Suomi Dreams

Even now, at age 24, I dream of happily ever after. I dream of a 3-bedroom house with a modest yard. I dream of little blue-eyed children gazing back at me, still convinced that Mommy has all the answers.

I don’t have the answers. As it turns out, neither does my mother, or her mother. Frankly, I’d like to know who has all the answers. Why do I come from a family with a longstanding background of mental illness and substance abuse? Why do I fall for men cut from that same cloth?

I think that’s why I hold so tightly to my fairytale life, and the fantasy world in my head. It lets me escape from the painful reality of my past and the difficult decisions I must make every day. Fantasy gives me hope for the future. Understandably, I feel mentally stunted. The ways in which I love have changed so little since I was 14. I love furiously, passionately, completely. Love consumes me so much that I often wonder if all women feel this way.

I’m finally going to experience a long-held fantasy of mine next week: I’m going to see HIM for their farewell tour. HIM is and was a band I’ve romanticized for years. A band that created Love Metal. A band fronted by a man who has turned all of his sorrows into something beautiful and healing. Ville Valo is the kind of creator I️ aspire to be. Because of him, his bandmates, and the legacy they’ve built I want to live in their native country of Finland, if only for a little while. There is nothing that brings me the same mental peace as envisioning breathing in the brisk Helsinki air and being free to write and create.

It sounds outlandish, I imagine. It probably is. But I’m holding on to Finland.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Boston Pride 2017

It is no exaggeration to say last Saturday was the best day I’ve had in months. As my regular followers and readers know, my depression has not been particularly well managed as of late. Fortunately, no depressive episode lasts forever, and I’m feeling much more like myself. In the spirit of feeling happy, I went to Boston Pride with one my close friends and spent the long, exciting, exhausting day with a smile on my face the whole time.

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For those of you who have forgotten what my face looks like.

I have been openly bisexual for about 10 years now (I can’t believe it’s been that long, honestly) and for much of that time, I’ve felt like my identity was invalid. Bisexuality is unique in that it’s a sexuality  that doesn’t always get respected in either the queer or straight community. It certainly doesn’t help my case that I’ve never been in a committed relationship with a woman, although not for lack of trying; it seems any time I have had feelings for one either I’ve been afraid to tell them or they’ve had a girlfriend.

Because I’m bi, I am apparently straight and faking, gay and faking, or just “greedy”.  Not to mention any time I list my sexuality on a dating website it’s like a homing beacon for couples to ask me if I would like to be their “third”. I don’t think I should need to state “I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE A THREESOME” on my dating profile, but it’s begun to feel necessary.

At Pride, those feelings melted away. I saw dozens of women running around with bisexual pride flags draped over their shoulders as capes. There were two separate booths just dedicated to bisexual folks. And all along the way, I didn’t feel like I needed to explain myself. I could just be Katherine, a girl who likes girls and guys who wanted to celebrate how beautiful love is.

It’s amazing how much the community has grown and changed. I remember when I first attended the festival it felt like a lot more of a gay and lesbian celebration than LGBTQIA. For each bisexual pride flag I saw, there were 10 transgender pride flags flying alongside it. I cannot speak to the experience of transgender folks, but I am certainly glad to see the growing love and support in our community. I can only hope that this shift within the queer community is a sign of greater things to come in America as a whole.

Happy Pride month, everyone.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

 

 

Exhaustion

The following blog post includes discussion of my lived experience with mental illness. Continue reading at your discretion- KW

Writing is really difficult right now. Honestly, doing anything that brings me joy is really difficult right now.  I haven’t put on a full face of makeup since Valentine’s Day, even though every night I tell myself I will set aside the time to do it before work. I used to love taking the time to make myself look beautiful. It could always brighten my mood, even when I felt completely out of control. The thought of it is exhausting.  Right now, I consider washing my hair in the evening, laying out an outfit for the next day, and maybe making myself a sandwich or something to bring to work an achievement.

I had a brief, amazing window of time where I was full of energy, and motivation, and hope and excitement. I did everything I could to take advantage. I did the 3 months worth of dirty laundry piled up in my room. I started exercising again, and tried to be more conscious of what I ate. But quickly, all those good feelings were just…gone. This isn’t a completely new phenomenon (I’m quite familiar with bursts of energy followed by depressive stretches) but it has rarely been this drastic.

I’m worried I’m becoming too tolerant of my medication. I don’t want to raise the dosage, because it’s like saying I will never be able to live normally without it. I’ll have to keep raising it and raising it until there’s no hire dosage and I’m royally fucked. Alternatively, I’ll have to try a new medication, and suffer the withdrawals of my current antidepressant. I was temporarily out of my medication recently, and I had textbook  symptoms: dizziness, dissociation, blurred vision, sensory disturbances, and anxiety. I would not wish this upon anyone.

People who glamorize mental illness don’t understand what it’s like to live like this. Fuck, I don’t even really understand what it’s like to live like this since it seems like my familiar symptoms are melting away and making room for new, unpleasant ones. I don’t want to self-diagnose (I have a therapist whom I love and whose opinion I trust), but I find myself checking symptoms online during stolen moments at work. I feel like there’s something else going on with me that isn’t being treated, or hasn’t come to light yet. It’s certainly something to talk to my doctor about.

At any rate, thank you all for reading this. I hope you are doing well, and if you aren’t right now, that you’re doing better soon.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel.

A Reminder to Myself

My waist is shaped
By strong ribs
That house a
Stronger heart.
It it as small
As it will ever, ever be.

These are things that I cannot change.

My fingers are
Short
Even after years of
Piano lessons
That swore
Bones will stretch
To fit your fancy.

These are things that I cannot change.

My thighs were
Carefully painted
By Titian,
Sturdy enough to hold
All the woman I am
Meant to be.

I do not always see their artistry,
Forged so far from
Mother Italy,
But I was purposefully
Thoughtfully
Lovingly made,

And these are things that I cannot change.

 

Nightmare Anatomy

I had a nightmare last night; I dreamed I was getting married to my (ex) boyfriend at a large, but humble church wedding in front of dozens of guests, including an old flame from college whom I credit with bringing out my anxiety and agoraphobia full-force. I was over the moon that it was finally happening. I flew to the altar so I could stand beside my soulmate. My eyes brimmed with joyful tears as the service began. And then, he abruptly left to smoke a cigarette while I stood there dumbfounded and ashamed. I chased after him, only to watch him be shot to death before I could reach him.

I think this is my brain’s way of dealing with my fear of dying alone save for my cat and some potted plants. Every day I see women my age, and some even younger, getting engaged and married and pregnant and giving birth, while meanwhile what I had hoped would be my last relationship for the rest of my life crumbled no matter how hard I tried to hold onto it.

When I ended things, he told me I was “giving up” because I expected a faerietale ending where we would never fight, and we’d live happily ever after. All I wanted, for lack of better words, was normalcy. We abused alcohol and drugs and each other until I accepted it was not going to get better. Sometimes, no amount of love can make a relationship work.

Even though I know I made the right decision, in my own time, I still feel like a failure. Failure lies at the root of all of my nightmares. If I started a dream journal (and I might), I’m sure at least half of them would be work related. I have dreams where my headset stops working or I can’t get my computer to work while I have a claimant on the phone constantly. Even better, I still have nightmares about when I worked at Five Below of a similar nature, and I haven’t worked there since 2015.  You’d think maybe that taking anti-anxiety medication before bed would alleviate some of my constant fear of fucking up, but it’s done very little. Even after seeing statistics telling me I am one of the highest performers both in my company and on my team at the office, I still panic.  I had chest pains every day for a week in December and it took concentrated breathing exercises when I feel the first twinge of pain to keep them in check.

I wish I was a calm, confident person who wasn’t afraid of being an unlovable failure. And I’m hoping someday I can get there. But for now, I need to learn how to live with these nightmares and figure out what they’re trying to tell me.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Back in the swing of things

Nice to see you again, my few but much loved readers! I’m sorry for my absence; at this point I’m sure this has become expected, but I still apologize for the length of my inactivity. Life got ahead of me, and now it’s suddenly August. Where did the year go?

If you spoke to me a year ago and told me that I would be where I am now, I would have laughed in your face.

I’m just starting my second week of training as a client advocate for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I have an ID badge, my own personal headset for the phones, and in five more weeks, my very own cubicle. Of all the careers I dreamed I would fall into, I never thought I would be working in a traditional office, in a full-time nine-to-five position. For all the shit my brothers give me when I brag about the satisfaction in the regularity and when I whine about having to completely flip-flop my sleep patterns, I can’t help but think they’re jealous. I make a living wage, and I get to make the world a better place; I can’t think of much else one could want out of a job. One 0f the hardest things to accept about adulthood, but also one of the most validating, is the realization that ninety-nine percent of us are not going to have that “dream job”. As a good friend of mine said to me recently, you use that satisfying job to fund your dream life. That’s where I’m at right now. For the first time in months I can actually afford to do things and treat myself.  My entire paycheck will not go directly to paying credit card bills. It’s a wonderful feeling.

And since I’m actually motivated for a change, here’s a ukelele cover! I haven’t significantly improved recently but I was in the mood to sing for y’all today. Enjoy 🙂

 

All my love,
Katherine Wheel

Showing off and some life updates

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news (well, for me anyways). I got the full-time position I applied for and I will be starting at the end of July! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would be excited to have a cubicle and a consistent schedule, but here I am. Here’s hoping this new chapter is a fun one, and one where I grow a whole lot. You know a company is a good fit when your hiring manager tells you this is a place to start and grow a career, but ultimately move on from. I don’t want to feel stagnant,and I think this is the place I will find that balance.

Anyways, enough humblebragging. Here’s something fun I made for you guys. I figured that since I’m learning ukelele it would be fun to share my progress with you all every so often. As such, I’ve put together a cover of one of my favorite songs by Emilie Autumn, “Thank God I’m Pretty”. Let me know what you think! This was a single shot cover, so all my fumbles and missed notes are in there. I hope it gives you a laugh if nothing else.

Enjoy!

Katherine Wheel.