Monday, September 11, 2017

Scraps of Yarn and Hearts

Sometimes...I think about the knitting I've done.  Sweaters, shawls, hats, gloves - I've made everything but blankets.

And sometimes, I think about the pieces I've given away.

Knitting is such a personal thing.  I spend hours on a project, days, weeks, sometimes a year or more.  My heart always goes into each piece too, a reflection of what I am going through.  Socks for finals and fear of failure, a sweater when I couldn't sleep and filled the void of seemingly endless nights, hats upon hats because I can't stop the mania from making my fingers shake, a scarf because I'm just happy and can't keep it to myself.  Every single piece has a story behind it - something I designed, something I mastered, something I defeated.

I've given so much away.

A white glittering hat to a girl who shared stories with me as we shivered by the train every night after class during a late fall semester.

A grey dropped stitch hat to a girl who was convinced my soul needed saving.

A pink and green shawl and a beanie to a friend who once was close but now is drifting as we both grow into who we need to be.

Purple socks, endless red scarves, and hand warmers to my best friend who left the state this year, taking them to a place where they're no longer needed because it doesn't get cold.

A hat to someone I never even met because they were important to a friend of mine, even as it crumbled months later.

Hand warmers to a woman who's secrets made me queasy but who offered my friend a home when she and her son were homeless.

Socks to my husband because he doesn't have boots and he needs his feet warm in the winter, socks he cherishes still.

There are so many more too, to family members and acquaintances.  So many things over the course of the years and years I've been playing with yarn.

All of these people shared something with me at some point, stories and intimacies and pieces of lives. I heard stories of breakups and heartaches, disease and sickness, fears of failure, unworthiness, the future.  I heard the joys of life, getting a new home, having a new start, passing something they were so afraid to do.

 I gave them all a piece of myself too.  Things are not one way, you know, and I opened up as I handed out knits.  I gave them warmth and I gave them comfort and I gave them my own secrets and stories and fears.  Souls are interesting things.  Maybe they are like horocruxes - you chip a little away each time you share with someone else.  But that makes me sad to think about.  It makes me sound as if I regret doing what I've done and giving what I have.

Sometimes it's exhausting, but I don't have any regrets about it.  The knitted items were needed at the time to keep someone warm, someone safe, someone comforted; the bits of myself were needed too, forming connections that helped me along my way.  I've grown so much through these threads we weave - I'm learning that while I want to curl into my shell again and not let anyone in, that's a miserable way to live.  Give away a bit of yourself and see what you can learn from it.

But sometimes I think about the hand knits I've given away, and inevitably the people I gave them to.

I hope they're all flourishing.

And I hope my knits are being well taken care of.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Update: Everything That Happened and What's Going On Now

Hello lovely readers!

So here is kind of an update of what's been going on with me since I last wrote a post about what's going on in my life.

Last semester I ended up opting to graduate and drop student teaching.  There were a lot of factors involved, some including me being burned out, some including other people making decisions for me that were not theirs to make.  I'm not going to lie, I was angry about it for a long time because in the end, I felt like I didn't really make the choice but rather had it forced on me.

But things have a way of working how they need to, and this was no different.

I currently work at a middle school with students with severe needs.  It's so very different from what I went to school for (English Ed) but it's been so good for me.  The first two weeks were stressful and I didn't know if I could do it.  But going into week three, I realize I know how to do my job and I actually enjoy it.  I feel better about teaching and working, and the experience I'm getting is invaluable to when I run my own classroom.

Today I received my Bachelors degree in the mail.  It feels so surreal and amazing.  I plan to walk in December, and there will be celebrating and all sorts of good things.  I feel proud of myself for coming this far, honestly.  I now have two college degrees (an Associates and a Bachelors) and the opportunities I have are wide open.  It's an amazing feeling.  I feel like I can take on anything.

I've also made the choice to student teach next fall.  It's something I've been thinking about for a while now, but I'm ready to make that commitment now.  There are two, maybe three, ways it can go.  But to get into those, I need to back up further.

So my husband's family is all in New Mexico.  We currently live with my parents in Colorado.  His grandfather had a few strokes last year and could use some help getting around and stuff, and his mom has her hands tied.  The decision we've made is that next summer we're going to move down there and live with his grandfather, helping out while getting a huge house to run rent free.  It actually is a pretty great deal - we're allowed to do what we want with the house, I can have a garden, we're going to get a puppy, and there's room for us to expand our family in a few years.

How does this affect student teaching?

Well, there was a girl in my class last semester who was moving to Washington and they made it so she could student teach in the program out of state.  It's something the school does that I completely forgot about; I just emailed one of my mentors at the school to verify that it can happen.  So if we move to New Mexico, I can student teach through my school out of state.

Then, another plan.  My husband is finishing his degree and has two semesters left.  He has to appeal for financial aid because the government is denying him it, because he has too many credit hours total over his college career.  There are two ways this can go, and it's fairly stressful.  One, he can finish the appeal process and they'll cover him for this semester and next, and we go ahead with moving, and I student teach out of state.  Two, he has to take a semester off and work for a bit, and finishes next fall, which means that I student teach in Colorado next fall and we move during January to New Mexico.

Another plan.  We end up staying in Colorado because of the job market and I student teach then get a job here in Colorado.

Final plan, and the one I hope it doesn't come down to.  He moves to New Mexico and I stay here a semester to student teach, then move down to join him.  I pray this does not happen this way.  But if it does, we deal one day at a time.

Regardless, I'll get my license by the end of next year, and he'll hopefully be able to graduate.  I plan on getting my sub license as well, so really, my job options are endless.

Anyway, that's what's been going on.  A lot more happened over the summer (we went to Disneyland!) but that's for another post.

~Birdie

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Letter to the Dead

Sometimes, I find myself thinking about you.

We never had a good relationship.  It was bumpy and up and down, your moods and mine clashing.  We could have been good friends, I think.  If things had been different.  If we had met at different times.  If things were...just different.  You had your issues and I had mine that I didn't want to deal with.  And so we were oil and fire.

Sometimes, it makes me incredibly sad.

Sometimes, it makes me so very angry I can't stand it.

But mostly now I feel numb.

It's been over two years and you've still left a mark on all of us.  I could talk to you about how much my sister has blossomed and grown and still struggles, how my parents don't talk about it unless we bring it up now, how my husband has made promises to me in the middle of my breakdowns that he won't do what you did.  But that's not what this is for.

This is for me.  My words.  To you.

I thought I saw your sister at Wal-Mart yesterday.  I was getting my nails done and she was getting those white tips she was so fond of.  But when she turned her face, it wasn't her.  The damage was already done though.  It's amazing how something so small can still trigger a wave of intense emotion.  I couldn't stop thinking about you, about your family, about what happened, all running in the back of my mind.

They've told me I have PTSD from you and what you did and how you left.

Did you know I had flashbacks last month?  It all came rushing back - the screaming, the crying, the sirens, the numbness and shock and how dazed and confused I was.  When I woke up in the morning, I was afraid to get out of bed.  I was afraid something would happen to my husband if I did, that he somehow wouldn't be breathing when I came back later, that something would happen to me if I left the security of the blankets and faced the world.  It took me an hour to finally move.

This morning was the same.  I woke up praying my husband would be safe and protected and that nothing bad would happen, paralyzed by the fear that he would somehow be taken from me.  Later this afternoon I broke down and cried, sobbing my worries and once again hearing the words I needed that he wouldn't willingly leave this world.

Sometimes...sometimes I think I almost understand why you left like you did, you know?

Sometimes my emotions run so hard and heavy that I can't see straight.  I lash out or poke at the people I care about the most because I can't think right, I say things wrong, I worry on one thought for hours, days, weeks, I itch, I can't breathe, I can't breathe, I can't breathe...the sorrow hits and I cry for what feels like days, for no visible or obvious reasons.  My meds are working now though.  They have been for a while.  I still have those moments where I lash out or poke or cry, but they're more manageable now.

You never had that luxury, did you.  Finding the magical combination.  I remember we once picked you up from an electric shock treatment you had at the hospital to see if they could help your mind.  God, I can't even imagine.  My old therapist once told me that when someone is physically sick for a long time - like they struggle with cancer - and they pass, we say it with compassion.  But we don't account for the people who are mentally hurting without help who can't bear it anymore.

I used to be angry.

Now...mostly I don't think about you.  I've boxed you away for the most part, put in a corner of my mind to be dealt with later, whenever that is.  Not totally healthy, but it's what I did.  Now on Wednesday I'm going to have to dig you back up.  I don't know what I will find.  I don't know where you stand with me.  It's confusing and painful.

Every once in a while, you come back to me though.  Just in waves.  Usually with a small trigger, something inconsequential - thinking I saw your sister, someone telling me a dream about suicide, hearing something in the news or a song on the radio.  And then when you do, I don't know how to handle you.  So I cry usually.

Because it's just so goddamn sad, okay.  I'm sad.  I'm sad that you felt this was your only option, that you couldn't get better, that you hurt my sister like that, that you hurt your family, that your family acted the way they did towards you, that life and love and everything you tried ran through your fingers like sand.

 I know how it feels to try to catch all the grains.  I know how it hurts when they fall.

I used to worry I would end up like you, did you know that?  When I got my diagnosis.  Sometimes even now I have those passing thoughts - will I end up like him?  Our disorder...it never gets better.  I think you probably knew that more than anyone.  It changes our brains until we die, progressing; at least, that's my understanding.  I have to remind myself from time to time:

I am not you.

I never was you.

And it'll be okay.

I guess this is a long letter to tell you that I was thinking about you today.  I listened to one of the songs from your funeral before I wrote this.  I cried to my husband about my fear of losing him, losing people I care about in general.  Part of me almost wants to go to your headstone, believe it or not, but I don't know what I would do there.  Last time I went was  over a year ago and I just ended up standing there awkwardly.

I wish things had been different.  I hope you're at peace.

~Birdie

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Attention Fic Readers!

Hey readers!

So, I talk a lot about fanfiction, ocs, rps, and fandom things on here because they mean so so much to me.  Well, my best friend - one of the first people I ever met in fandom and who's introduced me to so so much - is offering commission fics.

Now, commission fics are something you don't hear about very often.
Artists commission art all the time.
But for someone to offer to write fanfiction based on word count tailored to exactly what you want - that's very few and far between.

In fact, he's the first person I know who's doing it.

Let me emphasize this:

He is the first and only person I know who's offering tailored fic commissions.

I'm one of those people that I won't out of hand sell you something if I don't think it's worth it, friend or not.  I'm also one of those people who has never spent money on a commission even though I've thought about it.

My friend is one of the best writers I know, and his work is amazing.  I have fics he's written me over the course of knowing him that I re-read all the time because they are so well done and wonderful.  From one writer to another, you will definitely get your money's worth out his commissions.

He writes for the fandoms of Metal Gear Solid (MGS), Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Overwatch, and the Witcher.

He writes ships, singles, OCs, self ships, and almost any kink you can imagine - meaning, if it's niche, there's a chance he'll write it for you if you ask.  (He does, as all writers and artists do, have the right to turn you down, but he doesn't bite - so don't be shy and definitely ask.)

He has examples of his writing  from an old AO3 account on his information page, but I wanted to add the other two fics that I like: extra example 1 and extra example 2.

You can find his awesome commission info page here.

I do, in fact, have a list of several fics that I'm going to see if he'll commission once I get the money in the next two weeks.

And if that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.

~Birdie


Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Friday

Hey readers.

I don't even know.

It's been a long week.

I need sleep.

~Birdie

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Thursday Anomaly

Hey readers!

I couldn't help myself.  This week there is a Thursday update.

(Consider this a compensation for deleting the Monday post. I'm trying to avoid things like "lol" on here, but just imagine I'm shaking my head and laughing to myself lightly over it. Cause I am.)

Alright, so, couple of things I feel like chatting about today, because I can't get my brain to hold still for the life of me.

(That started last night when I couldn't hold a train of thought long enough to help myself sleep.  You know how it is: you pick something to think about as you fall asleep and it helps you.  Last night, I kept grabbing at the meditations I've been learning, but they kept getting interrupted by random pop songs and writing ideas I'm not gonna get on paper among other things.  At least I kept them away from school stuff.  I even went outside and sat in the wind and grass for an hour before trying to go to bed, hoping to get my brain to Just. Shut. Up. When they say manic days with bipolar feel like a fucking train barreling through your mind, they are not kidding; that is how it is exactly.  I am strung.)

Alright, anyway.

I've started knitting a new shawl and honestly, it's insane.

I've wanted to knit it for a while now, and so for my birthday what feels like a lifetime ago, my parents helped me get the yarn and beads for it.  I bought really nice sock yarn (Dream in Color, Smooshy in the colorway Black Parade - I know, I've been shit talking [not on here] the cycle of emo and scene stuff coming back around, but a little MCR in my yarn can't hurt) and some really nice beads.

It's a good concentration project.  The pattern is 19 pages of charts essentially, and one of those has over 500 stitches across 8 pages.
I've started using a highlighter to help me.  If I highlight a row, I know I need to knit the row above it.
Normally I use sticky notes, but for an eventual 8 page row, that's pretty unrealistic.

I also cut out the yarn overs (the things that make the holes next to the beads) because I think they look tacky in this situation.

So far, the Little Dipper is fully formed and several other constellations are on the rise.

(Get it? Cause constellations rise and set across the sky and - nevermind.)

I would share pictures, but I'm so bad about them. As soon as I finish my current chart, I'm sending some to friends, but otherwise...use your imagination.  It's awesome.

We are on Day Two of Operation Pink Eye.

I found out yesterday that some people have never had pink eye or know what it is.
(I found this out talking to someone on one of my social media sites who thought for a moment I might seriously get hurt from it.)
I think I kind of assumed that everyone was familiar with it, especially with how easily it spreads with kids.
I stand corrected.

So lucky for all of you, I've decided it might be a good idea to explain the process of it.

Basically, pink eye is a virus in your eye.  Now, this sounds gross, and it kind of is.
What happens is your eye gets really irritated and turns bloodshot, aka where the pink portion comes from.  Some people experience itching with it.  For me, my eye just gets sore.  There's watering and crust forms along your eyelash lines as well as the corners of your eyes.

It's gross, but nothing antibiotic eye drops can't handle.

Sometimes though, you get it in one eye, and then almost overnight you get it in the other.
Aka, double pink eye.

That's the beautiful thing I woke up to this morning.

Yay, eye drops.

My husband and I finally made it to the pool yesterday.

Now, let me tell you the saga of the pool.
The pool in our apartment complex opens every year over Memorial Day weekend.  This year, however, someone got the really smart idea that the pool needed repairs.
Which, truthfully, it did.
But this prolonged the pool opening.  Initially it was going to open at the end of June.
It didn't open until about two weeks ago.

Normally, I am a mermaid essentially and am at the pool almost every day.

(Flip side of this is that I've been walking an insane amount to get out of my head since I couldn't get to the water.  Let me tell you, Colorado is full of hills and the two mile loop I do feels like I'm hiking mountains on a bad day - I'm not, for the record, I live in the city.)

And then, the water was freezing when we went the first time.

So we went yesterday and - I swear it was like magic - the water was actually warm enough that we could swim without dying of hypothermia.
It was great.

(I'm still annoyed with how long it took them to do the repairs.  They did our parking lot too, but took more time than expected, so we ended up losing several days of parking. Gotta love summer, I suppose.)

Alright, I could ramble on forever today - I honestly can't sit still - so we should leave it here.
Actually, wait, I lied.

Same person online who never had pink eye sent me this.  Imagine every "HOA board member, I want to speak to a manager, my kid is smarter than yours" white woman you know.

Yeah.
That's Gayle.

Watch it and have a laugh.  It absolutely cracks me up.

Alright, happy Thursday!
~Birdie

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Wednesday Post

Hey readers!

I had a Monday post, but I ended up deleting it.  It was basically me rambling about stuff while in a depressed mood and honestly, I was kind of embarrassed a few hours after posting, so I took it down.

Not a bad thing.
It happens to all of us.
There is a reason one of my English professors said she burned all her journals when her kids were born.
Sometimes, we write shit we feel weird about later.

(I think I'm going to burn my journals too before I have kids.  Too much personal stuff, and embarrassing stuff at that.  I made it through, I don't need the reminders of braces boy, my coming of age, and various depressive spells throughout high school and community college.)

I don't know what to write today, though, to be honest.

It's Wednesday, but it's summer and the days are blurring for me.

I was diagnosed with pink eye and a fever today, which explains a lot about why my eye hurts and keeps watering.  Might also explain my headaches from the past few days.

I got some spiffy eye drops.

I can't remember the last time something like this happened.
I think it was when I was working with a tutoring company back in 2009?
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Kids man.
They spread illness like it's medieval England.

Dunno where I got this one, but I'm glad it's not strep.

I'm realizing school's going to be hell this fall.
The only reason I chose a late class was because I wanted a particular professor.
(She runs ComicCon for my city and is honestly one of my favorite professors.  If anyone can make Milton interesting, I'm betting my semester that it's her.  I'm going to cry otherwise.)
My sister is also coming to school and has a class earlier and later than me.
I volunteered to stay on campus with her because crime rates have gone up and there's no way in hell I'm not going to be there with her after dark.

So I'm going to be on campus for 12 and a half hours twice a week, only in class for about five of those, and the breaks are spread out in such a way that I can't go home and back easily.
Plus field experience twice a week.

Thank god for escapism, complicated knitting projects, and my friends and husband.

Otherwise, I think I might die.

I hate being downtown to begin with.
I hate being there after dark.
I hate the fear of it and the fact that I have yet to figure out a way to get over it.

We'll see how things go.

I think this about sums up things?
Yeah.

Anxiety is still present in my stomach, and I think it will always be there in a little knot, but it's mellowed some.  At least, to the point where I'm back to functioning like a normal person, which thank god for because honestly, it was getting really hard to breathe for a while there.

I've kind of chilled about writing.
I hit that point where I keep hitting a blank wall.
I've tried writing canon characters.
I've tried writing my OCs in the canon and AU verses.
Hell, I tried writing a character for a novel I've had in my head for over two years.

Nothing.

I'm not so much frustrated about it as I am sad.
I didn't realize how much this got me through summer until I couldn't do it anymore.
Maybe a break is good.
But it still makes me sad.

I think I'm trying too hard.
It's supposed to be fun and I'm taking it too seriously.
Learning to relax and go with things is so difficult for me, so it's time to learn, bit by bit.
I live so much by rules...when there are none or I can't make some, it's...I worry I'm doing things wrong.

I'm learning.

Again, like I said at the start of this post, not a bad thing.
It happens to all of us, in different ways.
We learn and grow.

And my eye is stinging again.
I think that's a good place to leave this.
~Birdie