Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, Where I’m Going.

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My mom and dad have been full-time RV’ers for the past year. That means they work remotely from the camper and haul it around whenever they want, wherever they want. This has been a major life change for them, and my mom has been writing about her experiences. Her most recent post was so authentic, so genuine, that it really inspires me to tell you what’s been happening since my last blog post five months ago. All of these have made me feel unsettled at times and under a lot of pressure, so I wasn’t writing about it. I felt paralyzed. I think I need to let that go and just say the things I need to say. It’s a lot all at once, I guess.

Jeremy and I decided to move to Charleston, South Carolina and we have been in the process of planning thus huge move. We’ve been together a year and a half, but we don’t live together and we don’t even live in the same state. It’s been awesome, I wrote all about how much I love our long-distance relationship. However, the next step for us involves living together and seeing if this will work long-term like we hope it will. We decided to move to Charleston because we both wanted out of New England, and I had visited Charleston once and loved it. We don’t have a community, jobs, or any particular pull for going aside from the adventure. Reactions from friends and family have ranged from “wow how exciting!” to “this seems like a bad idea”. Thankfully everyone has been supportive (even when skeptical) and I really believe we can pull this off. That being said, it’s still a huge transition as individuals, and in our relationship. First time living together thrown into a new apartment, city, jobs, school, etc. We won’t even know where to get a good cup of coffee, or which grocery store has the best deals. It’s overwhelming. We’re talking about money and being transparent about our fears, which is great. One thing I really value about our relationship is our transparency. We can be really frank about what we are feeling and why, and we’re really kind to one another. But the pressure is mounting and I’m starting to get nervous. I’ve done this twice before and one ended in abortion, another divorce. Hopefully the third time’s the charm. But I’ve got some baggage and it’s hard to be optimistic when I’ve had such dramatic breakups in the past. I feel confident that if it wasn’t working we’d do what we always do: be communicative and kind. Ultimately we’re going to find out pretty quickly what’s working and what’s not, and hope that the communication skills we’ve worked on so far will see us through no matter what.

I am still working for the same restaurant, but I am a bartender now. In the beginning, we were short staffed behind the bar, so every shift I worked was a bar shift for the first three months after training. We are now to a point where we have enough bartenders to give us all time on the floor as well, which in nice because bartending does get pretty repetitive. It’s one of my favorite things about the job, but working so many hours of the same thing was burning me out. Learning a new skill set is so exciting though, and makes me feel marketable for future employment. Bar training is difficult to get at a restaurant, and I’m really grateful that I have this opportunity. It’s been a difficult transition, too, although a really fun one. The hours are long, sometimes ten hours a day (with a break somewhere in the middle) and my nearly forty hours (and almost all the money I make) is Thursday-Sunday. By Sunday I’m wiped.

I scaled back my therapy to once a month, then school ended and so did my therapy (she is a doctorate student). She began her practicum this fall at a local business, but I haven’t yet called to resume seeing her. I think we did great work once a week for nearly a year, and I have the tools I need to go out on my own. There has been some anxiety with that, and I might be a person who needs regular or semi-regular therapy for the rest of my life. It has been so transformative for me. Talk-therapy has been an effective way to work out my problems. I need to talk about stuff out loud to work through problems. They can’t be solved in my head, I become too overwhelmed. Therapy was basically me paying someone to listen to me talk, because very rarely did she say anything. I often couldn’t stop talking long enough for her to get a word in edgewise. This was really important for me because I have the solutions, but have difficulty accessing them alone. It’s a lot to ask of a friend or lover consistently, and therapy was my “work” space where I didn’t have to feel guilty for dumping my crap into someone else’s lap.

I also started taking an antidepressant. I take Lexapro, 20mg a day. I have suffered from mood swings and anxiety for many years. I thought once I got older, I would feel better. Instead, as I got older, I felt worse. And, even though many areas in my life were almost perfect, and I had no reason to feel sad or unhappy (love my job, love my relationship, love my apartment, love my school, etc), I would wake up and be exhausted by the prospect of the day. I was tired, unmotivated, unbelievably sad, and anxious. This happens once or twice a year, it goes in cycles, so I just ride it out. However, this cycle was particularly bad. The worst one yet, and it really scared me. I was frustrated it would cost me my relationship, friendships, and possibly my job. A particularly bad day included a panic attack at work and I was hysterical – I mean unsafe to drive home crying uncontrollable and just totally losing my shit on the phone with Jeremy) – for hours afterward. The next morning I woke up feeling drained and empty. I couldn’t even remember what I said to Jeremy on the phone about it, only knew I had felt really emotional. By this point, I had called and canceled so many doctor’s appointments (correction: I said I wanted to/should call my doctor, but never following through) but that morning I hit a breaking point. I was so embarrassed about having had a panic attack at work (my boss was fabulous, and continues to be) that I resigned myself to considering taking medication. Up to this point I stubbornly refused taking anything. I convinced myself I could change my brain chemistry through a positive attitude and sheer force of will. In retrospect this was fucking stupid. Like, really stupid. My doctor explained that while emotions are important and necessary, unbearable persistent sadness was atypical. There’s a better way to live, and it’s by increasing the amount of time serotonin hangs out in your brain. It’s released and then a re-uptake process happens where it gets reabsorbed. If this re-absorption happens too quickly, you don’t have enough serotonin and the lack of it makes you very sad. At least, that’s what they think. So anyway, an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) keeps serotonin from being reabsorbed. The effect? Well, for the first two weeks, I felt amazing. I was chipper, motivated, nearly manic. A few people thought I was drunk or stoned. Perhaps it was the relief that I took action or maybe it was the drug. Either way, the first few weeks were awesome and then I crashed. I almost had another panic attack at work and I was pissed. I wanted an instant fix, which was silly. It can take months to get used to a new med, and even longer to find the right dose or kind of medication. There have been some frustrations but my dose was doubled and that seems to be working. It does come with some sexual dysfunction. Having an orgasm is really hard. Sex drive seems to be the same, and it all feels great, but I can’t quite seem to get there. Naturally this has been frustrating for both of us, but I quickly realized my emotional well-being wasn’t worth risking. So we got creative and we’re figuring it out. I have it on good authority that it will get better over time, but I can tell you one thing for sure: I never want to go to that dark place ever again.

School is awesome and it’s my last semester here before I leave. I’m very emotional about the whole thing and don’t want to talk about it.

I chopped off all my hair in an impulsive decision to have my outsides match my insides. Traditional ideas of femininity include long gorgeous hair. Duh. Everyone wants to be a bombshell. But inside, I’m a badass motherfucker who takes shit from no one. I’m fierce and I may be totally messed up, but I’m gonna try to chase down every dream I’ve ever had until I die. So I paid someone to chop off my hair into an adorable pixie and that was very rash and I absolutely love it. It might sound cheesy but I had massive anxiety for a full day beforehand. So badly that my stomach hurt and I couldn’t sleep. I’m deeply attached not to the hair itself, but what the hair represents. Something I can feel beautiful in, think others find me attractive. Cutting it off was putting a big middle finger to the system and saying “I’d rather not have thick long hair in the South next summer, and I’m spunky and fun and don’t need this long hair to feel gorgeous”. Cause the reality is I’m gorgeous no matter what, I might as well be comfortable. It’s why I’m almost always in a bathrobe and sweats when I’m at home (no matter what time of day/night it is) and I don’t wear makeup. It itches my face. I don’t wear heels because they hurt my feet and annoy me. I wear regular panties because they stay put and don’t go places underwear ought not go. Besides, I’ve received exactly zero complaints from dudes who got to the panty stage. I’d rather be comfortable. But the hair… the hair. I just couldn’t let it go. I was going to be a bombshell with long gorgeous hair no matter what. Except it’s heavy and hot and gets in my face. It clogs my shower drain and let’s be honest I’m not going to curl it out to look like a movie star. It will just air dry and be kinda wavy and kinda sexy but really soft and usually smell nice. But I didn’t feel like a bombshell. So, I chopped it off and looked myself in the mirror and thought “you might not look like old Hollywood on the red carpet, but this is exactly who you wanna be”. Everyone loves it and I’ve been told I look like an adult and really sexy. Everyone’s always grinning at me and my new hair. It’s awesome.

My sister got married, which was awesome and fantastic and I love her so very much, as well as her husband(!). The event was lovely and impressive they put it together in just a few months, less than six for sure, And we only had one fight and it was on the phone way before the wedding so we were totally cool. It was really emotional to see her make vows to someone, and to see the tears streaming down his face before her entrance music even started playing. It was evident he adores her! Plus, Jeremy was able to get the time off work so he met my entire family in one weekend. Even better, he nailed it, and everyone loved him. Comments range from “Keep him” to “Can I marry him instead?”. How neat is that? And totally new. They didn’t even like my husband this much.

I’ve taken up a new hobby, photography. I am taking photos for free while I practice using the equipment and build my portfolio. I would like to have enough experience with the shooting and editing process to begin marketing myself as a professional (paid) photographer once we move to Charleston. As a result, I’m looking for subjects to model. I’ve done one engagement shoot and three head shots/portraits. I have a family session booked next week and several people approaching me about getting their picture taken. Let me know if you are interested.

My lease ends October 31, but we aren’t moving until December, so I’m crashing on an air mattress (which I have yet to purchase, actually) for the last six weeks of the semester. It’s gonna be a crazy few months, but I’m feeling the positive forward momentum. Things are clicking into place but I’m still struggling to write regularly. I think I’ve realized I don’t know how realistic it is for me to write professionally or have the pressure to be creative on someone else’s schedule. I want to get back to the raw energy that attracted people to my blog in the first place, rather than worrying about edits and structure. I don’t want my blog posts to feel scripted or formulaic. They should range in tone, length, content, and perspective. It’s an ongoing process, this growing up thing, and I want to get back to the place where I’m inviting you to see the different ways I’m growing and changing. I think I put too much pressure on myself to “really know” something before writing it, because I was worried people wouldn’t like my writing. Now I’ve realized that I started doing this for ME, and people liked it just fine. Some said they were too long, others said where have you been WRITE SOMETHING! So, this is how I’m feeling today right now. It’s not going to sit in my inbox for later review. Soon I’ll have reached a logical stopping point and I’ll just hit

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