Temporary

via Daily Prompt: Temporary

Today is temporary. I need to remember this.

This morning when I woke up, my head was achy, and my body hurt. I was tired (still am). I was cranky.

But this was all temporary.

When I went to leave the house, I realized that I had to move my partner’s car to be able to leave, and I shut my hand in the door.

But today, the annoyance, and the pain I felt is temporary.

Sometimes when the things in life get me down, it’s really hard to remember that everything on this planet is temporary. Jobs, houses, lives, things… it’s all here for a moment and then it’s gone. I’m not telling you this to sound depressing or morbid, but to remind you that your troubles are also temporary.

Prime example in my life right now, Trump.

He’s temporary. In a few years (if the world will still exist and isn’t blown to smithereens due to nuclear war) he’ll be out of office. He can’t stay there forever. Even if he would change term limits, he’d die eventually. Long before I will, hopefully.

This feeling is even more poignant when I get paid. My paycheck is also temporary. I work, and get paid, and then it’s all gone. Then I start the whole process all over again. It’s frustrating, and I really wish I had less bills, but I’m working on that. (My debt is also temporary.)

Best of all, my mental health struggles are temporary. My depression, mania, anxiety and mixed episodes are all temporary. It’s frustrating to experience these things, but I know deep in my heart that they are temporary. I can seek help to support me, and I can will myself to make it through with all the spoons I can muster. Until I feel better, I remind myself it’s temporary.

My pain is temporary. If I get hurt, regardless of what kind of hurt it is, it will heal because that injury and that pain are both temporary. My bruises and cuts will heal up, and my emotional pain will lessen with time. That’s not to say that wound will never be reopened, but even that residual pain is temporary.

So to those of you who are struggling, hang in there. This feeling you’re feeling is only temporary. Tomorrow can be different and even better.

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What it feels like to live alone and childless during the holidays

Living alone (unmarried and dating or just plain single) really sucks around the holidays. For me it means spending time alone on one of my favorite days of the year.

When I was a child Christmas was the most magical time of the year. I’d wait longingly every year for the holiday to come and I was always ready! I was ready right after Thanksgiving if not sooner. And every year I always got what I wanted, even when it wasn’t even on my list! Now that I’m an adult, Christmas means something different.

Christmas means buying gifts. For everyone. For my horseback riding instructor, for my hair dresser, for my postal worker, for my boss and my direct reports. I always forget someone. I always feel guilty. I always spend way more than I should and I always go broke at some point during the season. It sucks.

No, I can’t go to coffee with you because I broke the bank buying you this gift. Oh? You didn’t get me anything? That’s ok. I’m doing my part to feel like a good friend. No, I understand that you need to prioritize your kids at Christmas. No big deal. I don’t need a gift anyway. #fml

Christmas means eating way too much. There’s Christmas goodies everywhere and staying away from them is HARD! I love baking. I love making my special Oreo truffles. I love making ten kinds of Christmas goodies. But who will taste-test these when I live alone?? Sad day, it has to be me. Ten pounds later I’m sorry I ever started baking.

Christmas means being alone for much of the holiday. Without having multiple holidays to attend and no kids around it means that I will spend at least at least either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day alone. This year it’s both. Hooray.

Do you know how much it sucks to spend Christmas alone? Do you realize how terrible it is to wake up on Christmas day and instead of an excited child and family members I wake to nothing? No screaming children waking me up at 5 am. No dogs barking. No meowing cats. Nothing. It’s just a normal day because I have nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to parent or tend to. I have literally no reason to get out of bed. So most of the time I don’t, and most of the time I spend most of the morning crying. Getting up only reminds me that I have no good reason to be out of my bed anyway.

It’s December 18th. Do you know where my Christmas tree is? In the closet. Do you know where my Elf on a Shelf is? Not on a shelf, in the box next to the tree. No stockings are hung by the chimney with care. There’s no hopes of Saint Nicholas around here. Nope. Why bother? No one comes over here. There’s no one to surprise with a thoughtful gift. There’s no mistletoe and there’s no holly or ivy. And there’s no Christmas songs.

When I had step-kids Christmas meant something because I was doing it for them. I was decorating for them. I was baking cookies with them. I was making paper snowflakes and garland with them. I was drawing pictures to mail to relatives with them. I was staying up late on Christmas eve to eat the cookies and put out the presents in their stockings. I spent hours buying and wrapping gifts I couldn’t even claim were from me. I was helping them make the memories I had from when I was a child. But when I got divorced I no longer had any kids, so the reasons to do any of this faded.

The thing is, if I had never gotten married I wouldn’t even know what I was really missing. I wouldn’t understand that wonder on kids faces. I wouldn’t understand what it’s like to play the magical elf for a fat man who doesn’t exist. I wouldn’t miss it. Only I do because I have experienced it first hand.

So here I am at thirty-something childless and hurting because I want my Christmas to be magical too! I want to have what all my friends already have and don’t even appreciate! They actually COMPLAIN about it all and it hurts more than you would believe!

I can hear them all now:

“OMG I just *know* my kids are going to wake up at 5 am on Christmas morning!”

“I’m spending so much money on gifts for my kids that I’m going broke.”

“We’re so busy going to both my husband’s/wife’s/partner’s/lover’s and my Christmas celebrations!”

“My kids are acting so crazy now that it’s getting close to Christmas!”

“I just know my parents will get the kids noisy toys for Christmas and I’ll have to listen to them all day.”

“I forgot to move the stupid elf and now my kid doesn’t think it’s real.”

“I wish I got to sleep in on Christmas day.”

No you don’t… you absolutely don’t. Because without those cherub faces you would die. Your heart would break every single holiday that came after and you would die a little bit every time someone complained about their child like it wasn’t the most precious gift in the whole entire world. The mere mention of a baby would make your uterus cramp with longing. Your arms would ache to hold your partner while you watched the kids open presents while screaming the whole time. You would not care. You would look at magazine ads featuring families and you would well up with tears. You would long to see mistletoe and have the chance to kiss someone you care about under it. Thinking of spending Christmas alone would make you sob because once you have experienced the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a child, you can never go back.

Fortunately, most people don’t experience this. There’s not too many people who have children one year and the next year they are gone. Aren’t I just the luckiest one to have experienced this twice with two different sets of kids?!….Nope. Not really, it really sucks. It sucks more and more each year because each year brings that stinging confirmation that I may never have a family. I may never have children. I may spend the rest of my life waking up on Christmas morning to nothing but the tears falling on my pillow.

The worst part is that I’m expected to never talk about this. I’m expected to suck it up and be happy for everyone out there complaining about their kids and their bills and telling me how lucky I am to be single. Asking me when I’m going to get married and have kids of my own. Do you have any freaking clue how lucky you are? Do you know what I would give to have kids of my own? I’d like to have kids of my own like YESTERDAY! Sadly most of my friends have never and will never know this cruel pain, so they don’t want to hear about it either. This only complicates things. No wonder the suicide rate more than doubles around the holidays!

But once again I will suck it up, and I will spend Christmas alone. I will make myself breakfast and wrap myself up a gift to open on Christmas morning and I will try not to think about how I feel so sad, so empty and so alone on one of my favorite days of the year, on what should be one of the happiest days of the year.

So when those of you with children are opening your gifts at 5 am on Christmas morning, I’ll be drying my tears on my pillow. Stop for a second and think about how lucky you are to have so much to be truly thankful for this holiday season.

Merry Christmas from me… just from me.

tree

Moving on… literally

It’s day 14 after my big breakup and things are slowly getting back to ok. My ex and I are now able to talk without me bursting into tears. I’m able to eat and function normally for the most part. We’re able to see one another without awkwardness too much. Tomorrow I’m moving into a new apartment.

Now I’ve lived in this apartment for 2 years, 8 months and 26 days. That’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since before I left home. This apartment was the first apartment which was MINE and mine alone. I learned how to be single in this apartment. It was my rock for the past few years.

I’ve loved here. I’ve cried here. I’ve heard good news, great news and bad news. I’ve been angry here and I’ve yelled here. I’ve cried tears of joy. I’ve made new friends and lost old ones here. I’ve made love here. I’ve fought here. I’ve studied my ass off the night before an exam here. I’ve graduated here. I’ve created beautiful works of art here. I’ve lost dreams here. I’ve made dreams here. I’ve made dreams come true here. I’ve aged here from my youthful twenties to my wisdom-filled thirties. I’ve made mistakes here and I’ve accomplished goals.

A lot has happened in the past 2 years, 8 months and 26 days and there’s no good way to sum up everything other than I’ve made memories here. This apartment has been the one stable thing in my life despite all the ups and downs I’ve had in the past 2 years, 8 months and 26 days; and now I’m moving out tomorrow.

I’m terrified.

I’m moving to a new town where new neighbors live. I’m moving farther away from my friends, my family and my support system. I’m moving to a town where the only person I really give two shakes about is now my ex, and we’re no longer together. This move is suddenly terrifying.

Up to this point I’ve been excited. As I boxed things up I anticipated leaving this place with joy, excitement, happiness. I lovingly packed my things in paper and in boxes and I thought about my new apartment and all the memories I’d make there, but now I don’t want to leave the memories I already have.

I’m terrified to be alone…really alone. I’m scared to move away because I’m worried that my bipolar will make me sick… again, like the last time I lived away from my support system. I’m scared that I won’t like the landlord there. I’m scared that I’ll lose my job in that town and be stuck commuting to a job in a different town again; wasting my time, energy and money on the drive every damn day.

This feeling came over me as I was driving home from work today. I realized that it was the last time I’d drive “home” to this town, at least for a while. Next time I drove “home” it would be to my new apartment in my new town. I’m realizing that the reason I took the job I have now was to be closer to him, to be with him, to rationalize moving closer to him and eventually moving in with him; and now I want to be farther away from him, but I can’t run away. Even “home” will only be a few blocks away from him starting tomorrow and it breaks my heart that I’ll be so close and yet unable to have him.

And so here I sit surrounded by my life packed in boxes. All my memories packed up in neat little cubes waiting to move to a new place. Waiting to be unpacked in their new place in my new apartment.

And I’m terrified.

But sometimes you need to pack up your life, your doodads and your clothes and your knickknacks and move on…literally. Sometimes you need that push in order to do something great. So that’s what I plan to do; do something great in this next chapter of my life.

It’s been 2 years, 8 months and 26 days… it’s time to move on.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

When’s the last time you laughed? I don’t mean “When’s the last time you numbly typed ‘LOL’ in a text message because you had nothing else to say?” or “When’s the last time you had a little chuckle?”. I mean when is the last time you were laughing so hard that you were falling out of your chair and nearly wetting yourself? When’s the last time you were holding your gut because it physically hurt to laugh so hard? It’s funny how something so small can make such a HUGE difference in our lives; how getting a really good laugh can completely change our entire day.

I volunteer in my spare time with some women who… well let’s just say they aren’t having a lot of good luck and laughs are pretty hard to come by in their lives. Tonight we spent lots of time just laughing about silly things and for a moment in time, we all connected because at that moment it felt so good to laugh for all of them, and I was just so happy that they all for a moment were so happy.

I’m a huge promoter in choosing to be happy. I believe that even in the darkest, bleakest of times a person can choose to be happy. They don’t have to “cheer the fuck up” and they don’t have to like whatever sucky circumstance they are experiencing, but they can choose to be happy for what they have, happy for the lesson they are learning from the unfortunate circumstance, or happy they will one day be done dealing with the situation. I believe that has helped me a lot in my life.

As someone who suffers from mental illness (bipolar disorder) I also realize that some days this seems impossible! There are definitely days when choosing to be happy is a really huge struggle for me, but I do it anyway most days just because if I choose to be happy enough, eventually I really will be happy. And inevitably that’s always what happens. It may take a week or two or even a month, but eventually I end up being happy again. Laughter plays a big part in this.

I think that some people when they are sad (myself included) choose not to do things which would make them happy or worse choose to do things to make themselves even MORE miserable! We isolate ourselves from people who may make us smile or laugh. We want to stay in bed or at home alone to avoid activities which previously made us happy. And we are miserable for it. It does nothing to make us better, it only makes things worse. My addiction is to really REALLY sad movies when I’m depressed… it’s pathetic and makes me feel so much worse when I do it, but it’s easier to just cry it all out than to pretend everything is awesome when it’s totally not in my head. Then we get to do the oh-so-fun game of “Why am I so miserable?” and when the answer is that it’s a chemical imbalance in the brain and we have no control over it, the game becomes “Why the fuck did I get stuck with this mental illness and why the fuck can’t I do anything about it?!” #frustration

It’s a totally vicious cycle and for everyone who experiences it, you know what I mean. And there’s always that one asshole that really just doesn’t get it, and who is lucky to be alive because we want to kill this person. And this person says things like “You have such a great life. Why are you sad?” or “You just need to cheer up.” or “Ice cream/getting laid/getting drunk will make you feel better.”…. now this person usually has good intentions. This person usually cares about you and wants to not feel like your being sad is totally out of his control (which it is). But this asshole is truly lucky that we are kind and patient people because OF COURSE WE WANT TO CHEER THE FUCK UP!!! That just isn’t possible sometimes. And oh, you’re helping so very much by reminding us of the fact that there’s usually no reason for us to be sad, and that we have no control over it. (Friends of people who suffer from depression… pay attention because at some point, you’ve probably been this asshole.)

Guess what? You might not be able to fix the chemical imbalance, but there are definitely things you can do which can help a little maybe. (I’d try them just because the worst case scenario is that you feel the same, and so it’s a “nowhere to go but up” type of situation.)

1. Get some sunshine! 20 minutes of sunshine and walking a day has been proven to be more effective than psychotherapy. Now think of all those hours you spent in expensive therapy and cry about all the money you could have saved, I know I did when I found out about this. WHY AREN’T THEY SPREADING THIS SHIT LIKE WILDFIRE?!

2. Call a good friend. Tell them you don’t want to talk about you, you just want them to tell you the stupidest joke or pickup line they’ve ever heard. If they haven’t heard one, then tell them to share a favorite story about the two of you or about a bad date. Any funny or embarrassing story helps, and good friends are more than willing to share.

3. Try to continue to do what you normally do. Staying in a routine helps keep your body on an even keel. I know that working some shitty job when you are sick (mentally) absolutely sucks. I know that taking care of your kids or listening to the guy in line at Target talk about his foot fungus makes you want to cry, but seriously, just try it.

4. This is the most important one… try anything and everything you can possibly think of to laugh as hard as you can. Watch a goofy movie, think about something silly, watch stupid You Tube videos. I have suggestions if you need them. Seriously, it will do wonders for you.

DISCLAIMER: Let’s please remember that I’m not a doctor, this is not medical advice, and I’m not guaranteeing that any of these will work 100% of the time for everyone, I’m just letting you know what’s worked for me in the past in the hopes that maybe it can help you also.

Please don’t sue me.

Seriously, I have no money and own no property. My financial planner just told me the other day that I’m seriously fucked if I don’t start saving for retirement.

Bottom line, laughter does wonders for a person. So laugh. Enjoy life.

CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. Every day.

LAUGH sometimes. Even when you’re sad or when life really sucks. It’s ok.