Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

As my quest to get totally healthy and happy continues, I find myself questioning situations in new ways. The way I process things has changed significantly in the last couple of years, to the point where things I used to just do I now sometimes over-think and over-analyze.  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it helps me get to the bottom of my emotions which have bounced around all over the place for most of my life.

When I stopped taking anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications about a year ago, I was afraid that I’d slide back into the place where my emotions hit peaks and valleys every few hours and made me feel like I was stuck on a bad roller coaster I couldn’t get off of. That hasn’t happened for the most part…the coping skills I learned in therapy helped me stay more balanced and to stop and consider why things were making me feel certain ways.

I found that I had to spend a lot of time working on my attitude, and my negativity. Negativity has always been kind of a knee-jerk response for me, because I’ve spent a lot of my life expecting things I want to be taken away; things I’ve worked hard for to not come out how I’d hoped. I never realized it was such a pervasive part of my life until I got help. For the most part, I’m better at catching myself when negative thinking starts to creep in, but I still struggle with not letting little things bother me.

Even things that don’t affect me.

Like this evening, when boyfriend asked if I’d heard about Paula Dean’s announcement that she has diabetes.

I have.

“It pisses me off,” I [innocently, or so I thought] informed him, “because she’s insinuating that it’s not a big deal, and that it’s fine for her to continue eating the same things even though she has a serious condition. She should be a better role model.”

Then boyfriend accused me of being too negative, which made me mad, because I felt like I was just responding to his initial inquiry, so I yelled at him and informed him that I’m sick of feeling like he’s setting me up for failure by trying to dictate how I should respond to his questions. Since I can’t know what he’s thinking, I can’t always respond how he wants me to. Am I supposed to lie, and pretend things don’t bother me when they really do?

Eventually we retreated to our respective corners and discussed things, and he told me that for him it comes down to my response…still. It’s not a problem that I think Paula Dean should be a better role model; it’s a problem in his mind that I let something that absolutely doesn’t affect me become that big of a deal that it pisses me off.

Fair enough.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as I start to put my music out into the world and prepare to face the inevitable barrage of negative feedback that is sure to accompany the positive.  Getting to a point where that negativity doesn’t bother me, and recognizing that it doesn’t have to affect me unless I let it, is going to be a process, but it’s going to start with making these other little changes, like not being phased by what a TV personality does. I can disagree with it, but it doesn’t have to piss me off. It can just be what it is.

But seriously Paula Dean…behave yourself. There are kids watching you.

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Visiting Seattle is a strange experience for me sometimes. I lived here for four years, but for most of that time, my anxiety prevented me from getting out and exploring the city in any meaningful way. When I come back, now, it’s a strange mixture of familiarity and newness.

Boyfriend has a work conference this week, so I get to stay for free in a suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. It’s lovely. It comes with designer-brand sheets, an assortment of bath goodies, plush bathrobes, and $8 bottled water. It’s the kind of place that I usually feel out of place in – like I’m pretending, because I can’t really afford this stuff.

It’s nice to be in Seattle and be able to get out an explore it now, without feeling anxious or overwhelmed at every new turn. Last night, I met up with one of my roommates from my undergraduate years. It’s always interesting to see people who knew me back then, and hear their observations of the person I was. I compare that girl to who I am now, and sometimes I wonder where she went. Other times, I feel like she’s looking over my shoulder, waiting to see if she can force her way back in and turn this new life I’ve been building upside down. She’s the voice of self-doubt that always wants me to give up on things; who tells me it’s not worth it to keep trying whenever the slightest hint of disappointment crops up.

I’m doing a much better job, lately, of shutting her up.

I had a very interesting conversation with former roomie, over a Dry Blood Orange Soda and a delicious snack platter of roasted nuts and olives:

What was most intriguing to me, on this particular night, was her view of me, from back then.

When I look back, on the girl who struggled through undergraduate school, I don’t see much that’s positive beyond the school part. I was an excellent student. I earned grades commensurate with the hours and hours I spent locked up in my bedroom, or the library, or (on really good days, when I was feeling adventurous) a coffee shop. That part of my being then tends to fade into a background of student loans, bad fashion, damaged skin, anxiety, and bad decisions. I didn’t know how to function in that world, away from my parents’ dysfunction. I didn’t know how to be social, or how to have fun. Literally – that was a new phenomenon to me, when I worked through the walls OCD and anxiety helped me put up so early in my life.

When I look back at my undergraduate years, I tend to only see what I missed. In reality, there were parties at my house that I didn’t attend…even when I was in the house. I’d lock my door, stuff in ear plugs, and do homework. Not because I didn’t want to be social, but because I genuinely didn’t know how.

I look back, and see that girl – alone, and isolated, and miserable. I knew then, even before I got help, that I wanted something different, but it took time to make those changes. Time that I tend to look at, even now, as lost years.

I looked at my roommates as my polar opposites – friendly and outgoing; smart and funny; fearless and uninhibited. I wanted to be like them, but I assumed it just wasn’t possible.

When I finally started to unravel the deep dark secrets that hoarding and anxiety had kept hidden in my past, I learned there really was a whole new, big, exciting world out there. When I moved to Seattle, I was filled with that excitement and wonder, because back then, at 18, I really thought that if I could just get out of California, everything would be different. I would be different, because people in Seattle were different. Something had to change.

It wasn’t that easy. But it is more rewarding now, in a strange way, to come back to Seattle and see it with brand new eyes. What I wasn’t expecting from this conversation was to hear that my smart, funny, beautiful, fabulous roommate had found things to admire and envy in me, too.

While I was wishing for just a tiny bit of her talent for navigating the world, she was looking at my dedication to my studies. While I was hoping to learn from watching her how this business of making friends worked, she was watching me push through classes. She tells me I did a very good job of hiding my misery, and loneliness. Which is also interesting to me, because I assumed I must be transparent; that everyone could look right inside to see how pathetic I really felt most of the time.

Which led to another turn in the conversation. One I won’t talk about here, because there is too much at stake for too many people in its revelation. But I will say that it made me consider just how far I’ve come, that in the course of this conversation, I felt capable of doing something I didn’t feel like I could do for most of my life: I told the truth, even though it was scandalous and ugly. And I didn’t feel bad about it, because being able to take responsibility for my mistakes while also recognizing that not everything that goes wrong in the world is my fault is a big accomplishment for me. It’s been a long time coming.

We moved the conversation to a nearby sushi restaurant, where little bites of heaven came to a dark lacquered table on fancy white plates:

We sat there, talking about our hopes and dreams, and it came home to me that I’ve turned a corner here, somewhere, when I wasn’t really paying attention. The past is still there, and still a part of me, but the future is brighter and more promising now than it ever was in my wild, desperate dreams when I first left California almost a decade ago. Being realistic about the future used to mean giving up on long-shot dreams to me. Now it means finding new ways to harness and build upon them. That something real, and worthwhile, could come out of all this has been a hazy, troubling thing to try and wrap my head and heart around for a long time. But it’s there now, and real, and it’s been worth fighting for.

Boyfriend is wrapped up with conference duties all day, so this morning, I took myself to breakfast at the same little coffeehouse that served me a delicious Dry Blood Orange Soda and wonderful conversation last night:

Boyfriend seemed a little surprised that I left the hotel room by myself this morning. He’s still catching up to the place where my being alone is a choice and a treat, and not a byproduct of being too afraid to make friends. I already have dinner plans this evening… with myself.

And as for the scared, anxious, girl that spent so many nights alone when she lived in Seattle – maybe I’ll take her too. To tell her one more time to look around and appreciate how far she’s come. And that, above all else, even though she still holds me back sometimes, I’m proud of her.

Part I. So here’s the thing: I know I’m not technically *that* overweight, but I am a bit heavier than I should be for my height and build. I’m 5 feet tall (at least that’s what I’m going to continue telling everyone, and myself) and as of right now, I weigh about 135 pounds. The recommended healthy weight for someone my height is between 105 and 115 pounds. As of right now, my body mass index (BMI) is just high enough to put me in the “overweight” category, at about 26.36. Recommended healthy BMI for females is between 18.5 and 24.99. You can check your BMI and read more helpful information here.

Ideally, for my height, I would like to get down to the 105-110 pound range. That should put my BMI at about 20, which is well within the healthy range for my body. I imagine that my reasons for wanting to get down to a healthy weight are much the same as most people’s. I want to feel better about myself, and look better overall, as well as feel better about the way I’m taking care of my body. I haven’t always been very kind to it, and I know that I need to pay more attention to what I put into it. I’ve been putting this off for a long time, because making changes can seem so overwhelming.

Also, I really like food. I love cooking and baking, and I also love eating out. Growing up, healthy eating was never really emphasized, and we were pretty much allowed to have whatever we wanted when there was money for it. There wasn’t always, of course, and so there was a lot of cheap, unhealthy food thrown into the mix as well…SPAM and lots of Macaroni and Cheese come to mind (sometimes together). My dad and grandfather were pretty dramatically overweight, and my mom gained a lot of weight after her pregnancies, so I was exposed to that early on. On the other hand, I also knew a lot of other girls with eating disorders who went the extreme other direction, so especially as a teenager I often felt conflicted between wanting to eat whatever I wanted, and on the other hand wanting to starve to be skinny because my friends were doing it. I don’t advocate either.

I packed on a lot of weight after I finished college because I became less active. One thing about living in Seattle was that I walked everywhere, and that kept my weight at a pretty stable 115 – 120 pounds for most of college. When I moved to Eastern Washington, I hit the double whammy of being depressed, driving everywhere, and on top of that working in a little diner with delicious but greasy food. By the time I got serious about doing something about my weight two years ago, I was up to the heaviest I had ever been, almost 150 pounds. I started Weight Watchers in January of 2009 and lost a decent amount of weight. At one point, the combination of being very strict about what I was eating and working out up to 4 hours a day doing yoga, pilates, kick boxing, ballet and spinning helped me get down to 120 pounds.

Then life intervened. School got more difficult, I didn’t have very much time for exercise, and after more than a year of depriving myself of the foods I loved, I was headed for a meltdown. Things got more intense with my family, my grandmother died, and I hit a low point where food was a big source of comfort. I packed 15 pounds back on, and that’s where I’m at right now. The only thing more frustrating than trying to lose weight is having to lose weight you’ve already lost once.

But I have added motivation now. The band is a major source of that. I want to look good on stage, and of course that will be a major source of confidence. I also want to feel better for me, after spending so many years being anxious and depressed and down on myself. Instead of major dramatic extremes, I’m trying to make better, more balanced decisions about what I eat and work in short bouts of exercise. A couple of months ago I bought a Bowflex Treadclimber TC3000, and I love the workout I get from using it. It’s low impact on my joints, but very effective.

I’m trying to make it easier on myself to eat healthy by preparing on the weekends for the week ahead. Today I prepped salad fixings for the week: lettuce, peas, kidney beans, baby corn, mushrooms, beets, hard boiled eggs, and imitation crab. I have no problem eating the same thing several days in a row, so this system works out pretty well for me. This is what roughly 4 lunches or dinners will look like this week:

Salad with lettuce, beets, peas, tomato, baby corn, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, kidney beans, and imitation crab, topped with low-fat ranch dressing.

In other news, I figured it would be good to have a starting point for my weight loss this time. I wish I had taken before and after pictures as I made progress two years ago when I was losing weight regularly, because I think it can be great motivation for keeping up with the healthy decision making. So here you have it – me at this starting point:

Day 1 of the Quest to Not be Fat Anymore...

5’0, 135 pounds, and ready to make some healthy changes…

Today I got yet another reminder of how importance persistence and tenacity are, as well as another chance to work on not letting my trauma brain take over. It’s amazing how the littlest things can trigger trauma brain to kick in and start raising my anxiety levels. It’s a little surreal to find myself in the position of middle manager between my healthy, intellectual brain and my trauma brain. Now that I’m capable of recognizing when trauma brain is trying to take over, I can generally calm myself down without having an anxiety attack. Reaching this stage in my healing process makes me feel confident that I’m prepared to ease off my medication soon, which is a goal I’ve had for a long time. I’ve been taking Effexor for about 2 years now, and for the past six months or so I’ve been on an extremely low dose (37.5 mg per day). For the first few weeks that I took the lower dose, I did notice some moodiness and heightened anxiety, but that gradually balanced out. I’m expecting that when I go off the medication, I’ll experience something similar, but knowing that it’s going to get better gives me a lot of confidence that everything is going to be okay.

Back to today.  I got a text message this afternoon from the girlfriend of the bass player in the band I joined asking if I could meet up with her for drinks. She characterized this as “girl talk,” but insisted that it was nothing bad. Still, somewhere in the back of my head, even though I knew that the most likely situation really didn’t involve anything bad happening, I was nervous. Really nervous. My stomach tightened up and I could feel the anxiety coming on. My mind instantly went to the worst case scenario – that this was going to be an uncomfortable talk that somehow involved something going wrong with the band. I recognized that my trauma brain was taking over and told myself to breathe and work through it. Trauma brain insisted that practice last night wasn’t that great…we learned a lot, but it was a difficult night for me vocally. I jumped right to worst case scenarios…my voice just wasn’t strong enough to allow them to keep me in the band; they just really weren’t feeling it; I needed way too much work…

Flash forward to a few hours later. I arrived at the bar for drinks, composed, but still nervous. The conversation started off in a direction that made me nervous, but as it progressed it finally sank in for me that I was making myself a wreck on the inside for nothing. While we were talking about personalities in the band and how the group dynamic developed, I wavered between waiting for the hammer to fall and telling myself that I was reading too much into things. Then she insisted that she had been meaning to have this conversation with me for a couple of weeks and I relaxed…it had nothing to do with last night’s practice, or any other practice. She was trying to give me friendly advice and insight because she wants this band to work, and so do all the other guys in it. They wanted to make sure I was comfortable. Not only was nothing wrong with the band, but she was trying to reassure me that all of the guys in the band (who are guys, and therefore will probably never tell me this on their own) are really and truly excited about having me join. They’re nervous about being too critical or pushing me too hard – which is reassuring in a strange way. I’ve been so worried about making a mistake that would screw up everything I love about this band, I haven’t taken as much notice as I should have of the things that are working well…and there are a lot of them. This goes back to my trauma brain, which tells me not to get too excited over anything, because my past experience tells me that any time something good happens to me, something bad will follow. I’m in a healthy place now and making healthy decisions based on thoughtful consideration, so I have every reason to believe this won’t be the case. Yes, there will still be disappointments and challenges, but those are part of life. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the good things too as they happen.

I left drinks feeling much better, and also more bonded with my band mates, even though none of them were actually present. Learning that they were getting disillusioned about the prospects of finding the right lead singer at the same time I was getting disillusioned about finding the right band mates was a strange sort of reminder that timing does happen at certain times for certain reasons. I truly do believe that we end up in the places we need to be at the times we need to be there for a reason, and this is a case where finally the timing and all the other factors fell into place. All the other bands I auditioned for that weren’t the right fit were trial runs for this one – and it looks like it’s going be a great experience. I love that my band mates have a lot of experience and a lot of technical knowledge that I can learn from, and after the conversation I had this evening I feel even more confident asking for their guidance and input because it’s clear to me now that they are excited about having me grow right along with them as part of the band. They are willing to invest the time and effort that it takes to make this all come together, and that’s the best kind of support system I could possibly have. Finally finding the right group of people to work with who can give me constructive criticism and feedback and help me improve is a really good feeling. I’m grateful for all the experiences that have gotten me to this point – steps forward and setbacks alike.

Someone told me once that attitude is the only thing 100% in my control. For a lot of the past 10 years since he told me that, I’ve been too anxious and too traumatized to really put it into practice in my life…it’s hard to have a good attitude when you’re miserable and depressed and hurt and angry and don’t understand why. I still struggle with this, but it’s good to finally see myself coming out at a healthy place where I can have control of my attitude…maybe not 100% of the time, but I’m working on it.

I’m still having a hard time dealing with the rampant drama in my department, and the fact that my main adviser has all but dropped off the face of the earth. He resurfaces every now and then, either because the chair of the department has contacted him to demand that he take care of some specific task (hello, prelim reading list…which I still had to get from another professor), or because he has demands of his own that he communicates through middle men who probably don’t want to play that role. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, because anything I do is going to entail the beginning of World War III. I’m also starting to feel like my professor is using his position to bully me into doing certain things, whether it’s taking classes I don’t need, doing research that isn’t benefiting me, or giving high marks to students that don’t deserve them (all of which he’s done in the past year, before going on sabbatical and dropping off the face of the planet).

Yesterday morning one of my professors that I don’t actually have any classes with right now dropped into my office to say hello and ask how I was doing. She asked how trying to study for my prelims was going, and whether or not my adviser had finally gotten my materials to me. I caught her up to date with the situation, which hasn’t changed much since last semester when I had a class with her, and mentioned that I was considering the possibility of changing advisers if I could convince one of the other members of my exam committee to take me on. She was very supportive of the idea, and suggested a coffee date next week to talk about the idea some more.

Then I meandered down the hall to talk to the second chair on my committee. He technically only specializes in one of my two fields, but he’s brilliant and I’m very lucky to work with him. I asked if he would consider switching to being my first chair…and he said no. For a long list of personal reasons which had nothing to do with me. Even though I understood where he was coming from, it still sucked to be told no. The fact that he recognized it wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear did strangely help, but it is testing all of my newly acquired life skills to manage the fact that even though this person has rejected one request, he is still working with me in other capacities. No matter what he thinks about this decision, I still have to interact with him almost daily. And I have to do it with a great deal of respect, which this professor rightly deserves. Not being able to resort to my habitual default plan (run, hide, cry, scream, have anxiety attacks, sleep too much, be depressed, snap at people, and skin pick, or some combination of the above), was difficult. To be honest, I did pick my skin significantly yesterday, but even this was drastically reduced over what I would have done even, say, a year ago.  I used to pick my skin until it bled…sometimes for hours at a time. Yesterday I lost perhaps a total of 20 minutes to picking. This is on the one hand basically nothing, and on the other hand a little devastating, because I wish the therapy were progressing faster. One of the things I’m still struggling to learn how to do is take a breath and just calm down for a second when things start getting overwhelming. It’s a lofty goal that’s easier said than done.

Back to the opinion spectrum. By 10:30 yesterday morning, I had two opposite opinions about what I should do. One professor said to jump off that ship before it sank any farther. The other said to stay on that ship and patch it up by whatever means were necessary. In the afternoon, in anticipation of yet another meeting with a professor who actually scares me with his enormously high standards, I went to talk to my department chair to get his feedback. He laid out numerous possibilities, some of which were feasible and some of which made me want to throw up in his wastebasket.  I didn’t, and went home to mull the possibilities (which now ran the spectrum from doing nothing to initiating World War III) and pick my skin instead. I was very very anxious about my meeting this afternoon, and lost sleep over it.

This morning, I decided to take a chance and drop by scary professor’s office during his office hours instead of waiting until my meeting this afternoon in the hopes of just getting it over with. He’s actually very nice, but I’m always afraid I’m going to piss him off unintentionally because his standards are so insanely different than anything I’ve ever experienced. It actually went fine, and I left feeling strangely relieved, even though nothing was really solved.

I’ve had four meetings, gotten four different opinions, and still have no plan of action…but I did get my Effexor prescription refilled, have lunch with a friend, and make significant progress in finishing an article that I’ve been working on for what feels like forever. I also picked at my skin a little bit this morning. Not sure what to make of this strange mix of healthy and unhealthy responses.

The bottom line: if you’re going to jump off of one ship that’s sinking, you have to have something else to jump on to. Easier said than done. Especially if you don’t know how to swim. I don’t. But I have every intention of learning.

I have a professor who qualifies as one of those rare people who is both impossible to please, but generally right, making it impossible to be legitimately angry with him. I feel like every time I turn around I’m doing something to make him mad, whether it’s failing to include the correct introductory sentence in my emails or needing to leave class thirty minutes early to make it to a funeral. There are many days when I feel like I can’t do anything right, and I’m not the kind of person who can manage to not let things like this get to me.

The disconnect comes from the fact that he has impossibly high standards, but they’re also legitimate ones, and the higher he raises them, the harder I keep trying to earn his approval. In some says it’s a throwback to my childhood of always seeking approval. On the other hand, there’s really nothing unhealthy about it, and as long as I remain aware of my tendencies of constantly seeking approval, I can keep them in check without too much trouble. This is a solid indication that my therapy is working and paying off, so in that sense it’s a good thing.

At the same time, it’s hard to reconcile in my head sometimes. The fact that I’m getting to a place now where I can start to manage these things without needing medication is a good sign.

When it comes to medication, I’ve tried a lot of them. The first anxiety-related medication I started taking wasn’t directly related to my anxiety at all…I started taking Detrol LA the summer I graduated from high school. I was teased for years about my tiny bladder, and by the time I made it to high school, I had a hard time making it for more than an hour without using the bathroom. It seriously impacted my ability to function – I couldn’t even sit through a movie most of the time without having to leave half way through. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it through my college classes, so I asked the doctor for a prescription. I took it for a few years, and then finally gave up because I still felt like I was having to use the bathroom all the time. I also started taking Prozac in college, before a trip to Europe that I was terrified of going on. A few months after I got home, I stopped taking it because I didn’t notice much of a difference. I had rabid panic attacks the entire time I was away, and I still had to use the bathroom all the time, so I gave up on the medication all together.

When I went to Alaska, my therapist thought Cymbalta might yield better results, so I started taking that. It was then that I learned why the Detrol LA wasn’t working on my frequent bathroom trips – I had to pee all the time because I was anxious, and that affects nerves. The Detrol works by calming muscles, so essentially not only did I have to pee all the time, I couldn’t actually fully empty my bladder, compounding the problem. Before this takes a header off the diving board into the “too much information” category, I’ll just sum up by saying that when I stopped taking the Detrol and started working on organically managing my anxiety, my tiny bladder problem improved dramatically on its own. I still have issues when I get really anxious, but most of the time, I’m just fine.

I stopped taking the Cymbalta cold turkey [side note: bad idea. Never EVER stop taking medication cold turkey. In addition to mood swings and other side effects, abruptly quitting the medication causes severe dizziness in some people, as it did with me]. when I got back from Alaska. Though my panic attacks were better while I was in Alaska, I was tired of medication that wasn’t helping me control my skin picking and wasn’t eliminating my panic and depression entirely. After about a year off of medication, I decided to give it another try, because I thought it might help me while I worked through some underlying issues (which, as it turned out, went much deeper than I had imagined). After consulting with my doctor and my therapist, we decided to give Effexor XR a try.

The first few days I instantly noticed a difference in comparison to the Prozac or Cymbalta. I felt totally numb…a bomb could have gone off next to me and I probably wouldn’t have cared. I decided to trust the therapist, who thought we should give it two weeks – if I still felt out of it and disoriented, I’d come off of it. My mood balanced out after a few more days, and I began to notice that I felt more calm and was better able to think about what was happening in a situation before reacting out of anxiety or panic. I felt more in control and level-headed. It didn’t eliminate my skin picking or my anxiety, but it did give me some breathing room to work on deeper issues.

I’m now approaching a place where I’m ready to be off of all my medication and getting back into the real world on my own. I’ve stepped down to half the dose of Effexor I was originally taking, and I’m ready to phase off of it by the summer. Scary? Yes. But also exciting. I truly believe that medication is a great thing when used properly and under the supervision of a professional, like a therapist. On it’s own, it’s not a cure-all – I’ve learned that one pill a day won’t fix everything. When that was my hope, I was, of course, disappointed. But there is a place for medication, and in the right situation it does work. I’m living (and still imperfect) proof.

…and again…

Disappointment sucks. Everyone has to deal with it; it’s a fact of life. I sometimes feel like I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to manage the aftereffects of crushing disappointment. It’s one of those things…as I’ve gotten healthier, I’ve learned better responses to deal with my disappointment. I recognize that disappointment is normal and it’s healthy to learn how to work through the negative emotions that it brings up.

But here’s the thing: it still sucks.

No matter how healthy I get, it will always suck. It’s one of the things that will always be a factor in life. That in and of itself is a little disappointing. Lame.

When I was seventeen, a teacher told me to always remember that “attitude is the only thing 100% in your control.” It’s advice that has floated around in the back of my mind ever since. And it is excellent advice. Putting it into practice, however, is the hard part.  I have a chance to do it right now, and so far, I’m admittedly not doing a very good job.

I had an audition on Saturday for a band that I really (really) wanted to get into. It was made up of experienced musicians that I could have learned a lot from. At the same time, since they were all in or approaching their 50’s, it wouldn’t have been a band that would have ever left the local area. I put up a good front. I sang my heart out. I was myself, and I was honest. I hit my high notes and had fun. Most importantly, maybe, I actually followed through at did this, and wasn’t a bundle of nerves. That in and of itself is a big accomplishment for me, and I’m proud of it.

I knew when I left, though, that something wasn’t working in my favor. It was just a sinking feeling. The band all expressed positive feedback, gave me half a dozen new songs to learn, and claimed to be excited to work with me in the future…but somehow, I just knew, something wasn’t right. I spent all day Sunday and Monday tied up in knots waiting to hear from them.

They finally emailed me today to say that they’ve decided to continue their search for a singer. No explanation, just rejection. Strangely, I feel better. It’s better to know than to wonder in some cases…at least, it’s easier on the nerves.  Unfortunately, I had very few nerves left by the time I got the email to day. So…in the past 12 hours, I’ve snapped at my boyfriend half a dozen times, cried because little things triggered my emotions, and yelled over a particularly recalcitrant sweet potato. But I’m okay. And it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to be able to use this experience to push forward and come out better than before.

But yes, it still sucks.