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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Friday, January 25, 2019

Honor your process (aka GET OFF THE INTERNET ALREADY)


(source)

Quick note to remind myself and anyone else going through heavy shit that it's still okay to get annoyed.

It doesn't mean you've lost sight of what's truly important, it just means the ratio of trolls to logical people in the universe (ESPECIALLY ONLINE) is seriously messed up.

Logic is dead, you guys. RIP. Lord help us all.

Also: DO NOT ENGAGE. I KNOW YOU LOVE DEBATING AND HAVING MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS AND THINK PEOPLE ARE BASICALLY GOOD AND DECENT AND SHIT (my husband says it's a personal weakness of mine ... and he's right) BUT FACEBOOK IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT, THE PLACE TO DO THAT.

For reals, though, you're just gonna start hearing squawks about "LEFT!" and "RIGHT!" and "TRUMP!" and "OBAMA!" and you have to honor the fact that you're fragile right now and will cut a bitch, which won't be beneficial for anyone, and especially not for your current mental state.

Say it with me now: "this is not worth my time."

Because, and this is where that big picture swings back on in and cracks you on the back of the noggin, life is too fucking short to argue with imbecilic boneheaded twatwaffles on the Internet.

That is all, my darlings.

Go be your beautiful selves and live your imbecilic boneheaded twatwaffle-free existence in peace. LOVE YA.


via GIPHY


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Sunday, January 6, 2019

The trouble is

This has literally been my expression for the past three months. #pain

The trouble is you think you have time. ~ Jack Kornfield, Buddha's Little Instruction Book

If there's one thing 2018 taught me, it's to buy my alcohol in BULK.

Kidding and not kidding.

The past year taught me that there's never enough time, and there never will be. For one, time as we know and measure it doesn't actually *exist.* The concept of years and months and hours and seconds and days and lifetimes is just a way to keep our overactive brains from flying off into crazy land.

For two, no matter how great things are, the universe is always winding up for another gut punch.


For three, you're an imperfect and flawed human being, and as such, you're never going to be able to "do it all," no matter how much time you have.

I have to ask myself as we start the steep upward descent into another unknown roller coaster of a year ... what am I doing with all my "time"? Why the hell would I pour it into fake relationships, appeasing judgmental assholes, or caring what Random McRandomface thinks?

I mean, we're all LITERALLY, RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND, hurtling toward death at an unknown rate of speed.

So what do we do?

Judging by the number of Facebook fights with Great Uncle Belzathar going on 'round here, I'm fairly certain we all just try to forget about it.

Of course, we can't be focused on our respective impending dooms every second of every day. We'd go nuts. I'm all for pushing the whole concept to the deep dark recesses of my brain, but here's the trouble - when we forget about our own mortality we often forget to live, really live.

It's that whole cliche -- if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do right now?

Because the thing is, you don't know. (I REALLLLLLLY HATE IT WHEN CLICHES ARE ACCURATE.)

Of course, there's a ditch the other direction, too. If nothing matters, why care at all? Why shower and shave your legs and do your dishes and clean up after your kids and eat healthy food and exercise and put on eyeliner and take out your trash and try to be a decent fucking human being?

Honestly? I have no clue.

All I know is that those are the things that are keeping me sane right now, while my brain grapples with the idea that someone, even the most vibrant person you know, can be there one second and gone the next. I need the mundane and the routine and the normal. I need to remember that I'm here, in this mess, at this time, and that there's nothing I can do about what has happened before or what's going to happen after, but I can be here.

Right here, right now, listening to the printer spit out a "completion" letter to my brother as one of the final steps in a grief recovery class.

I don't know how the fuck I got here, but dammit, here I am. #swearybuddha


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