Guys, I have been writing like a crazy person! But since my carpal tunnel is really bad, I have been writing by hand in my notebooks instead of on my phone. I am working on transcribing them this week. I’ll get something to you asap. xoxoxo
THE FAIR MAIDEN’S FIRST ADVENTURE: AKA THE GREATEST SADDEST STORY EVER TOLD
Once upon a time in a land, I like to call, stupid effing ever never land; Our fair maiden is the same as before, same long hair, same cheerful disposition. She is called Mandalicious. She was busily cleaning her kitchen and making supper and preparing her meal for the following day when she heard a knock at the door. Slightly annoyed at being disrupted during her Beyonce solo, she dried her hands and answered the door, slightly suspecting it may be her sickly neighbor. Alas, it was her.
“I have to get an emergency cat scan,” she said. “Of course you do,” the fair maiden thought.
“Can you please watch my dog for me while I go?” she pleaded desperately. “Of course I will,” Mandalicious instantly replied, because how was she going to say no. She didn’t mind really, since she is a lover of all furry creatures. The two neighbors decided the best solution would be to leave the sickly neighbor’s door as well as Madalicious’ door to let the dog roam at his leisure.
It was getting quite late for the poor maiden, as she deeply values her rest. She turned on the tv to watch some Beauty and the Beast (for the second time that week) and waited for her neighbor to depart. The neighbor needed to be fasting for four hours before getting the CT Scan and had to delay her departure for another 45 minutes. The fair maiden had taken her nighttime medicine at this point and was indeed ready to fall into some kind of slumber, whether it is deep or shallow, it mattered not. Her back hurt from cleaning and she desperately needed her bed.
At long last, the neighbor took the dog out one last time and departed. The sweet dog loves his mom, so he was very concerned and went down the stairs to wait by the door. Mandalicious convinced him to come up to her room. He seemed desperate to get into bed with her, but he was just too fat to make the jump on his own. So she lifted his portly body onto the bed, said her prayers and turned out the light. As she snuggled into the covers, the dog became restless. He fervently paced on the bed and would not be calmed. So she patiently put him on the floor in the hopes that he would go back to his bed in his mom’s room, and thus saving his poor dear little life.
At this point it was 11:30 pm and the fair maiden fell asleep quite quickly. Between midnight and 2am the stressed out dog would run out of the poor maiden’s room and then into the hall and down the hardwood floor, “click click click click,” went his nails. And then muffled little barks when he would run back into her room. Her sleep was intermittent and the poor lass was unbelievably vexed. At 3am she scooped his chubbiness up onto the bed in hopes that he would just snuggle up and go to sleep. It soon became clear to the sleep deprived girl that this fussy dog needed to relieve his bladder.
This was something not even the pirate eye could keep from fully waking her. She got out of bed and put some clothes on. Wearily she plodded to the neighbor’s apartment and retrieved the leash. Even though she was frustrated she was still loving to the poor creature, but happy she was not.
She gave up on pirate eyeing it when she got outside. The doggie sniffed everything and peed and then sniffed everything else. While she was out there she was thinking about how this was going to make a great story to tell in the morning. And then it came to her, this is the way she should write. And then, She thought of a blog name. Either Manda’sfairytaleinprogress.com or afairytaleinprogress .com.
After the short walk around the house, The pup seemed content to accepting that his mom was not in the yard as he had previously expected and took up a vigilant watch at the top of the stairs while he waited for her and did not bother the fair maiden the rest of the night. Because the pirate eye did not work, she laid awake for another half an hour and drifted off to some restful sleep. However, despite 4 separate alarms being set, she didn’t wake up until 725am and by some miracle, was in the car by 735am and was not late for work.
Approximately one hour into her work day she had a headache, but her attitude remained positive.
The end…or kinda the beginning.
Once upon a time the fair young maiden decided to finally get her car inspected and registered. This is a great feat, for the maiden loved to shop and needed some new pants, and wanted some other very frivolous things that she’d rather spend her money on. Alas, she did not want a ticket either, so she complied with the law and went on her merry way to The car fixer place.
The pubescent young man who greeted her gave her directions on how to park the car and then led her to the lobby. Well, he didn’t tell the confused girl that’s what was happening so she accidentally went into the employees office. The pubescent young man seemed startled that she hadn’t followed him when he walked away without any indication that she should. “No ma’am, in here,” he uttered and directed her to the proper sitting area. She walked into the claustrophobic room and was fairly certain she had actually walked into Hades.
The sun was at the perfect angle to bake the room to hellish temperatures. Her hair was long and thick and held all the heat in the universe around her neck and back. Immediately she began sweating. The lobby smelled like her grandpa’s shop he had while she was growing up. Mandalicious didn’t mind this part, the smell set off the nostalgic in her and it never bothered her when she was in a car shop. But then a skinny, greasy haired, younger gentleman (not so pubescent) came into the lobby. He sat a fair amount of chairs away from the maiden, much to her great happiness. Normally she liked people of all sorts, but the suffocating heat made her feel irritated that another warm body had come into the room and would then heat it further.
She was sitting there reading about how to pitch a novel to a publisher, when she noticed a strong scent of body odor. In the heat, sweating bullets, she tried to not inhale. This, obviously, was not the answer. The young lady was perusing her phone and minding her own business, but she finally looked up while gasping for air. The man was eating a subway sandwich with onions.
Now,the fair young maiden enjoyed onions; she even ate them from time to time. She was even known to put them on her Subway sandwiches. But the combination of the burning inferno that was that room and body odor onion smell made her feel like she was going mad. She assumed she felt a lot like how Harry must have felt in The Order of the Phoenix when he wanted to strike Dumbledore after he had his dream about Mr. Weasley being attacked (. It took all her effort to refrain from bursting out in anger to ask him if he was under the impression that the lobby we were sitting in was in fact the very deepest depths of hot fiery hell.
The maiden’s hopes were raised when the door opened. As she gulped for some of the outside air leaking in through the open door, a different worker looked nervously at her expectant face, “We will be done with yours in about ten minutes.” he stuttered as her face fell in horror. He escorted the stinky sandwich man out and closed the door. When the onion man returned, she again gulped for more fresh air. To keep her mind off of the hot and the scent she began to write a tale about this adventure. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before the worker man came and got her. It is to be certain that the man did not understand why Mandalicious was gasping for breath as they walked towards her adorable Jetta.
Of course, the worker discovered some sort of expensive “safety issue” which needed to be addressed in order to move forward with the inspection and registration. She approved the flushing of the brake fluid for her car and insisted that she wait over on the grassy curb where the air was fresh and definitely lacking in the malodorous department. Her poor nerves had been set on fire by the hellfire that had set off her irritation and began to soothe while she looked up brake fluid to see if it was a real thing. Before she could surmise as to whether or not it was real, she was told the job was done. Happily she arose to pay for the services rendered. The only hiccough at this point was an embarrassing moment when she went to look for her keys to leave and then realized they were in fact in her car. The maiden and the worker shared a good hearty laugh at her simplemindedness. Riding off into the sunset, she thought to herself that it was no wonder the mechanics in the job might see her as a sucker. Shrugging her shoulders and thinking, “meh,” she drove home where she reheated pizza and settled in for a repeated viewing of Sense and Sensibility.
Until next time dear readers.
Tonight I had a great talk with one of my little sisters. As I have mentioned before in my posting, I am going through a real change, but there is a sense of anxiety about when it’s all going to fall apart, not just for me, but her too. Unfortunately it will, and that’s just the nature of depression and codependence. Sometimes I am filled with so much sadness and simultaneous rage that I can’t cope in healthy ways. But I know there is hope, I know it’’s there and that’s why I keep fighting. I am working hard on combatting my demons, but sometimes they feel like they will consume me. My family has watched me struggle. They have seen my life fall apart over and over, and they are as scared as I am about when it starts to fall apart again. I think it is important to admit that I am scared, but to still allow this positivity to flow without allowing this ever present shadow that haunts me even when I am at my happiest to overcome me. It is normal I think for there to be concern. My family and friends all want to make sure I am healing healthily and most importantly, lastingly.
There has been some momentum in the positive aspects of my life and everyone can see the positive effects all this change is having on who I am. I am happier than I have ever been. There is an internal and almost intrinsic belief that I am good enough, beautiful enough, and smart enough to be happy on my own. I still have bad days. Those days don’t really happen as often, or for as long as they used to last. I have moments where my heart beats so fast and I worry about the future, and agonize over my past so much that I can’t breathe. But I am moving forward. With each bout of depression, I feel like I come out of it stronger. Each low comes with more tools to cope, and more realization of what is working in my life vs what hasn’t worked. Happiness is a choice, and with depression it can be work. Part of that work is recognizing when you need to make changes.
Upon talking to my sister and pondering for a bit after our conversation, I have come up with a game plan to get me through the next low. Hopefully some of these things will help others who struggle with depression. I am not an expert in profession in treating any mental illness. However, through the scope of my own perspective as someone who struggles with mental illness, as a daughter, a niece, a friend of others who struggle, I feel that my perspective is of some value. It is my hope that this can help others; and maybe even myself through my readers’ perspectives and responses.
Continue to learn and develop new coping skills.
I think in order to do this one you have to really become acquainted with yourself and what actually brings you joy. And then you have to engage in those kind of activities. For me, I love to be creative. So anything that involves painting, writing, coloring, just creating, brings me joy. I love color and I love words. So combine both and I am in heaven. And the more I practice, the better I am getting. The better you get at something, the better you feel about what you have accomplished. Feeling a sense of worth in this way is important to drawing yourself out of depression.
Really you have to pick something that works for you. In my article, 4 Things to Help Turn Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones, I list several ideas on how to show yourself love and kindness. I think finding things that bring a sense of peace and purpose are great things to work on. I am a big fan of exercise more in theory at this time in my life, but I know that exercise does help me immensely. Especially with anxiety, It forces you to breathe through it and there is something incredibly cathartic in the practice of exercising and movement.
Admitting When You Need Help
When I am in my head, it can be hard to get out of it. Usually I have lots of inner conversations about how I am a burden and shouldn’t ask others for help. And oh how easy it is to convince yourself of this when you are in a state of depression. You MUST NOT believe this. There are people who care about you. When I look back at my most depressive episodes, the kind of episodes where the hope is absolutely gone and I can’t seem to find the will go on, I am so grateful I did reach out when I knew I needed help. I think the trick is probably learning to admit to yourself when those triggers start. Being self aware can sometimes feel icky, because we are our own worst critics. The thing is, by becoming self aware, by being willing to admit when it is time to reach out, or to not get on the defense if someone pointing it out in sincere concern, you have to admit that you can’t always do everything alone. If you feel alone, talk to a therapist, a friend, a sibling, a parent; anyone you trust. I promise if you start talking about it and hashing out where the downward spiral started, you will be able to pull yourself out of it quicker with each attempt to avoid the downslope.In conjunction with this, I have promised my sister after this talk we had that I would be more open to her help when I start spiralling. My goal is to not be defensive, and I told her to use all my words against me and she has willingly accepted this challenge. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Practice Using the Coping Skills When You are Feeling Down or Anxious.
In conjunction with learning and developing the aforementioned coping skills, practicing them is essential. And in this sense I don’t mean practice developing your artistic skills. I mean practice turning to the coping skills you have set up for yourself in your own game plan when they are needed. You have to actually put them to use. You can’t set up a game plan and then not activate it when you need it. It is pointless. This is where the work comes in. This is where you have to choose.Sometimes I don’t want to. There are times I would rather lay in my bed and force myself to sleep in order to avoid the things that are tormenting me. And there are times when I let depression win. But I also know that is when I end up feeling even worse about myself. As time moves forward, I do make more of an effort to turn to the healthy coping mechanisms I have set in place. Sleeping and eating only make my depression worse. When I feel like I can’t cope I reach out to someone. The people I turn to are people I know truly love me. And even though I HATE being told what to do, I feel like I listen more readily. Because when my brain is shutting down and I can’t make good decisions regarding my health, I have to turn it over to loved ones. It is hard, and sometimes I grumble, but 98.5% of the time I know their help is not only well intended, but in fact, productive in alleviating my depression and/or anxiety. You have to be willing to work and listen.
Depend on yourself too.
So I say all of this above because it is all important. But where codependence comes into play, you have to learn to depend on yourself too. For me, chasing everyone else’s love in order to fill a hole that was never filled by my mom, I have lived my entire life codependently. I have tried to find love in ALL the wrong places. I chased it to whatever hell it led me. If I have been sad, I have reached out and then when nothing is offered up by others, I have been angry and hurt. This expectation of reciprocation is where you have to let go. There will be times when your main support people are in a meeting, sleeping, with their families celebrating a holiday or a birthday. It is going to happen and we have to be healthy enough to reach inside ourselves in order to pull us up out of a depressive or anxiety ridden hole. Again, this requires work. Reaching out is important, but being angry or hurt because someone is unavailable is just asking for misery. So much energy that you could be putting into your own recovery can sometimes be misplaced in anger or hurt in regard to something you or your support person can’t control. This is why practicing your coping skills is so important. There will be times when the support you may need at that moment can’t be accessed for whatever reason. You need to develop your game plan and practice it in order to be able to rely on yourself to pull out of a bad moment. And if you can’t find it in yourself at the moment, there are therapists and crisis lines that can help talk you through a bad moment. I have used them and one in particular saved my life. Remember there is always hope!
I am still working on all of this. Codependent behavior and depression has been developing inside of me over the course of 36 years and it is going to take some time to overcome. But I know as I move forward in my journey, I will get better and better at overcoming all of this. Sometimes the progress will be slow and other times I will look back (as I do often these days) and be proud of overcoming every hurdle I have jumped.
If you need help you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
For Utah in particular you can call:
Crisis Intervention & Hospital Diversion Services at 801-587-3000
The next day. Grace rested on the sizzling wet cement. The towel she had put on the ground was bunched up into a pillow under her neck. The sprinkler on the lawn kept the ground under her body wet and cool. Her short wet brown hair stuck to her cheek as she inhaled deeply, drinking in the smell of the mixture of warm cement and the grass her grandpa had cut earlier that morning; before the sun had time to start smothering the crispness the night before had left behind. Grace had to keep her eyes clenched shut in order to keep the sun from blinding her. She was downwind just enough that she could feel the light spray from the sprinkler.
Soon enough, she was pulled out of the mire of her thoughts by the slam of the screen door and the Cody screeching happily as he ran out to stand over Grace. Feeling his little shadow blocking the sun from her eyes, she left them closed, “Yes Cody?” At just that moment she felt his little finger poke her cheek, “Gwacie come eat,” he giggled and poked her two more times. Grace’s eyes flew open.
“Ah c’mon Cody, that hurts,” she muttered as she swatted lightly at his tiny hand. She took his little hand in hers and pretended to bite him. “Mmmmmm you tasty,” she said in a growly monster voice, “nom nom nom.” Cody squealed in delight and ran away towards the house, giggling and screaming something nonsensical. She heard Grandma open the screen door and holler, “C’mon Grace,” as she pulled herself up off of the ground and dried herself off a little better.
When she was mostly dried she walked quickly to the front door. She could smell that Grandma had fried up some bacon and immediately surmised that BLT’s were most likely on the menu; Grace’s favorite! As she entered the house, she took the steps two at a time and raced into the kitchen. Grandma was slathering mayo onto the toasted bread and Grace’s stomach growled. Grandma must have heard it too, because she immediately said, “Now Grace, you know you are not going to sit on my chairs in a damp swimming suit. Go change and it’ll be ready to eat when you get back.” She didn’t have to ask Grace twice, not when there was bacon involved. The little imp darted into the bathroom and hurried into her dry clothes. Just as she was tugging her shirt over her ears she heard the telephone ring. Grace glanced in the mirror and tried to smooth her wet drying hair out of her face, encouraging it with all her might to just lay flat. After about 5 seconds she lost interest and saw her unsuspecting Grandma pick up the phone while she scooped Cody up who was trying to sneak out of the kitchen and down the stairs again. She hadn’t strapped him into his high chair yet and he was sneaky.
“Hello?” Gran said. Her face fell and her old, soft, brown eyes flashed in anger. She put the receiver on her chest and handed Cody to Grace, “Buckle him in would ya?” Turning the corner from the kitchen into the hallway to try and hide her phone conversation from the kids. Grace’s heart started pounding a little. There were only a few things that made grandma’s eyes flash, and Lily’s daughter was one of them.
This post is brought to you today because my baby sister sent me the link above. And when I was done, I was in tears. In fact, I am still tearing up. One thing I will constantly try to share on my blog is the importance of self love. This concept is something I have struggled with, as previously mentioned. It is something I am conquering, but it is something that can be easily forgotten. It takes work! Especially when every thing you’ve ever thought and felt has told you you do not deserve love. This video points out just how badly we can perceive ourselves in comparison to the extraordinary light others see in us. It hit me right in the feels because I know too well how hard one can be on themselves. What if we could stop being haters and see ourselves as other people see us? How much would our souls heal in response to seeing our own light within ourselves?
I can relate to these women, as I am sure most women can. I can tell you every insecurity I have about my face and my body. Double chin, greying hair since I was 21, freckles, my eyes get too squinty when I laugh, and I have a hard time not thinking I look like a sumo wrestler when I have my hair pulled into a tight topknot. I am not sharing this to fish for compliments, but more to demonstrate how ridiculous and critical we can be towards the most important person in our life, ourselves. I didn’t start this post to brag about myself either, but I am proud of who I am and my beauty. I know that my eyes and smile are beautiful and they sparkle when I am truly happy. I know I am warm, inviting, and genuine, which can be seen in my countenance. I am beautiful, and I actually believe it. But man, I have spent so much time concentrating on the flaws, only seeing the negative.
My weight has been a struggle my entire life. I also suffered from severe emotional and physical abuse as a kid at the hands of my mother. I could go into more depth about this, but I will save it for another time. Because of this dangerous combination, my self esteem has basically been non-existent for me my entire life. I always thought that my weight was the root of all my issues, and if I could just be thinner, maybe life would be better. As I grow older I know this is not the case. This defeatist perception of self is simply hopeless. I know that if I can love myself just as I am, I can find happiness. It is so important to accept yourself. With each passing minute, week, and year, I discover I finally have an honest belief as to just how fabulous and special I am. I have so much to offer. Sometimes I beat myself up because it has taken me so long to realize it, but then that’s not really an example of showing myself love and acceptance is it?. So I am going to be forgiving and gentle with myself because I deserve it.
Ladies, and even gentlemen, let’s commit now to truly loving ourselves. Let’s start trying to see ourselves from an outsider’s perspective and really try to appreciate how beautiful and uniquely amazing we are. Stop worrying about what others are thinking, because people don’t notice the things you are insecure or worried about. People see goodness and light. It is what draws them to you. It is so important that we take a minute and truly take in and believe we are gorgeous and deserving of love. Not just from others, but from inside yourself. I want to challenge each of you to practice being kind to yourself. Appreciate the uniqueness of each beauty mark, wrinkle, and grey hair. They are part of you. Each thing you think is negative probably adds more character and life to an already fascinating specimen of humanity. Let your light shine unabashedly. The love you give yourself, will only attract those who want to share in your warmth.
When I watched this video, I thought every woman in it was beautiful. They were different and unique and I loved it. I wasn’t sure in the beginning what the outcome was. But when I started hearing what the strangers were saying about the women in comparison to their own thoughts about themselves, I couldn’t stop the flood of tears. I knew immediately that I needed to share my thoughts on it. Comment if you are with me on this challenge!
Once upon a labor day, the fair young maiden stayed in her house all day long. She wasn’t being lazy, she was finishing up painting projects, reorganizing her clothes, and even organizing her kitchen cupboards. Mandalicious even managed to take a very long nap, watch two Harry Potter movies, When Harry Met Sally and the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After a while, she began to feel claustrophobic and antsy. She wanted to write, but couldn’t think of anything remotely clever. She even felt convinced (for about twenty-three seconds) that she had no more funny to give.
Knowing that was incredibly silly. The young lady had an arsenal of humor and inspiration. She just needed help brainstorming. So she called Gus. “Gus!” she declared, “I can’t write. I have nothing to say, but this blog thing… I want to make it work! Willst thou help me.” Now Gus is a good lad, and he turned off his new tv show to try and help Mandalicious get her creativity flowing. For a few minutes they argued about whether or not the young maiden was attracted to arrogant men, like Sir Robert Downey Jr., Gus was clearly trying to make her ragey and soon they decided to change the subject. Instead of arguing, he suggested she take a walk. He offered to stay on the phone with her whilst she walked.
“But it is 9pm! And alas, I have no footwear nor brazziere on,” she declared irritably. He quickly reminded her that these things were easily fixed, so knowing he was right (even though he is only right occasionally)she pulled herself off of the couch, quickly donned her shoes and undergarment. Somewhere in the background while her telephone device lay on the bed, she heard someone beat boxing while she readied herself.
“Ok! I am ready. I am wearing a ratty Statue of Liberty t-shirt and a pair of Utes pajama bottoms,” she uttered hoping this would get her out of it. He insisted that because it was dark no one would care. And then insisted further that no one would care even if it was daytime. In fact they argued about that for the length of her street. When she turned the corner and started walking east, she noted aloud that the moon was quite beautiful. It was full and bright. Remembering this a walk that intended to get creative juices flowing, he asked her to describe it to him. “Ugh I know not,” she sighed, “it is just beautiful.”
He, knowing how to vex her and push her to try harder, teased her relentlessly until she gave a half hearted attempt at describing the moon. She said, “because it is beautiful and still.” It was the still part that really got her thinking. The moon is so far away and we are so small in comparison. Yet here we are, on this little planet where we are exposed to so many beautiful things. She suddenly noticed how the air wasn’t frigid, but almost a perfect temperature. There was a warm breeze blowing around the scent of a summer that was starting to fade. There were crickets singing. It reminded her of camping adventures she had with her father as a young girl. The whole setting gave her a feeling of comfort and peace.
As she continued to walk and talk about the things which were popping into her head, her anxiety and restlessness released. The fair maiden felt more relaxed, while simultaneously feeling sweaty. Sprinklers were on and she could detect a hint of the wet cement smell, a scent she quite loved. There were roses to be sniffed, while there were lavender sprigs and sunflowers that begged to be stolen; and very possibly were in fact purloined. For the fair maiden was encouraged to “live dangerously” and snatch the coveted delicate flowers. The lass never fails to rise to any challenge and she may or may have not proven her worth in this matter when it comes to the lavender sprig…the sunflower was from a vacant lot.
While this adventure did not set the maiden off on a fervent writing spree that night, it had reminded her what she needed to focus on when writing. She thanked her silly yet amazing friend and gladly stored some fodder for writing on the morrow. She utilized the creativity to write this silly post, but also a few others that will later be published. It is her strong offered advice that if one is stumped with writer’s block, to go outside. Even if only for a little while (18 minutes is all it took for her). The fresh air and the other elements worked wonders on her restless heart and her head which was devoid of any creativity. One must foster creativity by giving it something to expound on. This lesson she did happily learn and did look forward to the days ahead where she would most hopefully come up with other funny and insightful writings for her readers.