I Choose Tomorrow.

Today is an important day; a day about awareness, truth, hope, and choice.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

I’ve had this day marked on my calendar for over a month, ever since I got the first email TWLOHA sent out on August 12th. I marked it down that day, intending to start writing something early on and continuing to work on it and perfect it in the weeks leading up to September 10th.

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I sat down several times – in front of the computer, on my phone, with pen and paper…but I couldn’t put even a single word down. Fear gripped me. Because there are parts of my struggle with depression that I have never shared, things that I may never be able to put into words. As I type this now, I see that blue “Publish” button looming in the bottom right corner of the page, and I’m not sure I can click it when I’m finished.

But today is a day to set aside fear.

There are still so many misconceptions about depression and mental illness in general, primarily that depression equates sadness. But that’s not really it, not in my experience. Hopelessness. That’s what depression boils down to for me. And hopelessness is far worse than sadness.

You know those inspirational quotes you see all the time, saying something along the lines of “you just have to choose to be happy?” It hate those, because it’s just not that simple for me. I can’t always choose to be happy or joyful or even content, but one thing I can choose is this: no matter how hopeless I may feel, I can choose to be here tomorrow.

One of my favorite people I’ve never met, Jenny Lawson a.k.a The Bloggess, says it best: depression lies. And that has become my mantra. I repeat it over and over to myself when I get lost in the throws of my depression. And when my thoughts begin to go to the worst possible places, those two words help lead me back to the things and the people that will bring me back to myself.

Depression and mental illness are real issues that millions of people live with every day. LIVE with. That’s the key.

So make your choice: choose the day-to-day struggle, and choose to be here tomorrow. Because you’re story isn’t finished yet.

Summer rain.

Most people who know me are very aware of two things: 1) I absolutely love the rain, and 2) I loathe summer. We’re talking pure, unadulterated hatred.

I can bear it for a very short while if I’m in the water. But that’s it. By July 5th, I’m 100% done with the entire miserable season, even though logically I know we have at least two months of heat left and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I can’t begin to properly describe how much I despise summer & being hot. It’s one of the most wretched feelings. It makes me so…furious. Irate. Resentful. I don’t even want to move, because once I get hot, it takes ages for me cool down.

So you can imagine the pure & utter joy that overcame me yesterday when, in July, in Oklahoma, the temperature dropped into the upper 60s and it rained. It rained practically all day and all night.

And I was in heaven.6155201ee27235197801ebc5a0a4d403

I desperately wanted to take off work yesterday afternoon, just so I could go home and enjoy a few extra hours of it. But that wasn’t in the cards. When I did get home, I opened every door and every window, so that the cool breeze and the sounds & smells of the rain filled my house. I even went outside and stood in the rain for a while. It put me in such a good mood that I actually cleaned my house (I despise cleaning), and dreamed of pumpkins patches & apple orchards last night.

It’s still cooler and cloudy and a little rainy today, and I know it won’t last. But for couple of days, in the middle of the dreaded Oklahoma summer, I got a glimpse of my favorite season: autumn. I hope & pray fall will show up early this year…

Hey, a girl can dream.

Denial.

When the world around me doesn’t fit, when it doesn’t satisfy, I retreat to one of the countless worlds inside my head. There, things are as they should be. That’s not to say they are perfect – that would be boring. And they aren’t without adversity, either. But they offer a satisfaction with life that I can’t often find in the real world.

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I search for it. Constantly. And I find glimpses of it here and there. But most of the time, it eludes me. And after a while, my body, my mind, my soul needs respite somewhere I feel truly free. Is this denial? Maybe so. But I refuse to accept a lackluster reality. So I will keep searching. And until I find whatever it is I’m looking for, I will retreat into the worlds inside my head & be free.

QOTD: ‘Be not the slave…’

Ralph Waldo Emerson (image via BLDG 25 | Free People Blog)

Alternative.

I read an article yesterday on Bustle listing seven reason alternative style should be allowed in the so-called ‘professional’ world, something I feel rather strongly about. It’s sort of become a personal mission in my own small world.

Far too many people negatively judge those they encounter simply based on the way a person looks. We are all guilty of it. It’s a mark of our society. But it’s a destructive habit that needs to be squashed once and for all. (A lofty, idealistic goal? Sure. But what can I say, it’s in my nature.) Self-expression shouldn’t be a derogatory mark on someone’s character. No one should be made to feel guilty for outwardly manifesting who they are inside. Self-expression should be celebrated. It is a remarkable and freeing thing. And I think it’s one of the best and safest highs a person can get.

I’ll never forget the day I finally—after years and years of wanting to do it and being afraid of people judging me—had my blue ombré hair done. I’ve never felt more myself or more comfortable in my own skin. My self confidence, which has always been a major issue for me (a topic for another day), quadrupled. Before, I basically hated looking in the mirror, because I was always judging myself. Now I love seeing my ‘peacock hair’ reflecting back at me. It’s helped me learn to love myself more and to not judge myself so harshly. In short, it’s helped me embrace who I am. I won’t being going back to (entirely) natural colored hair any time soon…maybe not ever. I love it too much. I love the way it makes me feel. It’s amazing how one small change can result in such a massive shift in perception.

Whatever form(s) of self-expression you prefer—art, music, tattoos, rainbow hair, no hair, beards, suits & ties…the list goes on and on—just remember this: be yourself. Find your truth and own it. Do and wear whatever makes you the best version of yourself. And be kind. Try not to judge people, especially those different from you. They are what makes this world of ours so interesting. Embrace the difference.

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