You Searched For: hiding

To missing friends. The ones lost. The ones in hiding.

Tonight I miss people.  I miss friends who I’ve lost.  I miss friends who still exist, but are too terrified of life to say hello.  I understand it.  I miss me too when I go missing.  But I’m still here – deep down- under the shell that protects me when life gets too rough.  I’m still here when my head tries to tell me I’m nothing.  I’m still here under it all.  And you’re here too.

You’re here even if you think no one would know if you were gone.  You’re here in the hearts of people you would never suspect you had impacted.  You’re here in memory and in reality and in the echo of every person you ever touched and taught.  You are magnified in ways you never knew.

Many years ago Victor took me to a tropical island.  It was a dark time for me and a reminder that you don’t get to pick the times when parts of you go missing.  It rained more than it didn’t.  My anxiety and depression magnified.  I got sick and I ended up in the hospital in another country.   When I think back to those days I have dark memories with a few bright spots.  I remember standing in the pouring rain, looking out into the horizon.  I took a picture because I knew I wasn’t me enough to appreciate it at the time.

I found that picture again tonight.

throughtherain

It’s beautiful.  And dark.  And if you look through the rain you’ll see that it’s amazing.  You just have to have the right eyes.

You have to learn to see what’s hidden beneath.

You have to remember that we are so much more than our broken minds sometimes recognize.

I see you.  I remember you.  You echo in me.  I miss you.  But you are not missing.  You are here.

Hiding in the bathroom

Time for the weekly wrap-up.  It’s…kind of depressing.  Mostly because I’ve been really sick, had a rheumatiod arthritis flare-up and of course that triggered a series of small anxiety attacks.  In other words, I seldom left the house and I wrote a lot of bad, angsty poetry that will never see the light of day. You’re welcome.

    This week on my sex column (which is satirical and relatively safe for work if your boss isn’t a total douche canoe):

    This week on the internets:

    • I was asked to contribute to a book about bathrooms since I’m known for spending half my life hiding from people there and it was easy enough because I have 500,000 pictures of me in bathrooms (see above) and then when I got my copy of the book I saw that I was like 10 pages away from a self-portrait of Amanda Fucking Palmer.  Which is kind of kick-ass and totally makes up for the fact that I’m not actually making anything from this book and that I had to actually buy my own copy.  I’m not really sure if I should be proud of this whole situation or not.

    This week on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:

    This week on shit-I-didn’t-write-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

    Is this how it’s supposed to be?

     

    Happiness.  Every day I have it drilled in my head…figuratively.  And now sort of literally.

    My 15th session of transcranial magnetic stimulation was yesterday.  My 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th this week.  Another 20 lay ahead.  They still hurt a little, the magnets drilling and tapping so loudly I have to wear earplugs.  My blinking tic beats out an involuntary pattern with the rhythm and my eyes water.  Afterward my skull feels misshapen, my face stiff as I make strange faces on the long drive home.  But each day I feel stronger and instead of feeling like my mental illness is being beaten into submission each session, it feels different.  I feel the pulses shooting goodness into my head.  It’s worth the pain, I think.  The slow tapping on the right side of my brain where my anxiety lives.  It whispers with each pulse:  YOU.  WILL.  BE.  STRONGER.

    The furiously fast drilling on the left side of my brain where my depression lives:  YouWillBeOkayYouWillBeOkayYouWillBeOkay  *breathe*  *remember to breathe*  

    I feel different.

    On Sunday I think I looked almost like a normal person. I was still scared.  With each step I knew I could fall back, that the exhaustion and fatigue and anxiety could hit me at any second.  My daughter knew too…and she was amazed at each step I took.  Yes, we can go get lunch.  Yes, I’ll take you to get new shorts.  Yes, we can go to the mall, the candy shop, the book store.  Yes, we can swim and listen to show tunes and sing.  Yes, we can play a game.  Yes, I’ll read to you.  

    Yes…I’m enjoying this too.

    It was the most I’ve done in a single day in…longer than I can remember.  And instead of ending the day feeling rung-out and empty and raw I felt…normal?  Is this what normal looks like?  Because if it is I want this.

    Normally I struggle with simple things.  I make strange choices.  The strength is takes to shower or the energy it takes to eat?  You don’t get both so choose wisely.  Every action takes such work…as if living with mental illness is like waking to a new different disability each day.  Someone else could quickly do the simple tasks of the day but I am hobbled.  It can take hours for me to do what could be done in a good day in minutes.  But not today.  Today I feel strong.  I feel guilty for being able to leave the house without xanax to dull the world…for being able to accomplish the things that normal people do every day.  And I feel angry that this comes so easily.  I shouldn’t.  I should feel lucky and blessed but then I remind myself that it’s not just happiness coming back….it’s all of the emotions.   It feels like cheating, like I’m on some illegal drug or cheating somewhow…stealing these emotions I forgot were so strong.    And maybe that’s for the best because it means that I appreciate how much mental illness takes from me when it is present and how much it’s worth fighting for relief.  Even with it hiding I know it is a terrible monster I will always fear.

    When this monster shows its face I fear the world, I fear myself.  I loathe the terrible things that I see and I am too paralyzed to even discuss the news items that stick in my head.  My dr tells me it’s not safe for me to dwell on these things and it’s true…my intrusive, compulsive thoughts makes me obsess about terrible things that happen in the world.  She reminds me that it will suck away my life if I allow myself to be paralyzed with fear and dread.  I am not built for rebellion.  Not yet.   She reminds me to look for the good in the world because it is real even if it doesn’t get the same press and this is a very good idea for people with broken brains, but mine keeps repeating “It’s not enough.  We’re all going to die.  The world is awful and I am a part of it.”

    But now, today, it’s saying something different.  It says that the world is a terrible place…sometimes.  And filled with terrible people…who can change.  But suddenly I’m reminded that there are more people who I know who care, who are empathetic, who fight for others in quiet and loud ways.  I see that I am not alone.  I see how terrible it would be to feel the terror of the world by myself…and how heartening it is that I can see so many people doing small and beautiful things to make the world better.  I’m reminded (for the first time it feels like) of how alone I would feel if I was the only one who felt disconsolate or frustrated.  I’m reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by people around the world who care about others.  Who are here for each other.  I think I knew all this before.  But mental illness changes “knowing” and “believing” into two very different things and I can breathe for a moment and know that it will be okay.

    It’s an epiphany that brings me such relief.  It’s going to be okay.  Not perfect, never perfect…but we will be okay even when we’re not okay.  Even when we’re wanting to be better than we are.  It’s okay to take a breath.  To love and celebrate and smile and mourn and dance and cry and start all over again.

    After a Sunday of driving and shopping and dealing with real live people in the loud world I come home and I am so surprised to find that I am not exhausted.  My daughter tells my husband how much we did.  “Mom did so great!” she says.  As if I am the child.  And it makes my heart swell and break at the same time.  But I will take this.  I don’t want to lose it.  It feels so shaky.  Like holding on to magic you know can’t be real.

    My husband mentions traveling this summer…the beginning of the same argument we have had for years.  I can’t travel.  It’s too taxing.  I would get sick.  I would end up in the same wheelchair I’ve ended too many trips in.  I would slow them down.  They go off together on adventures and I am sad but relieved.  I’ve missed many trips.  I missed the first time my daughter saw Japan.  I watched them on FaceTime from my self-imposed jail as they explore the world.

    But I will not miss the first time she sees Europe.  Because it will be the first time I see Europe too.

    I think it surprised Victor, how quickly I said “Okay.  You know what?  I’ll go.”  He and Hailey held their breath as if I’d take it back.  I hold my breath too.  I wait for my body to say, “No, this was a trick.  It’s not real.  You don’t deserve this.”  But it’s not saying that.  Not yet at least.  It’s saying, “I want to go.  I want to live.  I’ve been waiting so long.”  It says “Let’s see Scotland and London and Paris.  Let’s walk on distant islands and walk through mountains and see the things that I can’t quite imagine really exist because I never thought it would have been possible to see them.  But maybe, a little voice inside my head whispers, maybe it’s possible.

    Maybe.

    Maybe this is real.  Maybe it’s not forever but it’s for today and if it’s real today then there’s a chance that any day in the future could be like this one…full of promise and energy and an ease I feel like I’ve stolen…one that I feel jealous of even as I experience it.

    Next month I will have completed 35 days of TMS treatment for anxiety and depression.  And to celebrate (knock on wood) I will see things I never thought possible.  Some of them in distant lands, yes, but many of them the lovely, simple things that the rest of the world takes for granted.  I will take my daughter.  I will say to her, “Look.  Here is the world.  It’s been waiting for you.”

    I will say it to myself too.

    Please God let me still believe it.

    You like me. Even when I don’t like myself.

    This weekend I was at the 10th annual Mom 2.0 Summit and (as usual) it was wonderful and filled with fantastic people and also terrifying anxiety attacks.  I spent a lot of time hiding in my room but I did speak with these wonderful women about Imposter Syndrome.

    Laura Mayes, Katherine Center, Karen Walrond and me. I’ve loved them for more than 10 years and we have never stabbed each other. Squad goals.

    And I had a panic attack before the panel and small anxiety attacks during it and I babbled and I brought a sack of hair to wear because I get sweaty when I’m scared and my hair is too thin so I needed more hair to soak up the sweat so I wore a fake hair head band but then defeated the whole purpose of having fake hair by pulling it off numerous times in the panel to show how it works and I doubted everything I said and I felt like a fraud even being up there but that really just proves how well-suited I was to the topic.

    Then I hated myself for a bit in my room until it was time to go to the Iris Awards but I didn’t have anyone there who could zip me up so I had to wander the halls holding my dress up in front of me until a friend took pity on me.  But then I won an award for most entertaining content!  And I was utterly unprepared as I’d spent the day feeling terrible about myself so when I got onstage I cried a little and I couldn’t think of what to say so I used the moment to apologize to the women whose boob I’d accidentally grabbed a few minutes earlier when I was pointing behind me and her boob walked into my hand and I yelled “This one’s for you, lady!” as I thrust my trophy into the air.  And then I stole a bottle of champagne and went back to my room to stop shaking but there wasn’t anyone there to unzip me so I tried to pull the dress off over my head and it got stuck on my boobs and I couldn’t breathe and I thought it would be totally like me to die with my dress over my head, suffocated by my own front-meat and then I panicked and hulked out and ripped the zipper entirely.  So, if I have a brand I definitely stuck to it fully.

    (Picture by the always wonderful Wendi Aarons.)

    And the next morning in the airport I thought that maybe this award is a sign that I need to stop feeling so terrible about myself and maybe have a little more confidence and stop listening to my self-loathing brain, and then they called for my group number and I stood up quickly but my purse strap was caught on the chair handle and so it slammed me back into my seat so violently I involuntarily farted and everyone stared at me because it looked like I’d been tackled by a ghost. And after my breath came back I just loudly said, “Wrong group number” so they’d look away.  And as I sat there and pretended that I was in the next group I thought that maybe being body-checked by my own purse was probably a sign too because honestly you can’t fix Imposter Syndrome by just winning an award and it was as if the universe was like, “Take a seat, lady.  Literally.  Because you’re still totally fucking broken.”

    And I am, but also I’m okay.  I’m both.  And that’s what makes me me.

    PS.  Thank you for believing in me when I don’t believe in myself.  You don’t know how may times you’ve saved me…from me.

    *******

    And on an entirely different subject, it’s time for the Sunday wrap-up!

    Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

    Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

    This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by StoryWorth.  “This year, give Mom a StoryWorth Book to preserve her stories. Each week, we’ll email her a question about her life – asking her to recount her favorite memory of her grandparents, the best advice she ever got, etc. All she has to do is reply with a story, which is forwarded to you and any other family members you invite. At the end of the year, her stories are bound in a beautiful keepsake book your family will cherish!”  I did this for my dad last year and it’s been fantastic to read all of his stories that might have been lost otherwise.  I highly recommend it and its super on sale now.

     

     

    It’s the little things, y’all.

    I was in the bathroom at the movies when someone let out the longest and loudest public fart I’ve ever heard in my life, and everyone went quiet for a second in that way where you couldn’t tell if they were more impressed or concerned and then a small child who sounded maybe three excitedly squealed, “OH MY GOODNESS MAMA. SOMEONE TOOTED SO LOUD!” in the same tone you’d use if you’d just seen Santa Claus and then she laughed so gleefully and her mom was like, “Samantha, don’t laugh” but you could tell that the mom was trying not to laugh too because this kids belly-laugh giggles were unstoppable and contagious and suddenly all of the women in their stalls started laughing and for the first time in my life I felt bad that it wasn’t me that farted, because I have never before witnessed a fart that gave so many such joy.

    *******

    And on an entirely different subject…

    Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

    Shit-you-may-or-may-not-want-to-see:

    This week’s wrap-up is brought to you HotHouse Intimates, a company that curates monthly subscription boxes filled with adult products for all experience levels.  Bonus: The site is designed with a mainstream audience in mind so you don’t have to worry about hiding your phone when viewing it, and it makes a fabulous Valentine’s Day gift.  Bloggess followers get 30% off their first box with discount code: BLOGGESSBOX, which I’m not sure is a euphemism but probably is.  Check them out here.

    I’m sure I’ll find this funny eventually.

    If you’ve been following here you know we had an upstairs sink overflow which flooded through my office ceiling and then our washing machine broke the same day and flooded the laundry room and kitchen and I’ve been living with severe anxiety disorder in a house of workmen and plastic tarps and industrial blowers, but today all the plastic was removed (except for the bit that covered the hole they had to cut in my ceiling) and the world seemed almost normal for a moment – until the insurance adjuster and contractor showed up to talk about construction and ripping up the warped floors -which they probably can’t match because they’re 40 years old- and I may have felt a bit sorry for myself because having strangers in my house is like living in a bucket of razors but I told myself that this was very little for normal people and I soldiered on and felt very proud of myself for not hiding in a closet.  And then they left and 10 minutes later I heard this terrible tapping noise and I realized THAT WATER WAS POURING INTO MY OFFICE AGAIN.  So I screamed for Victor who did not hear me because he’s on a conference call and is used to blocking me out as I found that someone (either the contractor, the adjustor or the cat they accidentally let in) had turned the same flooded sink on AGAIN and it was pouring all over the bathroom.

    So now I’m legit crying and the water mitigation people have to come back in today and start over and Victor and I have decided that we’re going to rip out the offending sinks altogether and replace them with ones that have an overflow (WHO MAKES SINKS WITHOUT OVERFLOW HOLES?) but the ones that came with the house are fancy ass custom-made ones so basically I’m going to destroy the most beautiful sinks I’ve ever seen and pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to do it (not including the thousands of dollars for my deductible for the floor damage) and I’m feeling very sorry for myself and also very bad about feeling sorry for myself since this is such a small problem compared to…I don’t know…the plague, I guess.

    The good thing is that several people told me that flooding always happens in threes so we’re done now.  Right?

    Please say I’m right.

    Also, please don’t let me get the plague.

    Please tell me it’s going to be okay.  I know it is.  I just need to hear it.

    PS. As this was happening I was literally publishing these shirts in my shop.  Not sure if this is irony or just punishment.

    PPS.  I made Victor get up on a ladder and pull down the tarp on my ceiling so that the water could escape but he didn’t want to because he was afraid we’d do more damage but I insisted and I was like, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? and then when he untaped it a torrent of water hit him right in the face and soaked his business suit and I’m going to just go hide in the closet now.

     

    Hi. I still exist, y’all.

    If you don’t use Facebook just ignore this.  It’s just an FYI I wish I’d known before.

    I’ve had a couple of people recently ask me why I don’t blog anymore and that seemed weird because I’ve never stopped blogging but they insisted that they hadn’t seen anything from me on Facebook in forever and Victor also said he never sees my posts on Facebook saying that I have a new blog post out and I assumed they were just crazy but I thought I’d do an experiment just to see if Facebook was hiding my posts with links to my blog.

    I posted two posts at the same time asking people to “like” if they saw it in their feeds.  They were identical except one also had a link to my blog.  Within four minutes the post without the link had 5 times more likes than the one with the link and Facebook was like, “This post is doing better than 95% of the other posts on your page so you should pay us to get it out to more people” and that seems ironic since it was a post showing that Facebook was kinda being a dick, but whatever.

    Final numbers 2 days later:

    Post with a link in it ~ 4.4k likes.  (Facebook says 26k people reached)

    Post without a link in it ~ 12k likes.  (Facebook says 57k people reached.)

    Lovely people who understand Facebook more than I do explained it’s an algorithm issue because Facebook doesn’t want to show stuff that has links because it makes you leave Facebook, but that you can get around it a bit by instead putting the link in the first comment of the post, so I tried that and asked people to “like” if they saw it and it got 9.4k likes (66k people reached).   That seems pretty definitive.  I decided to share this with you in case you’re having the same issues, although probably by the time I write this Facebook will also find a way to hide any posts that links in the comments too or just erase me from existence.  Hard to tell.

     

    Hello. Dog here.

    Victor told me to look at the drive-thru window of our local burger joint and I didn’t get why until I suddenly saw it and then I couldn’t stop laughing.

    And I said in a deep doggie voice, “Hello!  I would like ten orders of NO NO BUCKLEY DROP IT RIGHT NOW THAT IS NOT YOURS DO NOT HIDE THAT UNDER THE BED AGAIN BUCKLEY WHAT THE FUCK BUCKLEY YOU ARE THE WORST.  No onions.”

    And Victor was like, “Wait, what?” and I explained that that’s how dogs would order hamburgers because they don’t know the real words for them and Victor was like, “But why are they hiding under the bed?” and I explained that the best place to hide food is under the bed because your angry owner can’t reach you while you’re desperately scarfing it down and also because if you want animal crackers in the middle of the night you can just reach under the mattress and not disturb anyone and then Victor was like, “Wait, is that why I keep finding cookies under the bed?  WE’RE GOING TO GET ANTS” and I sort of see his point but also ants would never live under our bed because they’d be continually disturbed by our pets guiltily lurking under there with all of the burgers they’ve stolen off our plates.

     

    I think this is how you get cursed.

    Did you read yesterday’s post about lawn gerbils?  If not, go read that and then come back.  We’ll wait.

    Okay, so I’m pretty sure someone is fucking with me but Victor and Hailey are both out of town and no one else here has thumbs (except Ferris Mewler who was born with too many fingers but only uses them to turn on sinks and walk away like an asshole).

    So, I got a live trap yesterday and baited it with peanut butter to catch whatever it was I saw and the trap has gone off twice and some of the peanut butter is gone but there’s nothing in the trap so I was like, my lawn gerbils are also ghosts, obviously.  But then people on twitter were like, “The rat probably got out because rats can squeeze through crazy tiny holes and here’s your new phobia” so I went online to order another trap but I reset the old one because why not, but then I just went to check it and it was still open and unsprung BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING IN IT.  Not an alive something.

    A small, shiny star.  Inside the trap.

    And I wanted to get it out because why is it even there and how did someone put it there without setting off the trap but also I didn’t want to touch it because what if the rats left it and wiped hantavirus all over it to pay me back for trying to evict them?  So I went to look for gloves but all I could find were opera gloves from an old halloween costume, so I’m basically dressed up super fancy to put my hand in a rat trap that has now possibly been hacked to catch me.  And it’s some sort of plastic, shiny star (with a hole in back like it should be on a bracelet) and I got one single, unfocused photo of it before it slipped out of my fingers and dropped into the succulent bushes that the rats were hiding in.  So I’m using a stick to try to move the plants to find the star and the whole time I’m thinking, “What if this was their plan all along?  What if they drag me down to their lair and this is where all the missing people and socks go?” but I couldn’t find the star or the ghost rats and it’s really hot so I gave up.

    So now I’m wondering if it was the lawn gerbils paying me for the free peanut butter?  Or is it fairies?  And if so, is that a threat?  And since I just threw it in the bushes rather than keeping it have I insulted them again?  Or was it a message from the rats like, “Gold star for effort, idiot.  Except, you suck at this so here’s a silver star instead.”  Can rats be sarcastic?

    I don’t even have an ending for this.  I’m so confused.

    I realize this is an awful photo but in my defense, it’s hard to take a good picture when you’re wearing slippery opera gloves and holding the bait that fairies might be using to curse you.

    SaveSaveSaveSave

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    Stuff and junk

    So yesterday I was sort of in hiding because I either had the flu or I was depressed and I couldn’t tell which and I was hoping for the flu because that usually leaves quicker but then I woke up feeling shitty again this morning and I realized my head was broken so I called my friend and I was like, “I’m broken.  Will you come to my house and watch Drunk History with me so it’s almost like I’m leaving the house but not really?” and she was like, “Hells yeah.  We’re all broken. That shit’s making the rounds, my friend” but then when she came in I sort of saw my house for the first time with new eyes and I was like, “Hey.  So.  I just realized my Christmas tree is still up.  So, that’s happening” and because she’s nonjudgmental she was like, “You should keep that shit up all year.  It’s a lovely night-light” and I was like, “Maybe it’s a Valentine’s Day Tree.  And my valentine is Santa Claus.  Because he’s pretty much the only one on the tree the cats haven’t knocked down.”  And then we watched TV and laughed and the house animals sat in our laps and I felt human again.  So here is to friends who are better than prozac.  Also, she makes bad-ass bags.  And she was in that chapter of my book about how I lost those dead cat koozies in my house.  You know her.

    PS.  I’m not drunk.  I’m just not correcting my run-on sentences.

    PPS.  I just heard that the paperback copy of Furiously Happy is #4 on the Indie Bestseller List.  Y’ALL.  That is nuts.  People who bought Furiously Happy + people who support independent bookstores = the Venn diagram of people I want to lick on the face.

    PPPS.  Speaking of which, I just got 300 pounds of posters that I carried into my house and signed for Independent Bookstore Day and they are LUSCIOUS.  Like, thick, heavy paper that you’d print diplomas on.  If you get one and you have pet allergies you should maybe shake it out a bit because I had help.

    thank-you

    PPPPS.  If you’re struggling right now too just put on the tv and pretend I’m there with you on the couch.  Because I am.  We all are.

    PPPPPS.  Spellcheck just told me that “nonjudgmental” is not a word and it was like “Did you mean to say ‘JUDGEMENTAL’? and no, I didn’t because that’s the opposite of what mean and, by the way, THAT’S NOT EVEN HOW YOU SPELL ‘JUDGMENTAL’, SPELLCHECK.  THIS IS WHY NO ONE LIKES YOU.

    screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-4-20-47-pm

    it’s in the damn dictionary, spellcheck.  Stop judging me.

    Is there supposed to be an extra "e" in there? I don't even know anymore.

    Is there supposed to be an extra “e” in there? I don’t even know how to spell anymore.

    PPPPPPS.  It also says “koozies” isn’t a real world.  I trust nothing.