Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There’s No Enlightenment at the End of this Post

Sometimes I think the most difficult aspect of mental health is how self-aware you can be even when things are wrong. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. Much like my poor eyesight, at this point I can tell when something is wrong. I know when my depression is acting up. I’m perfectly aware when I have a panic attack that that is what’s happening. I even understand that there are steps I could take to improve things—but when my brain is telling me that life is too difficult, doing any of those things seems impossible.

When my depression takes hold, I sleep. Not good, normal, restful sleep but something I call escape sleep. I’ll get off work, go home, and sleep from 5-11. Then I wake up and struggle with insomnia until 2 or 3. I constantly feel tired. And even though I’m exhausted, sleep won’t come when it should. I know a good way to combat this would be to exercise after work. I know it has worked in the past. But I don’t do it.

When my depression takes hold, I don’t eat right. I know I should be cooking myself food that is good for me—but it’s easier to just have cereal or cookies or junk. The thought of planning out meals, going shopping, preparing food, and cleaning up after seems like far too much work. Sometimes when I’m hungry I just go to bed instead of dealing with it. Because my brain says it’s too hard to do all the work it will take to fix my hunger.

When my depression takes hold, you might not even notice. I can still laugh. I can still make jokes. I can make you think I’m totally fine. It sometimes feels like being a functional alcoholic. I excel at “hiding my crazy.” But it’s always there anyway.

This brings me back to the idea of self-awareness. When I read over my words I know­ they must sound insane to anyone not struggling with mental health issues. Even to me, they seem slightly absurd. All things considered, I’ve had a blessed life up to this point. I shouldn’t be sad. I shouldn’t struggle with basic self-care. But it takes strength, mental and physical, to break out of the habits of depression. And when you’re struggling to even get out of bed in the morning that strength is in short supply.

It takes going against everything your mind is trying to tell you. It takes ignoring your natural impulses. It takes finding the belittled, downtrodden, logical part of your mind—the 10% that knows depression lies—and trying to put it in charge of the other 90%. And it’s hard. It is so goddamn hard.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How Do You Deal With This?

I am struggling with a deep and unrelenting shame for my shameless family members.

I am ashamed of the fact that they are racists, bigots, and willfully ignorant to facts and reason. That regardless of how they identify, their actions more than give them away.

I am ashamed of their unchecked hubris. Of their unwillingness to see another point of view. Of their hatred that they mask with “patriotism” and Christianity.

I am ashamed that they call themselves Christians while unabashedly supporting the views of the morally bankrupt.

I am ashamed that they are too proud to admit they have made a mistake in putting their support behind Donald Trump.

This is ½ of my upbringing. ½ of the people who raised me. I don't know how to reconcile their current actions with my childhood memories.

Maybe they've always been like this and I was just too blind to see it?

Everything in me wants to say something about it. Everything I am wants to try to influence them to change. But it’s like shouting into the wind.

I know I'm not alone in this. I know others are dealing with similar situations. And I truly want to know how you manage it? Because it's like a weight that I can't shake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

To 2017

Like most, I have, in my 26.7ish years, failed at innumerable new year’s resolutions. I think it’s a bit of a given, unless you resolve to fail at your resolution (which is a terribly confusing gambit in itself) or you resolve to do something very small (such as eat one salad) you’re probably going to lapse. The fact is, change is hard.

In the past few months, 2017 has been both a light in the distance and a looming shadow. While we leave behind the heartbreaks and disappointments of 2016, we are now faced with surviving 12 months of fallouts and ramifications. Gallows humor aside, I’m legitimately frightened about what some of those ramifications may be. Perhaps more than ever, the future is scary.

To that end, my resolutions are centered around actionable steps I can take to improve my life. I know there will be setbacks, but I’m resolving not to let them completely derail me.

1. I’m going to do my very best to write and post at least one thing here a month. I barely wrote in 2016 and I miss it. I’d like to get back into the habit.

2. I’m going to stop biting my nails. If I’m being honest, I’ve already had a lapse on this one. But I have to keep trying. That’s really all we can do. 
3. I’m going to take steps to improve my health and wellbeing. I’m intentionally vague here because I have learned in the past that putting stringent guidelines on my health does not work for me.

4. I will do everything within my power to encourage openness and acceptance. I will fight to not let the voices of a few, disenfranchise millions. I will choose love over hate. I hope you’ll join me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Orange Grove: Being a Brief Reflection on Current Political Affairs and the Potential Afterlife

In the weeks before my Grandma Russell died, she talked to my grandpa and her kids about an orange grove. At this point, she was only somewhat lucid. She’d been ill for a long time and it had taken a toll. But my mom says that when she spoke of the orange grove she seemed especially certain of herself.

The idea was a simple one. Our whole family, extended out to all the spouses, families of spouses, and anyone else who wanted to come, really, would move to an orange grove. We would buy a large tract of land and plant hundreds of orange trees. Those of us living there would tend the oranges and live, all together, happily. It was a fair plan. The basis of which was her desire to have all the people she loved close to her and happy. I dream of the orange grove.

~ ~ ~

I've realized in recent years that my grandma's death affected my mom more than I grasped at the time. She’s not as open as she used to be. In an attempt to cope with losing her mother, she turned to religion. While this is often a helpful course of action, it may have done her a disservice. Sometimes I hardly recognize her. I often wonder what my grandma would think of it. 

I’ve struggled with the concept of religion for most of my adult life. I can’t reconcile the pain and suffering in the world with the concept of an almighty “good” at the helm of everything. Regardless of how religion would explain the bad, I just want the orange grove.

Generally, I like to think of myself as hopeful

In times such as we find ourselves now, however, that hope is stretched thinner. I don’t know how to process the level of hate we seem to have reached as a society. I don’t know what it means when people who raised me to believe that “red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his sight,” now support bigoted and discriminatory ideas in the name of religion and “safety.” I don’t know what steps to take to combat the vast misinformation that is polluting the minds of millions. I don’t even know where to start.

At this point, I try to live my life the best I can. I aim to treat others with kindness, love, and respect. I understand that the peaceful world I dream of is probably just that, a dream. So I’m left with hope. Hope that I can make some kind of change. Hope that I can leave the world even a bit better than I found it. Hope for a potential ever after. For me, I think it might be an orange grove.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Unpopular Opinions

Whether you are a “hipster,” a “basic bitch,” or anything in between, you likely have a few things that the masses seem to love and about which you simply do not care. Perhaps you even actively dislike the things. I have found that I have several of these things; due to the number, I’ve decided to utilize the umbrella term “unpopular opinions.” These are mine.

1. Beyoncé. Though I, like many 90’s-00’s girls, loved me some Destiny’s Child, I cannot figure out the obsession with Beyoncé. Why do people think she’s so great? Am I missing something? Is her music really so good that it justified Kanye’s VMA antics? Why does she have an alter ego? I’m just at a loss. I’ll take Sia.

2. Wine. To quote Sheldon Cooper, it’s just “grape juice that burns.” I’ve tried many. I’ve liked none.

3. Body positivity extending to the level of celebrating people who are morbidly obese. I get that we want to encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin and I generally think that's a good idea but these “role models” like Tess Holliday are not okay. Being morbidly obese is not okay. There is a definite difference between a healthy plus sized body and a body that is carrying hundreds of extra pounds of fat. It’s unhealthy and it’s a bad example.

4. I’m with Tina Fey on this one. While I think it is important to be inclusive and to not go out of your way to be offensive I think the culture of apologizing is getting out of hand. The idea that nobody should ever have their feeling hurt is just madness. People are going to disagree. People are going to think different things. People are going to make jokes and / or decisions that we don’t agree with. But that does not mean we should waste time demanding apologies. There are much larger issues to worry about than the race of an actor or actress.

5. “Ship” names. Please. For the love of god, please. Can we stop merging together the names of those in a couple? Does it really take that much longer to say Brad and Angelina? Is it that hard? No. The answer is no.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Things That Annoy Me More Than They Probably Should

1. Slow walkers. I’m not saying I’m the fastest (I have short legs, cut me some slack) but when I get stuck behind a group of people moseying along while taking up the whole walkway I find it infuriating.

2. When radio DJs interrupt the end of a song with their nonsense. More annoying yet if they are singing in some obnoxious voice. I want to hear the song. The whole song. Not your jibber jabber cutting into the end. I can’t even explain how much I hate this.

3. Misplaced tiles. Like in a floor pattern. So bad.

4. People changing the formatting of something I’ve created. Especially if it’s something I use to keep me organized. If I’ve created a system I’ve done so for a reason. I don’t need someone going in and trucking it all up.

5. People who don’t use the oxford comma. It helps to clarify things and takes literally one second to add. Just use the damn thing.

6. People who use OCD as a flippant descriptor. Unless you have been diagnosed by a medical professional (WebMD does not count) you don't have OCD. Being somewhat anal does not mean you have OCD.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

More Adventures in Online Dating

People are awesome. Also, they really need some basic lessons in grammar.

"Nice smiley, Kylie! Bet that gets some attention :)"
Really, dude? My name is right there.

"Hey baby I want you to call me daddy. Give me your kik please. :)"
No. No that won’t be happening.

"Hi! How are you? I'm Kait. Do you ever come to Bloomington?
May be a long shot but it'd be wise to read my profile. haha Worst case scenario, I get a polite no. lol ;)"
Against my better judgment I did go look at her profile. She said it would be wise. I thought maybe I was going to win something. I was not. It was a pretty big letdown honestly.

"Hi Ky, i would be interested in having you around, i am laid back, easy to get along, educated, fun and laughter, would love to grab food alongwith you. What do you think!!!"
1. My mom is the only one who gets to call me Ky. 2. How does one become laughter? 3. Please google the difference between a question mark and an exclamation point.

It`s really hard to start conversation with charming lady)
But I`ll try))
It`ll be really interesting to know more about you)"
What’s with the parentheses? Did you just have a stroke?

"you look beautiful inside and out I could see myself getting to know u better and showing u how a woman should be treated... like a princess :)"
How did you see my insides? Gross.

"Your way to pretty to be on this site what makes you wanna be on here just looking for friends or what"
My way too pretty. Also, what am I supposed to do with that? I am “on here” so are you saying I’m misusing my pretty in the real world or what?

"Good evening! I realize we are 1700 miles away but I just wanted to say you seem like an amazing woman and you are beautiful."
I mean, thanks I guess? But why on earth are you looking at my profile in California?

"Hello I don't mean to bother you and I don't mean to flirt and I'm sure you hear it from a lot of guys but I had to stop what I was doing and tell you I think your beautiful"
My beautiful. Also he sent the exact same message on two different days. Do you think he says this to all the girls?

Monday, February 16, 2015

In Honor of Valentine's Day...

I’ve done a post about this once before but in honor of Valentine’s Day having been this last weekend I thought I’d do another. This is just a smattering of the spectacular messages I receive on the regular from the guys on OkCupid.

I have to believe there are also good guys on this site. The ones below are not these guys. And lest we forget, I also get at least 10 views a week from men well over 40. So special.

I considered editing for grammar / punctuation but I thought you should see the messages in their full glory.

“You looking for some valentines day company? Maybe smoke some weed?”
- Quite the romantic, no?

“Hello sexy. But of course you think im just looking for sex like ever other girl on this site. Lol but hey anyway Lol”
- I couldn’t tell you why he called himself a girl.

“Hey Kyley :) how is it going ? I am cool, kind, educated, romantic, good looking , easy going ...”
- Your profile is empty of everything. Including a photo. Sure you are man, sure you are.

“Ey bb u wan sum fuc? (wait, let me go and change my picture and increase my age before you reply)”
- (W…T…F)

“I'm only here for the weekend. Would you sit on my face?”
- I weep for the future of mankind.

“So serious question.....what's your take on jorts?”
- I don’t really know how to process this.

“Hello Mrs Spectatular. You are gorgeous. I love ur pics. How long u been single?”
- That’s not my name. Also, if I were Mrs. Spectacular I wouldn’t be single. I’d be the wife of Mr. Spectacular, duh.

“Hello dear how are you,i must say you look”
- What does that even mean?

“Hi, are you into black guys
Hi, are you into black guys
Hi, are you into black guys”

- 1. He sent this exact message on three different days. 2. This is such a crap question. Don’t bring race into this.

“hey whats up? hows it going? cute pics........nice smile n eyes..........would u wanna get to know each other? how old ru? ru single?”
- I think you should have to prove competence in your dominant language before you’re allowed to make an online dating profile.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Comprehensive List of My Childhood Fears

I’ve written a few posts like this in the past but this time I’m going to try really hard to come up with all the things I was scared of / thought would be bigger issues in my life when I was a child. Things I thought I would almost certainly encounter some day and which I therefore attempted to be prepared for. Here we go:

1. Being kidnapped. Seemed like it would be a childhood rite of passage.

2. Missing the bus. Literally this never happened to me. For all of the hubbub it gets in TV and movies I really thought it would happen to me eventually. Maybe it was because I knew if I missed the bus my mom wasn’t going to be able to take me to school? Ergo more motivation to make said bus.

3. As I’ve mentioned before, house fires and/or my person catching fire. I knew what to do. I was prepared. I still am.

4. Quicksand. Honestly I’m not even sure where I thought I was going to encounter quicksand but I sure remember thinking it would be an issue.

5. Undiscovered land mines. The downside of learning about history, folks.

6. Rabid dogs. I just assumed there were many of these roaming around.

7. Tornadoes. I’m still scared of tornadoes but I’ve come to realize that not every thunderstorm means I need to be in fear of a tornado.

8. Getting lost. I’ve actually realized in recent years that this is a common theme in movies I didn’t like as a child as well. I didn’t (and still don’t really) like movies where the main character is lost and trying to find its way home. You might be shocked by what a common storyline this is. A few examples, The Brave Little Toaster, Toy Story, Homeward Bound, The Pagemaster, The Land Before Time, The Wizard of Oz, etc. It’s a freaking epidemic!

9. Spontaneously going blind. Still scares me.

10. Getting locked in somewhere or something. I'm still a little claustrophobic and I avoid elevators whenever possible.

11. An elevator I am in breaking and plunging down the floors of the building until we crash at the bottom.

12. My sisters porcelain dolls. Things are hella freaky.

13. Shark attacks.

14. Many of the storylines from Are You Afraid of the Dark; including but not limited to: being turned into a doll, being possessed by an article of clothing, being trapped in a haunted mansion, getting stuck in a pinball machine, etc. I have a theory that those of us who watched Are You Afraid of the Dark as kids are inherently more respectful of authority because if that show taught you anything it was to never do the thing the adult said not to do. Just don’t do the thing. Doing the thing could (and probably would) lead to your doom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jobs I Am Totally Qualified For

Personal Book Buyer / Reader – I would buy the books for a wealthy person, read them, and leave said wealthy person a nice summary so he or she could decide whether to read the book or simply use my summary of it to sound well-read during polite conversation.

Pinterest Project Practicer
– See a project on Pinterest that you’d really like to try but you just don’t have time? I’m your girl! I will attempt the craft and if it turns out well, you get to keep it. If not, we toss it and both get a laugh out of the failure. And you never had to waste a minute!

Collector of Online Media
– Do you long for an iTunes library that would make all your hipster friends jealous? Do you wish you always had the perfect response .gif at your fingertips? Feeling leftout because you don’t have a funny video to pull up on your iPad? Worry no longer! Simply hire me to curate a broad collection of web based media that you can always have at the ready.

Non-Travel Writer
– My books and blog would serve as a meeting place and a source of inspiration for those of us too poor and / or introverted to travel. I would cover topics ranging from “Building the Perfect Blanket Fort,” to “Tastes of the World: Your Take-Out Ticket to World Travel (all without leaving your sofa).”

Movie Watcher
– See above description of Book Buyer but replace reading of books with watching of movies.

Master of Binge TV Watching
– I’m not sure why, but someone would decide to pay me for my ability to watch anywhere from one to two full seasons of a show in one weekend.

Taster of Cakes
– I think this one is self-explanatory.