Five Things

1. I have a thing about elevators. I don't know when it started, but I am not fond of them. The older and more rickety and smaller they are, the more my anxiety ratchets up. There's something about being in an enclosed box where you can't see what's going on, being held up by what looks like a very small cable. Now, my wise mind tells me that elevators are perfectly safe, that they pass safety inspections, and that millions of people ride on elevators without incident every day. My emotional mind doesn't really care about that. It's too busy imagining a plummeting fall that no one expects and smashing to the ground with no way to calculate when impact will happen, and nothing to cushion the fall. 

Now, this is not a debilitating thing. I haven't stopped using elevators. I don't even avoid them. It's just something I tend to think about whenever I step into one. Ironically, my favorite amusement park ride is the Tower of Terror at California Adventure, where it's made up to be an elevator gone haywire as it sporadically rises and drops. Analyze that one.

I've been thinking about this blogging challenge most of the day today. There are prompts to follow on weekdays, which makes coming up with something to write about a bit easier. But for some reason, I have found today's prompt a little tricky. It is simply to share five interesting things about myself. I have picked it apart all day. What makes something interesting? What makes it belong to me? I know I'm way, way, over analyzing this, but I feel that in order to achieve growth through this process (which is my goal), I kind of need to think it through a bit.

My goal is to share something that my readers don't know already, so I don't feel I can put too much of the postpartum struggle in there, because I have repeatedly written about it. But at the same time, it is my whole life right now. 

So here goes.

2. Sometimes I feel I have experiences in life just so I can be empathetic with other people who struggle. I feel that a lot of my dumb mistakes and stupid decisions, though regrettable, have served a purpose in my life. I have a really hard time pointing the finger at people or judging them, because a lot of times, I have been there myself. And often times, I find out the other way around. I judge someone because of their circumstance, and then, when I am in the exact same place, I think, Oh. Whoops. I'm an ass. I used to think that people who self harmed just wanted attention or were just overly dramatic. Now that I am a recovering cutter, I have seen how horribly addictive and harmful, not only to the body, but to the self, it can be. I used to roll my eyes and sigh when I heard of someone hurting themselves. Now my heart aches for them. 

I thought parenting was really difficult, but doable. I had no idea what life changers depression and anxiety were. I went from complaining and struggling with daily chores such as dishes, laundry, and picking up toys, to sitting on the floor, staring at the wall in a daze while my children ran around me, laughing or screaming or crying or playing. Dishes, laundry and cleaning were not even on the radar. Not even something I could look at and comprehend, let alone try to accomplish. All I could comprehend was breathing in and out and trying to hold it together so I wouldn't cry or lash out at my kids. 

Now that I have had that experience, I know it was so I can help others. I know I can reach out and help and support those who are going through the same thing. I can share my experience to help ease the pain of someone else.

3. I care more about pleasing other people than I do myself. This is something I'm trying to recognize and get over. I have been a people pleaser since birth, I think. I was always a rule follower, always wanted to do the right thing in the right way. When I was in school, if a teacher ever reprimanded me, it wounded me to the core. I always defer to whomever I am with to make decisions, because I don't want to make any they disagree with. I hate rocking the boat. I much prefer to be the one steadying the boat, making sure that everyone else is safe.

4. About ten or so years ago, I had a lump removed from the side of my face. It was a benign growth that had interwoven itself around the nerves and glands in my face. The surgeon said the surgery took much longer than they expected, because it was so tangled up. In performing the surgery, the doctors cut my face from my ear, down along my neck and under my chin, and then folded the skin back to access the tumor. As a result, when the tissues grew back, my salivary glands on that side of my face were redirected and somehow got confused with my sweat glands. It took about a year after the surgery for this to happen. Since then, whenever I eat something particularly tasty, or something sour, or if anything makes me salivate, the side of my face turns bright red and gets wet. I literally salivate out the side of my face. Bizarre.

5. I love travelling by myself. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to do so, but I have taken a few very awesome trips. Once, I traveled to Portland with a group of friends. They were attending a conference for a week, so I rented a car and went on a scenic trip through the Columbia River Valley, and up through Washington, hiking and camping along the way. At one point, I went on a hike in a lava tube. Lava tubes are underground formed by ancient lava flows, and are basically a long tube cave. When I pulled into the parking lot, mine was the only car there. The hike I went on was a couple miles, all underground, lit by my headlamp the whole way. It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Of course, I had backup lighting and gear, so I was safe in that regard. There's something to be said about taking a journey you have never taken, by yourself, that you are a little nervous about. Being able to climb out of that darkness into the bright sunlight at the other end of the tunnel was so rewarding.

There's a pretty obvious metaphor there.

I'm really excited to continue this journey. I feel that the timing for the theme "self" was spot on for where I am in life right now. 

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