Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 Things I Am Good At, 10 things I love

Ok. I'm hearing you, all. I received multiple emails and requests in comments to do this. If it does nothing more than refocus my thoughts for a few minutes, then it's probably worth it. Before I do it, though, I may have found a lead to a low cost therapist until my insurance kicks in. I called one of the religious organizations that offers help to no/low income families and explained my situation. They're seeing what they can do and have promised to call me back by tonight. What I keep understanding is that until I'm here 30 days, there are limitations to care. Here goes... 10 Things I Am Good At: 1. I'm good at baking. I'm told I make a mean cupcake. 2. I'm an above average dancer. 3. I can hike like no one's business. :) If there's ever a zombie apocolypse, I think I could live in the wild for a few weeks - mental health excluded, I might survive. 4. I think I write fairly well. 5. I am good at finding books and documents that are hard to find. I don't know why it is or how it is- like, I don't have google-fu, but I can track things like a bloodhound. 6. I am good with kids- even if I'm not sure I want them- I seem to get along well with them and keep them happy. 7. I can do weird hairstyles and braids that other people struggle with. It's my gift. :/ 8. If I look at a picture, I can paint it. Yeah. That's really all I could come up with in my current mental state. 10 Things I Love. 1. Ellie - she's a fun, cute, happy little girl. :) 2. Mountains - I love the air and the sunshine and the intensity of the climb with the reward of the view. 3. Baklava- who doedsn't? 4. Libraries - I love the smell of books and the quiet, small places. 5. Documentaries- I was so sheltered growing up. I like learning or watching documentaries showing other cultures. 6. Sunshine- these gray days are gloomy. 7. Music - I need to get a new iPod. I use to listen to music and fall asleep to music. I somehow lost the iPod on the move. 8. .... Again, stuck at 8. Thanks, guys! For all of the help and suggestions. Gotta go to work.


  1. What kind of dancing do you like to do?

    1. Was your ATI family as anti-dancing as the Duggars are? If so was it tough to get over the no dancing rule?! Inquiring minds want to know!

    2. Usually, I like to dance alone, in my room. :) When Harris and I were dating, he taught me to enjoy dancing.

    3. " 2. I'm an above average dancer." I'm totally jealous. Raised fundie, I have absolutely no rythmn or clue where my feet are supposed to go. Not where I think I'm putting htem for sure!

  2. If you never have, check out Pandora. It won't play things on demand, but it'll introduce you to plenty of new music. Pandora plus YouTube is the reason I've never bothered with an ipod, but I'm not a big runner or walker- I mostly turn on music while I'm home.

    Chicago's Grant Park offers free dance nights from late June to September. It's called SummerDance, I think- sounds right up your alley!

  3. Hi Ruth,
    If you like dance, you may enjoy Zumba. I have zero dancing ability and a I love it! You should also check out grooveshark. It's free, and it will filter songs based on artist for you. I'm glad to hear that there may be options for you. I can't even imagine moving to a new town where I didn't know anyone. You're much braver than me :)


  4. That's a good start! Try to add things to the list. Write down good things happen, no matter how small. Try to learn something new at work every day. Smile at a stranger. Say hello to people who are in your area at work.

    You need to go to Grant Park. Taste of Chicago is coming up in a few weeks. It's a great way to find new food and see a lot of free concerts. I must admit to many hours spent just sitting in the grass people watching. Take a book and read. Just being out in the sun and fresh air (as fresh as Chicago gets) will help you feel better. Go outside with your PBJ and eat lunch in the sun.
    Chicago has a long long winter. Enjoy the outdoors before freezing weather gets there.

    Find a literacy program and offer to volunteer. Giving your time when you don't have anything else to give will make you feel better.

    Go to a food pantry. Offer to volunteer for some food. It will help stretch your dollars and get you out of the apartment.

    I can only stress that you can do this. You are smart and hard working. Keep telling yourself that. Focus on your long term goals. My BFF worked a horrible job and took years to get through college. She wrote down that some day she was going to live in a skyscraper with floor to ceiling windows. And just this year she bought her dream condo. Dreams keep us moving when we're tired and focused when we're lost. Have faith in yourself. Life can be a bumpy road, but some times you need to keep pushing to a better tomorrow.


  5. I probably have an old cheap ipod I could send you, the older 1 G ones. I'd have to hunt it down, but if you are interested send me your address. I know you might not want to do that, and that's okay. My email is

  6. I've got an iPod that I'd part with if you are interested. Let me know. Leave a comment on the blog or email to
    Hang in there. I think the weather is causing my depression to bottom out too.
    Let the wind blow away your blues.
    I also second Pandora. I pay the extra 3.99 a month for no commercials. It's worth it to me.

  7. Probably someone has already mentioned this, but exercise can be really effective when you're depressed. I like to exercise by dancing to whatever random dance music on YouTube, or you could just take a walk.

  8. Those are great lists! So proud of you and the work you're doing. Things WILL get better. And you should be proud of yourself! You are incredible. :)

  9. I know it sounds silly but you should be unhappy right now. It's totally normal.

    New jobs suck: You don't know anyone. You don't know what is expected and you don't understand the politics yet. New jobs always suck. My rule is no decisions about like or not liking a new job for at least 30 days.

    Moving sucks, moving to a new big city really sucks. Not knowing anything, where to shop, eat explore etc. Moving sucks. New cities require a 6 month grace period before you can begin to decide if you like it or not.

    Being broke sucks, being broke in a new city really sucks. You are doing your best. Best is best. Take what people give it helps them too.

    You most certainly are not failing just struggling and there is a big difference. You have done amazing things to get yourself into your current situation.

    Stop beating yourself up because you're unhappy. It's normal. It's normal to be scared and it's normal to not be sleeping. The only thing you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and before you know it things will get a little easier. Most importantly be nicer to yourself there is nothing wrong with being unhappy. Sometimes it is the appropriate response.

  10. Love the volunteering suggestions! Volunteering is amazing for one's self-esteem. The organizations are immensely grateful for your help in a way no job could ever be. Helping others puts your own problems in perspective. And you'll meet some awesome people. Really, jerks and self-centered egotists don't have time for helping others. Check out Chicago Cares. They organize one-time projects you can sign up for online, so it's easy to get involved and not a big commitment. It's a great way to get to know the different non-profits around town. And many new-to-town people join to meet like-minded friends. I've belonged to Boston Cares for years and it's changed my life in so many ways.

    Meetup is another great resource. I was scarred of joining different social groups on there until I realized that everyone else was there for the same purpose as me - meeting new friends. People want to meet you Ruth/Mary. Let them! You have a lot to offer this world!

  11. So many people have such great ideas that I'm surprised I haven't seen this yet: For winter, spend the $40 or so and get a "Happy Light." Yes it's really called that. It's for the seasonal depression and I used to think it was kind of hokey, then I got one and actually had a winter I WASN'T a depressed mess during. I also use it if it's gray out for more than a day or two.

    Also, I just want to say, Girl I'm so jealous you have the art gene. Being able to paint is one of those things I wish I could do but I stop pretty much at stick figures.

    You're doing it Mary Ruth, and you're doing great! Also, just one more thought that hit me, you may want to set up a mail filter on the email account your family contacts you through. Just have it mark things from them as read and send them to a folder. Then you only have to look at them when you feel strong enough to. I know with my crazy family that's a lifesaver. It's really hard when you're already down to dread the email or get the random emotional bomb in it. As usual, so proud to hear how well you are managing, even as down as you were you're pulling yourself out. THAT is true strength.

  12. Hi Ruth,
    I've been a reader for a long time, but I've never commented. I have several bags of clothes and shoes, an armchair, a tv, two side tables and a lamp that I just haven't dropped off yet at a donation center. You could save me the trip! I'm on the north side of the city and am around your age. Message me if you'd be interested. Hang in there, this city is awesome and there are a ton of nice people here.

  13. I think you need to look at this in a different perspective. Remember telling your sister that she was better off without the influence of the fundies? And that she could go to school and get a job and be fine? And remember watching her not believe in herself?

    You are doing the same thing! We're telling you that you can do it, you are DOING it, and you'll be okay. And you are letting that little voice from your dad tell you otherwise. It's hard to see you doubt yourself so much. I know you are articulate and kind and smart. I think you can impress them at work and do great things in this world. Don't let that voice eat you alive. Don't let it diminish the strength you've had the past decade.

    Life isn't always a picnic. Bad things happen. But you've got to believe that if you get up and get out of bed and move forward, you will be okay. Most of us don't have a grand plan. We stumble forward, making the best decisions that we can. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. But don't let a series of struggles define your future. Don't let your father's voice stop you from taking food from a food bank or accepting help from people in the Chicago area.

    I agree that a happy light might help. But you can get a lot of that from going outside. When winter comes you might want to get the light.

    I'm sending you good thoughts. And just a reminder that you are strong and smart. Money will work itself out, though you might want to get a second job to help out a bit. Good luck!

  14. You have survived so much and you will survive this. Sometimes all we can do is roll out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward. I think that depression is almost easier to handle when your situation is a little desperate, it keeps you waking up and going to work because there is nothing to fall back on and when you feel like staying in bed with the covers over your head, sometimes that's enough.

  15. Ruth,

    I don't think I have ever commented before, but I've read and admired you for ages.

    As so many have said, you ARE doing this. Right this very moment. DOING this hard, complicated, frightening life, which will by turns, be easier, more simple and a shit ton less scary, sweetie. But you're doing it!

    And please please -- look at what you have already done -- you escaped a life that tried to diminish you; you went to college. Ruth -- you went to college! I'm a college English teacher, and I know it's no easy feat to support yourself and go to school. You got a degree! You had a serious (and heart-breaking) relationship, but you had the wisdom to know what wasn't right for you. So many people don't have such wisdom, and so many others don't have the strength of character to act on wisdom.

    You sustained your sister, became for her a haven, a safe place that she had never known before, and by doing so, you led your darling niece into this world. It's not hyperbole to say that you transformed the course of Ellie's life, that she is loved, accepted, and free of all the many, many atrocities of your childhood. YOU did that. There is a little girl whose entire life path she owes to your kindness, wisdom, love,and again -- your strength of character.

    Few people your age possess the character you have, Ruth. Few people take such shitty life experience and use that experience to change the world. And make no mistake -- by speaking out, by sharing your story so beautifully and articulately, by exposing the twisted lies AND by getting out and making your own life -- you are changing the world. In more ways than you can even see right now. What of the young woman, lost and alone after escaping similar circumstances? What your story tells her: She can do it.

    And what we tell you: You can -- hell you ARE:) doing it.

    So many good suggestions by people. Don't spend the weekend holed up inside. Try, try to fight that awful feeling of not wanting to get of bed. Don't feel shame for the depression, for the struggle. As so many have said before, depression is a lying bitch. Try, try try to keep fighting the lies with truth. The truth that YOU ARE DOING IT.

    One last thing (I never comment, but I guess I make up for it -- sorry for being so long:)) It grieves me, as a Christian, that those responsible for you growing up so misrepresented the God of the Bible. And it pisses me off. I don't want to sound obnoxious or like I'm trying to proselytize. I just think that his love for you and his pride in you is pretty profound. You are a daughter that any father should celebrate. I know -- complicated, painful stuff -- but if you were MY daughter, wow, would I be proud:)

    One foot in front of the other, dear girl. Thank you for sharing and giving us the opportunity to help.


  16. One more idea to add to the many you already have -- get a library card and spend a little time at your local library. If you are the sort who enjoys reading, remember that once your life gets more settled, you will have friends, activities, all sorts of things to fill your time, and it will seem like "there's never enough time to just relax with a book." So, NOW is your time to lose yourself in some books -- fiction stories to take you to another world, or non-fiction to introduce you to new information, whatever is most appealing to you.

  17. Just stopping in to let you know I am thinking of you and hope things are getting better at work and home. Have a good week.

  18. Very concerned. Please update.

  19. Ruth -- Also concerned. Please let us know how you're doing.

  20. Ruth, I haven't read all the suggestions on your previous post, but since you're in the Chicago area, I'll suggest contacting Trinity International University in Deerfield. They have graduate counseling programs and might be willing to arrange some pro bono counseling for you, either through the school or with a counseling student who wants to help. They're not too far from Metra, so you wouldn't have to drive all the way. They are a Christian school, but they're not fundamentalist; they would not be the crazy Christianity you've experienced in the past.

  21. No advice to give. I know how difficult this kind of stress and the depression that comes from transition. You are loved and you are valued. *HUGS* Ruth!

  22. Ruth, several people are worried. Could you post a little something so we don't expend a lot of energy worrying about you? It would be the kind thing to do.

  23. She must not need money. I notice the posts are more frequent and full of info when she is seeking donations.

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  24. I think the people at FJ have a few more ideas about what you are good at! You are VERY good, no question, although you did get increasingly sloppy - particularly concerning your Chicago adventure!

    As far as things you love......well, not much else besides easy money and yourself.

    Thanks for the fun. I figured you out years ago, but kept watching to see when the whole thing would implode. This firestorm has exceeded my wildest dreams.

    I do think it is sad that you apparently have children and chances are, your complete lack of morality has already set a very poor example for them. I doubt that this statement will make the slightest bit of difference to you as you probably rationalize your actions, in part by saying that you engage in this behavior for their well being

    I am sure you will be re-inventing yourself - no goodbyes for you!


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