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.

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?


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.


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.
 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.
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.