How’s Denver?

img_2883.jpgWow. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for over a year and a half now.

When I started to tell my friends and family that Denver was the plan after graduation, it wasn’t really much of a surprise. We had been coming here for the past three years before we moved and just loved the mountains and the people and the city so much, that it seemed like the next best step. There was an internship at a magazine I wanted to work at here, plus T wanted to get into the cannabis industry.

Denver, or Colorado, in general is not what I imagined it to be but it couldn’t be any less perfect. (Colorado natives are probably like “noooo, don’t tell anyone that!!!”) Since the pot boom of 2014, thousands have swarmed and nested into the Front Range (the stretch of land between Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, just before you ascend into the mountains) and property prices have quadrupled. What I pay to live here is twice the price I would have paid for in Columbia, but I am actually doing quite well as a server. Granted, I get paid $6 an hour to serve (where in Missouri, it’s a heartbreaking $3), and there’s a larger demographic of people who can afford to eat out and overtip here.

The neighborhood I live in, Jefferson Park, is located north of the Bronco’s football field. It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in in Denver because of its proximity to the city and it’s just shy south of currently one of the hottest neighborhoods in Denver, the Highlands. I have an amazing view of the city, and if I head just a few blocks west, I can already see the mountains. There’s constant construction of the most modern houses I’ve ever seen, and they all start at, at the very least, $500,000. The average age of Denver residents is around 35, so while that down payment seems intimidating to a post-grad who has to pay off her school and wedding, you have to keep in mind there’s a lot of very intelligent professionals who live here and make this city great.

When I first moved here, I thought the people were absolutely rude. They didn’t smile at you, didn’t make eye contact, I felt like they just knew I was a foreigner and wanted me to go away. But I had to rationalize that I came from the Midwest where hospitality is a thing and people are as kind as can be (to your face at least), that I shouldn’t expect the same in the West. I do love Coloradans though. Even though some (okay, a lot) I have met are self-righteous, they are caring, warm, confident, outspoken, and honest.

But back to the point. How’s Denver? I love living 20 minutes away from the mountains. I love getting lost in them and hiking and napping by rivers and feeling so small when I look up at them. And when I climb to the top, I feel closer to God. In a way, they are pretty godlike in all its magnitude and glory. I also love living right by Federal Boulevard, which has the longest strip of taco trucks I have ever seen in my entire life. There’s almost one on every corner. If you keep heading south on Federal, you’ll hit Little Saigon, where there’s all the pho and boba tea I could ever want. I don’t really go to mainstream downtown very often but when I do, RiNo (River North) is a short eight minutes away and hosts some of the best street art, breweries, and food (hey, Denver Central Market and Zeppelin Station!) in the city. Eating here is an adventure all on its own, though it can be an expensive hobby. I’ll eventually find a restaurant that doesn’t charge $10 a cocktail.

The only reason I would move is to become an editor at a publication. I’m still chasing my journalism dreams, and for some reason, cannot find the kind of job I want here. I really want to be an editor at a magazine for as long as print journalism is alive but can see myself working for a digital publication, too. Unfortunately, those jobs are typically located on the coast or at another major metropolitan, so moving is in the cards for me, no matter how much I love Denver. I also have a goal to become a full-time freelance writer by the end of the year, so my serving job is the perfect way to support me while I get started. Currently, I’ve applied for jobs that suit my interests, but while I wait, I can do it while having fun in the Mile High, too.

dreams💖

starting to feel more like myself again. Lana’s been on repeat lately.

I’ve been writing. thinking. reading. creating.

I am conflicted. I don’t know if I want to stay here or go to California or get a real job at a publication or keep freelancing.

I am in the works in finding a place by the ocean and getting away for awhile so I can finally sit down and write my life story. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and contemplated on how to share it the best way possible. I just need to be in the most comfortable and peaceful setting possible as well.

I really want to write more stories about the environment and animals so that’s on my research list.

Mercury is currently in retrograde so it’s going to be a lot of me time for the next couple weeks.

I have been writing a lot of poetry, surprisingly, and think I have enough to start it’s own Instagram, but I need to brainstorm a name for it.

I read somewhere that you should create from pain, and while I’ve been scared to accept that, I read something else that I’ll leave you with:

I hate goodbyes.

when I heard news of my friend Kate’s health, my heart shattered. she had been in the ICU for the past three weeks and the prognosis was not in her odds. her liver had failed, as well as her kidneys. she had bacterial pneumonia in her lungs.  her blood was septic. on Monday, it was decided that she was going to have her ventilation and dialysis support removed.

I woke up Monday morning, ready to say bye. at least I thought I was ready. I saw my beautiful friend, yellowed, slipping in and out of consciousness, surrounded by tubes and machines but also by friends and family and music and love. I held tightly onto my crystal quartz and prayed into its light. “dear God, please watch over Kate.” I held her hand, I kissed her and whispered in her ear, “thank you for being my friend.” I told her I loved her. around noon, the doctors removed the ventilation machine (dialysis went away earlier that morning). I left around 1:30 because I had to go to work. they said it would take six to eight hours for her to pass. she went to heaven at 3.

I don’t have any pictures of us except for the memories in my head. we used to have long Sunday night conversations full of carne asada, red wine, and Game of Thrones with our friend Luis and his family all summer long. our friendship dwindled as we went into fall and she quit the job we worked at together. I had thought of her, yes, but I did not keep in touch with her. and by the time I found out, it was already too late.

that evening, I was lying on my couch when I felt it. the ceiling began to pulse and swirl, feeling oddly like the start of a trip, and I could sense this energy from where the ceiling and the wall met. my skin went cold, not in a bad way, but like I had walked into the most refreshing mist ever. I knew it was Kate. “be strong,” she whispered. what did she know that I didn’t?

this wasn’t the first time this had happened. the same thing happened when my grandma passed away in San Francisco. I could feel her wrap her arms around me shortly after I knew she had gone and told me she wasn’t in pain anymore (for the past eight years, half of her body was paralyzed and she was bedridden). I felt that same “cold” feeling during and after a bad car wreck when I was 17, and many years before that, felt it visit me when I was going through a very difficult time and I was alone and had no one else to turn to. it convinced me not to die.

I’ve always known that I vibe at a much higher frequency than the people that surround me. it’s brought me to the very few who think and feel like me, attracted many who sense and are drawn to it, and repulsed everyone else who didn’t understand. for years, I didn’t know how to control the vibes my energy was giving off (which was out of control and 100 percent affects the people around you) until recently, I have learned to harness it, be aware of my toxicity, and use it positively.

I felt content and at peace after her visit, even though grief is the weirdest thing. I’ve never grieved for a friend before and for me, it comes in spurts. I’ve been thinking for the past month how I wanted to share this, if I even wanted to, but it helps with the healing process, so I’m going to. thanks for being in my life, Kate. I promise to be strong.

hypomanic 🌚

I am currently on a manic spree. mania is a side effect on the mood disorder spectrum, and it’s just a way of referring to an elevated state of energy.

since I got off work this afternoon, I cleaned my apartment, did dishes twice, did laundry, put clothes away, sold more clothes from my closet, worked out, did yoga, painted my nails.

I feel like it’s a perfect day since I got so much done, so it really doesn’t bother me, even though it sometimes keeps me up late at night. I am reading Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts, a cognitive behavioral therapy guide to help me with my low self-esteem. on the outside, it may seem like I have everything together, but on the inside, it is a daily struggle to get over the negative thoughts. I’m learning a lot though! I’ll do a write up when I’m done so I can share with you all what I’ve learned and maybe you can learn from it, too.

here I am.

it’s one in the morning and I cannot sleep. I’ve been busy with working at the restaurant – my tips are looking up and I’m starting to recognize the familiar faces that come through the door. however, it’s so mentally taxing to be so energetic and polite on a daily basis. I really want another job, preferably using my degree.

it’s time to grow up

in other news, I have been pitching and researching and writing for publications. someone commented about how it doesn’t matter often I write, as long as I’m writing (which is true, thank you) but my goal is to freelance write for print publications and make a career out of it, so I must always have a project in front of me. what I have written personally will manifest to eventually poetry and probably fiction stories (my true loves).

a lot of my personal writing has stemmed from, you guessed it, my mood disorder. you’ve probably seen mention of my depression popping up here and there. researching it has been very time consuming, but I like it and I love learning more about myself, manic & low. in Bipolar, Not So Much, depression and bipolar disorder are actually placed on opposite poles of a mood spectrum. while there are individuals who have just depression or just bipolar, it’s not the case for everyone else and are often incorrectly diagnosed. for example, when I was 12, a psychologist diagnosed me with severe depression but when I was 18, a psychiatrist said I was bipolar. I actually fall in between the two, and knowing that earlier might have helped me deal with relationships with others overall. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this pretty lonely journey, but my main focus now, too, is how to take care of myself.

methods that help:

  • writing & blogging
  • yoga (the breathing is helping my anxiety and stretching is getting rid of built-up stress);
  • not eating meat or dairy or sugar (they seriously make me feel like shit the day after) and eating vegetables and fruit instead;
  • talking about my feelings with my family, friends, and husband;
  • and eating and traveling around Colorado.

I have also been shopping for crystals lately because of their mysterious healing powers. I bought a crystal quartz, obsidian, and amethyst with all different characteristics, and I am in love and cannot wait to get more.

all for now. please send any and all good vibes this way as I sort my life out. 🖤

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.