Tag Archives: depression

Fear

Like this guy.

Or like this guy.

I’ve been feeling really small these days. Not small in a good way. Like, hey, I lost 12 pounds and these cargo shorts are hanging off of me. But small in an all-balled-up way. Like a fist.

I have a slew of things I need to do. One of those things is write a presentation for a corporate event slated for early November. This company has an LGBT group, and I’ve been asked to speak about my book. I’m planning on talking about the power of story — the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we share with others.

I have it all mapped out. A notebook filled with thoughts and quotes. I don’t even need the notebook. Everything is floating around in my head.

But I’ve yet to sit down and type it all up. I was going to do it last weekend. Now, it’s on my to-do list for this weekend.

Writing it out makes it real.

It’s not that I don’t think that I can do it.

It’s that I’m scared.

Even butches get scared sometimes. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

I’m not sure what I’m scared of.

“I need to get that Marianne Williamson quote tattooed on me,” W tells me.

She’s talking about this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It would be a very large tattoo.

So, I will sit and write. Write through the fear.

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Riding the rollercoaster

Rainbow decalI am a moody butch.  Have been since I was a teenager holed up in my bedroom with the rainbow decals on the windows and a Joan Jett album playing on the record player.

When I was in my twenties, I was prescribed Prozac for the first time.  I spent more than a decade taking the white-and-green capsules.

Since being diagnosed with major depression, I have always been acutely aware of my mood.

I let myself have off days.  I will stay in bed watching old professional wrestling footage and seeking solace from Ben, Jerry and Little Debbie.

I try not to let one off day morph into two.  On day three, I will force myself to get up and shower and at least try to be a productive human being.

Lately, I’ve been riding a high from the book (which comes out in one two three four five six seven days not like I’m counting or anything).  So many good things have been happening.  It’s all so heady and exciting!  Like a Melissa Etheridge concert.

Problem is I can’t seem to maintain that high.

As high as I feel one day, I feel that low the next.

It’s like riding a rollercoaster.  I’m not a big fan of rollercoasters.

Stuck and unstuck

Sometimes I get stuck.  Not literally stuck like in a turnstile or a revolving door.  Help.  Stuck.  Can’t pass through.

Or actually stuck while trying on a gold glitter tube top.  (I apologize in advance for the image.)  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Aaaaaaah!  Butch!  Stuck!  In!  Tube!  Top!

But stuck nonetheless.

Other people never seem to have this problem.  They seem to have it all together.

When I get stuck, I do all sorts of things except try to get myself unstuck.

Some things I might do instead of unsticking myself:

  • Work.
  • Read.
  • Nap.
  • Check my Twitter feed.  Every five minutes.
  • Cook.
  • Eat.
  • Play with cats.
  • Watch marathons of Total Divas.
  • Daydream that I am a little known Kardashian.  Butch Kardashian.

When I am stuck:

This is how I feel when I'm stuck

The only way I know how to get unstuck is to do the thing I’m stuck at.  And that’s the thing I really don’t want to do.

Things I’d rather do than do the stuck thing:

  • Eat hot sauce.
  • Work.
  • Clean.
  • Give a speech.  At a Republican convention.
  • Listen to country and western music.
  • Dance to the song It’s Raining Men.
  • Read 50 Shades of Gray for non-comedic purposes.

So, after I’ve done everything else that I can think of, I’ll do the stuck thing.

First, of course, I’ll make a horrible face and make things seem worse than they really are.  I’m a drama butch, after all.

Butch Smiley Face

Then I’ll do the stuck thing.

At first taking lots of breaks to do important things like load one glass in the dishwasher, organize paperclips and clean cat hair from out of computer keyboard.

And then going back to doing the stuck thing.

Before I know it, my hair is not on fire.  I am not shrieking.

I am just doing the unstuck thing.

I am unstuck.

xx

When all is right in my world, this is what it looks like.

* * *

What do you when you’re stuck?  How do you get unstuck?

Metamorphosis and the butch butterfly

Sometimes I think W deserves someone better than me.

Sometimes means during the past few weeks.

I have been moody.

Imagine this storm cloud in flannel

Imagine this storm cloud in flannel.

Not 24/7 moody. That would be full-blown depression. Instead, I have been like a black storm cloud in the summer heat, unpredictable and quick to rain on everyone’s parade.

“You are a lucky woman,” I tell W sometimes.

I call her by her full name when I say this. She thinks it’s cute.

I know this because she crinkles her nose.

I haven’t called her a lucky woman for awhile.

Imagine this dude in flannel.

Imagine this dude in flannel.

I wonder if I am moody because I’m a butch. A brooding butch chiseled out of stone and always over thinking things until smoke comes out my ears and my flannel is at risk of catching on fire.

As a general rule, butches are not perky or bubbly or given nicknames like Sunshine or Daisy.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer prone to endless inner reflection.  Sylvia Plath in a pair of Dr. Marten’s boots.

It could be a combination of the two.  A butch writer.  W never had a chance.

We had a spirited discussion last weekend about the word “wife.” About how W has a desire to use the word to describe me while I would cringe inside about such a female-identified word being used in reference to me.

Later, I told W she should refer to me as her “female lover” just for the shock factor.

“I can’t win,” she says.

She’s right.

I think it’s because I still haven’t figured out who I am. It sounds silly because I am in my 40s. But I still feel like I am in a state of flux, a work in progress.

I wonder if butch is just a transition. Just another phase in my metamorphosis from tomboy to lesbian to soft butch to butch to something else.

When I used to travel to my alma mater to meet up with my college pals, I would drive for as long as I could before stopping for something to drink or to use a restroom.  I usually stopped about two-and-a-half hours into the trip at a McDonalds in Danville, a small town near the center of Pennsylvania.  I would grab two cheeseburgers and a vanilla shake and continue on, excited to see my friends and pop open a cold beer.  I wonder if butch is Danville.  A pit stop and not a destination.

Maybe I'm a butch butterfly after all.

Maybe I’m a butch butterfly after all.

Or is my metamorphosis complete?  Maybe I’m already a butterfly (a butterfly in a flannel shirt and combat boots) and just haven’t realized it yet.

* * *

What about you?  Are you a moody butch or in a relationship with one?  Are you still a work in progress or is your transformation complete?

More better butch blues

So, yeah, summer.  Bummer.

I wrote about my summertime slump a post or two ago.  You can read about it here.

Or just skip to the recap: Kids are home from school in the summer, which wreaks havoc on my weekly routine and daily domination of home and hearth.  So, I get grumpy.  And don’t get me started on the fact that it’s hot, which means people generally wear less clothing.  This is not good for butches with body issues.  Isn’t this all of us?

But is something else going on?

I looked back at my posts from June 2013 and saw some depressing posts about baggage.

Could there be something more, something cyclical that rears its sunburnt head when summer rolls around?

xx

I heart you, Olivia.

As a kid, I certainly welcomed summer vacation.  It’s all a blur of Brady Bunch reruns, baseball cards and whiffle ball games that lasted double-digit innings and ran from one day into the next.  Grease is a fine summer memory (even though I didn’t realize that my obsession with the film was really about my crush on Olivia Newton-John).

As I got older, I spent most of the summer working closing shift at the local McDonalds.  We blasted Madonna and Prince on our boom boxes after hours as we got the place ready for breakfast the next morning.  The bulk of my paycheck went toward sneakers (I specifically remember a pair of gray Converse high tops) and cassette tapes (Joan Jett, you will always rock my world).

After I left for college, I never really wanted to go home for the summer.  I was glad for the break from classes, but didn’t want to leave my friends.  The school had become my home, and my friends had become my family.  We had our roles and our routine.  Looking back, I think I felt safe living in an all-female space, even though I didn’t identify as a lesbian at the time.

There’s something about belonging to a group of women that I find comforting.  Maybe it’s all of the estrogen in the air or the hairspray fumes.  I don’t know.

If we are attending some kind of event that is to be attended by people from my past, W always asks if any of my women will be there.  “Now which one is that?” she’ll ask.  “There’s so many of them,” she’ll exclaim.

I like that I have women.  My grade-school women.  The women, the college years.  My support group women.

I wonder if my summer blues are not about the start of something new but about ending something old, comfortable, familiar.  I wonder if it’s not about the kids ending the school year but me ending school … 30 years ago.

Triggers are weird.  Life is weird.

The best we can do is be aware and carry on.

And wait for fall.

 

A few of my favorite things

Your favorite butch blogger has been a bit down these past few weeks.  My last post ended on a high — me and W reconnecting on a weekend away — that I haven’t been able to recapture.  Maybe that’s part of the problem.  When the top of your head scrapes the bottom of the clouds for a few days, it’s a short, hard fall back to reality.

Plus, this weather isn’t helping things.  Has it ever been so damn cold in March?  And one of our cats died recently, and that’s been weighing heavy on my heart.  I’ve been struggling with my writing.  It took me weeks to write the shortest chapter of my work in progress.  Did I mention that my son is 14 and acting like a 14-year-old?

To cheer myself up, I thought I’d make a list of a few of my favorite things these days:

Sweet.

Sweet.

* My new Timex Weekender watch with the changeable straps.  So cool and retro looking.  I treated myself to one  for my birthday.  This butch likes to be fresh and color coordinated.  What do you think Dapper Butch?

* The French film, Blue Is the Warmest Color.  Because when else can you watch a lesbian movie with lots of sex and feel so cultured because it had subtitles?

* Apple TV.  I don’t really know how to use it, but I know that it will allow us to watch Orange Is the New Black.

* Coca-Cola.  Everything is better with Coke.

We

We would have such fun, me and you.

* Is anyone else obsessed with Girls?  HBO’s Girls.  Not those girls, you guys.  Ok, those girls, too.

* Lena Dunham, I want to be your best friend.

* Ivan Coyote, you inspire me.  I want to be you when I grow up.

* I  just discovered Lorrie Moore, a funny, brilliant writer.  I want to read everything she’s ever written, including Bark, her new collection of short stories.

* The brand new flannel sheets on the bed I share with W.  Bonus: They were $7.49 on clearance at Target.

* My writers’ group.  Weird that a motley group of off-kilter writers keeps me grounded.

* W.  Not anything she says or does.  But because she’s there, whether I’m in a good mood or bad, happy or sad.

* * *

What about you?  What makes you smile these days?

 

 

Outed by God

xx

Have you ever been here?

I’ve been in that hollowed out place in the earth this past week or so.

If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know all too well the place I’m talking about.  It’s filled with shadows and spider webs and bone gray nothingness.  It’s the land of fatigue and apathy and why-the-hell-should-I-bother-anyway?

I just finished up my coming out chapter for my memoir, and my awakening came from a very serious bout of depression.  So, I’ve been slogging through the past.  Thanks, memoir.

Naïve me: Oh, why can’t I be a fiction writer like all of my friends?

Blunt me: Because your ego is the size Dolly Parton’s breasts.  Not just one, but both of ’em.

Girl meets girl

Girl meets girl

Now, most lesbians realize that they’re lesbians in a more organic way.  Girl falls in love with girl.  See Ellen and Portia.  Or, Ellen and Ann Heche.  Ok, skip that example.  But most of the women that I know who came out later in life fell in love with a female friend or a co-worker or a neighbor.  And there they were — head over hiking boot heels — dissecting diagrams on scissoring, becoming vegans, ordering flannel shirts by the dozen, following around a Melissa Etheridge tour, organizing potlucks for community events.

But Middle-Age Butch?  Yes, I was attracted to women over the years.  I sold myself on the concept that I was just admiring the beauty of the female form.  Because, damn, that soft flesh and those curves that seemed to roll for days. And anyway, didn’t all girls prefer the company of other girls?  And didn’t all wives at one time or another daydream about having a threesome with a hot blonde that was really a twosome because their husbands weren’t included in this fantasy?

I never really put it all together until I was in my 30s.  I was depressed.  Out.  Of.  My.  Mind.  What did that look like?  I wanted to hide in a tiny, dark, enclosed space like a closet.  Yes, for real, in a closet or under a desk or in some other place that would shield me from the rest of the world.

I had been dealing with depression for the better part of a decade, so I knew the slippery slope that I was sliding down.

And that’s when I started to pray.

Now mind you, I’m not a religious person.  I wasn’t brought up going to church or indoctrinated in any faith.

I'm a lesbian because of this dude.

I’m a lesbian because of this dude.

So, basically, I just cobbled together what I knew: the Serenity Prayer that I had memorized from tagging along with a friend to AA meetings and the Lord’s Prayer from Prince’s song Controversy.  I asked God to show me who he intended me to be.

I kept this up for several weeks and then one day it hit me like a ton of rainbow bricks or a boat load of flannel shirts or a truckload of Dr. Marten’s or …. I could keep this up all day, folks.  I was a lesbian.  It just popped into my head as if I was Horton and the word “lesbian” had been whispered into my ear by a very intuitive Who.

Me.  A lesbian.  Who would’ve thunk it?

And the rest is history.  But not herstory, because I hate when womyn do that.  D’oh!  (Note to angry feminists: You cannot just change the English language.)

So, the moral of this story is:

Be careful what you pray for.

Or maybe, God’s okay with gay.  In fact, he actually encourages it when you’re …. um, gay.

Rainbows can come from mud puddles?

Or maybe it’s that we all need to get really still sometimes and listen for that small, quiet voice that tells us what we already know.

* * *

So, let’s open this bad boy up.  Coming out … tell your story.

A really good quote

Shipwreck

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

— Voltaire

I stumbled upon this quote earlier today and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

“Life is a shipwreck …”

How true.

It’s the singing in the lifeboats part that I have yet to master.

I’ve hired Little Debbie as my new therapist and blacklisted the Cocoa Puffs bird and Lindsey Lohan from my parties

So, I’ve decided to make Little Debbie my new therapist.

javaj240 from Ambling & Rambling suggested that I substitute Little Debbie snack cakes for extra therapy as they are cheaper and way more delicious. (See previous post.)

I thought why not go all the way and just name Little Debbie as my new official therapist.

Sure, she’s young.  And she wears a straw hat tied under her chin.  But she makes a delicious and affordable snack cake.

Some children have wisdom beyond their years.  Take Doogie Howser, for example.

Oh, Little Debbie, you had me at enrobed.

This whole Little Debbie thing got me thinking about other product spokespeople and the role they could play in my life.

W and I always talk about getting a house girl to help with things around here.  You know, hit the bank, pick up the drycleaning, take the kids to the orthodontist.  I always pictured her as a Swedish exchange student.  Like Uma Thurman in The Producers but younger.

I would like one pizza with all the toppings for my two lady bosses.

A few nights ago, I told W that we should just get a male nanny, or a Manny, because it might not be a good idea to bring a young, hot, blonde into the house.  Just to be safe and all.

I was thinking that Mr. Clean might be able to get the job done.  He could keep the boys in line and get the toilet sparkling clean.

I am strict but sensitive.

The Hamburger Helper hand would make a great masseuse.  Or, proctologist.

That’s not too much pressure, is it?

Snap, Crackle and Pop would be my drug dealers.  If I did drugs stronger than Zzzquil and Advil.

Yo, this shit will fuck you up.

I’d hire Mr. Peanut to organize all of my parties, because that monocle screams class. The Kool-Aid pitcher would tend bar.  Sam Ronson would DJ because she’s so damn cute.

Real, live lesbian — not a mascot

The Green Giant would work the door and have strict instructions to keep out Lindsey Lohan and Sonny from Cocoa Puffs.  That bird is an a-hole.

You won’t ruin my party, Sonny.

As you can see, I’m feeling a bit better.  Thanks for all the well wishes.

How about you?  Which product mascots would you like to hire?

My depression told me to eat a box of Little Debbie snack cakes

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  I could tell you that I’ve been busy with way more important things like baking cookies in the shape of Olivia Newton-John to aid the victims of Hurricane Sandy or teaching homeless kittens to read.

But, I’m a terrible liar.  Actually, I’m not.  But, now you’re not so sure, are you?

Anyway, I find myself engaged in a battle of wills within myself.  My head is telling me a different story than my heart, which has led to low-grade depression (is there any other kind?) and general malaise.  It’s like trying to pull open a door when someone is pulling it shut.  In a word, I’m stuck.  Trapped.  Caught.  Ensnared.

That whole door scenario ended in bloodshed when I was a kid.  My brother was trying to get into the bathroom while I was pulling the door shut.  Our little game of sibling tug-of-war continued until I decided to let go of the door.  My brother’s face slammed into the doorknob, which narrowly missed his eye.  He was fine until he looked into the mirror and saw the blood streaming down his face.  I ran to my room because I was 15 or so and really only concerned about my own well being and ensuing punishment.  I mean Helen Keller got along just fine with no eyes.

So, I’m thinking that this inner game of tug of war can only end badly.

“What is your depression telling you?” my therapist asks.

This is what my depression tells me:

  • Get lots and lots of rest.  Put your feet up.  Take it easy.  Breathing takes a lot out of a person.
  • Use that hood on your hoodie to block out the light.  That’s why God made hoodies.
  • Eat Little Debbie’s Holiday Snack Cakes for they are delicious and only $1.79 for a pack of 10 enrobed cakes.  And, nachos.  Yes, nachos.
  • There’s an eight-hour Shipping Wars marathon on A&E that has your name written all over it.

Ah, the siren song of depression.

In my previous post, I wrote about the No Ceiling Theory.  Basically, this theory stands for the belief that a person can achieve and live without limits.

SapphoSpeaks commented about the No Basement Theory, which she said would allow a person to delve without limit to his or her  inner depths.

Yeah, not too fond of this idea, Sappho.  I mean, you never know what you might find in a basement.

Quick, off-the-top-of-my-head random list of things that reside in our basement: One non-functioning toilet; instruction booklets and warranties for household purchases, many of which we no longer own; mold spores; one rusted out paper cutter and a musty odor that’s resistant to air deodorizers.

Quite frankly, nothing very useful and lots of gross stuff.

So, why make the trip down the rickety stairs.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole No Ceilings and No Basement thing.  W says the No Basement thing isn’t that scary because eventually you bottom out when you hit the earth.

I’m not so sure she’s right.  I think that if you do the No Ceilings thing and the No Basement Thing simultaneously you’ll find that the two eventually connect.  Just a big giant cosmic hula-hoop.

But I don’t watch much Big Bang Theory, so I’m not real sure of the physics of it all.