Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Stranger Thinks




A few months ago I was finally ready to crawl all the way into the hole I'd been preparing for a long time. But I only made it halfway. 
I may have been technically alive but in every other way I was, what I can really only describe as, done. 
And I didn't even want to try to get out of it because I had found a measure of peace in that level of detachment. 

But lately I've had some wonderful opportunities to get to know a few people in my life and have really amazing conversations and have made some really kind and honest connections. And there is also a profound peace in that too. 
I've been dancing a lot.  I've been hanging out more with my friends, I've been visiting some new places and going on adventures.
I've been exploring what I might want to do with my life. 
I'm not going to lie. 
That last one still wrecks me sometimes. 
I think it is just because I forget that I just have to make a choice and move forward and let things unfold and adapt accordingly. But for some reason those decisions can feel like monsters in my chest. But I'm managing to quiet them by remembering:
A) That hypothetical pitfalls are not the same as real pitfalls. 
B) That I'll never truly be stuck. 
C) To chill the fuck out. 
D) To hug my dog.
E) To eat cold cereal and read a book. FOR FUN. (I know. I'm a fucking menace.)

Because, I mean, a lot of life can sort of feel like this:


#conflicted.

I've also realized that while I take responsibility for who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming and the choices I have made, and make, and will make I've been helped by the most amazing and kind people along the way when my choices have not worked out as planned. And I am so grateful. And I can only hope that I communicate that gratitude in someway whether it be saying words or giving back in some measure.
I've been finding a lot of joy in being a woman and being human. I've been loving being amongst  women and men and honest and kind humans who inspire me with their courageous vulnerability. 

I've seen and felt a bit of what self-loathing can do. I've seen glimpses of how much pain loved ones in my life are in. I've seen guilt rip people's minds apart. I've seen it devour their sense of self-worth and have also seen it help them make changes in their life.  I have seen anxiety crush them at times. And I know I'm not immune to those feelings either. 
But I think those things can heal. 
Maybe not all the way. 
Maybe not all at once. 
Maybe not all the time. 
Maybe not forever.
But healing can happen.


I just wish they could see and know how good they are. How enough they are. They are not deficient or worthless or trapped. They are big, bright souls that I am so grateful to know. 
I'm surrounded by people who grant me the grace of time and patience even when they are dealing with their own turbulent lives. 

I can offer love, listening, dad jokes and dog memes. 
But often times I find I don't have anything to say in response to their words. 
Because sometimes there are no words that can help.
Or the only words I can think to say seem insufficient. 
But my heart explodes and a hug or standing really close to someone or some other form of appropriate physical affection is all I can give to express that sometimes.

I'm a human. I make coffee drinks for a living. I dance around my house a lot when I'm home alone. I drink too much coffee. I read fantasy novels and books about mindfulness and giggle at weird things sometimes.
My life is wild. I know. 

In any case, I'm waking up again. And it's warm outside.

Music Stuff:
Nobody Speak: DJ Shadow Feat. Run the Jewels
Tsar B: Escalate
Louis the Child: It's Strange


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Homedogs

I'm home sweet home now.
A few people have asked me how it's been going.

I was a bit nervous to come back.
 I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up socially with the times and people I care about. 
But I am doing alright actually. 
I think.

Granted I'm usually nervous that I'm going to be an awkward idiot or seem disinterested simply because I don't want to pry but I also don't want to look too interested to the point of weirdness.



I'm worried I'll ask the wrong questions or say something seemingly off topic but the connection to the current topic makes sense to me etc. (therefore, once again, appearing disinterested and distractible)


Or I just end up talking about my dog Ezra a lot. 
Because he is cute. 
And better with people than I am. 



Or, 
what if I have something on my face?



Or what if I revert to a neutral topic by inserting an equally generic phrase into the middle of an awkward pause and ruin everything?



 And while it is entirely plausible that I can be both awkward and an idiot, that I might have something on my face, that I ask the wrong questions or inadvertently started a fan club for my dog, 
it is irrational to think that it matters much since very few people put any amount of thought into reminiscing over past conversations with gentle acquaintances. 



So I don't know why I worry so much over it.


Overall,
I am so grateful for my pup Ezra and his unconditional love for me though.
We go on walks, play fetch, take selfies, eat too much peanut butter, read, watch Gilmore Girls and cuddle.

 At the end of the day I can sometimes (often times) come home feeling like I've totally failed at life and that my communication skills that day were entirely sub-par and I feel an odd filmy sort of dirty from being at work and I smell weird and I'm tired and stressing out about things I said or didn't say etc.
my Ezra is a bub and a half and greets me with unfeigned excitement and love and he just lets me love him with my whole heart and it's so simple and kind and transparent and whole. 




And I love being back at Augie's and being able to see my friends regularly :)



I know I over think my social exchanges far too much. 
I know I go in to them with broken intuition, good intentions and absolutely hilarious pun jokes.
I know it doesn't matter.
To be honest, there is an immeasurable amount of comfort in knowing I'm not significant or needed or essential etc.
 I do not carry the world on my shoulders even if it sometimes feels like it.


But I am loved by some anyway.
And I love others anyway as well.
And that's pretty neat.





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Much Ado About Nothin'




If there is anything I have learned in my life, it is †hat I know nothing, because I don't know everything.
It is very hard to look out at a world you only want to make better and safer but knowing you will add your share of pain to it as well.
It's painful to know that with life and the world the way it is I can only ever, if I'm lucky, do more good than harm in this world, even though I don't want to harm it at all.

I don't truly understand anything fully but I know that  
everything is connected somehow.
And I know good intentions are not enough.
But I also know that fear is death.
Just because I don't understand this world and the people in it or my place in it etc. doesn't mean that I shouldn't still try to be truly kind.
To Listen.
To See.
So I will keep trying to do the best I can in the best way I know how.
Even if it's two steps forward and one step back.
It may seem like slow going, but that's alright.
I'll keep trying to do more good than harm in my life anyway.
And maybe that's a thing close to hope.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life Lessens



When I first got to Michigan I started to freak out a bit about the geographical isolation. 
And how "little" there was to do. 
Now I'm done freaking out. 
It's actually really nice not being surrounded by anything except trees and a horde of wild turkeys.
And the rain is magical.
I've spent more than one grey, rainy day huddled on the couch in my PJ's  reading (or watching Teen Wolf) with a mug of coffee or tea and my dog curled up next to me.

Also, I have realized that living alone is actually something I really enjoy.
More than enjoy. 
LOVE.
Not because I dislike people.
But because, for the most part, I can have a vibrant and productive work and social life, be out and about, talk to people, travel etc. and know that when I go home it will be just me and quiet and my dog. 
(And of course having a bit of land to plant a garden and sit outside with Ezra while he insists on being his over-large lap-dog self and drooling all over me.)
And I'm still a twenty something who doesn't plan on settling down and having children anytime soon so living alone seems plausible and totally amazing. 
Seriously, home is my jam. 
And I've realized my solitude is deeply, deeply needed.
More than I can express really.

In other news:

Watermelon is delicious here.
*Correction: All the fresh produce here is insanely delicious.

Also, I've learned that any coffee can taste palatable with enough almond milk in it and if consumed at high speeds.
Also I have realized I love Tai Chi.
Also yoga doesn't feel like a slow and agonizing stretch of a mind-numbingly boring death anymore.
(Every time I do yoga though my dog is pretty sure I'm dying so he comes over and puts his big head under my arms and pushes me up and pats me with his feet until I assure him I'm alive.)
Needless to say he is not a fan of this "yoga." 
However, his "downward dog" is phenomenal.
 He's a natural.
(Ti Chi just seems to confuse him. But he is kind enough to pretend not to notice my hapless flailing about in my hopeless attempt at being gracefully Chi-full.)
(Often all I'm thinking about when I do Tai Chi is if I would be an Airbender or a Waterbender. I'm partial to Airbending. I can be flighty.)

I also have fallen back into the habit of reading insane amounts.
And I am SO happy about it.
I finally feel like I am remembering what it feels like to not be so distractable.
Consequently, I have managed to find a (two-story) Barnes and Noble. (Yeah. I know.)
And, consequently, I still managed to spend too much money there.

Fun Facts:

Also, while reading, I finally discovered how far a "league" is distance wise.
It's four miles.
So then I suddenly realized,



" Holy shit. That means Eomer and his warrior buddies and their noble steeds could have been somewhere around 1200 miles from Helms Deep when Gandalf went to find them. Which makes it even more impressive that they arrived there on the first light of the fifth day." 



#gandalfthebadass


I also have been listening to a mythology podcast and found out:
 Hercules was a real jerk,
Flying Buddha's can be goblins in disguise,
Hera has a weird sense of justice,
 Don't trust jealous Centaurs that offer you their blood-soaked cloaks,
Being a boulder can be cooler than being the sun (obviously),
And that King Arthur's brother Kay was not actually all that bad.
Also, apparently King Arthur was still beardless at, like, 22 and all the other guys wanted to dethrone him because of it.
 (Never mind that he, you know, pulled a magical Human-Hacker from a big stone. And then flirted with some scaley wench in a pond for another fancy Apple-Peeler. #youbettarecognize)

Also, did you know Pavlov actually removed the salivary glands from inside his dogs mouths and sewed them, instead, on the outside of their cheeks so gathering their saliva was easier? 
Yikes.

  I randomly sink into the notion of dropping off the face of the world, erasing all my social media and living with my dog in the woods and growing stuff and playing the cello and drawing plants and learning medicinal uses for said plants and raising animals.
However, the peace I find in connecting with other human beings in small and meaningful ways is too profound to give up entirely.
Balance, I guess.

All of this to say that one of my best friend gave me some tough love that I really needed and helped me snap out of a funk.
So I've been adventuring again.
And that adventure has looked like, drinking hot tea, hanging with my dog and family, going to Barnes and Noble, trying coffee shops, reading a ton, running, watching Teen Wolf and Mr. Robot, learning a bunch, loving Lord of the Rings and totally sucking at the whole drawing thing. 
And I've been realizing that whatever I do in the future I need to incorporate a lot more alone-time than I was a few months ago.  And to also stop apologizing for needing my alone time.

I thought there was less to do here.
Turns out there are just less distractions.
So now I'm going to try to learn how to be far less distractible even in places with copious amounts of stimuli all around.
Oh boy.


Tunes:
Doe Paoro: The Wind ( AWESOME Music video)
Vancouver Sleep Clinic: Lung
Memoirs of a Geisha: Sayer's Theme
Ólafur Arnalds - Þú Ert Jörðin

Monday, August 29, 2016

Michigan Impossible

As you might know, I'm taking a bit of a break in Michigan.


So I've been trying to keep a low profile.


But I think they know I'm just another awkward selfie-taking 20 something.


Oh yeah,
I live next to a place called "Knotty Pines."


Oh good. 
I live next to a forest with behavioral issues.


Also,
It seems to rain here whenever I decide to go on a walk.


Just kidding.
It's like this.



So what is there to do in The-Middle-of-Nowhere-Michigan you ask?

Well,

I get crawled on by at least one bug,


 Then I make a considerable effort to keep up with the times. 



I've even been attempting to walk on the treadmill while watching Netflix.


Then, 


Even stacking wood and rocks can be fun if you're desperate enough.


But eventually, 


Now, I love the quiet but when I am in the nearest town trying to remember how to say words to other people things can get a little dicey.


So I've had to learn to improvise.


I eventually get my point across and they hand me a coffee.


But it could be worse.


Moral of this story?






Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Field Days




I am moving to Michigan tomorrow. It happened far sooner than planned but I'm really excited about it. 

I am going to take some time to heal and care for animals, ride my horses, build barns, plant orchards and gardens and wander through my parents forest with my animals in big open spaces. I'm going to build a greenhouse and plant my own camomile and make my own camomile tea. I'm going to watch it all grow. With wonder. Not impatience. I'm going to learn new things. I'm going to (hopefully) eat from the gardens and orchards that I plant. I'm going to share it. I’m going to take some time for slow and early mornings, manual brewing, whistling tea kettles, spending time with my family and cuddling with dogs and animals and freezing during the (really long) white winters. I’ll be working with doctors and reading books and trying to sleep. I will also be going to botanical gardens and museums and hiking and camping and all manner of coffee shops on that side of the country. And, of course, I'll be watching/reading/dreaming about Lord of the Rings and enjoying “peace and quiet and good tilled earth.”



And I'm not going to rush any of it.  
I'm learning to trust time. I'm learning to trust pain. I'm learning how to learn. I'm learning to take time. I'm learning to focus again. I'm learning to leave my phone and take in the world with my eyes not just through my camera lens. And that taking pictures and sharing them is also nice. I'm try to learn balance and be okay with it being mostly unattainable. Because I'm imperfect. I'm learning to laugh at my toppling and accept the stumbling while still striving to keep my feet. That "patient not complacent" thing. I'm learning patience. I'm learning to be okay with all of it. I have a lot to learn. Life is beautiful. I'm learning to see time as my best friend. I'm learning to remember and accept things, everything, even pain, with gratitude. I'm trying to remember that it is tears both happy and sad that can wash the thorns from my eyes. And also smear my mascara. And that a shower is necessary from time to time. (However if I can get away with bathing in a lake, I will.) I'm learning that being cheesy is okay. 
I'm learning more and more about what makes me happy now. Because I'm learning that that changes and that I am not inherently anything but good. I'm learning that life gets full up with all kinds of things. Some things help reveal the goodness and some stuff buries it. And what reveals and what buries that goodness is different for everyone. But it's always there. There is a difference between fickle and flakey and being open and flexible. And I'm learning it's okay to have beliefs and preferences. But to have at least equal amounts of adventure and openness in me too.  To believe in things and people because I love them. Not because I dislike the other stuff. 
Experience is inevitable but I'm learning that actively perusing new adventures is perfectly wonderful and enjoyable too. I think a lot and I'm learning not too think about things too hardball the time.  Not for fear of knowledge and the pain it can cause. But because I'm trying to make room for understanding. Because I'm trying to understand things. For no reason at all. Because I've learned that often my logic gets in the way. Because my logic is flawed. Because it is not whole.  
I'm learning to accept that logic and love are partners, not enemies. And that it's the same with sorrow and peace.
I'm letting myself learn to hope for all of these things and if they don't happen that's alright.  Because things will work out. However they work out. Whenever they work out. 
Maybe not as planned. 
But I am also learning not to plan so damn much. 
Because somehow I've managed to have a beautiful, transient, hectic life regardless of my plans. 
But because of the wonderful people and experiences that have filled the 24 years I've lived. 
And I'm so grateful. 
I'll be sad sometimes, 
happy sometimes, 
restless sometimes, 
tired sometimes, 
unexplainably anxious sometimes, 
content sometimes 
and imperfect always.
I'm not looking for happiness.
It's already here.
Maybe it just feels different then what I expect it too feel like.
And that's okay.




Field Notes:
I made a virtual MixedTape for you:
:)





Friday, August 5, 2016

There and Back Again


I feel like a lot of us have angsty spells in our lives.
Totally sucks. 
Totally normal. 
Most of the time it's just breathing through it and hanging with friends and family and doing fun things to heal up.

I try not to make it obvious that I have had Sever Major Depressive Disorder since I was 14.

I'm not discounting or demeaning normal hard life situations we all go through.
  Shit's hard out here, man.
But for some reason I get hit really hard sometimes about seemingly normal hard times.
It hits me mostly as immeasurable fatigue and anxiety and despair and pain.
And it confuses the shit out of me.
Why can't I handle my shit like normal people?
But something happens (or doesn't happen) in my brain chemistry that takes a massive toll on my day to day life and it sucks.

I'll say that I in no way have ever considered depression my identity. 
I am not depressed. 
I have depression. 
There is a difference.
I am a whole host of other things. 
I love so many things and so many people and find beauty and light and goodness everywhere.
But for some reason the despair and pain (like a physical pain) when I see or hear of bad things happening or when someone is hurting is overwhelming.
And it just fucking KILLS me.
And my whole body stings with it constantly.
Finger tips, face, hands, stomach, chest etc.
I have only ever mentioned this to a few people.
Not because I am ashamed.
It just isn't something I feel is appropriate to say to someone while I'm handing them their latte.

Like, "Hey, Medium Vanilla Latte up. Oh by the way I don't know if you know but I have Depression, Anxiety, a sleep disorder and problems with food. Good talk. Have a nice day now."

So it isn't something I talk about.
Also, I'm afraid people will treat me like I'm fragile or something. And walk on eggshells and shit. And that is the last thing in the world I want. 
I take medication. I'm not ashamed of that either. But I also don't rely on medication alone to fix things. I study self improvement and try to have a personal study time in the morning to try to find ways to heal and improve mine and others lives by studying kindness and life and love etc.
I exercise and play Dungeons and Dragons and try to hang with my friends and communicate with family.

But even with all of that, I still ended up in the hospital twice in the last month because of suicide.
Yeah,
 that one is especially hard to chat about over tea and crumpets.

So, naturally, I have been contemplating the sanctity of the individual's life.
I was in a pretty task oriented state of mind for a while and lost sight of the importance and the beauty of the human soul. 
Namely, my own. 
I honestly did not want to be here.
I felt like it was the perfect time to leave because all my friends and family have others to turn to and they would get over it because life gets busy and stuff and I'd fade out of their minds and so I kept telling myself dying was totally okay and not a big deal.
My friends and family seemed to disagree. 
And I could NOT understand how they could disagree.
I love people and sure, if any of them died I would be wrecked but me dying wasn't a huge deal. 
I love my life and I am endlessly grateful for all that I have.
I suppose the tiredness just got the best of me.
I let go and was comforted by the fact that a million other people in this world could do the things I was doing so what was the point in sticking around.
I was and still am incredibly tired. It's a tired that sleep can't seem to fix. 
Also, I have a major sleep disorder. 
But that is beside the point.
But I have talked to my friends, read some books, changed some medication up and am coming back from the dead.
It's really hard. 
It's like saying goodbye to everyone at a party and getting to your car and realizing you forgot your keys so you have to go back in and get them.
Awkward.
So I still am trying to feel more social and trying to connect again.
It's coming along.
And I can tell I am healing.

But I am so grateful for everything my friends and family and co-workers and bosses have done for me during this particularly hectic time.
They helped me remembered that, sure, anyone can do what I am doing.
But no one can ever be "Cass." 
And I feel like I'm highly qualified to be me.
Maybe overqualified.

So all in all I can't say I won't have some bad days but I can say that I will always try to come out of it stronger.
I mean, "It's no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."




More information on depression and mental disorders:

This site is awesome and can answer a ton of questions


Hyperbole and a Half is one of my favorite books/blogs and the author talks about her depression in some parts.
It's magic.
I highly recommend.


This video:

And just ask questions. Converse. Connect.
Maybe you or someone you love has some sort of mental illness and talking about it can help dismember the stigma surrounding it all.

You are awesome.