Kam

Your smile brightens up the room. It really does. I don’t know how you do it. 

It makes me want to smile. 

Your laugh, even though I know you hate it, is genuinely one of my favorite sounds. 

Your gentle heart is visible from miles away. I’ve never found a heart more full of love and consideration.  

You devote your time to making my life better in whatever ways you can. You are selfless by nature, and more caring than any man I’ve ever known. 

Your sweet gestures don’t go unnoticed. You open the car door for me every time, for example. No one has ever done that for me before.

You genuinely care about my well being and my feelings. You’re always asking what you can do to help and you don’t judge me when I need it. 

Your thirst for adventure was one of the first things I loved about you. I want to see the world with you.

Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. I get to be your wife?! What did I do right? What could I have possibly done to deserve someone as wonderful as you?  

I try not to say “I love you” too much, because I don’t want it to lose its meaning, but you need to know that I love you. 

My thoughts are always with you. My heart is always with you. 

I will always be with you, Kam. 

-Jess

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I’m Getting Married!! 

That’s right! I’m getting married on May 6th to the man of my dreams. No fake names here. My future husband, Kameron Nix and I are tying the knot! A little over a month from now I’ll be Mrs. Jessica Nix! Kameron, I love you so much. You’re my world.

I finally found my forever. If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning you know how important that is to me.

 More on all of this later. Love y’all! 

-Jess

Being Alive 

When you least expect it you’ll have one of those days where being alive isn’t absolutely terrible. 

Enjoy those days! If they don’t come around very often you owe it to yourself to enjoy it. 

Don’t fret over the fact that it’ll be fleeting. 

After all, you wouldn’t know what amazing feels like if you didn’t have those bad times. 

Stay safe my friends.

-Jess
P. S. I’ve been getting lots of views today! Thank you so much for coming to my blog. I hope you see something you love. 

They’re not stupid for caring about you 

You deserve care like everyone else..

Being alive is hard. 

Why do it alone? 

Ask yourself,  “am I stronger with this person than I am alone?” 

If the answer is no, then why waste your time?

If it’s yes then stop being afraid. Accept the love and care that you’d give someone in your situation. 

Accept yourself. 

Accept that someone out there loves you. 

Let them in. 

-Jess

Out with the old, in with the new

My new blog! Specifically geared toward depression and anxiety advice.

I JUST made it so it’s literally nothing yet.

But if you’d like to continue following me you can subscribe!

unitedindepression.wordpress.com

Marriage is a serious thing

If you think that cheating on your spouse is a small mistake that you can come back from then you shouldn’t be getting married.

If your motto is that you only have one life and you should live it without worrying about consequences then don’t promise someone you’ll be faithful. Go live your life and leave others out of it.

You can have sex with random people, flirt with whoever you want, enjoy your freedom,  and still keep your dignity by being alone. Don’t drag someone along.

They have to go look for their actual match.

If you’re looking for something and the person you are with is looking for something else then leave.

If that voice inside your head is constantly nagging you. Telling you this isn’t right. This isn’t who you are meant to be with.

You have to listen.

Think about the previous times you didn’t listen? Feel like you wasted your time?

Yeah. That will always apply.

Until you start trusting yourself.

If you are running at full speed and your partner says they are running right behind you but then take a left without you… Watch their feet instead of listening to their words.

Watch their feet.

What are his/her feet telling you?

When is accepting your flaws acceptable?

It’s a cool title, but also an interesting question.

I’ve always been the type of person that doesnt finish things. Not in a sad, hopeless kind of way (at least not usually), but in a firm and decisive way.

I choose to stop doing things if I don’t feel the need or want to continue doing said things. 

It’s something I’ve always had a problem with. Not necessarily because I care about finishing things. No. I don’t care. It’s because of one simple fact that makes every person have insecurities, doubts, and causes them to use self hate language:

It’s a problem because society says so.

I should finish things even if I don’t want to or have to. 

I should finish things simply because according to society the opposite of finishing is quitting.

And quitting indicates irresponsibility.

Well I think that’s bullshit.

I’m sorry but… No actually I’m not sorry.

Me quitting gymnastics when I was 4 didn’t make me irresponsible. It made me a child that didn’t want to do gymnastics. They said we’d do splits next class and I peaced out of there. Also my mom sent me in with a bathing suit instead of an expensive leotard and I wasn’t about that life.

Me quitting basketball when I was 12 didn’t make me a bad kid in any way. I just didn’t care about basketball.

How about when I quit all those jobs? Yeah. Well those jobs sucked ass and I knew I could do better. 

And I have.

You know what I never quit? 

  • Show choir
  • Voice lessons
  • High school (even through the craziness that was my childhood and home life)
  • My so far decade long best friendship with Ray 
  • Dreaming
  • Caring about animals
  • Loving my family
  • Taking care of Khaleesi
  • Russian and soviet history which was by far the hardest class I’ve ever taken
  • This blog

I’m sure there are more out there but you get the picture. Those are all things that matter to me. Things that make me feel happy and alive. Things I wake up for in the morning.

That is what matters.

If following through on everything is important to you, then more power to ya! It’s all about what makes you happy. What makes you, you.

And hey, I never quit saving to move to Austin, but I did quit 8 cities 8 years. 

And get this, I quit because I know what makes me happy.

Being here makes me happy.

Writing a book, going back to school for neuroscience, being in love, working at a job that makes me actually want to show up every day, and continuing to get healthy.

That is what is up, my friends. I may give up on a lot of things, but I’ll never give up on building a happy life for myself.

Don’t give up on yourself either. And I don’t just mean suicide. I mean hating yourself for stupid things you don’t even care about. Make a list. I guarantee you’ll realize your insecurities are actually a reflection of the things others don’t like about you.

Showcase your middle finger with pride, drop that mic, and walk away from that noise. You and I deserve more than that. 

-Jess

Things I’ve learned about myself and others part 2

Please read part 1 before you continue with this post. It is a two parter about dealing with people who hurt you and treat you badly. Sometimes just because you have a mental illness. Other times because you’re a threat to them. Whatever it is… this post shows you that you can be the bigger person.

The wife… She was so mad at me for bringing up the project she threw out. So angry that she did something extremely cruel. Something that put Lucas’s life in Jeopardy. Something I’ll never be able to rationalize.

We got a call from Lucas’s mom a little while back. She told Andy she was going to talk to a lawyer because she didn’t want me around Lucas. The wife had told her I attempted suicide.

For the first time in my whole life, someone used my mental illness to hurt me.

Wow.

It hurt all right.

But instead of calling her every name in the book and trying to hurt her as much as she hurt me, I decided to talk to Lucas’s mom face to face.

Things haven’t been easy between us since we first met. I haven’t talked about it much because I don’t like to. It’s frustrating and difficult to deal with. But here it is.

Lucas’s mom, let’s call her Sandra and Andy argue a lot. And sometimes it’s about me. Not because I do anything wrong, but because sometimes when people enter new relationships, the ones they emotionally leave behind get angry. They feel hurt, abandoned, and excluded.

I get it. But it’s not my fault. She threatened to take custody away because she had this idea in her head that Andy and I treated Lucas badly when he was in our care. That we would get drunk and ignore him. We’d let him watch TV all day so we didn’t have to deal with him. It was absurd, obviously. We love Lucas so much. But I didn’t know how to get her to understand that. She made rules like “Lucas can’t be alone with Jess” and “Jess can’t speak to me whatsoever.” My baby mama drama was real.

She lost her spy because we moved out. The wife was always willing to rat on us. Only problem was we never did anything rat-worthy. The last time she could blow up like this was because the Wife told her I didn’t have a job, but that one was removed once I found one, so it didn’t last long.

Unfortunately…this time she gave her the perfect ammunition to attack. (Because the idea that Andy being forgetful makes him an unfit father wasn’t working).

And once again I had to be the bigger person.

I didn’t have any way of articulating things correctly besides texting, so I sent her the following: (I would have just screenshot it to prove it’s what I really said but it includes all their real names so…)

Sandra,

In the time that I’ve had the pleasure of being in Andy and Lucas’s lives we have laughed, shared memories, payed games, eaten home cooked meals almost every day, and practiced our numbers, letters, shapes, and spelling. In our home he watches minimal TV (mostly Mighty Machines or Phineas and Ferb) and spends more time with activities like homework, coloring, playing matching games, and reading books.

Sometimes we all go to HEB together and he loves using his buddy bucks. He and I put the stickers on our hands and pretend to be super heroes. When Lucas is in our home, you are mommy. And no one speaks ill of mommy in front of him because we respect that you are his mother and that he is impressionable at this age.

He always sits with Daddy to do his homework while I cook and tidy up. We all sat down together to do his art project and had a blast! Andy does forget to put his school items back in his backpack sometimes but as you can understand people can be forgetful. That doesn’t mean he loves Lucas any less. Andy gives Lucas baths at night while I grab him clean clothes from the drawers that we have provided for him in our house. Above them are all his books and toys that he is allowed to ask for at any point.

We do not consume large amounts of alcohol when Lucas is with us because we care for his safety. That is always our number one priority. When Lucas leaves he is always out the door with hugs and love and we miss him when he isn’t around. Last weekend we were at a loss because he wasn’t with us.

Over the last year Lucas has drawn me in his pictures as part of his family. He says I’m his Jess. You see, what you are doing is threatening to take Lucas from, first off, his father. Who, in my opinion is a wonderful and caring man who stood by your side for many years because of the love he has for his son, and even when the relationship ended he made him a priority. You’d also be taking him form a person who cares for him more than she realized she ever could. I have no obligation to take care of Lucas, but I do it happily and willingly because I love him. Andy and I are going trick or treating with him and he wants to be a vampire. He asked me to be a pumpkin so I went out and got a costume just to make him smile. When Lucas is with us, he is not ignored. He is the center of our attention, and he knows it!

You do have a right to know what goes on in our home when he is with us, but you do not have a right to dictate our lives. If Andy treated your boyfriend the way you treat me I’m sure you can see how upsetting that would be to you. He trusts that you have Lucas’s best interest at heart and you wouldn’t let anything happen to him. Why can’t you trust Andy to do the same.

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults in a given year. Suicides drop overwhelmingly when someone is on medication that works.

I am currently on Lamotragine and have been for a month or so. It is working wonders and I am a fully functioning person. But even when I wasn’t I still loved my boys. I’m sure you know your cousin would have opened her mouth if that wasn’t true.

I know you are in school to be a nurse but you can’t possible know the complexities of any given mental illness unless you have lived through it. I have lived with it for many years. The triggers you referred to on the phone with Andy is merely a word related to depression. Triggers are the result of trauma, but when on medication do not result in depressive effects.

You see, depression didn’t break me. It made me incredibly strong. It doesn’t cause me to love less, but actually makes me love so much more because I treasure every happy emotion I feel. The very things you are using against me is one of the best things about me. I have lived through it all and I will live through this.

I am not doing this because I’m afraid of your attempt to get a lawyer. I guarantee no one would take that case. I am doing this for Andy and Lucas. They both deserve to live in a world where two important people in their lives can get along or at least put on a brave face.

I have attached a link to depression statistics and a few photos we have taken since I met Lucas. If these things don’t give you peace of mind, then it is clear that your problem isn’t with my illness, your problem is with me. And if that is the case, then I can’t help you.

Jess.

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Because of this, she decided to sit down with me and have a chat. During my lunch I met her at a Starbuck’s and we talked it over. We’re actually in a better place now than we’ve ever been.

She no longer constantly calls Andy to yell at him. She hasn’t mentioned me at all in her texts. She has given us space and trust, and when she does call or text, I no longer feel annoyed or worried because I trust her, too.

Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting a lot better.

That’s the second wonderful thing the wife has done for me without knowing it. Sometimes people’s terrible actions end up giving you an opening to make your life better. But ultimately it’s up to you.

4. I have way more support than I think.

It’s really hard to see how many people love me from where I stand. I live in Austin and most of my friends and family live all the way in Chicago.

It makes me forget sometimes that they are always there for me.

When people who don’t like me are so close by, the things they say about me becomes a part of me. It makes me believe that I am what they say I am. It was especially harder not to feel that way when I wasn’t on meds. I have some friends here, but they are just that. Friends. People I haven’t known long and sometimes hang out with. My best friends are not at arms reach and I sometimes feel like I can’t turn to anyone but Andy.

That is so far from the truth. My best friend, Ray, is ALWAYS only a phone call away. And he is always there to listen. Same with my mom, my stepdad, my brothers, and all the people I have known and cared about since I was a child. Talking to them actually makes me feel like myself again. They give me words of encouragement and I feel their love from miles away… it resets me. They send me off into the world with happiness and love in my heart.

I will always have them.

5.The hardest part is letting go

This is how I did it.

I imagined myself in a black space. A space where I’m not distracted by anything. A space where nothing exists unless I want it to. I imagine an open doorframe in front of me, emitting a bright light so you couldn’t see anything outside of it.

I imagine the wife and husband standing in front of the light. I look them in the eyes for a few seconds and then turn away from them. I envision myself walking away form them. I can see their confused expressions follow my back as I get further and further away from them.

Eventually I walk so far that they are mere specks. The white light is only a glimmer. I come across another doorframe. As I walk through it, the door shuts on its own. A little further on I come across Andy.

He is smiling at me with that warm handsome face I know so well. He offers me his arm and I walk with him a little further.

As we get closer I can see a crowd of people.

It is every single person that loves me. I see Ray, my brothers, my mom, my step dad, Roxy, and countless other friends who have always been there for me.

We walk into the crowd and we hug each and every person. Even Andy’s family is there. They love us too. Standing in this crowd of people makes me realize that letting two people that hurt me run my thoughts and emotions was so pointless.

For every person that doesn’t like me… there are 10 who love me.

And now… I feel better. Now whenever I think about being angry again I picture this scenario over and over again. I hope you can find one that makes you feel like this one does for me. You can borrow mine until you find one that is truly you!

If you get anything out of this post I hope it’s that you can move past unresolved issues. You can walk away from people forever. You don’t deserve anything less than love, respect, and consideration. And if you don’t agree with that then there is a toxic in your life that is making you feel that way.

Get rid of them.

Love you guys.

-Jess

Things I’ve learned about myself and others: part 1

I haven’t really been writing lately. I’ve been busy I suppose. I really wanted to write something today though. Anything really. I can definitely tell that it’s a part of me.

This post wasn’t supposed to be a long one, but I just started writing and ran with it. It has now become a two parter. If you are having trouble dealing with how others make you feel about yourself this may be a good read. Problems with people that you thought were your friends or people that you’ll always have to have in your life (like… baby mama’s perhaps…). If not I’m glad you stopped by anyway.

So without further adieu, here are some things I’ve learned about myself and others recently.

  1. I am a fully functioning person when I  am on medication.

I was hired at a signature loan store on October 2nd. Full time. Monday through Friday, 8:30 -5:30. I’m still employed there! That’s a big deal for me. I didn’t quit or give up when I didn’t feel like it. Why? Because there never came a point where I wanted to give up.

When I’m on meds I want a full time job. I want to wake up every day and do good work and make money. When I was really depressed recently, I had this idea in my head that a full time job was like a prison. I was trapped there, hopeless, tired, and depressed, begging for a day off so that I could feel normal. I think people joke about work feeling like prison, but I really felt it to be true.

But you know what? Having a job makes me feel normal. I feel like my life is good. Like I am contributing something to the people around me. On top of that I’m starting school in January! I will be working and going to school and being busy and happy and in love.

2. I am in a really strong relationship.

Andy had to call an ambulance one night because I once again had fallen into a depression so deep that I resorted to suicide.

Yes… It happened again.

No… I don’t even remotely want to dwell on it.

All I’ll say is my roommates woke to it and saw what happened.

I’m fine, it wasn’t even remotely worse than last time, and that’s because Andy reacted quickly.

He is an amazing man. I can’t even talk about it. For nearly 5 months he watched me struggle and suffer and deal with not being able to keep a job. He never doubted me or told me that I needed to get it together. He waited patiently and trusted the person he knew I was.

Thank you so much, Andy.

Now we have our own apartment. Just us and Khaleesi! We kiss each other goodbye every weekday morning and go to our jobs. We both do our share of chores and go grocery shopping. We answer to no one and we live in peace together.

I can’t even explain how wonderful  it feels to be living this life right now.

3. Some people are just plain cruel and you have to walk away.

After my suicide attempt, our old roommates told us we had a month to move out. Sometimes people don’t understand mental illness so they just treat it as a character flaw. They see me as a bad person because of my illness.

Okay, fine. I was still really sick and that negativity wasn’t good for me. Even before that they were so patronizing to both of us, so living with them was pretty uncomfortable towards the end. It was mostly the wife. I won’t even give her a name, mostly because this is the last time she’ll be mentioned. She didn’t work, which isn’t really a negative thing because she’s a mom. She spent most of her days cooking and cleaning and watching her son. She also enjoyed bad mouthing anyone she knew to anyone that would listen.

It was pretty weird for me because, well first off… I didn’t care. Second, a lot of the time it was in regards to her cousin. Andy’s ex. Lucas’s Mom. Someone I try my best not to start trouble with.

She’d brag about how in high school she once beat her up. She’d talk about how she was mentally unstable (I should’ve known she’d be ignorant to that sort of thing.) She also told me personal things about their childhoods that I really didn’t need to know.

She worked out a lot and was of normal height which unfortunately made her very vein. Her husband was also into fitness so he spent a lot of time body building. He was, deep down, a decent person and never made us feel like she did.

She would tell us that we can’t touch the thermostat because we don’t pay enough money for that. She only gave us half a shelf in the fridge, and said we had to put the rest of our stuff in the garage fridge, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if she didn’t say it the way she did. She treated us like we were nobodies in her home. I hate that feeling, but with my struggle to deal with my mental health and work I didn’t have a lot of options. I didn’t want to worry Andy or make him feel like we had to move and spend more money. I kept my mouth shut.

Luckily they kicked us out. The husband really didn’t want to, but she insisted. So we left, and the week we moved into our new home I decided to get back on meds.

It was the nicest thing she could’ve done for us.

That same week we asked if we could pick up our last few things in the house and Andy went to get them while I cooked dinner. He came back and told me that she had thrown out one of his woodworking projects. This wasn’t uncommon for her. She used to throw out our food and belongings all the time. She had a lot of time on her hands.

I texted her asking why she’d throw it out. I swear it wasn’t confrontational, I just asked what happened.

She said she didn’t know what the hell it was and so she threw it away.

I said, “okay, I’ll let you know when the housewarming is.”

And then the shitstorm hit. She started saying that I had an attitude and that she wanted Andy to move all his stuff out of the shed (he used it as a woodshop and had all of his tools in it, but we had previously come up with an agreement to rent it out). She texted him later and told him that she was just messing with me and he could keep his stuff in there, but he had to control his girlfriend.

Of course he told me everything and we both decided it’d be best to from now on only keep in contact with her husband. We haven’t spoken to her since.

But of course when someone is truly cruel, they don’t go away so easily.

3. I had to learn how to let go of unresolved issues.

Letting go of something that will never get resolved. Oh boy… that is a tough pill to swallow. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation like that. The kind where I don’t go crazy and bitch at someone till I’m red in the face. The kind where I handle things correctly and just let it go.

At first it fucking sucks. It really does. But then… it kind of doesn’t. You don’t have to live with the fact that you couldn’t be the bigger person. That temporary rush you get from bitching someone out fades.

Sometimes when people feel guilty they decide to lash out at you. That’s what happened when the wife threw out Andy’s stuff. Instead of admitting she made a mistake she decided to try and make me feel bad for calling her out on it.

Same thing happened when she invited me out a while back when we lived together. At the last minute she cancelled and decided not to go (for the second time). I ended up not having plans because of it. I asked her to in the future not make plans if she doesn’t feel like going to begin with because it left me without plans. She, of course, lashed out and got extremely angry. Said I was acting like a child. I apologized because I was kind of at her mercy. She wore the pants in her relationship and making her mad could ruin things for us.

Fast forward.

The wife… She was so mad at me for bringing up the project she threw out. So angry that she did something extremely cruel. Something that put Lucas’s life in Jeopardy. Something I’ll never be able to rationalize.

To be continued in part 2

An Ideal World vs. The Real World

Andy and I were talking about the possibilities of technology and medicine advancement in the future.

He brought up a scenario where there are drugs tailor made specifically for each person. A Jessica drug for me and my depression. He wasn’t for or against it, he was just curious on my thoughts. (Yes, we are nerdy like that.)

Ain’t that a treat? A pill designed for my body and no one else’s. The promise of a side effect free drug that cures my depression forever. That could have cured my depression when I almost lost my life.

I simply responded, “No.”

He asked me why.

“Because if I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t be sitting with you in this room right now.”

He waited on an explanation, completely puzzled.

“Well think about it. If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t have had to force myself out of my way of thinking. A lot of the times people without a life changing illness just kind of settle for what their lives are. Nothing to do, nothing to change. They find solace in the mundane.

I had to do something drastic to get out of that hole. So I decided to move here.

Hell, we can even go more in depth. I would have never adopted
Khaleesi, because as most know I adopted her because bonding with your pet is therapeutic and often helps with depression. I would have probably stayed with/married my ex, so I would have relied on him with my depression, refusing to take meds because I had him as a crutch, so I wouldn’t have recovered when I did. I wouldn’t have met this random guy in a bar, hit it off with him, and had the courage to go visit him in Austin a week after meeting him.

I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to stay true to myself when said guy screwed me over. I certainly wouldn’t have had the courage to move here. I wouldn’t have moved home and started saving. I wouldn’t have gotten an OkCupid profile to meet Austinites before my move. I would have never seen a picture of this gorgeous guy who claimed he could make a girl smile if she gave him the chance to. I wouldn’t have had the courage to message him, and he wouldn’t have made me smile within two message exchanges. We would have never talked every day before my move, I would have never moved here, I would have never gone on an amazing first date, or had an amazing first kiss. I would have never gotten the chance to hear him say ‘I love you’ and I wouldn’t have met his amazing son, and I wouldn’t be in this very room with him right now.”

It’s safe to say that he agreed that an ideal world is nowhere near as wonderful as the real world.

I believe he said something along the lines of:

“That world sounds like bullshit.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I hope when you are struggling you can remember that your pain, your suffering, your scars, they are all part of who you are. They shape you to be the person you are going to be someday. The person who has these crazy stories, these intense moments, these wonderful memories. A more well rounded, brave, and strong person.

If we lived in a world where my depression was 100% curable right off the bat, well, I wouldn’t be me. I’d be a robot. We would all be the same. And I wouldn’t have ever gotten the chance to start this blog

Do you have the courage to be you?

While you’re alive, try not to be an asshole

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

I think Maya Angelou was right. The way you feel about someone never fades. I also think, however, that the way you make someone feel directly corroborates with things that you said or did. You ever hate someone so much but forget why? Those emotions are real, but you have no recollection as to how they came about.

Doesn’t really matter when someone dies in the grand scheme of things.

But what do they leave behind?

Some people just do things without caring how anyone else feels. Doesn’t matter if they care about you or not. They will do fucked up shit and use alcohol or emotions or technicalities to make themselves feel like it was alright.

I don’t feel that it’s alright.

When I leave this earth I want the people that I genuinely cared about to remember that I made them feel loved, cared for, and important. All of those things.

I don’t want to act reckless or treat people like shit.

People are not disposable to me.

When I have to drop someone, I make sure I mean it.

I wouldn’t drop someone for something trivial.

Usually I drop them because I think of Maya Angelou’s quote.

I ask myself if they died tomorrow, would I be okay with how they made me feel when they were alive?

If the answer is no then there is no reason to continue.

Sometimes I’m in the wrong, in that case I ask myself if I can fix it or not. If I can’t then I leave them to their decision. If I can… well I try.

At the end of the day I just want to filter out the people that I know do more harm than good. People that don’t seem to have a problem with hurting me severely. People that would probably do it again. I don’t have the energy or the time to waste on someone like that.

And honestly… neither do you.

Fool me once shame on you.

Fool me twice …

You’re done.

-Jess

Finding someone that understands – and accepts – your struggles

He always gets us home safely. Always. I feel safe in his presence. In his arms. We lie on the bed as I – intoxicated from the night – look him in the eyes. This ensued the loveliest love I couldn’t possibly describe to you. Sweet, but passionate. Strong, yet gentle. And when we were done he kissed me deeply and longingly. Like it was our first kiss. Like it was our last kiss.

He laid next to me, trying to even out his breathing, and held my hand.

I looked to my left and focused on a darker spot in my closet. My eyes started to well up. My body became stiff. I knew what I had to do, but I kept stealing time. Trying to fight the rational.

“Jess are you okay?”

“Andy. I need you to hide all of the pills I have in my bathroom. My leftover prescription pills are on the counter next to the sink.”

“Okay. I’ll go now.”

“Wait Andy. What if we play a game? We can see how many. Pills it takes for me to get sick. I won’t die but it might make the urge go away.”

“No Jess. This isn’t you talking right now. Your brain is in a different mode, but you’ll feel alright again soon. I’m going to put the pills away and then I’m going to come back and snuggle you to sleep.”

He moved towards me and kissed my forehead, and with that he was out the door. The tears of guilt and frustration kept me entertained. I hugged my cat who I believe sensed I needed her as she walked over to me from the windowsill.

When he came back I knew I had to be honest.

“My regular medicine is in a bag in the bottom drawer.”

“Do you have pills anywhere else?”

“No.”

“Okay. Thank you for telling me. I’ll be right back.”

I let myself cry as much as I needed to. I allowed myself to feel what was happening to me because I knew that crying helped. I knew once I couldn’t cry anymore I could start thinking rationally again.

I could be the strong and secure woman I had worked very hard to be. A woman that has won in the face of depression countless times. A woman that has survived the impossible. A woman courageous enough to go up against her own brain.

A woman who deserved Andy.

He came back into the room. Every centimeter of me burned to be held by him. He climbed back into bed and wrapped his arms around me.

“You know, you may feel small for having these thoughts, but you should feel very big for asking for and accepting help. I love you.”

“Thank you so much for that. I love you too.”

I couldn’t believe I had found a man like him. I still can’t believe it. Someone who not only understands, but wants to be there for me. Someone who doesn’t feel obliged to help, but instead feels good that I trust  him enough to accept his help.

The next morning a slight pang of guilt set in as you might imagine.


This is the kind of person I hope everyone with and without depression gets to be with. It’s what they deserve. It’s what you deserve. Anything less wouldn’t do you justice. Everyone has baggage. Everyone has issues one way or another.

We all need help, constant love, reassurance, distraction, and understanding. We need someone to help us walk that extra mile when we’re tired. To let us know that our pasts and losses and struggles do not define us. To remind us of the good we create just by existing in this world. To love us when we don’t feel that we deserve love.

That is what you should look for in a partner. But first…that is who you should strive to become.

I love you Andrew Evans.

-Jess

We’re moving in together!


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Things have been pretty wild since I last checked in. Two weeks is the longest bar of silence I’ve had this year.

I suppose I didn’t know what to write. Things have been happening, but I decided to take a break from sharing those things because I wanted to try immersing myself in my own life instead of trying to find ways to narrate it.

11146206_10152847747341274_4810380212775105341_nI’ve got to say, it has been pretty fun.

When you’re present and in the moment things change. The way you see people around you, the way you make decisions, the way you experience everything.

I made the difficult decision to stop taking my medication two weeks ago.

I still have not made contact with my father in prison.

I quit my front desk job that made me feel like crap and left with a bombshell email exposing my former boss’s wrongdoings.


I had some awesome bon11161349_10152849402596274_9211810873696856201_nding time with one of Andy’s sisters, Lizzie.

I got another job as a server at a sports bar.

I started paying off my $640 balance for college so I can finish my last year and a half.

I’m proud to say that Andy’s son, Lucas now recognizes me as “Jess”.

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To tie everything up in a beautiful bow that is life, I’m excited to announce that Andy and I are moving in together!

The move will most likely be happening right before our trip to Chicago. I still have to get out of my lease, we are still working out logistics like what things we can get rid of/sell, and come to an agreement with his already roommates.


They are great people. Funny story, they are a married couple with a son. The wife is actually Andy’s ex’s cousin. She is, however, super wonderful and accommodating. She actually said today that she’d really love to get to know me and hang out. She has always gotten along with Andy and the break up didn’t change that.

11059347_10152808962046274_2160873252254272321_nHer son and Lucas are cousins, so Andy and I decided that we’re going to get bunk beds for them so that Lucas can stay in his room when he visits. It’s a three bedroom, two bathroom house, so it’s more than livable and roomy.

I think I’m going to like it here.

I just can’t believe how in sync Andy and I have been since day 1.

We have been through some pretty high hurdles, but now we’ll have to face our toughest one yet: his ex girlfriend.

18295_10152809170241274_3540082442894434176_nI haven’t said much about her except that respect her and Andy’s dedication to Lucas in this post.

I only met her once, and briefly, but I have unfortunately witnessed countless phone conversations between her and Andy. It is safe to say that she is quite possessive. It seems to be hard for her to let go of Andy. I don’t think there are feelings there, but I do think that she doesn’t want him to be happy with anyone else. That really bothers her.

As I said in my last post, I refuse to have stupid baby mama drama. This will be handled as it should be: with three adults who all care about the child involved. I won’t entertain any other way.

Regardless, I can’t tell you how amazing it is to witness someone defend you with the utmost admiration and respect.

I’ll save that for later though. Right now I want to revel in what is the most amazing and fulfilling relationship of my life.

It looks like I’ll be an Austinite a bit longer than planned!

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-Jess

To: Andy


Sometimes I haven’t the slightest idea what to do about it.

You say something sweet or laugh the way you do, and I am overcome with joy.

Just pure joy.

The cuts and bruises from my life before you…they just don’t hurt anymore.

They’ve become scars.

I’ll never forget the pain of the past but being with you has changed the way I look at it.

I won’t carry it with me anymore.

It’s you and me now.

The way it was always supposed to be. At least that’s how it feels.

We have been in sync since day one.

I feel what you feel.
You hope what I hope.
I love what you love.

There has never been, nor will there ever be, another us.

That’s what is so great and terrifying about it.

Decades from now when we’re both gone no one will know who we were or what we meant to each other, but it doesn’t even matter.

Because right now, today, right here, as I sit on my bed and type, I love you.

I love every single moment that you exist.

Even in my deepest sleep I love you.

In my worst and best moments I love you.

Even in the times I’m upset with you, I love you.

When I was seven years old and I wondered if you existed I loved you.

When I was fifteen years old and I wished for you I loved you.

Just half a year ago when I wondered how many years I had left before I’d meet you I loved you.

The day I saw your face for the first time I loved you.

I just didn’t know it was you yet.

Now that we’re both here and feel the way we do

I can’t really describe the way I feel.

To say you make me happy is an understatement.

It almost feels like an insult. That word doesn’t even come remotely close to the way I feel.

In fact, there is nothing I could ever say that would describe this.

Then again, words have never been necessary with us.

You show me through your eyes. Your kiss. The way you hold onto me a little longer every time.

You show me through your actions.

I hope we always feel this way about each other.

It’s so different from any other feeling I’ve ever felt.

So foreign at first, but now it is the thing I treasure most.

Could love be this great?

We share this electrifying closeness that feels like a Utopia. But it isn’t. It is the realest thing we’ve ever known.

There is something so incredibly perfect about resting my head on your shoulder.

Something so painstakingly wonderful about feeling your hand touch my face.

Feeling the warmth of your hug.

Feeling the kisses you leave on my forehead.

Feeling this way about you.

I love us.

-Jess

Tips for when you feel too dependent on others

Depression can be pretty scary. It’s especially scary when you’re alone in your room at 3:30am fighting a war against yourself to stay alive while the rest of the world sleeps soundly.

Intense, I know.

Continue reading

Not mine [[A Poem]]

Last night I was not myself.

I was no one.

I was nowhere.

I had no fingerprints.

No identity.

No past.

No present.

No future.


My hair was not mine.

My skin felt foreign.

I felt like a fraud that no one could see.

except him.

His gaze heavy with fervor, and I couldn’t bring myself to meet it.

for my eyes were not mine.


I wanted to want all the things I normally want, but I was not me.

There was a disconnect.

All of my serotonin had been used up.

There was nothing left.

He said, “It’s alright. You will be yourself again soon.”

He seemed to understand exactly how I felt.

Even though I was not acting like the girl he fell in love with.

I was acting like a clone of  her.

A clone that didn’t quite know how to be her.

But he was good for her. Not like the others.

It was nice to know she got what she deserved.

I knew she wouldn’t want to miss this.


Just an hour ago she was in pure bliss.

Everything was right. Everyone was right. Every moment mattered.

Every moment counted.

What happened to her? Where did she go? I missed her terribly.


I should not be in the limelight.

I should always be in the background. Deep deep down.

When I’m shoved to the forefront terrible things happen.

I’ve hurt her so many times.

Left her with scars that she did not cause.

Left her heart with a burden that she did not create.

And she has forgiven me so many times.

I wish I was stronger, but I am not.

All I can do is try to hold on till she can take over.

She tries to explain me to others, but I am what they call a stigma.

Most do not understand.

I just wanted him to be right.

That it would be over soon and I could rest.

I could watch her take on the world as she can when I’m at bay.


This morning I woke up and I was back in my little room.

I was cozy and warm under my covers. She had been here. She had been locked up in this room.

For her it is torture. She doesn’t belong here. This is my place.

She was back in her own body. In her own brain, and she felt at peace.

And he was so glad.

And so was I.

For her hair, her hands, her skin, her life –

are not mine.

A ball of stress

That’s what I am right now.

I’m just working a lot and trying to keep up with it.

I’m also trying to figure out whether or not I’m buying a car.

I’m trying to spend time with Andy but our schedules disagree quite a bit.

It seems before when I had jobs that weren’t dependable, everything else worked out.

Money was my only stress. It was a big deal, but it was the only thing I put my stress on.

Now that I’m financially secure I have a whole new set of problems.

I’m not really sure which is worse.

To be fair, now that my Wellbutrin has kicked in so have the side effects.

Dry mouth, aches and pains, but most ferociously, Anxiety.

My anxiety is through the roof. Doesn’t help with everything I’ve got going on.

It’s why I haven’t really been able to write anything coherent in the past week or so.

Usually the strength of the side effects subside within a month or so. I’m really hoping that this is the worst of it.

Because the only thing worse than anxiety is a low sex drive.

-Jess

Why do you insist on loving what doesn’t love you back?

I struggled with this question for many years. The question I asked myself often.

My father, my ex’s…

I even asked myself why I couldn’t love the one person who I knew could love me back… me.

The human condition is an interesting one.

-Jess

Me explaining what it’s like to live with depression


I wanted to make a video that explained what it is like to have depression on a daily basis. I did it hoping that it would help people that have never lived through it understand it more.

Fact: 90% of americans that have committed suicide had treatable mental illnesses at the time of their death.

Let’s end the stigma.

300,000 people that die from suicide annually can’t all be wrong.

-Jess

This is What Unadulterated Bliss Looks Like


When I’m around you, I don’t think about anything else. Time freezes for a little while.

See… I’ve never had love like this before. Love that is so honest. So real. Love that comes so easily.

Love that teaches me something new every day.

Like the fact that the pain from my past does not define who I am now. It’s part of how I got here, but I don’t have to hurt about it anymore.

Like the fact that when I need you, I shouldn’t feel like I’m a burden or inconvenience. I shouldn’t be afraid to ask to see you two days in a row. I shouldn’t be afraid to say that I’m having a bad day.

Like the fact that there are men out there who like to communicate. Be honest. Be truthful. Be an open book. Not hiding their phones out of plain sight. Not lying about where they are and who they’re with. We don’t have to worry about hiding those things, because there’s nothing to hide.

Being with you is pretty much like being with the other part of me. The part I didn’t really know existed in real life.

The part that I always hoped I’d find, but can’t even come close to explaining it when I try to now that I have it.

I know that we don’t need each other in the grand scheme of things. We could have never met and I’m sure, no, I’m positive things would’ve worked out either way.

But that’s not how life went. We got lucky. We found each other. No, I don’t need you, and you don’t need me either.

But I want you in my life. And see that’s why relationships worth preserving take work. Because we want to be in each other’s lives, we work to be there for each other. We work to make each other smile. We work to comfort each other. We work to make time for each other.

Though I have to admit, it doesn’t even remotely feel like work.

I think the best part about all of this is that you feel exactly the same way I do.

I’m that other part of you that you didn’t know existed.

And now we have all the time in the world to enjoy it.

I love nights like these. It’s just you, me, a bottle of wine, usually pizza, and the whole night to talk, laugh, snuggle, and watch the world from afar. We rarely watch it, though. We don’t really care what anyone else is doing.

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-Jess

Feeling fine one minute, and depressed the next

I’m all too familiar with that feeling. I didn’t think it’d happen to me ever again, but I suppose that’s foolish.

Yesterday I felt so hopeless and disappointed in myself, and today I feel just fine. It’s my day off, I can relax, take the pressure off, take a day for myself.

I’m also in a non depressed mood right now. Like right now. I  know that that can change in 20 minutes.

This feels like a breakup after having gone through a really tough breakup. I know what to do to help myself feel better, but the pain is still there because I’m a human being and every time is different.

When I’m in these healthy moods I want to take advantage of them. I’m going to call a psychiatrist and make an appointment. The sooner I start looking for a new med combination, the better. It’s going to take at least three weeks to get it under control and even then we may find that it isn’t the right mix and have to start over with a new drug.

But those three weeks will pass me by whether I do something or not so why live with the pain when there’s an option not to?

Hopefully I can get it together.

Last night, I confessed to Andy that I was starting to feel some of my old symptoms. He said something that made me feel great. Something that not many people understand about us.

“Just like any other illness you need medication to get better and I understand that. It’s not easy. And if you need a ride to see your psychiatrist I’d be more than happy to take you. Please let me take you. It would make me incredibly sad if you denied my offer.”

1. He noted that depression is a real thing.

2. He acknowledged my pain.

3. He offered to help in a way he knew that he could.

4. He asked me to let him take me. It’s my choice. And I wouldn’t want to make him sad at all so it made me really want to let him.

So we’re going together. He’s going to keep me accountable and we’re going to hang out afterwards as my own little incentive.

I’m also talking to Theresa today (My therapist from Chicago) to see if we can’t find me a new therapist. I’ve been here two months and in those two months I’ve cancelled three appointments with two different therapists.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do, because I’ll respond with an answer that won’t satisfy anyone’s needs: I have no clue.

All I know is I am not going back into that dark and dreadful hole.

This is not where my story ends. I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m catching it before it takes over.

-Jess

I know what it’s like to have depression

I know what it’s like to feel the constant and harrowing pain that is depression on a daily basis.

I know what it’s like to see the possibility of death all around you.

I know what it’s like to see absolutely no reason to live.

I know what it’s like to attempt suicide.

I know what it’s like to be alone in a psych hospital.

I know what it’s like to spend countless nights in invisible pain.

I know what it’s like to feel death at my fingertips.

I know what it’s like to hear someone say something that resonates with a part of you.

I know what it’s like to read something that makes sense in my brain.

I know what it’s like to start to feel that life isn’t so bad.

I know what it’s like to start having rational thoughts again.

I know what it’s like to start to get ahold of yourself.

I know what it’s like to take medication and feel it work.

I know what it’s like to be sad in a normal, fully functional way.

I know what it’s like to be happy.

I know what it’s like to be in love.

I know what it’s like to set goals and achieve them.

I know what it’s like to love myself.

I know what it’s like to start to recognize some of my old destructive thoughts.

I know what it’s like to wake up and feel extremely confused about what’s happening to me.

I know what it’s like to take medication every day only to realize it’s not working as well as it used to.

I know what it’s like to start having the occasional irrational thought that turns sour.

I know what it’s like to be sick of the whole charade.

I know what it’s like to hear the illness calling my name. Begging me to join it the ditch I fought so hard to crawl out of.

I know what it’s like to start to scare myself.

I know what it’s like to be scared of scaring the people I love again.

I know what it’s like to stop taking medication.

I know what it’s like to go to work and sit there and be a good girl and surf the internet and start to look at suicide notes and last words and wonder what mine will be.

I know what it’s like to feel like on paper everything is perfect, yet inside I’m screaming. Constantly screaming.

I know what it’s like to feel fine 20 minutes later.

I know what it’s like to be terrified of losing the things I love.

And today, after nine months of a somewhat unhinged bliss…

I know what it’s like to have a suicidal thought again.

I am so disappointed in myself.
I am so ashamed.

-Jess

Leaving your significant other for someone else.

You ever notice how no one wants to date you until you’re already dating someone else?

When I was in the 7th grade I had a boyfriend named Eric. We were together for a long three weeks. Then I met a boy named Rob and I had to make the decision of a lifetime. Break up with Eric and date Rob, or stay with Eric and turn Rob down.

Obviously now looking back it was not the decision of a lifetime at all. It was barely even a decision. Anyway I chose to break up with Eric and date Rob.

One week later I realized that I had made the mistake of a lifetime (remember, I was in the seventh grade) and I called Eric to ask him if we could be together again.

And he declined.

See, technically I didn’t cheat on him or anything, but I did leave him for someone else. That was the day I understood the quote, “Don’t leave the one you love for the one you like, because the one you like will leave you for the one they love.”

No, I didn’t love Eric, but I never forgot about him. He taught me that if I’m going to break up with someone for someone else, I’d better be damn sure that’s what I want, because you don’t always get a second chance.

I’ve kept that belief with me ever since that day, and I’m glad I did, because when I was in high school and the same predicament happened, I knew what to do.

And today I’m especially glad because it has happened again.

A certain person in my life admitted that he had very strong feelings for me. He said that he loved me, and that he feels like he made a mistake not telling me sooner. He had hurt me in the past and so the whole predicament left me in tears. He went on to try to explain himself and his feelings.

I was listening to him. I really was. I heard the things he said, I let them sit in my mind, but I couldn’t focus. Andy was everywhere I looked. Suddenly my head was filled with us.

Trying new wine together while playing games and talking, dancing salsa barefoot in my room, kissing him, feeling him hold me, seeing that adorable face he makes when he laughs really hard, saying things in silly voices, listening to music and cuddling, feeling happy when he wakes me up in the morning with a forehead kiss (It’s a miracle, really. I’m not even remotely a morning person). Feeling my stomach flutter every damn time he knocks on my front door. feeling so much joy the moment I open the door and see him smiling at me, randomly waking up at night and seeing him sleep peacefully, imagining what our future will be like, and just simply knowing that he loves me, too.

There wasn’t even a moment of doubt in my mind. Andy is, has always been, and will always be my soulmate.

There’s a reason I missed Joseph by a week.

There’s a reason this guy and I never worked out.

There’s a reason every little thing happened before I could meet and fall in love with Andy.

And that reason is that he was meant for me.

When you are given the opportunity to leave your significant other for someone else, and you actually consider it, I suppose you should just go for it.

It took me .5 seconds to say no. because it took .5 seconds to open my mouth.

Andy will always be the better choice. He’ll always be the only choice.

I chose him that night, and I’ll choose him every time anything like that happens because he’s it.

When you know you know. You know?

Happy 9 month Anniversary to you both [[An excerpt from a larger story]]

I couldn’t feel my heart. It was nonexistent for the 7.5 seconds it took for him to give me his answer. I searched for the answer in his eyes, but it didn’t really matter. His facial expressions never quite matched his tone. He always had an odd toothy smile in the face of stress, awkwardness, anger, and confusion.

“I really thought about it.”

I was sweating. In my defense I was standing next to an oven full of cupcakes during a Chicago summer. I guess I’ll never know if it was his words or the atmosphere that made me sweat that much.

My mind instantly went to a younger, more foolish version of me. You know… from last night. I planned what cupcakes I’d make and washed my sheets and cleaned my room. I had a long talk with Roxy about how I know we had problems but I was sure we could get over them.

“So he only lasts 90 seconds. That’s fine, we can make it work. More foreplay, numbing cream, even going a second round. You know, if he is in the mood. Which he usually isn’t because he says he’s too sensitive. I really wish he would let me hug him afterwards but his body is just so sensitive after sex. Okay, whole other problem. I’ll make this work. We can make this work.”

Roxy nodded her head and warned me that he may not want to get back together.

“I know. Part of me wants to believe he wouldn’t give up on us that easily. Oh my god, Roxy. We might be together again by this time tomorrow.”

“I thought about it for a long time, and I want to be friends.”

I slowly turned away from him and held onto the stovetop to keep myself from falling. Is this what a heart attack feels like? I think I’m having a heart attack. There’s nothing in me. It’s all gone. It’s all just flying around me. He’s not even here. Nothing is here. Only my shallow breaths and this stove top.

“Jess?”

“Is it because of her?”

“No.”

“It’s her isn’t it? You’re throwing this away for someone you don’t even know. We have history. We are best friends. You’re a fucking asshole.”

I sauntered off into the back stairwell.

 “It’s not about her. We’re not even dating. We’re just talking.”

“Joseph, a week ago you told me that you wished you were with me. What the fuck?”

“You missed me. You missed me by a week and I’m sorry but it’s the truth.”

I sat on the top step and he followed. I couldn’t do anything but beg. With tears in my eyes I moved a few steps down and faced him on my knees.

“Joseph I love you. Please don’t choose her. What am I going to do without you? Without this? You are my best friend.”

He pushed my hands away as I tried to touch his face.

“Please don’t do this. Get up.”

“No. I can’t. I have to fight for you because we promised each other we always would. You fight for what you love. That’s what we always said.”

” I don’t love you anymore Jess. I don’t know how it happened I just fell out of love. There was nothing left. I don’t know why but it’s gone.”

I hate to say it, but this went on for twenty minutes. I groveled on my knees for twenty minutes. I begged him to love me back. To find it in himself to love me back. To remember who he fell in love with.

But to no avail.

Once I realized that begging wasn’t going to help, I got up. I thought about how I was going to kill myself. Would I leave a note for him? Maybe then he’d have to live with it forever. He’d never forget me. Any woman he’d be with in the future would permanently have my face on. He wouldn’t be able to escape me.

I walked up the stairs and rested my arms on the banister. I looked at the alley from the window.

He waited for me to react, but I couldn’t.

After all the tears, the heart wrenching pain depression and this relationship had put me through. After being rejected by the second man I ever loved – the first being my father – I just couldn’t react anymore.

I felt a sense of peace wash over me. The sun had started to set a little bit. I took a deep breath and he held his.

“Someday… I have no idea when. I don’t even know what will make you realize it. Someday you’re going to look back and come to find that this was the day you made the biggest mistake of your life. You will regret it.”

He only stared at me and said, “I won’t regret it. I’m sure I don’t love you.”

“You’ll see.”

278 days and counting.

-Jess

Broken Homes vs. Split Units

On Wednesday, I met Andy’s son, Lucas. I had a great time! We had Ice cream and watched Lucas play at the playground. He’s such a great kid. Super energetic and funny!

He was shy at first, but as time wore on he started to feel more relaxed with me and laughed and joked with Andy, and even talked to me quite a bit!

I felt really lucky.

Lucky to be let into this part of Andy’s life, even if just for an afternoon.

Lucky to be in this relationship.

Lucky to be in love with a man that takes parenthood seriously.

There are some fathers out there that could care less about the children that they have.

Take my father for example.

It was just so nice to see a family that is split up work together as a unit.

People ask me if there’s going to be baby mama drama in my life now that I’m with Andy.

The answer is no. For two reasons:

1. I avoid drama like the Plague. I’m not confrontational; I’m not a coward. I just know when something is petty, stupid, and not worth wasting time over.

2. I have the utmost respect for two parents who are civil and responsible enough to make an arrangement like this work, because my parents unfortunately, could not do that for us. And yes, that means I have a lot of respect for Lucas’s mother, too. So why on earth would I start or entertain unnecessary drama?

One thing that I learned from my family? The kids should always come first. And I learned that the hard way, because we never came first in my dad’s eyes.

Maybe second once a year, maybe even third twice a year. Never first.

I’m not even remotely part of that situation yet, but I just wanted to be clear on my thoughts about it. That way when the time comes, I’ll know where I stand with the whole dynamic.

All I can say for sure is seeing Andy play with Lucas, seeing him give Lucas piggy back rides, hold his hand, laugh with him, and call him son, all of that made me fall even more in love with that man.

I didn’t even know that was possible.

-Jess

I’m meeting Lucas today!

Today is the day! After this bullshit two hour training session at work, Andy will be picking me up and I will finally meet Lucas! Ice cream and the playground!

I’m excited and elated!

Not much else to say today.

I’m happy.

I’m trying not to think about anything else.

Maybe I can stay in this bliss for a little while.

I know soon I’m going to have to address 8 cities with myself. I know soon I’m going to have to deal with working another 6 consecutive days and not seeing Andy for most of this and next week.

I know soon I’ll have to try to get some time off of work because my best friend is coming and I don’t know if it’ll happen and that makes me want to cry because he’s the only bit of Chicago I’ll have for quite a while.

But today, none of that will be addressed. None of it could even be fixed today. So why stress about it? Stressing about the things I can’t currently control is just pointless. Today is a great day to be me. Today I should be thankful that 8 cities even came out because it led me this far. Today I should be thankful I even have a job that will provide me with the funds and time off to visit my family. Today I should be thankful to have an amazing man in my life that I actually care about not seeing because of said job. Today I should be thankful that my best friend can afford to come see me and enjoy Austin for himself, regardless of whether or not I work for some of it.

Plus, I do have some mini solutions. For example, 8 cities is still 10 months away. I have time (and now money) to make that decision later. And I don’t know what will happen or where my life will be 10 months from now.

One week of not seeing Andy will be tough, but if we’re right for each other, I’ll have the rest of my life to see him! And there will be times where we have all the time in the world, and others where we only see each other right before we sleep, but either way I’ll cherish those moments.

My best friend, Ray has his flight booked. Either way we’ll figure something out. Switching shifts with my co-workers is super easy, and so once the day comes closer and I know my schedule, I can work with them to move things around. Andy doesn’t work weekends so he could hang out with Ray and show him around. They could bond :).

It will all be okay.

I’m feeling quite optimistic today. Not sure why or  how, but I just feel right.

Today, I meet Lucas.

Today is a good day.

-Jess

To: The one (Part 2)

Part one was written before I met you. I always knew you exsisted. That you were out there somewhere. I talked about what it may feel like to meet you, to fall for you, to just know it was right, but I had no idea how it’d actually feel.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say this:

I feel like every mistake I made, every time my heart was broken, every time I learned from that heartbreak, every turn I’ve ever made in life, every time it didn’t work out, every time I accepted less than I deserved, every impulse I had to give in to, every time I lost hope, every time I hoped again, every time I disappointed myself, and the moment I learned to love myself…

Those things happened to prepare me for you.

So that when we’d finally meet, I’d know that you were it for me.

In another post I wondered who you were and what you were doing at any given moment. Now I don’t have to wonder. We have plans tonight at 5 pm. How lucky am I to have plans with my soul mate today?

Just as lucky as you are, I suppose.


-Jess

Feeling like your life is at a standstill

I’m getting that feeling again.

The one where my life feels like it’s at a standstill.

Where I feel like if I looked forward five years from now and this was my life, I would hate myself for letting it get this way.

It’s not Andy. It’s not even Austin yet. It’s my job.

I know, I literally just started two weeks ago, but I already feel like I’m in this stupid revolving door and I can’t get a second to breathe or change.

I hate working for people. Mostly because I feel like I have to take shit from them because I need the money. In this case I am really trying to put my family first because I really want to see them. The only way this is possible is if I work here (or somewhere else that gives $15/hr. But even if I found another job it would be the same thing. 

I’d have the same feelings.

I’d write about the same things.

Am I that difficult? Am I that delusional? 

Anyone would be happy to have a job where they can sit in a comfy chair, have minimal day to day tasks, have an annoying boss who only really has an hour a day to pester them, have the ability to surf the web for 8 pretty solidly interrupted hours, and the flexibility to switch shifts with people.

Anyone would be happy to have a significant other to spend time with when they aren’t at work, and I am really happy for that, but I feel like I’m not getting to enjoy it as much because I’m working 6 consecutive days in a row and then getting a shitty day off when he’s working or has Lucas. Any day that I get off I can’t really go anywhere or else I won’t get any sleep. Waking up at 5am is really, really difficult. Especially when you’ve never had to do it once in your life.

Andy and I are making it work. On weekdays we both have to wake up at 5-5:30 am, so we are able to sleep over at each other’s places without too much of a hassle, but I just miss when we could sleep in on a Saturday and wake up in bliss as opposed to zombie-like. See, I get that I will have certain Saturdays off and it’ll all be okay, but I don’t want to live like that. I don’t like to feel like an old woman who sleeps when she has free time because she’s exhausted. I don’t like to feel like an old couple that FINALLY gets to sleep in after weeks of waking up at 5am. I don’t like to feel like I’m getting thrown a stupid bone for all those hours I put in. I don’t like to feel desperate. Still, I feel very selfish.

Anyone would be proud of themselves for getting a job like this. This is a good job.

Why am I feeling so entitled? As if I’m too good for this job?

I’m angry at myself today, friends.

So I’m going to finish this post before I partake in self loathing.

It’s not even that I necessarily hate my job right now at this moment (which I’m currently at by the way). I’d just really like a promise that this isn’t going to be the rest of my life. Waking up, work, waking up, work, waking up, work, waking up, work, work, work, work, day off where I do nothing. waking up, work.

I really need to find a psychiatrist for this medication problem. Just yesterday I had a fleeting thought. It was gone as fast as it came.

“I wouldn’t have to go to work tomorrow if I was dead.”

Meeting your significant other’s child

It caught me completely off guard. I was watching TV and stuffing my face with a snickers bar when suddenly Andy cracked the earth in half with one text message.

“Well the reason I’m asking about your next day off is I was going to ask if you would like to accompany Lucas and me to the playground and some Ice cream if the weather permits.”

And just like that I froze up. My mouth wide open, snickers half masticated, just completely bewildered. Earlier that day I was thinking about how sure I was about meeting him some time after we returned from Chicago.

Well… that timeline was just given a violent shove to next week.

So in that moment, I did what my gut told me to do. I did what all 20 something year olds do at some point in their adult lives when they just don’t have the answers.

I called my mom.

She told me not to be afraid. She said that the only reason I was expecting to meet him much later is that Joseph kept me a secret for so long. I told my mom about him pretty quickly. He met my parents after two months or so. He waited 8 months to admit that we were dating. Overall he just treated me like crap. Let’s just go with that.

Anyway, here I have Andy, slowly letting me into this amazing part of his world. His parents know about me, and so do his sisters, and now on Wednesday I’m going to get to meet Lucas. Not because it’s the “next step” or because he feels obligated, or that I’m pushing him into it. It’s because it feels right to him.

And after the initial shock it felt right to me, too.

So on Wednesday, Andy, Lucas and I will be heading over to the park (I love parks!) and hanging out for a few hours. I’m excited to meet him, and excited to do so in a very relaxed environment. It’s like meeting parents for lunch as opposed to what Andy will have to do: Meeting my parents on a vacation.

It’s funny… I never really thought about what my situation would be like when I was this age. Seems I’m in a relationship where my parents are the furthest.

Let’s hope it’s not another movie in the “Meet the Parents” Series.

I’m sure my mom could pull a pretty intimidating DeNiro persona out of her pocket in a moment’s notice.

-Jess

When love threatens your life plans.

I moved to Austin with the idea that I’d only be here a year. I had no clue that I was going to meet the person that I can only describe as my soulmate in my first of 8 cities. The thing is since the age of 18, I haven’t really given a tiny rat’s ass what anyone thinks about my decisions. If I decide something it’s on me because – as I’m sure I’ve engraved in everyone’s minds on this blog – I have complete control over my life. And whether or not people believe he’s my soulmate is irrelevant, because it’s how I feel. I may be wrong, but all I can say in confidence is that in my 22 years of living on this earth I have never felt this way. Never. And neither has he. That isn’t something I take lightly.

So now it’s up to me to ask the tough questions. And the only person that can answer it (whether it be a decent answer or not), is unfortunately, me.


So is this fate? Divine intervention? Or are we a pit stop on the ultimate road of my life?
Do I stick to the plan? Or do I plan to cancel my plans?

I don’t know. I really don’t. I think I’m really just trying to go over it in my head.

This didn’t even occur to me until last night. Andy and I were at this Greek place waiting for our takeout, and I was talking about the new budget I created for myself based on my new pay. I mentioned that if I find that I can stick to my budget plan for a year I’d try to find a nice apartment since I can afford it. Then suddenly my heart dropped because any mention of “a year” reminds me of my plans.

This is exactly how it came out:

“Right now based on my budget I have a very big amount of spendable money, so if I find that I can stick with my plan for a while then I’ll be able to get a nicer place by next year. That is if I — you know — uh — decide to stay — well — uh — yeah — sorry — whatever.” 

I could tell he was disappointed. But… even more heartbreaking … I could tell that this wasn’t the first time he had thought about it.

He just gave me a weak smile and didn’t say anything.

I moved on to another topic, but my face and the hushed tone of my voice showed every bit of the remorse I was trying to hide.

He let it slide, though. 

But I don’t know if I have.

It’s odd, I remember going to my old high school recently and giving a speech on my 8 cities 8 years trip. Students asked questions about how my family is taking my plans, what I plan to do in each city, and how I decided on my cities. But one question a midst all of them stood out to me.

My old professor asked, “What if when you get to Texas, you fall in love with a handsome ‘cowboy’? What happens then?”

The class and I chuckled as I shook my head and looked him dead in the eye.

“I’m going to need more reason than a boy to stay in Austin.”

-Jess

Daddy issues: Seeking approval in relationships

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As many of you know, I had issues with my father growing up. I never got his love or approval and that really hurt me. It messed me up, even.

For the next 6 or so years I would obsess over trying to make my boyfriends happy. I’d spend money, time, and effort, and make grand gestures to try to receive that love. I wanted approval. I wanted confirmation that I’m a good person. I figured that if I kept doing these big things for them there was no way they could leave me or reject me. There was no way they couldn’t love me.

The thing is… even if they’d jump up and down and cry of happiness (which of course, they didn’t)… it still wouldn’t have been enough.

No man will ever fill that void. And why should he? That is a dad-shaped hole that really won’t ever heal. 

Andy and I had a bit of a speed bump there yesterday. The art installation didn’t go as well as I had hoped. He loved the thought behind it and admired how hard I worked, but he was a little bit shocked and felt very weird in the limelight around onlookers that knew it was him in the posters. These aren’t things I knew in the moment… so to me it registered as it always had in the past.

It reminded me of my exes to be honest. I felt like I had landed another guy who didn’t appreciate the things I do. I did what I told myself I’d do in a situation like this.

I contemplated whether or not this person was right for me.

And that made me extremely sad. I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to shower and lay in bed and cry. I didn’t know how to tell him. I didn’t think we could bounce back from this for our picnic and fort plans. Andy knew something was wrong and I’m not one to lie about whether or not I’m alright, so I told him the truth.

He was deeply saddened that I was in pain over it.

I wanted to shower. He wanted to wait for me in my room. I wanted to lay in bed. He laid there with me. I wanted to cry, he held onto me in silence for about half an hour while the tears took over.

Then afterwards, when I was calmer, we talked about it. He felt so bad about his reaction, and I felt so bad because I felt like I was completely off with my gift. I cried some more and told him that I just wanted to give him things I knew he never had. I wanted him to know that I realize there’s a third person in this relationship and that it is a different situation. I wanted him to feel loved and cared about.

And he said, “Why would you think I don’t? You make me feel that way every day. Every moment that I’m with you I feel that way. It makes me so sad that you don’t believe I appreciate you. I do. Everything you do for me is noticed and appreciated.”

And I realized that this whole thing was a pretty painful misunderstanding. I looked back at this time I’ve been in Austin, and I really thought about it.

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In this short amount of time Andy has made me feel like the most special and beautiful person in the world. He has sacrificed sleep and time for me, he’s juggled me, his son, work, and school, and has managed to make me four amazing gifts from scratch. He’s met my friends, shamelessly told his family about me, planned an amazing birthday for me, and understood my ongoing battle with depression. He’s listened to my problems, my woes, my fears, and has separated them from the person that I am. 

I realized that by just being myself and letting him in I made him feel loved. I never needed to do any of the things I did. I don’t need to make super grand gestures, or look perfect every time we hang out, or hold back on the person that I am. Seems I never had to with him.

When I was growing up I missed out on my father’s love, and it really affected me. I spent hours and days on gifts, surprises, and grand gestures trying to get that same love and approval from my boyfriends. when I didn’t get it I was devastated. I wanted people to know how great of a girlfriend I was. I wanted concrete proof that I did things for them and that I cared.

I enjoyed people coming up to me and saying what an amazing girlfriend I am more than I enjoyed seeing my boyfriend happy. 

But the thing is… yesterday when I was putting up the posters at the outdoor gallery, I turned to my friend that was helping me and told him,

“I would rather have people not look at my work at all than look at it and like it. This isn’t about any of them. They don’t have a clue.”

Even before I knew what Andy’s reaction was going to be, I didn’t feel the need to have anyone tell me what a great girlfriend I am. I only cared about what Andy would think.

I don’t feel like I have to do these grand gestures for approval anymore. Of course there will be days where I want to do something special, but it will always be for the right reasons with Andy.

As a girlfriend I’m loving, caring, affectionate, respectful, and mindful. As a person I am creative, goal-oriented, independent, funny, bright, and strong.

And that is why Andy loves me.

There’s no longer this aching need to replace my father. That dad shaped hole has been boarded up. But Andy has filled the part of me that yearned to be loved and accepted. That lingering feeling that I’m the only person who believes I’m good is gone.

I’m free from this obsessive need to feel loved.

I am loved.

And that is how we bounced back. He gave me my gift. It was a leather booklet with a notepad in it. On the first page it read:

Jess,

It’s only been a month and you’ve swept me off my feet. We’ve grown together so quickly and I just can’t imagine my life without you. You’re the bee’s knees AND the cat’s pajamas. I love you and all the little quirks that make you who you are. I hope you can use this little notepad to help you continue to be the beautiful and creative woman you are.

Happy Valentine’s Day

-Andy

So my Valentine’s day surprise didn’t work out perfectly. So Andy didn’t respond exactly the way I wanted him to. That’s not important. Let me tell you what is. 

1. Though he felt odd about it he still could see the beauty and creativity and effort I put into it.

2. When I reacted negatively to his reaction he didn’t attack me or tell me my feelings weren’t valid.

3. He waited for me to cry it out.

4. He allowed me to express how I was feeling when I was finally ready and calm

5. He told me that none of this changes how he feels about me.

These are all things that prove to me that what we have together is good, unadulterated, and can push through conflict.

I’m also very happy it happened because now our relationship isn’t ALL rainbows and butterflies. It’s a relationship. A real one. We can exist in our imaginary world. We can be together without anyone else around in our little fort we made in my room that had one string of beer shaped lights illuminating each crevice. We can laugh, and kiss, and play games. But more importantly, we can get out of the fort and face the real world. No one is excited for a fight. No one likes looking back on their scars and their issues. But these things are necessary because they prove to us that what we are living is real.

His gift proved to me that though his personality isn’t the same as mine, he still knows that I’m creative and artistic and loves me for it. It was the perfect gift to end that whole situation.

I made a video that shows how I made the posters and how I posted them up. Regardless of what happened I’m extremely proud of my work, and on the plus side, I saw a bunch of people taking pictures with them as we were leaving the gallery!

See when it came to my dad, I knew that he was missing out on a great daughter. I knew that I had great qualities. I knew it with all of my exes, and I know it with Andy. It’s just really nice to find someone who finally knows that about me, too. Especially without me having to point it out all the time.

After making up and making the SWEET fort (that I’m currently in as I type) we hung out, had our picnic, danced salsa (He’s learning because he knows it’s important to me), drank wine, and played the letters game.

You decide on a letter and take turns saying words that start with it. Names aren’t allowed and neither are repeats. If you look away or laugh you lose.

I distinctly remember laying on my back in the middle of the bed, resting my head on a pillow, and Andy hovering over me, a big smile on his face while we took turns, trying to make each other laugh by saying words in funny voices.

And I felt so beautiful. Not that I didn’t before. I just really noticed it in that moment. The way he was looking at me reminded me of it.

No relationship is perfect. No man is perfect. I’m certainly not perfect.

But today, sitting here in this fort that makes me feel safe and reminds me of all the things I learned in 24 hours, I feel perfect. I feel right.

I feel happy.

-Jess

P.S. Andy’s dad wants to meet me! We are all having dinner soon. I’m really excited that our relationship is actually becoming something in the real world.

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Commitment

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Entering a relationship isn’t something I take lightly. When I’m in, I’m in. The thing is when there are two hearts at stake it can get pretty scary.

But what if there are three hearts at stake?

When I first started talking to Andy, I knew right off the bat that he had a son. I knew that I’d have to consider whether or not that was something I’d be ready for, and I had to be honest with myself about it.

After meeting him and spending more time with him realized that my thought process is plain and simple: I love what he loves.

Of course, being the good father that he is, he is taking his time to figure us out before we include Lucas.

I respect him so much for that. It’s something neither of my parents did when they dated new people. Suddenly in a flash two new people were a part of our lives and they wreaked havoc wherever they could. Just as quickly as they arrived they were gone.

I don’t want to be that for Andy’s son.

But I also don’t know if I am capable of being in his life yet. Not because I wouldn’t love him. I already do! He’s a great kid. I’ve seen pictures and snaps of him, we talk about him often, and Andy has told me so much about him. It was basically like when I started talking to Andy in a sense. I hadn’t actually met him in person yet, but that didn’t mean what I was feeling wasn’t real. I just don’t know if I am capable because I’ve never come close to a situation like that. I guess I’m hoping that – just like depression- I went through the bad times of having a step parent so that if I was ever one my stepchild wouldn’t have to.

I decided that since Andy did so many awesome things for me on my birthday, I wanted to do something for him. Something big, fun, and something that would start to put his mind at ease in regards to me meeting his family someday.

I’ve always told him on my end that there’s no pressure. I’d never force him to let me into that sacred relationship until he was ready.

But I really want to let him know that when he’s ready – and when I am, too – he doesn’t have to worry about us getting along or me treating him fairly, loving him, respecting their relationship, or knowing my place in it. Those things will happen, simply because as I said before:

I Love What You Love

So I ran with that idea. I spent many a night forgetting things out and panicking. Due to some scheduling errors, we moved our date to today.

He’s meeting me at my place at 3pm… Only to find out that I’m not there. There will be a letter on the food with his name on it, and it’ll lead him to his next clue. He’s going on a scavenger hunt while I prepare for the big surprise. He’ll be getting his favorite beer, some gifts, and ice cream for free as he tries to find me.

His last stop will be this place called the hope gallery. It’s a place where if you register, you can come and make street art. I’m not one with a spray paint can, so I decided to print out graphics and turn them into wheat paste posters. So he’ll find me there, and he will see three amazing 27×40 posters of him and Lucas with the words “I love what you love” on them. Now, keep in mind that I have NEVER made a wheat paste poster or any kind of street art before, so I wouldn’t really do this for the ordinary guy.

But this is no ordinary guy.

I can’t wait to sew his face! I get off of work at 3 so as soon as I’m off I’m heading to the gallery to post them up. Here’s to hoping I get it done before he gets the scavenger hunt done. Here is what they look like!

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After all of that we are going back to my place, making a giant wall to wall floor to ceiling fort with sheets and twinkle lights, and having a picnic I prepared. It was going to be outside but the weather wasn’t in our favor. Or maybe it was because I’ve ALWAYS wanted to make a giant fort.

Wish me luck! 2 hours from now I’ll be getting the art ready and he’ll be at my front door.

-Jess

Saving for a trip

So I’m going to visit Chicago from June 30th-July 5th! I decided I wanted to surprise my mom for her birthday on July 2nd, so I’m really excited because she’ll have no idea I’m coming.

Also, Andy is coming with me! We’re making a plan to save up for the trip (it’s his first vacation), and he’s going to meet my family. I can’t really explain how excited I am, so I’m not even going to try.

Anyway it reminds me of when I decided to move to Austin. I was very, very determined and ready to do whatever it took to get here. Now I’m doing the same thing, but with someone else, so it’ll be easier to hold each other accountable. I’ve saved up once, and I can do it again. I’m no longer someone that can’t see her goals clearly enough to save for them.

I will admit, I’m still quite impulsive, but as long as I stay determined, I’ll be fine!

We’ll be fine!

Another part of it is that for my mom’s birthday I wanted to see if I could pay for a cruise on Lake Michigan for her, my stepdad, Andy, and me to have dinner and see fireworks.

If I want to do that I’m going to have to save around $800 on top of the trip itself.

Now this wasn’t a reality a few weeks ago. I know that you remember I had to ask my mom for money recently. It’s okay though because I just got an amazing job! $15 an hour and it’s full time. I can do this! You might think it’s too soon to think about a trip in July, but I beg to differ. It’s never too soon to figure your shit out.

We have a little over four months before the trip. That’s almost exactly the same amount of time I had before I first moved here. Wish us luck!

-Jess

What happens when you’re not afraid to love anymore?

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Friends, My 22nd birthday was more amazing than I could’ve ever imagined.

Not because everything was absolutely perfect. (Though it came amazingly close to perfect).

Not because I got money or was showered with many gifts from many people.

Not even because I planned everything to the tee (which if you know me, you know I do often).

It was because, as I said in a recent post, I have the control now.

I chose to have fun. I chose to be happy. I chose to accept the bad and treasure the good.

My actual birthday, January 30th at 12am, was spent with Andy at his place. He picked me up and we got junk food and beer, watched How I Met Your Mother, and waited as I counted down the minutes to my birthday. Finally when I checked the clock again it was 12:01 and I burst forth in joy!

I had to wake up pretty early because Andy had work that day. On those days he drives me home and heads off to work before the sun comes up. Yet he still lets me sleep over and sacrifices losing sleep to spend time with me. And he always walks me to my door every morning without fail. I got home and slept for quite a while. Woke up around 2 and my friend who was giving me her bed gave me a call to let me know she was on her way.

I finally have a bed!

I got some amazing bithday news from my mom. My college finally pardoned my blaance from the semester that I withdrew from a year ago. Once I pay off a couple hundred dollars I get to finish my last year and a half of college! (a $600 balance beats $6,000 any day).

By the time my bed was in my apartment I only had an hour to get ready for my birthday date with Andy!

Boy oh boy. What an amazing date.

I’m still so shocked that a man like Andy exists.

Well, no. Let me rephrase that. I’m still so shocked that a man like Andy exists, and he’s mine. 

10942610_10152691768461274_7074217160666691343_nI wore an orange dress and beige heels. The first time I was that dressed up in Austin. I was so nervous and excited that I couldn’t stop looking at my reflection. hoping that any imperfection would be spotted and taken care of before Andy could see it.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. I took a deep breath and opened it.

And there in front of me was a man. Handsome as all hell. Wearing dress pants, a purple dress shirt, and a black vest.

And the biggest smile that most likely matched mine. He said I looked stunning. Stunning. That is my new favorite word.

On our car ride over to spot #1 (I didn’t know anything about the night until it happened) he started talking about air fresheners and how he feels like they don’t work. Then he mentioned he thinks he has some in the glove compartment.

“Will you grab them out of the glove compartment for me?”

I sensed something was happening. He sounded very different from the way he usually talked.

So I opened the glove compartment, and there were air fresheners… but behind those was my absolute favorite movie on DVD! The Wedding Singer.

1464700_10152689455721274_50906945711968320_nSuddenly I had a flashback to the night I told him how much I loved the movie and how I was bummed I still didn’t own it. That was about two beers in at a bar, and I didn’t realize he kept it in mind.

I beamed with delight and pretty much freaked out about it. (May have teared up a little. Gifts do that to me.)

Seeing me smile made him so happy. It reminded me of when I’d try to surprise my exes and any glimpse of happiness I got from them would send me to the moon. Only this time I was the one being surprised. I was the one getting what I deserve.

And I realized he’s the one person who deserves it from me, too.

Spot #1 was this really cool speakeasy called Midnight Cowboy. Outside of it there are multiple buzzers, and you have to push the right one for them to let you in. They make signature mixed drinks there. We both got a drink and they made mine in front of me.food_feature2

And then after we tried them, Andy asked me what I wanted to get next. And in my goofy thought process I asked, “We’re getting another round?”

I was so used to dating guys that made me feel bad if I wanted dessert, or another round, or pretty much anything that was above the bare minimum.

He laughed and nodded. Possibly a little bit confused on why that was so surprising.

Those other guys… that’s not who he is at all.

Two drinks were more than enough to get me pretty tipsy though, and dinner was next, which meant wine. So we headed out to the restaurant, Annie’s.

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I had the most killer salmon in the whole world, and a glass of 1443041706wine to match. They even gave me a free brownie for my birthday which was cool!

After that we went to a place called The Elephant Room. They are a bar that play jazz music. We both love Jazz so it was the perfect place. There wasn’t really any room for dancing, but the thing about Andy is that I knew if I wanted to dance with him later we could. I wasn’t desperate to dance with him because he’s always willing to dance with me. That is something I love so much because dancing is so important to me.

We both got a beer there and enjoyed the Jazz. Then headed out because my friend had a going away party she invited me to, and I wanted to say goodbye. I accidentally typed the wrong street into the GPS Stonelake instead of Stoanoake. We ended up on the complete other side of town! (After 4 drinks I am no longer trustworthy with a GPS, or many other things!) And I apologized my head off while Andy laughed and assured me that it was okay.

We got to the party and I had a blast! Hung out with some friends, got to introduce them to Andy, and I got to see how he reacted to a group of strangers he had to mingle with. He was a complete gentleman and he impressed me so much. He mingled with me, without me, and always checked on me to make sure I was alright, but never tried to cut me off or embarrass me in front of others.

Even when my clumsy tipsy ass spilled a drink on his shoes.

Oh Jess.

Anyway we left and I was pretty gone. But it’s alright because it was my birthday! It was a celebration, and it was a great time. Andy took care of me and luckily I wasn’t too hard to deal with. I just kept falling asleep as I walked. For some reason when I’m really drunk I tend to fall asleep at random moments. It sounds funny but when you’re trying to keep me awake and get me into a car or house it doesn’t seem like it’d be that fun.

Luckily we were able to laugh about it in the morning. We stayed in till 3pm. We talked about the night before, we laughed about my drunk mishaps, he told me all of the sweet things I was telling him while he was trying to get me home safely… a genuine smile on his face, happiness in his eyes that intensified even more when I told him that everything I said was how I really felt about him. We watched The Wedding Singer, and then went to Denny’s for my free Grand slam! Then we had to part ways because I had to get ready for the party and he had to work on my SECOND gift in his woodshop.

He’s the absolute sweetest.

So to answer the question in my title, “What happens when you’re not afraid to love anymore?”

You get to enjoy the love that you know you deserve.

I’ll dive into my party story tomorrow. Tonight, I am scouring Pinterest for Valentine’s Day Ideas. I decided I wanted to be in charge of it so that I could surprise him this time.

I remember with Joseph I always pretended to hate Valentine’s Day. He hated it. Thought it was too lovey dovey. Same with any public displays of affection, any indication that we were happy together. (we used to talk about how long we’d been together with disgust. We said it jokingly, but I don’t know if it was all truly a joke or not.) Our relationship was filled with the hatred of random things. I don’t really know why. I guess I didn’t care about it because it never felt right.

But now, with Andy, it feels wrong not to celebrate the amazing person I’ve found.

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-Jess

Turning another year older with depression

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I’m going to be 22 in four days! 

I’m excited. I know I said I was going to try not to get too excited, but I am!

I’m excited to not be 21 anymore (It wasn’t a good year for me)

I’m excited to be an even number (because I’m weird like that.)

I’m not expecting anything grand though. In keeping my expectations low, the results could possibly surprise me! You can read all about my shitty shitty birthdays and my first attempted suicide on my 21st here.

Yeah, told you, it’s pretty bad.

Anyway this year is promising. I’m in a new city, I’m on Wellbutrin, I have friends that are just as awesome as my Chicago friends, and most importantly, I know that I have the control!

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Except on the actual day of my birthday, when technically my boyfriend, Andy has the control.

He has a date planned for us and I’m super excited. To be completely honest, I have some ideas of where we might go, but I can’t be too sure.

On our second date the first week I was here, we went to this bar called Bender’s, and I joked that I wish we could’ve gone to the Kidney institute across the street. I mean, getting your kidneys checked? How much more fun can a day get, really? So this morning he joked about how he was planning to take me there for my birthday.

But maybe we’ll save it for valentine’s day. 🙂

Anyway he told me to dress up really nicely which means this is no ordinary date. This is going to be a super fun, super awesome BIRTHDATE! It’s funny, we are barely starting out and I’m already getting treated better than I have ever been treated. And you know what… he is too!

That’s what I like about us. We’re both in this relationship the same amount. We both care the same amount. Even with little things on a daily basis. 

And I’m excited for this date because even though we’ve technically known each other for two months, that first month was all texting and getting to know each other, so he knows quite a lot about me. 

I’m happy. 

My only hope for my 22nd birthday is that I realize how much of a gift it is in itself. I survived. 

No.

I thrived.

I’m still here, and I’m not just existing. not just floating by aimlessly, hoping someone will save me from my detatched self.

No I’ve already saved myself. I’ve got both my feet on the ground. My head isn’t in the clouds anymore because I’ve made my dreams a reality, and now that I’m turning another year older and I can honestly say that I’m where I want to be, I’m who I want to be, and I’m who I want to be with, I just don’t see how I could ask for anything more.

Still, it seems this year I’m going to get so much more than I ever thought possible.

Whether 3 or 30 people come to my party, I’ll be more than happy. Whether we go to a really nice bar/club/restaurant or go to Wendy’s I’ll still eat an awesome bacon cheeseburger (Food is life) and be happy that I’m with Andy. Whether I get no gifts, one gift, or 5 gifts, I won’t care because I’m not four anymore. And whether I get one phone call from my family, or one hundred, it won’t make a difference.

I know I’m extremely loved, and phone calls don’t change that.

Ultimately you know you’ve taken control over depression when you realize that it’s not what happens at any given moment, it’s how you react to those moments that determines the rest of your day.

I’m grateful for so many things this year already. But if I had to choose one, it would be this blog.

I love you all and genuinely care about each and every one of you.

This blog gives me a sense of purpose. I created this 8 cities journey trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had no idea that I’d find it this soon. I had no idea I’d find it on the platform I used to create the project in the first place.

This is what I want to do full time. One day I just woke up and it clicked.

So everything I do from this moment on will be in service of that.

Thank you so much for helping me find myself.

Many many many pictures will be taken at my party. I have a feeling I’m going to want to remember this year forever.

-Jess

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Allowing Yourself To Be Sad

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Sometimes you have to allow yourself to be sad.

It’s difficult, but if you don’t do it, you’ll just be pushing it down till you can’t handle it anymore and it all comes out at once.
That’s when suicidal thoughts get ahold of you.

Let me be clear: Pain is inevitable.

“You will always feel pain at one point in life or another. But what you choose to do about the pain is key. You can be sad and take it day by day, or you can make yourself suffer.

Suffering is completely your choice. It’s optional. It doesn’t make the situation better, it doesn’t change anything. It just hurts you.

Allow yourself to feel pain, but don’t dwell on negative things.

For example, if you’re grieving the end of a relationship you can allow yourself to reflect on it and remember good times. You can think about what you loved about the person, yourself, and the relationship and know what you want to take with you to your next one.

But choosing to picture that person with someone else day in and day out, or telling yourself that the pain is never-ending isn’t fair.

Don’t do that to yourself.

The pain sucks, but it will subside.

That pain will seem so far away someday.

It will feel so foreign. You’ll forget what the pain even felt like. 

But only when you allow yourself to grieve will you someday be able to look back and say, “I’m okay now.”

So no matter what I’m dealing with pain-wise I’m going to keep this in mind. It doesn’t just work for relationships. It works for any kind of pain.

I’ll listen to my bittersweet band (Band of Horses) and just sit with the pain.

It’s a comfort to know that I can cry it out knowing I’ll push through the pain eventually.

Good luck. I believe in you.

-Jess

Making a Relationship Official

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To be honest I just wanted to share the awesome day that I had with him. He is legitimately the sweetest, most respectful, and most caring man I’ve ever been with.

Took him long enough to get here!

ah, well technically it’s on me. You see it took me six more years to be born, so there’s that. And then I waited almost 22 years to move to this city.

It’s just funny. In August when I came here on vacation, I felt such a pull from Austin. A pull I had never experienced from a place before. I didn’t even know he existed when I started planning the move. When we stared talking it was November. I was already living with my family, getting ready to say goodbye to Chicago. And even then I didn’t know how I’d feel about him. Ever since I came to visit I wanted to live here so badly. So badly that I couldn’t wait a year, I had to live here in 2015.

And now I feel like I know why.

I may be wrong.

But right now in this moment, I’m right.

He’s it for me right now.

Maybe even for longer.

I plan on enjoying every second of it regardless.

I’m going to post about the day we decided to make it official a little bit later.

I’m not a relationship genius by any means, but I will say that I’ve been in quite a few relationships with different dynamics. Take it from someone who was never single by choice between the ages of 15 and 20: it means so much more to fall for someone when you’re ready as opposed to when you’re trying to get over someone else.

I waited almost a year being happily single. It was important to me. I would’ve waited even longer had I thought that he wasn’t right for me. But he treats me the way I should be treated, he cares about me just as much as I care about him, and I feel like I’m ready now.

But I’m also not afraid to be single anymore, so I know that if this person doesn’t treat me right, I’m more than capable of ending it.

Here’s to hoping he continues to be as amazing as he is now.

-Jess

Why do we let irrelevant people hurt us?

Why Why Why?

Why do we let irrelevant people get us down?

Like anything they say (or don’t say) matters.

Life would be fine without them, yet when they’re gone suddenly we feel a loss.

Well I say that’s bullshit.

Someone like that should never make you feel bad about yourself. They shouldn’t have the power to.

Let them go. 

Seriously. Let them go. Whoever they are. I don’t care if it’s a distant friend, relative, ex, whoever. You know who it is for you.

Yes. It stings. But isn’t knowing that all ties are cut better than wondering what’s going on between you?

Fuck that. There’s enough uncertainty in the world without us questioning the certainties.

Let. Them. Go.

Not for their sake. For yours.

Let them go.

And don’t for one second regret it. You deserve more than irrelevant pricks messing with your head. You deserve more than getting your feelings hurt by someone that literally means nothing to your life, even if they once did.

Say goodbye. Not until we meet again, but a solid, clear goodbye. Even if it’s just in your head that you haven’t said goodbye. Do it!

And then flail about in your apartment singing angsty songs at the top of your lungs. Who cares what you sound like? Fuck em all.

I guarantee you’ll realize you just made a decision that helped YOU for once.

Lastly, focus on the people that actually matter. The ones who are there for you always and would do anything for you, just as you would them.

If you don’t focus on them you may miss out on them!

-Jess

In a Relationship.

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That’s right.

We’re in a relationship.

He’s my boyfriend.

He’s my friend.

He’s my partner in crime.

He’s amazing. We’re amazing.

And you know what?

He makes me feel amazing for being me.

I feel no need to impress him or make him like me.

He already does… because I’m me.

When I want to make him laugh, I say things I would actually say, not what I think he wants to hear.

and you know what, he laughs!

When he smiles at me, I can see the genuine feelings we share.

When he kisses me on the forehead I feel like the only person in the world that matters.

But most importantly, when I think of seeing him, I don’t think about the physical stuff. It’s there, it’s great, and it’s part of the relationship… but I think of spending time with him.

Wondering what he’s going to say to make me laugh today.

Wondering what new song he’ll show me.

Wondering what else we’ll have in common.

I swear we can read each other’s minds sometimes. We are so in sync. 

It’s absolutely bizarrely surreal.

So this is what it’s supposed to feel like!

My past relationships weren’t even remotely like this.

This feels different.

This is different.

This is us.

This once single sassy blogger now comes with extra sassiness and a bit of love in her heart!

Friends… I’m ready for this!

-Jess

One Night Stands

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After my last relationship ended I was pretty lost when it came to casual situations. I had never been in one before. I had literally never had sex with someone I didn’t have feelings for. I didn’t really know how it would make me feel or if it was something I’d enjoy.

I remember going to lunch with my best friend Roxy the day after my first one night stand. 

“Am I supposed to call him? Or maybe add him on facebook? Should I ask him to have dinner or something?”

Roxy gave me a horrified look.

“No. That’s not how it works. You like sex, he likes sex, you both wanted to have sex so it happened. Now you can go on with your life feeling satisfied. You never have to talk to him again. Unless he was really good at it. Then you can add him to your list.”

“My list?”

“Yeah. When you want it again.”

“Oh.”

I did talk to him one more time after that, but nothing ever came of it. I found that it was actually kind of cool. You have no ties to anyone, yet you get physical satisfaction. You never feel smothered, but if you’re feeling lonely you can call someone up to cuddle with.

It was like the perfect set up. 

As time went by I started to settle into the routine of going out every weekend and having one night stands with gorgeous guys, and waking up the next day feeling pretty great.

I always thought I’d feel dirty or guilty afterwards, but to be honest I felt absolutely empowered. It was just another way I had control over my life. I was becoming this independent woman that didn’t need a relationship. Someone that was very okay being alone sometimes. Someone who’s mere curiosity would lead me to satisfying it.

It was exhilarating. 

Of course with that lifestyle it is always good to get tested and be safe, which I was.10885249_10152662872581274_1100190970684781387_n

It’s been a little under a year now since I started living the single life. I hadn’t really gone out to bars on a weekend here up until yesterday. I was super excited to see what Austin had to offer. The nightlife in Chicago is quite exciting.

I usually always went out by myself. It’s more fun that way. No one to take care of, no one to hold you back from going where you want, and you get to meet the coolest people because you’re forced out of your usual friends and comfort zone.

So last night I went to Austin’s famous “Dirty Sixth” to do my thing. It’s this huge street of bars and usually the whole place is shut down so that cars can’t drive through it.

I met an array of really cool people including this guy named Antonio. He was pretty handsome, and very nice. He got me a drink and we talked about Austin because he just moved here too. He’s from California. It was a really great start to my night, but I didn’t really want to stick to hanging with the same person all night, so I said thank you and headed to another bar.

I met a girl from Chicago and her co worker in the bathroom and we became fast friends! They took me to a bunch of bars including a latin one, and we danced the night away! During one of my favorite latin songs a guy asked me to dance. I agreed. He was a really great dancer and was pretty darn gorgeous, and usually this would be the time I’d decide to lock him down and go home with him later, but for some reason it didn’t happen.

For the first time in a year I didn’t want to do that.

I think that it’s because I’m ready to try having a relationship again. Maybe with this new guy that I have feelings for, maybe with someone else someday if that doesn’t work out, but one night stands just aren’t doing it for me anymore.

haha, “doing it.”

Anyway the point is not one is better than the other, but it depends on where you are in your life which one feels right.

I guess that’s it. It’s time for me to turn the page on my love life.

I’m ready to get back in the carpool lane. I’m hoping the guy I’d like to take that step with is ready, too.

One more thing. I’ve had sex with strangers that meant nothing to me and that I felt nothing for, and it was pretty great. But let me tell you, sharing that moment with someone that you care about…

There’s nothing quite like it. 

-Jess

My attempted Suicide

Sometimes being alive feels so unbearable. I remember a time when being alive was the worst hell I could imagine. Depression does that to you. It changes everything around you when nothing has changed at all. I call it “depression brain.” Back in july I wrote the story of my most severe attempted suicide that took place in February, but it was part of another story, so I feel like I should make it it’s own post. It’s important to tell your story because it helps others see into an experience they never want to have. Suicide isn’t fun, it isn’t smart, it isn’t the right way to silence your problems. It’s a way to die.

That’s it.

If you want to silence your problems, then fix them. I know, easier said than done. It’s hard, but it’s very possible. Then when you’re at a place where you feel like you’re doing a lot better your outlook on most things change.

After my attempt it was like I saw the world through a completely different set of eyes.

And let me say this…

If you feel like committing suicide, the most important thing you need to know is that it isn’t your fault. Depression brain is a complete bitch. But if you let it win, you lose.

And so does everyone else who ever loved you, who love you now, and who will love you someday.

What’s most important to me is to forgive myself for it. Accept that my head was in shambles and that I wasn’t me at that time. I was a completely different person that even I didn’t recognize.

I accept that I attempted suicide.

I’m grateful for the doctors who saved me, the loved ones who supported me, and the medication that changed me. I was changed back into myself.

It feels great to let it go.

I woke up and the day was gloomy. I usually like gloomy days, but there was something about this day that felt off. It had been about three weeks since my diagnosis. Two weeks since my release from the psych hospital. I decided to dress up to make myself feel better. I only always had one place to go: University outpatient therapy. (UIOP) If it were up to me, I wouldn’t waste the little time I had left with people that are paid to tell me I have a reason to live. But Joseph, Roxy, and the doctors insisted.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand fighting for something you don’t even want.

Everyone else wants it for you, so you keep trying to want it, too. I still don’t want it.

I gave Joseph an example once.  

“You hate cheeze whiz, right?”

“With a passion, yes.”

“Well imagine if you told your loved ones that you hate it, and they all got overly emotional and concerned with your anti cheese-whiz choice. So they send you to a hospital-prison and stick you in group therapy where people talk about how good cheese whiz is, and they make you take little capsules of cheese whiz every day. Truth is you really want to like cheese whiz to make everyone happy, but you just fucking hate it.”

I know part of him slightly understood where I was coming from, but he refused to give me any credit for my wonderful cheese whiz metaphor in fear that I might think it’s a green light to “give up on cheese whiz”.

As I was running out the door, I realized I still hadn’t taken my Lexapro (an antidepressant). With the bus nearly at the stop, I bolted to the bathroom and just shoved the whole bottle in my purse. 15 capsules remaining. 

Out the door. On the bus. In the seat. Passing by. Taking none of it in. Looking down. Feeling empty. Feeling alone.

Feeling worthless.

The only good thing about UIOP was the free snacks. The free snacks kind of made me want to live more than the therapy.

In the elevator. On the fifteenth floor. Through the glass double doors. In the room with floor to ceiling windows.

I hate this room. I spend most of my time fantasizing about breaking the glass with something strong enough and jumping out. Death was everywhere in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’d die, what I’d leave behind. How to do it without my roommates finding me. How to do it so that I wouldn’t spend my last moments in severe pain. That one seemed to be the least important. Ultimately I didn’t care if it would hurt. It’d be over soon. 

So what is keeping me here? What the hell am I still doing here? Someone’s speaking. I can hear them speaking but all I hear is bullshit. Do these people expect me to take advice from another depressed person in the room? 

YOU’RE FUCKED UP TOO.

We have the same issues. This is stupid.

“I always like to lean on my support groups when I feel really bad.”

Oh, fuck off. There’s only so much you can do before you feel like a burden to everyone. 

I shifted my focus to these two men that look so tiny from where I’m sitting. They’re unloading a truck together. One man opened the gate and the other drove the truck into the lot. Those men, having a normal day…

They have no idea that I’m going to die today.

My palms are sweating. Fingers trembling. Eyes wide. I can’t do this anymore. I bolt up and make my way to the bathroom. Dr. Flores is onto me. She can tell something’s wrong. 

I don’t care. 

As I sit in a stall on the floor, my eyes well up. I don’t know exactly why I’m crying, but crying seemed to be the only thing I did lately. I took the bottle of Lexapro out of my purse and got up to look in the mirror.

“Okay, Jess. You’re really doing this. It’s happening. It’s finally happening.”

I smiled at myself for the first time in months. As I opened the bottle, I laughed. I was over the moon. My pain was about to be over. For the first time in my life it seemed I finally had control . 

15 pills.

10 pills.

7 pills.

4 pills.

An empty bottle.

An empty person.

A corpse. 

I went back into the room to get my coat and leave.

“Jessica, you can’t leave this way. Please sit and talk with me for a little while.”

“No I have to leave.”

“Please don’t leave when you’re feeling this bad. Let’s just calm down and talk this through.”

“I have to make a phone call.” Empty psychiatrist’s office.

You have reached the voicemail box of 773 — —- Please leave your message after the tone.

Beep.

“Joseph, I’m so sorry. I can’t do it anymore. I tried and I failed. Please make sure Khaleesi stays with you or Roxy. Please. I love you. I love you.”

click. 

Therapist tries to make me talk. I talk. I talk with tears in my eyes and a tired soul on my back. I talk, and the thrill of no one knowing I have a stomach full of anti depressants was exhilarating. 

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Ironic how the pills that were supposed to help me with depression, aided me in my suicide. 

“If I try to leave, will you force me to stay?”

“No, we can’t do that. But-“

Up out of the chair, out the door. Stranger therapist calls after me. She doesn’t even know me. Down the hall. In the elevator. Lobby. Out the revolving door. Doorman calls for me.

“Miss, Dr Flores would like to speak with you.”

“No.”

Down the street. Phone rings. I owe it to Joseph to have at least one last conversation.

“Jess, please. Please don’t do this.”

“…It’s already done.”

“Where are you? Please tell me where you are.”

“I’m so sorry I couldn’t be what you hoped I’d be. But I love you. I’m sorry.”

Click. 

Turning right. Walgreens. Walk in. Medicine section. Tylenol. Rip it out of the packaging.Walk out.

Starbucks. Used coffee cup. Starbucks’s bathroom. Open bottle. Fill up cup.

Handful 1. Drink.

Handful 2. Drink.

Handful 3. Drink.

Losing count of handfuls.

Die alone? No. I want to walk around the city one last time. Roxy calls. I turn my phone off. I’m going to die in peace. It’s been 15 minutes. I walk. I walk. I walk.

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Suddenly… yes. I feel it. Sweet surrender. My body feels cold and hot at the same time. My eyes are glazing over. My stomach hurts. My hands feel clammy. Tipping over. Smiling. Giving in.

Darkness.

“She has a bottle of tylenol in her purse. It’s almost empty.”

“Jessica. Jessica. That’s her name, right?”

“Yeah that’s what her ID says.”

“Jessica. Wake up.”

I opened my eyes and immediately realized that my death was short-lived.

A few good strangers saved me from my decision to commit suicide and called an ambulance.

And there I was. In a cold ambulance under a fluorescent light of reality.

And there they were. Two EMT’s that looked down at me disapprovingly. 

“We’re going to take you to the hospital. Just stay laying down.”

Suddenly my stomach began to writhe in pain. Sharp, constant, and unforgiving. I cried out and clutched my stomach.

“That’s what happens when you take too much tylenol.”

Fuck that guy. He had no idea what I was going through.

Not only was I in pain, but I wasn’t supposed to be feeling anything.

I wasn’t supposed to be alive anymore.

My stomach couldn’t take it anymore, “I have to throw up.”

Those bastards couldn’t find anything besides my purse at a moment’s notice.

So now I was in pain, I was alive, and I had vomit in my purse.

My God.

The ambulance took off. There was no siren, so I figured what I had done to myself wasn’t a big deal. 

I was wrong.

The next two days were a battle for my life. My liver could have easily failed. It was all up to my body whether the rest of my life would be spent out in the real world, or in a home for someone who can no longer take care of herself.

What have I done?

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I’d like to tell the story of being in the hospital, and the psych unit right after that. That is where everything changed. Not right away. Not all at once, but that’s where it all began.

-Jess

In good times and in bad.

In my 21 years 11 months and 15 days I have lived quite a bit.

So much so, that sometimes I feel like my life could be split into many different lives.

I have lived in bad times.

I have lived in good times.

I have lived in crippling sadness

I have lived in uplifting happiness.

This is why I know how to appreciate the good.

When you have experienced rock bottom in many senses of the phrase, you just don’t sweat the small things anymore.

I like the bad sometimes because it teaches me things about myself and the world around me.

I know how strong I am.

I know that I can handle everything that comes my way because I’ve been through worse.

Think about that next time you feel low. You’ve been through worse too. I’m willing to bet anything that that’s true.

You got through that, you can and will get through this.

There’s a comfort in knowing that everything works out at the end of a problem. You got through something. As long as you are still alive, you got through it. And you should be proud because it’s not easy.

In fact, staying alive is the hardest thing we do.

Yes, I have lived many different lives on the spectrum. From one extreme to another.

But this… This has to be my favorite time in my life.

It’s hard to feel too bad about anything when you’re this happy.

-Jess

When you know, you know. You know?

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There are some things you just know right away.

The moment you just know for sure you’re going to like a movie as soon as you see the trailer.

The moment you just know for sure you stepped in gum.

The moment you just know who should and shouldn’t be in your life.

The moment you just know you’ve found what you were looking for.

The moment you just know things are right.

Everything is the way it’s supposed to be.

It may not be perfect, but it’s exactly right.

I never really believed in or understood the idea of “just knowing the moment something happens” on a greater scale than expecting to like a movie.

I guess I hoped it was true on a bigger scale of life.

Now I can say it.

I’m throwing caution to the wind. I literally don’t mind being judged or ridiculed.

The people that matter know who I am. They know me. They know when I mean something.

When you know, you know.

WordPress… This is the first time I can say the following with complete confidence.

I know.

I really mean it.

I don’t know how.

I can’t explain why.

All I can say is that this is what knowing feels like.

And this is the first time I’ve experienced anything even remotely like that.

I know.

-Jess

Toxic People

Will you please leave me be?

I cannot breathe with pressure on me

you want me to be like you but

I’m not Hollow.

Will you stay far away?

You only know how to make me feel low

It’s because you feel low that you want me to follow

But I’m not hollow.

I wish you’d know

how hard it is to step out from behind your shadow

Let’s face it, that’s where I’ve always been

Always letting you win

Truth is If you actually cared

you wouldn’t want me standing there.

You ever have a conversation with someone that you think cares about you, and you find yourself leaving the conversation wondering if you’ve been insulted?

That was almost every interaction I had with Joseph.

I always just assumed he was trying to push me to be better or just making jokes, but eventually after a long time away from him, I realized he was trying to bump me down to his level.

It was his low self esteem that hurt our relationship. He felt that I was better than him in one way or another, so he tried to make me feel inferior to him.

Granted, him insulting me and making me feel worthless actually did make me improve certain parts of my life, so I guess it wasn’t all for nothing, but just because someone does shitty things to you and you thrive despite all of it doesn’t mean you owe them anything.

“Remember when you were fat Jessica and I couldn’t even hug you? At least now we’re at equal levels of attractiveness.”

“You’re messy, you take too long to get ready, you’re irresponsible, but I still love you despite all of the things you can’t do that you should be able to do at this age.”

“Don’t worry, Jess. It’s not your fault that you don’t get straight A’s. You went to public school.”

Fuck that guy.

I think the worst part of it all is that I unknowingly enabled it, though. I let him get away with it every time. And at first I thought that I should be extremely grateful for his help when I had depression, but now I’m starting to think on some level he liked me being depressed. It automatically made him in charge. He told me to go to therapy. He told me to take meds. He told me when I was cut off at every party.

And the moment I started to better my situation and overcome depression he was gone. Off to another girl who he claimed wasn’t as talented as he is in Cinematography. (And the cycle continues with someone else).

Joseph and I have cleared mostly everything up, and while I don’t hate or resent him, I won’t ever forget the things I had to learn the hard way through him.

I wish him all the happiness in the world, because part of the reason we didn’t work is the fact that he isn’t happy with himself. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

How could I not see that I was being treated so unfairly? It makes me worried for my future relationships. I just don’t want to be duped again for a whole other reason that I unknowingly go along with.

-Jess

Finally settling in

So all of my boxes came in last week and I’m done sorting through all of it. At the moment I’m sleeping on a cot on the floor, but one of my wonderful co workers is moving and is selling me her queen sized bed for $150!!

So I should have my bed all set by the end of the week.

It’s weird. I can’t believe how well everything has worked out up until this point.

It scares me a little. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

When is life going to hurt again? When am I going to fall back into depression? When will I get fired? When will another failed future relationship beat me down again? When will I have to go back home because I couldn’t handle the  pressure?

When is my life going to unravel again?

It really sucks feeling this way because while I’m having these fears I’m feeling guilty for not enjoying the present moment.

It’s like a cycle.

Something good happens —-> I worry about the bad —–> something bad happens —–> I wish something good could happen

I just want to accept the bad and cherish the good, but it is easier said than done. 

-Jess

How not to fall for someone

____________________________________________________________________________

So you want to make sure you don’t fall for someone? You want to make sure to stay single and keep your heart protected? 

The answer is simple. Don’t do what I’m doing.

——–Don’t start talking to someone two months before you move to Austin.

— Definitely don’t talk to him/her daily.

Don’t share your favorite songs with him/her only to realize he/she has similar taste.

Don’t share anything below the surface of who you are with him/her.

Don’t listen to anything that promotes thinking of him/her.

Do Not start daydreaming about what seeing them in person is going to be like.

Don’t get to know him/her on a more personal level.

Definitely don’t go on a date with him/her when you finally get here.

Don’t freak out minutes before he/she arrives to your house and take two shots of Jager.

Don’t stop breathing when you open the door and see him/her smiling at you.

Don’t have an amazing time. Just don’t.

Don’t fall for his/her undeniable charm.

Don’t smile to yourself when you realize that he/she is even funnier than he/she was over text.

Don’t realize how good it feels to feel something like this again.

Don’t kiss him/her goodnight.

Don’t continue to text back and forth daily.

For the love of God, don’t go on a second date.

–I’m warning you. Don’t do it.

Don’t sit on the same side of the booth.

Don’t drink two beers and a whiskey neat. It’ll make you too honest with yourself.

Don’t start thinking about how easy it is to hold a conversation with him/her.

Don’t start thinking about how similar you are.

Don’t let him/her make you laugh.

Don’t hold his/her hand.

Don’t admit to him/her that it feels so good to feel this way again in general.

Don’t let your stomach drop when he/she closes his eyes, nods, and smiles in agreement.

Don’t think about how nice it feels when he/she rubs the hand he/she is holding with such care.

Don’t let him/her make you let your guard down just by looking in your direction.

Definitely don’t kiss him/her goodnight again.

–And Don’t think about the fireworks after the kiss. Don’t do it.

Dear Lord, DO NOT let him/her kiss your forehead and make you feel like the only person that matters in that second.

And even if you do all of this. Even if you can’t control yourself and you let it get this far…

–If you want to keep your head above water, and survive this round of cupid’s wrath, just don’t cross this line.

_________________________________________

Don’t go on a third date.

Because if you do…You will fall for him/her.

You will. 

Just trust me on this one.

-Jess

My 22nd Birthday

I recently downloaded this app called Timehop. It allows you to see what you posted on social media anywhere from a year to six years ago today. It’s pretty cool to see your posts from the past, but lately, I haven’t gotten much pleasure from it.

As most of you know, I had my worst bout of depression this time a year ago. At first when I got Timehop in November, my statuses were still pretty cheerful, or funny. My depression had already started getting worse by November 2013, but I was still hanging on. As December came by I posted less and less. If I did post something, it usually had nothing to do with my day to day life. I didn’t know what was going on with me, and I was ashamed of asking for help or trying to tell someone, even people as insignificant as facebook friends, that something was wrong.

This isn’t to say that the consistency of Facebook statuses one posts directly relate to how one is doing mental health-wise, but I know myself pretty well. I know the reasons I wasn’t posting anything. I was too busy with self loathing, having uncontrollable crying spells, constantly having suicidal thoughts and constantly drinking to avoid my problems. Problems that were in my past and couldn’t even hurt me anymore.

Tonight, I got a notification on timehop. On January 10th, I posted nothing a year ago, and nothing two years ago. But three years ago I posted three different fun statuses about my friends that I was hanging out with that day. four years ago I posted about a Netflix night with my friends back home. Six years ago I posted pictures of myself at Show choir rehearsal.

In that moment I just thought to myself how uninvolved in my own life I was last year at this time. It was hard to remember day to day things because most of it was a blur. The only things that stand out are really terrible moments that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Like my 21st birthday.

My birthday is coming up. I’ll be 22 in 19 days. Honestly, I’m usually not too excited about my birthdays because for some reason they are notorious for being really bad or just uneventful.

On my fourth birthday (The first one I can remember) the family party was just fine. No problems, until everyone left and my dad beat up my older brother who was 11 at the time. Right in front of us. He did it every night, but that’s the first time I remember it happening.

On my 12th birthday I had a small sleepover with four of my friends. These girls were vicious. My own version of mean girls’ “plastics”. They picked on me the whole time and I had to pretend like nothing was wrong in front of my parents.

On my 15th birthday (My Quinceañera) My mom invited most of my family, and I was allowed to invite 20 or so of my school friends. The whole night my family and friends were arguing over music. My white friends wanted the cha cha slide, my hispanic family wanted Salsa, and guess who got all the complaints? Me. That night wasn’t even about me at that point.

On my 16th birthday, my family was acting super weird. As if they had a secret or something. I was convinced I was going to be thrown a surprise birthday party. I just knew it. My brother and mom picked me up from school and they started yelling at me for one reason or another, typical day in my family at the time. I thought it was all part of the ruse though. Maybe they were trying to lead me off the track. There was no party. We got home to an empty, dark house. And I went to bed.

On my 19th birthday Roxy had a surprise party for me at her dorm. Most of my new freshman friends were there, except Joseph, who’s excuse was that he had to study. At first we had a blast. Roxy had spent so much money on liquor it was insane. Only problem was that one of her roommates was so extremely unhappy in her own life, that she didn’t want anyone else to be happy. She was homesick, mopey, and never wanted to be around people. So even though Roxy had cleared the party with her, at around 12am she came out of her room, left the dorm, and went straight to the RA’s, who knocked on our door and busted all of us. We got banned from the dorm for the rest of the semester.

On my 20th birthday, I was feuding with this girl from my school. Jeanette. We had similar positions of power in our Latino group at school and she did whatever possible to alienate me from my friends. It worked. Joseph tried to throw me a birthday party, and only invited the people that weren’t involved in the mess. When we got to the party, there were three people there. one of them was a stranger. A girlfriend of one of my friends. And one of them was a friend that was already wasted, so I spent a lot of time taking care of her.

Now for my 21st.

I was in an extremely bad place on my 21st birthday. I was ready to get wasted and forget about my problems. I cleaned the whole apartment, showered, put makeup on, got my outfit on. I probably did more that day than I had done in months. It was technically the 31st of January, one day after my birthday, but I was okay with it. I was excited to be in a room full of people that loved me and wanted me to have a good time.

The party started. People brought some alcohol. Not much. I ended up paying for almost all of the liquor on my birthday. Mostly everyone drank on my dime. Having depression I automatically thought it was because no one cared about me. Everyone in the room was just there to mooch off of me, and really they hated me. Depression does that to you. In reality my birthday is very close to bill paying time. Rent, electricity, almost everything is due the 1st. And my friends were a whole bunch of college students who made minimum wage wherever they worked. The night went on with me crying in my room, drunk as all hell, and a lot of my friends sitting around me trying to reassure me that they were all there for me.

I didn’t care at that point. I didn’t see it that way. Everyone but Roxy and Joseph left, and I got up from my bed and went to the bathroom.

I looked at myself in the mirror. Stared into my reflection for a long time.

Until I couldn’t look anymore. 

I grabbed a cleaning solution from the cabinet under the sink, and I drank it.

All of it.

I blacked out for a bit and woke up to Josephs finger down my throat. I threw it all up. Once I was calm and could breath again, We all just sat there, exhausted.

Joseph sat on the toilet, Roxy in the tub, and I was sprawled on the floor with my back against the wall.

“No more drinking. If I’m going to get better I can’t drink anymore.”

They quietly nodded in response to my realization.

So for the first two months of being 21 I didn’t drink. I tried to avoid it so that I could focus on getting better. I started again in march, but I didn’t get nearly as drunk, and I was a lot better at giving myself a limit. It didn’t always pan out, but ever since then I never did anything as crazy as that day on alcohol.

Obviously with these birthdays on my list it could be assumed that I’m not excited for this next one. Well, I wasn’t at first. I figured I shouldn’t do anything at all. I should just make sure not to make a fool of myself in a new town and watch movies or something.

But I have something that I never had for any of those other birthdays. Control.

This will be my first birthday on anti – depressants. I finally have control over my feelings. I also have control over my alcohol intake. I don’t drink to forget anymore. I drink to enhance whatever is happening. To add to the fun.

I control what I can. I invite who I want, I enjoy it as it happens, I accept that it won’t be the perfect day. I accept that things may not go exactly as planned. I realize that if I don’t enjoy it I’ll just look back and wish I had.

Imagine if on my 12th birthday I had invited some of my real friends instead of the popular mean girls?

Imagine if on my 15th birthday I had just told my friends to back off and give my family some dancing time?

Imagine if on my 19th birthday my friends and I decided to ditch the dorms after we got caught and just go have pizza?

Imagine if on my 21st birthday I would’ve stuck to four or five drinks and enjoyed my drunkenness as opposed to trying to black out on all the alcohol I had to buy?

This time is to be different because not only do I have control of the set up, but I also have control over how I react to things that may happen.

So that’s it. On January 31st, the same day that a year ago was my first suicide attempt, I’m going to take back my birthday. I’ve got some amazing roommates who are totally fine with the party and are in fact coming. I’ve invited the new guy I’m seeing, and some great friends I made at karaoke, plus henry who’s already accepted, and I’m going to have a great time.

It’s going to be a potluck booze party. Everyone’s bringing something and we’re all putting it on one table and sharing it.

I’m going to limit myself to five drinks of my choice, and maybe two shots tops. (Hey, it’s my brithday). Not because I’m afraid of doing something stupid, but because I want to remember my birthday party.

So whether 15 people or three people come, I’m going to enjoy it. Because those three people took the time out of their lives to celebrate mine. And now I know this.

And whether I have two drinks or five, I won’t care because I don’t need the alcohol anymore.

And whether the party gets busted or someone gets into a fight, or whatever other stupid party ruining thing happens, I won’t care because I’ll have enjoyed every microsecond up until that point. That’s what matters.

And at the end of the night, when everyone is gone and the party is over, I’ll look at myself in the mirror and I won’t see a sad, broken, hollow 21 year old who drank too much, I’ll see a sassy, beautiful 22 year old who’s smiling right back at me.

So to my 22nd birthday, good luck trying to be a bad one!

-Jess

Butterflies

Holy Macaroon….Yes. Macaroon. I am crazy about this guy.

I haven’t felt this way since october 8th, 2011.

And you know what…. I don’t think anyone has felt the way this guy seems to feel about me in…. forever.

I’m scared, yes.

I’m worried, yes.

But oh my god does it feel good to know that the last one didn’t break me.

I deserve this, and gosh darn it… I’m going to enjoy every millisecond of it.

-Jess

Anxiety About Moving

I remember when I had a layover in Memphis on my way back from Austin. The Megabus required two hours to get cleaned and switch drivers. It was around 10pm and I hadn’t gotten much sleep that whole weekend in Austin, but I was wide awake. I spent those two hours meticulously planning out the inner workings of my move. Something clicked in me the last night that I was there. I just knew that Austin was where I wanted to be. I decided right then and there that everything I did would be in service of moving.

As the day grew nearer things sort of changed.  

See, before, when I mentioned wanting to move out of state to my therapist it was just a thought. Then when I went to Austin on vacation it was just a dream. When my countdown was still in the triple digits it was just in the works. In the double digits it suddenly became a plan.

And now… two days before my move… it is a reality.

It’s one of those things that you’re pretty sure is going to happen, but until it comes close it doesn’t really feel real yet. I spent 116 days planning this move down to the last detail. I set a budget, I moved back home to save money, I got two jobs, I spent quality time with my family, got an apartment, took care of any loose ends, etc. In fact, I made a checklist for the biggest things I had to do in order to make sure everything was in order before my move.

10862500_10152605431456274_3753219326692708681_o

IPicMonkey Collage 3 was very serious about this. After the year I’d had I was just done with Chicago. I’ve lived here all my life and there are too many memories here. There was a lot of good of course, and I’d always treasure the good,but the bad really got me down. At least in Austin I’d be far away enough to weed out the good from the bad and really be able to remember it.

Yes, Chicago held too much pain that -while I have mentally moved on from it- I don’t really want to be reminded of on a daily basis.

In Chicago I had my worst bout of depression.

In Chicago I got my heart broken.

In Chicago I was abused.

In Chicago Here I had money issues.

In Chicago I had many drunken nights that I had to apologize for in the morning.

In Chicago I almost lost my life.

But Austin would be different.

In Austin I’d feel fresh and new.

In Austin I’d have medication.

In Austin I wouldn’t have the daily reminder of the bad memories I’ve had in Chicago.

In Austin I’d make new friends while still being able to keep my current ones.

In Austin I’d get a fun server job and get along with my co workers.

In  Austin I’d have great roommates and we’d live in peace together.

In Austin my money problems wouldn’t exist.

In Austin I might even fall in love with a great guy.

In Austin I’d find myself.

But the thing is… That’s a lot of pressure on Austin.

I lived in this fantasy world where I thought Austin would be perfect, but that’s just not the reality. I will struggle in Austin. I might not find a job right away, or make enough to pay all of my bills, satisfy my thrift shopping habit, and still go out and have fun as much as I want to. My roommates and I may not always get along. I may get my heart broken in Austin. I may not even get to a relationship phase with someone. I may spend some lonely nights with my cat because I haven’t made friends right away. I may have bitches for co-workers.

The point is I’ve decided to stop romanticizing Austin simply because it’s really stressing me out to pretend.

I guess no matter how much or how far ahead you plan, it’ll never really ease all of your anxiety. (especially since I have anxiety to begin with),

Regardless of all of this, I have to remember that all of this isn’t depression or anxiety talking. This is how people without a mental illness would react to moving out of state. It’s a big deal, so I shouldn’t judge myself for it.

If anything I should have compassion for myself.

Ultimately, even though it is absolutely clear that Austin won’t be perfect 100% of the time, I am going to make some awesome memories there. PicMonkey Collage 2Chicago may be riddled in bad memories, but the good ones… when I think of them I instantly feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m leaving because those memories are just that… memories. They are gone. Now it’s time to make new ones I’ll look back on fondly some day. So instead of focusing on the bad that may happen, I’ve decided I’m going to accept the bad, and enjoy the good as much as I can. And when I make too many memories in Austin… Well, NYC will be waiting for me.

PicMonkey Collage

That’s the beauty of 8 cities 8 years. 

Once my cup is dry, in comes another wonderful year to fill it back up.

After all, the only thing scarier than going is not going.

PicMonkey Collage 4

-Jess