Don’t you just love that word? “Howdy”? Probably not, but maybe I can change your mind. My mamaw always used that word in greeting. “Howdy, Steph,” she’d say with a grin, in her warm, gravelly smoker’s voice. Steph. She just had to call me Steph. Hell, everyone did. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. But when Mamaw said, “Howdy, Steph!,” it didn’t matter.
I loved it. Some people teased her for it, but she kept on saying “howdy” anyway. And so I adopted it, early on. But I mostly only greeted her that way. Mostly.
Until she passed.
And now I say it at work, lots. “Howdy, Gary!” “Howdy, Richard!” “Howdy, y’all!”
People laugh, as though the joke’s on me for being weird. And I’m okay with that. Because Mamaw. I tell them about her when I can, but mostly I just grin and let them go on wondering what sort of weirdo says howdy anymore. And in those moments, I’m smirking with Mamaw and feel all warm and wistful.
So there. Howdy Peopleaneous!
An Adventurous Musical Meet & Greet
It’s been ages since we’ve done a Meet & Greet, so let’s do it! You know I like to mix music into them, so if you want to participate on that front as well it would be superduper! I’m thinking the theme for this Playlist Party slash Meet & Greet should be Adventure – Moving On – Starting Over. I need a playlist for songs like that – any genre is welcome. Even if it’s country, I’ll try not to cringe and call you names. Any genre, any time/decade. I’ll start us off in a minute.
But first, the Meet & Greet! Let’s see. These things usually need “Rules,” but I don’t like Rules. So let’s call them Meet & Greet Ideas:
Give us a link to your about or a favorite post of yours or both – and tell us a little about you if you’d like!
Give us a link to a blog you’re crazy about, or a post that touched you in some way, written by someone else – let’s spread the love!
Share a song about adventure or starting over. (If you don’t have a song idea, you’re still part of this Meet & Greet!)
Reblog or link to this post – let’s see how many new people we can meet y’all!
So let’s see. Lemme start us off by following the “rules,” myself:
My favorite recent post of mine: The Wallpaper. This one’s deeply personal to me, but I was also proud of and surprised by how it turned out.
A favorite blog of mine: Stupidity Hole. Go. Clicky. Now. I’ll wait. Waiting. Have you gone yet? Good. Are you back yet? Good.
Dude is awesome, and his writing and photography are fun, unique and fucking gorgeous. Check out this post where he talks about his photography, and make sure to check out his shop as well.
I own some of his prints, and they’re gorgeous. I’m frustrated as fuck that I can’t hang them yet. Soon! I’m keeping them protected until PNW. Then I can use them to start decorating my new pad. Word.
Now. Music. I’ll kick us off with a few jams about Starting Over, Moving On, Adventure… you get the idea.
To Starting Over
Promise, by Hey Rosetta!
Float On, by Modest Mouse
Time to Move On, by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The Getaway, by Leisure Cruise
Road Trippin’, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Ramble On, by Led Zeppelin
There are so many, but I don’t want to list a couple dozen songs. I’d rather see what y’all come up with!
So come on. Share your blog links – tell us why you kick ass! Share someone else’s blog – tell us why he or she kicks ass! Share some music – tell us why it kicks ass!
In other words…come kick ass with me! Let’s see how many blog links we can generate this time!
This post brought to you by:
Asses, specifically those that kick or even those in need of kicking.
Stupidity Hole, because every ass needs a hole. Wait. No. That’s not the best way to introduce him. He’s more than just a hole. Lemme try again.
Brought to you by Stupidity Hole, because Pensive Pug. And also because he said I have to post something today. So I dragged his ass into it!
I have yet to read a book this year. I keep trying, but nothing holds my focus or interest. I keep trying to read blogs. Articles. Even the rare thought-provoking Facebook post. I can’t. Fucking. Do it. Same with writing. I can’t think of anything to write about. Part of me wants to write. (The part of me that’s here writing this.) The other part of me couldn’t care less. (The part of me that cannot come up with anything to talk about right now.) It’s maddening. On slow days at work – I shit you not – so many times I’m just staring at the monitor or wall. Just fucking staring. I want to read. I want to write. It’s like I can’t.
Is it the medication?
Speaking of (psychiatric) drugs, I’m only on Lexapro and Seroquel now. I’ve been through three anti-psychotics so far…Geodon and two others I’ve already forgotten. All three fucked me up in a major way. I’m not having major negative (discernible) side-effects from Seroquel, but…but I feel even more numb than I did before I was on it. I smile and laugh and crack the occasional snarky remark. But, for the most part, it doesn’t reach beyond the surface.
I am still taking the sleepytime drug (Clonidine), but I’ve ceased the anti-anxiety drugs (Vistaril and Klonopin). First, I was just too fucking tired and sleepy all the time. I’m already tired all the time – I certainly didn’t need drugs that exacerbate that. Second, and most importantly, at least one of them was causing panic attacks. I’m the girl that has maybe three or four full-blown panic attacks a year. Maybe. The rest of them are milder anxiety attacks. Like can’t get out of the car to go into the grocery store. While I was taking the anti-anxiety drugs (at 50 mg Vistaril 3x daily and 1 mg Klonopin 3x daily), I began having them daily. Daily. Sometimes more than once per day. If I was at work, I had to scurry off to the bathroom to hide in a stall until it passed. If I was at home, I exercised less control but would eventually tuck myself in the closet. The closeness and darkness helped soothe and calm me down.
I knew something was fucked. And it had to be the drugs, because nothing else had changed. Granted, I’m going through some life changes right now – and they aren’t minor. But I’ve been easing my way into those for several months now. There was no brand new catalyst aside from the steady increase in anti-anxiety drugs and doses.
All that to say, I’ve ceased those – though the psychiatrist doesn’t know. When I tried to share my observations, she insisted I was better off with the meds than without – to the point where she brought up hospitalization again, as though holding that over my head if I didn’t take the pills. So I lie and tell her I’m still on everything except the ones where I have pictorial evidence of bad side-effects (like the big, burny rashes). I even asked her at one point if she wanted pics of vomit. (While I am a smartass, I don’t often use it with willfully mean intent. But she was basically accusing me of lying to her and being treatment resistant – hence my offer.) So now I really am lying to her, and I fucking hate it. It pains me so to admit it, because I hate lying. I hate liars. I used to say liars and thieves, but really they’re the same thing. A lie is theft of truth. So to tell a lie is to become both a liar and a thief. Next time I see her, I’m going to tell her. Just flat out tell her, and by then I will be able to tell her that I’ve been off of them long enough to know for damn sure they were doing more harm than good. Hell, they were doing no good and only harm.
But what about publife?
Once I took myself off of the anti-anxieties, I was strangely able to appreciate my anxiety. I’d gone weeks with severe daily panic attacks. So now that things had calmed back down to being too nervous to go into the grocery store, rather than pulling my hair and rage-screaming, I was less concerned.
So much so that I was finally able to push myself far outside my comfort zone and go to a pub – not once, but three times. And one of them was alone! I even took myself to the movies and to a concert – solo!
But here’s the thing…the Saturday and Sunday immediately subsequent to two of those pubnights?
In bed. Crying. Sleeping. Contemplating. Crying. Sleeping.
You get the idea.
It’s important to me that I share this here, because for anyone else going through what I’m going through, I don’t want to give the impression that this depressed introvert was “healed” after a few nights of bravery. I wasn’t. I’m not. Though I am proud of myself for pushing outside my comfort zone and even doing something I’d never done before, I also realize that wellness is an ongoing process. That goes for mental and physical health and wellness.
Last time, I only talked about the good shit. But it’s important to show the other side. What happened after the Happy Hour High.
The extreme highs of forced extroversion (that was honestly quite fun and liberating – errr aside from pubnight #3 which was an epic fucking disaster), followed by quiet solitude…well, let’s say that combination resulted in major emotional backlash for me. So. On this journey of mental wellness, I have to eventually discover a way to at least minimize the extroversion hangover caused by going from being ON to being alone and exhausted.
I haven’t been back out since the failed third Happy Hellish Hour, and I’ve had a negative urge to. Until Friday. I could have done Happy Hour after work. But..I kinda didn’t wanna. Because while I now know that I can do it, I also found it far more fun when I was with people than when I went alone. Frankly, it’s depressing. It was awesome in a lot of ways, and I was so fucking proud of myself. But. It’s also me. Sitting alone. At a bar. Alone. On a Friday night. Out. In public. Did I mention alone? Yeah. So while I kinda wanted to go, I didn’t.
Then again, maybe that’s the drugs, too. Fucked if I know. What I do know is that my slowass pace doesn’t mean I’ve stopped progressing.
I’m trending upward. That’s right. Slowly but surely, I’m trending upward. Speaking of which…
Inching along the Oregonton Trail
I continue to make progress (albeit slow) toward getting myself up to Oregon or Washington.
The yard is landscaped just along the front of the house. Azaleas, some fast growing lantanas, and some gorgeous annuals in window boxes. The house looks adorable. Fucking adorable. It went from ghetto to adorable in a flash. It’s amazing the effect flowers have on a house’s appeal.
As far as the house goes, there are still some hurdles before it can be put on the market. The driveway has to be re-graveled. The laundry room floor has to be painted (the previous owner painted it, and it looks ridiculous). The kitchen floor needs some tiles replaced. Other than that, it’s down to scrubbing and little things like window blinds and light bulbs here and there.
Strongly considering figuring out how to do it For Sale by Owner. It’s the legal shit that concerns me, not the showing. My boss is flexible, so I could show it on evenings, weekends and the occasional midday during the week. I’ve learned that hiring a realtor will take all of the little equity I’ve got in the house. I can’t afford to lose that, so I have to find another way. Enter FSBO.
I’ll do my research and give it a go.
On the job front, I’ve stopped applying for now. I’ve had several interviews, but I have a solid lead thanks to a VIP at work. When he found out about my plans, he asked for my resume and sent it to another VIP in Vancouver, Washington. He tells me it’s solid and to bide my time while I sell my house. So I’m gonna let that simmer for a while and pour all my focus into the sale.
This post took three days to write. That’s how bad my “block” is. I know this is an abrupt conclusion, but I don’t really know what else to say.
Until next time, y’all are the best. I’m not neglecting you on purpose. This “block” is maddening! Hope everyone is well and happy!
The Wallpaper was beautiful, ethereal. When you looked at it from a certain angle, it could make you erupt into fits of laughter. Tilt your head, and now you softly weep. Try another angle, and your heart would skip a beat. Another still, and your soul would soar beyond the corporeal. One might say there was a special magic to it, though there were but few capable of seeing it.
It covered a single room, smallish in size as far as rooms go. To say that the room was in a severe state of disrepair would be an enormity of an understatement. Furnished with two worn chairs, a small, stained and rickety tea table, a lone bookshelf overflowing and buckling from its burden and a dingy window showing only peeling paint and crusts of dirt.
There was a time when the chairs, so richly upholstered, would have been considered beautiful and welcoming in their comfort by anyone’s standards. There was a time when the varnish on the bookshelf was so rich and polished that you could see your reflection if you held your head just so. There was a time when the dingy window was carefully kept clean and crystalline, so that you could gaze upon the beautiful and wondrous lands of The Dreaming.
The Wallpaper made up for the room’s deteriorated state. In fact, only the room’s Inhabitant recognized what was happening. Only the room’s Inhabitant knew that the Wallpaper was next. The Keeper of the room, however, remained oblivious to the creeping neglect and the devastation it would wreak.
The last day of Autumn found the Inhabitant ensconced in the only chair ever used. One leg bent and tucked beneath the other thigh, the Inhabitant reached for a sip of tepid tea. The chipped cup forthwith dropped from a trembling hand as the Inhabitant saw it. The first crack in the Wallpaper.
Terrified, the Inhabitant bolted to the door and woefully wailed and begged for help. With obvious annoyance, the Keeper approached to inquire what could possibly be so wrong as to create such a ruckus. Choking on sobs, the Inhabitant pointed at the crack in the Wallpaper.
Moving closer to inspect, the Keeper fingered the new curl in the Wallpaper. Whirling back on the Inhabitant, the Keeper proclaimed that this was nothing. The Wallpaper is fine. In fact, the tear gives it character. When the Inhabitant pointed out that damage left in disrepair spreads and rots, the Keeper angrily chided and admonished against overreaction.
I am the Keeper! Not you! Only you would even notice such a thing! This is NOTHING!
With the slam of the door, the Inhabitant slowly stanched the flow of tears and sat back down. Keeping watch over the Wallpaper became the Inhabitant’s sole fixation. Slowly the tiny crack spread. Down, down, down, until finally an entire sheet had curled to the floor.
Once more, the Inhabitant begged for the Keeper to tend to it. This time, the Keeper showed a modicum of concern and immediately re-glued the curled strip back upon the wall. Mollified, the Inhabitant returned to unlocking the worlds within the precious tomes littered about the room. The Keeper stayed away, doing whatever Keepers do instead of Keeping, ignoring the Inhabitant’s warnings about the Wallpaper’s fading luster.
The day before the first frost, the wilting Inhabitant mournfully watched as the Wallpaper covering one entire wall crumbled to dust and slowly settled about the room. The Keeper heard a strange sound and finally checked on the room and its Inhabitant. The Keeper was alarmed to discover the Inhabitant keening and rocking and scraping at the thick crust of dirt covering the window.
“What’s the matter with you?”, questioned the Keeper.
The Inhabitant’s throat was coated in dust, and the response was gravelly and subdued. “I need to see. I need to dream again before it’s too late.”
“You see what I want you to see. This is My Room. And I am the Keeper,” admonished the Keeper.
With great trepidation, the Inhabitant pointed a gently accusatory finger at the naked wall and tried once more, “Look. Look at how you’ve Kept it. I warned you this would happen. I begged you not to neglect it. The Wallpaper. It’s dying.”
“It doesn’t matter. Nobody even notices Wallpaper. You’re crazy, and stop scratching at the window like some caged animal,” the Keeper scornfully returned. “I’ll paint over it. The window and the Wallpaper. So we can be done with this nonsense.”
Deep in the heart of winter, the Keeper suddenly thought of the Inhabitant and stormed into the room only to pause and look around with perplexity and great fear. The shoddy paint job allowed bits of irreparably damaged Wallpaper to peek through. The rest lay curled and crumbled about the floor. The books had gone to dust and every surface of the room thinly cased in ice.
The Inhabitant had faded: skin nearly translucent, head lolled to one side, breath coming out in slow, measured, white puffs of air.
Slowly meeting the eyes of the Keeper, the Inhabitant whispered, “It is time.”
“No… No, you can’t mean it! I forbid it!,” shouted the Keeper.
“But the Wallpaper is dead. It has suffered, and it has died. Only dust and decay remain,” the Inhabitant stoically replied.
“Why did you allow this to happen? You can’t let this happen,” implored the Keeper.
The Inhabitant shed a single tear and solemnly raised a mirror to the Keeper’s face. “Tell me what you see.”
“A Keeper. A Keeper that couldn’t Keep.”
The Inhabitant stood and touched the Keeper’s cheek. As the Keeper wailed and reached for purchase on the Inhabitant’s body, the Inhabitant slowly faded from the earthly plane. Returning home, to The Dreaming, with a faint twinkle and hope of Spring.
The Keeper cursed and wailed and blamed and pounded the floor and begged the emptiness. And the vacuum created by the Inhabitant’s departure caused the door to swing inward, locking the Keeper into a room now devoid of anything worth Keeping.