My brain is all over the map lately.
I’m lonely for people. I miss select ones. I want to see them in person. Or at least talk on a more regular basis. But if I reach out and am the recipient of a delayed response (or no response), my mind-set is that I’m a horrid person and should not bother people. It’s what I deserve.
Mom’s been gone 5 years. There’s a new life in the family who I wish so desperately to talk to her about, and I think she would adore. I think Daddy would too. I can’t even really grasp how that feels for my sister. I can imagine, but I’m not convinced it’s accurate.
I miss the memory of certain friends, and what they were like, even though I know they’re not like that now. I know, from Facebook or casual notes, that they are painfully different now.
I’m painfully different. And the same. I feel like Anne Shirley in that I feel too much, I suspect. And yet, I pass for a normal functioning adult most of the time.
I want to rescue all the cats. I want a giant home with self-cleaning litter boxes and nooks and crannies and libraries and studies and bedrooms and sun rooms to house myself and them in. It would never work, but if somehow I could do that, with maybe a small coffee and tea and pastries room, and a writing garret, I think I’d be very happy.
I adore my husband. And he loves me. And that’s very nice, for a change. It still doesn’t seem quite real, though. And it’s going on two years married, and ten years dating/living in the same state. (Going on eleven years since first date. Both of them. His first date was different than my first date.)
I wish for… a lot of things. More connection, more real connection. And yet, I do feel so different from so many people that I want less connection because that connection makes obvious how odd I am. How much the things I care about differ from people I might interact with on a daily basis. And it’s very upsetting to me, to realize that things I see as important, other people see as fringe and not important.
I don’t know. I just … wanted to write it out, in the hopes that it would calm my brain, slightly.
The world was all scribbles of inky blackness, at least in this little corner. Flashes of white and gray shone in between. As her eyes adjusted, she could see that the long arch ahead was a bridge. At the tangle near the bottom was the base, where the river bank was.
Because she felt lighter than usual, as though her tangle were unfurling, she made her way there, to see better.
Within the tangle at the base of the bridge support, once she looked, she could see other pockets of lighter colors. Stones tumbled from the pale gray dirt to lean up against the concrete wall. Another tangle of blues and blacks and grays and greens and a faint other color sat on the stone.
Because she was curious, she walked even closer.
The tangle on the rocks was a person. Long legs and arms covered in clothing that was still inky, but maybe colors. Jeans on the legs and green and gray sleeves on arms long for holding things. The person was looking away so she thought the tangle on top was hair. A curly mop of perhaps brown, perhaps red.
Because the shoulders were slumped, she walked even closer.
The curly tangle of hair was definitely red, although hard to see in the shadows. Under the bridge, her steps made a quiet echoing sound in the dirt and gravel around her. The person looked up and was a man with quiet guarded eyes. The eyes watched her, and then, softened. His shoulders were still slumped, but not at all imposing. Perhaps tired, or sad.
Because she wanted a friend, she stepped under the bridge beside him.
“Hello,” she said. “Can I have a hug?” And the man’s arms opened and she stepped into the inky tangle which lit up with warmth and light.
I haven’t been posting much original content anywhere, lately.
I had a brief spurt of creativity at the first of the month but it was mostly triggered by some character generation fixes with friends. I loved that. Those sort of moments make me think that maybe, just maybe, a writer’s group would be helpful.
And when I’m fairly mainline to positive, I know it would.
I’m not lately.
I’m not what I’d call seriously depressed (with a small d, denoting not diagnosed, not chronic), at this point. And I can pretty much pinpoint most of the reasons why I’m feeling down. There are triggery dates (when aren’t there triggery dates?). I feel bad about my body in general, but also; I feel as though I’m not doing well on my exercise plans, I feel as though I should be doing better on my food choices (although I wouldn’t say I’m doing horribly as we try to keep our eating out to a minimum), and I feel like my expectations for my body are too high. I feel stress related to work that is compounded by knowing the things I am stressing about are not things I can control. Sometimes, the drift down is definitely due to cyclical hormones and there’s not much that can be done about that for another decade or so (based on extremely limited family history).
A lot of the time, if you’ll notice (because I do), it’s me getting stuck in my own head and yammering for a way out. When there’s not a simple way out, I chase my own conversational tail in a very unhelpful way.
I have small things that I do to try to combat this. I’m doing one of them now. I’m writing something anyway, even though it’s an annoying self-update post, which isn’t really how I want to spend my time writing. I’d rather be writing something creative, or expressing an opinion about something going on in the world today.
I should go ahead and write on creative projects. I know that. But I’ve also convinced myself I will hate whatever dreck I manage to get on the screen, so why waste my time with that? I could write about things going on locally or on a larger world scale. I do have opinions. But most of them are succinct and news bite sized. I don’t really want to add to the weight of those on Twitter, Tumblr or any other social thread.
Instead, I’m doing more basic things. I’m trying to remind myself that even if I have to start over on exercise, it’s better than not exercising. Even if I have homemade nachos for dinner one night, it’s better than not eating anything, or having something like dessert only.
And I’m trying other less basic self-care things.
I reach out to friends to say hi and ask how they are. And I genuinely listen. I care about my friends, and everyone likes to be listened to if only for a little bit. And it sometimes takes my mind off stupid yammering petty frets in my head.
I make monthly massage appointments. I really love my massage therapist. She is a neat person, and she has a varied set of training that allows for different treatments depending on the appointment. Nothing hurt last night, so we just tried a cranial-sacral adjustment. (Basically, I lie very still and practice deep breathing while she works her hands up my spine and makes sure I’m all lined up nicely.) And then she massaged my neck and shoulders a bit. It sounds like a very boring massage, but I actually felt more mellow and calm (my brain was quiet!) than I have in a while.
I make a hair appointment about once every 5 weeks. It means that my hair gets tamed slightly as I grow it back out, and the color gets freshened up. Sometimes, if I have the extra money, I add in a fingernail or pedicure appointment. But I don’t always, because I’m already spending money.
Those last two things aren’t cheap. But I budget for them. They help.
I also look at friends’ art; sometimes it’s drawn, sometimes it’s written, and sometimes it’s photography. Sometimes, it influences me to actually draw something or write something. There’s a 5 minute study of a piece of driftwood with stones stacked on top and the hint of a frothy wave drifting up in my sketchbook right now that was influenced by a photo of a submerged branch my friend Ant shared on his Instagram. I even noted it on the page so I’d remember.
None of this fixes me feeling down and grouchy. But sometimes it takes the edge off enough that I can squeak by another day without biting too many people’s heads off, or hurting anyone’s feelings. And that’s good not just because I don’t want to be mean. When I’m mean, I feel instantly guilty afterward, and it just adds to the downward spiral. It’s better for ME to be nice, not just everyone in general.
And look. I’ve actually written quite a bit. Even if it is all boring belly-button gazing thoughts.
The other day, a person on twitter (who I consider a friend of sorts, although we actually don’t know each other exceedingly well), mentioned a feeling of despondency that he wished wasn’t around. (Paraphrasing to protect the gentleman.)
And I thought: Oh, yes, that. That is what I’ve had lately. I’m not depressed, or sad, or lost in a blue funk of ambiguous nature, I’m despondent. What a good word.
And then I thought: I should look that up later, and make sure it means what I think it means.
It’s a little different, but kind of close. According to the American English dictionary in my computer:
a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage: he hinted at his own deep despondency.
The British English dictionary in my computer is only slightly different:
noun [ mass noun ]
low spirits from loss of hope or courage; dejection: an air of despondency.
The interesting thing is, it’s actually even closer to accurate now that I see the definitions. I do have low spirits. They are from a loss of hope or courage. I’m fairly dejected and disappointed in myself. I’ll make little half-hearted gestures that attempt to solve the situation I’m hopeless and fearful about, but I haven’t actually attacked the problem thoroughly, because I feel defeated already, so why bother? (I empathize strongly with Eeyore.)
Having a good solid word to hang onto about the mood perked me up for a moment and is actually very satisfying, but it won’t help solve the problem.
It does provide an amusing distraction, at least, for a few moments.