Rays of Light in a Dark Day

Yesterday was a rough day. As someone who suffers from depression, it was one of those days you just get through. You try your best not to cry too much, not to lash out at those closest to you too much, but mostly you just try not to believe the dark thoughts that swirl around you, rendering you practically immobile and defenseless.

When I woke up this morning, I realized that there were actually a few rays of light throughout the day, but they were drowned out by how horrible I felt. In the aftermath of a day like that, I’m going to go ahead and remind myself that even in the dark times there are things to smile about, it isn’t as bad as it feels, and even as much as that dark voice tells me I’m unlovable, no one in my life went ahead and decided to un-love me yesterday.

In the middle of the afternoon, Adelle texted me and we exchanged a few texts before I asked if she wanted to FaceTime. We spent the next hour or so chatting about life (#college as she calls it), exchanging stories of our week, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It’s times like this I am so grateful for technology and the ability to not just talk to my daughter, but to actually see her.

The rest of the afternoon is pretty much a blur at this point but at around six, I had resigned myself to just getting through the rest of the day. I was blissfully numb without actually feeling any kind of joy.

Earlier in the morning, I told my boyfriend that I missed my boys and was excited to see them. They share time with me and their Dad and Sunday is our switch day at around 8pm. A little after six, I received a text from Jaxon.

“Can me and Dru stay one more night since we have the day off tomorrow?”

Of course, my response was, “You sure can. When do you want me to pick you up?”

“When you usually do on a work/school day (smiley face).”

We exchanged I love yous and a few more smiley faces and I went back to reading. I’m not one to say “no” to my kids for the sake of a “no” and since the only reason I wanted them here was what I felt to be a selfish one, it wasn’t even a decision. It didn’t even hurt all that much. I think with depression, you reach a point where you want to save everyone around you the heartache of just being near you; or, at least, that’s what it feels like when you aren’t thinking clearly and all you see is the darkness.

It was almost 9pm when I received a phone call from Andru.

“Hi Mom.”

“Hey Buddy. How are you?”

“I’m good.”

“What’s up?”

“Is it okay if I come over tonight?”

Andru is my sweet 11 year old and is very sensitive to me. I don’t think he picked up on the day I was having, but he did probably feel bad knowing it was my night and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

“Of course you can, buddy, but if you want to stay at your Dad’s, that’s fine too.”

“Well, it was a toss up. I want to come over but I want to stay here too, so I did Eeny Meeny Miney Moe.”

“I see. I guess my house won?”

“Yeah.”

He showed up about ten minutes later and I was happy to end my day cuddled in between my boyfriend and my son. It was a beautiful end to a rather difficult day.

I’m happy to be on the other side of it. I’m also happy I have memories of the day that aren’t all dark and stormy. A few rays of sunlight managed to peak through thanks to those closest to me.

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

JJJ 2015

Advertisements

Everyone Heals Differently

I was watching Criminal Minds the other night and granted, it’s Criminal Minds so some of the subject matter is dark and rather hard to take sometimes; but this time was different. This time, there were scenes that took me back to a time in my life that I continually think I’ve moved on from, that I think I’ve healed from, but then a song or pictures from a movie or something else will take me back.

I nearly had a panic attack it was so strong. I really felt like I lost a sense of this reality and was back in that one but more in an emotional sense.

It makes me wonder if I will ever truly heal.

I suppose sometimes we think that “healing” means letting it go and moving on, never to think about it again or feel it again or see it again. But I think there are some things where this never happens. The most we can do is accept that it is a part of us and do our best to not attach to the memories when they surround us and fill up our waking moments and we drown in them for as long as they have us in their clutches.

Everyone heals at their own pace, even when speaking of physical ailments. I had my gall bladder out a little over a year ago and the doctor told me I could be back to work in three days or it could take two weeks; everyone is different. I’m not sure why we all have this expectation of emotional trauma that there is a time frame for healing. “Didn’t that happen 25 years ago and your still not over it?” “I’ve moved on, why haven’t you?” People almost take it personally that I’m having a harder time healing when in reality, I’m not sure if they’ve necessarily healed, they just have a better way of burying it somewhere and not looking at it or dealing with it. This could be very judgmental on my part. Maybe people really do move on that quickly and who am I to say they didn’t really move on, they just buried it.

I think about it a lot because my brother lost his son when he was eighteen months old and everyone around him had an expectation and we all wondered why it was taking so long for his grief to lessen. How horrible is that? And it’s not like it was coming from a place of trying to help him. I think it was coming more from a place of feeling uncomfortable around his grief. It’s not an easy thing to be around someone who is grieving so strongly. I can’t really empathize because I’ve never lost a child; but even if I could, how could that possibly help? It doesn’t. All we can do is accept their grief, but most people have a hard time doing that.

I think it’s the same with emotional trauma in that we never really heal but most people are uncomfortable around someone who is hurting all the time so we learn to hide it or bury it or we stop talking about it and turn it inward where we still battle it, but at least no one will judge us for it.

I suppose this is a really dark take on healing. It comes from me wondering why and if and honestly how can I possibly still hurt this much from something that happened so long ago. They say time heals all wounds, but I don’t believe it. Time just takes you farther away from the event so maybe it’s not in such clear focus anymore and maybe, just maybe it is a little more bearable. But I honestly believe that there are some things we just don’t heal from.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday where we were prompted with heal/heel today by Linda G Hill. It is also part of Just Jot It January also hosted by the same lovely lady. Feel free to click the links and join in.

JJJ 2015

socs-badge

Questions for a Tired Brain

This is going to be a quick jot today. I was weighing and taping boxes yesterday and I am exhausted. I walked in the door from work and literally could have fallen asleep right then, but I had some research to do.

Chuck Wendig always posts his challenges on Friday, and today was a mash up of different movies (I think it was just movies… I didn’t really read the list, only what I rolled). The mash up is like how people sometimes describe stories, i.e. a cross between Being John Malkovich and Alice in Wonderland (which is actually what I randomly rolled). I’m not sure I will be able to come up with a story, but I will admit to never having seen Being John Malkovich, so me and the boyfriend decided to watch it tonight.

I’m pretty sure my weary brain will not be able to go into much depth with this line of thinking, but I will do my best. The show was weirdly ridiculous, but it also made a pretty interesting point and raised some even more interesting questions. Who are we really? What would happen if other people stepped inside of us? Doesn’t that already happen in some ways?

My son, Jaxon, always laughs and points out whenever I use some of my boyfriends word habits or facial ticks, like winking and clicking my tongue or saying “Oh my gosh”, which are both things I apparently didn’t do before I met my boyfriend. Adelle came home from college and said everyone said “word” at school and she had picked up on it. All the guys she knows here are saying “lowkey” before they say something and she managed to pick up on it in the few weeks she hung around with them. Or maybe she told me she was determined not to pick it up.

I’m not sure if that’s necessarily the same thing as what the show portrayed, but that’s what the show made me think of. How original are we really? I’m not saying there’s a master puppeteer somewhere in our head or out in space controlling our movements, but we all definitely affect each other in numerous ways.

And that’s it. That’s the entirety of what I am able to type or think about tonight. It was too much for my tired brain and thinking about it only makes me more exhausted.

What about you? Have you seen the movie? Did it raise similar questions with you?

This post is written as part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

JJJ 2015

Yummy Food

I’m one of those people who likes cooking shows. Well, to be more precise, I actually like cooking competition shows. My favorite foody show is Top Chef followed closely by Chopped. I’ve also watched Masterchef, but that one started to get a bit, I don’t know, boring or something and I didn’t end up watching it last summer. I also really liked Hell’s Kitchen for a bit, but that one can get loud and severely over dramatic, so I’ve watched it less and less. I also really liked Kitchen Nightmares when it was on or I could find it.

My boyfriend has been known to say that he would rather watch cooking shows where they actually give you the recipes so he can try to make the dish, and I’ve been known to respond that we wouldn’t actually make them anyways. I don’t know. I don’t hate recipe-based cooking shows. I actually like Rachael Ray but I’m never home to watch her show. I’ve tried watching some of the Food Network ones and they just aren’t that interesting to me. I think it’s the competition aspect of it; how they are trying to do their best in order to win. Besides, who doesn’t love Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi?

There are certain things I’m not sure I’d ever eat, especially from a show like Chopped, but then there are things that I would love to try. I just don’t have the money to eat at fancy restaurants, so my exposure to food has been somewhat limited.

Last night, my company took us out for dinner to what I considered a fancy restaurant and I literally felt like I was eating Top Chef food. It was a bit surreal bonding with people I’m not going to see after two weeks, but the food was delicious. It was also beautiful, so I did that super annoying thing in the restaurant where I actually took pictures of every dish. I tried to do it before I started eating and I managed to get all of them except the salad. I definitely started scarfing that down before I remembered the photo, at which point I had to force myself to stop in order to take the picture. So, that one isn’t as pretty as the others.

The other fun part of the evening was trying to decipher what was in each dish. We picked from a pretty lackluster menu typed up by the person who set up the dinner. I picked pappardelle pasta, beef and (the only one that was described) lemon basil sorbet. So, not much to go on about what the dish actually was. We also knew about appetizers, but didn’t get anything saying what they would be. So, yeah, there was a lot of “what do you think this is?” and “I can’t quite figure out what the green puree is, do you think it’s peas?” I’m not sure we were correct about anything except the banana polenta (not my favorite), but it was a great evening of beautifully delicious food, some rather tasty wine and some stellar company.

I do hope you enjoy the pictures (including my not-so-technical definitions) as much as I enjoyed the food, although I somehow doubt that’s possible.

And just in case you’re wondering, I did manage to get two different desserts, but I only managed to finish one.

Brought to you as part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

 

Appetizer - bread with some stuff on it, butternut squash soup and scallop

Appetizer – bread with some stuff on it, butternut squash soup and scallop

Pappardelle with a yummy green puree and some veggies

Pappardelle with a yummy green puree and some veggies

Beet salad - there was some kind of puree and a LOT of vinegar

Beet salad – there was some kind of puree and a LOT of vinegar

Beef with banana puree, mushrooms, two different sauces and fried onions

Beef with banana polenta, mushrooms, two different sauces and fried onions

Lime Basil Sorbet

Lemon Basil Sorbet

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

Chocolate Pomegranate Tart

The Queen

I’m going out on a huge limb here and posting a story that I probably wouldn’t have about six months ago. I’m of the opinion, though, that we don’t grow if we don’t challenge ourselves. I’ve never written anything in the fantasy genre and I’m not sure I’ve done the world justice, but at least I attempted it. You’ve gotta love challenge’s like Chuck’s this week where we had to click on a D&D character generator to get our prompt for 1,000 words of flash fiction. My randomly generated character was: “Spiteful elf bard from a cavern without echoes who has anger problems.”

I also managed to throw in Song Lyric Saturday where the lyrics were: “It’s all the same. Only the names will change” from Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi. And just to make things fun but really because I know I won’t post anything else today, this is also part of Just Jot It January. So, you have a threefer, if you will.

Special thanks to my boyfriend’s son who told me elves who live in caverns are dark elves and the elf name generator I clicked on to get some pretty cool names. The story is 977 words. Please be nice in the comments, although I always welcome feedback.

The Queen

Ingemon’s boots tapped the floor of the hallway in an echoless staccato as he made his way quickly to the queen’s chamber. Anger billowed off him in waves and the Cavrillians who happened to notice him scooted out of his way or turned in the opposite direction in order to avoid him. No one wanted to cross paths with the bard. It had led to death in the past and those remaining valued their lives enough to get out of his way.

Cavrill was an Elven town located in a cavern in the High Mountains. The cavern itself was a maze of hallways and chambers with a river that ran straight through, ending a good many miles at a lake deep in the mountain. They were secluded, isolated from the world outside and with no one to fight and nowhere left to explore, their destructive nature turned inward.

Ingemon wasn’t the first to fight for a position among the Cavrillians, but his was the bloodiest. He had taken the role of historian and story-teller from Jarl over ten years ago in a slow, destructive campaign that eventually led to Jarl’s very public death, which was attended by their queen, who cheered him on with immense pleasure. She had taught her kingdom well the best way to survive in a brutal world.

When Ingemon crossed the entrance into the queen’s chamber, the guards on either side put out a hand to stop him. One dark glance in each direction and they removed their hands slowly to let him pass. Straitening even taller than his normal six feet, he made his way to the throne where the queen sat and kneeled in front of her, bowing stiffly in deference to her position, though it cost him much to prostrate himself for anyone, including the queen.

“My Queen, I’ve heard more whisperings.”

Ingemon’s nose met her black velvet cape as it swirled around her like a serpent guarding its treasure.

“Always my faithful servant.” Her voice slid across his ears and fell flat in the echoless chamber.

“Yes, Highness.”

Girithil was a descendent of the original spider queen and her coloring reflected it. Her pale face glowed in the unnatural light, her ice-blue eyes hard and unflinching. She stood up and slowly glided around his prostrate form. Her cape slithered along the ground, her waist-length ruby red hair shimmering against it, moving with the cape as if in a dance. She reached out a velvet-gloved hand and stroked his silvery, black hair as it lay motionless around him.

“I’ve heard things, my sweet.” Her soft voice barely carried to the guards idling near the entrance.

“My Queen?” His head lifted up slightly, his eyes almost meeting hers but her hand pressed down on his head, pushing him back down.

“You know how whispering can be.”

“I do, Highness.”

She noticed his voice remained steady where others would have wavered by now.

“The whisperings are speaking your name, my pet.”

He let out a laugh that died almost as soon as it left his lips.

“Lies, my Queen. Nothing more than jealousy and spite.”

“Oh, of that I am certain. Mine were the first whispers that made their way through this cavern. But how am I to choose which are true? Have I not always acted on every one? Is that not how I’ve kept my throne?”

She watched him closely, her hand still holding his head down. He didn’t move a muscle that her eyes could see, but her hand felt the muscles in his neck tense and she knew. She was inclined to believe whispers, but it was always good to know one wasn’t wrong.

She dragged her gloved fingers through his hair before grabbing a chunk and yanking his head back. He heard the knife as she freed it from the strap on her thigh seconds before he felt the blade press on his neck.

She looked into his eyes and wasn’t surprised to see a blank expression staring back at her. He wasn’t afraid.

“You plot my death in order to take my throne?” Her dark red lips were inches from his face and her soft voice slithered across him, softly caressing his face.

“I will not deny it.” He remained still even as the blade began to bite into his skin and blood slid slowly down his neck.

“Lofty goals for a bard.” Her icy smile didn’t reach her eyes and her grip hardened in his hair, the knife biting deeper.

He didn’t respond.

“Guards.” They were by her side in seconds, taking Ingemon from her grasp, holding him steady as she slowly stood up.

Staring at the knife and the blood slowly dripping down the blade, she coldly passed sentence.

“We don’t have another historian and the stories must survive, otherwise you would be dead. Write them down and I may yet let you live.”

His eyes had darkened but his reply was soft, “Yes, your highness.”

Sneering at his words, she looked at the guards. “He doesn’t need legs to write, just make sure he survives. I didn’t forgo the pleasure of his death on my hands simply to have you kill him by accident.”

Both guards nodded their heads in acceptance of her wishes and she waved her hand in dismissal, returning to her throne with a sigh.

How she would have loved to squash his beating heart in her hands.

She couldn’t remember how many had tried to take her throne, but it didn’t matter. They were all the same to her and they had all met the same fate, all but Ingemon. She would visit him in a week to see how he progressed. She was still hopeful that his death was in her near future and she smiled almost gleefully as she stared at his blood shimmering on her knife.

One-Liner Wednesday – Contradicted

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This one always gets me right in the gut because I really dislike it when people don’t agree with me. It’s not even that I believe I’m right about everything, I just really don’t like to be wrong. I also have a tendency to  over-personalize everything. I hope this quote helps you as much as it helps me whenever I read it.

This is part of One-Liner Wednesday hosted by Linda G Hill. (Love that Lady!)

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Let’s Make Paper Chains

The office was pretty quiet during the holidays. They used to shut down for two weeks but not this year. Not only are they closing the office down, they also switched systems to integrate with the parent company so we are training, closing out one system, transferring data to a new system and trying not to go completely insane while we’re at it.

There were about four of us sitting around one afternoon bitching about the situation when my boss said, “Only 25 more days and then it won’t be our problem.” We all laughed, but I asked, “Is it really 25 more days? Does anyone know for sure?” We all made a show of looking at our calendars, but I don’t think any of us really wanted to know for sure. Maybe, in that moment, it would have made it all too real, and there was also the possibility that it was actually more than 25 days.

Eventually, we all got back to work. About an hour later, my boss came out of her office with a huge smile, proudly holding up a paper chain. A paper chain! I can’t remember the last time I even thought about making one of those. We, of course, all had to have one so we spent the next thirty minutes or so writing dates on pieces of paper, folding them into circles and either taping or stapling them together. I think it ended up being more like 28 days (only counting working days) but within an hour, we all had paper chains stuck to our cubicles or office walls.

I’m pretty sure it’s the highlight of everyone’s day right now; tearing off one of those pieces of paper to signify one day closer to walking out the door and never looking back. I think we are all eager to move on to different things, perhaps better things.

But it got me to thinking tonight about how stressful situations can either lead us to pull our hair out and have a nervous breakdown, or we can let it all go and do something completely child-like. There is something so liberating about letting all the guards down and saying, “What the hell, I’m going to make a paper chain; I’m going to color in a coloring book with crayons; I’m going to eat ice cream for dinner; I’m going to make a snow angel and then I’m going to build a snowman, and after that, I’m going to drink hot chocolate with marshmallows in it and make snowflakes out of paper and hang them in the window.”

Here’s hoping we can all find more moments like these in our lives that aren’t stress-induced. Who cares what anyone thinks? Do something that makes you laugh out loud and just be happy. Life’s too short to spend it hurrying from one stressful situation to the next.

This post is part of Just Jot It January hosted by Linda G Hill.

https://lindaghill.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/jjj-2015.jpg