On Returning to Self

Hello darlings. I still exist.

CW on this entry for frank discussions about covid fueled anxiety and depression. Some not great mental health stuff. If you start to feel bothered please feel free to bounce.

Okay.

Full disclosure I have not been well. At the best of times I’m a shitbucket of anxiety and feelings and twitchiness. Everything added to my regular shit really knocked me down. I’ve been so anxious and weird. I’ve been too overwhelmed by my own feelings about Teonna and the protests and stay home.

Back in April I knew I didn’t feel right. Generally in life I already do a lot of the protocols that have been recommended. Mask wearing has been a challenge but I got it figured out but, in my head I felt like everything was too precarious. I was terrified of the endless possibilities for everything awful to happen.

The way my anxiety works sometimes is that I percieve there is a threat or danger. Then my brain goes 100 mph with gigabytes of solutions that range from simple oh hey I can help myself with X by doing X. That is a good adaptation of using my anxiety for good.

And then there’s the bullshit.

Money is or seems like it is tight, my brain starts calculating how much less food I can eat/buy for work and which of my vitamins not to take. I get obsessive about stocking up but also not spending money. Poor kid trauma is fuckin real.

And let me say a word about economic trauma. I have been slept outside because I didn’t have bus fare home poor. I have been afraid about not being able to feed my little fam more than splitting ramen packs. Counting change at the dollar store for 1 pack of ramen and a tin of tuna poor. That is real. Right now, we are not that poor.

Through moving, budgeting and whatnot we are not in reality doing bad financially right now. For my worry, that part of my life is actually going well. That’s part of what got me so fucked up. Other than the rona life isn’t terrible. And then my brain went on a real bullshit ride to fucktown.

One of the first things I noticed about how I was feeling is I lost interest in make up and my clothes. I find a lot of pleasure in how I use my meatbag to express myself. I love my lil casual office goth outfits. I love make up. I love skin care and I just stopped caring.

That was a high sign to me that I was feeling more fucked up than I admitted. Also I was/have been having just a lot of trauma response and the stress of that kind of wrecked me.

So, what to do?

The first thing I did was to allow myself to go through it. I know that is very antithetical to a lot of going discoruse but, for me disallowing myself that humanity is too much a reflection of the misogynoir I live on a daily basis. I wrote a piece a while back about the ways in which Black women are denied humanity and I refuse to do it to myself.

I’ve kept myself safe but I have been struggling.

I started a few weeks ago trying to do what I know how to do. I rely on my self-care methodologies (more on that later) to help myself.

I got back on to my skincare routine. I deep conditioned and oiled my hair. I ordered some faux locs. I started doing research to level up my skin care. I’ve been wearing my cute summer clothes.

Does it cure shit? No.

The reason I’ve been working on my self care this way is because I think I’ve finally learned that sometimes, I’m just gonna be like this. I also started a new journal complete with some great stickers cause I love stickers.

[image description: photo of a black journal with stickers on the front. From the bottom: pink Daddy sticker, a heart shaped Pride sticker with a power fist, upper right the Death tarot card upper left, a round sticker with a black cat]

I’m not doing great. I am improved. I’m not weeping at random moments. I haven’t had a meltdown in the shower in a few weeks or been stuck on the toilet crying. I’m still not right but I’m working on it.

If you made it this far thank you.

And I want to tell you this. if you are struggling you are not alone. Please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I used some telehealth emergency therapy. You don’t have to perform “strength” because you believe or feel like you’re not allowed to not be doing well.

Don’t wait until it is too late and too hard.

Now my loves. I’ve missed blogging so look forward to some clothing reviews. A hair update. And some other fun stuff.

I love you friend. Please take as good care as you can of yourself okay?

Auntie is Old AF and it is good.

Hi darlings.

Yesterday was my 43rd birthday. Holy fuckballs. I am FORTY THREE YEARS OLD. Had you asked me at 20 if I’d see 2020 I’d have laughed in your face. Even though I’ve had a lot of anxiety about my birthday (I will explain) because people are very kind and I have people who love me, they helped a lot.

So why am I so fucking birthday anxious? It isn’t aging. I’m good with aging even the bullshit parts. I love my grey hairs, I love that. I love that I’m officially at Fine Ass Old Auntie Age. Being young was real hard and I wouldn’t go back unless someone gave me a LOT of money to have back then and I got to keep what I’ve learned.

The thing is, I have a lot of trauma around um, expressing that I want things that aren’t necessary for survival. I feel guilty when I window shop, I hear the “teasing” of my parents about being greedy. Or the exapseration when I was like other kids and would be like, OMG I want that. You know, normal kid stuff.

Parents I want to say what is coming for you. Pay attention.

Some kids will hear everything you say and how you say it. I was a kid who got sick a lot. I know now that my parents had little money but then, what I heard was how much of a financial burden I was. Every prescription of antibiotics for my ear or other infections. Trips to the ER. School supplies. School clothes. Food. I very acutely felt the weight. I don’t think they did it on purpose necessarily but a lot of that behavior, the “teasing” really damaged me.

For instance. I did not know this was a bad story until I was trying to be funny and told a friend a long time ago and they were horrified.

Scene: Me as a little potato maybe 9 years old. I tried to keep a running tally of how much money I would owe my parents when I grew up. I tried to figure out how much it cost for me to eat, how much my clothes cost, I taught myself to try and eat less. Be small. Years ago I thought it was a cute story…it is not.

There are other traumas but that one kind of sums it up. I honestly thought I’d dealt with this. In my thirties I was fine sharing my wishlists and kind of being more casual about this stuff. I don’t know what happened but for the last few years I’ve had the hardest time saying like, I’d like this stuff for my birthday or for christmas.

Even from my partner or my bestie it has just been so hard. This year, y’all. Full disclosure. So I made this birthday wishlist. Please don’t feel obligated to buy stuff. I used it as some exposure therapy on myself. I LITERALLY spent almost 3 full months curating it. I was terrified that, I’d  put too many things on it. I was anxious because I put things on it that my lil fam doesn’t need. It took me literal weeks to even share the damn thing and then I kept screwing with it.

And I KNOW I KNOW how this shit sounds. I feel stupid but here we are.

That being said. I decided to really try this year. I got some gifts from friends and y’all, I wept. Knowing that there are people who were like, HEY lil potato have a good birthday. There has been sneakers (will post pics when I get a good one), yarn, snacks. A new stock pot. Having people give me things I’ve said explicitly that I want and not have them later on use it against me or to say, hey look I did something nice for you already. it has meant a lot.

The other thing is, I treated myself. It was also very important for me in my process of re-parenting myself, and being a good Space Dad to me. So below find some photos of me being a good Space Dad to myself.

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[image description: inside of an amazon box. from Left to right, a large container of protein superfood, a box of liquid biotin, a small bottle of toner and a bottle of probiotics]

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[image description: inside of a box. from left to right. Organic superfood protein powder and a large cannister of collagen powder]

I had a bunch of other shit in my cart but, I was freaked out enough that I had to edit it, think about it and edit it. So I got what is important to me. Nutrition and skin care.

I ordered a yoga mat too but I think it got stolen.

But overall, I was a good Dad to myself. I’m gonna keep working on it.

BUT happy mother fucking birthday to me. Holy shit I’m 43!

Oh the Chaos.

Oh my darlings.

The move aftermath keeps on going. My life/home are still fairly chaotic and y’all, I ain’t with it.

Given that I’m already a very anxious constantly freaked out person, trying to get my house in some order has just wrecked me. I’m nervous and upset, we are eating a lot of garbage food and trying to figure out life has been hard.

That said- I have figured out some stuff.

I have rediscovered the joy of some small luxuries. There is a little bodega downstairs in my building and I bought a big bag of ice. Seems like nothing but, our previous house the freezer was weird and small so I rarely had ice at home. I made myself a couple of jugs of fridge tea and having that on hand is pretty ding dang great.

I’ve also tried out being intentionally cozy and making myself rest. I don’t recall if I mentioned it but a few weeks ago during the most intense part of the move, I rolled my ankle pretty badly. My foot and ankle swelled up, it hurt a lot and since y’all know life gotta go on sometimes I did not stay off of it.

Once we got all moved in, I got myself into bed, I had my current crochet project, a giant mug of tea and I just got cozy. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but, I have a habit of GO GO GO until I fall out or until my spoons are WAY into the negative, doing this intentionally was nice. A lot of the time, I resent rest. I always feel like I have SO MUCH to do.

I have freelancing to work on. Patreon to work on. I have my hustle to work because the move ate all our money and I’m stressed as fuck.

Now I know good and goddamn well (SHIT I WROTE A WHOLE ASS BOOK ABOUT SELF-CARE) and yet, there I was burning the candle at both ends and not allowing myself to heal at all. I wasn’t giving myself a chance in hell of really being able to settle into our new life and I started getting sick and everything went downhill.

So, I committed coziness. And it was okay. If I’m gonna keep things 100, I’m not good at it. I NEED to fix and put away and try to get things in order. However if my body was a person it would be trying to fight me and screaming CAN U FUCKIN NOT.

Like BRO COME ON FUCKING STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP.

Ahem.

That has been a struggle.

So this adjustment is a lot more than I anticipated. I also figured out that I built up the life change with this move and I guess I was expecting it to be easier? Or that I’d be able to superperson it out a lot more and I’ve fallen into some old harmful patterns of expecting myself to manifest super powers and do ALL THE THINGS.

I really expected a lot more of myself than I am capable of and having to face in my inability has been crushing. Again I find myself having rejected the idea that my able bodiedness is just not a thing anymore and expecting able bodiedness from myself in a way I would NEVER from anyone else.

Dealing with my terrible internalized ableism has just been the hardest part of all this. I hate that sometimes I treat myself so poorly and justify it because, shit has GOT to be done. I have set myself back in terms of the work I’ve done on this and I’m trying to deal with it without being a fucker to myself.

It is hard.

That said, I’m ready for an improvement in the quality of our lived life. I’m ready to be able to socialize without things being so hard and I’m ready to learn to be cozy.

At the suggestion of loved ones, if you are so inclined find our ever growing housewarming wishlist on Amazon here. 

Next post will be some updated skin care, some hair wins and whatnots.

2018 Priorities and Shit

Holy shitballs it is 2018.

I don’t do resolutions because I find the whole culture of that to be so shamey and gross. So instead let’s talk about priorities.

So far, my number one priority in 2018 is getting the partner and I moved and settled into a new place. This move will improve the quality of our lives so much, I’m super impatient but trying to stay calm about it. I’ve been saving and fundraising for months and after the illnesses and whatnot from Sept-December I was terrified I couldn’t do it.

BUT, I got the coins to cover at least move in so I’m happy.

Correlated to moving is that I’m hoping to be able to afford to do more for my health. I deal with a lot of chronic shit, some of it is shit I’ve had literally since birth. And as has happened time and time again in my life, my unintentional weightloss fixed none of it and exacerbated some of it.

What does more for my health look like? I want to keep up with a few things. I do a double shot of EmergenC in ice water every day. I do vitamins too. Unfortunately I lost my ability to swallow larger pills so I’ve been subbing in gummies. They are okay but my ride or die line up are all horsepills and I’m trying to get back to be able to take them. I’m back up to being able to take some medium sized pills so hopefully 2018 is my year.

Correlated to that, my hair. I’ll be continuing to do the LOC method and my main goal is retaining length. Since braids were a total fucking fail (why yes, I am still salty AF about it) I’m back in wigs. Currently rocking a silver bob that I feel magical as fuck in.

20180105_061338.jpg

[image description: photo of the blogger, a Black femme person in a silver asymmetrical bob wig]

I’ll probably do my annual blowout soonish. My last one, my hair looked AMAZING. I may start doing a blow out once a month or so. Mainly to give myself the encouragement to do a monthly deep detangle. All the way to the scalp with the little comb.

I really want to avoid the deep terrible tangles I struggled with this year. I’m also cycling taking biotin and am going to mix up some hair oil for my scalp because I tried giving up greasing my scalp and nah son.

My poor scalp gets so dry like the rest of my body except my face. So yeah, I’ll be liberally greasing up literally from scalp to toes forever.

Overall my priorities this year are to remember how to take better care of my whole self. I want to return to my habit of figuring out DIY remedies and things. I want to maybe eve start making body care items again.

Hopefully, I will remember to bring y’all along for the fails and wins.

See y’all soon!

Live From the Dollar Store-CW: mental health, panic, shame spirals.

I am not literally at the dollar store right now but my heart is there.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work on identifying anxiety triggers. Part of me trying to deal with the reality of living with my flavor of mental illness and trauma involves a lot of me sitting with my anxiety or panic and letting it happen and then trying to figure out how I got there.

Another thing I’ve been slowly learning to allow myself to do is express what’s on my mind mid-freakout. Once upon a time, I was barely capable of telling my best friend over IM. I spent years supressing any outward signs of having emotions much less of having a panic attack that now, my deepest desire is to let it out.

So look here for what I was tweeting in a nice storified way. And then come back to this tab so I can tell you what was gong on in my head.

What set this off on Friday was that I was already feeling very nervous about what/how we were going to eat through getting my paycheck, paying the rent/bills, and until my partner’s EBT refilled. Typically the end of one month into the first week of the next is really difficult for me. I’m partly relieved, and then I’m angry all over because my paycheck barely covers my rent.
By that point in the month, we are always on the dregs of what we’re eating. My partner has health problems and I know how much of a difference a better diet could make but, we have some intersecting things that make doing that extra hard.
I know that I would feel better overall if we could eat better. I know that I feel the best when I use a less “diet” based way of eating and just eat what I want when my body says I want it.
That is expensive. I can’t afford it.
And last Friday, I was hit up for money to be taught marketing and the person used a lot of negging to do it and it caused me to have a panic attack and subsequent bout of pure rage.
The anger was mixed with my panic because, boom I had an instant cascade of food insecurity.  And what do you know, afterwards (and after eating thanks to some gracious donations) I was able to figure out and pinpoint that food insecurity for either myself or my Lil family, sends me deep into panic and anxiety and shame.
What does that have to do with the dollar store?
Our neighborhood dollar store is slightly small, cramped and usually hot as hell. The staff is pretty friendly and they have food.
Generally speaking, I always have a jar of change, I have my emergency dollars stashed and I know if I can walk up there, I can feed my little family.
It is not the best food.
But it is sometimes what makes the difference between eating and not. Between, getting some protein and eating plain ramen.
Sometimes when I’m panicky about making sure my partner has something to eat in the house if he’s unable to get out or when I realize I don’t have any lunch, the dollar store is there.
And for that, I am terribly thankful.
[<a href=”//storify.com/Weebeasty/the-external-meltdown” target=”_blank”>View the story “The External Meltdown” on Storify</a>]

Musings-Poverty trauma, exhaustion.

I’m experiencing one of my least fave perimenopause things today. The Crushing Fatigue. I was fine and doing stuff and now I am not.

I’ve been tracking a lot of stuff about my day to day life and I have one pattern that I just cannot seem to shake. When I am exhausted or in this fatigued state, all I can think about is how much more I should be doing to support my little family.

I’m not sure what it is about being so tired I’m unable to do much, triggers this intense mix of guilt, shame and sudden NEED to be all hustle. Or, I look at my budget for things I’m saving for (currently Ninja Blender) and I come up with eleventy forty seven reasons why I should not be doing that and should do X thing instead. Right now, that feeling is a bit more intense because we have an unexpected bill this month that pretty much has eaten my “extra” money in my budget.

On one hand, I feel that shame that poor people feel because of how our culture treats us. Part of my brain says, if I worked harder. If I made better decisions I mean I don’t need to eat “good” food, I don’t need  to write something that meant I bought research materials, I don’t need new drawers, I can surive! Of course I can. I have survived worse!

One part of my brain is like, FUQ U I CAN DO THIS SHIT!

Then I open a new tab and start a whole new tighter, leaner and meaner budget. When I feel this way, my budgets are like. Fuck you and your entertainment. Fuck your hair. Fuck your raggedy ass panties too. You don’t deserve shit you didn’t work for.

On the other side of my brain, things are far more chill. That part of my brain says, you know if our culture actually was decent, you’d not feel like your worth is only what you can produce. That side of my brain says, you didn’t fail and destroy your whole life because a bill was bigger than anticipated. You are allowed to not be hustling all the time.

The latter is what I really believe. Rationally, I know and believe that there are many intersecting things that contribute to my experience of being the working poor, the trauma and the anxiety triggers. I know that. Shit, I’ve fucking written about it.

So much of my brain is arguing with itself because I know these things, but sometimes I can’t feel these things. I feel ashamed because I bought TWO pairs of skinny jeans on clearance in December and I could really use that 42.89 (Yes I remember the exact price) right now. On one hand, I rage because I don’t make a living wage and don’t see that changing anytime soon, but I also know that I am worth being paid a living wage.

This push and pull is also a feature of how my anxiety manifests. I know that so much of this is a stinky mix of triggers and anxiety and panic.

know I am worth spending the money on my own personal health on my personal comfort etc. On having a better quality of life. I know that. A lot of my work is deeply rooted in that.

So really, my job in this state is not to listen to the part of me that says I’m lazy and terrible and not worth it.

That’s all I’m gonna do for right now because it’s all I can do.