Sunday, June 30, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 181

I think this article is so beautiful and raw and I can definitely relate to many of her points. It's the complete truth, which I love. So many people sugar-coat articles they write. People try to write like someone else, or they leave out parts because it's too personal. No one wants to feel vulnerable, especially over the Internet. I applaud this writer and hope one day I can have the courage she does to write as beautiful and truthfully as she does. 

The Time I Tried Quitting Anti-Depressants
By Stacie Adams

I'm hesitant to tell people I'm on anti-depressants, even though I've been crazy for as long as I can remember, because I don't necessarily want people to look at me as such.

While all my girl friends in high school were play-acting crazy, I was the real deal. While they dressed in all black and scratched band names into their skin, I was succumbing to irrational and disturbing thoughts that would leave me sobbing into the arms of whoever was present at the time.

There are lots of targets for the cause of my neurosis, though I think pinning it down on one thing would be stupid. I've seen every low rent psychiatrist in Pittsburgh, none of them offering any solution more profound than 'let's talk about it.' There is no one reason why I'm like this. No one did this to me. This is just the way that I am, and either I learn to live with it or I prepare for a life of fear and isolation and above all, failure.

I also believe that this is none of anyone's business, which is why I don't usually talk about it much with those outside my family. Everyone has problems, most far worse than mine, and talking about my insignificant business seems like I'm inviting sympathy. Even the denial that I am sounds like an elicitation of it.

I'm on these pills now that are pretty potent in terms of withdrawal symptoms. While I'm certainly no angel, when it comes to drugs I've never favored pills and powders and things that can really get their hooks into you. One of the few times I've taken pills for sheer recreation I wound up passed out in some gay bar with my head lodged between a toilet and the wall.

If I stop taking the pills I'm on now, even for a day or two, a barrage of withdrawal symptoms overtake me. They have hilarious, hackneyed names, like brain zaps, which only sound hilarious and hackneyed if you've ever experienced them before. If you have, you realize that they're the most accurate description of what it feels like - someone continuously zipping and unzipping the skin around the back of your skull.

The one time I tried quitting, cold turkey because I lost my health insurance for making too much money, I found myself crying over the road kill on the side of the highway and never wanting to leave the house. I've always been  moody, but never at this pace and fluctuation. My cessation experiment ended when I found myself incapable of even shutting my eyes for three days straight. Every time I would fall asleep something would grip me in the dark. It felt like some foul monster wrapped its cold, green hand around my heart and I had to wake up to breathe again. I edged up to the precipice of insanity. During the worst of it, I considered checking into a mental hospital because I didn't feel I could survive another second in my own skin.

But that moment passed, just like all the others do, good or bad. I started taking the medicine again, deciding my sanity was worth the exorbitant fee for uninsured medicine. The greatest part is that the pills don't even really help. The medicine is supposed to control panic attacks, but they still occur with the same frequency, and I've only recently - within the past year or so - learned to control them through sheer will and maybe a little bit of maturity. The only thing the pills do now is save me from their withdrawal effects.

But it's still my fault, because I'm the one who tried to OD on my previous antidepressants and ended up in the emergency room. Everyone in the hospital seemed cold towards me, and now I don't blame them. I'd really done no more damage than a typical night out, and at the end when I was declared healthy, the doctor questioned me in the hall.

He asked if I would hurt myself if he let me go, and I had no intention of doing so (meaning, I didn't and still don't have the guts to off myself), so I said that. While we were talking a woman on a stretcher was being checked in. The staff was working all around her while a lone child clung to her side. The kid wasn't crying, but appeared terrified, and the nurses were treating her with all the sympathy they withheld from me. Her mother was hooked up to a breathing machine and the people tending to her acted with a quiet urgency that made me think she was dying.

I remember looking at that woman and feeling like such an idiot. She was f--king dying and I was just playing around. I didn't even want to die, I just wanted the attention that every teenage girl so desperately craves, yet doesn't have the wherewithal to understand that the sun does not rise and set on them. But she didn't have a choice.

I do have a choice. Some days getting out of bed seems impossible, but I do it anyway. Sometimes I snap at the people I love for not good reason. Now, instead of crying on my bed Scarlett O'Hara style all day, I apologize and explain it's not you, it's me. It's always me, but I guess I have to live with it. Because if I don't then no one else will.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 180

I found this video on Upworthy and I really love it. It reminds me a bit of spoken word by Anis Mojgani. On Upworthy, it says, This Poem Is Like A Prayer. And This Prayer Belongs In Every Public School. Heard that!

If given one wish,
I'd ask that every one of my students
learn how to fly.

That they grow wings like Michael Jordan
leap so high above the rafters
that we start to mistake slam dunks
for shooting stars in the sky.
Even for a second, I wish they could fly.

Just to touch and taste the impossible
To extend a pair of palms in 
a game of paddy cake with the sun 
and then cooled them off in the cotton candy
of a nearby rain cloud
if only my students could soar.

Levitate in the rapture of the sky's limitation
because up here there is no room
for the clanging of fists to steel cage.
No space for bill collectors
This is goodbye to broken accents and broken faucets 
and disappointments
To absent fathers who wish they could be there
To every time black men happen to fit
the description.

This is no more Wal-mart
no more gym class bullies
no more black and white
no more shut up and sit down
there are no more excuses
where I'm taking you.
Just an open door of opportunity
and a level playing field
and it sounds awfully close to heaven
but trust me you won't need a redemption song 
just for admission
I know you are scared.

Your senses are so backward
I can hear the fear in your eyes
Slow the pain in your sweat
It's unnatural to fly
I know.

We live in a world where zip codes and last names
determine your flight plan.
Where only 30% of black students 
will ever have the privilege to dream
of life beyond high school.
The same story in Baltimore, Oakland and Philadelphia
streets littered with injustice
so walk or run if you'd like
but the system will keep you down
flight is your only option
they'll pluck you in the prime of your youth
they'll tar and feather you
they will laugh and half you I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that hunger keeps you up at night
that Pablo Neruda's ode to food is too much to swallow
for your barren stomach sorry
the pigment of your face
and the timbre of your voice
the drawl of your speak
I'm sorry for the questions I cannot answer,
like why do all the good teachers leave after a year, or
how can a diploma ever be good enough.

We've cultivated a generation of students, an atlas.
Throw the weight of the world on their back
and if asked them to fly
never mind the fact that other students
are running around weightless,
so to the teachers and politicians
and parents and everyone else in-between,
you must remember to carry some of the burden for our children
extend our cradled arms always remind them 
there's a place for safe landing if they need it,
These students are not stupid,
just never been tested, they are not hopeless, not helpless
just motherless children just begging to leave the nest
future surgeons who will mend our broken dreams
pilots and astronauts we will send to the sky so if we
ask them to fly,
we must first give them their wings.

Friday, June 28, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 179

I'm a quote junkie. Many of my tweets include the hashtag, #quotes. I just bought a book from Goodwill called, The Big Book of Quotes. As a journalist, quotes are like the perfect soundbite. I dig them. 
And I dig these quotes/prints, taken from my Pinterest board, Something To Think About.

Song of the Day - Friday Favorites

I love love love Miike Snow. So much so that I had a hard time picking a favorite song of his!

Miike Snow - Black & Blue

Thursday, June 27, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 178

My GOSH this is interesting. I thought this TedTalk was going to be about how gossip is a bad, vile, time-wasting activity (which, sometimes it is), but Elaine Lui's message is completely the opposite. She takes gossiping to a whole new level. It's 20 minutes long, but definitely worth a watch.

Throwback Thursday - 2008

Here's a fun fact about me: my mom took my senior pictures. I graduated high school in 2009, so the summer before, my mom and I drove the mile from our house to the monastery and snapped about a million pictures. There were so many good ones, so I thought I'd share my top picks.

KIDDING! Hahaha. Gosh I crack myself up. Here are the good ones.

Song of the Day - TBT

I love this 1970's song for a few reasons. First, it was in the first season of Weeds, which I just started watching. Second, RJD2 remastered this song into a sweet hip hop jam, perfect for cruising down a highway. I love both versions.

Marion Black - Who Knows

RJD2 - Smoke & Mirrors

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Twinning It Up

Contrary to popular belief, my sister Beth and I are not twins. Although, my mom must have wanted twins because she dressed Beth and I in the exact same outfit all. throughout. our. childhood.

Sailor outfits at Easter. Man, we're cute.

I found the perfect thing to set me apart from my sister - my dad's farm boots.

Making ugly Christmas sweaters look adorable since 1995.

We liked Pocahontas before it was cool to like Pocahontas.

I loved this outfit. Probably because it said Mackinac Island on it.

We also got matching Beanie Babies!

Apparently matching footie pajamas wasn't enough. We had to get matching I Spy books, too.

365 Days of Happy - Day 176

I really love the message Jessica Rey gives in this video. In her inspiration for designing her own swimsuit line, she took parts from style icon Audrey Hepburn to mold it into her video, the Evolution of the Swimsuit. 

'Rey argues that within the construct of modesty, there is a freedom--that modesty isn't about covering up what's bad, but revealing dignity.' There is a lot of controversy with this video, though. But I like her message a lot and I would definitely buy a classy swimsuit from her line (I've been eyeing up the Caroline!).

Song of the Day - Covers

This song was originally by John Lennon. Regina's version appeared on Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. All songs were John Lennon covers.

Regina Spektor - Real Love

Monday, June 24, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 175

Here is another amazing poem from my love, Anis Mojgani.

Spilling Apples

When next she comes to kiss you, wrap yourself
in white paper. Like dead fish. Like the smell of the sea.
Sleep on crushed ice. Spill apples. Do not dream of orchards.
Throw blue and white bowls to the bright floor. Walk barefoot
over the tiles. Paint them red with your skin. The inside of you
is a big country. Gypsy your chest. Caravan it across. Sharpen
your suitcase. Knife the night. Watch as it bleeds. Fill the gutters
with meteorite hearts. Use their cold beauty to keep your organs
from turning. Sleep on crushed ice.

When she comes to kiss you, wrap yourself in white paper or
white sheets and pull her close to stain whatever you imagined
was the thing still keeping you clean. Crash your body over hers.
Seastorm your wrists. Shipwreck your intentions. Shipwreck
your past. The future has wet and dry sand. Make your bed in it.
Clutch the memory with both hands. Push it over her chest.
Rub it until it dissolves. Find the holes. Badger your hands
under her skin. The bumps on her heart
will language themselves.

Song of the Day - Music Video Monday

I love this music video because it is made up of still photographs, one after the other, to seem like a movie. It's in black and white except for the special effects that are colored with a liquidy paint. I bet the Ringo Starr look-a-likes who sing the 'bah bah bah bah' parts gets paid real good money.

Golden Silvers - Please Venus

Saturday, June 22, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 173

I just found my cat hanging out in the bathtub, and it made my whole day.

9 Lessons From My Childhood

Make sure you are always protected in case of zombie attacks.

Take time to appreciate the beautiful, little things in goose feathers.

Always ride in style, and don't forget your cool shades.

Always brush your teeth every morning and night.

Never be afraid to dress up for the holidays.

Be at one with nature.

Make friends with frogs.

Start a business early in life.

Don't be afraid to act silly!

Friday, June 21, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 172

I love these prints by Eduardo Salles!

A side story:

At work tonight, Urime, my boss, helped me make a chocolate malt for an old man wearing Converse shoes . There is always a small amount of malt leftover and Urime knows I like it so she poured me the rest of the chocolate malt. Then she casually asked me if I ever drank.

Now, I get this question a lot. I'm sure most young, college-aged kids do. And the thing is, I never know how to respond! What do you mean, do I drink? Do you mean, have I ever drank? Have I had a drink the past week? I get anxiety thinking about my response. 

What's my honest response? Yes, I drink. Maybe once or twice a week. It's always at night after work, and usually after I've had a really long, terrible day and just need something to unwind and relax with. It's also always with Simba. We have a good time.

But I didn't tell Urime that. I'm pretty positive she would look at me like this if I said that I drink alone in my apartment with my cat.

So I told her that I drink sometimes, which I'm sure surprised her because I think she sees me as a timid gazelle of a waitress who gets easily creeped out by all the townies who come in. Then she said something like, Yeah the bars in Whitewater just get old after a while. But margaritas at Cozumel, huh? They have great margaritas, we should go sometime!

UM WHAT! Did she just casually invite me out for drinks? Confession: I've actually never had one of the famous Coz margaritas. I honestly don't think I've ever had a margarita at all! I would love to go out for drinks with Urime. Like I said, she reminds me so much of my older sister so I know we would have a blast.