Total Eclipse of the Sanity

People are going batshit fucking crazy over the impending apocalypse solar eclipse. Freeways are backing up like a motherfucker. Stores are already selling out of staples like water, toilet paper, and marij…yeah, just the water and toilet paper. This is Oregon; nobody’s selling out of pot or potsnacks any time soon.

Traffic here is already unpredictable. Some days, it takes 15 minutes to get to and from the office. Other days, it takes 45. (I’m not necessarily bitching about the commute time – I have a damn short one for the area. But what would be nice is some modicum of predictability. First world problem, I know. Shhhhh. I need a rant. Err. A rantlet, because this is definitely weak compared to my usually rantypants nature.)

But now? NOW? Pfft. It’s either 15 minutes or 2 hours. As we crawl further into the week, the big number gets bigger. More people come in to claim their $300 primitive campsites (not even an exaggeration). And why the fuck are the eclipse chasers clogging up the roads during rush hour?! Do they LIKE IT? Is it a big fat fuck you to Oregonians for price gouging the shit out of private and public properties alike to profit off of these eclipse wankers? GRRR.

I think I’ll carry my fussygrumps ass to the grocery store after work. Wait any longer, and I legit won’t be able to find any potsnacks water.

Oh. Oh! I’m thinking of following one of those writing prompt idea thingamajigs in an attempt to get myself back into it…. if anyone’s still lingering around here (first off FUCKING HI)…any suggestions?

P.S. It’s fucking sweater weather. In August. Fuckyeah.

The Ubiquitous 2016 Wrap-Up / Navel-Gazing New Year’s Post

The ‘net runs rampant with posts about how 2016 is the most terrible year ever to be had. No, not the years of the Bubonic Plague outbreaks. Not the years of the Holocaust. Not the years of Genghis Khan’s hordes. It was 2016: the year we lost certain celebrities, the year of yet more unfortunate film adaptations and remakes, and then the year Trump became President Elect of the United States. Tragic? The latter, for sure. The former happens all the time. It’s called life. Sucks, yeah. Any loss of life is tragic for the individual and his families. But come on. The loss of my dear Leonard Cohen and isn’t enough for me to call 2016 the worst year on record.

Fine, I glossed over the Trump bit. That was intentional. I don’t wanna talk politics, but if you wanna know how I feel about him, specifically – I’ll just say – fuck that guy. And not in a fun – I wanna do you all night long kinda way. But with like a mile long, herpes-infested cucumber-up-the-ass kinda way. That opinion has nothing to do with politics, by the way. (Okay, that’s not 100% true.) But it tends to spring forth from a woman when a man tries to grab her by the pussy because he’s a slimy-ass rich celebrity who thinks he can get away with it, because he can. And is my little STD-ridden cucumber fantasy hypocritical? Yes, I’m aware. That is all.

~

So. That’s the Internet’s 2016. My 2016 was far less focused on celebrities, and actually far less focused on Trump that my little rantlet makes it sound. A couple of Very Important People encouraged me about how well I’d done this past year, not to mention all the encouragement I received here from the WordPress fam. But the thing is, the saying, “I’m my own worst critic” is an adage for a reason. Upon reflection, I’m thinking they were right. It was messy (isn’t life supposed to be?), but I did make progress. Sure I want it to happen faster, cleaner…Right. Fucking. Now. But that’s not how shit goes down. In my typical random fashion, here’s some shit that did go down in my 2016.

Divorce – Yep. Let’s get that one out of the way. Surprised? “Regulars” probably are. Thing is, I was separated for somewhere between 4 and 5 years. But he refused divorce, and I didn’t pursue legal channels to enforce it. So I was stuck. In so many ways, I was stuck. 2016 was the year I finally asserted myself, broke the toxic patterns that had ended our marriage and stood up for myself. It took roughly five years, but it’s now official. Now…one never marries intending for things to go down that way. We’d been a couple since I was fifteen. But if things do go sour (and they did), it’s fucking toxic to be held in limbo for so long. With the support and urging of a couple of very strong and important friends, oh and some strong doses of anxiety meds, I finally asserted myself and ended that limbo.

Therapy – I finally caved and tried therapy, after at least twenty years of decrying it as a scam. I’ve tried talk therapy as well as meds, but with all that I had going on concurrently – in addition to limited financial means – I haven’t found the right combination yet. But. I do intend to try this out again. I’m still taking Lexapro, at least until my refills from Louisiana run out (soon), and I have a handful of Xanax left. But I haven’t been able to afford new doctors yet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get that sorted soon. So 2016 was the year I finally really began addressing my mental health.

Masturdating and Social Interaction – Along with my therapy, I also pushed myself to move beyond my boundaries. At least a bit. I took myself out to a couple of movies (Deadpool, yeah! And something with Bill Murray, because Bill Murray!). I took myself to a concert. I took myself to a poetry slam (which I haven’t told y’all about!). I took myself to Happy Hour (more than once). And I even took coworkers up on invitations a few times. I mean, this chick drank IN PUBLIC. She did not dance. She did not karaoke. (How many times does she have to say HARD LIMIT for people to get it?) But how she laughed. Oh how she laughed. 2016 was the year Stephanie hid a little less.

Quitting a Toxic – But Solid – Job & Moving Across Country – For the town I lived in, I had it made at my job. Aside from Queen Bitch, that is. But the direction things were moving in the last month or so would have had me in a new department under a brand new director with a brand new title and brand new salary. Yeah. There was no pressure at all at work. They didn’t beg me to stay or make my decision increasingly harder and more panicky each and every day. No. Not a chance. (I hope your sarcasm detectors are on and working.) Point is: Stephanie took shittons of Xanax in the last month and especially in the last two weeks in Louisiana. I met with a brand new therapist on the proverbial eve of my departure, and after an extended session, he agreed with all of my decisions. Except: he disapproved of the job I intended to accept in Oregon. It would have sapped me of my all and left me wrung out and an even greater emotional danger to myself than I already was. In the end, I agreed with him (though I had a tough time with the decision), but that has me still unemployed at the moment. I have made the move, though, and I’ve been in the Greater Portland Area since September. Newsflash: I Fucking Love Oregon. And, as yet, I have no regrets. 2016 was the year I gambled everything, turned my back on “everything I’ve ever known,” and risked staid stability to chase a dream in spite of everyone breathing down my neck what a fool I was. And I’m damn fucking proud I did.

Dispensary – Fucking right. I visited a dispensary for the first time. I’m in Oregon, dudes. What did you expect? So yeah, I got a J and a lollipot. I still have half the j left. (I may have a piss test in my near future. Yeah. Even in Oregon.) And I’m totally having the lolli if I land the job. Or at least part of the lolli, in celebration. Hm. Or maybe the other half of the j. Oh yeah! Pretty sure I’m gonna smoke it up with someone over Skype. I’ll toke over here. He’ll toke over there. It’ll be neato. Except I’ll have to find somewhere to do it, because of my “roommates.” Yeah. Remind me to tell you about them. I’m in a…weird situation. But one I’m grateful for. It’s just…fucking weird and uncomfortable sometimes. A lot of times. Anyway. Yeah. Old Stephanie never would have been brave enough to just stroll into one of those places, even though I’d have smoked whatever my friends brought out of there. I don’t see why people still think it’s such a big fucking deal. I’ve been smoking pot since…11 or so and I turned out. I still wouldn’t have gone in there. 2016 Stephanie? Dispensary-bound!

~

There’s probably more shit. I mean, it was a whole fucking year. But I need to get my shit ready for tomorrow. I don’t have a real job yet, but I do have a little side gig in the afternoons. Tutoring some kids on algebra and science. It’s not much, but at least it’s something for now.

I don’t do resolutions, so I ain’t making promises about writing. But when I come back, I’ll maybe tell ya about Oregon stuff. Oh! Oh! And I’ll leave you with a lovely piccy taken right here in Oregon, this very day.

img_1361
Accidental Penis: A Counter Stain

The Ankle Story about My Foot

Okay. So. I’m not dead. And I’ve been told I have to quit my fucked up emotional/mental block, stop stalling and fucking write for fuck’s sake. I promised I’d do so today. I swore when I came back, there would be this long explanation and apology and replies to all of you kind and beautiful people…but that’s part of what has kept me away. The anxiety ratchets up higher and higher the more I think about it. And the thing is, I don’t really even have much of an excuse except that I’m kind of a fucking headcase sometimes (which most of you already know).

So. Ahem. Part of my promise is that I wouldn’t delve into the whole thing right now (okay, okay, I’m getting to it). Instead, I’m supposed to copy and paste VERFUCKINGBATIM a rambly, typo-ridden tale that I rattled off to Ezekiel months ago to explain my whole broken foot thingy. Which for some reason he kept calling a broken ankle. Hence the title. Apparently, I’m not allowed to edit this rambly stream-of-consciousness mess. (Thanks, Ezekiel.)  So, without further ado, here’s The Ankle Story about My Foot.  (Brace yourselves. It’s messy as fuck.)

~

On the way to Glacier, I spent a day and a half at Badlands National Park. I did a trail called The Notch. My Fat Ass climbed the notch. I had CROSSED IT OFF my list of doable trails. But then I FORGOT the name of the trail, yeah?

So I’m walking along, see a trailhead.

The Notch?

I wanted to do that one, right?

Yeah! The Notch! Sounds cool!

I walk along for a while.

Then BAM. These steep, nearly vertical wooden steps held up on steel cables.

My heart was in my throat.

I nearly turned around.

You can’t do this, Stephanie. You’re too fat. Your arthritis is all hurty. You have GNP to look forward to. You can’t do this. YOU CANNOT. YOU ARE INCAPABLE. YOU’RE WEAK. YOU’RE FAT. YOU. CAN. NOT. DO. THIS.

And then I quite literally charged the motherfucker.

The self-hatred talking somehow lit a fire that had the opposite affect.

And I charged that motherfucking ladder.

And about 2/3 up, I froze. I froze.

And I started crying.

Shaking.

Realizing how afraid I was of the vertical climb at this point.

Realizing how weak my legs already were. (It’s not that high of a climb.)

And I started saying, out loud: I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

Then I’d haul myself up to the next step. All the while afraid I was gonna fall and break my neck.

I can’t do this. I can’t. Ohmygod. What do I do now?

And then I snapped.

Again.

And said out loud.

FUCK YOU I CAN’T. FUCK YOU. YES I CAN!

And I finished it.

There were these hugely muscular dudes at the top waiting to go down (if I’d known this, I wouldn’t have climbed…good thing I didn’t know). I waited for ridicule, instead…they both high-fived me and were all “FUCK YEAH! YOU DID IT!”

I knew I’d have to go back down later, and that scared me, too.

But I focused on the trail ahead.

I nearly fell a couple times.

Had some scary moments of “I can’t” again. But I kept pushing forward.

Got lost at one point.

Found my way back.

I was so proud.

I climbed The Notch!

Me!

Sure, other people were running up and down the fucker. Could do it in their sleep.

But me?

Yeah…my body wasn’t up for it.

BUT MY MIND WAS.

And I did it.

So.

GNP a couple days later.

My thighs were still PISSED.

But no way was that going to stop me from exploring heaven on earth.

One night, about halfway through, I knew I had a big hike ahead of me the next day. 12 miles in the mountains.

So I’m stretching at my campsite.

I know there’s a word for it.

But I’m kinda dim. So let’s see.

You know the stretch where you’re standing on one foot and you reach behind yourself and grab your other foot and pull it up to your ass? That stretch?

I was going for that one because it feels sooo good. And I needed it.

I grabbed for my foot.

Got my ankle instead.

Hand slipped.

BAM. My big toe flew straight down to the picnic table. Straight. Down. With all that force.

I clamped my hand over my mouth, screaming into my palm, and fell to the ground.

Blood was everywhere. I lay there for probably fifteen minutes.

Finally got up, limped to my first aid stash, cleaned it up.

Saw that I had split the nail in two.

Couldn’t move the toe without crying.

I had to skip the next day’s hike. I was supremely upset.

This was going to be an epic hike.

And I had to skip.

So instead of wallowing around in the tent all day, I wrapped my toe up all crazy padded and drove to some of the more lookout kinda sites.

The next (last) day, I scrapped the plans I’d made for it and did the hike I’d missed instead.

Fucking. Epic. Shit.

But at the very beginning/very end, there are these really high steps cut into the mountain.

I should have sat on my butt on the way back and eased myself down.

Because fat.

Because knees.

But I didn’t.

I practically flew down those steps.

Got a super happy pic at the end of the trail. People high-fiving me because I was so excited and pumped and like fist-pumping the air. I did it!

By the time I made it back to the car, I was limping.

By the time I got my boot off, my foot  was so swollen I couldn’t articulate my foot/ankle.

I had broken my left foot.

And they only discovered it was broken in January. Because the breaks never showed on X-Rays.

Finally had an MRI in January, and two breaks in that foot.

After doctors had implied it was all in my head.

~

So. Uhm. Yeah. Ezekiel was right. (Yeah, yeah. Piss off.) If I even started trying to edit that, I’d never post it. (Which would defeat the whole purpose – to get my ass back to Stephellaneous and my dear Peopleaneous.) Look at that mess. Holy twatmonkeys. FYI: That’s a glimpse of what rambly conversations look like with The Stephanie.

P.S. Sneak Preview: I’m in Oregon. More to come.

Major Progress

It’s taken far too long to get to this point. I’ve met a good deal of resistance on selling the house.

But it’s finally time to list it. Since tomorrow is a holiday, it will have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday. 

I’m anxious about it, of course. I have a minimum I need it to sell for, so that I’ll have enough funds to move. If it doesn’t sell for at least that, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do.

One step at a time, though. And I’m about to take a significant one.

Anxious. But excited. I really hope I can make Oregon by year’s end, but it’s gonna take a lot of cash that I don’t actually have at this point.

Brainstorming and hoping for the best.

Anyway. Yay! I’ll be out from under this house soon. Which is good, because the bitch is heavy. 

In other news, I’ve been riding my bike lately. I’m fucking out of shape, man. I’m not doing well, but I’m legit giving it all I’ve got. So. I’ll keep it up and see what happens. Keeping track of my rides on an app so I can watch for improvement. Can’t ride tomorrow, though. I need a new tube for my tire. It only holds air for about 2.5 miles, and then it rapidly begins deflating. I need to take care of it before I ruin the wheel.

So. There’s my update! And I have a massive fucking headache. Well no, I didn’t get the headache that way. Unfortunately. I got it while I was riding the bike in the high sun. Because I’m a fucking genius. Heh.

Goodnight Peopleaneous!

Much Ado About Everything (AKA Damned if You Do(n’t))

I…

…don’t know what to write.

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?

Maybe.

Possibly.

Probably.

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.

pills
At one point, I was on at least 12 scrips at once (that I can recall) and felt worse than I ever have. Against doctors’ orders, I’m down to five plus an OTC antacid. And I still think I can do without Seroquel.
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

OregonTrail

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!