Wednesday, December 2, 2015


I sat in my therapist's office the other day while she looked intently at me.  "When did you have thoughts about taking your own life?"

I paused, making sure my answer came out in a way that wouldn't put me on a 72-hour hold.  "I mean, I never had a plan.  There was never anything in place where I knew what I would do and notes had been written and peace had been made.  It was more realization on how easy it would be to not be here and that's ongoing.  Does that make sense?"

She nodded.  And then upped my meds, like any good American psychiatrist should.

I feel like I've been on the road less traveled for years now.  Lots of unchartered territory, lots of roadblocks.  I've experienced far more grief from death than I should have at the age of 30.  I continually wrestle with feelings of inadequacy after the drawn-out end of my last relationship.  I have friendships that are so fleeting it's almost like they never happened.  My bond with my parents is wearing thin, my work has slowed, and most days I would be okay with not getting out of bed.

It would be very easy to not be here.

But there are things I would miss.  Singing at top volume in my car.  The way the sun hits just right when I'm trying to take an artsy picture of something.  My cat.  The way my hair looks when it's cooperating.   Being plied into coming to my best friend's house with food and the promise that his four-year-old daughter will snuggle on the couch.

All the really hard, really scary, really sad things that happen blur the good more often than not and that hits hard and doesn't let up sometimes.  I spend a lot of time battling what would be easy versus what is definitely hard.

As 2015 comes to a THANKGODCANWEJUSTBEDONEALREADY close, I'm spending a lot of time evaluating both the understanding and the non-understanding people in my life.  I'm choosing to surround myself with the understanding ones: laughing long and hard, crying when I need to, and not being ashamed that at this point in my life Prozac helps me get out of bed.  I will spend my time nurturing and cultivating these relationships, making them stronger, knowing these are people who will check in when they haven't heard from me and will send a text just to say hello.  These are the ones who have seen my at my lowest and loved me even when I didn't deserve to be remotely liked.

I can't make everyone see pain, especially when their own lives are rose colored.  I can only hold onto the people I have in my corner and make sure they know they bring the things that wouldn't be easy to leave behind.

Monday, September 7, 2015


I gave him a hug.  After crying for hours in my living room, I stood up and gave the guy I had dated for four years a hug.  I said, "I feel like this is the last time I'm going to see you."

He laughed.  "You can't get rid of me that easy."

He was wrong.  Two days later, he told me he couldn't be friends, that he "needed a break from all this."

"All this" is my hike.

I've started equating my depression to talking a hike.  I have a backpack and while I'm walking on level, stable ground, I'm picking up little things here and there and putting them into the backpack.  It gets heavy but it's manageable.  Then, all of a sudden, there's a hill to climb.  The hill is very hard because I have all this stuff on my back and it's all become so important that I can't unload it.  I eventually make it to the top of the hill and the decline is much easier.  Once I make it to the bottom, I'm very satisfied, congratulating myself for just dealing with the stuff on my shoulders instead of actually unloading it.  In fact, I feel so great, I'm going to pick up MORE stuff because why not?  I'm on stable ground and can handle it.  This works until I find the next hill and this one is a little bigger.  Now I have more stuff on my back that I can't get rid of because I've grown attached and a bigger problem to tackle.  This repeats until the hills are closer together and I eventually collapse from the weight.

I've been steadily hiking for about two years.  2013 was the worst year of my life.  Between hard times at work and losing one of my best friends and using a failed defibrillator before performing CPR on a man who ultimately died, I was very broken.  I didn't know how to put into words the grief I was feeling between Miranda and the other guy so I didn't.  I kept it all in, all on my shoulders, and kept getting up every morning for another hike.  The bag got heavier and heavier in 2014 and heavier again in 2015 and eventually, I couldn't carry it on my own.  I asked for help and was met with resistance.  The guy I was dating had already tried to carry someone else's backpack before he met me.  That one was too much for his shoulders and he was worried mine would be, too.

After that night in my living room, I was ready to be done hiking.  I picked up the leftover little things, put them into my hypothetical backpack in case I needed them later, and got ready to climb another mountain: Being single at almost 30.  I sold my soul to the devil and signed up for in the hopes that maybe someone out there would understand hiking a little more and help me carry the backpack when it got too heavy.

I met a guy and, after our second date, texted him, "I want to be honest with you.  My last relationship was a little rough.  I'm very guarded/hesitant/nervous to start another one right away because I don't think I've fully let this other one go yet."  I hit send and anxiously waited for his SEE YA, BYE response.

The response rang through.  "I understand.  Mine was a little rocky, too.  I'm not worried about it, when can I see you again?"

It felt like taking a little weight out of the backpack. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Dear Lady at Panera,

I saw you this morning.

I was rushing.  I was late for what is probably my last 14-hour Sunday shift at a job I've worked for eight years.  I don't remember the last Sunday I was on time for my 7:45am start but today, on my possible last long day of work before we close, I knew the time stamp would read somewhere in the 7:52am punch.

I didn't see you when I walked in.

I didn't see you while I was waiting for the cashier to finish with the person in front of me.

I didn't see you while I was placing my order and paying.

I didn't see you while I was filling up my cup with coffee.

I didn't see you while I was thanking the line cook who handed me my bag and wished me a good day.

I saw you on my way out the door.

I know you think no one saw you because, really, it was 7:20am on a Sunday and who in their right mind is up and at Panera that early?  But I was and you were and I saw you.

You were not rushing.  Even though the restaurant had only opened 20 minutes earlier, your table was set up as if you had been there for hours.  Tucked away in a corner, you had a computer and books and a cup of coffee and what looked to be an entire filing cabinet of files.  You weren't looking at any of it.  You were looking out the window toward the businesses that dotted the other side of the strip mall, absentmindedly playing with the back of the scarf that covered your head.  You were crying in a way that I don't know if you realized you were crying.  You looked like the type of person who would apologize for yourself if you realized I saw you.

I saw you, Lady at Panera.  I saw you for 15 seconds on my way out of the door but I can't stop thinking about you.  I saw myself in you.

Monday, June 22, 2015


I left work upset last night.

I'm not sure why I was bummed out.  I'm in the midst of a 25 day work marathon and clocked over 14.5 hours yesterday.  People were coming into the Community Center generally upset about the fact that it was closing and then it stayed open and then it was closing and now it's staying open for an undetermined amount of time.  Someone threw money at me when I said they had to pay for either a day or a month membership.  I was working with my best friend who said something that I took completely out of context.  I drove out of the parking lot at 10:35pm, frustrated and angry at everything but nothing in particular.

I hopped onto 275 for the 25 minute drive home.  I know 275 north well, I drive it frequently.  I know the way the road curves, when the lanes end, where the cops sit and wait depending on what time of day it is.  I know to stay to the right after Eight Mile so I can exit onto M-5 east and head home.

Last night I stayed to the left.

As I guided my steering wheel to take my car onto 96 west, I had a moment of HEY THERE, IT'S 11PM AND YOU HAVE TO BE AT WORK TOMORROW MORNING.  The thought was fleeting and replaced with the realization that it's 11pm and there's no one waiting at home for me.

I passed the Novi Road exit and turned the radio up and rolled the windows down.  This was freedom!  The wind was whipping my hair and Jason Mraz was strumming a guitar.  I could go anywhere.  I would have to stop for gas at some point but that was further down the road.  I could drive all the way to Holland and find a hotel on Lake Michigan.  I could stay to the right and merge onto 23 heading north to whatever is north of Brighton.  I could take a turn onto 69 south and then onto 94 west and land in Chicago.  I could go ANYWHERE.

Last summer, I went to Wisconsin.  We drove and dropped a then-eight-year-old off at camp outside of Milwaukee before going further north, ending up in a sleepy little town and a cabin on a lake.  The drive to the cabin was back roads and wind turbines, cows and dive bars.  I daydreamed as we passed huge farmhouses with acres of land surrounding them. "The older I get, the more I think I could live in the middle of nowhere,"  I said.  It was met with laughter and "there is no way you could live this far away from a big city."  He was right and we drove on.  We could go anywhere.

The cabin was bigger than the two of us needed without internet or TV.  We giggled over the Hootie and the Blowfish CDs the owners provided and celebrated building a fire by ourselves.  It rained one night, tapping on the windows as we played Rummy and laid around and read.  The morning after, I woke up earlier than I should have on vacation.  Wrapping myself in a sheet, I made my way to the screened in porch, letting the breeze off the water whisper on my skin.  I breathed in, inhaling the scent of pine needles and damp ground and early morning summer air, wishing this moment, this vacation, this reconnection with a man I loved so much wouldn't end.

The moment ended.  The vacation ended.  The reconnection ended.

Last night I took a breath as I was nearing Howell, still unsure of where I was going or what I was doing.  It smelled like pine needles and humidity and late night summer air.  The road in front of me was endless with few cars in my way.  Thoughts of mountains and oceans and starting over somewhere without any ghosts stretched ahead, beckoning me to stop and refill my tank but then just. keep. going.

I exited, turned around, and headed east.

I could go ANYWHERE.  I went home.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Afraid of the Dark

I've always had somewhat of a problem with the dark.

When I was little, I suffered from awful night terrors.  I used to force my mom to lay with me until I fell asleep and would panic in the middle of the night when I would wake up and she wasn't there.  Later, I slept with the hallway light on.  When my parents first moved to Kentucky, I slept in the living room for months.  The TV was always put on an hour timer, either tuned into a blank blue screen or with the sound down so low I couldn't hear it.

One day, it snapped and I was able to sleep anywhere, anytime, no matter the light situation.  This was a victory for me!  I could stay with someone in a hotel, pulling the blackout curtains completely closed instead of leaving a sliver open.  I could stay at someone else's place without worry about if there was a streetlight outside of the window to allow a little bit of light in.  I could sleep in my own house without the fear of a ridiculous electric bill.

I didn't realize the fear of darkness had become a part of me.

The more I analyze my depression this time around, the more I see the darkness is in my mind and I am still terrified of it.  There are certain times it creeps in without warning and I'm left scrambling to find light.  There are days when I am awake, walking around, thinking of the long list of things I feel I've screwed up, and I try and find some sort of glimmer of hope to cling onto.  All those bad things that were going to get me when I was six, seven, thirteen, sixteen, twenty?  They're long gone and replaced with these irrational fears of never being good enough and never finding happiness.

So so so so many great things happen to me!  I have had incredible experiences traveling.  I've met fantastic people and formed a small, strong inner circle.  I've fallen in love and given that person my entire heart without holding back.  I've read and watched and researched amazing topics and filled my brain with this vast amount of knowledge.

The darkness reminds me that I could travel more but that I'd have to go alone.  It laughs at the fact that I've filled my inner circle with four absolutely wonderful married friends who have families to spend their time with.  It allows me to think that my love for someone is going to finally be returned only to find that getting serious and committing is still the game plan for me and me alone.  It tells me to sign up for classes and maybe finally finish that degree that's less than 20 credits away and then holds me down in bed when I should be doing homework or going to lecture.  I can feel it wrapping its arms around me with a big hug every time I call Henry Ford only to be told that the next appointment they have open for new patient therapy is in November.

Ironically enough, at almost thirty, the thing I once feared the most -- sleep -- has become a welcome break.  I used to think the scariest thing was to go to sleep in the dark but I'm coming to the realization it's way scarier to be awake in it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Old School Blogging

So, I met some really fantastic women through my recent Listen to Your Mother experience.  Many of them are bloggers, some who write with more frequency than others.  Over the last couple days, I've seen two of them post about "Old School Blogging" and I decided to join in on the fun! 

Thank you to Elaine (who I've never 'met') at Miss Elaine-ous Life and Angela at Jumping with my Fingers Crossed for hosting the OSB Link-Up!


I am finding myself daily, accepting of the person I have become but always striving to be better, trying to figure out if I've made the "right" decisions.
("What am I doing here?" at Saint Andrew's Hall, before Listen to Your Mother)
I wonder if I am the common denominator in lost things.
I hear music in my head, all day, everyday.  The soundtrack of my life is constantly playing (and usually stuck on whatever song was on last in the car).
I see the long road behind me, an even longer one ahead.
I want to just be happy.  I get too lost in the "what if" and not the "this, right now."
I am tired, almost 100% of the time.
I pretend that things will get better, even when it feels like they won't.
I feel everything.  My heart aches, it leaps, it skips every now and then.  I feel with everything in me.
I touch my nails, picking at them and the skin around them when I'm nervous, anxious, or bored.
I worry about the future and my role in it and that it won't ever be what I want it to be.
I cry when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm surprised, when I'm hurt.
I am waiting for something amazing to happen.
I understand that the decisions I've made have shaped who I am.  I do not always agree with decisions I've made.
I say things I'm feeling without realizing the impact the words will have when they're heard.
I dream of babies that never were and children that might be.
I try to make everyone else happy before I take care of myself.
I hope to learn how to flip that every once in awhile.
I am almost thirty, treading water, and trying to stay afloat.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Moving Forward While Standing Still

Mother's Day is hard.

After my miscarriage in 2006, I figured time would heal all wounds.  I spent a lot of time those first few months just existing.  I moved the TV into the bedroom, had my own mom bring my cat to Grand Rapids to live with me, actively ignored my fiancee sleeping on the couch with his own grief he wouldn't talk about, and went straight back to work and school the second my mandated bedrest recovery was over.  One foot in front of the other, I put on this great save face and moved on.  After the deep mourning period wore off, my fiancee and I realized it wasn't working - we weren't working - so I handed my gorgeous ring back and took off to Texas and then back home to Wayne.

I was moving forward, leaving the bad behind.

Nine years later, I'm still moving forward.  I have a job that I (most days) love.  I have friendships that answer my calls at 2am and don't question me showing up randomly when I just can't deal with the rest of the world.  I adore Detroit restaurant culture and the art scene and just being out and about and soaking it all in.

Mother's Day is hard.

There's lots of days throughout the year when I think, "Man, I wonder what having a nine year old would be like."  Mother's Day is an entirely different ball game.  It is the one single day out of the entire year when I feel like less of a person because no one even acknowledges that I'm a mother.  I carried a child inside of me for twelve weeks.  I loved that baby, planned for its future, picked out a pack-and-play and bought gender neutral onesies and slept with my hand on my stomach, hoping this thing inside of me could feel how much I cared about it.

I am a goddamn mother but there's no pomp and circumstance on Mother's Day for me.  I am taboo, nonexistent.  I am hailed as a caregiver, a role model, a fantastic friend to children around me -- kids of people I grew up with or ones that I met through some sort of programming.  I will never know their first words.  I will never see them take that first wobbly step.  I will never cuddle with them, reading a book, willing them to stay small enough to always sit on my lap.  This child, this enigma I'll never fully know, is gone.  I can't get that back.  I can't watch dance recital with so much pride I'll burst or bust their ass for not turning in their homework.  There are no arms-around-the-neck hugs or sleepy murmurs of "I love you."  I want to scream, "NOTICE ME!  Look at what I did!  I became a MOTHER!  I would give anything for that child to be here with me.  ANYTHING.  Do you hear me?  Do you see me?  I have lost so much and I am still grieving so hard because, at almost thirty and single, I don't think I will ever be a mother."

I don't scream.  I don't talk about it.  Instead I go to work for 65 hours a week and buy myself shiny, pretty, expensive things.  I have a closet filled to the brim with clothes and shoes and purses that I'll never use.  I have laughter filled days in homes filled with someone else's kids and lonely nights in a 495 sq ft apartment that feels too big.  I have tears and I have longing and I have doubt I'll ever be able to fill this hole in my heart.  I'm moving forward but I'm definitely standing still.