Once Upon a (Very Lightning-y) Time…

Story Time:

I’ve always been surprised at how quickly and easily I can get to church on Saturday nights. Church starts at 6, so you’d think being on I-4 at 5:30 would be a nightmare, but everyone’s moving along at a good clip. So I never leave my house before 5:30.

Except tonight I needed gas. I didn’t realize that till it was time to go, but no big. The gas station is on the way and I still have about 10 minutes of wiggle room.

Except it’s literally flooding outside. Using my umbrella as a shield against the sideways blowing rain, I lightly skipped across the lawn since that was the best way to avoid the ankle deep puddles. But I make it to and in the van without being completely soaked or struck by the lightning that’s dancing all around.

Then I proceed to be stuck going up our hill because it’s really hard to hydroplane at an upward trajectory. I’ll need to have a conversation with Physics about rectifying that particular situation.

As I wait at the light to turn into the gas station, I’m dazzled by the 2 second long lightning strike to a power pole. The power pole produces a lovely fireworks display and I think: I may not make it to church alive, but hey: the street lights are still working so how bad can it be?

Except that when I finally pull into the gas station, all the pumps are dead. I literally watch a row of gas pumps reboot their own computers, go through their whole startup process and then *look* like their ready for business.
They weren’t.

So I coast back home to pray that as properly prepared Floridians, we have some gas in the garage.
At this juncture, it’s already 6 pm. I’ve blown my arrival window, my retina (the lightning was truly horrifying), and the house is about to fall down from the thunder so I’m thinking…maybe I won’t go to church tonight.

But Mom comes to the rescue, we once again manage to escape the lightning while refilling the car from our gas stash and I’m once again on my way to church. I’m still pretty certain that the apocalypse has started and we are all gonna die.

Except I make it to church in one piece, no harm, no foul. It’s 6:30, but I didn’t miss any of the sermon so really, it wasn’t THAT bad.
We seem to be living happily after ever for now, anyway, so:

The End

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Love and Happiness

I’m popping in to let the few of you who know I exist that I am, indeed, still alive. My current distraction from all things blog related is my work. Building a business is so much fun, I don’t even mind that I’m not currently getting paid.

The problem with building a business you’re passionate about and that fills your thoughts and dreams and every day brings new epiphanies and success is that it’s very addictive. Passion followed breeds greater passion. That’s not necessarily the worst thing on the planet, but I worry about it. Of course. Because worry is my greatest talent.

The reason I worry is because I don’t want my new business to be an idol. And I truly believe this is what God wants for me right now. And that serving Him looks like dedicating myself totally to being the best I can be at this work. I want to use my talents to serve Him in this way. But what if I’m actually just playing the pleasure game of “It’s what I want and therefore God’s going to have to bless it.” I don’t want to be selfishly happy.

But here’s the thing: Christians follow the false dichotomy that enjoying yourself means you’re sinning. Of course our first objective is to be holy and Christ-like. But He created us to enjoy Him and His creation. So if I’m not enjoying and utilizing my talents then am I really being a good Christian?

Tonight at church I was once again convicted about my lack of motivation to chase after God. Now, I DO want to know Him better. I want to be in a closer relationship. But right now, that looks like trying to do daily Bible reading and praying throughout the day to stay focused on what He wants and is doing. But I do not pursue Him like I do my work. I don’t mull over different ways to worship Him or verses that speak to a certain thought or feeling. I’m not mentally obsessed with Him like I am my work. Does that mean He’s not my everything? Does it mean that I don’t need Him most? Does it mean that I don’t love Him more than anything else? Does it mean I don’t adore Him?

When I sing songs like “10,000 Reasons” I sing them as prayers. I WANT to believe and act on and feel the things the song says because I do believe He is my everything, even when I resort to junk food for temporary comfort. The only reason I know I’m going to be okay is because He exists. I’ve never been somewhere He DOESN’T exist.

We finished tonight with “He Shall Hold Me Fast.” My relationship with God is determined by my actions and desires. But even when I choose to ignore or run away, God holds me fast. He continues to change my heart. He keeps me to the narrow way no matter how hard I fight Him. He holds me fast. He has redeemed me and will continue to perform that good work.

So I think that means that He is working in my heart. That giving me this desire for this work is how I’m to serve Him. That caring what He thinks and being devastated by my “lack” is a sign that He is working in me. That He wants me to love Him with my life and service and hiding my light under a bushel by sitting in a closet until I only want to read the Bible would be walking backwards.

I don’t want to be heretical and blasphemous and I am in no way saying that reading your Bible for days on end is wrong. OBVIOUSLY. But if all Christians ONLY read their Bible, we wouldn’t have Christians in the world, being Christ’s light.

My work, my family, my friends, my loves…they shouldn’t be my God. But they are gifts from my God. Loving them and appreciating them and reveling in them is GRATITUDE. Not me ignoring the most High. And when He chooses to take away this part of the journey, it will be ok because He will give me new loves.

His hold on me is eternal.

Pro Tips from the ER

  1. Always take your own socks. Hospital socks are scratchy and one size fits all. And one size does not actually fit all. Your fuzzy socks that fit YOU are much better.
  2. Always take your own blanket. See reasons above about socks.
  3. An IV should always go BELOW the crook of your elbow, not IN the crook of your elbow. Unless you never see the need to bend your arm ever again.
  4. Drink a lot of water.
  5. Ice chips are divinity. Ask for refills.
  6. Take a long charge cord for your phone. There are rarely outlets convenient to a gurney, even if you’re in a private room.
  7. Earbuds are important. They can block out the incessant beeping, disturbing sounds from other rooms, and the general chaos at night. White noise + earbuds = sanity and peace.
  8. Make sure your remote works and that you are able to turn your TV off.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask your medical team questions, even if you ask the exact same question to the 12 different people who come to your room. They don’t mind and you need to know and eventually, someone is going to know and come back to you with an answer.
  10. If you are ever in doubt or unsure, it’s better to go to the ER and be dismissed than to brush off a potentially catastrophic problem because you’re trying to avoid being dramatic.

Your health is important. You are important. Don’t be afraid to be “silly” or “dramatic.” There are people in your life who want you to be silly or dramatic instead of embarrassed and hurt. And even if you think there’s no one out there that cares, you matter.

*taps mic*

*testing*

*testing*

Is this thing on?

 

I don’t even recognize the edit view of WordPress at this point. It’s all space age shiny white with pale blue dividers and icons. I don’t even want to know when my last post was. I’ll probably be unable to stop myself from looking up the date later, BUT for now, I shall live in sweet oblivion.

 

Now for the explanation: why did I fall off the planet, or at least, interwebs? And to be very frank and honest, I don’t really know. I have a lot of excuses (which I will get to later), but mostly, I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to write about how I felt or what I was thinking or how I was changing or growing. As I told someone quite recently, writing things down makes them more permanent.

But the upside to permanence is that you don’t have to hold your whole journey in your brain anymore. I’d have to be constantly rehearsing every step of the past to track my journey and justify my current position. And I already live in the past enough. So it’s time to stop whinging and start writing. It’s not going to be every day. But I feel that twitch or urge or conviction or muse or whatever you want to call it, I’m going to try to heed from now on.

Now for the excuses: I’ve been insanely busy, working for my uncle as a personal assistant (from across the country, I might add. May God grant us both grace and sanity) and growing my own little business, Space by Gray. If I haven’t mentioned it here before, it’s kinda awesome and it’s the black thumb’s way to keep pretty flowers in their home.

I have also discovered the phenomenon that is “self-care” and a specific sub-genre known as “K-beauty” in which I am constantly fascinated and awed by the magical science of eastern cosmeceuticals. Yes, that’s actually a word now. Look it up.

I finally mentally and physically unpacked all the pieces of my life I brought home from college. I’m not going to treat living at home as a temporary step, like a hotel that I’m perching in until I get to my destination. For right now, this is the destination and I need to stop wasting mental and emotional energy wishing to change something that’s good for me and worrying about when this good thing will change.

Well. I’m shy of 500 words on this come back post, but since this isn’t college or even high-school (praise God from whom all blessings flow), I’m totally ok with that.

Peace out.

Coffee Shop Ghouls

Flipping pages in a sketchbook.

“Oh, and a ghoul.”

Continues to flip. No need to pause. No second thought given, since the first barely registered. Nothing meant, but something received.

 

She does not mean dismissal, the finality of her nomenclature, that this creature is more monster than person. It’s not a calculated sentiment.

But it pierces me to the core.

 

The picture, the woman in the picture, is in fact, a woman. Not a ghoul. She is gaunt, raw, skin stretched taut over too long bones and too sharp joints. She is kneeling, arched back as she tears at the hole in her chest, jaws wide in a silent scream. She is terrible and terrifying. But she is a person.

Rather, she is a personification. She is the constant scream in my head, the hole in my chest. The tightness and discomfort I feel in my own body as my emotions try to eek out an existence on the physical plane. She is my depression, my mental illness.

 

Everyone wonders why no one used to speak about mental illness. Why that, even now, so many people with mental illness, anywhere on the spectrum, have a hard time speaking up or expressing their journey.

 

But maybe we have. We were just ignored as ghouls.

An Interview

What have I been praying for for months?

An interview.

What did I get a call about today when I woke up?

An interview.

What did I go do today?

An interview.

What did I want to skip to the nth of my being?

An interview.

What went astonishingly well and ended with a trial hire?

An interview.

What made me cry on my way home?

An interview.

What good did God provide today?

An interview.

What did not constitute a sale of my entire life and free time from now till eternity?

An interview.

What did I do today?

An interview.

Not to Brag or Anything

I remembered right before I fell asleep last night that TODAY I had a doctor’s appointment and if I wanted to get there on time, I was going to have to severely alter the alarm I had set.

There’s nothing that ruins your morning faster than knowing you’re going to be awake for a great deal more of that morning than you had originally bargained for.

 

But no matter. I did manage to get to the appointment on time. Half an hour early, actually. Which is basically a miracle given the traffic on I4. I was not complaining. I got to listen to more of my audiobook and knit.

Yes.

I’m old.

Deal with it.

 

The therapy session went relatively well and I didn’t cry. I always consider that to be a good day. And I came home with some homework. To do at home. Work. At home. Home work. Yay.

 

The assignment? To create a “brag board.” Every day, I need to post one positive thing about myself: something I accomplished, I thought, I didn’t do, I corrected, didn’t freak out…

But every day. At least one thing a day. And stupidly, that terrifies me.

 

I’m really good at saying…less than flattering things about myself. Trying the opposite of the strategy is entirely out of my comfort zone, and honestly, I don’t like things I’m not familiar with.

But I threw some washi tape on the wall to frame out a box posted a sticky in it.

 

I also fed my radiator Starbucks for the return voyage home. Two Venti waters, no ice, to be exact. Don’t want him to feel like I don’t appreciate all he does. And the fact I didn’t ruin the engine today should also go up on the board, now that I think about it. I can fill a radiator with the best of them.

 

May the brags be ever in y’all’s favor.

Sleep Yet?

There are perks to being unemployed and not worrying about being fed or clothed. Actually, that’s all perks.

 

But one of the depression specific perks is that you can basically sleep for eternity (Aurora anyone?) and it doesn’t really matter.

I didn’t get up until 2 pm today.

I kept thinking: the next time I wake up, I’ll feel better. The next I roll over, I won’t have nightmares. Then next time: it wasn’t better. Still nightmares. Still felt like crap when I woke up.

 

Next solution: spending an hour on Instagram will definitely make me feel better. I will be able to get out of bed and and my pores won’t hurt and my brain won’t feel like someone’s kicking it with hobnails.

 

That also didn’t work.

So I got up.

Regretted it.

Frantically did chores around the house and finally ate and still felt like, “I’d rather be asleep.”

 

Next solution: continue to apply for jobs! Because nothing boosts the mood like filling out information multiple times with no results! Thankfully, I’m finally further along in one application and I may actually have a part time job by next week.

 

Next solution: Make dinner. Didn’t ruin it. Ate quickly and went off to a social function I’d never attended before. Because social anxiety has absolutely no bearing on depression.

 

And finally: I felt better. Without expectation. I had fun. I played games. I made some nice connections. And I felt better.

 

But it’s time for bed again. And that’s very necessary. And hopefully a solution.

Generally, there are few things that ruin a day more than a visit to a doctor. Any doctor. Any reason. Any length of time. Any turn out.

I hate going to the doctor. I don’t have white coat syndrome apparently, because my blood pressure is so pristine, I’m basically the poster child for proper living (what an irony!).

The real reason I hate the doctor is because they ask you personal questions. And for them to do their job properly, YOU have to be truthful. And even when you’re truthful, you don’t always get a result.

 

My mom has an autoimmune disorder which the doctors couldn’t find for years. My sister likely has one, but her years of testing hasn’t yielded anything. And so when I have weird nerve sensations or struggle with blackouts or have depressive symptoms, I don’t like telling a medical professional.

Because I’m tired of being told it’s all in our heads. And even worse, I’m tired of telling myself it’s all in my head. The doctor is the personification of the ugly voice that whispers to me everyday that I’m losing my grip on reality, that I’m too melodramatic, that I take everything too seriously, that what little intellectual consequence I used to have is gone…

 

So going to the doctor sucks.

But Friday, I went to a therapist. And she asked a lot of questions. It was primarily history gathering.

But I left there feeling like our plan of attack made sense. I didn’t feel hopelessly invaded. I felt like she didn’t think I was crazy or making things up or less of a person because I struggle with things. She even praised me and my family for the steps we’ve taken.

 

One thing that can make my day faster than anything else is a roller coaster.

So Mom took me to Universal after the appointment. We ate Taco Bell (also one of my favorite guilty pleasures), Dad ate with us, and then I rode roller coasters until I nearly puked.

 

Net day balance: Not too shabby.