Tall Grass and Face Masks

In all of the excitement of the announcement on Monday, I was floating in a happy little bubble that *popped* today. THERE IS SO MUCH TO FREAKING DO BEFORE WE CAN MOVE.

Meemaw and Mimi have to be out of their apartment by May 3rd. The house will probably not be ready to move in until mid-May. This evening, as we sat around in their living room watching Grace, we made a list of everything that HAS to be done before the big move.

THE GREAT MOVE IN CHECKLIST

  1. Find a place for Meemaw and Mimi to stay.
  2. Move them out.
  3. Tackle the GRASS THAT IS TALLER THAN ME AND THAT SNAKES ALSO MIGHT BE LIVING IN.
  4. Tear down the fence that is blocking the existing mobile homes.
  5. Cut down the GIANT 40 YEAR OLD TREE that is blocking the existing mobile homes.
  6. Move the existing mobile homes.
  7. Get the new house onto the land.
  8. Electric and plumbing hookup.
  9. Alcohol.

I cannot express enough HOW TALL THIS GRASS IS. Have a picture.

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This picture only shows where our home will be placed. Not pictured? The other 4 and a half acres is filled with trash, old burn piles, a few beehives and grass. SO MUCH GRASS.

Those are the basics, anyway, that we’ll have to tackle in the next 10 days. Our actual list has about 40 things that need to be done.

Meemaw and I are taking the stress really well tonight. Stress-relieving face masks and boxed wine.

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Hoping to come back to you with good news on Monday! Until then, bottoms up!

The definition of success and… chickens?!

This will probably be a long post, but I promise to get to the chickens eventually!

Part I

The last few months have been rocky, to say the least. I had a blast on my Orlando vacation, but coming back to Texas left me feeling… off. You know that feeling when you have the highest hopes for something and for reasons unknown, once you finally get *there*, it just doesn’t fulfill you like you thought it would? That’s what visiting Orlando felt like. It used to feel like home, but after just a few hours I realized that it had become a vacation. An excellent vacation, but I lost that feeling for it. Not the love or the adventure or the incredible friends that I have there… just that this-is-where-I-belong feeling.

I came back and the depression cloud (Is that a thing because that’s what it feels like to me. It feels like a giant, stormy, black cloud that you can see coming from miles away and the only thing to do about it is to close the windows and hope for minimal damage) started to drift into my life.

It was rough. I just… kind of… existed for about a month.

And then it built up to a giant hours-long anxiety attack. I cried and stomped and puked and screamed at the sky and kept asking no one in particular, “Why can’t I figure this out? Why do I keep messing up? Why is it all so hard?”. I’m a planner. Orlando was the plan and then it was gone. Losing your place in life is hard and I let it build up for too long.

Towards the end of this attack (seriously, y’all. HOURS.) I found myself at my Meemaw’s apartment. I’m sobbing on the floor and she is holding me and I was rambling about how I felt that I mess everything up, that I’m not where I’m supposed to be in life. I guess I was feeling old because I kept saying, “I mean – I’m 25! I’m 25 and I live with my parents and it isn’t supposed to be that way!”

I cried about money and I cried about loneliness and she sat on the floor with me and just listened. I stopped for a breath. Blotchy-faced, unwashed hair and having to concentrate on getting air into my lungs.

And my grandmother, my Meemaw, one of my best friends in the world said, “Marcie. Who says that you have to be in a certain place by a certain age? Who gets to decide where YOU are supposed to be in life?”

I, mistakenly thinking that I could win an argument with her, started listing names of friends that I assume are doing really well in life. People that I graduated with that have earned their Masters Degree, people that are younger than me and married with children, people that are homeowners, people that can, you know, afford dog food.

She stopped me again and said, “Okay. But they’re not you.”

It’s amazing how something as simple as “they’re not you” calmed me down.

She was right.

Success and happiness do not have simple definitions.

Part II

Long before I existed, Meemaw was giving her incredible advice to countless other people that were feeling lost.

After having my uncle and mother, my grandparents decided that they wanted to grow their family through foster care and adoption. Judy and Jim (Meemaw and Pawpaw) were foster parents to over 50 children between 1980 and 2010.  They made a fairly modest living but it is amazing what two big hearts can do. In 1984, they moved to “the country” to have more space for more kids. My grandfather attached two single-wide mobile homes together with a family room and deck, built a giant carport, and it became their eclectic, 7-bedroom home.

Their home was full of love for years and years. Some of my earliest memories are staying with my grandparents in the summer. They always had a LOUD house full of kids and I vividly remember having competitions where we would run the property to see who could catch the most grasshoppers. We stuffed them in wet-wipe containers and the older kids would fishing bait later in the afternoon.

In 2004, they moved to a different house. The mobile homes were rented out for a while, but in the last few years, they just sat. After my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and the difficult decision to move him into a nursing home, my grandmother moved to a retirement community with her special needs son, Dion. The property in the country got overgrown, the homes were broken into and vandalized and it somehow became a giant… well, we call it a shit pile and there’s not much candy-coating I can do to that.

You could tell that it saddened Meemaw. It had always felt like “home” to her and she missed having a space that was her own.

Still with me? Go get a snack, we’re not finished yet. I’ll wait.

A few months ago, opportunity knocked. Actually – it kind of kicked the door down and said, “HEY I’M HERE AND THINGS ARE ABOUT TO CHANGE.”

Remember the house in the country? The foster care? The grasshoppers?

At that time, Meemaw and Pawpaw made friends with a lady that lived just a few blocks away who had ALSO opened her home to many children. Susan (Mimi) and Meemaw became fast friends. Her children are my aunts, uncles, and cousins. She considers all of Meemaw’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren her own.

Mimi moved to California in 1987. She and Meemaw kept contact as well as they could. Distance was nothing for a friendship like theirs. Recently, she decided that she wanted to move back home to Texas. After some talking, she decided that she wanted to purchase a NEW mobile home to place on the property that she and Meemaw had made a lifetime of memories on. She boarded a plane and moved into Meemaw’s apartment while the arrangements were being made… are still being made.

The land needs a lot of work, but the gears are all in motion and barring any complications, the beautiful new mobile home will be placed on the land around the first of May.

And the most exciting part of all of this?! Meemaw and Mimi have asked me to be a roommate and take their extra bedroom. This again, put me in the, “But living with my grandparents at 25 – seriously, why am I obsessed with being 25?! – is not where I’m supposed to be!”

Meemaw expertly responded, “Well, why not? We need you and you need us!”

She’s right.

We’re a strange bunch and I’ve always been SO fascinated by sustainable living, which we will be attempting to the best of our abilities on this giant piece of land that is SO full of promise (though still kind of a shit-pile at the moment).

Meemaw will teach us how to make canned jams and jellies, Mimi will share her gardening knowledge, and Dion will show us the steps to becoming a proper Dog Whisperer. And I? I’ll be the resident grocery-shopper, errand-runner, meal-prepper and… CHICKEN WRANGLER.

That’s right. You KNEW that I’d find a way to get birds involved. My biggest project for the new place will be building a chicken coop in the ample amount of space that we have and filling it with feathered friends that will eventually provide DELICIOUS eggs for us.

Is my future predictable? No. Will I have the time of my life? Hell. Freaking. Yes.

A bit of uncertainty is always going to follow you around, I guess. For now, I’m letting the excitement lead the way.

I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

New Year, Same Me

7 hours left until I’m thrown into 2017.

Right now I’m house sitting and I have a super early shift scheduled for the morning. This leaves me in the company of two dogs, nine chickens, four fish and a rabbit. That’s okay with me.

This time, last year, I was drinking way too much and suffering from the emotional pain that was a 3-year-long relationship ending. I didn’t know how I would get through the year. I remembered thinking that 2016 would suck and that I would never feel happy again.

2016 did kind of suck, but some good things happened too. I had to walk away from a job that I loved, but I learned how important it is to listen to my gut and make decisions for my mental well-being. I learned that dating is TOUGH, but you can meet some pretty cool people if you to don’t take it too seriously. I learned that it takes a long time to heal and that it’s okay to not be “okay”. I learned how to help people understand me by opening up about how things make me feel – even if I’m afraid they’ll think I’m nuts.

Honestly, “Marcie is nuts!” should really be some kind of disclaimer.

I often go into the new year with the idea that I’m going to change. I’m going to lose the weight, acquire the skills, make the friends and become a whole new person.

There’s a lot about myself that I would like to change. But this last year has taught me that being… me is perfectly fine.

So. Here’s to 2017. I’m not sure what will happen, but I’m going to keep building on this weird, lumpy, loud, clumsy, and bird-loving foundation that I’ve made for myself.

It’ll do just fine.

 

Coffee and Perseverance

Holy crap, that title could not be cheesier if I tried. Okay… I could’ve added hashtagblessed to it. Perspective.

Here are some things that you’ve missed out on, if you don’t follow me on any other kind of social media. I found a job, I’ve been talking to friends more, my social anxiety and depression are less of an issue than they were a few months ago. I’m losing a bit of weight, I find myself smiling more, I’ve planned a tattoo (that gets its own post soon!) and I’ve come to terms with the fact that being back on my parents’ couch doesn’t make me less of a person.

I’m working as a Barista at Starbucks. I’m loving it! This is such a progressive and inclusive company! I’m loving all of the strides that Starbucks has taken to make EVERYONE feel welcome in their stores and encourage people to tell their stories. They treat their Partners with respect and though I definitely still have SO much to learn about my job, my fellow Partners have welcomed me to their family with open arms. Right when I was on the brink of saying, “This is never going to happen! No one is going to hire me!” I got the interview and almost immediately got the call back.

Keep fighting, guys. The job search is so hard and SO real – you will find the place where you fit!

This job has finally allowed me to start making plans. I had been getting pretty scared as my 25th birthday is in March and I REALLY wanted to get down to Orlando to celebrate. I’ve set up a budget and I’m booking the tickets on Friday. I absolutely can’t wait to be back in my “home” and see so many friends that I love and miss every day.

I have things to look forward to! I finally feel like I’m getting out of my “cloud”. I know what day of the week it is, I’m waking up early (seriously – 3:15AM some mornings!), I’m forming relationships with my family members I’m normally not close to. I’m doing better and it feels wonderful, for the most part.

(For the most part – meaning that I’m developing anxiety over the fact that I’m anxious over yet and I’m aware that depression doesn’t ‘go away’ and that I could find myself in another cloud at any point.)

I’m figuring it out and I’m loving hanging on to hope right now.

Anxiety and the Great Job Search

DEAR GOD WHY IS FINDING A JOB SO HARD. I’m nice! I’m fairly intelligent! I love working and just want to do my best and also get paid for it! Is that too much to ask? Apparently.

I send out application after application, resume after resume… I write my cover letters and try not to sound too desperate. Is: “I AM SO BROKE AND I JUST NEED SOMETHING TO DO AND MY BEST FRIEND IS MY GRANDMA AND I LOVE BIRDS SO MUCH AND ALSO I’M GOOD AT COMPUTER-ING AND PEOPLE-TALKING PLEASE HIRE ME PLEASE” too much?

Well, crap.

I know that something will open up. Somewhere or some way, a window is going to open and I will get that “damn you, six o’clock in the morning” feeling again. Or even better that, “oh, yes baby. gimme that direct deposit” feeling. It will happen. I know that I’ll be hired again and I’ll find a way to love it. I’ve never disliked any job that I’ve ever had, I am good about finding the good and sticking with it. I think that most of my nervousness stems from leaving my last job and feeling really incomplete.

I quit my last job because I was dealing with a lot of anxiety that came from a stalker that found out where I worked and would come into the shop and say terrible things about me or follow me from work and give me the creeps. He knew what he was doing, too. The police couldn’t do anything about it because he hadn’t “openly” threatened me. He would say some rude things when he come in every single day, but he never actually threatened my life. Which was really crappy because “I don’t feel safe”, and “I’m losing sleep at night”, and “I can’t see a white pickup truck without hiding behind a trashcan and we’re in fucking TEXAS right now and white pick up trucks are EVERYWHERE” isn’t enough to get a restraining order.

My manager was the best though. She did everything that she could to help me feel safe. Allowing me to step into the break room when he came into the shop, asking him to leave when he got particularly nasty and having an employee meet me at my car or walk me to my car at the beginning or end of a shift.

I loved that freakin’ job.

I loved it. Before all of the crazy went down, I looked forward to coming into work every day. I met so many people every day and always walked out of work with a hilarious story. It was one of the first times in the many odd-jobs I’ve had that I felt like I was good at what I did and that I was making a difference in the lives of my clients.

I was a Sales Representative for a product that I was (and still am!) passionate about; hitting my goals for the week or month gave me the dopiest smile on my face. I was good at sales and I didn’t feel dumb or conceited to tell myself that when I was going to sleep at night.

I’ve always struggled with anxiety. I have a nervous stomach and can work myself into a puking fit for the silliest things. This was different though. I was missing sleep and meals, throwing up every time he came into the shop, calling out because I just couldn’t deal with it. I chose to walk out of that job – that again, I LOVED – so that I could take care of myself. I eventually lost the house that I was renting along with many friends. Eventually, I had to move out of the cute town that I had called home… and back in with my parents. At the time, I hated it. I hated myself because I left my coworkers in the lurch,  my company was missing a sales rep, I was far away from my friends, and I was “too old” to move back in with my parents. I’m just now climbing out of the worst bout of depression I’ve ever had to deal with and realizing that quitting that job was the best decision I could have made for myself.

I’m proud of myself for that. If that had happened to me when I was younger, I would have pushed the anxiety aside and let it build up until I was in the hospital because I hadn’t slept in 3 days and my panic attacks were destroying me.

Quitting that job was really the first time in my life that I said to myself, “You can’t handle this and that is okay. This decision sucks, but you are going to be better for it.”

Before this incident, I viewed anxiety as something that I had to push through and deal with in the privacy of my own home. But on that day, I embraced it. I hate it, but it will always be a part of me and I have to take it into consideration when I’m making big life decisions. It only took 24 years to realize that I can’t hide it away in my sock drawer and only deal with it when it is convenient.

I have to take my anxiety with me when I work, when I shower, when I eat, when I sleep. And that’s okay. I will deal with it as it comes instead of letting the dread pile up and eat away at me.

I am more and more excited to find a job every day. The disappointment of not hearing back or getting a “no” in my email is daunting sometimes and I definitely let it get me down. But with every application that I send out, there is a shred of hope riding with it. Someone will call me back, someone will interview me, someone will hire me and I will have a job that I love again.

Until then, I’ll take my anxiety and let it rest – uncomfortably – in my pocket.

 

 

the “life things”

My first blog post. Eek. There are already so many ways that this can go wrong. I’ve always wanted to share my thoughts and stories and finally decided to take the dive.

I’m not sure exactly what I will cover in later posts. I’m just trying to figure out all of… the life things. The friend thing, the dating thing, the education thing, the mental illness thing, the job thing, the living situation thing… I could go on, but I’m sure you get it.

Life is hard and I’ve stumbled a lot lately, but I’m hoping for some major changes ahead and would love to share that journey with you. I’m sure that I will fail and get discouraged, but I’d like to have something to look back on when I’m older and stable (… it could totally happen!) that reminds me of how hard I worked to get there… wherever that is.