Lifeaversary | 8

*If you are new here, each year I celebrate my Lifeaversary – the anniversary of the day that I attempted suicide (August 3rd, 2009). If you or someone you know is having dark thoughts, or is in a black hole of depression that they can’t get out of, there is help here. and here. and here. and here

You are not alone.  You are not done.  Your depression is lying. The world still needs you. 

I’m going to be honest. I’m struggling with this post this year. I’ve sat down to write it no less than 10 times over the last 3 months. Each time, I write something, hate it, then abandon it to start over.

Not writing a post wasn’t an option – not because I *have* to, or feel obligated to, but I do like to come back every year and read through the Lifeaversary Archives and cry a little (strugglin’ Katie was strugglin’) …but mostly I like to celebrate how far I’ve come.

So I sat down again this morning, on my actual Lifeaversary, and started writing in a million different directions. True to form, about an hour in, I decided to leave again and try again after coffee. But this time, I guess autosave didn’t work or something, and I got this familiar popup alert:

 

do you want to leave or stay popup

 

WordPress is almost making the decision for me, am I right? Leave is highlighted and saying “Click me. Just leave. Everything sucks. You suck. Abandon ship.”

And as with every good peice of writing or Sex and the City / Grey’s Anatomy episode, I had an inner monologue.

Do I leave all of the work I’ve put into this post and start over again? There are tons of mistakes already, and I’m going to make more. 

Do I stay, make the best of this hot mess, accept that nothing will be perfect, swallow my pride, and publish something… anything?

Is it worth staying if it’s not perfect?

Spoiler Alert: If you’re reading this post, I stayed. Here I am.
(subtitle: I really wanted to jump ship.)

I’m someone who loves new things and the idea of starting over.  Notebooks, journals, projects, lifeaversary blog posts… you name it, I’ll start it. But finish it? Good luck. Once the newness wears off, I’m ready to say “Peace out, homie” and look for the next new notebook, journal, project, whatever.

The feeling of a completely blank slate is so… hopeful. No mistakes have been made, nothing is broken, the possibilities are endless. At any given moment, we all have the power to erase the mistakes and begin again. I get massively drunk on that power.

The unfortunate thing about this thing called life is that you can’t just start over from the beginning and restart the clock. You can absolutely wipe your personal slate clean, but the clock doesn’t stop. You don’t get the years you’ve spent back.  Time keeps passing, the clock keeps ticking, and you have to keep moving with it.

Even when everything is a mess, and nothing makes sense, happiness seems like a party that everyone is attending but you’re waiting on your invitation, your lifeaversary post isn’t shaping up to be anything good… just keep going.

Turn the page if you must, but don’t close the book. The story isn’t over.

I don’t know where I heard this, but it stuck with me:

At the end of the day, we’re all just walking each other home.

And internet, I love that we’re on each other’s team.

I’m not sure what the next year will bring, but I’m going to stay and find out.

Til next year,

PS: Special shout out to all of the people, places, and things that have helped me get through those freaking hard days. Recovery isn’t a straight line. It’s a hot mess express. These are some of my favorite tools in my arsenal.

 

 

Relive the last 7 years of Lifeaversaries below:

Lifeaversary | 7
Lifeaversary | 6
Lifeaversary | 5
Lifeaversary | 4
Lifeaversary | 3
Lifeaversary | 2

 

Filling in the Blanks

be who you needed

Is this thing on?

Hey Internet, long time no speak.

One of the quotes that has made a big impact on me in the last few years is “Be who you needed when you were younger.”

There were times when I was younger that I needed someone to stand up for me.

There were times when I needed someone to say “No, Katie, you should not accept this treatment”

There were times when I needed someone to kick my ass across the street and back because I was a brat sometimes.

There were times when I needed someone to say “You’re hard to love right now, but I’m going to do it anyway.”

Different situations call for different support-styles — and now that I’m an adult,  it’s up to me to decide what sort of support I need in any given moment and I have the power to be that support.

Learning how to be my own support system in times of need has helped me filter out some of the toxic people in my life who I held to such high standards based on very low quality treatment. Since I treated myself so badly, it was really easy for me to accept any behavior from someone else — even abusive — and mistake it for love and respect.

Learning how to properly love and support myself emotionally was a hard road — but as my self-love and respect increased, so did the quality of my relationships.

No longer do I allow words to speak louder than actions.

No longer do I allow someone to dictate what I should be, think, feel, or believe.

The bar has been raised.

My tolerance for bullshit is drastically lower — almost non existent.

Life got real different.

I’m proud of this. But the real test comes when you have to practice your skills in a moment like I had today.

—–

Today someone told me that I wasn’t doing “good enough” and that they “wait for me to disappoint them on a regular basis”.

Truth be told, those weren’t their exact words – but that’s what I heard. That’s what younger Katie heard.

In reality, their phrasing was:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

Filling the blanks isn’t important right now.

What is important is that he was right. Every word he said was right. I really don’t “______”… and he probably does wait for me to “________”, and I never do.

I didn’t disagree with his statement.

I had no defense.

I had no excuse.

He. Was. Right.

My response to him, in short,  was “I will try harder.”

If you are someone who knows me, or cares for me, then I suspect that you are pretty ticked at whomever said this to me. You might be wondering why I didn’t stand up for myself. I just spoke this big game about being the support that I needed – so why the eff didn’t I rip this guy a new one for saying this shit to me?

Let me assure you that before I replied, I went into defensive mode and thought about saying things like “SCREW YOU ASSHOLE” or “GTFO” or”#BYEFELICIA”.

While I have gotten really in tune with my intuition and I trust my gut feelings – I also recognize that my initial reaction isn’t always thee best one and could quite possibly be very emotionally driven.

In this case — hearing from someone that I care for that:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do”

first made me want to freak the eff out.

But in all honestly, it’s not the first time someone has said that I’m not doing well enough. I’m no stranger to hearing negative feedback. Constructive criticism stings a little, but I always try to find the opportunity to grow from it — after I pout and vent and curse and cry with my person(s) a little.

And if we’re being totally honest. I am the recipient of these types of negative comments on the regular. I mean like every. single day. Several times a day. I hear complaints, criticisms, and comparisons…

…From myself.

Negative self talk is something I’m wildly good at. I’ll tell myself I’m awesome in one breath, and that I could be doing better in the next. I’m the queen of negative juxtaposition.

“Katie you rock at ______, but why do you have to be so __________.”

“Katie it’s cool that you ___________, but I wish that you could just _____________”

“Wow, that _________ looks amazing, but what happened here to the ___________?”

 

So today, when I was told that:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

…instead of freaking out – I acknowledged that he was right — but I didn’t say that because… uh, DUH. I’m only human.  Plus I didn’t want to give the message that this was going to be something that I would change overnight.

This “________” was going to happen again. I knew it would.

So I said “I will try harder”.

And while I did take a moment and feel bad for myself for having had this hurtful thing said to her — I moreso felt bad for him. I don’t support how he spoke to me – I absolutely think it could have been presented better — but I understood his struggle.

I have been in his shoes.  I know what it’s like to want to much more out of someone. I know what it’s like to be so frustrated that someone can be so awesome at some things, but really struggle in other areas. I know what it’s like to just think “Damnit, couldn’t she just do better? How hard is it?”

So, I offer him this advice – which is what I tell myself when I get so frustrated about my weaknesses, where I am, what I’m doing, how far away I am from where I want to be, missing a deadline, not being enough, and ‘Damnit, couldn’t I just do better? How hard is it?”.

Remember that I am trying my best.

Remember that I will mess up, and I will always try to make it right again.

Remember that I am not perfect — and I will always try to be better than I was yesterday. 

Remember that I do not forget an argument, and I will forgive someone and give them a second chance  (even a third) if they are deserving and truly sorry.

I am stubborn and very self-reliant, and I am soft and sensitive to the people that I trust.

I will make mistakes — lots of them — I will have a hard time admitting them. And I will learn from them.

I will be defensive and argumentative – and I will fight for who and what I believe in. 

I may cancel plans last minute, and I will also cancel all of my plans if someone says they need me.

I am not the most financially secure person (duh. target!), and I will spend my last dollar on something to make someone else smile — seriously, the $1 section at Target is OMGamazing.

Some days I’ll be more sensitive and feel a little needy — and I’ll swallow my feelings and be the rock to someone who needs me.

I am inappropriately crudely  humored at times – and I will do anything to make my people laugh.

Remember that I may not be easy to love today, and I am still worth loving through my weaknesses. And I will love people in spite of their flaws, mistakes, and bad decisions. 

 

There were a lot of blanks in this post, and I want to fill in the ones that started this:

“You don’t _________. I wait for you to _________ all the time,  and you never do.”

But I won’t fill them in with what was said to me  today – rather what younger me needs to hear from herself right now:

“You don’t give up. I  wait for you to give up all the time,  but you never do”

self solution