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?

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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

Looking back

“I am soft on the ground and rare as Vegas rain”, I once sang. “I wish I had a home like I wish I had a self.” The third song off of Mago, “Vegas Rain”,  is arguably the song that expresses the most confusion on the entire album.

Gentle readers, I’m not here to praise the past, but to set it to rest, and there is something surreal about picking my past apart in a pubic forum in order to link it to happy-ending hopes for the future. It’s not a bad thing. It forces me to put my thoughts into perspective, which is incredibly valuable for both my progress and myself as a human. So we will do just that with that line from “Vegas Rain”.

It’s definitely a piece where I can look back and see how far I’ve come. When I wrote it, I felt completely lost with nothing to cling to. It felt like every “persona” I had adopted was fake, as I would later explain in the verses. I felt that same lost feeling in different forms until I reached two turning points, meeting my husband and starting this blog. Even though I only started blogging a month ago, it’s done more for me than most things ever have.

I had been talking with my then-future husband for about a month when the topic of conversation turned to other halves. I scoffed at the idea, saying that a mate or another person should never have to complete me. In reality, though, I was afraid. I didn’t want another person to leave. I was not secure in my own skin, and I knew my own ways a little too well. I was always afraid of smothering him or driving him away. I wanted an other half, I wanted an other half desperately – yes, desperately. But I knew in one way or another that I’d have to become better acquainted with myself for this to work, that my self esteem could not be permanently tied to the attentions of someone else.

My lack of self -knowledge and self-love had led me into some horrible situations by that point, and I viewed myself as utterly broken. The thing about this man, though, is that he showed me by his actions and words that he didn’t mind that I was a work in progress. There was no need for anything but me.

I was so scared because of my past that I only loved him because he gave me attention, but our bond proved me wrong. He was my other half, even though I was broken, and he was allowing and encouraging me to be myself and was willing to help me when I got lost. I loved – and still do love – him for his sharp intelligence, the way he operates, the way he thinks, and the way he loves. He is home in a human. I now need to find myself.

I’ve been writing here for 26 days now, thank you, handy WordPress counter, and it has been helping me do just that. I’ve always found writing to be an incredibly useful tool for introspection, but this is working better than any journal I’ve ever kept. Here, I’ve learned that I can’t kill my bipolar disorder, that I am heard, that I can give myself permissions, and other things.

While I would love to go back to instruct past me about these things, I know that they wouldn’t take my advice, because, well, it’s me…

Until next post!

Meg

I Hear You

I had a panic attack the other day.

It could have ended in despair, and I’m actually pretty sure it did end with me crashing in some way. What I do remember was this:

“I hear you.”

If you recall, I get spiritual impressions that make a profound impact on me. The only one that has ever come back for a second poke was an impression I had in June just before my husband proposed. This one sets a new record. It’s poked me so many times I have lost count. I feel known by God and that he is aware of me now.

I’ve felt known by God before, but this time it’s personal. I know people say that God knows everyone perfectly, but I’d never felt it that personally until the panic attack. I now believe that what he feels toward me is unique and made for me, just like he knows others in their own ways. He finds ways to speak my language, giving me clues and notes just for me. Part of being known is knowing how I think, and He often appeals to my intellect and gives me things to ponder or even take to the blog to sort out, like this.

This knowledge gives me a great sense of security. It helps me to realize that words of mine that are put in the right place have immense power. I feel comfortable speaking out on what I believe in because I feel Him backing my play, even when my writing becomes a little controversial, so long as I use my powers for good.

Using my powers for good does NOT mean that I will go around and thrust God as understand him down people’s throats or use religion as a weapon. I speak out against people using religion as weapons, but I do my best to not use religion for that same purpose. The God of my understanding is loving, kind, accepting, and does not use fear or shame to influence people. Am I always kind, loving, and accepting? No! But writing about and defending my personal beliefs has helped me define them further. Writing Byzantines and Button Downs has helped me to know, hear, and love myself more than I could have ever hoped for. It’s become a powerful phrase, “I hear you”.

Because I am heard, I, too need to hear. I do my best to listen to my friends and family and be there for them when they are in need…and when they are doing great. Proving that I am constant is important to me, even when I am feeling down. Listening to the people I love helps me get out of my own chaotic head and into the minds of others. More often than not, my head clears.

Part of hearing is a continuation of yesterday’s post. I want to become my own best friend and advocate. So naturally, this involves hearing myself out. When I wrote “I hear you” on the list of things I would say to myself, I almost cried.

I have a tendency to invalidate myself in everything from my gender identity to my struggles with mental health to how I look on any given day. That’s funny, because I first got the impression when I was struggling with strong dysphoria.

At that moment, I knew on some level that God was telling me that what I was going through was valid. At that moment, “I hear you” was God saying “I love you.” At that moment, that was exactly what I needed. He sees – loves – me as I am, glitchy brain and all. He sees me as I am and who I can become.

I know you are looked after and loved, too. Every second of every day.

I hear you.

Until next post,

Meg

Enjoy this fabulous post next!

To Laugh at Death

Disclaimer: I’m okay. I have support, I’m on the mend, and the storm is passing.

“I just want to laugh at death

and for once sleep through the night without waking.”

Hello, gentle readers.

I wrote these lines a few months ago after I noticed that people who have come close to death tend to laugh at the idea. Several of my friends and family have struggled with depression, and they laugh at their experiences. I found that extremely unsettling at first. Why would someone laugh at something so sad and awful?

Then I had enough experiences of my own to sometimes laugh at death. I learned that it’s not death that I fear, it’s pain, and what death takes away I can never get back. More specifically, I fear loss.

If I were to die tomorrow, I wouldn’t fight it. Maybe it’s the depression that still lurks in me, but it’s not something I fear. I refuse to take my own life, but at the same time, I don’t want to exist for longer than I have to. See this tirade for more information on that.

It’s loss that I fear most. That, to me, is like death while still living. Loss is the worst pain I have experienced. Tomorrow is the third anniversary of my dad’s death, and throughout these last three years, I think I learned what Hell feels like. I miss him horribly. It’s like someone stole my arm in the middle of the night with no explanation. I freaked out at first, but then I got used to only having only one “arm”.

Then come the times where I have to lift a very heavy box, and I break down. I can’t do it on my own. So I call for help, and those who are more able bodied than I come and assist me.

Then there are some who have also lost their metaphorical limbs, and only those of us who have lost limbs of our own can truly understand their pain. Together we learn to walk through Hell and someday learn to laugh at Death in our own way.

I like to think that the more hard stuff we go through, the better we are able to assist others who are going through the same things. When a friend of mine also lost her dad, someone wrote “chin up!” on a card. I was angry. I understood where they were coming from, but they hadn’t lost an arm like we had. That, to me, is why people get so angry after a fresh loss. The people around them don’t always seem to understand – truly understand – their pain.

I’ve been dealt a few crushing blows, and I want any readers of mine know that they are not alone. You are never alone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that crushing loneliness where it seems like all light and hope have gone from my life. Were it not for my best friend, who lost an arm of her own, along with others who understood, I would not be here today. I would not be here today without people who relate to me. They are teaching me to have faith that I can survive and maybe even laugh at death myself someday.

Until next post,

Meg

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

If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Hello, fine readers!

If I’m honest, I’m dealing with what I think are the beginnings of burnout. I haven’t been spending hours of each day posting on B and B. I haven’t spent tons of time promoting it, either. Most of the time I’ve been spending has been at work or with my husband. I wonder if it’s because I have more things going on than normal and I am stressed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to quit the blog – it just means I’m going to have to manage my time better.

Devoting an hour out of my day normally for this is easy. But with my husband around, I want to spend more time with him because I go to work in the afternoons. So it’s getting more difficult to me to budget time for everything. As a result, my desire to write has taken a nosedive.

Am I going to quit?? No. I have goals to achieve, people to meet, lives to touch. My words need to be here, I’m sure of it. B and B is a piece of my heart. Perhaps the posts on the weekends will be shorter and I’ll write more on my “longer” days.

I’m still trying to figure out how to be consistent and not quit when things get hard or when I “don’t have time”. If it’s important to me, I will make time. And B and B is incredibly important to me.

I think my marriage has been teaching me a lot about that. I am consistently becoming a better person because of my husband (and a bit more foul mouthed) because he both inspires me and pushes me. Sometimes I have moments where the gushy feeling subsides and I wonder where it went, but that doesn’t mean I have stopped loving him. At that point, it becomes less of a thing that is felt and more of a choice to be made. And I choose him. He chooses me. He teaches me to be consistent. One of my favorite things he says to me is “If you’re gonna do something, do it right”. I think about that at work a lot and while doing chores. It reminds me to not cut corners. But it can also be applied to marriage – and blogging, for that matter. I hope I can use it in everything, because I’m a person who slacks on everything except for the things that immediately interest me and are easy. And once those things stop interesting me or they get hard, I quit them. Or if I feel like I’m falling into a manic phase, I kill my interest in them.

I’m learning that that’s not okay. I will always be devoted to my marriage, but that doesn’t stop it from being difficult at times. I’m learning to be part of a team instead of just looking out for myself. I love him, but he teaches me how to love better. He shows me love even when I don’t deserve it. I want to be more like him, and I beat myself up for not being on his level. He stops me from doing so.

Beautiful things are difficult to obtain. I can’t take credit for this phrase, some Greek person made it up. But the meaning stands. Good things are worth fighting for, and at times must be fought for. And I will continue to fight for my beautiful things.

I love my husband. I love this blog. I love you.

Until next post,

Meg