I stand with you

Again, there was another African American person killed by the police. This shouldn’t happen, but it still continues to happen. There are riots currently happening in big cities around the U.S. People are angry and their anger is understandable. I can’t imagine their pain or fear. My heart breaks for them and for the state of the US right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past two days about what I was taught about other cultures as a kid. Racism is taught, 100% and that is why racism still thrives amongst us. Growing up, I was taught I should fear dark skinned men and people different than me. This stuff was never directly said, but it was learned by reactions and through comments from extended family.

I grew up in Louisville, KY. I remember my sister and I were downtown with my grandmother. We were walking in the shopping area and my grandma pulled us close & clutched her purse. Why? There was a darker skinned guy with a boom box on his shoulder, walking past us. I remember being very confused by her reaction, because he was obviously minding his own business and I did not understand why I was “supposed” to be afraid of him. I remember looking at his face and noticing a look of disgust and anger. I know he saw her reaction. Reflecting back on that, I understood why I read what I did on his face, because he was just existing and minding his own business.

People are taught to fear those who are different. This is what keeps us separate and hating each other. We hate what we don’t understand and yet we don’t take the time to look deeper and see how we are more alike than different. This mindset and inaction is passed down from generation to generation. Until people break that chain, racism shall continue to thrive. Until we start challenging people when they say something racist, or act hatefully towards a different group, hate is perpetuated. It will continue to divide us.

To the People of Color: I see that you’re different but I don’t see you as a threat. I see your anger and feel your frustration, and it’s 100% justified. I see your pain and I mourn with you. My heart feels heavy for your losses and I can never know what it’s like to live in your skin or walk in your shoes. I want you to feel safe in the world, because everyone should be able to feel safe. One’s skin color should not be seen as an automatic threat when you’re just trying to live your life. I’m tired of you getting murdered by those who are supposed to protect and serve.

I see you, I love you, you matter and I stand with you.

Sincerely,

A white lady in America

 

 

**I wrote previously on this same topic several years ago, un-eloquently. I was trying to express how I felt back then and how I still feel, which is what I’ve written above. I’ve heard and I said before that I do not see color. What I was trying to express was: I do see color, but I do not see a person’s color as a threat. I said in that previous post that all lives matter, which they do. What I was also wanting to express was: we seem to lack the ability to see the humanity in others and this is why we continue to be divided. People who hate do not see their neighbors as equal therefore they don’t treat them as such. This is why people still fear what is different than themselves and that is why racism continues to thrive. If we could start to treat others with love and recognize the similarities in others, perhaps we would start to treat our neighbors as we’d hope to be treated.

 

 

Saturday, Mid April 2020 ramblings of an isolated woman.

I thought I’d write a blog post tonight in a bid to keep from eating when I’m not hungry. The country, nay the world, is on some sort of quarantine/lock down/social distancing for a while now. When this was put in place varies due to where one lives. Seems sometime around the last week of March is when our governor signed the order to start shutting down “non essential” businesses. It’s been some stressful and scary times we’re currently living in and anxiety is high for so many.

I feel I’ve been in survival mode since before all of this business with the Coronavirus happened. The first week of March, I had a visit with my PCP. She listened to what I was experiencing and decided I would benefit from starting some anxiety medicine. This was a wise and well timed decision. I have been able to function at my new job and have been able to keep my head under stress, although I was on the verge of becoming very frustrated on Friday. Nonetheless, without aid of medication, I probably wouldn’t be fairing as well. Better living through science? Absolutely.

Amidst all of the current uncertainty, I’ve resorted to some of my old coping mechanisms. I am still in survival mode, even if I don’t want to admit it. The emotional eating is definitely in full effect and I’ve been shopping online like a person with an endless supply of funds. I’ve felt recent guilt about my shopping habits and I hope the disgust at myself will help curb this urge. I don’t need more lingerie, but I want it. I don’t need my kink related purchases, but I wanted them. I don’t need quite a lot of what I bought but it was purchased to fill a void. The emotional eating is also done to fill a void. What void is all of this meant to fill?? It’s meant to fill the lack of emotional connection I am currently experiencing, something I long for so much.

Now, logic tells me that no amount of pretty, nice smelling or shiny things will fill that void. It’s impossible. The joy of a new item is fleeting and unsustainable, without emptying the bank account. Things do not buy happiness, at least not for long term. Right now, everything I do is a band-aid over the fast bleeding gash, that is my emptiness. Poetic, isn’t it? I was feeling lonely and isolated before we went into isolation. I envy those in lock down with partners or kids. At least there’s someone there to talk with, even if tempers run short and sparks fly.

I do have my 3 dogs with me right now. My two little pups joined me a few weeks before things got really strict. I was supposed to be getting the little dogs caught up on shots and vet exams. I got one half completed (I still need to turn in a stool sample for analysis) and never got an appointment set up for pup #2. I don’t know if they vet is doing face to face visits now anyway. I don’t thing so. My own doc is only doing telemedicine, to limit their exposure to the public.

I feel silly mentioning I might be struggling, because there’s folks in other places who are not doing as well. I feel silly mentioning I’m lonely because it almost seems selfish. I feel silly for being very human right now and there’s no logical explanation for it other than someone along the way made me feel like this when I tried opening up (at some point in my past, not blaming anyone specific).

I was watching Twitch last night and the fella on was celebrating 3 years on Twitch. It was glorious and the community was so supportive of him and each other. Our slightly tipsy host opened up and shared some personal things, mentioned is parents and said what great people they were and told how they taught him great things. I loved this because, in my great desire to connect emotionally with someone, a person online shared his heart and honest emotion. It was fantastic. I felt warm and fuzzy inside and it made me realize even more how much I want more warm and fuzzy feelings.

Today, I did a photo shoot via webcam with my photographer friend, Robin. We had a great session and I was so happy to do this from the comfort of my house! I was facing some insecurities going into this, just like every time I’ve done a photo shoot. (I’ve had 4 now with various photographers!) I’ve gained some weight, thanks to changing to a desk job recently, and emotional eating. However, There were some great shots from today and I’m glad I didn’t let a little extra belly padding stop me from having fun and following through. I had two artists reach out because of my recent posts. We had nice conversations and there’s more art possibly in the pipeline, in one form or another. It was fun to chat with folks today and it felt good to have more interaction than I have in a good while. Today was a good day, despite eating an entire grocery store sized thin crust, chicken pizza by myself.

I’ll get back on track in time. I’ll lose those 5 or so pounds that have made my stomach and second chin home. I’ll start drinking more water and less coffee eventually. I’ll start walking more and won’t be so scared of being near strangers or leaving my house, in time. It will happen and I am trying to do my best to show myself love and grace in the mean time. I am in survival mode but I’d argue that most everyone is too. More positive coping skills will go in effect when I’m able to implement them. Until then, I shall do the best that I can with the tools I have. Be easy on yourselves, folks. We will get through this too.

 

 

Buspirone, are you my friend?

Sitting at the stoplight, on my way to work, I found myself in deep introspection. I’ve started a medication for anxiety. This is the first time I’ve ever tried anything for anxiety and I’m still getting used to how it makes me feel. I’ve upped my dose to twice as day, as directed. I was told this is something I can’t quit “cold turkey” as it will cause pretty bad rebound anxiety.

I never thought I actually had anxiety. When I was young, I was just “shy”. I’ve always been a quiet, sensitive kid. I was often told I was too sensitive, which makes one feel like there’s something wrong with them straight off the bat. As I got older, I just thought I was awkward, as kids sometimes are in their preteen years. I grew up being laughed at a lot, simply for just existing. I wasn’t trying to get laughs or was the class clown. I just managed to attract the wrong type of attention from insecure, hurting people. What’s the saying? “Hurt people, hurt people”? Me being a quiet kid, I was an easy target for those who secretly felt like shit about themselves. What better way to deflect from one’s own insecurities than to draw attention to and laugh at every awkward moment in another person’s life, knowing they won’t fight back. Am I still working through this shit from when I was a kid? Yup. Do I feel weak, stupid, broken and eternally flawed for admitting that this stuff still lives in my head an effects me? 100%, without question. The unfortunate fact of the matter is, I still feel like that kid that everyone is laughing at and thinks is stupid and a joke and is the person who can’t do anything right, despite my confident exterior.

Fast forward to my early 20’s. Social anxiety was starting to raise it’s ugly head. My ex husband is from Mexico and a good portion of his family speaks Spanish primarily. However, we never spoke Spanish at home. He always said, “I live here now. We speak English”. The one’s that live here know English but when everyone is together, Spanish is what’s spoken as it’s the majority. I get it. It’s easier as it’s their first language. I have relied heavily on the little Spanish I retained from high school. Had I known this was going to be my future, I would have worked harder in class and not taken that time for granted. Being the one who didn’t know enough Spanish to follow the conversation, I was on the outside of many family gatherings. As we were together longer, my Spanish got better but it’s still pretty shit. “Use it or lose it” definitely applies to language. It would take me about three days to get acclimated to thinking in Spanish. I got to where my mother in law and I could communicate decently. She’s a saint of a woman and incredibly patient and loving. Whenever anyone would give me the third degree as to why I didn’t know Spanish yet, she would defend me and tell them “We can talk!”. This lovely woman still has a special place in my heart and always will.

As I went from my 20’s to my 30’s, I started to realize that this whole social anxiety thing and my great aversion to meeting new people or attempting to socialize with folks I didn’t know might actually be a problem. Also, my hyper-vigilance at work and my being on edge in every social setting might not be how regular folk operate. At one point, I couldn’t make myself enter the house of someone we knew, by myself, despite there being people I knew inside. All because the main language was Spanish and I didn’t know everyone there. I had to have my ex come with me. He thought I was being ridiculous, he just didn’t understand.

When I was 38, I entered therapy for the first time. I had been diagnosed with anxiety, at least in my medical chart, back in 2010. I can’t remember the visit or which doc I saw but that was the conclusion. I think I was given depression medication back in 2010 for the first time. It worked on both the anxiety and depression for a while. Eventually I stopped taking it because I didn’t feel like it worked anymore. Side effects were not great and I felt I could exist without it. I did and I could but not for an extended period. The social anxiety started effecting my job and that’s when I decided I needed professional help. In therapy, we worked on the depression mostly. The anxious tendencies seemed normal and not all that unusual as I’d found other people with the same behaviors.

Acute attention to detail was a favorable trait in my line of work. I didn’t know there was an underlying fear of failure and real distress every time I’d be corrected by a supervisor. There was a real and very strong feeling that I was a massive waste of space/pond scum/worthless human being whenever a mistake might be brought to my attention. I still don’t take criticism well but I’m better than I once was at recieving it. I still can feel my inner dialogue getting very defensive whenever I’m corrected. When I’m in a low, outside criticism has turned into internal berating, self loathing and self nit-picking. I hate this tendency within myself. I also didn’t realize that not knowing the answer to something was OK and was a perfectly human thing. Having to always get the question right for fear of looking stupid has been something that’s been with me for ages. 

For whatever reason, I simply thought anxiety was something I had because I was simply a scared person. I wasn’t brave enough in life, and I thought that’s all anxiety was for me. I wasn’t brave enough to drive in the big city by myself or brave enough to travel. I wasn’t brave enough to start something new. I thought people without anxiety were just more adventurous, daring and braver. That’s all I must have to do to get past this. Just be braver, right?

In 2018, I left my job and moved to a different city to start massage school. I finally felt I was “brave” enough to try something new. During massage school, I decided I couldn’t move back and decided to end my 22 year long marriage. I finally felt strong enough to face the fact that things were not going to change. I was quite unhappy and in order to save myself, I needed to do this. I graduated massage school, stayed in my current city and have tried to make bold, necessary decisions for myself ever since. But you know what?? I still have fucking anxiety, despite all my bold moves and bravery. 

Being brave isn’t just about getting out of your comfort zone, going places or trying to be more social. Being brave can also look like asking for help when it’s really hard to do. Asking for help can be hard because you don’t want to look weak or you’re afraid to look like a failure or you’re afraid someone close to you will look at you with pity and think you’re broken. Being brave is working through all that shit in your head and venturing forth, doing what you need to do to take care of yourself for a change. It can look like starting medication for the first time despite fears, because you’re facing the fact you aren’t really doing as well as your facade suggests. 

To all of those fighting stuff people can’t see or understand, massive virtual (((hugs))) to you. You’re not broken. You are loved. And, you are truly brave, even when you don’t feel like it. 

PB&J

It’s funny what things spark memories and take you back to simpler times. I was making my lunch this morning. PB&J sandwich and two oranges. It reminded me of when I was a kid in grade school. I went to a private, Christian school. Lunch may have been provided but that would have been an extra expense, so mom packed our lunches. Everyday, we had a PB&J sandwich and maybe some apple sauce. Maybe not. The only thing I consistently remember is the sandwich. It got old after a while and I remember asking if she could make something different. Sometimes we got a pimento cheese sandwich to shake things up. Sometimes an egg salad sandwich which needed to go in the big fridge back in the lunchroom kitchen.

It may have been boring to have every day at the time but oddly enough, a PB&J sandwich has become a comfort in my adult years. Some potato chips smashed inside is always a nice bonus, if I have them! A simple PB&J reminds me that I will survive and will be OK, even if that’s all I have in the house at the moment. In this crazy, uncertain world, I find myself leaning towards the simpler things. An easy to fix lunch is certainly up there.

Intuition

Have you ever hit a point in life where you feel like your intuition is broken? Where it feels like you’re just floating along, hoping for the best, unsure of what’s next? Unfortunately, this is where I’m at now and I don’t like it at all. I feel like my life has been in limbo for nearly two years, going on three.

After separating from my husband, I felt really free. It was a huge decision which needed to happen for a while. (He’s not a bad man, we’re just a bad match) I felt like I was finally taking control of my life for the second time. The first time was when I got my tubal ligation at 30. I dated a lot in 2019. I finally felt like I was coming into my own, sexually and emotionally. I was finally making decisions for myself and rolling with each new experience as an opportunity to learn more about myself. I was embracing this new found freedom, until my last relationship (which, with 20/20 hindsight & much introspection and analysis, was QUITE unhealthy) ended badly.

It’s already March 1st, 2020 and I am not dating anyone. It’s been 7 months since things ended with that fella. I still think about him. I do still miss the good parts we shared, despite most of the good being a fucking lie and just a pretty facade. I’m certain this man never really cared for me. It’s hard to love someone else when you hate yourself so much, so honestly I shouldn’t be hurt by this or surprised. I genuinely loved him though. I honestly feel this was the first time I’ve ever loved someone so deeply. I last spoke to him in Dec 2019 and cut off all communication since, for my own sanity.

I do have a friend with “benefits” relationship with a man I met in 2018. It’s no strings attached and purely physical. I met him after I first separated and I got attached. He was not down with having a proper girlfriend so we stopped seeing each other, but remained friends. When everything went to shit with my last relationship, he was happy to jump back in as a sexual partner, as long as there was no attachment. Given my raw state, emotionally connecting with someone didn’t feel remotely safe so, this arrangement has worked. However, I know I’m ready to move on now. Especially since I’m longing to show and share love with someone new again.

So, what does any of this little ramble have to with intuition??

I don’t know what’s next in my life. There is no direction at this point and I wish I could have someone tell me the future, because it’s pretty damn scary, in my mind. During the past 7 months, I have done lots of daydreaming about where to move next. I thought I had it all nailed down but not being connected to my intuition has made me second guess all my plans. The only thing I’ve decided on are the characteristics I want the next man I date to have. Now, keep in mind, everything I list are the same qualities I bring to a relationship. Everything is reciprocal.

While I don’t want to get married again, I do want a long, committed relationship with someone. I am not looking for a man to financially support me or provide for my needs (I can do that for myself) but I do want one to defend me and have my back when shit goes sideways, as it inevitably does in life. I want a partner who loves my body, with it’s imperfections and is also comfortable in their own skin. I want a partner who is aware of their mental health and who takes steps to take care of themselves mentally and physically. I want someone who isn’t embarrassed to talk about sex. We’re all adults here. Sex is an important aspect of our existence. Let’s have a real and open conversation about it.

I have a few “in the back of my mind” wants. The times I’ve gotten very specific about where I wanted someone to be from or other more specific details, I’ve gotten them. I know the universe listens, and it kinda freaks me out sometimes. But it’s also quite cool too. Whenever I feel despair, I need to keep in mind that I’m looked after by a higher power and it will be OK. That’s actually was a message I got one morning last week, when I was feeling especially low and lost. Do I still want a NY boy? Yes. Do I fancy a fella with dark hair and light eyes? You betcha. Is that a hard and fast “want”? Nope. A person’s character and how they treat those around them is much more important. Character trumps the presence or absence of hair, eye color, body type or anything else, honestly.

The next time around, I hope to be fully re-engaged with my intuition. I hope to be so tuned in that I catch the red flags and have the strength to cut things off before I get destroyed emotionally. I hope to be so aware that can actually have some clarity in my life for a change. These past few years have been full of growth and were necessary, as painful as it’s been. I’m ready to move onto whatever is next. I’m ready for a good job. I’m ready for a good relationship and I’m ready for a new town, where I’ll start to thrive. This post is half “talking” this shit out, because I don’t have a sounding board and also half projecting what I want into the universe, so things can start falling into place. I’m ready for good things and I’m excited about what is next. Thanks for reading.

 

Kaleidoscope

I’ve been kicking something around in my head about relating to others and how we all see the world uniquely. It’s the idea of a kaleidoscope.

I had a kaleidoscope as a kid and I thought it was the coolest thing to look through. I’d lay on my bed, watching the little plastic pieces tumble as I turned the cylinder. The designs were ever changing and never duplicated perfectly.

Driving in a silent car seems to be the perfect place for my mind to play and think. I was thinking about how differently people can react to a particular event in life. Two people can experience the same event but have wildly different perspectives and reactions to the same experience. I find human nature and all that makes us tick so interesting and this perplexed me a little. My sister and I have spoke about vacations we took as a family or events we attended together. We’ve never had the same recollection of events. You’ll see this in relationships too where two people are fighting and no one is on the same page.

My best explanation for this (and it might not seem that profound but I appreciated the visual) is a kaleidoscope. We can be born into the same family, we can share experiences as our cousins or others we meet but we each have a set of “colors” in our own unique kaleidoscope from which we look through and view the world. We may share the same colors as others but the intensity of those colors vary. We view the would through our unique perceptions built from experiences, interactions, and understanding of the world around us. It is said no two people are the same, not even twins and this is one more supporting example.

When I am talking to someone new, I keep this kaleidoscope metaphor in mind. When I see someone reacting strongly to what is being said or to world events or if they disagree? I visualize their past, their upbringing, their childhood experiences and I try to take that all into account. Their colors are different. Their experiences that shaped who they are differ from mine. I can explain my point but it’s only through their lens, will they be able to process what I am saying. How can I expect anyone to think like me or fully understand me? It’s impossible. How, by this logic and example can we ever fully understand another person? I don’t think we can. We can’t fully, because we literally cannot walk in their body, mind or shoes.

I suppose my point is, when we disagree or someone seems “obstinate” (children, partners, people who argue about politics on the internet), perhaps they’re actually not. Perhaps they simply are incapable of viewing the world from your perspective because try as they might to understand where you’re coming from, they can’t see anything through any other lens but their own.

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to write about this but, I did. I’ve been noticing the discord in the world at a higher and more constant rate most recently. I feel people go at each other, on the defensive and on the attack but they forget to take into account whether or not the person they’re arguing with is even capable of comprehending the argument.

An Emergency Contact

It’s funny how the seemingly smallest of questions can provoke a lot of thought. I started (yet another) new job this month. On my first day, I was asked to list someone as an emergency contact. This is the first time in my life where I’ve been stumped by this question.

 

By October of this past year, lots had changed. In September, the person who I’d been dating most recently had ended things. My dad moved in October and from that point on, it marked the first time in history that I’d ever lived alone. I’ve gotten used to living alone, just me and my big dog. For whatever reason, being asked to list an emergency contact really made me think about how alone I seem to be. I do have a friend in town who I see occasionally. I still am in contact with my former coworkers via text and social media. The silly thing is, if anything happened to me, I would feel like I was inconveniencing them if I called on them. I started thinking about how, if I got injured or sick, no one would really know about it. If I was unable to call for help myself, no one would really miss me, unless I was supposed to be at work and didn’t show up. Actually, the mean words from that guy I dated rang (re-rang?) in my ears today. “The only reason anyone would be happy to see you was if they were paying you”. What a stupid thing to be reminded of. My mind re-framed his nasty words as “The only reason you’d be missed is if you didn’t show up for the people paying you.” Equally cruel as the first statement. Also unhelpful given my pensive and pessimism prone mindset.

I have been considering getting a bracelet which alerts emergency services, in case I’m in an accident, of the fact my dog is on his own if I don’t come home. I used to think those alert bracelets were just for older people who had no one checking in on them and I felt kind of sad thinking about that. Truth is, lots of people live alone and pets would be left unattended if pet parents didn’t make it home for some reason. So in a bid to not have a meltdown about fact that I’m rather alone here, I’m writing about things to make me feel better. I am also being ever vigilant about staying able bodied and healthy. I do realize I need to take better care of myself so I don’t feel so scared about what “might” happen. I must continue to make better choices for myself and my mental health. Not over thinking this and staying present is something to strive for.

I still have hip/leg pain which has been a thing for a year now. Massage helps temporarily. I was told to take anti-inflammatory meds, which I do, but that’s not a long term solution to whatever is going on. There was an Xray done and everything looks normal. I’ve had no injuries to the area but I feel something is off about my gait, strength or stability. It’s frustrating because I feel, given my (honestly, limited and incomplete) knowledge of kinesiology and the body, that I “should” be able to figure it out, but I can’t. Further investigation is required and I haven’t booked any appointments yet. It’s on my lengthy to-do list.