That I would be loved, even when I am not myself.

I know a lot of my initial posts seem kind of random. In a way, that’s just me. I like so many things and have so many thoughts going on in my head in one time that I wanted a blog where I could do a little bit of everything. I have had so many blogs (Shout out, LiveJournal and Xanga of Yore!), but have never had one where I felt like I had the freedom to make it something I could be proud of sharing.

I’m not an amazing writer. My hands never keep up with my brain. I really enjoy writing though. I have so many journals at home that it makes my bookshelves look way more impressive than they actually are in reality. I have always hoped to write something and get it published. Maybe I still will someday. For now, I have this space and hopefully some people will read it. If not, at least I know I have somewhere I can put a lot of my thoughts out there.

Something I want to talk about today is my struggle with depression and anxiety. I know I am not alone. It seems like more people are feeling able to talk about it when before it was always swept under the carpet. As a pretty over the top Christian growing up, I let a lot of my depression and anxiety get suppressed. I wanted to believe that if I could just be a really great Christian girl then my depression and anxiety would go away. I do not know for sure where I got this idea. I am sure it was the teenage pressure of desperately wanting to fit in where I obviously did not. Plus, there are certain circles that do believe depression and anxiety can just be given to God and that be it.  I am not saying that has never happened. I’m sure somewhere there are people who legitimately believe it has for them and that’s wonderful. Yet, it is not something that has happened to me or anyone I know. It took years for me to finally be open about how hard it has been and a lot of the time people can not deal with that.

I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder when I was eleven years old. I started Prozac not too long after. I went to counseling, but my fear of social situations got so intense that eventually my parents agreed for me to be schooled at home. I was alone most of the time. We had moved to the small town I had been living at pretty much a year before and it was not a smooth transition. I did not have friends. I was teased and bullied. I tried to switch schools, but it happened there too. It got to the point where I would hide in the library during lunch and not eat. This started a series of events that would eventually manifest itself into an eating disorder that nearly took my life. (That is a WHOLE other entry…)

My depression and anxiety battle is a long and complicated one. But then again, who’s isn’t? As I grew older,  I made a lot of scary life-threatening mistakes. I pushed people away or held onto them too hard.  I have always felt like there is something missing in me. Some sort of gene or common bond that I just did not get when I was created. I feel it in me all the time. When I am alone, when I am around others, and when I am truly honest sometimes I want so much to give into the hopelessness that feeling creates.

There are good days and there are bad days. On good days, I laugh and smile. I feel like I can be the person I want to be. But, the bad days are hard. They hurt sometimes more than any kind of illness I have ever had. I want to scream at myself to just snap out of it, but sometimes the beast within claims me and all I can do is pray desperately for any way out I can.

Recently,  I have lost a lot of people through my journey with depression and anxiety. Some had to get away for their own good. In my less healthy days, I was toxic. I was so sad and lonely that I was like a dementor just sucking away the happiness around me. Other times, it is just people who can not get it because they do not struggle with it. For them, it is a simple fix. They are happy because they want to be. Yet, it is just not that simple. Believe me, I have looked. They do not not understand how depression robs me of myself. They can not understand how the fear and sadness keeps me up at night. How my guilt for all I could have done better and should do better surrounds me at all times.

What I wish people could understand is that I want to be happy. I want to not wake up feeling like this. I want to believe I can be alright on my own because I am strong enough. Yet, as someone who craves community as much as I fear it, that is a hard thing to finally believe.

There is so much more I want to say and share but today is one of those hard days. The words I am hearing are not my best ones. I have to try to push through it, but I wanted to open the door on this topic. I do not want this to be a negative space but at the same time it has to be real. I believe people with mental health issues of all kinds deserve to be real and to be heard. Maybe it is not comfortable or neat but so many out there are hurting and just want someone or a group of someones to say we hear you and we love you, and even though this really sucks, we accept you for who you are right now.

I hope that if you need to share you will do so. Find people that love you for you and do not be afraid to ask for help.

You are not alone. You are loved. Let’s try believing that together, shall we?

A Girl And Her Books

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So it will surprise no one who knows me that I adore reading books.  I started reading at the age of two and always have about five books I am reading on a regular basis. I enjoy books from all genres but especially Young Adult, Classic Literature, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror. I also really enjoy Biographies, History, Theology, and Humor. As a kid, I devoured comic books and graphic novels and I still enjoy them but my local library does not have as many as I would like. As a full-time student, I do not have the means to get more of the obscure titles I enjoy so I depend on Inter-Library Loan or the kindness of friends and family to help me out.

I know there are a lot of book review blogs out there on the inter-webs. Let me just say that I salute and bow down to them all. If it had not been for book blogs/vlogs, there would be so many great books I would have missed out on. They have also allowed me to hear others thoughts on the titles I tend to read. I over analyze everything and books are no different especially if I like them a lot. Most of my friends have unfortunately moved or do not have the time so I am hoping this will help me have an outlet for my book-loving heart.

As someone who really enjoys the Young Adult genre, I know that there is a lot of criticism. It is something I hear a lot especially since I worked in both a bookstore and a library. I listen to a lot of podcasts and several of them tend to ridicule Young Adult books, especially ones written recently. One podcast did it so much that I finally put on my Leslie Knope pants and asked why. The answer was one I always seem to hear which is, “Young Adult books are not books one reads to be challenged because they are nothing but fluff.” Now, I have no problem with fluff. It definitely has its time and place. Yet, I vehemently disagree with this statement.

The Young Adult, or YA, genre, has always been a one where characters really come alive for me. Maybe it is because I once was a teenager and relate to a lot of the issues the protagonists go through. Maybe it is because when done well, I feel like I am no longer reading a book but part of the story. This happens in other genres as well but not like it happens when I read YA books. I think there are some that are so well written that they put Adult Fiction titles to shame. Don’t get me wrong, I have read my share of really bad YA books. I will probably do a series of entries on them because I have many a good rant about a lot of YA books, especially the more popular ones, That said, I wish more people would give the genre a chance and stop putting it into such a black and white box. I think many of its critics would be pleasantly surprised if they did.

If you do not like Young Adult Literature, you might want to skip those entries but I do encourage all to give the books a chance. My hope is to review books from pretty much every genre, but sometimes I get on a pretty great streak with a particular author or authors so if it seems like I’m staying in one too long, come back when I do finally move on. Although, if I can help someone find a new favorite book (and it happens to be YA) l they would never have checked out before then I consider that a job well done.

Like I said before, I am always looking for new stuff to read so please share any recommendations you may have. Also, if you have a blog, let me know as well. I look forward to writing more soon. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Happy Reading, everybody! 🙂

So I play music that’s what I do.

I had a pretty weird weekend. In some ways, it was pretty successful. I got a lot of my work done that sorely needed to be taken care of. I also worked on my new garden which has been a huge learning experience for me. By the way, is anyone out there a mother hen when it comes to their plants? I’m seeing this becoming a reality. I actually ran outside to check on my plants when a sudden rain storm came about in the middle of the night.  It definitely got me some looks from my wonderful puppy, Freddie. Sometimes I wish he did speak but I have a feeling he would let me know how crazy I truly am so I’m good with talking for him. He thinks everything I do is wonderful, by the way.

But I digress…

I don’t know about others, but there are times I wake up and am just hit with a longing kind of sadness. Yesterday morning was one of those days. I just woke up feeling like I was missing something. I do not know even now what that could have been and spent a while trying to figure it out. Regardless, I was sad and I was determined to not be.

To say, I love music would be an understatement. If VH1 ever did a “Behind the Music,” episode about me(and God I wish they would), I would probably have way too many people saying in interviews that I drive them crazy with my constant singing. My grandfather used to call me his singing angel, but I know others did not and still do not share that sentiment. As a child, several records and cassettes of mine (records are cassettes are what came before CDs and downloads, friends) were hidden from me by my cousins and friends. Kids in school would constantly ask me to stop humming and singing under my breath. Even my poor sainted parents have their moments where if they hear, “The Sound of Music,” or, “Candle on the Water,” played one more time, they will break.

Side note: Briefly in college, I was a vocal music major, but it was sadly not for me. I just could not bring myself to rip music apart to see if it merited greatness. It got to the point where I could not find solace in it anymore. I could not bear that becoming my reality so I switched majors to Journalism. This would begin a wonderful game of “Musical majors,” but that is another entry.

Anyway, making a short story long, I love music so as I sat on my new lanai, I immediately decided to have a private concert and try out the acoustics in the new space. Music has just always been what makes me feel better. It’s where I can pour all my feelings out without feeling embarrassed or like I am being a nuisance (Well, when alone). In my mind, I can just be on a stage getting to do what I love most and my heart just feels less alone.

So, knowing that I was really down, I knew I wanted to sing something really happy. I shuffled through a lot of the newer stuff in my playlists but then I just started letting a random shuffle take over. I’m so happy that I did.

Sometimes you may not even know you need it. Yet, something just clicks into place. You may call it fate, a happy coincidence, or luck. Personally, I feel it is God doing what He does best.

An artist I have not really listened to in a while came on. Her name is Rosie Thomas. Thomas is an artist that I learned about from my best friend, Melody. Mel lives in North Carolina, but she is my usual go-to when it comes to finding new music. Mel told me I would love Ms. Thomas and from the moment I got a listen to her collection, I was hooked.

If you have never heard Rosie Thomas’ music I recommend giving it a chance. She is an American singer/songwriter that sings mostly in the Alternative/Indie Folk music scene. She has sung with well-known artists, Sufjan Stevens, and Damien Jurado. Recently, she has also been doing stand-up comedy as her alter ego, Sheila Saputo. I have not had the honor of hearing her stand up live, but I hope to someday. What makes Thomas’ music so unique is how pure and sweet her voice is as it mixes with the instruments accompanying her. Something about her voice can make even the saddest song cheer me up. I needed that yesterday and once again I was given that gift through her music. I love that.

“I Play Music,” pretty much encapsulates everything I was feeling yesterday and so I thought I would share it with you all.

If you like it, please check out her other music. If you don’t, that’s totally fine. I hope that you have artists or bands that are able to work similar magic into your own lives. In fact, if anyone has music they recommend please send all my way. I’m always searching for new music to enjoy!

Also, here is a little bonus. This is Rosie Thomas, Sufjan Stevens, and Denison Witmer playing, “Much Farther To Go.” I love her speaking voice almost as much as her singing! Plus, Sufjan and Denison are favorite artists of mine as well! 🙂

Allow Me to Introduce… Myself

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Well, after a bit of a struggle with WordPress (I think it won) and some intense googling (can that count as exercise?), I finally have a decent space up and running. This is a space designed to share a bit of my thoughts on what I enjoy in this crazy journey we call life. I am hoping to start quite a few mini-adventures within this page that will span a range of topics. Some will be silly, some will be serious, and some will just be flat out random. So please grab your beverage of choice, a comfy chair, and spend some time with me. Life beyond the stacks is definitely an adventure and I’m excited for many to come along.