outside the box

man-watching-television

I woke up sometime last week and decided that I was going to stop watching tv. It’s day seven of no Game of Thrones or Friends, and I’ve started to have weird dreams. They say dreams are sometimes your brain’s way of filtering out the unnecessary, so it makes sense why my dreams resemble an incomprehensible mash of The Magicians, Peaky Blinders, and Planet Earth.

The television has always been my pacifier. I’ve been addicted to it since I was a toddler, up until now. I didn’t realize how addicted I was until I realized I was willing to go to the store at the middle of the night to get batteries for my dead Roku remote. Sorry to say fellow binge-watchers, but TV is actually really bad for you. You go through a phase of real depression when a show is over, you have insomnia, you’re at higher risk of dying from an inflammatory disease. You escape your anxious reality for a brief time, sure, but still have to face it again when you tune into the real world.

In the time I’ve stopped watching tv, I’ve managed to get a lot of stuff done. I’m finally redecorating our apartment. I broke out my sewing kit and hemmed and patched up my clothes. I’ve written a story I’ve put off for a year and have an interview to hopefully wrap it up today. I have added about 10 more ideas to my “to-write list” and I’ve signed up for freelance writing advice. It made me realize who I am again and what I’m capable of, and I just need to do it.

Who I am again. How did I forget in the first place? The optimist in me shrinks away when I come to the conclusion: my depression. I’m pretty sure I was born with it and environmental factors growing up did not help. I can point out three times in my life when it’s hit me hard: when I moved from Ohio, when I went through a really bad breakup, and most recently, my wedding. That’s right: my wedding. I talked about it a little a few months ago. I had a lot going on. It wasn’t the actual wedding itself, but everything around it that contributed to me holing up and telling you all to go away. Through my journaling, I’ve had to come to terms with a lot of sad things that left me remorseful of who I used to be. I’m not who people think I am anymore. And I wish everyone would leave that memory of me in the past, because that memory is the effect of multiple people manipulating me and hurting me over the course of my life.

I mourn who I used to be because who I was was very misunderstood and broken and needed help (which was seldom given). Sometimes, you still can see the remnants of that person slip through. In the midst of reliving the past, I got carried away in it, drowned my sorrows in my damn Netflix, and forgot who I was.

You’re a writer at heart. You’re a journalist. You’re a good wife, friend, daughter, and sister. You are kind, smart, and hardworking. You’ve chased your goals and look where it’s taken you. You will succeed at anything.

Positive affirmations, something I started in the summer but stopped, came back after I cut myself off from the television. Something I’ve desperately needed to help kick off my writing. My depression is obviously going to be a balancing act for the rest of my life, but at least I know a warning sign is when I sink back into the box.

The Married Life

IMG_4858

Photo courtesy of Zach & Rosalie.

A lot of people have asked me lately: How’s the married life?

To be honest, it’s not much different from how it was before we got married. T and I have been together for more than six years (!). We’ve lived with each other for most of those years and learned how to seamlessly manage our expenses, household, and each other along the way. Although we’ve had completely opposite upbringings and backgrounds, we have similar work ethic, interests, and goals that make us compatible.

It’s cohabiting and compromising and admitting you were wrong on a daily basis. It’s thinking about you two’s overall happiness. It’s a supporting kind of love where you just do things for each other without asking, it’s an effort without expecting anything in return. It’s taking turns making dinner for each other every night, and not forgetting to throw in an occasional coffee date in the mountains or waiting till late night happy hour hits so we can grab fancy food at a cheap price. (A lot of relationships, if you haven’t found out yet, is mostly based on feeding each other.) It’s being in a new state or country and playing up each other’s strengths and weaknesses to get by. It’s going forward while thinking about the other’s goals in mind. It’s listening to each other, no matter how much you hate their guts at that moment, and seeing it through the other’s eyes. It’s getting chicken noodle soup for you when you’re sick (it really does work). It’s making sure to always tell them you love them and giving them extra love when you mess up.

Being married hasn’t really changed a thing; if anything, I hope it shows any skeptics that it’s completely attainable in the modern age if you have a strong foundation to build it on. But as humans and all our perfect imperfections, it is a lot of hard work. It’s two people with their own thoughts and personalities trying to work together. There will be misunderstanding. There will be fights and screaming and tears. But in the end, if you can stick it through the good, the bad, the ugly, then the married life may be a viable option for you and your partner.

P.S. I am in no way, shape, or form a marriage expert.

 

the curse

Beauty is a curse. As with dolls, people treat beauty as an object, a pretty play thing to puppet. No one will ever know your worth. No one will believe there is anything beyond you at face value because they can’t get past your face. Your intelligence will cause them to hate you because they don’t want you too perfect. Just the right amount of dumb. Who am I? Do as I please or give them what they want so they will like me, because at this point I feel like no one ever will know who I am.

My beauty is a curse. Even though someone calling you beautiful – in English, in Tagalog, in Italian, in Brooklyn – should be taken as a compliment, I cannot take it because even those closest to me know that I feel pretty ugly on the inside. I’m not sure if it was there before or after the pretty phase, but my pretty face isn’t all there is to me.

to share or not to share?

Last night, I wrote more than I had in a long time. Last night, I wrote about something that had been bothering me for so long and it was hard. I mean literally the toughest thing I’ve had to come clean about because it was burdening me to the point I couldn’t function. I was finding myself falling back into depressive patterns – staying up all night, not being able to get out of bed, extreme irritability, crying – the works. (Thank God for my husband, who helps me the best he can). Working out and drinking water and yoga weren’t helping. So last night I finally let it all out and today, I feel a bit better but so much lighter.

Now, what did I write about, you’re thinking. Unfortunately, you will (probably) never know. A couple reasons why: As I go forward in my writing journey, I’ve been told to keep a personal journal that nobody ever reads. Now being a journalist, I want to see things be published. But as I wrote I realized there were several things in there that could damage multiple people’s lives and reputations. I reached out to a former teacher/author and asked her what were the guidelines when it came to sharing. She said I should never share something that attacks someone. What I wrote is borderline and possibly when I’m more comfortable with it, I’ll share, but she said to do it in a way that others could relate and learn from it too. So that’s where I am.

I have been applying for new jobs in the city that will hopefully get me off the floor (can you tell I’ve been at the restaurant lately?) I’ll miss it but rent’s not cheap, I’m in debt (admitting that is somewhat self-relieving), and if I am heading toward a “low,” dealing with a stressful job probably doesn’t help even though I do enjoy it. Lately I’ve been more tired and anxious before shifts and I think its just time to stop and focus on what will benefit my mental health more. I’ve been so busy that nurturing my well being has been on the back burner when it should be on the front, always. Not that I haven’t tried. Colorado’s been so therapeutic for me in more ways then better pot. The air, the weather, the trails, the views, the overall progressive mindset everyone has has really helped. Getting away from people whose only intent are to gossip about me and takes stabs at me feels like the best breath of fresh air, too. Which leads to my next point.

I watched a Facebook video about how to deal with ambivalent friends. Apparently they are more detrimental than toxic friends because you don’t know where you stand with them. Here’s the video, please watch if you have a second.

So thankfully I don’t have friendships with people like that now, but I have before. And breaking up with them are almost harder than breaking up with your boyfriend because its usually with someone you’ve known for years and you thought you’d always be friends with them. But things don’t last forever, and that’s okay. Their role in your life has ended and stringing it out is unnecessary. Ugh now that’s two stories I have to play with to make it “shareable” because you’re probably wondering what happened.

But fear thee not, readers. Eventually I will reach that point where people can make a discovery in my stories and hopefully no one will get hurt. So I will leave you with this to live by, as it has helped me.