The Worst Yet

There was a time, maybe a year ago, when I thought that the withdrawal side effects of my meds were the worst thing I had ever experienced. I thought that, combined with losing a close friend was the worst thing I could go through emotionally.

I’m sorry to say it’s not true.

Today I sit at what feels like my lowest point. I’ve seen deep dark pits of depression that I didn’t think I could get out of. Today, those days seem like self pity and almost something I would rather deal with. I feel like those days, now that they are behind me, are significantly better than these current days.

I have come to a point in life where I’m questioning my existence. My blood pressure is so high that the meds I was given aren’t really doing a thing. I hear my heart pounding in my ears and my pulse in my fingers and chest constantly. My headache is nonstop, and there is really nothing that can be done when it’s blood pressure related. The slightest agitation causes the blood rush to cause chest pains. Costochondritis, I’m told. It’s either a viral thing, or a chronic thing. Nobody knows or wants to diagnose me properly. It feels like my rib cage is separating at the sternum, ready to spring open at any moment.

My stomach, at the moment, is calm. It wasn’t a few months ago. I was having stomach pains that felt like someone had carved a hole inside me. It was like nothing I’ve felt before and nothing I want to feel again. Sometimes, the stomach pain would wrap around to my back like the chest pain sometimes does. I wonder if it is all the same.

Through all it, I’ve gone to the emergency room 4 times this year, I’ve had 2 medical procedures that required anesthesia, yet no one knows what to make of my pain. It’s a crippling pain that few medications can even touch. Sometimes I’m doubled over, praying for an end of any kind. Sounds overly dramatic, huh? I’d say so too, if I weren’t living it.

Through this, I have had more blows to my ego than I care to say. The medical bills are piling up, I’m not able to take care of my share of the bills at home either. There is no end in sight. Every ER visit results in at least $1000. The medical procedures are much, much higher.

Through a wounded ego, I have asked for help more than I thought I could ever bear to. It is too humbling. I am strong and independent. I’m not supposed to ask for help from anyone. I’m supposed to be able to make it on my own. I’m supposed to be the one helping.

Even though I’m in constant pain, I’m finding myself more busy than ever. I think it’s to distract myself from this physical body.

Sometimes I think I’ve found a good place and new friends. I thought my new job was nothing short of a miracle. Until I was sick one too many times, that is.

My coworker, who has been absent an equal amount of time, if not more, decided to become quite hateful towards me for being gone. At work on Tuesday, she didn’t say five words to me. Wednesday I find out that she was, indeed, upset with me for being gone from work. She was frustrated and blaming me for future sick days that haven’t even happened yet. This was only brought about because of a concern I brought to the boss. I’m sure the cold shoulder would have lasted longer if the meeting hadn’t taken place. She continued to voice her frustration by throwing me under the bus and telling the boss that I was making too many mistakes and she had to correct them. I flat out told her that she should tell me when that happens so I know what to correct and so that I can fix them myself.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so insulted in all my life. Even with all the bullying I’ve been through, this beats it all. I feel like I’m being persecuted for something out of my control. I’m sick, not lazy. Which, by the way, she is constantly posting things online about how her coworker is lazy, but then joking about it to me, hoping I think it’s funny too. (There are 4 employees including the two owners). There’s always a passive aggressive comment about people on medication, or those who can’t walk in heels. I feel they are directed at me at least half the time.

Nothing is worth this feeling. Nothing is worth feeling like I’m hated for being sick. If it’s my fault, I’ll take ownership, but so far, no doctor has told me it is. So far, everything points to stress.

This job isn’t helping and I really feel like I have nowhere to turn.

Venting. Just venting.

I’ve been stewing on this for over a week. In my younger days I would have been very passive aggressive about this and posted my feelings immediately without care or concern for who sees it. I’m a teensy bit better. Well, maybe not. But I have thought about it before venting.

So last weekend, my boyfriend’s parents were here. We were talking inside. His dad helped him get the lawnmower working so I was inside with them chatting while my boyfriend was mowing. We started talking about movies and tv shows. Medium came up and then I said, “I’m pretty sure the actress is a better person than the real Allison DuBois.” Mainly because of this photo.

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Here you can see that Allison DuBois is clearly having a grand ‘ol time pointing and laughing at the lady behind her.

So, my boyfriend’s mom explained this photo to her husband. She described the photo and said the lady in the background was “about Kate’s size” and then in the next sentence she went on to say, “She was pointing and laughing at the fat lady behind her.”

Thanks.

I know I am overly sensitive, but that was careless and unthoughtful. She was clearly struggling and grasping for words, but still called me fat indirectly.

I don’t really feel as if I owe anyone anything. I don’t owe them an explanation or to answer the question, “how’s your exercise going?” It’s not as if I choose to be this fat. I spent over half my life worrying about what other people think of me and being skinny for others. I was, at my thinnest, 135 lbs. I know how to get there again, but I have no obligation to anyone but myself to be model-sized or thin. I don’t really need anyone’s suggestions or coaching to help me lose weight. I have physical ailments that prevent me from exercising the way normal people can.

And it’s not as if I sit inside all day munching on Doritos and mountain dew. I eat a half chicken breast and a cup of vegetables for dinner. I have a light breakfast and a sandwich, yogurt and raw veggies for lunch. I’m not going around eating everything in sight. I have health issues that even the doctors cannot figure out. And if someone is going to inquire about what they are, they’d better not roll their eyes when I describe how I feel. You’re not me, you don’t know.

So yeah, I know I’m not as thin as YOU want me to be. I’m living MY life at MY pace. If you can’t deal with that, leave.

I might be thinner again someday. But at this point, I’m taking my life one step at a time. If you try to push me in any direction I’m not ready to go, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.

Babies? You go ahead and have as many as you want. Dieting? Yeah, what do you want me to cut out of my meals? Exercise? Let’s trade bodies and see how long you can exercise.

I know not everyone is going to approach issues with the care I do, but I do expect people who are in my life to give it some forethought. Now that it’s out there, please think before you open your mouth. I will have a conversation with the cause of this rant, but I’m putting great thought into how I word what needs to be said.

Society: as viewed by a realist.

I consider myself a realist. I don’t ever really see the glass half full or half empty. I’ve never known how to answer that question. Thank God it’s rhetorical most of the time.

I do have to say, however, my heart is heavy lately. Humanity seems to have taken a sharp dive since I’ve been on this Earth. But truly, I think it has something to do with my views of the world and how they’ve changed as I’ve grown. As a child, I only saw what was presented to me, or so I thought. Lately though I’ve noticed something about myself. I tend to only notice what I find interesting. So, I guess I have instinctive survival blinders on.

I do think, however, that optimism is a constant effort. And, if I am one, I’m not very successful at it. I say this because lately I am noticing the dark underbelly of humanity. No, I haven’t been oblivious to the news or world events. War has been a constant in the U.S. as long as I’ve been alive. Really, I can’t remember a span of many years without troops being deployed. But this isn’t what I’m referring to.

What I’m talking about is the gradual decline of ethics, morals, and empathy. I’m sure I missed a lot of things in there, but really all adjectives boil down to those. The internet is a place where most of these things I’ve noticed have been seen. Regardless of psychological reasons why people can be meaner online or on the phone than face-to-face, I am always taken aback when I see such horribleness in the world.

I see hate. There’s so much hate out there. I can’t understand it one bit. People hate others without knowing them. And it’s not as if the world has changed, but the internet allows hate to be broadcast, and those who agree with these hideous views to gather. People have been able to see differences since the first human could define beauty, and so the other side of the coin was created. With the ability to see differences, came opinion, and so on.

The internet is plagued with uneducated opinions, and opinions have become more valued than fact-finding. Somehow the right to express opinion has filtered out compassion towards others.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back,” so to speak, was a couple at the Denver Comic Convention. They were each wearing signs with snippy, demeaning remarks towards fandoms. The one that got me was “If Firefly was so good, why was it cancelled?” I won’t get into the terrible marketing that set the show up for failure, that’s another lengthy blog in itself. But more than being offended, I wondered why someone would pay money to go to something they clearly hate to hold a sign all day intending to hurt others they have no hope of changing the mind of? It’s insanity. I mean, I don’t care what they think, if they don’t like it they can watch something else. But why waste your time?

I can’t really say why I’ve only begun to notice the raw evils of the world. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. I think it’s this:

It’s time to fight back against bullies. I’ve lived with them my entire life. It’s time to take a quiet stand and whittle away their efforts, not by feeding their comments or giving them attention in any way. To be successful, we need to spread love and kindness whenever we see the opportunity. By doing this, and cutting off fuel to the negative, maybe we can make an impact.

There is a Cherokee tale of two wolves. I’ve seen this a lot lately too. I’d like to share it.

“One evening, an elderly
Cherokee brave told his
grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people.

he said “my son, the battle is
between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.
one is evil. it is anger,
envy, jealousy, sorrow,
regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment,
inferiority, lies, false pride,
superiority, and ego.

the other is good.
it is joy, peace love, hope serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence,
empathy, generosity,
truth, compassion and faith.”

the grandson though about
it for a minute and then asked
his grandfather:

“which wolf wins?…”

the old cherokee simply replied,
“the one that you feed”

two-wolves

As a constant in my life, this Jewel lyric rings true to my soul. I don’t ever see myself changing to a point where this isn’t me.

“I have this theory, that if we’re told we’re bad, then that’s the only idea we’ll ever have. Maybe if we are surrounded in beauty, maybe we will become what we see. ‘Cause anyone can start a conflict, it’s harder yet to disregard it. I’d rather see the world from another angle, we are everyday angels. Be careful with me, ’cause I’d like to stay that way.”

My Personal Interpretation of, “Broken Until Open”

I had a thought driving home today, listening to a song, that may not be so different from what you might be thinking. This may be what a song means to me more than a real organized blog.

“I am being broken”

I’ve been fighting this for 6 years now, pushing this realization to the back of my head. Ignoring red flags of all sorts. I ignored the red flags of abuse in past relationships. I ignored that my current job is such a bad fit for me that it would eventually make me physically sick. I ignored the cries from my soul’s need to make art.

In my ‘breaking’ I have been nursing the wounds with familiar things and places. Familiar souls. I’ve gone in search of familiarity and found it in the EDAs I’ve found online. I’ve been slowly creating the life I want. One piece at a time it falls into place. I realize this breaking process is something that I have to go through. I can’t mask it or ignore it, or push it away any longer. I will have to trust in the universe and know that I will be taken care of. I just need to choose a path and go. As painful as it may be, I have to go through it.

It’s time.

One thing I have realized is that I’ve seen more and more art pour out of me, and more ideas come to me as I emotionally, and mentally move away from the last toxic thing that’s holding me back. I’m going to be okay, it may take some time, but I’m doing it.

Here’s the whole song.

Broken Until Open” by Jewel

“Simplicity, does not come easy
When you’re dreaming of being someone else
And grace you see is fleeting
When you’re bleeding your inner self

Give Mercy to me please
Give Mercy I’m on my knees
I’m being broken again and again
I’ll keep being broken until I remain…..
open

When we’re locked away, hiding shadows, constant battles,
Trying to feel safe
When your armor starts killing you,
cause it’s drowning you, beneath it’s weight

Call for mercy, won’t you please
Call for mercy, drop to your knees
You’re being broken, again and again
You’ll keep being broken, till you remain…
open

So feel the pain, give into it
Cry till you crack, that’s how the light gets in
Set your weapons on the ground
till you’re naked and trembling now
And when you think you can’t stand any more

Give mercy, to someone in need
Give mercy, don’t you see
Life will break your heart, again and again
And we’ll keep being broken until we remain…
Open

Don’t you see
Don’t you see
Life will break our hearts, again and again
We’ll keep being broken until we remain…

Open

I have broken…
I am broken.open “

This song resonates with me at this moment more than any other Jewel song ever has.

“Simplicity, does not come easy
When you’re dreaming of being someone else
And grace you see is fleeting
When you’re bleeding your inner self”

This verse, to me in my job. I pretend to be someone else every day. I pretend to be happy and talkative. I do what is asked of me until I can’t do it any longer. And in doing what everyone else wants me to do, I am losing myself, I’ve nearly lost hold of what is me.

When we’re locked away, hiding shadows, constant battles,
Trying to feel safe
When your armor starts killing you,
cause it’s drowning you, beneath it’s weight

Of course we aren’t locked away in the literal sense. But we lock parts of us away that would displease or scare other people. The parts of us that scare us. Depression and anxiety for me is a constant everyday battle. When the depressing thoughts float in it takes a lot of energy to fight them off, and to fight off what they try to get me to do. And this fight is neverending. This armor we place on ourselves to deal with the outside world, not speaking to too many people, avoiding connections because of the pain of losing one. It’s the wall we use to protect our hearts that’s suffocating us.

So feel the pain, give into it
Cry till you crack, that’s how the light gets in
Set your weapons on the ground
till you’re naked and trembling now
And when you think you can’t stand any more

Give mercy, to someone in need
Give mercy, don’t you see
Life will break your heart, again and again
And we’ll keep being broken until we remain…
Open

To me, this says; “Take down your walls, feel the pain because it is what makes us human. Cry, literally cry. It’s therapeutic. Also, it is okay to feel sad. It’s okay to feel happy. It’s the only way through this world. No one is unscathed. Quit fighting your battles so fiercely, put away your words which you use to fight with, no matter who it is for or how horrible they are. When you hit rock bottom, and think that you can’t fix anything, give of yourself. Because without community, the human race is nothing. Life will always throw us circumstances that will break us, and our hearts. Keep going.

Kate

                                           

A Night With Jewel

Saturday, August 9th, 2014 8PM

A solo-acoustic evening benefiting the
Sheridan Arts Foundation & Project Clean Water

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I could not have asked for a better weekend to drive to Telluride, CO. The drive took 7 hours or so, and I was amazed at how the time flew by. Never having gone too far into western Colorado, I was excited to explore. Before I knew it, I was in Telluride and able to take a quick rest in my hotel room. I quickly got out to explore the city.

It’s a beautifully maintained little mountain town. Everything seems original, yet restored. You can tell how much this place is loved by its residents. The speed limit there is 15mph. It’s clearly not for driving. As soon as I arrived I decided this not only because of the flower planters in the middle of the streets, because of how safe residents feel in their mountain town. You could tell this by the way everyone allowed their dogs follow closely without a leash. The children were all very observant and waited for their parents to give them the OK to cross the streets.

I had never seen anything like this in my life! The day after the concert, an artist who sells his paintings within the Sheridan hotel (for a mere 20,000 each) could be found painting in the middle of the street between two planters.

I ventured out to find myself a meal after driving all day on granola bars and water. I decided to treat myself to the Elk Steak at the Sheridan. I think it may have been the best meal of my life. If you happen to visit the Sheridan in Telluride, Daniel is the best bartender, hands down. He’ll remember your name after only telling him once, and treat you like a long lost friend. He’s waited on Jewel a few times, but admitted he hasn’t seen one of her shows. I told him he’s going to have to fix that.

Now, after a meal and a drink, I could have used a nap. So I draped myself over a picnic table near the entrance to the Sheridan Opera House. The tiny unassuming doors on the side of the main Sheridan building were elegant and had the name painted in gold lettering. What made me smile inside was the illuminated sign on top of the entrance doors that said, “SHOW.” If you look at historical photos of the opera house, it is a nod to the original sign above those doors when it was built. You can tell how important the historical integrity of this town is to the locals.

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While waiting, I saw dozens of people who were disappointed about missing Jewel’s show. One gentleman even tried to buy my ticket. As any EDA would have thought to myself, “When you pry it from my cold dead fingers!” But I was apologetic towards him, and said, “No, I’m sorry, I drove 7 hours for this.” While waiting, I also managed to talk to the arts foundation coordinator, she allowed me to nab a poster from the coffee house around the block. It just happened to be in pristine condition. Yes, that’s going to be framed with my ticket. I proudly walked the poster to my car, safely stowed it away in the back seat… along with my keys. Ever the air head, I could never let something this wonderful go off without a hitch. I sighed. Pulled out my phone and called a few places. I soon decided that the show was more important and took my place in line to wait for the doors to open.

When I discovered where my seat was, it made it worth it. Although I had a seat in the balcony, it was still a phenomenal seat. There were a total of 200 seats in the opera house, and not a one was bad. They began by announcing that there should be no recording of any kind, because Jewel was recording the concert. So, don’t be mad, but I put the phone away. They also announced there would be an auction held at intermission (sure to include items I could only dream of having).

The set list was as follows.

Near You Always

Here When Gone

Without You By My Side

A Boy Needs A Bike

Everything Breaks

Carnivore

Think I’m Falling

Plane Jane

Broken Until Open

Hands

Intermission/Auction

Tiny Love Spaces

My Father’s Daughter

Shape Of You

Intuition

You Were Meant For Me

Foolish Games

Love Used To Be

Who Will Save Your Soul

Encore:

Chime Bells

Now, the auction went quite well. Everything was upwards of 1,000 starting bid. There were paintings, vacations, Ty was there and donated an autographed belt buckle, lastly, what everyone was waiting for, was one of Jewel’s very own guitars which she autographed. This also included either a voice lesson or a guitar lesson with Jewel herself. There was a bidding war between two gentleman there, ending the final bid at 15,250. I think Jewel was a little overwhelmed, because she joked, “You do realize this is JUST the guitar and lesson, right? We didn’t agree to anything else.”

I have to say, this was the all time, best Jewel concert I’ve ever been to. She seemed comfortable, the way she does at our EDA events. I’m not sure if it was her comfort or the fact that she was recording, but the songs blew me away like never before. Carnivore was so much more emotive than it had been when I had heard it in the past. Broken Until Open was another one I latched onto. Even though Here When Gone is a favorite, and the song that got me on this never ending quest for more Angelfood, Carnivore is what stole the show. Even her stories in the middle of her songs were better! I got to hear a more detailed version of her drug bust adventure with Steve Poltz. We all knew Steve walked away with a ‘gift’ from the Mexican drug cartel, but it had never been told so eloquently before that night.

Now after the show let out, it was 11pm. And I was left without a way to get back to my hotel. Out of place, and out of my comfort zone, I asked at least half a dozen people if they knew how to jimmy open a car door. What was I thinking? People in Telluride wouldn’t know how to do the slightest thing illegal. So I ended up waiting my time for the locksmith chatting up with our friendly bartender Daniel. It was the end of his shift, and the bar was closed, but he allowed me to stay in the hotel’s bar area and waited with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone. Even when something crappy happened, it turned out amazing!

I can’t wait for next year’s fundraiser concert. Thank you Sheridan Opera House, Telluride, and Jewel for an amazing weekend.

Love,

Kate