In My Day…

I have four children. Due to genetics, they’ve inherited some of my traits. Due to upbringing, they’ve picked up most of the others.

That’s all well and good where brilliance and toe-dexterity are concerned, but has drawbacks in terms of …debilitating negative thoughts and self-consciousness about how apelike those toes are.

My oldest is a near-miniature clone of me; except male, better looking, and more confident. He’s on a hormonal roller coaster lately. With his baseline mood and perspective, that amusement park ride is a rather broken and dangerous sort, with mostly downs to sudden stops and views of creepy vines and threats of bottomless chasms.

Pre-pubescence is a beast.

We recently sent him off to a week-long scouting camp with high hopes and supportive smiles …and, got a phone call his first night that he wants to come home. He was homesick.

If I were reading this blog, I’d jump on the comments and say, “Kids these days are coddled and helicoptered! Tell him to suck it up. Why did you even give him a cell phone at 12?!”

First, I didn’t. Give him a phone, I mean. I’m determined that he won’t own one till 18 or 21 or even 35 some days. He keeps borrowing other people’s to call me. Plus, I literally told him to give it more time and if he was still struggling then we could arrange for him to come home.

*Smacks head* I should not have said that. I shouldn’ta said that.

Now he wants a ride home. And knows I’m a person of my word. And will internally never forget how I didn’t keep my word if I simply tell him, “Nevermind.” Yes he will.

Instead of telling me to tell him to suck it up, thus destroying our trust, what are some truly helpful phrases to tell a depressive mind? My followers who know anxiety and depression, how would you have talked to your twelve-year-old self?

Depression, Anxiety and Lethargy.

I am officially breaking my “no re-blog” rule with the ever-hilarious Katie. Only a woman who names her depression Betty and her bicycle Claude could aptly refer to dealing with depressive lethargy as “wading through treacle whilst carrying a donkey on (her) back.”

Katie’s even gone the extra mile this time and given some sound, anti-donkey advice.

How I Killed Betty!

shallow focus photography of brown and white donkey Photo by Rodrigo DelPer on Pexels.com

An old one and much too long, but as ever, I got a little carried away …

There are times when the exhaustion makes me feel like I’m wading through treacle whilst carrying a donkey on my back. Pretty much impossible and not much fun, unless you’re particularly strong and have a thing for treacle that is.

Exhaustion which leads to lethargy so ghastly that any simple tasks like cooking food, emptying the dishwasher (first world problem – sorry), taking out the rubbish, going to the supermarket, anything and absolutely everything is an immense effort, and how would I deal with this? Obviously I would procrastinate. Durr! (As my children so eloquently say.)

The one minor flaw in dealing with life in this way, is that there is a distinct possibility of ending up existing alone on Tesco ready meals with a house akin…

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Mental-ity

I don’t read re-posts. We-e-e-e-ell once in a blue moon I will.

Accordingly, I don’t like to stick them into my own blog (the one you’re currently reading). I often read great things I’d like everyone else to see as well, but feel like I’m stealing someone else’s brilliance and pasting it over my lack of writing anything for that day.

‘Tis true, however, that I’m sometimes at a loss for time because of my dear, sweet, distracting children. Summertime’s here, which means they’re wild and free and completely under my tutelage.

I can be creative, though. I can! I’ve written some wonderful things. Some of those are contributing posts over at The Bipolar Writer.

If you haven’t been over there, go right ahead and check it out. If you’re lazy like me and don’t want to bother, I’m doing you a solid and pasting an article right here that I wrote back in April. It’s titled What’s So Normal About Labels?

 

I was conversing with my dear, oblivious husband the other night. I’d had an epiphany about my negative perspective of everything. Beginning to expound, I said something about depressive people thinking one thing, then moved on to try to finish with what other people thought.

The hubby helpfully suggested, “So, you mean what normal people think?”

Normal. People. They’re not normal. They just like to be called “normal.” Pshaw, I say.

Given that there are probably just as many wizards -er, mental illness sufferers out there as “normal” homo sapiens, things really seem to indicate that they should have the nickname, and we should be called normal.

What can we name them, then? How about “Aberrants?” “Defects?” “Outsiders?” or “Vulcans?” -You know, because they clearly aren’t feeling human emotions, so they’re overly serious aliens.

All right, all right. I’m sure we can come up with a more flattering name. In our spare time. Perhaps we can brainstorm during that extremely small window of time when we’re awake, and the sun and distractions are not.

Got anything yet? Yeah, not a good time for me, either.

Since coming over here to James Edgar Skye’s enlightening blog, I’ve felt a lovely camaraderie. It’s like the dark little corner of the party actually had people hiding there that I just couldn’t see before.

“Oh, hi!” I whisper to a fellow curled-up body. “Depress here often?” We cry a bit together, agree that cynicism is the best outlook, and part ways when one of us pretends to need a drink.

Since this discovery, I’ve been wondering how many people out there fit into one category or the other. Confirmation bias keeps telling me that most people struggle with mental illness. As I said, doesn’t that mean weshould be normal?

Checking out a more reputable site than my own mind, I learned that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. That’s freaking high. Despite all these people hanging out in closets or staring morosely into the bottom of glasses, that still means that MOST PEOPLE (4 of the 5) are not.

Dangit.

I guess we actually are the ones out of our Vulcan mind. But that doesn’t mean that I want to be grouped in the dark corner, apart from those who think they don’t have problems.

If they’re “normal,” that makes us “abnormal.” And we ARE NOT abnormal. We are fighters. Deep feelers and thinkers. We are authentic, strong, emotional, real -and tired of being labeled as defective.

Eureka! The real problem here is that we need a label besides all the others slapped on by those 4 out of 5 liars.

I vote for Human.

So, you Vulcans: listen up. We’re not broken. We’re not useless, imperfect, or crazy. We are Human.

Now, fellow Humans: get out of that corner, and let’s show them what we’ve got.

Go ahead; I’m just going to grab some punch.

Mrs. Owens

Agent Smith

As you can see, some bloggers have been reading my posts for some time now. I admit, however, to writing on two blogs. In one site; I am Chelsea Owens, freelance blogger for my own whims and devices. I have a registered URL, I pay an annual fee, and I respond to people commenting on my garbage.

The other life is lived on James Edgar Skye, where I go by the alias of …Chelsea Owens, and am guilty of indulging in every idea regarding mental illness my personal experience allows for.

Whether either of these lives has a future or not, is irrelevant.

Part of me believes that I’m wasting my time writing about this, but I believe you wish to understand a few things. I’m willing to write a parody of a Matrix interrogation scene, give new visitors a fresh start on navigating; and all I’m asking is your cooperation in following along with my winding train of thought.

At some point in the blogging process, I was followed by Skye. Many of my posts before that point touched on mental issues; say, like futility involving procrastination, frustrations involving housework and an inattentive husband, or poetic breakdowns inside my head.

I’ve noticed a personal decrease in posts involving mental conditions since contributing a few posts in my other site. Perhaps those who find me over here, from there, are disappointed. Advice regarding blogs is usually to keep to only one subject.

I’d hate, however, for readers to experience déja-vu.


via GIPHY

That, and I want to write without limits; “without rules or controls, borders or boundaries.” I aim to create in “a world where anything is possible.”

And that, confused followers, is why you will find such a hodgepodge of expression over here.

“I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. …Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

The real world is a place of myriad lifestyles, environments, perspectives, and ages. Even our personal mindset evolves over time. Variety is more than a spice of life; it’s the constant throughout our lives.

So, go on; have some variety.

The Oracle

And keep reading.

 

All quotes and parody material obsequiously taken from The Matrix.

“Every single person goes through something in their lives. No one gets a free pass from grief or depression or just plain bad luck. We all suffer in some way. But we need to soldier on. Because that’s what life is: tunneling through the shit to find the gold.

“But sometimes we need help, we need someone to hand us the shovel. Please  go to a qualified shovel specialist. There are people out there that can and will help. Know that there really are people who care.

“And to everyone else- remember- sometimes all that’s needed is a kind word. Sometimes telling someone that you are there is enough. Remind yourself that everyone else might not be as happy as you are. A little kindness goes a long way.”

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50: Everybody Matters

Flat-Footed

Black and white

“Ee-ew! What’s wrong with your toes?” The sneery-faced girl scrunched up her nose into, well, into a sneer. Her voice was just the right timbre to draw the envy of large, braying barn animals -had there been any around.

Instead, she and I were part of a different sort of farm, one at which children gathered for instruction in reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. The sunny rays of late spring shone between us; upon her freckling nose and unkempt hair, and likewise upon my sandal-shod feet with their exposed toes.

I wiggled my posterior phalanges innocently. The movement drew an encore exclamation from my tormentor. “Ew! They’re so weird! Stop it!” Feigning repulsion, she ran away.

I considered following. Had I been of a different personality, the thought of continually chasing her might have occurred to me. Being myself, instead, I looked down at my flat, splayed toes in shame. I tried placing one foot over the other, but could see how that would hamper movement.

The toes returned my scrutiny innocently; though, to my new perspective, they had somehow morphed to resemble dead slugs or ugly bits of log. I had always known my toes were a little different, of course. They didn’t look precisely like my mother’s, or my father’s; though they did resemble my sister’s and brother’s somewhat.

Given that small scientific sampling, I’d concluded that everyone must have some toe issues. Mine weren’t all that odd.

The bell rang, signifying the end of recreational outside time for schoolchildren. I returned inside, a small germ of doubt forming inside my innocent mind. Little was I to know how important my foot fringes would prove later in life; how much of that life they would come to affect.

Of course, they had a few problems in childhood beyond immature condemnation. Those poor, flat slugs jostled against each other too freely inside my shoes. The second and third toe’s unusual length, coupled with the movement, caused them many an ingrown nail pain.

My grandfather, from whom I inherited the flatness, was a podiatrist. He’d look over my feet with the air of a great scientist. Invariably, he’d comment, “Should’ve taken out that first knuckle when you were a baby.”

In response, I’d study my elongated digits. Were they so out of place? Were they so wrong, that they needed tampering with? Editing? Removal?

It wasn’t until my teenage years that my feet became more obvious, and brought again to vocal scrutiny. Most of that was due to an unreasonable social silence I received from peers for most of my childhood. It was like they could sense my feet were different. Perhaps I kicked a soccer ball differently at recess. Maybe the pigeon-toedness of my walk was more pronounced than I’d imagined.

That was when I would recall another way the affronting basal extremities had interfered in younger years. Fearing the extreme way I thrashed my legs inwardly at some moments, my parents had agreed to purchase and shoe me with special footwear. My toes were hidden beneath covered fronts, fronts so obscuring that one could not easily tell the right from the left. Thus split and kept from each other, my gait was altered to tilt more outward, more normal.

As I was saying, however, I could not hide the abnormalities from fellow teenagers. They walked brashly round the high school campus; showing me that, yes, my anatomy was not like most other’s. Most female feet were attractive and small; with cute, curling toes of descending length.

Again, I viewed my primate-like offerings. “Love yourself,” my mother admonished. But, what was to love about my obviously abnormal feet?

Feet like mine

I tried. “I can write with my feet,” I told some friends. I even practiced. The parlor trick was somewhat amusing, but ultimately served to repulse most listeners. No one wants to hear about feet touching pencils and paper, if one wants to hear about feet at all.

I began hiding my shoe size, disguising my walk, and curling my toes when viewable. I pretended to be like those with smiling, happy leg-ends. I mimicked the way they moved. Hopefully, my defects would somehow conform and truly be like everyone else one day.

Eventually I got married, to a man with smaller feet. “They’re so fuzzy,” I commented.

“All men have hairy feet,” he responded. He was normal.

I knew all women did not have my anatomy. Silence was golden. Though I’m sure he could see the size; odd, webbed second and third toes; and bath mat-like nature of mine, he never admitted repulsion. He never admitted love, of course; no closet foot fetishes. Instead, I felt he ignored their presence and focused on what had a better appearance.

Perhaps he, too, hoped they would simply change to different parts if avoided.

Maybe because of their insistence on extending farther than they naturally ought to, this was a defect that could not be overlooked. It was one that began to affect my life, including our married life.

“So you feel your feet are causing problems?” Our counselor queried, concerned. “Do you find yourself picking objects from the floor with your simian second-toe spacing? Are your children trodding on them; not giving you the space you need? Have you ever felt like harming your toes?”

I remembered my grandfather’s wishes to shorten the offending toes. I had to admit, “Yes.”

The good news is that I was referred to a hormonal replacement podiatrist. It’s ongoing news, really, since I’ve come to realize I will always have different feet than more foot-functional humans. But, the initial treatments have helped.

“Oh, I just love your nails, Heidi,” a woman comments to another. We’re at an ongoing outdoor recreational time; a social gathering of neighborhood women. The person she is complimenting happily displays the toenails that drew attention. They sit in even rectangles atop curling, descending toes at the ends of perfect, petite feet controlled by slim, even-stepping legs.

perfect feet

I glance at mine. My toenails still retain most of the strengthening polish I have to douse them with, else they break and peel. They grace my flat, elongated, obscurely-shaped foot profile. The feet are large for a woman, and point inwards the way my knees do.

I shrug.

I can’t fight genetics blessing me with thin nails. I’d rather have oddly-long toes than agree to surgically alter them. Perhaps my shoe size helps my balance -especially when I forget to focus and trip over my pigeon-toed gait.

And, should the world ever be captured by alien invasion and our arms pinioned uselessly to our sides, my apelike toes will come in handy for untying the bonds of my fellow prisoners.

If nothing else, they’ll be able to write a plea for help.

Are You in There?

Are you in there? In
side the echo of
sedgewater walls amplifying
rhetorical
sounds

I can’t stop the
SHOUTING! SHOUTING! SHOUTING!
queries of noise
infiltrating my
emptispace!

GO AWAY!
I came here to get away;
to not hear you
SHOUTING
What’s wrong?

Probably just
everything.
Else, I’d be outside
in the garden, in the sunlight
laughing
blissfully thinking nothing
happily feeling nothing

But a different nothing:
an actual not-a-thing
of
no concerns
of
stand. alone. happiness.

Outside of
empty echoing walls
dark spaces
a corner
out of the way

where
I
will
not
be
hurt
by
you

Answer

Go ahead, Dear, cry it out. Spend your tears to pay off sadness. Think through all your sorrows, and tell me every pain.

I’m here, and I’m not leaving. I want to stay with you. I love you more than anything, and I’ll not move till I convince you.

We’ll sit here, by the door. We’re safe; behind it, in the dark. I’ll hold you close as you hold me, till the world is ready for you again.