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.

99 Bottles: An Introvert Peeks Outside Her Shell (A Whole Fucking Lot)

What up, homeslices. See how hip I am? I still say “what up” and am so gangsta I didn’t even use a question mark. Yeah, bitch.

bitch
I really just needed an excuse for Jesse Pinkman. And the word “bitch.” So here, bitches. Look how yummy he is like this. And the mood of the image. He’s subdued but intent and commanding as he precisely utters that one perfect word: Bitch. And now you know what time it is.

So. Y’all already know I’ve been pushing myself lately. More than usual, I mean. You know I had the April thing get canceled and I carp├ęd the fuck out of those diems (I just indecently Latined all over your faces. You’re welcome.). With the haircut. Masturdating with Deadpool. At the bookstore. At the park. At the park again. I even willfully introduced myself to a stranger! And the little turtle peeking out of the shell didn’t get her little neck cleavered! Do wonders never cease?

No.

They do not.

For the tale I am about to tell is a tale of public Stephanie in public at public places with public people doing public things.

In public.

Did I mention I did more things in public. Because I did.

I publicked my ass off. (That’s the correct way to past-tense verbify public. I know. I’m an expert on these matters.)

Ass Publicking Chapata One (That sounds so fucking wrong. So I’m leaving it.)

Rewind to Friday, April 22. That’s, what? Two Fridays ago? This dude suggested Happy Hour to me months ago, as a great way to loosen up, kick back and just enjoy life a bit. But I was adamant in my refusal. No. Fucking. Way. Was this ever going to happen. And then this dude pushed me to go “network” at Happy Hour for weeks. Relentlessly for weeks. WEEKS, I tell you! So I finally relented, but it was no easy task.

There’s a cool (and very popular) Irish pub within walking distance of my house. I’d been once before when the greatest history professor to ever walk the earth took all his Historiography grad students out for a couple of rounds on him. But that’s the only time I’d ever been.

Other than that, I was always on the outside looking in. I drive past the joint on a regular basis – in fact, I did so daily for several years.

But I was always outside.
Looking in.
At the people looking out.
At the people unwilling or unable or uncool enough.
To come in.

But this would be the day that I’d make the transition. I was fucking determined. But I was not going alone, damnit. That’s just pathetic. Single fat chick sitting alone at the bar during Happy Hour on Friday night? No.

Fuck
That
Noise

So what’s a girl to do?

Round up a posse of course.

I was having a slow work day, so I wandered around the building herding geeks. Y’all know those little decorator crabs? The ones that wander around, plucking pretty debris from the seashore and affixing it to their shells? So that they may adorn themselves in their very surroundings and be hidden and protected?

Decospidercrab.jpg

That was me.

Unwilling to remove my shell, I wandered the building plucking rogue geeks and affixing them to my shell. They followed me around like Mother Fucking Goose. I was the Pied Fucking Piper of Geeks, trying to lead them down the path of rowdy drunken carousing.

Dudes.

At one point, I had about seven geeks straggling behind me. I’d formed my own posse. And we were going pubbing.

If.

Fucking if.

If we could get The Sloth to go.

SLOTH
Does that bastard look like he’s going anywhere but to sleep?

See, these boys are a unit. And I was going to be the ultimate Dungeon Master, corralling them all for drinks and vulgarity and laughs.

Well, The Sloth would only agree to go if we could get Pookie to go.

So commenced The Hunt for Red October Pookie.

We couldn’t find him. I texted him silly pictures of The Sloth and Buttermilk doing slothy semi-gay things on warehouse equipment.

“LOLOLHAHAHA” came the mature and measured response.

Posse in tow, we rounded corner after corner until we had Pookie in our sights.

Naw man. It’s not pay week.

I told him I’d buy the first round.
He blushed.
I said, “I’m not being weird, you little fucker. Bring your damn girlfriend.”
He blushed again.

Well, I’d HAVE to bring my girlfriend.

I stared at him.

He blushed harder.

I stared at him.

He looked down at his book.

I stared at him.

I just really can’t. I’m broke! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!

“Pookie,” I glared into him with rage in my eyes and condescension dripping from my voice, “you’re dead to me. Now The Sloth won’t go. And then Buttermilk will back out. And then no one is going to go.”

What about Thundercat and Lebowski?

“I asked THEM before I asked YOU. But Thundercat is home alone with his spawn tonight, and Lebowski has to go to some viewing for a dead uncle he never met. You’re dead to me, you understand?”

As I walked away, he was laughing, blushing and apologizing.

I flipped him off without looking back.

So, as anticipated, everyone backed out. I nearly had The Sloth convinced, until he remembered he had other plans. Looking up at me from the filthy warehouse floor, looking every bit like he’d just disappointed the potty-mouthed version of Mother Teresa or gotten caught sniffing his finger after scratching his ass, all wide eyed and hesitant, he tells me…

Aw fuck, I wouldn’t have been able to go even if Pookie went. I promised Dangerhole I’d drink with him tonight.

“That’s a thing? Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me right now, Sloth?”

Noooooooooo. It’s his drinking weekend, and last time I wasn’t there to keep him calm, he broke someone’s face and went to jail. That cost us a month of drinking money, man. I’m sorry, but I promised.

I called them all lousy motherfuckers, told them to enjoy their weekends jerking off in their mothers’ basements and stalked off. This whole mission lasted about two hours.

I had a decision to make, and fast.

To Happy Hour alone? Or to Home?

And then I remembered: you don’t have a home. You have a dwelling. A domicile. A house. Is that where you want to go? You want to go cry in bed? That’s preferable to going out just because you don’t have the support of a group of semi-friend stoner geekboys from work? You barely fucking know them anyway.

Decision made, I clocked out early and determined to open the place. It opens at 4:00, and I knew I simply Would Not Go if there was already a crowd before I got there. So if I was gonna tackle this, I was gonna do it on my own terms.

Fuck the Geek Squad.

The fears we don't face become our limits
I’m done being limited by my fears.

Everything happened in slow motion:

I pulled into the parking lot.

I braked to a stop.

I put the car in park.

I looked at the guy unloading liquor from the back of a pickup.

I looked at him look at me.

I killed the ignition.

I palmed my keys and wallet.

I pushed my shades atop my head.

I opened the door.

I stepped out.

I closed the door.

I walked to the front (because I wasn’t a regular and didn’t realize there was a back entrance).

I opened the door.

Pub Life

I observed the old men at the bar.

I chose a stool near the register.

I sat on it.

I put my things down.

I made eye contact with the regulars observing me, the stranger.

I smiled back at the bartender.

Do y’all have cider?

Stella, please.

Thank you.

I opened my very first bar tab.

It’s Stephanie.

Haha no, I’m not new in town. I’m just new. To going outside.

Cue laughter.

A big exhale.

My first sip.

And I was in.

Pub Life

Listening to the old men, who trickled in one at a time, talk about golf and wives and exes and crooked dicks and business trips gone wrong.

Right about the time I agreed to try Irish Champagne (apparently just some sort of Irish beer mixed with cider), Wes plopped down beside me.

Irish Champagne
Irish Champagne

Soft. Blonde. Blubbering. Gay. Twenty-something. College student. Clearly a regular. At some point, he simultaneously cracked open a Miller Lite and a lame joke. I laughed politely.

Then he showed me the picture he had up on his phone, “That’s my granddad.”

Is he flexing?

“Haha yeah.”

“Why is he in his tighty whities?

“Haha Haha………Haha. I don’t really know. I took a picture of the picture, and I think he must have been posing for grandma back then.”

The bartender, a chick, chimed in, “So that’s where you get it from.”

Haha no way, he was definitely posing for grandma, not some guy.

Laughter.

Much much laughter.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said, “although…but I meant the flexing in your underwear.”

He laughed and agreed that must be the case.

Wait. Wait. You flex in your underwear? And people…people know this about you?

“Hahahahayeah, wanna see another one??”

And from that point forward, I called him Flexy Wes and finally just Flex.

At some point in the midst of all this, I took a phone call. Laughing my ass off, I went to one of the tables by the window for the call. And I saw it. I became aware of what I was doing.

I was one of the ones on the inside.
I was looking out.
At the ones looking in.
I was looking out.
At the ones unwilling or unable or afraid.
To come inside.
I wasn’t one of them anymore.

By the time Flex left, I was about four or five ciders in and was feeling righteously buzzed. Also, the Friday night crowd was fast filling up the place, and I felt it was time to make my exit.

Fucking proud of myself, too.

I sat in my car for quite a while, waiting out the buzz. It was worth it. Totally worth it.

Ass Publicking Chapata One, Part Two

I got home. Changed clothes. Plopped down in bed. Updated stupidityhole about my “networking.” Played on my iPad.

And then The Anklebiter texted (about two hours later). She had been updating me off and on throughout the evening, telling me that she would perhaps, maybe, eventually make her way to the pub. But she never did. She kept trying to get me to go to this big party. I refused.

And now she was texting.

“Where are youuuuuuuuuuuu?!???????? Are you in bed???????????????”

I replied, “How did you know?”

“LOLOLOLOL that’s where I’d be! Come back! We’re here! Pleeeeeease! It’s my biiiiiiiiiirthdaaaaaaaaaay!”

So you know what I did?

I went back out. Met up with The Anklebiter and her friends. Wished her a happy birthday. Had more drinks. Listened to the band. Had more laughs.

And had a fanfuckingtastic time.

Booyah. First Happy Hour a rousing success.

Ass Publicking Chapata Two

Chapata Two occurred this past Friday. And it was happening because of me. You see, I had asked a certain group of people to do Happy Hour with me before I ever tried to get the Geek Squad. But most of them had prior engagements and promised they could go out next week. But I couldn’t wait. I had to go that first night – it was a now or never kinda thing.

I no longer wanted to go, though. I knew it would be fun, but I had a raging day-after headache from the Modest Mouse concert I’d gone to the night before. I always have head-splitters on the day after a concert. (And I went to that fucker by myself, was the only one standing in my section, danced and sang and cheered and had a blast. An absolute blast.)

But I took care of my headache, drove home from out of town, gave myself a pep-talk and went to the pub.

And this time was soooo different.

It was me, Anklebiter and Her Little Dog Too, Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles, UberGeek McHottiepants, and even my supervisor, McFly, for a half hour or so. (Thanks a lot, Anklebiter.)

I drank.

A lot.

And I laughed so hard my stomach and chest hurt.

And then I drank some more.

A lot more.

And then I laughed so hard we became that table. We were outside, under the covered patio part, and we were the obnoxious ones.

And it was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in my adult life. Hands down.

I got there before anyone else – had to open the place to quell my anxiety. Got a cider or two in, and the old men from the first Happy Hour talked to me this time. Called me a snob for drinking cider. And I called them cheap old fucks with their PBR.

When the crew got there, UberGeek McHottiepants made me follow through on my promise to do an Irish Carbomb with him. HOLY. SHIT.

Everyone laughed and asked, “how was it?”

TERRIBLE!

AND AWESOME!

And the antics continued. There’s photographic evidence of me cringing as I slammed the carbomb with Uber. There’s photographic evidence of me sucking on a lime wedge after slamming Patron with Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.

It was hilarious and vulgar and fucking fantastic. Uber and I made some of the dirtiest jokes…but we were at a separate table for a bit, so we had a blast making the others wonder what was so fucking funny.

Once the band started setting up, everyone wanted to leave and go to Anklebiter and Her Little Dog Too’s house. Everyone except Little Miss. She bailed. (And McFly had been long gone, though he did witness the carbomb.)

Ass Publicking Chapata Two, Part Two

I went because I didn’t have a choice. Uber and I couldn’t drive yet, so we rode with The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles over to Anklebiter’s place.

There was talk of Karaoke and mixed drinks.

But we mostly chilled and talked about the concert I’d gone to the night before, concerts, 90s bands, gardening.

We listened to music. They learned how vulgar I was (this group had no idea – well Uber did. And Little Miss did. But the rest had nooooo idea).

I only had one more drink once we got there, because I needed to sober up to drive.

It was nice. Chill. We played with the dogs and had a fuckton of laughs.

And it made me question my judgment of The Anklebiter. She’s not what I thought she was. She’s not what she presents as. Well she kind of is, but not in a malicious way.

Before we left, Anklebiter had us all take a group selfie. One of them has a dog licking my boob. And the other one has Her Little Dog Too’s bare abdomen in it.

Grandma’s eyebrows.

Not low enough for Grandma’s mustache.

Ass Publicking (Future) Chapata Three

And tomorrow night?

Happy Hour at a Mexican restaurant for three dollar margaritas with The Anklebiter and The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles.

I don’t want to go. It’s going to be extremely crowded. But The Woman Formerly Known as is like me in the sense that she’s trying to put herself out there for the first time. I never knew that. But she shared it with me, because I told them it’s what I was doing. They knew, anyway. I’ve rejected everything I’ve ever been invited to – granted, it has never been much. But I’ve never participated.

So. Even though I hadn’t gotten along so well with The Woman Formerly Known As back when I first started working here (she reminded me of my mother – and that’s a bad thing), she’s working on herself just like I am. And she asked me to go, so I’m gonna go.

And you know what?

I already know I’m gonna have fun.

And Then There Were Flowers

Last week sucked. I mean it sucked so hard, it choked on King Kong’s dong. Believe it or not, this week is a fuckton worse. But this is about last week, not this week’s special brand of misery.

But you know what? I’m finally starting to see that maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it for me to fight through it. It’s worth it for me to not lose sight of my goals and hopes and dreams. Because I deserve happiness, too. (What the fuck did I just say? For real? Yeah, you miserable bitch, take that! We’re not gonna be miserable forever! So fuck you!)

Ahem. And there have been a few very specific people who have been helped me through some of my most recent darkest hours. I don’t want to call out names, in case it would make you uncomfortable. But every fucking one of you know who you are. The emails. The voice recordings. The phone calls. The silly memes. The comforting. The commiseration. And I love y’all for it, I do. Not the I wanna sex you up kinda love (well maybe one of you – maybe). But there are other kinds of love, and I’m feeling this wonderful familial vibe from so many of you. It’s taken me by storm. And you all overwhelm me with your goodness.

And then there were flowers.

Last Friday, my name was called over the intercom at work. “Stephanie Llaneous, please report to the front desk. Stephanie, please report to the front desk.” Whatever. I figured it was time to pony up another buck for the office powerball pool. When I finally get down there, I round the corner and the women up there are grinning at me. There was a bouquet of flowers up there, and they were for me!

I was befuddled. I mean, who would send me flowers? So I looked at the card, and here’s what it reads:

For a Very Special Friend. Have a Good Day.

The fuck?

I don’t have any Very Special Friends. I mean, not outside of the blogosphere. And even if you know where I work, that isn’t enough. I work in a very specific building, so it had to be someone who knew that. And no one in bloggyville does.

So the mystery begins.

The people I share an office with were lovin’ it. And dying to know, right along with me. So then the questions started: are you seeing anyone we don’t know about? Does someone in the office have a crush on you? Duh. Creepy Carl and Panel Van Paco. But neither of them would buy flowers. They’d just chloroform me and stuff me in their trunks. What about outside the office? Crushes who know where you work? Look, people. No one crushes on The Stephanie, capiche?

The only person I could think of would be my ex who, no matter how many years go by, still wants me back. (It’s a difficult story, y’all, and one I’m not ready to talk about here.) So anyway, I call him up.

It wasn’t me. I wish it was, so you’d know you’re never far from my mind. But it wasn’t me.

Then it was like, “Oh my god, Stephanie! What if it’s a woman?!” So then I actually started getting ideas.

First, there is a woman who works in the room with me, and she’s so sweet and fun and motherly. And she knows a little of the fact that I’ve had a very difficult time of late. No details, just generally speaking. Plus she’s witnessed most of the work bullying and has my back big time. So I asked her, point blank.

Nice Lady, did you send these flowers to me?

No way! I wish I had, but they sure are gorgeous! I promise I’d tell you, but it wasn’t me!

Then it hit me. And my sneaking suspicion turned out to be true. It was a woman, someone I’ve had lots of official dealings with during my time at this company. She sends Christmas cards, Halloween buckets filled to the brim with premium candy, King Cakes, etc. For the whole office throughout the year. And when I moved departments, she would make sure that I’d be included by sending me a separate little card or gift. She always missed me when I moved departments, and I missed working with her. She was a bright spot in my days when I’d work with her or talk with her (but oh my god can that woman drone on and on!).

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to clean up messes made by some others (not to imply I don’t make my own now and then), so I’ve been working closely with her again. (She’s outside the company, by the way.)

Later that day, last Friday, she sends me an email to thank me for the most recent thing I had prepared for her. And then she asked…”So, any surprises today?” And my suspicion was confirmed. I was in the middle of doing something else for her, and she wanted to make it clear it had nothing to do with the personal pet project she needed help with. But it was to let me know that I’m much appreciated and how much she appreciates my efficiency, kindness, attitude, and on and on. And then she said,

Also, I just had this nagging feeling that you could use a pick-me-up.

Every time something like this happens, I become more and more convinced of the interconnection of spirits and souls or what have you. I know there’s a word for it, but I can’t word right now. (Fuck you, brainhole.)

And then she offered me a job. Which is straight up poaching, because my current supervisor is the one she works directly with here! I’d take it in an instant, but my choices were between two cities I have no interest in residing in. However, their company does have a big location in the Pacific Northwest. So she could totally be an in for me. I’m gearing up to ask her for a reference. But this all requires a separate post.

Anyway.

Thank you, Awesome Flower Woman. Thank you, Kickass Blogger Buddies. Thank you Synchronicity (ohmygod I found the word! I worded!). Thank you Snuffleupagus.

~

This post brought to you by:

Flowers, because they sure do brighten a day.
The Letter S for Synchronicity. And Snuffleupagus, because he was the bestest.
And Fire, for Fires in the Belly and those who put them there.

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.