Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I Moved Here Two Years Ago Today

And I don't feel much like celebrating.

The panic I felt when we had traveled a whole exit away from where I had called home for the past three years still grips my heart every time I think back to that moment. My no longer long distance (as of that very moment) boyfriend was driving the U-Haul and Max (my cat) was drugged up, laying in my lap. I was numb.

The decision to move wasn't an easy one rather a logical one.

My now ex and I both were sick of riding the Bolt Bus every weekend to see one another. Sick of the Skype sessions and talking to each other's frozen faces on our laptops. Sick of feeling pangs of jealously when we saw other couples taking their same zip code addresses for granted.

Plus, I didn't have a job or much hope to find one left. I had recently pulled myself out of out patient (eating disorder) and made the choice to leave zulily (a negative, suffocating, underpaid environment that sucked the life and creativity out of its creatives) in order to keep my recovery and my sanity. I was flat broke, exhausted by job hunting, and insanely lonely as will happen with unemployment.

I needed a change and this seemed to make sense: move to Vancouver where my boyfriend and soon to be new job was. I sincerely heard the warnings (never move for a guy), concerns (but you love Seattle so much), and encouragement (you don't know until you try) and I made my choice. Plus Seattle isn't that far right?

Fuck that. Seattle is far. Not necessarily in miles or hours of drive time--but when you are no longer central to the things that make you feel like you, make you happy, make you at home--you're far. Far from yourself.

And two years later--which is what they told me it would take to be comfortable here--I still feel far. Even farther than I was before. I no longer have a home in Seattle and I don't have a home here. Life, construction and growth has changed what I used to know and love.

And Vancouver? Portland? I still don't know Burnside from uhhh another city street. My boyfriend and I are no longer together and with that came a painful distance from people I felt like were my family. It's like I moved here all over again.

The past 6 months I've fucked up, scrambled, drank, danced, partied, played, and held on tight to anything that felt like home and belonging no matter how detrimental, unhealthy, fucked up the situation / person / activity was.

Sinking lower into depression, anxiety increasing, my eating disorder and substance abuse oh and you can't forget the inevitable self-hate--I once again feel homeless.

I am unhappy here. I am barely keeping my head above water at my job. My rent kills me. And I have lost my best friend and the people I considered my family here. And yet, somehow the motivation for change isn't there. I'm disgustingly comfortable in this lifeless, depressive, anxious routine I cling to to get by on everyday. I feel useless, unmotivated, unwanted and am getting more and more comfortable with being in this incredibly uncomfortable place.

Making excuses, justifications, and just the slightest alteration so I can continue to wallow in my self-pity. I have no goals, I have no ambition, no dreams I'm just merely existing. I worked so hard to try to make it work here. To do the right thing. And I just feel more fucked up than I was before I left, but there's no going back so I guess I just keep trying to more forward.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Last Night Was A Shit Show-But I Wasn't

My favorite producer is on. I've waited 4 months for this night. I've got a boss ass outfit on. I'm with some of my best friends. But I'm having a terrible fucking time.

I have been stepped on, spilled on, bumped into, pushed, and harassed for the past two hours. My body is shaking, my mind is saying escape-we are not safe. I use my manners trying to not lose my shit, "excuse me, oh sorry, can I get by?" I'm talking to everyone and yet no one. No one is present, no one has any sense of self, everyone is fucked up and for once I'm not.

I find solace in the green room where it's bright, empty, and you can only hear the bass. I'm talking to two of my friends but I'm not really present. I feel myself shaking. Why can't I calm down? I look at my phone seeing nothing. I fidget and get water. I stand up, sit down. Can't stop moving. They talk casually, calmly and my mind is blank as to any kind of response to the topic. I can't be here anymore. Even in this "peaceful" (as peaceful as a green room can be) place I'm about to explode.

My mind and body are saying get out of here. I dip out as politely as I can which turns into awkward mumbles and sarcastic comments that I don't even think made sense.

I venture back to the stage. Hoping that dancing will help. I get pushed back and forth like I'm a ping pong ball at the bar and I explode. I tear through the crowd heading for the door, I vaguely hear my friends asking what's wrong, "I can't". My anxiety raises to the surface and releases itself through my hands, I gasp for air.

This is not how tonight is supposed to go.

I post up as far away from everyone as I can. And all I can say is "I get it."

Realization waves over me, almost comforting. "I fucking get it."

THIS is why I continually get way too drunk at shows. The stimulation from the lights, the music (as much as I enjoy it), and mostly the fucking fucked up people. Girls with eyes half open, black lipstick smeared over their face that elbow me when I'm trying to get water, the guys that get in my face to tell me I'm pretty, the people that decide to rage really hard when no one has room to move. The guy that needs 3 bouncers to take him down because he's so angry about "some bitch".

This has been my first sober show in a year. I've never been shy about my substance abuse issues so you all know that this is a huge feat for me. And one that I've learned so much from.

It's sad to me that something that used to be so healing, rejuvenating, fun for me has turned into this. A place where I'm so triggered that I am in mid panic attack for hours on end. I have been going to EDM shows for 5 years now and always plan for them to be something that helps me find myself but it's mostly turned into a place where I lose myself.

I always wondered what was so wrong with me. Why, no matter how many limits I set, no matter how many goals I write, how many people I tell I need help I keep drinking too much. And now I get it. Alcohol is a"coping skill" that "works" instantly. And I need to learn another one and also probably not put myself in these situations anymore. It's kind of sad to let go of something that I thought was so good, maybe like a boyfriend you really shouldn't be with but he's what you know, how you identify yourself, how you spend your time, how you feel like you belong.

You go back to what's comfortable but this is no longer serving me. And no I'm not like swearing off shows or anything because it is my life but I definitely will have to be much more selective about which ones I go to and really think about what the environment will be like past the I love that producer that'll be a great show.

And the other half of this is my social anxiety. I don't know what to do about that yet but I know it won't get any better if I continue to self-medicate with alcohol.  Last night I finally calmed down after riding through that panic attack and maybe that's just what it'll take.. Being really fucking uncomfortable for a while knowing it will end and knowing how to take care of myself in that moment.

This post isn't really as emotional or profound as I'd like it to be, but I needed to get my thoughts out. And maybe it'll help someone else. <3 p="">

Saturday, September 10, 2016

14 Going On 28

16. That’s how old I feel.
No 14.
When I wore my favorite pink GAP tank top to the school dance. I was sweaty due to nerves?
my self-cut bangs stuck to my forehead. Braces. Puka shells. Etnes.
I am the epitome of trying to be.
He asks me to dance. Or was it me?
All I know is we’re front to front, but not face to face. We're going in circles. I’m so out of place.
I do my best to keep my heart in my chest.
It’s happening, I’ve made it.
We part and my heart is elated.
I cross my hands across my chest an involuntary response that shows I’m a mess.
Physical touch, belonging, wanting to be like the rest. 
As we part I am alone. No one could believe what I’ve done. Or him. With her? Really?
My heart sinks. I thought I belonged.

And here I am at 28. Feeling the same feelings I did before I ever went on my first date. Wasn’t I supposed to grow up by now? Where’s my husband, kids, and dog? The house, the job, the regular morning jog?
Here I am, 14 going on 28. Sweaty palms, quiet voice, rapid heart beat. But my head screams.

My need to for love, for family, for loyalty, for belonging is captive inside my head. My actions contradict my thoughts as I sit silently.
I breathe in, I breathe out and then it repeats.

I want to be. I want to be me. I want to believe. I want to see who it is you see. I just want to be me. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

To All My Single Ladies

When I'm not preoccupied my mind wanders-to him.
A mixture of hurt and hate make my heart race.
We haven't spoken since it happened.
Well I have, he hasn't responded.
I'm reminded of the time before and the other time before, and all the other times before when we ended things.
We've been on and off since January 2013.
I've spent most of the past three years trying to make it work.
I've spent it in full bliss, in what I believe was true love.
I've spent it in pure hatred, in what I believe was true heartbreak.

I've never regretted a moment of it.
Every tear, smile, frustration, was meant to happen to lead me here.
And where is here?

Here is a place in which I'm at peace with my breakup. Where I'm starting a journey to be at peace with myself.

And that sounds chill and all but what the fuck does that actually mean?

Well it starts with forgiving myself. Forgiving myself for not being able to give him what he needed. Forgiving my flaws that helped drive us apart. Forgiving my actions during the hard times.

Then it continues with accepting that he's not the person for me. Accepting that it's really over. This part is hard. Accepting that there could be so much love, dedication and work put into something that "fails".

Here means being able to look objectively at our relationship. Seeing that it's not all my fault as my demons would have me believe. And that I'm not too fucked up to be loved.

Here means being incredibly self-aware. Watching my actions and seeing how every time I indulge in attention, drinking, food, my appearance that I'm left empty.

It's accepting that the answer isn't out there. The thing that will fill me isn't a guy, it isn't a job, it isn't a lifestyle, or a weight. It is me.

I have no real clue what that looks like but here are somethings I'm trying:

Therapy
Acupuncture
Cutting guys out unless they are friends
Only going to "the club" with friends
Putting more effort into my friendships
Spending a lot more time by myself reading, crafting, meditating, yogaing, exercising, whatevering
Exploring what makes me me. Accepting who I am rather than trying to change her.
Finding out what makes me truly happy and not momentarily.

For once I'm excited to be on my own. It's scary and empty sometimes but there's also something incredibly freeing about it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

You've Got To Be Comfortable Not Knowing.

"I feel shame," I say peering at my therapist over my over-sized, tan teddy bear that I've cleverly named Teddy.

"Stay with it, tell me more," she says from the massage table, I'm at my usual spot on the couch. It's itchy against my sweaty, bare skin in this hot weather. I have Teddy on my lap, my arms around his middle and my face buried in between his ears.

"I'm ashamed that I'm not normal," I say into the back of the bear's head as I try to hide further into it. "Aw man it's happening. I don't want to feel this." And then I cry and I let go of that tightness in my chest and I tell her things that I didn't even know I was feeling. It comes naturally, authentically, honestly.

"I'm ashamed that I have to go on walks religiously to get away from feeling trapped at work. I'm ashamed that the chewing and the talking and the typing makes me freak out on people. I'm ashamed that I hide what I'm eating from my co-workers. I'm ashamed I can't seem to show up on time no matter how hard I try. I'm ashamed that I'm inattentive at meetings and that I can't keep my focus for more than 10 minutes. I'm ashamed that I go through a day working so fucking hard but when it's 5 o'clock I haven't finished a thing. I'm ashamed that I bounce my legs in meetings and distract people. I'm ashamed that I glare at people when they eat in meetings. I'm ashamed that I wear the same two pairs of shorts everyday because I feel fat in everything else. I'm ashamed that I'm so far behind in life, at 28 my life is over."

She calls me back into the room. I had left, picturing every embarrassing moment, reliving it as I talked.

"I never realized how much effort I had to put into trying to be a normal person," I say. Relief flowing over me. ignited from realization and understanding.

"You spend so much of your time working to "be okay" that you don't have much time or energy for everything else," she tells me and I nod my head in agreement and another thought catches fire.

"And then I just look lazy. I mean if anyone were to ask me what was going on or why I'm always leaving my desk or why I feel the need to workout at lunch, maybe they'd understand. But they don't. They don't get what it's like."

"Not many people have as severe attachment trauma as you do, Kris. I'm here to tell you it's hard. All you want to do is one thing, to pay attention, to focus, to do good work, to be happy but no matter how hard you try you can't seem to calm your body, to feel safe in your body," she tells me as I realize I've stopped breathing. The relief of being understood is overwhelming.

"All they see is me going on walks, taking a long lunch, I even paint my nails at work because it calms me down but if anyone saw me doing that they'd be like what the actual fuck are you doing?"

I tell my therapist about all the triggering things at work. From the guy that chews ice and stomps around my office to the woman that is like Wilson on Tool Time, popping her head in on me asking me questions before I have even turned my computer on, to the group of co-workers that seem to have nothing better to do than talk about the last restaurant they went to for a half hour right next to my desk and a member of the senior team that sends me emails reminding me of protocols and procedures.

And she says the most beautiful words, "I am going to recommend you work from home at least one day a week."

I give Teddy a squeeze and immediately get embarrassed, avoiding this weird sensation of joy.

"But they'll just think I'm skirting work again," shame envelopes me, joy is gone as quickly as it came.

"I'll have to tell them about your experiences and your diagnosis but it's just so they understand."

"So they understand that I'm disordered," I say in a low voice to my feet. Shame. That fucker.

I change the subject to, "Well what do I do now? I mean in the mean time? Like this won't solve everything, do I still need to look for a new job? A new place to live? How do I cope with all of this (I gesture my hands and make a weird face the only way I can express how crazy I feel these days)? It's unbearable. Not knowing what I should be doing, feeling so sad and uncomfortable all the time, thinking I've got the answer one minute then changing my mind the next."

"Kris, you have to be comfortable with the not knowing."
"Fuck."
"Maybe this is your year of not knowing."
Silence.
"A FUCKING YEAR?"
"A fucking year."

And so now begins my year of not knowing and somehow not giving a fuck.

You've Got To Be Comfortable Not Knowing.

"I feel shame," I say peering at my therapist over my over-sized, tan teddy bear that I've cleverly named Teddy.

"Stay with it, tell me more," she says from the massage table, I'm at my usual spot on the couch. It's itchy against my sweaty, bare skin in this hot weather. I have Teddy on my lap, my arms around his middle and my face buried in between his ears.

"I'm ashamed that I'm not normal," I say into the back of the bear's head as I try to hide further into it. "Aw man it's happening. I don't want to feel this." And then I cry and I let go of that tightness in my chest and I tell her things that I didn't even know I was feeling. It comes naturally, authentically, honestly.

"I'm ashamed that I have to go on walks religiously to get away from feeling trapped at work. I'm ashamed that the chewing and the talking and the typing makes me freak out on people. I'm ashamed that I hide what I'm eating from my co-workers. I'm ashamed I can't seem to show up on time no matter how hard I try. I'm ashamed that I'm inattentive at meetings and that I can't keep my focus for more than 10 minutes. I'm ashamed that I go through a day working so fucking hard but when it's 5 o'clock I haven't finished a thing. I'm ashamed that I bounce my legs in meetings and distract people. I'm ashamed that I glare at people when they eat in meetings. I'm ashamed that I wear the same two pairs of shorts everyday because I feel fat in everything else. I'm ashamed that I'm so far behind in life, at 28 my life is over."

She calls me back into the room. I had left, picturing every embarrassing moment, reliving it as I talked.

"I never realized how much effort I had to put into trying to be a normal person," I say. Relief flowing over me. ignited from realization and understanding.

"You spend so much of your time working to "be okay" that you don't have much time or energy for everything else," she tells me and I nod my head in agreement and another thought catches fire.

"And then I just look lazy. I mean if anyone were to ask me what was going on or why I'm always leaving my desk or why I feel the need to workout at lunch, maybe they'd understand. But they don't. They don't get what it's like."

"Not many people have as severe attachment as you do, Kris. I'm here to tell you it's hard. All you want to do is one thing, to pay attention, to focus, to do good work, to be happy but no matter how hard you try you can't seem to calm your body, to feel safe in your body," she tells me as I realize I've stopped breathing. The relief of being understood is overwhelming.

"All they see is me going on walks, taking a long lunch, I even paint my nails at work because it calms me down but if anyone saw me doing that they'd be like what the actual fuck are you doing?"

I tell my therapist about all the triggering things at work. From the guy that chews ice and stomps around my office to the woman that is like Wilson on Tool Time, popping her head in on me asking me questions before I have even turned my computer on, to the group of co-workers that seem to have nothing better to do than talk about the last restaurant they went to for a half hour right next to my desk and a member of the senior team that sends me emails reminding me of protocols and procedures.

And she says the most beautiful words, "I am going to recommend you work from home at least one day a week."

I give Teddy a squeeze and immediately get embarrassed, avoiding this weird sensation of joy.

"But they'll just think I'm skirting work again," shame envelopes me, joy is gone as quickly as it came.

"I'll have to tell them about your experiences and your diagnosis but it's just so they understand."

"So they understand that I'm disordered," I say in a low voice to my feet. Shame. That fucker.

I change the subject to, "Well what do I do now? I mean in the mean time? Like this won't solve everything, do I still need to look for a new job? A new place to live? How do I cope with all of this (I gesture my hands and make a weird face the only way I can express how crazy I feel these days)? It's unbearable. Not knowing what I should be doing, feeling so sad and uncomfortable all the time, thinking I've got the answer one minute then changing my mind the next."

"Kris, you have to be comfortable with the not knowing."
"Fuck."
"Maybe this is your year of not knowing."
Silence.
"A FUCKING YEAR?"
"A fucking year."

And so now begins my year of not knowing and somehow not giving a fuck.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Everyone Else Has An Opinion So Here's Mine

My Facebook is filled with her story, with his.
With opinions both well thought out and others thrown out with emotion.
This post will be thrown out with emotion.

When I first saw the story, about the athlete who was accused of / found guilty of rape (I do not know as I cannot bring myself to read the story but this is what I've pieced together) I didn't know what I was reading.

A friend whose posts I respect and enjoy reading made her status about the injustice of how the case had gone. A sentence or two into it I felt a pain my chest and I was having trouble breathing. I forced myself to stop reading.

I closed the page and distracted myself with something mindless.
And I forgot all about it--or 
well I tried.
But the internet isn't letting me.

This story is everywhere. And while it's great to see this topic being covered it constantly triggers me to have to deal with things I'd rather not think about. My own experiences with rape and sexual abuse. 

And while everyone else has an opinion and can voice their thoughts, I find that this story has silenced and paralyzed me. Well, until now.

Too painful to think about at work, and too scary to delve into on my own at home the thoughts of my past have been preying on my subconscious since I first began to read about her story.

I didn't think it was affecting me until I had a panic attack at the gym yesterday.

I was doing squats in front of the mirror and I see the guy to my left stretching his groin feet away from me. I feel uncomfortable so I turn away trying to stay present. Then the guy behind me begins to go to town on the punching bag. His muscles flexing, his testosterone flowing, grunting, he hits the bag harder. 

The two story, warehouse of a gym begins to close in on me. My heart races. My hands shake. I struggle to stay present.

"They cannot win. They cannot win. I will not stop my workout because I am triggered," I tell myself. "I've given too much of my life to my attackers and they will not ruin this for me." I say trying to be brave, thinking I'm doing what's right and noble.


But the more I try to be brave and make myself sit in an environment that has become threatening the harder it is to control my breath and my mind. 

To my right a bodybuilder begins to deadlift with an angry force. Jerking the bar up and down. Slamming the weights.

The noise reverberates in my head and I have had enough attacks to realize when one is about to happen. I need to get out of here, but I am frozen. I am surrounded by things that feel threatening to me, how do I move when I am trapped?

The urge to run turns into an impulse. I turn up my music and I book it to the bathroom. I keep my head down. No longer able to control my tears, my body screaming to go to safety.

I bang open the bathroom door almost taking someone out. I muffle an apology and slam the stall door shut, I put my back against the wall, sink to the floor and curl up into a ball. 

Make me smaller, let me implode, let me escape. 

And I stay like this for I don't know how long, trying to steady my breath and stay in the room even though my brain throws memories violently to the forefront. 

It's not fair I think. It's not fair. The gym has become a place of recovery for me where I find myself feeling confident getting stronger mentally and physically but ironically it's also a source of powerful memories from a past I'd rather leave there.


The cold floor helps me mellow. I ask myself simple questions like where was I born and what did I have for lunch that day. And I distract myself until I am calm.

I avoid men as much as I can for the rest of my workout and I forget about this until today when I scroll through Facebook. There it is again. And again. 

And I go back to the avoidance and the distracting.

Everyone has had a voice in this, and I wanted to put mine in. While the victim is being very strong (from what I've gathered she's written a powerful letter to her attacker and probably spoken out as this is getting so much attention) and this story creating much needed attention to a serious issue it is also causing me a lot of pain. 

Everyone's opinion is out there about this story and this topic but I hadn't seen my perspective voiced and felt a need to, as I usually do when I write.

I don't know what most people have had to go through that have been posting their opinions about this so I could be completely off base but I feel jealous of all of you who can feel stronger by this story. I feel jealous that you can read these stories without having the reaction that I do. My past haunts me constantly and lately it's been brought to the forefront and I'm having a hard time coping. 

I can usually ignore it and forget that those things happened but not when there's reminders everywhere. And I'm just angry, and sad, and frustrated that this is a part of my life and who I am and always will be. And I can just hope that maybe one day I can read these stories and feel empowered but I'm just not there yet. Just another perspective to think about.