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.

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Accidental Penis: A Counter Stain
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An Alice in Chains Kind of Day

Do you ever feel alone?

So. Fucking. Alone.
So. Fucking. Hopeless.

I shouldn’t be listening to Alice in Chains. I shouldn’t have Layne Staley’s beautifully haunting voice in my head this morning, mirroring my mood. Feeding it. Fueling it. Strengthening it. But it’s an Alice in Chains kind of morning.

I was up too late last night. I took my meds too late. So, though I was quite exhausted, I had a hell of a time getting to sleep. Then one of my cats, the Orange One, decided to go dumpster diving at various times throughout the night. You see, I thoughtlessly left the giant sack of cat food accessible to the cats. I had no idea that the Orange One would bypass his food bowl in favor of climbing up onto the bag and eating out of it instead. That loud crackling, crinkling racket coupled with his munching woke me up no fewer than three times in the night. (Yes, I moved that bag first thing this morning.)

All of this led me to oversleep this morning. Of course. Which fucking sucked, because I had to skip my shower. I like to take one every morning. Helps me feel clean (First World water consumer right here) and is equally important to help me feel awake.

So. I’m “hoping” that those factors combined are why I feel so…subdued…today.

The alternative is far more upsetting.

The alternative is that in spite of the meds and positive changes in my life.
I’m beginning the downward spiral back into a depressive state.

It’s been a while since the slow creeping venomous vine of depression bound me in its grip. Where it cuts and burns and squeezes and binds. Until it enters every orifice and spreads within you like a slow, painful death.

It has hold of you now. You hack and hack and hack away at the vines, but they’re stronger than you are right now. Because the venom of the vine seeps into your body, into your bloodstream, into your very consciousness, into your soul. And the venom?

Lies. Cruelty. Darkness. Hopelessness. Suicide. Worthlessness. Fatigue. Loss. Pain. Malaise. Apathy. Despair. Anger. Hatred. Loathing.

The venom is insidious. But you’re in no state to fight it.

Depression is what we call it.

We want to fight it. We want to break through. We want to break free. But it’s not always so simple, is it? Sometimes it’s simply time. To be depressed.

I hate being a Depressive Person.
I hate having Major Depressive Disorder, Clinical Depression, Bipolar II, PTSD, GAD.
What. The. Fuck. Ever.
Whatever it is. Whatever the labels.
I hate it. I don’t wish to feel this way. I do not choose to feel this way. I do not enjoy it.

But in a strange way, I can at least be thankful.

Thankful?
Thankful.

Because it’s only for the darkness that I’m able to see the light.
If all of my life is spent in sunshine,
Do I recognize it as sunshine?
Can I appreciate it if I don’t know that darkness exists? What it looks like? What it feels like?

If all of my life is spent in darkness,
Can I appreciate the sunshine?
If I don’t know that the sunshine exists,
What gives me hope? What reason have I to persevere? To keep hacking away at those vines?

Perhaps I need the depression.
Perhaps it tempers me.
Perhaps it reminds me what is real.
Even as it tells me lies about myself.

~

Sometimes it’s the very things I hope for. The very things I cling to. That shift my sunshine into the darkest of nights. Perhaps I want too much. Need to much. Ask too much. Expect too much. Perhaps I am my own undoing.

~

I want to live a life apart.
I want to escape civilization.
I want to damn expectations.

I don’t give a fuck about elections.
I don’t give a fuck about money.
I don’t give a fuck about fearmongering.

I have zero fucks for celebrity.
I have no interest in things.
I am sick to death of working for the man.

I don’t wish to spend my life rotting in front of television.
I have no desire to tour the den of lies that is Washington, D.C.
I have a big, fat fuck you to societal rules and norms.

Fuck your McMansions.
Fuck your things.
Fuck your self-righteousness.

Fuck your racism.
Fuck your xenophobia.
Fuck your nationalism.

Fuck your ownership.
Fuck your entitlement.
Fuck your judgment.

~

John Muir is My Hero

I want a companion.
I want to explore the wild.
I want to take the road less traveled by.

I want to learn.
I want to question.
I want to observe and absorb.

I want to immerse myself in different cultures.
I want to meet and embrace the other.
I want to see life through your eyes.

I want to hear your perspective.
I want to feel your soul.
I want to reach into you and bathe in your essence.

I want to get lost on purpose.
I want to relish the adventure of finding my way again.
I want to discover the untamed beauties off the beaten path.

I want to make love on a blanket of grass under a sea of stars.
I want to run naked through a meadow of wildflowers.
I want to cleanse myself in unpolluted waters.

I want to giggle for no reason.
I want to belly laugh until it hurts to breathe.
I want to spend hours simply making faces at each other.

I want to have deep, tangential conversations until three A.M.
I want to make a pillow fort and sit in our underwear and tell ghost stories.
I want you to see me and let me see you.

I want to smoke a joint and tell stories in the middle of a rainforest.
I want to wash my face in snow melt and move on.
I want to walk the cobblestones of an ancient city, then get fucked in a dirty old stairwell.

I want to be loved unconditionally.
I want to be allowed to love unconditionally.
I want my quirks to be appreciated.

I want you to see my tears as beautiful.
I want you to let me kiss yours.
I want to live inside your soul.

I want to live.
I want to love.
I want to be free.

~

The problem is: I don’t think this is too much to ask.
I think: This is the reality that people have been brainwashed to not see.
I want: That which is truly real and meaningful.

And when I don’t have it.
When I can’t have it.
When I am denied it.

I sink.
Down.
Down.
Down.

Into the depths…
Of my mind.
Of my desires.
Of my aching lack.

Want me.
Need me.
Love me.

Adventure with me.
Learn with me.
Challenge me.

Show me something I’ve never seen before.
Let me show you things you’ve never seen.
Let us carve our own reality.

I’m waiting.
I’m wanting.
I’m ready.

~

Is this too much to ask?
I think not.

And you know something?
I feel better already.