Monday, August 29, 2011

False Optimism No Longer a Positive

Again, I'm having this urge to write, but nothing solid to put down.  I'll start here--

Emily and I got these Q&A A Day books where there is a question each day for a year, and the page has 5 slots to answer per question.  The book lasts for 5 years so you can go back and compare how your life has changed with each question answered each year.

August 24th's question is:
"Write your recipe for creativity."

My answer:
"Depression/worry/motivation for change seem to fuel creativity for me.  Music, writing and collaboration of ideas can also inspire creativity."

My urge to create/write/draw, etc. usually comes on strongest when I'm feeling low.  There is a fine line, however, between feeling low and motivated/artistic and feeling low and only wanting to be laying in a dark room doing nothing...  Lately I've been finding myself in the latter category besides occasionally writing.

Because of the "theme" of the blog, I usually try to keep my negative blogs to myself, but I'm pretty much done with the fake optimism.  Like I said two posts ago, I'm kind of tired of keeping my chin up.  I've had to be so strong for so long (a year) on my own, and I'm exhausted.  That's the best way I can put it.  I'm emotionally exhausted.

I feel like I've half been lying to myself by saying that I'm so happy and everything is working itself out up here when it really isn't.  Everything between Dan and I is great.  Better than ever, really (aside from our future being put on hold, currently), but everything else is not okay.

I'm not okay with no one coming to visit me or see where the fuck I live, now.  I'm not okay with my family not visiting me or my "friends" not even attempting to make plans with me.  It's been a fucking year.  It's as if they don't realize that I can see facebook and watch their lives play out in photos and status updates talking about all of the other trips they somehow found time to take and all of the other plans and friends they put effort towards.  First it's money, then it's a car being out of order or a house problem or lord knows what else...  Why do I keep trying?

It shocks me on many levels to think that all of these people have zero interest in how I'm doing up here, especially after what I've gone through for/with some of them.  It's like a joke.

And maybe the reason I haven't been able to find new friends up here isn't because they have nothing in common with me.  Maybe it's because I took on this new outlook on life-- this lie to yourself and pretend you're positive and happy as much as you possibly can, until someday, hopefully, you start to believe it.  I never tried that way of thinking before and I seemed to get on with life fine.  I wasn't always happy, but I'm not now either.  Maybe that way of thinking is what I needed to get me through the first hump of moving--  before I really knew I had lost so much back home.

Now, I need to see clearly and I need to be honest.  It isn't pessimism, it's honesty.  I can't lie to myself any longer.  People upset me.  I've had to take Xanax for actual anxiety attacks, not just insomnia, more and more frequently.  It's all really due to not dealing an denying and pretending.

I can't change others.  I can't change the fact that I had shitty friends to begin with before I left Baltimore, and that I couldn't see they were shitty until I did leave.  Come to think of it, they were shitty then, too.  People are users.  They will use you up until you're dry if you let them.  Or, you find out the hard way like when it's your time to be in need, and you see that there's no one there.  Especially not the ones who seemed to need you the most.

But I can change me, and I need to get back to being myself.  I need to get back to being honest above all else.  I do have positives in my life, but they are real and not fabricated.  I have Dan and I have friends that aren't too far away.  I need to focus on them and let go of the rest.  It's hard, and I will more than likely need to seek out therapy to work my way through it all.  I don't know what the future holds, but I know it's not going to be fulfilling if I'm faking my way through it...

I'm not forcing the glass to be anything, anymore...  This is just where I am, currently.  Forcing myself to be honest.  Forcing myself to live in the moment.  Forcing reality.

Here goes nothin'...


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week in Review

This week was interesting, for sure.  The week started really tough.  It's no secret that I've been a bit fragile, lately.  Dan and I went out Tuesday for dinner and I decided to bring up some thoughts I'd been having for quite a while.  To my surprise, Dan had a lot of answers for me.  The conversation started out slow, and he told me he was grasping for the right words because he wanted it to sound romantic, but I told him that I wasn't looking for romance-- I was looking for the truth.  From that point forward, the conversation went swimmingly and we really got a lot accomplished.  I finally had answers to questions I've been pondering for months, now.  The answers weren't exactly what I wanted to hear, but the clarity I gained was nothing less than positive.  Come to find out, Dan and I have been on the same page for the past few months, but it took that long for him to figure out some things and it took that long for me to get the balls to start the conversation.  Things have been so much better since then.  Even though we kind of feel like the fairy tale path we were on was kind of  rained on, we can at least bond further over the acknowledgement of the situation.  Moving right along...

We wrapped up the week by heading down to NYC to meet up with our wonderful friends Doug and Natalia to go to the Movielife's sold out reunion show.  I was sad that we didn't get to stay overnight and get some of today together, but we didn't want to get stuck in the city because of this hurricane shutting down the trains.  Anyway, the openers were kept a secret until they started playing.  We were in line for drinks when I heard a live band coming from the main room.  I told Doug someone was playing and he immediately said, "That's Brand New."  We grabbed out drinks and ran towards the stage and sure enough.  There they were playing (arguably) my favorite of their songs, "Okay, I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't."  It was stellar.  They only played about 6 or 7 songs, but they were all great and everyone was so pleasantly surprised.  Our second surprise came when Crime In Stereo took the stage and crushed it.  They are so great live.  Dan and I saw them in DC at the Black Cat long ago.  It was fab.  The Movielife played and are far better live than they are recorded, I believe.  Nat and I stayed towards the back and danced while the boys hit the pit.  It was a good time.

We left the show in search of food, but ended up spending a bit of time chatting in the park, then hit up Hard Rock for late night eats.  It was so nice to see them.  I wish we lived closer.

We made the last train out of NY at 1:50am which put us home at 4:30am.  The train ride didn't disappoint, of course.  Plenty of entertainment listening to a mess of 17 to 20-something year old british males argue, fight and discuss their love of Twilight, Two and a Half Men and banging easy American girls.  The best part about it was that they were all wearing seersucker suits, bow ties, and dress shorts, all in pastels.  I can't help but think of the movie Funny Games when I see prep-school guys dressed in such a way.  That movie is so fucked, so I was slightly uneasy sitting there avoiding eye-contact for the hour and a half trip.  Dan was passed out in my lap before we left Grand Central.

In about an hour, we're supposed to really start feeling the effects of Irene here in CT.  I'm kind of looking forward to it.  I'm sure it won't live up to the hype, but I enjoy a good storm.


Congrats to Doug and Nat on their engagement!  Still waiting on the details, but I'm assuming it happened sometime today.  <3

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chronic Pain

I've never considered my endometriosis "chronic pain" until now.  It's hard to be happy at all when you're in pain all the time.  It's even harder when you have a history with depression, you've left your family and lost your friends and are quite alone in a state you're still unfamiliar with after a year of residing in it.

I started this blog to try to keep myself positive while embarking on this new journey.  To try to find the silver lining in the lonely days, but there are some days where that silver lining is just buried too deep...

I went through hell this past year.  I realized who my true friends were (lets just say it wasn't the hundred who showed up for my going away party...  or even 5 of them), I suffered through a long, depressing, snowy and icy winter nearly alone, aside from Dan who was just starting some rough rotations and have still been trying to fit in at work.  Last week was my one year anniversary up here in Connecticut and to date, I still haven't had one Maryland friend come and visit me.  I've, in fact, only had 4 visitors.  My sister and her husband, Boots from Ohio and my beloved Adina from Pennsylvania.  Dan has had plenty of visitors.  He has good friends who care about him and care about staying in touch.  It's nice to be a part of that, at least.  My parent's haven't even been up to see where I've been living...

The year in review is tough for me to swallow.  I see life's happiness as somewhat of a pie chart.  The happiness is nearly equal parts friends, family, relationship, career and future goals and plans to look forward to.  Something to work towards.  I feel like at the end of this year in CT, I only have one of those things here.  That's the relationship.  I'm missing friends, family, career fulfillment and things to look forward to.

What do you do when you're in a situation like that?  Do you stick it out longer and hope for the best?  Keep waiting and just try your damndest to stay optimistic?  I've been in a similar situation before.  I feel that it's become a pattern.  I'm always forced into a situation where I have to choose either waiting longer for what I want to happen (that may or may not ever come/happen) OR leaving and starting over again elsewhere.  Last time I left and started over.

I'm boggled as to why I always get sucked into these situations...  It truly makes you reevaluate yourself.  It makes you take a long look in the mirror.  I've never loved what I've seen, so that's no big surprise.

Maybe that's just it.  Maybe it really is just that simple.  People see what I see, and they just don't want it...

I'm so burnt out on trying to keep my chin up.  I'm so tired of people telling me to try art classes or dance classes to "keep busy".  I don't want to keep busy while I sit and watch everyone else living.  I want to fucking live...  I really hoped I'd be at that point after a year, but alas...  here I am.  Puffy eyes and all.

Maybe surgery will go horribly wrong.  Now there's that silver lining.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The West Memphis Three and Me

A mixed bag of emotions.  A mixed bag of really strange and wonderful and not so wonderful things all at once.  Just when you think the roller coaster is pulling into the station for it's last go-around, someone takes a hammer to the loose spikes on the rickety old thing and new passengers hop in the cars for another ride.

Most importantly, on Friday, August 18, 2011, the West Memphis 3 were released after spending half their lives-- 18 years-- behind bars.  If you don't know about the case, I highly suggest reading up on it at the very least, but also watching the Paradise Lost documentaries.  Those docs certainly changed my life.

Long ago, I caught the HBO original Paradise Lost documentary on late at night (insomnia was at an all time high back then).  I was probably sitting there in all black, maybe a Marilyn Manson t-shirt, heavy eye makeup, etc.  I was a little goth teenager in a small Southern Maryland town.  Even my own uncle (or drunkle as I like to refer to him) accused me of being a "devil-worshipper" which was completely bonkers since I didn't even believe in a devil!  Regardless, their story touched me because I identified with the accused on many levels, but realizing the power of a documentary changed my life.

I ended up going to school originally for photography, but once I took a video class, I was sold and never looked back.  From the moment I picked up a video camera, I was making mini-documentaries.  All of this was truly because of Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger's unique and deeply committed style of filmmaking and storytelling.  I was lucky enough to meet Bruce in a film class I took in college and proceeded to overload him with questions about Paradise Lost, the case, the teens accused, and the crazy stepfather character in the films.  I asked how he could possibly be so professional and keep his cool while uncovering injustice right and left.  Other students in my class looked at me like I had lost it (or snorted an eight ball of cocaine before class because of the speed of my questions), but they clearly hadn't seen the films or else there wouldn't have been one side-eye-- all eyes would have been locked in on the celebrity/hero that was sitting at the head of our classroom.

This case has held a special place in my heart for a long, long time.  I have never been so interested or sickened by a case...  The fact that these boys (I call them boys because they were when they were arrested, but they are pushing 40, now) are finally walking free makes me cry.  It hurts my heart to think about all of their lost time.  What awful things they had to endure for the past 18 years...  and the fact that they are on the streets walking free right now--  if anyone had any doubt that these boys actually murdered 3 children, there's NO WAY they would be free.  Thank christ for Peter Jackson (yes-- Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson) and his film partner who funded the defense in new forensic and DNA testing for the past 7 years which brought up enough evidence to prove the boys could in no way be linked to the murders.

I would do just about anything to hug them.  All three of them.

I cried as I watched them speak.  I cried again watching them walk out of prison-- Damien feeling sunlight on his skin for the first time in 10 years--  And I'll probably continue to cry for them as more and more information is released proving just how wrong Arkansas was for locking up these three innocent men.

I cry for the families of the victims, too.  It's hard to watch old footage of them screaming for death penalties and talking about how they would love to rip their faces off and murder the wrongly accused teens, but what other outlet did they have?  None--  Now, just so everyone knows, almost every parent of the victims (except the one who's DNA was found at the crime scene) says the WM3 are innocent and has asked their forgiveness...  That's saying something.

Anyway, this overshadows anything else going on in my life currently.  I'm certainly at another point after hitting my one year anniversary in Connecticut of re-thinking some things and re-evaluating where I want my life to be/go, but that's for another post.  Right now, my heart is full of love and hope for the WM3.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Menopause at 28...

Sounds awesome, right?

This week I've been doubled over, crying, not sleeping, constantly nauseous, exhausted, sweating profusely (from being attached to a heating pad constantly), and holding or pressing on my stomach.  My endometriosis has resurfaced with a vengeance this week.  I suppose it's slowly been creeping back, but the pains I've been feeling this week have been unbearable.  I don't remember the cramps being this bad except during my first periods following my surgeries.  All the spots that had been lasered and scraped at start bleeding and it's obviously painful.  That's what it's felt like this week, but the hard part is, there's no light at the end of this tunnel this time.  I don't have months/years of less pain to look forward to because I haven't just had surgery.

For years I have been avoiding the drug called Lupron.  It has been used to help treat the symptoms of endometriosis by putting women into a reversible menopausal state (it is also used to treat men with advanced prostate cancer).  Along with not getting your cycle, you get the hot flashes, joint aches, bone loss, mood swings, etc. etc. etc.  All the fun stuff you hear women talk about when going through "the change".   My doctor in Baltimore wasn't a big fan of this option, either.  He knew it sounded as horrible as cramping from endometriosis can get...

I always said I would rather just manage the pain with medication for as long as I possibly could.  I have had some success with the surgeries, so I would prefer that I could take that route again.  My new doctor doesn't seem to think that's a good option unless I was ready to try to get pregnant in the next year (which obviously I'm not close to) since the surgery helps increase fertility.

After not sleeping last night, I had to call and make an appointment with the doctor for Wednesday.  I've spent most of the day upset, anxious and dreading the thought of having to take this treatment path.  It's horrible, but there are really very few options for endometriosis.  I cry any time I actually let myself think about getting the shots and what it might do to me and the new stresses my body will have to deal with, and more scary to me-- my mind.  I am pretty open and honest about my bouts with depression.  I've had problems with birth control in the past that made me more sensitive and moody and I hated life that way...  I can't imagine willingly singing up for something that may make me depressed and miserable...  and to have to go through it up here alone...  It's really hard.  It's not an option I'm wanting to choose, but I don't feel like I have a choice.

I guess I'll see what he has to say Wednesday...


Friday, August 12, 2011

An (almost) Perfect Circle

On Wednesday night, Dan and I went to the Oakdale theater in Wallingford, CT to see A Perfect Circle.  The acoustics of this theater were absolutely beautiful.  It's smallish and there's not a bad seat in the house.  I was worried about being on the balcony level, but in hindsight, I'm thrilled we were.  People on the ground level were all standing.  Dan asked before we left, "it's all seated, right?"  I told him yes to which he replied, "Thank god.  Man, I guess that makes me sound old."  And I told him it's because we are old.  It's so nice to be seated at a show, nowadays.  When my sister and I saw RAMMS+EIN at Madison Square Garden, I was thrilled to be able to be sitting to see the spectacle.  You get to watch and listen and not worry about getting an elbow to the face, or being covered in hundreds of other people's sweat.  Of course, this depends on the band, the performance, the style of music and the venue, but for either bigger theatrics (like RAMMS+EIN) or slower, beautiful music (like A Perfect Circle), seats are fantastic.  (Note:  I would never be seated for, say, Every Time I Die, because something comes over me and I feel the need to bum-rush the stage and throw people around during the heaviness and energy that is ETID.)

The venue was perfect for displaying Maynard's angelic voice.  I was excited even during the insanely unlistenable opening act (all-girl japanese punk band called Red Bacteria Vacuum) because you could tell just how big the sound was going to be.  The SOUND did not disappoint.

Now, I've only seen A Perfect Circle one other time in DC when I was probably about 17.  The only album they had out at the time was their first album, Mer de Noms.  I was thrilled with that show because that's what they played.  It was exciting to hear Maynard live and to see him in person, playing the songs that I had grown to love and form many memories out of.  I know Maynard's reputation precedes him from his years with TOOL, and should know that he doesn't really care about making audiences happy, but I went in expecting to hear at least 3 songs for sure -  (a beautiful cover of John Lennon's) "Imagine" from their most recent album of mostly covers, "Weak and Powerless" from their second album, Thirteenth Step and finally, "3 Libras" from their first album.  That is PROBABLY my favorite of their songs, if I had to choose one.  Well, I was right about the first two, and I guess they did play "3 Libras"...  sort of.  They mashed it up into a remix that sounded like a totally different song, just using some of the same lyrics repeated over and over in an odd melody.  It was a big let-down.  I was really looking forward to hearing that song live and Maynard's voice would have been unbelievable singing that song in that venue, but alas, he could give a shit less about pleasing little old me...  And I respect that to an extent.  I mean, you CANNOT walk away upset because you were just in the presence of that voice. That music.  That magic.

They crushed "The Outsider"and "Pet," and pleasantly surprised me by playing, "The Noose" perfectly.  I guess in a dream world, my expensive APC tickets would have afforded me the luxury (and honor) of hearing "The Nurse Who Loved Me" and "Sleeping Beauty."  I wasn't a huge fan of the covers on their last album, so if they had replaced some of them in the line-up with either of those tunes, I would have been an extremely happy camper.

Regardless, the show was a pleasure.  I'm truly glad we went.  If you ever get the chance, I'd highly recommend seeing that man sing at least ONCE live in your lifetime.  It's quite amazing.  While arrogance is my number one biggest turn off, this guy's ego is pretty much warranted...  What can I say? When you're good, you're good...  He just happens to be brilliant.


**Sidenote:  I never realized how many APC fans were massive nerds.  Not like gothy nerdy kids, but full-blown, WoW playing, never had sex with a real-life vagina before, NERDS.  Dan mentioned that a good percentage of them were overweight, as well.  It was an interesting collection of fans...  Definitely not what I'm used to, but then again, we're mostly at hardcore and punk shows with the skinny little snotty-nosed punk brats.  Ugh.  We're becoming the old people at shows, aren't we?  :-/

Monday, August 1, 2011


This weekend was stellar.  I felt so different this Sunday night vs. how I usually feel.  I, like most people, feel some sort of sadness/depression/anxiety that a new work week is about to start and that the next weekend is as far away as it can possibly be, yet this particular Sunday, I was so fulfilled by the weekend, that I was welcoming the upcoming week with open arms.  Excited for another day to come.

Friday night, Dan and I stayed in and relaxed.  Dan switched schedules with someone for the weekend, so he had to work a 24 hour shift Saturday (which frees him up for a wedding we're attending in Oct!).  When I found this out, I decided to contact my tattoo shop and see if they had any openings.  Both artists happened to have time for me, so I spent most of last week giddy like a child during the week prior to Christmas.

Me on the left, Chelsea on the right displaying her PERFECT TEETH.

Jenny and her green ribbon.
Saturday, I got up early and headed down to Seppuku Tattoo in Bloomingdale, NJ.  It's only around 2 hours away from me.  It's completely worth the drive to have these brilliant artists work on me AND to get to hang out with my wonderful gal, Chelsea.  God, had I missed her and her perfect smile.  Johnny Thief did a piece of Jenny from "The Green Ribbon" - a short story in the children's book In a Dark, Dark Room.  Long story short, Jenny grows up always wearing a green ribbon around her neck.  She'll never answer why.  Grows up, gets married, still keeps it a secret.  When she's on her deathbed, she finally asks her husband to remove the green ribbon and her head falls off.  WELL, my mom loves telling the story about how one day, when I was little, she came into the bathroom where my sister and I were happily playing in the tub with a green ribbon tied around her neck.  She says my eyes got as big as saucers.  She then kneeled down by the tub and removed the ribbon and flopped over behind the tub, so it looked, to me, that her head had fallen off.  I cried for quiet a while.  Since my mom finds this so funny (I do, too, truth be told), this was her payback.  :)  Johnny had no problem helping me get my mom back from the trauma that must've caused.

Miss Kitty.  RIP.
Once Jenny was all finished up, I headed over to Matt Lukesh's side of the studio and we geared up for my first portrait tattoo.  It's of my beautiful cat, Miss Kitty.  Matt is insanely amazing at portraits.  I had really only seen his portraits of people (which are incredible), but trusted that he would do a beautiful job capturing MK.  We bonded over a mutual love for Silence of the Lambs, and then after almost falling asleep during the outline, I kept trying to peek at the tattoo.  He mentioned a lot of people who get memorial tattoos wait until the very end so that it's a big reveal.  I decided to go with that idea, and boy...  I was blown away.  I cried looking in the mirror seeing the face of my baby, who seriously saved my life on more than one occasion, staring back at me.  I've missed her terribly, and it's so comforting to get to see her every day, now and to know that she's right there with me.  I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.  I also couldn't be more impressed with Matt as a person.  Sweet, kind, smart, funny and insanely talented.  I highly recommend the shop.  It's totally worth the drive if you're on the East Coast.

These tattoos were both family monuments.  My entire family loved each of them and got a real kick out of Jenny.  Miss Kitty was like a family member to all of us, so we all enjoyed reminiscing after the portrait was done.  It was a warm fuzzy night for all of us filled with great memories.

I heard from a good friend over the weekend, also.  Just got a nice reminder that there's still people out there who "get it".  Who understand what supporting a friend is and how to do it without even being prompted!  There are some (few) people who are just going to be there for you your whole life and you never have to second guess it.  Even if you go months without speaking, you know, that if you need anything-- they are there.  I'm so much more appreciative of this quality than ever before.  I don't think I've ever taken that attribute in my friends for granted, but now it is, above all else, more important of a quality in a true friendship, I think.  With the distance geographically between me and my friends back home, it's important to know you still have a shoulder to lean on, even if they are 6 hours away.  So that definitely sprinkled even more happy onto my weekend.

Finally, Sunday came and I woke up to a very tired Dan getting home from work and a very sore me inching my way out of bed.  I took a shower, cleaned up the tattoos, cleaned the house and started cookin'.  We had Jordan, Johnny and little baby Eleanore over for steaks.  Jordan made the most delicious peach pie w/ pecan crumble on top (holy hell).  I informed her that I wanted to marry the pie, as if I needed her permission to have it's hand in marriage.  We were married in a quiet ceremony late last night...  Nothing has ever been sweeter than the perfect marriage between woman and pie (and vanilla frozen yogurt on top).  Mmmmmm...

Aside from the lingering headache I have from the whole 3 beers I consumed yesterday, I'm a happy gal.  I always feel like a reinvented person (always for the better) after a new tattoo.  The high of two new ones has me on cloud nine...  I think I'll stay a while.