Authentically Me

Because as per usual, when I come back to this blog, I come back and write multiple things before disappearing again – I have more thoughts to write.

I had a conversation with my friends yesterday about the idea of being authentically yourself and living your best life. It came from the idea that when my friends look at me, they see me and my “brand” – that I am unconditionally and irrevocably myself, whereas they feel they think too much about how other people might judge them for being themselves.

I told them life is too short to not like the things you like, to not be who you want to be. I told them that if you can’t like the things you like, then what do you even have? I told them that so many things eat away at you in life – eat away at me (my depression, my anxiety, my self-esteem) that if I can’t throw myself wholeheartedly into enjoying the things I enjoy – if it becomes another chore to me, another worry, then what would I even have left?

I learned this as a freshman in undergrad. At the time, I was sick of being the “nerdy Pokemon cosplay girl”. I thought that nobody saw the real me. And I didn’t know who the real me was. I was obsessed with the idea that I was just putting on different masks for different people, and that none of them were me, and that that was all people saw. I made a Facebook post. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it was something along the lines of “what do you think of when you think of me?”

One of my friends said that they thought of my “triangle hair” (I had a really weird hairdo at the time), but the rest of those who responded, including the guy I was dating at the time, all said something about anime, cosplay, Pokemon, or something similar. And the thought of that made me cry.

In the months after that, I thought a lot about why that made me cry, and why I was trying to turn away from things I liked. It wasn’t making me happier. It wasn’t making me a different person. I was still me, regardless of the “mask” I put on to talk to someone, or whatever subject we were talking about. And so eventually, I just went with it. I like the things I like.

I know that sounds like a tautology, but it was a really significant realization for me. I’m allowed to like things. I’m allowed to throw myself into my passions wholeheartedly and earnestly. I’m allowed to be who I want to be.

My name is Nikki. I like anime, cartoons, video games, and comics. I like cats more than most people and wish I could pull of goth fashion and sometimes try to anyway. I like tattoos and Green Day, my favorite song right now is “Broken” by Lovelytheband, and Yuri!!! on Ice saved my life.

If I have one thing going for me, even as the rest of my life falls apart, I know that I will always be me. Honestly, earnestly, unconditionally, irrevocably, authentically, me.

And sometimes, that’s all I need.

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Still Breathing on my own

(Or trying to, anyway).

So once again it’s been a few months and life…hasn’t really been kind to me.

I don’t know if I mentioned, but I graduated from social work school with my MSW in May. That was a good thing. I’ve been looking for a job in my field ever since, and have been less than successful – which is hard on anyone’s motivation and self-esteem.

Job hunting has to be one of the most demoralizing things there is to do, and when you’re already living with depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, et cetera like I do, it just makes everything worse.

On top of that, I had to move out of my apartment in the middle of August, and I was effectively homeless for two weeks – I still don’t have my own apartment, but I have moved in with my parents as a temporary solution.

The hard part was, I fell into another suicidal depression. Even though I passed my LCSW exam in August right before I had to move out, which in theory should make it easier to find a job, I’ve just felt discouraged and beaten down. I don’t have any money. I don’t have the ability to support myself. I feel like a failure as an adult and as a person.

I was hospitalized with suicidal intent right after I had moved out of my apartment and when I was crashing on a friend’s couch. I was there for a week. My parents had to come pick me up and take me to their home, several states away from where I lived and where I want to live, simply because I had no other place to go and no way to support myself. I’m lucky that I had them to fall back on.

I have to do a partial hospitalization program while I’m here, and I need to start looking for jobs again. It’s going to be hard to interview when I’m out of state, but I have to try.

Hopefully this is only temporary, like, a few months temporary and not a year or more temporary.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Two roads diverged in a wood…

Originally posted text to my tumblr blog, girl-in-the-library

Sometimes I wonder about what other timelines my actions create

Like the other day, I almost left my debit card in a restaurant. Luckily, the server caught me outside before I left and was able to give it back to me.

But what about that me in another timeline, who lost her debit card? When would she have noticed it missing? I didn’t buy anything else the rest of that day, so I wouldn’t have noticed it gone until a day later at least. But would the other me have?

I wonder about darker timelines too – the other week I was driving at night and a kid ran in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes and everything was fine, but I am scared of the me who couldn’t brake in time.

Darkest Timeline Abed

This image is a joke from the show “Community,” episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” 

It could be something simple, like getting orange juice instead of milk at the corner store this morning. But it could be something life changing. And who knows? Maybe that juice would have been life changing.

I’m scared of what these other timelines mean about the me who is here, in this timeline. What does it mean if in some other universe, I could be something or someone completely different? I can see major points in my life that diverge in many possible ways. For example: if my ex never broke up with me I might not be a social worker. The chain of events that led to me becoming a social worker started with me being hospitalized after my ex broke up with me. On the other hand, I may have become a social worker through a more circuitous route – if my ex never broke up with me, my mental health still would have been in decline and I might have ended up in the hospital anyways, thus kickstarting my desire to be a social worker. But who knows?

I know there are timelines out there where I’m dead by this point in my life, due to my own hand, or maybe a bad asthma attack when I was a kid, or some sort of accident somewhere along the way. Who knows?

I just wonder sometimes, is all.

Life’s Gonna Suck When You Grow Up (It Sucks Pretty Bad Right Now)

I stopped taking my meds a week and a half ago. Why? Because I ran out because I haven’t seen my psych in 6 months because making appointments and being an adult is hard. Luckily, I was able to call and make an appointment for this week, so I’ll have my meds again, but being “off” of them again is…weird.

I’m rapid cycling through hypomania and depressive phases – constantly on the verge of weeping and yet moving through life so fast that I can’t control what I do. I’ve been sleeping less and feeling fine about it, except for the fact that every day I want to cry all the time. I’ve spent so much money that I technically have, but shouldn’t be spending, on things that I don’t need at all, though about half of them are useful (dresses and shoes I can wear to work? Useful. Yuri!!! On Ice merch and Harley Quinn cosplay stuff? Makes me feel better, but not as useful.)

I’m still managing to go to work, but I only have a part time job right now, so I’m actively looking for a full time job now that I’ve graduated from my Master’s Program. But that gives me a lot of empty time where I watch youtube videos, laugh manically, watch anime and listen to podcasts, weep silently, shop online, shop in stores, and text and text and text my friends. It’s also a lot of time on the computer.

You know what else is on the computer? The news. You know what sucks worse than my own life? The things I see on the news. Not the least of which is the fact that we live in some sort of fascist something I can’t articulate right now because my head is both cloudier than it ever has been and clearer than it’s been in years. Separating children from their families and putting them in cages is what this country has come to. And by “come to” I mean “come back to.”

I am a middle class (??) white woman with somewhat severe mental health issues. (The question marks are because if it was just based on my salary and assets, I would live below the poverty line. But my parents are helping me until I get a job post-grad, and then I’m on my own. [did the font just change or am I imagining things?] But I also know I always have the opportunity to go back and live with my parents if I need to, and they’re willing to support me that way/help me get back on my feet if it comes to that. Etc). Point being, I’ve been having a lot of personal troubles since I graduated, but when it comes down to it, I’m /fine/. Sure, I may be having a bit of a mental break, but I’ll come out the other side of it probably. And if I don’t then I’ll be dead and it won’t matter anymore.

But my point is literally everything else in the world is a shitshow. And I don’t know what I can do to help. I know I can’t fix it on my own. I live in a blue state with elected officials who are (theoretically) doing their best to change things, and even though I think the system is corrupt and needs to be thrown out completely, having government officials who think that putting children in concentration camps is immoral, child abuse, wrong, what have you is MUCH better than anything that we currently have. So I don’t know that calling them will help, because they’re already working on it. In theory. I don’t have any money to donate. I don’t have a network of influential anything, and while I have some time to volunteer in between the part time job and the job search, I don’t know where or how to help.

What can I do?

And so my morals and my mental health are also almost fighting with each other – because both of them want me to do SOMETHING, but my brain is telling me that if I’m not in the space to take care of myself how the hell can I help anyone else? (Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others). But then my heart is like, “you silent, selfish bitch.” because if I don’t say anything, if I don’t do anything, then aren’t I just complicit in the acts of violence, cruelty, and literally everything else going on?

So I’m in a constant state of personal and interpersonal distress. And I don’t know what to do.

I just don’t know. I just feel like sleeping and screaming and ahhhhhhhhhhh.

So I make gnocchi in spicy tomato sauce for breakfast, tweet about being rickrolled, and post Waluigi memes on my timeline. I search for jobs, and go to work, and text and text and text my friends. And I lay on the couch and cry without crying, without sound or tears, but with great, wrenching sobs. And I still don’t know what to do.

Another complicated suicide

This week we lost two high profile celebrities to suicide – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

I’ve been suicidal before. In fact, earlier this week, even before the celebrity suicides, I was horrifically suicidal for the first time in at least six months, maybe longer. It was terrifying because I had no idea where it was coming from. I just wanted to die, and more importantly, I was afraid of what I might do to myself. I have a knife in my room, a well-made, but decorative, knife that I got at the Renaissance Faire. It’s not super sharp, but it is sharp enough. And I was afraid to have that knife in my room this week. In some ways I’m lucky that I need refills on all my meds because usually poisoning by overdose is the way I contemplate suicide – but I knew I wouldn’t have enough of anything, even if I washed it down with the bottle of vodka that was in the kitchen. But did I tell anybody I was feeling suicidal? No, not until more or less right now, when I wrote it out in this blog post. I didn’t reach out to anyone. I did tell my roommate the next day that I “had a bad day” and told my friend that I was kinda thinking about the feeling of going to the hospital, but I didn’t come out and say, “I am suicidal”

Continue reading “Another complicated suicide”

Self Care and Saying “No”

As a human services professional, a social work student (soon to be licensed social worker!) and a human being, self-care is very important.

I know there’s been a lot going around about self-care, at least in my circles, but a lot of people don’t necessarily know what it is.

As simple as it sounds, self-care is taking care of yourself, that is, doing what you need to do to make sure that you are living your best life. Sometimes that means taking a mental health day, going for a walk, or curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching Netflix. Sometimes that means kicking your own butt to get out of bed and get something to eat, doing laundry, or socializing. Sometimes it just means allowing yourself to have a good cry or a deep belly laugh. It means all of these things, depending on what you need and when you need it.

I received a(nother) self-care tip sheet the other day. Most of it was old news to me by now, but one thing really stood out to me, and I’m going to share that advice with you all:

“Learn to say ‘no’ and mean it. If you can’t say ‘no,’ what is your ‘yes’ worth?”

This really stood out to me. I tend to say “yes” to everything, or if I say “no,” it’s a soft “no.” What I mean by that is I’ll say something like, “not right now,” or “I don’t know, we’ll see.” It’s hard for me to say a firm “no.”

But what is my “yes” worth, if I can’t say “no”? It means that people will come to expect me to say yes, it means that they won’t trust me or believe me when I do say no.

Maybe this isn’t as deep as I thought it was, but there’s still something there that I can’t articulate. I know that saying “no” is important. And it’s a skill I need to work on.

Just listen to the rhythm of my heart

I don’t believe in soulmates.

In fanfiction there’s this concept called the “Soulmate AU.” Now, each person has their own interpretation, and there are some differences between general categories (for example, there’s a variation called the “soulmark” where a person is born with [or develops] a tattoo of some kind, a mark, or the name of, their soulmate somewhere on their body.) Now, I don’t like soulmate AUs. I think that, if there was something like that in real life, they’d be a recipe for misery rather than love.

I don’t believe in soulmates. That sounds cynical, but I do believe in love. I think soulmates invalidate the idea of love. Invalidate isn’t quite the right word, “cheapen,” maybe?

My point is that I think the idea of soulmates takes the choice out of love, and it takes the work out of love. Loving someone is a choice. You may be infatuated with them, in lust with them, et cetera, but when it comes to truly loving someone, it’s a choice, it’s not just a chemical reaction in the brain. Loving someone takes work. It requires putting in care and dedication, and again, choice. Making the choice to be with them (in sickness and in health, et cetera, et cetera) and not just giving up when things get tough.

The idea of soulmates, in my mind at least, is the idea that you don’t need to work for love, that there’s someone out there for you no matter what, and you don’t need to work on the relationship. When you see this person, you’ll just know, and while there may be troubles, everything will work out for happily ever after.

Furthermore, the idea of one-true-love soulmates or whatever absolutely invalidates other loves in your life. People are not only allowed to love more than one person, I think most people DO and SHOULD love more than one person. This includes platonic loves and familial loves, unconditional and questioning loves, friends, partners, agape and eros. But it also, to me, means you can fall in love, in the “traditional” romantic sense more than once.

Loving someone new after you’ve lost someone doesn’t negate the fact that you previously loved someone else. And this loss doesn’t even need to be a permanent separation. It could just be a break-up, a falling out, or a falling out of love.

Just because I loved my ex with all my heart, and he broke it, doesn’t mean I’m broken. It doesn’t mean I’ll never love again. It just means that I loved, and he loved, but now at least, he’s moved on to a new love. He told me when we were dating, even, that he had told two other girls that he had loved them before. That didn’t make his love for me any less strong, and it doesn’t make his love for his current girlfriend any weaker either. Just because he loved me once doesn’t mean he can’t love other people.

The same goes for me. I just haven’t found anybody new to love (romantically) yet, though I have made new friends who I love and value.

I’m getting kind of weepy as I write this, wondering why I can’t find anybody to love who loves me too. But that’s not the point.

The point is, I believe very strongly in love. I don’t think loving more than one person invalidates your love of anyone else, and I do believe that the obsession with soulmates and “true love” is toxic.

Love isn’t easy. But it’s important. And there’s no such thing as one-true-love. You will love many times in your life, some of those will be romantic, some of those won’t. But in any event, love comes and love goes. That does not make it less powerful or meaningful.

I think love is one of the most important things there is. But I do not believe in “true love.” I don’t believe in soulmates.

I do believe in people.pexels-photo-255441.jpeg