23 November 2008


two months ago, i couldn't sleep more than three hours at a time.  most nights i'd get between three and five hours of (disrupted) sleep.  six hours!!  that felt like heaven, even if it was disrupted.  six weeks ago, i was  getting between four and six hours a night, but it remained disrupted because i'd wake up every single night at 4:30.  a month ago, i was dependent on sleep medication to get any sleep.  which also meant that if i didn't go to bed early enough, my day the next day was a bit of a disaster.

and now?  now i sleep eight hours easily with no sleep meds.  it feels beautiful.  but it's a problem.  because i sleep my eight hours and then turn off my alarm and sleep another two.  or three.  i've never slept so much in my life.  i blame the sun.  or the absence thereof.  i get no sunlight in my new room, so it's easy to slide back into sleep in the mornings.

damn sleep!  it's stressing me out.  but i think i found the solution: an $8 alarm clock from ikea with a progressively more annoying alarm located underneath my loft bed so i have to actually get out of bed to turn it off.  so far it's worked wonders.

20 November 2008


one afternoon a couple years ago, i stopped short on my walk back to my car after teaching.  as i had walked up the stairs, this had caught my eye:
i was so struck by these simple words that i stopped, dug out my camera, and snapped a picture.  i ran across the picture tonight and again the phrase's simple power struck me.

this is what i want of life--love.  i want to be loved.  i want to love.  romantically, yes, but in so many other ways, too.  it's such a simple desire, really.  but it's so elusive.  and looking at this image i think i understand part of what makes it elusive. because this phrase functions doubly--it's both an imperative and a request.  a statement of what others must do and an asking for what one needs.

i think it's the double nature of love that makes it so difficult.  being able to put down fear (even well-founded fear) and ask means making ourselves vulnerable to another person and simultaneously making that person vulnerable to us.  because to ask for love of another is to request, but it's also to require.  i believe it's worth it.  because i believe that love which not only requests but also requires is adequate to any challenge.

13 November 2008


yesterday i was called 'sir' for the first time in a long time.  which is not at all surprising, since, at the moment, i look like this:  
a friend gave me a fresh buzz on tuesday.  buzzing my hair started as a form of silent protest, but continues beyond the election because i like it.  i like the $60/haircut it saves me (that's nearly $200 in savings in the last five months).  but mostly i like the way it feels and looks.

there's an honesty in buzzing my hair off.  on some level, i'm saying, 'what you see is what you get.  and you know what?  i like what you see; i'm not going to try to hide it.'  that's incredibly liberating for me.  after starting college, having perfect hair became, for me, a means of compensating for my face.  when i have hair of any length, i get a bit obsessive with making sure it looks just right.  and that it doesn't get mussed over the course of the day.  buzzing it off means i couldn't worry about my hair's perfection if i want to.

of course, i do wonder if buzzing my hair isn't just another way of making sure people don't notice my face.  i am noticed when i buzz my hair.  some of that notice makes me laugh.  like when i get called sir.  or when a sweet old lady in the temple asked me if i was glad my hair was growing back in; and then, when she noticed my confusion, added, "or is it just a cool, easy style for summer?'  i laugh about such notice.  i kind of enjoy messing with people's perceptions about gender.

but the notice i get isn't all comic.  both this week and the last time i buzzed it (about two months ago), i have noticed more men looking at me than usual (this could be a factor of my noticing their attention more; but j(wh) trained me to recognize flirtatious interest so i don't think it's that).  some of the looks are questioning.  buzzed-head-as-oddity.  but some of them are flirtatious--as if a woman with the confidence to buzz her hair is sexually intriguing.

i don't really know what to ultimately make of the increased notice--whether it's just curiosity or whether it's attraction; whether it's only focused on my (lack of) hair or focused on my face; whether it's really about depriving myself of a hiding place or making that hiding place even better.  what i do know is that i like the way i feel when i buzz my hair.  i think i'll keep doing it.  at least for now.

11 November 2008


last night i went to target.  target is wonderful.  a haven.  i can take any problem to target and find some distraction.  so when i found myself sitting around, feeling a bit glum (isn't that a lovely word?), i decided to get out of the house and go pick up a few required items for my new apartment (i moved--yay!).  and you know what?  i'm proud of myself for going to target.  that's right.  proud of myself.  for going to target.

i know, i know.  target isn't much better (if at all) than those other big-box stores.  consumerism is bad.  retail therapy is bad.  yada yada.  but i'm still proud of myself.  because i could continue sitting on my rear end, wishing somehow my computer would connect me to a real live person (which i'd already been doing for well over an hour); or i could get off my rear end and engage.  with something.  anything.  even if it was just going to target to buy a trashcan with a lid on it so my new kitchen doesn't stink.

you know what else i'm proud of?  when i was at target, i resisted spending $65 on the only wireless router that looked reliable just because i want wireless at my new place RIGHT NOW, not in a few days.  instead, i put it back on the shelf and, when i got home, did a bit of research about wireless routers and where to get the best prices (any suggestions? i'm still figuring this one out).  and i'm proud of myself for buying a compact fluorescent lightbulb because it's good for the environment.  even if i dislike CFL's because the light they generate feels cold to me.  and i'm proud of myself that the biggest indulgence of this trip to target was a compact surge protector with a built in USB charger so i can charge my phone while having my computer, lamp, and printer plugged in all at once.

this is what i hold on to right now.  small things.  i've done a lot of small things in the last couple of months of which i'm proud.  sometimes it's as simple as calling someone--just connecting to another person.  sometimes it's working--having actual ideas about actual literature.  sometimes it's eating.  i'm proud of myself for eating.  how's that for a window into how bad things have been?

things have been bad enough that i have, in many ways, not been myself.  i don't know what i would have done had i not had such incredible people loving me, helping see me through.  but i haven't made it only because of the people who have helped me.  as a friend pointed out , i am also one of my sources of support.  i'm proud of myself for more than just little things.  i'm proud of myself for big things, too.  because in the last two months i've done more to change my life than i have in the last two years.  i'm not happy about how things are right now.  i'm not happy that my relationship with j(wh) is over.  or with the outcome of the prop. 8 ballot measure.  i'm not happy in my relationship with my church.  there are a lot of things that could be much, much better.  but i can say this much--i'm happy with myself.  i'm happy that, with my family and friends' love, i have made significant changes in my life that have brought me greater peace now and which, i have no doubt, will bring happiness in the future.


if you've followed my blog for any long amount of time (and i doubt many have), you may have noticed that i disappear sometimes.  every single one of those disappearances has had to do with depressive episodes.  or, as i now think of them, mixed episodes.  mixed because my depression manifests itself through some manic tendencies--not needing sleep; not needing food; aggressiveness; irritability; etc.  my recent disappearance has been no different.  it has several causes, this episode.  the most clearly defined is j(wh) breaking up with me.  which has been horrendous.  i won't put that specific word in his mouth, but i know it's been very hard on him, too.  it's not a pretty thing, ending a relationship.  of course, that's not the only cause of this particular episode.  there's been the recent election, with accompanying emotional extremes--elation over obama's victory and discouragement over prop. 8's success.  and all of the ways my relationship with the church and friends and family are caught up in that.

i've refused to write because i knew i would be tempted to write about all of that.  breaking up.  the church and prop. 8.  being sad.  my family and prop. 8.  being angry.  ad nauseum ad infinitum.  and i didn't really want to do that to anyone who reads what i write.  plus i wasn't sure what, if any, of that i want out in the ether.  so i've avoided blogging.

so why am i here tonight?  apparently talking about the very things i said i didn't want to talk about?  i'm here because i decided to add blogging back into the schedule of activities that has helped keep me a little sane the last couple of months.  and it has been a schedule.

there are the scheduled interactions with other people:
  • lunch with the thai tuesday crew almost every tuesday
  • lunch with grad student friends every wednesday
  • dinner with george almost every wednesday
  • talking to JP every week
  • attending quaker meeting once a month
and the scheduled minutiae  
  • waking up early to plan a lesson before class every MWF
  • organizing my medicine every monday into a little pill case so i can take it every day
  • planning my week every sunday
  • weekly appointments to take better care of my health
  • walking to and from campus MWF (and occasionally in between)
  • crying (which has happened with unfortunate frequency; so much so that it sometimes feels scheduled)
and there's the things that should join the schedule:
  • tea with J.  because we've done it twice in the last couple of weeks and it's such a pleasure.
  • dancing.  which i haven't been able to do because of the side effects of new medications. but i'm getting a handle on those, so i should be able to dance again.
  • bike riding.  because i know it would be good for me, body and soul.
  • going to the grad student knitting group.  because i have projects to work on.  and talk is good.  and new friends are always a good thing.
  • baking my own bread.  mmmyummy.  i'll even have my own sour dough start soon.
  • blogging.  because i miss writing about my world.
so look for more posts soon.  tomorrow a post about the things i've done in the last couple of months of which i'm proud.  because there's enough of which i'm not proud that i want to remind myself that i haven't been a complete loss.

and finally, if you've been involved in any of the above, god bless you--you have no idea how much it's meant to me.