Friday, October 29, 2010

The cycle begins.

For some of you, this is the only blog of mine that you follow. This was my first blog, and my sole purpose of writing was to let out things that have always been hard for me to let go of. I’ve noticed from day one that when I write something down it’s almost like a small weight inside of me lifts. The other reason is to hopefully find people I can identify with who are going through similar struggles with Bipolar or mental illness. So far I’ve been really disappointed at the lack of ones I have come across. If anyone is familiar with any insightful blogs I’d love if you pass them my way.

If you follow my other blog about my adventures in Australia, then you know that this is kind of my downer blog and you may not identify with anything here and move along. That’s okay. I’m not particularly fond of blogs about happiness or how beautiful each day is in its own way. I hope one day I will find meaning in those blogs…anyways, today’s post is actually not a downer. What a surprise! Anything that is related to my struggles with depression I post in this blog, and, well, this post is about new starts. Again.

I’m aware that there are always new starts, always new cycles. I just wish mine weren’t so drastic. I’d love if my ups were ups and my downs were downs and the rest be average, but with me my downs are so definitive that it breaks the cycle every time. Coming over here was always about starting over and establishing not only myself positively, but my entire life positively with my husband. I’m not expecting this overnight, and my lows these first two months of being here have been heightened due to culture shock and the longing of my family and Mexican food (seriously). But yesterday I had my second appointment with the psychologist, Dr. Phil (seriously!) and my first appointment with Dr. C, the psychiatrist.

I’m still on the fence about Dr. Phil. I usually go in with a big wall up because, well, that’s kind of what I do when anyone wants me to change. Doesn’t everyone? Usually by the middle of our session he makes me have an epiphany about what he is saying and I instantly feel better and make a plan in my head about how to tackle the upcoming week. The first week his epiphany was, “the way you’re feeling right now isn’t you; it’s the depression talking”. I kind of visualized a sad ball in my belly (when I’m mad I always call the incoming stress my anger ball, so the sad ball fits), and it makes total sense. “Normal” people have a drive to get up and go, even if they have a hard time doing so. Explaining my lack of drive, I have always said to people it’s like there’s a little guy in the back of my head saying, ‘what’s the point of getting out of bed? Nothing matters’. And I always listen to that guy. Dr. Phil’s treatment is at first simple cognitive behavioural therapy-trying to make me associate my bad thoughts with reality and understanding that thoughts are just that-thoughts.

This week he told me, “when you have a bad thought I want you to see it: ‘I’m a bad wife’, for example. Write it on a chalkboard in your head. Look at the words. Then I want you to say, “thank you brain for that thought”, and get rid of the thought”. Um…WTF Doc? If I could do that, I sure as hell wouldn’t be paying you! I mean I could say “I’m fat” and say thanks brain for that thought until I’m blue in the face…but that doesn’t mean it’s actually out of my head! Something that did resonate with me yesterday is what he said about being in this depressive rut for so long. He said, “you have been in this cocoon for so long, and the depression is actually keeping you safe. You don’t have to think about things because you’re depressed. I don’t have to get out of bed because I’m depressed. I don’t have to get a job because I’m depressed”. That makes so much sense to me. Unfortunately I’m not going to be magically cured and wake up tomorrow and go, “OKAY! I’m going to get a job! Start my diet! Go to school!”. He reminded me of what my last doctor, Dr. Julia, had told me. Small steps. Instead of sleeping twelve hours, set an alarm and commit to waking up-today. Instead of starting a diet, eat an apple instead of ice cream (okay THAT one will be hard). Take “normal” things people do every day as accomplishments for myself, like cleaning my bathroom or hanging up all my clothes. For the un-depressed eye it may sound silly, but “normal” things are huge steps for me right now.

Tomorrow I will post about the second part of my day with my new psychiatrist Dr. C. I LOVE HIM. I’d also like to end today on a really happy and uplifting note. Barb from This and That as I Bounce Thru Life is literally one of my biggest supporters. She happens to be one of the very few who have read this blog and actually gotten something out of it, which is huge to me. It’s all I really wanted to accomplish when I write here. The other day she awarded me the Content Unrelated (also one of my favourite blogs) blog award for “the underfollowed, overlooked, uncommon and underestimated blog”. She wrote:

“We've all heard the name "bi-polar" but do we really know what its like living with it?  While I am no doctor I truly believe that my son suffers from this.  He refuses to get help and our relationship is sucky right now.  Hed has given me so much insight on what she endured and still does and it's made a difference in how I view things about Mike [my son] and some other folks I know.  If you haven't read it, I implore that you do.  You won't be disappointed.”

I am extremely humbled and proud. Thanks a million, Barb.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Once upon a time I could control myself.

I’m still twelve. I haven’t changed a bit.
I demanded to live with my father when my mom married my stepdad and moved us away from my hometown, where everyone was. I thought it would be just my dad and I, and it would be great. Independence. Being left alone. I thought it would be everything I ever wanted. I was wrong.
My dad didn’t move me into his house. He dropped me off at his parents, my evil grandparents. They made me sleep in the back house in a bedroom with a bathroom and they never bothered me unless it was dinnertime. I thought this was awesome. I was like a grown-up. I stayed up as late as I wanted and no one would tell me what to do. Be careful what you wish for.
My dad virtually stopped coming to my grandparents. I was alone. Like, alone alone. It wasn’t independence. It was solitude. I remember laying on my bed for hours at a time replaying Pearl Jam’s “Ten” on the tape player and knowing deep in my heart this tape was created for me. Imagine my shock when I studied the liner notes for the song “Why Go” and found “4 Heather” at the bottom:
             she scratches a letter into a wall made of stone                                            
maybe someday another child won’t feel as alone as she does

After a month and an episode, my mom came to the rescue (as always) and I stayed with her for good (More on my dad can be found here if interested). Before that I was a normal kid. I never really had issues other than normal twelve-year-old issues. But something about that month broke me. It was almost like the my childhood ended the month I was there.
My teenage years were saturated with music. Sometimes it felt like it was the only thing keeping me from killing myself. No album ever packed the punch that “Ten” had. It was everything to me. I’ve even told my family that when I die, I want the song “Release” to be played at my funeral:

I see the world feel the chill which way to go windowsill                                     
  I see the words on a rocking horse of time I see the birds in the rain               
Oh dear dad can you see me now? I am myself like you somehow

Today I sit here, in a dark room overcast by clouds outside, and I feel the exact same today as I did when I was a little girl. Lost. Alone. Trapped. Broken. Thinking that everything would get better, but instead got much, much worse. I even lay down on the floor, with “Once” blasting, and I’m looking through the same eyes of that girl that once was something.

Once upon a time, I could control myself                                                         
  Once upon a time I could lose myself                                                                
  Once upon a time I could love myself                                                                  
Once upon a time I could love you

I’m extremely unhappy. I feel that all the pills throughout my life to “make” me happy have in reality zapped all of my happy chemicals. I have no joy. Even the small things that would one time bring a smile to my face mean nothing to me. I want to go home, but am constantly reminded I have nothing to come home to. I sold everything I own when I moved to Australia. I’m pretty much waiting to die. I belong nowhere. I see pictures of myself and wonder who that person is or where she went. I’m dead inside. I have no hope anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rinse and Repeat.

So for the past five weeks I have been keeping myself busy with my Australia blog, and even though I have had tendencies to post on here about my struggles with adapting to a completely new way of life, I have digressed, saying my sadness is related to adjusting. I don’t know if that’s 100% the case.

There have only been a couple major episodes since I’ve been here, one being about the major discomfort I feel about living with people who really don’t know me. I love my in-laws, but they don’t know me-they only know what my husband or myself says. Ask my mom, ask my husband: unless you live with someone who has a mental disorder, it’s hard to tell how bad it really gets. I’ve been on my own since I was 20. Making my own food. Sleeping in. Doing laundry when I feel like it. Watching what I want. Coming and going as I please. There was a time that I moved back in with my parents that I had to adjust, but it was minimal because a) I was working full-time, b) I was spending 75% of my time at my best friend’s house, and c) My mom understands me…for the most part.

The second episode was this last week, when my husband and I did our first full grocery shop. I had a list of maybe twenty items on it, and literally fifteen of the twenty items don’t exist in Australia. Being depressed and not having a lot to look forward to, food has been my only comfort for the longest time, and I don’t eat about 80% of the Australian “staple” foods. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I rarely gamble. I don’t cut myself or spend obscene amounts of money. I don’t do…well, anything, I guess. So when I have an opportunity to smile at writing something that makes me feel better or eating a beef dip, I relish the moment. Food is now something I fear rather than love.

I get served food now. I have never been okay with eating around strangers. I feel like they stare at me (that could be related to my weight or my anxiety…or both) and judge what I do or don’t eat. One thing I tell every human being that has ever eaten my mom’s food is whether or not it was great, you tell my mom it was GREAT-because my mom will hold that shit against you for years. So having to tell someone I don’t like something they have served me is equal to breaking up with someone or telling them something they don’t want to hear. I’m serious. It’s extremely uncomfortable for me. This last week my husband was at work and my in-laws roasted lamb. I have only tried two small bites of lamb in my whole life. I asked my mother-in-law if it would be okay if I just tried a small slice and she said no problem (she’s awesome and non-judgemental, by the way). I took a bite and held back throwing up. Not because it was bad. Not because of anything that was wrong with the food at all-I knew once I put that piece in my mouth my mother-in-law, consciously or not, was watching me to see how I liked the lamb. My brain was screaming at me IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB and I managed to swallow it. I apologized and said, “I just don’t think I can hack lamb”. My father-in-law (who is not as awesome and non-judgemental-it’s just his way) looked at me and said, “it’s just meat”. I wish it were that simple. I couldn’t eat the rest of the night.

I used to think I was alone. Now, being so far away from…everything, I truly am alone. I tell myself I should have never married my husband. Again, not for anything he has done, it’s for the massive causality he endures regularly for being married to me. I really don’t think I will ever have kids (or I should say “raise kids”). Our life will always be atypical because of my episodes. I may be fine for five years, then one day *BAM* I’ll stop getting out of bed. It’s an unliveable life.

I’m really distraught because in my twenties, the outlook was good-I could always work at another job, move somewhere far away, start over-but now, at thirty, I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. At all. I had hoped that a new NEW! start in a new country would be the answer, but I can’t apply myself to do anything. Even if I never worked again and my husband supported us-what the hell kind of live would I live? Waking up at 4pm every day and eating macaroni and cheese for dinner? I would be my dad. I’m just like my dad. Except, unlike him, I’m aware of the path that is coming for me. I don’t know what do do about it.

It’s been 10 months since my major depressive episode has began-by far longer than any other period in my life. Just like when you’re overweight for a really long time, you have a hard time picturing yourself any other way. I don’t remember what it feels like to be happy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seven days.

I started to write this blog earlier but got sidetracked. Just like any other day, I guess. I am trying not to think about this MASSIVE move as MASSIVE, but the epic proportions of my decision always comes back full circle and I freak out. I’m more anxious than I think I’ve been in a year. I’ll sort out my woes for you.

I have a list of things that need to be done, and I have actually done pretty well and closed up shop on most of it. My stress now is, what if I miss something? Just today I remembered that all of my Christmas ornaments (I get a special one every year) are at my grandpa’s. What if they all get accidentally thrown away? There are about six boxes I brought to my mom’s house where we are staying and I have yet to go through them. I need to re-arrange the stuff in my luggage. The airport dealey with liquids messed it all up when the only thing left to pack was my check-on bag- with ALL MY TOILETRIES. On the bright side, I got myself a little treat and will be expecting a new Paul Frank backpack at my door tomorrow. At least with that I can put my laptop, camera, purse stuff, passport, etc. in it and will have it with me at all times. I’ve done really well with selling all my extra crap, and I told my parents just to sell the rest at their next yard sale. Today was going to be THE DAY when I tidy up all of my stuff, but I was up last night crying so hard from stress I woke up with a migraine. Oh, and I’m losing like tons of hair. Bleh.

My next stress is my peoples. What if I don’t get to say goodbye to everyone? My fear is I won’t get to say goodbye and BAM they die (see “Letting Go, Part One” for further elaboration of my anxieties). This sounds awful, but I have no interest in seeing my dad before I leave. I’d rather just assume good things and go on my way. My dad will be 61 next month, and I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to visit. I plain just don’t want to see him. I’ve thought to myself, “would I kick myself if something bad DID happen to him and I never got to spend time with him?” and sadly, my answer is probably not. The image of my “good” dad hasn’t been true for a long, long time and every time I throw him a bone he fails. In the beginning of the year he broke up with his total bitch of an ex-girlfriend, moved around the corner into my grandparent’s house, and started attending AA again. I was really proud and excited for him. For about a day. One day my car window broke and it was supposed to rain the next day. I thought, “gee, my handy dad lives right next to me now! He’ll fix it!” I called him at about 4p.m. and it sounded like he had just woken up. “Hi dad! I have a problem! My car window just broke on me and I was hoping you could fix it because I---“ “Uh…I’ll call you back, okay?” He never called back.

Another fear is I WILL get to see everyone and I’ll be so anxious that I won’t enjoy my time with them. My sister is throwing me a 30th birthday/going away party, and to be honest I am surprised how many people are coming. Is it because it’s a party? Free food? Free booze? What if they see me after this long of a time and I’m disgusting to them? My social anxiety is still very strong. On top of that, a couple of my acquaintances who weren’t invited are coming with somebody else. What if they cause a scene? What if I’m so anxious at the party that I can’t relax? The last time I had a group of people around me was my pre-wedding dinner almost two years ago, and thank God I ended up getting drunk. I almost lost it (my mind, not my liquor). This time though, with the antidepressants and mood stabilizers, I’m extremely anxious to drink. What if I pass out? What if it doesn’t mix and I freak out? A lot of my friends who I haven’t seen in over a year will be there, and I’m scared they will see the person I’ve become and just not want to be my friend anymore. My light is gone. The person who is always warm and fuzzy and sticking their neck out for them no longer exists. Now there is a shell of a girl who is unbelievably fat, penniless, and sad.

Next comes the realization that in seven days, everything is going to change. Everything. Time. Food. Family. Money. Counting. Driving. Spelling. Climate. Jobs. Mannerisms. Culture. The list goes on and on. Now, I am the Queen of Starting Over, so a lot of these things I see as a great positive. I just also see my present self getting in the way. My in-laws have pledged to help us financially until we get situated. That’s extremely generous of them and I am eternally grateful. The thing is, I’ve never had anyone (except for my own family) pay my way. No boyfriends, no help from friends. Just me. And I’m very proud of it. After a bankruptcy and steady jobs, I have built up a good, healthy credit standing. Now in a foreign country that’s all wiped away. I didn’t think I would have to start over again at 30. Where’s my house? My career? My school diploma? My two kids and a dog? I have none of it. I’m moving in with someone’s parents (something I have never done) and I happen to be bipolar. How am I supposed to deal with that in front of strangers? I feel I have no safe zone anymore, and even writing that down brings me to tears.

Okay, I just took an Ativan. Kick in please. Some peoples’ motto is “one day at a time”. I can’t even deal with that. When I get stressed or upset just one time in a day, the whole day is ruined. I can’t salvage it. I just shut down and hope things will get better eventually. It has almost been a year since everything fell apart, and I feel worse off now than I did last year. How is that even possible?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I’m dying.

Okay, the title of my blog isn’t necessarily true. I’m not REALLY dying. I think. But I have always had a sinking feeling that things weren’t quite right with me and my essential organs. I’m absolutely convinced that I do have Multiple Sclerosis, however. I’ve just never had the proof and/or push to have tests ran or anything. Oh, except a brain wave scan when I was a teen. Let me explain.

When I was about twelve, I noticed when I started to walk, the left side of my body would go numb. Seriously. When I began to walk anywhere, I would notice a tingle in my toes, and it would shoot up my leg, my arms, and my neck until I couldn’t even talk out of the left side of my mouth. Seriously. The feeling would last about 15 seconds. I noticed it would happen in episodes, maybe only during the summer or when I was overly stressed. It was sometimes noticeable, especially because my neck would stiffen up and my left hand would curl up into a ball and I would stop walking because my foot would sort of drag. I was able to override it sometimes by putting my foot up against a wall and flex really hard when I would feel it start to tingle, but that was usually even more noticeable. I only confessed this to a handful of friends and family, and lovingly called it “Tard Girl” due to the posturing. I did have a brain scan, but nothing came up-I was sitting down the whole time. I think if they asked me to start and stop walking, something may have come up. I’ve had this malady for so long now I forget I even have it. Five years ago I started not being able to lay on my left side or my entire leg would start to tingle and fall asleep. That could also be, you know, my fat body crushing my poor leg. About two months ago, I noticed my left pinky and ring fingers had no feeling in them, no matter what I do.

My bones and joints feel like they have slow-drying cement on them. I can’t turn my neck comfortably anymore. I mean it’s completely locked up. I’ve tried to do the neck roll to loosen it, tried muscle relaxers, had my husband put pressure on it to see if it would crack, all with no relief. Yesterday I walked from a parking lot into a grocery store, and by the time I headed to the register, the middle of my back was on fire. Granted, I’m fat, but am I THAT fat? I don’t ever lay on my back because it’s extremely painful, but I blame that on the fat. Walking fifty steps makes my body shut down? That’s a little suspect. My lower back constantly feels like it needs to pop. I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in with my current neck/back issues.

Speaking of sleep, I sleep about twelve hours a day. Seriously. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I would get home from elementary school and take a two-hour nap. In high school, if I couldn’t get out of bed because I was too tired, I wouldn’t go to school. Work too. You know there’s those times where you wake up and you choose to go back to sleep? I don’t have those times. I can go to bed at midnight, and when I naturally wake up it’s 1p.m. Of course, I’m tired all day, partly from sleeping too much, partly from my weight bogging me down. Now I’m so used to my sleep patterns, if I feel sleepy at any time during the day, I cease to function. I’ve rationalized any excuse to use for leaving work early so I can drive straight home and go to sleep. I always joke that if there was an Olympic sport for sleep, I would win the Gold.

Other small random things happening lately are what made me write this blog about my health. I have a rash on half of my stomach. I have acid reflux suddenly. I gasp for air occasionally, and not just when I’m asleep-it happens if I’m sitting and just watching television. I’m seeing a chiropractor this week (thank God), but what I’m afraid of is that my body is so far gone that it will never go back to normal. When I woke up today the first thing I did was try and stretch my body to see if the pain throughout the day would be lessened, and it didn’t work. By “didn’t work”, I don’t mean it didn’t lessen my pain, I mean I was unable to stretch my muscles without extreme discomfort. It’s hard to think about losing weight when you are in a vicious cycle of pain-if I lose weight I will feel better, but I need to feel better to lose weight. Where’s Dr. House when you need him? Seriously.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letting Go, Part 2.

My son will be twelve in December. My son. Okay, so that always looks weird on paper because I don’t really have a son. What I mean is, I shut down when he was a baby and never had a chance to pick up where we left off. I’ve always been more of a “birth mother” than a real mother. Some of it was my fault, some was out of my control. I found out at 2 he was autistic, and with him being him and me being me, there was never a bond. It’s a lot more detailed than that obviously, but it’s hard to write about someone I don’t really know.

I got pregnant in April of my senior year with my high school sweetheart, four months after we got back together. He immediately asked me to marry him, and moved into my parents’ house with me. That lasted a week. I kicked him out and from that day, was on my own. I cried every day. Hell, I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried when I found out I was having a boy, not the girl I was so sure was in my belly. I thought of suicide every day. I was unbelievably stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I suffered from terrible migraines that made me go on disability. I never talked to my belly. My baby daddy was in the mix, just not with me. He went through some crap too-moved out of his parents house for good, started dating a girl with a kid, wrapping his car around a pole, and getting a DUI. My labor was extremely easy, and that was that. You know what my first words to him were? “Hi, my name’s Hed, and I’m gonna be your mom”. At four days old, my family was at my house, and my brother was holding my son. I remember him standing up and handing the baby to my mom, and they conversed almost in secret. I blew it off.

That night, my mom was in my room with me while I was feeding my son, and he started to stiffen and gasp for air. My mom says, “that’s what he did earlier today”. He was having his second seizure that we observed, and my mom didn’t even tell me about the first one. I’m convinced that, with my mental history, she didn’t think I was strong enough for a baby, something that has been confirmed through my son’s years and her actions, and her disdain when myself or my husband mentions children down the road. Anyway, he ended up in the ICU for five days. We still don’t know if his seizures caused the Autism or if the Autism caused the seizures. His week in the hospital, combined with my mom’s concern for him, sealed the deal for the two of us. Eventually he moved into her room, and even when it was time to move out with my then-boyfriend, she insisted my son stay with her and my stepdad. I took the offer because I was working full-time and thought once we got situated he could move in with us. That attempt happened when he was three. My boyfriend and I moved him in with us in our one-bedroom duplex, and I became a mom. That lasted a week.

The catalyst that started it? He spilled a soda on the rug. That’s it. That’s all it took. He was so hyper, didn’t listen or pay attention (Duh, he had AUTISM!!!), and I couldn’t take it. I called his father and told him he needed to take him, I couldn’t handle this. My toddler was a stranger. I was a fool to think that I could take a three-year-old in and become Carol Brady. Most of the time I couldn’t even take care of myself properly. I was devastated because it made me feel like a complete failure. I really thought I was strong enough to do it. We went to court, reversed custody. That was it. When this happened, his father eventually stopped speaking to me and used my mom as the middle man. My son started getting dropped off at my moms again, and I started visiting less and less. My first bout of extreme depression started around this time, and I couldn’t even get out of bed most days. When I started working again the visits became almost non-existent. When we did hang out, he wanted nothing to do with me. Why would he? He didn’t even KNOW me. Years passed, and my son’s father began a relationship with an amazing girl that just loved my son to pieces and did everything she could to deal with his Autism. At new jobs, I would mention my son in conversations, and I would always get, “you have a KID?!?!”

Last week was the first time I had seen my son in a year. He’s almost as tall as me. He has hair on his legs. He dresses like a young man, not a kid. Today,randomly my son’s father called my mom to see if my son could be dropped off with her, as he was getting married today. Two months ago, he and awesome girl had a baby of their own, and in my opinion they want to officially have a family circle together. As I have been planning to leave for Australia, I thought of leaving a note with my mom that if something should happen to my son, she would have authority to make decisions on my behalf. When I heard about the marriage, I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life: to sign my parental rights away so my son could be adopted by his stepmom.

It’s not fair to my son for me to sometimes be in his life. My sister was adopted when my father gave away his rights, and she turned out beautifully. I had the opportunity to be adopted by my own stepdad, and I turned it down because I didn’t want my father to be alone. My dad ultimately popped in and out of my life when he chose, and it screwed me up something fierce. I always used to think my son’s father was an all-around dick, but sometime over the years I realized he was a fantastic father, and we just happened to not be good together. Aside from all the selfishness that I have in me: the pride of being somebody’s mother, the thoughts and assumptions others may have of me from my choice, and the ultimate failure I feel from never having an opportunity to get to know my son and all his complexities, I know in my heart that this is the right choice. As Forrest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that”.

Letting Go, Part One.

So, unless you have never read my posts or live under a rock, you know that I am moving to Australia. In 15 days. so obviously my posts are few and far between at the moment. I’m sitting here at my mother’s house on my laptop, and I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions. My core thought is to stay where I am, don’t change, and eventually you will get back on track. That is the way of Hed’s world, and my life has a magical way of working out. The other half says fuck it, get the hell out of my comfort zone, and really start anew, as fresh as I possibly can. I’m terrified. I have this hope that just being on new soil will make me wake up earlier, eat healthier and have more energy. But nothing on Earth changes you unless you change yourself, and I want to change. I think.

I’m always getting sidetracked when I write, by the way. I always have a solid idea of what I’m going to write, and my crazy brain always types what it wants. Okay, I’ll restart: I have a major roadblock in my head, and every time I even think about it, I break down. It’s my grandfather, Pop. He is my rock, the dad I should have had, the one that has done more for me than my dad (or anyone else) ever has, and my constant source of anxiety. You see, back before my grandmother died, my main goal was to make sure I wasn’t a fuck up so when they ultimately passed, they would die hopefully being proud of me. On April 1, 2006, I was casually dating, working as an assistant manager, and thinking about moving on my own for the first time ever. That was the night my mom called me and told me that my grandmother was in the E.R. because she had an allergic reaction to her medicine and was having a hard time breathing. Should I go to the hospital? No, she tells me, she’ll be fine. Forty-six days later, she died. I never had a chance to tell her I was moving, to tell her that I was okay, to pay her back what her and Pop graciously let me borrow. As soon as she died, I stopped looking at my grandfather as invincible. I now was on a MISSION to make sure that when, not if, he passed, I was a good person in his eyes.

Four years later, he’s still going strong. My parents and our family spend obscene amounts of time with him, and he adjusted pretty well to living alone after 55 years of couple-dom (P.S.-my grandfather is a prideful man, he wouldn’t even think about moving in with anyone else). It’s been my mom with the health problems-the melanoma, the carpal tunnel in both hands, the knee surgery, the knee cleaning surgery, the upcoming knee replacement surgery. The thing is, my morbid, depressed self looks at my grandpa and thinks DEATH. Death, death, death. He will die. Sooner than later. The thought of Pop dying stops me in my tracks. How am I (or my family, for that matter), supposed to function knowing the rock of my family is gone? In most instances, you would just spend as much time as humanly possible with that person and build up the strength to accept that everyone dies, right? I casually mentioned (through tears) to my mom that when I say goodbye to Pop when I move to Australia, it may be the last time. It’s not like I’m coming back next month or anything. Unfortunately, her response was, “it probably is”. Oh. Crap. When I say goodbye to Pop in two weeks and give him a hug, I’m pretty much giving my last respects. How the hell does one do that? Most people pay their last respects when someone is in a coma, or dying, or at a funeral, yet I am forced to say goodbye to a pretty healthy, alive person? I’m consumed with the thought. Of course, there’s a chance my mom may get cancer again. Or my best friend dies in a car crash. Or my grandpa will live to 110. Am I thinking about any of these? Of course not.

So that has been the major thought I’ve had, the reason I opened up Blogger to try and get this off my chest. Writing it all down usually helps me not only get it off my chest, but to let a thought or feeling rise up and float away, giving me a shred of clarity until a new worry pops into my head. But tonight, something cataclysmic happened that will never be undone. To be continued…

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I miss my fucking cats. My house is empty without them. Well, it's empty period. Had a yard sale two weeks ago to sell my stuff and took away about $120. A hundred bucks for a lifetime. That's how it feels. All the stuff I didn't sell I just gave away to my friends and family and threw away the rest. Thirty years of accumulated memories in the trash. That pretty much sums up my life.

I don't remember if I've mentioned it in my previous blogs (damn this fish memory of mine), but I've always been convinced I would die before I turned 30. I remember crying to my mom after my son was born and telling her how I felt. Maybe it was a prediction. Maybe it was because all my rocker idols died before they hit 30. I don't know. All I know is I can't even see past that date.

As I was sitting on my living room floor last night, making big piles of stuff into smaller piles of stuff, I thought to myself, maybe this is God's way of me cleaning up so when I die, my family won't have to deal with it all. Whenever I have thought of suicide throughout the years, I can never get past putting all of my items into neat little boxes and setting out my finances so after I die, my family will just have to mourn me, not stress out at all the shit they have to deal with because I died. Morbid, I know. But these thoughts cross my perennially depressed mind.

It's not getting better, by the way. It did for a time, and then it stopped. I stopped taking my morning meds because I was getting more and more anxious. Maybe that's why I feel this way now. I can't tell what is better: being sad and stressed and miserable, or being anxious and stressed and miserable. My emergency Xanax bottle is almost empty. It was full a few months ago. I wouldn't mind if I was slightly under the "happy" line, you know? I just want some consistency with my moods. And not shitty depressed all the time. I don't know what happiness feels like. My husband tells me last night, "I was going through pictures of when we first got together and you were so happy. There was light in your eyes. I don't see that light anymore". Really? You don't think I fucking know that? The worst possible thing to feel, other than your own misery, is making others miserable just having you around.

My family wants to throw a farewell/birthday party for me. I don't want one. At all. My sister and mother met me at a busy restaurant to go over the guest list and planning, and I almost left. The stress is too much. They also want to go to the airport when my husband and I leave for Australia. I'd much rather take a cab. I can't deal with the sadness and stress of leaving my country, my family, my friends, my life topped with the fear and anxiety of boarding a plane for thirteen hours. No one gets it. I am fucking bipolar. This is me. I can't imagine changing anymore. I am getting unhappier and unhappier as the days go by.

If I have to think really hard at happiness, maybe the pure movement of moving, the getting rid of all my possessions, leaving everything I know, maybe this is the "death" I have always thought of. Maybe landing in Australia three weeks before my thirtieth birthday is the new beginning. Maybe I was always supposed to be there. I do believe in fate. I think of jobs I've passed up for a riskier one, and the first job went out of business. I think of people I met by chance that ended up making me who I am today. Or hell, maybe I'll die in a plane crash. That seems fitting.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear Sam.

You are one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I loved you the moment I laid eyes on you. Letting you go is the hardest thing I've had to do, and I can only imagine in my head that you will be happy somewhere else or I may just crack.

I named you Sam because I had seen the movie "I Am Legend", and the girl dog was named Sam (actually Samantha). I loved that name, so I knew my future cat would be named Sam. When your dad and I got together, I told him I wanted cats as our wedding gift to each other. on Valentine's Day 2009, the local pet shop was having an adoption fair so I decided today would be the day we expanded our family.

When I walked in, you were alone, sleeping in a cage. My heart exploded. I didn't need to look at any more cats. You were meant for me. When I looked at your birth date and it read "December 7, 2008", it sealed the deal. Your dad and I were married the day you were born. Another thing that drew me to you is your freaky seven toes. One of my favorite cats growing up had six toes. Your feet look like little catcher's mitts. Someone had named you "Tiki". The lady had said you are very timid, and only come out of your shell when you get to know someone. How right they would be. I kept telling the lady, "that is my cat. That is my cat!" You had been fixed earlier that day, so you were very groggy when I picked you up and held you. After I decided on your brother Portal, we put you in his cage to see how you two would get along. You curled up to him immediately. I wasn't able to take you home until two days later because of the surgery, so I patiently waited for you.

When you got home, you took to Portal right away but acted like you hated dad and I. You would run under the couch and we would have to coax you out and show you where the food bowl was. I was devastated. When dad went to find you and you hissed at him, we thought we may have to give you back to the adoption people. After around a week, you came around. You still ran away if we got too close to you, but when the time was right, you would come around us and get pet.

You are the true definition of a cat. You sleep all the time and want to be left alone unless it suits you. You liked playing with Portal more than playing with us. But a funny thing happened when you were around 6 months old. You would normally, like Portal, fall asleep at night between dad's legs. When you would wake up, or see us rustling around, all of the sudden you would start your engines. We called it "furr-furr". Your purr was so loud that you could hear it across the room! You were determined to get pet. You would walk on us all the way up to our face and start licking our hands or our face until we would pet you. Sometimes I would be half-asleep and I'd call out, "no, nang!" (one of our nicknames for you). But eventually I got used to it. You would usually head towards me and not dad. I think I'm a better petter anyway :) Once I took a picture of you when your furr-furr engines were on and you were laying on my neck:
We called this your "Goomba face". We always giggled at you because your cat expression was always the same. You liked to pounce. Dad and I had an inside joke where if we heard something moving around we'd say, "is that Sam?" then you would *FOOF!* pounce! You rarely meowed, and when you did, dad and I would laugh because it was usually when you were calling for Portal. You were Portal's big brother. You would play fight and always win. You would groom Portal all the time (we called it "Bromancing"). You wouldn't eat people food, except for melted cheese.

You were there for me during my darker moments, and just having you around made me feel better. Your nicknames were Nang, The Nang, Sammy, Nammy. I will never get over you. I promise you I will never love another cat as much as I love you, Sam. Thank you for the joy and the comfort you gave me. I hope that you will bond with someone else and show them just how wonderful you truly are. I love you so much.

Dear Portal.

You mean the universe to me. You are the most social, silly cat I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. You may not be able to read this, but I hope that maybe the person who gets you next may be able to get a better idea of you if I can give them the story of how you became our Portey.

Your dad and I met playing an online video game on the computer you hate us playing on! You always have to sit in my chair before I have a chance to sit down, or get tangled in dad's feet under his desk. Anyway, in this silly video game he had a white cat he named "Portal". He told me he named it that because it was his favorite video game of all time. When he and I got engaged, I told him I wanted two cats as our wedding gifts to each other.

Around two months after we married, on Valentine's Day 2009, I secretly went to the pet store near my work where they were having an adoption fair. I didn't know what I was looking for in my cat, but it took me two milliseconds to see your brother Sam before I knew that was going to be my cat. When I arrived, I knew dad's cat had to be a white boy cat. I saw you. Back then, someone had named you "Starsky". You were in a cage with your sister, Jade, and your brother "Hutch", had already been adopted earlier that day. Next to your cage was your mom's cage: she was a beautiful Siamese. You were born just two months earlier, on December 12, 2008. You were a big old white fluffball kitten. I was worried you'd be too fluffy for our house, but you were just meant to be our Portal. Before we chose you, we put Sam in your cage and the two of you curled up together like you were meant to be together. We had to take Sam two days later, as he was just fixed. So on the drive home, it was just you and me.

In the carrier on the way home, you meowed like your heart was broken. I was worried you didn't like me! Also, you were a surprise to your dad, and I just hoped the two of you would bond. When we pulled up, your dad met us outside. I took you out of the carrier and handed you to him. He was angry for about two seconds that I didn't tell him we were getting cats, but in two seconds he melted when he saw you.

That night, you were so happy sniffing around your new, big house. You wanted to get into everything (something you still love to do). That night we set you down at the foot of the bed in your cat bed, and you hopped up and nestled in between dad and I and fell asleep. The whole time you were a kitten, you had to be next to either me or dad. When we sat down to eat on TV trays you had to sit in between us. When we lay down to watch TV, you had to sit on our heads and be involved. When we brought Sam home, you guys hit it off instantly. The two of you would run up and down the stairs and play, and when it was time to sleep you would curl up together and sleep.
As you got older, your personality stayed the same. You stopped sleeping in between dad and I, but you always slept in between his legs. You are the most vocal cat, and always like to meow when you are not the center of attention. We had to put velcro on some drawers because you were always into everything. You have been found in all kinds of places, like the hamper or the shower or the bathroom cabinet. I remember when we thought we had lost you forever during the move, and we found you five hours later hidden in the clothes drawer. You have no idea how much you scared us! We were so relieved you were okay! You like french fry pieces. You only eat fresh food-even if the bowl is half full! You lay on the weirdest things, like telephones and clothes hangers. You hate to be held unless it suits you. You love to get your belly rubbed. When you and Sam would play fight, you always yowled and screamed like he was beating the heck out of you!

When we moved into the smaller apartment, all you ever wanted to do was get outside and see what was out there. When we opened the door and let you out on the stoop you were the brave one who always got to the bottom step before you were caught. You are like a little dog. You meet us at the door every time we leave, and you are extremely loyal. We gave you silly nicknames like Port-Port, Portey, Portisnang, and Naughty.

I'm so sorry we have to leave you, Portal. You are our best friend, our baby. I hope that no matter what, you are happy and loved and cared for. You deserve to be spoiled rotten, and I hope that whoever or whatever family takes you in, that you will finally run out of energy by being played with. We love you so much.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I feel like it's been weeks since I have blogged when in actuality it's only been three days. There is so much going on that I don't have time to think. I sit down at my desk and go, "what do I need to do now?"

It seems like at least once a day I am having a panic attack. Not full blown, just enough anxiety to make me start talking fast with worry and/or crying. Sometimes a thought crosses my mind that makes my stomach drop. Most of the time it's the thought of me being on a plane. I hate planes. I hate them so much. I have been on three flights my entire life, and two of them were trans-continental. It's the turbulence that freaks me out. I've tried to explain this to my husband a million times, but I guess he doesn't understand the anxious mind. When a bout of turbulence hits, I don't think, "okay this is normal". I let my mind and anxiety get the best of me and let myself visualize the plane going down, or an engine catching on fire or something. Seriously. I have a game plan set up so far. The plane leaves at midnight, so I plan on waking up at like 9 a.m. that morning so I'll be super tired come flight time, then pop 2 or 3 Xanax and (hopefully) sleep away a chunk of the 13-hour flight.

Speaking of anxiety getting the best of me, I am convinced that if I leave my grandpa will die. I know that's a morbid thing to think, but it crosses my mind all of the time now. I understand that he's almost 84 and will probably die sooner or later anyway, but I feel like the minute I leave something bad will happen and I will be stuck in Australia. Could I forgive myself? I'm also convinced my mom's cancer will come back. Just last week she had knee surgery and a cracked tooth, so she is at home miserable. She told me yesterday she was depressed. My mom is like Superman. I've seen her cry maybe five times in my whole life. She told me she was depressed after my grandma (her mom) passed away, but that's a given. Right now she's depressed because she hates her job, is struggling with money, and her body is all out of whack. Plus she has an upcoming appointment with her oncologist to check on another suspicious mole. I feel like I'm going to get a phone call from her saying this time it's inoperable or incurable.

We are still looking for a home for our cats, but on the bright side we have family that will take the both of them if we can't find anyone near where we live that would want both of them. That's a huge relief. It's still going to be so hard to say goodbye, I don't know how I'm going to deal with it. The family lives in Washington so we will have to take a 16 hour drive up there, which I don't mind. I have to sell my car by the time we leave, and yet another thing I am convinced of is something will happen to my car when we drive that far. A car accident, or overheating, or a new belt is all I need right now when I'm trying to sell it for a decent price.

I'm still separating things into "sell" boxes and "keep" boxes. I have a lot of "sell boxes", surprisingly. I thought I would want to take all of this crap that means so much to me, but in the long run it will just cost too much to ship. I keep looking around and making tallies: sell the entertainment system, the engraved wood chest, the bookshelf and the matching furniture. Everything. I am leaving everything. A lot of people feel possessions are just material, that they can be replaced, but sometimes the thoughts or memories that come up by looking at something makes you sad you have to give it away.

What usually comes out of my mouth when I start talking to my husband in a panic is "how did you do this? How did you leave everything behind and move here??" J moved here within three weeks of getting his U.S. Visa approved. He packed a big suitcase with only clothes, some pictures and books, and started living here. The end. He didn't have bills. Furniture. Knick knacks. He went from a town of 7,000 with one McDonalds in a two-hour radius to an area with about a million people in it. You can get anything in America. He usually replies, "don't you think I went through the same thing you're going through right now?" I think in comparison, he didn't. I'm not trying to negate his feelings or anything, but when he came over, we were in love. Anyone in a long term relationship with someone knows what I mean. Back then, I would have swam the Pacific to be with J. On our vacations we would spend hours in bed just happy with each other's company. Now that the love drug has worn off, I have to sit with the reality of what is happening.

When I move over there, even though J's parents are helping us out, I will be alone. At square one. I will have zero money, no job, no comfortable private time, no friends, no family. I wish my husband could understand this. He tells me that I have his family now, but it's not the same. I still have credit cards that need to be paid off. How do I go about asking someone that's not my family for money? I can't, I'm too embarrassed. But I also don't plan on defaulting and getting a terrible credit rating in America. I will have to eat food prepared for me, and that makes me extremely anxious. I don't like to eat around other people. I don't like picking at my food while someone else watches. I also know it's rude to not eat food given to you. Even typing all these things are making me shake and breathe faster thinking about them.

Although I have been described as "dependent", I actually am very independent. I have always had my own money and my own bills. My adult relationships have usually ended up with me paying everything or keeping money separate from my boyfriend's. I've also made my own decisions and am very headstrong. If I want something, I get it. When we move I am going to be 100% reliant on my husband, and that scares the crap out of me. We started this relationship with me wearing the pants because of the situation we were in. I pay all of our bills and make 95% of the money. I'm not concerned if my husband will be able to do it, I know he can. I'm concerned about me not having any power or say anymore. I have never had to rely on a man for anything, ever. Maybe I would feel better if we had $5,000 saved up and knew what we were getting ourselves into. But I don't and we don't. It's a jump from a cliff so high you can't see the bottom.

I do believe in fate. I was expecting a roadblock to keep us from moving. So far, everything has worked out in Australia's favor. I'm not imagining a "happily ever after" there. I will turn 30 a month after we get there and I will have no friends or family to celebrate it with. No big sushi birthday dinner. No trip to Las Vegas. Nothing. I'm trying to be hopeful though. Hoping my husband gets a good job that will make him happy and set us up to find our own place. Hoping a change of scenery might be something, anything to get me out of this funk and get me productive. Hoping my husband and I can actually start our life together with no stress or "what-ifs". And especially hoping no one dies anytime soon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unfinished Business.

We're moving. We set it in stone, bought the tickets, and it's full steam ahead. I had a major meltdown last night due to missing all the things I wrote about in my former blogs (My grandpa, cats, California, etc.) I mean straight up sobbing. My husband brought me a Xanax which helped. I had a couple of dreams last night which prompted me to write this blog in particular. The subject is something I have been thinking about for a while now because of my own demons. I would really love advice on whether I should try and "bury the hatchet" or "let sleeping dogs lie". I'll begin.

When I was in junior high there was a new girl. I liked her, she was really shy but very friendly. It seemed like we would have stuff in common, so me and my then-BFF welcomed her and the three of us hung out around school and stuff. At the time, I didn't realize my BFF would eventually become a grade-A backstabbing bitch. Anyway, she would talk me into acting really cruel towards the new girl. My brain is foggy with the details, but I can remember that we really just weren't that nice to her (Think the movie "Mean Girls". It's true that all us girls do everything that is portrayed in that movie). Towards the end of the school year my BFF had stolen every boyfriend I had, and even lied to get a girl to try and beat me up. All the friends I had gained had shunned me and spread terrible rumors about me. I was terrified. I didn't want to go to school anymore. It felt like my life was over. Eventually someone new befriended me and she is one of my best friends to this day. She and her group of friends made me not afraid to come to school. By this time the new girl had made some of her own friends, and we became acquaintances. I promised myself never to be like that to anyone ever again, because I knew what comes around, goes around.

Fast forward three years later. I am in high school, and I just swallowed a handful of pills that landed me in the hospital on a "5150" (look it up). The reason I did this is because a month earlier my boyfriend, the love of my life, my everything, and I had broken up. He continued to come over and sleep with me, then leave faster than he could put his pants back on. I rationalized with myself that even if I couldn't have him fully I could at least keep him around by enticing him with sex (something I continued to do later in my adult years). One day he was supposed to come over, and I had talked my mom into making his favorite meal. I put a sundress on, got all dolled up, and waited for him to show up. And waited. He finally called me an hour late and told me it wasn't a good idea if we even hung out anymore. I was crushed. Numb. Devastated. The day we had broken up I had secretly hid a combination of pills in a jar that I knew would interact and a small bottle of water...just in case. Well, today proved to be that day.

It took me an hour after ingestion to fall off my bed and let my parents know what I had done, and they rushed me to the hospital where they stuck a tube down my throat and pumped my stomach. I saw my mom watching through the little window in the door and it broke my heart. Since this was the third (!) suicide attempt they had to commit me involuntarily for 72 hours. The same week my ex was graduating from high school, I was in a psychiatric hospital. A close guy friend, who is still one of my best friends to this day as well, would call to check on me and I would always ask about my ex. He informed me that at his graduation party he hooked up girl. By this time new girl wasn't just pretty she was stunning. She definitely grew into her looks. I was crushed, but I also gained the resolve to move on and not look back. When I got out I didn't hear from my ex for about two months. He and new girl were official, and I was busy preparing for my senior year. One day out of the blue, he called me to see how I was. He had told me he missed me and wanted to come over. I didn't want him to but, I admit, I missed him terribly and would do anything he asked. He came over and...we slept together. As soon as it was over, he told me he regretted coming over because he really liked new girl and said he wouldn't see me again. I wasn't hurt. I was MAD. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

A week or so later I was ready to execute my plan. I called my ex and invited him over by using my feminine wiles. He was more than happy to oblige. He came over and we chit-chatted, talking about how hot this August day was. He started kissing me and one thing of course led to another. When it was over, he told me it was a mistake coming over, that he liked his girlfriend a lot blah blah blah. I told him okay, I understand, no problem. He started to leave and I shut my screen door and locked it. He said "see you around", and I said, "no, I don't think you will". I held up my tape recorder, rewound it, and pressed "Play".

I'd like to interject into this part of my story and tell you that until this day, I never had a mean, sadistic, vindictive bone in my body. If someone didn't like me (just like how I feel today), I would be devastated and would do anything to make them see I was a good person. I had gone through so much over my ex that I snapped. I wouldn't let him take advantage of me anymore. I wouldn't let myself be sucked in by his power and my love for him. I look back and have to tell you this incident was the only time in my life I a)constructed a great plan, but b)had the balls and hatred to actually do something this heinous. Most of my ex-employees would hear me after going back into the kitchen area say, "I am going to stab that bitch at table 54", but those are just words. I've never punched or slapped anyone. I've never spit in anyone's face. I don't have it in me. Except this day.

My ex was furious. He threw a full soda can at the door and screamed at the top of his lungs every expletive in the book before he got in his car and sped away. I knew where he was headed, he was on his way to do damage control after I dropped the bomb on his girlfriend. Like I said, new girl and I were acquaintances by this time, so I had her telephone number. War always inflicts casualties, and unfortunately that was new girl. I called her up and before I could even get it out, I started to cry. This wasn't her fault. My intention was never to hurt her, I wanted my ex to feel as bad as he had made me feel. I apologized over and over again as I told her what had just conspired. She was devastated. She asked me to play the tape. I did. She hung up on me. I deserved it. That was the last time I would ever see her or hear from her again.

They stayed together for only a couple of months after that, and without my ex I had the best summer and winter of my life. I was happy, I hung out with friends that I had set aside for my ex, got a new boyfriend that lived in San Diego (I would secretly ditch school and drive two hours to see him-best memories of my life), and was full of life. Six months later my ex called me and told me I was the best thing that ever happened to him, that he was so sorry for putting me through any pain, that he would do anything to get me back, and after a month of groveling I gave in and it really was amazing. Three months later I got pregnant, and the rest is history.

The thing is, it eats away at me. Some of my best friends are her friends as well, and when I know she will be at an event I won't go. I'm too chicken. I would like to think that the past is behind her, but it's not. At a party my best guy friend was at (the one that would call me when I was in the psych ward), he ran into her and my ex talking. They are still friends after all these years. He said hi to her, and the subject of my son popped up. She called me a "loser", and a "terrible mom" because I don't see my son that often, that my ex has full custody of him. My friend, the wonderful guy that he is, tried to explain it wasn't like that, there are circumstances other than me just "not caring" (namely my bipolar), but she didn't buy it. If I was in her shoes I would hate me too. Venomously. Like wish her dead hate me.

I've gone on to her Facebook. She's married now. She's beautiful, like oh my God you could be a model beautiful. That's all I know about her. I've wanted to talk to her for a while now, to tell her how sorry I am, to try and explain my side of the story, that she was just in the crossfire, but I can't bring myself to do it. I feel like now, saying goodbye to my friends and family before I live overseas, may be a good time to talk to her but I don't know if I'm ready to hear the reply. I don't want to dredge up old wounds for her. For all I know she could have completely forgotten the incident and I'm the stupid one who hasn't. I'm really conflicted. Just in case I never muster up the courage to do so, I'll do it here.

New girl, I know that you probably think the absolute worst of me. I don't blame you if you saw my name and deleted this message before you even got a chance to read this. I've thought of you for a long time now. I know some of your friends are my friends and you may hear my name in passing. I know you still talk to my ex and hear the things he says about me regarding our son. I'm not writing to you to defend myself or change your mind about me. What I am here to do is to tell you how unbelievably sorry I am if I ever made you cry just one tear. What I did to you in high school with my ex, your boyfriend at the time, was unforgivable. It was not meant to punish you in any way. The only reason I did it was because I was selfish. I wanted you to know what a terrible person your boyfriend was and I wanted to hurt him in the worst way possible, which meant going through you. If you have forgotten about this, I'm sorry to have brought it up. I also know you have a very poor opinion of me regarding my son and our relationship. Due to his issues and my issues, it was better for him and everyone involved if he lived with my ex and not me. A lot of things happened during the years that cemented that. You can think what you want of me, I don't want to sway your opinion, but please know that I do love my son with all of my heart, and that's why I know he is better off without me. I don't expect a reply or forgiveness, I just wanted you to know my side of the story and apologize to you. Take care.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

America! F*ck Yeah!

So yesterday my husband and I made our final answer to go to Australia. It's funny because we were driving, and I burst into bitch baby tears. He says, "are those happy tears or sad tears?" and I said "both". Happy because we are entering a new leg into our marriage, and sad because well, this is my home. Up until five years ago, it's the only place I have ever known and cared about. I always daydreamed about moving to Australia, but I don't think the reality ever took over until now. Of course now I'm driving around going "I'll miss that. And this road! I'll miss this road. Look at the view! I'll miss that" etc. I decided to compile a list of what is awesome here, the stuff I will truly miss. Since I am a pessimist at heart, I'll post what makes me want to leave ASAP as well.

The good:
*My family-We are a solid bunch, and no one in my family lives more than 30 minutes away from the other. My brother and sister moved to our hometown as soon as they got married and settled down. The house my grandpa lives is the house he and my grandma bought when they got married in 1950. The biggest thing in my mind is my grandpa. I can talk to everyone through video chat on the computer, but he doesn't own one. And...he's almost 84. I want to think he's invincible, but ever since my grandma died I always have the thought in the back of my mind that he will die sooner rather than later. All I ever wanted was to be successful and know that he is proud of me. He has dug me out of so many holes. I know in my heart that when I say goodbye to him physically, it may be the last time, and that kills me. My son, my nieces and nephews-I will see them grow up through pictures. (P.S. Yes, I am leaving my son here. He belongs here, and he has a wonderful life and family without me that he has had since he was 3. One day I'll have the courage to write a blog about him, but not today.)

*My friends-I always write that I am a terrible friend due to my depression, but they keep on chugging along with me. Everyone around me at the moment is popping out babies, and like my family, I will only see them grow up through pictures. I will make myself have the strength to say goodbye to everyone before we leave. I don't care if I'm fat, scared, self-conscious-I will find a way.

*My cats-Oh, this one breaks my heart. They don't have a computer. They can't call me. I won't know if they are taken care of, or separated, or dead. Yesterday I got an amazing break in the clouds because a family member said they will take them if we can't find a family for them. It lowered my stress by about 92%. But still, I will never have two cats as amazing as Sam and Portal. They really are our kids.

*The American system of weights and measures, and the language-I am five feet eight inches tall. My husband is one hundred and seventy eight centimeters. WTF? I can't even remember how many centimeters are in an inch. Who even uses centimeters? I say "it's half an inch" or something similar. And even though Australians speak English, it's very different. Lets use this American sentence as our example:
"I am headed to the neighborhood gas station for three gallons of gas and to check the air in my tires" becomes:
"I am headed to the neighbourhood petrol station for twelve litres of petrol and to check the air in my tyres".
Tomato? Toe-maw-toe. Produce? Praw-juice. Theater? Theatre. Vomit? Vegemite.

*The food-New York Cheesecake, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I am aware that they actually have food in Australia, but no matter what my husband says, it does not hold a candle to the melting pot awesomeness of American cuisine. There's a reason bigger than stress and depression on why I am so fat. I'm not going to lie, there has been more than one time I have walked into the chinese food shop, gotten shrimp fried rice and cream cheese wontons, walked out, walked next door to the mexican chicken shop and picked up a rotisserie chicken, then walked next door to that for some Coldstone ice cream. Yeah. I can imagine sending a picture to my mom in six months and having her exclaim, "oh my gosh you've lost so much weight!" and me replying "I want to eat! The food here is AWFUL!". On that note:

*America has everything-For a minute I have to put on my better-than-you hat. Everything that other countries have we have x 1,000. Our landscape is vast and different in every nook and cranny. There is a reason why other countries' tired and poor, their huddled masses yearning to break free came to this place: it is the land of opportunity. It's also why we have the problem of illegal immigration, but still, after watching the "America" mini-series on the History Channel, I was ready to put on a "God bless the U.S.A." bumper sticker on my car. We.Kick.Ass.

*California-I am honored that I am a Cali girl, born and raised. I live in a place where the mountains and skiing are an hour away, the beach and surfing are an hour away, amusement parks are an hour away, wine country is an hour away, and foreign travel is two hours away.

*Las Vegas-Two words: fuck yeah. A four hour drive to decadence on the highest level.

*Big cities-Where my husband and I are moving to there are 7,000 people. My hometown that no one can find on a map and is tiny to me has 60,000. California alone has 1.5 times the number of people than the entire country of Australia. I like freeways! I like having everything I need no more than twenty minutes in any direction!

*Freedom-No, not the "Home of the free" type, the "I am an adult and do what I want" kind. When we move we will be shacking up with my husband's parents for at least a while. Borrowing their car. Eating their food. Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws! But I'm a night owl. I 'm bipolar. I have furniture and crap that I have to sell that I have had for years. Everything is going to be back at square one. It's kind of exciting because then my husband and I can buy things together as opposed to him just moving over here and what's mine is his.

*Television-Yes, Australia has T.V. But I don't know if they have my shows! Is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on in the middle of the night? My husband never seen Three's Company until he moved here. Television is a small routine, but it's something that I've gotten used to. House. Mad Men. Grey's Anatomy. Intervention. Desperate Housewives. Meh, I'll just buy the DVD's lol.

*Concerts-any band, no matter how small, plays a show in Los Angeles. World-famous bands may come to Australia every few years, and even then it's in cities like Brisbane, which is 14 hours from where we will be living.

*Starbucks-Also 14 hours away from where we will be living. To all my friends, any time you get a caramel macchiato, you need to pour a little on the curb and say, "this is for my homie Hed".

The bad:
*The government-I know the same thing happens in all countries, and we're not as bad as some who have complete dictatorship, but our government is so selfish and corrupt. What benefits them and their pocketbooks matter the most. They have no intentions of trying to pull our more-polarized-by-the-minute country together. There is so much mudslinging covering America that we are sinking in it.

*Health care-I have to pay over $200 for nine migraine pills. My best friend broke his leg from a hit-and-run and it bankrupted him. Our people (mostly) work to bring in taxes and keep commerce flowing. If our government turns a blind eye to a fallen American, what's going to happen when our strongest workers all become unworkable?

*Religion-God? He's a cool guy. I think he lets you be who you are and as long as you choose a good path he's supportive. So it pisses me off royally that the bible-belt, religious-right is just sucking the life out of everything in this country! Our forefathers came to this country to be freed of religious persecution. Our constitution and our money talks about "God", not a Christian God or a Muslim God or a Buddha God, but GOD. Stop cramming your beliefs down my throat, and stop blaming every freaking thing that goes wrong in this country on the lack of God. On that subject:

*Ignorance-we are so bubbled in here. It's so bad. Our school systems are some of the lowest in the world, yet we are one of the foremost first-world countries. So many Americans have their mentality set on "if it doesn't affect me, then I don't care". People don't vote, whereas other countries make you (I don't know if that's good either, because face it, lots of people everywhere are ignorant!). My nephews couldn't find Australia on a map. I don't expect all Americans to have a "Jeopardy"-like memory about everything, but opening their eyes would be a good start.

*Guns-Yes, I am scared of guns. Just recently there was a news segment about shootings on one of my local freeways. People sit up in the hills with a rifle and randomly shoot at cars. WTF? School shootings are on the rise. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people"-sure, but it's a hell of a lot easier with a gun in your hand!

So yeah, its six one way, half a dozen in the other. My husband simplified it for me and said, "wherever you are is my home". Aww. I just hope that our new home is the right decision.