i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

the healing power of a bookstore

Hey, you know what? It’s the 27th of March today. And, like, I knew it was the 27th of March today because I know I’m working on the 27th, but I didn’t realize it was MARCH 27.

As in traumaversary March 27th. (Warning: not a happy post in that link.)

As in PTSD issues March 27th.

Until I thought of the date and then did a mental double-take when I realized what day it was.

Normally I am hyper-aware of when this date is about to arrive. I have many sleepless nights, nightmares when I DO sleep, random panic attacks, and more leading up to the end of March. It’s been the norm for the past 3 years.

And yet, I really have not thought about this at all. And today, when I realized what day it was… I have had no reaction.

Maybe tonight, now that I am thinking about it (but not obsessively thinking about it!) I might have a nightmare or something. But to be honest, I feel so calm, and NORMAL that I don’t feel like that will happen at all.

Because I removed myself from so much that reminded me of the trauma. I am no longer downtown. I am no longer walking to the office I was walking to when it happened. I am in a job that keeps my brain busy, my body busy, and my mood HAPPY. So, so happy.

The trauma was always in the back of my mind for so long. Even outside of the last week of March. It was always there. I was always looking up. I’m still very cautious about my surroundings, but I’m not thinking about being cautious all the time. I know it’s become part of my every day routine and reactions, but I am not thinking about WHY.

Because this job has healed so much of what was broken within me. This job has brought me back so much joy. And I no longer feel lost. I no longer feel like I don’t know who I am anymore.

I have found myself again, and it’s not all because of working at the bookstore, but that’s been a huge part of the reason. Quitting my job, starting back in retail (books!), was such a terrifying change to make, but the more I think about it, the more I confirm that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Because today is March 27, and I am not afraid of it.

missing: me, myself, and I

T Swift Lyric

Sometimes a lyric deeply resonates with you. You hear it and your entire world stops. The only thing you know is, “This. This is exactly what I feel but I couldn’t put words to it.”

And it’s amazing how much can change in a decade. And it’s strange what dates we cling to as we keep track of time. Some people have said I should let go of these dates, but I can’t. I don’t want to. They are a reminder of how much of the battle I have fought, and not lost.

——-

Ten years ago today, I was 30. I had just been offered a new job a couple of days prior. Our apartment burned down in the evening.

Ten years ago. So much has happened since then. So many changes. I’m still in the same job I had just been offered. I’m now 40. I own a house.

We didn’t lose anything important in the fire. Shawn was home when the flat above us went up in flames. He was able to get out with the dogs. I came home early from work. We watched firefighters battle the blaze for over 4 hours. We didn’t know where we’d live.

But it worked out. We survived. We got stronger.

——-

Three years ago today, the sky came crashing down.  It has taken me a long time to realize that my trauma from this event isn’t just seeing a life end in front of me, in one of the most gruesome ways I can imagine, but also that it was because I could have died. Had I not stopped suddenly, that man would have landed on top of me, and I would not have walked away from this at all. Therapy helped me realize, and begin to deal with this.

My life did not end that morning, three years ago. I might have flash backs and panic attacks, and think I can feel something on me that I need to desperately clean off, but I survived.

The past three years have not been easy. I think a person can only be so strong. And I think experiencing something like this changes a person. Not always right away, and it can be subtle, but there’s change in a person.

There is change in me. I am not the same person I was before 8am on March 27, 2013. I am not. What wide-eyed innocence I still had within me, I think is gone.  I don’t trust the world. I don’t trust the city.

Sometimes I worry I have lost my ability to trust ever again.

And mostly, I don’t know where my old self went. I’m not saying I wish I could always stay the same, because that’s not what I want. I want back the parts of me that scattered when the sky fell. I want the parts of me that still believed in whimsy, and magic, and innocence to come back.

I am no longer enjoying things I used to enjoy with my entire being. I hardly read anymore. I don’t seem to be able to find joy in much of anything. I am acting out of character in many ways, and I’m so very tired of…well, almost everything.

I have done so much work within myself, and I know there’s more to do. But I am tired. I am an expert on all things ME. I know myself inside, and out. I am so in tune with my entire being that I can’t tune it out.

I have come such a long way in ten years. I have come even further in the past three years. But somewhere since 2013 I lost parts of myself that I don’t think I will ever get back, and my heart breaks over that loss. Because I was finally starting to like ME. I was finally comfortable being myself.

And now, I don’t know who I am anymore. So much of me has changed. I don’t show it to the world. I don’t tell it to the world. I just know. I know myself well enough to know that who I am, who I was, who I have been, is different.

I have a lot more work to do as I try and figure myself out. What do I like? What do I love? What do I want to do? How much do I want to change, and how much do I want to bury deep down inside?

I didn’t die the day the sky fell, but I shattered into a million pieces, and some of those piece are still lost.

peripheral participation

I don’t want to participate. I just don’t feel like it.

It may look like I’m participating because I’ll post something on social media; I’ll update a status; I’ll take a photo of the dogs (mainly Yoshi). But I’m not participating. I don’t read emails, I don’t read private messages on FB. If I do, I don’t reply. I don’t want to reply. I honestly don’t feel like interacting with the world these days.

I’m not scrolling through news feeds to see what your doing. I follow, and speak with, only a handful of close friends these days. They are all I am comfortable with right now.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the kindness and concern directed at me. I truly feel lucky to have people in my life who care about me and want to help. But I don’t have the energy to explain everything over and over to people. I don’t want to. And for some, even though I don’t keep what happened to me a secret in any way, I just don’t feel like spilling all the details.

I have a very close, tight, bubble around me at the moment and only a small number of people are allowed past those walls. It’s all I can handle. I am avoiding requests to come over, and hang out, or having people want to come over and hang out. Nope. Can’t do it. Don’t want to do it. But thank you for caring about me. Honestly. It means the world to me.

But I don’t want to come out and play with people right now. I don’t want to read up about anyone. I barely scroll through FB or twitter at the moment. I visit specific friends’ pages, and that’s about it. I can’t handle anything else.

So just because you see I’ve posted an update somewhere, that doesn’t mean that I’m actually online and participating in everyone else’s life. I’m in my own bubble. Seeing the private message notifications gives me anxiety. It’s stupid, but it does. I know I don’t HAVE to reply to people, but I feel guilty if I don’t. So I just ignore the messages.

Half the time I don’t even have my laptop open anymore. I knit and listen to music (yay for the 90s music station on cable!) I update occasionally from my phone. I’m mostly disconnected from social media and it’s NICE. It’s quiet. It helps the noise in my head to be far, far, away from the noise online.

I don’t want to talk to you, or anyone else. I can’t right now. My comfort zone is limited space right now and all I ask is that that space is respected.

And for those allowed through my bubble, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me heal and stay sane. Thank you for understanding what I need when I often don’t myself. Thank you for your patience and your love. Thank you for not making me explain everything over and over and just being there, making me laugh, helping me knit, and just being an ear to talk to.

One of the things I am dreading is the small talk that is part of my daily life in the office. I just don’t want to be part of that right now. Maybe in 2 weeks I’ll be better, but right now? I don’t want to talk to anyone except my closest friends.

I’m in my own world, my bubble, right now and I am not ignoring the world to be rude, but because the world is just too loud and cacophonous to handle at the moment. Be patient with me, I am not being a bitch on purpose.

(And I am not withdrawing from life in a depression. I just need quiet space around me. Dealing with people is exhausting.)

aKNITction

My new addiction: knitting. Turns out that knitting is quite helpful at dealing with anxiety. The repetitive motions and the feel of the needles and yarn are rather soothing. And, well, if you have an addictive personality (like I do), it suddenly becomes ALL you want to do.

Two weeks ago I needed to up my mental health healing game. Painting the craft room wasn’t cutting it (and I still need to finish that room, sigh.) So I took myself to Michael’s and WalMart and bought myself some yarn and needles and was determined to teach myself to KNIT.

I failed almost immediately because I couldn’t figure out how the heck to cast on to start a knitting project. Thanks to a video chat with my wonderful friend Jeanna, I figured out a very basic way to cast on that I could actually DO. And then I began to knit.

And knit.

And KNIT!

I was a non-stop knitting machine! The simple garter stitch, over and over. It was calming and fun. I am in love with multi-coloured yarn. I can’t even seem to buy any yarn that’s only one colour. I like the rainbows that show up with multi-coloured yarn. I wanted an infinity scarf and very soon, I had one.

This took me five days to complete. I also watched 2.5 seasons of Law & Order SVU while knitting. This was my second attempt at a scarf, the first yarn I bought was too fuzzy and fragile for me to knit with. It kept breaking, and knotting. So I switched to this thicker, yarn and voila! And it was still cold enough to wear outside! (Bitter sweet really, because I’d really like some above 0C weather soon.)

I didn’t know what to do with myself once I finished this scarf, so I picked up my original yarn and tried it again. And soon…

Knitty!

KNITTY!!

DONE! I am so happy that I was able to make this yarn work the second time. I absolutely LOVE the colours and the way they stripe. I love how soft this is. I love it so much, and it’s lighter to wear, so the slightly warmer temperatures that still require a scarf make this a perfect fit for March.

I took out a couple of knitting books from the library, but I’m having trouble figuring out directions. I work better when I am shown how to do something. In fact, I had a second video knitting session, this time with Monkey. She helped me figure out how to purl. I was getting all tangled and adding stitches. So now I’m on a third scarf – this one isn’t for me. And it’s a knitting and purling experiment.

I’ve had to backspace on this one twice so far. I kept messing up which side I was knitting first or purling first. I finally added an elastic to the end of one needle so I knew each time that side came up I had to start with a purl. So I’m farther along than this photo shows, AND it’s not all messed up in the middle like this one.

Right now I’m all about scarves. I bought some cotton yarn to try and make some dishcloths. I’d love to be able to make hats, but I think that’ll come with more practice. I want to knit ALL of the things. I wish I had taken to this more when my grandmother tried to teach me when I was little. I don’t think I appreciated how soothing an action it is.

Besides my own amusement over knitting, Yoshi is my biggest fan. He has loved all the yarn I use, and the scarves I have made (as witnessed by the first photo.) He’s been a fun knitting companion to have. Except when he likes the yarn too much and decides he needs to sleep on top of it.

This new toy is FUN! I’m going to catch all of the strings!

Thank you for making me a THING to snuggle into! I luffs it!

This new THING is even MORE snuggly! I think shall sleeps on it. You got it for me, right?

Are you making me a new scarffy? I luffs this one! Does it go with my eyes?

Sophie, on the other hand, isn’t such a fan of scarves, knitting, or fashion. Even though she looks beautiful in this scarf.

What is this thing? Get it off me! This has nothing to do with FOOD.

(Although she DID discover that bamboo knitting needles are DELICIOUS, and ate mine while I was working on the second scarf. We went out to buy me more needles that night. Sigh. Now I have to keep them way out of her reach. Oh, #NoSophie!)

So, I’m knitting. A lot. And learning. And it’s helping calm my anxiety immensely. And it’s mindless, but not really. And I can get lost in the rhythm of knitting and not think about anything for a while. It calms my breathing and distracts my mind. Something that I used to get from reading, only these days I can’t read. I just can’t focus on what I’m reading. Even my regular comfort food books aren’t holding my attention. It’s upsetting. So I’ll knit for now and eventually I’ll be better. And eventually I’ll learn to knit things other than scarves. And eventually I’ll be back at work (hopefully after Easter), and eventually I’ll have fewer ptsd-related set backs. And I’ll make it through a year without falling apart. It will only be two years since the trauma at the end of this month, so I still have a ways to go to distance myself from things that trigger the set backs.

Meanwhile, who wants a scarf?

the colour of healing

I don’t know if I’ll be back at work next week or not. Personally, I don’t think I should be, but I guess that’s up to the doctor to decide. I’m still not sleeping and having stupid panic attacks all the time. I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m manic, I’m exhausted. But I have an appointment tomorrow, and we’ll see what’s what. Also, it’s 5pm and the sun is still out. Time change this weekend, which always makes me tired (will I even notice a difference?) which means MORE light at the end of the day. I like that.

Meanwhile, in my random manic moments, I am channeling that energy into finally making myself a craft room area. We took the single bed out of the room (which was really only used to hold JUNK), and cleared out a ton of other stuff, and now I have a space to create the way I want.

And right now, I want to be surrounded by blues and teals. This is odd, because I generally do not like blue. But blue is calling to me right now. I mentioned on facebook that I hope I still like blue/teal when this current ptsd set-back is over, because I’m ALL IN right now. Paint, decor, etc.

Clearing out the junk took a while. Because… JUNK.

But once it was all cleared out, I could put my new desk together (that Shawn got me for Christmas), and take my sewing machine out of the box (which my in-laws got me for Christmas). It was nice to have space.

I could have started working on stuff then, but oh, no! Manic Cat needed MORE. I needed to paint. A specific colour. I needed shelves. (Shelves, in this house, are sadly lacking. But we never felt like spending money on them.) I repurposed a shelf that was in the basement holding books (those books are stashed elsewhere for the moment), and I repurposed some mugs I never use, but didn’t want to get rid of, for supplies.

But I still needed more. I swear this time off from work is going to make me broke. So I went out and bought paint. And started painting. Short bursts of painting. Most of a wall a day. Yoshi is helping.

You can’t really tell from the photos, but the blue is a bright teal-ish sort of happy blue. And right now, that’s what I want to be surrounded by. I am going to paint one wall white (the wall with the window), and I’m thinking of looking into a shimmery paint for that. Sort of like mother of pearl, or something.

The top parts aren’t done yet, but I don’t want to climb ladders while I am home alone. I’m not sleeping, I’m (occasionally) taking anti-anxiety medication that makes me very dopey, and I am just not all that steady on my feet right now. So I’ll do the climbing parts at the end, or this weekend, while Shawn is around. I also need help moving that one big bookcase with the books on it. So he’ll be enlisted to help with that, too. He just doesn’t know that yet. (Hi, husband!! *waves*)

I bought some little book-box things as well to keep crafting supplies in (i.e. WASHI TAPE!), they have the same colours as my mood lately. Blue, teal, light purple… I will use those colours to surround myself in this room.

I will eventually teach myself to sew. Right now I’m working on knitting. I need to make some cards, too. Of course I have nothing to SIT on for my new desk, so I’ll be getting a stability ball for that. I like to bounce on one of those as I think. I also sort of have a lot of junk still ON the desk, with not much of an idea of where to put it. I’m guessing a rubbermaid container and shoved in another room will be the solution there. (Which is sort of how this particular room ended up being a junk room. Bright side – we got rid of a lot of garbage, and have bags of stuff to donate now!)

I’m still looking for two pieces of furniture for the room – one is a little cart with drawers so I can keep all my stickers in one place, and the other is a shelf that is cubed, that you can put baskets in. (Like this!) And lastly, I want to make a pegboard to hang up supplies, etc. Similar to the one on this blog.

Oh! I also picked up decals for my walls. (I am tossing between words, or polka dots, not sure.)

I wanted the words “Dream. Imagine. Create.” on my walls, but I can’t find imagine or create. So, I am contemplating a way of painting the text onto my walls. I just need to figure out how to make the template I want. I have an idea that I don’t know if it will work, so if it does – I’ll post about it. If it doesn’t – I’ll paint over it. 😉

Right now I am healing the only way I know how. Quiet, in my head, surrounded by imagination and blue.

Create. Dream. Heal.