35 years

September is almost over. My husband called out my “September Blues” as soon as the first leaf (and tear) fell. He stayed on my team all month and helped keep my shame at bay. With one day left in the month, I feel confident saying that I survived September 2017. (note: The confidence to say that I will survive tomorrow was not something I’ve ever had.)

I survived my birthday too. I made myself the gymnastics birthday party I’ve wanted for a while. Friends came with all their kids and we all did gymnastics together. I was probably the only adult looking forward to it but most of my friends showed up and I think everyone had fun. I don’t have many friends but the ones I have are gold.

So, all in all, September was totally okay. I think. My memory is really shot. There might have been lots of crying and dissociating… But I survived without noticeable scars, so that’s what counts.

Since this is my birthday post (annual)… I should probably reflect and analyze my life maybe.

On my birthdays, I typically look backward with shame and regret. But this year, I don’t want to. If I allowed myself to actually admit it, I would probably say the positive version of, “this year wasn’t a shit show of me screwing everything up”. But I can’t actually say that. I might jinx it.

I wish that I wrote more often. But there aren’t words and ideas in my head anymore. I just think about today and the logistics of the coming week.  This is probably typical of my phase in life. (and maybe the meds and all the pot don’t help with the motivation.)

I don’t really have much… I’m struggling to find the word of what I am missing… optimism? ambition? hope for the larger world? activism? Maybe this is also typical of my phase in life, but I don’t want to stay this apathetic about the world.

I feel like I did all the big things already. I finished university, got a job, got married, had (awesome) kids, got diagnosed with mental illness… But now what? I don’t have any grand ideas about what I want to tackle next.

I don’t see myself going to feed children in starving countries when I can barely feed my own kids. I used to feel like I could volunteer my time to help others but my time is all accounted for now. I don’t have any to offer.

Maybe it’s my time of life, maybe it’s my mental illness, maybe it’s my meds, but either way, I will sit here and drink my tea and try to remember when pizza day is for the grade 3’s and not be sure what the next adventure is.

And maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

xoxo

birthday quote

525,600 minutes

I’ve been listening to the music from Rent lately. (Because I have ocd and I first got the cd for my 15th birthday (100 years ago), so I have to listen to Rent every year in the fall.)

I love the play. I know it by heart. (I’m actually rehearsing for a one woman performance of Rent on the milk crate at yonge and dundas. Just waiting for the homeless guy dressed as santa to give up the spotlight/milk crate for me.)

One of the themes from the play that is speaking to me today is “how do you measure a year?” This season is a reflective time of year. This year, with my move to an actual house, I’m actually noticing the season. There were no trees near my condo but now I have a yard and a residential street full of yellow leaves and it feels like fall.

It makes me remember where I was last year. Has it been a good year? a hard year? a year of recovery? a year of pain? There were so many different pieces of each month, each day, each minute…How do I measure the year? In cups of coffee? In paperclips, in post-its, in pills?

I take a lot of pills. I don’t really know where this post was going to go. I’m actually having a hard time getting my thoughts into words. I want to write but stringing the text together isn’t really happening for me right now.  

I feel like if I didn’t have my meds and willpower (or maybe just meds) I would just explode like a rocket blowing it’s top. But even though I’m simmering, my lid is being held on. Like a pressure cooker that I’m not going to open. 

My head feels cloudy. It’s just full of cotton. But my body feels strong and slim. I feel like I could run a marathon and then build a house and then enjoy a refreshing drink of ice water and go for a swim across a lake. Am I rambling? I spent $12 on chocolate bars today. I just had to have them all.  I only ate one- so far.

What was I saying? Right… cups of coffee. There were lots of cups of coffee this year.

A year ago, my marriage and my future were on very shaky ground. There was so much uncertainty. I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the tornado. Now I think I’ve made a bit of peace with the tornado. Like I’ve got a backpack for it and I’ve built up my muscles so that I can carry it around now while I go through the motions of ‘normal’ life.

So, like we learned from Rent, let’s measure the year in LOVE.

measure your life in love

I learned a lot about love this year.

I learned that I can save my children if I learn to love them more than I hate myself. So I learned to love myself.

I learned to accept love from my husband and give it right back to him. Measure in love… seasons of love…525,600 minutes…how do you measure the life of a woman or a man?… in truths that she learned or in times that he cried… let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends… remember the love. measure your life in love.

lyrics from No day but today

ps. I really wanted to post this image: but I thought I should end on an optimistic note. Even though these very real fears are lingering: 

Will i lose my dignity? Will someone care? Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?

Til 120?

Well, today’s my birthday… 32 feels a lot younger than 30 did. So that’s a good thing.

I got lots of nice birthday messages from friends and this morning my husband smiled at me and said “Happy birthday babe. I love you.” It was really nice. I know that he meant exactly what he said, but it meant even more to me.

I heard the subtext. I heard, “I’m really proud of you for working really hard to stay alive to see this birthday.

My birthday feels like a good time to reflect on the fact that I’m much more committed to being alive than I was a year ago.

But every day I still have to be so careful. It’s tiring to always be on alert. Get enough sleep, eat healthy food, take your meds, censor your actions, double check your thoughts, say that, you shouldn’t have said that, keep your job, brush their teeth, don’t let the crazy do the talking, take a shower, don’t walk there, put down the knife, smile, keep on pushing. Day after day. And then there’s the actual stress that most people have, take out the garbage, fix the sink, do the laundry,clean the kitchen…

I’m getting tired. My psychiatrist said I need to take some psychological space for myself. I googled it. I don’t remember what it said. But I’m stepping back a bit.

I don’t think that life will ever be any less exhausting for me. I guess that’s okay. I am actually enjoying this little life so I’m feeling pretty lucky for the people who are still with me on this ride.

There’s a Jewish birthday wish that says, “May you live until 120!”. That seems like a really really long time. I’m not so sure I’m up for that.

Let me work to get to 40 and then we’ll see. No promises.

maybe we can't be okay, but maybe we're tough and we'll try anyway.

Coming out

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. I’m totally freaked out. I’m dreading it.

It isn’t helping that tomorrow is also Yom Kippur, a day that I am dreading for other reasons.

30 years. 30 years? 30 years!

That sounds like a really really long time. Am I where I wanted to be? Actually, sort of yes. But it feels different. Am I done growing? Not even close.

If I could summarize how it feels to turn 30 with all this crazy in my head, I would say that I feel as tired as an 80 year old and as clueless as a 3 year old.

I think that for my 30th birthday, it would be good if I could start to come to terms with being the real me, openly and honestly. I’ve been hiding a bit on my blog by not really putting up any photos. Also, I can’t stand to look at photos of myself these days. So I’m going to try to face my fears and embrace my imperfections and muster the courage to post a photo of me. um….next year…

30 things by 30 years old

30 things I’ve already done before my 30th birthday (next month):

I hiked on the Great Wall of China
I swam with dolphins in the Red Sea
I gave birth with no medical interventions
I breastfed two babies
I quit jobs impulsively
I ziplined over the rainforests and hiked through them
I went to the Louvre, the Vatican and the Western Wall
I walked in (and out of) Auschewitz
I married my high school sweetheart
I was hit by a car
I gambled in Las Vegas
I rode the trolly in San Francisco
I rode the subway in New York City
I stood at the mouth of Niagara Falls
I ate tapas in Spain
I drank wine in Nappa
I slept in a tent in Algonquin Park
I rafted down rapids on the Ottawa River
I spent more than 150 hours in therapy sessions
I completed a university degree
I watched an opera in Vienna and walked along the canals in Venice
I uncovered history on archeological sites in Israel
I had a miscarriage
I struggled with PostPartum Depression
I stayed up all night with friends
I skinny dipped in the lake
I saw four countries at once from a mountain top
I built a professional website from scratch (x5)
I cared for children who weren’t mine
I hiked in the Swiss Alps
I vomited from drinking too much alcohol (x2)
I got high in a cafe in Amsterdam
I got friends to volunteer to help people
I ate $100 dinners
I had sex in cars and outside, in hotel rooms and boiler rooms, on stairs, even in a bed
I suntanned in Thailand and ate Pho in Vietnam

30-Before-30

(full disclosure: there are 36 things listed here. note ‘i learned math’ is not on the list.)