Wednesday, March 26, 2014

life lately

"foggy whirlwinds may be your intimate companions. being up-in-the-air could be your customary vantage point. during your stay in this weird vacationland, please abstain from making conclusions about its implications for your value as a human being. remember these words from author terry braverman: "it is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances, and maintain perspective on who we are..." 

for the last several months things have been fine. really, actually fine. not great, not awful but fine. and fine has been good enough. the last few weeks, however, have felt like one step forward, 300 steps back.

but i've faithfully stuck to my motto of "i'm fine" because it seems like the polite thing to do. i mean, honestly shouldn't there be a moratorium on how long you're allowed to feel bad about something? shouldn't i spare my friends the same old sadness? but saying "i'm fine" while there's a dinosaur dying a slow death in the pit of your stomach, or when all you want to do is lie down on the sidewalk and just stay there, or when you have to walk two blocks in the dark and immediately burst into frightened tears is no fun.

my solution for the last few weeks has been to hide out. keeping myself inside and busy with ridiculous things like ironing my bedding, spending way too much time on pinterest, vacuuming 4 times a day (no, really) and rearranging my bookshelves obsessively isn't really a great solution either. and i hate ironing.

my point: depression sucks. it's frustrating and boring and lonely and scary. hopefully it's just part of my weird "vacationland".

good natured friends have pointed out that i have a valid reason to be depressed and okay, yes, maybe that's true... but i don't want to be depressed. i don't want to spend the rest of my life ironing. and more than anything i don't want that reason.

the other day i met a friend at the park and she very pointedly but kindly asked how i'd been and as i opened my mouth to recite "fine" i couldn't do it. i took a breath and with a lot of embarrassment said, "i've been sad." to me it sounded so lame, pathetic and weak ... or like something a 5 year old would say. but i said it and then i waited for the dreaded pep talk. while there was a little pep talk what i got was kindness, listening, understanding and concern. one of the things she said was "weakness is not a sin"... as in being sad doesn't mean i'm faithless. depression is not a sin. anxiety is not a sin.

and so that's how i've been. sad. but saying it eases some of that sadness so there's hope.

polaroid by me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

little letters

dear spring,
please hurry up... please.

dear california,
i can't wait to see you again.

dear house,
sorry you're always such a mess.

dear old car,
thanks for hanging in there.

dear longer days,
thank you for the extra sunshine.

dear vegan/gluten free cookie dough,
thanks for keeping my sweet tooth in check... mostly.

dear harlow,
thanks for being the perfect pup.

dear pinterest,
i cannot quit you.

photo credit info unknown

Sunday, February 16, 2014

moon river

saturday morning i woke up sobbing and i have no idea why. waking up means i must have slept and that's a good thing and i don't remember having any upsetting dreams but there i was bawling like a baby while harlow sat on my chest and stared at me. we were both confused.

the only thought that my sad brain could focus on was that i wanted to watch breakfast at tiffany's.

i haven't seen it in a few years and lost most of my dvds in the move but fortunately it was on netflix and i immediately turned it on. two things - 1. moon river made me cry more  2. i do love that movie.

what are your go-to movies when you need a pick me up?

random fact: did you know you can still buy the sunglasses that audrey wore in the movie? They're Oliver Goldsmith's Manhattan sunglasses.


Friday, August 9, 2013

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” -Roald Dahl

photos from the greys garden collection

Thursday, August 8, 2013

 In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. ... not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!

Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

what are you worth?

i am vanessa and i am not what happened to my body.

one of the things that’s been hard for me is keeping a feeling of self worth and of value. dealing with any kind of abuse tells you that you are worth nothing in the eyes of your abusers messes and changed the way you see yourself. these days my self confidence is not what it was and some days it doesn't exist at all. in its place there are great big storm clouds of doubt and fear and shame. i remember all through middle school and high school listening to speakers and teachers go on and on about the importance of high self esteem and being self confident. i think those motivational talks were important and even worthwhile but life gets tough and can push pretty hard.

so when your self confidence or self esteem take a beating, then what?

i think it's easy to take the best or worst experience of your life and think of yourself only in terms of that event. for me at least that's proven true. but whether the experience is good or bad it’s probably not accurate way to measure yourself. maybe other people are better at dealing with it but for me it's been hard. when i think about what happened i use words like evil, disgusting, degrading, shameful, and dirty and it's hard not to apply those words to me as a person. separating myself from that event has been incredibly hard. little by little it's sinking in that i am not the one who’s evil or disgusting. 

self esteem is a tricky thing. it's subject to so many outside factors and really is not to be trusted (unless you’re a super pro at then please give me some pointers asap.) how others treat you, how they talk about you, a first date, a break up, your finances, a fight with a spouse or a friend, your job, an awesome hair day, a horrible hair day, how many likes you got on instagram, your family, a compliment, a criticism, the number of followers you have on twitter, your mood, a promotion, how much sleep you got, your material possessions, your health, whether or not you have a zit, an awesome blowout... any number of things affect your self confidence.

and then there's self worth.

ages ago i read a story of a man who saved for years to give his wife a pair of diamond earrings. when she opened them she inwardly knew they couldn't be real diamonds because of their financial situation. thinking they were fakes she wasn't always careful with them. sometimes she'd forget where she'd taken them off or leave them near the sink or was careless with them. one evening she mentioned to her husband that she'd misplaced them and was not able to find them. the husband was frantic. he began searching everywhere for the missing earrings. as the wife watched her husband search she realized that the diamonds had been real and she joined in the search for the missing earrings.

the point is the worth of the diamonds never changed. they were always of great value. and their value did not change based on how they were treated. 

the same is true for me. and for you. your worth, your value as a person, as a child of god or of the universe, as a living, breathing human being does not change. i believe each of us was created intentionally and purposefully and have infinite worth. i guess that includes me. your self confidence might change but you're worth as a person and a spirt does not. a friend of mine summed it up like this: "there are days when you might be treated like crap and you might feel like crap but that does not make you crap."

what happened to me has changed me. it's changed the way i think and the way i live... but it has not changed my worth. every single day i fight to remember that. it's probably what i struggle with the most. my worth has not changed. i wish i could have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids or something so i'd remember it. there are days when i'm overwhelmed by the memory of what happened and by fear of the future. but i am not what happened to me. i am not the choices made by those evil men.

so what am i? 

i am a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a granddaughter and a friend. i am funny. i am grumpy. i am hopeful. i am a worker. i am a private person. i am hopeful. i am an avid nail painter. i am a daughter of god. i am frizzy-haired. i am a writer. i am a painter. i am a spanish speaker. i am an ice cream eater. i am a photographer. i am a pizza lover. i am a terrible singer. i am stubborn. i am a road tripper. i am a peace keeper. i am a future french speaker. i am a member of the church of jesus christ of later-day saints. i am a coconut lover. i am opinionated. i am a return missionary. i am clumsy. i am reserved. i am right handed. i am a shortie. i am a dreamer. i am a traveler. i am a sunscreen wearer. i am a doodler. i am a book reader. i am a blogger. i am a california girl. i am a teacher. i am a dog person. i am near-sighted. i am a cardigan wearer. i am a giraffe lover. i am a temple goer. i am a sunshine lover. 

i am vanessa and i am not what happened to my body.

image from tiffany & co.