We Could Be Heroes

What does it mean to be a hero?

I’m listening to my blogging playlist and thinking about just that. David Bowie’s “Heroes” got me thinking and it’s a real question – what does it mean?

I used to think that heroes were these people who were good and pure who rescued people and helped them. Now, I suppose, I am more of a cynic. Some of my favorite heroes in fiction are those who are dragged into it or are morally gray. I find that the virtuous heroes don’t appeal much to me anymore. I think that’s because I’ve found that the world isn’t filled with these virtuous people. Everyone is flawed, everyone has problems. But everyone has the potential to be a hero to someone.

I think that to be a hero, one has to possess one special quality. They have to make a positive impact in someone’s life. Heroes don’t always do physical rescuing, but that definitely could make someone a hero. Do you have to be pure and good to be a hero? That’s up for debate.

There are several people in my life whom I would consider heroes of mine, but I want to highlight one special hero. My psych provider up here is a liberator. She saw a problem and started to take action instead of standing aside or feeding it. The problem was that I was that I was overmedicated and she saw that in me. She knew her stuff and said that she had never seen a dose of one of my meds that high in her entire career. Because of her intelligence, intuition, and knowledge, I am where I am today. I am eternally grateful for her.

I don’t know anything about her personal life save that she likes plants and music, but I don’t think that that is necessary to be a hero. Sometimes heroes are just passersby. She is just one of my care providers up here who has changed my life for the better.

Now that I am coming down lower on some of the meds I’m on, I feel like I’m climbing a mountain and I’ve come out of a thick layer of clouds. The sun is bright, but I can see everything – the trail I’ve climbed to get here, the valley below, the next ridge over in the distance. It’s the best feeling in the world.

It’s also vindicating – I’m not crazy for having feelings that are larger than life. I’m alive, I am human. I’m not afraid to say that anymore. It’s liberating – I can find out who I really am. It’s exhilarating – I am blooming, I am not afraid to live. I was fine all along. I am able to bounce back and not drown.

I got some lab work done today and I didn’t panic or cry. I got out of bed on time. I took my meds on time. I talked with friends. I feel as alive as springtime. I ate a bagel, which was delicious. The proof copy of my poem book comes today. Life is good.

To my provider – thank you.

Love,

Meg

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Happy

“i’m afraid
i don’t want to be out of control
what if happiness scares me?
she follows me like a shadow
found in drumbeats and embraces and the feeling of
pushing forward
the song i’m listening to flutters
i have fluttered before
i will flutter again
i don’t like it because my happiness comes
out loud
shout it to the heavens
i’m happy and i don’t know why”

For some reason, people have always said I’m resilient, as if that’s something I want. All it meant to me was that I didn’t kill myself when my dad died, when XYZ happened, etc., that plodding on should be applauded. It didn’t mean that I was going anywhere. It didn’t mean I was proud of myself or living for anything.

When I met my husband, all of that began to change. I was living, at the very least, to be able to spend time with him and make sure he was happy. Even when I wanted to blot myself off the face of the Earth, he was there.

When I moved to Alaska, things changed even more. As mentioned previously, two psychiatric professionals took down the notion that I needed to be on hundreds of milligrams of meds a day, allowing me to cut back on my unnecessarily doses. He was the one who set all of this in motion. He was the first one actively involved in my care to challenge the idea that I could be crazy.

With all of these changes, I feel more energetic, hopeful, and happy. The happiness baffles me. It now rents out the space where sadness used to be, and it is almost persistent in its pursuit of me. It’s wild, loud, and feels dangerous. I still don’t trust it, and still confuse it with going crazy. It involves a lot of shouting for joy.

It can be compared to the end of a hero’s journey story where the hero arrives at the same place they started, but changed. It’s like, this is new, what do I do now?

I’ve been throwing myself wholeheartedly into my tutoring, which is awesome. Lots of new music has been made, and this long overdue thing is in the works…

People have been wanting to read my poems in a book for a bit, so I will make it happen.

If you’re happy and you know it, what do you do?

Stronger

Sometimes I find it hard to write when I’m away from my writing spot, and I sure am feeling the resistance today.

I’m sitting in my car in Anchorage and the sun hasn’t risen yet. It’s around 7:30 and will likely be around 8:30 by the time I finish this post. I’ve got at least two shots of espresso in me and still all I want to do is sleep. I would sleep soundly.

I think I am afraid to write outside of my usual spot in the basement because I now have bad associations with writing in the car. The last time I wrote in the car was when I wrote the the post about “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie in the parking lot at my old work. Here I am in a parking lot once again, it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m waiting for a friend to call, and I feel hollow.

I’m not yet hollow enough to cry, but I’m getting there. I think parking lots before sunrise are some of the loneliest places I can imagine.

The sky is turning dark blue, the world keeps turning somehow. I want to stop being so scared and be stronger, but my heart is still breaking from yesterday even though I don’t quite remember why my heart was breaking in the first place. I keep telling myself that I should be stronger than I am and beating the shit out of myself when I fall short of my own unrealistic expectations.

I want to leave Anchorage and go back home to the valley where I live, but that’s a long drive and I am not in a headspace where that’s safe. I don’t know how to calm down. I feel a great desire to be stronger than I am, as I have said before.

I beat myself up almost daily for quitting my old job. I feel I should have been able to handle it and I shame myself for not being able to.

I beat myself up for not being able to accomplish simple tasks that take 10-15 minutes for a healthy person to finish. I want to do things, it just hurts in my brain to even make myself move.

I beat myself up for being sad.

I beat myself up for still having waves of debilitating grief over my dad.

I beat myself up for oversleeping or sleeping too little.

I beat myself up for little things that I would give my best friend care and compassion for.

If she or my husband were hurting like this, I would do everything in my power to hear them out and encourage them to take it easy one day at a time. I would encourage them to talk it out with me and tell them to do only what they can and then help when I am needed or wanted. I would make sure that I hear them and make sure they didn’t think they were alone. I would be by their side.

It’s important to me that they are open with what’s going on because sometimes I can’t read them. My best friend is physically far away and sometimes my husband manifests pain differently than I do. So in the same way I want them to tell me what’s going on and keep me informed, perhaps I should listen to what my brain and body need. I need to rest, I know that for certain. I need to be easier on myself. Most of the people around me don’t expect of me what I expect of myself.

I was speaking with a friend of mine who understands what I’m going through. She gave me words of encouragement and said essentially that I’m okay to be where I’m at. I lost my dad three years ago, which is relatively recent. She understands the feeling of it being difficult to accomplish things that are simple to most. She understands me, and that is so important. She makes me feel heard.

So maybe I am strong even though I struggle. I would most certainly think a friend would be were they in the same situation. So why not me?.

Until next post,

Meg

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day. Treat yourself.

Heavy

Hey, gentle readers.

I confess that I’m not doing very well today. I’ve been fighting off the depression side of my mental friend bipolar, and add anxiety and slight dysphoria to that, and you have my current headspace. I’m at the point where I am just waiting for my mind to finish throwing its fit and trying to get on with my day. Work is scaring me even though I know to give myself a break. I don’t want to do anything, you know? Even though there’s stuff to be done. Coffee is brewing, which might wake me up. We’ll see. If this post is pretty short, that’s why.

(I am safe. I’m not at risk of hurting anyone, myself or anyone else. Brain is just being its glitchy self.)

My depression right now feels like everything is heavy. My arms, my heart, my environment. I’m fatigued. I’ve been meaning to make a psych intake appointment for about a month now and the thought of doing so seems more difficult than usual. I don’t want to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, but everything feels too heavy to want to move. I’ll ask if we can do a phone intake. I hope they say yes.

For once, I want to truly claw my way out of it. I want to actually be happy, and I don’t understand why this depression is happening. But I also know that if I try to do too much, it would be like trying to run on a sprained ankle. I should be putting my “ankle” up and being kind to myself, but instead my inner bully is being hyperactive and I’m criticizing everything I do.

I was given a new idea by a friend who in turn heard it from a friend of theirs. I am going to adapt it to my own imagination. They told me about an exercise wherein they would picture an orb and manipulate it with their imagination and in time with their breathing and the mood they wanted. I want mine to be a crystal spinning. Call me weird, but I think it might work.

I’ve also found that I get sad around a certain time of night both at the house and at work, so I might ask to take my break then. I hope my managers will listen.

Something I’m proud of is that I’ve been blogging for almost three weeks straight, never missing a day, no matter how hard life gets or how stressed I am. It’s refreshing to sit back and just write for an hour or so. I’m taking it one day at a time and consciously making time for it, and I’m applauding myself for it.

About dysphoria, I still want to lop all of my hair off. That’s still here. -sigh-. So I want to grow my hair out and put it in a low ponytail Founding Fathers style, or get rid of it all and go for a Halsey look. I also put on an actual bra on after wearing my binder for a bit and it felt like waking up from one of those really good, really detailed dreams and being disappointed that that wasn’t real life. It sucked, but it was good to take a break. I’ll give it that.

If someone says “you look like a guy” at work if I cut my hair, I will elbow-bump them. Elbow bumping is not a bad thing. It’s our equivalent of a fist bump.

I’ll do better about taking care of my ankle today. May all of your ankles be okay.

Until next post,

Meg

About Endings

There’s always a strange loss of innocence that comes when people realize that good doesn’t always win, the hero doesn’t always get the girl, and that hell, the hero doesn’t always live to hear about the end of their own tale. I know I felt betrayed the first time I went through a story like that. Why did it have to end that way?

Well, past me… I don’t have an answer for you, except that I still feel the way you did. And I’m sorry it has to be this way. Sometimes the reason for an end point comes later, or sometimes it’s senseless and means nothing. And yet, we keep asking “why”, looking for the reasons behind tragedy, hoping for what at times seems like divine intervention in hardship. Some find it, some don’t. Some spend their lives seeking closure with things that happened to them and find nothing, others make something of the ashes they rose from. It doesn’t always mean something, and the end is not always the end.

When I was eighteen, I was dealt two crushing blows. The first one, my first real breakup, gave me wrath and spite and a resentment so bright it probably could’ve been seen from space. I stopped trusting in and having faith in true love, and at the same time I ran towards anything I thought would fill the gaping hole that I didn’t know how to deal with at the time. I thought it would kill me if he left, but when he did leave, I lived. I became bitter. I did what I had to to get me through the day.

Then my dad died.

He died nearly three years ago, in February of 2016. I was okay that night. I didn’t cry at all then. Instead, I had a supernatural sort of strength that allowed me to help others instead of seeking help for myself. It was all okay until I got back to college. There, I fell apart. If anything, the hole left by the breakup was only child’s play.

I thought at several points that my life was over, that there was no point in carrying on. I started to detach from my identity and began identifying as male. I shaved my head and took on a new name. In many ways, I was hiding.

My friends and professors saved my life on many occasions. They brought me treats, they kept me company. My dear friend organized a school-wide campaign for people to write me letters. They all came in a big box the night I got back to school. A caring professor told me to not break myself. It was a wonderful and terrible, heartbreaking year.

I arrived at my new apartment in Rexburg, Idaho on 2 January 2017 with enough emotional baggage to fill the entire complex. I was angry. I was sad. My fifth album, Primrose Path, captures my feelings at the time perfectly. I took my anger out on God and the culture at that college in song. And I made friends who taught me how to trust again. One of them drilled it into my head over and over again when I got scared that not everyone leaves. My best friend of seven years (at the time), who has been by my side through hell and back, said,

“I’m in this for the long haul, beeyotch.”

Over time, I believed them. And I was so much better for that. They showed me that life is worth living even after it had made me so angry and hurt me so badly.

Around this time, I began to question who – and what – I was. It became increasingly clear as the months passed that I didn’t fit the college’s mold. I was not a perfect Mormon girl. I had one foot out of the door at that point, and questioning my identity again was another little push out. And as you know, when I question my identity, I question the questioning thoughts, wonder if I’m insane at least twice, and beat the feelings I have until they are thin enough to see through. This fueled my anger, and I didn’t quit. I was confused as hell, but I didn’t quit. In my mind, I had to get to the bottom of this.

I eventually did for a bit once I was back on the right meds. But this drive to figure out who and what I am kept me confused, sometimes sad, but always looking for some kind of breakthrough. Looking back, there are many places where I could have said “screw it, I’m done” and given into my dark thoughts. I have to feel comfortable in my own skin or else I won’t reach the goals I will set.

In a nutshell, I like looking at what happened after the story “should’ve ended” and seeing how these events that follow the expected “ending” pan out. I saw a sign in a friend’s house that says “a true love story never ends”. I think about that sign a lot and how it can apply to many things – self-love, friendship, God’s love, romantic love. I’m writing my love stories now. I’m trying to find out what I need to feel at home in my own skin, what I can do to better express love to my husband, and how I can be a good friend and example of my faith.

I suck sometimes at tying my stories up into attractive happy ending bows. But this one is ongoing, I suppose. So all I shall say is, to be continued.

Have the best of days.

Meg