Sorry I Haven’t Been Around. I’ve Been Drunk.


Cowgirl at the Beach

2015 hasn’t even come to an official close yet, but so far this year has been filled with probably more ups and downs than when I was thirty years old and had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Fighting for my life is somehow proving to be an easier task than some of the current life-changing experiences I have been enduring (yes, even vegans have bad days- even [years]). You see, I’ve been drunk, and for quite a long time. I’m not talking about being “drunk” in the standard tasty alcoholic beverage kind of way, but drunk on my emotions– emotionally drunk. I have been so drunk that the things that matter most to me in life have taken a backseat. My friends. My garden. My blog. My cat. Sending hand-written notes by mail. Attending concerts. Laughing. And, smiling.

A couple months ago I read one of my favorite plant based bloggers and famed YouTuber’s (Laura Miller of Raw Vegan Not Gross) blog post entitled: Sorry I haven’t written you back I’ve been kinda depressed and well, it stuck with me. Go ahead read it. It’s worth it. I’ll wait…

I love Laura’s willingness to get down-and-dirty honest with her followers and subscribers, especially considering she is a food blogger and generally doesn’t share her intimate feelings. In light of Laura’s post and also in owing it to myself and to my readers, I’m sharing a bit of my personal life here today. I know that by sharing something that has nothing to do with veganism I risk losing some of you as followers, but I have to be ok with that. I have to live fully authentically and it’s my hope that by sharing I can help explain why my blog posts have been so infrequent and to also allow myself to be ok with sharing my own vulnerability. After all, it was my diagnosis of cancer that influenced me to start this blog and that in itself was a journey that pushed me to be completely transparent, honest and forthcoming. While I intend to keep my blog primarily food focused, this is also a space where I share all things health and wellness related and I definitely feel that what I have to share is relevant. And perhaps, by sharing, I just might help or inspire one of you.

Pondering

A few months ago I weighed 10 pounds lighter than I do today. A few months ago I was getting all sorts of compliments about how good I looked. A few months ago I was starving my body of food and nutrients because I was sad and had no desire to eat. And a few months ago I was experiencing (what I hope were) my darkest days. With the exception of March, April, September and this current month of October, I have spent almost every day (almost exclusively) in bed. Nearly every waking hour was spent crying and if I was forced to be awake (because my body/mind wouldn’t allow me to sleep any longer) I’d pass the time by watching an entire television series from beginning to end (I can officially check Mad Men off my list– I’ve seen every single downright good episode and while I love that show, I am not sure that it was the best choice to add to my already somber mood). Many of you, my friends, have reached out to me to catch up, say hi, invited me somewhere, left a voicemail, and in return you likely got little to nothing from me. My apologies, but in my best defense, I have been both distracted and let’s face it, downright depressed.

If you’ve made it this far in my post, you might be wondering what’s wrong (with me)? Even though now I weigh a few pounds more than I’d like (at some point this past spring food turned into a friend that comforted me during my lonely days which is why my thighs and hips are back to their former curvy cowgirl-selves), I seem to be in good health (after getting through a cancer scare in June) so it’s not that I am facing another life threatening physical illness. Nope, not this time. It’s my heart that has been aching (which ultimately means that my head could use some readjusting). Heartbreak is something that is all too familiar to me. I think it probably started when my dad decided to leave my family when I was about three years old. I’ve barely had a relationship with the person I refer to as “dad” even though he and I have shared the same town my entire life. Perhaps heartache is something that I attract into my life because it’s familiar even though every ounce of my being yearns for the exact opposite. I guess you could think of it like an addiction that feels nearly impossible to overcome– instead of moving on or trying some other approach, I’ve found myself diving in deeper into a terribly dark whirlwind of hurt and disbelief. And the tears, they don’t ever really stop. I have been feeling slightly better the last couple months, but just recently I had a little hiccup that I am hoping doesn’t send me back into…well…bed.

Heartbreak is one thing, but when it’s paired with other really challenging circumstances, that’s something entirely different. Enter money problems. The short story is that I am in over my head with debt that was accrued during the time I was undergoing medical treatments for cancer. I feel like I am living for the sole purpose of working just so that I can pay my bills. There has to be more than life than working to pay bills, right? The debt feels completely daunting especially since I am only able to contribute minimum payments each month which only keeps me feeling like I am treading water, not getting anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I do know how incredibly fortunate I am to have my health, to be self-employed, to be able to eat fresh food, travel, and have a roof over my head.

While this blog post will likely come across as a “Debbie Downer,” or a “woe is me,” story, that’s honestly not my intention– I just want to be honest, real and truthful because otherwise I’d feel like I was lying to all of you and ultimately to myself. And yes, I want my sadness, grief and worry to dissipate; because right now I feel like I am in the midst of some kind of tornado-meets-horror film. And for those of you who know me, you know I hate horror. I prefer unicorns and rainbows. I am yearning for the day when I slip into my vegan cowgirl boots and feel the courage and strength I once had to get me through the day.

So why am I sharing all of this with you? I suppose I am being candid for many reasons:

  1. I think we are all broken, have loss or are experiencing pain in some way, shape or form. As strange as it sounds, knowing that others feel similar makes me feel strangely comforted and not totally alone.
  2. I want to apologize to those of you who have reached out to me and are still awaiting a response. And to those of you who were wondering why my formerly consistent blog posts went from weekly to once or twice a month (ironically I have decided I like the idea of posting less– it feels better to commit to blogging a couple times per month rather than having to crank out weekly material that I may not even be passionate about), well– now you know why.
  3. Real life is not the life that appears on social media. I just had a friend tell me yesterday that “I appear to be happy and having fun” when I told her of my recent struggles. We can all pick and choose what photos to post to our Facebook accounts and characters we want to tweet on Twitter, and I am willing to bet that a good portion of those depict happier versions of ourselves.

So what does all this mean? I am not sure, I just know that I felt compelled to share. Perhaps it’s just cathartic for me to scribble these words down to help with my healing process. Perhaps I am sharing in hopes that someone who is reading this has some insight that will bring me out of my drunken dark place and into the sobering light. I guess ultimately I share my feelings today so that they can be a reminder to tread a bit lighter on those around us. There is great truth in that famous quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle“. Most of us are not where we’d like to be in life, but rather we are working on our paths to get as close as possible to that ultimate place. For me, living a vegan lifestyle is a daily reminder to be a bit more compassionate in my choices so that I can leave the world a better place. Perhaps being a bit more kind and forgiving to ourselves is a good place to start. 

Thanks for listening, Kayle xo

 

24 thoughts on “Sorry I Haven’t Been Around. I’ve Been Drunk.

  1. I’m glad you shared this, my friend. Heartache & pain is human, you are allowed that but it sounds like it’s time for you to get those cowgirl boots on and giddy up. There is a lot of life out there to live, you are not doing yourself any favors by laying in bed and ignoring it. Every storm runs out of rain, every dark night turns in to day // don’t miss out on the daylight.

    I send hugs your way, I wish I could have, would have given you a really big real life hug.

    You’re a beautiful person K and very courageous for sharing.

    Haaaayyyyyy

    1. Thanks sweet Crista!

      I thank you for your encouraging words. I think if we lived in the same place the two of us could really move some mountains together! I love that we had a whole day together last month and look forward to more fun times in the future. I feel your big hug and love from afar! xo

    1. Thanks Dianne,

      I appreciate your heartfelt love from across the miles and look forward to the next time I get to see you in person again! xo

  2. Thank you for sharing, Kayle. I don’t know if this helps, but your FB page promoting all things vegan has been very helpful to me personally. You have shown me how accessible a plant based diet is and how fulfilling and rewarding it can be. I am sure I am not the only one who has been influenced by your evangelism for a healthful, cruelty free existence. Thank you for continuing to post your vegan treasures during this difficult period.

    I have faced some of the issues you wrote about above, though not a life threatening ordeal like cancer! But I do understand depression. I wish I could be very wise here and offer the insight you are seeking. I am a generation older than you. For me, time and the maturity that comes with aging helped me to overcome and find joy again. That and just never giving up hope, surviving and continually striving to find a way out. You are the ultimate survivor and I feel kinship with you for that. I am also confident you will find your way out too.

    1. Thank you Andrew,

      You have no idea how much your kind words mean. I can always count on you for Facebook love no matter what it is that I post. Knowing that my message that veganism can be tasty, accessible, delicious and fun certainly warms my heart as that’s one of the main purposes of my work. I suppose the joy in sharing what you love is never really knowing how many people you will influence. Thank you for your continued support; it’s appreciated more than you know. Hope our paths cross in person before too long!

  3. There is a saying: sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees. We too often focus on those negatives in life, but those negatives make us who we are and allow us to grow. Sometimes, all you need is to lay down in a field and watch the clouds to find the answers you can’t hear otherwise. (Words of wisdom from an old friend)

  4. I’m sad that you are having bad days. So…what can you do? I don’t know how bad the debt is, but you could talk to someone about filing for bankruptcy if you think that could be an option? You wouldn’t be the first person that had a major illness to do it.

    The dad problem…have you ever talked to a therapist about it?

    The depression and spending days in bed…It seems like it’s been going on for too long. Is it time to visit your doctor?

    As you get older you stop caring about what other people think. You do what’s right for you. I’ll be here to read your blog posts whenever you want to post one.

    I hope you have good days soon. ? Leslie

    1. Thank you Leslie,

      Your comments of love and support for what seems like years now mean a great deal to me. It’s nice knowing that I have like-minded friends in other parts of the country whom I have never met.

      Thank you for your insights as well. I met with a bankruptcy lawyer a few weeks ago and it turns out that I am not a candidate as I have too much equity in my house (which is not a lot). And as far as therapy goes, it is indeed a great idea and something that I have done in the past. I have “talked myself out of it” this time simply due to my lack of funds. Though I am not an advocate of medication, it just might be time to pay a visit to the ol’ doc.

      Thank you and hope our paths cross in person at some point in the near future!

  5. Please have no guilt for making minimum payments on medical bills. It’s a bit insane how expensive health care has become. You are worth it.

    1. Thank you Heather,

      A good reminder even though it’s tough not to want to crack away at the bills (when I can of course). <3

  6. I am an elder, and I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a similar place to yours in my self. Looking back, I have spent the majority of my time feeling miserable about something, hopeless, powerless, but still functioning in the world to an extent. My service to this world is in the healing arts, so I have had help from various modalities and practitioners to bring me out of my abyss for periods of time.
    What has brought me the most healing is learning and going within. I tend to focus on spiritual connection more and more. Teachers who have helped me the most are Dr. Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. Reading books by Mark Nepo, one called “Letting Go, Pathway to Surrender” by David Hawkins are keeping me up. It is my connection with Spirit that changes everything for me and makes me smile, even sing! I recommend Yoga and Meditation if that resonates with you. Know that you are stronger than your feelings and your thoughts. There are times in life that are dis-heartening, but we don’t have to let them crush the light we truly are. Tune into the little flame within your soul and find peace.
    May you feel the blessings of Life more and more and focus on them more. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words Heather,

      Had I known I was going to receive the outpouring of love from my blog post, I likely would have done it sooner. It is so heartwarming to know that I am not alone, the common theme shared by both friends and strangers over the last couple of days. Thank you for sharing your experience and insights, all of which seem good things to do to move forward. I appreciate your supportive help and words and hope that I can follow in your footsteps with brighter days ahead.

  7. Dearest Coach K-
    I am so, so sorry for what you have been going through but so very glad you shared. I feel so proud of you! I know, this too, shall pass. Thank you for bringing Trisanne and myself into the plant based eating world – we’re so grateful for your help. I’ll text you more, just know C, T, and F LOVE YOU and believe in all your wishes and dreams.. ??

    1. Thank you Lady C!

      You have been cheering me on for what seems like years and your support means so much. I am lucky to have a friend who checks in on me even when days go by without a response. Thank you for being you and for your continued support on this journey. xo

  8. I am so sorry for all you have been going through Kayle. I have been through similar ups and downs. About 4 years back I was skinny as a pole going to hit 2 digit weight. ptsd coming through in all sorts of forms after I got my scheduled 3 year mri, which was all clear. My husband and close family helped me through the slow progression out of it. My doc wanted me on meds, but I went with a slow therapy to build confidence in myself. I didnt believe at the time that things would get better. Do get in touch to talk about anything you wish.
    Lots of love.
    Richa

    1. Thank you Richa,

      My heart is warmed by your words and in knowing that I am not alone. It was a huge struggle to share what I have been going through, but by all the outpouring of love I have received, I know that I made the right decision to do so. Thank you for your offer to talk, I might just take you up on that. Much love to you and I sure hope that our paths cross in person real soon.

  9. Thank you for being so brave. Many people hide those parts of their lives they don’t want people to see. I am sure you helped others by sharing! I hope that sharing will be part of the healing process for you, too. You deserve so much happiness.

    1. Thank you Christine!
      I’m still moving through the process, as it’s definitely a process. I appreciate your kinship and kind words of support. I believe that we all deserve happiness, that’s for sure! xo

    1. Thank you dear Crista! We will get through these tough times by sticking together. Thank you for your beautiful post and so glad that I could be a small part of your sharing. xo

  10. Hi Kayle – Bev let me know about your recent post so I checked it out. Our little group misses you. Your courage in sharing your heart inspires me and reminds me to be genuine in all of my interactions. I remember reading an inspirational story about life feeling like riding waves. When we’re at the top of a wave, we can have perspective and see all around. When we’re in the bottom of the wave, nothing makes any sense. May you continue to heal and have some balance with the waves. And you are so very special in your caring and compassion – everyone who connects with you is the better for having done so.

    1. Thank you for your support Linda. You have a most generous heart that warms all who come in contact with you. I appreciate your perspective and kind words. I hope you see you and the group again real soon! xo

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