Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dear Mister Zoeller...

I enjoy writing lengthy, poetic e-mails to my lawmakers in hopes that the unpaid intern being forced to copy/paste replies to it will get some joy out of something moderately purple for what it is. Here's the e-mail I sent to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (with some personal information starred out), who has requested an emergency stay on Judge Young's decision to strike down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage:

Attorney General Zoeller,

I was married last August to my husband D***** in a small ceremony here in M*****, Indiana. I will spare you the details, but it was a very casual albeit emotional affair and, legally speaking, it was incredibly simple, due to us being an opposite-sex couple. However while my husband is heterosexual, I myself am not but am in fact pansexual (in short, physical attributes -including sex- have no effect on my attraction to a potential mate - in this case, my monogamous life partner and spouse). That being said, I've had a slight little nagging inside of me from the time we got engaged right up until yesterday, June 25th. "How is it fair," I wondered, "that I should benefit from heterosexual privilege when I myself am not heterosexual?" I felt like I was part of some exclusive married-folks club under pretenses that fall into some not-true, not-false gray area. My marriage, on paper and anatomically speaking, appears "heterosexual", but truth be told, I just happened to fall in love with someone who has different genitalia than myself. But yesterday, something that felt like nothing short of magic happened: Suddenly the passion I feel for my husband was no longer seen as something only heterosexual people are allowed to feel, but ALL people. While I am legally married (again, the whole penis/vagina thing), suddenly I felt like my devotion was finally considered to be a part of the very real human condition. I fell asleep in an Indiana that said people like me didn't have the right to want to spend my life with someone I cannot fathom being without, and I woke up in an Indiana that said, "You are a flesh and blood, living, breathing, feeling, loving human being, just like everybody else. You are a valued Hoosier." Suddenly the pumpkin that was my darling Indiana was a diamond-encrusted, crystal carriage, because someone out there who had the power to said Yes. Yes, you are just as worthy. Yes, you are just as capable. Yes, you.

This is why I beseech you -as a lifelong Hoosier, a voter, a non-heterosexual, and a spouse- to retract your motion for a stay in Judge Young's ruling allowing same-sex partners in Indiana to marry. Marriage is beautiful and sacred, yes, but it is not reserved for only a select few. Being mutually in love with someone is powerful. You feel fearless and full, overcome with warmth and desire and truly believing in your ability to do everything within your tiny body to lasso the moon and pull it down if that's what it takes to make the one you love happier and more fulfilled, if only for a day or an hour or moment. Your love is an unstoppable force, pushing forward like a giant train, heading onward into a seemingly neverending track that only goes forward and for as long as time allows. Philosopher Hannah Arendt summed it up simply by saying, "Love, by its very nature, is unworldly". Mutual, passionate, powerful love is an irresistible force. A ban on same-sex marriage, however, is not an immovable object, as 19 states have already proven. This is not the shield and spear paradox the Republican party, the church, and the homophobic so desperately want it to be. It is a beautiful inevitability that no amount of paper pushing and time wasting and tax dollars spending will change.

Please, Mister Zoeller, do the right thing. Show the rest of the country -hell, the rest of the WORLD- that Indiana recognizes, respects, and celebrates love. Because love does not shrug its shoulders and cut its losses at the steps of the courthouse upon seeing the "Gays use other door" sign. It straightens its shirt, takes a deep breath, and marches on, because it is unstoppable.

Mrs. S**** *. C***
M*****, Indiana

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Same Sex Marriage in Indiana

I've been very, very, horribly depressed lately. The past 2 or 3 weeks I've woken up every morning on the verge of tears and physically ill at the thought of going to work (or anywhere out of my bed, which is kind of a safe haven). My muscles and joints hurt constantly. I have dizzy spells, crying outbursts, migraines. Once I'm at work an hour or so I feel better (I like my job, my boss, my coworkers... It isn't a bad job, albeit frustrating at times as you climb higher in the managerial ladder, and I only work 24 hours a week). My anxiety has been high, thus leading my blood pressure to be higher. On my days off, I sleep 12, 13, 14 hours straight through, not budging to so much as go pee (unless I sleepwalk to the bathroom, which I've done since I was potty trained and especially when my anxiety is high). GAD and bipolar disorder are a shitty, unavoidable aspect of my life, and while I hate it, I accept it, and ultimately that and having incredibly supportive friends and family gets me through even the worst days.

So this morning when I woke up a little after 1pm, I grabbed my phone (like I always do) to see if I'd received any texts from people who wake up at a reasonable time. The first thing I see is a breaking news notification from WTHR (and Indy news station whose app I have on my phone) saying that a federal judge has struck down Indiana's same sex marriage ban, and that the Marion County clerk (Indianapolis's county, for non-Hoosiers) is issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples (at, at the time of proofreading, Hamilton County has also started issuing them).

I practically leapt from bed in joy. I texted my mom, a long time equal marriage supporter, who was at work at the conservative Christian school where she's worked for ~20 years. She texted back an enthusiastic, "Alright!" I told my husband, who's having a bit of a rough day, and it seemed to lift his spirits some, too. I immediately started posting on social media, and found so many fellow Hoosiers were just as excited, proud, and overjoyed as I am. It was like a big warm hug.

Last August 3rd, I married my husband D in a pseudo-nontraditional wedding. We're both non-religious (I'm atheist, he's agnostic), so we had a ULC-ordained friend (the husband of my MoH) marry us. It was outdoors on the band shell of a huge, beautiful park here in town (a band shell I've performed on many times). We had mixed-gender wedding parties, the men didn't wear jackets, the women wore color coordinated (pink if they were bridesmaids, turquoise if they were groomsmen) dresses but picked their own styles (though we all wore knee-to-tea-length dresses). I shrugged off the traditional Wedding March and instead walked down the aisle to "Dreams" by the Cranberries. My father didn't walk me down the aisle, as he passed away in 1999, but I wore a charm with his picture in it on my shoe. My stepdad was openly irritated that I didn't let him walk me down, but deep down I know that even if my dad were alive, all 3 of my parents would have walked with me (D and I are feminists, and one man handing me off to another to make sure I always have a dude around to keep me in line is a bit antithetical to everything we stand for). Our first dance at our reception (in a large building a few yeards away from the ceremony site) wasn't to a sultry Ella Fitzgerald song but rather "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" by Neautral Milk Hotel. All-in-all it was a beautiful, perfect, wonderful day.

However, I am not, "straight married" just because I have a vagina and my husband has a penis. My husband is heterosexual, but I'm pansexual. I also consider myself very much genderqueer/gender nonconforming. I like pretty things and tend to be okay with she/her/hers and other feminine pronouns and dress primarily in a way one would expect a cisgender woman to dress (dresses are fun, pretty, breathable, and don't require pants!) On Facebook I am listed as gender nonconforming and have they/them/their as I preferred pronoun setting (ex. On my birthday, my friends are told "Wish them a happy birthday!" instead of "Wish her a happy birthday!"). If I woke up tomorrow with a penis, I would probably be the only one who wouldn't have to make any kind of major adjustments to my new hangy-down outside of rediscovering how my pants fit (but I'll say it again: Dresses don't require pants!)

So being in what, on the outside, looks like a "straight marriage" is pretty easy. I took my husband's last name (honestly, I just liked it better than my own. It's half the length and easier to pronounce). I wore an ivory dress (close enough to white, right?) that I bought at a bridal shop. We didn't do a handfasting (as much as I would've liked to tbh) or other nontraditional ceremony, but it was and continues to be a pretty "traditional" marriage (though *gasp* we lived together and did lots of sex prior to having our relationship on paper and filed with the gub'mint as a marriage). We have an apartment, a cat, pizza nights, and a shared health insurance plan through his employer. But goddammit, it is not a "straight marriage".

I never had any doubts about marrying my husband. None. I didn't want a long engagement because I didn't want the stress of wedding planning to go longer than necessary (we were engaged about 10 months), but I was never afraid of us NOT being together for the long haul. I knew after our second date that he was ~*The One*~. On our third, he said "I love you". Two months in, we got engaged when I popped the question, pantsless and in a tattered-up Queers shirt in his apartment in Chicago, where he moved just a month after we started dating (a pre-planned move that we both were aware of before our first date). We got married a year to the day we first met IRL (we'd met on a dating site about a week prior). What I'm saying is, marriage was inevitable and not urgent outside of my anxiety disorder needing me to not have wedding planning on my plate for any longer than necessary (because I am WAY too particular to allow someone else to plan my wedding. I mean, kudos if you had or are a wedding planner, but I just cannot fathom that as an option for me).

However, since our engagement in 2013, I've felt this little nagging inside of me. I've fully enjoyed the benefits of straight privilege for almost a year now, because no one questions it when two people of the opposite sex marry. Not friends and family when you announce your engagement, not the county clerk when you get your marriage license, not the parks department when booking your location, no one. It's such a default expectation that a man and a woman around the same age would marry that no one bats an eye. But I'm NOT straight. I'm NOT "female" by traditional definition. I'm not any more heterosexual or cisgender now that I'm married than I was before I was married. But I didn't have to fight to marry my partner because he has a dong and I don't.

This case is not about me, so please don't think I'm celebrating this ruling because it helps my conscience. If my husband came to me right now and said, "I'm transgender. I want to begin hormone therapy." or "I'm transgender, I was born with a vagina", my marriage wouldn't be any different, because at the end of the day, laws cannot dictate the human condition, and love is a part of the human condition. So why in the hell until today does Indiana consider my love and marriage more valid than someone else's because of our genitalia? I know what being in love to the point of wanting to be married is. And I was allowed to do that, because I'm a "woman" and my husband is a man. But it's absolute bullshit that that is a deciding factor. I've never felt so happy and complete in my life than I do now that I feel I've found the most complementary human being to myself to spend my life with, and nobody questions it. If my husband had a vagina, I wouldn't question my devotion or love, and the fact that up until yesterday the state I love, was born and raised in, and will always call home was not only allowed but legally obligated to question the validity and morality of the love between two people based on anatomical features is disgraceful, archaic, and embarrassing.

Love is real and beautiful and exciting, regardless of what anyone else thinks. And the fact that this kind of legal discrimination is no longer in place is such a breath of fresh air. Because now I'm not part of some exclusive "club". Marriage is not so sacred that it denotes heteronormative exclusivity. It isn't just for the straight or straight-appearing. It's for the lovers. You can't outlaw fear or happiness or sadness based on anatomy. They're emotions -albeit very strong ones- and part of being human. Love is another powerful force within the human condition. People in love have a fire for one another that would send them to hell and back without fear if it meant the other was happy and healthy. It's almost supernatural. It's a high. It's a rush to be in love. That love doesn't stop at the courthouse doors just because the law says so. The law does not change humanity, it protects it. And we don't need to be protected from mutual, powerful, passionate love. We need protected from those who seek to deny life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to others.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's a bad day, and that's okay.

I have a lot of bad situations and all-around bad days. Everybody does. But I think it's fair to say I take some pride in how I handle the bad moments, simply because of how poorly I've handled them in the past. My emotional management has come leaps and bounds from where it once was. Most notably, I don't purposefully injure myself now to deal with anxiety and stress. I've really learned to appreciate an utilize the therapeutic and medicinal value of exercise, meditation, recreation (in my case this is often video games), and other healthy releases of tension or bad feelings. We all have bad times, and for some of us with anxiety and depression disorders, it is often more impactful than it is for the average person without the same mental/emotional medical characteristics. But the fact that I no longer feel ashamed of the things I can't control as well as managing those inevitable emotions by doing my best to harness them and focus them on something productive has really done leaps and bounds for my overall attitude, outlook, and feeling of self-worth and self-value.

That being said, days like today are a struggle. When plans fall through, and those plans were for the very things I utilize for managing my anxiety and depression, it's hard to bounce back and re-focus the attention before letting the feelings of defeat and failure overtake my psyche and send me back to square one where I feel shame and disappointment for my feelings. Everyone is entitled to their feelings and emotions, even the negative ones. And some days, it's hard to find a silver lining. Some days even with perspective it's hard to stop feeling sad or angry or disappointed or frustrated. But sometimes you just have to feel your feelings. Some days maybe it's best to not refocus and to just feel negative feelings, even if only for a bit, just to remember, "This is horrible. I never want to feel this way 24/7 again. This is why I do the things I do. This is why I write and run and work and get out of bed in the morning. Not for the reward or the recognition that goes as quickly as it comes, but for the long-term outcome: That I no longer dread, fear, and hate everything." Allowing ourselves to continue to just feel bad for ourselves now and then isn't self-sabotaging so much as it is self-humanizing. Learning to accept our personal best over our expectations keeps us focused and grounded. It isn't the humility at the foot of an all-powerful God that I was told it was in the church but rather the reflection and humanizing of ourselves in the face of adversity so as to not let others expectations for ourselves trump our own. It's part of the human condition.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fear and (Self) Loathing in Indiana

So. Work. It's been worse than normal lately. I only work 24 hours a week now, because it stresses me out too much to be there any more than that. I can't find a good psychiatrist in the area (I tried recently with laughable at best results), so I'm kind of between a rock and a hard place until we figure out where and when we're moving (it's either a half an hour away or several states away, depending on whether or not my husband gets into grad school). In the meantime I'm just kind of getting by.

But fucking work lately. Every day last week (I work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), I found myself crying in the bathroom at work over how miserable just being there makes me. I'm constantly anxious, and seemingly always surrounded by customers who have absolutely no respect for the personal space of strangers. I've had carts physically rammed into my person, unwanted shoulder and arm touches, and more people literally leaning/hovering over me to reach items than you can shake a stick at in the past week than I even care to think about. Here's a tip: If you're at a store and an employee is in your way, SAY EXCUSE ME. Not after you shove your cart into them or as you're physically pushing your body past them and inevitably moving their work supplies and/or rubbing against their body, but before you attempt to get past them. We are not immovable fixtures, we have feet and legs and feelings (what with us being human beings and all), and if you ask us nicely to move or hand you an item, we'll be happy to. But moving the carts an employee is working from or leaning over them as they're kneeling on the ground trying to reset planograms or stock shelves (and effectively preventing them from being able to move in some cases) is rude. And if an employee moves because you didn't bother to ask them to, don't say, "Oh no, you're fine!" No, I'm NOT fine. I'm moving for ME, not you, because I don't like people looming over me and/or putting their hands and face within 6-8 inches of my face without my permission.

Maybe it's just a symptom of my anxiety progressing due to not being medicated, but I've been feeling more agoraphobic and claustrophobic lately. Not, like, full-blown phobic (I've got a couple legit phobias, and I'm not reacting with nearly the same level of severity to the crowds and people as I do to my phobias), but they're bothering me much more than normal.

I've also been horribly stressed out over my lack of social life. I don't really have any friends. That sounds self pitying, but I really don't have anyone I hang out with outside of work aside from my husband and parents. Therefore, my work relationships and friendships mean a lot to me, and yesterday (Friday) a few of my closest work friends just outright would not speak to me. Ignored me at break, avoided eye contact with me... I mean, people have bad days. I know that all too well myself. But I'm horribly paranoid about it now and have cried about it 2 or 3 times in the past day and a half, because whatever it is I did, I want to fix it, but I don't even have the opportunity, because I don't know what I'd be apologizing for/fixing.

Overall, I just worry that people think I choose to be anxious and depressed on a certain level. Even other people I know who have varying levels of anxiety and depression make me feel very inferior and annoying to be around. All I want is to be happy and productive and -call it pathetic- liked. I want to be liked. Who doesn't? I want friends that I can turn to, and those feel so horribly rare. When I got married, before the wedding, one of my bridesmaids just sort of stopped talking to me after losing her job (we worked together). I reached out to another close (male) friend to be a bridesmaid in her place, and THAT friend ended up leaving my bachelorette party an hour in and, a week later at the rehearsal dinner and the day after at the wedding didn't show. Fortunately, my husband had a friend who was able to stand in his place, as he wore the same size shirt, and I don't regret a bit having him in that place, because I've become closer to him since getting married, and he's an awesome guy. The friend who didn't show recently contacted me for the first time in 8 months, and we're rebuilding our friendship. Oh, and my matron of honor? The day after the wedding she stopped speaking to me. When I reached out to her to try to make right whatever went wrong, she cut me off entirely (she and her husband, our officiant, unfriended me on Facebook even). She and I had been friends something to the tune of 20 YEARS. And then nothing. And while I'm glad to be back in touch with the one friend (who had a lot of personal things going on that we've begun to touch on in private conversations), I can't help but feel just horribly dejected. It's corny, but aren't a woman's bridesmaids supposed to be her closest, best friends? And yes, I had 3 bridesmaids (including my maid of honor sister) who I am still close with, and I'm immensely grateful for that.

Sometimes I feel like my personality must be offputting or toxic in some way. I feel so horribly flawed and unlikable, and I don't know how to fix it. I'm sort of afraid to talk about ANYTHING pertaining to myself, because regardless of what it is, I feel like no one is going to want to hear it (or worse, they'll hate me for it). I know this all sounds really self loathing and "poor me", but when you live your life walking on eggshells, everything seems way more fucking complicated and self-wrought than it is. If I upset someone -and I'm sure I do, obviously I do- I probably don't know why. If I've pissed someone off and don't apologize, it's because I don't realize I've pissed them off. I value every friendship I have, because friendship is hugely important to me. It isn't my goal to hold grudges or give the silent treatment. But sometimes I get nervous and jumpy and maybe say or do things that others find irritating or off-putting or maybe even bitchy, I don't know. But I don't do things with explicit malicious intent to upset other people. I HATE upsetting people. If anything, I'm bad at staying mad at people who wrong me, because I crave smoothing things over. Discourse makes me crazy. I'm a peacekeeper who craves interpersonal interaction like the air in my lungs, and I cry at the thought of pushing people away. Yet as my GAD has gotten worse, it's pushed a lot of people farther away than I could've ever dreamed in even my worst nightmares. And it breaks my heart, because I CAN'T FIX IT. I'm tired of being told that "everything happens for a reason" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle". I may be a peacekeeper and a lover of love, but I'm a realist and an atheist. GAD does not make you stronger by default, and it isn't my fault that I'm not *~gRoWiNg~* because of it. And I feel really selfish and shitty for saying that, but I'm not going to lie to myself and agree with it, either. Hating my job and being constantly disappointed in myself might not kill me, but it isn't making me a better, stronger person just because some trite phrase on a plaque at Hallmark says it does. It is fucking hard dealing with anxiety and depression, and I hate feeling like people -even other people with anxiety/depression- think less of me because I refuse to pretend that everything's coming up Milhouse when it isn't. I'm not depressed and sad every day. More often than not, in fact, I feel pretty good and happy and energetic and ready to take on the day. Seriously. But it's like when I have a bad day, I feel like I can't talk about it, because I'm not the only person who has problems and I should probably just suck it up and be a goddamn adult about it. We're allowed to have bad days. EVERYONE is allowed to. Anyone who says they feel like a million bucks 24/7/365 is a liar. But sometimes it seems like the fact that I have bad days because of conditions x y z, I'm being looked at as someone who just uses their conditions to their advantage to seek sympathy. And I'm 100% NOT that person. And it's just exasperating.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

I've been a musician literally almost my entire life. I took piano lessons in elementary school. Since sixth grade, I've played clarinet. In high school, I picked up alto saxophone. At one point in my teens, I played three different instruments in three different bands. I've dabbled with trumpet, bassoon, accordion, and bass guitar. I'm currently teaching myself ukulele, with enough success that I've written one song.

Even before I could speak, my mom tells me slow songs and beautiful melodies would make me cry ("Silent Night" usually was the go-to for waterworks). There's never been a time when a moving melodic line or intricate chord progression didn't send chills up and down my spine, even if I'd heard the song 1,000 times. This song, for example, does it every time without fail:

Birdhouse In Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
1990 - Elektra Records

The first time I heard "Birdhouse In Your Soul" live, I cried. The second and third time I heard it live, I also cried. Call it cheesy, but it was a spiritual experience each time. I listened to it nonstop when my dad passed away. I have a huge, custom tattoo stretching across my chest dedicated to this song. It was the recessional at my wedding. It will undoubtedly be played at my funeral (hopefully a long time from now!).

Music has always moved me in a way nothing else can. Writing has always helped me harness the passion and creativity that music stirs up in me, and my junior/senior year English teacher always hoped I'd pursue writing as a career (and looking back, she was right, and I wish I'd pursued it). (I considered majoring in clarinet performance and band education, but felt I didn't have the chops, patience, or memorization skills for it.)

However, I have a lot of trouble writing music and lyrics. I think my hangup is that I hold myself to a much higher standard than is attainable for someone who plucks away at a $20 ukulele in her free time. My husband has encouraged me to write more music (the first song I ever wrote was written for him, and I almost couldn't finish playing it because his tears brought on my own). I'd love to be playing coffee shops and bars with other musicians.

I can't kick the feeling of not being good enough, though. I feel like every line of lyrics or chord progression I write is boring, played-out, and too similar to other people's work. I live in constant fear of performing with a horribly out of tune instrument that causes patrons to cringe, or forgetting the words or chord progressions to my own songs on stage mid-performance (or looking like an idiot for having a notebook in front of me as I perform). I worry that my voice -while I enjoy it quite a bit- is too weak or mediocre to be bearable, being a husky contralto the likes of Lorde, though with slightly less upper range and strength.

I willingly let myself go into these darker recesses of my mind, allowing myself to dredge up my feelings of anxiety, depression, inferiority, and inadequacy in hopes of something sparking inspiration, and all I can come up with is boring, broody, trite material that sounds like the stoned ramblings of a teenage goth kid who hates gym class and his parents because they make him wear polo shirts when they visit grandma and won't sign off for him to get that psick tatt of a crying demon on his forearm ("this house is a prison!"). It makes me question so much about my own feelings and hangups and anxieties and even my ability to express myself. The last person who complimented my writing style perpetually pisses on my leg and insists that it's raining, so I have trouble NOT taking it with a grain of salt. The only other people who I let even come close to reading what I have to write are my mother and my husband, and while I value their input, it feels almost necessary for them to go easy on me. The closest I come to putting my writing out there is this blog, which is just stream of consciousness ramblings for my own sake for the most part (a semi-anonymous public journal more or less) and not proofread or even written in a way that's intended to be thought-provoking or interesting. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


This morning, what started as a talking-to from my boss quickly dissolved into me sobbing horribly in front of her. She was unhappy with my productivity (or lack thereof) over the past day or two (and miscellaneous unnamed previous occasions). I've had discussions with management in the past that have lead me to tears, but in the past I've kept it together until leaving the office and hurrying to the bathroom to cry it out. But then she mentioned how she notices my productivity comes and goes in waves. "You'll go a while getting a lot done, and then for a couple weeks you don't work as hard". I started crying almost instantly, but there was a moment -probably only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity- where a hundred thousand thoughts slapped me in the face all at once.

My last job was at a Subway, where I worked for two years. A couple months in, my anxiety disorder got to the point that I saw a doctor for the first time. I was unable to do closing shifts by myself because of it. I later found out from my manager that her boss/the store owner wanted to fire me upon learning about my diagnosis, but he couldn't (because of it being illegal). I eventually did get fired alongside a handful of other employees after a terrible annual audit. Everyone who worked the previous year was fired in a group meeting.

To this day I not only hold onto a lot of irrational guilt (a little piece of me feels like he wanted to fire me and used this as an excuse, but others went down with me. It's irrational for plenty of reasons, but namely that Indiana is an at-will state and he could've fired me without reason at any time), I also have a horrible fear of letting my employers know about my anxiety and bipolar issues for fear of losing my job, so I try to hide it. And until today, I thought I was doing a really good job of it, but that is clearly not the case.

So I opened up more to my boss. I told her how my husband and I are planning on moving to a larger city with better mental health care. I told her how some days I feel like I can't even get out of bed, even if it's the day after I couldn't be any more motivated and happy. She was more understanding than I ever could have hoped for.

I love my job. I love what I do. I love the people I work with. I love my boss. But some days are almost too much. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the tasks at hand that I can't manage my time or not panic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Despite my devout feminism and wholehearted endorsement of radical self-love, I find myself quite often feeling inadequate and inferior to many women. It makes me question my true drive for self-improvement. Do I want to get in better shape and go back to school and get a driver's license (something I've yet to do at 27) and stop eating junk food and strive to improve myself for me? Or do I want to do it in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses as it were? Do I love myself? Yes. But sometimes it feels very conditional, and I wish it didn't. I wish I didn't sometimes feel like my worth is determined by how close I am to being as good as another woman instead of how close I am to being the best version of myself that I can be.

My life feels boring sometimes. I have a husband and a cat and a job. And while those things are very instrumental in my happiness and day-to-day activities, I sometimes feel like I'm just an annoying thing, like a buzzing mosquito, that flies around the heads of those around me. They have other aspects of their lives to attend to and keep them busy. But I don't, and sometimes I don't know how to give people their space because I so desperately want them in my space. My social life is lacking at best, and I have little confidence in my creative outlets to the point that, while I enjoy them, they feel wasteful and foolish. No one will ever read what I write or enjoy my music or view my art. And I know I should do these things for me, but if I express myself because I want others to be able to relate but no one cares enough to relate, what's the point? I wouldn't cook a beautiful meal to feed 7 people, put out the place settings, light candles, create playlists, and decorate the kitchen for a dinner party if I wasn't expecting guests and only intended to reheat some days-old pizza for myself.

I don't feel suicidal by any means. I know I'm useful and important in many respects. But sometimes I feel like I'm useful in the same way any old cog in any old machine is useful. It's necessary for the continued function of the big picture, but it will ultimately one day wear out and be replaced and no one will be the wiser and eventually no one will even remember that it had even been replaced. I feel useful but in the most useless way, if that makes sense and doesn't just sound like some broody, attempted Bukowski-esque line (something something whiskey tits).

I'm just tired and sad and down, and so many things have got me here. Sometimes I miss things like cigarettes and excessive booze intake and self harm and Ativan and other self destructive things that I know better than in which to partake. Sometimes I just want to cry, and I do, and at least it's a healthy outlet. Sometimes I write in this shitty blog that no one reads, and again, it's a release that isn't physically inflicted upon myself, so it's okay.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I've been up the past few days. "Up", however, involves not just my cartoonish motivation to accomplish things being up, but also my anxiety being up. My blood pressure being up. My heartburn being up.

It seems that when a lot of people say "bipolar" they're using it in a shitty, sarcastic way to mean someone who is in a really good mood one day and a really bad or mopey one the next. Not only is it shitty to use mental illness as a punchline, it also reinforces falsehoods about the condition. Everyone knows what "depression" means. They may not fully comprehend the weight of it, but most people at least have an inkling of "depression" means. But a lot of times it seems "manic" is seen as being a polar opposite (what with the somewhat misleading name "bi-polar" and all). It's seen as overwhelming joy that just washes over the bipolar patient, turning them into some kind of unpredictable Jekyll and Hyde beast who is the friendliest, happiest, warmest person one day and a horrible monster the next. Let me make one thing clear: "Manic" does not mean "happy".

When I'm manic, I'm horribly restless, which really jacks up my GAD. If I don't harness that energy and do something productive with it, I crash into a horrible depression again, because I just become clumsy, reckless, and aimless. But if I acknowledge that I'm manic and that it is not in my control, I can usually focus at least a majority of that energy into something productive. For the past week I've been feeling very manic. I've also been really fucking sick (congestion to the point I felt claustrophobic, sore ears, sore throat, lethargy, dizzy spells). However, I worked a 38-hour work week (despite barely even remembering much of Monday and Tuesday), bought groceries, and as recently as yesterday, did a decent deep-clean of the house. I'm physically exhausted to a point that, non-manic, would make me horribly miserable. But if I didn't focus that energy, despite feeling so physically spent that I could drop, I would be so depressed right now that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. Instead, I'm keeping the steam going as long as possible. I'm working 40 hours this week (8 down today! Woo!), and I plan on doing some intense grocery shopping, reading, studying, and video gaming.

Will I get depressed again? Yes. Do I know when? No. It could be in five minutes. It would be in two weeks. But acknowledging where I'm at and that I cannot control that it happens, only how I handle it, helps me cope with it.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank you, social media.

I was just going to tweet my sentiments but found myself needing half a dozen or so tweets to do so, so I'm just going to write my thoughts here. I also just want to make sure I'm really utilizing this blog for its intended purpose, which is for expressing my thoughts without so much worry.

I am so grateful for social media. The connections I've made with people I would otherwise have no way of connecting to just kind of overwhelms me sometimes. I met my ex-girlfriend and a few of my best friends on LiveJournal many years ago. I met my husband on OkCupid. I've met friends through Words With Friends, Draw Something, and MySpace. I've been able to reach out to people who have inspired me by contacting them through Twitter who might otherwise be difficult to reach due to a large fan base or a busy schedule. I've learned and grown as a person and a feminist because of the information so readily accessible and sharable vis-a-vis Facebook.

The life social media has helped breathe into me at times is not something I'm ashamed of, it's something I'm incredibly grateful for. Many people feel they're born in the wrong time period, citing deep connections with the social, musical, or political atmosphere of a certain era passed, but I feel right at home here and now. I'm here exactly when I should be. I'm not a lazy, entitled millennial (truth be told, I feel a few years too old to even claim the title "millennial", which is fine, because it's unfairly developed a bit of a stigma, often being used alongside terms like... well, lazy and entitled). I am using to my advantage the technology and connectivity I've been given. Sure, I enjoy firing up an SNES or putting on a record now and then, but I don't feel that Steam or iTunes is inferior. It's just new, and I embrace it. Why wouldn't I? Everything becomes sentimental and nostalgic with enough time, and one day we'll look back fondly at the iPhone 5 as a relic of a past, better time.

I'm getting off track, though. What I'm getting at is that I am so happy to be a twentysomething in the twenty-teens (post-aughts? Just "teens"? What are we calling 2010-2019? Will 2020 just be "the twenties" again? Oh geeze). The connections I've made and the people I've met and the experiences I've had would not exist if not for the internet. My life would not be what it is in any way, shape, or form if I were born at a different time. I shudder to think what my life would be -if it even would be- if I were born in 1926 instead of 1986. I don't believe in God, but sometimes I think there's a level of spirituality and rightness and balance that help guide souls into bodies at the right time. Then again we'll never know how many octogenarians would have had better (or worse) lives if they'd been born 50 years later.

I'm going to quit while I'm ahead here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Indie Inspiration

Sometimes it's really hard to find joy when everything seems dark and lonely, and sometimes everything seems dark and lonely even when you're not alone. Something I've come to look forward to on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays is a show on from a gentleman who goes by the name Northernlion. For 3 hours an evening, he and two fellow gamers (JSmithOTI and RockLeeSmile) live stream themselves joking and playing video games in the aptly titled Nothernlion Live Super Show (or NLSS). They all utilize YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch, and all three are worth checking out if you're into video games and/or smart humor. Having something to look forward to, I've found, is key in my happiness. Even the littlest of milestones mean that even if things are shitty at the moment, there's something better up ahead.

As time has gone on, I've found myself keeping up with their social media accounts and, in doing so, you learn about a person. RockLeeSmile (real name Nick Reineke) has mentioned his own anxiety disorder in the past, and he recently shared this image on his Twitter which really struck a chord with me, with the caption "This is almost exactly how my 2012 went":

It's easy to say, "I'm not alone in this", but to see it spelled out in such a simple and heartbreaking way was a very bittersweet moment.

I've enjoyed watching the NLSS for a while now. They're funny, quick witted, smart guys who obviously have a lot of fun doing what they do, and to me, that's the definition of success. And to see someone like Nick being so successful and open about their anxiety disorder is so humanizing and comforting to me.

I don't know if you'll ever see this, Nick, but if you do, I want you to know how much I admire you. Your strength and compassion brings me so much hope and joy. I look forward so much to the things you do with the NLSS and Indie Impressions, and my admiration for you is boundless. Despite how common it is, I don't really have anyone close to me who goes through the same struggles I do with my anxiety, and knowing there's someone out there who is as irreparably flawed as I am but is doing something so whole heartedly and passionately makes me feel like my own potential is greater than I can imagine at my best, let alone my worst. I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration and encouragement I've received from you without you even realizing it. If our paths would somehow cross some day, I owe you a coffee/beer/other beverage of your choosing. It's the least I could do for someone who feels more like a friend than a stranger.


I haven't posted on this blog in quite some time. I've taken up a second blog called FemiNamaste where I discuss gender and women's issues. However, I felt the need to revisit this place.

I have reverted all of my past posts to drafts. I may re-open some of them at a later date, perhaps with some editing, but I'd like to start fresh, retell my story, and then talk about some other things.

My name is Susan. I am 27-years-old. I am married to a university philosophy & ethics teacher. We like to play video games together. I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and manic depressive disorder, also known as bipolarity.

Sometimes I have trouble coping with it. I saw a psychiatrist for a while. Over the course of <6 months he took me from 20mg daily of medication to 105mg of anti-depressants, blood pressure medication, and tranquilizers. He was very impersonal. I stopped seeing him after he told my younger sister -also a patient of his- that she should consider weight loss surgery to help her depression. One of the reasons for her seeing him was anorexia nervosa, and while she was overweight at the time, she was far from obese or unhealthy, and she was at a much healthier weight than she had been at the lowest point of her anorexia. Before seeing a psychiatrist, I battled addiction to a previously prescribed medication for my GAD (Ativan) and possibly alcoholism (I was never "diagnosed" per se, but I'd hit the point where concerned friends -some alcoholics themselves- were expressing their concerns over my excessive alcohol intake, thus making me aware of my issues with alcohol). I drink very rarely now, mostly because my body just can't handle it like it used to, and I no longer force myself to drink until I don't feel feelings.

I also dealt with self injury for many years and still struggle with it, though not as severely. I still have scars from the times I would inflict abrasions and cuts on myself with scissors. Sometimes now I find myself clipping excessively at my fingernails, fingertips, and cuticles with nail clippers when I'm particularly stressed. There is literally never a time when my fingers and nail beds are not red, sore and covered in hangnails. My wedding photographer had to Photoshop my hands smooth in our wedding pictures even, because my hands are absolutely unsightly at all times.

Because I have no quality psychiatric care available, I use supplements. I take magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 daily. They take the edge off. I try to keep my creative outlets vast (musically and artistically especially), and I play a lot of video games, because the thought process and problem solving helps my brain stay happy. The most helpful medication I've used for GAD/MDD is marijuana. Unfortunately, it is not considered a medicinal in Indiana, and therefore I'm trying to remain somewhat anonymous for fear of backlash for my usage of it.

My job is a stressful place. Retail is rough. If you're a customer, do your best to be kind and give the benefit of the doubt to the folks at the store. Your happiness affects our happiness.

I'm going to possibly chronicle my feelings more here, as well as share stories about people and things that inspire me and make me happy so that I can look back on them when I need to be reminded of how good my life is.