“Turn and Face the Strange”

“Turn and Face the Strange” January 2, 2014

I got married this past August and moved from Michigan to Ohio. When I did this, I attempted to bring along my cat, Smeagol, who had been living at my parents house his entire life.


This is my guy. (photo by me)

He didn’t like it.

He was confused by his surroundings. He was afraid of our other cat, Pickle. He was sad that he no longer could go outside without a leash. He didn’t like the neighbor kids.

And so he kind of gave up on life. He stopped eating and drinking. He went and sat in his litter box, and wouldn’t get out. After a couple of days of this, I got too worried and ended up driving him back to his home in Michigan, where he is now–as happy as ever.

Some cats don’t like change.

And some humans don’t either.

I went into 2013 with a lot of optimism. It was going to be a big year for me. I was graduating from college, finally, after a lot of set backs. I was getting married. I had (or so I thought) found a new faith that finally made sense to me. Early in the year I was invited here to Patheos. Later in the year, after my “new faith” didn’t work out for me and I found myself drawn to Christianity again, I started attending church regularly for the first time since I’d left my abusive fundamentalist church. I was excited for what the year had to bring.

But most of these exciting things involved change.

Change is damn hard.

Graduating from college meant having to go out into the “real world,” which is not the friendliest place for recent college grads, and having to face a seemingly endless loan repayment plan. Getting married meant having to deal with memories of past trauma. It meant having to learn to set boundaries in my relationship that never had to be set before and having to learn to respect boundaries that hadn’t been there previously (setting aside space for alone time, etc.).

Exploring a new faith meant dealing with the fact that people who previously took me seriously would now dismiss me outright. I didn’t stick with that faith, and ended up back in Christianity (I think I’m a Universalist United Methodist now if that’s a thing)–that only meant more changes. Attending church again meant being vulnerable, facing fears, and fighting through a few panic attacks while pretending to be singing worship songs.

Moving my blog to Patheos, and blogging at the Spirituality Channel meant learning to write for a wider audience than the one I’d gotten so used to. It meant accepting added responsibility for my words, because I have a slightly bigger platform.

All of these changes were good. I am thankful for my degree, for my marriage, for my still-growing faith, and for my opportunity to grow as a writer.

But they were hard.

Especially since I have a history of severe depression that makes it difficult for me to cope with everyday life, even when it’s stable.

Here, at the beginning of 2014, I find myself feeling solidarity with my poor Smeagol cat. I’m worn out from all the changes. I have to force myself to eat and drink and stay healthy. I sometimes wish I could curl up in bed and stay there all day–in fact, sometimes that’s just what I do.

So, I’m going to urgent care this week (I don’t have a primary care physician in Ohio yet). I’m going to get on medication that will help me cope with the changes 2013 brought, and with the changes 2014 is sure to bring.

I’m not excited for the new year, but I hope that will change once I get the medical help I know I need.

Here’s to getting healthy in 2014!



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