i have often dreamed…

So, runDisney is officially moving the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon to a virtual event, which, yeah, is the correct choice. And I have the option to get my money back and all good things.

But, honestly, I’m pretty gutted.

Which is weird, because I haven’t been running. I was supposed to re-start my training plan yesterday morning, but, in the interest of being super upfront, I was sleepy and still a little rum-tipsy from the night before.

It’s been such A YEAR, you know? I know you know. This just sucks.

I always put a lot of pressure on a long distance race. Because it always feels like the opportunity to outrun all the bad shit. It feels like an opportunity to be strong and fast and free. It’s something I’m proud of myself for doing and I can’t argue my way out of it having been cool.

I’m really tired.

I don’t know what’s stopping me from running on my own beyond still feeling like I don’t deserve to feel that way. I still feel bad and wrong and foolish and evil, so why should I get to do anything that makes me feel good about myself, you know? Why should I get to feel proud of myself?

(I wanted you to be proud of me too.)

I walked this morning. Twice, even. I walked once while talking on the phone to my mom and then I walked in person with my best friend, sipping my pumpkin coffee and talking about, of course, Disney World. And my kind voice says that’s all something worth being proud of. That four nice miles with people I love is worth celebrating.

One day I will run a marathon at Walt Disney World. My training goal by then, I think, is now less about the times or the distances, but about getting myself to a place where I can enjoy things without feeling that I need to earn them. I don’t have to deserve feeling good and neither do you.

Last night I cried again. It still happens a lot. But I’m working on it. That’s part of what writing here is. This is part of the training. Pumpkin coffee and daydreaming with friends is part of the training. I think my heart is so much stronger than I believe. I feel weak and creaky in my knees and I feel heavy and slow, but my heart is fucking shredded.

I will find my way, I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday, if I can be strong
I know every mile will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong

I was supposed to run four miles tomorrow morning. I’m still going to try, I think. Going to try to let it be okay if I’m slow and teary. And I’m going to drink my pumpkin coffee and try to challenge myself to be proud of each step.

Because they’ve each gotten me this far, haven’t they?

We might be stopped, but we’re not turning around. Drink some water. Stretch your legs.

Keep moving forward.

i don’t know. i was just sad. (volume: again)

(I don’t always know what these are anymore. Maybe something closer to a poem:)

(For you, Uncle Walt, I suppose. And for you. You know that, right? We don’t have to talk about it.)

The simple truth is that it hurts. It hurts all the time. I’m okay today. Listening to Disney songs, sitting on a soft couch, pillow in my lap, mimosa on my tongue.

(Have I changed? You were there. You saw me. Am I the same? Am I better? Am I worse? I’m probably not trying as hard as I should.)

(I’m no good at keeping a secret diary. I’m sorry.)

I’m still not ready to talk about The Thing. I haven’t heard yet and it’s the 20th of the month, and so I am worried. I feel trapped. I have to go, I think. Need to crawl into some other pocket of the Earth for a while. I think I’m going to go even if The Thing doesn’t work out.

It smelled like fall today. Like apples and promises. I promise.

I really want to write something GOOD. Something marvelous and wonderful. And I will, I think. I feel so far away from acting, from Shakespeare, and it breaks my nerd-heart. So, I’ll keep writing. This is sort of home now. But I just have all this muck to wade through before I can get back to any sort of pretend.

Because it’s still sort of everything, you know? I think I have to suck it all out until I can do anything else.

It’s good, it is. I am at a lake with my friends and I am okay. But I can’t stop reading You-Know-What and it takes my mind somewhere so specific and part of me just wanted to hop off the dock this morning. Just sink peacefully to the bottom and sing my woes to the fishes.

I’m kind of over dramatic and boring, right? Which, fine. This is practice. I am keeping my writing fingers sharp until I think of a story that isn’t this one. I am repeating myself, I know. But part of me feels like I haven’t made sense yet. Like… I have to find the exact perfect words to get this story right. I haven’t gotten it right yet and it wrecks me.

I don’t even think it’s the depression today. It wasn’t hard to peel myself out of bed, to wander downstairs to start coffee for everyone. It wasn’t hard to recognize the tears pricking my eyeballs and to get myself to the water’s edge. It’s fine. I’m fine.

I’m fine.

But I am deeply melancholy. I just want to write sad words today and listen to sad songs and bask a little in my own capacity to feel. I believe so often that this is what’s wrong with me, that I need to put a stopper in it. Today I am just grateful and sad. Today I am thinking of one of my favorite lines from As You Like It: “My affection hath an unknown bottom, like the bay of Portugal.”

I’ll keep you posted about The Thing. I haven’t given up yet. I am stronger than I think I am, I suspect. You are too. You are… I don’t think you understand. You are wonderful in the most literal sense of the word. I don’t know where you’re going, if you ever decide you need A Thing, but I will be rooting for you no matter how far away I am.

Always. I really hope you believe me. Always.

a little hope at the lake

I don’t hate myself today and that feels worth cataloging:

Let me tell you about it, friend, if you’ll indulge me.

We’re at a lake. It is green and blue and beautiful here. We spent last evening drinking rum and singing karaoke. It was easy to sing, it was easy not to hate my imperfect voice. It was easy to laugh and to curl up on a couch and to eat another slice of pizza just because I wanted to taste more cheese and pineapple on my tongue.

It was easy to wake up this morning without dread already clawing at my guts. It was easy to slip into my blue dress and not hate the curve of my belly, the new-ish rolls of fat which are soft against the cerulean fabric. It was easy to hop downstairs and to get coffee started, because I knew I would be sharing it with my friends. It was easy to mix up flavored creamers and chocolate syrup and cinnamon dust and not worry that it wasn’t “perfect,” that it wasn’t EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECTED.

It has even been easy to work, because it is Friday, after all, and I still have stuff to do. It’s been easy to get cozy on the couch with my laptop and my playlists and to check my e-mail and to work on tasks. It does not hurt my stomach with the promise of failure, of being a disappointment. No, today my stomach is full of coffee and breakfast casserole and more pineapple, and I am settled. It is good. Nothing hurts today.

I hope later it is easy to write, to put pen to paper in the midst of my safe circle of friendship and to let words escape. I have deadlines coming up, but I am not concerned about them today. We’ll get there, we usually do. Today it even feels wonderful to have deadlines, because it means someone wanted my words. Maybe my words have value. Maybe I’m moving nearer to where I want to be than I thought I was. I feel so slow and still lately. I feel slow this morning too, but in a sweet, happy, turtle-on-a-log sort of way. I do not feel that I am moving backwards.

The depression is still there, always. It is a part of me, perhaps forever. But today I can recognize it and sit beside it and feed it coffee and breakfast casserole. Maggie made breakfast casserole, so we must be okay, is my reasoning.

The lake doesn’t last forever, but I am contending with the fact that I would have never made it to the lake without the more permanent fixtures of love and friendship. I am loved even when I am not at a lake. So, I suspect, are you, my heart.

It’s okay. I’m okay. We’re okay.

okay

CW: Severe depression. Go gently, dear heart.

“I’m sorry” is the refrain of my 11:30 pm sob session. (This is why I’ve been going to be at 9 o’clock lately, I suspect.)

I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know why I need to tell you any of this. I’ve never been religious, but maybe this is my sort of confession? You don’t have to be here if it’s too hard to hear. But what I think I hope? I think I hope that anyone who finds this might feel less alone. We’re not alone we’re not alone we’re not alone. Even at 11:32 pm at night on a Saturday, bawling against our stuffed penguins.

This isn’t anyone’s fault, even when I’ve been eager in the past to point blame. You see, I have so desperately wanted this to make sense and if I could just throw an easy capital-V VILLAIN under the bus, then great. Wonderful. Because if it’s no one’s fault, it’s just mine, right?

It feels like my fault.

I feel like a disaster. Sitting here on my pink unicorn flannel sheets, eyes swollen again from crying. I feel like a mess. I am struggling at work, I am struggling at everything. I am struggling. I need you to hear it.

I’m not okay. And that’s okay.

I’m sorry for hurting you. I’m sorry for worrying you. But I know the answer (for me, at least) isn’t to hide. I know what it meant to me to read the words of someone else like me, I know what it still means.

I’M NOT OKAY. I want to climb on top of my roof and fucking scream it until my throat is jagged.

I think sometimes I will always feel this way and I don’t know if I can do it, you know? But I can. I’m strong and so are you. We are stronger than this stupid fucking bullshit fucking disease. FUCK YOU, DEPRESSION. FUCK YOU, MENTAL ILLNESS.

WE ARE STRONG. I WILL SCREAM THAT FROM MY ROOF ALSO. Someone will be sad if you’re not here in the morning, so wake up, please, sweet friend. I will make you coffee whenever you need it. All you have to do is show up. Keep showing up. I’ll keep showing up.

And maybe that’s the fucking thing and it fucking sucks: Maybe we don’t have to be “good” at anything right now. Maybe it’s enough to survive. To drink a mug of coffee and make it through another day. Maybe that’s as beautiful as any play or poem or symphony. You are an achievement exactly as you are.

You are beautiful. YOU. You are a fucking marvel and I’m so happy you’re here. Tell me how you take your coffee.

I’m not okay. I’m so sorry if you aren’t either. But we’re not giving up, okay? Even if not giving up looks like staying in bed tomorrow. Someone wise reminded me recently there’s no set timeline to any of this. We don’t have to do this in any particular order. There aren’t any rules so long as you make it out, okay? I will bring you ice cream for fucking breakfast in bed.

(I think sometimes I’m just talking to myself. Thanks for bearing with me.)

I think I write about this so much because, maybe if I can make it into something sort of beautiful, it will all be worth it? I’ll have been worth it? I feel like I have to earn everything, I have to DESERVE it. I’m so tired.

Depression is a monster who lies. Like frogs and snakes and baby penguins, you have intrinsic value. You’re valuable because you’re here. If anyone ever makes you feel differently, they suck and that’s the truth. (I’m sorry. I feel more urgent than eloquent tonight.) Wherever you are… just stay with us, okay?

Okay.

(I’m sorry.)

again

I’ve cleaned everything. I’ve Swiffered and dusted and wiped and laundered and lit nice fall-smelling candles and showered and poured a glass of water and chosen the right playlist and put on the comfy sweatshirt and the comfy socks and gotten cozy under the Spider-Man blanket and this is when the words are supposed to show up, right?

No.

In absence of any more distractions, the nerves return to my belly, growling and insistent. The cruel refrains in my head are as loud as ever and I am tired of them. I’m just tired. I am at the bottom of the pit this week and I know there is a “way out,” but I just end up here again, so what’s the point, you know?

Again again again: I feel ungrateful. I feel selfish and petulant. I feel like a liar. Nothing is wrong with me, right? Nothing has ever been wrong with me, right? I’m just an overdramatic weirdo who has made a series of overdramatic weirdo choices and I here I am in bed again, sad and worried and ashamed and tired.

(I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.)

Maybe this is just an accountability post, because I need to talk to someone, but I’m too nervous to reach out directly. (Fuck this stupid brain disease.) I have a therapy appointment tomorrow. I promise to fill out the consent form for the new meds. I’ll go for a walk. I don’t know what else I can promise.

Tonight… I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like I have to keep writing to hang on. This word vomit is all that keeps me tethered. Because if I’m willing to keep talking about it, then I haven’t given up yet, right?

Right?

I don’t know. I sort of envision packing a bag and just hitting the open road. There are too many ghosts here and I’m too tired to be brave. Is there somewhere to go just to rest?

There’s this thing I might get to do and I can’t tell you all about it just yet. I hope I get it. I hope I get to tell you all about it. And that thing feels like an opportunity to rest, honestly. A chance to slow down and free myself from some of the heaviness of grief.

It’s been pointed out to me recently that I’m still grieving. That I get to for as long as I need. And, okay, great.

I don’t know who this is for. I don’t know the “why” always of these posts. Only that I feel really lonely and I don’t want to fell that way and maybe you’re sad too and I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re really, really not. I feel too heavy and tired to pick up the phone and call you or even to answer when you call me, but… like, I love you, okay?

You are not alone. You are of value and wonder and I’m glad you’re here. Sometimes I just need to tell you the things that I myself need to hear. I would be so sad if you weren’t here, for whatever that is worth.

Again: you are enough. It’s going to be okay. I wish I knew how.

the queer kid power of nicknames

In high school drama, my nickname was “Hero.” I didn’t really earn it in any meaningful way. Our teacher called attendance that first morning of ninth grade with the instructions: “And if you want to be called by another name… if you want to be, I don’t know, Hero or something…”

So, when he called for Danielle, I stuck my hand in the air and admitted, “I want to be Hero.”

And so I was.

To be fair, I had, like, four nicknames in high school. I have always bristled against “Danielle,” not that there’s anything inherently wrong with it. But I knew in the 4th grade that I was a “Dani,” even if I couldn’t really tell you why yet. But I was also all my early fanfiction and role play-ish names. I have always been eager to lose myself in other identities. I have never been content to settle for one name.

Dija in my Tamora Pierce fanfic-world. Dai to my bestie Jane/Jai. Ron to my informal cafeteria HP role play group. (Of course.) Hero in theatre class.

There’s this picture of me in 8th grade that I think captures my forever-awkwardness best. We had hiked Stone Mountain on a field trip and I am squinting into the camera and into the sunshine. It is pre-braces, so the gap between my two front teeth is in prominent display. I have a jean jacket wrapped around my waist, I’m wearing a basketball camp t-shirt, my hair was short and a disaster for the first time.

I know you already know this part of the story, but 8th grade was the first time I tried to come out.

I wish I had a picture of that awkward little baby queer sitting on top of a mountain in the sunshine. I was definitely in love with my best friend at the time, though I didn’t know I could call it that. (Aiki, if you’re reading this, I wish we had just been each other’s dates to the 8th grade formal.)

I don’t want to speak for everyone, because I’m still really new to this, but… I don’t know. As a queer kid sort of going through a second adolescence, I get the obsession with nicknames and with playing pretend. With losing myself entirely in fantasy worlds where I felt like I could be anyone and anything. Specifically in fantasy worlds where I could dress like a boy and carry a sword and be worthy of love anyway. Where I could call myself whatever I wanted and still be a hero.

It should be Dragon Con this weekend and I should be able to put whatever name I want on my badge. I should be buttoning up my Aziraphale waistcoat and preparing myself to swelter blissfully in the Peachtree St. sunshine. I should be wearing the costume that first inspired me to be who I think I’ve wanted to be for a really long time.

That “second adolescence” thing, by the way? Oh, man. I am hiding my AFAB body in oversized flannel shirts just like I did back in middle school. My shaved head is growing back awkwardly, so I’m wearing baseball caps most of the time. My stomach is upset with nerves and guilt almost all of the time.

BUT BUT BUT.

I know I talk about this all the time, BUT: There is going to be a day when I really, truly accept this non-binary body for exactly what it is, even if it is softer and bigger than I want it to be. I will buy exactly the clothes I want and I will not wait only to do so when I am granted the freedom of expression inherent in cosplay or playing pretend.

Maybe in the fall. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe the leaves will change and the air will cool down a bit and I’ll wear cardigans and vests and ties and I will sign all my e-mails “they/them” and I will drink my pumpkin coffee in something like peace.

I’m still sorry. I don’t think I ever won’t be. But I am going to try to stop apologizing for who I am, awkward and queer and not small and all of it.

Because “Dani” isn’t short for “Danielle.” “Dani” is all of it.

these are your first steps (again)

Hey, remember that time I was supposed to be training for my first marathon?

Yeah.

So, here’s the thing: I’m still sad. As I’ve mentioned before, I really thought I’d be “fine” by June, the starting month of my original training plan. But I wasn’t. And I’m still kind of not?

But I am better. Today I went on a long friendship walk and had an excellent breakfast taco, and I feel better. It is getting easier to cook and to enjoy the new Muppets series and to wake up with my alarm. It is getting easier.

So, what about running? As with writing, I have a hard time getting started with anything when I don’t already feel perfect at it. Knowing and anticipating that I’m going to struggle with something is a hard mental block for me to overcome. Because I know I’m going to struggle when I start actually jogging or whatever we’re calling it again. It’s going to be hard and boring and my knees are going to creak and it’s not going to be FUN.

I’ve been walking a lot. I’ve been covering my original training plan’s distances, so, for example, a dear friend and I walked 9 miles together this past Saturday. And it was really lovely. We talked about all sort of things and the weather wasn’t too bad and (again, always) there were tacos at the finish line.

I’ve got a new potential start date: September 21. I picked a shorter plan which involves more mileage per week. If we’re friends, I apologize in advance, because I am going to be super not fun for those couple of months. I’m going to be going to bed early in order to wake up early and shove a banana into my face. I wasn’t ready in June, but I suspect now that this isn’t really a question of being “ready.”

It’s been a struggle to allow myself to feel good, to feel proud, to feel enough. I am still punishing myself for crimes real and perceived.

To run/walk/stumble through an entire marathon would mean to feel inarguably proud of myself. I want that. It’s what I like best about long distances. I cannot argue with myself about the accomplishment of it. I cannot talk myself out of it having been hard, but that I did it anyway.

I don’t think I am ready. But perhaps I am determined to free myself from the expectations of readiness. I will cover these distances, short and long, and sometimes I will feel fucking terrible, and I suspect I will still choke on my own sobs in the middle of the night sometimes, and I think I will probably still eat more bagels than I will eat sensible meals of lean protein and vegetables.

This marathon, in my heart, is meant to be a celebration. It is to celebrate one of the longest and most special, enduring friendships of my entire life. It is to celebrate my life long love for all things Disney World. It is to celebrate MY BODY EXACTLY AS IT IS, not an inch smaller or lighter or anything. Each part of this machine will be a part of my undeniable joy on that January morning, belly, hips, every squish and angle.

My friend and I are still figuring out how we want to costume ourselves for the race, but… I mean, I really always knew, didn’t I? Friendship discussions pending, I think it’s probably RIGHT that I do this thing as an homage to my guy, Kermit. I already have a hat and a tank top and a backpack and…

(Breathe, nerd.)

All my favorite Disney or adjacent quotes are variations on the same theme, after all:

Keep Moving Forward.

Go the Distance.

I guess I was wrong when I said I didn’t promise anyone. I promised me.

(All that said: dear Julie, if you’re reading this, Monsters, Inc. would be entirely perfect for us. I really wouldn’t have nothing if I didn’t have you.)

I’m not giving up on my marathon dreams and I’m not giving up on my training. I am opening new doors and doing new things and I am moving forward. Slowly, yeah, but forward all the same.

Because I have this impractical fantasy (of course) that I will cross that finish line and maybe I will have simply sweat some of the goblins out of my system. Maybe finishing a marathon will be a step forward in teaching myself how to love and live with myself. I want that. I really want that. I want that more than I want Dole Whip or riding Tower of Terror or watching fireworks.

It isn’t up to the marathon to transform me. It is up to me to allow myself to experience joy and want and pride again. It is up to me to crawl my way from the finish line back to our hotel with one of my very best friends and to mutually bemoan our inability to move. It is up to me to release the grip of shame and hatred I have so tightly on my own heart.

September 21.

I promised me.

 

sundays and forever

Sunday morning: Wake up with a headache. Feed the cat. Make the bed. Order a bagel (again). Do all the dishes by hand. Twitch nervously at the keyboard. Get sad. (Always, it seems, I’m so fucking sorry.)

Put on the theme to Jurassic Park (again) and try to feel something good.

It is just now 10 am.

I know you already know this (mostly because I can’t ever stop fucking talking about it), but it feels important to me to check in again. To try to explain what it feels like. Not to make you feel sorry for me. I’m okay. I have a cat to feed and bagels to scarf down and John Williams to fill my ears, and I am really fine.

But all our “fines” are different, aren’t they? My therapist (I need to make an appointment, fuck) reminds me not everyone thinks the things I do. The things that are almost just a dull, everpresent roar in my brain, picking at me, screaming at me, urging me. I do not tune them out, I can’t, but it’s sort of like I can predict what they’re going to say? So, they can’t really get to me that way, you know?

That’s part of what this blog is, I think. It’s something like accountability. If I rush here to tell Someone all the scary things, all the sad things… I don’t know. It’s like picking at a zit, I guess. (Which I also need to stop doing.) It doesn’t feel good and I am oftentimes horrified by examining the results of what I have done, but it always feels like: THIS TIME I’m going to do it right. It’ll be a clean, satisfying, albeit disgusting pop, and then I will be rid of this grossness. An appropriate amount of blood will trickle down my chin and I will only need to wipe it away the once. I will leave no scars or bumps or pockmarks behind. There will be only smoothness in my wake.

(More John Williams on the playlist. “Hedwig’s Theme” this time. Forgive me, but I would do just about anything for a pumpkin juice in Diagon Alley right now.)

I’m really sad, but it feels like nothing is “wrong.” I fear often that I will always feel this way and that, perhaps, is the hardest thought to overcome. I can deal with the nails that claw down the back of my skull and snarl into my ear that I am a failure, a disappointment, that I am nothing, that I am worth nothing, that I deserve nothing. I have heard them all before. Like, you’re not even interesting, Bitchy Monster Voice.

But this voice of Forever? That voice still stops me cold in my tracks.

It’s 10:10 am.

My face is sticky and my hands are dry and I am hunching over like a goblin. My shoulders are up by my ears, my jaw is tense, and yeah, I know what to do, but maybe this is load-bearing anxiety? I’m sure I’ve swiped this metaphor from someone more clever, but I feel like a nervous Jenga tower. Poke at the wrong piece too carelessly and this whole thing comes toppling down.

(Man, fuck that last paragraph. Where was I even going with this?)

10:12.

I pause for more iced coffee, which I basically allow myself the indulgence of every day now. It is confusing. To hate myself as I coddle myself. To look at myself in the mirror and, in the same breath, think, “Well, here we are again, you utter fucking disaster. Would a latte cheer you up, kiddo?”

Kiddo. I am not a kid anymore. I have a Peter Pan complex of which I’m not proud. I surround myself with sweets and stuffed penguins and excitement over dinosaurs, and I try to stave off the sharp edges of adulthood. Of being independent, of being self-sufficient.

If I don’t need you anymore, will you still be here, you know?

(I don’t know.)

I have this daydream lately, and I can’t tell you about all of it just yet. It’s kind of embarrassing, honestly. But it is a fantasy wherein I am brave. And I go on a long journey and I return home, I promise, smiling and full of happy stories, and you are proud of me. Everyone is PROUD of me.

10:17 am.

I don’t want to go.

But sometimes staying hurts.

I don’t know, dear one.

10:18.

happy belated national roller coaster day

Apparently, August 16 was National Roller Coaster Day.

My favorite roller coaster is The Hulk at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I like how there’s barely any time to panic, because you get shot into the first drop so fast. This perhaps will not surprise you about me, but I enjoy not having time to panic.

Here’s a little loop:

I don’t think I am a bad person today.

It is a rare thought and I fear it must be fleeting, so I feel a powerful need to write it down and share it immediately.

(Dani, get a diary. Christ.)

It was a good day today. I didn’t even need the Decision Jar. I kind of knew what I wanted to do most of the day. And, even if I didn’t bring myself to actually do it… I still knew, you know? And that was enough today.

I wrote a chapter of my long fanfic, I went for a walk with a dear friend, I baked some pumpkin bread even though I didn’t have quite enough vegetable oil.

Now it’s raining and I feel the familiar nighttime twitch of dread, but I also feel determined to stand my ground and FIGHT tonight. To spew positivity into the void and to be defiantly, rebelliously cheerful. FUCK YOU, BRAIN GOBLINS. NOT TONIGHT.

‘Cause they got me good yesterday. I was minding my own business and then suddenly I was bawling my eyes out, gasping, heaving, snot dribbling out my nose.

Monday was a good day, Tuesday was scary, today is a good day, can I stave off the threat of tomorrow before it gets me? If I am riding this bipolar roller coaster, should I at least be grateful that I think I can see the drops coming?

Bipolar most of the time feels like one of those old, rickety, wooden coasters. If you’re a Six Flags Over Georgia person, I’m talking, like, the old Georgia Cyclone. Because the ups and downs can still be thrilling sometimes, sure, but they fucking hurt. I am gritting my teeth and bracing my shoulders constantly as I feel slung back and forth against the walls of my little box. When I wobble off the ride, my head hurts and my stomach is upset, but wait, fuck, how did I end up in this line again, you said we could go and get a funnel cake next!

(Worst Fast Pass in the world, am I right?)

I think I mostly love roller coasters because (I think) they’re fun, but I am also an English major to my core, so I need everything to have a DEEPER MEANING. So, I think I also love roller coasters because they are a series of ups and downs which (usually) mean me no harm. I can enjoy the weightless plummeting sensations and the dizzying heights because I know my feet will land back on hot, solid asphalt soon enough. It is almost literally the funhouse mirror of my dumb mood disorder.

They make you put everything in a locker before you get on The Hulk. Nothing on your head, nothing in your pockets, nothing in your hands. At the risk of being Too Much about this, when else do you get to drop all your baggage and take to the skies?

This isn’t, like, a fresh observation, but I just feel lighter on a roller coaster. I feel free. I’m going too fast to stop and obsess over my problems. I am upside down where nothing makes sense, so why should I have to either?

(I miss theme parks, I guess, is my thesis.)

What do they always tell you on the ride rules sign? “Keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times?”

Done and done, Roller Coaster Gods! I will follow all your laws, only keep me safe in the skies. My pockets are empty, my head and shoulders are back, I most definitely meet the height requirement.

Breathe, everybody.

Mumblemumblemumble:

Clear for dispatch. 

 

 

the decision jar, adventure #1

Yesterday one of my best friends gifted me a magical jar. It is an ordinary (seemingly) mason jar which she’d decorated with yellow ribbon and pretty scrapbooking paper. Inside it there are more scraps of neatly folded pretty paper.

I’ve written before about how much I’m struggling with, “Oh, dear God, what should I do?!” All the time. Constantly. Being stuck still a little bit in self-punishment-mode, I feel like I can’t be my own advocate for relaxation or fun or self-care, because why do I think I deserve any of that?

But, well, if a magical, pretty jar tells me what to do… Who am I to fight it?

Yesterday was a good day, even before the jar’s intervention. I woke up when I wanted, I hiked a mountain with my friends, I drank a lot of iced coffee, I went on another walk with another friend, cooked something nice for dinner… Which is usually around the time when the day starts to lose me. Post-dinnertime. I am a hungry beast, so I eat dinner pretty early, and then the evening just LOOMS, vast and gigantic and impossibly empty. How can I ever fill it with something like meaning?

Just the presence of the jar on my nightstand is soothing. I didn’t even need it right away. I ate my dinner, did my dishes, made some cinnamon tea, and started out by reading my book. Tried to breathe through the antsiness and focus on the words on the page. I made it about an hour, which has been unheard of for me lately.

Finally, I was too excited about the jar to wait any longer. I reached my fingers into the opening and withdrew a pretty piece of paper. I unfolded it and was greeted by the sight of my friend’s familiar handwriting.

Jar Adventure #1:

Do a guided meditation.

Meditation is NOT something I have ever done with much success. I don’t like sitting still and breathing and focusing. I can be tricked into meditation via yoga, because I know we’re going to move at some point.

But dammit, the jar is the boss of me, so I searched “guided meditation” on Spotify and I found one about Letting Go.

(Fuck.)

And, you know what, I feel like I mostly did what the meditation asked of me. I sat still and focused on my breath and I noticed when my mind wondered and I noticed what I’m still clutching, what I have not been able to let go. I did not scoff or bail when the nice lady on Spotify asked me to consider what it would feel like to let go.

“Joy” is what sprang to mind. Lightness, freedom.

I did not panic and click “pause” even as the tears began to roll down my face.

I just breathed.

(Thank you, jar. Thank you, dear friend.)

When the meditation ended and my eyes were wet and heavy, I realized regretfully that I did not have enough flour to make an actual batch of chocolate chip cookies, which I very much felt I deserved. So, I looked up a little mug cookie recipe and dragged myself into the kitchen to make a tiny mess and to create a little crumbly, chocolate chip situation.

The point, I think, is that I did not let the revelation of sadness send me careening back into the arms of sleep and Law & Order re-runs. (I only watch the Stabler seasons.)

My mug cookie and I watched a few comforting YouTube videos, breathed in the scent of our pumpkin candle (I am fucking ready for fall, gang), and didn’t give in until about 9:30.

This morning, I woke up again when I wanted.

Maybe tonight I’ll make it to 10.

 

 

i don’t always know what this is.

Some days it feels like this is all I remember how to do. To start crying from that place of aching emptiness, from the most pitiful pity parties every thrown on this green Earth.

I start crying and then I come here to tell you about it. I can’t stop telling you. I know I was supposed to. You have no idea how hard and how often I have tried to stop.

I can’t stop writing. Some days/nights/whatevers it feels almost like a penance I am doing for all the wrongs I have committed. If I can write something Truly Great, maybe everything will have been worth it and I will feel something like free.

I haven’t written It yet, so I have to keep going. Have to keep exposing my bruises and veins and guts, have to keep digging around within myself to find something of worth or meaning.

When I start crying, there is a tiny, quiet, gentle voice that suggests, “Dani! Read a book! Watch a movie! Make some cocoa! Do something to feel better!”

I have it on an ignored Post-It on my bathroom mirror: You are allowed to feel good. 

I cannot heed the tiny, quiet, gentle voice.  They are complacent and lazy and they will lead me astray. You’re supposed to listen to your heart, yeah, but all I can think about is where mine has gotten me so far.

(Like I said, PITY PARTY. I’m sorry there aren’t cupcakes.)

So, I come here and I write. Hitting the “Publish” button, whether this is any good or not, will be instant relief. When you hit “like” or “love” or fucking anything, I feel less alone. I will ponder this later and I will feel pathetic, but it’s just where I’m at right now. I know it’s supposed to be quality over quantity, but fuck.

Real eloquent right?

Fuck.

(My book deal, please?)

I kept a diary in middle school. I wrote in a red pen always and I began each entry with “Mae Govannen,” because I am a nerd eternally. Back then, it was enough to talk to myself, to consider what it would be like to keep a secret, to hold on to a piece of me just for me. I don’t know when that changed. I don’t know when I decided my currency was my secrets, my deep dark fears, my insecurities.

It feels vain sometimes and I hate myself for it, but I just can’t stop. The relief, the sense of something like accomplishment, something like connection… I am hungry for it always. I don’t know where else to go right now. My eyes bounce around the page of the book I’ve been trying to read for months, I get twitchy during movies seen or unseen, fuck, I’m too sad to re-visit my favorite fanfiction even.

I go on walks and I drink too much coffee and then I come here.

I listen to a lot of music to try to drown myself out. A lot of Elton John the last few months, especially.

Don’t wish it away
Don’t look at it like it’s forever
Between you and me, I could honestly say
That things can only get better

(Can I honestly say? I don’t fucking know. Sometimes I feel as if I am going backwards.)

I guess that IS why they call it the blues, Sir Elton, but you were able to make something so beautiful out of it.

And while I’m away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won’t be long before you and me run
To the place in our hearts where we hide

I think that’s why I’m here all the time. To try to make something sad into something beautiful. It feels like a mission, maybe even a holy quest. I am hiding a little in my heart right now. I am scared, I am ashamed. I want to be able to tell you everything so that none of it ever catches you off guard, I suppose.

Well, it’s Sunday and I am an eternal Sunday-optimist. Tomorrow I’ll start doing everything RIGHT. I’ll be super good and productive at my job, I’ll exercise enough, I’ll eat all the right things, I’ll be good.

“Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous.”

(Thanks, Shelley.)

You know what’s probably going to happen, Team? I’m probably going to sleep past my alarm and then walk to the coffee shop around the corner and then beat myself up for not writing anything amazing. And then maybe I’ll take a nap.

Fuck.

Shelley again:

“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”

It’s going to be okay, I think. I don’t know. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted. I seem to be incapable of stopping.

You’re doing so good.

It’s going to be okay.

See you back here tomorrow, probably.

 

 

once upon a june

June.

I was going to get my shit together in June.

It would have been six months since Everything and that’s enough time, right? Half a year to wallow and to feel sorry for myself and to punish myself and to be a sad little chubby seal on my sad little chubby seal-rock.

I mean, it would have been perfect, right? One month for each stage of grief PLUS one month just for chilling out?

(You already know this story.)

June came and went, July passed me by, and it is nearly the middle of August and I am still “falling asleep” to Law & Order re-runs on my phone while it is still light outside. September looms, and I am confident I will not have my shit together yet. I am adjusting dosages and eating entire pizzas and crying to Muppet songs and doing all the depressed stuff I need to do to get there one day, but it is taking longer than I want.

This journey has already been so fucking long, and I am desperate for some sort of checkpoint, you know?

June would have been nice. I imagined being quick on my feet, prolific in my writing, sound of mind and body and fucking soul.

Adjusted. Well. At peace.

Instead:

In the criminal justice system…

Maybe October. Yeah. October would be nice.

(Side quest: Pumpkin stuff returns to Dunkin Donuts on Wednesday. I normally try to wait for actual fall for my pumpkin nonsense, but FUCK THIS FUCKING SUMMER I PUT IT IN MY CALENDAR LET’S GO PUMPKIN COFFEE.)

Breathe.

But I have a little bit of hope today and I want to tell you about it. I went on a nice walk with a nicer friend and finished with a nice bagel. (It’s always going to come back to friendship and carbs for me, you know that.)

It’s nearly 12:30 in the afternoon and I have walked my four miles, talked about dreams and Disney World, been daring enough to add MAYO to my bacon, egg, and cheese everything bagel (a game changer, btw), sort of did 10 minutes of gentle, stretchy yoga (my cat was in the way for most of it), showered, and am now sitting here in my freshly Swiffered, vanilla-scented bedroom.

And it is the rare afternoon when I feel like, “Huh. If this is all today, maybe that’s enough.” The rare afternoon when it feels like, “Huh. Maybe after this, I’ll go and read a book and that would be okay.”

(I miss books. I miss enjoying things.)

(Fuck): There’s no timeline for feeling better. There’s no clear cut path to self-forgiveness. It’s the sort of thing I always logically sort of knew and would certainly have told anyone else, but it has taken living through it to really understand it. I’m gonna get there when I fucking get there, I guess. I’m walking my marathon training and I feel like I’m crawling through my feeling better training. Crawling, plodding, stumbling, wobbling, whatever you want to call it.

But I am moving. Maybe I’m not getting in those hallowed 10,000 steps a day, but I’m moving.

Maybe one day again I’ll even dance.

Wouldn’t October be lovely?