Monday, May 15, 2017

48+

I have spent the past hour counting scars on my body. Obsessively going over it again and again, trying to figure out if the scar is actually visible or if I just remember it once being there. Am I responsible for it, or was it something else? The first time I counted 49 scars that came from me. The second time, 54. The third time, 48.

I have been told that I have unusually soft skin. My time on acne medications has left me with a surprisingly clear complexion, and I get one pimple for the duration of my period, and then it goes away.

For such soft skin, it is amazingly disfigured.

I pick at my skin a lot, especially my legs and my neck. This has left me with irritated spots that would probably go away if I were just a little kinder to myself.

I got the chicken pox when I was 19, and my back is absolutely riddled with chicken pox scars. I also have one right between my breasts that, for whatever reason, will get inflamed every now and then and will be extremely painful and sensitive. Probably means I have cancer or something, but whatever.

I have a lot of scars that come from overexcited cats.

I have one scar on my forehead from when I was four and ran into a wall while chasing a balloon (I ruined my older sister's birthday).

And then I have upwards of 48 scars that I purposefully placed on myself. Maybe there aren't even that many that are actually visible; I have a hard time telling whether I see the memory or the real thing. A lot of them you have to really look for. Some have completely faded, but I remember where they were, and I wonder if those even count. Some are bright red and impossible to hide. There are a few that haven't even become a scar yet.

Soft to the touch, rough on the eyes.

There is no inspirational message this time. I've just been stuck in my head for what feels like forever, staring at my skin, counting scars, trying to keep the number from getting any higher. I count them over and over and over and over again. I can't stop.

But what do a few more matter? At this point, no on will even notice.

Feel empty? This will let you feel something.

Feel like everything is going wrong and you're going to explode? This will give you release.

Feel like your nightmares will show up at your door? This will distract you.

Feel like the worst fucking bitch on the planet? This will help you atone.

Feel happy and hopeful? Mood swings are exhausting, but this will keep you grounded.

Feel like dying? This isn't quite as permanent.

--Dexter

PS. I graduated college a few days ago.

PPS. I ate two whole meals today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reasons Why I Hate Myself and Why They Are All False


You're asexual. You're never going to have a lasting romantic relationship because of it.

Not true. I was engaged once, remember?

Oh yes, what a happy relationship that was.

Shut up.

You say "asexual" and people assume you're aromantic too. Even if they didn't, they'd steer clear.

That's their fault, not mine. If they don't care enough to ask or to assume, then they obviously aren't worth it anyway.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Guess it's a good thing you're ace anyway, since so many people have touched you now.

That wasn't my fault and it does not make me dirty or broken.

It's cute when you pretend like you believe that. You can't even keep platonic friends. No one likes you. You're annoying, needy, and constantly faking some emotional disaster just for attention.

Not true. Everyone's a little annoying and needy sometimes, but I actually have proof that people at the very least put up with me without too much irritation.

See, you can't even fully commit to saying people like you. You're so afraid of everything. You won't take the trash out because of your neighbor and you won't go to class because people might casually glance at you.

That is true. But considering those crippling fears, you've got to admit it's pretty impressive that I do actually take out the cat litter and do actually go to class half the time.

You're failing math.

That's an exaggeration.

Your house is a fucking disaster.

Yes, well. Y'know I've been involved in seven dances and three conferences this semester, on top of the measly seventeen hours of school, the occasional work day, and being chronically ill. I think I shouldn't be so hard on myself in the cleaning department.

Speaking of work. When was the last time you did that? You're such a difficult employee and you're lucky if you even still have a job.

Very true, I am lucky. I do wonder about this, but I know I also do the best I can, and any and all trouble I've had here has legitimately been out of my control, whether other people believe me or not.

You're mentally incapable of holding a full time job, you realize that, right? You're just going to end up living with your mom.

I refuse to believe that. No, I could not hold a regular full time job, but that's not what I'm after.

Oh yeah, the starving artist thing. You'll be good at that, since you don't eat anyway.

I'm working on that one.

Sure. There's the whole cutting thing. You working on that? That's pretty gross. And shameful. I'm ashamed to even know you.

Addictions are hard. Recovery is a neverending process.

You're ugly.

Thanks. Rationally speaking, I think that might be an exaggeration.

Since when are you rational? And why are you such a shitty daughter, btws?

It's complicated, and you know it. I love my family. I may not be the best family member, but I do hope they all know I love them, even when I don't talk to them.

You're kind of an idiot. You don't know how to talk to people, you can't do anything right, and it takes you like, five minutes just to remember how to subtract.

Okay, well. First off. Even if you use the argument of me growing out of my intelligence, somehow I still got into grad school and got an assistantship so I can't be that stupid. I may not be socially smart or mathematically smart, but please remember that, while those are important and valid, that's not all there is in life.

So remind me, what the heck is the point of a dancer who physically cannot dance due to injury?

I mean, at least I have a good excuse for not being very good.

Remember that time you had a panic attack while watching the stars? On a peaceful, relaxing night? Ha, good times.

Again, not my fault. That's out of my control and there is no shame in that.

Or the dozens of times in class, while eating, sitting calmly with friends, or on any of the other nice happy days of your life? Lolz.

That does not make me broken, shameful, or less of a person.

Keep telling yourself that. Maybe you'll believe it one day.

Maybe.

You're probably going to commit suicide one day.

But not today.

The only reason you're even writing this is because you don't believe any of it, and you're trying to convince yourself.

Yes. Because that's better than accepting it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Good News

In case you haven't heard, I GOT ACCEPTED INTO FLORIDA STATE'S M.A. AMERICAN DANCE STUDIES PROGRAM. This is a pretty big deal. FSU is a very very good dance school, and their graduate program only accepts around twelve people per year. On top of that, THEY GAVE ME AN ASSISTANTSHIP. That's right, imma be a research assistant and get paid and not starve and be homeless. I'm pretty excited.

I also recently attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research with four other students from USM. I presented my junior research and got to attend a lot of other interesting presentations. I'm such a nerd, but honestly this was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. For some reason it was just so enriching to be surrounded by passionate people talking about what they love, whether it's dancing or biochemistry.

I should be overjoyed with all of these great things happening, but I passed that stage long ago. I'm constantly waiting for an email from FSU retracting their acceptance, saying that it was a mistake. The post-happiness depression hit me hard after the conference was over as I get overwhelmed with self-doubt and loneliness. I replay the events so many times that I start thinking that it wasn't as good as it seemed, that I looked stupid, that I sounded stupid, that people were just being nice, etc. etc. It's not uncommon for depressed people to get especially down after they have a really great day. And that sucks. Like, we can't even enjoy the good times.

I had been waiting until after the conference to write a post about FSU and everything, to share all the nerdy happiness at once. I wanted it to be a happy post. But since when do I write happy posts? Since when am I a well-functioning member of society? Since when have I been a healthy human being?

I feel so overwhelmed with school right now. My house is a disaster. My personal life is a wreck, my emotions are trying to be happy and sad at the same time. I just lie down and wait for it to be over.

I accidentally started talking about the hospital yesterday, blabbering about how you can't have pencils but you can have crayons. We were talking about crayons only, there was no need for me to bring that up. But it came out of my mouth and once it was out I couldn't take it back and y'know it's those little things that make me hate myself even more.

But... but... good things happen. It seems like I'll actually be doing something with my life next year and that just maybe I'm not a complete failure.

Trying not to think about being alone in a new city surrounded by new people. In case you haven't noticed, I can't talk to people, but I get super lonely, so I try to talk to people, and then just freak people out or annoy them to death. That's life.

BUT GOOD THINGS HAPPEN. Trying very hard to remember that.

I feel like that's all I can ever tell people: I'm trying very hard. I swear I am.

--Dexter

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Asexuality vs. Genophobia (fear of sex)

The usual disclaimer: I speak from my own experiences and no one else's. By no means assume that all aces or assault victims are like me.

I struggle with sex a lot, for a variety of reasons. Whether it was intentional or not, I grew up being taught that sex was a sin and terrible and disgusting and awful (and that boys thought about it all the time). Premarital sex was ESPECIALLY awful and of the devil. So from then on out, any time anything remotely "sexual" happened, I was overwhelmed with guilt, whether I was responsible or not.

Asexuality already struggles to be recognized as a legitimate orientation, and I feel like I sometimes just make it worse. I've been sexually abused and assaulted, as well as being emotionally manipulated into sexual acts. My father left, then soon after my ex-fiance left, and I've been told that all of this would obviously turn me off sex.

I mean, yeah. All of those things are legitimate reasons for someone to develop a fear of sex or distrust of sex. No doubt about that.

So, am I actually asexual or just scared of it? I debated myself on this quite a lot, then reached out to other asexuals to ask their opinion. I researched it, I thought about it, I talked about it. I finally decided.

Yes, sometimes I am just plain terrified of sex, from a casual touch of the hand to, y'know, intercourse. I have nightmares about it, flashbacks about it, panic attacks about it. But that fear does not control my whole life and does not affect me all the time.

Sex just isn't really my thing. It's gross. It's messy. It's a lot of effort. It takes forever and people for some reason like it to last as long as possible.

If I really loved someone, I could see myself compromising on the sex. It's taken me an extremely long time to even start to understand that some people DO need sex and that it can be an important part of a relationship. I would never just become a doormat for someone or allow anyone to manipulate me into things because that's what I should do for someone I love, but there's a line between manipulating and compromising.

So no, I do not consider myself to be operating solely on fear of sex.

Antidepressants can sometimes affect a person's sex drive, which I understand. And I guess it's possible that it's affecting mine a little bit. BUT I was in a relationship before I got put on medication, and I wasn't big on the sexual activities back then either. The only reason I think I even did them was because again, manipulative bastard fiance.

But anyway.

I have no doubt that my assault and medication do affect my sexuality and my sex drive, but they do not control my sex drive.

Even if they did, I would pick my medication over sex. I think that alone is kind of telling. I'd rather be happy than have a sex drive.

Honestly I don't like to be super public about my sexuality because it seems like a private topic and I'm worried about offending people or upsetting people who think I should be a completely innocent heterosexual female. But that's not me. And I can't go on pretending like it is while inside I'm thinking I'm broken for not wanting sex.

Yes, my sexuality is my business, no question there. If people ask, I have every right to ignore them. But it's an important topic, and it's bigger than just me.

And this way, when people ask about it I can just send them this instead of try to explain it all over again.

--Dex

PS. For more info on asexuality and gray sexuality, I recommend visiting: AVEN or AmeliaAce.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Highs and Lows of Antidepressants

The past week has been ridiculous for me. Dealing with a breakup, a dance conference, online dating, and unrequited love is all way more interesting when you're also having issues with your medication, let me tell you.

The whole semester has been rocky for me, but in the last month or so it started to get really bad and I finally had to call my doctor to ask about adjusting my medication. We have to do it about once a year, so even though my depressed self is going, What's the freaking point of going on when I'll never be cured? I know that it's normal to have to adjust medication as my body gets used to it. I know that, but it never makes me feel any better. In the past month my anxiety sky-rocketed and I got suicidal again, which made it even more difficult to call my doctor. Phone calls are terrifying. Especially when there's a part of you saying that it'd be way easier to just go jump off a cliff.

But anyway we got my medication adjusted and I was told to call him back in a week or two to let him know how it was going. I only had enough of this medicine to last two weeks. The doctor is not in his office on the weekends or on Thursdays and every day the entire office goes on a two hour lunch break. Sometimes it's a little hard to get in touch with them.

Anyway. Two weeks. No big deal.

I start the new medication and INSTANT MOOD SWINGS BABY. NOT IN A GOOD WAY.

I got so ridiculously manic the first day that I felt like I could rule the entire fucking universe and do it WELL. I told myself I would move to Chicago, I'd clean the house, I'd get the mail, I'd dress nice, I'd put on makeup, I'd read my books, I'd do my school, I'D DO FUCKING EVERYTHING.

Five minutes later I couldn't get off the couch because of how exhausted and depressed I was after that fiasco.

Repeat that cycle for two days while my body adjusted to the medication, and then I was in an okay state of being semi-functional but also still unusually anxious. It was hard to figure out if it was the medication to blame, or typical school stress, personal drama stress, or that wonderful, special time of the month we ladies go through.

Here's another fun fact for you: my morning routine involves me going to the bathroom and gagging for a few minutes, then getting ready for the day. Then trying to take my medicine, gagging some more, clamping a hand over my mouth and forcing myself to swallow. It's great fun. But sometimes it doesn't work and I have to go spit the pills out and gag some more and then I'm so freaking exhausted that I just can't make myself try again with new pills. BUT because of this, sometimes I lose a few day's worth of medicine down the drain.

I kind of forgot about this.

Because then suddenly I was off at a dance conference over a weekend where I couldn't call my doctor and where I abruptly ran out of medicine and couldn't even go to my pharmacy to get more because I was in an unfamiliar city without my own means of travel.

GUYS PLEASE BE AWARE OF HOW MUCH MEDICINE YOU HAVE LEFT.

Finally got home and finally called my doctor, but the last few days have been really really bad. Like, me lying on my bed unable to breathe because of a constant stream of panic attacks and then being so tired I can't get up and do anything. I made myself go grocery shopping and I made myself eat once or twice because I also didn't eat much while at the conference and my body was shutting down, but I still felt terrible and would always end up back curled up on the end of my bed (not even in it), shaking and crying.

Relapsed a few times. Then almost bit my thumb off trying to keep from doing it again.

If you've never had a panic attack, it's hard to describe them, and they can vary from person to person and time to time. Usually I won't be able to breathe and I won't be able to speak. I'll either shake or rock from side to side. I'll usually try very hard not to cry, but that happens anyway. It's a terrifying and helpless thing to go through, especially alone. I try to talk to people when it happens, but I've been having so many lately that I feel like the most obnoxious person ever constantly trying to make people talk to me.

That's why I've tried to make myself get up and do things the past few days, because even though it's hard and I still don't quite relax, it's a lot easier to exist while doing something or while someone is with me rather than sitting alone in my room. The whole apartment seems to suffocate me with gloom, like its absorbed all of my own feelings and keeps sending them back to me over and over and over again.

But I don't have anywhere else to go, so I just sit here for the most part. Bite my fingers and hug my cats and try not to do anything worse.

I got really sidetracked there. I finally talked to my doctor and I'll have a more regular supply of my meds, but he's also not changing any of them. I'd told him that while I was better than before, I still didn't feel great and kind of wondered if there was anything else we could try. But no. The nurse said I'd stay on what I was on and, "hopefully it will get better."

Hopefully.

Thanks.

I guess either way it will still be better than the past few days.

It's pretty amazing that a little pill can make such a big difference to my brain, and I try to be thankful for it and to think of all the things that went well today rather than just the panic.

But it's also kind of hard to keep going after years of this when your own doctor just says, "hopefully it will get better."

--Dexter

PS. I DID DO SOME GREAT THINGS TODAY. I cleaned my sheets, I braided my hair, I put on makeup, I made coffee, I made a sandwich, I hung out with people, and of course I finally got in touch with my doctor. I'm trying to keep all of these things in mind.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Final Semester So Far

Day before school starts: grandfather dies.

Two days after school starts: dream grad school rejects me.

A whole freaking month BEFORE school starts: get sick and stay sick for two months.

Now: still mysteriously sick probably gonna die tbh.

I've already missed way too many classes, from both being majorly depressed as well as being so sick I couldn't stay standing for very long. The actual workload from all my classes isn't too bad -- or at least it's nothing that's too difficult for me to keep up with. It's actually getting to class that sucks.

I forgot how to function around people, and having such a rough start makes it that much worse. My first day back at work was a nightmare trying to take people's orders or make small talk with them. It took my like, two semesters to figure out how to do that and now I'm out of practice. Just let me make your freaking latte and accept my silence. Stop freaking telling me that I don't look happy to be here.

Sorry, anyway.

I decided that if I'm forced to take a year off of school because I don't get into the grad schools I applied for, it won't be the end of the world. It will actually be pretty nice to just live for a year. But at this point, everyone seems to expect such great things of me. I'm supposed to go off to grad school and be a famous researcher and be a big name in the field or something. When I choreograph, it's supposed to be new and innovative and unusual. I'm not supposed to go work in a bookstore and become a hermit.

Although I can't lie, that sounds pretty nice right about now.

Everything just seems so pointless now, even with that backup plan in mind. Even knowing that I'll be able to re-apply to grad school, and that I'm not a failure even if I never go to grad school. But I still feel like a failure, even now. When I go to class I feel like a failure in dance. When I don't go to class I feel like a failure as a student.

Why do I need to go to class to do math? Why can't I just follow along online and not have to be with other people? Why can't I just silently turn my thesis assignments into my professor's box? Why do I have to show up in class to do it? Why do I have to keep showing up to technique classes when my body's just going to break some more and I'll never actually be able to do a double pirouette, even if I really wanted to? Why do professors give me responsibility when it has been proven that I am extremely unreliable? Why does everyone still seem to believe in me?

Lately all I've wanted to do is lie down and stare at the wall. It's so hard to make myself do anything, even if it's just to flip open my DS and poke at my Tomodachi friends. I'm miserable all the time and just want to be hugged and told it will be all right, but at the same time I don't ever want to see anyone or be touched again.

So please if you see me, offer me a hug. But if I say no, don't take it personally. But if I say yes and then start crying feel free to just gently push me on my way.

I hate myself so much sometimes. I listen to the words that come out of my mouth and hate myself for being so obnoxious and stupid. I look at myself walking around with a miserable expression and hate myself for being so gloomy and whiny. I look at myself in class and hate myself for thinking I'm good at it. I hate myself for being a difficult student and for being an asexual girlfriend and for being a depressed individual.

It doesn't matter that I know most of it's not true, that I can't possibly be as bad as I think. Knowing and believing are two different things.

Bless anyone who has been kind to me, who has listened to me, who has offered me an extra shot of espresso. I can't imagine having that much patience.

-Dex

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Grandpa

Constant offerings of seconds.

Ice cream every afternoon -- the perfect ice cream cone. This isn't a scoop of ice cream atop a cone, oh no. It's ice cream jammed down to the very bottom of the cone and then layered until there's a perfect, giant sphere on top.

Dessert after every meal.

Salt on top of everything.

Giant, beautiful pancakes.

Baseball in the backyard -- when he wouldn't miss a single shot but I was lucky just to graze the ball. Too many players and not enough space, so everyone would take turns being out in far "left field," meaning you stood in the dead patch of grass and didn't actually get to play.

Riding tiny bikes down the slanted driveway.

Playing a complicated outer space game where the truck bed was the spaceship and water guns were our weapons.

Swinging on the porch swing when my feet wouldn't graze the ground.

Pizza pronounced "peeza" instead of "pete-za."

Dominoes where I couldn't do the math, so he helped me but still beat me.

Walking around with my feet on his.

That beautiful laugh that went on and on because he couldn't help it.

I hadn't seen you in years. No time for the eight hour drive, too many classes I couldn't skip.

But I love you, and I hope you knew that.

You will be missed.

Monday, January 2, 2017

IS DEPRESSION JUST BEING SAD? -- AN EXPLICITLY HONEST POEM

In the spirit of honesty and truth, I have composed the following poem on how it really feels to be depressed. Is it just sadness? Is it apathy? Is it the vast and overwhelming feeling of anguish and despair? KEEP READING FOR THE ANSWER.








I FEEL LIKE SHIT - AN ODE TO DEPRESSION

I feel like shit
shit shit shit shit shitty shit
so much shit
much shit
shit shit shitty shit

All the time
and every day
everywhere
in every way

I feel like shit shit shit shit
so much shit
everything is shit
I am shit

Won't someone please
flush
me
away

Shit
I hate shit
All the shit
My shit
I am shit
shit shit shitty shit
so much shit

Shit
That's me
Shit
All the time
in
every
way
will
it
ever
go
away

I don't want to exist.