31 Days

Day 31: I kept it.

My New Year’s resolution was to write every day of January, and stay off Facebook for the whole month.

As soon as I click the publish button on this I will have done it. Everyone says they don’t keep their resolutions past January, and mine only needs to be kept through January. That’s lame and probably sort of cheating, but I still feel accomplished.

The point of it was to remember how much I love writing and need it, and I did that. I’ll probably still write a little bit every day even if I don’t publish it. I’m actually really looking forward to not having to finish something every day. I’m bad at finishing things and I hate deadlines.

This isn’t a super satisfying post to end my challenge with because it isn’t about anything. But it’s not the last thing I’ll ever write.

Bye January. You’ve been horrible. May February be warmer and not marked by another lengthy depressive episode.

31 Days

Day 30: What I wonder about you.

I found this unfinished draft from March 2013, and I loved it because it had a lot to do with what I was already wanting to write about today.

[I wonder about people.
I wonder what they’re like when they aren’t around me.
I wonder what kind of family they grew up in and whether their personality is because of them, or in spite of them.
I wonder what makes them sad.
I wonder what makes them feel alive.
I wonder what ways life has hurt them.
I wonder what they like about themselves.

And there was a time when I used to ask about those things, a time so long ago that I can’t remember how I was ever that brave.
Now I just wonder about them.

I’m too scared to do anything more.]

I have an impressive list of questions I like to use to get to know people. I’ve been asked countless times, “How do you think of that?” and my answer is always that these are the things I genuinely wonder about people.
These are my favorites and what they tell me about you.

1A. What did you want to be when you grew up at age 5?
This tells me what kind of imagination you have, because when you’re five, you have no limits. You don’t care what’s realistic or difficult or what anyone will think of your dreams. You just want what you want. If someone asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, you answer totally honestly.
1B. And when you were 14?
This one will be more realistic than your five-year-old dreams, but still probably more what you truly wanted and less what you think is practical and acceptable.

And if your answer is the same for both and is what you do now, that’s just awesome. I have a friend who never wanted to be anything but a teacher, and now she’s been one for three years and she absolutely loves it. But she seems to be an exception.

2. What’s one book you tell everyone they should read? Do you have one you love so much that you want to keep it to yourself?
I got the idea for this one from the Fault In Our Stars.
Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.
That book for me is Daring Greatly. The books people love reveal so much about who they are(so does a response of “I don’t really read much”), plus if they say a book I haven’t read, now I have something new.
And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal.
And that book for me…I won’t say. That’s why the second half of my question is phrased the way it is; if you look back at it, you’ll see it doesn’t require them to tell me what it is if they don’t want to. It also makes it fair for me to choose not to share mine. But, if they tell me theirs, I usually tell them mine. I will never share it with the internet. I probably won’t even reveal it in my own book when I write it someday.

3. What’s something you’re afraid of that you wish you weren’t?
For example, I really don’t mind being afraid of spiders, but I wish I wasn’t afraid of people. And one other fear that I won’t say on the internet. Everybody’s afraid of something that’s not a big deal, but I think everyone has at least one fear that they could really stand to live without. I asked my favorite professor this once and I was so surprised and honored when he actually answered it.

4. Would you rather be blind or deaf?
I read a really beautiful essay by a 20-something girl who’d gone blind when she was 17, about how thankful she was that she’d lost her sight rather than her hearing. Which inspired me to 1)thank God that I still had both and beg him to let me keep them, and 2)write about why I’d hypothetically choose to be deaf. But since both me and the blind girl had such deep and valid reasons for our preferences, I think your choice probably shows a lot about what you value.

5. Tell me something I don’t know about you.
I ask this often, never only once with each person. It’s such a nonthreatening question and your answer can be as deep or as simple as you want it to be. If you want to just say “my favorite color is purple,” or tell me the story behind your deepest fear, anything goes. Occasionally I’ll ask my best friend this, because she’d have to really think for an answer.

31 Days

Day 29: I was supposed to move to Georgia today.

I’ll write about this much more extensively someday.

Last June I thought I had God’s plan figured out. That plan would have had me on the road to Gainesville this morning.
And he kept trying to tell me over and over again that he had something better, but I kept shushing him, because this was what all my squadmates were doing and it was making them happy, so therefore it must be what I was supposed to be doing.
Except I had nothing but a deep sense of dread about the whole thing. I wasn’t looking forward to it and had no desire to tell anyone about it.
All of this is what led me to the Great Depression of 2015. From the end of August to the end of October.
But I don’t like admitting I’m wrong and I don’t like changing plans, and to get out of this emotional hell and back onto God’s track, I’d have to do both.
I finally gave in and did both of those things in November. And suddenly, peace. Peace like I hadn’t felt since the beginning of May.

I thought everything would get easier right away.
It didn’t.

But even in the midst of all the not happy stuff I’m sitting in right now…it’s where I’m supposed to be. God wants me at Midtown; I wanted community in Georgia, he gave me one in Lexington. God wants me working at Moe’s; I need to be humbled and reminded that everything is ministry and everything is important and everyone needs to be loved. God wants me living at home; my family is the ministry I neglect the most.

I use my hometown as a way to compartmentalize my life. I don’t think of it as a place where God can use me; it’s where I go back to tell people what he’s doing everywhere else, be it camp, or CIU, or another country. But he’s doing things here too, and as much as I sort of wish he was calling me someplace that sounds more impressive…I have a feeling he’ll be keeping me here until I see it as just as much a mission field as Ecuador.
And when I love Lexington in the same way as I love Ecuador(because I LOVE home, just for different reasons), that’s probably when he’ll send me somewhere brand new.

Until November I felt misery on top of misery. Now I feel misery on top of peace.

31 Days

Day 28 bonus post: Things I’ve never been too depressed to do

I know I said “no more doing things” at the end of my last post, but I decided that it doesn’t count as doing if it’s something I want to do and feels effortless.
I was thinking and then realized my thoughts would feel better on a screen than in my head. This is me continuing to think.

These are the very few things that depression doesn’t touch.

1. My incontrovertible sense of humor
I’m still very funny when I’m depressed. More cynically funny than usual, but hilarious nonetheless.

2. My extroversion
While I may be too depressed to seek people out, I won’t tell you to go away if you find me. I still need company even though I can’t go to it.
I’ll appreciate your presence as long as you’re someone who previously knows about my depression(because it’s hard enough to explain when I’m healthy, much less when I’m sick) and you aren’t too demanding. Like, trying to get me to cheer up, or convincing me to go someplace with you or see other people. Once in my last semester of college, I was dreadfully depressed and lying in my bed watching TV and didn’t want to go anywhere, and Scott came down to my apartment and sat in my comfy red chair and watched with me. He didn’t even make me change the channel, although he did comment “If Selena Gomez’s E! True Hollywood Story is the best thing on TV, it’s probably better just to not watch TV.”

3. Brushing my teeth the second I wake up
I may not do anything else that whole day, but no matter how emotionally dead to the world I am, I will brush my teeth. I may not care if I eat or or shower or see any people, but I will care that my mouth is gross.

4. Watching baseball
I may not read every article and keep up with every detail of my team(even when I’m healthy I’ll occasionally get lazy on all that, because it does get exhausting) but I’ll never be too depressed to watch a game on TV. Any game. It doesn’t have to be the Red Sox; I’ll watch the Padres play the Diamondbacks if that’s all I can get. I don’t say no to baseball.

31 Days

Day 28: Warm weather will be back someday and so will my personality.

It’s so cold.
It got so cold so fast and it’s been so cold for so long and I can’t remember what it’s like to feel warm.
And the RAIN. Or worse, the clouds for days with no rain. There’s no point to clouds if they aren’t making it rain. If it’s raining, you know the clouds will eventually stop being clouds, because they’re made of rain. So how can the clouds stay for so long without raining? LET IT GO, CLOUDS.

It sort of sounds like I’m talking about depression, but for now I’m actually speaking in literal terms about this horrible joke of a South Carolina winter.
It was 80 degrees on Christmas. Then all of a sudden, around New Years Eve, it dropped to the 50s and then it was freezing every night. Three times I’ve been late for work because I was scraping ice off my car. If I wanted to need an ice scraper, I’d move to Michigan. We southerners are not used to this kind of winter. It doesn’t stay cold for this long. It’ll be cold for a week or so, then we’ll have a few days of slightly warmer, then it gets cold again.
But no, this winter, it’s been consistently cold for four weeks now. There was no transitional period to get used to it(I never get used to it…but the normal people around me have all complained about not having time to acclimate this year), the cold just happened.

It feels like it’ll never go away.
But it will, because that’s how science works. Even if it stays much colder for much longer than ever, the Earth will keep turning, and therefore it will, someday, be warm again.

I like to pretend depression works that way too, even though I don’t have any guarantee like I do with the weather. That’s why I said pretend.
I can’t remember what it was like to feel things, but I did once and I will again. It may be a really, really excruciatingly long time, but I will. If the weather can get warm again, I can feel alive again. I’ll turn it into a competition and try to beat the weather to it. Maybe the weather will respond to the challenge and try to warm up as soon as possible. That’s a game I wouldn’t mind losing.
I won’t get to find out unless I stay alive, so I’ll keep doing that. Living, I mean. I don’t want any of the two people(I don’t know them) possibly reading this to think it’s a 600 word suicidal cue.

This 31 day challenge would have been SO much more fun had I done it in a month when I couldn’t just write about being sick. It’s a good thing only four people have read any(and not all, or even a quarter) of these posts because they’re super dull if you don’t live inside my head.
It also would have been easier. When staying up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon feels like a chore, how do you think I feel about writing? There are too many things I need to do in a day without adding writing to the list.

Okay, done. No more doing things today. I might not even hold out for Jimmy. But it’s Thursday, which means hashtags, which might make me laugh, and laughing makes me feel a little more human and less like the cute little white puff of existence on the Zoloft commercials.

PS, don’t look up the original Zoloft commercial on Youtube and read the comments section. People are mean.

31 Days · Uncategorized

Day 7: My phone isn’t smart and that’s why I like it.

I still have a flip phone. His name is Charlie(or Charles when I can’t find him). He has a 2 megapixel camera and that’s the fanciest thing about him.
He sends texts. He receives texts. He even CALLS people.
He is a phone and only a phone. I love that and never plan on trading him.

I only have to charge him once every ten days or so. The only downside is that if I take a trip and forget my charger, none of my friends have one I can borrow that fits.
If someone sends me a Facebook message, they’ll have to wait til I get home and open my computer, because I can’t check them 24/7. I love that, because I’d rather them text me anyways.
I really prefer T9 to a full keyboard and I absolutely can’t stand touchscreens.
Facebook makes my depression itch, so it’s not at all healthy for me to have twice as much temptation to mindlessly scroll through my friends’ perfect lives, or check to see if more people liked my recent attempt at a witty status.
If I’m out to dinner with friends, I’m the obnoxious friend telling everyone else to get off their phones and talk to the people at the table, because my phone can’t do anything fun like theirs.
I can drop my phone five times a day(and I usually do)and it won’t break. And if I lose it(which I have twice; so there was a Charlie Jr and now I have Charlie III), it only costs me fifteen bucks to replace it.

Until AT&T decides to force me to upgrade, I am never getting a $400 box with the internet in it.

My thoughts were sparked by this article.
And this study on what our phones say about us is fascinating. Scary and a little sad, but fascinating.