May 30, 2010

waiting 8 years for one meal

Well, gang, what do I say? Where do I even begin to start? Oh... I know!

Thank you!

Thanks to each and every one of my friends, family members, church family who have so lovingly and graciously been so supportive the last couple of days. All the prayers, kind words of encouragement, hugs, knowing glances with a glimmer in the eye... All of it. Every single thing helped boost Cody and I up these past two days.

The true love and devotion that you have all shown leaves me awestruck. I can't even begin to tell all of you how vital you have been to Cody and I making it through this weekend without pulling our hair out. I can assure that every kind thought, word or prayer was truly felt deeply. You all helped carry us through, and I can not thank you enough.

As far as the actual meeting itself, there is really not much to tell. I was a bit uncomfortable when we first got there, as Cody's nervousness translated into a LOT of talking. I feared he was trying to hard, but if mom and dad thought anything negative of it, it certainly didn't show.

We just sort of chit-chatted a bit while browsing the menu and waiting for our food. Talk slowed down a bit as we all started to dig in to our meals, and then we chatted a little while longer while waiting for the check.

Mom asked Cody about work (*gulp*), and he handled it quite well. He didn't lie about being unemployed, and made a great point of sharing all the volunteering that he's been doing without going far enough to feel immodest.

To be honest, I think Cody and my parents talked more than I did (which I'm totally okay with). There were no uncomfortable questions about our relationship; nothing was mentioned about how this was such a momentous occasion in our lives. It just was.

As we were saying goodbye in the parking lot, my mom actually gave Cody a big hug! She told him that she really was trying, and I know that was an enormous step for her. Cody told her how very much it meant to him and to us, and was finally able to properly express his gratitude, in person, for the prayers and support that they gave while his Dad was sick and after he died. I think that between the hug and being able to get that out finally, he was overjoyed.

So while it is and was a very big deal, it really was just one meal and a bit of conversation. But it was also the biggest step taken by any of the four of us since I came out to them 8 years ago.

Thanks again, guys. You truly are very dear to Cody and I.

May 29, 2010

it has finally arrived

You know that day that we all talk about? The one where you suddenly feel like a "real" grown-up? I finally had mine. It was sometime in the last week, and I'm not sure exactly what time on what day that I made the transition, but I realized last night that I may finally crossed that threshold.

First, let me say that updating this damn thing more regularly really IS on my priority list. I enjoy sharing a lot of things on here, and would like to get back into the habit of doing so on a more consistent basis. Not to mention, getting some of the not-so-pleasant stuff off of my chest is quite helpful to me most of the time.

That being said, a lot has happened since last we talked. First of all, the anti-racism team at church, which is the group responsible for getting the new choir started, asked me to be the interim choir director until we find someone permanent (and more qualified!), and I accepted the offer. We had already had our big debut at the church talent show a month prior, but Pastor Allen wanted us to sing the song again this past Sunday for the entire congregation. It was a bit stressful, mostly due to technical issues (like the fact that our woefully inadequate sound system is even more inadequate than I had realized - no monitors on stage!), but when all was said and done, I think the choir did an excellent job.

I'm a little stressed right now since we'll only have two practices to learn I song that I've never even heard before. Our first stab at it will be tomorrow, so sometime tonight I have to sit down and get music printed out and such, all while listening to it over and over so that I can be of some use to the choir tomorrow.

I'm also a little freaked out about what will be happening after choir practice tomorrow. Cody and I are headed to Sandusky to have dinner. With. My. Parents.

I'll give you a minute.

When I had mentioned to mom in an email that Cody and I were not going to be camping this weekend, she called to see if we would be available to meet up on Sunday. I knew that this day was coming, and had started to finally process that something I didn't think would ever be a possibility was now an inevitability. I didn't realize it would happen so very soon. My mom telling me that dad was still having issues made me think that I had a bit more time to deal with it myself.

I had a somewhat long conversation with my mom on the phone after she had revealed her desire to meet. It was important to me to at least know where she was coming from. I didn't want to be surprised with any kind of "attack", whether perceived or real. So it still baffles me a bit, and I still haven't been able to really digest it or understand it, but I do feel somewhat better after that conversation. My mom and dad are taking a big step out of their comfort zone too, so I'm not the only one.

So last night while I was thinking of all that I needed to do this weekend, the realization that I'm a real adult now finally hit me. I've got a lot responsibility to others, as well as myself, and I think that that has a lot to do with it. Also the fact that, even though I am anxious and all the usual emotions, I'm not freaking out completely. It seems I've gone into, "This is your life. Deal with it." mode or something.

All things considered, while I have a lot on my plate this weekend and I'm not sure how I'll accomplish it all, I know that I am and will be fine.

Just as an F.Y.I. though: I don't intend to actually "act" like an adult just because I'm being more responsible. There's just not enough fun in that!

Have a great weekend, gang!!!

May 22, 2010

just me and my coffee

It's been a while since I've just sat here an enjoyed the silence as I write. To just close my eyes and try to allow my thoughts to actually move around a bit, as opposed to stuffing them away for later. Like Scarlett O'Hara, my mantra is always, "I'll think of that later." well, it's later. I need to deal with all of these thoughts and concerns eventually, and stuffing them all away doesn't do me or anyone else any good. It just delays the inevitable and wreaks havoc on me in the process.

It starts in my head, where things begin to overwhelm me and consume me. Then all of that mental stress and fatigue starts to wear down my body. Keeping up the pace of mind games that allow me to function on at least a somewhat normal level tends to eventually wear me out in the long run. All that diverted energy ends up manifesting itself physically if allowed to go on unchecked. Intestinal issues caused by stress that start in my throat and chest as tightness and heartburn and run the entire system including my stomach and beyond start to appear and then worsen.

Sleepiness is a symptom of depression in my system, but it's also a side effect of both the conscious and subconscious battles against the depression. As a result, I'm constantly tired, constantly fighting to not fall asleep and to keep my energy levels up. When I sleep too much or nap too often, then I feel even more worthless and guilty, which deepens the feelings of despair and depression, causing more exhaustion and thus the symptom becomes the cause ant the cycle continues.

At some long ago point in my life, these cycles would begin and end on their own, and though I had no more control over them in the beginning than I do now, they were always so much shorter.

I've always been susceptible to the winter blahs, and that can lead to a cycle, or just intensify one that is already in progress. With springs arrival though, I could enjoy life and the sunshine again. Now, as much as I look forward to spring, it brings it's own set of problems. Things I once loved become complicated in my mind and therefore scary and impossible.

I love to work in the yard planting flowers, moving things around and even weeding most days. Anything to be outside. I change the layout and design of my flowerbeds continuously just so I can keep my hands dirty without spending more money or digging out new beds.

With each passing year though, it gets harder and harder to be outside working if anyone else is around. I feel unable to accomplish even the smallest of goals in the yard and flower beds. Everything seems just out of reach.

I have a motorcycle in my garage that is now over two years old, yet it has less than 500 miles on it. I fell in love with riding after a summer spent behind Cody on his motorcycle. Now even though I still want to ride, and sometimes even crave the feel of an afternoon sun shining down as I ride along the riverside just outside of town, I can't bring myself to get on the damn bike.

There are so many things that I want or need to do, yet the thought of not knowing how or doing something wrong in some way totally scares me away from even starting. Then comes more worthlessness and despair. Then the spiral deepens. Then I'm not just circling the drain, but headed straight for it.

I keep telling myself, "If only _____, I could do this." If only I had a regular, day shift, Monday through Friday job, I wouldn't be tired. I wouldn't be so distant. I could do more of what I want to do instead of just what I'm able to fit into my schedule.

I need to spend more time focusing on what matters most to me, and the things that I have committed to doing. I need to spend less time on the internet machine constantly craving that self-gratifying feedback from people on facebook.

I've deleted close to half of the subscriptions in my reader. I want to spend more time offline than on, but the computer is such an effective crutch. It's so easy to "connect" and be myself online. It's hard work when it's not fostered by a keyboard and faceless contact. Real life in real time is hard. It's ugly and dirty, and I'm horrible at it. Small talk baffles me. I'm unable to participate, and I'm horrible when I do.

Cody and I will be attending a conference for the Disciples of Christ in Ohio in about 3-4 weeks, and I'm scared shitless. That's a lot of new faces. And one of those new faces will be the ones I typically hide from our friends at church. They're going to get a glimpse into the real me, and I don't know if I can handle that.

I want to take some time over the course of that week to sort of "center" myself and be a little healthier on the inside. How I'm able to accomplish that is something I'm still working on.

I'm considering another techno-sabbatical and going of the grid for a while. I would really like to try spending the entire summer disconnected from the computer (except email, since that's the only form of communication with some friends and family). I would also really like to avoid the TV. Most of the shows that I "have" to watch are currently wrapping up for the season, so it shouldn't be too hard.

I'm not entirely sure what I'll end up doing, but I do know that something has got to give, and I don't want it to be me this time.

To be completely honest, I think I need a med adjustment as well as some honest-to-goodness lay-on-the-chaise-and-tell-me-about-your-childhood therapy. That scares the shit out of me though. I've had some less than stellar experiences with drugs and therapists, and it keeps me from actively pursuing anything on a real level.

Cody and I had a sit-down with Pastor Allen a few weeks ago, mostly to discuss the possibility of my finding additional help outside of my counseling with Pastor. I agreed to give it a shot, as they were both quite reassuring of my ability to have the final approval on any therapist or drug (excepting any immediate danger, at which point I gave them permission to do what is necessary).

Cody actually volunteered to do the initial work of finding new therapists for me to try out, but he has said nothing of it since that day, and I've not been crazy enough to remind him. I'm freaked out by the possibility, and see no reason to push him on it! (Trouble being that when he reads this, I'm gonna hear a few sharp words, to be sure...)

So for now I just continue my inaction. The sun is out, but it's a big world of frightening possibilities being lit up. Perhaps I'll go check my facebook updates.

May 9, 2010

don't spit out your coffee

Hey Gang!

I wrote all this out last night in my little journal-thingy, and decided this morning that I wanted to add it to my blog. I originally wrote it out so that sometime down the road I could remember all of it. Things tend to get fuzzy over time, and I thought this story was important enough to have an account of for my own personal archive.

I am scheduling this to post at 11:00am so that Cody doesn't see it before we leave for church! I told him last night when I got home from visiting my family that I had a surprise for him that I couldn't tell him about yet. I'll try to remember to come back and let you all know what he thought of his surprise. Maybe even let him guest post if he's willing!

At any rate, here's my journal entry from last night:

Saturday, May 8 9pm

I went to Fremont today in order to spend time with my family. Our plans to get together a couple of weeks ago in Sandusky fell through because Dad had to work. So it was a celebration of his birthday in April, Josh's birthday two days ago, Mother's Day tomorrow, and Taylor's birthday Friday. That's a lot of gift cards!

Shortly after arriving, Dad and Josh went out to cook bratwurst and hot dogs on the grill. After they stepped out and Crystal followed them to have a cigarette, I found myself alone in the kitchen with Mom. She gave me a hug and asked if Cody had gotten his card.

-- This card was a big deal to both Cody and I. Mom and Dad sent a card congratulating Cody on his baptism last week, and it caught both of us quite of guard. It was a huge step for my parents, and none of the significance was lost on the two of us. --

So I told Mom that he had indeed gotten the card, and we were both very grateful as well as touched because we knew it was a big step for her.

Then my mother absolutely floored me. She told me that she had wanted to invite Cody to come today, but my dad wasn't ready.


Wait. What?

I'm surprised I didn't fall out, to be honest. I have spent eight years convinced that this day would never come. It was essential for my sanity and well-being to not allow room for hope that this odd little relationship would ever be any different. We have all pretended not to see the giant pink elephant in the room for the past 8 years. This is huge.

She said when she suggested the idea to Dad, he said that it made him sick to his stomach. I'm trying not to read anything into that. Dad has similar anxiety issues to mine, so it's not surprising. Beyond that, I don't want to think of the implications of that statement. I can only hope in the stillness of night that my resolve holds firm and I don't become a victim of my imagination.

Mom mentioned that she didn't know that Cody was going to be baptized until Josh said something to her. I told her that I never know what the "rules" are or when they change. She said that I know I can talk to her. Dad's not really ready for that yet, but I can talk to her.

Who is this woman, and what has she done with my mother?!?

Mom told me before I left to "keep praying; it's coming." Well, I'll certainly do that!

She also mentioned, in front of everyone, that she wanted to come some Sunday and hear the choir!

I've decided to wait to tell Cody about this until tomorrow. I want to give this story during our time for testimony at SSCC. It certainly is a testament to God's love!

I don't yet know what all of this means. Is she still of the mindset that I'm living a sinful life and in danger of the fires of hell? Has she actually prayed and read through this issue the same way I and so many others have? Has God turned her heart towards the truth?

I have no idea.

Maybe she has just decided that regardless of who I sleep with, life is too short to have such a stunted and complicated relationship.

I'm not sure where we'll go from here. I just know that right now, for tonight, we've taken a giant step forward.

I'm so thankful to God for the work He's done in my life, particularly in the past year. I am so very blessed!