If we have themes in our lives, lessons we have to learn at certain times, then it has been really obvious for me lately, what I need to learn right now. Not the same as saying it is easy. I’m sure the same is true for all of us, that we have these patterns in our lives. I’m not sure what is magnifying it for me right now. A combo of everything? Being around thoughtful people, going to therapy for *gasp* the first time in my life, when I should have been going my entire life?

I’m actually still frustrated about therapy. There is still a big part of me that thinks I shouldn’t have needed it! I had a great childhood, and I’m not just saying that. I hear about other people’s, and I’m so so thankful for my parents. I can’t claim they always understand me, but they’re so supportive. My mom, that forgiving woman, patient with me beyond the bounds of my patience for myself, puts up with my moods, my temper, and rolls with the oddities that make me me.

I went vegetarian, and she wondered why it took me until I was 20. (She knew from the time I was a child that I would eventually take that path.) Eight years later I went vegan, and there was a noticeable pause in the conversation when I told her, maybe a second’s lull, and she then said “okaaay. So you’ll send me some recipes?” She’s a gem. It was that simple.

But the lesson I have been learning, mostly the hard way, in the past … past however long, is that I have to trust my instincts and stand up for myself. I have to make myself heard.

I talk constantly, but that isn’t the same thing.

I am going away for the weekend tomorrow, and haven’t even packed yet, so why am I writing this? Why did I spend 3 hours hanging out with my neighbor and his kids? Why did I have that beer that’s making me fuzzy now? I needed that connection. Today was not an easy day. Yet another tectonic plate shifting in my life. I hate that.

I think it is going to work out. Mostly because I laid it on the line and the response to that has been…encouraging.

But my neighbor, I’m worried. He’s married, and I think they’re having problems. I generally think of myself as one of the guys. But A, stoned and drunk, telling me I have a beautiful smile…well…well. I’m not there. I’m not like that. And anyone who sees only that superficial cheerfulness doesn’t really know me.

I have had friends tell me to “just cheer up” when I’ve just come from a funeral. No joke. I think people are afraid when I’m not the cheerful me of their imaginings.

Well, the truth is that I suffered depression for the first time at age 7. It has been part of me, like the tiger waiting in the dark, ever since. Cheerful I might be, much of the time, but depressed, intense, cynical, hopeless…those apply just as much. I have a hard time trusting people, and I seem to attract people who primarily need the brightness of my cheer. That’s a lot of pressure on me. That’s only part of me.

So I blog. Release valve. We all need them. And, with the help of friends and therapy, I’m learning to recognize the life lessons as well.

So here is me making myself heard: I’m not always cheerful, I can’t always be that. I’m intense, too intense I’ve been told. I’m not going to change. I’m short, often bitchy, and I’m vegan. There is no relation between the three. I love my cat. I am who I am. And that isn’t always who anyone else wants me to be. It isn’t always who I want to be. It is just who I am. Hi.