Trauma said to my self-esteem:
"Hatred of self is the currency for love that would otherwise be freely given."
Except, all of that hate doesn’t equate
Love — that which is freely expressed.
To my soul, Commitment confessed:
"Abandon ship! To love and be loved is too big a risk."
To my heart, she cried:
"I love you. I’ll show you."
I’ve been walking a tightrope ever since.
Here I am, at 5:46 A.M. in my friend’s spare room. I have not slept. I have not slept because within me, there is a gigantic screeching harpy who is threatening to devour my soul, unless I write something.
Even then, this feathered creature will most likely not vacate my insides until I’m satisfied with at least a few sentences of whatever it is I’m striving to convey for you.
The thing is that I love writing. I also love technology and the far-reaching web of the internet. Thus: blogging became my outlet. I am grateful; I’ve discovered a lot about myself through this blog.
I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible. When I started this blog, I was in quite literally the worst possible mental state one could possibly be in.
I was choking on my own anxiety. I had only just recently decided to rip the metaphorical duct tape off of my mouth and to finally, once and for all, begin telling my truth.
I kept a lot of the things that were causing me pain deep within my psyche thinking it was the right thing to do, quite honestly, because I didn’t want to be the loud-mouth who made everyone look bad or feel like shit about themselves after reading about how gloomy, hypervigilant and distrustful I really am.
Second, there are not a lot of people (or at least that’s what I assumed), that would understand why I so desperately needed to carve out a safe space on a blog through writing, or by recording videos in which I overshare my fragile existence and overestimate people’s attention span as well as my inability to hold said attention.
But, with my wife’s permission, I told our story. I wrote about how I started this blog with the hope that more people would be compassionate towards transgender individuals and their families. Even though that’s only like ten percent of what Welcomehomehealing.com is meant to be, it was the catalyst for freedom of expression, the tail on the donkey, the straw that broke the camel’s back, etcetera etcetera.
I’d go on about covert abuse, power imbalances, codependency, generational negligence masked as stoicism and how it all hit me in the face after years of thinking I was the one who wasn’t good enough, but that’s really not the point.
My point is that I was in a really bad way. I had no out. But I had the internet. I believed my voice could still move mountains and it was at this time I was forced to use my mouth, written words, and blog to liberate myself from hell. I could only use what I had at my disposal – my laptop and our story.
So I wrote and wrote and kept recording videos and kept putting my heart on display until I met the people I needed to meet, who then became friends.
I also wrote about the nasty childhood wounds that are still pervasive to this day. I wrote about my miscarriage. I wrote about how I’d put every cent into creating this space of safety for others, like me, who just couldn’t seem to find a lifejacket in times where they couldn’t wake up without being drowned in tears and sunlight.
Because I was true to myself, because I risked everything, because I had faith that someone, somewhere would resonate with our message and what we stood for, I do not live in my car.
Because of the kindness and generosity of others and a whole mountain of faith and high hopes, I am safe to create a life for myself and my partner, and not the other way around.
I have you, the reader, to thank for that. If you are reading this, please know that I love you and all will align as it should.
Words and truth helped me find a home. A blog, this blog, is the reason I now live right next door to a dear friend. If you hadn’t read it or attempted to understand, I’d probably be a little less… cozy.
Love and compassion have been in abundance more than ever before, and though it is a lot to take in, I would never dare complain.
So thank you… thank you for liking words so much that you read my letters and ramblings to you. Keep writing, there’s much more to gain from expressing lived truths than monetary value.
Write because you want to and because you deserve to. It’ll take you places. 😉
Trigger Warning: Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation, Stress, depression
If you’ve been following me for a bit, you might know that Welcome Home Healing (hey, that’s this blog!) is a friendly corner of the internet. We talk about the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy, depression, and all kinds of things. I’m also a volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine.
In every day life, and in the volunteering I do, I talk about suicide, debt, substance abuse, personality disorders, chronic illnesses, divorce, death, child abuse, and all kinds of sticky topics on a daily basis. By no means do I ever feel desensitized to talking about these things, however, they’re not necessarily shocking or surprising to me, and I’m grateful that I can have honest dialogue about such difficult issues.
Honest and open dialogue has the ability to prevent hurt feelings, relationship difficulties, and the most preventable cause of death: death by suicide.
I’ll explain more about this, and how you can be receptive to someone who is having thoughts of dying in a future post. Right now, I’d like to show you what happened when I told my wife that I wanted to die.
Some of you might know our situation and what we had to leave behind in order to get our lives back together, but if you don’t, here is the condensed version:
I come from a traumatic background, she does too. In 2014, we got married as husband and wife. In November 2017, after finding out I had PCOS, we suffered a miscarriage. Early 2018, she came out to me and told me she wanted to start Hormone Replacement Therapy, as one major source of her distress had been caused by Gender dysphoria. We were in the throes of family issues, and trying for our second child.
In 2017, we entered Marriage Counseling, and we decided that we are better together. We have remained committed, and yes, we still love each other very much.
As you may have already guessed, I’ve sacrificed more than enough to make our marriage work. Do not be mistaken, my wife has as well. We have sacrificed and prioritized each other, and somehow, we realized that it’s a waste of time to resent or be permanently angry at each other.
Sounds stressful, right? It is. So, when stress and the inability to cope decided to come knocking at my proverbial door, I began to truly feel like living was much too hard and that the future would look better without me. In short: I wanted to die. This was only a few nights ago. Tonight, I’m glad to be alive.
I didn’t call a counselor, I didn’t text anyone – I went to the one person I’ve been through a lifetime of events with in just a few short years. I went to my wife after recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation in my head. I went to her, I said:
“I don’t want to scare you, but I really need to talk. I really need someone. This is serious.”
Immediately, she stopped what she was doing, and we went to our bedroom. I sat up, and let her in. I told her that things had gotten out of hand, and that I was really overwhelmed and sad. I told her that I wouldn’t hurt myself but that the thoughts of suicide had gotten too heavy. I told her that I was having trouble handling everything we’d gone through and that I’d felt like a fool for letting things get so messy in my head. I told her, that yes, while I was confused and scared by everything, I had also been upset with her too, but that I still loved her and that it was time for us to really think things through – or put everything to bed, including our marriage.
I thought she’d shut down. I thought she’d minimize the situation, and I’d go to bed feeling sad and unheard. But man, when I tell you she showed up for me, she really showed up.
She listened to me. She validated how stressful things had been on me, and she owned her part in being the creator of a portion of that stress. She sincerely apologized and said she would always be there for me.
In response, I LET MY GUARD DOWN. Holy crap you guys, (and ladies, and humans) I am such a guarded person that sometimes I forget I’m the one who constructed that wall. I forget that she can’t do her job as my spouse, if I don’t sit down, shut the fuck up, and OPEN THE DOOR FOR HER. LET DOWN MY WALLS AND SHE CAN HELP ME. How can she know what my needs are, if I hadn’t asked her for help?
So, I’m sitting there, like, “Wow, yeah I forgot to make room for two, didn’t I?” I also opened up and owned up to my portion of the mess we had created. And hours had gone by. I was talking and talking and crying and she was too. And then I realized, once more, THIS IS WHY WE ARE STILL MARRIED. THIS IS WHY IT DOESNT MATTER IF SHE’S MY WIFE NOW, RATHER THAN MY HUSBAND. BECAUSE WE SHOW UP. CONSISTENTLY, AND WHEN IT MATTERS MOST, WE HANDLE THINGS WELL, TOGETHER. BECAUSE, MORE THAN ANYTHING, SHE’S MY FRIEND.
She’s my friend. She’s my friend. <3
I had just told my wife, my absolute best friend, that my anxiety was getting the best of me, and that the world she exists in would be better off without me.
She listened to me, without interrupting me. She listened to me, and then she validated my feelings. Afterward, we began to talk about our next steps, and then we collaboratively problem-solved. Sometime later, we held each other, like always. We got up the next morning, renewed and looking forward to the new life we are presently making with each other.
Now, 90% of the resentment and frustration we held onto is gone. Simply because now I know that she does love me, and that she does listen to me.
(90% means the major hurdles. 😉 it’s a fake percentage I used for demonstration purposes).
As for my wife, she got to see me, the real me, in my rawest form. She got to see me breathe for the first time in a long time. She got to see me, the me that is unwound, lackadaisical and creative, a fellow gamer, and as always, a sucker for love and happy endings.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you feel unheard, invalidated, ashamed, afraid, please know it’s okay to talk about it. I am here.
You can also text HOME to 741741, and you’ll be connected to someone who cares, and someone who will listen and be there for you.
I’ll have my resource page back up soon, if you are in need of other connections.
I love you.
You’re safe here.
It’s no secret that I have Cerebral Palsy. It’s also no secret that I’m well-spoken, and can function well, as far as in terms of cognitive processes. Basically, I’m self-sufficient and I can think pretty darn straight and logically.
It is rough living in the in-between of anything, especially in terms of abilities. I just got off the phone with a resource provider in town that basically told me, in so many words, I speak well so therefore I dont seem to need assistance and that I should make sacrifices in order to be independent.
After every sentence I spoke, after she collected my info, she kept saying I could “tap into resources”, (as if, as a disabled person with an extremely small support system, I haven’t exhausted all of them already), or that we could “do a Google search” online for odd jobs or other ways to bring in income.
I had already told her we had to trade in our car, we had to move, sell everything we owned, I put down cash for a deposit as well as first months rent on my own FROM SELLING EVERYTHING I OWN, and you mean to tell me, even though you haven’t seen me or my wheelchair (that I have to make payments on), that I need to sacrifice more? Yeah, no.
There’s nothing left to sacrifice, and I’m proud of that. I’ve done more than people on two legs would dream of doing, including risking everything to pave a path for myself.
In the South, there was no assistance for me. I lived without it for years. I’m not going to pretend I’m not disabled so that I can keep up with the Jones’s. I’ve been there and done that.
The simple truth is, we are all subject to aging, ailments, disability, and death. We will all have to experience being in need of care, and we should face that with humility. Otherwise, we’re in for a rude awakening and a huge blow to our pride.
I wouldn’t have sat on the phone with this person for over two hours if I had other options to consider at the moment, and she should know that. Where are the people that mind their own business?
It wasn’t like she would give me the space to say that yes, I was rejected from over 200 job positions BECAUSE IM DISABLED AND THEREFORE HAVE GAPS IN WORK EXPERIENCE. She wouldn’t let me speak but offered ‘advice’.
Please, if you can make someone hire me for a steady job, let me hear about it; because I can for sure say I dont want to be on the phone with someone who talks down to someone just for calling them.
Power imbalance much?
Go work in robotics or some shit, or better yet, go be a social worker and help someone less fortunate than you with all that knowledge you seek to possess, lady. Please let me live.
Tomorrow I’ll be back in the swing of things, and I’ll once again be posting regularly. I’ve moved and was without steady internet connection for a while. I have not abandoned this home I’ve made. I hope you, little reader, forgive me for my absence. There is still a place for you in my heart and in my words.
I have still kept my word that I’d put everything into this blog as well as into my artwork. Currently, I have an amazing air mattress (I’m not kidding, it’s amazing)! and a projector that serves as my TV. Honestly, it was a pretty cool idea.
My apartment is empty but my heart is full. When we rid ourselves of the “stuff” that was weighing us down, doors opened, literally and figuratively.
I don’t feel broke, or broken. I feel accomplished and confident knowing that when we need to, we can make our lives work. Making decisions that are scary can be liberating.
We had to sell our vehicle for a cheaper one. We don’t regret this decision, although it really stung to trade in a car that had just recently been paid off. Upon leaving the dealership we got pulled over and were warned that we had a brake light out. Needless to say, we were both pretty irked, as it was sold to us this way.
Freedom is indeed chaotic at times! All we have is each other now. We do have a good friend near. The three of us do our best to look out for each other.
Once settled, I’ll do my best to build again, one day at a time.
I’m excited to get back to volunteering with CrisisTextLine. It’s the one thing I’ve missed most while being “unplugged” for the good old internet. I missed putting my time into something that saves the world, I guess.
I know my latest posts have been conversational, and perhaps even a bit off the beaten path, but if you’re still with me, thank you so much for being here during this tumultuous and beautiful time. We’ll figure it out as we go. Tomorrow somewhere between 1-5, I’ll do my best to liven our humble corner of the internet up again.
I will always remember you, fellow bloggers, artists, wayfarers and dream chasers throughout the day, and hopefully keep you good company as I continue telling you stories of healing through written word.
I love you.
You’re safe here.
Hello again, and welcome home. It’s so good to see you!
This post is going to be almost entirely subjective and deeply personal; I hope you are still able to relate in some ways. Let’s begin.
After thoughtful deliberation on part two, I concluded that I would let you in on my experiences and how I cope, often rather clumsily, with being confined by the limitations of my vessel.
The truth of the matter is simple. Sometimes I can cope. Other times, I’m angry that a chair is a reason I’m not yet gainfully employed. I feel guilty that I need so much help, even though for the most part my life is pretty normal: I can cook, manage my household, take good care of my spouse, I can speak, write, and flip people off when I need to. 😛
I don’t even mind being disabled. I’ve been this way since birth. What I do mind, however, is the warped perceptions of other people. People are understandably curious. Some situations are nothing short of ‘cringeworthy’.
As an example, when I got married, it was so strange to onlookers. I am blessed to have my wife; she bathes me, cooks, cleans, and I never need to ask her to pick up the slack or help me out with anything, really. She knows what I need before I do at times. We work.
Some folks never get to experience that kind of love and care, like this dude we ran into in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
There we are, loading our groceries in the car before going home, and he approaches my wife and taps her on the shoulder. He says, “Who is this? Is this your sister?” (Referring to me as I’m standing by the door). She says, “No sir, this is my wife.” The look on that guy’s face was worth a thousand words.
After a few long seconds of awkward silence, he looks over at my wife and replies, “Wow, you’re an awesome person – not a lot of people would do that.”
Look, don’t get me wrong. I get the sentiment. It was wonderful. In my opinion, he is absolutely right. My wife should win the Nobel Peace Prize for all the devotion she’s demonstrated to me. It’s my job to tell her that.
If she wanted people randomly stopping her while we’re just going home, she wouldn’t be in a monogamous marriage. I don’t need to be treated as a charity case or be viewed as an extra sack of potatoes.
Let me tell you, friend, my wife, the one on two perfectly good legs, ain’t all that easy to be with either. None of us are! If my extra needs are a little bit too extra, she would’ve been gone by now. I know I sound bitter, but I’m not, for the most part. Forgive me if I’m just astounded by how conditional commitment has become.
The guy didn’t have any bad intentions, but some shit should just remain admired rather than pointed out. Even better, how about saying you admire us as a unit, a team, a healthy marriage?
It’s not like I just sit and look pretty. I look a little bit scary and pissed off most of the time to be honest, especially if I’m low on caffeine.
Maybe I take care of my wife’s heart. Perhaps, and this is just my take on things, maybe she likes taking care of me because she gets a lot out of it – like love, strength, purpose and reciprocal appreciation?
Maybe the fact that I hold her at night is more than enough according to her individual needs, even though my needs are vastly different. Although independence is of great value in this world, perhaps me being in need of care isn’t an issue because there are always people in the world who find great joy in serving others?
Maybe she knows that I’m the type of person who would do the exact same thing for her if she were also in a wheelchair. Maybe I’m just badass and she recognized that instead of just looking at the hunk of metal on wheels I use to get around.
I struggle to remember this more often than not. I struggle with feeling like I have nothing to offer because of my physical limitations. I’ll probably always struggle with it.
If you’re in the same boat, it might be a challenge for you too. We just have to remember that everyone’s looking to be loved. We know a lot about love if nothing else.
Maybe we’re not right for the world, but we’re right for the ones who love us, and that’s always more than enough. Love is always the best thing to offer someone.
If you are suffering, or have ever suffered from the cycle of addiction, I love you. I hear you. You are worth so much more than what you realize.
You are not ‘an addict’. You are addicted. There’s a big difference.
Your name is not “junkie”. You are who you say you are. You are the paths you travel and the hands you hold.
Chemical dependency does not have to erase the core of who you are, and it should never define you.
Letting go is much harder than what we, as fellow flawed humans, have given you credit for.
As a person involved in the sphere of mental health, I’d like to say personally, before anything else, I will do my best to not let your personhood be buried under the weight of the stigma.