real talk.

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Look. I try to be positive and upbeat despite… well, you know. Everything, really. The country is a trash fire, I’m scared all the time someone’s going to whip out a gun and shoot us all up (this is probably why I rarely leave the house anymore), I hate the cold, and I’m weary in my bones.

BUT

I try to live in this perpetual attitude of gratitude, because there is a lot to be thankful for. Black Panther is mind blowing. I still love my mini office. I get to drink tea every day. Electric blankets and “My Heat” space heaters are amazing. I have incredible, patient, lovely best friends. My agent is awesome. People make outstanding custom content for The Sims.

Maybe I’m grasping at straws right now. Sometimes I get desperate like that.

The fact is, so far, 2018 has been…not great. These are the main reasons why.

• My sweet, sweet kitty Fi passed away
• I lost my driver’s license. It was a pain to go through the hoops to get a duplicate. In Illinois, you don’t get your license the same day anymore. You get a temp, and they mail the real to you at some point. The post office RETURNED my license instead of delivering it to me. So I get to go through all those hoops again, and hope they don’t return it this time.

The Chicago USPS is awful.

• Depression/anxiety are trying their best to get me, and some most days it’s easier to let them win.
• I’ve already been sick twice, and anxiety makes me feel nauseated almost all day every day anymore.
• I’m not sleeping well due to various factors, such as the aforementioned depression/anxiety, noise, and stress.
• I’m not eating very well, because my appetite has been weird since I’ve been sick. Also, see anxiety/depression.
• My health insurance premium went up. Along with that, I have new copays and other copays that are more expensive.
• My expenses keep going up. Which sucks because…
• I get to go job hunting sometime in the spring.
• The universe decided it would be a really fun time to have a recruiter try to recruit me for the job I’m losing in April. Because I love it being rubbed in my face that I might be stressed out and worried about money in several months time because of weird rules and things I don’t understand. I’m so scared it’s going to be 2006–2007 all over again and I’m freaking out about it.

That’s just some of them. I didn’t even touch the biggest things.

I mean, I get it. I know my problems aren’t super huge. There is a lot worse happening in the world all the time. And the guilt of my frustration and sadness compounds the anxiety and depression…no wonder I can barely eat. Or sleep.

I’m looking at the first two months of 2018 like:

I was so excited to start the year. Now I’m scared of what’s waiting for me.

I’m really praying things get better.

another angel kitty.

Fi
Fi in 2003

Fi was my first cat. I’d lived with others, but he was my very own. He was a Christmas gift from Chris in 1999. We had no business with a cat. We were drowning in debt, lived in a loud apartment on the Ohio State campus, and my job was stressful and paid just OK.

His name was Fiona because the person told us he was a girl. They also told us he was healthy. LIES, all of them. Fi turned out to be a boy, he had two types of worms, and was dehydrated. But he was my new baby, the all black kitty I’d always wanted for myself. Once treated, he was great. His sleek shiny fur, his bright green eyes. He was a sight to behold. He was also a bit of a diva. Would get so mad if I got on the computer. And if he was in a place and I came and sat by him, he’d get up and leave. Every time.

But he was so patient with Aidan. Baby Aidan loved to lay on Fi and Fi would just lay there and let him do it.

Squish The Cat!

When Chris and I separated and I moved out, I left Fi with Aidan because he’d gotten quite attached. But Fi came to Chicago to live with me and Adam in 2010 or 2011, and he began purring as soon as he saw me. He remembered me! And he was here in his forever home. And one day, he asked to get on my lap. I lifted him up and told him it was OK. He had no issues asking for and/or taking cuddles ever since.

Fi Relaxing Under the Tree
Fi in 2011

He used to be right by me while I worked. All day every day. Right by my side, or on my lap. Always purring. I miss those days.

Fi’s health started breaking down in 2015, when he stopped pooing in the litter box. And he was puking a lot. We tried everything. Medicine, diet. Nothing helped. After Helena’s sudden passing last year, I took Fi in, but again. Medicine. Diet. No luck. We spent years cleaning up poo. It was mostly Adam. To be honest, Adam did a LOT of the dirty work with Fi, all because he knew I wasn’t ready to let him go until Fi was ready to go.

We knew it was a matter of time. He’d stopped bathing himself, and suddenly he was having a hard time eating the dry cat food (canned food, treats, and people food turned him wild, though). He could barely walk. Adam thought it was time to take him to the vet for That Visit weeks ago, but my gut told me that was not the right thing to do.

(Plus, I’d taken a kitty to the vet only to unexpectedly walk out without her ten years ago, and I never wanted to make that choice again.)

Fi’s mind was well even though his body was failing more every day. He still wanted to cuddle, jump, and climb, he still knew to ask for treats and to be held. He was still trying to follow me everywhere. But his body would not let him do it. His quality of life was declining rapidly, but he still wanted to be around us, he still talked to us, he still wanted to hang on.

Fi
Fi in 2013

We knew it was coming, so we spent the past months spoiling Fi and making him as comfortable as possible. He got loads of treats. He got cuddles. We cleaned him best we could, but it was to the point where if we’d tried to wash him too thoroughly, he’d lose hair that wouldn’t grow back. He had a sore on his leg that wouldn’t heal, but we knew a trip to the vet would be too stressful for him. So we dressed it the best we could, which probably wasn’t enough.

I’d put him on my lap and rub lavender into his fur, to calm him so he’d sleep OK. And more treats before bedtime. When I was out from under my weight of work/illness/depression, I carried him around so he wouldn’t have to walk so much on his little leg.

He was stinky all over, but the top of his head was not. I kissed him there all the time. I’d just pick him up and carry him and kiss him until he was done.

Then, it was time. Saturday, Adam found him having collapsed. Fi was gasping. I picked him up and held him as he took his last breaths. I kissed the top of his head. I told him it was OK for him to go, and that I loved him so much. My sweet old man passed in my arms.

I was prepared. He was 18 1/2 years old. He’d been sick for a long time. It still hurts though. I miss him and his cuddles and his little meows. I miss him.

Goodnight, sweet Fi. You had a long life. It wasn’t always easy. But you were so, so, so loved. I hope you’re resting now.

angel kitty.

Beautiful Helena

I lost my precious Helena Tuesday, March 14, 2017. I was out of town, so Adam found her. He said she was acting drunk the night before, and she was gone the next morning. The vet thinks it was as a stroke.

Helena came to live with us July 12, 2008. She was a special case. She’d come from a hoarder’s house, had dental issues, and obvious psychological issues. She’d been returned to PAWS, a no-kill shelter, numerous times.

But her first night, she and Crookshanks bumped noses and got along right away. She also trusted and loved Aidan from the first moment she set eyes on him. It took her a minute to warm up to me, and then to Adam.

Pretty Helena

Helena was a naughty kitty. There is no way around it. She peed everywhere, she bit people, she was always on the counter or stove. She would use the litter box only if we were watching. And sometimes she wouldn’t even go then. We’d considered taking her back, but we just could not. I simply refused to give up on her.

Once she realized we weren’t going to take her back, she relaxed and warmed up to us big time. When I came out of my bedroom, she’d run to to me and rear up on her hind lets so she could get pet. She howled when she was ready for her canned food, or simply a head rub. She followed me into the bathroom almost every time I had to go, and she’d lie on the floor and roll around meowing until I rubbed her belly. She loved cat treats and she loved eating.

She also loved us. She’d cuddle with me every chance she got. She wasn’t a lap kitty, but she loved to lie behind my head when I was working. She’d roll down my back when I leaned forward. Or, she sat next to me, purring like a purring thing that purrs. I got the long blinks from her, and she licked me a lot, which meant she thought I was part of her family. She trusted me, and that’s a big deal for a cat.

Beautiful Helena

She was also so beautiful. Female orange cats are very rare. So she was special in more than one way. I did love her, idiosyncrasies and all. And I miss her every day.

I hope where ever she is, there is a lot of canned food, cat treats, and pets for her.

RIP my second sweet angel kitty.

Now I have two.

real or not real.

Grounds at Cawdor Castle

Dealing with a lot right now. Not only physically, although that’s quite enough. With my incision burning, my finicky appetite, random nausea, and general fatigue. At my post op appointment, my doctor told me all the stuff that went down. There was the endometriosis. But also endometrioma, which are ovarian cysts filled with blood from endometrial tissue. One of the ovaries was pretty much taken over by it. In addition, the endo had started burrowing into the muscle in my uterine wall. It was everywhere.

By the end of the year, I was exhausted and in pain almost all the time. But it felt manageable (with lots of ibuprofen) until moon time, when it got unbearable. I’m glad all that’s behind me. Even with feeling icky with recovery stuff, I am better than I was then.

Right now I feel run down and sore. I think I overdid it Friday; I sat up a long time playing video games. I spent all day Saturday in bed but I don’t know if that was enough. I’m still not feeling great. But that’s OK and expected. One step forward two steps back they say. It’s the mental and emotional stuff that’s really messing me up. This was something I’d read about happening, but I didn’t think it would affect me for the following reasons:

1. I’d been done having kids for a long time, so I’m not mourning the fact that I can no longer have children.
2. I was more than ready for the surgery. Years of painful, heavy periods and migraines made sure of that.

What I didn’t anticipate was the following:
1. Getting thrown off my antidepressant schedule because of my erratic sleeping. (I’m working on fixing that now.)
2. Feeling randomly emotional anyway. Constantly on the brink of tears the past few days.
3. The publishing journey hitting a lot harder than it should be, making me—once again—question if I have the strength to endure all the stuff that comes with it. And wondering if all the waiting and torment and self-doubt and work, work, work will ever be worth it.
3a. Here’s the thing about writing. I can’t just turn it off. It’s a part of me and I have to do it. I have to create. But the thought of teen girls like me never getting to see themselves represented because I worry I will never be good enough to get published for them? It hurts. Maybe it’s arrogant of me to think this way, but it’s there. And it leads to #4:
4. Feeling an overwhelming sense of failure. Feeling like I’m letting people down with my shitty writing. Feeling like I’ve wasted more than a year doing a bunch of work for nothing. If I keep going but it ends up being proven that I suck, then that’s a failure of my storytelling and skills. but if I quit, then an even bigger failure, right?
5. And switching gears: mourning the loss of some of the organs that were taken out during surgery, even though they caused me torment and pain for the last several years.

I don’t know which of these things are real or not. Which are legit emotions and concerns, or which are because of the flux in my hormones, my body doing its thing to repair and recover, all the drugs, my appetite being all weird, the state of the country and the world. I feel overwhelmed and I want to escape but I can’t exactly escape myself and my own brain right?

I’m trying not to think too much, trying to focus on recovery, but to be honest, I have a lot of downtime, which means my brain has a lot of time to turn against me. So that’s what it’s doing.

It sucks.

So yeah. That’s me right now. Just keeping it real, I guess.

out of sorts.

Daytona Beach

{I know I owe you a big ass trip report and I promise I will get to it eventually. I finally got the photos uploaded to flickr so it’s just a matter of time.}

It’s the end of July already and the temps finally feel like summer in Chicago. Things have been weird since I got back from Florida and the beach. I miss the rental car I was driving, even though it was a boring old Ford Focus. My Hyundai is a 2002 and has none of the newfangled things that the newer cars have as default, so driving the Focus was a lot of fun! And people in Florida are reasonable. The rainstorms come in, people slow down and put in their hazards. (I heard it was the law?) If I need to get over, people actually let me over. I don’t feel like I have to be so aggressive and angry when I’m driving there. I don’t have to be aggressive at all. The only time I hit bad traffic, the entire time I was in Florida, was getting through downtown Orlando. It was smooth sailing other than the rainstorms, where everyone slowed down and drove like sensible people.

It’s hard being back here where driving and parking is a major chore. People on the road are jerks to the max, every man out for himself, being reckless and using their phones. Doing stupid crap like blocking an entire street so they can get a sandwich. Like, seriously? And the traffic lights. The muther effing non-synced traffic lights. Took me 20 minutes to get to work this morning. My office is 1.7 miles from my apartment. I probably could have walked there faster. People don’t wait their turns at stop signs. It’s like a game of chicken. A friend of mine got in a bad wreck recently because of some chick on her phone. Come on. You don’t need to be talking on the phone or texting while driving, people. It can wait.

I’m very happy about the temps being warm. It finally feels like summer here. I’m working for a new client now and it’s been good. I had to go into the office for some on-boarding which was fine. The office is nice and the people there are friendly. It has an agile workspace, which means you can move seats as long as the one you want isn’t taken. I was sitting in a seat by the window but it was way too cold, so I moved to a slightly less cold seat. Now I’m in the office two days a week and working from home the rest. I have a company-owned laptop and I have to sign in through a VPN to access their network. It reminds me a bit of working at Nationwide, except not as political. But that might be because I’m a contractor and not a full time employee even though I’m working full time hours. I like it. :)

On the days I work from home, I open the curtains and the window so I can get flooded with natural sunlight. I also turn off the AC when Adam’s still at the coffee shop because otherwise I get too cold.

My body is getting more and more intolerant to the cold! It’s to the point where 80F is too chilly for me if I’m not in the sun. I need a light hoodie in 80F weather! What is wrong with me? :(

Tomorrow Aidan’s best friend comes to stay with us for a few days. I’m excited for Aidan. I’ve met him and his family and they’re all cool people. Saturday we’re heading to La Grange because Anderson’s Bookshop is opening a new location there. Adam got invited to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony and there will be other authors there as well. You know how I love authors.

I had hibachi food for the first time in years on Monday. Except now it’s called teppenyaki style? I am not sure when that changed but I don’t mind the new term because IT IS STILL DELICIOUS and I’m craving some right now in fact.

When I was in Florida with Aidan, things just seemed so easy. The only time he got on my nerves was the day he begged me to leave Magic Kingdom before I didn’t want to go. But I think deep down I did, because a storm was rolling in and I was exhausted. I was being stubborn because it was my last day there and well, that’s always a sad time. Other than that, it was an easy time. We got along really well, knew when to give each other space, had good conversations, and got to relax and have fun together.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our trip:

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Yes! We had a really good time. When I was done with the Disney leg of the trip, I was exhausted and ready for the next adventure. But now, the stirrings have come again and I wish I was back at Disney World. But maybe not until fall. And I want Aidan with me again.

But now, it’s regular life. Things don’t feel quite as easy. Working. Writing. Revising. Video games. Reading. Too much time on the computer/iPhone/iPad. Working a lot which is a blessing and I am not complaining. Trying to make myself go to more barre classes. It’s challenging now because of timing. I miss yoga. I went to The Dailey Method for the first time yesterday in a long time. It was good. I’d missed it. I’ve been sneaking back to yoga as well. I want to do more. I need to do more. Some of the clothes I could fit before vacation are uncomfortable on me now and I’m not okay with that.

There is good. So I’m not sure why I’m feeling so… weird. Actually I know exactly why. But I don’t feel safe enough to write it here. So I keep it inside. Or I vent to people I trust deeply because they’re the only ones who will listen and not shrug me off or tell me to get over it or try to outdo me. Or I retweet a few people who say what I’m thinking and feeling but only the mild versions because I don’t want to be harassed by trolls. Not that I have that big of a reach or anything anyway. Every other day I see something, not even in the news because they won’t report on those things, but through social media that knocks my feeling of self-worth down a billion notches. I second guess everything. I second guess my very existence.

I see loss on my news feeds too often. And it gets me to thinking about my own mortality. And I think I’m not ready for my time on Earth to end, and I worry that I’m wasting the time I have. I’m realizing there are things I will never experience in this lifetime. Some of them I’m OK with letting go. Others, I am already grieving for. Sometimes I don’t even know what I want in this lifetime and other times, it seems as clear as day. I just want to leave a legacy.

I downloaded this graphic from someone’s tumblr the other day. Trying to make myself believe it but honestly, it’s getting harder and harder. {I have GOT to stop reading the comments. They help NO ONE and end up making me feel even more horrible about myself.}

allowed

Because I feel like those messages are only meant for “certain” people, and I’m not in that group. I doubt people like me are who these graphic makers have in mind when they make them. I doubt almost everyone’s intentions and am finding it hard to trust anyone deep down. On the surface, all is well. I’m sunshine and roses hooray! Inside, my mind is spinning a million miles an hour, wondering if the people who smile in my face would turn their backs if I said the things I really feel and think about so many things in this world. It’s happened before. I’m used to being the one left behind, chosen against, ignored.

But on the bright side, there are those who have stuck around, and those are the ones I should be embracing with all my heart because they know my shadows and love me in spite of them. So. Times like this are the times I always learn who my true friends are.

I don’t even know what *this* time is…except we have a Blue Moon coming up, we’re in the throes of Venus retrograde, AND Saturn’s in retrograde (but not for much longer) and that’s throwing cosmic energy all over the place and it’s affecting me big time this week. I suspect my depression is trying to flare up as well. Like I need that right now. I really don’t. But sadly, despite what many people think about depression, it’s not like I can control when it hits. I can just try to take my medicine, eat better, exercise, and …self-care self-care self-care. SO MANY FEELINGS and I’m getting overwhelmed by all of them. Maybe it’s time for bed. I think it’s time for bed.

Till next time.

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