Falling apart a little bit.

So yesterday all of the anxiety I’d been fighting off got heavier and heavier and I fell apart into one of those heaving, ugly-cry panic attacks where you’re pretty sure that you’re literally dying but you also suspect that it’s all in your mind. Which makes it worse, in a way.

Victor is used to my normal anxiety attacks but these big, end-of-the-world ones still freak him out. I tried to explain how I was overwhelmed with the world and decisions and how I felt like I was failing at everything and that I was certain there were important things I’d forgotten and that were falling off the edges and that soon I’d remember them all too late. And he didn’t understand (because he’s not insane in the same way I am) and tried to help by encouraging me to set goals and deadlines with the things that I’m forever behind on and that just made it worse because I don’t have the capacity for goals and deadlines at the moment and it feels so terrible to explain that something so simple for most people is absolutely too much to even think about for me at the moment.

Most of my anxiety attacks are normalish. You could watch me have one and sort of empathize. I hyperventilate. Sometimes I’m physically sick. My hands curl into claws. But they pass and other than the rag doll exhaustion that comes afterward it all seems somewhat understandable, if a bit dramatic. But a panic attack is different and the panic is so overwhelming and physically painful that I will do anything to make it stop. I look outside at the squash in the garden and have an uncontrollable urge to rip it all up so that it’s one less thing to think about. I sit on my hands to keep from grabbing the clippers and shaving off my hair so that I don’t have to think about it anymore. I am overwhelmed with impulsive thoughts and I know that it will pass but I have to keep myself safe until it does. I hide in my room. I make Victor watch me when I feel like I can’t trust myself. I feel like a burden but I also know that he knows that this will pass.

And then it does.

After an anxiety attack I feel drained and exhausted. After a panic attack I feel keyed up and paranoid and ragged and brittle. Anxiety attacks are like a good long cry you didn’t know you needed. Panic attacks are like the first cry when you’ve lost a family member. You don’t know when the next one may come and what will set it off.

Today I am better. Still jagged and a bit broken, but less likely to listen to the illogical lies in my head. More likely to forgive myself for my limitations. Trying to give myself the same level of acceptance and love that I’d give anyone else in this situation. Reminding myself that I am not alone. And that this idea that we are failing and drowning is not real. We thrive more than we fail. We just don’t celebrate it as much. We notice the (sometimes imagined) frowns when we let someone down so much more than the (very real) smiles we fail to recognize when we put them on other people’s faces.

This morning I washed the dishes to feel like I was actually doing something. I have real work to do but I needed something mindless to distract me…something that would make me feel some sense of accomplishment…and while I was working I felt Dorothy Barker drop something on my foot.

It was a small, uneaten part of her milk bone and I suspect she dropped it on my foot because they’re stale and she was giving me feedback but I thought that it was entirely possible that she just wanted to share with me. And then I realized that the piece was gnawed into a heart.

Dogs don’t know what hearts are and she definitely didn’t do it on purpose and frankly it looks more like a shark’s tooth than a heart. so technically if I’m being scientific it’s more likely that she’s threatening me but you know what? Fuck that. I’m taking this accidental heart as a sign from the universe that things are going to be okay.

Because they are. We’ll be okay. Me and you. Even when life feels like too much of a struggle, remember that this passes. Remember that fear and reality aren’t always the same. Look for the small signs of love and kindness. Have faith that brighter things are coming. They are. In ways you never expected.

It’s Friday. Let’s celebrate.

It’s Friday and you deserve something to make you smile so here are the things that did it for me this week:

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If I die, use this as evidence @quincyvines

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rock lobstah 🎸 via @queenb_aker @stevenoooch

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My first thought was Shrek 😂

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Fuck it, I’ll do it tomorrow (@sadpeaks)

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It is never too early for Halloween.

Some people might say it’s too early to decorate for Halloween but I don’t listen to those people because I’m literally that person who intentionally leaves Halloween decorations up all year. Halloween is a state of mind, after all, and it is my favorite holiday in the whole world.

This year will be different, of course. Hailey and I will still dress up and watch scary movies and I’ll leave a bucket of candy and children’s books on my porch for anyone who ventures out but that’s about it. However, this was the first year that I had a whole eerie window display to plan out for Nowhere Bookshop and it is my new favorite thing.

I was going to make ghosts reading books (ala “DYING FOR A GOOD BOOK?”) but then I thought maybe that was in poor taste during a pandemic and then I thought maybe a fire breathing dragon but I wasn’t sure if the fog machine would fuck with the books so I ended up with a fortune telling theme because I collect tarot cards and oracle decks and I already owned almost all of the props that I’d need.

And after a few hours of work…it was done!

(Those aren’t real owls, by the way. It know it’s illegal to taxidermy owls here. Please don’t call the game warden.)

And I was very, very proud of myself for finishing my very first window display.

And then I remembered that window displays should actually face the window.

So maybe not a perfect victory, but a victory nonetheless.

PS. I did manage to rearrange everything before I left so technically I think this counts as TWO window displays.

PPS. Want to shop for the books in the window and support Nowhere? We have curbside pick-up if you’re local and we ship everywhere if you’re not. Click here to see them all! (We have a giant selection on our website but these were just a choice few I loved.)

Hello, sweet strangeling!

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangeling Bookclub you got an email from me earlier this week telling you what next month’s book is but in case you haven’t joined yet or you’re an honorary member get ready because next month’s book is probably my favorite one of the year and that’s really saying something.

It’s A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and it’s SO good. Here’s a little taste: 

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate or die. The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

If you’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on joining the book club this is the right time. It’s just dark enough for a Halloween book, but not really scary and it is so wonderfully written I couldn’t put it down. In fact, after I finished it I immediately bought several of Naomi’s other books because she just became one of my new favorite authors. I realize a lot of you are rolling your eyes at me because you already love her and I am late to this party. Better late than never.  

And I always suggest a bonus book in case one isn’t enough for the month (I feel you – books are keeping me sane right now) so may I recommend The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, which comes out in a few weeks? (France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.) It’s really lovely and I highly recommend it. A sort of tragic, romantic fairy tale that sprawls over hundreds of years.

Have you started this month’s book, Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard DaughterDid you love it? I’m opening the discussion here and on Facebook if you’ve finished it but as always, no rush! The discussion post will stay up on my blog and the fantastic strangelings facebook page so you can always lurk or drop in whenever you want in the future. 

You have no idea how much your support helps an authors and publishers and indie stores, especially during these times when bookshops aren’t able to fully open.

I super crazy love you guys. I can’t say thank you enough for supporting Nowhere Bookshop. But I can try.

Thank you.

It made sense at the time.

me: I feel like I’ve spent half of quarantine trying to decide if I’m hungry or just bored.

Victor: Same.

me: But then turns out I’m both hungry and bored. I’m…hored? Is that a word

Victor: Pretty sure it shouldn’t be.

me: But “bungry” sounds gross. Sounds like you’re hungry for bungholes.

Victor: It does not sound like that but now I’m definitely not hungry anymore.

me: And I’m not bored. PANDEMIC SOLVED! (But only the hored part and only for a few minutes because then I remembered that I’d hidden a bunch of gummy rings in the back of the pantry.)

It’s Friday! You deserve this.

It’s Friday! I think? Who fucking knows. Time is meaningless. But still, you should take a quick break and watch these instagram videos I saved specifically for you because I think you need a good distraction. Let’s go!

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Quarantine life. Credits to owners.

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😳😳😳 (via: @lizziejane_)

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Same, Bear Patrol.

Love y’all.

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