This Is Not A Time For Silence…

It’s been a long time since I last wrote anything here. It’s been a long time since I wrote freely in any form at all really, be it something exclusively creative and literary or essay format. Like most I have taken to Social Media, but have faced a tiny hitch; I read and read and absorb, but I hold my tongue. I’m that anxiety case that has a major aversion to hurting the feelings of others through disagreement, but as the title suggests, I have hit my limit.

Now, so that there is no confusion as we move into a future which I hope holds many more of these little “rants” or “vents”, I am neither a Republican nor Democrat, even though I have in the past registered Republican. I am not an expert on politics, social studies, econo-social studies, world history, etc. or any other thing that I could claim to push my opinion on others. I am just an American who is ready to use my First Amendment right to try to spread her opinions and ideas to others who want and choose to listen.

Over the last week or so while using Twitter I have found myself on the brink of tears. I am a United States Army Veteran and I love my country. My father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and two great uncles all served as well. The tears that well up are for my nation. We are a nation divided, and witnessing what I believe will be studied as a technological/cyber civil war (maybe not this harsh or extreme, but you get the point).

Tonight I watched the hashtag “TwitterLockOut”  creep up my trending page, and it was the final nail for me. We are broken and we need to wake up. I can only hope that by the time I have finished typing this, the hashtag will have people from the left upset about the issue as well, instead of mocking those who have not only lost thousands of followers, but also accounts. I say this because we as a nation are caught in a cycle of keeping some kind of high school secret notebook score and it’s not healthy (also not a medical expert).

I am seeing things like, oh and this is my absolute favorite, “Thoughts and prayers to all those who lost followers.” Now, I, like most, enjoy a good joke, we all do, from kid friendly to down right raunchy, but this isn’t funny. Why, you ask? Well, I could jump straight to the Parkland mass shooting reference, but I will stick to the issue of this lock out in this post, but just know, I will be touching on other issues that have been on my mind as well, this is just the beginning.

It’s not funny because, sure there are bots, we all know and have come to accept the whole Russia thing, (at least I think we all have, I don’t do polls either) but are we all to believe that only people with certain political views were being influenced by external interference? Are you actually telling me that in orchestrating this entire infiltration effort only one side of this massive gang war was infected? This is what keeps me up at night. Things that don’t make actual sense.

I want people to read my thoughts on the issues and to agree, disagree, share with someone and call me the crazy rambling non-partisan fool or just plain say F off or whatever, as long as you read it and take it in. The first step to truly productive discussion is to truly open your eyes and ears. Hell, maybe even throw a little piece of heart in there. What do you think? Are you a hardcore Democrat or Republican? Have you noticed a drastic change of social circle in the last few years due to politics? Do you feel targeted because of this political affiliation? If this isn’t a total flop of a blog I’d encourage you to answer any or all of these questions in the comments. And if you are not the first, I encourage you to read the comments of others (without attacking them) as well as responding to the above questions.

I hope upon hope that the answers given show the underlying connection and truth that we all want a better and brighter future. We may not agree on how to get to it, or what it actually looks like, but we want it nonetheless. If you ask me, that’s more than enough reason to remember that debate, cool-headed discussions, compromise, and compassion need to start trending in 2018, or we are in big trouble. Thanks for reading.

Jo

“What’s Wrong With You?”

What do you think when you read this question? How does it make you feel? Hopefully your answer is along the lines of , “I’m fine, actually.” Mine, on the other hand, never is. The very question itself is a bit nauseating. I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m having constant panic attacks that seem to have started out of nowhere. But oh wait, I think my cycle is about to start so maybe that did it. Or oh no, maybe I’m having an episode related to my PTSD and depression so the anger may be a bit of that(the silence too).

I don’t understand what the hell my brain is doing, but I know it usually swings its way right on out-of-town after it causes shit, so just sit back and enjoy the show. You can leave the room whenever you like. You can turn on the T.V., turn up the music, or just plain and simple zone me out. Just know that I’m not so lucky. I’m a prisoner. For weeks or months, I get NO relief. I feel like a joke. Like I can’t take myself seriously anymore. Every thought is wrong. Every feeling is wrong. I’m wrong.

 

I remember that night 

I remember that night like it was just last night. I remember it as clear as a premonition. My wife says I need to get a quarter sleeve of tattoos to cover the token I left myself that night. I had never felt that sad before. It was like being surrounded by the shadows of others before me who called bullshit on the pain of living. My head filled with the perfect storm of desperation. My first kiss with the woman I was destined to become. Yeah, I remember that night like the future recalls the past. A time when I was just beginning to grow. The first time I tried to take my life. I remember that night. 

Blogging Anxiety

Where do I begin? My wife told me that I need to try to focus on making myself happy. We have been together nearly six years now and that has been her mantra since day one of being together. Last year I decided that a blog could help with my journey, but then ran into the anxiety of, “wait, what if someone I know reads this?” So, for however long I was actually active last year I would wake up happy and optimistic about blogging, but go to bed feeling defeated and exhausted. I had so many ideas, so many thoughts and opinions to put out there for others to enjoy or hate.

We all suffer from what I like to think of as “giving too many shits”. I am afflicted with this illness like no other. I don’t think there is anything wrong with caring, but I do believe there is a such thing as caring too much or about the wrong thing at the wrong time. The other side to this coin is being the completely oblivious opposite.

Really, I should be using the term “give a damn.” I give too much of a damn about what people are doing/not doing. I give too much of a damn about what people think about what I’m doing/not doing. I am a huge damn giver. Guilty as charged. I am a writer plagued with the fear to use my freedom of speech. But for what?

The internet is a vast place. Most of you reading I will never meet in person. Most of you reading will have changed posts before even reaching this point, but if you made it you’re awesome. Most of you are fellow bloggers trying to find that other blogger out there who you can relate to in some way because at the end of the day that’s all any of us want is to connect.

 

WTF?! Where has the time gone?

Ok. I have been like a ghost in the wind this last year. I feel like I might have even warned that this might happen. The best part about it is that here I am, a year later, still attempting to produce some kind of outlet for myself, and that gives me so much hope for my self-image, self motivation, and all around continuing self-improvement. You have to start somewhere, no matter how small. So. Life. It has been a rollercoaster to say the least. Let’s see. First I developed acid reflux that led to no more smoking a pack every couple of days AND hyper-religion. Now for the sake of trying to give myself a foundation to keep a more frequent blogging schedule without the excuse of nothing to write about, I will keep you hanging on how in the hell acid reflux can cause both those things, for me at least. Anyway, I also then cut out smoking cannabis with the cigs when I developed a chest cold after the acid reflux was under control. Which, in all honesty, I think the cannabis drop came before my holy crusade. But I digress from my rollercoaster timeline. To continue, after a few months speaking to God and gathering myself, yet also losing myself at the same time, Call of Duty :Black Ops 3 came out. As you will soon learn about me, I love and enjoy gaming. But alas I am still me so that too lasted months. Also joining these gaming months were sickness and death. I means these guys crash some of the best times if you ask me. In two months time I lost two grandmothers and an aunt. These losses then sent me deeper into my gaming, but ultimately have caused more psychological hardships than fire under ass life motivation. For instance, it’s quite hard to be an ambitiously optimistic hypochondriac who procrastinates and is lazy… most of the time. I mean, WTF? I then turned the big three ohhh in March and all hell breaks loose mentally. Its like pre midlife crisis central. Every choice made, and every one that was not started to cross my mind. To sum everything up, being that it is now June, I stopped gaming hard, again. Really, as I think about it, I just literally changed with the seasons and ended up right back here at square one. Luckily, I’m a year wiser and ready to open up and not worry about how long my attention span allows me to be focused. This is a hobby/therapeutic blog after all. No blog Nazis here.

When Darkness Falls… A return to light

Written 22 days ago: I originally wanted to start this post with the words, “forgive me” or “I’m sorry”. Before you get all worried seeing such ominous words, I’m just in what feels like an endless low that is hitting its second week. I originally felt I needed to seek forgiveness for just dealing with the same issues I told you I was here to deal with. Maybe even with a little help from those of you reading whose blogs I also read. Your struggles are my own, and there is power in that. 

I wanted to write something today. I didn’t know what, but just something, anything to get me writing. Anyway, the forgive me was in case I went off course. Where as now, I have stopped crying, got it together, and am realizing the “forgive me” might have been best. 

Wow. The power of the draft system. I wrote the excerpt above almost an entire month ago. I was posting consistently and reading the blogs of others consistently as well. I remember being happy, or at least feeling an emotion that is similar. I sometimes struggle with the concept of happiness. I was doing good. Then, I watched as I got lost. It was like sitting in a movie theater alone during one of those movies where you NEED that one other somebody there, even a stranger would do, just so you know that the scene that just happened was real. Like when a character of perceived great value dies in a way that is neither here nor there story wise. Yep, that was me, watching myself slowly turn into a husk of the person I was striving to be, and the only audience watching the WHOLE thing unravel, inside and out, was me.

I’m sitting here today,  hacking up a cold ridden lung or two, and something inside wanted to blog. Can you believe that? I can, because I never really stopped wanting to. I could feel it, always there right under the surface, clawing and yelping to be freed like some beaten and neglected canine. And the truth is it had every right.

When darkness falls the weight is staggering. Everything is ALL bad. I feel the rate of my heart increase, my body parts shake and twitch randomly, and finally the heat of anger washes over my entire body. Sometimes I sit and wait until it passes, and sometimes I’m reminded that this is only the start. This is only the rollercoaster clinking to the top of an inevitable drop.

Today I saw the monster inside. The one who teases, pokes, and prods at my humanity and caring personality. The one who questions my right to happiness and laughs at me when I fall short. And more eerie than any other trait, is the love it has for hate, anger, and rage. Yes, I saw her today and so I write. Why? Because for the first time in my 29 years on the planet, I realized and was shaken to find, I wasn’t fully in control. That if pushed just enough, an explosion could occur with physical ramifications.

I used to know my limitations and what types of interactions could push me to hit something (never someone, but that’s another story). But today I found that as I change, so does my monster. As I grow, so does she. Where did this b*tch get the b*lls? When did we go from lashing out as a protector of the weak and mistreated, to lashing out because I get to my limit of stupid annoyances? I honestly did not see the escalation happening. I didn’t know today would be the day.

Just so you know, I didn’t damage anything or hurt myself or anyone else, but that doesn’t make the action ok. In fact, it stresses the point that there is an issue right into my “I can do this without meds” face. I mean, what am I doing without medication, really? And why do I place so much emphasis on accomplishing some grand task by not taking any? I will tell you why, because somewhere along the way, I became the ignorant one. I became the person who has one experience and generalizes using ONLY that one experience for all future situations and decisions.

I guess what I’m sharing and what has taken me hours to write is a realization about medications that is long overdue. I want control of me, but I don’t think that using medication can truly give me that because the medication will be in control. That whole sentence screams red flag does it not? It also fails to acknowledge the cold hard truth that as long as I am not on medication, my emotions are in control. So, as I fight for some imagined idea of control, the only thing I’m really doing is letting myself get worse to prove a point I made up in my own mind. Deep. I think I’m ready to explore my options with less hesitation and a more open mind.

I share because I choose to, not because you have a right to know. 

Recently, I made the decision to try a new approach to living with mental illnesses. First, I decided to write this blog and vent about my daily to weekly life and the triggers that send me into a spiral. Then, I tried speaking to my wife about what I wrote. Last, I figured, why not just do the same thing in real life and be open and honest with those I speak to throughout the day. 

Well, *insert wrong answer buzzer here*

Step one has been the only super helpful step so far, with step two teetering between helpful and masochism, and three can shove it. Let me explain. A big part of my anxiety is communication… With any and everybody. Writing allows a small bypass of that anxiety, but of course it doesn’t all just up and disappear, it’s just bearable. I can deal with the anxiety I feel when I write, because I control me and I am alone in writing. The only variable is my mood. 

Now, I use the word control lightly, because I am nowhere near complete control of my emotions, but that is the beauty of working towards understanding oneself. Or so I like to think. And some may disagree and scream meds, but I would prefer you shut your mouth if you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, nor have you yourself been on a medication for anything close at all. 

I have. And I know times change and new meds keep coming, but who are you and where is your medical degree? And why is that the first thing out of your mouth? Does it make you nervous when I say I stopped taking them years ago because I was having a good spell? You’re probably more afraid now cuz you don’t know what to say or how to process that I’m “that kind” of sick. “Who told you you have that?” Really? The homeless man who I just passed on my way here is who. Yep, that’s right, not a medical professional at all.

I don’t know what I was expecting beyond step one and two . I can write about anything here. I can be me as freely as I choose, as long as I am not malicious or hateful in my message. I can express my feelings so much better than if I were to speak from the top of my head. I can also protect myself as I deal with reflection and what I recall of my past and the events that led me here. 

I someday hope that I will again visit step three and give the world another chance to show another side, but until that day, my wife and blog will do just fine. I don’t have to share with anyone beyond that, but if you find yourself opposite me in conversation about it please note: I share because I choose to, not because you have a right to know. 

Dear Gigli, Thanks For Making Me Feel Dirty, Ashamed, and Like a Weirdo Again…

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Credit to http://www.thedailybeast.com, Columbia/Everett*
Gigli, wow. Ok, so I knew what I was getting into, for the most part. I knew that 1) it was considered a bad movie and 2) nobody really admits they’ve seen it. To me, that sounds like time to grab the popcorn! See, I love to curl up and watch a good and horrible flick every now and again, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. That being said, I don’t truly believe it was that bad. At least not in the sense I would’ve expected.

I honestly think that the “bad” label may have come from the way the movie may have made people feel. I initially had my normal feeling of “wow that was a bit off… I loved it” But, after some deep thought and reflection, I changed my mind. Why? Because I saw myself. The lesbian who has slept with men. There in lies the issue for me. As I watched my wife become more and more agitated at the storyline and where it was going, I couldn’t help thinking how bad it was making me feel.

From the moment the plot became all too apparent, I could feel my heart pounding. Beautiful woman walks in, super Flirty with the fellas. The sexual undertones strangle anyone within a twenty-mile radius they are so overwhelming. Yet, no mention of her sexuality. Then, we are led to believe that she then accepts an offer to share a bed with this male stranger she has excessively been flirting with, only to mutter the words, “I’m a lesbian” stopping the advances of her bed mate cold in his tracks.

So, what is my issue you ask? My personal issue is that I’m bi. I am writing it in internet stone for all to see. My wife knows, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to admit. This movie upset me because, I saw a character living my life and I didn’t like it. I may be wrong about the character as a whole. Hell, I’m not even sure if she knew what her life struggles were or how she developed her sense of self and the label that fit best. She was only a fictional creation after all, but I digress.

It was still too close to home for me and I, to this day, try to understand how I became a closeted bisexual. Maybe it was after I came out as a lesbian, or even before perhaps. In retrospect, I realize I was a confused child like many others in the LGBTQ community. I had no point of reference for how I was feeling or who I was attracted to. I had to come to my own conclusions, forming a warped perception.

The big perception was that there is only “gay” and “lesbian” and “straight” so anything between is a lie. I got over the “lie” part when I lost my virginity, but the part where I felt shame for finally figuring myself out had only just begun. I was a liar at that point. I came out to everyone, I could have lost everything. And here I was, discovering the fluidity of the human sexual nature. BS!!!! What would my friends at the time say? What would my family say? What would society say?

This woman did not just say she is bisexual, did she? Look at her clothes, she looks like a man. Why would she even think that men are interested in her? Why did she put us through all this if she is still half ok? How can she call herself a “stud” and think she’s still downe?

The imagined negativity goes on and on and can still be heard on quite a regular basis. To this day, even after marriage, it haunts and bothers me; The stigma of bisexuality and the illegitimacy I feel when I try to explain my past and present. I still find myself downplaying any encounters with a man, as if I will be cast into a dungeon the second I say it was anything more than horrible and disgusting.

How did I manage to create an inverted identity crisis? When did I decide that even in a self loathing state, half of me needed just a little more hate? I don’t know exactly, but Gigli I sure hope you’re happy opening that reflective can of worms.

*Please bare with me on the beginner photo credits.

Morning Reflections, 1

I have the words “fear love” etched into the skin on either side of my belly button. As I lay here for the moment, calming my sudden vertigo, my hands trace the stretch marks and surgery scars on my belly. I’m reminded of the weight I’ve gained and lost over the years. I’m reminded of the fibroid removed in February. These things are fine for me to remember, but the words… The words are part of a set. They’re just floating on my belly alone as my left arm plays host to the many other trinkets I’ve collected over the years. I’m haunted by the person who carved such a strong proclamation into my flesh. Where is she hiding? How do I get to her and tell her to turn on a light and look at where we are now?