My Days in Mud

I feel as though most days I'm swimming through mud. This is neither a good or bad thing, it's just my state of being. I've accepted that having mental illnesses (yes, I'm using the plural) means almost everyday is going to be muddy in some way, shape or form.

Some days I just wanna walk through it to get somewhere, not really caring if I get my clothes dirty on the way, I just want to get through it and get it done. These are the days I can't be bothered with crap being around me, I just know I have to trudge through to make it through the day.

Other days I walk carefully, gingerly stepping over muddier spots and doing my best to hold the hems of my pants up and away from the grime. I get anxious and nervous, struggling a lot some days just to leave my house because I'm terrified of the minefield that is society.

Then there are days I get stuck, my feet sink in and I can't budge an inch no matter how I pull or scream for help. It sucks when I get so stuck in my head that neither I nor anyone else can pull me out, frustration at my mental health is something I continue to struggle with.

The worst are days I decide to fuck it and lay in the mud, feeling it seep through my clothing till it hits my skin and covers me whole. That deflation of defeat can be crippling, those days I have to take time alone to figure out where my head and heart are at. I believe these are the days when my head and heart fall out of sync, which dampens my spirit.

Occasionally I'll roll around in the mud, not really giving a damn about the mess but not caring enough to stand up and get out of it. There are weird days where my depression clings to me like a wet blanket, but I really can't find myself to care all that much about it. I'll somehow have the energy to go do random activities to occupy myself from my head, like dancing on my favorite hiking trail or going to a movie all by myself.

Then a day comes and I'll get back up and start fighting my way through it again, knowing I'll likely get dirty along the way but nevertheless persist. Some days I wake up and just know I have to get things done, and that's what I end up doing.

I can never tell you what kind of mud I'll encounter on any given day. Occasionally I'll have a day be going fine and dandy when suddenly I take a step and my feet slip right out from below my and land my ass in a muddy puddle. Other days the ground is dry and sturdy enough for me to skip and dance through, not giving a damn about tripping or falling.

Life is muddy. Most days we'll be lucky and the mud will settle down and the water's surface becomes clear again. Others things get stirred up and thick so it's impossible to move forward without making a bigger mess. Life is about as clear as mud, we just have to figure out what to do with it whenever it's encountered.

Follow on twitter @JoyPearson


Learning to Live as a Conflict Avoidant 

It came as no great surprise to me recently when my therapists (that’s right, PLURAL) told me that I am ‘conflict avoidant’. If you need a crash course on conflict styles, google it and catch up because I’m going to jump straight to the point: I do not like conflict. If I’m being honest, conflict feels like a creature with a thousand claws is scratching down my shoulders and squeezing my neck until I choke. But thankfully, through therapy and a hefty tool box of mental exercises, I’ve (kinda) tamed that creature and have made it (somewhat) my bitch.

Like all conflict styles, being Conflict Avoidant (CA) is no better or worse than the others. Every human being has a different manner in which they deal with conflict, and all manners have pros and cons. However it seems that humans get really frustrated when different styles of conflict are confronted by one another. I know this because I maintain close relationships, and each person has a different conflict style than myself. Some are easier to manage, while others often get tangled up in a mess. It’s a work in progress learning how to dance with each style.

I can only speak from my own experience being CA, so I try to be understanding of all other conflict types. I feel that as a CA, I’m far easier intimidated and am more susceptible to pressure and persuasion. I have often found that when I’m in situations of conflict in which the person I’m arguing with has a stronger personality and (perhaps) thicker skin, I often give up or give in. It’s rarely because I agree with the other person’s argument or I’ve changed my mind; it’s always because I can’t stand the pressure of conflict, I always feel like I’m about to suffocate and/or cry. 

This is really hard for me to write about, as it’s really my biggest fault. Standing up for myself is a huge overwhelming effort, one that I can pull off once in a blue moon but leaves me drained for weeks. More often than not when faced with conflict, I back down and walk away because I don’t want the negativity to germinate in my chest and take over. It’s just always been easier that way.

I think the reason I’m writing about my biggest weakness is because I’ve been examining self-esteem lately. My therapist has been asking me for ages, ‘where does your self-esteem come from?’ And I’ve never had a really good answer. Every answer I gave was half-hearted or desperate guesses, I’ve never really been sure where it came from. After recently going through some rough patches and putting my frustrations under a microscope, I had the answer: Solitude.

Two years ago, I moved into my own apartment. I had never lived alone before, after high school I went to college where I had a string of roommates then moved back in with my parents post-undergrad. Living with my parents for a year in my twenties was both a blessing and a HUGE pain in the rear. Sure, I was in my twenties and I was an adult. I had finally quit my soul-sucking job selling shoes at Macy’s to work for a school district that paid me better and didn’t make me hate humanity. But I still had that awkward need to ‘ask’ my parents permission before going out late, and when I got into a serious relationship that meant ‘sleepovers’ I was ready to leave the nest. I was ready to be on my own to fly.

I am very blessed to have been living alone for two years in my apartment now. My true introverted self flourished in my solitude, and there I finally met my true self and called her friend. I still live close to my family and have sleepovers with my boyfriend, but being alone has really allowed me to find myself and where my true strengths lie. I’ve set up an etsy business that I’m slowly (because I’m absolutely terrified) branching out into farmers markets, I’ve embraced my desire to make art, and I’ve learned how to clean the toilet (are you proud of me yet, Mum?).

I imagine you can see how my self-esteem is now so well matched with my weakness. They often hold hands as they skip through the minefield of emotions I experience on a daily basis. In my solitude I can find clarity and thought in any issue I’m presented with, but being CA often means I take longer to respond to an issue than others. When immediately confronted with conflict, I’ll often back down and give in to find some immediate peace, only to later examine the situation in solitude and find thoughts that I wish I’d shared earlier. My need to sit on any issue to mull over in solitude has cost me many relationships with impatient individuals; ones that were more open to conflict than myself, but I ultimately wouldn’t miss. 

I’ve gathered some tools lately to help me bear out being CA. First is the word “safe”, there is more power in that word than any superpower found in the Marvel Universe. I telling someone “I don’t feel safe in this conversation…” or “I don’t feel safe when…” automatically stops the other person. Unless they’re a real asshole, no person wants to be told that they make someone feel unsafe. It’s a terrible feeling! Because if someone doesn’t feel safe talking to you, that means you are not a safe person. Unless you’re a psychopath (in which cast, stop reading my blog and go get some help), no one wants to make people feel unsafe. I know that if I tell someone, “I don’t feel safe right now,” they cannot tell me I’m wrong. They are my feelings, and they are 100% valid. Anyone who tries to invalidate someone’s safety is an asshole.

My second tool comes on the heels of the first, and that is using statements that start with “I feel…” I have found that in using statements such as “that makes me feel…” or “When you did this, it made me feel…” you have already blamed the other person for whatever it is they’ve done. In stating “I feel…” You are taking ownership of your feelings and where you stand in any given situation.

The thirst tool is time.  This can be both a healing balm, or a slow poisonous death. Taking time to step back from a conflict to think and gain insight can present better solutions, but if the wait is too long the other person may grow impatient. Not all conflict can be dealt in the heat of the moment, but neither can they be left on the back burner forever. There is a mastery to asking for time to examine the conflict, the returning to it later enough that insight has been gained but the battle hasn’t been abandoned. This tool is one I’m still training, as being CA often means letting conflicts drop and pretending they don’t exist anymore. 

I’m still learning how not to see being CA as a weakness, but the setbacks tend to be debilitating. I am learning how to turn conflict into conversation; choosing to share feelings and ideas with others rather than engage in a battle of words that leave me with wounds more painful than the victory itself. This doesn’t always work, especially when the other person isn’t open to receiving feelings and thoughts with respect and mindfulness. However it can be a start to giving myself some inner peace in trying to resolve conflict in a non-hostile manner.
That’s not to say I’m now perfect; I’m still the queen of passive aggressive anger. I will cold-shoulder the hell out of you if you so much as think about hurting a loved one or stealing my food. I also make poor judgement calls, and I don’t think I’ll ever have any volume control. But I am trying to do the best I can with the tools I have to make daily conflicts more bearable to deal with. I’m learning how to embrace being CA without beating myself up over the setbacks. It has been, by far, the hardest task I’ve yet to face, but not one I’m willing to give up on. 
Follow on twitter @JoyPearson

Generated Poetry: The Formulation of Love

I’m on this kick where I use a word generator to give me 6 random words that I incorporate into a poem. I imagine I’ll be posting many of these, so bear with me (or not…. this is my website after all. So if you don’t like this, fuck you, go somewhere else to read garbage poetry that stinks more than mine!)

Generated words: Afternoon, Imposter, wept, Serum, Formulation, Deplorable.

The formulation of love can be rather tricky

It suffers from a deplorable lack of compassion

It’s also often ironically witty…

A cure-all serum does not exist

Safe for the hours in the afternoon I’ve wept

Over memories of when I was last kissed.

I feel like an imposter in my own head

Pretending I don’t have these memories

Of you, me, and our love you killed, dead.

For more spontaneous stupidity, follow my twitter @JoyPearson

Word Generator Inspiration

Lately I’ve had a desperate need to write, but I suffer from a lack of inspiration these days. To give myself a kickstart, I used a random word generator online to give me a set of six words that I would then craft into a poem. The words I received were ‘extract’, ‘betrayal’, ‘contagious’, ‘messenger’, ‘union’, and ‘smart’. 

Using these six words, I came up with the following poem:

To extract thoughts and ideas from my mind

Seems so impossible, I take it as a sign.

A betrayal from my hand to my brain

A tenuous union that’s driving me insane.

If I were smart, I’d find hobbies more contagious

Things I can do that will be more advantageous

Someone get a reliable messenger for my hand and head

Before things remain silent, sadly left unsaid. 

For more poetic ridiculousness, follow me on twitter @JoyPearson

Cloudy Joy

I had a realization last night. I wish I could go into detail and lead you all up to this beautiful moment, because it really changed my life, but the lead up was personal and intimate and I’m not ready to share that with the world. Here is what I figured out:

My life is a cloud.

Everyday, I am different; I experience difference in any/all aspects of my life. I rarely plan nor do things that I expect actually happen all that often.

There are days where I’m scattered about and stretched out long and wide across the sky; my mind and body go to many places seemingly all at once.

The next day I can be overcast; I’m mellow and chill with no problems relaxing inside with a good book under my reading lamp.

Dark and Stormy days happen; lets be real, who doesn’t have these? They’re frustrating, suffocating, anxiety-ridden periods that make us human.

Some days the clouds slowly glide across the sky; moving along at their own happy pace, happy to let things happen as they are meant to.

Others they change shape; one moment it’s an elephant, then it shifts into a hippo with a jumprope (true story).

Then there are blue skies with thin cotton clouds in the distance; who doesn’t love blue skies? No matter the temperature, a blue sky makes me smile and breathe easy.

Not everyones life is a cloud though. Some peoples lives are maps, they’ve planned all aspects up until their burial plot. Some are prisons, born into unfortunate circumstances they never asked for but are forced to make do with. Some are rainbows, they’re magically picture perfect and you can’t help but wonder what their murder weapon of choice is (my best guess is an icicle, if they’re thorough there will be no traceable evidence [even I am concerned by the fact that I have thought that through, you’re not the only ones]).

My life is a cloud. It’s always gonna be a bit hazy in one way or another, but I couldn’t be happier for the uniqueness of each and every day I get to experience in my life (I’m not lying or pretending to be profound, I started a bullet journal 4 months ago and every single day is different!). I can’t wait for more cloudy days.

For more odd profound/stupid/stoner thoughts follow me on twitter @JoyPearson


Houston… We have contact… Thrusters on full!

So I accidentally spied on my neighbors getting it on and the dude totally stared at me.

I’m going to let that sink in while I explain the scenario that got me there. My boss woke me up early to ask me to cover for a coworker who was out sick, however I had been fighting off a cold all weekend and it’d finally gotten the better of me last night. I called out sick and fell restlessly back to sleep, only my cold medicine had worn off and my achy joints couldn’t get comfortable.

Not wanting to turn on any lamps, I opened the blinds in my bedroom window for the first time in months. I stayed in bed and watched Central Intelligence while napping, doing some sketches in my bullet journal and wondering whether I should finally get my own Prime account instead of mooching off my parents.

I woke up from a nap after watching Chelsea Does Drugs hot and sweaty, I climbed out of bed and stumbled to the window to open it. I stood there for a bit waking up, taking in the people meandering outside Starbucks and scanning the sky for clouds. My eye caught movement in one of the windows of the apartment building across from mine, and that’s what we had first contact.

My mouth shot open and I leaped out of sight against my dresser. I leaned forward slowly and peaked out around the ledge and BAM! Second contact! I leapt out of my bedroom saying “HOLY FUCKING SHIT HOLY FUCKING SHIT!” And bounced angrily from my bedroom doorway wishing for the first time since 48 hours prior I hadn’t dyed my hair extreme hot pink. Because as of that moment, with my blinds open, my bedroom was in full view of the dude in the building across the street gyrating nakedly on top of another someone.


I kept bouncing even though I was sore all over, it was like I’d been zapped by an electrical current directly linked to the amount of sheer social terror of having made eye contact with another person doing the horizontal mambo. It took a good long while for me to slowly inch my way into my bedroom, not wanting to be seen and accused of being a peeping Tom, and I slowly inched my hand up to pull the blinds shut.

In a flash, I pulled the slats shut, accidentally catching a few on the window corner to make for a very smooth ending (and by ‘smooth’ I mean I yelled and cursed as the blinds swung wildly about, definitely making it look like a perverted voyeur was living here.

Now I’m sitting in bed trying to wipe the image of seeing all thrusters on full (if you know what I mean….)

Painted Vision of Bearded Dragons

I wake up most of my days wanting to write, but not every day do I have anything good to say. This morning I was struggling hard for ideas, so I turned to my friend, David, for help. The prompt he gave me was this:

For as long as you can remember you’ve worn eye glasses. Your parents always made sure you had them on and you formed the habit. One day you forget them and you realize you can see something no one else can.

Naturally my reply was of the smart ass variety, “I see that the world is, in fact, covered in fuzz.” But then I got to thinking about sic-fi ideas.

What if people who wore glasses did it as a means to rest their eyes and therefore have a higher intelligence because over use of eyes lowers your IQ? Suddenly it made sense to me that Donald Trump is an apish moron, he never wears glasses so his intelligence is all but gone!

Of course, David was thinking more along the lines of fantasy and horror, so I reigned in my smart ass jokes and really got to thinking about my world.

I’m incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful community, which I’ve been taking advantage of by going for long walks. I’d like to say that I go on walks for contemplation and reflection, but really I’ve been doing FitBit challenges with my friends, Amy and Clara, trying to beat them.

Because it’s been sunny, I’ve been wearing only my sunglasses, which aren’t prescription (and I don’t like putting in Contact Lenses except for special events) so my vision is slightly blurred.

Nearly daily, I walk to the Juanita Wetlands. If I can ignore the sounds of cars in the distance, I almost feel like I’m in a completely different world. Without my glasses, everything has a fuzzy blur, which makes it hard to read signs or see exact details.

When I’m in the wetlands, everything looks like a painting by Monet painting. The light makes colors explode, making the butterflies stand out when crossing the scenery. When the wind blows, the leaves on trees look like sparkles; the lighter undersides catch the sunlight, and in my blurry vision is looks like the trees are sparkling.

While my vision is incredibly fuzzy, it makes it easier for me to detect movement in the wetlands. I believe that sharp vision makes people distracted by details, that they miss the bigger attractions. One of my favorite boardwalks in the wetlands leads out over the water, which is completely covered with lily pads. When I’ve brought people with me, they immediately start looking at the details of the pads in the waters and take pictures of the greenery. I always stand quietly and let my gaze rest on any movement; most of the time it’s just the wind moving plants, but 3 out of 5 times there’s a critter to be seen.

I’ve always had a deep abiding love of natural wildlife. I was fortunate to work as a volunteer zoo ambassador for a summer at Woodland Park Zoo, where I fostered a love of animals. The wetlands are always teeming with wildlife, my favorite game to play when I’m there is to listen and count how many different birds I can hear. At least once a week I am lucky to see ducks with ducklings, bullfrogs, painted turtles, herons, trout, and bald eagles. Once I was lucky and saw (what I believe was) a baby beaver!

People can boast about their great vision, but I think I got lucky with my blurs. I get to view nature with what I can only describe as natural painted vision. I can focus on movement to spy beautiful wildlife and I can enjoy the landscape.

I think David was expecting an epic short story about crazy creatures…. lets also say that I found baby dragons. Nah that’s to easy, baby bearded dragons! Not the lizards from the zoo but actual dragons with beards! But I can only see them without my glasses, which makes sense as to why everyone looks at me weirdly when they walk by me screaming at a bush, “BE CAREFUL, TIBERIUS! YOU’LL SET YOUR BEARD ON FIRE!”