We’re a Thousand Miles From Comfort

So. Hey there.

Here: have a photo of Harry Styles that I took.

Oh, and look, here’s my favorite picture I’ve maybe ever taken.

I could do a big long thing about why I haven’t been here. How I lost a job; spent a few months jobless, started seeing three mental health professionals, and gained a job. But, really, who wants that?

I’ve wanted to be here for awhile. I’ve been scared to say what I have to say. And it’s that I’m doing really well. It’s scary because if that goes away? Well, it feels like I’ve jinxed it in a Robert Durst, “killed them all, didn’t I?” kind of way.

Two-ish years ago I had a chance to meet, get to know, learn from, and have a heart to to heart with MeRa Koh, one of my biggest photography inspirations. I held my best’s hand, and with the sounds of the Outer Banks at my back spilled my guts to her. Why I loved photography. Why I felt like my depression was holding me back. How that feels like an excuse. She asked if I was in therapy. When I told her, “No, I’m poor.” Her response was the best. “GIRL! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?” And if you’ve never had MeRa Koh shouting about getting your ass to therapy, I highly recommend it.

She was right. There’s never enough time/money/unicorns for therapy. But after six months of therapy I’m a believer. I firmly believe everyone should go for a bit. Find the person that works and go. Hot damn, but it’s expensive. But you know what’s more costly? Letting my mental health continue to deteriorate. The things I’ve learned, about myself, about depression, about the way my brain works are insane. Things I’ve thought I’d never have a chance to fix, to get past now have hope. And hope is a scary word. It holds so much. It can destroy me so easily when it’s dashed. But when it’s not? Hot damn.

1D Chicago

Things are not perfect. All of my insecurities still exist. But most days? Most days they don’t consume me. They aren’t the end all and be all of my very existence. Having my meds right for the first time EVER; seeing a professional to help de-tangle all the distortions in my head?

1D Chicago

There’s no place I’d rather be.

1D Chicago


Hold That Book Like Alcohol, Hold That Book Like Alcohol

I’ve been writing about some emotionally rough stuff lately, over at Your Tango: Just because I’m lonely doesn’t mean I hate myself; what depression is like for me, and never having been in love before. (Shameless plug, I know. But hang in there.) It’s been a weird, but good, experience. I’ve been feeling these things so often and for so long that I don’t have dig very deep to get to it. It’s all just sitting there on the surface ready for the taking. But this week (last week?) I hit an emotional wall (and god bless Brie who took the brunt of that breakdown). While it feels good to get it all out there, it also doesn’t fix anything. Not that I thought it would. But it’s a very odd experience to lay out all of your failures and shortcomings for others to see and have nothing be any different at the end of the day.

I’m not sure that feeling is going to go away any time soon, but the least I can do is keep writing and see what happens.

One thing that happens when I’m depressed is I start taking away the things I love to do, and one of the first things to go is reading. Part of it is I’m so tired at the end of the day, my brain is so done that I can’t imagine it working to read. It’s so much easier to turn on the tv and zone out. Which means, I’m way behind on my reading. I’m determined to read more as the year closes out and since someone asked a hundred years ago, here’s what’s on my nightstand right now.


A photo posted by Shireen (@justshireen) on

The Man In The Rockefeller Suit – I love true crime. I love dark, twisty, weird shit. And when that shit actually happened? Even better.

Defending Jacob – This is a book club book that we’re reading this month. Legal thrillers usually aren’t my thing, but I’ve heard good things about it. Plus, that’s been one of the nice things about this book club. It’s pushed me to read things I wouldn’t have chosen on my own.

Sublime – My girls Christina Lauren wrote this. Their first YA novel and I’ve been dying to find the time to read it.

Landline – I love Rainbow. And I’m kicking myself that I haven’t read this yet. But because I love her, I wanted to devote the appropriate brain space to this book and I just haven’t been able to yet. Soon, my precious. Soon.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – You’d think at 32 I’d have being an introvert all figured out. But I don’t. Not by a long shot. This is also a great book for extroverts who don’t know how to deal with the introverts in their lives.

Big Little Lies – This is another book club book. I know nothing about it, but I’ve liked her stuff in the past. I’ve also heard from some folks who love all of her stuff that this is their favorite so far.

House Of Leaves – Remember my love for the dark and twisty and based in reality? Yeah. That. A friend of mine said she’d read it and the first words she used to describe it were, “This is some fucked up shit.” I immediately pulled out of my phone to add it to my GoodReads list.

I also need to finish the last book in the Shatter Me series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, and the Divergent series. I KNOW.

What are you reading? What should I add to my massive list of books to read?


I’ve Been Wandering Early And Late

I realized that lately I’ve been wishing the days away. I wake up and can’t wait until the work day is over and I can go back to bed. It’s Monday and I wish it was the weekend. It’s October, but I wish it was next summer. Some of it’s healthy: I have a lot of One Direction concerts fun things planned for next summer. Some of it’s depression: my meds aren’t quite working. A doctor’s appointment as been made, but as it’s a new doctor (mine skipped town to do good deeds elsewhere) I couldn’t get in until December. Some of it’s bad habit, maybe? Either way, it’s not something I like. I’d rather not wish my life away. I’m trying really hard to be present and enjoy each moment, as cheesy as that sounds.

SPEAKING OF (God that was a good segue), my dearest and bestest friend got married earlier this month. We’ve been friends since we were nine and have been through it all; no seriously, she once pushed me down a flight of stairs. She’ll deny it, but I WAS THERE. *ahem* Nobody makes me laugh harder; she’s not just a friend, she’s family. And while I normally dislike weddings, I honestly couldn’t have been happier to have been a part of hers. Jess and her family designed and made everything and have raised the bar so stupidly high for weddings it’s insane.

JK Wedding

JK Wedding

JK Wedding

Two out of three maids.

If you know me, you know that I generally hate weddings. But I've never been more excited and happy to be a part of one last night. Getting to see my best friend get married and be a part of the day was incredible. Love you, boo.

Congrats, Jess and Kevin! <3 <3

SPEAKING OF WRITING (I’m really good at this segue thing, you guys) I have a new gig writing for YourTango. It’s only been a month, but I feel really great about it. It’s the first time in a long time that something has just felt “right”. I’ll be posting over there about once a week so if you just are dying to know what’s going on with me (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be) you can get your fix. I’m hoping this whole writing regularly for them bleeds over here.

And that’s what you missed on Glee!

JK Wedding

My Friend The Terrorist

The thing about depression is it starts quietly. Just a quiet whisper of, “You’re not good enough.” You can brush it aside, not disagreeing, just moving on. Another whisper of, “you fucked up.” Until eventually it’s shouting a steady stream of, “you’re not good enough,” “you messed up,” “they don’t like you,” “you’re not enough.”

And the thing is, if you hear something enough you’ll believe it. You not only believe it, you understand it. It makes sense to you that someone wouldn’t want you because of course they don’t. Why would they? What’s to want? You walk around carrying this weight of failing and everything else becomes harder; simple things like going out in public or not crying in the frozen food aisle of Target because you had to buy your dinner from a section labeled, “Meals For One.” Things like being able to interact with the rest of the population who doesn’t have an emotional terrorist living inside their brain. And the failure pile keeps growing, validating every negative thought your brain has ever thrown at you.

I was reading a story* recently that described depression perfectly.

His depression is like that friend he never agreed to and doesn’t want, a deadweight he’s carrying around everywhere, and isn’t ever allowed to put down.
– Sunsetmog’s Not Your Fault But Mine

And it’s so true. I’ve been dragging this godawful weight with me since I was 16. Which is 16 years of listening to my brain tell me all the ways in which I’m not good enough. And let me tell you, my brain is creative.

I can’t put it down. I don’t know how not to listen to it anymore. I don’t know how not to believe that voice instead of the people who care about me. Because that voice is telling me any nice thing you say is a lie. Look at all this evidence it has complied. *gestures vaguely at Fail Pile*

Sometimes the hardest thing isn’t the depression. It’s remembering the old me. The one who didn’t second guess everything. But I’m starting to wonder if the old me is real or I just made or her up so I had something to hold on to. So I had something like hope that I could aim for.

*Yes, this story is fan fiction. Yes, it is about boys. Yes, it is about boys who exist in the real world; who you may have even heard of. However, it is also the most accurate portrayal of someone dealing with depression that I’ve ever read. In or out of fic.

Gravity Plays Favorites

Goodbyes are hard. They shatter off a little piece of you, leaving a hard, sharp edge, a hole to be filled. Even when they’re not permanent, and that piece comes back, knits itself back in place, it’s always there. A small ache, a fragile connection that lets you know that goodbye is just waiting around the corner. Because you know now. You know how temporary and tenuous the connection can be.

Last Wednesday I was forced to say goodbye to George Weasley. He’d gotten some bad news from the vet a week before, but it still came as a surprise when he had a heart attack (or something like it) in my arms. Then again, I’m not sure that’s something you can ever be prepared for. A couple more people got to witness my ugly cry.

Snoozer  #catsofinstagram

I feel lost a lot. Lonely. In a sea of couples and groups orbiting around each other, I feel like this lone, weird little planet just free falling through the solar system. George gave me someone to tie my gravity to (pull into my gravity? Be pulled into theirs? Science was never my strong suit). He didn’t have all the pesky things that make it hard to tie your gravity to with a person. No spouses or children or careers to get in the way. Just 8.9 lbs of fur ready to be loved.

My view does not suck. #catsofinstagram

There’s a new fluff planet around now. And I have lots of feelings and emotions and thoughts about the fact that he’s a baby, and I adopted him four days after George died. But for now, meet Lincoln. 1.8 lbs of fur and love, helping to tie me to something again.

I miss my bunny face madly. And I have lots of feelings about adopting a kitten four days after losing George Weasley. But for now: meet Lincoln. Named after Lincoln from @@rainbowrowell's Attachments b/c he was the most shy of his litter & turned into th

There Is No Try

Do you ever get that feeling where you just need to do something. Need to create or destroy. Raze and salt the earth just to do something. Or, you know, get a tattoo or finally start that book you’ve been meaning to write since you were six if we’re being a bit more realistic and a bit less melodramatic.

Some days I’m overwhelmed by the sameness of my day-to-day life. I feel the crushing weight of all the things I haven’t done; of watching others live their lives and try for their dreams while I’m too scared to even really think about it. Other days, days like today, I can feel the need for change, the need to do sitting like a physical thing right in the center of my chest.  And it’s not a bad weight, it’s not weighing me down or holding me back. Everything feels possible those days. Change and opportunity don’t seem scary, they just seem part of life. Something anyone could do. Something I could do.

On days like this I wonder if this is what “normal” feels like. If this is what not being weighed down by anxiety, and depression, and financial burdens feels like. Is this is how all you people feel all the time? Good hell.

Usually nothing much comes of these days. Maybe a blog post. If the weight’s still there after work, I’ll even pick up my camera. Sometimes the feeling lasts an hour. Sometimes an entire day. But eventually it dissipates until the hope and promise of possibility is no longer a weight, but a phantom ache of something that was once there.


Lately, I feel like I’m stuck. Physically, emotionally, creatively. I’m stuck. I’m in a cycle that I desperately want out of, but nothing seems to work. If you look back at my life five years ago I was in the same position. Alone. Stuck in a job that I wasn’t invested in, killing myself at that job so I could pay bills, too tired to do anything but that job and every day that went by without picking up my camera or writing chipped away at my…me. And they’re all excuses. If you really love something, you’ll find a way. But when I’m depressed I take away the things I love. Not consciously, but bit by bit it gets harder. The voice in my head telling me why bother? It’s not going to amount to anything anyway.

I’m looking around at my life and, I’m wondering why? If this is it; if working jobs I don’t love and barely being able to pay my bills is  it? If I’m going to spend this completely unremarkable life alone, if I’m not going to be able to share my life with someone, then what’s the point? I want so much more. I need so much more, but I’m not sure I can get it. Maybe I’m asking for too much. Maybe all the time I’ve spent with my head in a book reading about fantastic lives and loves and travels has skewed my expectations. I wish so much that being healthy and having amazing friends and family were enough.

Life would be so different if I wasn’t carrying around this constant weight of more. But it’s there. And it’s been pressing on me for so long I’ve stopped moving. Even the smallest of steps feels insurmountable. And I’m trying to be okay with what I’ve had. Accept that not everyone gets what they need. That part of being human is failing and falling and doing without.

It’s just not enough.