A Glimmer of Hope

That’s all you need. Just a glimmer. A hint of a glimmer, even. That’s all. It doesn’t take much. All you’re looking for is one tiny hint of a glimmer…

To survive.

Life isn’t easy. Heh. What a fucking understatement. Life is a pain in the ass, that’s what. Especially when you’re an emotional brooder. I am one seriously angsty, existentially pained person. And I’m not the only one. You ponder the same things, don’t you?

Why am I here?
What’s the fucking point?
What is my purpose?
Why fucking bother?
Who am I?
What does it all mean?
What is my place?
Do I have one?
Am I even real?
What does it even mean to be real?

I don’t have answers to any of those questions. Sometimes I wish I could stop seeking them. But I also don’t wish to cease the quest. Because questing is part of the answer of “Who am I?” I’m a woman on a quest. A tiny speck in the Cosmos on my own personal quest for meaning and purpose. And when it isn’t breaking me down and crushing my lungs, it’s thrilling, exciting. The search, the quest…when I stop asking questions; when I stop searching for meaning and purpose and truth and beauty; then I cease to exist.

I just wish…that I could stop turning suicidal when I cannot find satisfactory answers to the questions that haunt me. Drive me. Push me. Tear at me. Claw at me.

I feel incomplete. And since I know not how to become complete, I devolve into a mass of emotional futility. I begin feeling that I wish I could simply cease to exist. For if there is no purpose for me, for my existence, then it should be extinguished.

But I know. I know that is the depression talking. The downswing of bipolar. What-the-fuck-ever it is. I know that’s what’s doing the talking in those dark hours of my soul.

And that’s what’s talking to you. When you feel like you can’t go another step. Take another breath. Eke out another heartbeat. That’s what’s talking: your depression.

Maybe the people in your life who were supposed to build you up and love you failed in their responsibilities to you. Maybe they taught you that you’re worthless. Useless. A no-account failure.

Maybe you made mistakes in your past, and you’ve never forgiven yourself for them. Even as everyone else around you has forgotten or moved on. Or perhaps their punishments far outweigh your crimes.

Maybe you’re all alone. Or you think you are. But guess what? If you’re here, reading this right now, you aren’t alone. Not entirely.

Listen, I’m no therapist. I certainly don’t have the answers. I’m a mess my damn self. Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that to be true. I’m a work in progress, and I always will be.

But there’s something I do know for sure: if you don’t grasp those tiny glimmers of hope, then you’re in big trouble. No one can grasp them for you. You have to reach out and grasp them on your own.

But we can show you. We can show each other. We can point each other toward the glimmers. Toward the “light.” Toward survival. Toward life.

I don’t have much. Disregarding all the first-world bullshit, I don’t have much in the way of what I think makes a complete life. But you know what? I have to recognize that part of that is my misconception of what makes a complete life. There is no one right way to live your life.

I feel alone. Completely and utterly alone. And you know what? That’s fucked up. Because I have you awesome people here. All I have to do is show the fuck up, and people come and say hi and talk to me and to each other. That’s it. No one can force me to be here. I have to do that part myself. But people point me toward this glimmer. One amazing friend in particular hassles me to show up and write. Hassle hassle hassle. And you know something? When I do, I feel better. Every. Fucking. Time. And I feel less alone.

I still go to bed alone. I still don’t get hugs and affection. I still don’t have someone to sit beside me and play video games with, or read and dissect the same literature with, or tickle each other until we nearly piss our pants.

But I’m not completely alone. And to say so would be a slap in the face to you wonderful people here. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.

I feel worthless. Pointless. Useless. I really do. It hurts, and I’m crying even typing this all out. But then I get reminded sometimes that I do have worth, even if I don’t think I do or I don’t think it’s enough. Because sometimes someone shows up here and says my words touched them. Or they understand how I feel and are glad to know they aren’t alone. And I know that feeling well. I’ve visited some of you and read your words, and I think to myself…I wish this person wasn’t going through that but fucking hell it makes me feel such a sense of relief to know I’m not alone in this. It’s not just me. I’m not some fucked up anomaly.

Maybe you feel trapped and hopeless, like you’re stuck in your current situation with no way out. Or you don’t even know what you want or how to get there. I’ve been there. I know that feeling, too.

I feel like this is all very rambly, but I’m pretty much freewriting right now. Because I had a conversation today, with one of the most important people in the world to me. And he said he was tired. Tired of life. Tired of it all. Just. Fucking. Tired. And didn’t feel there was any reason to go on anymore. And I said, you have to dig deep and discover what those things are that make you want to keep trudging forward. He said he doesn’t want to trudge. I wish I could do it for him. I wish I could do it for all of you. But all I can do is share my experiences and try to give you a glimmer of hope. And I hope with all my soul that you reach for it.

Each and every day, I tell myself: find one thing. Just one thing. And let that one thing be your one reason to get out of bed today. To keep on keeping on. Everyone can find one thing. Just. One. Thing. I got that from this beautiful post that I used to read every single day. Now I read it once or twice a month or as needed to remind myself. Please. Please read it. It’s important for those of you who struggle with me. Or if you know someone who does, maybe this will help them as it helped me. Hell it saved me. I found it because I was googling suicide. I think I googled something like, “give me one good fucking reason I shouldn’t kill myself right now.” And that showed up. And I’m still here.

Let me tell you the sorts of things I cling to, some “big” and some “small.” I put those in quotes, because anything that keeps you going is a Big Fucking Deal.

The things I “trudge on” for:

  • You. Yes, you. The one reading this right now. The community here on WordPress.
  • My friends. I actually have friends now, thanks to this space. And you mean the world to me.
  • The smell of freshly cut grass. Oh I love that smell.
  • All sorts of smells: rain, ocean, sweat, flowers, pot, clean skin, mountain air, pine…
  • The feel of rain on my face.
  • Mountain breezes and cold glacial air.
  • The crunch of autumn leaves underfoot.
  • Thick, dank forest air and the clean sweat from humidity.
  • Laughter, pure and uninhibited.
  • A purring feline nestled against me.
  • Books and words and thoughts and challenged perspectives.
  • Popsicles on 105 degree August days.
  • The new Deftones album I’ve yet to listen to.
  • I want to thru-hike the PCT.
  • I want to jump out of an airplane.
  • I want to sit on the steps of Montmatre.
  • I want to walk the cobblestone streets of Prague.
  • I want to kayak Class IV and V rapids.
  • I want to fix up an old sailboat myself, learn to sail and take that bitch for an epic excursion.

There are so many reasons, y’all. And all you need is one. One reason. One little reason for each day. Maybe it’s the same reason over and over. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe it’s something grand. But all you need is one. And I know good and damn well everyone has at least one.

Find it. Ask yourself what you live for. What your simple and grand joys and visions are. Find them. And then reach out. Reach out for those glimmers of hope. And once you’ve found them and reached for them, pursue them. I will never kayak Class V rapids, until I learn how to control my kayak in Class II and III rapids and overcome my fear of great depths in water. I will never accomplish that sitting on my ass or crying in bed all weekend.

Life is a bitch sometimes. It’s just a point of fact. It would be so easy to pull a trigger and end it all. So. Fucking. Easy. But you’re still here reading, because you’re looking for a reason not to.

Know this: the only thing that 100 percent CANNOT be changed or undone is death. Everything is in your power to change or improve upon. Except your death. You cannot change that. You cannot undo it. You cannot try again. You cannot start over. And you will never get that first kiss. You will never climb that mountain. You will never see that open air opera in Rome. You will never land your dream job. You will never learn how to bake that cake. You will never have that cottage near the forest. If you pull the trigger.

Depression is strong and deceptive. You have to fight it. Fight for your life. The glimmers of hope aren’t going to track you down and save you. You have to extend your hand. Reach for them. Then tomorrow, you can get up and take one step forward. And another step the day after.

And before you know it, you’re no longer surviving.

You’re living.

On Diaries and Invasion of Privacy (AKA Young Love, One Yummy Motherfucker and Blogging)

Journaling has always had a significant pull for me. I don’t remember the first time I asked for my own diary, but I know I was little. Even as a child, I was highly introverted and recognized I needed an outlet for my thoughts. Writing would be a way to process the world and my place in it, or so I thought.

Writing My Heart Out

I did pretty a pretty good job of keeping a regular, (semi-)daily diary up until junior high school. I was around twelve years old when I threw in the towel (the first time). That’s when my asshole brother violated my privacy and trust. I don’t remember whether I’ve assigned a name for him yet, so for now let’s just call him B. For Brother. Or Butthole. Take your pick (both will work in a pinch) (eww pinched butthole).

So there I was, journaling my angsty little heart out. About school. About bullies. About shame. About public humiliation. About depression. About music. About boys. Oh yeah. I wrote about boys: two boys in particular. One was a crush I’d had for two years already (who would later become boyfriend, then spouse, then shhh I don’t wanna talk about that right now). I talked about that one a lot. Oh what a crush I had for that little bad boy. And the other was for one who would be my first boyfriend.

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Miguel looked just like this. Only twelve. But still yummy. (Shut up, I was twelve. It wasn’t perverted to find a fellow preteen yummy.)
I’ve mentioned him before. What the hell did I call him? Shit. (No, I most certainly did not dub him Shit. What was it? Fuck me, I forget.) (I totally need a system for this.) Let’s call him Miguel. Oh Miguel, you yummy thing you. He looked just like Anthony Kiedis, and I was So Fucking Smitten.

And before those of you keeping up jump to conclusions – he is not the reason I’m a diehard RHCP fan. I need to write about that soon, but for now – no. Miguel has nothing to do with that. We were way more into Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Green Day at the time. For some reason RHCP wasn’t huge among my little group. So they were mine alone. Anyway. Digressing.

But. P.S. Miguel still looks like that. Fucker. Anyway, so we were twelve, and I had such an overpowering, all-consuming crush on him that I sometimes lay awake nights thinking about him. We hung out together all the time. Listening to music, smoking pot, talking about life and parents and school. His mom was totally whack. I mean seriously. I smoked pot with her. When I was twelve. Yeah. But Miguel and his sister weren’t allowed to. Miguel never got much into it, but I would sneak a toke a lot. He really was a good boy – he was then and, based on everything I’ve heard through the grapevine over the years, he still is.

All of those thoughts and experiences were in my diary. So were the details of the day he finally asked me to “go with” him, and how excited and nervous and scared I was. My first real boyfriend! Elementary Mario had no idea he was my boyfriend, so that didn’t really count. (Shut up. It totally counts.) Miguel and I were only a thing for about two weeks. Three, tops. It was awkward, and he wasn’t ready for a girlfriend. I was all in, but he wasn’t ready. At least that’s what he told me later, and I believed him because he didn’t have a serious girlfriend for at least a couple more years. (It didn’t help that his best friend kept making fun of him about us – I mean hardcore, too. That butthole. He ended up being a crackhead. That’s what you get!) (And, I will confess it crushed my soul when I found out Miguel finally slept with some girl at a party he went to freshman year. Casey, you bitch.)

But that two weeks was enough for my diary to fill with the sordid details of kissing in his bed (on top of the covers) and how it felt when his hand went up my shirt. (He had even asked permission.) I’m certain that book was filled to the brim with award-winning writing and frameable art (who wouldn’t want to frame hearts and arrows adorned with Miguel & Stephanie 4-Ever?)

It broke my heart when he broke up with me, saying it was too awkward and he’d waited too long and now it felt like he was kissing his sister because of how close we were as buddies. He was sweet about it, and we miraculously remained friends until I moved away (to a different apartment complex). 

Attack of the Pinched Butthole Brother

At some point after Miguel broke my heart and my crush moved back to the bad boy, B found my diary. I thought I was being clever when I hid it between my mattress and the box-frame. I hadn’t yet seen all those movies where every kid in the history of fuckingever uses that as a hiding space.

Not only did B find it, oh no. He also had to read it. And he was not content to stop there, either. I came home from school one day, and B and his bitchass pal, let’s call him “Bitch”..you know..for bitch, were already there, playing video games (on my NES, damnit). And oh the devilish smirk that plastered itself across B’s face when I walked through the door.

You know what’s coming, don’t you? Then I shall spare you the suspense. B stood up, diary in hand, and commenced to reading it aloud while his bitchass pal, Bitch, literally pointed and laughed at me. He even had the audacity to hold his sides, laughing so hard it hurt. B really outdid himself, too, drawing out the loooooooooves and even holding the diary up and pointing at the hearts for all the world Bitch to see.

I hated him with an unmatched fury. Both of them. And I told them so, through screamy sobs.

I hate you! I HATE YOU! GIVE IT BACK!

When I finally snatched it away from him, I promptly ripped it to shreds. In his defense (the only one I’ll allow him here), he tried to make me stop. But it was his fucking fault; he’s the one who drove me to do it. I probably would have done it one day, anyway. I hadn’t kept any of the previous diaries, because I always felt childish, stupid and vapid. But this was different. This was the first time I’d had the privacy of a diary breached (the first time to my knowledge, anyway). I tore that bitch to pieces, marched it straight down to the apartment dumpster, came back upstairs and cried and cried of embarrassment and shame and hurt feelings and rage.

And Then There was You

I was mortified. Completely mortified. And I’ve had a pretty fucked up track record with diaries/journals ever since. I tried again a couple years later, but then my mother found it. B wasn’t living with us at the time, so I tried the same hiding spot again. Different apartment, same fucking spot. So fucking naive. Oh yeah, she found it. And for the first time in months decided to speak to me. Well, more like sobbing in my general direction. I lied to her about sex. I hadn’t had sex at that point, but I had gotten very fucking close. I told her those were just fantasies. She believed it. Probably because she was living in her head, anyway, and was willing to believe whatever made her life easier to live. I could have told her anything, and it wouldn’t have changed our relationship or her life. No matter what I told her, she was going to spend her home time crying in bed. So I made it easy,

I can’t believe you read that. But it isn’t true. None of it is true. Don’t worry.

And then I shredded it. I tried again a few years later, when I was living with the bad boy. But he always insisted I read the entries to him. So it was more a log of my life as one-half of a couple. It lacked depth and fullness, but I was happier then, for a long time. I still felt like I needed my own space, but I never got it (not that I pushed for it). I still have a few of them, all with twenty to thirty pages filled. But then I stopped for good, because they weren’t really mine. Not fully.

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Two of them I could easily get to. Isn’t that blue one gorgeous?
I tried a couple of blogs over the years. But I always bulldozed them. Never felt good enough or safe enough. But the itch, the need has never left me. The need to purge my thoughts, get them down and out. Work out the meaning of the world, or at least my place in it. In writing.

And then there was you. I’m finally sticking with it. And while I know I haven’t been with you long, believe me when I say this is what Stephanie sticking with it looks like. I also know this is far riskier than a little paper journal hiding in my bed or underwear drawer. Yet this blog is giving me something additional that no diary ever could: accountability, community, commiseration and dare I say it? Friendship. So, for now at least, I’ve decided the dangers of discovery are worth it.

Now Just Look What Y’all Did

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. To all y’all. You my homies; you know that, right? I can’t don’t want to express just how deeply dark and frightening my thoughts have been. And I only say even that much so that you know how amazing it is that you’ve had me smiling and laughing and choking on laughter and laughing until I cried and laughing until my belly and chest ached…all damn day. Y’all my homies, for real. And I hope I can be there for you one day, the way you were here for me today.

I’m gonna show you what mood you’ve put me in on this usually lonesome Friday night. First as a big fat thank you and proof of how you’ve put a raft beneath me today. And second to throw down because of Andrew calling me out over here.

Here ya go. My peppers:

This song has never failed to lift my spirits and make me move. Enjoy.