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
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
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.”
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!
Good evening, good afternoon, good morning to you wherever you are!
I have a question for you this fine day.
What would you do if you had nothing in your way? What would you do if you found out that the mountains you have been climbing were just bumps in the road? What would you do if you didn’t fear judgment? What would you do if you wereunstoppable?
Unstoppable is a big word.
I don’t know about you, but I associate this big word with freedom, and I associate feeling free with running, singing, or dancing. You know the feeling where are all of your cares and worries fade into the background and it’s just you and the music? Yeah. That one.
There was one night when I was in Maryland where I grew very sad. I just took off running. I ran and ran, leaving the town behind. When I looked behind me, I saw the Maryland State House, which normally loomed above me, reduced to a tiny point on the horizon, three miles away. I had covered three miles. I felt free. It was almost a symbol of leaving my problems behind.
You might be asking, “why do you like to run? Running’s hard.”
The answer is that I like the satisfaction of having traveled a long (or somewhat long) distance and being able to see where I have gone and how far I’ve come. The truth also is that I can’t flat out run for more than probably fifty feet without stopping.
I could surely get discouraged that I can’t run more than 50 feet without the need to lose consciousness. Here’s what I do instead.
I set a goal. Something like “run to this next street corner”, and if I can successfully run to the next street corner from my current position, I pat myself on the back, walk a bit, then set another goal and achieve it.
I don’t tell myself I’m gonna run 4 miles nonstop. I’m not there yet. Instead, I do what I can. That makes me feel unstoppable. I’m not a wrecking ball or a bullet – I’m a slow, steady, consistent unstoppable. Things like this are just as powerful as bullets and wrecking balls. There’s power in consistency.
Another image I can give you is hiking. I’ve gone on since nice hikes. In Texas, my family and I hiked a short, scrubby mountain just for the hell of it. We were seriously like, “oooh, trailhead” and then found ourselves up a mountain before we knew it.
I was thirteen and terrified of heights. (I still am terrified of heights.) This climb was incredibly scary for me, and I wanted to turn back several times. But I didn’t stop. We were richly rewarded for it. The view was incredible. We could see the entire valley laid out before us. We could even see our campsite! This was one of the best views of my life.
In 2013, I fell into depression. It seemed like nothing helped. I wanted to give up many times. I kept going. Throughout that time, everything felt gray. I kept going. There were times when it felt like there was nothing to live for. It hurt. I kept going.
Eventually things got better, and I saw a purpose in what I had gone through. I am able to help others who are going through the same thing. I went (and am still going, to some extent) through it again when my dad died. That’s a tool to help that I wish I hadn’t gained, but there’s a reason behind it somehow. I don’t entirely know why I lost him, but good things have come along with the bad. That’s why I keep going.
No matter how far I go, I often lose track of the good things in my life because my inner bully/critic convinces me that there’s nothing but darkness. Sound familiar at all?
The only thing I can do here is what I can. The to do lists I make are good at helping me stay productive when I don’t want to do anything. They help me keep moving, to keep climbing. There are few things more satisfying to me than being able to cross things off my to do list. Anything to do to keep moving.
There are these incredible moments when I have a good day, or I get a bunch of stuff done, I learn a new skill, or I get a really interesting spiritual impression.
These are the views that are worth climbing for.
These are the rewards that are worth the run.
I don’t know exactly what’s going through your head and in your life. Nobody is the exact same. But if you’re anything like me, I want to encourage you to keep climbing, though. The view is incredible at the top.
I’m currently hanging out in a store while my husband geeks out.
I don’t have much to do here but think, and the thought I posed to Instagram is that it is okay to not be okay.
I knew I’ve expressed this thought before here, but it’s important to reiterate often.
I go through a series of bad days at times that often stem from me being cruel to myself. I beat the daylights out of myself for not being perfectly calm all of the time, for not being perfectly here all the time, for not being…perfect. I feel like a horrible wife, friend, and person at times just because I fall short and have bad times. I’m coming to learn that self acceptance is important. I worry that I keep making a massive fool of music on social media. I worry that all my efforts are for nothing. But mistakes will be made. It’s important to know and accept that.
This realization is especially important in my relationships and in running my Golden Apple projects. My husband mentioned today that I’m spreading myself too thin over all of my promotion efforts and that I don’t NEED six million Instagram accounts to promote all of my projects individually. It’s a waste of time. So I have started to unite all of the projects under one big Golden Apple banner with this blog as a hub. This should make me less stressed.
The key mission of the Golden Apple Projects is to help people in as many ways as I possibly can. With all of the promotion I’m throwing out into the world, it’s not going very far and I’m not helping people. I actually feel like I reach the most people through my tutoring, and I want to take that approach – getting to know people individually – and use it with my other projects. I don’t want to just have people who interact with me on a business level, I want to have relationships with them. That would be really cool.
I really want to buy a pair of my own Martin boots that I’ve designed and wear them around town. That would be awesome, especially if I find a place I can make friends. Maybe keep a spare pair in the back of my car.
Welcome to the madhouse, part ten billion. (More like 80, but who’s counting? I have legitimately lost count myself.) I am your resident meanderer. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Meg and this is the home of my various projects. One of these projects is myself.
I am weird. I’m very weird and very proud of it most of the time. If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would be “eccentric”. That word alone encompasses my entire being. It took a very long time to own my weirdness. I’m fat, agender, and clumsy. I’m abnormally obsessed with history, and will talk your ear off if you get me into the chatty mood. I will write an album in three weeks if you give me enough Mountain Dew. I am an unorthodox Christian.I apologize for feeling like I’m too much. And I am too much for some.
Something I’ve learned over time is that I will never be too much for those who fit me. My husband fits me. I annoy the hell out of him sometimes, but he loves me with something close to unconditional love, and I don’t understand it at all sometimes. He knows I’m odd and accepts it. He has shown me that it’s not okay to beat myself up for matters such as this, and does another thing I don’t understand – tells me I’m not crazy. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is something I’m not proud of at all, but he refuses to let me eat myself alive over it. He won’t let me apologize for being myself and makes sure that I know that I’m safe. He shows me what home is.
I also find myself at home with my friends. I love them. Some of them, like my best friend, have been with me for years. Others have been around for a shorter amount of time, but I feel the same about them.
Alaska itself feels like home with its majestic mountains and beautiful scenery. I was born and raised in Texas, so you might think I should miss it more. But home is not necessarily the place you grew up in. I’ve found that home is where you feel comfortable being yourself.
People around me have shown me this. Family doesn’t necessarily mean the people you are related to by blood, and home is not always where you live. It can be one person or even a group of people. You and I will never be too much for the people that fit us. We deserve to be treated with love and kindness. I hope you find your home here, too. That is the message I want to share, both with what I make and what I do in my everyday life. Love will always win, home is here.
“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…
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.