Monday, April 18, 2016

New Spring Breeze

We were cleaning up the kitchen together--- or rather, I was cleaning up the kitchen and he was kind of just standing in the middle of the kitchen, eating an apple and being generally bothersome, and it just made me really happy. Like, it just feels... right to have him in the kitchen with me while I'm washing things up, making me laugh while I'm washing my mug labeled "Dad" (Dad is me... we joke in my apartment that I'm the dad 'cuz I'm always making bad jokes and fixing the toilets and putting together the electronics). It kind of just feels right to have him sitting across the room reading a book while I'm writing, him in a giant easy chair with his shoes kicked off onto the floor and me curled up in a worn-out old couch. It feels right to have the new spring breeze blow in, the breeze that smells like people should be falling in love. It feels right to briefly lean up against his leg as I turn on the light for him so he can see what he's reading better. It feels right to have him across the room making stupid noises and humming taps so that his voice cracks and I am literally laughing so hard my body hurts. He's weird and stupid and... right. He makes the thing inside me that usually panics and freaks out and is a very sad part of me... he makes it okay. He makes it not so dark. And I'll be more logical in a bit, and I'll get a better handle on my emotions, but right now I'm just really happy with him sitting across the room making weird faces at me and making strange noises and making me smile.


Monday, April 11, 2016

A Very Long Facebook Post at Three in the Morning

I was recently diagnosed with severe anxiety stemming from PTSD, evident in the fact that I started having panic attacks after silly things, like if I would flirt with a cute guy and he would seem interested as well. And then the panic attacks started getting steadily worse and worse, until on the Sunday before Christmas of last year, I had a severe anxiety attack that lasted about two hours, nonstop, followed by three or four consecutively over Christmas break. They usually take a couple days to completely recover from, and they've happened at every time of day, from in the middle of a casual dinner, to the middle of the night. I think I've even had a couple while I was sleeping. I've started to go to a psychologist since then, which is why I know solidly that what I'm dealing with IS severe anxiety, and here is a little bit about what I have learned:

1) I have been dealing with anxiety for a very long time, even though I didn't know it. I didn't realize that rapid heart palpitations, major overanalyzing and sweating at random times wasn't normal (that last one is kind of gross... but it explains my constantly sweaty hands... sorry :/)

2) Anxiety takes everything good inside you and turns it against you. I am someone who has naturally been blessed with healthy self-esteem. But with this anxiety, I might not hate my outside, but I hate my insides sometimes, and I have a really hard time accepting or believing that people accept me and love me regardless of my freakouts. And the frustrating thing is, I'm usually a pretty level-headed person when it comes to relationships, so when the anxiety kicks in and I start freaking out, I get pretty ticked off at my interactive inadequacies. I've started to learn that I'm a pretty needy person, and sometimes people can't give me the verbal assurance or clarity that I sometime emotionally need, but at the same time, it's not necessarily fair for me to ask certain people to take on my baggage, and just because they are a little overwhelmed by the fact that sometimes I randomly start shaking and crying and gasping for air (i get overwhelmed by it too), it doesn't mean that they love me any less.

3) Anxiety makes it hard to make friendship/romantic relationships. I tend to get a little too clingy or a little too standoffish in relationships, because I love it when people make me feel special and needed, but if I get rejected too many times, or I feel like the amount that I am needed is a fluctuating variable, I'll just automatically assume that you don't want me in your life, and I will quietly remove myself to avoid being hurt again.

4) Anxiety is not me. I am not someone who becomes afraid easily. Anxiety is a completely different species than fear or stress. I don't freak out because I work too hard. Anxiety is a paralyzing kind of thing, and when it takes over, the only thing that you can focus on is breathing and shaking, and trying to keep your nose above the waves of anxiety so it doesn't end you.

I'm not really sure what I was trying to accomplish here, but I think that maybe if I stay as open as I can through fighting this thing, maybe I can help someone else recognize it in themselves before they get to the point of panic attacks, or at least voice some of the pain that people with really excruciating anxiety are too suffocated to express.


Lost-Tooth Feeling

I'm waiting on a phone call that will let me know whether or not I'm about to become a published author. So I'm going to try and write something to distract myself.

I started packing up a little today to get ready to move to a different spot on campus for the summer. Yup, I'm staying here in Colorado to work and roll in dough. Not really. I'm just kind of hoping that I won't be as desperately poor as this year. I've gotten really good at moving lately. My "pack up and go" skills have gotten so streamlined, I can pack up all of my belongings, or at least 95% of them, into two large suitcases. Talk about minimalism. I started thinking about how when you first start packing, you have to take down all of the Post-its and photos and cards and doodles off of the walls, and put them into some box to rattle around. And the room starts to lose its' personality. Like, the walls become bland and beige again, the blankness of the space starts to swallow you up instead of being the perfect backdrop for the explosion of images that my room often becomes.

In my room in Wisconsin, I had photos all over my closet door, and I saved every single picture that people drew for me over the four years of high school, taping them all to the wall. But when I had to move out, suddenly any vivacity from my personality in the room was sucked out of the space. It just felt really weird. It was kind of like the feeling that you get when you are little and lose a tooth. Your tongue just keeps running over the spot where the tooth used to be, and it doesn't hurt or cause you distress, but you just keep running over the empty space over and over again. Or it's kind of like the feeling you get when you get a significant haircut and hop in the shower, and you run your hands along the length of your hair, but an inch or two is missing, prefaced by blunt, soft, straight ends.

The actual process of moving day is different. On the actual day, you just focus on the hassle that is getting your stuff all gathered and shoved on a truck and shipped to another place. The pain-in-the-butt-ness of moving is so irritating, you can't think about the fact that the place you lived in and the place that held your personality is now stripped of anything that resembled you and holds no personality. But when you first start, when the pictures come down and the winter clothes and little unnecessary baubles get packed up and and the walls and shelves are bare, that's the weirdest feeling, the lost-tooth part of part of moving to a new place.

She still hasn't called. Gah.


Monday, March 14, 2016

God Call

I was applying for a leadership position at my college, and I had to explain where this kind of leadership follows God's calling for my life, and it was weird how blunt I was in black and white, but I also liked it, so I'm saving it here. 

I have been through a lot in my life. In many instances, people have come to me while going through a hardship in their lives, and I am able to help them with ways that will make life less painful, since I probably have already gone through it. God has given me a lot of experience in a lot of nasty things throughout my life. In total, and not all at once, I have lost both grandmothers, my father, my mother, my stepfather, and my brother. I suffer from a recent discovery of scars from emotional abuse, which manifests itself in the trial that is PTSD-related anxiety. I have experienced domestic abuse, poverty, near-homelessness, and deep, tearing loneliness. Yet, through it all, God has supported me. Essentially, he has pushed me to the brink of many awful situations, enough to taste a lot of very bitter wines but not drown in them. So I guess I would consider my calling to direct others towards God in the trial, to be a person who has already gone through a situation and has learned that through it all, God is powerful, and all knowing, and all providing, and incredibly, inexplicably loving. I'm not exactly sure where God is leading me, and I've kind of had to stop trying to plan out my life for fear of God putting me through a trial to humble me enough to submit to his plan. But, I believe that to help someone find that wonder that took me so many years and tears to work through, and to help people discover ways for life to not hurt so badly would be a very noble calling.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy Women's Day

(this is a republishing, since the last version of this decided to format weirdly and no one could actually read it)

One of the best things about college is the fact that I actually feel like my opinion is respected. In high school, I was kind of "below average." I was actually technically above average, but I hung out with such crazy smart, type-A people, so if you took me and my friends and put us on a scale of intellect, I would probably be about the middle of the spectrum, and I did stay with the pack grade-wise, but I didn't really feel respected. Like, because I had slightly more of a conservative view on politics, I was completely shut down whenever I opened my mouth, so I just stopped trying. Even from the conservative point of view ins Sussex, I still wasn't heard, because I wasn't a crazy suburban white man with no logic to my arguments. So I knew nothing about local politics, and I kind of just kept my mouth shut. Girls don't talk about politics where I'm from, and if they do, they're either liberal, or not listened to at all. But now I'm here. And here, I actually have a job IN local politics. And here, I'm not pigeonholed into the "gifted kids" group, included and compared with them constantly.

One of my favorite things here is when guys start talking about politics, and I pipe up and share something, and they just freak out... like WOW. She has good points! I feel respected by the guys here, and that's such a rare and cool thing. Like, I had a small political debate with a really good friend of mine, and he actually respected my opinion enough to disagree with it. In the past, I've tried to push a little, to disagree, to make a slightly controversial or different statement, and either the guy I was talking with would completely shut me down, or he would immediately agree with me because he didn't care enough about me or the topic to actually hash it out. But this friend, he actually seriously considered my argument, and listened, and then he DISAGREED. And that was fantastic.

I think the person who I would consider one of my major roles is someone I actually discovered quite recently. She's a woman named Mary Fisher, who is credited with giving one of the greatest speeches of all time, titled A Whisper of AIDS. It was given to the Republican National Convention in 1992, and it literally rocked the house. I guess I respect her so much because of the reactions of the whitewashed male Republican members. I'm paraphrasing, but one man said something like, "If anyone else had said what she said, we might not have listened as well, but to hear this Republican princess, this near-angel get up there and talk commanded our attention." I feel like there aren't a lot of strong, sane Republican women. If you have a passion for social issues and you are loud about it, women usually have a more attentive ear on the Liberal side, so they support that side. But, at the same time, even though it is true that the Republican side tends to be a bit of a sausage fest, the lack of female voices on the Republican side is partly because Republican women are either taught to be quiet and not so strong-willed, or they become kind of like the Republican men, aggressive, overly confrontational and overbearing.

I very recently went to this conference for the Colorado Women's Alliance, and I was so incredibly inspired by the women there. They were tough, and smart, and absolutely terrifying. However, they also had this kind of aura around them, a gracefulness that made them so beautiful, and you couldn't help but have a deep, deep respect for these women. I met a women who was the founder of her own Cotillion School, where she taught etiquette. And she was awesome. I guess that's the kind of woman I aspire to be. I want to be a woman who is respected and intelligent, and tough as nails, but who also knows how to be gracious and genteel and composed. People lose respect for women because women let themselves get dragged down into drama and cattiness, and start pulling each other down, but what we really should be doing is simply aspiring to great things ourselves, taking the hands of the beautiful women around us and pulling them along with us.

Women are negotiators. They inspire. They build fires in the hearts of people.

That's just a little something I've been learning lately. I am made to inspire. I am made to encourage. I am made to be gracious, and kind, and loving, and to bring up important issues and talk intelligently about it. Conservative women are smart, and strong, and they need to speak up more, because I think the world needs to hear what they have to say.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Conjunction Girl

(sometimes you just need to write the crappy poem... so i'm sorry the following is nothing of literary merit, but its raw and honest, and sometimes i think its okay that poetry is just that)

conjunction girl

she was always paired up;
him and her, all of them together.
you are both important,
i love you and also her

i chose them, yet you are still here.
i was betrayed, and i turn to you.
you are special, but not as much;
you make me happy, but they do too.

i could spend the day with you or her,
i would be happy either way.
but i say that you're precious for 
the tears in your eyes compel
me to claim "i need you, i swear!"
and turn around to choose them instead.

what she really wants is to be necessary.
to stand alone,
to be irreplaceable
on her own.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Beast


the waves of terror smashed into her at the most peaceful or happy of times. maybe it wasn't actually a wave of terror, because with waves, you can see them coming, you can anticipate the destruction. no, this was like a tornado or a hurricane, and there was no predicting, no preparing, no escaping.

the only thing that warned her of the attack were the few, small, unexplained tears that leaked out of her eyes and kept coming and coming, despite her intentions to make them stop. we're in a public place, you can't do this here. this can't happen here. but of course terror doesn't listen to reason or pleading. and she knew that if she wanted to make this so-called "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" enjoyable for anyone else, she would have to run and take the tornado with her.

so she ran. she fled as far as she could before the tornado touched the earth before she would be trapped in the terror that she knew would inevitably engulf her. finding a small, dark cave, she huddled there.

no one would find her tucked away in the belly of the earth. here, the storm could come and it would affect her, only her, and that was okay. so she let the storm in.

the terror whipped her up into sobs and cries of anguish as her emotions turned against her. anxiety ravaged her brain as she crumpled up, shaking and rocking and crying. sometimes the cries were small and hushed and stuck in her ribcage, like small hail stones that ripped and cut. sometimes the cries were loud and painful and all she could do was to hold tight to her chair as the fear poured out of her mouth and eyes and nose and ears and heart. sometimes the rain stopped and she gasped in low, shallow breaths. she could never get enough oxygen, god, why was this happening? why couldn't she get enough air? it took everything inside of her to replenish the oxygen that was being used up by the terrors controlling her, to feed it enough to keep the fear form completely engulfing her. she began to chant quiet calming songs from last year in an attempt to wrench back some of her rogue emotions. "o magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum o magnum mysterium..." for some reason it worked. she was regaining control.

it didnt make sense. fear was something to spur her on, to be felt and acknowledged but always to be conquered. fear was standing on the ledge of the bungee cord course and hearing the girl next to you start to panic. she felt the fear rise up and start to overcome her.... no. it could be conquered. she grabbed the girl's arm and sprinted off the platform into thin air.

she knew the fear of the unknown, when someone she trusted betrayed her and now she was on her own again. but that was okay. she would simply take everything she had inside her and throw it at the fear blocking her way. that was a good fear, a testing fear. a hard fear, but a constructive fear, one one that proved she was made of more than she thought she was.

this was an entirely new kind of fear. the familiar first fear came from inside. it was made up of the insecure, selfish, dark parts of her, but it was still her. this fear was more. it was engulfing. it was destroying. and all she could think as the winds of terror picked up again was, "i didn't want this. i didn't ask for this. this isn't me." she began to rock back and forth in her chair to reassure herself that she had a small, insignificant amount of control over the storm. but it raged on.

"jacentem precepio o magnum mysterium..."

the worst part was, when the storm finally passed, when the beast finally released her from its darkened, dripping claws, nobody believed her. no one could see the poison from the beast that now coursed through her veins, turning her skin white and the bags beneath her eyes purple. no one tried to comprehend that she was not herself, instead dismissing it as stress or overwork. "you've been spreading yourself too thin," they said, "you need to cut down a little." "it's only emotions. just be happy." "just will it to go away." and she gazed at the world with eyes filled with the beast, and spoke with lips sore from trying to explain to lead ears. she ran away again, grabbed a pen, and began to write.

"panic. the waves of terror smashed into her..."