I got stars in my beard and I feel real weird for you.

Sometimes I feel like I am neglecting my friendships when I just want to stay home and write. I don’t have internet access at home right now, and every now and then, I choose to turn off my cell phone for a few hours to minimize distractions. I am still dealing with mono, and my body insists on sleeping for ten to thirteen hours every night; at the same time, I am bursting with so many words and stories that I am struggling to capture them all. I can’t scribble fast enough, can’t type fast enough. I like to look at it as my body catching up on all the sleep I missed during the intense insomnia that insisted I stay awake all night from ages twelve through twenty-two, and catching up on all the stories and feelings I couldn’t write down all those days and nights because depression and alcohol had rendered me incapable.

I am eight days away from one year sober. I have ridiculous urges to chug whiskey. I get nostalgic for my lime green tongue after sip-chugging ten whiskey sours, I remember how safe I felt when I kept a bottle of liquor in my purse all day everyday. The season of drunk picnics is among us, and fuck, sometimes I really miss drunk picnics. I still read the drink menus at bars and restaurants, and dream about how magical it would be to taste everything, to feel giddy & alive & honest. I miss getting drunk and making out with wonderfully cute people, even though I was also a giant fuck-up and made foolish decisions about everything. I don’t know how to navigate relationships without alcohol. I don’t even know how to tell someone I have a crush on them without alcohol. All that stuff terrifies me. But there are things I am learning to do sober: karaoke, silly adventures, house shows… Everything else will happen at the right time, as long as I am genuinely determined, right? One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to challenge myself. I feel like I do this almost every day. I find real challenges, and I work on them. I cross things off my to-do lists. Never-ending to-do lists.

Dear Maranda,

You are falling into another depression. Here’s what you need to do:

- take deep breaths, move slowly, meditate, be quiet
– take your vitamins & meds
– go to Yoga at the Y (perhaps other activities as well)
– drink lots of water
– keep your tiny pharmacy with you wherever you go
– tell your friends
– mono self-care list
– don’t make a bunch of overwhelming lists

Love, Me and You

P.S.: Don’t forget the usual daily self-care stuff!

self-care & mono

- keep warm (sweaters, warm drinks, blankets, indoors on cold days & outdoors on warm days)
– REST / NAP / SLEEP FREQUENTLY. IT’S OKAY TO GO TO BED!!!
– keep hydrated (water, tea, good juice)
– say NO to plans & adventures when you know you need to stay home and take care of yourself
– dress for the weather
– travel mug & water bottle
– Just sit down and READ or DAYDREAM. You do not need to be creating (and stressing about creating) at all times.

The first list is on my fridge, and the second list is in my diary. I probably read them about a hundred times a day. My friends ask me how I’m doing, and I don’t know. I feel… weird? Good weird and bad weird? I feel like I’m doing all sorts of wonderful things, and I also feel like I’m due for another breakdown (or breakthrough?). (But I am also 100% not interested in re-entering an institutionalized setting at this time, so don’t go making any recommendations or worrying about me, okay? Your worry is what often keeps me silent! I’m just dealing with really bad anxiety right now, I’ll get through it.) I feel like I need to go back to NA meetings, even though it scares me because sometimes I just feel so alone and useless there. Also, although I feel really good about the writing projects I’m working on and the plans I’m making, I also feel my low self-esteem creeping in everyday. Like, sometimes I don’t get why people even wanna hang out with me at all, let alone why they bother making efforts to invite me over, ask me questions and tell me stories, give me yummy food and colourful drawings, and seem to actually give a fuck.

Can I let you in on a not-so-secret? I didn’t have friends when I was a teenager. I didn’t have friends in my early-twenties. I was and continue to be a total weirdo, and everybody either hated me, bullied me, or was intimidated by me. When I was twenty, I fell madly in love (I use the term madly with care, humour, and rage) and thought that nobody else mattered but me, my cat, and the cute jerk who put up with us. So the first time I moved to Guelph, I didn’t talk to anyone but them. Then I had a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt, got out of the hospital and continued to fuck up my life / get my life fucked up further, then I went back to Lindsay, then I came back to Guelph to start all over again. My only “friends” in Lindsay were people I drank with, which is to say, I had no friends in Lindsay. My sister was and is my best friend.

So the whole friendship thing, I’m still figuring that out. And I’m still figuring out the writing thing, and the sober thing, and all sorts of things. What are you still figuring out? Let’s help each other?!

Friendshippingly Yours,

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13 Responses to I got stars in my beard and I feel real weird for you.

  1. Brittany M. says:

    I’m really feeling this entry right now, as I spiral into the inexplicable (as everyone around me seems to be jumping with joy) spring-time blues. Your lists and your resolves are inspiring as always. Your writing on sobriety/substance use is so vital and though I’m at a completely different point in my exploration of substance use/abuse, I love reading what you have to say because you get the gears in my brain a-turnin’. Take care!

  2. I love these letters/reminders to yourself. I feel like I need a lot of self-reflection nowadays and writing to myself might be a good idea.

    The drink menus at restaurants are so tempting — I went to dinner a couple weeks ago with a guy that I broke up with months ago and I didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to see him because he reminds me of a lot of things I want to forget. I went anyway, out of guilt, or maybe out of curiosity. The minute we sat down, I ordered a pitcher of Dos Equis for myself and drank the whole thing in twenty minutes. Being buzzed or drunk was the only way I thought I could tolerate being there. That was a wake-up call for me that he doesn’t belong in my life anymore; he didn’t even seem put-out that I was drunk when he wasn’t even drinking. I felt pretty crummy afterwards, having paid for and guzzled a whole pitcher of beer to get through a social situation I shouldn’t have put myself in. (Maybe that’s too much information, but I really relate to the “safe” feeling alcohol can provide.)

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog.

    • No such thing as too much information! My sister and I believe, and repeat it often, “TMI doesn’t exist.” I think that particular worry is one reason people learn to keep things to themselves, and I try to go for ridiculous honesty, which is necessary for my survival, instead of keeping it all inside and trying not to freak anyone out. Which is scary, of course, but whatever.

      I have definitely been in too many situations where I felt I needed to drink to be near someone, including times & places where everyone else is sober. It is so hard to deal with. Right now, I find that having some kind of drink in my hand is something I need to do, just so I at least have something in my hands if I’m gonna be a nervous wreck, but oh my; learning to do thiis without booze is so hard.

  3. I’m really happy I stumbled on your blog. Wait that sounds spammy and weird. But whatevs I am glad I found your blog. I love these notes to yourself. I have ‘bedtime’ stories I told myself the first year of sobriety. They were part meditations, part fairy tales, part ramblings of a crazy person. Whatever they were, they helped. Anyway, congrats on being close to a year. Hang in there! I was batshit crazy right before that birthday but it got better. best, Sean

    • Thanks! And congratulations on your sobriety. Batshit crazy is exactly where I’m at right now. I think that in all my excitement to make it to one year sober, it hadn’t occurred to me that I need to continue to be sober after that. So I’ve kinda been freaking out. Four more days!

  4. Ben says:

    Congratulations on making it this far.

    I feel like staying in a lot. Sometimes I have to force myself to leave the house and socialize. I love seeing friends but there are times I feel completely out of my element when around them. I think I have a few self-esteem issues of my own.

    I’m still figuring out being social (which will never truly feel like my first language or my natural state). I’m still figuring out what I want to do with my life. I’m still figure out what I like and dislike. I’m still figuring out my queerness and I’m still figuring out what I need to be happy.

  5. Meredith says:

    Maranda, I love your notes to yourself. When I was at the all-time height (low??) of my depression/anxiety last year I found myself writing notes to myself A LOT. I get anxious about taking care of myself too, because as an introvert that often means spending time alone. I always feel like I’m letting down friends when I do that — I’m currently trying to figure out ways to play a meaningful role in my friendships/relationships when I can’t give a lot of time or my physical presence. It’s hard for me to find a balance. I think I need to start writing self-care notes/checklists to myself again — it’s nice to have advice from my rational/non-anxiety riddled brain in times of need!

    Also, mega congrats on your sobriety!!!

    • Thank you!

      How is the brainstorming going, re: figuring out ways to play meaningful roles in your friends’ lives when you aren’t able to give them your time, or be there physically? I’m curious! Sometimes I feel like maybe my writing can be part of that, but I don’t really know. I need to get over the guilt of not being there / needing to stay home and be alone.

      • Meredith says:

        Arrgh, this is SO hard to answer. I think I’ve started writing this comment 3 times over already! I find that different things work for different people. With my fellow zine fest organizers (who are all also very close friends of mine), it’s really hard to meet up to organize, let alone just hang out. I know you’re trying to get off the internet, but I’ve found it really useful for us all keeping in communication and being good friends despite not being able to physically be there. We made a private group for all of us, and though we use it a lot for zine fest talk, we also just post pictures, catch each other up on stuff, freak out & ask for support, etc. — I’ve found myself communicating a lot more honestly through that than I do with a lot of my other friends, and I think w/ my zine fest girls the way we talk has definitely translated into the real life aspect of our friendships. And it’s been pretty great.

        BUT another thing I’ve discovered recently, for the people in my lives where that kinda stuff doesn’t work, honesty about what you can/cannot do, and then allowing the other person to fill that void in other ways, without jealousy, is really important. I’m figuring that out with the guy I’m dating right now. I just can’t socialize with him as much as he would like, so I gotta be cool with the fact that he’ll go on weekend trips without me, and not take that personally.

        I feel like I’m rambling now, so I’ll cut this short before I write another 2 paragraphs!

  6. Dave Cave says:

    EVERYTHING ABOUT LEGS IS TRIGGERING

  7. I hope you are feeling better since you posted this. I too struggle with alcohol so I hear you.

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