June 20, 2017

I Want Out

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Being different is hard. Sometimes, that's just the way it is. But other times, being different is a choice. I've felt so disconnected lately, from God, from people, from life. And I'm wondering, is it because I haven't been brave enough over the last few months to choose to be different from the rest of the world around me?

I've been missing writing in its purest form. Quite honestly, when I write for other people, the shift in focus steals something from the writing for me. The wanting to appeal, impress, please. The wondering what others will think as I construct my art. It changes everything.

The only reason I've hopped back on the social media train (quite fully) is because of writing, and that makes me so sad. Do I really have to play some soul-sucking game in order to write?

It seems that approval and acceptance have been even more important to me than I've thought. Because when I really stop and think about what it is that I'm after, it's validation, for an agent and a publishing house to take notice of me. And so I've been striving for some sort of platform. But that's not what I want my writing to be about.

Will someone take notice of me without one? Can I leave the party once again and still "make it" as a writer?

But maybe a more important question is what does it matter if I don't choose the traditional route once more? Are "traditional" and "mainstream" really the definition of success? And what does it matter if I don't "make it?"

So I've been thinking a lot lately about what other ideas I've been subscribing to, mostly because the culture is telling me to. It bothers me how obsessed I've been over the last few days about whether or not to cut my hair, as if cutting it might actually be the biggest mistake I could ever make with my life. When did I become so accepting of the idea that long hair equals beauty? Has it always been that way?

I hate that I've felt like I need to stay, that I have to keep thinking this way if I want to feel accepted and be connected to people.

I want out. I'm so sick of being what "they" want me to be. And I'm sick of nourishing the connections that only keep me tethered to the lies more tightly.

Who are "they" anyway? Have I forgotten that no one will ever think of me as much as I think of myself? An illusion and lies. Of what I need to do and who I need to be to win at this thing called life.
June 01, 2017

Postpartum Anxiety

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I've struggled with some intense postpartum anxiety, most severely during the first year after having my baby. In the beginning, I didn't know what was happening to me. I just knew that I was a professional test taker. I rated my emotions and doodled on little ovals during a three-minute, doctor's office quiz and successfully passed Depression.

I also knew that whatever was happening felt an awful lot like I'd gained this incredible super power that enabled me to do everything (anything!) all the time. But unfortunately, a side effect of this neat new power was a serious condition that would inevitably result in a grusome death.

I was lucky that the world was so gracious. It spit some of the most attractive of solutions at me. But sadly, my anxiety was not like all the other illnesses. It wasn't exactly a coat I could just take on and off at will, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how hot or cold I got.

Clearly addressing the issue was going to require a lot more from me, a long list of changes I wasn't exactly excited about.

Doing all the things at the same time only meant more lists and tracking and obsessing. But I could try to do the one thing. Heels dug in, I made myself walk down the aisle and stare my Tiny Pill prescription in the face. Oh Tiny Pill was incredible at first! My anxiety was at an all-time low, so low that I was able to completely unlearn the feeling of guilt. But honeymoons are deception festivals. Tiny Pill had not yet revealed it's deepest, darkest secrets, its quirks and heaps of baggage.

Tiny Pill did something else to me besides hush the anxiety. Tiny Pill stripped me of most of my emotions, making it difficult for me to cry even when I desperately wanted to. Even when I had something legitimate to cry about! I'd lost my ability to be fully woman.

So I decided to get innovative. I would try and trick the anxiety into thinking that I sincerely wanted to be its friend.

I figured if I could just sort of accept what anxiety feels like, maybe it would leave me alone and move on to someone else. But when I began engaging with rage-filled outbursts and dabbling in manic mode, it was clear that my bright idea was backfiring. I had hacked Life. And Life did not want to be hacked.

Life can get quite hard. Usually there's a really easy way to fix the difficulty that is absolutely impossible to execute. And so, for a time, one may find herself befriending Tiny Pill. But she has not given up or given in. I guess she's just doing what she has to do, which is letting go of her pride, resting in her limitations, being well because she has to be. For her baby.

And maybe, for herself.