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depression

depression, Guest Posts, Self Image

Metamorphosis: A Growth Chart of Myself and the Natural World in Snapshots.

December 18, 2014


beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black
By Melina Papadopoulos.

Like many eager young students, my understanding of metamorphosis began with the charming story of the caterpillar, almost always fairytale-like in its delivery. Its beginning urged me to sympathy, portraying the caterpillar as a lonesome, unsightly creature who spends his days lounging on dandelion heads or in the green shadows of jungle gym tunnels. By the end of the story, my eyes widened with wonder. After a long season of deep slumber in a self-constructed chrysalis, the caterpillar emerges, now butterfly, now winged, soaring, a beautifully fragile flourish of flight.

It is worth noting, however, that metamorphosis is not exclusively a mechanism meant for “upgrading biologically” in a purely aesthetic sense. To quote marine biologist Jason Hodin, metamorphosis is a “substantial morphological transition between two multicellular phases in an organism’s life cycle, often marking the passage from a prereproductive to a reproductive life stage.” But perhaps I would delve into the whole process more intimately, unravel it until every creature that metamorphoses can find itself between the growth spurts, the transitions of transitions.

Suddenly—

Tadpoles are tempted from the water with the promise of legs. Their metamorphosis begs for beginnings; a clutch of quavering eggs stares up from the murky shallows of the pond, like the many glaucomic eyes of a fitful sea monster. Metamorphosis aches for resolution. Before it can allow the frog to learn of the land, it must snuff out the youthful tail and sculpt all that remains into a more dignified asymmetrical rump.

More important, metamorphosis challenges old identities while new ones form beneath. In his book The Mystery of Metamorphosis, Frank Ryan explains that at one point organisms were classified only by their adult forms. He goes on to explain the major flaw of this classification system, “that many larval forms just did not fit in with the extrapolation of the tree of life based on the adults.” Such observation is astute because it acknowledges that an organism’s identity encompasses its whole life cycle, not just the end of it, after it has fully shed away its old skin, corrected its awkward gait. Life cycles shape children into adolescents, adolescents into adults, tissue by tissue, organ by organ. But it is a mere shaping and reshaping, not a rebirth, not a revival. In the hands of metamorphosis, everybody emerges with his own creation dust in his eyes.

In the hands of metamorphosis, nobody is ever complete.

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depression, Guest Posts, Yoga

Guidance.

September 26, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black

By David Henault.

Things in my life were coming to a boil. I had a dead end job with no clear direction in sight. I was drinking a lot to numb the harsh reality that I was finally at a loss and I was chest deep in depression. I knew I was at a turning point in my life but didn’t know which way to go. I could stay on a self destructive path or beat the odds and become something. I just didn’t know how to do it.

With every step, I watched my breath as it exhaled from chapped lips while I made my way up the half snow covered concrete stairs and to the weathered screen door that lead in to her apartment building. At the top of the porch, I looked over my shoulder for the third time just to make sure her beat up blue car was still parked on the street, as if somehow she could slip out and away without my noticing and be gone again.

I pulled the screen door open and turned the knob on the freshly painted wooden interior door. The hallway was dimly lit and musty, reminding me immediately of our basement on Normandy Road where I grew up. The old woman that lived on the first floor opened her door to see what the noise was and shut it again quickly, sheltering herself from the interruption in her day. I made my way up the creaky wooden stairs and stood in front of her apartment, watching for a moment the playful shadows from under the door that were cast by the lamps inside.

I took another breath and knocked quickly on the center of the door with my knuckles, which immediately started to sting from the cold.

I watched as the shadows from under the door stop moving. Silence.

My heart began to sink a little at the thought of missing her again and then out of nowhere, the door swung open.

She immediately smiled a big smile which comforted me and all was suddenly okay.

“Hi Davey!”, my mother said, letting the door to finish swinging open on its own as she walked straight back down the dark hallway in front of me and past three rooms to the bathroom where the light was coming from.

I had never seen her look more beautiful. The soft glow of the lighting behind her made her look soft and young. Her eyes bright, full of life and reminiscent of someone in their mid-
twenties. Her hair was full with bouncy locks styled like those in old yearbook pictures of people you see in the boxes your parents keep in the attic. When she smiled, I felt warm and calm. Safe.

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courage, depression, healing

Depressed Cake Shop.

August 17, 2014

By Valerie Van Galder

Like many people, I was devastated last Monday when, routinely checking my email, I learned that Robin Williams had taken his own life.

Just that morning I had been at Sony Pictures where I spent many years running various marketing departments and was now working as a consultant. I had stopped and smiled at the poster from RV, in which William played a hapless but well-meaning Dad taking his family on a vacation. I thought for a moment about how I had enjoyed working on that campaign, and then continued on to my meeting.

Now I thought about how depression is often accompanied by so much brilliance, so much humor, and then, as I do every day, I thought about my dad, and the journey that had brought me to running an initiative called The Depressed Cake Shop.

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courage, depression

The Balls Out Truth About Depression.

August 13, 2014
Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

By Amy Ferris.

This is what i know this morning

post coffee

pre wine

yesterday my friend asked me, did you ever try it? yes, i said, yes, i tried suicide.

obviously, this was all around the news of robin williams & his death.

yes, i said… i was young, much younger, and so sad, i was so miserable & so unhappy & i felt all alone in the world.

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courage, death, depression

Depression is a Duplicitous Asshole.

August 11, 2014

by Angela Giles Patel

Everyone battles something. Some of these battles are episodic and some rage over the course of a lifetime. Many of these battles are so private that they happen without anyone else even being aware of them taking place.

Today I learned that a man I respected for his ability to share himself so publicly died. His depression had reportedly been growing in severity and yet he still entertained. And I felt the harshest of reminders that just because someone is bold enough to speak openly about struggling with a disease, they are far from free of it’s grip. Just because someone’s job is making us smile, it doesn’t mean they are carefree–it just means they are very good at their job.

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Anonymous, depression, Guest Posts, healing

Both Sides Now.

August 9, 2014

Hi guys, Jen Pastiloff here. I am the creator of The Manifest-Station. This gorgeous essay was submitted but asked to remain anonymous. 

Both Sides Now.

And I a smiling woman.   

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.

There are dark, blood red spots on my right Top-Sider. They are, in fact, spots of my blood. I cannot bring myself to wash them off. I will occasionally look down at my biohazard shoe and think, oh yeah. That happened. This time last week. Oh yeah. A week ago today, I walked into my therapist’s office at 4pm, apparently still stoned out of my head on the 48 Klonopin I had taken the night before.

I didn’t mean to, exactly. I don’t think I did. I told her I took 47, but I had brought the bottle, giving it over to her, and as she counted the remaining yellow disks, one more was added to the total, creating a dosage of 24mg, 48 pills total. The week before, after a long period of clean time, I had taken 10. I hadn’t learned my lesson. Again.

Continue Reading…

depression, Gratitude

Jen Pastiloff in Grazia Magazine Talking Candidly About Depression.

July 19, 2014

Hey there, Jen Pastiloff here. I’m finally settling back in after almost 3 weeks away (Paris, Italy, London) although I am about to head out again to Seattle to lead a couple workshops. Thankfully, my broken foot is healed up, finallllllly. My Manifestation retreat in Italy was fabulous on all counts and my workshop in London blew my mind, just as the February one did! (Two sold out workshops in London 5 months apart is a dream come true for me and I sit here with my cup of coffee pinching myself.) I can’t wait to be back this winter for another workshop. I love London. Like, a lot.

Anyway, while I was in London, Grazia Magazine issue with a feature on me hit stands. Eeeek! It’s a bit misquoted and I never ever call myself a “happiness coach.” Also, it was an interview but they wrote it in the first person (!!!????) (I did NOT write it) so that was kind of weird, but…. all in all, it is incredible to have had this opportunity.

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I feel tremendously grateful to have a platform to speak my truth and also to talk about things many are afraid to (including myself at times.) I was definitely scared before this article came out and when I first read it squatting at a news stand at the Sloane Square Tube Station in London, just as I was terrified I wrote that first essay on depression back in April for xojane. But ultimately, I am excited by what is possible and the reaction this piece (and my opening up on the subject) is getting. I am receiving hundreds of emails from people all over UK and Ireland and France, etc. So, as scary as it is and was to be so open and vulnerable, I am standing tall and proud.

The article is not online as far as I know but if you live there, as many of you do, it is the one with Lily Allen on the cover.  Thanks Grazia Magazine!! Thanks also to Jenni Young for the photo of me they chose to use. My workshop is all about telling the truth about who you are so hopefully you will be able to make one at a city near you soon.

I am thankful to all of you, this site’s readers and followers and to those who stand up for their own truths. May we all keep telling the truth. Always.

ps, The site has been on fire lately with 18-20k hits most days. Please send submissions in to Angela Patel <angela.mg.patel at gmail dot com> or <Melissa at jenniferpastiloff dot com> with “Submissions” in Subject Line. Due to the overwhelming number of submissions, Angela and Melissa cannot offer feedback but they are always grateful to read your words.

pps, I would love to open the comments section to a discussion about depression or mental health. If you have struggled with it or do currently struggle, I’d love to hear what you have to say below. Love in buckets, Jen xo

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Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, and more. Jen leads her signature Manifestation Retreats & Workshops all over the world. The next retreat is to Ojai, Calif over Labor Day. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: SeattleLondon, Atlanta, South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Tucson & The Berkshires (guest speaker Canyon Ranch.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.

depression, Guest Posts, healing

Holding On: My Journey With Antidepressants.

June 7, 2014

By Angela Giles Patel.

The most dangerous time for me are the moments after I remember that I forgot to take my medication. This is the time when I can convince myself that I am on the path to weaning myself from the required daily dose, that I am already hours into a medication free life and can keep going, that there is no time like the present, that I will be okay.

I have been on anti-depressants since I was fifteen and first prescribed a tricyclic. Though I cannot recall it among the string of arguments with my mother, there must have been something I said that jolted her. I was unhappy and articulate which meant that I could tell her with venomous precision just how much sadness I was experiencing. And I did so, on a regular basis, telling her how I wanted to live anywhere else, how I hated school, how I wanted to disappear.

If I felt like I wasn’t being heard, I would stick hand written lyrics to the refrigerator door. Little sad notes next to reminders that we needed to buy more milk. The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Joy Division – they were the soundtrack to my high school years. When it became clear that I was well beyond the realm of teenage angst, or, more likely, when it became clear that she couldn’t navigate my waters in the midst of my father’s vodka tinged storms, she sent me to a psychiatrist. Finding someone else to help me was one of the best parenting decisions she made.

I went willingly.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

My therapist was a good fit for me. He took me seriously, listened to what I said, answered questions I had. He also prescribed an anti-depressant. He fed my love of reading, recommending books that would give me a broader perspective than the one I had living in a small town in southern Utah. Soul on Ice, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The books were edgy and expansive. I wrote about how I felt, he read it, and we talked about it. There was never any real discussion of me not making it through my teenage years, it was always a question of how. We set a goal: I would make it through high school and move out to attend college.

I considered my need to use an anti-depressant nothing more than a by-product of living in a dysfunctional home and I never balked at taking it, or at the weekly sessions I had with my therapist. The small white pill made the edges less sharp, and life felt easier. I thought the medication was temporary, that once I no longer lived at home, I would no longer need it.

In college, I let the prescription lapse and found myself sliding back into a space I thought was hundreds of miles away. What I was feeling was so familiar that it scared me and I again began a regimen of therapy and medication. Rather than discussing how to endure my environment, the therapy focused on how to best be me. Among the many things that make me who I am is the fact that I am a person with a clinical disorder.

I’ve been on five different antidepressants since I was a teenager, moving from one to another as I changed doctors or as newer medication became available. The biggest change to the type of medication I was taking came in my 30s. After my sister died, the run-of-the-mill antidepressant wasn’t working, my body chemistry had upped its game and thrown anxiety into the mix. Combinations of medication were tried until I felt balanced. Although I stopped therapy years ago, I continue to see a doctor who helps monitor my medication.

And here I am.

Holding on.

Thriving even.

So nothing pisses me off more than to see someone talk about how they used to take medication for depression or anxiety, but now they don’t have to anymore, because they discovered yoga or running or god. The idea that somehow they have managed a victory that is important enough to broadcast, that what they have accomplished can be outlined and followed is misleading at best. And although they won’t say it explicitly, the implied judgment is clear – if you are not enlightened enough to be able to survive without medication, something is wrong with you.

No shit.

Something is wrong with me.

What is wrong with me is not a bump in the road, or a case of the blues, and it is not something that can be addressed by the right herbal tea. It is not a pothole, it is a fucking canyon – one I can only navigate with help. This is why I have to take two burgundy colored capsules every morning. If I don’t my mind turns against me. It’s not a failure to be enlightened, it’s who I am. The kicker is that I am enlightened enough to know that who I am is someone who’s mind can fail to be her friend.

I hate taking the medication. The idea that I cannot fully function without it breaks my heart on a regular basis, but I can’t. I’ve tried. It wasn’t pretty. I hate my dis-order and my dis-ease enough that I occasionally allow myself to become tricked by depression. I am not sure who said it first, but they are right – depression lies. One of the biggest lies it tells is the one that starts with the idea that medication is unnecessary. Maybe it is optional for someone who just needed a little boost to get through a rocky period, but for those of us who are predisposed to depression, proper medication is critical. To suggest otherwise is a failure to understand the true nature of the problem.

There have been a handful of times where I have stopped taking my prescription on my own, always after missing a dose. The immediate onset of withdrawal symptoms coupled with a careening mood were enough to snap me back to my senses within a few days. I have stopped my medication under supervision twice. Making it past the painful withdrawal period and becoming fully engaged with my depression felt perilous, and I was quickly placed back on medication after articulating my concerns. Even so, if I could trade the fact that my pharmacist knows my name before I open my mouth to ask for the prescriptions my doctor has called in, I would. I don’t need that kind of recognition.

What I do need is space to be me. I need quiet and time to reflect. I need room to be still and recollect. Truth be told, I occasionally do a bit of yoga and I regularly run my heart out, but neither of those is a panacea. I also need my friends. They accept that my disposition is a part of me, nothing more and nothing less, just another feature I have, like my messy red hair. Above all else, they understand what it is to be gloriously unique. And I need a reliable pharmacist, preferably one who genuinely smiles when she sees me walk through the door.

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Angela Giles Patel has had her work appear in The Healing Muse as well as on The Nervous Breakdown and The Manifest-Station. She tweets as @domesticmuse, and when inspired updates her Air Hunger. She lives in Massachusetts where she conquers the world, one day at a time. She is one of the editors of this site.

 

 

Jennifer Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station, is a writer living on an airplane.

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2015 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it's magical.

Join Jen Pastiloff, the founder of The Manifest-Station, in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in Feb of 2016 for a weekend on being human. It involves writing and some yoga. In a word: it’s magical.

Join Jen Pastiloff  and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Join Jen Pastiloff and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

depression, Eating Disorders/Healing, healing

Jen Gets Really Real on XOJane today. Real Talk on Depression.

April 11, 2014

Beloveds,

I have a piece up right now on xojane (what an honor!) and it was so scary to send out into the world that I am quaking in my boots a bit. Nonetheless, I did. I sent it out into the world because I think it is a very important dialogue. And also, I have a commitment as a writer to be as brave as can be and to be a risk-taker. So. Please read, comment and share. I am not suggesting anyone go off their meds. I simply want to bring light to what is often kept hidden. Love you guys. Here’s the link http://www.xojane.com/issues/i-have-a-near-cult-like-following-and-lead-retreats-around-the-world-and-im-struggling-more-than-ever.

If you want to tweet, copy and paste this: @jenpastiloff talks about depression honestly on @xojane http://tinyurl.com/q6or54x

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Thanks for your support. It’s my first essay on XOJANE and I am ecstatic (if not a little freaked out at how honest I was.) xojen

 

Beating Fear with a Stick, Delight, depression, Guest Posts

Collective Pep Talk.

December 11, 2013

 By Jolie Jenkins

photo

This is Jolie Jenkins’ second post on The Manifest-Station! Enjoy~

I think nearly everyone I’m close to is going through some serious stuff right now (including myself). It’s in the air. So here is a collective pep talk for all of them and you and me. Take what works for you and pass it on. We need it right now………………xo

You are awesome. I know you’re having a hard time seeing that now, but you trust me, don’t you? So then, listen up: YOU ARE AWESOME. Step into knowing that.

You’re gonna be fine. Remember the last time you were in that pickle and got yourself out of it? You are STRONG and remarkably CAPABLE and Unseen Universal Forces are moving to support you and line things up for you that will THRILL you. Your job in all of this? Get in a appreciative, happy space. Look for things that you want to see. Like attracts like.

Why on earth would you quit drinking coffee at a time like this? Just bless it and enjoy it.

Quit comparing yourself to others. Everyone is on a different path and we all have different gifts to share with the world. To that end, quit judging others. You have no idea what their life is like and what they’re going through.

Quit being so hard on yourself. From where I stand? You’re a freaking CHAMP. Try owning that. It’s a shame that we believe it’s polite to be self-effacing. It’s time to unapologetically stand in your Greatness.

Have the courage to let life look differently than you thought it should. So what if you’re not ___________ by the age of___________ ?! Or that you don’t have a ___________ before ___________ . You are a million other fantastic things. And you have a million other gifts. Get over it.

Count your blessings. This sounds so cliche but really do it. Sit down and write some things down that are truly lovely and beautiful in your life. Even if it’s a roof over your head. And coffee. Seriously.

Go find your mojo. Make YOU the most important thing. I know you have responsibilities but find (make!) time to nurture yourself, even in the smallest way. You will have loads more to give others by doing so. Plus, your “selfishness” will inspire your kids and friends and everyone around you to nurture themselves and that is one of the biggest gifts you can give them.

If you are stuck between two sides of a decision, remember: there is no right or wrong answer. All that matters is that you line up with your heart and take the leap. There is tremendous power in expectation. If you expect to thrive, you will seek it and create it. And guess what? You can always make a different decision later.

It’s okay to lean on your friends. That’s why they/we exist. Ask for help.

Turn off your phone. Have the courage to do nothing in public. Look around. See the sky and the trees and strike up conversations with nice strangers. Connect. We need each other.

It takes a bit of effort to feel good. It’s so much easier to just react to all the things going on around us but if you spend a little bit of time focusing your thought on good things, more will follow. I promise.

Life is supposed to be a fun ride! (SEE PHOTO ABOVE.)

Love Love Love,
Jolie

P.S.  You look amazing. I love what you’re doing with your hair.

Jolie_3
Hi:) I’m Jolie. I’m a working actress living in Los Angeles with my husband and pooch.

Do you know what it’s like being an actress in Los Angeles? It’s simultaneously:

insane,
fun,
bizarre,
harrowing,
exciting,
maddening,
riveting,
and boring-as-hell.

Not unlike your Grandma taking you to have the expert photogs at K-Mart work their portrait magic after dressing yourself in a rad 80s outfit (see above).

When Show Business is good, it’s really good. But when it’s been a while between jobs, you’re so desperate for a creative outlet that it’s not uncommon to pin all your hopes and dreams on, say, a small guest-star on a CSI:MIAMI episode, fully believing that it will express all you have to offer as a creative entity. This can only end badly. Especially if you’re shooting all day on a small, musty boat getting tangled split-ends and active rosacea from the whipping, salty wind. 

After many years and many CSI:MIAMI moments, I made a concerted effort to take all my eggs out of one basket and spread them around: I learned the true value of having a hobby. I took up knitting and couldn’t stop. I always liked to cook so I enrolled in a 20-week cooking course. It was such a relief to find other things to enjoy. And in both cases, having a desire to create something and then see it through to an end result was tremendously satisfying. I didn’t have to wait by the phone for my agent to tell me I could. Feeling bolstered, I started writing more, tweaking recipes, documenting my experiences in the kitchen and out in the Crazytown that is Los Angeles.

I love to act and play other people but Joeycake is all me.  

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her second Manifestation Retreat this year. Sep 26-Oct 3rd. Click the Tuscan hills above!

 Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.


Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.

depression, Guest Posts

Sad Fish.

December 3, 2013

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Maggie May Ethridge

In the news:a father, a mother at sixteen, a thirteen year old charged as an adult, a dog trapped in the sewer system, these five men, this famous singer, faulty wiring, a family torn apart by this devastating lie, a baby, a toddler, a car accident, a horrible accident no one could have predicted it it just happened, a man who did something good for a woman, a man who did something bad to three women, a horrible accident everyone predicted it still happened.

Remember to carry your sadness inside.

Do not bury it. Carry it. Remember to let it go occasionally and watch it fall apart at your feet. Remember to dance on its grave. Allow time for slow motion, disco, modern and robot dance maneuvers. Remember to lift the corners of your mouth enough to prevent an entire day of What’s wrong? Remember everyone has an answer to that question. Constantly address the present moment, like Hey what’s up PM? What’s happening? You chill? Check out the PM’s dress, manner, body language and if the PM is a dirty rat bastard, address it with the steely, dignified acceptance and enduring faith of someone you wish you are, someone you read about in a Robert Parker or Joyce Carol Oates novel, and are sure you will become more like if you just keep pretending.

Wear appropriate shoes. Find something small that is beautiful and carry it with you, like a rainbow keychain, a necklace of gold, your nails in chevron stripes. Glance at it all day. When The Sadness becomes a fish flapping nastily on the riverbank, reach back deeply into your throat, pull it out, flog it repeatedly while cursing in a loud and vigorous manner until breaking a sweat and becoming red of face and neck. When properly flogged, sternly yet quickly lecture The Sadness on it’s proper place in your life, being a good example for the children, remembering how much you actually have, that you are not special, Sad Fish, just another Sad Fish- actually a lot LESS sad than many in the river, and shove the flat and emasculated fish back into your gut, where it will hopefully remain meek and subdued for quite some time, or at least long enough to get you through this thing you have to do or  that other thing that must be done, or the kids are in bed.

Possible containment of The Sadness through medium glass of wine, which will either bring forth unencumbered weeping- therefore preventing public doing so- or giggling ridiculousness.  Let is be made clear that giggling and ridiculousness are both highly desirable and should be sought after as much as possible.***Do not make mistake of assuming the drink can kill The Sadness, and fall into the wishitwere’s. The drink cannot kill The Sadness, but when misued, can feed the Sad Fish until it is bloated, enormous and agitated, unable to be properly sorted, flogged or carried. The Sad Fish may, in this case, with scales of liquor and beer, lay eggs. In this case, you are truly fucked, until you make your way to a vigorously practicing AA meeting, rehab, or a spiritual experience.***Consume as much material as possible re: survival. Include: children’s stories, YA fiction, poetry, French films, 80’s and 90’s American dramatic films, any marvelous novel, classical, gospel, folk, alternative music, memoirs, certain TED lectures and face to face discussions.  Consume as much happiness as possible and is available.

FATAL MISTAKE: to begrudge happiness because you are angry/disenchanted/hurt/exhausted/sickofit or the worst of all: feeling sorry for yourself. FSFY is a known killer, causing Sad Fish to lay eggs, causing normal living humans to become the walking dead.  Unable to appreciate or acknowledge the good things and people around them out of a stubborn sense of being singled out in life for pain or fear of losing focus on the shitty things and/or people’s sympathy for them, FSFY causes severe uglification and decay of the soul, slowly poisoning a person until they vomit up their Sad, Dead Fish, and eat it while hissing brains, brainsssssss.

FSFY must be avoided at all costs. Better to become a Sickeningly Positive Person than a FSFY.

FSFY’s do not get great sex, great friends, family that likes them or even dogs that adore them. FSFY’s are toxic to normal human beings and are not allowed past the sitting room. Think ridiculous thoughts that make you chuckle to yourself, even if you must look around nervously afterward, feeling stupid and wondering if anyone heard you. Lay in grass in sunshine. Take hot baths and read. Watch hilarious movies and shows. Be around children often. Help someone else, every day. When you want to growl, bark or bite at your family or friends, slap yourself, begin again. It’s exactly like your damn mother told you: practice, practice, practice. No one becomes great at being sad without a shitload of effort.

Remember The Sadness is going to be a part of your life, forever. Why? Was that you, in the corner with the green headphones, ear piercing and energy drink who asked that? Because you were the lucky winner of life. You got chosen to be alive. Life is a package deal. It comes with The Sadness. It begins the first time we feel the sharp and salty tang of loss, yearning and frustration as an infant, and let out a wail.

Have sex you wanted to but were afraid to. Do yoga. Stretch. Instead of walking to your car, skip. You will feel ridiculous. And better. You will find those two words often go together; if you want to feel better, you have to be willing to be ridiculous. Take out your Sad Fish, put glasses and a hat on him, and dance with his short rubbery little arms in yours. Carpe Sad Fish! Later he’ll be so tired you will have an hour of peace. When you wake up every morning, slap water on  your face and say to your reflection ‘ Well, you ain’t no prize. ‘ This keeps you in check, and lessens possibility of FSFY.

Then smile at yourself and say “Well, on the other hand, you ain’t a piece of shit, either.”

Maggie May Ethridge is a novelist, poet and freelance writer from the deep South who has lived most of her life in San Diego, CA. She has an Ebook coming out in January with the new publishing company Shebooks ” Atmospheric Disturbances: Scenes From A Marriage ” and is completing her second novel. She has been published in magazines both on and offline in places like Diagram, The Nervous Breakdown, Equals Record and blogs regularly at Flux Capacitor.

The tattoo was sent to Maggie by a Flux reader who used Sad Fish to get through a dark year and ended up putting the words on her body- an ultimate compliment: The enduring faith of someone you wish you were.

SADFISHTAT

 

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It's magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

Ring in New Years 2016 with Jen Pastiloff at her annual Ojai retreat. It’s magic! It sells out quickly so book early. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. With a sense of humor. Email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com with questions or click photo to book. NO yoga experience needed. Just be a human being.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

The 12 Day Detox is here. Sign up now for the next cleanse on November 30th. Space is limited. This detox comes at just the perfect time. Reprogram your body and mind as we move into the holiday season. This is your time of rejuvenation and renewal.This is not a juice fast, or a detox based on deprivation.

anti-bullying, Awe & Wonder, courage, depression, Guest Posts, healing

Visually Impaired, 66 Surgeries & Still: Nothing But Love. A Must Read.

November 20, 2013

I wrote a post a while back called The Irrelevants. This letter to me was a response to that article and with Michelle Medina’s permission, I am sharing it. You are not irrelevant either, you sitting there reading this.

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Thank you Jennifer.

I have tried to commit suicide since I was 6. Anything to ease the pain. Even cut twice in my life, just ANYTHING to make myself disappear. It’s even harder when the messages I received from the public and my classmates were disappear! Evaporate!! You’re NOTHING!!

I’m visually impaired, I was born with a rare facial birth defect called a Tessier Cleft. My face didn’t form properly and I’m one of only between 50-56 people in the world with it. I’ve had 66 reconstructive surgeries thus far including skin grafts and bone grafts and the public has stared, pointed and laughed.

My family in the past, has given them the power to ruin perfectly good outings and I’ve often asked my parents why they didn’t abandon me at the hospital. I’ve even wished I’d been aborted, though back in 1986 the ultrasound tech wasn’t fantastic, no 3-D images like nowadays and my mother had no idea I’d require 66 surgeries and be born without eyes to boot. I have a talking computer.

Anyway, my classmates were even more brutal, punching, kicking and spitting upon me. I have PTSD, occasional panic attacks and still struggle (without meds) to remind myself every day to stick it out. My little sister has a Baby, a boyfriend and my life consists of a CockerSpaniel and a Cat. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my girls!! They are my babies!! They aren’t a human baby though and they definitely aren’t a partner.

I hold my 4 month old niece and sometimes find myself indulging the idea that she’s really mine and not my sister’s. I’m already so attached when my sister tried to leave her with me overnight and ended up crying herself to sleep and then coming to get her a while later because she just couldn’t, it took all I had to hug her, pat her on the back and say: “It’s ok Sis, I understand.” She left and walked across to her place and I couldn’t move from my spot in front of the door, couldn’t breathe. . . it felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. My rational side kept saying: “She’s a first time mother, it’s not you!! It’s not you!!” My ego said: “Of course it’s you! You suck! You’re a piece of shit!! Even your own sister thinks you’re just “the blind girl” who can’t look after her child! Pack it in, bitch! Just pack it in already!” I typically share EVERYTHING with my sister, we love each other to bits, but I didn’t share that. . . I just couldn’t bring myself to, thinking of her and how her feelings would be hurt, because that’s not what she was thinking at all and I knew she wasn’t! If anybody knows my abilities it’s my sister. Point being. . . I’ve been there, am still there probably half the time if I’m brutally honest, but I’m crawling for it anyway. “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” from the Smashing Pumpkins is playing now and aptly describes that 50% of my time. The other 50% is probably best described by “Dirty Frank” by Pearl Jam. I choose that because it’s funny, an oddball/goofy song that makes me jump around and holler like a fool. Lol. Thank you for the reminder I can do this. . . even if it means crawling and falling and clawing my way through it! ~ Michelle

***

Beloved tribe of mine, dear readers, you, whoever you are: take heed from Michelle. Listen to her. You can do this. Even if it means crawling and falling and clawing your way through it.

Post comments to Michelle below 😉

Also, feel free to contact her via Facebook. She would love that. Click here.

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Beating Fear with a Stick, depression, Owning It!

Stop Judging So Much. By Jen Pastiloff

January 4, 2013

I wrote this a year and a half ago but it felt timely to repost. ~ Jen Pastiloff

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Click to order Simplereminders new book. simplereminders.info

Click to order Simplereminders new book. simplereminders.info

 

The layers upon layers of judgments we hail at people all day. At ourselves. Morning and night.

I can’t believe you would do that.

I would never do that if I were them.

My family wouldn’t do it that way.

What are you wearing?

She is a good person.

I am ugly.

I am not smart enough.

Maybe you don’t do it.

I do. I judge all the time.

As I click clack my boots down the sidewalk in a hurry. As I waste time on Facebook, or sit on a plane, as I am now, my mind is full of misgivings and they did it wrongs. Its full of I am doing it wrong, I look fat/bad/ugly, I am stupid, this woman is walking so slow, that man looks like this, she looks like that, they must be a nice person, they are rude, a cacophony of noise all at once, and in between it all, moments of I feel good/happy, I am safe, I am not my body.

There are many parts to me. To all of us. We know this. There is the me that teaches my workshops, a combination of a Jewish/Baptist preacher in a Revival tent who likes to sing and dance and downward dog and read poetry and who knows damn well that we can manifest the life of our dreams if we change our thoughts and is spiritual and knowledgeable in the ways of the body, the heart, the mind. And then there is the other me who is also me, here and now. Drinking a shit ton of wine and wearing glasses and reading like I may never be able to read again.

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