We first met when I was five years old. I’d say it was safe to assume that it was by accident, when my young parents let me take in the fighting amongst larger than life entities. From the moment, I saw the commercial where Bret “The Hitman” Hart gave his glasses away to the kid, I knew I wanted to have that experience some day. I was quickly enamored with him and his ability to make everyone love him with his athleticism, love for his country and especially his family. Bret was the very first super-hero figure that I have memory of in my life and he holds a special place in my heart still this day.
We really fell in love when I was twelve years old, didn’t we? You were all I could think about or talk about because you were the escape I needed and the license to be different from the kids around me. I was always a quiet kid with a broad imagination and the hyperbolic stories you offered only fueled my own ideas of what could be some day. This was the age of The Rock, Shane McMahon and Triple H. I had a crush on all three of them but their athleticism and charm wasn’t lost on me. They were cool and that’s exactly what I wanted to be. These three were incredibly influential to me, but none of them would ever be Chyna Doll or Chyna or how I would later remember her as Joanie. Joanie was the only woman I had ever saw who was just as athletic and full of life as the men in the sport and sometimes even better then them. She was the stand out, just like I often felt I was, so I was fascinated by her. She was the person to give me the license to be different and the fearlessness that was needed to be a preteen who wasn’t like the ones around her. Her presence and body of work carried me into my adulthood with priceless of bravery. I cried like I lost a family member when she died. My love for her ran deeper than I was willing to admit. She was like an old friend.
We broke up for awhile didn’t we? I got older and the need to fit in outweighed the need to find out who I was authentically, but all was not lost. When I met my wife, I was able to find you again. I watched you casually at first and began to enjoy your stories from the lens of an adult rather than a child and preteen in search of something. How foolish I was to think you couldn’t give me something. 2016 was the year of Cody Rhodes. He left the WWE and went on the quest of the independents. It was his journey that gave me the community I didn’t know I was missing. I felt a little out of place as an adult fan, but with my investment in him came the community of adult fans who were just like me. I was no longer weird or different, I found community in people who enjoyed you just like me. You have always been the gift that keeps on giving.
These days are relationship is more quiet but still steady. I turn you on for comfort, I go to matches for my favorites but I also go to matches to spend time with the people I love the most (even the ones that don’t love you like I do. Love you wife). All of this to say, thank you. Thank you for being the steady light in the sometimes really dark and crazy world.
When I first started exploring my mental health, I went into therapy thinking something was wrong with me and I needed to search for the perfect formula to go back to “who I was” before I was “broken” and “wrong”. I use quotation marks because the truth is, I was never broken or wrong to begin with. I was more human than I had ever imagined before. The realization of the never-ending evolution of oneself has been the biggest game changer for me. I am allowed to experience a full spectrum of emotions even the “bad” ones and there’s nothing wrong with that and who I am right now could be completely different from who I am five years from now and that’s okay. I am a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser and I’m proud to say that out loud because it took a lot of work to get me here and while I still have bad days that suck, I am now armed with the tools and self-reliance to get me through them. It all feels like I’ve leveled up the human Pokémon that is me ready to take on the next set of adventures.
But what do you do when you’ve come to notice the changes in what’s always been there? How do you show up in relationships that never stopped even when you were at your lowest? I’m sitting here with this shiny new penny that is me, but I cannot help but wonder how she fits in in the most precious parts of her world? This is not to say that any of my relationships are suffering but I can’t help but notice the reputation and the precedents set by old behaviors that I’m working hard to leave behind me. It’s a strange place to be because it’s so new and it’s a little bit lonely because I’m forced to learn how to show up for myself and give myself grace and comfort in this unknown world, while also taking on the curiosity (rather than the anxiety, which feels HUGE) of how to show up for others, my most special and important others. It’s a very unexpected part of the journey for me. I thought I’d do therapy and have a few “ah-ha” moments and then be magically healed. Now, I’m forced to take these skills, use them, and figure out to fit into a beautiful life all at the same time. How weird, but how cool all at once.
This ramble was published with the intention to be more unfiltered. I spent a lot of my earliest moments on this page terrified and trying to figure myself out after my parents moved away. I want to revisit some of that rawness in this newer stage of my life in hopes to help someone else along the way. Will I stick to a schedule? Probably not. But, as the thought bubbles pop into the air I’m going to do less running from them and more letting them stay awhile.
I wish I had a consistent flow of thought that could be an endless supply of profound or exciting things to say but too often my writing is dictated by mood, events, and just general time to sit down and really think about what I want to say. There are so many times that I come on here and try to draft the perfect stream of thought and get angry when it inevitably disappears out of my brain. A lot has been happening to me and the general population and I’m freaking exhausted. It’s a hard line to walk when you’re trying to figure out what your personal life looks like during a pandemic while the world feels like it’s on fire around you (obviously hyperbole but these days you never know).
I’ve had this incessant need for self-expression and not the faintest clue of where to start. There’s so many topics I’ve dabbled in on this site and I want to continue to grow the platform. I am trying, I am here spinning my wheels hoping to make use of my abilities and give myself a space to heal but also a piece of myself to those who do read this. To the people who do I appreciate every single one of you. All this to say, I’m working on some things, with zero timeline so I don’t look like a fraud in promising content and having it not be there. I know I’m not disappearing from thousands of people but the level of consistency I’m trying to learn is very important to me.
I know I’m not alone in this struggle. A lot of writers and bloggers I’ve come across all hit a dead space from time to time. I have the privilege of not making this my career but rather a passion project. It’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed. I’m hoping to find that passion or a more consistent realm.
In 2015, I came across a blog challenge presented by Tales from the Motherland, my friend Dawn Quyle Landau. Dawn wrote a post in 10 minutes about 50 things she was grateful for and invited others to participate. While the 50 goal isn’t always achievable in the time span, I’ve always had a lot fun trying it out and doing my part to fill the internet with gratitude versus the not so nice things it can show in a day’s work. I’ve always loved this challenge because it became an annual way to end my year/or begin it by reminding myself about all the good in my life. Last year was the first year, I didn’t participate/see the challenge presented (for obvious reasons) but I wanted to begin 2022 and bring it back around. I don’t have the same scale of community that Dawn has, but I am presenting an open invitation to anybody wants to participate. Feel free to share your post with me on this platform or Twitter. The challenge is to write as many things you’re grateful for in 10 minutes. Good luck and have fun with it! While life is all about balance, I think it’s important to try and drive as much positivity as we can muster especially in today’s crazy world.
Without further ado, here’s my list (not in any order/preference): 1. My Corgi, Penelope – she’s the light of our lives. 2. Being able to see more family this year after a hellish 2020 (hope to see even more in 2022). 3. Marco Polo. This app is a Godsend. My friends and I began weekly chats on Zoom through the height of the pandemic but this app has turned it into daily ones. 4. My wife. She’s my partner in so many ways. I love our life together and I love growing as a couple and as people. 5. My faith. Finding an LGBTQIA+ ministry in a Catholic Church setting has felt like finding a unicorn in real life. I am so lucky. 6. Having a job after all of the chaos of remote life. 7. A place to live. 8. Not losing anyone close to me to this horrible virus when so many people did. 9. Therapy. It took me almost 10 years to finally unpack things but I’m glad that I have been trying and learning. 10. My family both born into and married into. 11. Music/Podcasts – I hate being alone and I’ve spent a lot of time on my own with my wife returning to the office. They’ve kept me company. (Shoutout to Ask Iliza Anything and Drama Queens, my two favorite podcasts) 12. The ability to learn something new daily. 13. Streaming services. Sometimes mindless and time consuming, other times live saving and just the distract you need. 14. Learning that creativity can be more than just my writing. 15. My new found Lego hobby. 16. Coloring books. 17. Starting to speak my mind even when it’s uncomfortable. 18. Colleen Ballinger 19. A good pair of earrings never failing to make me feel sexy. 20. Being able to go back to places I never thought I’d see again. 21. Meditation for calming me down at my worst. 22. Living in a city with so many food options. 23. The drive to continue to learn about myself and never giving up on that journey. 24. A clean house. 25. Video games. 26. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone when necessary and having the support in my life in which to do it. 27. A good blanket 28. Trips to my parents house when I need it or when I need to see them. 29. My co-workers who I went two years without seeing but was able to pick up right where we left off. 30. A good cup of coffee. 31. The Letter Project for showing me how many women are just like me/how I can be of service to more women who need the encouragement.
Thank you for letting me share and I hope that this entry inspires your own list of gratitude. Happy 2022!
It’s been a few months since I’ve written about the state of my mental health. A lot of instances of my reporting were the high points returning. I have seen a lot more highs lately versus lows but I have also come to terms with the normalcy of the lows that sometimes come my way. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder last year around this time and I am proud to say that I am feeling a ton better since then. This time last year I was desperate to find a way to be cured from my anxiety and never have to deal with it again. There had to be a way to completely shake this debilitating disorder and I was hellbent on finding on it. I hated feeling like I was a constant burden to myself and to my family and friends. Thankfully, I found a therapist that I could be comfortable with and began the bulk of the healing work that needed to be done. I use the term healing because I am a lot better off than I was last year. It is a blanket term to describe the progress I’ve made from my lowest to date to the empowerment I feel through therapy and the acceptance of my emotions that come and go.
Will I ever be fully healed? No, I will not. However, the acceptance that anxiety is a part of the human condition has been an incredible relief. I’ve had too many days and nights thinking I was somehow broken because I couldn’t walk two feet without feeling dizzy or feeling like I would die at any moment. The physical symptoms and intrusive thoughts were terrifying at first encounter but now I am able to name these things and realize that they are something I can handle when they come up, rather than fear the unknown. I am able to use the tools I’ve learned in therapy, the tools I’ve learned in the Dare Program and meditation with headspace and find ways to become grounded at my baseline again.
It’s been a tremendous road of ups and downs and I still have downs some days. Rejoining a world in a pandemic sometimes leaves me terrified but I now have a strength that I never had before. I have the strength that moods and feelings all pass like the metaphorically storm that they are and whatever comes my way will be handled. I am eternally grateful.