“When you’re as right as I am, you don’t have to say it.” ~ Sophia Petrillo

I’m on Facebook everyday. Many times a day, and I see so many people trying very hard to prove themselves. I’m one of them, but not so much recently.

Everyone has a cause. Everyone has insecurities that they try to cover. It’s natural to do that. I do. Yet it’s liberating to open up and talk about such things. I used to care a great deal about what people thought of me. The way I dress, the way I act, the way I live my life. Facebook was a great way of getting those feelings out there. Being so open caused many problems, but it helped me too. I’ve calmed down quite a bit, because I feel like I’ve made my point. My rants were about me and me alone. Issues that were going on in my life and my family. Feeling misunderstood and cast aside, just because I didn’t feel or act the way others expected me to. It had its purpose at the time, and even though everything I said offended someone close to me, I felt it needed to be said.

I’ve done my share of “black sheep” posts. I see myself that way, but so what? It is what it is and it’s not going to change. In the beginning, I posted these things because of my insecurity. Like maybe someone that was hurting me would see them, and suddenly get me. It didn’t happen. And I’m glad it didn’t. I’d get praise from people, but not the people that were hurting me.
The things I said didn’t change their feelings about me. But I eventually changed my feelings about myself. If you bang your head against a wall long enough, it hurts, eventually you’ll stop.

I see people posting things everyday about body issues, about not fitting in, about not giving a shit. I believe in not giving a shit. But if you post this everyday, it shows that you really do care what people think. I did. I desperately wanted my loved ones to see that I didn’t care. I did though. I wanted them to see my life through my eyes. I realized that people don’t want to see what they’re not ready for.

So I stopped. I no longer care if anyone gets me. Inside or outside. And I’m not posting my angst anymore. I’d love certain people to understand, but I can’t make it happen. When it comes to my life, I’m right. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks I should behave a certain way, or they feel I’m not being honest. I am. And I no longer have to say it.

Facebook is a wonderful tool for getting your feelings out there. But get them out there, and be done with it. The same thing over and over seems desperate. It shows insecurity instead of strength. If you feel comfortable with yourself, great! Don’t try to force people to be comfortable with you too. To me, it’s the same as PETA throwing blood on people with fur coats. Sure, the cause is good, but that kind of in-your-face action does the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

So, say your peace, live your life, love yourself, and keep going <3

No one likes a bully

It seems like everyone is bullied these days. Someone calls you a name and you’re bullied. Someone says you look like a freak and you’re bullied. It’s almost like the word is being overused and it’s hard to determine what is bullying and what isn’t.

When I was in school, I believe I was bullied. High school was hell for me. Everyday I would be harassed and taunted. I would dread certain classes, because the kids sitting behind me would spend their time throwing insults at me. I’d sit there, pretending not to notice, but I was dying inside.

During this time, I wore a hat everyday, not because I wanted to, but because I had issues. I’d lose my hair when I was under stress. I can say this easily now, but as a kid, all I did was try to hide it. Everyday in the halls, someone would try to rip it off me, and I was constantly on guard. When I finally graduated to wearing wigs, they did the same thing. I had to cut gum out of my hair one day. Someone thew it at me. People were inspecting me and trying to break me down. It worked. By the time I was in my senior year, I missed so many days of school that I almost didn’t graduate. And I almost dropped out. It was that bad. My only solace was coming home, going to my room and holding my dog. Going to bed was heaven. Eight hours of bliss. Completely to myself. When I had trouble sleeping, I would tell myself, “this is the only comfort I have.” The only problem was figuring out how I would be able to stay home the next day.

So, here I am today. I joined Facebook a few years ago, and the funny thing is, some of the people that did these things to me are on my friends list. I’m not sure why, but it’s been healing for me in a way. I’m no longer that sixteen-year-old girl, hiding my problems because I felt no one would accept them. I accept them. And they don’t define me. As a young adult, they tend to.

I can’t begin to imagine the torment that the addition of social media has caused to this. The amount of teen suicides due to bullying is terrifying. The internet didn’t exist when I was in school, but I admit, suicide was on my mind. During such an impressionable time, it’s difficult to imagine yourself anyplace other then where you are. I got bullied in school and I went home. I had the comfort of my bedroom and my dog, and I didn’t have to face it until tomorrow. Now kids get bullied in school, they go home, and there’s the internet. When you’re not accepted, it’s in your face 24/7.

Real bullying is a huge problem that kids face. Everyday badgering and threatening. Not just someone calling them a bad name. We need to be clear about that. A child I know recently said that she was bullied because her friends didn’t say they liked what she was wearing. That’s not bullying. This word is so overused that the meaning is blurred.

If your kid dreads going to school everyday, and says they’re sick all the time, perhaps something is up, and you should look into it. I never felt comfortable enough to say what was really going on, because I was ashamed. It’s embarrassing to admit that people are treating you poorly. Your insecurities are brought to the surface, and it’s hard to handle at such a young age. Kids need support.

To this day I feel uncomfortable when I walk past a group of teenaged girls. I’m a grown woman, yet one snicker or glance will put me right back there. I’m able to think it through, and realize that’s no longer a part of my life. But the scars still remain.

I guess the point of this is figuring out the difference. Is it bullying or is it just kid stuff. Bully is a strong word these days. Pay attention to your kids. If they don’t want to go to school, there might be a deeper reason why. Communicate with them. It’s important. They need you <3

“Gotta case of love bipolar.” Shut up, Katy Perry. Shut the hell up

“Oh this weather is SO bipolar.”

“My OCD is showing now, Hahahaha!”

These words in random conversation make me cringe.
I’ve suffered from mental illness almost all of my life. Most of it in silence. It was just how I was. It shaped my life, and it shaped me, and it sucked. But I’m focusing on something specific today.

Something happened to me in my mid-thirties. I met people, I went out and did things. I went to bars and I danced and I had an amazing time. This would have been an amazing experience for someone that had it mostly together, but for me, it was a disaster. I didn’t know this at the time, but I do now.

There’s no such thing as “moderation” with me. There’s no one drink, or going out for an hour or so. One drink turns into several, and when I go out, I’ll be out until morning. It’s not pretty.

It hit me a little over a year ago that something might be wrong. Like why I can cry in an instant, and then suddenly I’m fine. How I can lose control suddenly and put myself in horrible and dangerous situations, without much memory of any of it. When these uncontrollable emotions and behaviors were finally too much to bear, I did some research. At the time, I was reading about Marilyn Monroe. I was amazed at how much we had in common. The relationships, the emotions, I had finally found someone like me. Then I read she was manic depressive. These days, it’s called Bipolar. This got me thinking. I found that a lot of my behaviors were very much like symptoms of Bipolar disorder. It scared me, so I brought this info to my doctor. Sure enough, I fit the bill, and now I’m being treated.

I found that the things that I was doing that I thought were freeing and inspiring were really harming me. I mean, how can falling down drunk in a bar be inspiring? I was looking for something in my emotionally broken state, and I thought what I was doing would fix it. I thought making out with someone in a bathroom stall was letting go and living in the moment, as well as driving home while the sun was rising when I had to work that day. I had a husband at home, granted an emotionally and physically distant one, yet I was acting like a teenager, and getting my heart broken again and again by people that didn’t matter. I didn’t matter to them, I was just the drunk girl in a bar. Even though I was searching for emotional and sexual freedom, I was left depleted and empty, and full of self-loathing and guilt.

After I was diagnosed with Bipolar and treated, I started to see the things I was doing to myself and the ones close to me. I still carry so much guilt about this. I wasn’t in my right mind, but the things that happened still happened. There’s no way to erase any of it. I’ve apologized, I’ve explained, and I’m on a new path now. But damn. I was horrible. Most of all, I showed a huge lack of respect to myself. I think that’s the worst to bear.

Since then, I’ve cut people out of my life that were triggers. I stopped going to bars. When I go out to dinner with friends, I stop there. Going out for drinks after is part of the downward spiral for me. These are the steps I’m taking to make myself better. The emotional healing is harder, but I’m working on it.

So, I sometimes get annoyed when people say, “Oh this weather is so bipolar,” or, “My OCD is showing, hahahahaha!” Because it’s not a joke. None of it. I’ve lived all of it. OCD, OCD spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression, you name it, I’ve lived it. Not for a day, not for a week, but for a lifetime. It’s so easy to say these things in conversation without knowing the depth of what they actually do to people. Being moody isn’t bipolar. Being organized isn’t OCD. Joking about these things really sucks to people that experience them daily.

So, I’m on the road to healing and I think I feel better emotionally than I ever have. Educating myself and seeking help myself was a step in the right direction. It shows me that I’m in control. Not only of my own mental health, but of my life. I feel like I’m starting over. I’m proud that I can say “I’m sorry.” I can admit when I’m wrong. This disorder turned me into someone I don’t recognize, and I’ll fight to never meet her again. She shows herself sometimes, but she will no longer take me over again. I won’t allow it (mood stabilizers help too). 🙂

Marriage. That’s all. Just Marriage

It seems everyone wants to get married. An engagement is a pretty significant milestone in a relationship. It says, “I am going to be committed to you for my life.” This is a wonderful thing. For me, it’s different.

I just turned 41 and I’ve been married 3 times. The first when I was only 18. Knowing nothing about anything. The second time, I was 26, still knowing nothing, but hoping I’d figure it out. The third was Steve. It was really right that time. I still knew nothing, but I was going to learn. I was ready. I believed in marriage, dammit. I believed in us. I’d get it right. We even got married on Friday the 13th. Just before my birthday. This was my fresh start. Well, we’ve been married 10 years (I only made it to 3 before), but we never got it right. We tried though.

Everyone knows marriage doesn’t guarantee a future with someone. I thought it did, even my third time around. I didn’t get married for the hell of it. Like it meant nothing. Each time meant something to me. Most of all, it represented security. But again, it’s not guaranteed. Marriage is a binding contract that not only joins emotions, but assets, benefits, and children as well. And when people change and grow, the relationship changes as well. If you’re not growing at the same speed as the other person, or if you have past life experiences you can’t deal with, the union suffers. This is when communication is key, and that was the problem in my relationships. When two people come together as individuals, each with independence and self-worth, it’s easier. When you expect someone to fix you, or you think you can change them, it’s difficult, and it won’t work. I’ve been there, and it’s hard to face, and even harder to crawl out of.

I often beat myself up for my choices in relationships. I hate myself for putting unreasonable demands on my husbands/partners and thinking a ceremony and taking vows would make everything ok. Now that I’m older and a bit wiser and very self-aware, I wish I could go back and do things again. I wish I could do it all again with this knowledge I’ve gained and I would have said, “Let’s wait.”

So many people I know, and countless others, are fighting for marriage rights. I believe everyone should be allowed to marry who they want to. But still, no matter who you are, marriage guarantees nothing unless the two involved are ready to work. It’s hard work. I don’t care what anyone says.

I don’t regret my marriages. Well, maybe the first. I had no business getting into that. But I still care about, and respect my first husband. Just because we had no business being married, doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. My ex-husbands are now my best friends. We appreciate our time together, then and now, and we hold no animosity. What’s better than having best friends that know you inside and out, and love you anyway? And I’ve never had children, so that’s a plus. No issues there either. That adds a whole new mess to the mix when the relationship comes to a close. So, with all of the mistakes I’ve made, I’m very proud of that decision.

So, all of this said, I’m still pro-marriage. Just not for me anymore. It just doesn’t work. I have a relationship now that is finally breaking my “well let’s get married and fix everything” cycle. We don’t ever want to go there. Ever. And yet, it’s the most passionate and fulfilling relationship I’ve ever had. We have goals that involve each other, but don’t make us legally bonded. Maybe I’ll buy a house on my own someday. Maybe he’ll buy one. And we can both live independently but together. What a radical concept for me. For us. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities. This is new, and I’m liking it.

So, when a friend shows me her left hand with a new sparky diamond ring, I’m genuinely happy for her. It’s a new beginning. A milestone. A promise for the future. And a little part of me will wish that I could do it all over and do it right. But the other, bigger part of me says, “Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve finally got it.” <3