Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sharing the journey, even if it hurts . . .

Sigh. One of the hardest things I've ever had to write about . . .

I've been trying to blog about participating in the THIS IS MY BRAVE NYC show. It's a non profit organization that uses art to share the many brave journeys of those living with mental illness.

Yes, you guys. I have a mental illness.

Depression, most likely genetic + post traumatic stress disorder, most likely from the trauma of molestation = my chaotic, yet creative, yet colorful, yet complicated brain.

It's taken me some years to embrace this. I'd done just about everything to feed my internal angry denial bitch: booze, self-hatred, more booze, food, lots of food, other substances, sleeping, angry poetry, and an ocean-load of crying. And, yes, even carnal choices that I didn't see coming, absolutely no pun intended. I've spent years trying to suffocate the opportunity to face what the hell makes me hate life sometimes, and what makes getting out of bed absolute torture.

I think it started when I was 12, when, as a child, I was violated in such a way, that still makes me question humanity. Also makes me not want to have kids, because I would cut the dick off any sick twisted piece of shit that hurt my children. So my kid would be traumatized and with a mother in jail. Sounds like a telenovela waiting to unfold. While I love me some "Mari Mar", I ain't trying to make a baby resembling that kind of unfortunate life.

Anywho, I digress.

For the last 22 years, I've seen just how debilitating depression is. I've had to leave jobs, take a few hiatuses from school, lose friends, cancel trips, lose a sickening amount of money, all the while lying about it almost on a daily bases. You see, one of the worst things about telling people you are mentally ill is the blackened, emotional curtain that overcomes their eyes as they look at you with no understanding. Judgement, cynicism, ridicule. Just some of the forms this particular curtain takes on. Because you can't really expect those around you to understand what depression is unless they walk it themselves. Or at least I made that decision early on, that I'd rather people think I'm a lazy lying piece of shit than for them to know I had a mental illness.

Fucked up, isn't it?

Within the last few years, though, I have felt encouragement and love from those on my corner. And thought it was time to start sharing the journey, even if it hurts. I am still not 100% forthcoming about my walk, but day by day, I am becoming a raw and severed soul, refreshingly portraying and exposing my very humble experiences that have lead me to the light.

I would love to share the many positive outcomes of my journey, and even more of the dark ones, just to prove to someone who might be going through this, that it will be ok.

And that is the beauty of This Is My Brave. It was an outlet, an opportunity for me to share, not only with my loved ones, but with fellow survivors, my most intimate words.

So I leave you with the youtube link of my piece. And hope to one day share more with you. For now, I am going to cuddle with my 3 kitties, and thank God for another day and a more developed laugh line  from all the smiling that happened today. Today was one of those days :)


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chasing the Rollercoaster

Last time I checked in with this blog, I was about to board an insanely scary and exhilarating roller coaster, metaphorically speaking. I fell in love, with an actual person, not the latest Ben & Jerry's flavor.
In case homeboy ever wants to run for president, let's change his name and call my sweetheart Chase. In my last entry, I mentioned having met him. And it's been a whirlwind 6 months. Living 7000 miles apart is a sure fire way to make things interesting. Thankfully, Skype, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Pinot Noir have made it all possible and pleasant. Very pleasant. Shit, I may actually be happy!

Chase asked me to marry him a few weeks ago. And, no matter how much you prepare and look forward to that majestic moment when the man of your dreams is on his knee, holding a ring, smiling from ear to ear, saying those 4 words that allow you to, even for 1 minute, embrace that fairytale moment of true love, you aren't prepare for the "kick in the balls" feeling that pees all over your "happily ever after" expectation. Some of us react quite the contrary. Ok, I acted quite the contrary.  I felt the air rush out of my body, my head grow increasingly hot, my heartbeat accelerate, and the feelings of puking developing. Far from the poetic expectation I had in mind.

Not because I didn't want to marry him. I'm crazy about him. He's become my confidant, my cheerleader, my comic relief. He can read me, call me on my shit, and thinks I am adorable when I pout. He's seen me at the crack of dawn, eye crust and all, and wants to kiss me in all my morning breath glory (which usually means I run away from him towards my toothbrush and Listerine strips). He's even wiped a snot from my face during a sweet swim in the Persian Gulf. I mean, literally, he wiped a salt water snot from my nose. If that's not true love, then I am deeply concerned.

Anywho, I never thought it would happen again, but I let someone in to my heart. And for the first time in almost 7 years, I haven't just been thinking about me. There's this person, my person, in the logistical setup in my head, the part of my brain that plans, solves, stresses, and breathes.

So it goes without saying, that my saying yes to his proposal was a sure-fire dunk! Yet still, my reaction was similar to someone experiencing a heat stroke. I mean, yes, we were in Dubai, which was 100 degrees, humid, and seemed to ban not only booze, but fresh breeze and shady solace. But it was something more. Something along the lines of complete shock. My future was about to make a sudden right, and I had no idea what that road looked like. I hadn't planned for this. And, unlike Siri, I can't recalculate direction in seconds. Certainly not when your person is kneeling in front of you, smiling, and waiting for you to accept his forever.

My controlling and perfectionistic persona decided it's too much, and she let me know it. I panicked, I froze, and I look for solace somewhere. Something to stop the roller coaster from going off the rails. What the hell was happening?

"What are you doing, baby?" was what I finally stuttered out.

He was smiling so joyfully, like a child whose finally conquered balance and speed on his 2-wheeler bike. His smile was euphoric, his dimples determined, his eyes like crystal.

"Will you marry me, Jaan?" Chase said. He calls me Jaan, which in urdu means sweetheart.  When he calls me that, any storm that is starting to brew immediately and peacefully calms.

That, coupled with his eyes, made this particular storm inside start to dissipate. My eyes locked with his, the very eyes I look at and see possibilities of jubilant journeys. I see such a solace to my very guarded heart. A soul who wants to walk hand-in-hand with me no matter what. Even with my morning breath! Even with my sea water snots!

And then, everything grew quiet and serene. And I exhaled, slowly smiled, let out my signature giggle, and said, very confidently and joyfully, "Yes. Yes. Of course. Yes. Mi vida."

And it was the most sacred of moments. A moment I will never ever forget.

In full disclosure, tears have been falling while writing this blog. Because, well, shit! I AM happy! I still haven't quite "recalculated" the journey ahead, but I don't need to right now. Right now I am enjoying the wind in my face, the adrenaline through my veins, the adoration in my heart, my soldier beside me, my Chase. What a fucking roller coaster ride this has been and I can't wait for whats to come.