Friday, January 16, 2015
You know how you'll be sailing along just fine and then something, big or small, will come around and WHOMP you in the ass? That's how my week's been. Last Thursday I found out that my one steady freelance gig is being cut down to 1/4 of what I usually do in a month, and who knows how long that will last.
I cried. Probably for a half hour, which really isn't long for me. And then I slowly picked myself up and applied for more freelance jobs. Of course that's something I should be doing all the time, but I frequently allow my lack of confidence and the ease of getting mired in the murk of depression to get in the way of progress.
I was proud of that achievement. And then I went and let things get all murky again and have spent most of this week just ignoring everything with a knot of future fear in my belly. I'm working my way out of it today; I found two jobs to apply for and have read a host of helpful articles about happiness and working toward your dreams.
Since a lot of you are working through the same issues as me (although I do hope it's on a smaller scale!), today I'm going to share some of what I've been reading and using to help organize my thoughts and get my shit together. I'm mixing in a little music, too, because it's fun. And if you can't have fun on Friday, when can you?
1) 9 main reasons you’re not discovering – or pursuing! – your dream career
2) 10 things to do besides complain about your job
3) How dreams, goals and habits make you a wildly productive writer
4) When your desire isn’t here yet, focus on "driftwood"
5) 6 nuggets of happiness
6) 12 habits of happy people
7) I really love the Passion Planner. Mine is on order and should arrive in a few weeks. Until then, I've been using the free pages to map things out.
Have a great weekend, everyone. If you have Monday off, too, even better!
Monday, January 05, 2015
Well, hello there! Welcome to 2015, everyone. I guess we're living in the future now. Forgive me for jumping right in, but after a 16 month blog break there seemed like no better way to begin again other than to, you know...Begin. Again.
I was tired. Tired of talking about myself, mostly. Tired of going around in circles in my life and not getting anywhere. Most of this came from the fact that, during the late summer and early fall of 2013, when I last wrote on this blog, I was trying REALLY HARD to figure myself out. I'd been physically sick for years and spent the end of 2013 going to a slew of doctors who found nothing wrong with me. I'd struggled with various levels of depression for even longer, and was seeing a regular therapist, a psychiatrist and a sex therapist at the same time.
It was too much. Too much me. Too much of my problems going around in my head all the live long day and night. The kicker? All that talking and commiserating and worrying and taking anti-depressants and spending money I didn't really have to try to get help...But nothing changed. I didn't feel significantly better. Sure, I'd stopped crying so much, but I did not feel hopeful or have any renewed interest in life. So, I stopped.
Stopped taking the meds. Stopped writing about myself all the time. Stopped going to all the therapists and stopped making appointments for any new doctors to poke around my troubled tummy. All my issues have stuck with me for the past 16 months, but I just needed a break from trying SO hard to figure myself out.
-Why do I lack drive?
-Why am I afraid of everything?
-Why am I so awkward socially?
-Why can't I lose weight and keep it off?
-Why do so many things bore me so quickly?
-Why can't I be more like Beyonce?
The list of personal quandaries feels endless. From the time I was in college the answer felt sort of simple: Um, you're depressed, you dummy! Stop being depressed and you'll finally be normal! Lord knows I tried, for decades, to shut the depression down with medication and therapy and blogging and gratitude lists and an embarrassingly long reading list of self-help books. It would ebb and flow; lessen and increase. But never go away. Never ever go ALL THE WAY AWAY.
For the most part I spent my non-blogging, no-longer-in-therapy time as I had before: doing the bare minimum to survive and get through my days without bursting into tears. Going through the motions, not really enjoying life or being a participant in life or getting much out of it at all.
Then November 2014 came around. It was just two weeks after my cousin died suddenly in his sleep from a heart attack. He was 40, born in April 1974, and I was about to be 40 in just three weeks. Not that I didn't know I could die at any minute, I did and always had known that, since I was never one of those daring, thrill-seeking youngsters. But now, after losing my cousin, it was a super real possibility. What if I actually didn't have tomorrow to get off my ass and get something, anything, accomplished?
The first thing I did was something I'd been saying I was going to do for a few years but never did: I signed up for NANOWRIMO 2014. And, I finished. I wrote a 51,716 word novel. That has now tied with traveling alone to three film festivals in three cities I'd never been in before as my most cherished accomplishment.
After coming down off the high of reaching a personal goal, I spent my holidays doing a lot of thinking, and something occurred to me. Maybe the depression wasn't causing my lack of drive. Maybe my lack of drive and reluctance to step out of my comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable it had become, was keeping me depressed. And, just like the chicken or egg scenario we're all familiar with, my depression and fear fed each other in an endless cycle that felt impossible to break down. I was 40. I'd spent roughly 20 years of my precious life mired in the fear of the new to the point that I'd made myself a tad bit OCD and agoraphobic.
I'd tried talking my depression away and medicating it away, but the only thing I hadn't tried for any significant length of time was simply doing the things I'd always wanted to do even if I was scared.
So, that's what I'm doing now. I wrote a book that I'll be re-reading and editing starting this week. For the past month I've been walking four miles on most days, even when it bores me and my hips hurt. I'm breaking down my wants and needs into small actions and fucking getting them done.
I'm going to stop giving up on myself, because I'm the only damn person who can make the next 40+ years mean anything.
How are you making your life more meaningful in 2015?
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Cassandra Schmigotzki, of The Long and Winding Road to Wellness, has graced my blog with a Liebster Award! So, here's what you need to know about the award...
About the Liebster
The idea behind this award is to recognize new bloggers and help them get some buzz and promote their blogs. It's a sign of recognition and it can pretty much mean what you want it to mean.
If you've been nominated for the Liebster Award and accept it, you need to follow a few rules.
1.Write a blog post about the Liebster Award.
2.Thank the person that nominated you.
3.Post a link to their blog on your blog.
4.Display the award on your blog and including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget.
5.Answer the 11 questions about yourself provided by the person who nominated you.
6.Give 11 random facts about yourself.
7.Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers.
8.Create a new list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.
9.List the rules in your post.
10.Inform the bloggers who you've nominated for the Liebster Award - remember to give them a link to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).
Note that you can nominate someone who has been given this award already, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers.
Cassandra's Questions For Me
1.What is something that you wish you learned how to do growing up? Make small talk.
2.What are five words your closest friends would use to describe you? Funny, smart, sensitive, empathetic, introverted
3.What is your favorite meal to make or eat? This isn't a whole meal, but I love roasted carrots. If I cook a pound of carrots you better get to 'em fast because otherwise they'll be gone.
4.What did you want to be when you grew up? An astronomer. Then I realized how much math I'd have to learn.
5.Can you speak another language? If so, what? (This would include sign language but not Pig Latin.) Only if by "speak another language" you mean "can curse people out in Spanish". I studied Spanish in high school & college, but you know how it is when you don't use a skill...
6.What is your guilty pleasure? I try not to have those. You like what you like when you like it, you know?
7.What are your favorite books or blogs? I could list books all day: Which Lie Did I Tell, Kushiel's Dart, Bird by Bird, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Woman Hollering Creek, If You Want to Write, Dicey's Song, A Solitary Blue, A Long Way From St. Louie, Black Ice...I should probably stop now!
8.What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year? Finishing a screenplay.
9.What's your favorite quote or passage? “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid”. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It's hard to follow, but I love the idea of it. Plus, I do think it's true in many cases.
10.Do you still dress up for Halloween? I haven't done that since I was about 11.
11.Have you learned anything about yourself since you started blogging? If so, what? Black people have a saying: "Don't put your business in the street." This is how parents keep their kids from talking about personal stuff with people who don't happen to live with them. I have found, though, that I like putting my business in the street. It seems to be the only way to learn that your business isn't that unusual after all.
1. I say "library" & "birthday" wrong. They come out "lie-berry" & "birfday".
2. I didn't realize I said these words wrong until I met HUBS and he pointed it out to me.
3. I didn't drink any alcohol until I was 31.
4. I only drink lemon-lime sodas.
5. I hate tea in all its forms.
6. I wore braces on my legs and had to have special orthopedic shoes when I was a kid.
7. Because of my orthopedic issues, if I'm sitting with my legs straight out or straight behind me, my feet automatically turn ALL THE WAY IN with my toes pointing at each other.
8. Any pill larger than the tip of a pencil eraser will cause me to panic when I try to swallow it. Thank God for pill cutters!
9. When I went to New York on a college trip in 1997, I saw Al Lewis, who played Grandpa on The Munsters. He was in his 70s, but was wearing a leather biker jacket and an African print hat.
10. My nose has been itching all week and it's incredibly annoying.
11. Mushrooms disgust me. I know they're good for you, but they're a fungus and I can't get past it. I've never had one on purpose.
1. Miss Tracey Nolan
2. Rebecca Thompson, Take Charge Now
3. Jeri Walker-Bickett, What do I know?
4. Stephanie Bryant, Diary of a Mad Saleswoman
My Nominee Questions!
1. Boxers or briefs?
2. What one word do you hate the sound of?
3. Prince or Michael Jackson?
4. The world is ending, what do you say to your mom as last words?
5. McDonald's or Burger King?
6. You've just won $1,000 and have to spend it on something frivolous. What do you buy?
7. What are your two favorite TV shows of all time (up to now, obviously)?
8. Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck?
9. If you could give your 12-year-old self one bit of advice, what would it be?
10. Dancing at a club or drinking at a bar?
11. What's one book you wish you had written and why?
Let the party begin, nominees!
Monday, August 12, 2013
No emergencies here, folks. None at all...
Well, after last Monday's stress-a-thon I finally got paid (right after bitching about it, in fact) and then I went on to relax for a whole day before I started worrying about work.
When my hours got cut I went from being responsible for three company blogs to two. This means that every Friday I am now supposed to turn in two stories, one for each blog. In order to get stories I have to research client events and email them. Then, whether or not I have articles to write depends on if any of those clients get back to me.
Only one person got back to me. Not one for each blog. Just one.
I MISSED A DEADLINE LAST WEEK. FUCK.
On one hand I really feel I did everything I could to email as many contacts as possible. But on the other hand I know it might not matter. My hours got cut, I had two weeks where I got two stories in each week, and then I missed one. Only one client got in touch with me, so I only had one article for one company blog.
I spent the weekend trying not to panic, and did a pretty good job. Today, though? Today I have a headache and feel a bit dizzy. I haven't checked my work email yet and probably won't for at least another hour. I just need to not think about it for a bit longer.
However, I can think about music. Let's go!
There. Now I need the biggest cup of coffee I can get my hands on!
Monday, August 05, 2013
Just enjoy the kitty cats...Take comfort in the kitty cats...
Ah, life. I hope all of yours are going very well, because over here? Things are kinda shitty.
What is it about bad, sad things? Why do they come in waves and droves faster than you can adjust to one sucky thing? These past couple of weeks are pretty easy to explain, so let me do it by making a list...
1) That new freelance gig I got at the end of February? Two weeks ago my hours got cut. IN HALF. And I was already working part-time. (-$$$$)
2) The very next day, HUBS' glasses broke. ($$)
3) By the end of the week one of our cats was sick. ($)
4) We exhaust all the cash in the house and one small savings account for bills and living expenses. (-$$)
5) Our cat gets sick again, but this time needs several days in the hospital and a surgery, just completed today. ($$$$$$)
6) I've been happily getting much needed medical tests for over a month. And now, when those bills come in it will be severely nerve-wracking. ($$)
7) My last big check from work should have been here by the 1st. I STILL DON'T HAVE IT AND THEY WANT ME TO WAIT UNTIL WEDNESDAY BEFORE THEY CUT ME A NEW ONE. (-$$$)
What really kicks my ass here? This is our fault, going WAAAAYYYYY back to neither of us saving enough money when we were on our own (with the exception of my now depleted 401K). Back to me not leaving my old job A LOT sooner, leading to an emergency exit that we still have not bounced back from. Back to the depression that makes it really hard to just stick with it and keep going all the time.
So. I literally spent the past 8 hours looking for work. And was able to apply for a whopping three jobs that I'm qualified for which don't involve toilets or garbage. Don't think I'm being picky; I will probably be applying for those by the end of the week.
Why does life kick us when we're down?
I'm trying to be Zen about all this. What do I need to learn from all this? What can I do better? How can I do better?
But, really? I'm just pissed. And nervous. And very unsure about our future.
My skin has broken out and I get queasy several times a day. I'm crying more than I have since starting depression meds and it's hard to sleep.
Well, I'm going to stop talking about this now and play some music.
How do you get through when life keeps kicking you in the teeth?
Thursday, August 01, 2013
How is it August already?! Remember when you were a kid and every day seemed to last forever? That is certainly not the case now!
This thank-you post is going to feature some awesome food via our Louisville/Nashville trip, so let's get to it!
1) Thanks to the Goose Creek Diner in Louisville for feeding us. A LOT.
That's a Hot Brown in the second photo...
My Fried Green Tomato BLT with baked sweet potato & HUBS' Chicken Fried Steak
2) Thanks to Savannah's Candy Kitchen for helping to make a long walk around downtown Nashville a late-night surprise.
3) Thanks to the Pancake Pantry of Nashville for making a long wait in line worth it.
My Sweet Potato Waffle, his Swedish Pancakes
My sides and the Cinnamon Cream Syrup that accompanied my waffle
4) Thanks to easy road trips.
5) Thanks to Walmart for always having what we need even when we're in another city.
6) Thanks to my job for opening up my free time.
7) Thanks to specialists for helping me get to the root of my many annoying health issues.
8) Thanks to my last big check for making things more possible than before.
9) Thanks to $4 movies tickets for new releases.
10) Thanks to my intense money saving skills.
What did July bring you?
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
I watch a lot of movies. But, every now and then I watch a movie and have no idea how I feel about it. Good movies are easy. Really bad movies are easy. But the ones in the middle? Those can be tough.
So, here's my list of 11 ways to tell a bad movie was just all up in your face.
11 Ways To Tell You've Watched A Bad Movie
1) You had no problem getting up in the middle to go to the bathroom and taking your sweet time in there.
2) You just left the theater. Wait, what was the movie about again?
3) It's opening weekend, and you were the only one in the theater.
4) You watched intently, but still felt confused during the whole thing.
5) You didn't care what happened to anyone in the movie.
6) You couldn't manage to laugh, cry or feel anxious/scared/thrilled about anything that went on during the film.
7) Whoever you went with talked to you the for the entire movie, and you didn't mind at all.
8) You spent the movie comparing plot points to other films that did them first, and better.
9) At least 25% of the audience got up during the movie and didn't come back.
10) After getting back from the bathroom you realize you missed a lot, but you can still follow the plot just fine.
11) Did you fall asleep? You don't remember?! Bad sign, my friend.