“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” C.S. Lewis

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and as much as Terri and I are missing ma and trying to figure out how to navigate the holidays without her for the first time, I also know how many blessings I have in my life too. My son, my family, my friends, my career, my home, my comfort, and the list goes on. I don’t ever want to lose sight of these things regardless of how much I’m grieving. 🙂

One of my colleagues and I were talking yesterday and she shared that she lost her dad 3 years ago. She asked how I was doing and I said my pat response: “Ok.” She said that she completely understood and even after the years that have passed since her loss, she’s often just ‘ok’ too. We talked about the pain losing a parent triggers and she said that she still cries over her dad…misses him daily…and feels the pain of his loss as something that she just carries inside of her now. I feel so bad for her since she and her dad were so close and thank her for being so open with me. To know that the struggle is real…and is going to be inside of me since ma will always be a missed part of my world…validates what both Terri and I are going through.

I think that all women feel what I know I do: that we ought to be the self-less ones…the ones who don’t take the last piece of cake, or demand what restaurant we eat at, or let our own desires come before those of our families. Maybe it’s in our DNA…maybe it’s the way ma raised T and I…or maybe it’s what we’ve chosen to spend our lives doing.

I’ve been teaching since I was 19 years old…preschool, jr. high teaching assistant, elementary, high school and college…basically the entire gamut of ages and grades and no matter what the level, students need so much from you. And, since I teach psych and socio and talk about some pretty difficult issues and struggles, so many students come to me for advice…comfort…direction. And honestly, it helps me as much as them. I want to the be the one to be leaned on. To be needed. To give to others because it makes me feel so good. T is the exact same way…her work as a private nurse and then the kind of grandma she is to my amazing nieces and nephews shows the size of her heart and her willingness to give all she has of herself.

I think all of this is why I’m finding it so hard to reach out to people who have offered support. When friends or family inquire about how I’m coping and handling things, more often than not I say “I’m fine!” to them. I want to recognize their pain first…their issues first…their needs first. I don’t want to burden them with mine…put anymore on their own shoulders…admit I need help.

I guess I don’t ever want to be seen as selfish and for me, asking for help puts me in that position. I jump on my own roof to clean out my gutters…move tons of rock by myself…teeter on ladders to paint my ceilings…put drops in Edward’s ears alone since it can be messy, and honestly, just doing this one task truly does show my inner strength. I think O and my next door neighbor would agree. 🙄

I’m also self-conscious about always being down. As I think all of us who experience depression can attest too, we soon learn that there’s often not a lot of compassion for us; or if there is, it dwindles as we continue to be down. If I asked how many of you have heard “Just cheer up!” “You’re so lucky for what you’ve got!” “Don’t you realize how bad off others are?” all of your hands would probably go up. We often feel guilty for suffering from something that’s inside of us…not something we’ve created. Likewise, those of us with bipolar who cycle through manic states hear similar sentiments: “Slow down!” “Just stop!” And my personal favorite: “Just calm down!” GRRRRRR!

So, we learn to mask our emotions the best we can so we don’t hear the frustration, weariness, and even at times contempt, in other’s voices. Maybe I’ve been doing this so long I simply can’t stop. I don’t want to seem needy or weak or lost. But just between you and me my sweetie peeps, I feel needy and weak and lost. And what is so so hard to realize as well is that ma is the one who made me feel needed…and strong…and anchored. She was the one I could be all these things too and have total, always unconditional, acceptance. Isn’t it ironic that the one I need most in my world is the one who’s no longer in it?

I know that I need to open myself up to the support being offered but genuinely don’t know how. “Can you come over and keep me company?” How can I ask that when they have their own lives to live? “Will you sit down with me and look at a photo album I made while I talk about all the memories that are between the covers?” How can I take up their time hearing my stories and seeing me cry? “Would you mind running some errands with me because being alone 90% of my time just gets to be too much and having company would feel so fucking (sorry, ma) good?” How can I force someone to spend time with me when I can always handle things myself? “Can I call and chat for a while?” How can I make myself be a pest to someone who’s so busy themselves?

I understand that this is a ‘me’ problem. An “I don’t know how to do this” problem. And I also know it’s keeping me from starting the work I know I need to be doing…not just getting through each day so busy that I don’t have time to think. That’s beginning to not work for me now and with Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas all within the next month, those triggers are going to be mighty hard to ignore.

Terri and I both need to cut ourselves some slack…be kinder to ourselves. We need to stop feeling guilty for asking for help and for feeling selfish when we do. We also need to be able to start saying ‘no’ to things that will take away from what we are personally able to handle right now. Reversing decades of feeling bad about ourselves when we were depressed or struggling has made it’s imprint…it may be a while before we can let some of that go.

Every night I thank God that he gave me a ma that I miss so fucking much. She was such an amazing mother and the love I have for her is undefinable. It’s a blessing to have experienced what a lot of others haven’t been able too. And I’ll be thankful for that forever.

Happy Thanksgiving, peeps…thank you for your kind messages and sweet words. They are truly appreciated more than you’ll ever know. 💘💘💘

Love you ma. Love you more.

Kristi xoxo

“…and to all a good night.”

So, I just wanted to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and Wonderful Holiday too! I hope for all of you happiness and health and appreciate every one of you so much. Each time someone reads what I wrote is a gift to me. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and YOU all are making that come true. For that I am so grateful. Thank you for following me on my bipolar journey and I love following you all as well.

For my Christian friends, I want to share this:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”

Linus Van Pelt

So… “He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”

~ Clement Clarke Moore

Kristi xoxo

“Tell it to my Heart” ~ Taylor Dane

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and even though this one is much better than the one I spent alone last year, I am still not a fan of the ‘holiday.’ No…I’m not a ‘Love Scrooge’! It’s just as I’ve gotten older (in my 40’s now…shutty the mouthies 🙄), holidays are starting to take on a different meaning for me.

OK…take Valentine’s Day. Please. Here’s what’s going to happen on social media tomorrow (which I thankfully will not see since I said Buh-Bye to FB): everyone is going to post pics of flowers, chocolates, promises of trips, fancy home-cooked dinners, stuffed animals, perfume, jewelry etc. Let me see if I can conjure up what some of the messages will say along with the pics (as I told my friend, Susan…I’m a bit psychic…not psycho…but psychic 😳), and as you read these, be sure to use a ‘Valley Girl’ voice: “Oh my God! My sweetheart gave me 20 dozen red roses. He’s my soulmate for sure!” OR…”Oh my God! Hubby said he’s taking me to Hawaii this summer so we can renew our vows on Waikiki beach!” Or…”Oh my God! Look at this ring! Isn’t it the best?”

Blech. Just blech. 🤢🤢🤢

Look, I love that these women are being given gifts that make them happy but I also know the backstory on many relationships (I have the type of face and ears people like to share with 😐) and I’m well aware that these relationships aren’t all sunshine and rainbows (no one’s is, so why pretend??). I remember me and J’s first Valentine’s Day…I got him a bunch of new clothes and he brought me a lone flower with no card…he literally ‘tossed’ it at me and said: “Isn’t this what you wanted?” Then, I saw he had texted his old girlfriend and sent pics of himself wearing the clothes I got him. But, when people asked about my day, I lied. Just flat out lied. I said: “Oh…J gave me flowers and the sweetest card…it was a great day!”

So why the hell did I do that? Well, I think I was just too ashamed to admit it was shitty. And I was too scared to face the consequences of confronting him about this. And I was still too ‘in love/lust’ to see anything truly ‘wrong.’ So…I bottled up the disappointment, took a pic of the ‘beautiful’ flower (it was actually an ass-ugly rose 😐) and said how much I loved him on Facebook.

Look, I didn’t want to be ‘alone’ on this day of ‘love’. BUT, then I really started thinking about the whole concept of Valentine’s Day and decided that if I’m really loved…cherished…cared for…I shouldn’t have to wait for the ONE day a year when everyone talks about it! Right? I would much rather get a card out of the blue because my beloved was just thinking about me. Or I love to get flowers just because my beloved thought I needed perked up. I don’t want ‘special’ attention because the calendar says “February 14th”. I want to feel loved everyday. I want to feel special everyday. Isn’t that actually the way it should be?

I feel the same way about Mother’s day. Yes, I love the cards my sonshine gives me and he gets such a kick at picking out a present for me. But here’s what he doesn’t quite understand yet: when he comes over just to say HI and to give me a hug on a random day, that means so much more! Sometimes he’ll call and I’ll say “What do you need?” (most mom’s do that since our kids sometimes only call then 🙄), and he’ll say “I just wanted to see how you are and tell you I love you.” I swear that I cry every time he does this. I don’t want him to celebrate me on one day of the year (although the recognition is nice); I want him to appreciate me every day of the year which is something I try very very hard to do with my own ma.

When ma’s ankle was broken this winter, I did her errands and I’d always put something special in the sack for her: perfumed hand soap, a serving of soup she likes but is too cheap to buy at Sams, a pretty new dish towel, etc. I loved seeing how much of a kick she got out of the extra treats…it made my heart swell to see her smile. That’s ‘Mother’s Day’ to me.

Isn’t Thanksgiving sort of the same? For the first time since the previous Easter, let’s get the whole fam together to enjoy a meal and share our blessings. OK, but why can’t we do that on Aug. 18th or Jan. 4th or any other day of the year? Why do we wait to do this on the 1 day our calendar dictates?

And Christmas? Maybe I’m weird (shutty) but I talk to God all of the time. I ‘pray’ before every meal and before I go to bed, but I’m always yacking with him. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a Christian and that Jesus is my Saviour. Why would I be? But so many people are! So, a prayer is said at Christmas where we actually say the word ‘Jesus’ and then we pretty much don’t talk about him much after that…at least until the next year rolls around. Shouldn’t everyday be a celebration of our beliefs? Shouldn’t we pray and talk to our God (whatever your belief system is) everyday? Shouldn’t we celebrate our religious beliefs everyday?

Bill has already had flowers delivered to me and a box of chocolates…he had the first one (it was caramel so I don’t mind, but if he eats a coconut one, he’s dead meat 🤨) . And I appreciate it so much…I know he loves me. But, I don’t know he loves me because he called a florist. I know he loves me because he’s there when I’m depressed…he took care of me when we had COVID…he vacuums and does dishes and folds laundry…he’s always an ear for my venting and his arms are always open when I need a hug. I don’t need to post pics of the flowers to convince others I’m loved. And I also don’t expect them every year. I want him to know I love him every day…good days and bad days…and I want to feel that love from his as well. To me, that’s what this holiday should be all about: cherishing our ‘Valentine’ every day of the year.

Kristi xoxo

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