Happy New Year

Happy-New-Year-2020-with-lightsHiya friends, welcome back. I feel like I’m continuously explaining my absence but this was for a legitimate reason. I thought I’d use this post to give an update and talk about my coming year.

First the update, as you may know, I have been in therapy, once a week, since May of last year. I took the last seven months off (aside from one post to update anyone that may have been reading) to just focus on the therapy, all while keeping my head above water with everything else. I wasn’t in a place to keep writing blog posts regularly and trying to present a front that everything was okay. My mental health became my sole priority for the first time in months, probably even years if I’m being honest. Needless to say, it was overdue, I was sick of pretending I was fine for the sake of others around me, I took the time off to clear my brain and refocus myself. Now that I feel a bit more surefooted in the therapy, I think I can get back into writing at least semi-regularly here.

There was another factor that played a key role in my step back, I upped my course load in school. I went from part-time to full-time, which effectively doubled the amount of time I spend at my computer. I took a step back from anything that wasn’t necessary, basically anything to do with writing, to make sure that I could handle my classes along with everything else in my life, before I started adding other things in.

Okay, onto my coming year. I have decided to stay away from resolutions this year, I’m good enough at setting myself up for failure without giving it name. Instead, I’m giving myself goals, something that I want to achieve by the end of the year. For example, I am terrible at sticking with a skincare routine, a goal for me this year is to wash my face daily. Sounds silly, but in the grand scheme of my life, my own personal well-being tends to come last, this is a way for me to carve out five minutes of time everyday without anything coming up. It’s five minutes.

Another goal of mine this year is to do more of what makes me happy, and that includes writing. I have realized that while setting a daily word count works for other writers, it definitely doesn’t work for this writer. This year, I’m going to set myself a weekly goal and expand it a bit. Instead of focusing solely on word count, I’m going to include story planning as well. This also extends to the blog. I’m planning on uploading at least one post a week, anything else is a bonus.

There are a few other goals I’m setting but honestly, I’ve decided to just do them without telling anyone. Then if I fail I don’t have to feel bad that I let anyone down and I don’t have to worry about the judgment at failing something else. I can just start over and everyone is none the wiser.

So basically, I wrote all that to say that I’m back and definitely better than I was. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things. Happy New Year friends! Until next time…

The Lone Wrangler

Hiya friends, welcome back. I am forever apologizing for my absence, but I’m going to explain why. You might want a snack, and maybe a drink, shit’s about to get real. It’s also gonna be a long one, again, I apologize.

Since I started this blog thing, I’ve tried to be as open and honest as I could be about my life and dealing with anxiety and panic disorders. I have to admit, while I would discuss any of it, what I wouldn’t talk about was just how bad it had gotten. I tend to downplay the struggle because I don’t like to come across as whiny or weak.

CopingFor the better part of seven years, I’ve worn this mask of the funny girl, who gets awkward when she’s anxious and makes silly jokes to keep people from seeing the fear and pain that hide in her brain. I’ve lied and said I’m fine more times than I care to count. I’ve smiled and laughed when in actuality I just wanted to hide and cry. I never wanted people to look at me and see the broken, hurt, fear, or lonely. I wanted to be tough, and brave, I needed to be the one who fixed everyone else’s problems so I could be proud and feel useful, but I was really just running from my own baggage and the emotions that came with it.

Around the tail end of last year, my mask started to slip. It became increasingly difficult to play my role when inside I was just in fucking tatters. I knew that something had to give, I’d come to a crossroad and a decision had to be made. Essentially the door in my Memory Warehouse, behind which I store all the shitty things I don’t want to deal with or think about, had broken (shitty craftsmanship on my part) and the Asshole was in there having a fucking field day. I had run out of duct tape and wood. I dealt with it as best I could, and all but crawled my way through the holidays and the new year. I wrote my cookie cutter blogs about happier things and tried to fake my way through.

I think those closest to me had some inclination that something wasn’t right, but I also think they were too afraid to tell me they could see behind the mask. I tend to get a bit snippy when people ask if I’m okay, especially if I’m not. It meant people were seeing me for what I was, an anxious and panicky mess.

Cut to April. The happy blogs had stopped, and so had I. My days were just a roller coaster of anxiety and panic. I was having trouble sleeping, and when I did it was not very restful. I came to the realization that I’ve been fighting this battle solo for a very long time, I was drowning and it was time to ask for some help.

The next day, I made an appointment with my GP and from there she put me in touch with a woman in the practice who could help. After an appointment with the behavioral health specialist, she gave me the number of a therapist that she thought could help. I called him that day and scheduled an appointment.

It’s been about six weeks since I started seeing the Brain Wrangler (hereby Mirrorknown as Doc), and I feel like I can breathe a bit easier now. It’s a slow process, but I’m working through it and this time I’m not alone. Doc thinks it’s time to dismantle the door and clear out the infection. I am about to stand toe-to-toe with every shitty piece of my past, and I’d be lying if I said this didn’t petrify me. Just thinking about reliving some of this shit makes me want to run and hide, but I know it has to happen. I know the only way I can find peace, and the elusive beast that is actual happiness is to do this. I know I’ll never be “cured,” I’ll deal with anxiety and panic forever, but I can find some relief. I deserve it.

Well, there you have it, the truth about where I’ve been. I plan on writing some more about this, so if that sounds like something you’d be interested in…stick around. If not, I totally get it, looking inside someone’s brain isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Until next time…

Last Line of Defense…

Stand By

Hiya friends, welcome back. I am going to be playing Division 2 today, so no blog post. We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week. Until next time…

10 Happy Things

happinessHiya friends, welcome back. Lately, with my life being really hectic (between school, work, and everything else), all of this can really ratchet the anxiety up, let’s just say panic attacks are happening at least three times a week.

With all the craziness going on, I thought it would be nice to take some time out today, and write about 10 things that make me happy. If for nothing else, it might give me something to look back on when everything gets overwhelming. Okay, we’re jumping in…here are my 10 happy things in no particular order, enjoy.

  1. Hobbs

Well, this one is obvious. I mean, I wouldn’t have married him if he didn’t make me happy. I’m not gonna lie, there are times when I could smother him with kisses. Then there are times when smothering him with a pillow sounds pretty hoofin great (he snores…A LOT, and a pillow is a weapon of opportunity). In all honesty, the jackass can make me laugh like no other, and if there is one surefire way to my icy heart, it’s definitely humor.

  1. The Furry Overlord and his Spunky Sidekick

This clearly means Marley and Spencer (take a guess which one is which). I consider these two wack jobs my babies, and boy do they freakin take advantage of that. Spencer only eats food Mom (that’s me) cooks, spoiled little shit. Marley, on the other hand, eats a diabetic friendly food that costs $48 for six damn pounds. If they didn’t make me happy I certainly would complain more than I do about those things.

  1. My Family

A bunch of loud mouth, cussing hooligans, and I wouldn’t have them any other way. We are very Italian, being loud and well fed is just part of the package. The best part about them is that I know all I have to do is call and someone will show up. Those people taught me how to fight and love with reckless abandon. They’re crazy and can definitely be a fucking handful but they’re my kinda crazy.

  1. My Friends

Ever met people that you are sure you were meant to be friends with? Those people that you know are meant to be in your life, but could definitely not be blood related because that’s just a recipe for disaster. Yeah, those would be my friends. I don’t have very many, but the ones I do have are one in a fucking million. Lucky me for finding them.

  1. Reading/Writing

Two things that save my sanity when reality gets to be too much (which happens more often than I’d care to admit). I was about 3 when I learned to read, and I haven’t looked back since. Writing followed quickly after, and I was sold. Now I could create my own worlds to disappear into, sign me the hell up. Without these two things, I don’t think I’d really be me, and that makes me really happy.

  1. Baking

I’m basically Betty Crocker, people. The weirdest thing about this one is…I bake all the things and yet I eat none of them. That’s not completely true, I’ll eat one of everything I bake, but I’m happier when I share it. I think it’s my Italian side that I just love to feed people. Food is easily one of my love languages, and I use it often.

  1. British Television

Oh, how I love British TV. I can honestly be in the shittest mood ever, turn on something where everyone has an accent and I’m instantly happy. Also, it makes me really happy that they can say anything, show anything, and do anything on television. Don’t believe me…watch Embarrassing Bodies on Netflix, you won’t regret it. It is an experience, and it is so worth it.

  1. Harry Potter

If you know me and you knew this would be on the list. I am a Potterhead. Yes, I know that makes me a geek, but seriously I will fight over my fandoms (especially HP) and I’m not even ashamed of that fact. My anxiety can be a raging asshole, and he will come for me hard fuckin core, but the second Hedwig’s Theme plays, or I crack open the book…he sits down and shuts the fuck up. It is the one and the only thing in my life that works consistently, every time.

  1. Russell Howard

See, in number one I said that the quickest way to my Elsa heart (Frozen joke) is by making me laugh. Russell Howard never fails to do that. It’s so bad that lines from his stand-up come out of my mouth whenever they are situationally appropriate, and sometimes when they’re not. If you’ve never seen a Russell Howard stand-up there is one on Netflix, called Recalibrate. Or, if you don’t have Netflix, I suggest searching Russell Howard on YouTube.

  1. The New House

Buy a house, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. What they don’t tell you, is fun is only there like 50% of the time. The other 50 is full of leaking faucets, yard work, and a toilet that loves to run. A silver lining, I’ve learned how to fix a running toilet, and stop a faucet from leaking. It is fun, and it’s nice to finally have that permanent home base, or HQ as we call it. This is our place, our little corner of the world. The place where we will love and fight, raise babies in and send kids off to college from. If I had a hat, I’d hang it on the wall, because this is where we belong.

There ya have it. 10 things that make me happy. It’s a nice list if I do say so myself. A perfect reminder on the days when shit gets too hard. I’m smiling already. Until next time…

Talk to Me in Korean (just kidding)

친구가 안녕하세요, welcome back. Just judging by the context, you should be able to figure out what that says. In case you can’t, it says: “Hello friend.”

KoreanFor the past couple of months, I have been learning some Korean (like I don’t already have enough going on). All blame on this goes to Tiff. She started learning it, and would randomly text me words she’d been learning and I got annoyed that I couldn’t understand her…so bada-bing-bada-boom…here we are.

Do I, as they say, have a head for languages? Nope, I certainly do not! I’m pretty good at swearing in Italian (vaffanculo is my personal favorite). I even speak rudimentary French (ask me my favorite animal and I will tell you un phoque). Are you starting to see a theme? As my dad says, I employ very colorful language.

(If you’re playing the home game, you just learned how to say “go fuck yourself” in Italian, and seal in French. You’re welcome.)

I do enjoy listening to people speak in other languages, which probably explains my penchant for K-pop at the moment. I’m also a sucker for a good accent. In case you’re wondering, British, is my favorite, followed in close second by Scottish (James McAvoy, anyone). Neither of these things plays a role in my need to learn Korean, that boils down to two things:

1. I wanna know what the songs are saying.

2. I’m sick of not being able to understand what Tiff is showing me!

You might be asking yourself, ‘Biblio, what are you using on your quest to speak Korean?’

Well, I’ll tell you, my friends.

Talk To Me In Korean books are incredible (check them out here). Seriously, I bought the first level text TTMIK Book.jpgand workbook, plus the Hangul workbook, and it’s actually made learning the language fun and interesting. Granted the illustrations have caused me to gigglesnort more than once, but maybe that adds to the experience.

Then there are the apps. I downloaded Lingodeer on Tiff’s recommendations and couldn’t be happier with it. It basically breaks down the language by category, so you start out with the alphabet and progress gradually from there. There are periodic tests and it’s always reviewing things you previously learned throughout the lesson. I’d highly recommend it. If a more regimented structure isn’t your cuppa, feel free to check out Duolingo. It’s a bit different in its setup but basically, you’ll learn the same things. The best part about both is they’re free to download (I love a good freebie). Lingodeer does have a membership option as well, but I haven’t tried it yet. You can bet if I do, I’ll let you know how I get on.

So, that is the story of my decision to learn a new language. I’m down to hear if you have any suggestions to help. Until next time…

The Buyer

My husband is selling our house.

I have watched people come and go, couples, families, single men and women, and not one of them has been right, so I sent them on their way. You see, our house was full at one point; I birthed and raised three beautiful daughters within these walls. I swear I can still hear their laughter trickling down the stairs, just as I can see my oldest coming through the door, face stained with tears, after her first heartbreak. Or my youngest learning how to navigate the spiral staircase and then looking to me for praise. There have been many a family meal set around this dining room table. I see small hands pressed against a storm door as I leave for work, and bright smiles when I return.

Our daughters learned their alphabet and multiplication at this island. These walls have heard arguments over bathrooms and squabbles over borrowed clothes without permission. My husband and I loved and laughed, here in our own little corner of the world. I’ve also seen these walls steeped in sadness, grief painting them a shade of grey.

A car door slams in the driveway – our next showing has arrived.

I make my way down the stairs in time to hear a woman say to her husband, “those stairs would be perfect to hang stockings from at Christmas.” I follow the young woman to the kitchen, and watch as she stands where I once stood, the place I last stood, before drifting upstairs to find her husband. Silently I follow, watching them. In my daughter’s bedroom the woman touches her hand to the wall.

“This was a child’s room. I had these same glow-in-the-dark stars when I was little.”

I know immediately that she feels it, this isn’t just a house to her, this is home. Stepping back and pressing a hand to my chest, a slow smile spreads across my face.

I have just found my buyer.

The Day the World Tilted

Hiya friends, welcome back. Have you ever had a week where you just felt like the universe was laughing at you? I swear, this is the perfect way to sum up the week I’ve had.

To be fair, the week started out perfectly normal. Sunday was Hobbs’ birthday, so we had a friend over for dinner and just had a laid-back night. The next couple of days were full of homework and work – again, perfectly normal.

Then Thursday happened.

Dizzy Panda.jpgI woke up and the world TILTED. Seriously, I sat up everything went wonky. My first thought was that I’d just gotten up too fast, no big deal, it’s happened before and it usually just goes away. When it didn’t pass, my next thought was a panic attack (dizziness or lightheadedness tends to be a big indicator for me). Again, no dice.

Now, I really was panicking by this point and texted Hobbs asking him to come home. He did, bless that man, he’s too good. Needless to say, we ended up at the Urgent Care in our town. The wait was excruciating; every time I moved my head – in any fucking direction – I felt like I was going to puke.

Finally got into a room to see the doctor, and after a few minutes she had me diagnosed; Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Let me tell you, it SUCKS! Apparently, while listening to me breathe the doc heard some palpitations, andPale.jpg she was also worried about anemia because I was pale. So, they also did an EKG and blood work. I ended up having to take Thursday and Friday off of work. Driving was not an option.

*EDIT – I do not have anemia and they aren’t too worried about the palpitations right now.*

I will say I was proud as hell of myself for keeping my shit together during all this. I had my anxiety and panic locked the fuck down during the doctor’s visit, and that was a massive win for me! Fun fact: I did have a breakdown the other day over all of this, but we’ll talk about that in another post.

I’m feeling better today, so thank the universe for small miracles. Now it’s time to go back to homework, and preparing for my birthday this Friday. (Side Note: we’re not actually doing anything for my birthday). Until next time…