When I Come Undone

My first week of school is officially over. I never thought so much stress, anxiety, and happiness could all be crammed into one week. 

My film class’s first show aired today! After multiple set backs and more moments than I would like to admit where we thought we weren’t going to have a show this week, we pulled through. A few of us, myself included, experienced multiple breakdowns along the way, but we got it done and the breakdowns were so worth the final product. I’m hoping that from this week, my group and I have learned a bit more and understand better what it takes to get the show done, and the coming weeks will be easier and not as unbearably stressful. I’m very proud of our work though, so incredibly proud. 

As I was talking to Ryan, my “third pillar”, he made me realize something very true. I met and have been speaking to Ryan since the summer before eighth grade, so for slightly more than two years now. I directed him towards our show, and upon watching it he was blown away partly from “how good it is” (his words not mine, even though it really it amazing) but also from the growth he’s seen in me that was entirely portrayed in the show. He told me that he knows I would never have been able to do something like this, anchor a show in front of my entire school, with a population of about 3,600, this time last year. I would have been wrecked by anxiety so much worse than I was feeling this week, to the point that it would have kept me from doing the show. 

I’m getting better. I am slowly but surely getting better, and I’m doing so on my own terms and by myself. I, of course, have helpers along the way, but for the most part, it’s all me. I was the one who finally decided I was sick of being sad all of the time and I was tired of not doing any of the things I love to do because I was too scared to do them, I was too scared of people’s opinions and criticisms. Not to say I’m not anymore, I was shaking all of third period waiting for the show to air at the last ten minutes, but it’s infinitely times more bearable now. I’m still scared, but no where near the same as before. As much as I would still like to see a psychologist, I don’t need one to get better. My willpower to get better is enough.

My diabetes is getting better as well, slowly but surely. Expect a long post about this topic on Monday, my 14th diaversary. I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that soon, I will have had this disease for 14 of my 15 short years alive. It’s such a huge part of me, but I’m learning that it is not all of me. I am so much more than my disease, and I am capable of so much more than getting stuck thinking about it.

I’m getting tougher. A year ago, I thought it wasn’t possible for me to be any more strong than I already was, and I was wrong. I have more willpower and incentive than anyone I know. I’m strong, stronger than anyone will ever give me credit for. I am enough for myself. 

I’m happy. I can’t believe it, but I’m happy. I want to cry.

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Defeat the Low

I’ve been doing a great amount of thinking lately (and a great amount of reading at that), which as always can be a good or a bad thing.

As of right now, it’s been neither really. I can’t really wrap my head around it. I guess I’ve just been thinking about so many different things that I haven’t really been able to settle on one specific thing for any length of time, and during all the time I’m not thinking actively, I’m either reading, sleeping, or playing piano.

And here, I discuss what’s been occupying my mind as of late:

I’m worried about school. Classes start for me on the 18th and I’m not nearly as scared as I was this time last year. I know more or less what to expect now. I’m eager to meet my new teachers, for film to really start, to get back on an active schedule and stop feeling like such a recluse. My worries, however, are for my sensor. Whenever I think about it, I just think about the two years I was on the pump, and how much taunting and ridiculing I had to endure because of it. The one thing that really sets me apart from most people was put almost proudly on display for everyone to see, and it was very difficult to hide as my wire hated being tucked into the waistband of my pants. I know that the receiver I will keep hidden in my bag; I’ll have to remind myself it’s in there so as to keep myself from hurling my bag around as I so often used to. I’m also likely going to invest in some big sweaters to cover the actual sensor on my stomach. This is really the only thing I’m apprehensive about for the upcoming school year, but it’s enough to keep me up at night every now and then.

I can’t wait until I have a place of my own. I can’t wait to move out, honestly. Now, with the rest of my family working every morning and most afternoons, I have the house to myself for plentiful hours Monday through Friday, and I absolutely love it. I don’t mind washing the dishes, or sorting the dirty clothes, or picking up after everyone. It gives me a sense of responsibility I absolutely love feeling. Through this, despite everything my countless doctors have tried telling me, I feel like I can take care of myself. I don’t have to rely on anyone, and I’m not scared to be alone for long periods of time. I know nothing will happen to me, especially not now that I’m on the sensor and keeping a much tighter control on my diabetes. I honestly feel better than I have in five years. I love the quiet, the stillness, not being afraid to go to the kitchen in my underwear to get some string cheese. I really honestly cannot wait to move out.

I am actually a crazy fangirl. This disappoints me, as I usually cannot stand fangirls; I find them annoying and usually, I feel that they make whatever they’re obsessing over less special than it has the potential of being. But after sitting for five hours at my desk finishing my fifth book in two days, and squealing as the guy and girl ended up together and returned all their loved ones to the base camp, I realized: I am a fangirl. I need rehab, maybe even some therapy, maybe some medication. Scratch that, no rehab, if anyone even tried to take away my books at the moment I might bite them. My books are what is keeping me grounded at the time, and I haven’t felt this alive, because of anything, in a really long time. Books have given me back what I lost a few years ago and that I didn’t see returning for a very long time, if at all, and that is hope.

I haven’t been drawing lately. I’ve lost any sliver of creativity I used to have, and I don’t know why. I’m guessing I have artist’s block. At least this opened up more reading time.

I haven’t felt anxious in a while. I’ve even felt slightly motivated every now and then, such as when doing my summer reading. It feels great. It really, really does, more than I could ever hope to accurately express. I don’t feel like a zombie anymore, I don’t feel like I’m just surviving. I truly feel like I’m living. I’m in the here, right now, and I haven’t felt this alive in a really long time.

I really hope this lasts. I really, really do.

Keepsake

Day 28- Something you miss, in great detail

I know it says something, but honestly there isn’t a thing in the world I miss more than my grandpa. I think of him every single day without fail. 

I miss his calm, reassuring and easy-going manner. I miss how comfortable his presence was. I miss the love that seemed to overflow out of him. He always had so much love to give, the kind of love that restores a person’s faith in humanity. My grandpa’s family was his universe, and I was the center of his galaxy alongside my grandma. No one else in my family gave me as much attention or affection as he did, and I doubt anyone ever will. 

Words cannot describe the kind of person my grandpa was. He was a man of so few words- honestly, I barely remember what his voice sounds like not because of how long it’s been since he passed, but because he rarely ever spoke- but words did no justice to describe the emotions he felt.

My grandpa was a trooper, my role-model. When my mother’s side still lived in Venezuela, my grandpa would travel 2 hours every night to his mother’s home to get food for his family, and 2 hours back home to deliver the food. He would often times go hungry in order to provide food to his children. When they came to America, he did any job that was offered to him. He became skilled in carpentry and mechanics, and worked as long as his age allowed him to. He was also a very sick man. He had anemia, as well as iron-deficiency. He suffered through two strokes in six years, but he remained intelligent and clear of mind through it all. Hell, he was who managed the bills and payments for my grandparents’ home. He went out with a bang, literally. 

All I have left of my grandpa is one of his old handkerchiefs, which miraculously still smells like him, and the last medicine bottle half-filled with coins he was going to give me but never got to.

If I had to choose between seeing my grandpa again for one day, or being completely one hundred percent cured of my diabetes and other health complications for the rest of my life, I’d choose my grandpa with no ounce of hesitation whatsoever.

Reflection

As an assignment for English in January when we were reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, my classmates and I were asked to reflect on 2013 as well as our resolutions and hopes for 2014. The following is (a slightly edited version of) my letter.

 

2013 was one of the most difficult years I’ve lived through in my young life. In February, I lost my grandfather. My grandparents, for the most part, raised me. Beginning when I was three months old, my parents would drop me off at my grandparent’s house at seven in the morning and would pick me up between eight or nine in the evening. My grandparents taught me everything from cooking basic meals to mowing the lawn, and they never judged me or put me down. My grandparents were the only people who I could say with absolute certainty loved me. My grandfather’s death was an extremely painful loss which to this day, over a year later, I am still mourning. 

Leaving middle school was a sigh of relief for me. To say I disliked middle school is an understatement. Between grueling work as part of being in advanced classes, extreme bullying, and feeling as though I was losing my mind every time I set foot into the building, I was extremely eager to leave. This feeling came with a grain of salt, however, as it also meant saying goodbye to my best friend, my third pillar you could say. We met in 6th grade and she became the sister I never had. To this day, she still knows me better than anyone. My grandfather took half my heart when he passed away and saying goodbye to her was like losing the other half. I was starting high school completely on my own.

The entire week before the first day of school, I would go to sleep wrecked in anxiety attacks. The first day of school, however, put my fears quickly to rest. I made friends easily and before I knew it, the first month had gone by with smooth sailing, and I met my pillars. I found solace in my pillars, a place where for the first time in my life I felt like I belonged. I finally found a home and it was with my two pillars.

Towards the end of 2013, my aunt was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer, which has been yet another severe blow to my family. I’ve now resolved to cut any and all attachments I have to my family to avoid being so catastrophically hurt again.

In 2014, I aim to stop letting my anxiety and depression take control over my life. I want to spend more time with my friends, and do more of the things that make me happy. I want to do things for myself first. I hope for 2014 to be much better than 2013, but I know this will not happen if I just sit by and watch as time passes. I need to make moves to make this year better myself.

 

So far, instead of cutting ties with my family, I’ve actually developed a better relationship with my brother. I only hope that I will not regret this in the future. My aunt’s cancer has spread and she has begun chemotherapy sessions. My anxiety, if anything, has only gotten worse as has my depression. My mother has received phone calls advising her to take me to a therapist.

I haven’t seen as much progress in these months as I would have liked to have seen, but there are still 7 months left of 2014 and I aim to make use of this time to get some of these issues sorted out. My only wish is that my grandfather could still be here; I’ve forgotten what his voice sounds like.

Progress, Progress

A major fault of mine is I enjoy avoiding confrontation, especially from the people I am closest to. I put up with these people and let them use me and walk over me as they please and I merely put up with it to avoid a fight. I don’t like complaining, especially not to these people, and most especially not to these people about how they have hurt me.

However, I finally reached my breaking point.

I snapped at one of my pillars about my limits. He was the first person I told about me being gay and since telling him, I’ve always felt as though he thought I were joking. He is an extremely touchy person, and this is another problem for me as physical contact-as childish and moronic as this sounds- gives me terrible anxiety. I finally reached my limit with him and snapped. I think he got the message this time.

With my would-be significant other, I admitted that she steps over my boundaries many times but I always let it slide because of the feelings I have for her. I think this caused her to realize the pedestal I hold her upon, how important she is to me. I was also happy in confessing this to her because I realized that she’s the type of person who when she really loves someone, she doesn’t do much to really show it. I realized that in her at times even neglecting me, it’s just her way of telling me she loves me. I think its needless to say this revelation helped calm me down and made me feel very relaxed and content.

The most difficult confrontation I faced was with the person whom I’ve known for the last going-on 3 years, and who knows me quite honestly better than I know myself. He’s been a key factor in my life these past few years, and without a doubt I would not be alive and writing this at this moment if it were not for him. The past few months have taken their toll on our relationship, though. I’ve felt as though our age difference (3 years) is coming between us in terms of our needs right now. He needs a stable relationship; I need to stop wanting to kill myself every other day. He’s getting a job and going to college and I’m merely finishing my first year of high school. However, I don’t think this is enough for us to completely give up on our relationship. Really, he is too important to me for me to just let him go, and I told him so. I haven’t seen any immediate effects of this conversation with him, as I saw with my two pillars, but I’m hoping that at least some of what I told him resonated with him.

Confrontation is tricky and nerve-wracking, but I’ve learned that it is also necessary to maintain a healthy relationship. To me, this is progress in doing good for myself and paying attention to the things that are in my best interest. This is progress, baby.

Pale Black Eye

This past Friday I attended my first concert- and it was amazing. 20 minutes in I was kicked in the back of the head by a fat crowd surfer which caused my head to smash into the railing in front of me (yes, I was in the front row, am I hardcore yet?), resulting in a minor cut and lots of bruising. Other than that, the night was indescribable.

The opening band, Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, was a pleasant surprise for me. I hadn’t listened to them beforehand and had no idea what to expect, but was more than satisfied with their mellow rhythms and heartbreaking yet soothing lyrics. I also give Kevin kudos on the straggly ginger beard.

The next band, Balance and Composure, was when I got my black eye. I had listened to them a bit beforehand and considered them to be an OK band, and was once again pleasantly surprised by their performance. They also had an interesting thing going on with their backdrop, but that’s a story for another day.

Finally, Manchester Orchestra took to the stage and the urge to stroke Andy Hull’s beard was intense. It didn’t help that he was only five feet in front of me and close enough that when he’d look down to the crowd he’d look straight to me and my friends. That man is mighty talented, as is the rest of the band. They put on a performance, with Andy having even “written a song” especially for my venue. The hour and a half that Manchester was on the stage was the first time in quite a while where I let myself go and let myself be happy (happy, and not merely content).

I am now concert hungry and hope this will not be my last one for any lengthy period of time. I only pray that bands quit booking their performances on Tuesdays, which my strict parents refuse to let me attend since there is usually school the following day.

I still regret not being able to touch Andy’s beard.Image