Apr. 15th, 2012


Apr. 15th, 2012 12:25 pm
jenmccarroll: (Default)
For those of you who don't realize, I have a Dreamwidth account (jenmccarroll) and a LiveJournal account (whataboutjen). I joined Dreamwidth because I was invited, but I find myself posting identical updates or crossposts to both and reading the friends list to both. I don't abandon one or the other, feel free to add me on either.
jenmccarroll: (Default)
I love where my life is headed now.

I feel thankful that I am one of those kids who grew up around the time the Internet was becoming popular. I began using blogs back in 1998 as a tool to document nice moments in my life. I was sixteen and there were not many nice moments in my life.

At sixteen things were more immediate. My mother moved me across the state away from all of my friends at the same time that my father's fiance died of a heart attack. My blogging back then consisted of grief poetry. I truly thought I would feel devastated for the rest of my life. The grief was a black, lonely hole that snuck up on me in the night and ate my face. The it gets better campaign was not around, but I had an army of support in my family to let me know that was so. We sought help with in patient group therapy and within months I was ready to take on the world.

My blogging from then on was normal teenager blogging telling the world of summer romances and important moments, such as being present to spread the ashes of my dad's fiance with the company of her children and his new girlfriend. I am glad he waited so I got to be there, but in a way I wish he hadn't waited so he could find closure sooner.

Things got better, but I still had hard times. After graduating from high school I was undecided in my major but knew I needed a degree to get a job. I lived with my grandmother while completing my first year of school, and lived with my father while completing only half of my second year.

The thing about depression deferred is that it doesn't just get better. Being in inpatient care as a teen scared me into thinking that I needed to get well and fast. This meant that I had to stop feeling depressed. Not knowing how to do this, I deferred my feelings to get through the day and a few years later I was angry and scared at the idea of living and did not know why. All I knew is that I wanted to be away from people and places and be by myself. No matter how enticing the offer to go out, whether it's with a charming person or in a fun place, I found myself just wanting to go home and be left alone.

I spent the years between 20 and 26 completely shut away from people. Starting in 2002, I regularly argued with my friends or whoever I was dating at the time. I always said no. Afraid of everything, whether it was a trip to Florida or just Walmart, it all was a struggle. Soon I just stopped going out of the house altogether. Between 2003 and half of 2004, I dropped out school, quit my job, and just stayed home. I even moved to a basement so I would have less human interaction. I spent this time strength training and reading self-help literature. I occasionally went out with friends, but more and more the act of doing this really upset me.

Mid-2004 I got a job and this was fine for a while, but it didn't take long for me to self-destruct. I shut out everyone around me and when that job ended, Spring 2005 became a repeat of Spring 2004. Only this time it was harder because I felt stuck. I felt so stuck.

Finding another job, trying to break this cycle for good, I threw myself into my career. After trial and error, I soon found a routine that worked for me. Then slowly in 2007 I let people back into my life. I recall that it started with Greg's cast parties, and then the odd birthday celebration or Pampered Chef-type party as I decided to just say yes to everything. Soon I was even going out with acquaintances who thought of me as close friends. One even made me her bridesmaid although I'd only known her in person for five months.

It took me a while to learn about social rules and boundaries. Social awkwardness or even phobia was not something cutesy for me, but a symptom of severe depression and anxiety. Trial and error in my personal life was hard for me. Asking questions like, "Did she cancel on me because she actually has a headache, or is she just pretending to be my friend for some odd reason" became a regular occurrence. It was exhausting to be my friend as I was coming out of almost a decade-long funk and I kind of feel sorry for some of my more casual friends who were obviously so freaked out by this that they haven't bothered to respond to me online or on the phone for a very long time and have canceled all of our plans. Again, trial and error.

It is worth it, however. I soon learned that the funk doesn't completely go away and that I don't have to hide from society expecting it to. I can't believe all the awesome people in my life who are forgiving, understanding, fun, and just amazing to be around.

I have a man who emails me throughout the week who I met through one of Greg's plays and I sincerely consider us to be besties:

I have my LJ and Dreamwidth and Facebook friends, one of whom I rarely go a week without blathered about some random thing.

I have my wonderful high school friends, especially Liz, Linda, and Joey, as well as ones who are really really far away right now like my Roe <3.

I also have certain work colleagues who have kept me sane for years.

I have my lovely church people. And they will always be my church no matter where I move.

I have my family. I have so much family that I end up neglecting each and every member horrifically, but I am blessed with so much even IMMEDIATE family that it's almost impossible to stay in touch with just everyone. I have cousins on both side who I haven't even met, and countless sets of grandparents, almost all of whom are alive. NEVERMIND MY BOYFRIEND'S AWESOME FAMILY. I'm serious.

Just the amount of people I already have in my life is an exhausting number for a hermit-type person like myself. I would be lost without all of you.

I hope to be bringing awesome content here. I have trouble with feeling my feelings while doing what I want to do. I tend to either wait to do what I want to do until my feelings have subsided, or push my feelings aside and forget about them while I try to get on with my life until they fester and explode. I want to see me move to my new place while preoccupied with whatever feelings may arise. I want to see myself craft while battling with self-doubt, write papers while distracted, and get in shape while feeling disorganized. I want to go out with my friends even when I feel like a night in, and feel every feeling that comes my way.

Sure, it may get better. While it isn't getting better, though, I think I should have a plan.
jenmccarroll: (Default)
Saturday morning drive down to Oakland Hills in Arnold, and we park next to the leasing office.

Cherry blossoms rain their pink petals, pressing against our faces on our way to our new place.

Slip in the key and turn.

So many things our current apartment at Glen Ridge does not have. Concrete between floors. Stucco and brick outside, blocking noise. Huge, private balcony. Golf course view. Two bedrooms. A coat closet with its own light. A foyer with its own light. A mirror wall. A breakfast nook. Washer, dryer, dishwasher. Walk-in closets and a lit vanity in both the bathroom and master bedroom.

Neighborhood filled with birdsong and puppies instead of oompa-loompa music and racing engines.

Wildlife and fresh blooms instead of sad and wilted dead plants beneath a sign from the 1970s.

Dog walkers and golfers instead of gun shots and heavy swagger.

We wanted to stay there forever, but it was time to sign the lease. An hour later, lease signed, and wall colors picked out. They are painting our walls for us. Blue. =)

Excitement over a sushi lunch with my mother where Greg tells my mother he wants to marry me.

In an excited daze the rest of the weekend.

I guess dreams can come true.

We get access to our new place on Friday and can begin moving in then. I need to schedule BGE, Comcast, renters' insurance, UHaul trucks, and talk to friends to coordinate moving the big heavy stuff.

Overwhelmed with joy. We're going to live in a safe and quiet place.

And there's also big projects due and final exams and all that jazz.


Hi!. I'm Jen, fiance to Greg, college student, and future crazy cat lady. I love makeovers, decorating, collecting random facts, trivia, playing show and tell, camp movies, shopping, libraries, random singing, random dancing, snuggling, and loafing. Oh, and watching Glee.

Greg has been my partner in crime for nine years. I've known him since high school; he is my soulmate and best friend. He's an actor, a playwright, a poet and works in data entry. We spend most of our time laughing hysterically. We're thinking about getting married sometime this decade and adopting our first cat sometime in the next few weeks.


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