quote collecting + reflecting

i went through the drivethrough at starbucks this morning and got something more expensive than i thought. and it turned out the person in front of me paid for my order. the person behind me got something cheap, so i paid for the person behind them as well, to make it even. it was an oddly weird situation, but i guess it’s a good thing. paying it forward, ya know.

also, i’ve been making collages on canva, taking pics from pinterest and grouping them together in ways i think are pretty. i try to make them *aesthetic* if you wanna call it that haha. and then i upload them to notion, where i’ve been journaling.

i words and quotes and writing them down and having them there and keeping them safe. i think the bio of my instagram includes a self-descriptor of “quote-collector.” what a title, i know. lol but i think where i’m going with this is i’m gonna write down some wordssss i’ve collected recently:

  • every color is influenced by the colors around him; in paintings + in the real world
  • be the reason someone feels welcome, seen, and loved
  • we are all literally made of stars✧✧
  • make your heart the most beautiful thing about you –but remember it’s okay to set boundaries
  • there’s nothing more powerful than proving to yourself just how strong you are
  • how fucking cool is it that everyone is just…who they are. unique + proud of ourselves, it’s wonderful
  • everything is more beautiful because nothing is permanent
  • words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality (edgar allan poe)

and now, unrelated, some reflections:

  • boredom is a killer. that’s nothing new, of course, but i have to get more creative to combat it, and i have to have more oomph when it comes to just startinggg.
  • candles make me happy. it’s the little things.
  • my brain was weirldy quiet today, and it’s almost distracting, but i guess it’s not a bad thing to have some peaceful moments of just…stillness

I journal obsessively, whenever I can, wherever I can

I basically like, HAVE to. I have to get the words out, the thoughts out, the feelings out in a way that makes some semblance of sense. And the thing is that it’s usually always all confusing and messy, so I have to MAKE it make sense. Straight-up forging meaning out of nothing. Well, not nothing. But like, out of chaos.

Anyway. I have physical notebooks (tons of them). I always have. But I also journal digitally. I guess it started when I got my first iPad. I have journals upon journals in goodnotes (that are now all uploaded to my phone). I went through a microsoft onenote phase, so I have all those journals too. And then I just have years worth of entries from the notes app on my phone. I love having every thought I’ve ever had with me at all times on my fuckin phone, it’s the coolest thing to me. Oh, and then there’s google docs for like essays and bigger entries.

I’m currently using notion. I feel like every youtuber I watch is big into notion these days. I don’t know if I was using it before it exploded in the realm of influencers, but either way, it’s cool seeing videos on it specifically, because I like seeing people customizing it.

But like…that’s not the point of this blogpost, actually. It’s related, I guess. Because I think using different mediums to journal promotes creativity. And this notion site is allowing me to really lean into the creativity thing.

My point, though, is that I’ve had a lot of thoughtssssss lately, and it’s overwhelming. Maybe it’s just that LIFE is overwhelming (it objectively is, like, you can’t argue with that fact, tbh). But it’s more than that. I keep facing philosophical dilemmas and being plagued by existential crises. It is nonnnnnstop.

Like why are we here. What is the purpose of all this? Is my life meaningful? I’d say all life is meaningful by default, but that’s not what I mean when I ask that question, really.

I keep track of these random tremendous thoughts and questions and predicaments somewhere on one of my journaling apps (or in a paper notebook, obv). But now even that’s not enough. What good does it do for me to explore these deep fucking ideas if the ideas just rot in a journal app on my phone.

I don’t know where I’m going with this lol. I also don’t know where I’m going in life, but I’m actually less concerned with the latter because it’s just too big an issue to focus on. Like I said earlier. Overwhelming.

Probably not healthy to ignore that looming question of WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. But maybe if I find the meaning of existence, life will give me a free pass in the career department. Who knows.

in-between

𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙨𝙩𝙮 𝙖𝙨𝙛, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙢𝙮 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙛𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 ✨🖤🥀

I don’t know if I’m in a bad mood or not. I feel shitty. Mopey. But not depressed. The super fucking confusing to me. And upsetting. But it’s manageable. But it’s annoying and I don’t like it. But it isn’t paralyzing me. Why is existing still something I have to feel guilty about? I’m confused. This period of my life is just uncertainty. Now that the other chaos has subsided, the uncertainty I’ve always been plagued with can be front and fucking center. It’s fine. I’m just off and blah and yucky. I can’t focus, either. Which doesn’t fucking help. But anyway.

*… 𝙄 𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙩 𝙙𝙤 𝙖𝙣𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙨 + 𝙄 𝙙𝙤𝙣𝙩 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙛 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙤 …*

Emotional Alchemy…?

Today wasn’t a bad day. It just wasn’t good. I barely slept last night and I was anxious and there was nothing to do. The elements of a good day just weren’t there.

As I sat at my kitchen table at 4:45 this morning (after I gave up trying to sleep and went ahead and made myself a cup of coffee), I was still pretty excited about the coming hours. I like mornings. They’re full of hope and promise and excitement, like, inherently. Plus, I knew it was going to snow. AKA the perfect excuse to cozy up with a mug of hot cocoa and a fun YA novel and a fuzzy blanket.

By 7:00, I was struggling to hold onto that “inherent morning hope” because it felt like I’d been up forever and I was fucking bored and annoyed and distracted/unfocused and my body hurt (whyyyy, rheumatoid arthritissss!).

I wound up napping at 10:30 or so (which didn’t fix everything but certainly helped), but at some point before that, my wandering mind landed on this idea of emotional alchemy. It’s not an actual thing that I know of. It is, however, an analogy that weirdly motivated me today.

From what I understand, alchemy is a thing that was a sort of precursor to chemistry, concerned with “transformation of matter.” Alchemists wanted to turn regular metals into gold.

I also understand it as a way make something new and better from whatever shit you actually have. I mean…right? That’s an accurate understanding?

And we’re clear on the analogy I’m trying to make? I’m trying to compare alchemy with utilizing the garbage parts of the day ahead to conjure a good mood even when there’s nothing particularly good happening. I want to create something better out of something blah.

Anyway, my mind continued to wander, asking itself a few questions to hammer out these details:

What are the components of a good mood (and by that I mean happiness)? Off the top of my head? Something to do, a sense of purpose, a way to spend time that you can enjoy. An environment you can be comfortable in (I prefer calm and not stressful, but some people enjoy busy and chaotic bc it keep them entertained). Feeling good physically. There are more, but you get the drift.

All of this is just as legit as the actual alchemy, and it doesn’t even fully make sense to me, but I think in comparisons. That’s how I process information, most times.

And I told myself I’d try to put words to a page to process this idea haha so here we are, I guess 🙂

Today I’m grateful for…

✓ shade from trees that’s tinted orange and gold because autumn has turned the leaves burnt red and yellow, air that’s so crisp it gives you the feeling of biting into a juicy apple, boots and scarves and leather jacket outfits, old cartoons that still make me laugh, an organized bookshelf, beanie hats, that squeaky sound it makes when you wipe down a mirror (and the feeling of looking into a pristinely clean reflection), fuzzy blankets, things that make you feel like you’re flying (like swimming or roller skating or even running so fast it feels like your feet aren’t even attached to you anymore), running the water really cold after a steaming hot shower, getting out and then dousing yourself in lotion or oil and slipping into pajamas feeling clean as fuck, my nephew’s little giggle, and classic video games

rainy mondays are for baggy sweatshirts, lots of coffee, and sea shanties/ pirate music playing through my noise cancelling headphones on repeat…while I try to write and actually be productive

yesterday wasn’t TOO unproductive, to be honest. I had a pretty big spurt of energy in the morning where I cleaned as much as I could in as little time as possible. I did the laundry, put things away, wiped the surfaces down, etc. it doesn’t look phenomenal in this apartment, but it’s more livable, and that’s what I was going for in the moment.

I was trying to do this whole SUNDAY RESET ROUTINE thing

and by that, I mean getting everything set up and organized for the coming week so that I don’t feel like a total shitshow for another seven days.

I like routines. I like the idea of them, and I really like when I stick with them. I was suuuuuper good at my morning routine right out of the psych hospital/right when quarantine started. it was helpful to have that structure, those set things I needed/wanted to do (and actually did). that fell off quite a bit, as could have been expected. and I’m not beating myself up about it. but it’s like, you get fed up, ya know? with the chaos? and you just wanna say “enough is enough” and fix everything right then and there.

the chaos typically doesn’t go anywhere, if I’m being honest. mostly because it’s internal (for me, at least!) haha, but it improves my internal state if I get shit done.

which is a huge reason why I neeeeeed my ADHD meds, and why I need to continue looking up and learning about the delicate relationship between bipolar disorder and ADHD, but I don’t wanna get into that now

[read my article on Libero Magazine about my experience with that, if you want]

usually when I feel like the chaos is gonna make me explode, I do a certain number of things in a certain order…

  • make my environment immediately more inviting: open a window, light a candle, spray some lavender
  • set a timer for ten minutes. make sure the alarm/song for when the timer goes off is fun.
  • clean like hell really quickly but try to get as much done as possible, spread as widely as possible (like, don’t organize inside the dresser drawers bc that has a narrow scope; instead, clean a little in the bedroom, a little in the living room, a little in the kitchen)
  • freshen up (because it’s hot after cleaning): wash face, brush teeth, put moisturizer on, etc
  • journal? read? social media catch-up? whatever, just unwind in a way that doesn’t bring all that momentum to a complete dead stop, because that only makes it feel shitty again

today I actually have some more important shit to do than just cleaning and organizing.

I have to work on some of my volunteer work, which should be fun, but it might require a lot of my brain.

and I have to do stuff for my class. work on all the tests I need to finish by november. and I also wanna like…gather my thoughts on the whole thing. really get my opinions and ideas together. I wanna talk about it with my therapist next week.

therapy today was awesome, as always ❤ I was in a mopey mood this morning (as I have been for like two weeks…possibly because of the steroids, possibly because I’m heading for a full-blown episode…not sure, and not sure I want to dwell on it) but anyway, she always knows how to distract me and get me out of it. get me talking and being like, MYSELF (my talkative, excitable self) and I love her for that reason (and many others).

^^ that was two days ago, a fun reminder from one of my mood tracking apps

[today I broke the “meh” streak, by the way!]

okay I’m gonna stop procrastinating and get to work. this has been fun, this update featuring the pointless pictures I take and save and have ✌

have a lovely monday, bloggerrssssss!!

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise ✨

6:23

Waiting for the sun to rise, I have been for three hours already

Wearing leggings and an oversized sweatshirt, my grandma’s old brown leather jacket, boots of the same color, my other grandma’s locket

(it matters because I’m comfortable and cozy, feeling cute and calm, and because I’m patiently awaiting the morning’s official invitation to join it outside)

Come on light, come on optimistic, hopeful light

Spill over into the blue that’s gradually fading into purple, contrast the darkness with your red, oranges, golds, and yellows

My hair is pulled into a bun so it’ll be curly tomorrow, still wet (which isn’t ideal in the 45° weather, but lo and behold, colder weather will be here soon and there’s nothing I can do but get used to it)

Sitting at the kitchen table, door already open so I can grab my coffee, already poured, and my book, Halloween-themed and exciting, and go sit on the steps to revel in the morning silence

The birds are already chirping, though they’ve got a way to do so that doesn’t interrupt the stillness, and they’re making my front porch sound both musical and…what’s the word for “more nature-y than it actually is”

6:42

I think it’s time, so I step outside into the chill and as it reaches my core, I don’t shy away from it but inhale deeply and hold for a bit

*

Another day’s begun, although it feels weird to say that after the night awake just warped time around itself

Even during my darkest moments, I usually woke up with some level of optimism; certainly not a stellar amount all the time, but I remember talking about it in therapy and my therapist told me that my prognosis is better because of it

Now, it might have taken life merely a minute to knock the optimism right out of me, but even I can’t deny it was there, if ever briefly

*

I’m irritable again, and I definitely know what usually follows such fervent desire to rip my face off, but (as I shouted at the skies countless times for countless years), all I needed was a god damn break…and I got one, and I’m thankful, and I’m not taking it for granted, and I’m handling my issues

6:55

It’s cold, I’m probably going to go back inside, but I like starting my mornings out here, and I’m glad that I did today

and here’s the narrative I just presented to my class

So it’s kinda weird to have 20 full minutes to talk about my experience, my strength, and my hope. I mean, I talk about myself and what makes me ME quite a lot; I’m lucky enough to have friends and family and a therapist who listen and understand and make me feel heard. But this feels different, and I’m honored to be sharing with all of you.

I’m gonna read something I wrote a long time ago that I reworked yesterday in order to make it better for this narrative exercise.

But before I do that, I just want to give a quick summary, through those five words Emily had us pick yesterday. Mine are: more, anorexia, personality, sexuality, and bipolar. They go in chronological order for the most part. And they help me understand chunks of my life and categorize them into…I guess into lessons I’ve learned.

“More” because I learned at a young age that my reactions to things were bigger, more emotional, and more dramatic

“Anorexia” because I spent the majority of high school locked in the lonely hell of starving away my problems, and because those years and the first few months of precious, innocent recovery shaped me tremendously

“Personality” because I’m proud of who I am and what I’m like and how I behave, even though I can be a lot to deal with, and I very much enjoyed the process of becoming me

“Sexuality” because my identity played an important role in my development and without my journey with it, I wouldn’t understand who I am and I wouldn’t be with my boyfriend who I love

And finally, “bipolar” because it explains things, it helps me make sense of things, it’s put me through a ton of shit but I’m still here standing next to it

When I was ten, it tugged at me.

At the time, I was merely confused. Maybe a little curious.

It felt weird more than anything else.

A vague and unfamiliar sensation that wouldn’t seem to go away.

I felt more, in every regard. Was that possible?

Something…wasn’t right.

I didn’t know what, but it didn’t really matter.

I distracted myself by learning to crochet and going about my regular fifth-grade business.

.

When I was thirteen, it pulled at me.

At the time, I was already agitated, as every new teenager is. I grew annoyed with it.

It was confusing, but no longer curious to me.

A troubling nuisance, forever in the back of my consciousness, on top of everything else.

Something was wrong.

I didn’t know what, and I didn’t have time to figure it out.

I distracted myself with writing and all the normal preoccupations of an eighth-grader.

.

When I was fourteen, it yanked at me.

At the time, I was stressed and upset and annoyed.

No longer confused, just pissed off with it.

A stupid, scary presence…a lingering sense of discomfort, and it was spreading.

My stomach soured in the presence of food,

Waves of sickness rippled through me at the mere thought.

I wasn’t good enough, could never be good enough, oh god, was it too late to try to be good enough?

Something was wrong. Very, definitely, completely wrong. Was it all related?

I didn’t know, didn’t care either. Still had no time to figure it out, nor the willpower to try.

I was too distracted to distract myself. Fucking ninth grade.

.

When I was sixteen, it ripped into me.

I was depressed.

It was empty. Hollow sadness that radiated into every aspect of my being.

Anxiety that pervaded every thought and action.

A dark cloud looming over me, terrible fears caving in on me.

Everything wrong. Nothing okay.

How did it get that way? How could it have gotten that way?!

I wondered how, and why, but had no energy to figure it out.

I distracted myself by starving my body into oblivion and cutting open my own skin.

Thinnest of blades drug over scars, one on top of another.

Ruined innocence, soiled purity, was it worth it to take one goddamn breath?

Fuck.

.

The darkness was first punctured when I was seventeen.

Light washed over everything.

It was like moving through a familiar world by means that were infinitely more fun.

Less painful and chaotic.

I was happy that the weight had been lifted (figuratively, at least).

It felt weird, but it was a relief more than anything else.

An oddly satisfying sensation that grew more comfortable every day.

It was finally okay.

I had the goddamn pizza AND the goddamn cookie.

I was proud of myself, and it felt good.

I celebrated by smiling at the beauty of the world around me.

.

I was eighteen when I fell again.

It was like tasting freedom only to realize it was all some sick joke.

Suffocating sadness juxtaposed next to pure happiness…

A throwback to three years wasted, a body wasted.

Something. Wasn’t. Right.

AGAIN!

Why, for the love of God, WHY?!

Exhausted, I cried to the universe for an answer.

And instead, I went crazy.

.

A respite came when I was nineteen.

A diagnosis.

“Are you on cocaine?” he asked.

“No.”

“Then you’re bipolar.”

It was confusing more than anything else.

But when I finally caught my breath, it started to go away.

A short punctuation, a precarious pause…

And then insanity.

Something was wrong, or right, or something, and what was I talking about?

I didn’t know.

I distracted myself with self-mutilation.

.

I was twenty when it came and went.

Repeatedly.

A roller coaster of twists and turns.

One flash flood after another.

I was twenty-one, I was twenty-two, I was twenty-three.

.

I was twenty-four, and you know the story by now.

Exhausted.

Clawing my way back up, climbing and scaling and reaching…

And falling.

The ground ripped from underneath me.

Again.

Get back up. Again.

Pushed back down. Again.

Sick frustration. Twisted, gnawing lack of energy.

Double fuck.

.

Fifteen years later.

Perspective and knowledge and maturity behind me.

Up and down.

I knew enough to center myself and ignore it.

UP and DOWN.

I was hanging in, struggling, but holding on.

Up down up down

It threw me off balance, but I had muscle memory from years of it, so I remained standing.

Up. Down.

Something’s right, something’s wrong.

As it always is.

I didn’t know why, but didn’t have to.

I pushed back,

Distracted myself by living my fucking life.

Easier said than done.

.

I was twenty-eight when I said enough was enough.

(When I begged the universe to see that enough was enough).

I wandered into the depths again,

Trudged through the muck again,

Fell too far again, I couldn’t get out again.

I threw myself deeper and farther and couldn’t bring myself to stop it, but

Life came to a grinding halt

(the way I’d been begging it to for so, so very long).

Blue paper scrubs.

Cups full of meds.

Visiting hours.

Coloring pages.

Hospital unit.

Groups and groups and groups.

Pacing the halls, laughing out loud, crying and shouting and breathing and…

.

I am twenty-nine.

And it’s been eight months.

I’ve been stable for eight months.

Almost three times as long as I’ve gone without spiraling into chaos

In more than half my life.

You know when you’ve been running for ages and it hurts so bad and you can’t catch your breath and finally you stop and rest and there’s a glorious influx of air into your lungs?

That feeling when you’ve lost you’re footing and you’re sure you’re gonna fall and you clench your body in preparation but you regain balance?

You know that feeling when you finally get that thing you’ve been wanting?

It’s called happiness.

It feels lovely.

.

I’m sitting here with my right hand on my ribcage, where the words that were tattooed upon them ten years ago remain, the reminder of a lesson I had learned and would continue to learn and shall most likely continue learning still…

It takes rain to make a rainbow.

Look, I’m not under the impression I’m going to be running through rainbows for the rest of forever. I’m not gonna sit here and be unrealistic. Life is full of ups and downs, and though I’ve certainly had my fill of them, that doesn’t make me exempt from future fluctuations.

The difference between ten year old me, sixteen year old me, twenty-four year old me…the difference between my past and my present is simply the fact that I’m living here now, doing what I can with what I have, and I’m ready to take on the next portion of my adventure.

It takes rain to make a rainbow. Take from those words what you will, but I for one am glad to have some perspective.

.

Experience = the full life I’ve lead for 29 years

Strength = communication, resilience, compassion, understanding

Hope = that little fire in my core that tells me to reach out when I’m struggling, to keep fighting when I don’t think I can, to love bigger and stronger and louder; the thing I’m struggling to find the words for, because right now, things are (dare I say) STABLE

So for the class I’m taking, we have to share our narratives. Our stories, our struggles, our hopes.

We talked this morning about how powerful it is to be vulnerable and how it’s sometimes difficult. I felt a bit disconnected from the conversation because I’m usually able to be vulnerable very easily. At least with other people. I’m good at relating to other people. I’m an open book, I know that I’m worthy of love and kindness, and like…all the stuff we spoke about in regards to sharing excited me. Some others were excited too. Some weren’t. But I really am looking forward to the next few classe.

Anyway, I’ve been reviewing a few pieces of my writing so that I can read one out loud while I share my narrative. I think I’m gonna go with something that I’ve already written and rework it a little. But as I was figuring that out, I smashed the keyboard and something fun appeared on the screen. Something about me walking into the unit at the psych hospital for the first time, being emotional and overall just scared as shit. It isn’t finished, but I’m eager to share it with the interwebs…

They took my elephant. Sickness swirled in my stomach. I looked again, pushing everything else around frantically. I swallowed hard, hoping to suppress the rising panic at the fact that my elephant wasn’t in the brown paper bag that held (most of) the other belongings I’d brought with me. Leggings, shirts, hoodie. No notebook. No stuffed elephant. Why was I frantic? Why was I starting this whole process by having a meltdown, why was I panicking over a stuffed elephant?

I was sitting in a chair like the ones behind the desks in my old high school. I was wearing something that was basically paper. I was cold. I was grossly depressed, exhausted from weeks of it, no– years of it. And my goddamn fucking elephant wasn’t in the piece of fucking shit bag.

A yell across the unfamiliar hallway broke me from my sad-angry mixture as I helplessly stared into that stupid brown bag. I inhaled deeply, unsteadily. But before I could exhale there were more yells from the same general area, way down the hallway of the unit that looked pretty much what you would’ve expected it to look like.

I brought my hands together with stiff arms, fingers laced, thumbs alternately massaging the opposite palm: a visible representation of my twisting, writhing anxiety. 

The screaming got closer, along with banging and stomping and other voices arguing. Something happened to my right, and, oh god what was this place? What did I do to myself? Were they going to–

“Sweetie, are you okay?” said the guy who’d minutes earlier been screaming violently about the staff being idiots. He put his hand on my shoulder to comfort me, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, although I had a hunch that he was harmless. Regardless, I didn’t have to ponder too long because two men in blue scrubs jumped on him to pull him off of me in a manner that was incongruent with the tiny interaction I’d just had with him.

I rocked back and forth as the scene unfolded in front of me and they pulled the man somewhere around the corner, and I didn’t realize I was sobbing until a nurse came over to the little chair where I was folded into myself, crouched down on the floor in front of me, and asked me if I was okay. I looked at her quickly and concluded that she was trustworthy (I’m good at those kinds of determinations).

“It’s so stupid,” I gasped. “I’m 28 years old and it should matter.” I wiped my nose on the sleeve of the paper scrubs they’d given me to wear. “They didn’t give me my stuffed animal, I brought him, I packed a whole bag knowing what was going to happen to me, I knew I’d come here, I need this, but my elephant…” I sobbed in one long exasperated breath.

I don’t remember how she answered. But I remember going into a little room with a table and absurdly heavy chairs with her and explaining a bit about my history for her charts while I calmed down. And I remember when we walked out of that room she handed me a blank marble notebook that she’d grabbed from the closet. I knew she’d just given me one of the most important tools I’d get in that place.