no other reason than i’m a tenacious motherfucker and i really would like to see how my epic tale ends.

however, having chosen myself, if i had ‘it’ to do all over, i would like to make the following changes-

  1. lose all of this weight.  or at least, have the knowledge and forethought as a younger version of me to NEVER have gained this mass of mess to begin with.
  2. not listen to my parents as much as i did.  being a kid/teen/young adult, i foolishly believed that my parents always were always most concerned with my well being.  i figured that since they were adults, and were responsible for me, that they knew best, and would never do anything that wasn’t for my ‘own good’.  but now, having been a parent for nineteen years and with some actual life experience, i see just how fucked up my parents were.  hindsight is truly 20/20, and my therapy sessions would double if i dwelled on all of the mistakes my parents dragged me through, not to mention most of it wasn’t even ‘best intentions’-type of stuff.  adults make mistakes. and parents are adults. parental word is NOT god.  i know this NOW.
  3. make better choices.  including but not limited to- not falling in love so quickly, learning to be on my own and more independent in general, and learning more LIFE SKILL-sy things like car maintenance and home repair.
  4. not get pressured into school right out of high school.  the biggest regret of my entire life was being forced into secondary education before i was ever ready.  i never had the choice to just float and make mistakes before i was thrust into the BIGPEOPLE WORLD, and over two decades later, i still feel like i am paying for that.  i wish i had the chance to experience life a lot more before being thrust into adulthood at age seventeen.  i learned how to live paycheck to paycheck, and how to live off of credit cards, only to have to get money from my credit cards to pay my credit card bills.  i learned how to live on one meal a day, mostly on ‘discarded’ sandwiches from the cafe where i worked.  i learned how to work two jobs until i was so exhausted that i skipped class- A LOT.  i had absolutely no social life which caused so much unhappiness and resulted in more bad choices and i cared very little about moving forward in life.  worst of all, this probably resulted in my agoraphobia, panic anxiety disorder and yes, a lot of my weight problems.  to top it off, i graduated very mediocrely, which obviously didn’t help me land any topnotch art jobs, except, at an art supply store, ironically called Top Notch.

i don’t like to live in the past and try not to dwell on all of the shit, but it’s hard to not get bogged down in blame or a big ol fat shame spiral when things are less than shiny- even more than twenty years later.

however, having said all of this,  i was lost in the moment as we were driving around Ocean City looking at Christmas lights the other night, and realized that i finally am living in THE PRESENT.  i no longer want to sit and try to make up for mistakes in the past, and i’m certainly not going to wait around until my life is ‘perfect’ before i start living.  it took forty years for me to get here, and with any luck, i’ll be around on earth at least forty more (*knocks on wood*), and i don’t want to waste any more time on the ‘what if’s’ or thinking i can’t do things UNTIL (*insert thing i’ll probably never get around to*).  at the bottom of it all, i’m not unhappy with who i am, i know that i still have an amazing lifetime ahead of me, and don’t want to miss a thing.

side effects

Celexa.  Cymbalta.  Prozac.  Lexapro.
Paxil.  Ativan.  Seroquel. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm….. there you go.

Just a few things I need, indeed, to stay up
Interesting to think I can be fed my moods, or lack thereof, in a cup.

Wellbutrin.  Zoloft.  Zyprexia.  Valerian root tea.
All served up and ready to produce an even better me.

The celexa gave me lockjaw so bad that I thought I had died.
Cymbalta didn’t do anything so I sat around and cried.
Prozac made me feel funky and all jittery with the shakes.
Lexapro I don’t remember much, but the horrible stomach aches.

cute and sugary coated like that rhyming poetry shit- that’s just not me.
my quirky doctor wanted me to write out how I was feeling and that was the first bunch of crap that just popped into my brain.
and it made me want to barf.  it made me actually feel worse than before i sat down to write it.

but the other part, the part that i wrote and DIDN’T SHARE?  was so much worse. 
and you never want to do something that opens yourself up for judgement by your therapist,
or allow them to see the basketcase that you really are.

On Writing

so, i have always loved writing. i always enjoy the control of it, the catharsis, the release, the power. i love the creation and evolution and even organization of written words. not to sound trite, but i have been writing as long as i can remember- even going so far as getting caught and BUSTED in 4th grade for a naughty illustrated short story called “HORNY MOANA.” but as life went on, reality and the BIGPEOPLE WORLD clouded my brain from ever becoming a successful writer. self doubt, improbability and the general PIPE DREAM of being an accomplished writer was squashed dead, like the proverbial cockroach. i can look back to a period of almost a decade where i believed writing to be such a farfetched fantasy that i didnt write ANYTHING AT ALL. no real surprising coincidence that it was about the time of my FIRST GREAT DEPRESSION….

something inside broke and i was unable to process any of my emotions which all seemed to be fighting to try and get out at once. i hated so much about my life, my self, my everything. i cried nonstop for days and days. my brain was short-circuiting and i couldnt figure out what to do, so i picked up a notebook and started to write again.

i remember writing for two days solid. it was dark and sinister, cruel and cold, and moreover, it was barely legible. but it didnt matter. words spewed forth and as if by magick, disappeared into the universe. so writing was back on the menu, and for awhile, was all the mental medication i needed. after awhile BIGPEOPLE life got in the way again, and started taking over my writing time, until it was little more than a scribbled sentence or two on a napkin.

once again, unsurprisingly, my depression hit back, and even harder this time, cracking me in the back of my skull with a diagnosis of “agoraphobia”, “acute chronic depression” and “social anxiety disorder.” great. add to that absolutely no self confidence, rotten self esteem and harshly critical unsupportive peers that said that writing was a ridiculous waste of time, even as a mere hobby. my writing career was over before it was even a seed in my brain.

many more braincloudy years passed, and i kept ticking down time, slogging through housewifery and reality television, until one day i rediscovered one of my old journals. it was if i actually could hear the light come on again, and i began to write again. i described my painful and lonely journey through depression and as before, felt myself blossoming back to life. in that moment, i realized that writing was one of the only things that made sense to me, and that it was something i had to do. i realized that i HAD to be a writer. that as a hobby, or dabbler or a full-blown best selling novelist, that by goddess, i had to write. that was almost a decade ago and since then, i have been making AND TAKING steps to living my fully realized dream; becoming a professional (and paid) writer.

this is a scary thing, a daunting task. an unbelievably, impossibly stupid goal uphill, both ways, in the snow.  and i realize this is the hokey schmaltz back-story of most writers, especially since i love what i write and i always have. HOWEVER, i rarely, until recently have ever shared my work, so based my confidence of my writing SOLELY on my own opinions. the times when i allowed others to read things, all have been very well received, with loads of compliments and pats on the back. but, i’m not that easily convinced and still doubt my writing ability. i have since named this “THE AMERICAN IDOL COMPLEX.” THE AMERICAN IDOL COMPLEX is when starry-eyed and naive people go on American Idol because their family and some people at a karaoke bar in a bo dunk town told them that they were “the best singer they ever heard.” they have unnecessarily and totally inaccurate assessments and opinions of themselves, and ultimately end up looking like idiots in front of the world. now, i never plan to publicly humiliate myself in front of millions of people, but the idea is the same.

i will say this, taking things painfully slow, spending months researching and planning seems to be working and finally paying off. i am finally gaining more confidence sharing my work and getting all of my little wordy ducks in a row. i am incredibly proud of myself, and all that i have accomplished, in the short time since i put my plan into action. i never listened to my mom too much because she wasnt much for sayings, but i’d like to think that if she said anything, she’d say “slow and steady wins the race.”

now, i still dont flatter myself to think that i will ever become a female David Sedaris like i always tell my son, but regardless, i am actually taking steps and accomplishing more than i expected thus far. and although i have been doin’ the whole “slow and steady” thing over a span of many, many years, i finally feel like i am gaining momentum, and have been writing my little heart out, now i am starting to get impatient. i found myself resenting my (paid) job today and all week, for that matter, because it was getting in the way of my writing. now, i’m not cool or conceited enough to believe that i dont need a paid job or income, in fact i have been lacking in the money department for a few months. winter is always a slow time for me; tis the nature of the beast, but years before, i always was proud of myself for powering through and getting myself back to good.

this year?  there is little motivation to have my own business; my focus and attention are all on writing.  and i know that my business is what gives me the luxury of having so much free time to write, but i feel that familiar creeping dread of “gotta go to work tomorrow” that i had with every other job.  i always prided myself on being happy to go to work, and not wasting energy like the rest of the 9 to 5’ers on being miserable.

“means to an end,” they say, and i’m going to keep on keepin’ on, but it was just what was on my mind today as i finished updating the zine and then trooped out the door to “make the doughnuts,” so to speak.  again, i don’t flatter myself that i am better than other hardworking people, least of all my boyfriend that works harder and more awful hours than most, but like i said, this was just the thoughts on the ol’ brain.  i would guess that this feeling is as much motivation that i need to keep me on my path.

my brain is on fire and once again words are fighting to get out, but this time, i am prepared.  i am ready!  the writing switch has been flipped.  no way i am going back now!  it’s full steam ahead, captain!  WRITING HO!

my abnormal life.

my abnormal life-
it’s as prickly as a cactus.
as confusing as any road map
with about a hundred do-overs,
i’m something of a mess.

all fleeting happiness overshadowed by depression.
anxiety and regression
i have faked it, but have yet to make it.
i’m not who i advertise on the outside, but i hope to be.

i write.
and i write. and i write and i write and i write.
if i dont, my brain gets gummed up with words
gets jumbled with thoughts all trying to sort themselves into something fighting to take over.
i just pray that i come across as sane.
i pray that no one sees inside.

cant sleep. wont sleep. need sleep. heartburn. nerves all jangly. Walmart in my jammies.
heart attack-like pain dulled now. Thanks Zantac! dulling to a steady burning ball of pain.

Subsiding. Writing. Denying. Pondering. Trying.
Seriously considering checking into the hospital, but way too afraid.

gotta be okay. pretend it away.
i think it might help. not sure how, but it cant hurt.
i’ve seen TWELVE MONKEYS and ONE FLEW OVER A CUCKOO’S NEST- and they certainly didnt turn out well. i know how these things work.

i must weigh my brain-health and the possibility of “getting better” against what it might mean to my son if dear old mom goes off to “The Crazy House.”
i could lie, i guess.
I ALREADY DO.
How are you doing, Theresa? (i say, “fine. good. great. everything is awesome.”)

too heavy to think about this at whatever o’clock in the morning.
SHUT.UP.BRAIN.
cantdontwont go on like this.
it’s so much extra work to be THIS FUCKING NUTS.
happy one second, flipping out the next. mad after that. then falling in love the second after. smilingcryinghidingpretendingavoiding. faking it all.

holy hell, i’m a mess.
i’m embarrassed and ashamed and mad at myself.
holyshit i’m in a shame spiral again. oh goody!

SHUT UP BRAIN!

should i take this more seriously?
should i take meds more furiously?
should i medicate this furiousness, SERIOUSLY?

“I want to be better.”
“Of course you do.”
“I swear it.”
“Of course.”
“Really! I’m just not there yet.”
“Of course not. These things take time.”
“We have to be patient.”
“Take your meds, dear. We’ll talk later. Right now you need to rest.”

i’m headed in the right direction i think.
is that the ativan or my inspirational quote-a-day calendar talking?

-“it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
-“Gotta go through it, to do it.”
-“Measure twice, cut once.”
-better out than in?
-smile it’s free?
-Two birds with one stone?
-an ounce of prevention and all of that shit.

i’m an absolute fucked up trainwreck basketcase whacked out nutjob.
i really am.
i’m agoraphobic, morbidly obese and suffer from Social Anxiety Panic Disorder and Depression.
a regular ol’ hotmess.
but that’s who i am.
and it’s part of my abnormal life.

Everyone’s Rock

i have to say that i am pretty discouraged right now.
i tend to be everyone’s support, everyone’s safeplace.
but here i am, alone again on another friday night, crying.
and i’ll get up tomorrow and go through the motions of being happy, completing tasks for everyone else, but i definitely feel very hollow right now.
and if anyone bothers to notice, or realizes that i am unhappy, i’ll get some hamhanded attempts to cheer me, mostly making me feel sorry that they feel guilty enough to TRY.
i feel so empty right now. and i feel like i have to be. there is very little room for my own emotions anymore. i’m so busy putting out fires, running interference, playing devil’s advocate and being everyone else’s sounding board, that i have very little time for my own mental health anymore.

i am exhausted.
and, as trite as it is, it’s just not fair.

the one thing that brings me joy, my writing, is looked upon as a joke, dismissed as a waste of time.

welp. it’s about time to put on my smiley face and fix everyone’s problems but my own.

this is my own personal pity party.
thanks for coming.