Month: October 2014

Conversations and Failed Pumpkinery

The pumpkin I carved this year isn’t very good. It looks pretty cool in the daylight, but it doesn’t look very good with a candle in it. Last time I carved a pumpkin, it was a really neat owl, but this year, I tried to do the Colorado flag:

coloradoflag_erin

I didn’t even take a picture of my pumpkin. If I painted it, it might look better, but I honestly just didn’t think it through all the way. Rob carved the pi symbol into his.

Rob also taught me how to make glasses out of beer bottles. I managed to do it once very slowly, but he went much faster without my “help”. And he brewed this incredible pumpkin spice beer.

Over the past few days, I’ve recognized and appreciate how much my boyfriend does. I’ve also realized how much time he needs in order to accomplish his tasks, but I didn’t see this without some help.

On Tuesday we had a long-needed conversation about our relationship, and immediately afterwards I felt all my anxiety disappear. The central theme of our talk was that I’ve been investing so much time into him and our relationship that I haven’t had time for myself. On top of that, I’ve been absorbing all of Rob’s time, making it difficult for him to be himself and do all his work. So now we hang out a little less, and I read a lot more.

I forgot how much I love books. Since Tuesday, I read the final books in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Sky Chasers series. A lot of my friends had read them in middle school, but I hadn’t even heard of them until I took an adolescent literature class last year. The storyline is fascinating, and the ending isn’t at all disappointing. I’m planning on finishing David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day this week and starting the book my mom just gave me. I’ve even been feeling creatively inspired to write more and do mosaics. I’ll take a picture of one when something turns out nicely.

My long-term life plan may have changed since I last wrote for this, too. After talking with Rob, I realized how young I am, and how far ahead I am. Most people aren’t even close to graduating at 21. So I’m going to apply to business school, get an MBA, and open a store where I can do what I truly love to do.

It will be a bookstore, and I will begin my stock with books donated to me by everyone I know. But the books certainly wouldn’t be the profit, so I would make it into a cafe and bar, serving coffee and tea day-long and adding beer and wine to the menu in the afternoon. I would hold book clubs, and I would host creative writing workshops. Hopefully I could convince people to read some nights for entertainment.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’m excited. We’ll see what happens, but whatever does will surely be wonderful.

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Feeling the norm

The past few weeks have been rough on me, and I know it isn’t for any particularly logical reason.

A part of it is that my significant other has been incredibly busy, so I haven’t seen as much of him as I’d like. Not only is he in his final year of a mechanical engineering degree, but he works part time and volunteers to help various contacts with events and projects. At home, he’s even been brewing his own beer and kombucha, so I’m certainly not concerned about him misusing his time. When I do see him, it’s sweet. He makes up for our time apart with warm hugs and little acts of affection. Nevertheless, I’m never quite as energetic or cheerful as I am when I get to spend more time with him. It doesn’t help that it’s been a down week anyway. At least it’s a down week instead of a down life.

Even with the low thoughts and waves of negativity I’ve been experiencing, I appreciate the normality I feel most days. When I was in high school, I didn’t know how the typical person felt at any given moment. For me, a pause in activity or thinking was dreadful. When I slowed down, I would hold my breath and try not to move until that heavy feeling of suppression left. So I kept as busy as I could back then. I took all the hardest, most work-intensive classes, and I played flute. I fenced, and I babysat. Sometimes I even tried to cook or knit or play computer games. No matter how hard and constantly I worked to avoid those moments of non-thinking, though, they would come.

I would often lay in bed waiting for sleep and stare at the lights traveling across my ceiling, and it was at those times I feared myself. I could have listed everything that made me happy, but if I did my mind would have twisted it all, and joys would have become miseries. Every movement would bring to my attention another dull aching brought to life only by my chemically unstable psyche. My own mind turned against me, gave me options for emotional release that only would have worsened my situation.

Moving through the halls with friends, I would lose motivation to walk, collapsing to lean against any wall nearby. They would join me, chat about silly things, and act as though I’d deliberately taken that seat. I know that some of them were burdened, too, though, put down by their own genetic codes and family members. I know and knew that I’ve never been alone, and for that I am appreciative.

When I started college, my mother and older sister encouraged me to seek help, and it wasn’t the first time they had done so. Before, help was never really accessible, though. Even so, for bad reasons–fear of diagnosis, risk of exposure, pride–I resisted. I went to bed when the sun was barely setting, I showered twice a day, I skipped classes, and I avoided human contact.

Then, after a very honest night with my older sister, I decided I needed to stop the urges to disappear before I got the courage to do something horrible. She took me to a therapist, and she took me to a doctor. The therapist was no help at all, considering that she was more interested in talking about her weekly tarot meetings in Denver than discussing how to cope with my brain’s uncomfortable flaws. The doctor, though, may have quite literally saved my life. Finding the cocktail took some time, but one morning I woke up and the clouds had cleared.

Many people don’t know what depression feels like, and it’s not easy to describe, but being without it is incredible. I now breathe without the desire to stop. I swallow without the ball of tension in my throat. When tears come, there is almost always an external source for the pain.

So I’ve had a few rough days. I’ve slept a lot and taken too many showers. Even right now I’m sitting on my bed, the only light here pushing its way through the slits in my closed blinds, but I know that this odd, encapsulating heaviness will fade if I let it. Because my norm has changed. And I am so grateful.

Thankfully

It makes me feel guilty when I don’t write or post to my blog for a while, especially considering that my last post was a reblog. Strangely, though, I want to to blame it on laziness, when it’s really just lack of time and motivation. The last few weeks have been very odd, too.

My dad and I have a hard time keeping in touch. My stepmom and I email back and forth occasionally, so I usually know what’s going on at home, but my dad never answers his phone or returns messages. A couple weeks ago, however, he did give me a call. He told me he went to the doctor after he got back from China–nobody had told me he was in China at all, by the way–and they got some funny results. He was scheduled to go into surgery the next morning.

Cancer has hit my family pretty hard.When I was in high school, my mom found out she had colon cancer. She had to get surgery, and she had to go through chemotherapy. Throughout the whole process, my dad was very sweet and helpful, even though they’re divorced and don’t get along. At the time, I was just starting to drive, so he helped pick her up after chemo, and he got her flowers. She wanted to do the same for him when he got his news, but the whole process went much more quickly.

Thankfully, my dad doesn’t have to experience chemo. He got the surgery, and after a few tests, they found out it was a complete success. So in a span of a week, my dad found out he had cancer and became cancer free.

I was going to drive down with my boyfriend the weekend after his surgery. Last November, I ended up having a few seizures in the hospital, and he drove up just to see me for a few minutes, so I wanted to return the favor. I wanted to be as supportive a daughter as he has been a father. The painkillers weren’t working as well as they should, though, and he picked up a stomach flu that kept him confined to the bathroom. My stepmom called to tell me that driving down wasn’t the best idea.

That weekend my little sister got injured in a wagon accident and broke her clavicle and separated her shoulder. I’m not entirely sure what a wagon accident entails, but I’m pretty sure she’ll stay away from wagons from now on.

While my parents both have cancer, and my sisters are all just as accident prone as I am, my family has ultimately retained its health. I really do appreciate modern medicine and caring doctors.