Taking stock in 2011

I’m still sick. Remember in the comments of a recent post when I told El Guapo that I didn’t get grouchy…. I lied. I do. And as of yesterday I hit the grouchy point. Tired, voiceless, coughing, whiny, forced to be couch-ridden… I hate it. Being forced to stay home makes me feel totally useless.

It’s official: I have bronchitis. I also have laryngitis. I also have a sinus infection. I also fell off the exam table *in* the doctor’s office and sprained my wrist. Yup… Life is pretty damn fantastic. So I took the day off work (against my will… although I did work for two hours BEFORE the appointment at the doctor). Went to get my meds filled. Bought way too much to eat because I just wanted to feel better. Went home. Ate the aforementioned food (which included, but isn’t limited to: tomato bisque, grilled two-cheese sandwich, cupcake, hot cocoa, snowman shaped marshmallows) (oh…and a rib roast….but the rib roast is for later). Made my cocoa, in my favorite cup, with the snowman accompaniment. It was fantastic. The best part of yesterday. Almost. I was alone at home, but I had good company. That was the highlight of the day.

Tasty Cocoa

Hot Cocoa in the BEST cup! Ever. Ever in the history of ever.

Slept. Slept. Slept. Watched Ally McBeal. Slept. Woke up today, still felt bad, couldn’t speak. “Called” in (it was a pathetic conversation). Slept. Watched Ally McBeal (Season 2!!). Slept. Heard this quote and it moved me to write this post.

“If you think back, and replay your year – if it doesn’t bring you tears of joy or sadness, consider the year wasted.” ~John “the Biscuit” Cage

I looked back at my 2011. Yeah. There are tears. Some joy. Some sadness. I couldn’t tell you the mixture… I don’t even know that I would want to know if it was 50/50. 30/70. 80/20. It wouldn’t matter anyway. Instead, I’ll tell you it’s been a phenomenal year. For good reasons and for not so good reasons. I want to summarize the year by telling you what I’ve learned, in no particular order.

  • We teach people how we want to be treated. As I was telling my BFF, yesterday, I’ve known that for a long time. But I didn’t learn it until this year.
  • Work is what we do, but it isn’t who we are. Being who we are is who we are. That may seem redundant. But it’s not. Trust me. If you are nodding your head, you get it.
  • I am full of very many talents. I still haven’t decided how to use them in a way that pays the bills and makes me happy. I’m not sure if there’s a way.
  • Patience is a virtue. It’s a virtue I suck at. I don’t know that I’ll ever change that.
  • Love is thrilling. It’s also destructive. If you don’t love yourself enough, you’ll never know when you cross the line between the two.
  • I wanted to learn to raise one eyebrow at a time by the end of the year. I think it adds character. I haven’t learned that.
  • I did learn how to move my ears when I smile. When I smile a genuine smile, my ears move. *That* adds character.

    If you could see yourself, just for a day, you'd see how everyone else sees you. And my God, you are fucking beautiful.

    My BFF is *awesome*!

  • My loved ones know my heart. And today I got this in the mail from BFF#1 and it brought me to tears. “If you could see yourself, just for a day, you’d see how everyone else sees you. And my God, you are fucking beautiful.”
  • There are angels all around us. Open your eyes to them and they can help guide you.
  • I don’t always know best. I need to do a better job of considering the advice that my loved ones offer. They have a better view of what’s happening, sometimes.

Finally….a biggie:

  • I will be okay. Despite the struggle, the good days will return more often. The bad days will come around less. And I will survive. Because I’m good at that.

Next week I’ll do a review of my resolutions for 2011. And then make the 2012 goals. I’m really excited about that. But it was worth taking stock of this year before I did that.

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The battle resumes

I’m back to the battle. It’s been a tough several days in my part of the world. But in the last week or so, I’ve made some pretty big decisions.

Part of the reason I have been struggling so much is the sheer unrelenting stress that I’ve been under at work. I’m a sticker-outer. I’ll wait, in a holding pattern, for a very long time when I’m unsure about something. Although I tend to be spontaneous with little choices (like, jeans or slacks today?), when it comes to the bg stuff, I’ll wait it out. Often times, I wait too long.

In the case of work, I allowed myself to wait too long. And last week, on my little break from work (6 glorious days off!), I made the decision to start looking for a new job. It wasn’t/isn’t to make that choice, but I had decided that I’ll never get better when things aren’t improving. All I’m doing is masking symptoms with the meds. And… I don’t want to be on meds forever.

Mediocrity has become the acceptable form of performance at my office. That isn’t something I handle well. I’m not tolerant of people who choose not to put forth their best efforts. Every now and then? Sure… we all have days when we decide that we can’t focus on things too long. But all the time…every day, this is how it is. I can’t handle it anymore. Their shortcomings become my responsibility. And I literally can’t take on any more.

So… there we are. I re-did my resume. I started job searching. I’ve sent out a few. No responses, yet.

There is a little bit of fear in that. I’m pretty fragile, right now. I’m putting on a very tough face for the world, but I’m breaking underneath. Hopelessness… it’s the worst. And when you’re putting yourself out there to be judged, personally and professionally, it is a little scary. So… I’ve been really struggling, inside.

I’m afraid of many things. Truthfully – they’re all the unlikely things. I’m afraid of falling down stairs. I’m afraid of zombies. I’m afraid of boogeymen under my bed. Turns out, I’m also afraid of failure. Which I realize is a very real thing for most people.

We make choices based on pleasure and pain. But pain is always the stronger motivator. And for too long, I’ve tried to justify the work ethic in the company I’m with. But now, the pain has become too much and I’d rather face judgement and failure from prospective employers than the misery at the office.

I’m praying, hard, every day. God… show me the way out. Give me strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Give me grace. He’s listening; I’m sure of it. And He’s sending me angels, and support, everyday.

It’s a slow process.

If you’ve been in this situation, you’ll understand that.
But know that you’re not alone. And be careful of allowing yourself to isolate. You may think that people are tired of hearing about it. You may feel like you’re a burden. You may even be tired of talking about it. That’s okay. First – the people who love you will never tire of helping you. Second – the definition of burden is “a heavy load”. It is heavy to *you*, but they have the strength to help you carry it for a while. And third – you don’t have to talk about it to talk. Just be sure you’re talking. Silence has a tendency to fill up with the very worst things.

If you haven’t ever dealt with depression or any other mental illness… maybe this will help:
There are good days, and there bad days. Everyone has those. But my bad days seem worse. And personal. Like, something goes wrong and it’s like everything in my body is screaming at me what an idiot I am. And then, because I’m already feeling like crap, every little thing that happens reinforces what a terrible human being I am. The ability to “let it go” and recover is hard.
If you’re watching someone go through it, be patient. Support them. Remind them that they are a wonderful person, even if they don’t feel that way. Ask how you can help. They may not know the answer, but it’ll mean everything that you asked. Take it one day at a time, and remind them to do the same.

The goal isn’t to only have good days. The goal is to have less bad days and more good days. The goal is to be able to identify when you’re overwhelmed and handle it in appropriate ways. The goal is to be able to recover.

You may have to make changes in your life to allow that to happen. You’ll do this when you’re ready. And when you’re ready, trust me, you’ll know. Until then… be patient with yourself.

My BFF said to me, “It’s okay to lose a battle or two. It’s fine. Don’t lose the war. Keep fighting.”

I will. I am. This war has only one victor – and that’s this girl. And you can quote me on that.

On a clear day you can see forever

It is with a great amount of joy I tell you that the fog is gone today. I feel so much better – like myself, for a change. I don’t know how long it’ll last, or whether or not this is just an illusion of delirium (since I’ve been struggling so much lately), but I am feeling better. Empowered. Stronger. Maybe the meds are finally adjusting. Maybe this is just a good day.

I couldn’t tell you why. I just woke up that way. Like the days when I am down, I can’t put my finger on the difference. Especially when things are good, I especially don’t want to foul it up. So I wish I knew what the big difference was.

I did drink milk last night. Apparently milk contains opiates and, while the internet tried to convince me that I was addicted to dairy, I’m convinced that it was just a craving.

Wait… what? Addicted to dairy? Yep. Not even kidding. I typed in “dairy cravings” and this website came up that said that I could possibly be addicted to dairy. No joke! It appears that too much milk makes me a dairy junkie. I *might* as well be doing heroin, except that milk doesn’t require a needle. So that’s what sold me on it. That and the fact that I can take my opiates dairy in many forms: ice cream, cheese, sour cream, yogurt. Heroin comes in only one form: misery. So I’m sticking with the dairy. Maybe it’s just me. But seriously, anyone considering heroin should try a glass of milk, instead. No nasty needle marks AND you can make it chocolate milk, if you’re feeling wild.

I’m feeling like anything is possible. Today, at least. If a turtle had more faith in possibility, or just more faith in general, could he run faster? Who said that turtles are doomed to sloth? And if we had named a “sloth” a “zippy”, is it possible that he’d be a little quicker? Right now, I’m totally blowing your mind, aren’t I? Aside from the physiological dictations of each species, my point is that we allow ourselves to be boxed into a label. Someone, somewhere along the line, told us that we were worthless. So we own that and carry it around with us. Just one little thing on our back. Then, another thing: we’re stupid. Onto our back it goes. Add another. And another. And before you know it, that one rock has turned into a shell. And we hide under it. Our “limits” become our protection.

I say screw that! I’m nobody’s turtle. I am whatever I choose to be. I’m bright. I’m funny (admit it… you smiled when you read the whole sloth/zippy thing). I’m pretty. I’m capable. And anyone who says differently is full of crap.

Today is clear. I can see for miles. And I’ll proceed as far as I can. Stay tuned. You never know what’s around the corner for me, or for you.

P.S. A special shout out to Brian Christensen and Guapo who were unrealized angels sent to me. You were pivotal in today’s mood shift. And that goes to show, folks – there is power in kindness. Lift a stranger up today. Be nice. It’ll mean the world to them.