As many of you have noticed, I stopped my daily blog entries before I could even get halfway though the A To Z Challenge. It is a lovely idea and a great group of people; I just honestly had no idea when I started this project in April that I’d also end up tackling a much tougher project: cutting back on my beta-blockers in an attempt to feel a little bit healthier.

I’m pleased to report that nearly 20 days after deciding to finally do something about the beta-blockers, I have successfully cut my dose in half. This is a much faster transition than doctor’s recommend, but one of the “special” things about me is that when I set my mind to do something, I tend to want to reach goals as fast as possible. I had a terrible two weeks of withdrawal and rebound symptoms, and know these symptoms may keep on going for a good while yet, after reading the experiences of others. But I’m proud of myself for making it this far.

One of the strange and most distressing symptoms is pain and swelling in my fingers, which make it difficult to write longer blog entries like this one. I’ve never had anything like this before, but do spend a large percentage of my day typing on electronics. I am hoping it is a temporary problem or side effect of drug withdrawals, and not an entirely new health issue or worrisome symptom of my “mystery illness”. In any case, all of this has caused me to simplify my life, check out of anything causing stress or deadlines, and having to give up on the A-To-Z challenge. I’d love if all of you who wrote supportive messages would keep coming back to visit, and my thanks for that support. I’m also very sorry for having to abandon something I was very excited over doing…that is not like me at all. I do tend to overload my plate with things I want to do and get very stressed out about that, and it just wasn’t something I could handle while going through withdrawal symptoms. I promise I will be back next year, though.

I do not know if cutting back on the beta-blockers has helped me, but it certainly hasn’t hurt. I’ve started to wake up earlier, started working even a minimal number of hours again, dropped a few pounds, and some days, I catch myself feeling way happier than I have in a long time.

One of the things that goes along with dealing with a chronic illness is that people think you’re depressed, especially when it changes your lifestyle from being the life of the party to being a bit of a recluse. Earlier in the week, The Guy I Am Currently Dating and I got into a fight because he found out I’d been spending time playing a game online every day, meeting new online friends, and didn’t mention it for a year or so. I understand why he was angry about it, that I kept something important to me a secret. However, when you’re sick, sometimes it’s important to have a space of your own, where people don’t treat you like someone who is sick…even the rare people you strike up friendships with via Skype or e-mail. It is important to have a space to just be yourself, the you that you were before something came along and took away pieces of your spirit and your life. It is important to meet other people, even strangers, who may be suffering in their own lives, but rarely talk about it because it is a relief to escape from the world and the people in it that consistently want to help, but just remind you that you’re not normal, and hurt you because you can’t give the thing they want: the old, energetic, healthy you back.

Sometimes, remembering what it’s like to be healthy for a few hours is more helpful to a person suffering with chronic illness that the most supportive and loving friend. You don’t love your friends any less, but when they are living out in your old life, in a world you can’t participate in, it kind of hurts and is hard not to be depressing or feel depressed after a while.

I do not generally feel depressed, even if I can’t go out and play. A friend of mine has told me that everything that has happened to me has made me a more substantial person. I am happy and appreciative of the small things; the TV shows I love, reading and writing, a lovely chat with a friend, a visit on the weekends, a surprise for no reason. I am no longer spending hours posting pictures of myself, and getting involved in arguments on Facebook, or spending every Sunday in bed with a hangover. I am not even killing myself with anxiety over sick family members, financial troubles, or even what has made me so ill for so long, and if there’s going to be a diagnosis or treatment. My primary focus in life is me and doing the things that make me happy, for maybe the first time in my life. Pleasing others is no longer something that is there to define me. It may seem selfish, and it may seem weird, but I am not depressed. Some days, I am even optimistic that a day will come when I have my life back, and still have that greater appreciation for the small things. Some days, I am even happy; I smile and I laugh. I am not always at peace with my situation, but I am at peace with myself more than I’ve ever been. There is a reason that when people are recovering from anything, whether it’s addiction, mental illness, or a physical ailment, “putting yourself first” becomes less of a foreign concept. I still feel guilty over it sometimes, but when “feeling the best you can today” becomes your most important thing, so many other things are secondary.

Healing, even a little bit at a time, is a personal journey…but I really do appreciate everyone who cares, everyone who leaves comments or chats with me on the internet or sends me Skype messages or posts things on Facebook I like. I know that The Guy I Am Currently Dating may be bored with all our “quiet time”, but the 100% truth is that I look forward to Friday nights with Boston Market and Amazing Race every bit as much as I did going to the coolest new restaurant, and drinking until 4 AM at the club. Yes, I still miss those things and someday, adventures may be part of my life. But for now, things that used to bore me and be met with a “Why can’t we DO something?” are now things to which I look forward.

Perhaps it’s fair to say all these struggles have helped me grow up, just a little, without my even noticing.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing my journey with me. It may not be the road I’d have chosen for my early 30’s, but I am not alone and I am not depressed. In fact, I’ve started feeling happier than I have in a long time, looking forward to things that are months away, without the caveat “If I’m still around”.

I would have liked to have the energy to finish my A To Z project, but instead, I spent April focused on healing, baby steps at a time, so that maybe I’ll be in a better place for next year’s A To Z April. 🙂

And who knows? Perhaps this less than desired chapter of my life will make a wonderful book someday.

I feel like I failed at something really important. :( (

4 days into cutting my Atenolol (beta-blocker) dosage from 25 to 12.5 mg, I started having side effects I just couldn’t handle. The past few days haven’t been a walk in the park, but today felt exactly like I did before I got myself on the atenolol/Valium combo. I started having severe panic attacks, as well as a feeling like someone was crushing a particular place on my skull, a pressure on the right side of the top my skull traveling down to the base of my skull. I had bursts of adrenaline that were so intense that I wanted to break things, and ended up picking up a pair of dull scissors in order to carve X’s in my skin. I didn’t feel anything, because of this overwhelming crazy adrenaline feeling, although when it subsided, I saw all the marks on my chest and realised they hurt.

I took Trixie out and almost fell down the stairs. Finally, things got dizzy and black around the edges and I started thinking I was going to die. I couldn’t make it through. I felt convinced something bad was happening to me, much like the day I had to call the ambulance after taking BuSpar for 10 days, and taking extra Valium didn’t help.

In the end, I had to take another quarter of my beta-blocker. I can’t stop taking this drug, although I’m tired of gaining weight and don’t want diabetes. There must be something in this drug that my body needs, meaning there’s something wrong with me, and it’s NOT ALL IN MY HEAD. I may feel like I’m losing my mind, but I’m not. Something is wrong with me that nobody is seeing, and I need help. I don’t know what to do. :(

There is no reason for me to need to be on a drug that is largely prescribed for blood pressure and heart rate issues. In the 4 days I cut my dose, my BP didn’t go above 130/75, and my heart rate never went above 90. In fact, yesterday, my BP was lower than ever. However, I had a terrible migraine with aura, something I haven’t had in a long time. Today, the side effects were so terrible that not only did I feel I was losing my mind, I felt I was going to die.

I hate Atenolol. It makes me shaky, it makes me too physically exhausted to function, and it’s caused me to gain 25 pounds in 6 months. I can’t have dental work when on the drug. I can’t burn calories. And yet, I can’t quit taking them because the side effects are not only unpleasant…they feel life-threatening, either because something is going to happen to my body, or because these bursts of adrenaline make me want to harm myself and break things. Reading on the internet, I discovered that not only is there a link between beta-blockers and obesity, and ultimately type 2 diabetes, but that beta-blockers suppress rushes of adrenaline. There must be something in my body that releases excess adrenaline in a problematic fashion, and it isn’t because I have an anxiety disorder. I was strong enough to cut back on the beta-blocker, despite the anxiety, until these adrenaline bursts started happening.

Cutting down on the beta-blocker actually cut down on my dizziness and disorientation a little. But, by day 3, my extreme sensitivity to light returned with a vengeance, just like the very first day I got sick. I don’t understand how this has anything to do with a diagnosis of vestibular neuritis and panic disorder. I know beta-blockers are used to treat panic attacks and migraines, and taking them has helped with that…but the side effects have been a terrible trade-off. My friend told me he felt like a whole new person when he got off Atenolol.

My blood pressure and pulse rate tell me I don’t need a beta-blocker. Even when anxious, these things were slightly elevated but normal. If I were healthy, I know I could work to lose the weight this drug has put on me, which makes me hate how I look and how I feel. I know this would probably lower my blood pressure naturally. But on the beta-blocker, I eat less than 1,000 calories a day and struggle not to gain a pound a week. I have no endurance. I used to walk 4 miles a day, now I struggle with 15 minutes.

I don’t know what to do. I need help, and not just the “dealing with your anxiety” and “here’s some new pills” variety. I am an emotional person, and I do have anxiety, but I’m also very rational. I’m rational enough to know that if negative symptoms return when quitting a drug, the drug isn’t curing the problem, it’s hiding it. It’s not identifying the cause, just allowing you to live with the effects. And that might be OK…although I don’t think it is; most of my anxiety comes from not having an understanding of what’s going on and being dismissed by specialists as another anxious girl who doesn’t know how to deal with stress….but I don’t think it’s OK when the side effects are limiting my quality of life, and there’s still no diagnosis that makes sense to me.

All these doctors…someone is missing *something*.

What I know is this: 8 months ago, I was a healthy active girl with a pretty good life. I went to the beach, got sick, and feel like I’m 80. I’m now always tired, don’t exercise enough, don’t enjoy places with bright lights and loud music, feel horrible about myself due to the extra weight and inexplicable breakouts (both never a problem for me in the past). I sometimes feel irrational if I don’t eat within a certain amount of time after taking my pill, or have outbursts of anger for no reason. I get dizzy and lightheaded for no reason. I thought maybe the pills were exacerbating the effects, but I can’t seem to handle life without them. Sometimes, I have feelings of social anxiety, and I don’t know why. Other times, I never feel more normal than going out and drinking martinis with my friends. I was never mentally ill. I never needed medications for depression or anxiety; I had those things sometimes, but managed them. I was never skinny, but never gained 25 pounds in 8 months. I had plenty of energy, plenty of enthusiasm for life.

Something happened to me. I don’t know what, or why, and I’m not convinced anyone else does, either. I might buy the diagnosis of a vestibular disorder with an associated panic issue, but that doesn’t explain why I can’t quit the beta-blockers without feeling insane pressure on top of my head, tingly migraines, and the inability to tolerate even normal light.

I know they’ve tested everything there is to test, and my insurance isn’t paying for anything, so I can’t keep looking for answers. But something happened to me this summer, and I need to know what it is if I’m ever going to improve.

For eight months, I have cried and prayed and looked for answers and had scary tests I can’t afford…and I’m still no closer to an answer. The Valium and Atenolol make me healthy enough that I can cope with life and feel like a normal person, even if it’s a fat cranky person. But they don’t tell me what happened to me.

It isn’t something floating around my head. It isn’t just anxiety about life. Panic attacks don’t make you not able to stand even normal light without medication. Normal, healthy people don’t have random bursts of adrenaline that make you feel overly impulsive and irrational and immune to pain until it wears off. If there were a specialist I could see anywhere in the world that had answers, I’d go there. I just want an answer, and to know what to do to live a long and healthy life…preferably in an energetic and attractive form.

I see people posting stories kind of like mine…always slightly different…all over the internet, talking about doctors who hand out beta-blockers and anxiety pills and anti-depressants, and the hell of withdrawing from those things…and how eventually, you can’t remember what bad feelings were caused by sickness and what bad feelings were caused by cutting back on the drugs. I can’t tolerate most drugs; a majority have made me so ill I don’t even want to try. The fact that the Valium and Atenolol work…at least until I’m 250 pounds and drop dead from some unknown condition…should convince me to stop worrying and take the drugs.

But it isn’t enough. I need to know what’s wrong, and how I can fix it. If I have a vestibular problem, I’ll go to rehab. If I’m mentally ill, I’ll go to therapy. If I have a heart problem, I’ll take the medication and shut up about it. If I have a brain tumor, I’ll get it cut out. But I’m not going to keep paying to go from specialist to specialist, just to hear the equivalent of “We don’t know, try this.”.

I’m not unwilling to do the work and put up with a certain level of discomfort. But I’m not willing to experiment with something as precious as my life and my health to treat something nobody understands with stuff that might make me sicker, or not work at all.

I thought maybe quitting the beta-blockers would be the answer. I feel like a failure because I couldn’t do it…but maybe I couldn’t do it because my body was telling me it *wasn’t* the right answer.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, it’s been a particularly tough two days for me. I’m trying to be as strong as I can, to tough things out, but honestly, I realise I’m not a strong or tough person in a lot of ways. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve survived some dark times, but I always had a sense that ultimately, my survival and how I navigated through the world following those dark times was up to me.

When it comes to illness, it’s not up to me. It’s up to science, up to medicine, up to God, up to the sheer luck of getting the right doctor who might prescribe the right thing, make the right diagnosis, order the right test. I do not always feel confident that I am going to be able to pull through this particular time in my life, I do not always feel confident that I received the correct diagnosis from the correct doctor. I waver back and forth from agreeing that it’s all a simple psychological problem, it’s all “in my head”, to feeling that the unexplained symptoms that doctors try to hide with pills or dismiss as unimportant because they don’t fit with any logical, simple diagnosis are important, and that I am in fact a very ill person that isn’t being heard.

Over the weekend, I made the resolution that on Monday, I was going to start dropping the amount of beta-blocker, a particularly side-effect-laden pill called Atenolol, I’ve been taking for about 6 months. A quick search on the Internet turned up countless message boards from people on this drug, wondering how to deal with the side effects. I made it through the initial phase of feeling to exhausted to move and actually became functional on Atenolol. However, I gained 25 pounds in 6 months, and when doing a Google search on this, found numerous medical studies that suggest a link between beta-blockers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. I learned one in 5 adults today is currently on a beta-blocker; they slow down your heart rate and your BP, they treat anxiety, and are essential to people suffering from certain heart conditions.

The problem is, they are overprescribed, and once you’re on them, it’s very tough to get off of them. The withdrawal symptoms are so unpleasant that it hardly seems worth it to get off a drug whose major side effect is making you fat and sleepy, when the alternatives include heart palpitations, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, and a host of other “rebound effects”.

I was prescribed a beta-blocker because I had a pulse of 120 for an extended period of time, and my body was releasing adrenaline constantly, causing me to have sometimes as many as 8 panic attacks a day. I do not know if this was a result of the infection I had that doctors claimed led to the development of my vestibular disorder, or due to an anxiety-related condition. My blood pressure was only slightly elevated, and since being on the beta-blocker, my panic attacks have ceased, but my blood pressure has become exceptionally low. Meanwhile, weight gain and being tired all the time are making it more likely I’ll develop heart problems.

A while back, two different doctors had given me the OK to cut my Atenolol dose in half, to see if this decreased the side effects. I’d never done this, because I was scared to mess with what was working. I’d been able to function like a normal person much of the time lately, stopped feeling convinced I was going to die, but hated myself for feeling fat, lifeless, and dependent on pills. Yet, I was afraid to make a change because I didn’t want a huge setback. I never found out why I mysteriously had heart problems when I’d always been active, energetic, and at the time of my illness, walked miles every day. I was at a relatively healthy weight, didn’t have the best dietary habits, but also didn’t have any significant health issues—mental or physical.

There was no explanation for why my heart should suddenly go out of control, not even the vestibular and panic issues the last doctor diagnosed me with, and it causes me a lot of anxiety to think that it might happen again…or, worse yet, suddenly stop.

Yet, reading about other people going through stories like mine, how a drug that helped them feel better was actually destroying their health and quality of life and ability to live life fully…it was enough for me to decide that I had options. One was to cut down on this pill to see if I really needed it, and if I do, why? What’s wrong with me that I need a heart-related medication to feel well and function properly? A visit to the cardiologist yielded no answers back at the beginning; he didn’t examine me, and ran a test to see if there were any physical abnormalities within the structure of my heart, and dismissed me with “You have anxiety. Go to a psychiatrist.”

I am still anxious, still scared. I’ve made it through two days on half a dose of this drug, and nothing about it has been easy. Every hour feels like three. Just moving makes me feel exhausted. I wonder if I’m going to wake up in the morning when I go to sleep, or my heart is just going to get tired and stop. I am afraid I won’t have enough time left to do everything in life I want and need to do.

I am afraid I am dying, and unlike those who suffer from something that is sometimes actually fatal, I have nothing to base that on except an internal feeling, and the fact some scary medical problems happened to me that countless tests and doctors couldn’t adequately explain.

I feel like there are too many things left for me to do in this world to die now. There are too many loose ends, things (good and bad) I never said to people that I’d want them to know, things I never took the chance on because I believed in myself too little, mistakes I never recovered from and others won’t let go.

I want a second chance. I want to be healthy, mentally and physically. I want to do more and be more and share more and touch the lives of others more. I want to make a difference, to be here for a reason, to be loved.

People my age, and far younger, die every day. Nobody is immune. But there are phases where I become convinced I need to get my affairs in order, that I won’t be here for as long as I need to…and maybe I won’t be healthy enough to make the most of those days during the time I’m here.

I worry that one day I won’t wake up, and all these people will never know how much I loved them, or respected them, or thought the world of them, but never said so, because people just don’t say things like that…and when they do, it is so often misinterpreted. I worry that people will say things like “She was a girl who had so much potential”, meaning I never actually accomplished anything of note with my life. I wasn’t all the things our society values; a rich, hot girl busy climbing the corporate ladder, or a loving wife and mother who took care of everything and everyone.

Instead, I lived my life like it was a never-ending 1920′s salon, full of art and witty people and intelligent conversation and food and cocktails and music and sex and life. Someone once told me my best quality was my joie de vivre, the ability to enjoy life when the world around me is going to pieces. In retrospect, that seems a little shallow to be one’s best quality. I don’t think I ever had it in me to be the kindest, the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented and accomplished girl in the room, but I think I have something rare I should have made better use of, but didn’t. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t know what to do, or was afraid of rejection,of being ridiculed and used and gossiped about, or because I just didn’t believe I was special.

Looking back, that seems silly to me. Once upon a time, I had health and energy and youth and vitality, and could have taken a world full of chances I didn’t. Now, I don’t know if I have enough energy to get out of bed, or I can make it to dinner without falling to pieces.

Sometimes, I’m really scared. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately…just scared, and alone, and like nobody understands. Yet, I don’t want to be alone. That’s my greatest fear in the world, dying alone when there’s still so much more I want from the world. When you’re ill, everyone seems to disappear, save those few close friends and family that will always be there, and most friendships seem remarkably shallow.

I wish I’d been the kind of person in my life that bothered to connect more; not just to know people or to be recognised or admired at parties, but to get to know people on a level that really matters. It took me three decades to figure out that being the most popular girl in the world didn’t mean being the most well-liked, and it doesn’t mean feeling the most loved and supported. It just means you’ve met a lot of people. I wish more people had known me, the real, authentic person who always felt too much and loved too much and cared too much about everything.

I wish I hadn’t made so many mistakes and acted as if life is a party destined to go on forever. Inevitably, it won’t.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or how to fix myself, or how to find peace when every day is a struggle. All I know is that if life is a party, it’s still early, and I’m not ready to go home yet.

“Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I’ve a calling.—Sylvia Plath

If you want some wiser, more positive, less self-pitying views on life, I’d totally skip reading my journal today and visit Letters Of Note: On The Meaning Of Life. Anything I have to say here is just going to piss you off if you’re the kind of person who only wants to surround themselves with positive light and energy and whatnot.

This week, it’s been really hard not to feel down on myself, and to feel as if I’m not really worthy of existing. In fact, it’s been kind of hard to remember why there’s much good about me existing at all.

It all started with some random person I don’t know harassing The Guy I Am Currently Dating, outing the fact that, *gaspshockawe*, I had changed my name in the past. The next day, I attended a birthday brunch for a friend where I apparently offended an overly politically-correct HR person by using the word “crazy” to describe my personal feelings/mental state while on certain anti-anxiety medications. I then offended her the next day by posting pictures of the event, wherein I tagged everyone I knew. She was one of the two people at the event who wasn’t a personal friend of mine on FB, but she left a snippy comment about how she and another person were invisible because they weren’t tagged. (you can only tag people on FB if they are friends, and you know their names.) Then, to round out the offense, she “friended” everyone she met at the event, conspicuously excluding The Guy I Am Currently Dating and myself.

Then, of course, there was the communication from “G” I posted yesterday; fat, crazy, horrible person, nobody cares about you, more negative reinforcement.

This was all topped off by trying to go and play trivia last night, which I could barely manage. The first place, Las Margaritas, plays their music so loudly you can hear it inside your car while in the parking lot. They then close off the room with the speakers, so it’s a self contained patio area, and have decorated it with tons of white Christmas lights and heat lamps for comfort. I lasted two question, and on the way out, was shaking and had the typical desire to repeatedly stab myself with a sharp object. (a common and particularly dangerous side effect of whatever causes my brain to become agitated. Sometimes, I actually do it. I don’t intend to harm myself, it’s just a release of the energy that makes me feel like my brain is going to explode. Like cutting, for people who hate blood. As I said, whatever is wrong with me very easily makes me feel “crazy”.

We then went to a second location, which wasn’t much better. It was a build-your-own-stir-fry/grill place with loud music and the relentless chop-chop-bang of a metal spatula. I felt dizzy the entire time, and the feeling of tingling and wanting to rip my skin off only disappeared when I went home, took an Advil, and laid down on the bed for awhile.

Sometimes, I feel so depressed and hopeless. I don’t feel like there’s anything good I have to offer the world, and all the people who hate me are right to range from not wanting a thing to do with me to mocking me behind my back to actively trying to harm my relationships and cause problems in my life. I can’t even go out of the house to engage in quiet, sedentary activities with friends, much less go to an event where I’m social and likeable. It hurts when people call me fat and make remarks about my weight problem, because I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve gained over 20 pounds in less than a year, and my doctor has told me I won’t lose an ounce as long as I’m on my current medications. However, quitting the beta blocker that makes people feel lethargic and cause weight gain has unwanted side effects like heart attacks, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and high blood pressure. It’s not my fault…none of this is…but it doesn’t mean I don’t hate myself because of it, and I don’t hate the way other people judge me when they look at me.

I’ve always been attractive; not thin, not pretty, but attractive. And I’ve always been energetic, the life of the party; not always the most charming or the most interesting, but always up for a good time. I’ve always wanted to go out, be around people…and this illness has taken all of that from me. Now I sometimes wish I never had to leave my house again, because I’d rather not have other people see me this way. I have friends and family spread out across the world who ask me when I’ll be up for visiting and traveling again, and the truth is, I need my friends and family more than anything in the world, but I don’t want them to see me like this. I want to be the person they remember, not this listless, moody, fat blob that’s nothing like me, and will either burst into tears, have a panic attack, or attempt to rip her skin off with a pencil at any given time.

I would give 10 years of my life just to be able to live this part of my life healthy and happy again. But the truth is, sometimes I have no idea if I have those years to give. Out of all the doctors I’ve seen, only one made a diagnosis, and all my reading points to the fact that it’s often a cop-out diagnosis, one they give when someone has odd neurological and inner ear symptoms, but there’s no logical indications why. I sometimes think maybe I have some tiny little thing in my brain; an aneurysm, a tumour, a lump where one doesn’t belong, or that my heart simply isn’t working right, causing me to gain weight and carry around more and more water by the day.

Some days, I hope the secret thing that $50,000 of inadequate and less-than-informed medical treatment couldn’t buy me a diagnosis for will just kill me and get it over with, so I don’t have to spend more days hating myself, hearing how much others hate me, being criticised constantly, having no defenses with which to handle life. I don’t want to spend more days missing what I used to look like, what I used to feel like, how easy it was to find joy in things.

So, today, when I read Gala Darling’s journal about making a list of 100 things you like about yourself, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I can’t think of a single thing worth adding to the list, except for the fact that I did my work, didn’t get fired, and didn’t let my dog starve all day.

Sometimes, I think about how I’d trade places with a terminally ill person if I could, so I’d have the definite answers I need, the closure and the ability to just disappear that I want…and that person would have the skills to cope with living the kind of life that’s been thrown my way, whereas all I can do is curl up in a ball and cry because of everything that seems lost. This…whatever it is…has taken away my ability to feel young, to feel attractive, to look attractive or interesting to anyone, to go to the grocery store, to go for a walk in the park, to randomly go out and drink with my friends after work, to be a supportive and loving friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, to do anything worth anything in the world. I feel like I’m just a shell now, and maybe if I knew I only had a year left to live, I’d be relieved. I wouldn’t have the time to miss everything that I’ve lost, and I’ve lost so much, at so many different points of my life…I don’t have it in me to keep starting over. There’s only so much life can take from a person.

Sometimes, I just want to be at peace with my life, say my goodbyes, and know I don’t have to struggle every day of my life, or cry because I’m not better, and I can’t stand being the person I’ve become.

I honestly wouldn’t have one thing to put down on the list, much less 100. There isn’t much that’s good or unique or special or appealing or interesting about me, period. Sometimes, I don’t even know if I *am* anymore. I’m just leftover pieces of a girl who once had a very difficult, adventurous, colourful, and unconventional life.

I think someone else would be able to make better use of the pieces than I can.

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Earlier this month, I came across a great book called 365: A Year Of Journal Prompts, and promptly added it to my Kindle. It was one of my intentions this year to focus on my writing as something I like to do, rather than something I need to do, which is often what I feel when a specific deadline is looming over my shoulder.

When I had my tarot cards and my astrological chart read for the upcoming year—by two different sources, incidentally—both told me that 2012 was going to be a year for life to be put on “pause”, rather than one of adventure or decisive action. This made sense to me, since I knew a main focus of my year would be concentrating, little by little on improving my well-being, on getting on a path where managing my illness doesn’t have to zap my strength or dictate my mood or my life. At first, I was extremely depressed about this. I’m the sort of person who likes big gestures, fast solutions to problems, impulsive reactions, instant gratification. Learning there was no surgery, no magic pill, no quick fix that would take me back to the person I was plunged me into a state of depression for about two weeks. To some, it would be encouraging to hear that with time and patience and the willingness to face fears and anxieties, life would steadily get better. But for me, the eternal realist (and often pessimist), all I heard were words like “chronic condition” and “permanent damage” and “physical and emotional rehabilitation.” All I heard was that I wasn’t going to magically get my life back, I wasn’t going to be able to just ditch the drug that caused me to gain over 20 pounds and zap my energy level, I wasn’t going to be the person I used to be for a very long time.

I didn’t react very well to learning that it would be a year of “pause”, because there are so many things with which I am discontent, things I’d like to change about my life. Shortly after the disheartening news about my life came disheartening news about my job, which no longer gives me the economic and practical sense of stability it once did. I am again a starving artist, uncertain about the future, not sure where life will take me. I used to enjoy that uncertainty at one point in my life, but now, it causes me anxiety. Ironically, both my tarot reading and astrological chart for the year told me that I could expect to experience setbacks, which were necessary to my greater success in life.

Another thing that my tarot reading mentioned was that I have a lot of “success” aspects in my cards, in my natal chart, in what’s perceived to be my personality in general. Countless times, psychics and astrologers and tarot readers and other intuitives have told me that I will have great material success in my life, thanks to my ambition and determination. I always laugh at this, sitting there with no long-term career prospects, a retired actress that no longer has the looks or charisma or talent to perform, a chaotic dreamer with little business sense, a person who keeps getting knocked down by life every time success gets anywhere close. Yet, year after year, they tell me this same thing. Contrary to what my mother always advised me to do, it is not that I will marry well. I will be the one in control of building an empire for myself.

I can’t say I put a ton of stock into all that sort of thing, but it’s amusing to have someone predict your fortune. Sometimes, though, it goes beyond uncanny to relatively specific details that don’t necessarily apply to everyone..and then you have to start to wonder. Is there really such a thing as someone with the gift of intuition enhanced to the point that they can see into who you are, as well as who you might become?

This success thing has always baffled me, because I have always seen myself as someone ill-equipped for success. At this point in my life, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that sometimes I have so many dreams and ideas and thoughts and things I wish to communicate swimming around in my head, that I’m not sure what to do with them. More often than not, I ignore them, and go back to my daily routine. I take my anxiety pill and try to relaaaaaaaaax.

I read somewhere recently that anxiety was an artist’s natural response to pent-up emotion, to not being given an adequate creative outlet. After that, I got this idea in my head that I was going to compile my poetry, even if I never published it. I was going to write a book of fiction, even if I never let another person read it. And I was going to use my blogs and journals to release whatever it was that was hiding, causing my sudden shift from free-spirited example of joie de vivre to being physically and emotionally overwhelmed by too much life. Is it really as simple as a nerve in my inner ear that doesn’t know how to calm down, that freaks out when it’s given too much information to process, and responds with demands for anti-anxiety pills and alcohol and silence? Or is it some other newly discovered fear in my life that’s erected a road block, one designed to keep me from living too freely.

All my life, I’ve fought tooth and nail against those who would constrain and limit me, who judged and disliked me for living too freely. Ironically, the largest fight seems to occur from within, as if those people, those voices, have set up shop somewhere inside my essential self.

Hence, when I found this book, giving 365 prompts for the journal writer, I decided I would spend a year answering the questions presented in my posts; whether telling a story, reflecting on the question, or doing some soul searching. The questions appear to be for the personal journal-keeper, but I can never seem to remind myself to write in my handwritten journal on a daily basis. The thoughts flow more freely here.

The first day’s prompt is this: What strengths have you developed over your life?

It isn’t as easy as I’d think, answering this question. I have always been smart, but not particularly ambitious or motivated to make good use of those strengths, so it’s more a positive quality than something I’ve developed. I’ve always found it easier to make friends and find lovers…but I’ve found it equally effortless to make enemies and incur hatred from those who don’t even know me, so I’m going to disqualify people skills from the list. There are other ways I could describe myself; unconventional, free-thinking, uniquely attractive, quirky, humourous, well-traveled, well-read, a talented performer, a good friend…but sadly, many of these have been transient qualities. When difficult times hit, at various points in my life, I found myself essentially abandoning many of these qualities, replacing them with inhibition. Uncertainty went from meaning possibility to signifying danger. I was no longer as young, as fun, as attractive. I stopped performing, stopped traveling, stopped making as much time for those I care about as I’d like to. I stopped seeing shows, listening to music, reading books I like. I found how easy it was to lose myself.

Yet, I am not lost. I know who I am, if I sometimes forget. I am sensitive, fragile even, but I am also strong, something I never considered myself to be. The quality life has instilled in me…often with me fighting every step of the way….is resilience. When life knocks me down in a way that disables others, I always find a way to get back up. I always find a way to begin again, to reinvent myself, to replace old dreams and circumstances and ways of life with new ones. I do not handle these defeats with grace; I cry, I scream, I hate the world and everyone in it, I sulk in a depression for awhile, listen to emo music and refuse to get out of bed, wonder what it would feel like to close my eyes and never get up…but I always do. I always find a way to survive, even in situations that seem to unbearable for me to comprehend muddling through. I’ve always come through, one way or another. It’s as if the word survivor is encoded in my DNA. Some of these experiences, I still can’t think about. They terrify me. They give me nightmares. They make me feel unbearably alone. But I always remember, “I am here, and somehow, I am supposed to be successful”.

Part of what the tarot reader told me regarding 2012 was that I needed to make peace with my past, because not doing so was keeping me from my future. She did not know I was working on a collection of short stories that are loosely based upon some of my own life history, nor that I had more of a past and less peace than most.

Perhaps the lesson I’m learning now is that you can always move on, you can always adapt, reinvent, thrive, prosper…but wherever you go, everything you’ve ever been and done, everyone you’ve ever loved and hated, it all goes with you. I’m not sure how to let go, or even if we’re meant to. I think that maybe, making peace and practicing forgiveness and non-judgment towards yourself and others is one way to begin.

Life has taught me that on the outside, I might appear a little delicate, a little high-maintenance, a little less likely to adapt to new circumstances than others. But beyond that exterior, there’s something in me that’s a fighter. Even when I’d like to simply give up, that piece of me won’t let me take the easy way out, walk away, let others win. I’m strong and resilient, words that I’d never apply to the somewhat pampered, oversensitive, overemotional, histrionic person I’ve always been. Other people have called me narcissistic, and I firmly reject that label: but sometimes, I wonder if there’s an element of truth to that off-handed characterisation often applied to people that others simply don’t understand, those who seem to live in their own little world.

Maybe there’s a tiny piece of narcissism and pride that will fight tooth and nail to help me survive virtually anything, when a majority of me simply doesn’t feel strong enough.

The next time someone calls me narcissistic, or an egotist, I will inwardly remember to thank them. Without that tiny piece of my psyche that may very well be those things, I might not be here today. It’s much harder to survive and come back from difficulty than it is to simply let things fall apart. That knowledge is, I think, the most important strength I’ve learned throughout my lifetime.

I’ve been feeling really lonely lately, isolated from the world. Even when people are around, sometimes I’m overwhelmed by this feeling of being alone and misunderstood.

I am not really the kind of person people should like lately, so it doesn’t surprise me when it seems like most people I know aren’t in a rush to return my phone calls or send an e-mail asking how I’m doing.

But it feels extraordinarily lonely, being the girl nobody sees. It’s as if the more physical space my body occupies, the more emotional space my feelings occupy, the less the world notices my existence.

It makes me really sad. Some days, I just want to disappear, and see how long it takes all my so-called friends and acquaintances to notice.

If I didn’t have a roommate, and someone I’m dating on a regular basis, I think it would take weeks before the world even noticed my absence if I died tonight. It makes me sad that I am that small, that inconsequential.

When you are not pretty or fun to be around or in a position to make people feel better about themselves, you don’t really matter much to people. You don’t have anything that interests them. Therefore, nobody gravitates towards you, or shows much interest in your company.

I notice that even with my closest “friends”, any communication that occurs usually does so because I think to send an e-mail or FB message or text or leave a voicemail asking how someone is doing, or reminding them that I miss them. Very rarely does anyone reach out to me, and I can’t remember the last time anyone called me up out of the blue to ask me if I wanted to go grab a drink, or coffee, or have dinner.

Even with all the energy I’ve put into my Meetup for the past 5 years, it seems I’m just the invisible force that makes things happen. People contact others on FB to friend them, exchange phone numbers, get together to do stuff with new friends they’ve met…but it’s literally been years since anyone new has reached out to me, or cared about my presence enough to want to be my friend.

So, what is it abut me that’s so inherently unappealing, unlikeable? I understand that a certain demographic will be indifferent toward my friendship because I am going through tough times, because I am not thin, attractive, single, energetic, sexually available, all those things that single people gravitate towards. But that isn’t everyone, or even a majority of the people I meet. There must be something about who I am, on a fundamental level…people are entertained by knowing me, but not enough to truly want to be my friend. If they do care to be my friend, it’s on a casual basis that too often seems one-sided. :(

The result is that I feel very isolated, not on par with the rest of the world. It’s like a big exclusive club I will never be a part of.

This knowledge makes me really hate people sometimes. Why I try to connect with anyone, I don’t know. It’s never really real.

I used to believe that I was special, that one day, I would be famous and wealthy and well-known and everyone would love me. The reality is that I’m in my early thirties, and it is irrelevant to the majority of the world if I exist or not….save a few people who truly care, and a few people who wish my death to be something that happens sooner rather than later, but not enough to do anything about it. And this makes me really sad.

I tried to talk to the Guy I Am (Was?) Currently Dating about this, and he became angry with me and blamed me for making bad choices, rather than trying in any way to make me feel better or convince me life was worth living.

Apparently, me being ill and unable to concentrate on work in order to do what I need to do to not get fired and not be able to walk more than 10 minutes or go to the store or not gain 5 pounds eating less than 1500 calories a day is a personal negative choice I’m making. If I was in the hospital with a disease that had a name, people would call and ask about me and bring me cookies. But because I’m just fucked up, it’s my own personal choice to be miserable. Kind of like when I was unemployed and my boyfriend yelled at me for missing out on a job because I was out of town with him and irresponsible enough to not spend the weekend checking my e-mail. It’s awesome when you tell someone how depressed you are about the state of your life and they blame and yell at you. That makes everything so much better.

Maybe if I just use the awesome power of positive thinking everything in the world will magically cure itself, and I’ll feel strong enough to work and find out most of my friendships aren’t me chasing after someone else getting them to talk to me and I won’t have $50,000 in unpaid medical bills the insurance company has denied and I won’t be making less than half of what I was making this time last year while pushing my body beyond its limits to work harder and I won’t have people blame me for my illness and I’ll be able to eat food like a normal human being without putting on 5 pounds a month and effectively ensuring nobody will ever be attracted to me again. Forgive me for not believing in the power of prayer, faery dust, and The Secret, but I’m a realist.

And realistically, it’s telling me none of that is going to happen. But you can’t really blame me for being depressed until you spend a month living in my world, and then you can tell me how much of my situation is due to my own negative personal choices.

So I’m going to disappear for awhile, and figure out who the fuck cares, and why. But, truly, I kind of doubt anyone will even notice, one way or the other.

This afternoon, I went outside and noticed that even though it was 90 degrees and humid (pretty much the status quo around here from late May-early October),it was raining, one of my favourite types of weather. In fact, it was so beautiful, it made me burst into tears. I’m not sure why, other than it reminded me of a few rare times in my life where I was just perfectly happy, and it seemed like the world was this exciting adventure in which anything was possible. It reminded me of being young and healthy and free and not yet discovering that the world holds a lot of “No”, a lot of disappointment.


I miss that person. I miss those moments. I miss that freedom I used to rely on all the time, to constantly rewrite my own story. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. It’s kind of sad that something as simple and beautiful as rain leaves me mourning for that brief time of possibility that exists in everyone’s life, before we start choosing, and choices have consequences and obligations, and those things shrink the size of your world immensely.

I don’t dream the way I used to. I think I’m afraid that if I did, I’d always want my dreams to become part of my reality, and my reality would be less of a comfort to me.

Image Courtesy Of DangerDame.Com
I have been very ill lately. I don’t know what’s wrong, despite a trip to the ER and the hassle of trying to get in touch with a specialist. There’s a random problem with my heart, which is beyond scary, and the entire month of July has been spent with me barely having the energy to keep up with anything. My world has gotten so small I’m almost the only person in it, and I spend a lot of time feeling scared and alone.

The thing is, too many of my friends have had to leave this world far before they should have. I can’t stand the thought of being one of those people. There are too many things I haven’t done yet, and I’d give anything for a do-over, back to those summers of rainy days when anything was possible and every adventure the most exciting thing in the world.

So, it seems rather appropriate that in the midst of all these worries, and loneliness, and fear that it’s a time in my life to prepare for endings rather than beginnings, I should read about the passing of Amy Winehouse. All of the talent, beauty, charisma, and vivaciousness in the world doesn’t prepare a person for how to live in the world, and how to be content in that world, and in herself. I can only imagine that she would have been thrilled to have departed in the company of so many others with the same struggle; the “27 Club” is full of geniuses, eccentrics, and those that couldn’t reach out and connect in any other way than through the beauty of art.

People have been on the television all weekend, telling tasteless jokes and putting nails in the coffin of a beautiful person they all gave up on a long time ago. But I feel it’s a huge loss, the crashing of a magnificent plumed bird into the sea. RIP, Amy Jade.

Amy Winehouse, A Memorial, by O-Lie

One of my long-time favourite bloggers, the charming Gala Darling, has started a frank and open dialogue on her blog this week about body image issues, and how the media affects how we perceive ourselves and others, and how the blogosphere is as much of a culprit in the war against self-acceptance as any other form of mainstream media. It’s a very thought-provoking topic, and brings me to my personal challenge for the day.

Day #6:

 

Refuse To Be Ruled By Insecurity

Obviously, unlike some of the other “less ordinary” ideas I’ve posted recently, this isn’t something you can check off your list in a day or so. For most of us, insecurity is a problem that’s taken a lifetime to develop, and nothing is going to cause you to magically love yourself. However, taking the time to work on feeling better about yourself, accepting your uniqueness, and making the most of what makes you special is far more productive than standing at the mirror, mentally pointing out all the things that make you feel inferior.

Getting involved in the world of the performing arts in childhood, for me, meant being exposed to body image issues and insecurity is something that happened at a fairly early age. It’s one thing to go through life feeling inferior, always mentally reminding yourself that you aren’t that special, that you’re not as thin, not as pretty, not as talented,, not as interesting as the next girl. That’s tough on the self-esteem, naturally. But,as a performing artist, you’re repeatedly putting yourself out there for criticism, living in a world that will tell you it doesn’t want you because you’re too fat or too thin, too tall or too short, too plain, too All-American, too ethnic, too virtually anything that you might be is enough of a reason for someone to tell you straight-up they’re not interested in you.

It’s a harsh world, one that aspires to not only perfection, but even then, a type of perfection that’s never attainable. In reality, the most successful performers are those that own who they are, rise above the feedback, and have enough confidence to present an unabashed version of themselves. There are, of course, ways to compensate for that confidence, if you lack it—as the old saying goes, “Fake it until you make it”—but showing insecurity or fear of being judged is the best way to ensure you don’t hired. Even Lady Gaga, the most well-marketed pop sensation since Madonna, hides behind flashy costumes, outrageous makeup, and being as scandalous as she wants to be, while telling an audience full of admirers what she wanted to hear throughout her life as a performer, “You’re special just the way you are, and there’s a place for you, so don’t be afraid.”

It’s pretty easy to do when you have a well-crafted, much-loved image to hide behind. Most performers need to create much more subtle versions of their own image, one that doesn’t give the outward presence of being artificial—but still protects the person inside from demons like judgment, insecurity, and inadequacy. It’s no wonder that many artists, after years of performing, training, schooling, etc., find themselves out in the real, 9-to-5 world not being as accepted, liked, or admired as they’d prefer to be. I once had someone tell me the reason people didn’t like me was because nothing about me seemed real, like I was a character out in the world, rather than a real person. I thought about this more than a little, since the person who said it was someone I’d known for awhile (and later did me great personal harm, so as it turned out, really DIDN’T like me much.), and realised I understood the observation. Being a performer, to a certain extent, means creating a wall between yourself and the rest of the world, a way to protect the fragile pieces inside, and to be tough enough to survive with your confidence intact—and to compete, and win.

It’s not that much different in the “real world”, at least I don’t think so. It’s just that many people are unaware they’re putting those walls up, and others are unaware that without those walls, they’re likely to find themselves trampled upon. Everyone wants to compete, and win, and one of the weapons of choice in life seems to be finding opportunities to cut down your competition. Judging others, gossiping about others, making assumptions about people, and passive-aggressive tricks to create feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are extraordinarily common among even the most educated, talented, and accomplished of women.

In my case, it wasn’t until I spent a few years in the “real world” that I realised how cruel that place could be, and how it was much more difficult to protect yourself from what the world had to say about you, than from a director that refused to give you a job or a photographer that didn’t find your look appealing. Suddenly, all my defenses stopped working. I gained 20 pounds. I didn’t go out of the house to socialise for three months. And, I stopped being able to put myself out there—to go on auditions, to look for work, to flirt with someone I found attractive, to even get up and sing in front of friends, or play games where I risked looking silly. All of the sudden, I felt like what I perceived myself to be—a short, chubby, weird-looking girl that people didn’t like, and always talked about.

After a lifetime of “Fake it until you make it” in the confidence department, I’d started to believe in myself, knowing that whatever my flaws, I had a certain amount of charisma, appeal, and “star quality” working for me. After all, I’d always been a short, curvy, weird-looking girl, and I’d always had plenty of people who didn’t like me….as well as plenty of friends. I landed roles, got noticed positively for my uniqueness, was fairly popular, and had no problems in the dating department. My general attitude toward myself made it easier for me to brush off the rejections, the haters, the things I always disliked about myself.

A particularly negative experience with other people, and ultimately with myself, took that away from me. On one hand, it’s the worst thing that ever happened to me—and on the other hand, it’s the best. I’m learning to love myself in a more real, unconditional way, and learning that being loved by others can be real and unconditional, too. You don’t have to be perfect, thin, beautiful, accomplished, or rich to be loved…you just have to open yourself up to it, which is an extraordinarily difficult task, when you’re always hiding for fear of being hurt.

In reality, there’s no way to protect yourself from that. No matter how perfect, thin, beautiful, accomplished, or rich you are, there will always be someone to judge you, someone waiting to tear you down….and you’ll find that everything you thought would make you happy ultimately did very little. You’ll find yourself constantly hiding, limiting yourself, retreating from life, while simultaneously thinking you’re very free and open and confident enough to put yourself out there.

In case you were wondering, here’s what the average American looks like—and it’s not what you’re seeing in any magazine.

Men:
Height (inches): 69.4 (5 feet, 9.4 inches)
Weight (pounds): 194.7
Waist circumference (inches): 39.7

Women:
Height (inches): 63.8 (5 feet, 3.8 inches)
Weight (pounds): 164.7
Waist circumference (inches): 37.0

In addition, the average non-surgically-enhanced woman wears a 36B bra size, and has 39″ hips, making her between a size 12 and a size 14 for most clothing designers. Although this is average, a size 12 or 14 is considered “plus” size for many designers, and some choose not to manufacture their clothing in these sizes.

Unattainable perfection is the most dangerous illusion, because it leads to the idea that if only we can achieve it, we will finally be worthy of love and admiration, and protected from the possibility of being hurt. It leads to both men and women starving themselves, throwing up in the bathroom five times a day, drinking bottle after bottle to get through the tough times, taking drugs, having random sexual encounters, and mutilating their bodies, all in an attempt to punish themselves for not being a living example of unattainable perfection, and not deserving happiness.

Get out there and live your life, no matter how imperfect you think you are. Flirt with someone you find attractive, without assuming nobody would ever notice *you*. Eat a real meal with friends, carbs and all. Drink champagne to celebrate nothing special, except life. Fall in love. Travel. Open yourself up, without caring what others will say or what the photos will look like.

Personally, I’m going to spend this weekend wearing a few of the many cute outfits that have been retired and hiding in my closet because I think they make me look too fat, too voluptuous, too skanky, or someone else will criticise my quirky fashion sense. I’m going to ignore the scale, stop examining my flaws in the mirror, stop telling myself how unremarkable and unattractive I am. I’m going to get a pedicure, eat brunch, and remind myself that life isn’t an audition, and it’s not a competition.

It’s just life, and each of us is as well-equipped to participate as the next person—even if that person is thinner, richer, smarter, prettier, or has a better job.

There hasn’t been much posting here lately because, to be honest, I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately. I can’t blame it on the weather, because it’s been unusually sunny for February in Atlanta. In fact, last weekend, it was in the 70′s, and felt more like May than February. However, it hasn’t been enough to overcome this feeling of frustration and discontentment with nearly everything and everyone. I feel a little like I’ve had month-long PMS.

It doesn’t help that last week was one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a long time. In the course of 48 hours, I broke a front tooth, got pulled over by the cops (and my roommate and I were both very lucky we didn’t end up in jail), and found out I got fired from a writing job I’d been working on for six months. I’m going to need a root canal and crown for the tooth, which is a $1700 bill, because I don’t have dental insurance. The job is replaceable, but I’m already financially struggling this month due to a huge amount of expenses ever since December, and this week, the primary place I work for isn’t sending any clients my way. It’s really a terrible, awful month here.

On the brighter side of things, last weekend, one of my best friends in Atlanta (and my former roommate for two years), got married. The wedding has been in the making for a few months, but in terms of wedding planning, all came together in a relatively short amount of time and ended up being beautiful. It certainly helped that the order for 72 degrees and sunny was filled. *laughs*

The bride and groom have been living together for some time, and have a beautiful little girl, so in some ways, the wedding seemed a little like a formality. To most everyone who knows them, it’s as if they’re already married. However, during and after the ceremony, both of them looked so happy with each other….so I guess getting married is definitely something more significant than cementing a relationship with a piece of paper, particularly if you’re the church-going type (which these two are.)

However, planning a wedding is stressful for everyone involved, and the weekend of fun wedding events (bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, nails, hair, and makeup) leading up to the ceremony ended up being an experiment in drama. In addition to having three bridesmaids from Atlanta, two of her good friends flew down from NYC, which I thought would make for an awesome weekend. However, somewhere along the line, the girls started bickering, which led to fighting, crying, silent treatment, gossiping, confrontation, and a year’s worth of resentments, annoyances, and who said what about who becoming an issue in the midst of all the things that needed to happen.

I’ve known, and been friends with, two of these girls for over four years. I’m not certain why, all of the sudden, I find out that Person X has a problem with me, and Person Y supposedly agrees, but Person Y says she never talks about me and she doesn’t trust Person X because she supposedly talks about everyone. The more I talk to both of them, the more I realise their stories don’t line up, both in terms of things that involve me, and other things that happened when I wasn’t there. To a certain extent, Person X must be telling the truth, because she told me about things she couldn’t have known about unless Person Y told her. However, on the same side of the coin, there are instances where I just intuitively know Person Y’s account of an event is the more accurate one.

What it’s led me to believe is that, among this circle of friends (and their close friends and significant others), everyone talks about each other. ALOT. Most of it is done behind backs and closed doors, and is more in the form of “venting” and dealing with the minor issues in a passive-aggressive way, so they don’t become major blow-ups. Most of the things said are things that are never meant to be repeated, and when they are repeated, are typically repeated out of context, causing resentment. This has characterised my friendship with these two girls for years, and for the most part, it works, because major blow-ups are rare. But now, somehow, it’s become the case that people are feeling as if they can’t trust each other, accusing each other of being fake or self-centred, and wondering if their friends are really their friends.

I care about both of these girls, and like them both, although they’re both quite different from me, and I don’t always relate. I think it’s largely true that we all talk about each other too much, and gossip, and repeat things we shouldn’t. I think it’s largely true that we all make rude, insensitive, and obnoxious remarks to/about each other, rather than addressing problems or insecurities. But I also know that these girls have been supportive of me through some really tough times, have been the ones to help me through life’s dramatic moments, and have kept the big secrets I’ve trusted them with. I hope that everyone can take a step back and take a look at what really matters, and as a result, work on ditching the high school drama BS.

I personally am going to work on remembering that snarky remarks are not a way to vent your frustration with another person, and even when someone makes them to you first, saying obnoxious things just makes you look like a bitch. I know this is one of my less likeable personality attributes, and it’s gotten me in trouble along the way in life, so it’s something worth working on in terms of growing as a person.

Anyhow, despite the drama, the wedding itself worked out beautifully, and I think that everyone had a great time. It occurred to me that putting on a wedding is almost exactly like putting on a show. There are all these details to take care of, numerous things go wrong, everyone has to remember exactly what they need to do, and there’s always a ton of short-temperedness, stress, ego, and inter-personal conflict involved. But, in the end, it looks like it all happens effortlessly.

As much as I don’t want to be a director, I also don’t want to be a wedding planner. *laughs*

This week hasn’t involved anything of the negative variety, really, other than not having enough work and concern over paying my bills. However, I can’t seem to shake the sad, blah feeling that’s taken over my week. I don’t even know where it’s coming from. But I hope it will leave when February does, if not before.