Confidence is like a muscle.


Confidence is like a muscle. You have to build it up slowly. Do things daily to strengthen and practice.  Watch how others do it, but know that you might do it a little differently than them, keep training, and don’t get too discouraged when progress is slow.  Stretch yourself slowly, but don’t push it too hard.  Understand that it might even hurt a little at first.  But keep at it.  And give yourself credit when you make even the tiniest bit of progress.   It will get easier, but it is still just really really hard.  But don’t quit.  Ever.  You owe it to you.


19 Struggles Of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Introverted

I’ve never in my life read something that describes me so well. I feel like this writer creeped into my head while i was sleeping and sucked out my innermost thoughts.

Introversion Effect

Like many categorizing systems, the separatist thinking behind them attempts to firmly place us in one container or another.  The flaw in these types of systems is that they don’t always take into account the middle areas of the spectrum.  And any system is just that: a spectrum.  I’ve long stated with unequivocal certainty that I’m introverted.  My friends, however, look at me askance, because I’m actually very fun-loving and outgoing when I need to be.  So on that introvert/extravert spectrum, I fall somewhere to the introverted side, but exhibit limited extroverted tendencies.  Here is an article found on Thought Catalog by Brianna West that I have updated to reflect this:

1. You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social. It’s not that you don’t like going out, it’s that you are very choosy about when, where, and for how long.

2. At any given point, you have one (maybe two)…

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That which must not be named.

You didn’t really think I was gonna be vulnerable about my struggles with The Sludge of the Soul without letting you follow me on my journey out of this darkness, did you? I admitted openly and publicly that I am depressed. I am dealing, once again, with some real darkness lately and I told you about it. It was insanely hard to talk about it. To admit my weakness. But. Here’s the thing. Telling you all my struggles was also insanely helpful.  It was taking a step in the right direction. Sure, telling others your struggle is a really good way of unexpectedly finding out you aren’t alone, but it’s more this……. Saying something out loud has power. Naming something gives it definition… and limits. I’m not sure why but I’ve found it to be true.  Shame is in secrets. Fear grows in the dark places. When something is no longer a secret, it doesn’t have the same weird twisted power over you. Depression has a way of growing in your mind.  The darkness morphs those unknown shapes and shadows into something sinister and warped.  As Hermoine Granger reminded us frequently, “fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” The weird messages of unworthiness and hopelessness that are oh so loud in your head frankly sound kinda lame when you say them out loud.  You might get positive feedback from others.  You might not.  But you still took the power over it.  You said it out loud. Now the magic can happen.



I don’t need your help.


Last night I found an amazing deal on a black leather armchair and ottoman while I was getting groceries.  Since I’ve been cleaning out my home office trying to turn it into a coffee drinking, writing, bill paying, reading, wine sipping haven, the timing was perfect.  Except that I was still getting groceries…and LOTS of groceries.  And my back has been spasming all day.  But, still, must have.  So, after I finished loading my cart, packed full and with tortilla chips piled high on the top, I then stopped and grabbed the flatbed with my new find from the greeter and went to check out.  It took a couple tries on the first corner, but I quickly figured out how to push my heavy grocery cart ahead of me with my left arm (and hip) and pull the flatbed behind me with my right.  I even easily lifted the chair so the cashier could scan it along with oodles of soup, cookies, and apples.  And wine.  Oodles of wine.  Then, of course, the cashier offered to find someone to assist me with my large purchase to my car.  I said “nah, I got this.”  After I checked out, he offered again.  Nope, I’m good.  In fact, I’m downright proud of myself for negotiating these turns.  As I’m leaving, more offers of help.  Then of course, as I’m trying to get turned to actually go through the doors with my giant caravan, I turned down one final offer of help.  And he wouldn’t listen to me.  Despite my insistence that I really got it, he took over on the flatbed.  Then he refused to leave me alone until he was assured that he could get it safely packed into my car for me.  Not gonna lie.  I was kinda annoyed.  But I also had to admit, it was really helpful.

Then I got thinking, why in the world am I always so damned determined NOT to ask for help.  And then to NOT accept help even when offered. Repeatedly.  Sure, sometimes I just want it done my way and don’t wanna have to explain HOW to do it my way.  I sometimes assume that others simply can’t do it was well as I can.  I’m always a little afraid that others will let me down if I count on their help. Those are downfalls of being a control freak.  But really, truthfully, I think more often than not, I simply don’t wanna be a bother.  I don’t wanna to be viewed as a burden.  And I, for sure, don’t ever wanna be perceived as weak or vulnerable.   My determination of doing it myself is like my own way of apologizing for my existence, for my audacity at taking up too much space in the world.   I’m starting to think that is just kinda dumb.  Because sometimes my back hurts and maybe I should let someone else do the heavy lifting.

Wallow if You Want To.


So.  I’ve already admitted to dealing with some depression gone wild lately  (and in the past, and probably again in the future).   The next question always is what the hell do I do about it!?  I hate misery and its company.   And when I’m depressed, I’m miserable.  I feel miserable, I look miserable, I ooze miserable.  And sooner or later, I get to the point that oozing all this misery really doesn’t seem like a good long term option for me.  So I will have to start making plans to climb out of the cesspool of funk. But frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready.  I’ve been here before.

Sometimes, believe it or not, you just have to wallow a bit.   As depression worsens, it feels much like sinking into a deeper and oozier hole.  Kinda like quicksand.  According to Indiana Jones movies, sometimes the first thing you have to do is just stop fighting.  Stop squirming.  Stop thrashing around.  Just stop.  Now, I don’t mean give up the fight or the hope of climbing out of that hole, I just mean stop the sinking.  Just slow down, steady your breathing, regain control of the panic.  Come to terms with you situation.  Later you will have to assess your resources (stay tuned, you know I will write about that soon) and figure out how to implement them, but for now, you just have to stop.  Wallow (calmly) a bit.

In practice, this might mean taking a break from social events or extra responsibilities at work.  It might mean getting away from others for a whole weekend and marathon watching all the Harry Potter movies while eating copious amounts of ice cream from the carton.  It might mean sleeping in really late.  It might just mean not answering your phone.  And it very well might mean crying your eyes out in the dark while drinking whiskey.  Wallow if you want to.  Wallow if you need to.


But know this……You can’t stay here.  You won’t.  You might have to set a time limit to your wallowing.  You might have to say, “Okay by Monday morning, I’m gonna come up with a plan, but this weekend, I’m gonna cry and carb load and swear a lot more than usual.”   Hold still for awhile, save your  strength.  Because there is hard work ahead.


The Darkness


Ever been somewhere kinda scary at night and then go back during the day and it doesn’t even seem like the same place?  A few years ago, I lost track of time while chasing sunsets and ended up having to make my way through the woods in the dark….it was Halloween night (no joke) and there was a full moon and I’m telling you, there was a freaking owl stalking me.  “Hoot..Hoot!”  Scared the shit outta me.  Owls are some creepy ass creatures.  Shiver.  Doesn’t matter how many times I reasonably told myself “there is nothing there to hurt you” and “you’re okay, you know this trail well, just concentrate on your footing” and “owls aren’t carnivores anyway” and “zombies aren’t real and neither are owl zombies” and other calming phrases, I had to FORCE myself not to break into a run for the car knowing that would increase my risk of an ankle fracture (and then I would have to deal with that owl (and maybe zombies) all night until the rescue party came in).  I was freakin scared.  Little girl being chased by demon clowns scared.  The dark is terrifying.  It hides things.  Makes you wonder what is lurking there in the shadows.  It distorts shapes and makes them seem bigger and makes them move and sway in disturbing ways.   The darkness envelopes you.   That unsettling Halloween night, I made it back to my car safely of course.  Then the next time I was there in the daylight, I laughed about it.  This place isn’t scary at all!  Not the same place in the light of day.  The shadows and light frolic among the trees while the sun shifts it’s position all day long.  It’s a safe place.  My haven.  But guess what?  I was recently there again and lost track of time again (ok, so I might need to invest in a watch) and had to hike back out in the dark AGAIN.   I giggled nervously thinking “oh man, hope that owl isn’t lurking” and then simply hiked back through the darkness.  WITH NO FEAR.  Totally calm, taking care not to trip over any roots or hit my head on a low hanging branch.  Not only did I know very well what that place is like during the sunshiny daytimes, but I had also survived it in the scary night time.  I survived the dark once.  I will pass through it with ease this time.  I got this.



Nothing Really Matters


So, this is hard for me to write. This is personal. Vulnerable. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life. I mean, not the feeling sad because my dog died or feeling let down because I failed at something kind, but the debilitating darkness kind that comes out of nowhere.  It usually hits me when I’m on the top of the world, when I’m doing well, when I really am figuring out this thing called life.  Then something breaks down.  All good things must come to an end.  Sometimes I feel sad when I’m depressed, but usually I just feel tired, heavy, and dark. My body tries to shut down on me, I  can’t get enough sleep, my joints and muscles ache, my chronic back pain comes back with a vengeance, I cry more from the physical pain than I do from sadness, and it’s almost as if I can feel my metabolism drop, zero energy. My brain also goes on strike, I can’t remember things, can’t focus on getting things done, trying to figure out the various steps to make coffee just about takes all my mental fortitude for the day, I don’t bother to pay bills or complete projects because it takes all my mental energy just to remember what day it is (and I also don’t give a shit), and I sometimes can’t remember how I got places. My emotions initially go hyper wacky…constant crying spells, panic attacks, anxiety gone wild, get teared up watching Maxwell House TV commercial, but very quickly my emotions turn to anger and irritability and rage for a short spell on the quick trip to complete numbness, when I simply don’t feel anything or care about anything. I lose interest in things that used to fill me with joy. I no longer hike, take pics of the fall colors, I certainly don’t bother to read a book, and I don’t even care about food anymore (even cupcakes) because it no longer has any taste.  My personality changes, I can’t be around people, so I isolate.  The thought of trying to make conversation or engaging with someone else’s emotions makes me cringe, I have no extra energy to offer anyone else and I simply don’t like people when I am depressed.  All of this is the outward stuff that is bad enough, but it’s my thoughts that completely strip me of all hope. My thoughts turn dark and sinister. My normal determination to life live to the full turns to begging the universe to please find a way to off me, maybe an aneurysm in the night or a quick car accident, and I wake up angry that it didn’t happen and I have to face the day. I think about ways to off myself since the universe won’t bother, but simply don’t have energy to do anything about it.  My thoughts speak to me in my own inner voice, telling me I’m stupid, ugly, fat, and that I take up way too space in the world, I am simply not worthy of that space, and the world would be so much better without me in it. My outer voice often reflects these thoughts and I hear myself saying things like “whatever,” or “Don’t care, do what you want.” or the ever resounding “It doesn’t matter (because nothing really ever matters).”

Depression is The Great Distorter. It lies to me. It completely changes how I see the world.  It whispers falsehoods into my soul. It’s trying to kill me.  It’s tried to kill me before.  It’ll try to kill me again.

I won’t let it this time.  I’m just not sure how to fight it right now, but I’ve fought it before.  Actually, I DO know how to fight it, but I don’t have the strength right now.  So, I’m gonna play dead for a little while longer and let The Great Distorter taunt me a bit.  But I’ll figure it out.  I have to.  I’ll be back.

My Give a Damn’s Busted

I am so tired of what I do today. The front lines. It’s so smelly, nasty, chaotic, and loud here. I crave peace, quiet, and calm breezes today. I’m tired of my office stinking like cigarettes and body odor, with the whiff of alcohol in the air (on people’s breath, not waiting in a lovely glass of wine for me). I’m tired of dealing with the poor, the downtrodden, the stinky, and the dumb. I know, I know, have some compassion, Stace. But really, anyone knows me knows that I have been generally brimming over with compassion all my life. I have a soft heart. I really do care. I really do hurt for people. I really do wanna help. But I’m really tired of wondering if I am doing any good at all. Wondering why I offer help and get resistance instead. Why do these people repeatedly fall back into the same destructive patterns over and over again? Despite my immense wisdom and knowledgeable advice and beating bleeding heart.

And there it is. I just said it…”these people.”

What do we all really mean when we say “these people?” We mean those who we think are oh so much different than us. Right. Those people who can’t get their shit together despite all the help they are handed. Those people who aren’t as smart as me, or as clean as me, or as responsible as me. What I really mean is those who I think aren’t capable enough to do anything right, to make anything out of their lives, who can’t survive without my help, those who need me to rescue them, but who are never grateful to me for pulling them up and saving them.

Seriously, being a superhero is so friggin exhausting. There’s no thanks, no recognition, until maybe way after you’re dead and gone, someone might erect a statue in your image (and when they do, they damn well better make me look thinner with perky breasts) and people are always misunderstanding you. It’s a lonely world.  Exasperated sigh.

And I’ve never been so full of shit.

I’m in the business of potential. I see potential all around me. Always have. Pray to the big sister in the sky that I always will. Sometimes I forget. In our worlds, we are surrounded by weakness, depravity, fear, despair, stupidity, selfishness, and deficit. We see it others, we see it in ourselves. But if we stop there and don’t notice the strength, the tenacity, the courage, the hope, the determination, the sacrifice, and the potential, we only rob ourselves of experiencing it. And frankly, I can’t survive that way. I wouldn’t want to.

It’s much harder to see it today than it was yesterday. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep last night, maybe I didn’t eat enough breakfast this morning, maybe my whole pot of coffee is not oozing it’s normal magical powers like usual, maybe more people yelled at me today than yesterday, maybe I just woke up not giving a shit today. Dunno.

Whatever the reason, I can’t stay here. I have beauty to see, wonder to experience, potential to watch grow into amazing. I don’t know if I can see it today. But I will look for it. In others. In myself.


Thank you beautiful random stranger for smiling. I noticed.


Thank you beautiful random stranger for smiling.  I noticed.

I was recently waiting in my car to cross an intersection and there was another woman in a car waiting to go.  As I passed, the passenger in her car must have said something funny, and she burst out into laughter that turned into this huge delighted grin.  My heart stopped for a minute.  It was the most devastatingly gorgeous smile ever.  And, somehow, I got to see it.  I felt more beautiful myself all day for sharing in it.  Frankly, I probably noticed it because I had been working so hard to see beauty around me (yeah me!).  That moment of pure joy, that smile, still just pops into my head sometimes and I can’t help but grin myself.  And I’ll tell ya what, that stranger has no idea how she completely brightened my day, and many other days since….so maybe, just maybe, I sometimes do that for other people when I burst out into my rather obnoxious laughter or flash someone a smile.  And I bet you do that sometimes too…..brighten others day with a smile, a laugh, and kind word.  Ya never know.  But I’m fairly certain of it.

The Things I Hate About Myself and How They Make Me Awesome. Chapter 1.


Chapter 1. My Shy Terrified Misfit Self.  Yeah, I know, might be hard  to believe, but I’m kinda shy and often terrified. (no one is surprised by the misfit part).  When I was a little girl, I was SO afraid of talking to other people.  I remember being so upset the first time my dad made me give my order to the actual person at the counter at McDonalds instead of quietly whispering it to him to relay the order.  My kindergarten school picture is a sad looking little girl wearing a red ribbon in her hair and tears in her eyes…..I had burst into tears because the photographer tried too hard to get me to smile and it was just too much for shy little ole me.  And I’ve always just been so damn afraid: Afraid of snakes, afraid of heights, afraid of water, afraid of looking stupid, afraid of more snakes, afraid to go anywhere or do anything alone, afraid to try anything with other people watching, afraid to fail, afraid to eat in front of people (seriously, potlucks were hell on earth), afraid to be alone, afraid to be in a crowd, afraid to be seen, afraid to not be seen, afraid, afraid, afraid.  I’ve always felt I didn’t belong, was a total misfit in any situation, and trying to relate to others has been a constant struggle.  Sometimes I’m too quiet, sometimes I’m WAY too loud, sometimes I talk too much, sometimes I become a wallflower, sometimes I act a fool to try to convince everyone that I’m this uber confident socialite, sometimes I laugh when everyone else is mad, sometimes I cry when everyone else is just fine, sometimes I just stay home because I’m too scared to go out and face the world.  And the truth is, for a culture who supposedly claims to be all individualistic, we all really work hard to be just like everyone else.  Yet despite this…this need to conform, to fit in, we all still want to be seen.  Really seen.

How Does This Make Me Awesome?  Because I can see it.  I can spot it others. I have the sight. This is my third eye.  I know the signs.  I can see the terror in their eyes, the discomfort in their body language, the desire to fit in and the despair at not knowing how.  And above all, I see your fear of being insignificant.  And if I can get past my own, sometimes crippling , fear of the same thing, I can reach out.   I still get terrified having to walk into a room by myself and have to strike up conversation with people, but I do it.   Whenever I venture out on a solo trip somewhere, I am almost sick with fear and anxiety, but I refuse to stay home (and anyone who pays attention, has noticed that I refuse to stay home A LOT).  Frankly, I count on the fact that there are others out there just as afraid as me and I find them…I find them quickly, and I try to see them.  Whether I just smile or strike up a conversation, or tell them I love their necklace, or ask if I can sit and eat fancy finger foods at their table at those horrifying “mingling events,”  I seek them out.  I will do anything I can to make them feel important.  To know they are significant.  And it helps.  Maybe it helps them, I really hope it does, but I KNOW, it helps me.  I don’t feel so alone when I can make a connection.  I don’t feel so afraid when I know I’m not the only one.   And I don’t feel so self conscious when I am focusing on seeing someone else.

1017607_10151501729696129_1267654256_n (this is a selfie of me feeling EXTREMELY SELF CONSCIOUS)

And frankly, if this seeing others is the small way I can change the world for the better, then I would gladly accept this as my superpower.  I seriously dig capes anyway.