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?

Your Empire

Hey, all! I’m double dipping today. I’d like to talk about a poem that is very special to me. It’s called “Your Empire”. I wrote it two years ago. It opens like so:

you are more than a princess, darling girl -you are a queen – an empress

and you are loved more than you know

there will be times when you’ll be 

punched in the gut

kicked in the ribs

tossed aside

but your true wisdom comes in

knowing whether to form a fist or

extend your hand…

First lines of “Your Empire”, written 3/6/17

I love this poem because it’s what I wish I could have believed about myself at that time and what I don’t want anyone to forget, no matter their gender or age.

I owe the empire theme to my obsession with the Byzantine Empire, which is still an obsession of mine, hence my blog title. My favorite historical character of all time is the Byzantine Empress Theodora. Someone once said I was like her, and that was probably the biggest compliment I have ever received. This poem is me telling anyone who needs it that they are noble and deserving of that title. That includes myself. It continues:

…because some battles that need to be fought

are ignored

and some battles that are fought

need to be ignored

and a true empress – like you – knows which is which

and what to do. 

“where is my empire?”

you may ask.

I will place my hand over my heart

and say, “darling, every time you are knocked

over and you stand up again, think of that as a conquest.”

“Your Empire”

At this time in my life, I was in Idaho college and I needed some encouragement. The environment was becoming toxic to me and I wanted to feel okay again. This was one of the ways I helped myself. I also sent this and other poems to friends who seemed to be in need of them. This one is by far my favorite of the bunch.

I definitely need to listen to myself in the lines about conquest. I don’t take my own advice well enough. It’s true, I am conquering. I am ruling. I am becoming more and more involved in my own life. That’s important. A ruler wouldn’t let things just…happen to them, would they? No, they wouldn’t.

Planning is hard for me, though. It’s hard for me to get up and say, “I’m gonna do XYZ today”, even when I am happy. I tend to let the day just pass without making plans. It’s important to remember that part of owning my life and empire is to plan for the future.

With my tutoring, I don’t schedule very far in advance since I’m a hired gun that gets requests usually only a few hours before the student wants to meet. I’m surprised nobody has wanted to meet in the middle of the night yet! As a result, my days are fairly open. I have my to do lists, but I need to make an actual schedule.

Part of me thinks, “Oh, but it’s a struggle to get out of bed early!” Then there’s another part that’s like, “Fortify yourself, dammit. You won’t get anywhere with that attitude. Do you want to build your empire, or not?”

Okay, okay. I’m gonna fortify myself. Let’s continue with the poem.

every good thing you do, every struggle that you

overcome, every person you make smile –

oh, my dear, those are conquests. and in the end,

the biggest conquest you can make

is learning to love yourself

and others even though they –

and their empires – are imperfect.

I am learning that hard things are essential for growth and that I can’t quit if I want to make it in life, in anything. I can’t quit on myself, either. Like the last lines of the poem say, “the biggest conquest you can make is learning to love yourself and others even though they – and their empires – are imperfect.” Self sabotage gets me nowhere. Learning to love myself is important. It’s an important step towards progress. It will require much self-fortification. It takes strength to love oneself, I am finding. Also, I feel so much happier after being off social media all day. 10/10 so far, will continue.

Update: I have actually composed music today! Yes!

Would you like for me to write YOU a song, poem, or even an album? Got a special occasion coming up? I’m on WhatsApp, so if you shoot me a message there, we can start a conversation!

Love,

Meg

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