I Had A Moment And Now I Have Feelings Or Something

I had a moment this week.

It was on Monday in my office with one of the owners of the company I work for. We were discussing a major decision I have to make in the coming weeks, and she was talking me through what will likely be a life-changing shift in my career path.

I was explaining to her the reasons that I decided against making a business decision that was a bit shoddy despite the almost guaranteed financial gain from it. My only explanation was that it just didn’t feel right.

I’ve known this woman for nearly 4 years. We’ve shared a lot of words, especially over the last few months. And of all the things she’s said to me, I’ll remember what she said next forever-ever. (Foreva-eva?)

She looked me in the eyes, put her hand over her chest and said “Kate, think with this [your heart], and you’ll never go wrong.”

I half-smiled, nodded my head, and excused myself to go get something to drink.

It’s a simple statement really. “Think with your heart, yo!” I’ve probably said it dozens of times. But this time, it got me. Right in the feels.

Part of the reason for it was because this simple, but meaning-packed expression was coming from her, one of the most admirable, strong-willed, hard-assed business women that I know.

The other part is because I remember the last person who put their hand over their chest and told me to ‘think with my heart’.

More exactly, she said:  “Kathleen, think with your heart, and keep me there, and you’ll be okay.

4 days later, my grandmother passed away.

Despite this sound advice, I’ve surely continued my age-old ways of thinking with my brain. I do make somewhat of an effort to listen to my heart, but 9 times out of 10, I can talk myself in or out of anything by analyzing it half to death. The ways of an ISFJ, you guys. Deep set habits.

As with everything else, I’ve given a ton of thought on why I don’t think with my heart by default. The consensus is that my damn heart gets me in damn trouble all the damn time.

Falling for THAT boy. and THAT boy. and THAT OTHER boy. Staying at THAT job. And then there was THAT decision to spend my whole paycheck on adopting a dog from Sarah McLaughlin. I still can’t listen to the Angel song without wondering where my adopted dog “Mustard” is.

The moment my heart gets involved, and I start speaking it, seems like the moment when shit gets real and goes down the tubes. So I’ve become so comfortable with the “feelings left unsaid” method because it keeps me safe, right?

Totally wrong, but it seems rational to me. So this is why I’d rather keep my mouth shut, feelings left unsaid, so I don’t run the risk of being in something unrequited or god-forbid my feelings be reciprocated and I’m actually happy.

Yes, I’m well aware of the shit storm that I’ve been in for so long. I KNOW.

But thinking with my mind, you know taking the safe route, has saved me a lot of heartache and pain in the long run. I’ve never adopted a dog that way. And I’ve thought myself out of plenty of relationships and jobs that never hurt me or broke me down. (They never had the chance to be ‘the one’ or ‘my dream job’ either, though.)

I’ve recently found myself in several separate situations that are tapping me right square in the feels. From career-choices, to life decisions, to relationships and friendships… I have a lot of these things we call feelings. But I try and tell myself I don’t have any because “I big strong Katie and I think with brain. Feeling make Katie human. Katie robot. (or caveman, maybe.)

I believe that if I ignore my feelings, they’ll eventually go away and I won’t have to do the worst thing in the whole world ever and actually feel them. Ew.

The truth is though, that I have them. These… feelings…whether I like it or not.  Whether I pretend to have them or not.

Some of the feelings feel so damn good. I almost feel guilty for them.

And others feel so damn shitty. Or scary. Or disgusting.

But they’re there. And I have them. I feel things. I’m not a robot. Except for when I’m doing the robot which I’m so freakin’ awesome at. Truth.

Anyway…

Perhaps this fear of feeling is because I’m only remembering the times when feelings felt bad. Death. Heartbreak. Job Loss. Mustard never sending me any more puppy pics in the mail. (Damn you, Sarah!)

So… now I’m thinking, what if my boss and my grandmomma are right? What if safe isn’t the right answer to my life’s questions this time? What if this one time, gut feelings, love, and desires win? What if that thing in my chest knows a little something about happiness and stuff?

I mean, it could happen, right?

So… I’m Katie. And I have some feelings in my…heart thing.

HOLD ME, OKAY?

Do I get donuts pancakes or a first-timer’s chip for this?

(Please say pancakes, please say pancakes, please say pancakes!)

A Sometimes Funny, Sometimes Emotion-y Trip Through The Archives

It’s still sort of mind boggling to me that we are halfway through 2014 and this is only my second blog post.

While my time off was precisely what I needed in order to get my shit together, I genuinely missed blogging. Writing in general, really. (And you guys, duh.)

When I deactivated my blog, I stopped writing across the board, with the exception of professionally.

At first it was difficult not to come right onto my blog and share every feeling I was having with you guys. You’re my peeps, after all.

On one hand, this lack of outlet made me find new ways to handle emotions. Like, opening up more to family and friends, which is something that used to be unheard of to me. Also more healthy habits of self-introspection and positive self talk. (Self Love, FTW!)

On the other, it stunted a ton of feelings from ever coming to the surface because the process of composing a post is often where I realize I feel all the feelings about all the things. You know?

I never really intend to get super emotional in posts. 9 times out of 10, I sit down with the intention to write about something like…pancakes. But then, it evolves into a post about loads of feelings, what I’ve learned + a #twss joke. (Because Katie will be Katie no matter how shitty shit gets.)

I’ve spent a nice little portion of this past week going through all of my blog archives. Like. All of them. Mostly last year, thanks to which I’ve become painfully used to dealing with losses.

Friends.

Romantic Relationships.

My Grandmom.

My dad moved away.

My sanity was probably next on the list, but somehow I kept that together. Sorta.

Reading last year’s blog posts was interesting for me. I found it kinda sad. Mostly enlightening.

I was amazed at how many of my posts, though always directed to you, Internet, were in fact me talking myself through my emotions and justifying to myself that was I was feeling was okay. The struggle was messy, crazy, confusing, scary, and real. But I hit my emotional rock bottom, and I’ve bounced back pretty damn well.

I’m resilient as a mo-fo, yo.

So. Yeah. I sat down with the intention of writing this post with a pure focus on some of my favorite old blog posts from years past and bringing them to the surface, circa 2009. True to form, this evolved into a post of feeeeeeeeeeeeeelings. Funny the way it is.

I’m all about balance, so how’s about I share those ridiculous stories with you anyway? Cool? Cool. Let’s do the time warp, or whatever.

Do you guys remember:

The Jackhammer Jesus Story: The Whole. Mortifying. Saga.
Part One: (When I accidentally buy my very religious grandmom a phallic sex toy)
Part Two: (When my dad breaks into my apartment and steals stuff. bad stuff.)
Part Three(Where Dad finds “hair gel”)
Part Four: (Where when you don’t think it can get worse, it does)

(Also, if you want up to date stories and conversations with my dad, you can check our rarely updated Tumblr, Coffee With Dad)

The Flashing of the Mailman in a Snow Storm Story

The ‘Admitting My Fear’ to my Kindergarten Class Story

The $245 Sex Toy Party Story (Totally Safe for Work, yo)

 

NSPW13, Depression, and HOPE;

In my experience, there is nothing more defeating  than the moment that you realize that all hope is gone and nothing seems quite worth it anymore.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and this is an area that strikes a personal chord with me since depression has been my nearly life-long battle.

So, yes, I have  made it through my share of cases of bad depression. Yes, I still get depressed. Yes, I’ve been suicidal.  Yes, I’m glad to be alive today.

No, I’m not proud or happy to be alive everyday.

Shit got real kinda quick, eh?

I’ve spent the last 4+ years in recovery from an epic meltdown following my first ‘real heartbreak’ and my first corporate layoff.  When shit hit the fan, I tried to hang on, but one day I just stopped caring about myself and did everything I could to sabotage anything good in my life because deep down, I didn’t feel I deserved it.

I eventually sought help. I fought. I won that battle. I moved on.

I won’t sit here and spit some positive bullshit about how I overcame extreme depression over 4 years ago and that life has been a grand experience ever since.

It hasn’t been.

In fact, this year has been the absolute most difficult year I have ever experienced.  I took a nose dive right back to that dark place following the recent death of my grandmother, the ending of a few of my closest friendships and relationships, my dad moving away, and an intense professional burnout that left me working 90+ hours a week. Then there’s the insomnia.

OMG LIFE, WTF.

The good news is that I’m dealing with everything the best that I am able. I get out of bed every single day. I go to work. I come home. I pay my bills. I go to bed. In between I maintain healthy relationships. Everything is okay. Sometimes.

Sometimes I’m feeling happy.

Sometimes I am not feeling happy. I’ve overcome depression, but I still fight a daily battle with it.

Days seem long. Nights seem longer.  I get angry. I get scared. I need to spend time alone. I wonder if it’s ever going to end. But somehow, when I am at the end of my rope, just when I’m about to stay in bed all day and cry, just when giving up seems like a possibility, just when it seems hopeless is when out of nowhere, an authentically good day comes and reminds me how good it feels to feel…well, good.

The biggest thing I’ve learned over the last 10 years as I’ve gone from doctor to therapist to pharmacist to group counseling is that everyone suffers differently and struggle looks different on everyone. Even the happiest, cheeriest person can have buried scars and hidden demons. While some wear the feelings on their sleeves, I wear mine under layers upon layers of tough-exterior fabric that keeps people from knowing my vulnerabilities and insecurities. Just because you can’t see the pain on someone’s face doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

Any sort of mental condition or when someone is emotionally unwell, it  is often looked at as a sign of weakness. In my opinion, people who have made it through depression and/or wake up and choose to fight the storm rather than let it overtake them are some of the strongest people in existence. I know first hand how difficult it is to come out from the safety of your bed and face the harsh truth that ‘this is your life’. It’s nearly fucking impossible to put one foot in front of the other some days. It’s hard, but I do it. You do it. We do it.

There’s no cure-all to depression or wanting to end the pain. I can’t tell you how to mend your broken heart. I can’t tell you where to find $5,000 to pay your back mortgage. I can’t tell you how to change your life.  I don’t even know how to explain how I did it other than that it takes radical, blind, ridiculously crazy hope. Hoping against all odds that someday, somehow, someway, things will change, and you’ll just feel okay again, and patiently waiting for that one day and knowing that more good days will follow it.

If you’re like me, and you’re a seeing is believing kind of person, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Every morning, I write the word “HOPE;” on a piece of paper. I carry it with me in my pocket. Or in my purse. Or in my bra. True Story.

The “;” at the end of the HOPE; is not a typo  The semi-colon is what I use to define a moment where it would make sense to end it, (.) but I choose to keep going (,).   A period is an ending. A comma shows a continuum.

Some days I look at this paper about 40 times. Others I forget it’s there and it goes through my washing machine and pisses me off because it gets all over all of my dark clothes. But knowing that the HOPE; is there, as a physical thing, makes it a little easier to believe in- and when life sucks as bad as it does sometimes, having something to believe in is incredible.

I’m still here. And I’m glad you are too.

 

I Made You a Cupcake

Dear BFF,

Today (okay, yesterday) was your birthday. According to the laws of time passing, I should have forgotten it. Since I’ve moved on since our long weekends spent together, you’d think I’d forget the special days of your life. It should just be another day on the calendar. I should just go to work, do my thing, come home, make dinner, watch some TV, cuddle on the couch, and go to bed.

Many things have changed. Many people have changed. But my feelings for you, they have  not.

Today (well, yesterday), was your birthday, and I didn’t forget. Maybe I didn’t forget because 22 is a multiple of 11 and I’m a big fan of 11. Maybe I didn’t forget because I got to spend the day celebrating a little early with you last week while we saw some fish, sharks, and the world’s biggest alligator. Maybe I didn’t forget because during the short time I’ve known you (just less than a year), you’ve earned a special place in my heart that I reserve for my favorite people.

You’re a special little girl. I know you hear it from your family, but I also know that as you get older sometimes you start to believe that your family says you’re special because they HAVE to. While I assure you that your family loves you to the moon and back, I want to tell you something else:

I am not related to you. But I believe in you. I believe in your intelligence. I believe in your ability to be whatever you want to be. I see your worth. I am blown away by how smart, clever, and funny you are. I believe in you and always will, even if no one else understands.

“You have your own family”, people say to me. “It’s time to break the bond, it’s bad for her, it’s bad for you,” they say. ‘

But I disagree. At 6 years old, you are one of the most honest, generous, hilarious little girls that I have ever met. You are also  beautiful, but that’s not why I like you. You’re one of the people who has helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life. You might not understand that yet, but you will someday.

You might not know, but my Grandma died this year and she was my best friend. She’s an angel in heaven now watching over me, but I miss her a lot. Hanging out with you and doing spa days helped make me feel happy because my Grandma loved getting her toes painted. Seeing you smile when they’re painting your toes and nails makes me think of my Grandmomma. Thank you for that!

I truly love you for your imagination, your jokes, especially our inside jokes. (What kind if ice cream? *BURP Vanilla!*) I love the way you come out with “Katie, I love you”, every now and then. I love our girl’s spa days. The way you want to sit next to me in a booth. The way you tell me “secrets.” The way you used to want me to give you a bath and dry your hair sometimes. The way you draw photos of us and I’m always taller, and you always have better hair.

My adoration for you has nothing to do with your beautiful eyes or dimples, though, I do melt when you grin at me and you could probably get my debit card out of me just by flashing those eyes at me.

What I’m trying to say here is that you are one of the best new things that has happened to me this year. Even through my tough times, you never flinched. You never got angry with me. I tried explaining my emotional state delicately so you could understand, and you explained to other people that “Katie’s brain wasn’t working right.” or “Katie’s medicine isn’t working the right way.”  You never stopped referring to me as “My friend Katie.” This is more than I can say for a lot of people, and for that I am ever thankful.

Over the last few months, I have  met people that remind me of you. People that love me for me, and make jokes with me, and tell me secrets, and let me dry their hair, and can make me melt with their smile. But, BFF, you are the one that taught me that those are the things that I want in people. You helped me learn what to look for in a good person. Because YOU are an amazing person.

You are going to be a bright scientist someday Tinkering with volcanoes and inventing new things. Or maybe a teacher – helping other students learn addition and subtraction. Or maybe a rocket scientist. Your intelligence, honesty, smile, and creativity amaze me. You are so smart. You are brilliant. You are creative.

Those things are what make you beautiful. 

Sometimes life won’t seem fair. Sometimes you’ll get angry Sometimes you’ll be sad. These emotions don’t feel good.  Remember that anger and sadness always pass, and you’ll feel better soon. It’s okay to talk about being sad and angry too. You’re not a bad person for feeling angry. You’re not a bad person for feeling sad. You’re a normal, girl. And I’ve always found, the sadder I feel somedays, the happier I feel the next one.

Always be yourself, and never let anyone tell you that it’s not okay to be you. Somedays you’ll want to wear polka dotted pants with a striped shirt. Something I learned from you: “It’s important to let kids try new things.”

When I was 6, I wish someone would have told me that life can sometimes be totally unfair, but you just need to lean on the people who love you, and they will see you through. And also? Dance parties to One Direction songs are the cure to almost everything that makes you said. Just turn on your iPod, and dance away. If you want a new song to dance to, try “Firework” by Katy Perry.

For your birthday this year, I gifted you something that was given to me; A Pink stuffed rabbit named “Pink Rabbit” that was very special to me at one time. I am unable to love him as much and in the same way that you can and that he deserves, so he is yours to take care of. I trust you with him. Just a few tips: He likes his left ear to be ‘softed’ and he really loves to lay on top of your shoulder. He calls it the “Nook” and he is a little afraid of thunder storms. Just remind him that thunder is  just clouds bumping together and hugging each other and he’ll be okay.

I was unable to make it to your party this year. But I did make you a cupcake. I lit a candle, and I made wishes for you, I hope you don’t mind.

My wishes for you this year are:

  • True happiness.
  • More smiles than you can keep track of.
  • Countless adventures and new experiences.
  • Strength when you need it most.
  • Cry when you need to.
  • Laugh when you deserve to.
  • Meeting new friends.
  • Lots of hugs
  • Games of CandyLand where you win.
  • Another incredible report card.
  • Pancakes and Bacon parties.
  • And to never forget that you are the product of two people who love you very much.

I was babysitting last night and my little friend also made a wish for you: To have lots of love, lots of cake, and a pony. I hope you get those too.

“If you ever need me, call me, no matter where you are, no mater how far”. Because asI said, I am here for you. Even if you just want to say hello, it’s okay. No matter how far away I am, No matter what new friends I make, no matter what new friends you make, I am always in your heart, and you are always in mine.

So happy birthday to you, my little BFF.  May you have many more birthdays filled with joy.  I hope your day was amazing. I owe you a vanilla cupcake and a spa day sometime. 

When I have a son or daughter, I hope he or she is as wonderful as you. If they are, I will be the luckiest mom in the world. And I hope that every Katie as a little BFF like you in their life to inspire them as you do me. The world would be a much better place.

LOVE,

your BFF

 

PS: Another blogger (and actually, my best friend, Nessa, wrote a letter to her 6 year old self that is worth the read as well. Check it out here: http://nessabegood.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/dear-six-year-old-me/

Calming My Inner Bitchiness

I’ve been kind of rage-y recently. I hate being rage-y even more than I hate being sad, but unfortunately I’ve been hit with a case of the angries.

It could very much so be a part of the mourning process. It could be that I’m just in a holding pattern with life and I’m getting upset about that. It could be that I’m totally over 2013 and want to just get all of this crap over with already. Could be a pretty little combination package. Who knows?

A while back, I learned that anger is an emotion just like love, happiness, and sadness. While this might seem like an obvious fact, it took a really long time for me to grasp the idea that even ‘feel good’ emotions pass, as will ‘not-so-good’ emotions.

I remember a therapist had told me something really groundbreaking, at least for me.In the midst of the most difficult breakup I’ve ever been through many-a-years-ago, I found myself angry all of the time. She challenged all of my prior beliefs about emotions and asked me what anger was. 

“IT’S SHIT, THAT’S WHAT IT IS.”

Not the answer she was looking for.

She went on to teach me the idea that Anger is an emotion that comes when we’re not getting what we want. And if that’s the case, by getting what I want or accepting that I’m not going to get it, I have total control over the emotion. It was like she gave me the Secret to life.

This “Anger Theory” got me through many a battles with anger.  Whenever I was feeling that internal rage-y feeling, I’d try and crack down on why I was feeling that way, what is was that I wanted, and what I could do to get it, or if I couldn’t get it, I’d work on how to accept that fact.

As time has passed, I still do this little mind-check whenever I feel all the rage. As of late, it’s been kind of  hard to get what I want, especially when what I want is FOR EVERYONE TO LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE. That seems kind of harsh, I know it, but sometimes, I just want to be left alone, and I feel like that’s where I am right now. Since I work with people, I do need to interact regardless of wanting to crawl in a hole alone with Dexter and Grey’s Anatomy reruns.

I’m not being an ass to people. Not that I know of, at least. I still happily speak to my core people on the regular – you know, keeping me social. But for the most part, any kind of unsolicited interaction with people outside of my circle is just pissing me off.  It’s like, I know people mean well. I really do. It’s just, like, my inner-bitch is being the dominant part inside of me. I don’t let people see her, I fake happiness or contentment. But she’s there, and she’s all…well..bitchy.

I spend a lot of time forcing a smile through the tough times. “Fake it ’til you make it’ has been a mantra of mine for a while, but eventually it ends up sabotaging me. Swallowing my inner-bitchiness just makes inner-bitch angry. SHE WANTS TO BE HEARD, DAMNIT. And eventually, she decides she’s going to sit her annoying ass down inside of my brain and run the show. Often, I’m too tired to fight her.

I’ve been trying to settle that bitchiness down. Force interaction and all of that jazz, but it’s not working. As Katie tends to do, I put my thinking cap on, and went back to basics.

Anger=Not getting what I want, yes- but it’s more than that. My anger/inner bitch is really my deeply rooted passion to actually get what I want.  This ‘inner bitch’ isn’t being a bitch at all. She’s not telling me to avoid people, she’s telling me to avoid the wrong people. She’s not telling me that it sucks being along. She’s telling me that I need to do the things that I want to do when I’m alone. She’s not saying that I’m a bitch and need to let my anger out, she’s reminding me that I want and deserve more and need to be more proactive about going to get it.

So, I’m not angry. I’m just really fucking craving to go out there and get what I want.