grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I know it's been a while... I've been so busy with classes, hanging out with my sister's and my mutual friends group, and I do at least an hour of creative writing every day.

But I just wanted to post this. This is so cool! I totally want this to happen to my ashes when I die!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/artful-ashes-memorials

Breakup

Jan. 2nd, 2016 12:38 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I broke up with Cowboy Bebop Dude today. It was really for a multitude of reasons:

- I didn't really trust him. I never felt like I could trust him with any personal details of my life. I don't know why, it's not like that with all guys, but I just never felt like I could trust this guy in particular.

- I never felt supported by him. I would tell him about bad things that were going on in my life, and he never really supported me, or even said anything against me -- he never really said anything.

- He was pushy. In a nice, subtle way, but still pushy. I told him I was not comfortable being physically intimate with him yet, but he would do things like move closer to me on dates, ask me for a time-frame for when we could be physically intimate, and invite me over to his place for the night after dinner dates.

- He wasn't big on family. This was a down side for me, because I'm HUGE on family, and unless your family mistreats you (which his didn't) I'm not impressed if you don't seem to enjoy spending time with them.

- He sometimes struck me as a bit whiny and dramatic. I canceled plans with him once during finals week, and he gave me a phone call -- right after he knew I'd had a huge, stressful final -- complaining in kind of a whiny voice that I never had any time for him. Sorry, dude, school comes first.

- And that brings me to my last reason: I might just be too damn busy with school to successfully carry on a relationship. At the very least, I need someone who understands that school comes first, like me. Maybe I'm just not ready for a serious relationship yet? Because this one very quickly began to feel like a burden on my time and energies.

Basically, he was attractive -- in an aesthetic sort of way, at least -- but problematic. Whereas my last boyfriend was blissful but physically unattractive.

My best friend and my sister didn't like him, either. My friend (the married one) gave the assessment that he seemed "clingy and immature, and only cares about being physically intimate." Not the first time I've attracted a clingy guy, funny enough.

My sister also never liked him, and she has good instincts. She thinks that might be why he was a boy in the feminist club in the first place -- and why he talks about how important women’s studies classes are to him so much -- to get sex. Well he won’t be getting any from me!

I waited until the holidays were over -- breaking up with someone over the holidays is a shitty thing to do -- and then I called him over the phone (he gets this really sad, pathetic face on when he gets upset, and I thought if I had to look at it I might not be able to go through with the breakup) and said this:

"I’ve realized something. I’ve been telling you that I’m not comfortable being physically intimate with someone I don’t know well, and I’ve also been too busy to have much time to get to know you better, and I’ve realized that’s not fair. That’s not fair to you. Or to me. We both deserve a better relationship than that. But I don’t have anything better I can offer at this time. I think the time is just not right for me to be in a relationship right now. I also think we seem to be looking for somewhat different things in a relationship. I’ve tried to tell you what I need, but I think our pacing in a relationship just seems too different for it to really work out. It’s not that I don’t like you, or aren’t attracted to you, or anything like that. It’s just that I feel this relationship isn’t healthy for either of us. So I’m breaking up with you.

"And I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but there’s really no negotiating on this. I’ve made up my mind."

I’ll give him this one, he took it better than I anticipated. He said, “I don’t agree that we should break up, but it sounds like you’ve made up your mind, so.” And then it got really awkward. We hung up soon after.

Honestly, I just feel so relieved. This huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It's a good start to the year, not a bad one. Breakups have never really bothered me. I'm not a big cryer. I have a pretty huge "life goes on" attitude when it comes to losing people -- through death or through separation. It takes a really close person being torn from my life for me to get really emotional about it. I guess it helps that I'm usually the dumper -- not the dumpee. I've been called a heartbreaker -- jokingly, but still. I guess you could say I don't handle bullshit well and I have pretty high standards.

My Mom put it the best: "You, more than anyone else I have ever met, need to find an intellectual equal. Like Jane and Mr Rochester. And finding Mr Rochester is going to be hard."

In any case, what's done is done. We all have to just keep going and not look back, don't we? I'll quote Reba McEntire: "I'm pretty sure it's not the end of the world tonight."
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Dear Teenage Self,

I’m not quite sure how to begin. There’s so much I want to tell you; so much has changed. Most of it for the better.

First, I know being a teenager is hard. It seems like people are always trying to under-rate the problems of being a teenager. But I remember: being a teenager is insanely difficult. Just know that things will get better, if you give them time.

I know you think you’re ugly. I know those bullying girls in middle school make you feel like you’re ugly. And I remember what you look like in middle school: long frizzy hair, braces, snobbish little gold-rimmed cat’s-eye glasses, tomboyish clothes. I remember that you cried the first time you heard “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked. You pretended you were smarter and more arrogant than everybody else to hide the truth -- that you never felt like you fit in, that you doubted you’d ever find a boyfriend or fall in love.

Well, guess what? All those bullying girls in middle school? They’ll lose interest in you in high school. Your braces will come off. One day you’ll just decide to cut off all your hair, and it will feel incredibly liberating. You’ll get some new square plastic black-framed glasses. You’ll learn to make your tomboyish look work for you, with band T shirts and checkered open sweaters and long wool coats and skintight jeans.

And guess what else? Guys will call you pretty. So will girls. You’ll be asked out on dates. You’ll make new friends. College will free you from the confines of teenage hierarchy -- yes, you have to wait till college, and it will frustrate you because it seems like everyone else has it all figured out in high school. (They don’t. Trust me.) In fact, you’ll go to prom stag with a bunch of your girlfriends instead of with some immature teenage boy, and you’ll have the time of your life. You’ll rent a white limo and put on a lavender ball gown, and you’ll giggle and silly dance on top of a ship overlooking the sea sparkling in the night. And then, eventually, a year or two later in college, you’ll have the courage to ask somebody out and romance will happen for you.

But you’ll also learn not to let your beauty define you. I know you can’t even conceive of this right now, but you’ll get into a relationship, realize this guy’s not right for you, and you’ll have the courage to tell him “no.” He will validate this idea of the beauty you never thought you had, but he will not be the right person for you, and you will realize that it is okay. It is okay for him not to be the right person for you. You don’t owe anyone anything just because they called you pretty.

And it is okay not to have a boyfriend. Especially in high school. Ya got time, girl! Go easy on yourself!

Also know this: you still haven’t completely fallen in love. I think you’re probably one of those people who falls in love really intensely, but only once or twice a lifetime. And you’ve realized that’s okay too. You’ve kissed boys, held hands with them, even made out with them, but you have never given your virginity away to a guy who hasn’t earned it. And your inexperience? That doesn’t bother you as much as it used to. In fact, you’re a little proud of it. You go slow, and that’s okay -- your relationship experiences will be more rewarding that way. It’s okay to wait until the time is right.

You will try to force it. There will be a point in college when you try to force relationships that aren’t there, out of some misguided idea that you’re supposed to. And guess what? You’ll get over that, too. It’s a phase. You’ll grow out of it.

Don’t get me wrong. You’re not always the paragon of self confidence or anything. You still have your self conscious moments, but you’ve learned that those are okay. Progress can be imperfect and still be progress.

I know you have a lot of celebrity and book crushes right now. You’ll grow out of those, too. Don’t get me wrong, admiring sexy guys is awesome and so are idle daydreams, but the intense crushes on people you’ve never met? I’ve found those usually fade as you get older as well.

I also remember that those bullying girls used to call you a freak. Behind your back, which is worse. Even now, you still haven’t forgotten that girl who cheerfully told you, “I know everyone says you’re a freak, but I think you’re really nice! Oh, wait. You did know people call you a freak, right?”

You hadn’t.

Yeah. Ow.

That one still hurts a little.

But overall, you’ve come far. Time heals most wounds, and all those times you were socially humiliated in middle school? Those times don’t seem so important anymore. You can look back now and see those bullies for exactly who they really were: immature airheads. You can remember the memory, and be exasperated by it, and not feel pain.

And you know what? You ARE a freak. And you should be damn proud of that! The freaks are the best! They’re the originals, the daring ones, the ones who will change the whole fuckin’ world! Dare to be different! Live it up! Don’t let those assholes weigh you down!

And don’t give up on your childhood dreams. Remember when you wanted to be a novelist, a poet, a musician, an actress, but everyone told you that would be too hard and so you gave up? Don’t give up! You’ll get to a place where you’ll feel brave enough to start dreaming those things again.

You’ll also get better at talking in front of people. You don’t just babble incoherently and shake like a leaf in a high wind when you get up in front of people anymore. You’ve learned to deal with crowds, parties, and yes, school presentations -- at least to a certain extent. They can even be kind of fun!

Don’t start drinking. Stick to your principles and instincts and don’t get caught up in that addictive cycle. It may separate you from your peers now, but you’ll be so grateful for it later. For the ability to have an occasional beer or glass of wine without feeling the need to get drunk.

Yes, you WILL find jobs. You'll volunteer at the local library for a year in your senior of high school, edit someone's book for publication for a fee, and you'll have a really cool virtual internship doing business writing for an environmental company. (Your major right now is Creative Writing, with a minor in Marketing -- this may surprise you because I know you were thinking Psychology. But really, budding young writer, is it such a surprise?)

Also, you know that girl you’re best friends with? The daring, original one who loves goth stuff and who you walk home with every afternoon so she can show you her anime collection? The one you really admire and envy for her sheer comfort in being different? The one who takes you to the cool rock concerts? The one you wear bandanas with because you want so badly to be her? Yeah, you’re not really friends with her anymore. Not because you had a big falling-out or anything, but just because you both went off to different colleges and she turned out not to be the kind of friend who wanted to keep in contact with people she didn’t see every day -- even though you DID turn out to be that kind of friend.

I’m not going to lie to you and say that won’t hurt. It will. It’ll hurt like hell. It’ll feel like a betrayal. But eventually, you’ll come to the realization of this: that girl you admired and envied? You ARE that girl now. You’re comfortable being yourself, and being different.

And maybe you’re not different in the same way she is. Maybe you don’t wear dark eye makeup and dye your hair twenty different colors. But that doesn’t make you any less special and unique. Guess what? She’ll admit to you one day that SHE always really admired YOU -- for your dedication to your creative endeavors, especially to your writing, a dedication and creativity she’s found she can’t quite match.

Another compliment you’ll get, from a completely different girl, at the end of high school? That you’re “mysterious” but “passionate about your music.” And here was you always thinking people don’t talk to you because you’re a dorky loser. They may actually have been intimidated by you!

Speaking of that girl you’re friends with, you actually did want to go to the same college she did. She got in. You didn’t. And guess what? She was fucking miserable there. You cried when you didn’t get in, and she didn’t even like the goddamn place. So you moved far away, to a college in a different state right in the downtown area of a big city. You explored different kinds of cuisine. You tried online dating. You got interested in politics. You became addicted to coffee. You found out that snotty private school kids can be cold, bitchy, judgmental, and mean.

What I’m saying is -- first, you’ll get into college. Don’t worry about that. But second, the college you first went to? That wasn’t even your final destination. You ended up transferring to a totally different college, a public one in a small, rural town, and meeting some absolutely incredible people there. You’ll move out on your own, share an apartment with your college-age sister. The two of you will become incredibly close. You will successfully become independent.

Somewhere in between the first college and the second, you’ll be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That’s right, all your online research proved you right. And I know that right now you’re trying to convince other people that how you’re feeling is an illness, and they’re grownups so they’re trying to tell you it’s really just because you’re not doing THAT and THIS and THAT OTHER THING.

So I just wanted to validate you. You were right. And finally getting that diagnosis and starting on the path to recovery? It’ll feel like a huge relief.

That brings me to my central point. I know you’re feeling suicidal. I know your parents are angry with you because you withdraw and hide in your computer so much, but you’re just trying to get good grades in class (you feel a lot of pressure there) and ignore the feelings welling up inside you. And I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you -- it’ll get worse before it gets better. There are times when you’ll sob and scream. There are times when you’ll just want to fucking die. There are times when you’ll feel broken. You will lose people. You will be bullied and abused. You will act fucking insane. Horrible things will happen to you.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: It. Gets. Better.

You will go see a psychiatrist and a therapist. You will find a medication regimen that works for you, and learn self management techniques to keep bad thoughts from controlling your life. You will also start being healthy -- going out walking regularly, eating more frequently and healthier, sleeping more (but not too much), and you’ll travel and find tons of new hobbies! (You’ll even feel brave enough to take night classes in swing dancing downtown above a really sketchy bar.) These might all sound cheesy in isolation, but put them together and you’ve got a great recovery strategy.

Recovering from depression and suicidal thoughts is the most incredible feeling on the planet. All of a sudden, you’re grateful for everything -- you’re so much wiser, and you take a whole new lease on life. Life is an incredible journey, and you’ll want every part of it.

And the realization will come to you, over and over and over again: That you made it. You survived. You’re a survivor. And that realization never stops coming. It’s the gift that never stops giving. You will feel that triumph again, and again, and again. Every time you learn something, every time something good happens to you or you get reflective, you will feel that triumph again.

Like today.

So congratulations, kid. You’ve hit your twenties. You made it.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
"Perchance do we truly live on earth?

Not forever on earth,

But briefly here!

Be it jade, it too will be broken;

Be it gold, it too will be melted;

And even the plume of the quetzal decays.

Not forever on earth,

But briefly here!"

- Aztec Native American poem on death
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Thought this was an interesting article:

http://www.ibpf.org/blog/mania-spiritual-experience

Mania is an experience that is kind of impossible to describe. You react very strongly to everything, are constantly convinced of your own rightness, and everything suddenly takes on entirely new meanings that they didn't take before. Some common symptoms of mania are recklessness, excitement, irritability, delusions, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior.

When I experienced mania during my last episode, I became convinced that people were watching me and trying to communicate secret messages to me via things like my music and my social media. I became convinced that everything was a secret message to me, written in code, and that unseen people were trying to speak to me in my daily life.

The thing is, these people were not always a negative influence. Sometimes they were very encouraging (though they could turn sharp very quickly).

I mentioned this to my mother, and she said that sounded like a spiritual experience. She said it's natural to feel like someone is watching over you. She gave one example from her own life: She was in the car at a stop light. The light turned green, but she didn't go immediately. She paused. To this day, she has no idea why. Just at that moment, a car came speeding outward, running a red light. If she had gone immediately, the car would have hit her, and she'd have died on impact, and I wouldn't exist.

The way my Mom put it, she became convinced there was someone watching out for her that day. Someone stopped her from hitting the gas pedal. And she thinks I have the same thing. I've lost my grandmother, for example, and my Mom is completely convinced she is out there somewhere and fighting from my corner, helping me out.

So now the real question is: Are spiritual experiences a kind of mania, or is mania a spiritual experience?
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Thought this was an interesting article:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/10/health/how-doctors-want-to-die/

It claims that most doctors, when they die, they don't die in a hospital undergoing aggressive treatment. Instead, they die peacefully at home.

This is definitely something I'd want for myself. Say I got cancer. Sure, I'd try to treat it at first. But if things seemed pretty terminal, and I wasn't going to make it, I'd stop undergoing treatment options. I would just let myself die, peaceful and feeling good, at home. I wouldn't want lots of pain that might prolong my life, and I wouldn't want to be kept alive by machines. And if I found out I was dying, I'd like to do some cool things before I went -- maybe go skydiving or take a trip to Europe. I'd like to see the world before I was gone.

I am not terribly afraid of death. Obviously, the idea makes me nervous, but it's the kind of nervous I felt before going onstage at my first choir concert. It's just a process. It's dying that's painful, death is inherently not. Death is peaceful.

And when I do die, I'd like my organs to stay in my body and I'd like to be cremated. Don't cut me open, don't let me rot in the ground. Just let me go quietly in a hail of fire. I'd like my ashes transferred to a little urn and I'd like to go on cool and interesting trips with beloved family members.

As for funerals, I don't have much use for them, to be honest. They make me uncomfortable. If I die, I'd like people to throw me a death party. With lots of music and dancing. Maybe a standup comedian. I'd like people to be happy and celebrate -- not be all gloomy and try to put out a bunch of false words about how great I was.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
We found out our dog had cancer.

He was a very sweet yellow lab named Wellington. He wasn't very old -- only about ten or so. We found out he had to be put down.

My sister spent lots of time with him and took pictures of them together. Because of her stutter and learning disabilities, she'd had trouble making friends at school, and he had been her closest buddy. He was very quiet, slow, and sleepy, like he was in an enormous amount of pain.

The next day, he was taken to the vet to be put down. We cremated the body and put the ashes into little gold heart necklaces.

It took our family a long time to move on from that. (We eventually gained another dog, and took in a starving stray cat who kept following us home.) I remember, in the aftermath, feeling very strangely. I kept waiting for rain to pour from the sky, for the world to end.

But it didn't. Things just carried on as normal, and it left me numb.

The same thing happened when my grandfather passed away. He was sitting in his armchair one afternoon and he just stopped breathing. His heart just quit on him. Death was almost instantaneous.

This loss was very sudden -- we hadn't been expecting him to pass away. Everyone seemed terribly upset, and yet again I didn't know how to feel. The numbness had returned -- the feeling that the world was normal, and it was hard to process that this terrible thing had happened.

My grandfather was buried in a quiet green graveyard which carried its own pond. The land was peaceful and pretty; ducks flew over the area. He was buried next to a little blonde girl who had died when she was three years old. Death doesn't discriminate. I was sitting in the back row at his funeral -- there were only two rows, it was a rather small one -- and I watched people come up in turns and talk about my grandfather, wearing black.

His sister was nearly inconsolable. She was crying and had to be supported as she came up to talk about her brother. He was her older brother and he had always protected her and looked out for her. She kept saying how much she would miss him, and suddenly it hit me that this person was dead. Death -- death hit me. I began crying, sobbing very loudly, for the first time.

I processed death that one time, and then I never cried again.

I was sad, but didn't cry, when my Nana passed away. Her death was expected. She died slowly and painfully in a hospital bed. We went to visit her sometimes, and I made sure to let her know how much I loved her.

"I know, darlin'," she said, tired and distant. She was ready to go by the time she passed.

If I could describe death, I would describe it as heavy. Death is exhausting -- at least for the bereaved, if not for the person who is dead. I'm not much of a cryer, so death is hard for me. I'm too stoical to express much of the distressed emotion that so many other women do. This is not a positive -- expressing emotion is our first step in getting rid of it.

But I can't do that. I try to cry, and no tears will come. There's only the heaviness -- the inexpressible, indescribable heaviness.

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Hopeless Dreamer

March 2016

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