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)
– 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,

P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!

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