Categories
health life

#WritingPromptWednesdays :: Exhausted

“She’s strong, but she’s exhausted.”

This quote perfectly sums up this last week, and also why this week’s Writing Prompt Wednesday post will be short.

I have been plagued with all sorts of health problems over the past year or so, and am not much closer to any answers. I just start to feel better, and then something else hits.  Most recently, it’s a stress fracture in the spine and some other likely-spine-related symptoms that haven’t been properly addressed yet.  I will write a more detailed post at some point, but here’s the quick version.

I was sent to physical therapy.  I went to one appointment and was told by the therapist that she’s referring me back to my doctor because, essentially, some of the effects from the exercises she was having me do were “concerning.”  I know it sounds crazy, but I was looking forward to PT and the possibility of relief from my incessant back pain.  Now I not only DON’T have that option for the time being, but there’s likely something else going on. 

Add to that a small bout of anxiety that has had me rattled by a mind full of worries that won’t shut off and… I. am. exhausted. Tired of fighting – for my health, against my anxiety, for my sanity, for everything. Just… tired.  If you’ve never experienced the racing mind of a bout of anxiety, you don’t know what that kind of exhaustion is like. Logic can slow it down sometimes, but inevitably, something hits the accelerator again and off it goes. It’s usually nonsense.  It doesn’t start off that way, but it almost always reaches the point of absurdity.

Ouch my thumb hurts look there’s a small spot there I wonder what it is oh my god I had a cold sore last week maybe I touched it and now it’s on my hand what if it is and I touched my eye and I go blind or what if it’s in my brain and I have to go into a medically induced coma while they treat it and what if I die oh my god no I don’t want to die I have too many things left to do but what if that’s the cause of all the nerve pain I’m having maybe it’s in my spine or what if it’s a tumor and I am going to be paralyzed and then I can’t drive anymore that would suck I love to drive so much and let me look at my thumb again yep there’s definitely something there maybe I should take some medication what if I get it somewhere else what if I can’t walk anymore what if I can’t use my brain and my memory starts failing I couldn’t handle that I love learning so much and my intelligence is my best quality I need to be able to know things I don’t want to lose my ability to think that’s what makes me so special oh no I don’t want to be a burden on Tony if I am disabled that’s not fair to him would he still want to be with me if I was in a wheelchair or couldn’t remember things I don’t want to lose him he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me I don’t deserve him who would want to be with someone who thinks like this It’s so not fair I just don’t understand why he wants me I bet he is just going to leave me and I will be alone so I need to get my shit together but I can’t stop feeling this way if I could I would I guess I just have to try harder I still don’t understand why he puts up with me I’m such a pain in the ass I wouldn’t put up with me I don’t know why he does everything is such a project with me why can’t I just be normal…

As hard as that was to read, it’s equally as hard to feel and think that way, I promise.  You are in a constant state of fight or flight, and it’s so tiring.  You also KNOW that your thoughts are ridiculous, but you just can’t make your brain understand that.

But here’s the thing. I always get through it.  The cloud lifts and the thoughts slow and I become “normal” again. It’s not easy, but you just have to hold on and let it pass.  Find ways to keep yourself occupied and throw yourself into something so that your brain doesn’t have a chance to keep running on.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way, you prevent yourself from being consumed.

I pray, I listen to music, I clean, I talk.  I cry.  I hold on to Tony and he talks me down and reassures me.  Side note: If you are with someone who doesn’t reassure you and support you during these bouts – I tell you now, you are with the wrong person.  They don’t need to baby you, but they need to be your soft place to fall so that you feel loved, protected, secure. Remember that.

This is not something that you ask for or did on purpose.  It’s an issue that you have to fight, contend with, get through, overcome.  And you are stronger each and every time you overcome it.  Do not ever let anyone make you feel otherwise. Today’s post was a little ”all-over-the-place,” I know, but I wanted to be sure you understand that anxiety or depression or any other mental health issue does not make you weak – and NO ONE, including yourself, should ever make you feel that way.

It takes a strength and courage some people will never understand, but once you get through it, you shine.

Categories
nerdiness

+1 Blog of Wisdom :: Level 2 Nerd

I’m a nerd.  I love lots of different nerdy things: video games, science, Lord of the Rings, Drizzt, math… so many things.  However, there’s always been one item on the checklist of nerddom that I have never been able to cross off: playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Sure, I’ve played D&D-based RPG video games.  (For my non-nerd readers, “RPG” stands for “Role Playing Game.”)  I have read plenty of the Forgotten Realms books; I love Tolkien; But when it came to actually sitting down and playing a game, it just never happened.

Growing up, my mom thought it was “evil,” so that was out.  As I got older, I tried, but no one wanted to show me.  I asked a few folks if I could sit and watch a game so I could understand it better.  No one wanted to let me into their secret lair. One friend tried, once, but it wasn’t actually a campaign, so it didn’t really help me much.  Ah well.  Perhaps I just wasn’t meant to play.  Perhaps I was meant to stay at a Level 1 Nerd forever, and not move beyond the sewers and giant rats of my nerdiness adventure.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I went to a barbecue at my boyfriend’s friend’s house.  The guests there were equally as nerdy, and we quickly started chatting about all sorts of fantasy-related, video-game related, and science-related nerdery.  It was awesome.  The boyfriend and I were then invited to a game night at the same friend’s house.  As we sat around laughing, chatting, and playing “A million dollars, but…,” the topic of playing D&D came up.  My boyfriend and I mentioned that we had never played, but always wanted to. I mentioned how I’d asked others to teach me before and no one wanted to take the time.  Friend was aghast. After all, how can nerddom recruit new members if no one is willing to teach?

And so the ball started rolling.  Friend lent us the players guide, helped us create characters, and invited us to play in a campaign they were just starting – a low-level campaign with other newbies.  If you’re interested, I’m a half-elf ranger with an urchin background and the main personality trait of being blunt and sarcastic (I got that by chance, but it makes my character SO MUCH easier to play, since it’s basically me).  He’s also badass – with a ton of skills, proficiencies, and special abilities.  Heck yes.

Well, after all these years, it finally happened. Last Saturday, I got to play in my very first D&D game, and it was SO MUCH FREAKING FUN!  Friend was the Dungeon Master (DM) and most of us were n00bs, but luckily there was one other person who was a seasoned pro.  He helped move the game along and gave us hints when we were all like “WTF do we do now??”  Everyone was patient and there to have a good time. All questions were answered without judgment.  No one made us feel like we were dumb or clueless.  It was fun, just how it was supposed to be.  It was warm and welcoming and simply awesome. I was so excited.

It was one of the best times I’ve had in recent memory.  I felt like I belonged.  I felt like I was finally leveling up my nerdity.  Granted, I’m still relatively clueless when it comes to all the intricacies of gameplay, but that’s to be expected.  There’s a lot to learn and know in order to play the game well.  That will come in time.  For now, I’m just in seventh heaven finally being able to immerse myself in the world I love so much.  To travel to the Underdark and talk to characters from Waterdeep… or Neverwinter… or Baldur’s Gate…

My character isn’t the only one who’s on an adventure, I am, too.  I’m learning to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.  And while this silly, geeky thing might seem small to some – for me, it was huge.  It was one of those moments in my life that I won’t soon forget.

We are planning our next meeting to continue the campaign and try to escape the Underdark… it’s scary down there.  There’s danger around every corner and the light never reaches.  It’s depressing – and hopeless. Sometimes, though, when you’ve been under there for too long, it becomes comfortable.   It feels safe – like that’s all you know. But in the game, and in life, you need the light to survive – to thrive. I know that first hand.  You need to find the surface.

For so long all I knew was my own Underdark. The sunlight feels pretty damn good.

Categories
life

I am a divorced Christian.

I am a Christian, I am recently divorced, and I am already in a new relationship.  I also believe, wholeheartedly, that this new relationship is a gift from God.  A blessing.  

I know that people say God isn’t going to “end your marriage” so He can give you someone else.  But in my case, God didn’t end my marriage, I did.  

And I think God gets it.  

God gets that a marriage is supposed to be the complete merger of two people into one and in my case, that never happened; so we chose to stop pretending. We were friends, roommates.  We were not what actually constitutes a married couple.  I was all-in, he admitted later he was just sort of sticking around until I left.  I guess I knew that from the beginning.  Regardless, that’s not someone who’s all-in with you.  We were never “one.”  We were “two” with a marriage license.

We owned nothing together.  We never had children.  We hardly liked the same things.  There was no passion, and hardly any intimacy.  And for whatever reason, I was under the impression that that’s what I was supposed to marry.  I don’t know why.  I guess it was different from all the previous relationships I had.  Those were full of passion and lust and co-dependency and craziness.  This had none of that.  But, like, literally NONE.  Not even the good parts. So I guess I figured, since those relationships crashed and burned, that the type that works is supposed to be the opposite.  That was so unbelievably incorrect. 

We were “two” with a marriage license.

I’m not saying that relationships that work are co-dependent or based solely on passion, but those things need to be there. In a marriage, there is a healthy co-dependence wherein each party discusses things with the other, makes choices with the other, and has a healthy amount of respect for the other’s opinions.  Two become one.  When you become one, you cannot easily survive without the other half; and it’s supposed to be that way.  No, it’s not supposed to be unhealthy and full of threats and “if you leave me I’ll die” ultimatums.  That’s the DSM-level co-dependence.  That’s when one person is obsessed with the other.  

Marriage, however, is a union.  Two pieces of a puzzle creating a beautiful picture – and that picture should come with things like passion and intimacy, mutual respect, discussion, fights, make-ups, and boring old trips to the grocery store and help to dry the dishes.  Marriage should be all of those things or it’s not a marriage, it’s a roommate. 

I am not without fault, here.  I got married almost 10 years ago to someone I certainly loved, and always will, but not someone with whom I was in love.  I just wanted to be married, I think, and like I said, thought a successful relationship didn’t need the passion.  That was my fault, and I know that now.  

When the time came to plan the wedding, he was so disinterested that I became disinterested.  There was no cooing over bouquets or deciding which font to use on the invitations.  There was no stressing over the schedule for the day or who would sit where.  I pretended this was because I was more interested in the marriage than the wedding. The truth was, I knew he didn’t care, so I stopped caring.  Yes, the marriage is more important than the wedding, but if we are being honest, I don’t think he was all that excited about the marriage, either.  It was what I wanted, not him, and he just went along for the ride.  He let me continue forth and gave the impression he was OK with it, but never actually participated. That’s not fair to anyone – neither is not understanding that this wasn’t what a good relationship was supposed to be.  But, I am human, and so is he. 

I won’t go into any more detail about it. I have no hatred or ill will.  And I truly believe neither one of us did anything “wrong” or terrible.  It just… didn’t work; that’s the whole of it.  My point is that if it was never a marriage to begin with, simply a marriage license, then the dissolution of that license in the form of a divorce isn’t the same as tearing apart two people who were one.  It’s simply acknowledging that they never were “one.”

Realize that leaving a marriage that never was a full symbiosis isn’t the same as leaving a marriage because you are “bored” or because the person didn’t wash the dishes or buy you gifts.

That being said, I’m not an advocate for divorce. Marriage is special to me.  I took vows, and they meant something.  This is why it took a long time before the divorce occurred.  I felt like the marriage was one-sided YEARS ago, but I kept plugging along, trying to be a better wife; trying to figure out what would help us.  Our separation was almost two years.  There were no improvements, no changes.  It just… was what it was.  So it was time.  Again, I am not blameless – God knows I am not without fault – but I wanted to feel like I was important enough to fight for, and I never felt that way – not once.  So, the end arrived, and I moved forward. 

Someday, I may go into further detail, but for now, that’s the gist of the divorce story.  I just want you all to realize that, as Christians, we sometimes place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and our marriages.  We also have to remember that we are forgiven, and that forgiveness needs to extend to ourselves, from ourselves, as well.  Fight for your marriage.  Fight HARD.  But if the day comes and you realize it was never a marriage to begin with, then forgive yourself, and let it go.  Realize that leaving a marriage that never was a full symbiosis isn’t the same as leaving a marriage because you are “bored” or because the person didn’t wash the dishes or buy you gifts.  Let go, give it to God, and move forward.  Find the person who wants to fight for the marriage together, with you; who wants to honor God with you in a two-become-one amalgamation.  It’s out there. I promise.  

For me, it started with a Facebook message from an old friend …and got even better from there. 

Stay tuned.

Categories
life

The obligatory “about me” post

Look! It’s me!

Hi! I’m Julee. I was born in 1979 in a little city in PA, and I’ve been here (well, in the area!) since.

My life has seen many ups and downs. I have made good decisions and bad. I have had great successes and great failures. I apologize for none of it. Each and every decision I have made or thing that I’ve gone through has brought me to who, what, and where I am today. While I can’t say I wouldn’t change any of it, I will say that I have finally reached a point where I no longer lament the past, having chosen instead to move forward and embrace the future.  I am in a great place now in life and in love, and I couldn’t be happier!  I thank God every day for the blessings that have come to me over the last few months especially, and I look forward to sharing them all!


So how ’bout some buzzwords to describe who I am?

Jesus freak. Yep, I’m a Christian. My faith is what keeps me moving forward every minute of every day, and I will never apologize for it. I have no intention of trying to force you to share my beliefs, but I will not hide them. Also, despite what you might think, being a Christian does not mean I am naive, holier-than-thou, under the impression that I am perfect, hateful, antiquated, anti-science, a prude, or just an asshole in general. Some are. Most aren’t. Just like any other stereotyped segment of the population. Have questions about it? Please ask! I will be happy to share the Word with you, pray with you, explain why I keep the faith. Just please be as respectful to me as I will be to you.

Egghead. Yep, I’m smart. I’m not ashamed of that. I will not “dumb myself down” because someone thinks I’m “talking down” to them. I am not “talking down” to anyone. I speak the way I speak, I have knowledge and opinions that I will not tuck away because someone has decided that smart people make them feel inferior. Aspire to intelligence, don’t belittle it. Don’t fear it. (Yes, I stole those phrases from “The Newsroom.” If you haven’t yet, watch that show.) Spend time in the company of well-educated or intelligent people, and you will start to yearn for knowledge, I can promise you that.  My education, thus far, has consisted of a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and English Lit, followed in recent years by a bunch of post-baccalaureate undergrad coursework in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Math, and a Masters Degree in Accounting. I am returning to Grad School this fall for my MBA in Business Analytics. I am a perpetual student, and I love it. And yes, this is in addition to a full-time job. You have your hobbies, I have mine. My momma always said if I could find a job where I could go to school for free forever, I would never leave. So, here I am. God is good.

Body Positive. Yes, indeed. I am body positive. I am also trying to lose weight. The two are not juxtaposed. Being body positive means looking in the mirror and not beating yourself up for what you see there. It means loving who you are, and with that love comes the desire to be your best. I am not trying to lose weight because I hate what I see in the mirror. I am trying to lose weight because my health is important, and my weight is affecting that. I will never be “skinny.” I’ll likely get to around a size 16… a comfortable, easily maintainable weight that will help my health and stamina and allow me to enjoy life without watching every bite that goes into my mouth.

Plus size. BBW. Any other euphemism for “fat.” Like the previous paragraph says… I’ll never be skinny. I have embraced my curves. I love them. I will always have them, even if they get a little smaller and more defined. 🙂 I wear the titles proudly and happily.

Divorced. Yes, I am divorced. No, that doesn’t make me less Christian – or less anything, for that matter. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from something that is failing so miserably. I spent almost 2 years of an 8-year marriage being the sole source of strength and support for an institution that is supposed to have two people who work their asses off to sustain it. So, when I was asked to leave so he could deal with whatever was causing his downfall, I did as I was asked, and quite frankly, did it happily. We, as humans, have a limit. We have a point where we can go no further, try no harder, and we have to recognize that. After almost 2 years of separation and no changes, dissolution was the only way to go. I am now in the happiest, most stable relationship of my life, and I thank God every single day for the wonderful man who’s in it with me.

Metalhead. “OMG YOU’RE A JESUS FREAK AND YOU LIKE HEAVY METAL?!?!?! WTF?!?!?!” Seriously. Stop. Yes, I like Metal. No, not all metal is “evil.” Yes, there are some bands and/or songs to which I will not listen because of my faith. Either way, listening to a song doesn’t make you a satan worshipper any more than watching “Grey’s Anatomy” makes you a surgeon. Also, being a metalhead doesn’t mean I don’t like other types of music, either. A good song is a good song. A good band is a good band. End of story.

Libertarian. I value freedom. I’m not a very political person, nor do I really like either major party, but I am conservative-leaning on most subjects and will usually vote Republican. I support the 2nd Amendment. I am staunchly pro-life. Murder should not be a choice. I have no desire to discuss politics with anyone, I am simply giving you a rundown of who I am so that you have an understanding. As I said in the paragraph about my faith – put away any preconceived notions first and see me for who I am – kind, loving, accepting, understanding, and intelligent.

Other things I am: Happy, introverted, introspective, funny, kind, sarcastic.

Other things I like: Makeup, fashion, cooking, vinyl, Frasier, Big Bang Theory, Rocky movies, shopping, flirting (with my man!), laughing, Lord of the Rings.

Other things I love: Anthony, the man of my dreams =)  Yes, we are that couple.  No, I don’t care if it makes you nauseated. =)

My heroes: Jesus, Drizzt Do’Urden, Optimus Prime.

That should suffice for the moment. As life moves forward, things will change, and I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list of “I am.”  I hope you’ll stick around to find out more!