In preparation for this weeks premiere of The Petting Zoo, I wanted to dive into who I am a little bit. The podcast is meant to be fun, but for the first week, we wanted to read over some of the Advice entries and offer someone else's advice to give, my co-host Taylor. While the first half of the podcast holds true to what is on the surface and can be seen through out the site, the second half takes a turn to serious. We share stories of our upbringing, some recent life events, and our fathers. After reviewing the content, I decided that it wasn't the best way to introduce the podcast as, generally speaking, the podcast is supposed to be comedic and cover one or two hot button topics, news or otherwise, in a comedic tone with serious undertones.
After listening to the podcast, some of the content was touching, tear jerking, and completely relatable as we continue on tangents about living in a broken home with father figures who just can't seem to get their shit together. This brought me to thinking that most internet forums and content creators project an online persona that is typically only just beneath skin deep. Their lives before creating content are usually shrouded in mystery. I think you can attribute a lot of that to their young ages but some of it might just simply be a mask.
While I am not intending on letting my community members through an open doors and leading them down the dark hallway that is my past, I did want to shed some light on what brought me here, and what sparked the kindling to finally pull the trigger and make content, regardless of the audience it reached. (Seriously, I'm here for my own happiness, not for anything else)
The past 3 years have been a rocky road. I left an uncomfortable marriage and a home that I built with blood, sweat, and tears. I worked two jobs, and fell into an unhealthy pattern of drinking and partying, which led to depression and a divorce. Part of this was triggered by struggles with infertility, and the other part of it was struggles with weight, which seemed to go hand in hand.
By 2013, I was struggling to keep my head above water emotionally, while watching my health decline in my mid 20s. That was absolutely not where I thought I would be. There wasn't a skill or hobby that I tried that I didn't knock out of the park. I played sports and took loads of accelerated classes in my youth, so I started to look at my life like a piece of swiss cheese. There were parts of me that were missing, holes to be filled.
In 2014 I decided that enough was enough and it was time to make some changes. I left my home and my husband, and by June the next year, I left a job of 8 years and quit a second of 1 year, moving into my own place in November.
I had been seeing Alex for a while at this point, and he was more than supportive, and willing to make sure that I was happy. That relationship couldn’t bare the weight. I was still declining in health, and completely exhausted, both physically and mentally. I was seeing doctors left and right and doing blood work to see if I had RA or Lyme, anything to pin point why every bone in my body was aching.
In December, a natural disaster took my families home, moving them in with me for several months, cramming my 2 bedroom apartment with 5 people. You can imagine the rift that caused, and by March, they had found an apartment, in an effort to stabilize our family. In May of 2016, the home they had been working to rebuild for 1.5 years, was taken once more by natural disaster. At this time, it was clear, my step father was removing himself from the picture, and the rift grew wider.
After a year reclusiveness, struggles with addictive tendencies, and pain so excruciating I could barely get out of bed in the morning, a slip and fall accident finally sent me to seek the help that I needed. Frustrated with my body I contacted a lawyer to start looking into the injuries to my back and knee that I sustained in the fall, and my cousin directed me to a clinic to look further into my other pain related issues.
By May of 2016, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and the only reasonable solution was surgery. At the age of 29, I was staring down the barrel of a gun, and ready to let it take me if it fought hard enough. The doctors tried to convince me to conceive, but after 10 years or trying to do so, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted this cancer gone, and I wanted my sanity back. I knew that I would have a tough recovery, given the state of my body, and the two years of consistent issues that it had endured. I knew that my mind would have to heal even longer, and part of myself would be lost, but what good was I to my family, friends, and a child, if I missed the opportunity to save my own life?
Just 9 days before my 30th birthday, I underwent surgery, and was declared cancer free just 4 days later, with the great news that the cancer had not spread. I celebrated being cancer free, but mourned the loss of a child, all as I turned 30 years old. It was a very hectic year, to say the least.
January of 2018, I rang in the new year alone, battling silently with addiction, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I didn't tell anyone I was having issues. My addiction was excused because I was experiencing pain and taking prescribed medication, but not always as directed. My body had become dependent, while my mind wanted sobriety. I wanted out of my body completely, and there was only one way to do that. It was struggle to get out of bed. I didn't want to move, and some days, physically I couldn't. It was hard to explain to people who hadn't been where I'd been, or been through what I'd been through.
I attempted to pick myself up. New year, new me, well, more like old me. I wanted to get back to who I had been before the trouble started. Well, my life has always been trouble, but I'd shone through before. Now I was having trouble finding my light. I was lost and it was dark, but I wanted to fight again, and that was enough.
Just when I thought I was on my own two feet again, they were knocked right out from under me. My brother, only 20, would take his own life. While controversial and misunderstood, my brother was self destructive. He was an addict, a REAL addict. He had attempted time and time again to take his own life, and this time, he would succeed.
We'd seen it coming for years, but that doesn't take away the pain that comes with the tragedy. We'd been bracing for impact, but the damage was still done. The process was slow. The end was painful, and we struggled with few by our side, to say goodbye to our baby brother for the last time.
Even though this was something I had been prepared for, just like the diagnoses of cancer before, the wind was completely knocked out of me, and on April 3rd, I tried to take my own life. It wasn't intentional. It wasn't excessive. I cut myself off of every medication I had been on, and decided that I would just wait for the end. If it didn't come soon enough, I'd speed up the process. I didn't have a plan, just a will, and that was all it took.
I went to work that day wondering what semi I could cut off, and how I could make it look like a terrible accident. I struggled with the thought of my family and friends, and how they would take it, but I'd been so alone and let down the year prior, through all the pain and heartache, that I didn't think they would care. I started to believe that I didn't matter. I worked 9-5 and was replaceable there. I came home and barely could take care of myself, let alone my household and "family". I could be replaced. I convinced myself, and for a few hours I sat my desk completely dead inside. I didn't think. I didn't work. I just... sat.
I'm not sure what inside me changed. I'm not sure if it was looking at the screensaver of Alex with one of our dogs. I'm not sure of anything, but I got the courage to pick myself up, walk into my bosses office, leave the door open, and own my shit. All of it. That I was genuinely struggling. That I didn't want to live anymore. That the thoughts had started to invade my dreams, and effect my ability to think rationally. I was running out of time to save myself, but no one else was going to be my hero.
I spent the next week in a local mental health facility. Testing medications, under constant surveillance, detoxing from all the medication I had been on legally and illegally for years. The first 3 nights I put myself into a padded room and seized up like that spider in Harry Potter while Mad Eye Moody practices the unforgivable curses. (I know, stop trying to be funny during such a serious post) I begged for relief. I needed to rest, but I kept going, and you want to know how?
I wrote a diary. I wrote to Alex. I just, wrote. I wrote about my stay there, the things I missed about the outside, my job. I wrote about my plans when I got out. I started thinking about pulling the trigger on a big move we'd been avoiding.
Then I read.
I re-read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I researched outpatient programs. I read signs, I read paperwork, I just...read.
Then I remembered.
When I was a senior in high school, my English teacher asked me if I could stay after class. I sat down with her and she slid a short story I had written at the start of the year across the table. My Grandma worked there and she'd asked her to come sit down with us and chat. I'll never forget what she said to me as long as I live. This tiny, large glasses wearing, laid back, soft voiced, English teacher said to me.
"If you don't do something, anything with your ability to write and entertain, you are seriously wasting your time here. You are extremely talented. I made a copy of this and I want to submit it for you. I have never seen anything like it. You have an incredible gift."
I wrote a little as I got older, but not nearly enough. At some point, if I didn't get validation. I gave up. I had done that a lot throughout my life, and it needed to stop. So here I am. I don't care if no one reads these, listens to the podcast, or even clicks on the site, I'm here for me. If you don't like something you read, hear, or see, that's your life to live. I'm not living your life, I'm living mine, and finally having fun doing it.
So there you have it. This is what started Heiress Anonymous. The name came from the idea that I wanted to keep my writing anonymous, but you know, at some point, the start aliegned and what I did on the site, no longer effected my professional life. At some point I decided that even if it did, I didn't care because THIS is what makes me happy, and if you're here, still, reading this long, annoying, vaulnerable rant, you make me happy too! I appreciate all the support.
See you next week, and as always, You're Welcome! XOXO