What The Heart Wants

Everyone is told to follow their heart, to trust in it because it sometimes knows you better than you know yourself. I ignored mine and ended up hurting someone in the process. Surrounded by friends and family who are in loving and committed relationships, I felt like I needed to be in one, too. I became his friend and rushed into what I thought would be something fun for awhile, but I realized quickly that I had made these decisions for all the wrong reasons. I couldn’t even bring myself to give it a chance because I already found myself crying when he wasn’t looking, afraid that I would somehow end up so far into it that I would have no way of getting out. So I ended it before I could do more damage.

Some have told me that I should have tried more, that I didn’t let it last long enough to know if it would become something better. But those who have given me that advice don’t know what my heart was telling me. When I finally decided to listen, I realized that I had already given it to someone else, that I’m in love with someone I can’t be with. Who knows why this happens, why we sometimes let ourselves become caught up in situations that don’t actually make any sense. I don’t know how it happened, but I know that it did.

I’ve been seeing this person for around 6 months, on and off in the form of a casual relationship. I have no idea if he sees other girls because I’ve never asked. He’s a ridiculously busy person, working 5 AM to 1 AM right now, finishing projects for his company and getting caught up on ones that are past the deadline. We don’t always talk, but I know that he’s always there. I saw him tonight, and I almost left crying, but he stopped me to ask what was wrong. I told him how work has been crappy, that I made a mistake and hurt someone, and that I stress and freak out over these situations when he’s in a far worse position and somehow manages to keep a level head. He told me that he just focuses on the fact that nothing we do is ever the end of the world. It always has a way of working itself out. He hugged me until I could breathe again, and I left.

It’s clear to me that neither of us is in a position to be in a committed relationship, both of us busy with jobs and dealing with our own mental health issues, but it somehow is enough to know that I can see him and talk to him, that he actually cares about me, even if it’s not in the way one would expect. What I thought I wanted is not what I need, and I know that now. He tells me that I deserve someone who will treat me well, someone better. When I told him I was in a relationship, he said to focus on making that work and not waste time thinking about him. But I couldn’t. Again, some will tell me I’m wrong. That I should have tried harder to make that relationship work, but I couldn’t be with someone knowing I’d never be able to see him again.

Perhaps when the day comes that brings me to a new place, with a new job and new friends, I’ll finally be able to move on. But for now, I can only take one day at a time, and I can acknowledge the fact that I have listened to my heart, and I will continue to do so.

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Self Love

If I love myself enough to put myself first in my own life, then…

…I would eliminate the stress of working too many jobs and focus on my passion and how I want to follow it.

…I would worry less about disappointing others and make decisions based on my own health and well-being.

…I would honor my desire to travel and make plans to see the world, with or without a traveling friend.

…I would make more time for my hobbies and less time for staring at screens.

…I would make the tough choice because mental health is just as, if not more, important as physical and emotional health.

…I would accept help from the friends and family who love and care for me without guilt or regret.

This is not a complete list, but I wanted to share.

I’m Okay

The good thing is that I’m not crying right now. I haven’t in a few days, which I consider progress. I’ve been making myself go to this overnight job every night for the past two weeks, and I know the shifts only last for so long, so the prospect of simply sleeping after is enough to keep me going. I’ve been cooking and baking, and I’m even trying to practice more yoga again. My second therapy session has come and gone, and I’m doing my best to make it worthwhile, even when it feels like I’m not in the moment. When people ask how I’m doing, and they’re someone I know at least a little bit, I have become accustomed to responding with “I’m okay” instead of “I’m good”. Why? Because the latter is automatic, something we say when we’re not really trying to have a conversation, even when the statement is the opposite of the truth. While saying the former may prompt questions on why, I feel better admitting that everything isn’t awesome and amazing. It’s just okay.

The not so good things are numerous, but I won’t take the time to dwell on them all right now. I’ll only share the ones I consistently think about. The thought at the forefront of my mind right now, almost every hour of the day, is the fact that I’m unhappy with where I currently live. When I returned from my overseas adventures almost a year ago, I needed a place to live, and I didn’t want to rely on my mother to pay my rent. So, I decided to go back to living with my brother, plus his girlfriend. It’s a three bedroom, so we all have our own space, but it just doesn’t feel like enough anymore. I even find myself trying to find reasons not to go home some days, and it should never be that way. I won’t say it’s because of my housemates, but I do know that I can’t avoid the fact any longer that I would just be better off living on my own. I’m the type of person who not only values her privacy but also her space. I like things to be my way, and it bothers me when they aren’t. All through college, I kept my own dishes in my room because the thought of someone else using my cup or bowl was upsetting. I even kept baked goods in private spaces because I couldn’t bear to share them. Why should they enjoy something I put my own time, money, and energy into making? Right now I spend more time in my room than usual just because I don’t feel like talking with anyone else and the times when I do sometimes end up with me being unnecessarily rude. I’m thankful for the fact that I was able to live somewhere with people I know, but I’m ready to move on. My only dilemma is the potential for me to get a job elsewhere and need to move on, leaving a place where I’d be living with loose ends.

I’m still applying for jobs that I come across, ones that are full time and happen to be in areas I wouldn’t mind living. So far, I haven’t had much luck, but that hasn’t stopped me. Just tonight I applied for two new ones. While I would love to hear back with good news, I also worry about what will happen if I do get a job somewhere. I don’t worry enough not to try, though. In the meantime, I know I’ll be happy at the zoo when the season starts again. Which brings me to the final thought I’ll share.

This DHL job isn’t difficult. The only part of it that is has to do with the shift I work. Even then, I can handle midnight to 5 AM well enough when I have time to sleep before and after. On the days when I’m up and running with no time to rest, though, I feel angry, sad, and depressed. Because of all of those feelings, I know I need to make a decision. I already took my internship down from two days to one day a week, almost deciding to completely end it altogether. I’m glad I didn’t. I can’t bear to think of working 3 jobs in the coming weeks, though, so something will have to go. It won’t be an easy decision, but I know the one I have to make. If my mental health and physical health are suffering, something has to change.

I keep reminding myself that I’m doing the best that I can, that I have people who care about me and support me. I know I haven’t been myself lately, and I’ve even been asking myself who that even is. Who is Maggie? Because sometimes I’m not sure I ever knew. I can only hope that I will figure it all out with time.

On Repeat

It’s disappointing that my first post of the new year isn’t something more exciting. I had every intention of writing out my 2017 achievements and 2018 goals, but like most of my intentions, I never followed through. So far, this new beginning has been far from enjoyable, with a few exceptions (i.e. My youngest sister’s 21st birthday). I haven’t practiced yoga consistently, I find myself becoming more and more worn out and tired from a day where I hardly expend any energy, and my nights have ended in tears more often than not. And, not to sound rude or ungrateful, don’t try to explain to me the benefit of finding someone to talk to because it’s been on my endless list of things to do, and I only end up talking myself out of it when I actually remember it was something I meant to do. It’ll happen at some point, or it won’t.

Regardless, that’s not why I’m writing right now. I’ve been struggling with putting my thoughts and feelings as of late into words, and I’d like to try. My life at the moment feels like it’s on repeat. Every year, I experience the joy of doing a job I love, whether it’s at the zoo or a short-lived albeit valuable time in California or Italy, and yet every year, I also experience the anger, frustration, and impatience that follows these periods of time. Why? Because no matter what I’ve done lately, I can’t support myself year round, and that fact takes its toll. I drown in the bills I have to pay, the expenses required of me as a living, breathing human being, and I’m constantly trying to reassure myself that it will all be okay, but it only ever gets that way if I do something I hate.

Hate is a strong word that I rarely use, but it only feels right in describing the jobs I force myself to do because the sad truth is that only earning more money will relieve my current stress. At least most of it. When I was still in college and visiting this area on breaks, I worked as a package handler for FedEx. These were three separate occasions, and I strongly disliked them all. Some days, I would go in crying and other days I would leave that way. In my opinion, nobody should ever put themselves in a work situation that involves enough stress to cause tears. But who ever takes their own advice? If you’ve never worked a warehouse job, you might not understand. Or, you might be someone who is simply stronger than me and can handle or dismiss the feelings that come with performing a job that is not what you want but what you need.

Why do I bring this up now? Because I’ll soon be starting yet another warehouse-type job and I wish I could back out but I just can’t. My orientation is tomorrow, from 10 PM to 6 AM, and I can only pray that I won’t fall asleep during it. The actual shifts I’ll be working will be midnight to 5 AM Monday through Friday. In and of itself, that doesn’t sound bad. But my stress and anxiety also stem from the fact that I’ll have my internship and my current retail job to get through as well. And I don’t even want to think about what’ll happen when I’m back at the zoo. Lying in bed right now with the headache I’ve given myself and tear stains drying on my cheeks, I know I need to make a change but I can’t decide what the right one is. I could drop my retail job and hope that I make enough at the warehouse until the zoo starts again and proceed with both of those, or I could give up on the warehouse and do whatever it takes to make any kind of extra money I can with my retail job (and that grocery delivery I still do on occasion) until the zoo starts again. I don’t know if I can spend the next month and a half juggling so many things. My mind can’t handle it.

The other thing I hate is that I put myself in these situations knowing how I’ll react, and I do it anyway. I knew I’d be reluctant to work another job of this type, but I convinced myself that I had no other choice. Part of it actually also has nothing to do with me but with what my mom would think. I know, her opinion really shouldn’t matter, but it does. And if she’s reading this, I don’t know what she would think, but I know I’ve told her before that what she thinks about me and my decisions matters a lot to me, even if I’m already in my mid-twenties. It also has a lot to do with the fact that she is always willing to help me, but I could never accept that help if I knew I didn’t do whatever I could to pull myself out of my own hole of despair. I’m the one who chose this seemingly impossible career path, so I should be the one to handle the consequences.

My nose is stuffed up, my eyes are wet again, and I can’t think of anything else more to write. Everything above is what is in my head right now, and it might seem petty or silly to worry about to you, but it may just be that you don’t quite understand how someone like me functions. I literally can’t help it. My mental health has changed a lot over the years, and I do know I need to make an effort to handle it better, but the writing I do like this honestly helps more than you might think.

The Holidays

For some reason, saying “Merry Christmas” feels odd this year. Maybe it’s because I haven’t felt “merry” lately. Or maybe it’s because I’d rather refer to this time of year collectively as “The Holidays” because Christians are not the only group of people being festive and celebrating. When I sent cards to friends and family, I called them holiday cards because saying they were Christmas cards didn’t feel right. In any case, I know how this time of year can be less than exciting for some of us, and I’m having trouble getting through it as the month continues to go on.

Whenever I tell people that my birthday is two days before Christmas, they always ask me how it is to celebrate so close to such a popular holiday. Being older now, I don’t often celebrate it anymore. All I end up doing is maybe going to dinner with my family or having a cake made for me. Sometimes I wish I could make it into a bigger deal, but this month comes with so much stress, having my birthday on top of it all feels like a burden. Right now, I’m struggling to keep myself in that state of positivity and optimism, but the tears slipping down my face tell me I’m already failing. Last night I was in such a wonderful mood, it’s a wonder how different I can feel only 24 hours later.

I don’t have to worry about buying gifts for many people anymore, aside from a secret santa at work and one member of my family that I shop for during the month of December, but I still seem to make it into a stressful rather than joyous situation. There’s so much commercialization involved in this holiday that it doesn’t make me feel happy anymore. It makes me want to do the exact opposite and buy nothing. On top of the gifts, I had my car registration to renew, and I have a new health insurance payment to look forward to in the new year. And my credit cards will never ever be paid off. (Why did I have to spend money to see Paris?) With all of that, I can’t help but panic at the thought that I will be down one job and at significantly fewer hours for the other one, and I don’t know what I’m going to do. The internship I was offered a week ago once felt so exciting and now I just wish it were something I could get paid for.

I hate money, and I hate what not having it does to me. I used to entertain ideas of living on my own next year, being able to have a space to call my own, and it pains me to know that I likely won’t have it. Nobody seems to understand how hard it is to come home and not be alone. Even the idea of talking to someone now feels pointless because they will be able to do nothing to make any of this better. All I want is to give everything up and forget my plans for the future because nothing right now seems possible.

I know friends and family will tell me what they always have, that I’m not alone. But if you’ve ever felt this way, you know that being told that doesn’t mean anything until you’ve managed to let these feelings pass. I know in the back of my mind that everything has a way of working out, but I never accept that until I’ve already cried myself to sleep.

Transparency

If you have been wondering about my moods lately and why I seem to have suddenly fallen into an endless black hole, this post is for you. The explanation I’m going to give isn’t why I suffer from anxiety and/or depression, but it is part of why I have been having so much trouble concentrating and staying motivated lately. If you know anything about me, you know I cannot help but worry, and my mind is always jumping to the worst case scenario conclusions. It’s how I’ve always been, and it’s one of many reasons why I am hoping to find a counselor to speak to soon.

A few weeks ago, I had my routine OB-GYN check up. From previous posts I’ve made online, you might know that I didn’t handle it well. It is a time I never look forward to, and I had been hoping this time would be different, but it wasn’t. I still cried, and I still left feeling weak. Eventually, I didn’t think about it. That is, until I received a call from the office a week later. I was told that there had been low-grade abnormal cells found, and I needed to be referred to another doctor to get a biopsy. Of course, I had no idea what that meant, and I immediately broke down. What did “abnormal” mean? Do I have cancer? Will I have cancer? What is a biopsy? How am I supposed to afford this? The person who called me on the phone was very calm and reassured me several times until I could actually hear her that it is more common than not for a woman to have an abnormal pap. She told me that, if not checked out, it could develop into cancer, but that would be over a matter of years, not weeks or months. I could breathe again. I called my mom, and I cried, but I managed to contact another doctor to set up a consultation, and I hoped it wouldn’t be at the forefront of my mind for the time being. It was.

Why did I need another doctor? It’s because I knew I wouldn’t be able to have myself checked out while conscious, so I had to find someone who could put me under. The idea terrified me. And I kept worrying about money. Once I received reassurance that it was the best choice from a few different people, I only had to wait for it to be over. And it was over today. I had to be in the waiting room by 5:30 AM. My clothes were replaced by a gown, and I had my first IV put into my hand. The nurses and doctors kept referring to my procedure as a surgery. It felt like a misuse of the word, but I suppose they were right. Luckily, all I remember is leaving the prep area, being wheeled down the hallway to the OR, and waking up after it was finished.

Some of you reading this may be thinking that I’ve been overreacting, that I have nothing to worry about. You may be right, but I won’t know the results for another week. And in spite of what the results are, this experience has brought up so many other thoughts and feelings, and they have combined to form a grey cloud over my head. It comes and it goes, and right now it’s still there, albeit a bit smaller. If I’m lucky, these cells are simply the sign of an infection that will go away easily over time. If not, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’ve not only been thinking about this but about my future, where I’m going with my life, what it would mean for me to have to receive treatment of some kind, what I can do differently so I don’t allow myself to be overwhelmed by every little thing. When you’re faced with real life problems, your normal routines are shaken up, and it’s difficult to pretend otherwise. So, for those of you who have been wondering, this is part of why I haven’t been fully present. And I appreciate your concern, your thoughts, and your patience.

Labels

I almost thought of starting a new blog because I’ve been wanting to post about topics that are far off from what I usually share, but I decided that there really was no reason since it’s all coming from the common source of my mind. However, I may be reluctant to share certain posts on Facebook, if only to keep my inner thoughts somewhat private. I’m not naive enough to think there is such a thing on the internet, though.

Anyway, the title of this post is exactly what is on my mind: labels. Why do we have them? Are they good or bad? Are they both? What happens if we choose not to have them at all?

I’ve recently started seeing this guy. I know. Nothing new, right? Except, it’s different, and I’m not sure how to explain that. There’s a super lengthy story behind how we got to the point we’re at, and I don’t want to take the time to share it all, but I’ll say that it’s been a bumpy and uncertain road. And it still is. I don’t call him my boyfriend because he’s not. But I’m fairly certain I’m the only girl he is seeing (at least, right now) and I know he’s the only guy I’m spending time with so what does that make us? It’s been since the end of September that we started hanging out, and there was a week during October that had me emotionally drained for reasons I won’t explain, so it hasn’t been that long. Because we’re both so busy, we only see each other once or twice a week. Even then, it only involves me going over to his apartment or him coming to mine, cuddling on the couch to watch Netflix, hooking up, cuddling after, and then we part ways. Any and all judgement aside, we’re both adults, and this casual relationship is what we have both agreed is as much as we can give right now. If I’m okay with that, why am I trying so hard to figure out what we are?

In spite of the fact that we don’t go on dates, we talk almost every day, and we’ve both shared some personal details of our lives. He’s comforted me when he had no obligation to, and he reminds me that I deserve someone special and that I should think more highly of myself. Part of why I agreed to be involved with him without expecting anything more is because my current lifestyle is very unstable. I’m building my way up to a career, and I can’t allow anything or anyone to tie me down, especially if I happened upon a full time job in another state. I wouldn’t hesitate to take it, and my life here would be left behind. But I think the uncertainty I feel is more from outside sources than my own internal thoughts.

Being surrounded by friends and family members who have loved ones they share everything with, I feel left out. I don’t want to get married, but I feel a distinct absence in my life when I wonder what I do want. I don’t want to end what I have right now because it makes me happy, and he seems to care for me to a certain degree, so why would I give that up? I shouldn’t feel like I have to tell people I have a boyfriend because the label of being someone’s girlfriend wouldn’t define me. I should just be happy with what I have, with who I’m with, and leave it at that. Those who don’t understand or don’t agree can share their opinions, but the only one that matters is my own.

To Whom It May Concern

I can’t be the only single person seeing the overwhelming number of friends on social media announcing engagements and wedding dates, but it sometimes feels that way. I even find myself struggling to feel happy for said friends because I spend too much energy agonizing over the fact that I want what they have. Not necessarily marriage but simply the joy that comes with finding the right person to have by your side. I also have a terrible track record for dating. Unfortunately, I feel that it’s partially because I can’t express who I am very easily, in person or through an online dating platform. And of course, at 1 AM, I have the sudden urge to write a list to my future significant other, or someone who might consider being my partner in crime.

  1. I am much more open online and through texting than I am in person. At least, until you get to know me.
  2. I like getting to know you before making any decisions on what “we” could actually be.
  3. I have always been a worrier. The most ridiculous and unreasonable scenarios pop into my head and influence how I approach a situation.
  4. I’m a pessimist. Not in the new-age, hipster way, but in the way that implies I tend to see the negative in everything long before I see any positive. The worst case scenario is always what I think of first.
  5. I really enjoy communicating with you at least once a day, even if it’s a super short exchange. It keeps the worrying thoughts at bay.
  6. I don’t dream of the day I’ll get married because it’s never been something I desire. However, I would be happy to spend the rest of my life with the right person.
  7. I apologize way too much.
  8. I have a terrible habit of checking who views my Snapchat stories and getting upset/worried/sad when I realize you aren’t included. (Damn social media)
  9. I am an independent woman, but I do enjoy being spoiled on occasion.
  10. My self-confidence is lower than it should be, and it’s only fairly high when I’m at work, doing things I know how to do well.
  11. I enjoy serious conversations and ones that are silly and make no sense to anyone but us.
  12. I pretend to be low-key, but I’m not-so-subtly always dropping hints.
  13. I’m not much of an extrovert around people I don’t know, but I do love going out with a group of friends.
  14. I’m not a morning person…
  15. I remember every conversation we have, even if it’s before we’ve ever actually met. That means I remember the good and the bad…
  16. I obsess over the smallest things.
  17. I desire to have someone by my side who makes me smile.

I’m sure there are more, and I may continue to add to this in the future.

Have Faith

I don’t often talk about religion because it can be a controversial subject. I’ve had it put a strain on friendships in the past, so I tend to avoid the topic. However, I had an encounter today that I feel the need to share.

It was the last hour of the day, and I was stationed in Hippo Cove, keeping an eye on guests and Fiona as she flipped and splashed around with her mother. A woman came up to me and said she had felt the need to speak to me earlier that day but that I’d been too busy, so she was happy to see me again. My initial reaction involved the zoo and my job. Had I done something that day that had upset her? Did she want to ask a question about an animal? She then asked, “Do you know the Lord?” I was confused, and I asked her what she meant. She explained further, and I eventually understood that she was asking if I knew of God. While it was completely out of nowhere, I answered her honestly that I had once gone to church with my family but didn’t currently have a belief in any single higher power. I told her that the church I went to was more for the community and that I still prayed but spoke more to a Goddess than a God.

The first few minutes of this conversation were awkward because I had no idea where this was going. Her daughter came up at one point, and she introduced us, albeit the exchange was brief because she was more interested in the baby hippo. The woman continued to explain to me that she had gotten this feeling upon seeing me earlier that she just had to speak to me and had felt that way again when we continued to cross paths. She told me that she had once been Jewish but had then converted to Christianity, telling me that the way in which religion is portrayed today is not often what it is truly like, stating that one does not have to go to a church to find God. She finally told me that the Lord wanted me to seek him out. Having spoken about church when I was younger, I’d mentioned that the support from the community had been wonderful when my father was sick. She understood that perhaps the loss of him and that community made the idea of church difficult, giving reason to her statement that God can be found anywhere.

We shook hands and hugged, and she and her daughter left. Before I realized it, I was suddenly crying, tears welling up in my eyes. It didn’t last long, and I was able to calm myself down, but her words lingered in my head. What does it mean that she needed to speak to me? Why did she feel that pull? Why does the Lord want me to seek him out, if she is to be believed? I don’t see myself all of a sudden becoming a Christian and reciting verses from the bible, but I am curious. I know that I have been putting incredible pressure upon myself, and I wonder if that has anything to do with why this woman was compelled to deliver me such a message. Perhaps it not even be just the Lord but simply a request to acknowledge a higher power more and allow it to guide me through life. I wish I knew more, but I am thankful for the moment we shared, however brief, and I will continue to ponder her words.

Adulting

Do you remember when you were young and being an adult seemed like the coolest thing in the world? You couldn’t wait to go to college or to have your dream job. You daydreamed about owning your own house and cooking your own meals. Or was that just me? It’s funny how your version of reality measures up to the real thing. Now that I’m an adult, I’m not so sure I want to be one anymore.

Unfortunately, that’s not something you can just go back on. Nope. Those student loans are already in repayment, and you spent years job hopping to find what you were truly passionate about. Your “house” is an apartment you share with your family, and most of your meals are not as nutritional as they ought to be. In spite of all of this, though, I am doing what I can to be someone who cares about her life and how she plays a role in the world.

Last week, I received an email that I mentioned in my last post, one I was not expecting. It offered me a job I had walked away from before, and I had feared that my pessimism would cause me to do so again. However, I decided that following my dreams was too important to turn away from. So, my life that was slowly approaching some form of stability has been thrown into chaos again. Does it stress me out? Of course. Am I happy with my decision? Absolutely. There’s something that you eventually learn as you slowly continue on into the journey of adulthood, and I believe I’m just starting to understand it. That is: Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. At the moment, I am not sure what my monthly income will be. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to stay with Panera and the zoo or if I’ll have to trade the former in for something else. I don’t even know what this will mean for the coming year. I find myself wishing I hadn’t gotten a nice phone, and I’m debating car insurance and whether or not I should continue to have full coverage or save a small amount and risk it. With all of this in my head, I picture my past self giving up, but I don’t think I’m that person anymore. I know I’m not.

Adulting is hard. Nobody really likes it. There are pros and cons, as there are with all aspects of life. If you find yourself in my kind of situation, though, weighing your options and trying to decide whether you should go for safe and financially secure or risky and full of passion, stop and think about what you want at this moment in your life. I don’t regret the opportunities I have pursued the past few years because they all led me to exactly where I am right now. If you turn something down in favor of a larger paycheck, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be forever. If you turn down the other path, that’s okay, too. Just be ready for what obstacles may lie ahead.