Friday, February 26, 2016

Strength vs. Weakness

Once upon a time, a knight rescued a lady from a fierce dragon. He won her favor, and eventually they fell in love, and then eventually they married. Although things seemed fine on the surface, the knight had inner demons with which he struggled, that he had fought his whole life, and it affected them both and their life together. He fought and fought bravely, but the inner demons were cunning, and returned to plague him, and she stood alongside him for many years, helping as best she could in his battles, but eventually the strain of it all, the toll that it took, was too much for her. She wasn't strong like him, to continue the fight alongside of him. She could no longer see the Light, no longer see a way back to it. So it broke her, and it broke them. And so she learned of Strength, and of Weakness.

I am no stranger to social anxiety, the fear of going places, meeting people you don't know, or even people you do. Of having to make conversation, small talk, when all you want to do is fade into the background and observe, and not interact. That yearning to hide away at a social gathering reading a book. The terror of stepping outside of your house, sometimes even your room, so that you become a hermit, your life stagnant, afraid of change.

I am no stranger to depression, that insidious liar that whispers in your head late at night and tells you all the things you fear are true about yourself, even though they aren't. That crushing blackness that sucks away your energy, your motivation, that makes it so you don't even want to get out of bed. That makes it so that even existing is difficult. That reaches its tendrils out to touch all those around you, who care about you, and want to help, but don't know how. 

I do not have either, but rather have dealt with both, as an outsider, looking in, at people I care about that struggle with these daily. The view from out here can be terrifying, and frustrating, and exasperating. It can be hopeless, and hopeful. It is daunting, and rewarding, and sometimes overwhelming. It has also taught me a lesson in Strength vs.Weakness.

The people that I have encountered in my life that suffer from depression/anxiety are some of the strongest people I know. I have seen them at low points, so low to be dangerous, and yet they grimly carry on, they seek help, they don't give up even when giving up seems the easy way. They get up out of bed when they really don't want to, they interact with family, with friends, when all they want to do is hide under their blankets. They force themselves to eat, to bathe, to just KEEP GOING, when everything is dark and nothing has meaning and nothing seems important anymore. They know if they just keep going, things will eventually get light again, feeling will return, the panic will recede. I see that strength in every action they take to fight against that darkness. In every step they take towards that far light that they can't even see, but know from experience is waiting eventually for them again.

As someone trying to be a support person in these situations, it's tough. It's impossible to fully understand what someone is going through when you aren't and have never been in that place. You find yourself saying things like, "Why can't you just focus on the positive things in your life?" and.. "You have so many blessings and people that love you, why can't you see that??" And you can't understand WHY the person can't see those things, you don't realize that depression puts a blindfold on people, it doesn't LET them see those things. They can only focus inwards, on all the horrible things depression is telling them, that they are worthless, that they aren't worthy of love, that they will never succeed, that there's no point in trying, that it will never get better. And no matter what you say, Depression speaks louder than you, it drowns out your words. And the blindfold is there, so they can't see the love there right in front of them. Or if they can see, or hear, it is so muted and muffled it's like a whisper in a wind tunnel to them. So you try and give support, and listen, and never give up on trying to get them back into the light. 

Until one day, maybe you do give up. And you realize you weren't the strong one, the brave one, the whole time. And all you can do is learn from the experience, learn about yourself, and maybe learn how to be strong for the next person that needs you.

This post is to remind all the people out there that struggle every day with their inner demons, with the darkness, that you are Strong. That the Light is there, even if you can't see it. Don't give up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Random Conversation

Edit: Note that the term "shower thought" denotes a random thought that pops into your head when you're doing something mundane or in a moment of reflection, this doesn't have to necessarily occur *in* the shower. This conversation actually took place over instant message while I was on a work break

Me: My random shower thought of the day:

Trevor: "boobs are fun to play with in the shower"?

Me: [implied No.]  So coffee supposedly makes you poop, but cheese makes you constipated. So what happens if you're drinking a cup of coffee and eating a cheese stick at the same time? In my head I imagine there's some kind of epic battle going on in your stomach like some kind of sword fight between cheese and coffee and they're like fighting back and forth and like riposting all over your internal organs.
What if it rips a hole in the fabric of time and space?!


Me: This is why I think coffee and cheese should come with warning labels that they should not be consumed simultaneously.  Otherwise, one day you find yourself with a wormhole in your colon that aliens suddenly pop out of and go "ooh fuck did you eat coffee and cheese at the same time too?"

Trevor: So it would be like that thing from Poltergeist, but in your ass?

Me: Yes. And then you probably have to call some creepy little lady to come and exorcise your colon "Go into the light! All are welcome! Follow the bran muffin!"

sidenote: I did in fact have coffee and a cheesestick this morning at the same time (I didn't dip the cheesestick in the coffee or anything, don't be gross). So far nothing has happened but you never know.. I'm pretty sure that creepy little exorcist lady from Poltergeist is dead in real life so if things start going crazy in my innards I think I'm fucked.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Attitude Adjustment

It's that time of year again.. the time when the holidays loom and all the stores forget about Thanksgiving and dive right into Christmas music and decorations. BUY OUR STUFF! YOU NEED THIS!! It can be challenging not to become cynical, world-weary, and basically just want to toss the towel in and hide under your covers til January.

I am, by nature, not a thankful person. I don't know very many people who are. I am pessimistic, cynical, jaded, skeptical, complainy and generally a Negative Nancy. I know this about myself. I hate this about myself. When I notice I'm trending this way, I try to reign myself in and give myself a talking to. I try to set myself goals for that day, wherein I will say positive things to the people I interact with, and not complain about All The Things, and basically try to make their day better by having me in it. It's so much easier to slip into being negative and forget to be thankful, especially if you're running low on sleep which seems to be my way of life.  Some days I succeed better than others.

The one area in which I don't have to try to be thankful is my friends. I am ALWAYS very thankful for the friends in my life, they put up with my whining and bitching and complaining and being the general worrywart that I know I always am. I try to remember to tell them frequently how important they are to me, how lucky I am to have them, and how my life is so much better, because they are in it. I probably don't say it enough, because no matter how much I say it, it will never be enough. I really try to be there for them, to provide support and a shoulder to cry on and hugs. Some days I succeed better than others.

This season instead of focusing on the typical holiday things, like financial worry, missing family, loneliness or the stress of it all, I think I'll focus on what's important. The people I care about, friends and family, and be thankful that I have them, be they near or far. And chocolate. Chocolate is really important too.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Deerfield Fair

Since Hurricane Wakeen (some people would say Joaquin, but let's be serious, you know you all want to spell it like it sounds) decided to not mess up the weather this far north this weekend, figured today was the perfect day to go to the Fair. And it was!     (remember you can click on pictures to embiggen them)

We got there early afternoon, because mornings are disgusting and should be avoided at all cost. It was bright and sunny and warmish and lightly breezy --- perfect!

We first walked through all of the antique farming equipment, it was fascinating and at times puzzling as to what things were.

Just a smattering of the dohickeys they had out for you to check out

Then we saw this dinosaur, which loomed forward menacingly (though perhaps pushed by the wind) when Trevor went near it. I think it was trying to eat him.

T-Rex: I WILL EAT YOU!   Trevor: No! Not in the face!

We then started hitting up the various buildings, so if you aren't interested in pictures of cute animals or fair foods, or miscellaneous stuff, you can be done reading this post, and know we saw lots of things, ate lots of things, and walked all over the place and had fun. Otherwise, keep reading/viewing!

At the Crafts building we talked to a couple ladies doing Rug Hooking, which is nothing like latchhook and was fascinating, and I took some pics of my favorite crafts:

aww kitties and pawprints!

I can't imagine who this made me think of... KRISTY

At the Flowers building, this pretty plant looked to me like it had butterflies for leaves:

We then sat for a little bit watching the end of the 3100lb and beginning of the 3300lb horse pulls. That's the weight of the horses, not the weight they were pulling. When we left they had gotten up to pulling 8,000 lbs. 

Teams of 2 horses wait to be led over and hitched to the sledge loaded with weights


Never seen a Horse Pull? It looks like this, and gets more dramatic the more weight gets added to the sledge when they try to get it to start moving:

Then we (I) decided we needed some hot fresh-made Apple Crisp we saw as we were on the way to the Horse Pulls. It was delicious.
The icecream made it just cool enough to eat. SO GOOD

We headed over to the animal buildings, and perused the Oxen first.

big. BIG. give me all the steaks. 

Baby! This really looks like a dog from the back. He was so soft!

Still kinda looks like a dog from the front too.

It must suck not to be able to turn your head without wacking your horns on the wall. I bet vikings had this problem too. This is probably why vikings' wives yelled at them not to wear their hats in bed.
Then we hit up the Poultry Barn, SO MANY NEAT CHICKENS!!

where is its head??!!

Nope, still not seeing it

It's like a sheepchicken?

It's easy to see how dinosaurs evolved into birds with this one:


Looks like the offspring of a roadrunner and a chicken

love the pattern on the feathers

close up
The feathers around the neck were like a mane



Still Derpy

Huh. I guess just naturally Derpy

Ok... Enough with the Chickens, I get it. On to.. 


Like my dreds, mahn?

It was so soft and the curls.. LOVE THE CURLS

Weirdest Sheep Ever! Ok.. these are Alpacas

Ok enough with animals, more FOOD!

There were several Poutine vendors, but they were all stupid expensive so we didn't get any. $10 for a serving? I don't think so

Only in New England will something be labeled like this:

Mmm Fair fries with malt vinegar and ketchup, served in a paper.. dog bowl. Yes, even advertised as such. YOU WON'T SHAME ME, FAIR, I WILL STILL EAT THE FRIES

His Fried Dough topped with Chocolate Sauce and Powdered Sugar (left)
and my funnel cake with Cinnamon & Powdered Sugar (right) 

We wandered over and watched the last bit of the 6-cylinder Demolition Derby, boy those cars were beat to hell, then found a short highwire act with the actual Flying Wallendas family. It was neat to see a piece of history, with the grandson of the original patriarch (now much older) with his daughter, son and daughter-in-law up there, but also a bit nerve-wracking because there was no net and it seemed really high and if one of them fell that would be a TERRIBLE ending to a great day (for us AND them, I'd imagine). They didn't fall and once they were safely on the ground we headed out for the day.   Had a great time!


Dad standing on a chair. As one does. If they are crazy.

And, of course, to go: 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Don't Cry

Don't cry, she tells you, as you stand waiting for her luggage at the airport. As she tells you through tears how much she hated coming back. How happy she had been far away. How she wanted to kill herself every day for the last year, and lied to you and the therapist about it. How she didn't want to tell you that she cried when she had to board the plane, for fear you'd think she didn't love you, and she can't stand how sad and worried you look every time you look at her.

Don't cry, she tells you, when you see the faint, faded lines on her arms that were angry red, fresh lines of carved pain when she left. You can't tell her it's from relief and realization, how you can see the proof of what needs to be done.

Don't cry, you tell yourself, when you realize you won't be the one to teach her to drive, or to see her get her first job. That she won't be there for you to take to get haircuts and crazy hair color. That you'll miss out on her last year of school. That she won't go with you to have kitchen utensil fights in the aisles of grocery stores, or buy silly impulse items that neither of you really need just for the fun of it.

Don't cry, you tell yourself, because you know this is the best thing for her, and all you ever wanted was for her to be happy.

Don't cry, you tell her, as she gets ready to walk through security at the airport. You don't have to feel guilty, you tell her, you're allowed to want to be happy. She deserves to be happy.

Don't cry, you tell yourself, she'll be somewhere where you don't have to worry every day whether she'll be okay by the time you get home, or worry about if she hates you, or feel guilty for being happy when she was so miserable. Though you will still worry.

Don't cry, you tell yourself, when you walk into the empty house, that now will no longer hold the sounds of a family.

Don't cry, as you try to tell yourself you're not a failure as a parent, because you've done everything you can to try to help her, including letting her go.

Don't cry, you tell yourself, or you might never stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Icecastle, Continued Even More


Looks like an ice brain


They called this "The Squeeze"

Megan TOTALLY not touching it, because touching wasn't allowed.

no flash

with flash

no flash

with flash

some of them had changing colors behind them

with flash

The place is huge, you can walk all through it and there's big sections of ice all throughout

We finally decided we had seen it all, and were pretty cold, so we headed back to the car. It was really amazing to see in person.