Thursday, November 14, 2019

The rainbow sparkly dark angry emo phase



Hello, friends.

Did you realize sometime in the past 10 years EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG started a blog? But not LITERALLY an everyone and their dog blog, oh no. That would be 100% acceptable. Dogs are obviously the best thing on the internet.

Just blogs. Straight up blogs about nothing in particular.

I'm pretty sure that's part of the reason I've been avoiding this place.

Mostly though, it hurts to see the juxtaposition of Caitlin Past (RAINBOW SCARF!) and Caitlin Present (GUESS WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY AFTER YOU DIE!) on this one tiny little address on the great and glorious (and not so glorious) interwebs.

Shit happened, y'all. And if you live long enough, it will happen to you, too.

Since it's difficult to categorize and sort piles of shit, here's a messy rundown of the past ten years.  think I've posted about a lot of this stuff already. And yes, I am avoiding dishes and/or any mention of impeachment proceedings. And I also feel like it's necessary to do some kinda recap before, universe willing, I dive back in here.

1. I got married at 18. Technically, this is a few months past 10 years. Our ten year anniversary was July 10. All I have to say about this: marriage is hard and fairy tales are bullshit. You have to work at it. Preferably in therapy, where someone with a lot of training can help you understand each other and tell you to knock shit off.

NEXT!

2. Our church life fell apart. I was recently going through draft posts and found one called "Krispy Fried Kristian." I would have posted it, but I don't identify with the "Christian" label anymore, so I chucked it. The crazy thing is I WAS ACTUALLY AFRAID TO POST IT BACK THEN!!! AND IT DIDN'T EVEN HAVE CUSS WORDS OR ANYTHING!!!

NEXT!

3. I had four children in 4.5 years. 0/10 do not recommend. It's like having a litter of puppies but with the stakes set to one trillion.

NEXT!

4. We moved. Like a bazillion times

Moving sucks. You know it, I know it. The entire box of knicknacks I'm still missing knows it.

NEXT!

5. I almost died.

I battled postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and suicidal thoughts after each of my kids were born, but especially after my second child and only girl was born in August 2012. I chronicled the whole thing, cuz apparently I am the overshariest of all oversharers, right here on this blog. Two people reached out ... which sounds sarcastic ... but I'm actually over-the-moon happy that I could help ANYONE tackle the horrific monster that is PPD. I remember when I posted the series I kept thinking, "even if it helps ONE person, it will be worth busting my guts all over the internet."

And you know what? It totally was.

NEXT!

6. PMDD got put in a fancy book!

After struggling with postpartum depression, and after wasting A LOT of time avoiding therapy and having the symptoms get REALLY BAD (DON'T DO THIS), I was eventually told I had both endometriosis and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). I took Zoloft for a bit, which made me feel like a zombie. THEN, I found an amazing women's health provider who put me on a) birth control to manage my endo symptoms and b) progesterone. A lot of it. Two weeks out of the month. So, I can't poop ... ... ... progesterone reaaaallllly slows down your digestion if you don't get that reference ... ... ... but I also don't want to kill myself (as much), so I'm calling that a WIN. It's the little things.

I was officially diagnosed with PMDD (which *officially* got put in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013) earlier this year.

7. We bought a business. More specifically, a newspaper. In 2016. Because we are INSANE.

This business is one of the things I still care about (more on that later.) It's 135 years old, and I wake up every day hoping we aren't the ones who kill it, despite society's move to social media.

Also, if you say something idiotic about "social" being the "future" in my presence, I will throat punch you.

(Probably not, because I suck at confrontation. But you will get A VERY STRONGLY WORDED AND VERY LONG EXPLANATION OF HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS DESTROYING OUR BRAINS AND OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE. You have been warrrrrrned.)

8. My grandma died.

The best grandma, because apparently only the good ones get to go home early. Pancreatic cancer. The last words she ever said to me are, "I am so proud of you."

She went out perfectly accessorized, as always, with a fantastic mani/pedi and a black and white skull headscarf.

Legendary.

9. My dog died.

The best dog. I'll love him forever. Maybe it's not a big deal to other people, but it was a big deal to me.

So much so that I decided to change it up and do MORE than 10 things in 10 years. Lucky, LUCKY you, dear reader.

And lest this start to sound like a bad country song ...

10. I shaved my head.

And I dyed it pink. See #12. And now, back to the bad country song ...

11. My brother died.

It messed me up. Still working on it. Struggling terribly with the idea that nothing is permanent and there are no guarantees, no matter what you do or how well you do it.

And finally?

12. I stopped giving a fuck about things that don't matter.

The scope of things I truly care about has shrunk tremendously in the last year, and I mean TREMENDOUSLY. Like, black lipstick, often.

Batman forged the path for a quarter life goth crisis. Who am I to deny it?

The things that still matter to me? Let's see. My family. When we are all together, it feels like we're missing a limb, but we love each other and support each other and make space for each other's grief and each other's bullshit, and that is worth so much. People fake healthy relationships on a much broader spectrum than I ever realized.

It's kind of a blessing to be too tired to fake things. Probably irritating for the socially acceptable robot humans at large, but if I can be an annoying pain in the ass who reminds us that we're all 100% compostable in the end, so be it. #WWED

I still care about freedom of the press. I still care about the overwhelming issue that is fake news, or propaganda disguised as news, or people who want to be "news" but only selectively report or completely skew things in favor of a specific group.  Any organization that doesn't adhere to the journalism code of ethics, and doesn't actually give a fuck what happens after they post something as long as it gets "social media traction" are a HUUUUGE part of what's wrong with society.

Strangely, and annoyingly, I still care if my dishes get done and if everyone has clean underwear and whether or not my floor is disgusting. Having a peaceful, well-functioning environment does a lot more for my mental health than I realized.

When people die, you can't just stop living. Or doing your goddamn dishes.

There's other things, too, but I am officially out of time and words.

This rainbow sparkly blog is going through its emo phase. If you can't hack it, and you're not a fan of honesty, don't let the door hit ya.

As for the rest of you, black lipstick and gold stars all around.
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Enneawhat now?

This will make sense, I promise.
ALSO IT'S NOT A SATANIC SYMBOL (That would be my other blog.)

The death of someone close to you makes you search your soul like you search for rogue M&Ms under the car seat ... because dammit, you've earned a little treat after cleaning seventeen pounds of trash out of the minivan for the seven hundredth time.

That got super long and less Shakespearean than I thought it was gonna. #storyofmylife

One of the things I've been doing lately (kind of obsessively) is personality tests. Myers Briggs, True Colors (thanks, Dessa! You're probably not reading this but I heart you!), the enneagram, and my personal favorite: Buzzfeed's WHAT KIND OF POTATO CHIP ARE YOU?

If I had a flavor it would be 'Crispy Existential Crisis ... NOW WITH RANCH!'

It's like there's this deep sucking hole in my soul that needs some kind of framework to categorize all my feelings and experiences. I need to know who I am, and I need to do it now because newsflash, we all have invisible expiration dates stamped somewhere on these sacks of H20 and emotion.

So. Much. Emotion

Currently, Grover and I are eyeballs deep in the enneagram. Podcasts, books, all the free tests on the internet, blog posts, Reddit threads of questionable origin, etc.

If you're not familiar with the enneagram, it's this super cool symbol which I forget the history of. (Google it.) Each point on the enneagram corresponds to 9 different personality types. Although we all contain all aspects of the enneagram within us, the one that resonates most is our "personality," and it has accompanying values, basic fears, levels, "wings," subtypes, tritypes, arrows ...

It's complicated as shit, you guys, so here's just the basics. There are millions of resources on the interwebs if you want to learn more (watch out for the Christianese if that's not your mojo.)


When I first heard about the enneagram one (or two?) years ago, I was pretty convinced I was a one. After all, I've always been responsible. And I mean, I was pretty sure I was rational, self-controlled, and definitely perfectionistic. (Everyone who knows me really well is laughing hysterically right now ... )

Then I discovered the 'patron saint' of one's is FREAKING MARTHA STEWART.

Have you been to my house? HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Nope. No. Hard pass.

This led to some pretty deep soul searching, and also some pretty severe annoyance because I was having such a hard time finding my enneagram identity. Because identity is what matters, obvs.

That was the first clue.

Then my mom was like, "hey, I don't think you're a one" and I was like THANK GOD CUZ ONES SOUND LIKE TOTAL BUZZKILLS (but I also secretly still kinda want to be a one, because I could GET SO MUCH SHIT DONE and not feel guilty or like I'm missing something essential to being a human ... as it turns out, one is the path of integration for my number, but we're not getting into all that at the moment.)

And then I remembered how fuckin' angsty I was a child/teen. Obsessed with death, Edgar Allan Poe, death, Agatha Christie, more death. I did an entire school report on forensic entymology. I picked different types bugs out of a dead weasel BY CHOICE.

I also realized how I've always felt like the wrong social shape to fit, well, anywhere. I've felt socially awkward, weird, and unable to communicate since I was four years old.

Of course, all of this was shoved super deep down under a smothering coat of clean, controlled religiosity and all the bullshit that entails. Additionally, E also happened to be this number, and a very, VERY strong version of this number, and since this personality type is all about identity, I felt like I had to make my identity everything that he wasn't, because then I would be special.

Side note: I so wish I could talk to him about all this and give him shit. The things you don't know you'll miss. Boo.

OH AND I also just realized writing an entire post about MY FEELINGS about this whole experience is also a VERY THIS NUMBER TYPE OF THING TO DO.

It also explains the purple lipstick and the sparkly skirt and the elephant pants and the pink hair.

When I thought I was a one, I thought I was just at a super-duper unhealthy level because of those things. Because, in case you haven't caught on after reading literally any of the posts on this blog, I kind of have a small problem with hating myself and feeling like I'm just not good enough and also that I'm one big giant EMOTION, which is really helpful for self-analysis but can kind of get in the way of everything else.

Turns out, I now get to blame some of that fucked-upness on being a FOUR! IT'S GREAT! I'm still kind of shell-shocked (srsly WTF), but listening to the stories and experiences of others with this personality, there were a lot of holy shit moments, both painful and affirming. It's kind of like putting on my glasses after thinking I did a bang-up job of cleaning the floor and being like, "well, fuck." (And then I take my glasses back off and VOILA!)

If you happen to be super into the enneagram and you give a fuck, I'm a self-preservation four with a five wing (labeled the "bohemian," which yes, makes me feel very special and cool.) According to the interwebs, self prez fours can mistype as ones pretty easily.

All that to say this: YOU, TOO, CAN HAVE AN IDENTITY CRISIS! Also, the whole identity crisis after someone dies thing is normal and okay and perfectly acceptable and probably good for us all in the long run (clock's ticking, peeps!)

So, goodbye, Martha Stewart. Hellooooo, Luna Lovegood.

(WE'RE BOTH RAVENCLAWS. IT'S KISMET.)



That's all, folks.

P.S. Grover is an eight with a nine wing, in case you're wondering. We've now moved on to the difficult but important work of typing our pets, as one does.




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Monday, June 3, 2019

Record-keeping

I never published these, but I'm going to leave them here on the very public internet because that's what you must do as a POS millennial, right?

I feel like it's important to record my process, probably because it gives me a tiny sense of control. And, just like with the other shitty things I've been through and written about, if it helps someone else feel less insane, it's worth it.

***

{November}

Thanksgiving is coming, and with it, our first holiday without E, not counting his birthday, which is when we held his memorial ... thingy?

"Funeral" sounds wrong.

Funerals don't have mosh pits.

E loathed and despised all things traditional, unless you were talking turkey. One year, we went to a Chinese restaurant to mix things up, and E spent the entire car ride home (an HOUR, mind you) complaining about how much better “normal” Thanksgiving was.

He loved Thanksgiving, and he could pack away mashed potatoes and pie like nobody’s business.

This, I think, anyway, is how I found myself sobbing over celery. I’m never going to have another Thanksgiving (in this particular dimension, anyway) with my brother, and the fact that is now a F.A.C.T. sits on my shoulders. I feel like my family is missing a limb. Our dynamics are all weird, and we don't know our places or how to function properly without him.

The other worst is that this whole fucked up process is nowhere near linear. Sometimes, you feel great. Sometimes, you spend the day crying in a papasan chair in your pajamas. The whole day. I wish that each day, it would get a little bit better.

But nope.

If I go fast enough, I can skip right over the top of the pit of despair like a smooth stone on a glassy lake. Holidays, when you're supposed to relax and enjoy things, are the opposite of what I need to do to keep myself afloat. So, tomorrow's bucket list includes yoga, crochet, a movie and probably stretchy pants. Screw makeup, screw nice clothes, screw turkey, screw holidays.

***

{December}

Christmas. I don't really remember it, honestly. We opened presents and then did Chinese food and a movie at the theater, and it was way better than trying to have a holiday. Grace dubbed Aquaman, "the most beautiful I'VE EVER SEEN!" And someone, I think I know who, left candy on our car with our hashtag #WWED. Have I mentioned this before on here? It's a slightly blasphemous iteration of "what would Jesus do?" to help us remember to live a little more freely, like my brother did.

There was a lot of crying on the way home.

***

{March}

My birthday was so much harder than I thought it would be. I've been listening to a lot of things on grief, and one of the phrases that sticks is that your dead person is now "frozen in time." You keep getting older and creakier and sadder, and they get to go do whatever it is that you do when you die. Our top suspicions are morphing into crows and making viral videos.

I have a lot of anger ... okay, rage. I feel devastated, and I feel like it's his fault for making such a stupid choice, even thought I know we all do dumb things.

Some of us just don't happen to end up dead.

In conclusion, WEAR YOUR FUCKING SEATBELTS, peeps.

***

{April}

It's been six months. Six months since the bottom dropped out of my inherent belief that the universe is a kind and benevolent place.

Six months has been really difficult.

The world has moved on. New scandals, new excitement, new tragedies, new bright and shiny bullshit.

I feel like a part of me will always be trapped on that horrible day. The part that shattered into a million pieces that will never go back together. The part that made me believe I was safe and secure.

In other news, I went back to therapy, because what the fuck else are you supposed to do. Turns out I have all kinds of stuff to work on, not just this most recent bomb drop. Who's surprised? *crickets*

(I just realized it kinda looks like I'm saying all the crickets are surprised. I'LL TAKE IT.)

Oh, and did I mention the weather? It seems like it's been raining since October, which I know is impossible because there was an entire winter in there but holy shitballs, it's SO SAD.

Did I also mention that our "sign" from E has become crows? E looooooved crows for a variety of reasons. It's weird and woo-woo, but hey, you do what you have to do to avoid the depression drain pipe.  I've never seen so many crows before. Maybe I've just never noticed them, but it's a comforting reminder.

Yes, trash-loving birds who eat roadkill are comforting. If you knew E, you know how perfect it is.

***

{June}

I fell totally apart, almost back to the beginning of the process, it seemed like, Friday night, May 30. Sobbing, weeping, yelling "whyyyyyyyy" like a baby cow, the whole nine yards. That thing about grief being non-linear continues to deliver delightful surprises.

We spent the next morning picking up trash on the highway. I had a pretty solid hangover ... maybe contributory to the aforementioned breakdown. It was an especially apropos way to honor my party-loving brother, who would force all the other horribly hungover people to clean up their garbage the morning after forest keggers.

Sunday, June 2, was eight months. I was expecting it to be hard, but the Friday fall-out must have tided me over. I wish there was some rhyme or reason to this.

I've also been having a pretty hard time in the mornings. That's how I ended up writing here at 6:35 a.m., and if you know me you know that's a big deal because I am the exact opposite of a morning person. E no longer being here is the first thought in my head most days, and damn, it's a depressing way to start things.

This particular morning the thought was followed by a highlight reel of our childhood. I am so happy for the memories, but it still feels like my insides are being ripped out when the thoughts come up.

That's all I've got for now.

***

In conclusion (I say like I'm writing some big thesis or something), this fucking sucks. If you're going through something like it - losing a loved one or otherwise - big hugs and creative cussing at the universe is happening on your behalf from this corner of Northwest Colorado.


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