Quit the bullshit.

I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me as I’ve gotten older is my shift in perception. I feel like I view everything so differently than I used to. And yes, obviously some of that is just typical growing up and forming your own opinions, but it’s also a product of the things that happen to you. Nobody makes it to twenty-five without something that changed them. Mine is obvious, it’s something I’ve written countless pieces about and still makes me look at the world a little differently: my war with mental illness. I’m still getting used to living in the sunshine that only exists in a mentality that doesn’t suffer from clinical depression.

One thing that tagged along with my depression was some severe body image issues.  This has been something that’s affected me for a long time, and part of that is being female, and the other part is being a perfectionist who always wants to be the best.  Newsflash: perfect doesn’t exist.

If you’ve known me for longer than about three years, you would know that I gained some weight. Sixty pounds over the course of a year, to be exact. There are reasons this happened, but none of them matter for the purpose of what I want to talk about, or really at all. People gain weight, shit happens.  I had personally never weighed that much, and it freaked me the fuck out.  I went into denial about my weight.  I avoided scales, mirrors, and fitted clothes.  I was so ashamed that I had gained so much, and I truly began to hate my body.  This also lined up with the time that I swore off men, which shouldn’t be a shocker: I was terrified of being naked in front of someone.

I didn’t really start to lose the weight until I got to a much healthier mental state.  It took a while, and that weight lingered and some came off just naturally.  I transferred to a school with a big ass campus that made me walk exponentially more than I was used to walking, and I lost some of the weight just by walking to class.

Eventually I got to a place where I accepted myself. I let go of the demons of my past and I began to let myself start over.  I’ve lost 40 pounds since then. This isn’t really about my *transformation,* it’s just hard to get to my point without giving some background.

I bought shorts last week for the first time in… six years?

I’m not even kidding.  The funny thing is that at one point during those six years where I was refusing to wear shorts, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life.  Not healthy whatsoever, but thin as fuck.  I remember thinking I looked so fabulous and sexy, and I look back on full body photos of myself from being unhealthily thin, and I am lanky as fuck.  The thing is, I’m not really tall enough to ever be lanky, but that’s just how thin I was.

I’ve gotten to this point where I’m so happy with myself and with my life and what is going on right now that somehow, I have managed to love my body.  It took me twenty-five years, but I did it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been authentically myself until recently, and it’s so liberating and refreshing.

I still want to be stronger.  I want to be able to run farther without stopping and be able to lift higher weights and throw harder punches. But I’m so sick of being hot in the summer from wearing jeans when everyone else is in shorts.  I’m sick of comparing my body, my athletic af, 5’9″ frame that has, what I like to call, linebacker shoulders, to the bodies of my 5’0″ friends who barely hit 110 pounds.  You know when the last time I weighed 110 was? 5th grade.

I was hardcore bullied throughout school for being so pale that I blinded people.  I’m a natural redhead, ya’ll. I’m really white. I get it. But I should still be allowed to wear shorts during a midwestern summer.  I manage to get a little tan, but I never try too hard because it usually comes after burning a few times.  So I didn’t wear shorts because I was too white, and then I didn’t wear shorts because I thought I had thunder thighs. No matter the reason, I was still sweating my ass off during summer.

It’s just bullshit.

I’ve been writing some poetry-esque stuff on my tumblr, and I wrote this thing the other day that I really connected with as it poured out of me.  It was basically about giving up bullshit, and I realized that THAT was the difference between the new and the old me.

I’m over it. All of it.

I’m a very blunt, sarcastic person who likes to poke holes in people’s logic and is a boss at Zelda and tbh, like most people, I’m really fucking weird.  Because that’s what makes us unique as individuals.  I dance, a lot.  I almost always have music playing and I’m always dancing.  I have conversations with my dog, and I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m saying.

Around March or so, maybe early April? I stopped hiding.  I started talking to people who I felt like I had something in common with. I started being more honest about who I am.  I started really getting into my workouts and appreciating the things my body is capable of.  I started loving myself unapologetically.

Fun fact: there was a point in time where I regretted my tattoos because I wasn’t sure that I could actually pull them off, and I felt like I looked stupid.  MY TATTOOS.  You know, the things that I got to mark significant events in my life and things about myself and who I am.  The fact that I have tattoos means I can pull them off.  Plain and simple.

Embrace who you are. Love your body, whether you’ve lost weight or you still want to. This isn’t about some transformation where I now love my body.  That transformation happened because I started to accept myself. Wear what you want, what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel good. For me, that typically means wearing vans when everyone around me is wearing heels.  It doesn’t make me less feminine or beautiful. It just makes me, well, me.

Love yourself and the world will follow.  You don’t have to have it all perfectly together and know exactly what you’re doing. Embrace the unknown.  Figuring out what happens next is the fun part, because it can be whatever the fuck you want.

I thought I was out of vices to quit, turns out I had one left: bullshit.

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Thank You.

Today I finished my capstone paper.  I also submitted my final assignments for my theatre class. I have an exam tomorrow, and one next Monday, along with my final performance of my monologue from Gruesome Playground Injuries for my theatre final, and then, I am done.

So it’s just exams. Exams that I feel very good about. I feel finished. I know I’m not quite there yet, but that ridiculously long list of things I needed to get done is finally complete.

When I submitted my final assignment for my theatre class, the last actual homework assignment I needed to do, it finally hit me.  I’m actually graduating.

I understand graduating college is expected for a lot of people, and to some it’s not even that big of a deal.  That’s how I felt about graduating high school.  It wasn’t anything to be proud of.

That’s not how I feel right now, I feel like I truly accomplished something.

Spring semester of my sophomore year of college I attempted suicide. I fought all of my doctors and family members to stay and finish that semester because somehow, I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem, despite the fact that I had just tried to kill myself. The following fall, I took a medical leave of absence because not only was I not getting better, I was getting worse. Mental illness is a bitch, and Borderline Personality Disorder is the most tormenting, psychotic rollercoaster ride I have ever experienced.  I spiraled out of control for a solid two years before I finally got fed up and started the long climb up from rock bottom. Even when I started recovering, I wasn’t sure I would ever go back to school.  I wasn’t sure I could do it, I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough to get through it.

Well, here I am.

I had to transfer schools to get a fresh start, but I’m really glad I did.

I’ve met some amazing people here.  I’ve had incredible professors.  I’ve learned so much.

So, thank you, Mizzou.  For giving me a place to start over, and welcoming me with open arms.

Thank you to those who knew me before, during, and after all of the above mentioned shitshow, and still choose to call me a friend. I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Thank you to those who have assured me over and over that my past does not define my present or my future.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I am so grateful to be alive.

If you told me five years ago that not only would I be graduating college, but that I would also truly be happy,  I would have said you were just as crazy as me.

But here I am.  My life isn’t perfect, and I still struggle. Anxiety is a bitch. But I fought my own mind for multiple years and eventually relearned how to think and process social situations.  I don’t identify with BPD because I don’t meet the criteria anymore.  That’s incredible to me.  I honestly thought I would feel psychotic forever.

I’m still kind of in tears over this.  I feel so triumphant.  It took me awhile to get here, but god damn, I did it, and I’m a better, stronger person for it.

So fuck you, mental illness. You can’t stop this girl.

 

Transparency.

So, I’m writing again. Which is interesting, because for the past year I haven’t really had any inspiration to write anything.  Yet here I am, back to my normal soap box about mental illness with my 13 Reasons Why post, and over on my tumblr I’m writing poetry because I met someone who inspires me quite a bit.  Which is weird.  I’m in a new place that I haven’t ever been before, and I’m going to write my way through it.

If you missed my twitter rant about my current mental health, let me recap: I’ve been slowly losing my mind with the last month of school.  My anxiety has been the highest it has ever been, and my mind has been spinning stories of failing to finish online classes and the internet crashing for a week, and I started losing sleep, a lot of sleep.  I maybe got 2 hours a night for about 12 nights.  It was rough.  The day after that 12th night of horrible sleep, I had to hand in a draft of my capstone paper, and present/lead a discussion on one of my sources.  My stomach was in knots, because as you all should know, I have horrible social anxiety and I hate standing up in front of people and talking.  Somehow, I managed to not only stand up there and talk about this research study, but I was able to do it well.  Really well.  I’ve sat through everyone else in the class giving these presentations.  You can always tell who really understands their study and who doesn’t.  You can also tell who is really into what they’re talking about and who isn’t.   Well, I knew my study really well, and my topic is one that I’m super passionate about: the positive effects of gaming.  The class got to the point where they started asking me general questions about gaming and what else my paper covers, instead of just discussing the one source I was presenting on.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that sleep deprived in my entire life, but I still managed to absolutely rock that presentation.  And, not to toot my own horn, but I got a 100% on that presentation. toot toot.

I’m still medicated.  Klonopin.  I get to add a new drug to the list of everything I’ve ever been prescribed.  Back in the day no doctor dared to give me a benzodiazepine, because of the abuse risk.  So I’m obviously making progress.  And this is just a short term thing to get me through the end of the semester without having a heart attack.  I’m actually a big fan of this low dose. It doesn’t make me sleepy. I’m just mellow. My stomach isn’t constantly in knots and I can actually think coherently because I’m not trying to focus on 1000 different things at once.  If this is how people without anxiety feel all the time, I am insanely jealous of all of you.

Social media is full of people posting their life highlights:

I’m so blessed and honored to announce that I have accepted a position at XYZ company!

I’m just kind of over it.  People struggle. With mental illness, with family, with relationships.  I want to be real.  That’s what this blog started as, and even though I was delusional at the time and writing things that didn’t always hold up to facts, writing here helped me, and I know some of the things I’ve written have helped others as well.

I’m two weeks away from what I’m referring to as THE GREAT UNKNOWN.  I gave my official two weeks at my crappy retail job today because I’ve been there for a year and I just can’t keep doing it.  If it were more fast-paced, I think I could, but being bored for hours on end is just mind numbing to me.

I’ve decided to stay in Columbia.  I was originally thinking about moving to STL and taking this great paying retail job at Neiman Marcus.  I turned it down.  I want more out of my life than that.  I want to do something that actually matters. There’s so much bad shit going on in the world right now and I want to help people in some way.  I want to make an impact.

I’m looking at graduate programs.  I’m not entirely sure where I want to go or what I want to do.  I’m very interested in neuropsych.  The human brain fascinates me to no end.  I know I want to do clinical work, because I’m not a lab rat. I need to connect with people and not just hole up in front of a computer reading data for hours on end. I couldn’t do that.  So I’m applying for clinical jobs, and I’m going to volunteer at various places.  I’m terrified, because there’s no solid plan here, but I’m happy and excited and I feel like for once in my life my past isn’t holding me back anymore.

For a long time I held back because I felt like the world was waiting for me to fail.  It’s so interesting the effect that time and self-reflection has on your perspectives.  I’m so indifferent about people that I once used to loathe.  Things change.  Time really does heal.  And people grow up.

So this is my journey into the great unknown.  I’m graduating college on May 13th, and then I’m just gonna wing it.  What else can you do?