More than a feeling. 33 to go…

I’ve been really homesick recently so I’ve been spending some time reminiscing. Some of my favorite memories of high school are of me and my parents laughing in the kitchen and singing along to the oldies jams that would come on my “Newsies” Pandora station. Journey, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Rick Springfield and more. One song in particular stands out to me, my mom always loved the song “More Than A Feeling” by Boston. I just remember her dancing around and singing loudly and it always makes me smile.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about feelings this week. I’ve been realizing that feelings, like most things, pass. I had a really hard week, and today I feel great. It’s odd how much things change in such short periods of time. And for people like me it’s really hard not to just ride on the highs and lows that come with each day. You see, I feel things. Hard. I don’t half heartedly feel things, I feel everything with every part of me. When I’m in love, the whole world is the most beautiful place. When I’m depressed, the sun is never coming back. I understand that this isn’t the healthiest way to live and that a lot of life is lived in the in-betweens, this is just how it is for me.

But this dopamine high I’m riding on at the moment will fade. It will be overshadowed by the darkness of winter and the stress of finals. And as we get further into November I find that I’m clinging to the bits of sunshine and the happy moments I can find in between the rainy days. I hate being at the mercy of my emotions. Feeling like I physically cannot get out of bed because there’s no happiness left to keep going on. Crying alone late into the nights and not being able to explain why I’m so damn tired. I know that all of these feelings pass in their time, but until they do I am manipulated by their every whim.

I find myself looking for something that will not pass, and I’ve begun to find it in little things. The love of the people closest to me, the way green tea makes me feel, my love of butt-jokes, or the warmth of sweaters. I’m also starting to understand that there are some things that do not pass. Hope, Joy, Peace. These promise not to fade as time goes on, they’re less a feeling and more of a mindset.

I’m starting to see a change in my life. I can see things differently. I’d like to write a little bit more about this later, but I’m feeling a change even in my brain chemistry. So I’m trying to get in the mindset of Joy and Peace. I don’t really know how to do that, but I think it comes with just looking at the world with a more positive outlook. So we’ll see.

Love you!

Abby

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A hard day. 34 to go…

Today was the hardest day I’ve had in a long time. I don’t have days like this very often, but sometimes I am held down by the weight of my depression and I physically cannot make myself get out of bed. I haven’t questioned my desire to continue to exist on this earth in a long time, but today I couldn’t convince myself that living was really worth it. I stayed in bed until mid afternoon. I sat in the shower and cried because I could feel the physical ache of my sadness in my stomach. I couldn’t make myself eat anything or drink anything. It’s so hard to explain to someone who has never felt this way but it’s as though I was fighting with myself to keep breathing.

I fight it every day. The hopelessness, the loneliness. I have to shake it off every day, but some days it just gets the better of me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the worst part of feeling like this is that nothing set me off. Sure, life is stressful and things are hard right now, but that wasn’t the problem. So on top of feeling like death I’m frustrated with myself for feeling the way I do. I feel like my heart is breaking and my bones are hollow and I don’t know why. I know that I’m deeply loved, I know that my life has meaning, I know that the sun still shines.

This inability to explain my feeling often leads to me isolating myself. I have a deep fear of being too needy in my closest relationships and driving people away from me. I also live in a sort of constant fear of people seeing what a mess I am and deciding that I’m too much to handle. So I don’t talk about it. I just try to manage it myself and end up feeling even further away from the people I love. I’ve been really struggling to remember the words Meesh said to me this summer:

this is not your fault, this is not some weakness that you have, this is just a hard thing in life that you are going through

I’ve been trying to remind myself of this, and I know it’s true, but it’s so hard to believe some days. I can’t help but look at the people around me and wonder why I can’t be happy and functional like them. I can’t help but wish that I was different. It feels like a weakness. It feels like just one more way that my body is failing me, and this time it’s my mind. It’s just one more thing to scare people off. It’s just one more reason that I’m undesirable. It’s just one more way I’m not good enough.

I did get out of bed today. It took everything in me, but I did it. I got up, I showered, I ate something, I washed some dishes, I talked to my roommates, I wrote this. I was able to find the will to keep going. Yea, it was a hard day, but I did it. And I’m slowly learning how to hate myself less and how to find the motivation within myself to go on. It was a hard day, and I’m tempted to say that it was a bad day, but I know it’s days like today that are making me better. I’m learning from days like this and I’m growing from them. They’re teaching me to see hope. They’re reminding me that I’m still loved and still alive. So I’ll ask you to stick with me through the hard days. Stick with me when I don’t know if I’m going to make it to tomorrow. Because you’re helping me get through these days. You’re reminding me that there is hope. You’re reminding me that you still love me and I’m still alive.

Maybe it was a hard day, but it wasn’t a bad day. I’m getting better.

Love you!

Abby

I know exactly who I am. 35 to go…

A little over a month ago I went to visit my wonderful boyfriend and see one of my favorite comedians, Mike Birbiglia.

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A lady on the street took this in front of the theater we saw Mike Birbiglia in. It’s entirely too adorable not to share. 

We had a really amazing time, and if you’re super interested in our weekend you can read about it here but what I want to talk about is my drive there.

It was a six hour drive from my school to the campsite we were staying at and a good stretch of that was through the frozen wasteland that is Canada where there is no internet and no GPS signal so I found myself listening to the same couple of albums in a row. Naturally, there was lots of Pat the Bunny, FIDLAR, Lana Del Rey, and Ben Rector but there was one thing that really stuck out to me. My roommate and best friend Grace has been making me listen to all sorts of new things and one thing I’ve loved is Marina and the Diamonds. Her album Electra Heart is kind of killer and I’ve probably listened to it a hundred times. Well I was listening to her other album, The Family Jewels, and a couple of things really stuck out to me.

Most of this album is really good, there are some weird bits, but I like it lots. (Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13 are my favorites.)

I listened to the first song, “Are You Satisfied?” sixteen times on the way there. I’m not kidding. Sixteen. The words just echoed and bounced around in my head for weeks afterwards.

Are you satisfied with an average life?
Do I need to lie to make my way in life?
Are you satisfied with an easy ride?
Once you cross the line, will you be satisfied?

I’ve sort of always believed that no one is satisfied with an average life, (more on that here) but having those words sung to me over and over I realized how much I’m not OK with an average life. Sure, everyone wants to be remembered and immortalized once they’re gone but I want to be noticed while I’m still living. I want people to see the things I’m doing, the places I’m going, the things I’m writing, the words I’m speaking, and see that my life is different. I’ve always wanted to be unique. One thing that frustrates me endlessly is when people say things like “Oh my gosh! You’re exactly like my friend so-and-so.” Public Service Announcement: No one wants to hear that. Tell me that I remind you of someone you know, or that you think I would really get along with your friend, or that we have similar traits, don’t tell me that I’m not enough of a unique person to stand on my own. I understand that I can’t stand out in the mind of every single person I come across, but I don’t want to be forgettable and comparable. I want to make beautiful things and change the people around me for the better.

“Oh No!” has quickly become my new all-time-favorite song. Every time in comes on in my car or while I’m walking around on campus I have to seriously fight the urge to start dancing like a maniac. I lost count of how many times I listened to this song on my trip but it was an ungodly number of times.

I know exactly what I want and who I want to be
I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine
I’m now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy

I’ve been singing these words over and over again for weeks on end and I have no intentions of stopping any time soon. These words have meant so much more to me than I could possibly say. I’ve realized recently that this is the best version of me that has ever existed and I’m really proud of that. I’ve worked really hard to shape myself into the person I am. In a conversation with Grace this week I said “this is the skinniest I’ve ever been in my life,” and it wasn’t until much later that I realized how true that was and how happy that made me. This is the thinnest I’ve ever been, and it’s also the healthiest I’ve ever been. This is the most proud I’ve ever been of my body. This is the most proud I’ve ever been of the person I am. I’m proud of the choices I’m making and the person I’m becoming. I’ve realized that not everyone is going to approve of the person I’ve chosen to be, and I’ve realized that I don’t care. I feel like I’ve stopped trying to please people with my choices, my clothing, my taste in music, the way I talk, the things I write, and the way I am. I’m done trying to fit myself into boxes to make other people happy. I know exactly who I am and who I want to be.

So I’m going to keep dancing to those words and invite you to join me. Dance along to knowing who you are and who you want to be, or dance along to not knowing and trying to figure it out as you go.  We are our own self-fulfilled prophecies. We decide who we are.

Love you!

Abby

i am a woman. 36 to go…

i’m not a
delicate teacup
for you to
enjoy without
touching

nor am i a
simple mug
for you to
drink from
daily

i’m not a pretty
thing
meant to be
left on a shelf
and looked at

nor am i a
kitchen utensil
for you to use
as it suits you

do not try
to personify me
into the manmade
objects
around you

my heartbreak
is not art
and my tears
are not poetry

my pain is not
a painting you can
sit and stare at
and attempt to
find meaning in

i am not
some beautiful
porcelain jar
that can hold
my thoughts
and sit quietly

i was made
from the mud
of this earth

i am dark
and misshapen

i have been dropped
and cracked
and slowly
chipped away

so don’t look
for me
in the things
you have made
look for me
in the things
you cannot control

find me
laughing in the
colors of fall

find me
singing in the
babbling brook

find me
dancing in the
spring breeze

find me
screaming in the
waterfall

find me
running in the
rolling hills

i am not
something you
can understand
and i am not
something you
can stop

I don’t typically share my poetry on this blog, but it took me several hours to write this one and I’m very proud of it. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we try to write about people so we can understand and capture them, and this came of that.

Love you!

Abby

Pat The Bunny. 37 to go…

I’ve really struggled with depression for several years and one of the main ways I have chosen to self-medicate is through music. I’ve spent a lot of time pumping happy, lovey-dovey music into my head to avoid the darkness that creeps around the corners of my mind and preys on me when I’m weakest. My friends at school would make fun of my taste in “white-bread” music that all sounds the same, and I didn’t have it in me to tell them that it was the only thing I had to help me hide from my demons.

Well things have changed. I’ve changed. I’ve started to deal with my depression openly and honestly, and I think it’s come with being physically healthier, being more honest with the people close to me, and acknowledging that there is a problem. I’ll write a little bit more about this in detail later this month, but I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I don’t have to numb my mind with sappy music.

Living with Grace and Mike means that I have listened to a lot of new and interesting things. From K-Pop, to Wu Tang Clan there is almost always music playing in our house. Recently, we’ve been listening to a lot of Pat The Bunny and it’s kind of been changing my life. I’ll warn you straight up, his music is not super family friendly. It’s abrasive and angry and honest. It’s also full of hope. You should definitely take a listen to it though, it’s sort of been changing my life.

A couple of weeks ago I drove with my dear friends Grace, Evan, and Brandon to see Pat The Bunny at a tiny stone church in Vermont.

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The show was absolutely amazing. I cried. A lot. I got to shake Pat’s hand and in that moment I couldn’t put the words together to tell him about how his music was changing my life. There was a moment when everyone in the room starts singing along to “We Are All Compost in Training” and everyone screams along THE WORLD NEEDS MORE SPINACH, NOT MORE MOTHERF****** LIKE ME and I just sort of lost it. How true is it? The world doesn’t need more people like me, the world needs more spinach.

A lot of his lines are funny, and Grace and I sing them loudly while driving.

Seat belts are for people with time to die, hell, I don’t even have time to sleep.

And then some are so incredibly relatable.

Nothing’s free but time when you’re so damn poor.

And there are some that make me cry every single time.

Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist so keep on loving, keep on fighting, and hold on for your life.

These are words I’ve been listening to over and over again, reminding me that there is hope and that choosing to numb my mind in any way is not the way to deal with the pain I may feel. It’s been serving as a reminder that I’m going to make it out in the end. It’s been showing me the importance of being socially informed and speaking up. It’s given me something to laugh at and sing along to and a way to say a lot of the things I’ve been feeling.

So maybe this isn’t your style and maybe you don’t connect with Pat’s music at all, but it’s a 35 minute album that’s worth listening to in depth at least once.

Love you!

Abby

The People’s Climate March. 38 to go…

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a crazy, dirty, hippie-dippie tree hugger. Well, a couple weekends ago I had the amazing experience of going to the People’s Climate March held in New York City. There were over 400,000 people there marching to see action taken about how we deal with climate change. It was easily one of the most beautiful, encouraging, and life changing things I’ve ever done.

I went on this trip with three of my dear friends, Sarah, Evan, and Grace. It started with a crazy six hour car ride filled with FIDLAR, Pat The Bunny, and Lana Del Rey. We arrived at the church we were staying at and met our amazing hosts Dan and Stephanie, dropped our stuff and went for a stroll around Central Park and then caught the metro to Chinatown to get the most amazing sesame pancakes I’ve ever had at a place called Prosperity Dumpling. We then came back to the church and passed out on the floor.

We woke up bright and early the next morning to get our stuff together and hop on the metro to get to our spot in the march. I was super excited to be going to the march, but I didn’t realize what an impact it was going to have on me. I saw someone carrying a sign that said “I’m marching for a better world” and that was the first time I cried that day.

10488005_840455185973914_4075154972056020718_nI had the amazing opportunity to march with the Lady Liberty puppet from Occupy Wall Street and built by The People’s Puppets.

So much of the day was filled with tears. At one point people began singing “we’ve got the whole world in our hands,” and later people began chanting “I BELIEVE THAT EARTH WILL WIN” and after that “WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE, A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE” and I just cried through so much of it. I honestly didn’t know how else to express all the things I was feeling.

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This little girl holding this sign made me sob like an idiot

10689790_10153176254324972_8742835347751337068_nI took about a million pictures throughout the course of the day, but this is one of my favorites. The signs we saw were all so inspiring.

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Peacin’ with Lady Liberty herself

I was so overwhelmed by all of the people who were so determined to see our world changed. People who believe that protecting our planet is worth it. There is change coming and we are the people to make it happen. There were so many beautiful people there who cared about so many beautiful things.

I wish I knew better how to write about how beautiful it was. How to express how inspired I am to change our planet for the better and to continue speaking out about the importance of protecting the planet that sustains us.

I love you!

Abby

I once was lost. 39 to go…

I want to tell you about The People’s Climate March, which I was at this past weekend, but there’s something I really need to write about.

I use an app which shows me what I did on social media on this date over the past couple years and usually it makes me either laugh at the stupid things I’ve said and done (a year ago today I said “even in a room full of blind people, I could still make awkward eye contact,” and I laughed about that for 20 minutes,) or cringe at the horrible things 15-year-old Abby posted (5 years ago today I posted something very bitter about being the only person not going to homecoming. Goodness gracious I was a miserable 15 year old.) But today I came across a blog post that I wrote one year ago today.

I wrote this post while sitting between the door to my dorm and the door outside. I sat there repeatedly calling my best friend with tears in my eyes just hoping she would answer and that I wouldn’t have to be alone. But she didn’t answer. So I sobbed and did the only thing I could think to do, I wrote. I remember that night like it was yesterday, and it broke me all over again to read these raw feelings. It was an ugly time in my life that I don’t really want to elaborate on, but I’ll tell you a little bit about it.

I had been messing around with a boy who I knew I shouldn’t. He was bad news and I knew it. But he was around and I was so desperate to feel wanted that I would have done anything. I was so desperate to be seen and noticed and desired, and he was the first person to notice me. Well it was that night a year ago that he told me that things had to end. I wasn’t so upset about it ending as I was upset at myself for getting myself into this situation in the first place.

How could I have been so stupid? How could I have thought things were going to work out? How could I have thought things weren’t going to blow up in my face? These questions ran through my head over and over again as I sat there and cried. I felt so helpless, broken, and useless. I felt worse about myself in that moment than I ever have in my whole life.

This is honestly one of the ugliest moments of my whole life, but the end is why I knew I had to write about it.

I wish I didn’t have to go through this, but this is life. Life means failing and falling short and growing because of it. I don’t feel like I’m growing yet, and maybe it will take a long time before I will but it will come.

I couldn’t feel myself growing in that moment, but now as I look back I can see how much I’ve grown. I can see the person I was and I can see the person I am. I can see the scars that guy left on me fading with time. I can hear the words he said to me that made me feel so desired being replaced by words of the people I know really love me. I see the broken girl I was and I can see her standing again.

I was at women’s Bible study a couple weeks ago and these words stuck out to me so much that I had to write them on my arm and just stare at them:

Being found isn’t as beautiful if you don’t admit that you were once lost.

I don’t know about you, but it’s so easy to look at the hard times in my life and just say “I’m not that person anymore,” and to dismiss the times we messed up and that things were hard. But I’m realizing more and more that I am the person I am because of the decisions I’ve made, good and bad. I have to be willing to admit that I was lost, broken, and ugly to truly understand how found, whole, and beautiful I am. It doesn’t do me justice to just say I turned out like this, and it certainly does not do God justice. God is glorified in our stories, the beautiful and the ugly. I believe that deeper than I’ve ever believed anything.

So there it is. I was broken. I was lost. I still am some days. But the beauty is that I once was lost but now am found.

Love you!

Abby

PS- I couldn’t find a good place to put this, but the last paragraph of that post really speaks to me.

This too shall pass. All things do. The good and the bad. That’s why you can’t be too attached to moments, because they are all so transient. Here for a minute and gone the next, never lasting long enough to do more than tempt us with hope and beauty or break us with sadness and bitter loneliness. This too shall pass.