Quelling the inner voice.

Introspection is weird. You can be going about your day, not an off thought in the world, but then you pause to do some menial task and your mind starts wandering. Some days it goes on an adventure outward. Some days, it decides to do a deep dive into your psyche and then you’re suddenly overanalyzing yourself. I find myself doing this a lot lately, as I struggle to heal, and deal with my ever changing health and mental health.

I’ve been quiet on this blog. On social media. On anything that anyone other than the people close to me can see or hear. Hell, sometimes I’ve been quiet there, too. I spent so long walking on eggshells the past few years, I’ve been struggling to figure out how to stop, even when I know I’m safe.
I apologize when I’m a mess. I try not to be an inconvenience to those I care about when I’m having a bad mental health day. I still find myself overthinking everything I say, do, and might say. I think I’ve been afraid to post anything that might upset someone, anyone, even though this blog and my social profiles are my space. Even though the time I spend with those I’m closest to now is safe space. I don’t want to think that way anymore.

I think like that a lot, lately. About how I do things, why I do things, why do I think the way I think? Honestly? I’m so, so tired of thinking about it all, constantly. But self analyzing, deep thought, its what shows me the things I need to heal from, that I likely didn’t realize I needed to until now.
I’ve felt more myself in the past 8 months than I have in the past 8 years. To say that, with that much truth behind it, is insane. You don’t realize how much of yourself you’ve suppressed over the years, until you feel like you’re able to let yourself go, be the weird, strange person you enjoy being, and discover that people love you even more for it. But to process everything from the past few years, to realize how much you’ve been through? That’s terrifying.
The voice in my head screams at me regularly. Reminding me of all of the things I have to heal from. Some days I’m really good at drowning her out. I know her thoughts are insecure, and irrational, and wrong. But this week I’ve realized… if the voice in my head can be that loud, why the hell can’t I be? What am I afraid of?

9 months ago, I lost my Dad to cancer. 3 weeks later, I ended a roughly 7 year relationship to someone I had planned on marrying over a year before. To a lot of people, I probably looked insane. That’s a lot of huge change, in less than a month. I realized after I lost Dad, that I had been holding onto something that I should have let go of a long time ago. When we got Dad’s diagnosis in early fall of 2020, suddenly my entire world changed. So I desperately clung to the one constant in my life, no matter how unstable it was. I knew then that what I was holding onto could fall apart at any moment, but at that point, I don’t think I cared.
When my Dad passed, with him passed a lot of things that most little girls dream of their dad being around for. For me, the realization that Dad was no longer around for a lot of the big moments to come hit me extremely hard, and I felt something fall apart all over again. The illusion surrounding my relationship, engagement, and planned wedding shattered. Part of me had been hoping that somehow things would get better, and my dad would be there to walk me down the aisle. It took my world crumbling to realize just how unhappy I was, and then I realized I wasn’t afraid of change anymore.

I’ve been quiet, because I think I’ve been afraid. Excuse me when I say F* that. I stayed quiet when a post was made, basically implying that I had been cheating, that the person I’m now with was the reason for me ending my relationship. Its easy to blame other people if it means you don’t have to take accountability for the person you are, for the things you said to the person that you were supposed to be there for more than anyone, the day of her father’s memorial. That entire afternoon will be one I never truly forget. I stayed quiet when people I was told I was a bad person for wanting to work things out with and remain friends with, were manipulated into taking sides. Suddenly, those people aren’t the terrible, shallow people I was told they were. In the end, the only thing I feel is bad that they’re also that easily manipulated. I’ve stayed quiet as I process the mental trauma, gaslighting, reactive abuse and overall manipulation I allowed myself to be subject to for so long. I’m never going to be that person again, and I’m done being quiet.

I’ve done a lot of healing in the past months, but I’ve done it in quiet. Letting bits and pieces show through from time to time to the outside world. I still have a lot more healing to do. Bits of myself to regain. Intrusive thoughts, defensive mechanisms and trauma responses to work through. Parts of my brain to rewire. I’m still learning how to let myself be authentic and to say F what people think of that. I still have to remind myself daily, that its OK to not be OK sometimes, and its okay to still feel broken sometimes.

The last post I made on this blog was in January, entitled “a mess,” and I’ve been quiet since then. Guess what? I’m still a mess, grief is still messy. I’m still processing how to go on with my life without my dad here to see the life I’m working towards, the life I want to build with the people I want to build it with. That won’t change for a long time.

Me, the part of me that cares what the world thinks, and my silence? That will.

A mess.

Grief is messy. There’s no other way to describe it…. but its not the obvious kind of messy.
Its the kind that makes you feel like you’re fine for 2 weeks, just to have a breakdown in the car on the way home when you’re not expecting it, ugly crying as you drive home.
Yes, that oddly specific reference was me just a few hours ago.
Everyone grieves differently, and I know this. Some people can carry on and hide it away, and go on with day to day life as things were before your world was shattered.
Some people can’t get out of bed for months.
Some people wish they could be the latter, but instead are forced to be the former.
Some are a mix of the above, some are different. I know there’s no right way to grieve, but some days I feel like I’m doing it wrong.

You can know what’s inevitably coming all you want, but you will never be ready for the moment you had been dreading for months. You can tell yourself that you’re prepared for it, but I promise you, you’re not… You’ve spent days, weeks, months trying to prepare yourself to lose one of the most important people in your life, that you don’t think about all of the other things you lose right along with them.

2021 was a difficult year for myself and for my family, nobody can argue that. But for me, it was also a year of huge personal growth, and a whole lot of change. I finally started taking my mental health seriously, and trying to find the parts of myself I’d lost the past few years. Turns out once you’re as lost as I was, your chances of finding all of you again are fairly low… Which is okay, when you realize you didn’t really like all of the person you were before, either.

I spent a really long time afraid of what I didn’t know. I was absolutely terrified of losing Dad… but I knew it was coming eventually. I just didn’t know eventually would come so soon… there were so many things he needed to be around for yet. When he didn’t get to be around for a lot of those things, the fear of everything else just kind vanished. Something in me snapped, and I was done being afraid to change things. I guess in a way, losing my dad was a wake up call.

Grief for me comes out in a lot of ways, for me, mostly a whole lot of crying, and sometimes a whole lot of anger. I miss the hell out of my dad. But I think what I grieve most, is the moments he isn’t here for anymore, and the things I’m going to miss having him a part of.
He didn’t get to be here, and be proud of me when I ended a years long relationship, that had turned more toxic than it had good, and had left me feeling like I went through losing my dad alone.
He’s not here as I get ready to buy my first house, to help me move, to help me with DIY home projects, to play with Apollo in my new backyard, to see the home I create. He won’t get to see all the fantastic people that I have cheering me on, offering to help. He won’t get to laugh at me as I get to experience all the “joys” of finally having a place of my own.
He’s not around to see and meet the amazing circle of people I’ve grown so close with. The friendship that turned into my absolute best friend, who I’d be absolutely lost without. Dad would have absolutely loved her. The man I found the most unexpected, amazing connection with, who likes me even when I’m a mess & breaking down in his apartment on a random Wednesday afternoon… who Dad would have asked a million and one questions, and been so excited to have someone new to show his techy stuff to. And the family who’s become a second family for me, who treat me like I’ve always belonged there, and who’s daughters I absolutely adore, just as much as my dad did.

I’m going to miss him being around for the big moments that haven’t happened yet in my life. My first house, finally doing my first comic con with my art, walking me down the aisle someday, or being there when I have kids of my own some day. And that’s when the anger hits… I feel cheated, that I won’t have my Dad around for those big things. Angry at other people, but knowing I’ll never say it. Angry at myself for things that don’t even make sense. Angry at things I know I can’t control.
Grief for me is crying, and feeling angry about things that no matter what I do, I can’t change. Its wanting to talk about it with people, but not wanting to burden anyone with the mess that I am, so instead, I’m quiet. Grief is me, sitting in my studio at midnight on a Thursday, crying and putting my inner monologue onto virtual paper. Grief is feeling guilty that it took losing him to make me realize how unhappy I had been for so long. Grief is me knowing that I’m going to have days like this, and that’s okay… even when I really don’t feel like I am.

I know he’s probably somewhere, insanely proud of me. Just as excited as I am for my new house. Happy that I’m finally trying to do more with the blog and website we spent hours talking about. And so, so happy that I finally realize the amazing things I deserve, and deciding that I won’t settle for anything less.

Grief is weird, and its messy. Most days, I’m okay. And some days, like today, I’m an absolute mess. But grief has this way of showing you that you are stronger than you ever knew, even when you feel like you’re at your weakest.

Thanks, Dad.

On September 24th, 2021, at about 11:30 at night, I sat with my mom and sisters, and held my Dad’s hands as he took his final breaths. Its been just over a month now, and it will probably never stop hurting. It hurts to walk into my parents house, and not be able to walk down the hall to hear the hairdryer blowing on his hands as he starts telling me about this new photography or website project he’s been working on. I didn’t hear him call me Meggie enough. He was the only person that I ever allowed to pronounce my name with the E sounding like an A…. and as much as I hate hearing that pronunciation, I miss it. I miss the deep bass to his voice when he was making corny jokes. I miss how excited he got when I would tell him about new projects. I miss him, and I wish I had gotten to thank him for so much more.

It was no secret to most that knew us, that my dad and I were more often than not, conflicting storms. We were too alike, but I thank him every day for passing on his love for creativity and wonder.

In the days following my dad’s passing, we had to have a lot of difficult conversations while making arrangements. One of the topics, of course, was if anyone would speak at my dad’s memorial. I knew it wouldn’t be right if none of us said anything… Dad always loved listening to me tell stories, so I decided that I would be the one to speak.

I’d like to share what I wrote/said at my dad’s service on October 1st, 2021. Dad had a huge impact on a lot of different communities in his 71 years of life… some of them from all over the country, or the world even. If you’d like to see his celebration of life, we arranged for it to be live-streamed for the friends and family that couldn’t make it to Michigan. You can see that here. Please note that if you get to the part in which I speak, I’m a blubbering mess. You’ve been warned.

Below is what I had typed up to read that day. I like to think Dad was laughing from wherever he is now. So thanks, Dad <3

I think I decided last weekend that I wanted to get up here and share with you all today. But a few good memories or a story just didn’t seem like enough…
If we’re being honest, I probably wasn’t the easiest kid to deal with when I was younger. I mean I’m probably not the easiest to deal with now at age 30, but I DEFINITELY wasn’t back then. Mom can probably vouch for that.
I’m stubborn, hard headed, difficult at my best, and I’ve got a temper. Mom will tell you that I got all that from Dad, which is probably true. Its no wonder why we butted heads all the time. I probably never said it back then, but Sorry, Dad.
Dad and I were constantly at odds over one thing or another. When you’re a kid, you never understand why your parents are the way they are. I didn’t understand it for years; why my dad was the way he was. And I definitely didn’t understand why it felt like he just didn’t understand me.
As I got a little older, and I moved out, Dad and I got along better. We had actual conversations about a lot of different things.  We talked about photography, website design, plants, video games, you name it.
I don’t think I really started to understand Dad until a few years ago...  While mom is probably totally  right, and I did inherit my stubborn attitude and my temper from Dad, it wasn’t all bad, and I inherited a whole lot more than that.
Having Dad’s temper might mean I’m a*little* hot headed… but it also means he taught me to fight for what I believe in, and to stand my ground. He taught me that I may not always be right; and if I’m not, learn from it, grow from it, and change for the better.
Dad teaching me to be stubborn meant he taught me how to be determined, how to not give up even when things got hard and how to work through whatever obstacle might be in my way; he taught me how to be a problem solver, and I think I learned from the best, there.
I may have gotten my temper and my stubbornness from Dad, but that also means I got my passion from Dad. For my projects, for the people around me, and for life in general. Dad gave his all everywhere he could, and he impacted SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Because of it.
Through the Diecast Pub he created a community. He made a huge impact on an entire hobby, and made friends in every corner of the US and even other countries. Reading all of the posts from the people he met over the years showed me just how much he put into the hobby, and how grateful people were for that.
He got to share his photography with not only his hobby friends, but with his family and friends here, too. He took a bunch of our senior photos. And if you have the time to look through the photography albums we brought, and he was SUCH a talented photographer, you’ll see just how much passion and energy he put into every snap of the lens.

When I was younger, I went through high school with just about every hair color I could convince my mom to do for me, but the one that I always came back to was purple. Dad often voiced that he never understood why I wanted to have purple hair. That was one of the things I gave up when I tried to do the whole “adulting” thing and fit in better. 
I may have thought for years my dad never really understood me, but I realized he probably did all along, and really just didn’t know how to show me. Last fall, I finally convinced myself that I could be an “adult” and still be ME, so I showed up to their house one day, with freshly dyed purple and blue hair, and fully expected a comment from my dad about how he didn’t understand why I would want to have purple and blue hair.
Instead, when I walked into the office and said “What do you think?” He thought for a moment, looked at me and said “I always thought you looked the best with your hair like that.”
I may have inherited Dad’s hard-headed attitude and his temper, but it means I learned from the best how to have a passion for life. And I am so very thankful for that.

Writing prompt: Being Afraid

We fight all the time, I thought. Just another stupid fight we’ll pretend didn’t happen later… My gut told me I was wrong, but I’ve always hated being wrong, so I kept going, kept spitting the vitriol I knew fueled these moments.
Why do I do this? I asked myself. Why do I keep adding fuel to this hellfire? I hated fighting with him. It made us both stay stupid things we didn’t mean. Neither of us knew how to be wrong or concede, so it turned into this.
I screamed. I told him I was done with this conversation, that we weren’t getting anywhere, that these arguments never change anything, that this was pointless. I turned to walk away and froze at the words he said in response. My vision went fuzzy, my ears rang, and the world around me seemed to slow.
I couldn’t tell you what time it was, what room I was in at this point. What day was it? I couldn’t remember a single detail of that moment. All I remember is being afraid to turn around. Being afraid he’d repeat those words that I must have heard incorrectly. He doesn’t mean it, does he? He said it in a moment of rage, in a moment of frustration at me walking away, done with the fighting. If he meant it, everything changed. I don’t want change. I hate change. If I stayed frozen like this, it means I can stay in this exact point in time, right? The exact moment before I turned around and my world shattered like that window from my childhood, leaving jagged pieces and scars that may never fully heal. If I don’t turn around, then its not real, right?

Writing prompt courtesy of Promptuarium.

Getting to know myself better.

Long ago, I spent hours upon hours a week writing. Not just random blogs rambling on about the horror I thought my life was at age 16, or how cute the new boy I was dating was (plot twist, he was a jerk), but poems and stories and lyrics that I poured my heart into. Some of them, looking back, are INCREDIBLY cringe. Some I still look at fondly. Some were shared back in my Myspace or Xanga days, and others never saw the light of another’s computer backlight. Regardless of whether they were shared or not, I found that I understood what was truly on my heart a bit better after I wrote, and it was a self discovery tool I often miss.

This new section of my site is dedicated to me getting back to my creative roots. Some of the things I share here will be older writings, and some of it will be new. There will be a sub section for writing prompts that I’ve been stockpiling for a couple years now (I will make sure to link the source, which will OFTEN be a lovely site called Promptuarium, as I get their prompts in my email daily!) In case you struggle to find it, you can find that page here. There may also end up being other subsections further down the road, depending on what I decide to post. This is just the starting point!

I’m by no means a bestselling novelist, so please be kind. If you enjoy them, great. If not, that’s okay too. That’s the beauty of artistic expression, even when using written word as the chosen medium at the moment. Whether you like them all or not, I hope you enjoy getting to know me a little better through a different kind of sharing.