K is for Keeping

k purpleHello all. I noticed the other day that there were some letters that I had not yet used, K among them. I spent a bunch of time trying to think of something to write about and came up short which means that this post will be a bit random.

So what do I mean by “keeping”? I mean that I tend to hoard/keep a bunch of pictures, both digital and analog. Today, after a follow up from last week, I’m gonna share some of the pictures I’ve saved.

Before I get into that, I want to let you know that I’m gonna participate in WordPressNext Blogging U. Challenge starting June 1st. Basically I’ll be blogging daily (except for the weekends) for however long the challenge lasts. In other words I’m trying to get myself to post more.

A follow up from last week:

As I mentioned in my last post, I often have a hard time leaving my apartment when the people across the street are hanging out on their porch. It rained a lot this week, so it wasn’t much of a problem until yesterday. So how’d I get out of the apartment? I sang this song in my head:

Yep I like the Broadway version better than the movie version. As a former Theatre major and long time musical fan, I’ve got lots of opinions on why, none of which are relevant to why I was singing this song. (If you want me to write a post in the future about musicals, especially on the differences between the live and movie versions, please feel let me know by leaving a comment below or sending me an email above.)

So why did that work to get me out of the house? Cause I’m weird. The song is fun, especially the way Ann Reinking sings it. And then there’s the lyrics:

[ROXIE]

I’m gonna be a celebrity. That means somebody everyone knows. They’re gonna recognize my eyes, my hair, my teeth, my boobs, my nose.

From just some dumb mechanic’s wife, I’m gonna be Roxie. Who says that murders not an art?

And who in case she doesn’t hang can say she started with a bang? Foxy Roxie Hart!…

ROXIE (spoken)]

And I love the audience. And the audience loves me for loving them. And I love them for loving me. And we just love each other. That’s because none of us got any love in our childhood.

I mean how can you not want to defy your fears with that silliness? Score one for me!

Here’s some of the pics I’ve kept:

abby

Image from cbs.com

That’s Abby Scuito from NCIS. I really want to be her; she’s fearless, loving, and totally open (despite the goth look).

becoming self quote

I love this quote on two levels: first because it speaks to the fact that we can change. Second because it comes from Cary Grant, a man who may have been bisexual (more on him here).

cat dont care

Hey, it’s a cat. As you all know I’m a sucker for a cat. And it’s a caption that you just know is true.

belief quote

I struggle with this a lot.

1489055_10200977762908728_709521796_n

Something I wish both a cat and a human would do for me.

letters

Whenever I’m having trouble with my writing, I try to remember this (and it goes with my blog title :).)

This is what would happen in real life to Cinderella. Cinderella was my favorite fairy tale as a child. Obviously real life is NOT a fairy tale.

nami persistence

When I went back to school, I was told by one of the clerical people in my advising office that I “had a reputation for persistence.” Something that I keep reminding myself of whenever I’m down.

tornado

A tornado. Or my life. Depending on your perspective.

strong help quote

Yet more stuff I have to remind myself of when I’m blue.

wedding

What can I say, I’m a romantic. Despite the fact that I may never get married.

writing quote

Because it just makes me smile. It’s so true! I’ve spent the last 40 years trying to not write a book.

That’s just some of what I keep pic-wise. I also collect craft ideas, decorating tips and inspirations, and lists of books to read. What can I say, I’m a hoarder at heart.


 

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

F is for Frustrated

For all those Mothers, Grandmothers, and “acting-as-Mom”s out there in the U.S.:

ma day

 

You have the hardest, most important job in the world. Please know that you are appreciated.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I’m frustrated. Mostly with myself. It’s common for me to be all mixed up during the last two weeks of April and the first week of May. Why? Let me list them (because it’s easier to deal with bullet points right now):

  • I was born in the first week of May. I’m not particularly fond of my birthday, you’ll find out why as you read further.
  • You know those little kid birthday parties that many parents throw? I’ve only ever had one of those in my life and sometime between the beginning of the party and the middle of it, the party became less about me and more about the other kids until eventually I was ignored.
  • Someone I love dearly attempted to kill themselves the day before my fourteenth birthday. They were not cryingsuccessful, have since recovered, and are living a happy life now. But I felt guilty at the time that I didn’t see the pain they were in.
  • My maternal grandfather died on my sixteenth birthday. I only saw him two or three times a year, but he was the only relative who I could point to and say that he loved me unconditionally.
  • In my twenties, my mother got sick and eventually died in the last weeks of April three states away. I’ve always felt guilty that I wasn’t there when she died and that my brother had to deal with all of that on his own.
  • We buried my mother on the day after my birthday.
  • In my thirties, my paternal grandmother died in the first week of May. I was her caretaker almost up to the very end and she was a huge part of my life.
  • Last year, I broke my wrist and shattered my elbow on the last day of April. I ended up spending my birthday in the hospital. Recovering from this injury was difficult and eventually lead to my spending time in the psych ward.

To be honest, I’m glad that nothing too awful happened during these weeks this year. Yes, my car got repo’d, which was upsetting. I loved that car and it was the last thing I had left of my life from when my grandmother was alive. Losing it meant that I could no longer pretend that I was the same person I was then. But it was only a car, an object, a thing, a symbol. I am grateful no one died, no one was hurt, no one was buried.

So why am I frustrated? Because I am still in the midst of a rather large transition and I can no longer see myself and my life clearly.

I spent last weekend at a friend’s house helping them with some projects and some church activities. It was an running grassexhausting time because I’m not used to spending so much time on my feet, not to mention running up and down stairs. My feet, knees, and back were in constant pain. Trust me, there’s nothing easy about being circus-lady-fat when it comes to physical activity.

Despite my pain, and the not inconsiderable social anxiety I was feeling, I made it through without an anxiety attack. Whoo hoo, right? Nope. I felt like a fraud. All these people (at my friend’s church) were thanking me for helping out, my friends were complimenting me (“you have such a pretty face”, “you can do anything you want, if you set your mind to it”), and all I could do was wonder how I was making it through. I should have been collapsed on the floor in the fetal position, but I wasn’t. I’d made it through the anxiety and pain and kept a smile on my face. How? Why? What was different?

Then I came home. And for a few days I was okay. I thought, maybe I’ve finally reached the point where I can take better care of myself. Get some exercise, lose some weight. Maybe the anxiety has retreated to a manageable point. Maybe the fact that I seem to be destined to live a minimum wage life won’t be so bad.

I rode that wave of false optimism until Tuesday night. For some reason, that night I started to feel a part of myself weaken. I don’t know if it was because I hadn’t had much “me” time for awhile, or if it was the fact that I binged, or if it was just time for me to cycle through a negative period again, but I slowly became more and more sensitive. On Wednesday, I had trouble getting out of bed and ended up rescheduling an appointment. On Thursday, I slept most of the day, almost missing a counseling appointment.

On the way home from that appointment, I was triggered. You see, I live in a college town. And, because I’m poor, I live in an area with a lot of college kids. And by college kids, I mean drunk and/or stupid people. The kind that yell stupid things out car windows or ogle you when you walk by. Directly across the street from where I live is a house with several of these drunk/stupid kids who like to hang out on their front porch. During the wintewooden spiralr, this wasn’t so bad cause it was too cold for them to be out there long. But now that it’s gotten warm, they spend a lot of time out there. They never say anything directly to me, but I can tell they are watching me when I walk in or out of my building or when I’m pulling the garbage cans to the front or back. I can’t tell if they are talking about me or not, but my skin crawls regardless. This, to me, is triggering.

When I got home Thursday night, they were hanging out on their porch, watching. I could feel their eyes on me as I pulled the garbage cans behind my building and walked inside. I could feel their eyes judging me, judging my fitness to be amongst them. Judging and finding me wanting.

I didn’t leave my apartment again until Sunday night when I knew they weren’t out there.

So who am I? The girl who fights through her social anxiety and helps out at church functions despite the pain in her joints? Or am I the gross, fat woman too afraid to leave her apartment because of the judgmental eyes of some college kids? Am I getting better and the past few days are just a set back? Or am I selfish failure who spends her days feeling sorry for herself because her birthday’s not so special?

Who am I really? Who am I becoming? And what will it be like when I get there? I want these answers now. As you can imagine, it’s frustrating that I can’t get them.

breaking thru clouds

Blessings to you all.

Be well.

B is for Birthday

b floralThe past few weeks have been difficult. Not as difficult as the last few years but difficult enough to keep me pretty depressed. Thank god for meds!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that it’s been awhile since I posted. That’s just because I don’t want to write any more “I’m so depressed” posts.

I feel a bit better today because I’ve finally been given a job! It’s a part-time job cleaning a local business. It doesn’t start until the end of May or beginning of June, which doesn’t help right now. Soooo… my car may get repo’d. Which sucks because not only do I love my car, but I live in an area with limited public transportation. And most of the well paying jobs are not accessed by public transportation. Sigh.

That said; let’s move onto something more fun.

birthday

My birthday’s coming up! I’m gonna be 41 years old. Honestly I never thought I’d make it past 30 much less 41, so every birthday is a triumph.

Here’s what I want for my birthday, from need to want to fantasy:

Needs

A job. Preferably one that doesn’t involve a lot of manual labor and pays more than minimum wage.

$3-12. For laundry. There’s nothing worse than not having clean clothes.

TP and other personal care stuff you can’t buy on food stamps. Because stealing TP from public restrooms is morally wrong and lowers my self esteem.

Money for gasoline. So I can go on job interviews that the bus line doesn’t go near.SONY DSC

Enough money to keep my car from being repo’d. For obvious reasons.

 

Wants

Some going out money. Cause I haven’t gone out to eat or the movies in forever.

Some craft supplies (or money for supplies). I love craft stores and craft supplies. Crafts make me feel creative and I love the stores for all the possibilities there. They make me happy!

Books! They’re another thing that makes me happy. I can spend hours in a bookstore. One of my lifelong dreams has been to become an author (of fiction) but I struggle with motivation and writer’s block.

 

Fantasy-land

A new laptop with a printer. I don’t have a printer right now and my computer is on its last legs.cat laptop

My car paid off. That would be a huge weight off my shoulders.

A year’s worth of car insurance, license renewal fees, and gasoline. Another weight that would be lovely to lose.

All my student loans and medical debts paid off. Let’s just say I owe people more money than I’ve ever made in my entire life.

A new home, including money to spruce it up and pay for a few years of property taxes. One of my dreams is to own my own home and be able to decorate it however I want. I’m so sick of sharing bathrooms/kitchens with roommates and not being able to paint my walls.

Pets. As ya’ll know, I’m a crazy cat lady. But I haven’t been able to have pets (due to landlord restrictions) for years. I want at least two cats and maybe a dog.

The bad part of this wish list is that I’m probably not going to get anything on it. My family is not big on birthday gifts unless you’re a kid. Normally this doesn’t bother me, but this year is different. Just cause I’m in such a low place financially and personally.

However, I’m planning on celebrating my birthday anyway. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing at the time, but if I’m alone I’m gonna live it up anyway. Because my 41st year has got to be better than my 40th!

cat with dress

Blessings to you all.

Be well.

R is for Resentment

r white woodI love my family. I do. But I also resent them. A lot. And lately it’s been really bothering me. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because the weather’s changing and I’ve been thinking about how nice it would be to take a stroll with my sister-in-law. Maybe because I went a few days without a phone and realized that no one would have known if I hadn’t posted anything on Facebook about it. Or maybe it’s just time to get over it.

So, like I always do when I want to do something, I warmed up my favorite search engine and looked for anything I could find on resentment. I came across this quote:

resentment2

This pic was created at brainyquote.com.

It stopped me in my proverbial tracks. One of the things I truly value (and I know this cause I’ve gone over my values a couple of times in the last few months in counseling) is trying to do God’s will and grow spiritually. The fact that I’m disrupting my values by holding onto resentment gives my bone marrow frostbite.

So I sat there and thought about it. Why was I so resentful of my family? Here’s why…help

Somehow growing up I picked up the conviction that getting help by asking for it means less than if someone figures out that you need help and offers it. I’m not quite sure why I picked up that conviction, but I did. What’s worse, I typically don’t ask for help until the last possible second, usually right before disaster strikes. Like right before I slit my wrists.

Unfortunately, most of my family doesn’t think the say way as I do. Especially my brother and sister-in-law, the ones I feel most resentful towards. You see, I needed a lot of help the past year or so. As you may recall from this post, this post, this post, and this post, I was suicidal and went through a major traumatic injury. My brother and sister-in-law are the only family members who could help me (everyone else lives too far away) during those times and I resented it when they didn’t help me more.

What was I expecting from them? Well, when I got home from the psych ward, both times, I expected them to check in with me once in a while. By phone if nothing else. If I didn’t call or stop by, I expected them to call me or stop by my place (I live less then 10 minutes away from them). I didn’t receive any check ins. Ever.

After I broke my arm and was in a cast from my armpit to wrist, I expected a daily visit until I was able to do things fat ladylike pull up my pants up one handed and cook myself dinner. I got daily visits the first two days. I couldn’t pull up my own pants one handed for a month after I was released from the hospital (they kept getting caught on my fat rolls. Remember, I’m circus-fat-lady fat), and I couldn’t cook for two months. In addition, I was on pain killers for six weeks. Pain killers and a history of suicide…not a good thing.

The part that I hate most about how resentful I feel is that I knew I wasn’t gonna get any help from my family unless I asked for it. My brother works too much to be able to help me (he works twelve to eighteen hours a day, typically seven days a week. He’s been known to go three months without a day off). So it was my sister-in-law, a “Domestic Engineer” (aka housewife) who would/should be checking in on me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I adore my sister-in-law. She’s the best thing to ever happen to my brother and a wonderful person. She just believes that it is a person’s responsibility to ask for help; that one shouldn’t just help a person without that request. Her belief comes out of her own past of domestic violence and addiction. And that works for her. It just doesn’t work for me.

Why? Because when I’m deeply depressed, suicidal, traumatized, and in pain, I don’t ask for help unless it’s an

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli 1781

The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli 1781

emergency (like gotta call 911 emergency). I can’t. And I mean that in an almost physical sense. I spent hours lying on my bed keeping myself alive by telling myself over and over that if I just stayed in bed, I would be able to resist the impulse to kill myself. That if I got up, took that step closer to the drawer where I kept my medications, I would take every single pill I owned in an effort to die. The thought of calling someone for help did cross my mind, and, in occasional moments of logic, I tried to get myself to do it, but I couldn’t. I remember the words piling themselves up at the back of my throat. And I couldn’t get them into my voice box and out of my mouth. No matter how many times I tried to get my hands to pick up a phone, they wouldn’t move. It was almost like psychological paralysis. It sounds dramatic, even soap opera worthy, but it’s true. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything other than breathe and fight the impulse to kill myself. All of my energy was used up in that fight. I had nothing left to ask for help.

So I didn’t get any help from my family. And the only family member in any position to help me was not pre-supposed to help without being asked. And I knew this. I knew it and yet it still hurt when I didn’t get the help I couldn’t ask for. It still hurts today. And so the resentment grows. And grows.

I haven’t spoken with my family in any way other than through social media in about two months. And I hate it. I miss them so much. I want a hug from my sister-in-law. I want to tease my brother and see that twinkle in his eye that makes him him. I want to hug their dog and chat about NCIS and their grandchildren. I want to find out what home improvement plans they are gonna tackle this summer. I want to see my brother and sister-in-law laugh and kiss and hug in that way that is their own.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

But I can’t do it until I let go of this resentment that I know is totally irrational. I know that they were never going to be able to help me in the way that I wanted, or even needed, to be helped. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I knew it. And yet I still expected and wanted it from them.

I suppose that ultimately what’s preventing me from letting it go is that I can’t forgive myself for expecting the impossible from them. I can’t forgive myself for needing help. And if I can’t forgive myself, how am I gonna be able to forgive them?


 

Blessings to you all.

Be well.

J is for Jealousy

j abcalphabet-letter-jWarning!!! This post may be triggering for those with eating disorders and/or a mood disorder.

It’s finally happened. Guilt over not posting has won out over anxiety about writing about a particular subject. You see, I promised myself when I started this blog that I would write about whatever was going on with me at whatever time it happens, no flinching, no hiding. Sorry about the silence on the blog. Here goes, a post about jealousy…

I’ve been feeling really jealous lately and it’s been bothering me. Most of the time I’m okay with whatever pangs of jealousy come up because they’re really normal kinds of jealousy. What I mean by that is that most of the time I’m jealous of really normal, understandable, transitory things. When I feel a stab of jealousy over someone’s job, it’s perfectly understandable since I’m unemployed and desperate for a job. The same goes for when I get jealous over people with money, looks, children, and so forth. These are all things that I want in the future or things I know I’ll never be able to have. I can understand and forgive myself for them. I acknowledge that pang and move on.

However, recently I’ve found myself jealous over things that are kinda…well, icky. And it makes me think there’s something wrong with me (more than normal that is).

Here, in no particular order, are things I’ve been jealous over lately that I’ve got a problem with and/or can’t quite get past:

People with Bipolar Disorder. Now, I’ve got what they call Unipolar Disorder in the psych biz. That means my

Image from health.com

Image seen on health.com

moods just get really low. If you’ve got Bipolar Disorder, your moods would go from high (manic) to low (depression). As you might have guessed, this disorder used to be called Manic Depression. (If you want more info on this disorder, click here).

Why am I jealous of these people? Let me list the ways:

  1.   They get to feel good. At some point in their lives, people diagnosed with Bipolar have a manic period. Granted, that mania may be mild or extreme, but at least they get to feel something more than the horrific depression I get sometimes.
  2.   They get a lot of attention. I subscribe to the Facebook pages of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), their website is here, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, their website is here, and a website called HealthyPlace, their website is here. Sometimes it seems as if most of the posts/articles I see in Facebook are about Bipolar. Not plain old, I-only-get-really-really-down, Unipolar Depression.
  3.   A lot of celebrities have been “coming out” as Bipolar. It almost seems as if it’s the new “sexy” diagnosis. So it gets a lot of attention in the media.

The worst part of it is that I know that I’m blessed in a way to only have the boring diagnosis of Unipolar Depression. People who have Bipolar have a much harder time getting diagnosed and treated, have a much higher rate of suicide, and overall have the worst of the two diseases.

And yet, I’m jealous. It just makes me feel like I’m a selfish person because I’ve got the boring diagnosis. Ick.

People with Anorexia and/or Bulimia. You’d think the one thing I wouldn’t be jealous of would be someone withcat eating a worse eating disorder than I’ve got. For those new to my blog, I’ve got Binge Eating Disorder (for an overview of all three disorders, click here). I just eat…and eat…and eat. A lot. I don’t throw it up or over-exercise to compensate. Hence my lovely circus-lady-fat-physique.

So why am I jealous? Let me list the ways:

  1.   Just like people with Bipolar, those with anorexia and bulimia get a lot more attention than those who just binge. Think about it, how many times have you seen a movie of the week, or Lifetime movie, about someone with Binge Eating Disorder? Bet you can’t think of one. And yet, there are plenty of movies about anorexia and bulimia. Celebrities who have anorexia and/or bulimia are profiled all the time in the media. Very few celebrities even admit to binging without purging or dieting in some manner to off-set their binges. Yep, starving, throwing up, and over-exercising seem very sexy. Just eating until your stomach can’t take anymore, not so sexy.
  2.   Anorexia and, to some extent, bulimia, is very visible. And when people see them and understand what they’re doing, they (most of the time) react with some modicum of sympathy or respect. It’s pretty easy to understand that someone who is starving themselves or throwing up all the time is in need of some help. Not so much bingers. We’re often the butt (no pun intended) of jokes. We’re told that we just need to stop eating and get off the couch. Let me tell you, it is not that simple. If I could’ve done it, I would’ve done it twenty years ago.
  3.   Control. Anorexics, and to some extent, bulimics, have some modicum of control over their eating. All three
    Image seen on www.glogster.com/

    Image seen on glogster.com

    disorders are constantly thinking about food, but at least anorexics/bulimics have enough discipline to stop or compensate. I can’t seem to stop or even attempt to off-set it in the way they do. Granted, I don’t want to throw up or abuse laxatives (not that abusing laxatives actually works, more on that here) but at least bulimics are making an attempt to control their weight. And anorexics have the ultimate in control. They starve themselves. The exact opposite of how I deal with food and my emotions. Often I wish I had that control. But I don’t.

  4.   Believe it or not, there are actual websites out there that are all about helping those with anorexia and bulimia to continue their eating disorder behaviors. Often called pro-ana (ana=anorexia) and pro-mia (mia=bulimia) websites, they’re all about getting deeper and deeper into these awful diseases. Are there any pro-binge websites? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not advocating anyone, including myself, try to become anorexic or bulimic. Both

anorexics and bulimics have a much harder time recovering than bingers. Both are much more likely to die from their diseases than a binger. They are awful, horrific, terrifying diseases.

And yet, I’m jealous of them. Ick.

How sick am I that I’m jealous of people with these diseases/disorders that are so much worse than what I’ve got? Why can’t I just be glad that I don’t have it as bad as those sufferers?

Maybe it’s because those people have illnesses/disorders that are often much more visible. And they get more sympathy. If you see a person going through a manic phase, you can tell they’ve got an illness. An anorexic is obviously sick. My illnesses seem invisible. With enough effort, I can smile through my depression. I eat alone. People out on the street are much more likely to yell the name of a famous weight-loss company at me than to think I might need to be hospitalized. My size is out there for everyone to see, but most just think I’m an undisciplined, lazy, person not worth their respect.

And sometimes I feel that way about myself. If I had a disease that would kill me quicker (anorexia) or was more fun (bipolar), would I respect myself more? I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think much of myself for being jealous of those people who have those diseases/disorders. I know it’s wrong. Those people suffer so much, have a much harder time, are in so much more danger than I am. And everytime I feel jealous of them, despite the fact that I remind myself of this, I still can’t make that jealousy go away.

How icky is that?


 

image from DBSA

image from DBSA

If you need help with any of the above mentioned diseases/disorders, please don’t wait. The sooner you

get help the better. Here are some hotlines (all for the USA):

National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): (800) 826-3632

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: (800) 950-6264

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) Helpline: 630-577-1330 (Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Central Time)

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA): 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Eastern Time)


 

Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

L is for Loser (and Winner)

L aslBefore we get into the main topic of today’s post I’d like to comment on a few things.

First…

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

As seen at psychokitty.blogspot.com.

Happy Daylight Savings Time!!! Yay to more sunshine!

That said, I’m done with winter, snow and ice. Despite what Mother Nature may or may not show me outside my window. So from now on you’re gonna be seeing a lot of flowers on this blog. In my little world, it’s spring.

Second…

I’d like to thank all those who “like”d my last post. I know it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, so I’m assuming the “like”s were you showing support for my decision. If you haven’t read the post, I basically said that I’d been inhibited by focusing on my stats for this blog and that I was going to start paying less attention to them.

Frankly, I thought my last post sucked. It was incoherent and self-indulgent. I’d delete it if I hadn’t promised myself when I started out that I wouldn’t do that. I’m gonna do my best to write better from now on.

Anyway, if you “like”d that post: Thank you! I don’t get a lot of feedback on this blog so it felt really good that you thought enough of me to click that little button. I hope you’ll continue to do so. Oh, and feel free to leave comments. I like feedback!

Third…

Click on the pic to go to the source.

Click on the pic to go to the source of the image.

As you may or may not remember, I’m Catholic. And what a lot of Catholics do is pray to saints. More on that here. I’ve decided to dedicate my blog to my personal patron saint St. Joseph (aka Jesus’ foster Dad). If anyone wants to know more about why I’m doing this (or anything else really), please leave a comment.

Feel free to skip the next bit if this kinda thing gives you the willies…

Here’s my prayer of dedication, written by me (keep in mind that I’m still a newbie Catholic, so this prayer might sound a bit strange. I’ve been told that there is no wrong or right way to pray, so I’m not gonna start worrying about it):

 Dearest St. Joseph, foster father to our Lord, I dedicate this blog to you. Help me to follow your example of humility. Help me to always write the truth. Protect me from those who would try to hurt me with their words because of something I have written. Pray for me and for my readers so that we may do God’s will and live in holiness. Surround us with your loving goodness. In the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit. Amen.

Moving on to today’s topic: Loserdom.

Four years ago, I was working at a job that I didn’t particularly like. It wasn’t a horrible job, I just didn’t like it. So I quit. Despite my problems since leaving that job, I have never regretted it.

Everytime I passed my old workplace I reminded myself of how awful I felt working there and how glad I was that I left. Everytime I put gas in my car I celebrated leaving that job. I had to commute 30 minutes one way to get there, so I spent a lot of money on gas. With how much gas has gone up since I left, I would have spent soooooo much more money on gas then I’ve had to in the last few years. Everytime I completed a task at my current job (when I was working) similar to one at that old job, I appreciated how much that old job taught me and how happy I was that I no longer worked there. Everytime I went on a break at my current job (again, when I was working) I was happy that my blood sugar was higher (because I hadn’t had to work for six hours straight before getting a break) and my blood smiley facepressure was lower (because I wasn’t so frustrated). Everytime I was treated with respect by a supervisor, or given a “thank you”, or a “good job”, I mentally did a happy dance because I left that job. Everytime I filled out an application and had to write that company’s name down I calculated how long it had been since I’d worked there and smiled a special smile.

Every. Time.

I just reapplied to work there. Why? Cause I haven’t worked since May and it looks as if Congress isn’t gonna reestablish long-term unemployment benefits. On the upside, the company was bought out by someone else so it may be a better place to work now then it was then. On the downside, I feel like a complete loser.

I know I shouldn’t feel that way. It’s not really my fault that I lost my job. After all, I didn’t decide to fall down the stairs and break my arm. I didn’t decide to become suicidal and hospitalized. I didn’t decide that the combination of the two made me unable to meet my job’s qualifications. It just happened. And I got fired. It wasn’t my fault. The unemployment office agreed: it wasn’t my fault. And now I need a job. At this point, nearly any job that would be healthy will do (read that as any job that doesn’t involve fast food or vast amounts of chemicals). But I still feel like it’s my fault and I’m a loser for having to apply to that job. A job that I did because I could fake it, because it wasn’t too hard, because I had to.

If I look at this situation logically, it’s actually a triumph for me to apply to that job. A few months ago, I couldn’t getblue rose outta bed, much less work at a job that required a commute and a smile on my face. Logically, I know if I end up working there again it doesn’t have to be forever. It could just be until I find something better, closer, requiring less energy.

I know this because that’s exactly what I said when I took that job in 2000. And 2001. And 2002. And all the way until I quit the damn job in 2010. Ten years of telling myself that I was only working there until I found something better, closer, blah blah blah. Loser.

Let me tell you a story: Back in 2000, when I first applied to work at that job, I was unemployed. But that time it was my fault. I had been working as a data entry operator (for perspective, this was back when computer scanners for office work had just been invented) and had quit that job on impulse. It was a boring job and I was a self-destructive idiot. Back then if you didn’t have a criminal record you could pretty much get any job you wanted without references or a DNA test. So I walked into this company, applied for a customer service job, and two weeks later was working.

At first, I didn’t mind the job. I’d worked in customer service before, so I was used to the whole “smile while they yell obscenities at you” thing. And the job, which had a government contract, was different. Especially after I’d been there a while and was trained to do more than take messages. So I stayed. And stayed. And stayed. Eventually I got promoted (that was the work six hours straight position), then promoted again. Most of the people I worked with were nice and the pay was okay. There was plenty of overtime, so bills got paid (when I didn’t spend all my money on food that is). And when my attendance was poor, they yelled, but didn’t fire me. Did I want a new job? Sure. Did I look for one? No. Most of the time I was too busy dealing with family stuff (people dying, becoming alcoholic, etc) to really do much job searching, so it was okay. I learned a lot about myself and about the workplace.

Then things changed, or at least I changed. I got my Associates degree and I reached a point with my family where it looked as if I could focus on myself (instead of taking care of elderly or addicted people) for awhile. I wanted to get graduatemy Bachelor’s degree. And I wanted to do it NOW. Before any other family members got sick and had to be taken care of. Before I lost my motivation. Before I got any more stuck.

So I changed everything about my life. I moved, quit that job, went back to school, and held on with both hands. Some of it worked out: I got my Bachelor’s degree. I’m proud of myself for making that goal and achieving it. But a lot of it didn’t work out: I got evicted, sick, and spent too much time in hospitals.

Writing this out just makes me realize that part of why I feel like a loser is because I’m in a very similar place now to when I first applied to work at this company. I’m unemployed, self-destructive, a bit lost. Back in 2000, I had no idea what I was doing with myself. I was just floating along, waiting for life to happen. Now it’s 14 years later and I’m still floating along, waiting for life to happen.

The difference is that I have some idea what I’m doing with myself. I’ve achieved something, a Bachelor’s degree, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. My counselor a couple weeks ago pointed that out. She even had me think about how many odds I had to work through to get to that darn degree. And I did it. The fact that I’m just now able to appreciate it shouldn’t negate the fact that it was a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT (that and the fact that I’m trying not to compare myself to others).

I could have given up anytime in the past few years and not gotten the degree. Frankly, I could have given up anytime in the past few years and ended up dead.

What I’ve got to keep reminding myself is that I’m not the person I was in 2000. And if I go back to work at that company, it’s not gonna be the same as in 2000. The company’s changed. I’ve changed. Even if there are some people still working there that I knew, they’ll probably have changed. It’s 2014, I have a Bachelor’s degree, I’m on proper meds, and I have more tools now than I did then. I am not a loser. I’m a winner.

A winner who has the opportunity to change with every breath I take. Even if I end up making those changes at the same physical place I was working at in 2000.

A winner who has to remind herself of that even if she feels like a loser.

After all, the location I am in is not the same as the place I am in.

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Blessings to all of you.

Be well.

E is for Excuses

e reflectionI know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’m not sure why. I’ve got lots of excuses for not doing things. Here’s a few of my favorites (in no particular order):

I’m too tired. I use this one a lot. My meds make me sleepy and being circus-lady-fat makes any kind of activity exhausting. So this excuse is true, if nothing else.

It’s too cold/hot/snowing/raining/sun-shiny/cloudy. The weather is always something good to blame things on. Especially if it impacts transportation.

It costs money. This one is especially impactful right now. Being unemployed and having my unemployment cut off (I was getting the federal extension until Congress stopped funding it) makes every dime important. Not that I’m all that good at keeping an eye on my dimes. I often spend money I don’t have or shouldn’t spend for no particular reason. If this excuse really was a reason, I wouldn’t spend recklessly. Right?

It’s too hard. This is probably the real reason I do/don’t do things. I’m pretty lazy and dislike challenging myself if I don’t think I can succeed. If it’s something I think I can do, I’ll do it. Assuming it doesn’t take too much effort.

Writing this blog is sometimes hard and sometimes easy. It’s easy when I’m being confessional. The anonymity of it all makes the confession pour out. Especially when I’m feeling depressed or down on myself. But then I look at my stats and see that those are the posts that get the most views. That makes writing this blog hard. Because I feel like I should write more of those types of posts. More self-hatred, more depression, more anxiety, more negativity. The exact opposite of what I’m trying to do with my life.abyss

Perhaps that’s the real reason I haven’t posted in awhile. I don’t want my blog to just be a big negative blob. Sure if I feel the need to vomit up some ickiness, I suppose that’s okay. I just don’t want it to be the primary focus of this blog, or my life.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could be completely truthful, with no filtering of who or what I am. I wanted a place where I could be both open and closed. Open with who I am but closed with who I am. So someone could see me, but not know it was me. Contradictory, yes. But it’s what I want.

Now, looking at my stats, I feel a bit of pressure to only expose the icky side of me. The depressed, mentally ill, part of me.

But what about the rest of me. The spiritual, the cat-loving, flower-loving, craft-project, parts of me. The parts where the sun shines and giggles are heard? Doesn’t that part of me deserve exposure too?

I think it does. So from now on I am pledging to do my best not to think about what is expected of me before writing posts or publishing them. If a post about kitties and flowers doesn’t get read, it doesn’t get read.

Because this blog is supposed to be for me. As much as I often put myself last, I think I deserve a place where my desires come first. I’m gonna start with this blog. This blog is mine. And I will write what I want.

I hope you’ll continue to read.

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Blessings to you all.

Be well.