Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Back With More

Because I still need a productive distraction from this crushing sense of panic, that is probably, definitely, an overreaction anyway.

  1. If I'm cutting out, or down on, social media then I want to replace it with reading material that will actually give me some substance to mentally chew on.  Meaning, real books, not internet threads.  It would be amazing if I could read one physical, hold-in-your-hands book per week, and depending on which ones I choose I think this is a totally doable goal.  And, there will still be the downloaded books on my phone and tablet, ones that I can pull out literally whenever, whether it's in a bathroom stall at work, killing time in some medical professionals waiting room, or I've arrived early to a movie and the previews won't even be starting for ten more minutes (I did this over the past weekend, while waiting for Manchester by the Sea to start I chipped away at Leah Remini's Troublemaker via GoogleBooks).
  2. And speaking of that tablet... oy vey, I am way too delayed in integrating this into my life, and I feel bad about it.  My (very generous) boyfriend gifted it to me at our first Christmas together...three years ago.  At the time we weren't living together, so I did find myself using it often on the nights where I stayed at my own apartment, alone with just my cat.  I used it frequently then to stream movies/TV, play games he had loaded onto it for me, and aimlessly scroll through all the standard social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).  But, since merging our "households" a year and a half ago, it's mostly gone untouched, though still charged on my bedside table.  While he hasn't said it in specific words, I feel pretty strongly that this bums him out.  Because it wasn't a cheap purchase, and he's a tech-geek that works in the tech industry, so I feel like those two things made him really excited to give me this awesome piece of technology - as such, now I assume that it bums him out that I don't really use it anymore.  And I want to, because it's so much easier to read with its bigger screen size, but more often than not my phone is always within arm's reach, it does all the same things the tablet does, and it's just easier to grab that and squint.  This has to change!  I have a boyfriend that was already successful and financially independent when I met him, and I picked up right away that one of the ways he likes to spend his money is on gifts for the people he cares about that he thinks they will greatly benefit from and enjoy.  I know that's why he chose to gift me the tablet for Christmas 2014, and it makes me really sad to realize how, right now, I'm pretty much conveying that I don't care about it because I don't really use it.  Which makes me feel terrible.  I'm degrading myself in my head right now as I write this: "You are such an ungrateful little snot!  This man spent a significant amount of money on something and you never touch it!  Bad girlfriend, BAD GIRLFRIEND!!!"  
  3. This same wonderful and generous boyfriend also shared with me recently (in a conversation a month or two ago) that he wished there was more of a sense that we were in a home we were sharing, rather than just having me come in, store 80% of my belongings in boxes in the basement, and basically go about life in what continues to feel like "his house."  And from a financial stand point it still is - he continues to take care of the mortgage, utilities, cable/internet, etc. and he has not asked me to contribute monetarily to these expenses due to our incomes being at drastically different levels.  In exchange I handle our weekly grocery runs and a majority of the daily basic chores: kitchen and bathroom cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, etc.  I would really like to start approaching this from a different angle, and with more pronounced determination.  As in, I don't want to just be cleaning up after our day to day routines, I want to be a part in improving the home that we should be seeing as something we share.  In my mind, this would translate to taking on more house projects by the horns, myself.  Not necessarily carrying out the changes alone, because it's important to me that what my boyfriend wants and needs out of the home be implemented, but moreso spearheading the start of these projects on my own.  The most glaring example to me are things like updating the window treatments, replacing broken door handles and crown molding, and slapping a fresh coat of paint in rooms that are in desperate need of a refresh.  For all of the home decor and mommy bloggers I follow, this shouldn't be a hard mindset to put myself in.  If I want to actually get progress started though, there's probably an Excel doc in my future with budget outlines, calculations, and estimated timelines.  It needs to happen.  I want it to happen.

One of the things I'm constantly terrified about is that I'm letting down the people I love most by not living up to the expectations they have for me.  I'm afraid I'm disappointing more people than just myself, but I'm also scared shitless of going about change in the wrong way and then having to suffer the consequences.  As a result, I do a lot of hiding in my own head, not sharing myself with others.

That.  Has.  To stop.

Fit of Anxiety

That's what I'm currently in right now, so in an attempt to stop my shaking hands and rapidly beating heart, I opened up this tab and will just do some stream of consciousness writing.

I really hate the things that set off my anxiety, mainly because it is usually such trivial, first-world-problems, minimal shit.  Right now it's something that's so middle school-esque I'm rolling my eyes in between shaky gulps of breath.

My body apparently only has three modes: off, on, and full-blown panic.

I'm going to be 30 in less than a year.  I do not feel 30, but I don't feel like I'm 18 either.  Thank fuck for that.

The compulsion to get my shit together has been increasing, but nothing really productive has come from it because when I look at everything I have on this hypothetical list, it all seems too overwhelming.  Including, but not limited to:

  1. Develop the goddamn discipline to stick with a work out routine.  Not for weight loss reasons, which was what was able to keep me in a running three times a week schedule for nearly all of 2015.  Now that I've lost the excess pounds, this has more to do with wanting to increase my strength and exhaust my anxiety.  I have terrible posture and I hunch over my computer even though I know I'm not supposed to - the reading I've done has told me that strength training can really help chronic back/neck/shoulder pain.  
  2. Clean up my finances.  It isn't nearly as bad as what the national average is (and what the national average is, I have no idea; I just know that I've had people laugh when I admit my debt number), but it could use a lot of improvement.  For someone that doesn't make a ton of money and who is always looking for the lowest possible price I can pay for just about anything, I don't spend a lot (any) time balancing my accounts, something I vividly remember my mother doing at the kitchen table when I was a child.  
  3. Work on my attitude and feelings surrounding social media.  This one is tough, because I truly don't know how to approach it.  Social media has become such a booming presence in everyone's day-to-day life.  It's become the main way people interact, or so it seems.  I logged out of my Facebook at the end of October 2016, and managed to not log back in until midway through January 2017.  Granted I had some very personal reasons for doing so that I don't want to get into here, but what I will say is that I became very conscious of the unhealthy feelings that would erupt in me when I'd scroll through my news feed; "Oh, look who was able to afford another vacation to an expensive beach side resort..."  "Oh, look who's pregnant [again]."  "Oh, look who was just got a promotion at their amazing job that's actually in a field they've always been interested in."  "Oh, look at those people that you used to be so close with, they look like they're having fun together without you."  It was terrible, and I hated having those thoughts - especially because I know all the people on my Facebook friends list personally, at least on some minor level - so I should be feeling happy for them and their accomplishments, not seething with jealously and bitterness.  
  4. This sort of goes along with #2: knit and crochet as many gifts as possible in 2017.  I'm very conscious of my bad habit of overspending, especially when it comes to buying gifts for my family and friends.  Very early on I got addicted to the feeling of joy I would get when seeing how much a recipient loved the gift I had chosen for them.  Unfortunately this has led to a habit of overspending on my part, especially at the year end Christmas-palooza around every corner.  I really want to pull back from this habit, but I know that's a tall order to expect me to buy ZERO gifts throughout this year, especially when I have a few people in my life that are so, SO easy to shop for, thus I see things they would love whenever I'm out and about.  I really, truly, DESPERATELY want to reign in my spending.  I'll say it again: I'm about to be 30.  THIRTY.  I need to get better at allotting how much money I spend on the things in my life, and the biggest most obvious place to start, I feel, is my gift-giving.  I've been a casual knitter for over ten years, and I know a couple basic crochet stitches, so as far as I'm concerned this should be more than enough of a solid platform off which to birth handmade projects.  Ones that were made out of love, patience, determination, and crafted with a particular person in mind.  Right now the project on my needles is a basic black brimmed beanie hat, and it's intended for my boyfriend's father, whose birthday is coming up next month.  Boyfriend has a brother with another quickly approaching birthday, his hat will be the next to be cast on.  This seems to be a good start, LET'S HOPE I STICK TO IT.
  5. Fuck, I need to find a therapist.  A good one, someone I feel I "click" with, but who will also play a more maternal/paternal role when it comes to giving me advice on how to get through life.  I had an amazing therapist that I saw throughout my early twenties, and I was absolutely aware of how our weekly hour long talks were helping me in my life outside of his office doors.  But, now a few years have gone by since I was seeing this wonderful, godsend of a human being, and my particular logistics have changed: I don't live within the city he works in anymore, and even though I still work in this city and evening appointments aren't totally out of the rehelm of possibilities, the thought of the hour drive home, in the dark, after the emotionally exhausting process of laying out all of your fucked up feelings, urges, and worries to someone... just thinking about trying to make that work makes me tired.  If only he had an office within the zip code I now live in....  I did try a new therapist a couple months ago, someone that came recommended to me by the former partner of one of my best friends.  I met with the woman for three, or maybe four times, and while she was nice and fairly easy to talk to, I didn't feel like I was getting constructive suggestions on how to go about changing my thought process and actions.  Part of me wondered if this was because she turned out to be my age (or at least around my age; I didn't ask for a number, I'm just going by context clues of what she looks like, and truly, she's maybe a handful of years older than me, if that... )  My previous therapist was a baby boomer, and a soft-spoken, incredibly kind and compassionate man.  Maybe I should've just reached out to him first, regardless of the inconvenience of his office location, I don't know...


Maybe this is an alright place to stop, at least just for right now.  

But really, I need to do this more.  More than I have been, more than I think I should.  More, more, more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stop stalling.

I am really not off to a great start, am I?

What should be muscle memory or autopilot had now become something I actively avoid, am I'm conscious of the fact that this is not good or healthy behavior.

So why do I continue to do it?

The only thing I could do in the moment that the severity of this was overtaking me was just open the laptop.

Jeezus, that sentence structure was FOR SHIT.  Marsh would, should be, very disappointed in me.  I am.

It's a low feeling kind of day, or at least that's what has become of it.  I had already backed myself into a corner by putting off certain things to the very last minute.  Sometimes that helps me get something done, but not always.  That's what happened today.

The hours are winding down.  I've been home from class for a little over an hour now, but I keep bouncing from one action to the next.

After putting my purse and notebook down, I went after the laundry: removing wrinkly whites from the dryer to an empty basket, and transferring the wet load of random shirts and pants from the washer to the dryer.  I went upstairs to the bedroom so I could pair socks and fold undershirts sitting cross legged on the bed.

But just a few minutes into that, my best  good friend called.

This person is so incredibly dear to me.  Just one sentence in and the bottom lids of my eyes have tears balancing on them.

The older I get the harder it hits me of just how important relationships with other people are.

(I just stopped to go pour myself a glass of wine.  How much of a stereotype am I.  Doesn't matter which one, any one will do.)

I've had many relationships that have had both a beginning and an ending.  How I've felt about that has changed drastically over the past fifteen or so years of my life.

Which isn't all that much.  I'm at that stage where I'm too young to complain about being old, but I'm too old to be considered young.  Well, maybe by some people's definitions; I'm sure someone pushing ninety would consider me young.

Stop stalling.

I can't help but think about the people that aren't in my life anymore every goddamn day.  There are two in particular, both are oddly twisted knifes that seem to be wedged in just the right angles between my ribs.

And I can't shake them.

(wine and teh internet won.  Until tomorrow.  maybe.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Day Six

What animal would you love to have as a pet?

I’m pretty unoriginal here, as I’d have to go with cats and dogs.  I’m currently living with my boyfriend’s two dogs and my cat, all of which I consider to be “our animals.”  It’s been interesting, to say the least, merging our animals into the same household.  The current set up involved a baby gate at the top of our stairs, so the cat has free range of the second floor while the dogs can roam the main floor.  We have brought the dogs up a few times so they could all see one another – the canines are totally fine, well behaved, calm mannered, and really just interested in, “who the fuck is this furry thing living upstairs WHERE WE USED TO BE ALLOWED?!”  It’s the cat that cops an attitude, hissing and growling when a dog gets too close to him.  Thankfully no one has swiped at paw at anyone else, which was my biggest fear.

For about 98% of my life, I’ve always lived with animals.  When I was born my parents had a cat, a white shorthair with the smudge of grey on her forehead, which they had gotten shortly after getting married seven years prior.  She lasted until I was eleven years old, passing away at the old age of eighteen.  The following Christmas my parents orchestrated the best Santa Clause gift EVER, in that of our beloved golden retriever, Casey.  They arranged for our neighbors to set up the kennel by our decorated tree while our family was at my paternal grandfather’s house celebrating Christmas Eve.  When we got home late that night my six-year old sister and I were greeting by a happy, squirmy puppy.  Thinking about it now, I have no idea how my parents held it together – what a great thing to be able to witness, two little girls meeting a puppy they didn’t know they were getting, that was “brought by Santa.”  Casey was such a blessing to our family, and brought us endless joy and laughs throughout the years.  She was a rock of support to my Dad after my parents divorced, as they both continued to live in the house we had all shared together.  When he met the woman that is now his wife, Casey took to her immediately and was a constant companion to them both in her final years.  Thanks to my Dad’s compassionate care she almost made it to thirteen years old – she died peacefully in our family home and all five of us were able to be with her.  I still think about her all the time, she was an incredible animal and I’m thankful I had her to grow up with.

After the divorce brought about a change in everyone’s living arrangements, we had some cats join the family.  I inherited my high school sweetheart’s cat, Frisky, who lived with us for only a few years before having to be put down due to complications with diabetes.  My sister adopted a black cat from the local humane society that she named Adrian, after the TV show Monk – Adrian was another incredible animal that everyone loved fiercely.  One day I came up with a funny voice to make him talk that mimicked the Stuart character from Mad TV; everyone loved it so much I continued to do it up until his passing last December. 

When I first moved out on my own in 2008 I lived in an animal-less apartment with a roommate.  After that arrangement disintegrated before the lease was up, and I was left in a very, very deep valley of depression, I made it a priority to get myself another animal.  I adopted a cat from the local humane society, a grey tiger striped shorthair that I named after one of my favorite poets.  He was a total flop cat that just wanted to sleep and snuggle on you at any given time.  A few months after I adopted him I began dating someone that was not only allergic to cats, but also very heavily asthmatic.  We tried living together with the kitty for over a year, but eventually this person told me that they just couldn’t continue to do so any longer.  As much as it pained me to make the decision, I ultimately decided that it was more important for me to work on my human relationship, instead of prioritizing my cat over it.  I found my kitty a foster home that was initially supposed to be temporary, but it ended up being permanent as the years went by.  The asthmatic and I eventually broke up and moved out of our shared apartment, and by then enough time had gone by that I didn’t have the heart to ask for my cat back, knowing that the foster parent had to have developed a bond with my cat.  So I opted to adopt another humane society cat, the one that lives with me today, who we affectionately call Scotty Mo.  He had been at the shelter for almost four months, which is one of the reasons I picked him over every other cat.  It didn’t take him long to warm up to me and he has been a wonderful companion over the past year and a half.  Hopefully one day he will be coexisting peacefully with my boyfriend’s two dogs on all floors of the home we all share.

Why did I go into such detail about the cats and dogs I’ve had?  Probably because I’ve learned that, for me, animals are not only incredibly important in my life, they are VITAL.  I know I’m not the only person that has had their dark moments comforted by the wag of a tail or a gentle lick on the face.  Animals are such special creatures, and the bonds we form with the ones we bring into our homes are unlike anything we can experience in our human relationships.  For me, the best part about coming home each day are the kisses I get from my guy and our fur babies.

What band/musician is most important to you?

The band that is most important to me is, hands down, the Beatles.  The musician that is most important to me is Ani Difranco.

So many people love the Beatles and cite them as favorites, and rightfully so.  My parents both loved the Beatles.  The first songs I remember hearing were “Twist and Shout” and “Help!”  I really wish I could think of more to say on this subject, because my love for this band runs very deep and has been constant throughout my life, but truthfully I’m falling short on my words.  Perhaps it’s due to having been binge writing off and on for the whole day.  Or maybe it’s just writers block.  Just believe me when I say that the Beatles are important to me. 

I was introduced to Ani Difranco when I was fifteen – a friend of my mother’s gave me her “Not A Pretty Girl” album for my birthday and I quickly became obsessed with it.  Throughout my high school years I hoarded as much of her music as I could, mostly on burned CD’s before mp3’s took over and everything became digital.  She continues to write and record music and put it all out into the world through her independent label, Righteous Babe Records.  I’ve seen her perform live a handful of times, and through my work I was able to meet and shake her hand back in 2009, one of the best days of my life.  Her music has healed me in more ways than I can say.  I don’t have favorites of her songs, I have relationships with them – certain ones will always remind me of specific people, relationships, or moments in my life.  I want “Swan Dive” played at my funeral.  The human example she has set for me, for everyone, has helped me grow and increase my emotional strength over my lifetime.  Putting on Ani Difranco’s music is like putting salve on a wound, it comforts me and brings me back to a feeling of being whole, being capable, and feeling so grateful for it all.


Day Five

Your definition of love

Considering another person before myself – how will my words or actions make them feel?  Taking into account what they need to be happy – what can I do to make sure they know they are loved and valued?  Prioritizing their health and happiness, not necessarily before my own but rather in conjunction with my own needs – is there anything within my capabilities that will help this person, or take care of them if they’re in need?

I feel like I’ve learned a lot about love over the past ten years in particular.  During this time I’ve had several relationships, friendships and intimate ones, dissolve for numerous reasons.  Some were petty, some were self-inflicted, some it was just what was meant to be.  Each ending, though painful, has helped round out my understanding of what it means to love another person. And that the ONLY thing I have any kind of control over is how I treat others and how I let them know how I feel about them.

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind.  Always.”

Do you collect anything?

I’ve had various collections over my life.  I used to collect the popular “Got milk?” ads you’d find in magazines – I’d tear them out and I kept them in a binder filled with those plastic sheet protectors.  I even entered the collection in a county fair at one point and won a ribbon for it, haha.  I’m sure it's still around somewhere, as I’m a sentimental pack rat that can’t throw anything out, but I haven’t seen it in years.

There was also a time where I collected anything that had the Playboy logo on it.  I had a neon bar sign, a folding chair, various pieces of clothing, shot glasses, jewelry, you name it – if it had that damn bunny on it, I had to have it.  On my eighteenth birthday this included getting a pink one tattooed on my stomach – ten years later I can only roll my eyes at myself, but I don’t exactly regret getting it; it’s on a place that’s easy to cover, people rarely see it, and if anything it’s my own little reminder of being young and dumb.

These days I collect bottle caps, for craft projects I have yet to embark on.  I collect pennies, because they remind me of my maternal grandmother and bring me comfort.  Purses, shoes, and t-shirts that reflect something I like or find interesting.  Anything that has to do with Michigan, stickers, jewelry, or art prints.

Five places you want to visit

1.       Amsterdam – if I could pick anywhere to go right now, it’d be Amsterdam.  I want to visit the Vincent Van Gogh museum; Van Gogh is an artist that is very near and dear to me – I have his signature tattooed on the back of my neck.  There are other things that draw me to this place, the cannabis cafes being another obvious one, but the biggest reason is for Van Gogh. 

2.       Italy – I’m lucky enough to have been to Italy once before.  When I was fifteen I went on a nine day tour with my high school orchestra.  We visited Siena, Rome, Florence, and Venice; we played a few concerts, did our touristy-Americans thing, and ate ALL THE FOOD.  It was a fun trip for a kid that hadn’t spent much time outside of Michigan beforehand.  But, it came with certain downsides, being a chaperoned school trip and all.  I’d love to go back again as an adult, especially with my guy (who is Italian on his mother’s side).

3.       Cancun, Mexico – pretty generic and stereotypical, I know, but I have it on the list because it’s a touristy beach location that I would love to go to someday.  The thought of those beautiful beaches, the crashing waves, and an all-inclusive resort sounds like heaven to me.  That kind of scenery is what I’m daydreaming about while hunched over my desk at work.

4.       Seattle – to include some stateside locations, I would love to see Seattle someday.  I’m a city girl at my heart so any big metropolis will make me feel happy and at home, but Seattle has intrigue for some specific reasons.  One, I’m a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan, and even though Seattle isn’t a major player in the series in the way NYC was in Sex and the City, I’d still love to see it for myself.  Two, a friend of a friend moved to Seattle a couple years ago and I’ve always loved the updates she posts on social media; she clearly loves living there and seeing the area through her posts has totally increased my desire to visit one day.

5.       California – I’ve never seen the Pacific ocean, so that’s reason enough.  I have a few family members that are Bay area residents, I would LOVE to be able to visit them on their stomping grounds.  Also, my boyfriend and I are fairly big fans of the current stand-up comedy and podcast scene, most of which is based in the LA area.  I’ve mentioned to him before that a vacation to Cali that just consisted of us hitting up various comedy clubs and live podcasts recordings sounds like the best thing ever.  Hopefully one day soon!


Day Four

What you ate today

Well, let me start out by saying that I spent most of Labor Day weekend at an outdoor arts, music, and food street fair, so I was indulging on a lot of things that I don’t typically eat.  But it was all so delicious and it only comes around once a year, I was totally okay with allowing my taste buds to dictate what went in my mouth.  I’ll just run an extra day this week to offset any leftover guilt I feel.

On Friday, September 4th I made scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for my guy and I, which is fairly typical of our weekend breakfasts as it is.  After that and before lunchtime I snacked on leftover veggies and ranch dip from the football food spread.  I think lunch was a turkey and cheese flat bread sandwich and a handful of crackers.  Our dinner that night came from a BBQ food stand – we each had two pulled pork sliders and we split sides of baked beans and coleslaw.  It was heavenly.  And after that we poured a ton of beer into our bellies.  I’m not a big drinker and even though I do love beer, I’ve been known to get sick when I drink on a stomach that doesn’t have enough food in it.  Thankfully, because of all the wonderful food options at our disposal, I didn’t have any stomach issues flare up and I was able to enjoy a beer buzz that enhanced my fun rather than dampening it.

The meaning behind your blog name

Write Now Damnit.  Because I need to, much more often than I have been.  The name came to me a long time ago, at another time in my life where I was considering starting a blog (but didn’t because of fear and made up excuses).  The fact that it was available when I made this blog was a sign I took from the universe being, “yep, you REALLY need to do this.  Get back up on that horse, lady, you CAN be a writer again, you CAN do this, right now, damnit!!”

Day four is short and sweet.  Day five is on its way...