Old Habits: Common Denominator

I find myself regressing. And it doesn’t make me happy. I catch myself saying things in my inner dialogue that sound so, so familiar. Things I’ve said in the past. Things I promised myself I would never say again.

You get to a point where the situations keep changing but the emotions and feelings and self talk go back to the same old thing.

You get to a point where you realize you are the common denominator in the cycle.

Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I am meant to be the person who always takes care of someone else at the expense of herself.

Maybe. But I am not ready to believe that just yet.

I’m ready to keep pushing myself to accept that who I am is good enough and eventually that person will be truly happy.

The fact that I have to continue to slog through drama and heartache and disappointment to get there is just part of the journey.

So I push on, trying to identify where I need to expend my emotional energy.

Trying to identify where I need to just let that shit go and move on.

I spent a lifetime giving all of myself for very little in return.

I’m halfway through my life at this point.

I think it’s about time I refocused on living for myself.

Selfishly.

Happily.

Hopefully.

Key to Happiness – Lower Your Expectations

I have been in a funk. It has been for a while now and seems to be getting worse instead of getting better. And I just can’t figure out why exactly. I mean, I have some basic and daily struggles, but overall life is actually pretty good. I have no real reason to feel as low and sad and … empty … as I have been feeling.  Honestly, looking back over the last year and a half … these last few weeks I have been just about as low as I have been during any of that time. The problem with manic depression is that you can fall into these pits and not really be able to identify what pushed you there. So dealing with that while also having a touch of OCD and perfectionism … that’s a bad cocktail of feels.  I feel 100% empty and alone and I don’t know why, which makes me kind of angry, so that layers on top of it. It’s a big ball of ugly that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I have always said the biggest hurdle to dealing with and living with and managing mental illness is acceptance and understanding. Both for myself and anyone I let into my life. I accept and understand what I deal with and what I need to do to get by on bad days. And I now only let people in my life that also are able to understand and accept this. So, I fully realized that I was spiraling and needed to do something about it before I hit the bleak, dark bottom. It became time to step back and evaluate what the hell my brain was trying to do to myself. Luckily … part of my spiral always includes the fun addition of crippling insomnia into my daily schedule. So bonus – plenty of time to think. It became a matter of constantly re-focusing my brain to something productive and not self-defeating. As I was reading through some affirmations and articles and trying to drill down to what had triggered this mess I realized that it is all me. It is all my own brain self-sabatoging. that pesky brain. At it again.

See … I made a very major change in my life not coming up on almost a year ago. I decided I had enough of being as unhappy as I was in a situation that, realistically, was not going to change. I spent a good couple of years working through all of it before deciding on the change that I made. And I was instantly happier and lighter and … better. I was me again. 100% me. Able to live my life as me and not as someone wanted me to appear to be to everyone else. No more guilt. No more censoring. Just me. And in doing that … my brain got greedy. It decided to start setting some expectations for my life that, honestly, are just not really possible. I mean, they may be at some point, but not right this second. Which is what my brain wanted. It wanted everying it wanted and it wanted it NOW. My brain is Veruca Salt.

 

My problem is I have some unrealistic expectations and a brain that doesn’t want to wait on anything. And let me tell you … it is true … all of those quotes. Expectations can really fuck things up.

Now. Now I get to try to self-talk my brain off the Great Expectations ledge. Convince it that my life is just fine like it is.

Hey Veruca: All those things you think you need for happiness … you really don’t. You don’t need a prince on a white horse to make you happy or take care of you. Take care of yourself for crying out loud. Prince Charming doesn’t exist Veruca. Everyone has issues and they don’t need your stupid issues on top of theirs. The key is working around both sets of issues without throwing temper tantrums because you didn’t get enough attention. Shut up Veruca. You are just fine. Take your neediness and lack of patience and go sit in a corner until you can use your indoor voice. You have a life that is just fine. A little hardship and growing isn’t going to hurt you at all. Suck it up lady. I know you got a taste of the potential your life holds and you’ll get there. Just be patient. I know you want the Golden Goose. You want the happiness and harmony, and you’ll get it. Eventually. And maybe you’ll learn a few things about yourself on the way. Knock off the temper tantrums. Quit kicking your own ass in the dirt. Get over yourself … and get back to yourself. You have you and you are pretty awesome. You don’t need a bunch of things or people or stuff to make you happy. Focus your expectations on yourself and what you can control. Stop setting us up for disappointment for crying out loud. It really sucks when life doesn’t deliver the rediculous things you demand. And I’m getting tired of feeling like this.  So for the love of all that is holy Veruca, lower that bar a bit and enjoy the life you have.

Song of the Week: Flight

I was very recently introduced to Lifehouse. I mean, I’m sure I’ve heard them in passing somewhere along the line but a friend sent me a few songs to listen to this week and I liked them. As I’ve said before … I’m a lyric person. I enjoy words. And that is usually what will draw me to a song first, the words, the message, the meaning, the way it makes me feel when I say the words out lout. It’s how I connect with the song and if it is a song I am performing, how I am able to immerse myself into it for my audience.

I have discovered some fantastic (IMHO) words in the songs of Lifehouse. And this song is one of them.

“I’ve lost my balance. I fell from the trapeze. This act isn’t easy. I’ve been under water, the storm has been raging. These nights are not sleeping, my dreams are now strangers to me.”

A lot of what this song is saying really hit home with the year I’ve had.

“I’ve been walking in circles, I’m screaming for answers. I might fall into pieces or maybe I’m finally breaking through.”

So it is my Song of the Week this week. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

6 Little Men

For Christmas, a friend got me six little plastic men that are designed to work as drink markers. My “Drinking Buddies.” They literally hang off the side of a glass by their hands. Please note (see above) that these men are largely nude, wearing basically a speedo. They are named and everything.

They day she gave them to me, we quickly discovered that these guys can actually hang off of all kinds of things. We immediatly hung almost all of them in various and random places around the apartment, and when my daughter got home, we challenged her to find them all. The 6 Little Men Game was born.

At first, my son would simply move one or two of them every few days and announce such to me. (Let me say right up front … I am really, really, REALLY bad at this game. Now, I don’t have a large apartment at all. Small living space, small-ish kitchen, 3 bedrooms, and a bath. There is a limited supply of places to hang these little men … and I can NEVER find them without some serious help.)

Last week he took the game to a whole new level. We have a whiteboard on the fridge, for messages, shopping lists, and what not. He has started using it for little nerdy games he creates, or just straight up sarcasm and shenanigans. One evening last week I came home from work to find this on the fridge:

I spent two evenings on my own searching for these damned plastic men. To the point where I was frustrated and approaching outright anger at myself. I am clearly blind as a fucking bat.

After two nights on my own, I ask for some clarification. “Which rooms are they in?” is always my first question. And, as I’ve learned to pay attention to detail, I asked “Are they all ‘hanging’ or are some of them simply ‘hidden?”

He answered that they were all in the living room and that only one of them was actually hanging from something.

I did a bit more looking on my own that night and then break down and start asking help, to which he starts giving me hints. Sarcastic, archaic, and sometimes hysterical, hints.

It took most of an evening, but with a lot of help and hints and some research on the internet (yes … that happened … see below

I managed to find them all. He got pretty creative with his placement and I laughed at the places he found to hide them.

I also got super pissed at myself for being so bad at it.

Blind. As. A. Fucking. Bat.

To circle back on his hints: I had found all but one of them. His hit for the last guy was: “What disease peaks in February?” Now, I don’t know if it was the unbelievably random and seemingly unrelated nature of the hint that threw me …but I suddenly became the stupidest person on earth. I had zero clue where he was going with this and my brain went to all of the most ridiculous places. He continued with “You can control this with a shot.” and so … naturally … I immediately went to things like Diabetes and Allergies. Because that makes total sense. I’m an idiot. His last hint was “It was very popular in Spain.” and that that point I was done. This did the exact opposite of helping me. It also made me realize two things 1) when I finally figured this out I was gonna hate myself forever, and 2) my son has an amazing brain.

After some more questions, a shit-ton of laughing, and some internet research I finally figured out the disease he was speaking of was THE FREAKING FLU and the last guy was hiding in a box of tissues.

I had now spent three full days humiliating myself with my son and my total ineptitude at this game. But I had found all four of the men, in “easy mode” mind you, and checked the boxes off the white board.

The next morning I wake up to this:

This kid. He’s the best thing ever.

Let It Go … Away

737bc5db03299f98464cfc69879e051eHere’s a shocking bit of news … I hate winter.

I don’t like that it is gray and gloomy most days where I live during the winter months. It makes me sad and I certainly don’t need any help being sad for fucks sake. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing for reals and it is no fun. I learned long ago that I need sunshine in my life or I get stabby and ugly and snarkier than normal. Which is no fun for anyone. I use my halogen desk lamp at work 20% for being able to see my work and 80% to keep me warm and make me feel better.

I don’t like driving in snow and ice and nasty stuff. I don’t like that the people that live where I do lose their everlovin’ minds in regards to being able to drive like logical and sane f3b6c0108b95c1d3a51ffd1cf5fbf3cahuman beings in bad weather. We live in Ohio for crying out loud. It snows every God damn year. It’s not a surprise. Why do you all have the need to re-learn how to
drive in the snow and ice
and slush every fucking year? I mean seriously. I hate all of you. My only saving grace at this point is that I live less than a mile from my job so I don’t have to go far and deal with too many idiots. But still. So annoying.

I don’t like being cold. This is perhaps the biggest think I dislike most about winter. I can deal with temps in the 60’s and maybe even the 50’s if the sun is around. But when it starts to dip intothe low 50’s with  no sun, or anything under about 48 degrees and I’m frozen and struggling to get warm again. I live in warm running pants and hooded sweatshirts and warm winter socks. I dress in multiple layers on a daily basis. I
have a space heater and giant fuzzy blanket at my desk at work and to a normal person walking in my office, you’d think our heat was not working or something. I 6f9b1de3780d1f823ed2e057f2d2d3dehave two electric blankets on my bed that run all winter long, every night. I drink hot coffee and tea non stop. I feel like some days it’s a constant battle to just try and stay warm that I may never win. In addition to just plain being cold, I have an extreme sensitivity to cold air that makes my eyes water incessently. I literally look like I’ve been sobbing if I am outside for any length of time. And if there is a wind on top of the cold – I’m a freaking mess.  So then my skin dries out and gets chapped and I have an eternal “red face” all winter long. It’s so much fun.

So as I feverishly count the days until it’s warm again … I will focus on the things I do enjoy about winter. Ready for some really fucked up nonsense?

I like shoveling snow. I like getting out when we’ve had a decent number of inches of snowfall and shoveling the shit out of it. It is the BEST workout and there is something very satisfying to my cold little OCD heart
about systematically clearing off a driveway or sidewalk. Go figure. It ends up KILLING my back but I know that the cardio I get from it is amazing. And just seeing the cleaned off spaces, all need and tidy, makes me feel a little bit happier inside.

So … while I begin the countdown of 194 days until Summer officiall arrives … enjoy a photo of an octopus wearing a top hat. Because he makes me happy and represents all things exciting and joyful.

 

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Hang in there little Excite-o-pus … only 27 weeks until it is warm again in Ohio.

Perfect Timing: It’s Me

As I struggle through my new life I am finding that I have so many more issues than I realized. I’m a hot mess, plain and simple. And just when I think I’ve got it figured out some random, innocuous, and stupid thing will hit me up side the head and throw me into a tail spin.

I subscribe to a newsletter from a website called Psych Central, a throwback to my Psych Major days and the inner Psychologist in me that likes to pop her head out every now and then and get all up in someone elses business.  And like they say, doctors and nurses make the worst patients … the same can be said for this. I feel like I’m pretty good at helping others talk through issues but when it comes to myself … I can’t talk myself into or out of anything really.  So while I enjoy reading up on all things psychiatric … it also is a lot of self help related reading.

Today’s newsletter had an article that I needed and I needed it exactly right now.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I struggle in my relationships. And not just “intimate” relationships, but all of them really. I struggle with many things, and all if it takes place in my own messed up brain. If I identify-with-tinkerbell-a-lot-because-she-needs-attention-or-2312846don’t get enough information, I start to assume and I usually assume the worst. I lack confidence in myself and so I just assume that everyone else also sees me the same way. My days are a constant struggle inside my head, using self talk and other coping mechanisims, to keep myself from devolving into a crying pile of goo.

Luckily I have some amazing friends and people who care about me and they know this. They know how to deal with me and what to say, and what not to say. And I am getting better at talking myself off the ledge but I still struggle. The post on Psych Central that helped me so much today was titled “Relationship Distress 101: Is It Them, Or Is It Me?”  Chances are … it’s me.

My biggest take-away from reading this: identify your button and make sure others know about it. If I can identify the thing or things that set me off, and I can make others aware of them, as silly as they may be, I can help them help me . My main issues rarely stem from something someone else is doing “wrong” but from something they just may not be doing at all that I might need personally to help my brain chill the fuck out. I need information. Affirmation. Validation. And if I don’t verbally hear these things I start to assume and when I assume it never goes well.  It goes way beyond that old adage of making an ass of myself. I can throw myself into a full blown, bottomed out, bipolar-depressive, ugly-cry, ball of mess.

So … note to anyone out there wondering. I’m not needy, I’m wanty. Feed me with lots of attention, yummy food, backrubs a few times a week, an occasional beer or some nice whiskey or scotch, and I’ll love you forever.

#Tinkerbell

Jingle This Jingler

This week’s Song Of The Week is an attempt to curtail the Seasonal Affective Disorder that is trying like hell to take over my being.

I adore Barenaked Ladies for their amazing musical talent and their hysterical sense of humor. Their version of Jingle Bells is my favorite of all time. If it doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you are unsaveable. Sorry ’bout your luck.

 

Favorite Moments in Time and Space: Part 4

As much as I loved David Tennant as Ten, I adore Matt Smith as Eleven for totally different reasons. Where Ten was more smoldering and sexy, Eleven is more goofy and nerdy. We see early on, as he meets the young Amelia Pond and tries to figure out how his tastes changed during regeneration:

We also find that like all the other Doctors, he is kind. The episode Vincent and the Doctor shows that, in the very sweet ending scene where he brings a depressed and self-doubting Vincent Van Gogh to a modern day art gallery, and leaves us with the amazing words: “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

He shows us the sad side of the doctor in the episode The Doctor’s Wife where he meets the human incarnation of The TARDIS and then has to say goodbye while saying hello. All these hundreds of years of traveling time and space with the TARDIS only to meet her and immediately lose her.

We also see that for all the nerdy, goofy, sweetness … there is also that kick ass Doctor who takes no shit. One thing Smith can do is deliver an epic speech:

And a not so epic speech:

I’m going to need a SWAT Team ready to mobilize, street level maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers, and a Fez.  ~ The Doctor

But one of my favorite Smith episodes is also potentially my favorite Who episode ever. The Day of The Doctor. There are way too many awesome scenes to link all the videos here, so I’ll share one video of my most favorite scene, where Eleven meets Ten.

Another super effective scene in Day of the Doctor was the teaser for Twelve … the infamous Angry Eyebrows of Peter Capaldi

I’m stopping here …. Capaldi hasn’t had a complete series yet and since our cable company pulled BBC America I haven’t been able to catch up on all of his stuff yet. I don’t dislike him though .. not at all! He’s a different Doctor than Tennant or Smith were and that’s a good thing. I like him in his own way and I look forward to meeting his new companion and seeing where this adventure through time and space goes next.

Thanks for indulging me this retrospective. It went a lot longer than I anticipated when I started. Once I got going I realized that I had way too many favorite moments to just including them in one post. If you aren’t a Who fan, I apologize. If you are a Who fan, I hope you enjoyed it.

Favorite Moments in Time and Space: Part 3

In this edition, I close out the Tennant years with more tears and gush over Matt Smith. But first ….

I can’t continue on to the Eleventh Doctor without mentioning one of my favorite Who characters of all time: Captain Jack Harkness. Oh Captain Jack. He’s a swashbuckling, ornery, adorable hero who flirts like it’s his job. He has a lot of wonderful moments but I think I’ll just stick this compilation here because it kind of encapsulates his character perfectly. Captain Jack loved …. well everybody.

*when he grabs the robot’s boobs though*

As we end the time of Tennant … we see him at his most raw and vulnerable. Tennant does an amazing job of showing us all of the heartache and pain and fear and love that the Doctor feels for all of humanity. And, in the end, as he always does, he sacrifices himself for one he loves, with honor.

And in the end, with one last heartbreaking look, he tells us goodbye. *cue tears*

 

We didn’t want you to go either!!  But … as we said goodbye to Ten we get to say hello to Eleven. The totally adorkable Matt Smith (who is still not a ginger). And while he comes across all Great Dane puppy like with flailing limbs and floppy hair … this scene from his first episode shows that no matter how goofy he comes across … he is still The Doctor.

We also get to meet the amazingly wonderful Amy and Rory. The first Couple Companions. From her realization that he is more than a friend, to him waiting thousands of years for her, to the birth of their daughter (spoilers!), to jumping off a building together. They were a love story for the ages. Together. Or not at all.

Did you love Amy and Rory as much as I did? Did you like Tennant or Smith better? Let me know and come back soon. Next I’ll share some of my favorite Matt Smith moments, including the AMAZING Day of the Doctor episode where my two faves are together for some serious shenanigans.

Until then …. Geronimo!!

Another Year

113423711_10153641658982747_8456146028768364613_n7 years ago, in the wee hours between November 29th and 30th, I held my fathers hand as he left us. It was and will always be one of the most important moments in my life.

If you’ve lost a close family member you know it never really gets easier. That’s not the right word. It gets more normal maybe, but life is still never quite right. Something is always just a little bit off. Missing.

I miss him every day. And I never know when something will 13418683_1018478621566409_4350477012410850950_nremind me of him, but it happens all the time. I see him in my kids, in their ornery senses of humor and quiet loving ways. I still can’t watch a TV show or movie where the dad dies. It kills me every single time. And you know what … I’m totally okay with that. I’m perfectly fine with the crushing feeling in my chest that I get when I thing about a father dying. Because it sucks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have happy memories of him and I have the ability to think of my dad and smile and laugh and there are many, many, many things in life that make me think of him with a smile. But I also cry and that’s perfectly fine with me. Because I miss my dad and it makes me sad that he is gone. I hope that in 17 more years I still cry sometimes when I miss him. Not all sadness is bad and not all heartache is unnecessary. Sometimes it’s a reminder of a love larger than life.

I love you dad. And I always will.