Because sometimes flaws should be celebrated…

Stones,

I am proud to announce that as of January 17th, 2020, I have been clean from narcotics for 4 years. I got my 4-year chip. It’s a grudge match every day to make the decision to stay clean. That’s why addicts are always addicts. Some are active and others are in recovery.

I began abusing narcotics when I was 12 years old. I have a lot of chronic pain conditions and in the early 2000s, doctors weren’t as diligent about giving Oxycodone and Percocets to a minor as they are now.

Anyone who says that addiction is a “choice” has no understanding of human nature.

I do not say this as an insult. I do not say this to attack anyone. I say this as pure fact. No one wakes up thinking, “You know what, life is going way too easy. Let me try [insert drug of choice here].” That’s not how it works. People use drugs to numb pain, plain and simple. There was a lot going on in my life at that time. A lot of abuse, sexual assault, bullying, and then, of course, the normal troubles that come with being a preteen. I could not cope. I began self-harming and knew how to hide it. Before the obvious is suggested, therapy wasn’t an option at the time.

When going through all that physical and emotional and mental pain, it became impossible to differentiate between was physical and what wasn’t. Eventually, it all just melted together and the emotional pain became physical. Simply put, I was always in a lot of pain. Eventually, after seeing so many doctors and being a bit on the advanced side, I learned how to finesse doctors out of the good stuff. Dilaudid was absolutely amazing and made everything go away and being numb was the ultimate goal. Luckily, I’m allergic to Morphine or I’d probably be addicted to Heroine.

Things got a bit trickier when the side effects of the pain medications led to the prescription of Benzodiazepines. So now I’m cross buzzed reaching dangerous levels of numbness and an ever-building tolerance is developing faster than I can manipulate a doctor out of my favorite candy. The pressure began to build when I began my mental health journey and got more prescriptions for more complex benzos, the dosage changing every two weeks. Who was I to refuse?

In 2014, I admitted to myself that I had a problem and tried to get help. As a struggling addict, I knew to ask for help. However, as a struggling addict, I was not prepared to turn down 120, 1-milligram tablets of Ativan prescribed to me by a negligent, arrogant new psychiatrist. Then I overdosed on Ativan and tried to stay away. August 24, 2014, I tried to kill myself and I thought things would get better because I thought that was my rock bottom. And then life got harder.

So I’d continue this pattern of starting and stopping until 2016. I was with this man that I loved, and I thought loved me. But he was abusive, mentally ill, and an addict. He didn’t want to get better. I wanted to get better I also wanted to be with him and unfortunately, those two things could never be mutually exclusive. Because I was born with crippling soul-crushing anxiety, I always did what would be considered “downers”. I, to this day, can’t comprehend people who do amphetamines. Who wants to be that high?

My husband at the time loved what would be considered “uppers”. Crack, coke, bath salts, things of that nature. He and another friend of mine would get together and toss back ten Ritalin pills each and then snort five more. (Snorting: another thing I don’t comprehend). As the peer pressure mounted, I gave and tried. They did ten so I figure I could do it too. Why not, right? This was the absolute best and worse decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I could not sleep for three full days. My heart was humming like a motor, on steroids. I was sweating profusely, rocking back in forth praying for sleep, wondering why the carpet was moving like an ocean. I ended up being hospitalized for amphetamine-induced psychosis. It was bad, but I’ve been clean ever since. Not saying I haven’t been tempted, but I never want to feel like that ever again. Being numb works for a while, but no one can thrive numbly. They can’t even really survive. They just exist in a familiar nothingness.

My call to action

Celebrate the small wins. The small feats that occur every day. We are not perfect. Perfection does not exist. Let us strive for progress, the more attainable and rewarding. Every day won’t be perfect, but the possibility of progress should make it worth it. That’s all for now.

Exist and Bleed,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes we need inspiration…

Stones,

Happy 2020 and fake new year. The world was created. Humans inhabited the Earth. Someone invents time. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day. Cool. 12 months, four different seasons. 12 months divided by 4 seasons would equal 3 months per season. Why in the world would you start a new year in the middle of a season? Insert April 1st being Aprils Fools Day because April 1st is really the beginning of the new year. But I digress, let’s stay on topic.

Welcome to the New Year. It is supposed to be the time of the “New Year, New Me” cliche. I was never immune to it, I fell into that trap every year too. This year, however, I can finally admit to myself that I have no idea who I am. Not a single clue. My entire life I have had my insides brutalized, damaged, and spilled all over the place. So I’ve collected up what I could along with God knows what else along the way, filled myself up, and stitched myself close. Welp, as the years’ have gone by the stitches have begun to wear, and my three-year-old just pulled the string holding me together. So figuratively, my insides have spilled out all over the place. I’m trying to find me in all of this mess and quite frankly, I’ve never felt more lost, vulnerable, and exposed.

Life is complicated. Imagine trying to find yourself when you have no actual time to find yourself. Living is like that job where the only training is on the job, and you have a new trainer every day sometimes really good and sometimes horrible. Living doesn’t pay enough, and the worst part is that it definitely constitutes as face to face customer service. Forced face to face customer service at that. I stand corrected, the worst part is that NO ONE IS DOING THE JOB THEY SIGNED UP FOR.

However in the interest of my word for the decade which happens to be “THRIVE”, I refuse to exist in another decade where:

  1. I am still allowing things to happen to me; and
  2. I have no clue who I am

No more! I refuse to just exist. I am going to THRIVE.

I have so many goals I want to reach. I am 25 years and besides having a kid which let’s be honest isn’t that miraculous, I have nothing to show for being on Earth this long.

Before everyone sharpens their pitchforks, let me clarify. Physically having a child, for most women, is not a huge feat. Being a mother, however, is a different story.

I’d like to leave a lasting impression. Not so much to live in fame or infamy, just impressionable. I’d like a positive lasting impression on everyone I met, but there is no pleasing everyone and good girls don’t make history. I also have the same cape of most social justice warriors so I’m bound to piss at least half the world off. It’s funny how being 25 can make you feel like you’re halfway there and nowhere at the same time. It’s not quite 30 but it’s definitely not 21. But the expectations are there. Expectations from when you were 13 to when you hit the dirty 40, pressure from both sides hitting you right now to achieve the way society wants you to. The madness. When will it all end?

As far as figuring out who I am, I’d love for you all to enjoy the spectacle. There are so many levels to who I am, but for right now I’d love to share this journey with you all of finding out who I am as a writer. I’ve wanted to do so much with my voice and really I’ve just felt like I’ve been squandering my gift. So, I want to throw caution to the wind, bare my soul to the world, and see what I can do if I act as if I cannot fail.

My call to action: Share with me what you are going to do this year as if you could not fail.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small, but maybe by sharing it we can work toward our goals together. Really corny, played out and cliche I know, but I work best when I’m working on behalf of someone else, or I’m accountable to someone. So let’s hold each other’s hands as we take a leap of faith.

Until next Sunday.

Exist and Bleed,

S.Hollisway

Because sometimes projects change….

Stones,

So, I’m so happy I’ve been consistent with posting on my blog thus far. I’ve been having the worlds’ worst case of writers’ block. I can’t write to finish my last book and I can’t be inspired to start the next book. This is getting out of hand. I have never had it this bad before. The only thing that I can write is “I have writers’ block!” Maybe I need to write a book about writers’ block. If only I could write. If you guys have any ideas to help with this let me know in the comments.

So, I may have found a publisher for my first book. The only thing I’m wondering is if I should submit this for the contest portion or should I just submit it just as a regular manuscript. The idea of losing the contest is just horrifying for me, so I might just submit it as a manuscript. However, if I was to win the contest I get an immediate boost as an author and the book gets an immediate boost. I still haven’t made a decision, but what I do know is that I need to finish the book first which I could do if I could just write. UGH! You may be asking how I can finish this blog post if I have such bad writers’ block. Welp, very simply these are just my thoughts.

I have some exciting news. In a few short weeks, I will be launching Hollisway Comforts which is a line of homemade crocheted items made by yours truly. You will be able to buy them on this website in the shop. I will be selling shrugs (sweaters), dolls, rugs, baskets, afghans, scarves, and fingerless gloves. They will be in various colors and then I will stock the stores in batches because it takes a while to make enough of these items.

Okay, that’s all the news I have for the day. Until next we meet.

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

Because love NEVER hurts…

Stones,

I don’t know who needs to hear this today but love does not hurt. Let me say it louder for the peope in the back, LOVE DOES NOT HURT. It never hurts. Love doesn’t make you feel inferior. It doesn’t leave you broken hearted. Love doesn’t abandon you. It doesn’t critize. Love doesn’t expose your faults. It doesn’t use your weaknesses against you. There is no degragration.

Love should be beautiful. That’s not to say that it’s perfect and without pain or hardships. But love doesn’t hurt. The pain isn’t intentional. Love protects you. It uplifts and supports you.  Love doesn’t hurt.

I find myself like the majority of people I know question love and it’s true intentions. We are told all these stories about love and everyone has their own ideals but, what is love really? Some willl say it varies, but that can’t true. There has to be some fundatmental love rules for every people. Or maybe it depends on the type of relationship. But even still there have to be rules because any relationship can be considered toxic or abusive. So what are these love rules? Well, love is hard to navigate.  You would think that mutal self respect would be of top priotrity but everyone relationship is different. Here is an example:

Story Time

I have a friend. Let’s call her Kay. Well, Kay has been in a relationship for 3.5 years with a man 15 years her senior. They have a child together.  Everything is great between them now. Kay’s boyfriend used to be an abusive drug addict but now that he’s sober the abuse has stopped, right? Well, you would be incorrect. The physical abuse has stopped sure, but emotional and mental abuse continued and without the bruises it’s harder to notice. Kay thinks she’s fine because he’s not always mean but when he get’s mad, he is vicious. He brings up her childhood traumas, exposes her flaws to the world, and berates and degrades her. I tell her this isn’t healthy and she says she should just stop making him angry.

How can I help her?

LOVE DOES NOT HURT! Be it a mother/daughter relationship, father/son, boyfriend/girlfriend, brother/sister, it doesn’t hurt. All relationships have their ups and downs but it shouldn’t hurt.

Until next we meet

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

Because sometimes UGH!

Stones,

UGH! So there has been another senseless pointless violent mass shooting. My heart is full of sadness.  I empathize with the victims and the victims’ families. I’m saddened because even worse, nothing more but thoughts and prayers are going to be done about this situation. It’s like a revolving door. There’s a mass shooting tragedy, multiple press conferences, thoughts and prayers, and then…nothing.

Silence.

For an undetermined amount of time, there is silence and these shootings and the lives lost are forgotten until the next tragedy. This should have been dealt with years ago. One shooting is too many. But everyone just wants to bicker instead of coming up with solutions. Some people want gun control, while others want to want to argue about the mental health aspect of it. Why can’t we tackle both? Why can’t we both make it unstable human beings to get guns while tackling the mental health issue? But why have this argument for nine months before deciding not to do anything?

Ugh! This cycle is getting old and it needs to change!

We deserve better from the people we that were appointed to be in charge of us. We deserve better and we deserve safety. This isn’t fair and we shouldn’t stand for it.  What should we do to break this cycle?

I’m pondering this question and I have no idea how to answer it. I have no idea how to rectify this situation. It then dawns on me that it’s not my job to fix and yet I feel so responsible and I don’t know how to transfer this responsibility onto who it belongs too. We can yell and scream sure, but who’s really listening? I’m so over living in fear and depending on “thoughts and prayers” to make a difference.  Our fears have fallen on deaf ears for too long. What do we do to make a change? Something to ponder until next week, and until next we meet…

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes inspiration vanishes….

Stones,

This will be my second week in a row posting so for that I am very proud. This will be a stream of consciousness post because life has left me currently uninspired.  I have no inspiration. Sadly, I am an artist in a rut. I feel dull, lifeless, and just dead inside. This is awful because life is going relatively well. I just feel myself slipping into this uninspired, noncreative state of being where I am just existing. I’m not quite sure how to get out of it.

My dad had this problem before. My dad is a visual artist. He does tattoos, draws, paints, things of that nature.  The problem was that his slump was causing him to drink all day and hid in his room. Getting out of his feelings seemed like an impossibility.  A family to another state seemed to cure him. He is back to his “normal” artistic self. (What’s normal anyway?)

THE REAL ISSUE

I can’t pinpoint what my issue is. It might that I’m getting married soon. It might be that I’m too complacent in life right now. Like, okay I get married. Then I’m a wife and someone’s mother. I fear that my identity will end there. I’m working towards getting a job then I’ll just be someones’ wife and mother who works a mundane job.  I don’t think I’m ready for that solidarity. That’s not to say life has to be like that.  But I crave adventure and I think I need a new challenge. Not to motherhood and wifehood aren’t challenging enough. Life comes with all sorts of challenges. But those challenges involve other people. I need to challenge me and need to figure out who I am and what I want for myself. I love being  Oscar’s mother and the future Mrs. Briggs but…I fear it won’t be enough to keep inspired or to keep me thriving. Now, I kind of feel ungrateful or selfish. That’s not a fair or accurate depiction of my situation.  I just, don’t want to lose myself and I feel like I’m slowly slipping away.

The Solution

I’m actually kind of at a loss here.  What do I do? If I knew I wouldn’t be in the position now would I? The easy answer is to continue the way I am with life but I feel like that would kill me.  No one should live like that.  Any tips, comments, concerns? Maybe I should ask my therapist. Well, she doesn’t have all the answers. I could take a trip, a family trip. Or maybe just a long one by myself to a cabin somewhere. I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers.  Maybe, oh maybe.

Until next we meet

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

 

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

Because sometimes purging is necessary…..

Stones,

I do apologize for the hiatus. The surgery took more of a toll on me then I had hoped.  It makes it very difficult to post once a week. Hopefully, I am back now for good with the regularly scheduled post on Wednesday. I also unintentionally blocked most of my post which I was not aware of. Thankfully, I fixed that.   I wish I had known that earlier, it’s been like that for weeks now. It’s so frustrating.

Okay, so you know the phrase, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”? Well, after a recent experience I highly doubt that.  I went out of my way to help someone and got nothing but turmoil and heartache in return. Worst of all, I have to shell out money to fix a door I didn’t break.  But let me start from the beginning.

My “Good Deed”

So, I reached out to an old friend who was having a rough time. Let’s call her…Bella. Bella expressed that she was in a dark place and was suicidal and couldn’t find her will to live.  Of course, because Bella and I were close once, I was very concerned. She expressed that she had no one to help and that she alone and had devised a plan to end her life.

For those that have been with me for some time, you know my history with mental illness so (before all my post got blocked) and the last thing I wanted was to lose another friend to mental illness.  I suggested that since her living situation was so subpar and she was so alone that I had an extra bedroom and perhaps she’d like to stay with me on a temporary basis (HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER 1).  She didn’t know what to say and doubted the genuineness of my offer. Looking back, I shouldn’t have pressed the issue. A couple of days later she agreed. After talking over the next few days, I found out that she was having serious money troubles (Red Flag Number 1). I told her not to worry and that we would help her get on her feet. (HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER 2).

So, we are talking over the next few days and steadily making plans she tells me that she has absolutely no one in her corner ( Red Flag Number 2).  A therapist once told me that when people are in exile there is typically a reason. I should have asked more questions.

So we reach the day she is scheduled to come and she does.  Things are great…the first night. I make chili, everyone eats themselves silly. We talk and laugh and Bella and my fiance get to know each other. Everything is great, we talk about each other’s triggers. She said that she was still nervous and then I told her I wanted her to be comfortable. I told her to make herself comfortable (GIANORMOUS AND FATAL MISTAKE NUMBER 3).  So we had rearranged the house for her. We gave her my sons’ room because he’s only 1 and he sleeps with us most nights anyway. We brought her a blow-up mattress and new sheets and blankets, the whole nine yards. She had her own space that she quickly made her own and she had that space to be comfortable as she wanted. What could possibly wrong?

The Demise

The next morning, I woke up to my entire kitchen rearranged. Cabinets were reorganized, food was moved around and thrown away, tables were reorganized and all without permission. It was chaos. My fiancee has OCD and likes things a certain way and Bella also had OCD and wanted things her way.  There is nothing wrong with compromise but as a guest, you would think it needed to be discussed first with the owners!  Things went downhill from there. She made unsolicited “suggestions” about our parenting style, was wasteful with food and toiletries, and interjected herself into our private disagreements.

You have three adults with mental illness living in one house, there are bound to be disagreements but this was unbearable.  They argued over everything; tobacco, coffee, my son, our relationship, her being the oldest,  everything! They got into an argument so bad, it resulted in the door being broken! It was just terrible. Then, the pettiness started. Things were hidden, things were stolen, and kept in rooms. Things got pretty bad and I didn’t know what to do.

Then one day, like magic she found another place to live. She said she couldn’t do it anymore and someone had offered her a house to live in. I was relieved and asked when she was leaving. She said she would let me know. She promised she wouldn’t leave without saying something. That same day, I had a health scare and had to go to the hospital. I got back and she was gone. She took all her belongings, plus the bed we bought, and for some reason, I’m sure just to be petty she took all the sugar and all the creamer.

The lesson learned

I’m not playing the victim. This was my fault. I made a snap decision and made a rash judgment.  The good is, we don’t speak anymore. I purged her from my life and my world and she doesn’t exist to me anymore. She was toxic, always played the victim. It got old really quickly. But again my fault. Sometimes purging people is necessary. Purging all the toxicity out of your life should be a daily practice. It could save you a lot of drama and theft.

I hope you enjoyed story time. Until next we meet.

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

So… I’ve returned!

Stones,

So, two weeks ago I got surgery on my knee. It sucks and I’m sore and the pain pills make everything go wibbly wobbly. But I think I’ve been reinspired back to writing.  I’ve been writing more poems, mostly in my head but a few on paper. I’ve also been hobbling along trying to take care of my bouncing monster on one leg. My son really is the light of my life.

So, I’ve learned quite a few important things in the last few weeks. One thing that really hit me smack dab in the face, that I feel like does this about twice a year is that perfection doesn’t exist.  Now because this hits me really hard about twice a year it’s not for lack of a better term a new concept to me. It’s just something that I struggle with and sometimes oh to frequently becomes overwhelming. Even worse, I get into this place where I feel like can’t do anything because it’s not perfect. I can’t finish anything because it isn’t perfect.  Then I can’t start, finish, or fix anything because the conditions are perfect.

I tend to get stuck in this cycle that while knowing and understanding perfection is not obtainable, my never-ending quest for it leaves me petrified and paralyzed to move. When I actually do decide to start over, it always has to be at the beginning. or either a week, month, year. If I can actually convince myself, to shake off this immense feeling of dread it’s a disaster.  I feel like I’m struggling and playing catch up and it’s impossible.

So, I’m struggling to get out of this perfection phase.  It feels impossible. But what I can tell you is that no matter how far gone you are, don’t attempt to play catch up. Just start over, I promise the world won’t end.

Until next we meet

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Because mental illness shouldn’t be romantized….

Stones,

Mental illness gets such a bad reputation.  It is either demonized or glamourized, there is no in between. In reality, mental illness is nothing but a grey area and a large one at that.

Movies like Girl, Interrupted, and A Beautiful Mind are entertaining sure, but they fail to illuminate the complexities that come with mental illness.  I’m not going to criticize or tear the movies down by any means, but it’s frustrating.

Besides movies, mental illness isn’t talked about enough. Or the stigmas run rampant and ruin if for the rest of us. Here is a little background.

I suffer from mental illness and have been given multiple diagnoses. Been tossed from psychiatric institutions to psychiatric institution and am plagued by own demons. I have been through hell and back but I have survived and I am thriving. It bothers me that on paper, I can be perceived as dangerous or unstable because of a combination of fear and ignorance.

While we are on the topic, why is it that most illnesses aren’t explained clearly.

Some common misconceptions about mental illness:

Schizophrenia is not that same as multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder.

Multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder are in fact real.

Anxiety is not just nervousness. It can be a crippling, debilitating disorder.

Depression is not sadness, and it doesn’t go away.

All schizophrenics aren’t paranoid.

People with personality disorders aren’t evil.

But most importantly

NO, WE CAN NOT JUST SNAP OUT OF BEING MENTALLY ILL.

Don’t promote the stigmas. Learn about this burden before you condemn us.

Until next we meet,

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

Storytelling is important sometimes because…

Stones,

I feel as though storytelling is for the masses.  Certain stories just have a way of resonating with people in a way that benefits them. This is not a happy story.  It doesn’t have a happy ending. It has an ending that is typical because life is typical. Although every story is unique, no story is special in the sense of tragedies. Everyone goes through them. Everyone suffers.

“Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”

-Narrorator of 1000 Ways to Die

Being homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was an adventure, to say the least. I wouldn’t dare use any word synonymous with “enjoyable” nor would I recommend this experience to anyone. It’s almost like going to prison, an experience you would exchange for just about else.

I was one of the lucky ones. I never completely got engrossed in the lifestyle. I had a job, had meager funds to buy things, and wasn’t active in my drug addiction  (over 2 years clean and sober!)

There’s so much to know about being homeless. So many unspoken rules to follow. So many secrets you need to know.

Like I mention before, I had a job.  So I’d wake up, go to work and endure the nonsense of earning a paycheck. I loved my job. It was a break from all the craziness and the politics of being outside.

On days, when I didn’t work, I’d go to the local homeless shelter where you could sleep and eat lunch a noon.  It was like being in school. There were rules that had to be followed and monitored very carefully by staff. There were all sorts of things you could do there. Like take a shower, get clean clothes, get mail, get your hair cut, it was a homeless paradise.  There was also tones of trouble you could get into to, so they kicked us out at.

Then it was back to killing time til Dinner time.

There were always people coming to feed the homeless. Some people were forced to but the majority were just decent people. They’d bring huge spreads with a variety of foods for us too. Granted with the amount of us it wouldn’t last but it was, it was still delicious. After dinner, all there was left to do was kill time until nightfall. And nightfall was when all the drama began.

Nightfall was when the drugs and alcohol came out. It was when all the drama started. There was no shelter to it. The best you could do was stay out of it.  It helped to stay with people who had a sense of immunity to it. Or at least people who favored you enough to keep you out of it. I was lucky.  I ran with people who had jobs as well. People who could separate themselves from the drama. People who took care of themselves. When you are homeless, it’s important to remember to put yourself first and not get absorbed into the world around you.  Always remember, that you don’t want to make this temporary situation a permanent one.

Mine was temporary. After about 3 months, my father invited me to stay with him. Things worked out for a while, but not permanently. My point is every situation, however good or bad is not permanent. Things change in the blink of an eye. Stay ready, and be prepared.

Until next we meet

Breath and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here