Friday, June 29, 2012
I spent last week camping with a hundred girl aged twelve to eighteen. it was nice to come home to showers, cell reception, a clean, soft bed, and lots and lots of flowers from dear friends, sent on the 21st.
saturday morning we rolled out of bed bright and early to welcome our guests [who were just as surprised by their visit as we were] and it looked like this:
there’s been movie marathons, board games, trips to the park, and trips to the pool. and, not one to miss out on plenty of helping hands, I put ‘em all to work.
the rest of this week has been filled with slip and slides, tons of cooking, and long, long, eight hour shifts at work.
I work in a cold, dark lab running tests and collecting data. but when I’m not doing that I’m making dart boards out of my friends’ faces and carving things out of cork boards, duct tape, and cans.
very, very rarely I’m tasked with venturing outside to bring in some plant leaves and I tell you what—taking my numb face and frozen fingers out into the balmy, sunny air, letting my eyes adjust to bright light [usually smartly decked out in long jeans and a sweater] I’ve never loved that blessed sun so much.
and then it’s back to the blackness of a perpetually sixty-five degree room where I interact with no more than three people at a time. no sarcasm here: it’s quite a perfect job for me and I genuinely enjoy it.
every night I tell myself I will be in bed by eleven in order to get enough sleep. and usually when eleven rolls around I’m still in a pool, hanging outside of a closed dairy queen, or thoroughly engrossed in an intense game of nertz and suddenly sleep doesn’t seem so important. just everything about this week, this summer, this life. so charming, so delightful, so perfect.
[title from come away to the water by maroon 5]
Thursday, June 21, 2012
today marks one year. one year since that car flipped upside down, one year since I’ve seen jada, since I woke up on the side of the road, confused as to what had happened. one year. I can’t even believe that. I’ve never felt a year crawl along so slowly. a year filled with such peace and such turmoil, such happy days and such terrifying nightmares, so much joy and so much excruciating pain. it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve learned, that I’ve grown. my body is almost completely healed and my mind is getting there. I am certain there are things that will never be quite the same again, but that’s okay.
I’ve been thinking about all the scars I acquired in the accident—on my knees, my scalp, my shins, my back, my feet—and how they will never go away. the scar tissue that formed is noticeable and still pretty painful when anything touches it, but isn’t that the point? don’t scars form so that we won’t forget the things that have happened? I will forever be physically marked with reminders of the pain, but also as proof that pain fades and time moves on.
I went back and read some of the things I wrote around this time last year [something that doesn’t happen very often] and my attention was drawn to the first non-accident related post I wrote. that period of time was so fragile, so gentle. we very slowly, very carefully picked ourselves up and learned to stand again. granted, we were knocked down again and again, but that is to be expected, for the rest of forever.
and I rediscovered this video again, one of my favorites ever made. my mom and her neck brace, my battered face and bandaged knee, everyone so happy and full of hope. these aren’t things I ever want to forget.
a heartfelt, sincere thanks to the hundreds of people that moved mountains and eased the weight of burdens in the last year. to friends and strangers. to the wonderful, big hearted people of texas. to the browns and the voorhies, the evers and the madieras, reo and tanya. to our dear florida friends who gave up so much to come and help us. it is incredible to me that my family is doing as well as they are, and we couldn’t have done it without you.
[title from chances by five for fighting]
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
a long time ago, in a land far away…
okay jk. when I lived in florida my friends bought me some little red eared sliders for my birthday and they unintentionally created some sort of an addiction. my friends and neighbors would find turtles in their backyards and pools and bring them to me, where they know they’d find a home. at one point I had ten little baby turtles swimming around in my tank. I was the proud owner of the turtle refugee home, raising little orphan turtles until they were big enough to be taken down to the canal [where I’m pretty sure they made nice snacks for the alligators that took up residence there. but let’s skip that part].
however, through a series of unfortunate events [read: little siblings banging too hard on the glass] my little turtle orphanage was destroyed while I was in hawaii. and we moved. and things happened. and we gave up on our turtle rescue project. and then my mom made the mistake of promising me turtles if I came home from college this summer [like I wouldn’t anyway…ha!]. and so, a few days after my return, we headed to the nearest petsmart to get some little baby turtles. there we received the crushing news: 1. petsmart didn’t even carry them. 2. even if they did carry them, they wouldn’t sell them to us without a teacher’s license. a teacher’s license! I’m sure there is some logic in there but I didn’t care. I stormed out those little automatic sliding doors dead set on acquiring some dang turtles. after some frantic phone calls, we found a little family owned pet shop in the middle of town that smelled nasty but would sell us our turtles.
there it is. my little turtles in their new home, just waiting for some helpless orphan turtles to join them [they’re much harder to find in texas].
p.s. I realize that this is my second post about pets and that may make me a weird, pet lovin’, bad smellin’ fool but i promise it doesn’t.
[title from jasey rae by all time low]
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
1. I am no expert on depression. I’ve dealt with it a few times in passing, but it is not something that I have a long standing battle with, nor is it something I anticipate dealing with for the rest of my life. I am aware that there are people for which it’s a real, lasting struggle, and my heart goes out to them. but please know that the two types are entirely different animals.
2. obviously this is my writing, full to the brim with my opinions and my twenty year old perspective. I’m sure some of my thoughts will change in retrospect, but this is my way of documenting where I’m at right now. again, this is solely based on my experience, so don’t think my thoughts are standard across the board.
3. it is important for me to note that this is a collection of thoughts documented at the lowest points of my life while I was actually experiencing it; scrawled on napkins and receipts and other easily accessible things. I’ve put off writing this post until I’ve felt like I was in a safe zone, like I was free and clear of these crippling, overwhelming feelings. gratefully, I feel like I am there now.
this is my brain on depression [taken from my collection of random scraps of paper]:
- for the record, I did go to class today. physically, anyway; i may have spent most of the time drawing pictures and trying not to cry. I spent the rest of the frigid and overcast afternoon in sweats being mesmerized by a slinky and watching mind numbing amounts of Burn Notice.
-some people can’t study because tv or music distracts them. for me it’s my brain. how do you control your brain? how do I shut it off? it keeps creating problems, insecurities, fears, stresses, and constraints that aren’t even there. it can talk me into a certainty that so and so hates me, that this thing I did was stupid, that things simply aren’t going to get better. ever. ten minutes of physical silence is danger; it creates an opportunity for my brain to take up the talking and it’s all negative.
-I don’t belong here. I feel so claustrophobic, so stir crazy, and no one even likes me. I feel like I’m running from place to place, seeking some sort of gratification, some satiation of this burning desire to feel like I’m not a complete loser
when I thought of depression in the past I’d picture girls who’d been dumped by a boy, eating ice cream, crying, and not showering for days. and perhaps, for some, that is how it manifests itself. my first encounter with it was in high school, the first time my dad moved out [yes, it happened more than once. but that’s another story]. I did nothing but sleep. I would get home from school around 3:30, fall asleep, and wake up at 5:30 the next morning. I would go about my day normally; friendly, mildly productive, good face and all that. but as soon as I got home it was sleep. forever.
this second round of depression was more serious. from october of last year until around april of this year it was significantly more serious. I couldn’t do anything. some days I would tell myself I was going to stop all this nonsense and start living again. I’d take a shower, get dressed, and…decide that was enough for one day. it’s really a curse, this inability to function. I suppose I had good reason, but that didn’t make it any easier.
I surprised myself with how much my tv/internet activity spiked in these lonely and sad times. internet [i.e. facebook and other places that people brag about their lives] only added fuel to the fire, but I couldn’t seem to stay away. this, combined with my talkative, negative-nancy brain created distress—so much so that I would begin to feel physical pain, as though my insides were being torn apart, like I was being mauled from the inside out. tv was different; it was completely numbing. I immersed myself in episode after episode of tv shows; shows that weren’t particularly interesting or entertaining, but that were such a solid distraction. I delved into the lives of fictional people and would feel those pangs of unbearable pain when the seasons came to an end and I had to return to real life. [sound dramatic? that’s my life, yo.]
I think the most common misconception of depression is that is a solid pattern of seemingly troubled actions—someone who sleeps forever or doesn’t shower for days, but then gets better and acts normal when it’s all over. this is not the case. there were days when it wasn’t so bad; when I’d get up and go about my day and laugh and have fun like nothing was wrong. but it only lasted a few hours at a time, and then I was back to the recesses of my dark hole. it’s an in and out, up and down sort of thing. the distinguishing factor, for me, is the inability to control the frequency or timing of these ups and downs.
the worst part of it all is that depression isn’t just a bad mood or a bad day. it can’t be solved by making a list of things you’re thankful for or taking a nap. it’s an intangible thing that is oppressive and crushing. it can even be a little terrifying, knowing that you’re slipping into this hole with no real knowledge how or when you’re going to get out. it’s a hardened heart, it’s an absence of desire to be happy, a resistance to happiness even.
I was never really alone in all of this. there were, of course, people standing by had I chosen to reach out my hand and ask for help. but that’s not how it worked for me. there were exactly three people that I desperately wanted to reach out to, to unload on, to trust, to ask them to save me from this terrifying darkness. but naturally, those were the three most unreachable people [which only made their appeal greater]. so I chose to turn away others, because they weren’t one of the three, and this resulted in a constant, desperate loneliness.
when I think of depression now, I picture myself bent under a globe [similar to atlas, except with pants and without muscles], except rather than a single world there are two. one is easy to hold, easy to stand under, but hard to acquire. it’s peace and calmness and happiness. but it has to be reached for, it has to be worked for, I have to reach up and grab it. the second, of course, is depression. it weighs heavy on the shoulder, blocking all views of light or sunshine, crushing and exhausting its bearer. but this one requires no effort. it forces itself onto my shoulders, making the lighter, better world completely inaccessible.
making the decision to not be depressed is hard. taking the first step to shut it down is hard. I always know that holding it off will be better for me, but I frequently can’t bring myself to do it. it’s just so comfortable inside that dark, grimy, sad hole.
depression is quite the opposite of chicken pox; once you get it I feel that you are more vulnerable to it, not less. though I feel like I have a better handle on my life, there are still hard days. the difference now is that I can see the storm coming from a distance and I can prepare myself accordingly. I set my alarm clock a little earlier, choose my words with greater care [things I say to myself as much as what I say to others], and make sure to do more productive things than browse youtube. it makes it a bit easier to fight the battle.
having hope and optimism used to be completely out of my reach. I submit that that feeling is the worst—worst than tragic car accidents or head injuries. I am relieved and so humbly thankful that this awful period has passed, that the waves of distress and restlessness seem to have abated and that every day doesn’t seem bleak.
Monday, June 18, 2012
saturday was full of good things. it started with the temple, fresh berries, and gooey cinnamon bread.
my new favorite people were in town and we spent several long, sweaty, sunshine filled hours at the sweetest park I’ve ever seen.
we played tag for an eternity, everyone sprinting and ducking and hiding and slipping on the wood chips.
perhaps the best series of tag pictures I’ve ever seen [in which jace whoops my butt]:
it was exhilarating and exhausting; I can’t believe how tireless little kids are. it was a little bit of consolation that everyone was so tired at the end. like straight up falling-over-on-the-floor-wiped out.
and so, red-faced and thirsty, we each waved white flags and decided to join up to explore the cooler air of the shaded clubhouse.
we were completely worn out by the time we called it quits, every one of us eager to jump into an air conditioned car, stick our faces out the window, and get home to tall glasses of cool water and relief from the texan heat.
see the thing about these people that came to visit is that they mean a great deal to me. they were the second people in the hospital last summer [second that I can remember, anyway]. aka I was an emotional basket case and half of my face [and the majority of my body] was destroyed. and as they sat there, introducing themselves and speaking calmly, I just wanted to cry because I was so lucky to have people there that cared about me. it means a lot more than most people think. and let me tell you something: when your world gets turned upside down [literally and figuratively] there are lots of things you don’t forget. and opening your groggy, swollen eyes and seeing genuine love and concern so obviously written on people's’ faces is one of those things. no amount of morphine can diminish the importance of someone being there for you at your absolute worst, lowest point. it’s something that you remember every time you see their face(s).
plus…they have some adorable kids.
in short, saturday was pretty fantastic.
[title from summer paradise by simple plan + sean paul]