In case you missed it, I am blogging at a new internet address these days. There is two new posts up from this week. Go check them out.
I have mentioned that I am moving, or have moved, or will be moving to a new place to live in real life. With my tax refund, I got a really good deal on web hosting for my photography business website, Becky Hood Photography. I with the web hosting I get a free domain, so I snagged http://www.wtml.com and will be moving this blog over there.
There is a lot more things I can do with my own domain than WordPress will let me do. I can stretch my creative wings. And it was free. So this will be my last post here. I hope that you all will follow me over to the new digs. I really hope to do more writing over there (but I say that a lot don’t I?)
That’s a question I ask myself a lot lately.
When looking for a new place to live, I asked myself, what’s the worst thing that would happen if I moved away from this town, with all its memories and ghosts, and move to a new town and start over?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I posted photo sessions on our local buy/sell/trade Facebook page?
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I questioned my beliefs and allowed myself to step outside my comfort zone?
What’s the worst that could happen if I finally admitted to myself that I have been holding onto toxic relationships too long? What’s the worst that could happen if I let them go?
What’s the worst that could happen if I did agree to have a drink with the guy I’ve known for a while but never considered him anything more than a friend?
What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing. Nothing could happen, and I’m no better or worse off than I have been.
Finding a new place to live in a new town gives me new opportunities, new people to meet, new business opportunities, and the chance to live in a place where nobody knows my past and therefore won’t judge me.
Posting my photography business on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group just might bring photo sessions (and income) my way, and drum up some business. It will also get my name and business out there in front of people who may not have kids in school and therefore may not know about me at all.
Letting go of toxic relationships will do nothing more than eliminate unnecessary stress in my life. I will no longer spend time worried about what they think of me, or trying to maintain a position in their lives.
The point of all of this is, the fear of the unknown and the uncertain has kept me from making some very positive and necessary changes in my life. When I sat down and asked myself what’s the worst that can happen? I found that the answer usually turned out to be something I could live with. On the flip side, the best that could happen far far outweighed the worst that could happen and minimized the risk almost altogether.
When I ask myself “What’s the worst that can happen?” it allows me to imagine the absolute worst that can happen, knowing whatever does happen probably won’t be that bad, and figure out a way to deal with it. Then, whatever does happen is usually significantly less horrible than what I imagined, and I find that I can easily deal with the less than horrific outcome I’d imagined.
What’s the worst than can happen? I could find the happy life I have always wanted.
My last post was very vague and hinted at something, maybe, but not really for sure. I thought I was ready to spill the beans when I sat down to write about it, and then, I apparently chickened out. Not this time.
There have been some bridges that have finally been burned beyond repair, and in the burning of those bridges I have finally cut all ties that have tied me to the past, and kept me from moving on. I held on far longer than I should have, knowing there was no happiness on the other side of the bridge, but fear of the unknown kept me stagnant.
For years I have been reading Britt Reint’s Blog, I read before she sold everything to live in an RV, and have continued to read since she started her pursuit of happiness. I was catching up with her this week, and the thought struck me, I am not sure I have ever had a period of time in my life when I was truly happy.
What a sad, depressing realization. Being truly happy is a choice, something we, well, pursue. I have been asked on several occasions by several people lately, When was the last time you were happy? and I can’t come up with an answer. Sure there are happy moments, happy days, happy occasions, but has there ever been a period of time in my life when I was happy?
That leads to the question What would being happy look/feel like to me? which is another question I’m not sure I have the answer to. I don’t know if I have never recognized happiness because it has always been tinged with depression and mania, or if I have just never allowed myself to experience true happiness. I can’t know what happiness looks like or feels like if I can’t even know what makes me happy in the first place.
The girls are not coming back to live with me. I am, for the first time in my life, completely on my own, responsible only for me, only to me. Like I said, I have burned bridges that needed burning, I have cut ties with toxic people, I have allowed myself to be open to opportunities and possibilities that I couldn’t see before.
I have moved to a new place, and I am starting over. I am not running away, I am taking my responsibilities with me, but I am starting over. I am, for the first time ever, answering to myself. I am going to find out what makes me happy, what does my happiness look like? I am going to find out there is more to me than margaritas and stilettos, photography and writing. I am going to find out that I can be OK with myself, that I can find a reason to smile and be thankful every day. I am going to find that I have worth, and that I don’t have to settle just to avoid being alone. I am going to stand alone, and find the strength and the courage I have heard I have, and for once I am going to find a reason to be proud of myself.
I guess I am going to start my own pursuit of happiness, right after I figure out what my happiness is.
Sometimes, regardless of how hard we resist it, life insists on going on, and bringing with it, changes. And sometimes everything needs to fall apart in order for other things to come together better than before. Yes, cliches are cliches because they are mostly true.
Last week, the final shoes I had been waiting to fall, fell. And when they fell, they opened my eyes to possibilities I had been closed to before. I saw that I could let go, and I could step outside my comfort zone and start fresh. Leaving the baggage behind, but being sure to take the lessons learned with me.
The anchors that I believed had been holding me back, no longer had the weight I previously believed they had, and can no longer hold me back.
So I took a deep breath, pulled up my big girl panties, and took a step towards my future. For the first time in my entire life, I only have me to take care of, and apparently I need to learn to take care of myself. I am starting over, and I am going to find myself. (Again with the cliches)
Someone told me this weekend, that I use my bipolar disorder as a crutch. Maybe to some it would seem that way. I talk and write a lot about living with bipolar disorder. My intention is to inform people what it’s like living like this. I hope that in telling my story I will help someone who is living with bipolar disorder, or loves someone who is. I work very hard to avoid blaming my problems on my disorder. Sure, my thinking and logic some decisions and actions are skewed thanks to BPD, but I don’t shirk my responsibility because of it. (Does any of that make sense?)
So, in this starting over, I see that I have more work to do in telling my story. I am writing more, I even picked up my camera yesterday and took 60+ pictures of stuff around the house. I am stepping out of my “old life” and embracing the possibility of a “new life” that is more, much more, about me.
And to all my doubters and haters, thank you for your criticism and condescension, they are exactly what I need to encourage me to reach further, try harder, shine brighter, and be better.
I would seem that once the universe starts to test you, it just doesn’t let up.
When I got out of jail in August, I was faced with probation meetings, court dates, unemployment, bills, and the girls living with their dad. At the time it seemed beyond overwhelming. Then, there was the nervous breakdown and suicide attempt, the psych ward, and then, the holidays. And it all just seemed to keep piling up and adding on, and the mountain kept growing, and it all seemed so impossible to get through.
But I handled it one day at a time, one crisis at a time, one meeting, one court date, one holiday at a time. Until I finally saw the summit of the mountain, and I allowed myself to think I just might make it after all.
And then the universe laughed.
Because once you reach the summit of one mountain, all you can see in front of you is more mountains to climb.
I am tired. I am mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I don’t know how much stronger I can be, or for how long. I am told, repeatedly, I am strong, I can do this, but I am tired of being strong. I don’t want to do this any more. I just want to lay down and rest. I want to stop fighting for every fucking thing in my life.
The girls did not come back to live with me over the holiday like was the original plan. The hard truth is, they probably never will come back to live with me. That is a hard bitter pill to swallow.
They did come back for basketball homecoming here, and I can’t speak for them, but for me it was harder having them here than it is not seeing them at all. We barely spoke, there is so much damage done to our relationship. Nobody seems to understand that it is less painful for me to keep my distance than it is to make the effort every single day and get nothing in return. When they are ready they can come to me… I can’t keep beating my head on a brick wall constantly going to them.
But still, the struggle continues. Daily. The universe finally convinced me that I have a reason to be here even though I don’t know what that reason is.
In 2004, when I was divorcing the girls’ dad, I met a man online, on Craigslist actually. We spent weeks, (months?) exchanging emails. He gave me perspective, and encouragement, and some hard truths, and helped me see myself a little differently. We never met in person, but to this day we are still friends, still in contact, and he is one of my greatest supporters and greatest source of encouragement.
He told me once that in the greater sense of things, everything I had been through, and was going through, didn’t have to be for no reason. My story would have meaning, would have a purpose. I should tell my story, share my history, and maybe it would matter to someone out there. Maybe it would make a difference.
Tell your story
My therapist has echoed that same sentiment. Well, the ‘tell your story’ sentiment. She continues to encourage me to write a book about my life. The story I have to tell would matter, people would read it.
Batman has even encouraged me to write my story. “You would be surprised how many people would read it.”
Tell your story
My college boyfriend says “Write the book, if for no other reason it will matter to you.”
Tell your story
I have other friends who say “Write your story, people don’t understand how our minds function differently than theirs. Bridge that gap, help them to understand the entire story, not just the troubling actions.”
So, I have determined that the universe has beat me over the head with the message long enough. I get it, I hear you. I am sitting down and writing my story. It will never make the New York Best Sellers list, but I will write it.
If for no other reason than it will matter to me.
I have been quiet and absent from here for far too long. The holidays came and it was all I could do to just get through them. Despite my best efforts at times, I survived and came through on the other side.
My life right now is not what I thought it would look like at this point in time. In ways it looks better, some ways worse and in others it looks the same.
But I am still here. I am committed to writing daily and I am committed to taking at least 3 pictures a day. I have a new project to work on too.
I have much to tell but blogging from my phone is not conducive to writing epic novels or serious blog posts.
Just know that I am alive and I believe there is a reason I am. I am coming back to life. And hopefully back to blogging.
Unfortunately my laptop is not and it is difficult to write all that I want to write from my phone.
The holiday was the horrid mess I expected it to be, home alone all day knowing all those I love were celebrating without me. Christmas seems insurmountable at this point and it only gets worse every day.
So rest assured I am alive even if I am struggling. Now if someone could heal my laptop that would be great.
I have been absent from here for a while now. The end of September first part of October saw me literally walking through my own personal Hell. There was the breakdown, there was the psych ward, and there was coming to terms with where I had ended up.
The thing is, when I left the psych ward, I still believed I never should have been there. I still believed that the girls’ dad had lied to the police in an attempt to get and keep the girls away from me. I believed I was fine, I had just needed some space and time to gain perspective and reboot.
It was a week later when I finally went to my new psychiatrist to discuss what had happened, why I was there, and what we were going to do about it. Over the course of the visit I told him about the breakdown, when I had drunk a full fifth of Captain Morgan and swallowed handfuls of pills. He looked at me funny and asked me to repeat what I said, and I did. Then he looked me square in the eye and said to me “From the amount of alcohol you drank alone, you should be dead. Add to it the pills and I can not believe you are sitting here in front of me today.”
I thought he was being overly dramatic. But I also know that everyone who asked me about suicide attempts I emphatically denied any, mostly believing it, a small part wondering if maybe.
My therapist had the same reaction, same opinion. It wasn’t a mental break, it wasn’t me just trying to escape for while, it was me trying to escape forever. It truly was a suicide attempt.
It’s very hard to hear that from your doctors. Even if a voice whispers in your head “You know it’s true” I still denied it. It took me weeks to finally admit it to myself or out loud to anyone, that yes, I had been so far gone that I tried to kill myself.
So, for the past month, I have been coming to terms with that, coming to terms with the girls never coming home to live with me again. Coming home to the fact that I never hear from them or get to see them or talk to them. I have been coming to terms that there are bills coming do and I have no income. There was a day shortly after I got home that seeing the girls empty bedroom was just more than I could deal with, and I started making the grocery list of pills I would buy, alcohol I would pick up, comparing what I had to tried before to what I needed to get this time. I cried I screamed and I yelled out “Help me!” and the grocery list in my head vanished. I went to the store later that day and the thought never crossed my mind to go look at the cold medications. As I walked to my car I looked down, and there on the sidewalk was a penny.
I haven’t made a list again. There are days I feel like giving up, there are times I want to just go to sleep and take a break from everything. So I take a nap, a unmedicated nap.
My problems haven’t gone away. I still have temptations that are very hard to resist. That is the most painful part of it all right now. But I take one day at a time. They are not always easy days, they are not all sunshine rainbows an unicorns, but I go to bed every night, and I wake up every day, and I know that’s another day between me and the hell I was in.