- I just had to double check that I was spelling ‘consciousness’ correctly.
- If you’ve ever had the lyrics to “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” stuck in your head, try listening to Sk8er Boi 11 times. It doesn’t work, but a little bit of early 2000s angst is kind of therapeutic.
- I don’t remember what it feels like to not be tired.
- I missed Survivor this week and somehow it didn’t record. I know that I can stream it, but I don’t remember what it feels like to not be tired.
- I’m finalizing my plans and budget for a chicken coop and will have a new flock in the spring. I’m also starting a HUGE garden so that I’ll fulfill my dream of being eligible for farmersonly.com
- Online dating is the worst. I’ve expressed this before. Still true. Don’t do it.
- I’ve been finishing up my Halloween costumes and everyone better just get out of my way because they’re going to SLAY.
- I walked into the QT on the way home and the manager shouted, “IT’S THE DONUT LADY!” This is it. I’ve made it. Maybe I’ll finally get verified on Twitter.
- I consume SO MUCH coffee on a daily basis that the chances of seeing 30 are getting slimmer and slimmer. I am SO TIRED ALL THE TIME.
- I still really, REALLY love my job.
- I used to have a copy of The Jerk on DVD and I cannot locate it anywhere. I have been wanting to watch it for a few weeks now because it is the best movie ever and Meemaw has never seen it.
- While I didn’t give up on Deep Space Nine, I’ve shelved it for now. I KNOW that it will happen eventually. Trying not to force it.
- Boy Meets World IS on Hulu though and while some of the jokes absolutely WOULD NOT WORK in 2017, I cannot help but commend the writers for touching on real issues and talking about them openly.
- I keep bleaching my hair and I don’t know why. I’m sort of ready to move on to a funky color, but I also just really like the way it looks right now. I can’t believe my hair has been the same color for almost 4 months.
- While I’m not on a diet, I’ve been doing my best to make healthier choices and I officially need to start shopping for new jeans.
- I’m still having dreams about eating at IHOP alone. What does it mean? Should I just take myself on an IHOP date to see if something significant happens? Should I avoid pancakes at all costs? Why is my brain so weird?
Thoughts on the drive home from work.
- My shower’s only two temperatures are “melt your face off” and “not cold, but can’t be considered warm” and it is agonizing.
- June Bugs are actually May Beetles and why the hell are they out in September?
- I paid a shop $80 to fix my phone and they didn’t actually fix my phone.
- Thinking that it might be water damage, I decided to let it sit in rice. Couldn’t locate rice. Let it soak in beans because that’s what they substitute for rice on Survivor.
- 7 days until a new season of Survivor and I cry about it daily.
- I’m really, REALLY trying to get through Deep Space Nine and it just doesn’t hold my attention. If I can’t make it through the next episode, I’m watching Voyager again and DSN again in a year or so.
- WHY DO I KEEP DREAMING ABOUT GOING TO IHOP ALONE
- Online dating is exhausting and I could totally live without a stranger ever sending me pics of his genitals again.
- I think that being phoneless is making me a better writer because instead of trying to beat my high score on Temple Run II, I’m making notes about things I want to write about (you are reading my ideas you are WELCOME).
- Meemaw’s birthday is today and she is so wonderful and cool and I want to be just like her when I grow up.
- The thought that I work in a place where I don’t feel the need to hold in my farts is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.
- Wow hello my feet hurt so badly ALL THE TIME.
- I want to watch all of the horror movies because ’tis the season to be terrified, but I don’t have time and Meemaw is NOT on board to watch with me.
- I have three days off at a time now and I want to start planning weekend trips! Give me super cool cities to visit for a day or two!
- I got invited to actually go out on Saturday night and I might not go, but being invited makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
- My car may be on it’s last leg and I’m gonna have to ask the universe to KEEP IT TOGETHER FOR JUST ONE MORE YEAR.
- I’m wearing sweatpants to work tomorrow and that’s accepted and how long can I talk about loving my job before everyone loses interest?!
Those are my rambling thoughts today. I can’t even believe I’ve updated this thing 3 times in one week. Hoping that I can stick to it, but as always – I make no promises.
I’m addicted to google. I’m a fact-finder. I need to know the answer to every question. You’d think I’d be better at trivia. I’ve been hours deep in pages upon pages of WebMD because of a bug bite. Sometimes, I read about my horoscope to feel better if I’m having an off week. The endless possibilities of having the internet at my fingertips any time I need an answer is a blessing and a curse.
My anxiety is weird. I’ve never in my life experienced stage fright. Talking in front of a large group is exhilarating for me. I’ve never worried too much about my outward appearance (I mean, I like wearing makeup and I prefer to look the way that I want to, but if I have a tough morning and makeup doesn’t happen – it’s not a stressful.)
My anxiety stems from the weirdest things. Usually, things that I shouldn’t be worrying about at all. I worry about being in car accidents on the way to work, that a friend only hangs out with me out of necessity, that I every decision that I make will be the wrong one. I can turn my whole life upside down by thinking too hard. I’ll find myself in a hypothetical 2022 where I still haven’t completed my undergrad, have lost my job/car/house, and I’m sleeping on random couches and borrowing money from friends. It’s so ridiculous! I’ll have these thoughts that eat me up alive while I’m eating ice cream in bed and watching Parks and Rec. Googling “ways to make extra money” makes me feel relieved – even when I have no plans of actually getting that second job… or donating plasma.
The idea of success if something that I’ve always struggled with and the fear of failing is usually what sparks my anxious episodes. I know that success is relative and Marcie’s Success is going to be different from Britney’s Success (so proud of her btw). I know that it takes little steps and that one should be proud of every accomplishment, but I can never make myself stop feeling like I’m treading water.
I’m getting better at recognizing this, even though I can’t stop it on a dime. I’m getting better at telling myself, “You’re doing your best – stop worrying about where you are in life.” Logically speaking, I know that this is some sort of body chemistry thing and that I could have everything I’ve ever wanted in the world and would still find something to worry about.
Accepting that sometimes I’ll disassociate while scrolling through endless time-lapse videos of food being made or that I’ll sometimes start tearing up because I’ve convinced myself that I’m a disappointment helps. A lot of what has helped me deal with anxiety has been accepting that it is a part of me. When I start getting emotional or feel myself shutting down socially because something happened, I’m able to say – “Hey! Your brain is being a jerk, this is not actually a big deal.” Usually, I’m able to respond to that and get it back together. Sometimes, I doesn’t work and I allow myself to stress. That’s okay, too.
My anxiety is also very prevalent in social situations. I’ve recently started a new job and while I’m loving it, I find talking to coworkers very difficult. I do my best to carry myself with the closest thing to grace that I can muster, and to ask questions to get to know them… and then I start worrying that I sound too nosy or too desperate. Making friends has always been hard for me and I’m an extrovert – I LOVE having friends. For the last three weeks I’ve been pretty proud of myself for being able to notice failed social interaction and then allowing myself to brush it off. I’m not for everybody. I’m too loud and I talk in a never ending monologue – It’s okay if I’m not best friends with every single person that I meet.
I’m really proud of myself for what I feel is personal growth. Two years ago, I was barely leaving the house. My friends would drag me out and I’d sit in the corner and worry that they were only bringing me around because they felt sorry for me. Now, I’m the one making plans for meet-ups, trying new things, putting makeup on again.
So really, the best advice I could give someone that struggles with spontaneous anxiety is to let it happen. Let yourself jump into the WebMD hole, let yourself research Nicholas Cage’s current projects, let yourself google the correct way to spell restaurant (why can I not spell restaurant correctly?!), let yourself make those financial spreadsheets that you might never use – who is it hurting if it makes you feel better? Get to know yourself and run with it. It’s YOUR weird brain, you live with it, you might as well figure out what it likes for breakfast.
I go back to Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please nearly every day of my life, so I’ll end with the quote that sort of inspired this post.
So, until next time:
“You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.”
We have a lot to discuss. It is going to get really sad, really sappy, and end one of those hopeful/glowy notes. Short version: Dead chickens, hopelessness, new job, watching the sun set on endless possibilities, blah blah blah… Grab a drink or a savory snack if you want to go on a journey. I recommend a Maker’s Manhattan or a bag of microwave popcorn.
On the drive home tonight, I started kicking myself about neglecting this blog. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that unannounced hiatuses are kind of my thing. Fortunately, so many terrific things have been happening in my life that have kept me from even cracking open my laptop. Unfortunately, the reason that I stopped posting was due to something fairly devastating.
My chickens died.
I woke up the morning of July 14th, packed up some treats for my girls and went out to the coop. When I arrived and called for them, I didn’t hear their familiar, happy clucks. As I got closer to the coop, I realized that the roof had been completely torn off and I found my sweet girls strewn in pieces all around. All of their bodies were accounted for, we never found out what did it. Living in the country and having chickens brought the threat of wild animals getting to them. It’s possible that that is what happened, but I’m not entirely convinced. Their coop didn’t have any particularly distinguished marks on it. It seems as if the roof was just… removed. I have a hard time believing that a wild animal got to the coop and not ONE was eaten/missing. I’m lucky that my mom went with me because I probably would have had a complete nervous breakdown without her help.
I cried for days. This came at a particularly challenging time in my life. I was still applying for jobs every day, I was still dealing with some personal struggles, and we hadn’t officially moved into the house yet.
I could talk about how raw my emotions were and how much I freaking miss those chickens for days, but I have to cover over two months of life and I’d like to get us all on the same page.
So I will say this: I’m (mostly) over blaming myself. I knew that losses could and were likely to happen when I started this project. They were spoiled rotten and absolutely lived every day of their lives experiencing love.
I kind of floated for a while. I took odd jobs meal prepping, cleaning houses, carpooling, and babysitting. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was getting caught in the Marcie-cycle of being unemployed and just trying to make the next five dollars.
I started talking to Meemaw and I decided NOT to take the next job that came to me and started applying at places that I wanted to work. I vowed not to take the next food service job that opened up and to finally find a place that a) did good work and b) felt like home. It took almost six weeks of ‘crying and applying’. We finally got to move into our new home, Susan (Mimi) moved back to California, and I finally moved my belongings that had been in the back of my car since 2015 into a semi-permanent home.
About a month ago, I got a call to interview with an incredible organization that works with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I did so much research before applying and had so many people check my resume and cover letter because I just knew that I needed to be there.
I’ve been praying to find “my place” for years. I’ve switched majors, jobs, and extracurricular activities for the last six to seven years because while there are a myriad of things that I enjoy (customer service, childcare, cooking, binge watching reality television), I always felt like I was still waiting to find that passion that clicked. I only knew that I’m here on this earth to teach, encourage, and love.
I don’t know exactly which article or journal sparked my interest in direct care for adults because once I started reading, I devoured every resource that I could get my hands on. I spent every free moment that I had reading and with every single word, I kept hearing, “This is it. This is what you’re here for.”
I started looking all over Central Texas for opportunities to work with individuals with special needs and found out that there was an incredible organization much closer than I anticipated. AND they were hiring. AND they called me in to interview. AND they offered me a position.
I’ve been in this position for a few days shy of a month and I’m absolutely in love. My coworkers answer the thousands of questions that spill out of my mouth, the clients welcome me into their family with open arms, my family… hasn’t seen me in weeks.
I’m a perfectionist and I still carry the constant fear with me that I’m doing everything wrong. I second guess the tiniest actions or decisions. I do my best to remind myself that being an emotional person is strength, not a weakness. My anxiety stabs at me when I remember that I’m a freaking weirdo that talks too loud and too much. Regardless, I can’t shake the profound words that have been whispered in my ear. “This is it.”
The smallest things can set me off into a “depression cloud” that lasts for days. Once, I dropped an egg roll and didn’t get out of bed for a week. When I was in the 4th grade, I forgot a homework assignment at home and received a 0 – my parents had to pick me up from school because I hyperventilated and was inconsolable. I missed an additional two days of school because the seemingly small event rocked my world and made me sick.
When something big happens, and I’m lucky to say that things of this nature have only happened a select few times in my life, I have to bring out all of the stops to get to the next day, hour, minute. The event doesn’t need to be discussed. Hurt is hurt. Failures are failures. It can happen to anyone.
Through the last few days, I have received call after call, text after text, email after email of friends telling me that they loved me.
“I’m thinking about you.”
“If you need to talk, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Have you been drinking water?”
“Please don’t do anything bad.”
“You are worthy and you can get through this.”
“I love you and I need you in my life.”
I’m thankful for the outpouring of love that I have received. It has, quite literally, kept me going for the last week.
It’s hard to describe or talk about the thoughts that make you want to hurt yourself. For the first 48 hours or so, I kept having to audibly talk myself out of the thoughts that bubbled into my head. I had to tell myself that the world was NOT better off without me. That my friends would NOT feel relieved if I weren’t here anymore. I reminded myself that my family would be destroyed if something ever happened to me. Even small things like, “… but who would take care of my chickens?”, have kept me around. I worry that this is a touchy subject to bring up, that it might sound dramatic to talk about, but I’ve always vowed to be honest about my struggles here.
Not wanting to be alive anymore is exhausting. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want them to think I was being dramatic. I didn’t want to be alone because I didn’t completely trust myself. I pulled half of my eyelashes out by the root and twisted and tangled my hair, trying not to rip it all out of my head (Trichotillomania – a super cute disorder that I’ve had since childhood.) My anxiety that makes me terrified of dying and my depression that makes me want to be dead were constantly raging against each other in my head. I stayed in bed, I didn’t shower. I threw up when I tried to eat. I watched hours of insipid television. I did my very best to drown out the world around me and to feel nothing.
It was a battle that seemed would never cease. It seems though, that light will always come out of darkness, even if the lights tend to flicker for a while.
I’m doing better. I’m able to eat without throwing up. Correspond to friends without feeling like they are feeding me lies to make me feel better (That’s one of the worst things I have ever encountered, by the way. The feeling that the people that you love more than anything are conspiring against you, wanting you to fail, delighting in your failures.) I’m terrified of brushing my hair for the first time, but with enough conditioner, I suppose anything is possible.
I’m starting to devour the ideas that I poured into PAGES of journals. That’s something that I always find interesting when climbing out of the ditch. When I feel like there is no hope, I somehow end up coming up with hundreds of ideas. Ideas for stories, art projects, writing prompts, community service. I create lists, reformat resumes, start new reading lists, plunk weird melodies out on the piano. Creativity is weird and inspiration comes at me HARD when I feel that I have nothing to live for. Stay tuned, I have started 15 drafts for blog posts.
Maybe we all have some sort of override when it feels like we are self destructing? Maybe not, but I’m thankful that it has worked out for me so far.
I know that this isn’t over. I know that moments of clarity will come and go as I try to overcome this. I know that years from now, this particular event will still send me into a heap of tears. I know that I will beat myself up about this and that I will have to go to battle with those nasty thoughts, but I know that I’m backed up by an army of talented, passionate, forgiving, and hilarious people. I still haven’t figured out why my friends stick around, but they always do and I will ALWAYS be thankful.
I’ve gone back to the whole “being unapologetically myself” concept many times this year and, in a way, I hope that this post can go hand-in-hand with that. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve collapsed onto the floor, I’ve cried messy tears, and I’ve screamed at the sky. I can’t take back anything that happened yesterday, but I can try to set myself up for success tomorrow. Even if “success” tomorrow is only defined by working a comb through my hair.
I love you all. Thank you for reading. I will be okay.
I’ll start off by saying that we are STILL waiting on a house (massive eye roll), but I should be in my own bed in just a week! The constant crappy weather in my area has kept the coop from progressing, but I’m not giving up hope on the girls having a CHICKEN PALACE by their 4th week.
I want to give you guys more content and more updates, but reliable internet is hard to find these days. So we’ll have to live with another phone update.
SO! 4 OUT OF 13 OF MY GIRLS HAVE NAMES!!
Naomi and Josie are my two big red girls (maybe Rhode Island Reds?) that you can see posing next to their two weeks old sign. They are best friends. I have never seen them a feathers length away from each other.
Then we have my sweet Stella. I hate to pick favorites, but it’s hard not to have her as a top contender. She greets me every morning and hasn’t been shy since day one. She will waddle into my hands and snuggle with me for hours if I let her. I have no idea what she might be as I ordered some random rare breeds and she doesn’t match up with my order, but I cannot imagine my life without her now.
And then we have Claire. Definitely the biggest personality out of all of my girls. I think she maybe a Lavender Orpington. She is ALWAYS talking. At first, I thought something was wrong with her, but it seems that she’s just a chatty girl. I couldn’t even get a picture with her beak closed.
The rest of the girls are thriving as well, but I don’t have official names yet. I can’t wait to watch them grow and get to know and love them even more.
Thanks for reading guys, and if you have any idea what breeds I might be looking at – I would love the help! I didn’t know that identifying little babies would be so difficult, but I love them no matter WHAT they are. 🙂
On Thursday, May 18th, I received the call that I had been waiting months for. “Ms. Allison? Your chickens have arrived!”
I screamed and cried and jumped up and down before grabbing Meemaw and dragging her along with me to the post office… you know, in case I got too excited to drive. I picked my little darlings up around noon and immediately opened the package in the car to move them into their temporary home (a small animal kennel). Unfortunately, two chicks passed during transport. I had prepared myself for losses. Chickens are very fragile in their first few days of life and mypetchicken.com advises that you should avoid bringing children to the post office when they arrive due to this.
It was sad, but the other 15 girls were happy and chirping away. We took them out to the land and put them into a kiddie pool while I was getting Brooder #1 (animal kennel) ready for them. They were happy to soak in the sun after being in a small carrier for their first few days of life. Everyone was eating and drinking well, except for one little black chick that seemed very lethargic and sleepy. I looked up her symptoms and had a feeling that she wasn’t going to make it.
My friend, Ashley, volunteered her garage for them to stay for their first night. I had planned to keep them in my parents’ enclosed patio, but we had storms rolling in and my garage was not “ready” for them. So we went to Ashley’s and shit hit the fan.
I’m an idiot and didn’t remove their water dish before transport and when we got to Ashley’s house, they were drenched. Seriously. They were dripping wet. You’ve never seen anything as pathetic as 15 soaking wet chicks that are looking at you like, “You’re my mother! Why did you let this happen to me?!” I cried and cried while gently blow drying them before they were in bed for the night.
I set my alarm to go off every single hour and a half. I’d roll off of Ashley’s couch, go to the garage, and count. Unfortunately, around 2 in the morning, I noticed that the little black chick had passed away. It was fairly expected as she wasn’t doing well from the moment that I got her, and I’m telling myself that though her life was short, I gave her a lot of love before she left us.
The next day morning, I took them to my parents’ house and set them up on the enclosed patio. Thank you, Texas weather, for staying so warm! I’ve barely had to use the heat lamp for the girls.
I started working on a bigger brooder for the girls on Friday night. That night, the last night in their tiny kennel, I started noticing another chick had changed drastically. It seemed that she had suffered a stroke. The left side of her body seemed to be completely paralyzed and she was very sadly cheeping. I tried to get water to her drop by drop, but she was unable to swallow, from what I could see. I held her off and on through the night and she passed away on Saturday morning while I was at rehearsal.
These losses were all devastating, but this one hurt the most as I had gotten to know this chick a bit and she was just so delightful to watch play with her sisters. Again – she was so, so loved.
I’m happy to report that the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday have been far less eventful. I still have 13 happy, feather-butts that are complete PIGS. Seriously, I cannot get over how fat and adorable they are!
They are thrilled with their new brooder as well. They have almost 3 times as much space as before to explore and play. I used paper towels the first few days with them to make sure that they were all using the bathroom as needed and to help prevent splayed leg. Last night, I introduced aspen shavings to their little home. They crack me up and make me crazy by constantly knocking the shavings into their water bowl.
I’ve been handling them every day and I’m starting to see some attributes to their breeds. (My two Buff Orpington girls are so calm when handled, my Rhode Island Reds are sassy and sweet) This morning, I called out, “Good morning, girls!” when I walked into the garage. They immediately jumped up and ran to the door of their brooder to greet me. Yes, I cried.
I’m having so much fun getting to know and love them. I’ve been working on their coop when weather permits and can’t wait to see them in their new, permanent home. I also have plans to have a kind of memorial garden for the girls that we lost and named Ginger, Georgia, Heidi, and Stella. The big move is still in progress so my parents deserve a huge thank you for letting me move 13 more birds into the house – I can’t wait to share a brand new home and adventure with my sassy girls.
Thanks for reading guys, and as always – I PROMISE NOTHING. IT TOOK ME WEEKS TO ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND WRITE AGAIN. I’M SORRY.