Write.


Giving birth…or getting a tattoo. Both, probably.

I haven’t written in so long…I’m sorry! …No, that’s not an apology to you, it’s one to myself. How dare I let myself stop writing after I got a tattoo that says “write.” How. Dare. I.

You heard right, kids! Caps got tatted… The inside of my left wrist now says “write” in typewriter font. I got the tattoo almost 2 months ago, and have been meaning to blog about it ever since, but I’m kind of ridiculous and forgot/didn’t have time…

I think I ought to start out by saying that I am terrified of needles. Like, so scared that for a long time, whenever they drew my blood, they had to use a baby needle to make me feel better. Mind you, baby needles are barely smaller than adult needles, but somehow it made me feel that tiny bit better. Tiny bit.

So, obviously, in the span of one year, I’ve gotten my nose pierced and gotten a tattoo. Because I’m a masochist like that. “Hello, I would like a tattoo. Yes, stab me with a needle 50-3,000 times per minute. Yay!”

I’m pretty sure I almost threw up while Philadelphia Phil (yes, that is what he called himself. My tattoo artist is so much cooler than yours) worked on the tattoo. It felt like a million cat scratches over and over, and I’m a big wimp, and OH MY GOD NEEDLE. So that’s how that went down. My friend Kate was there with me and I’m surprised I didn’t squeeze her hand off. But I’m so glad I went through it all, because it meant a lot to me.

Writing is awesome and hey, why not, I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I purposefully got it on my left wrist so I could hide it with a watch if I have a grumpy boss who doesn’t like tattoos. Thinkin’ one step ahead, like a carpenter who makes stairs.

But actually, there’s quite the story behind my tattoo. I’ve explained my anxiety in a previous post, but basically, I have panic attacks and am almost constantly anxious, which is why if you’ve met me you’ll notice that I’m super fidgety. Anyway, I had a lot of problems with that about a year ago and was pretty useless; I couldn’t leave my room, barely got anything done, and definitely didn’t write. But writing had always been how I combated my anxiety before, and after reaching the lowest point of my life, my mom suggested that I start keeping a journal specifically related to my anxiety. It sounds strange, but it really helped. So now, I’m permanently reminded to let go of my anxiety by writing (I’m doing it right now, actually. I’ve been a tweaky mess all day).

It’s hard to explain it to people, so I usually just say, “I love to write,” which sounds kinda lame. I guess that’s true, too. But for real? The for real answer? I was screwed up, and writing saved me, as it always had and always will.

One more reason that I love all of you, dearest readers. You’ve rarely known it, but you’re like my therapy group. And I love you so much.

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The Ride


Please enjoy the scenery from my bike ride.

Tonight, I discovered that nothing beats a bike ride.

As many of you know, I love love love road biking. But lately, I haven’t really been riding. Like, at all. And there are lots of reasons for that. Okay, mainly just one.

I just finished my freshman year of college. I started out at my dream school, but then it turned out that the only place it was amazing was literally in my dreams. I seriously hated that college. And that’s to say nothing against the academics there, because I took a freaking fantastic linguistics class and learned a lot about Shakespeare, but it was just the wrong place for me. I didn’t feel like I fit in, and I had a really hard time making friends (which is kinda hilarious, because I’m not exactly shy).

And then there was the severe, debilitating anxiety that I experienced at that time. I started having panic attacks every night, and then I started having them in public places. For those of you who have never experienced this kind of anxiety, let me just tell you this: I have experienced nothing more terrifying than a panic attack in a dining hall. I — honest to God — thought that the people standing behind me in line were going to hurt me. I had to leave without eating, and I feared going back for several weeks because I connected my panic with that place. So I started staying in my room all the time, sleeping through classes, panicking at night, literally crying in the bathtub at 3 a.m.

I don’t say this to make people feel sorry for me, and I definitely don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. But this is the real story of my life, and it has shaped every action I’ve taken since that time. So knowing me is knowing this, and I haven’t talked much about it to anyone yet.

Anyway, I transferred to a school closer to home in January, joined a sorority and the school paper, and am so completely content there. That’s not to say that the anxiety is gone, because it definitely isn’t. I have the occasional panic attack, though with the help of a fabulous psychologist those are becoming few and far between. I still feel anxious almost all the time, to varying degrees, but it’s not as bad as it was last year. So I’d say I’m definitely improving.

What the hell does this have to do with biking, you ask? Well, I think when you start limiting your activities based on how much anxiety each one causes, you start going a little bit overboard and limiting everything. I don’t do much these days. Yeah, I read, blog occasionally, study for math placement tests (yuck), work around my house and babysit (cutest kids ever), etc, but I get so scared and anxious doing everyday activities that I worry about what will trigger the anxiety. And for some reason that means that I’ve pushed biking out of my life, even though you’d think I’d know that exercise outdoors would make me feel better.

Believe me, I do know. There are just a lot of barriers I still have to get past.

So getting back to the story…I took a long ride tonight. Today was a crappy day, and I was feeling all anxious and jittery, and those thoughts of, “Hey, just go upstairs and get in bed” were starting to jump into my head. Somehow, this time, I pushed them aside and hopped on my bike. Believe me, that ride was hard. I haven’t ridden in so long. But it was kinda like getting together with an old friend, one who never lets you down but also never lets you quit.

I rode 8 slow miles through the countryside, and by the time I was done I couldn’t really walk (and my butt still hurts). But somewhere between panting up a hill and riding past a pasture full of horses, I forgot all of that anxiety. Even if it just lasts a couple hours, I’m really glad I rode tonight.

Although…I can’t lie; the smell of horse poo is lingering in my nostrils still…

Author’s note: I would love to hear your stories of anxiety, depression, etc should you feel compelled to share them. I understand how sensitive this topic is, and rest assured that this will be a safe place to voice those stories. Or not. It’s up to you.
On a related note, please refrain from attacking any commenters or belittling their experiences. Thank you.