Liebster Award Nomination!

Pancakes are my love language.

I started blogging on my birthday earlier this year. I had to shut down that blog because of a stalker, and for a couple of weeks I really struggled with whether blogging was a good thing for me. So many thanks to Girl With The Paw Print Tattoo for nominating me! She shows stunning and raw vulnerability through her blog, and she is what the world needs more of. Blogging has connected me to some incredible humans, and I appreciate this so much.

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What is the Liebster Award?

The Abroad American described it thusly: “Bloggers are a funny bunch. We read a lot, write a ton, scour the web for new content to consume, and even give ourselves awards for this stuff. That’s what the “Liebster Award” is – a recognition of bloggers by other bloggers. It’s only coincidental that the name is derived from the German word that means “beloved, or dear” in English. It’s been around in some form or another since 2011, so I think there is at least some credence to its name.”

 

Rules of the Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nominations.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

Questions for Me:

  1. Why did you start blogging?

I was looking for connection. I was looking for an outlet to express myself, a way to be honest in a space that wasn’t connected to my everyday life and all of the stress in it. I wanted to see how other people deal with PTSD and anxiety, I wanted to talk about my experience and I didn’t really care if a single person read my blog, I just needed to get it out of my head.

2. What is your favorite movie?

I really like Layer Cake, starring Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller before they made it big. Craig’s character is so frustrated by everyone around him and he just wants to do his thing on his terms. It’s fantastic and surprising.

3. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m a Texas girl and here I stay. I would consider New Zealand though.

4. What is your favorite season?

I like fall. It’s often hot here, but the air feels different. There’s a relief from summer heat and it’s before holiday stress kicks in, so in my mind it’s the perfect time of year.

5. What is your favorite holiday?

New Year’s! I don’t make resolutions or do anything crazy, but a lot of memories for me are from New Year’s, good and not so good but experiences I learned so much from. It doesn’t have the stress for me that comes from other holidays, and half the time I stay home and am sound asleep before midnight, which was my first conscious foray into ignoring the expectations of others and doing what was the best for me at the time.

6. Dogs or cats?

Dogs. Recently an adorable muppet named Falkor nosed his way into my life, and you couldn’t replace him with a cat.

7. Coffee or tea?

Earl Grey with a splash of half and half.

8. What is your favorite book?

I just read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, and it is a stunningly beautiful book of illustrated poetry. It was recommended to me as a rape survivor, and I will continue to benefit from reading it.

9. If you were only given one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chips and Guacamole.

10. What is your favorite hobby?

Dreaming up business ideas. It seems to be a good creative outlet.

11. Who is your favorite band?

Shinyribs! They are a hoot and a holler, and the amazing human I’m dating got us tickets to see them. So excited!

 

11 Things About Me:

  1. I’m a 6th generation Texan.
  2. I love to eat butter and sugar creamed together.
  3. I have a large collection of art that includes painting, sculpture and jewelry.
  4. I won’t sit on a toilet seat I haven’t cleaned myself.
  5. I love to give gifts outside of holidays and birthdays.
  6. I have thus far out-lawyered every attorney I have interacted with professionally, and I am not an attorney.
  7. I love bamboo fabric.
  8. I don’t like Christmas music.
  9. I am not nearly as sexy in a baseball cap as I would like to be.
  10. Pancakes are my love language.
  11. I read really fast.

 

Now I Nominate:

These blogs have all made me think or make me want to do me better this year, I hope they impact you too!

 

Questions for the Bloggers I Nominated:

  1. What is your favorite food memory?
  2. What is your favorite way to get outdoors?
  3. What are you having for dinner tonight?
  4. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
  5. Do your family and friends know you blog?
  6. M&Ms or Skittles?
  7. Do you think pennies (one cent pieces) are necessary?
  8. Can you curl your tongue?
  9. What would get you out of bed on a day you could otherwise sleep in?
  10. What makes you happy?
  11. Do you sunburn or tan?

 

So grateful for what y’all write, and looking forward to reading your answers!

Not Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

When you’ve experienced some pretty epic relationship failure(s), it’s hard not to expect the worst is just around the corner. When you live with anxiety, it’s hard not to anticipate the worst. When you’ve survived cruel abuse, it’s hard to believe that someone can be that authentic and that good to you.

I’m choosing to go with hard and believe that this is really that good.

About That Date Last Night

Really not ready to date yet. I did it anyway.

I met up with some friends downtown for the annual turning on of the Christmas lights. I don’t care for crowds and getting bumped can trigger me so I generally avoid this kind of thing, but I figured why not? Client’s Brother decided that was a great reason to meet up with me rather than wait for Sunday, so we ended up on a spontaneous date. We grabbed some beers, watched part of the game, took a picture with the most epic ugly sweater ever (the guy also had Christmas ornaments hung in his long beard) and made out in my car for over an hour.

My post-trauma dating history is terrible. My ex did damage I am still trying to recover from, I have gone out with psychopaths (clinical) and guys with severe attachment disorder and it has all left me not wanting to date again, because I am tired of picking the bad apples. I’m pretty skittish.

But, you know, what the hell.

Bone Deep and Mind Breaking

‘Tis the season for joint pain.

Pain, you make me a believer.

I’m a summer girl, if for no other reason than hot weather doesn’t cause me joint pain. I inherited the family curse of old bones in a young body, and I can sit around with mature members of society and chat aches and pains with the best of them. They never believe someone my age can know how they feel, but since I can predict weather changes based on my elbows and hands and predict the overnight temps based on my knees, they eventually come around to accepting me as one of the wise. Or at least one of the chronically inflamed.

Add the prospect of months of constant deep joint pain to my neurological disorders and you get someone who hates winter. Me.

I finally broke again yesterday. I hit my limit of stress and went over the edge into nausea, dizziness and headache. Am I getting sick? No. I have PTSD, and the stress overload I’ve experienced in the last two weeks sent me over the edge again. The nausea is not completely new, the dizziness was. Thankfully I was able to hold it together to work with a couple of clients, and my mom and my brother kindly drove me where I needed to go. I was not about to drive in that state. Could I? Yes. Was that the best thing for me and everyone else on the road? No.

It would have been better if, when I got off work and got my hair cut, then grabbed some crafting supplies for a project I’m working on for a charitable organization, I had popped a Xanax and gone to bed. Just be done with the day and the stress and sleep it off. But I am so determined to not let the negative part of my brain control my life. So I texted a friend to see if I could catch a ride with her to Bible study and she gracefully didn’t hesitate. That support network? It’s everything on the days I can’t.

I took my knitting because it helps me stay present in group discussions, and knitted my way through tackling Jonathan Edwards’ writings on Charity. It was challenging, and it was good. The woman who hosts us in her home had made a spiced tea and cookies, and she has such a calm, loving presence. Toward the end we shared prayer requests, and I opened up about my struggles, about trying to come to terms with my new normal, that there are always barriers to living the life I want to live, that I have realized I will never be healed and I will live with this for the rest of my time on earth.

I live in pain. Every waking moment is hell because I have no hope that this life will ever be what I want, that what has happened to my brain will subside and I can live free from the demons in my head. I expressed that, and was received with love. One of the women in our group said that what I was saying was exactly her daughter’s experience. I found so much comfort in that, that someone understood. Those that didn’t understand met me with love and compassion.

That moment of vulnerability? It opened up so much love for me. It added women to my circle and to my team in struggling against and with what I’ve been dealt. I have gotten really ignorant responses from church people about my condition and what I do to try to heal. Last night was not that, and I was so comforted.

It is so fucking hard to be vulnerable when the person you were is ripped out of your hands and you’re trying to find your way again. But damn is it sometimes worth it.

And Client’s Brother messaged me all evening, showing a lot more interest than I expected.

When you live with chronic pain it can be hard to be thankful. But today I am so, so thankful.

Week One Off the Meds

When they all seem to conspire against you…

I’m not going to post about this every week, but I have made it through the first week of coming off my medications. It was hell. And I’m still full of synthetic chemicals. 

The situations and circumstances around me were the real issue, not my response to quitting my first prescription. I’m ok. Maybe a little more grumpy, a little more intense and a little more looking for connection. There’s also a slight internal shift I can’t put my finger on yet. I might have a little more ability to push through? I think I might also be slimming down a tad. Or it was the 6 hours of playing ball on Wednesday…

Between my family, my friends and my job, the week was bonkers. I’m not sure who called who to sabotage my sanity this week, but they did their damndest. I don’t hate people any more than usual though, and I successfully ran a meeting full of strangers, so… Maybe that was a test? I guess I passed? 

I reckon it’ll be January before I’m completely off everything. That’s a bit ambitious, but I’m nothing if not ambitious. And if this goes the way I’m planning for it to, I’ll be much better off by my birthday. 

Making Friends From Total Strangers

A few tips from an anxiety pro.

I’m at a conference, making friends and connections and finding people who can send work my way. It’s finally time for a break before dinner, and do I need it! I was up late last night knitting my contribution to the silent auction (you won’t see me procrastinating on a craft project again!), up early to finish knitting and get to breakfast, and it is not the easiest thing for a person with anxiety to sit through a lot of sessions…which is why I mostly skipped them this afternoon. I’m here as a professional service provider, not as a learner (yup, may sound over confident but I am really good at this business and I come for clients), and it’s a challenge for me to not be completely exhausted a few hours in. Plus it’s cold and wet and dreary and I’ve had no coffee, only a cuppa Earl Grey early. I’ll sleep well tonight!

One of the things that helps me in these situations now is that I remember while there are a lot of friends and a few cliques here, there are also a lot of people who are here by themselves, who would be glad to not sit by themselves and who are here because what we do is also important to them. In a room full of strangers, I have a lot of potential friends, they just need to see me be friendly. So I am, and it works really well. As much as society has been seduced by the Modernist Utopia of efficiency, speed and mechanization, what we really want is connection and relationship. So I do that.

I’ll sleep even harder when I get home.

Wreckiversary #4

A 5k, lobster rolls, popcorn for dinner and some stroke-inducing college football.

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Four years ago today I lived. Since then I have done little beyond survive. I think that was ok, because I did survive, and now I get to start living.

I ran (hahahaha I mainly walked) a 5k with a large group of friends. Three of them placed (they actually ran), and we had a great fun time, kids, strollers and all. I missed my usual bagels since they had sold out by the time I got there, and the bagel guy told me that if I message him next time and let him know I’ll be late, he’ll keep a couple back for me. This is why I like to know the people who make my food! What a kindness!

Bagels a no go, I grabbed a couple lobster rolls from a food truck and headed home for pajamas and college football. I knitted, I ate popcorn for dinner, I am almost having a stroke over this game.

While it sounds nice – and is nice – these times usually bring up unresolved issues for me. I still struggle to find a peaceful lack of churning thoughts. Even last night I was very concerned about a payment that hasn’t made it into our mailbox. This morning I had a note from the client letting me know the check had been misplaced, but was now found and in the mail. I spent a good half an hour trying to fall asleep last night but wide awake over an issue that had resolved itself. It’s not just sleep, it’s any time I’m not “busy”. And those churning, anxious thoughts drag me back to previous coping mechanisms and conjure back up previous issues.

I’ll write more about it later, but I have a bunch of boomerangs in my life. People who come, leave, then come back, always on their own terms. I never know when they’re in or out, never know if they’ll respond or not, and when they will or won’t pop back up with an unexpected text message. I had one pop up last week, he’s already gone again.

WHY???

I invest emotions, energy and time into other people, so every time this happens I don’t just drop it, it affects me and it takes a few days for me to let it go and move on. You would think that since I know that about myself and know this about them that I would “know better”. Sure, except that I often want people to be better than they are, and I want them to treat me better than they do, but I don’t demand it because for years I was told in so many ways that I don’t have value. That has stayed with my subconscious, and I am just now learning why this is such a challenge for me to just cut people off. One more thing for my brain to churn on. And 4 years later, I am so proud that I can say that and look forward to a day when that and many other things are not so damn hard.