Day Seventeen

apartment

This was a crazy weekend. I feel like so many of my weeks blur together and I’m not really sure what day it is. Today felt like a Sunday – and it was. It was a beautiful day here. Sunny, slightly breezy, a bit of cloud cover to keep the temperature moderate and a first taste of that famous humidity that plagues so many summer days in Michigan. For maybe a week or more I have been picturing very clearly a future home for my husband and I. Just a very specific section of a living room. I don’t know if it’s in Portland or Paris or London or Tokyo or even somewhere in the Maldives. I just know that it feels like home. I am happy and comfortable picturing it and I want to be there.

This is the first time in my memorable past (aka maybe ten-fifteen years) that I have so vividly pictured a future for myself that it feels like I am there. Like it is tactile, already my reality and I have lived it. There’s a fuzzy feeling of contentment that feels right. Maybe it was just a dream that I am remembering. Maybe my subconscious is sapping this vision from a movie or show or an immersive description in a book. But it doesn’t feel like that. It feels original, and all my own. It feels so good to be able to claim a vision of my future life. It just feels great to want a future at all.

Suicide has such an awful stigma attached to it. Unfortunately that stigma makes it hard for me to even write that I have contemplated suicide as much as I have these past few years. The first reaction of some family and friends (the grand total is eight btw) that I have spoken to is anger. A “how dare you” attitude that only compounds how shitty and nervous I feel about talking to anyone (let alone a friend who claims to love me) about these thoughts and feelings. Another reaction is disbelief – “really? you? you always have it together though. you’re so strong.” Like this is something I would lie about. If you know me enough to think me strong and together – then know me enough to believe what I am saying to you right now. One of the hardest parts when telling family and friends is you can practically feel the crazy brand being burned into your forehead. Never again do they seem to ask “how are you?” and really mean it. The questions are always direct; “how is your mom doing? how is your husband? how is your work going?” A truly, deep-down heartfelt “how are you?”  seems to be off the menu. You know what I mean right? Someone asks you something they might know the answer to but they just really want you to honestly talk to them – and whatever you say they will hear it and love you the same at the end of your answer as they did eight months ago before you branded your forehead with i’m a f#%&ing crazy mess.

I am a f#%&ing crazy mess – a fistful of it. But I also have a really clear picture of a home I want to create and exist in. I want that future and that is a really f#%&ing great first for today.

Day Fourteen

macarons

Tonight marks my first fortnight of blogging, of this experiment in finding my voice (which sounds so f#%&ing cheesy), of trying to figure out exactly what and whom I am and want to be. Today I did a lot of thinking. Thinking about why I say yes to people, to events, to work commitments when I want to say no. Why do I do this? Am I a “yes man”? I don’t want to be in the traditional corporate dog sense – yet I do like to help people around me, I like to please people. Today I chose to once again help a family member for a few hours instead of researching potential money making career paths to get our future move rolling along. I want to help when I can, but I need to focus on my future, my happiness, my today and tomorrow. Today I also tentatively agreed to complete two websites for a family member and one of their friends. I don’t want to be a web designer. I don’t want to cold call people that I don’t know to complete a task for which I have no particular love or passion. I know this and I still said yes.

Wtf? Why is no such a hard thing to say sometimes?

But saying yes is equally difficult. Saying yes to our dreams, to moving where we want, to eating food that makes us feel good mentally & physically, to setting out against the status quo. I’ve spent so much time and energy defending my decisions to go to the school I went to, to quit the cushy corporate job that was dragging me down, to never have kids of my own, to go vegan – and yes that means for life people. All this because my decisions have not been the most common, clear-cut definition of a happy and successful life. Yet I am still not saying yes to some of my most important and cherished dreams. And not to go all self-help on you – but I truly believe that I am the only one standing in the way of my own happiness. I seriously found myself searching the internet for “how to move to Paris” earlier. As I perused the blogs and sites describing other people’s experiences and tips – I had to laugh at my own ridiculousness. Really – I actually just searched for how to move to Paris – how the f#%& do you think you move to Paris you idiot – you sell what you can, donate the rest, pack a couple of bags and buy a plane ticket.

Today’s first is practicing saying yes when I mean yes, and no when I mean no. It’s so simple. It’s harder then it sounds.

Day Thirteen

clouds blog

Ah, lucky thirteen. I wonder what my lucky number is. There is probably some form of astrology, zodiac or something out there that would tell me. This year I am making it 30 because – well you know. Maybe just 3 in general could be my number.

Okay, so my first today is starting Game of Thrones. We tried watching it before but I do not really remember the first episode – so I’m counting it as a first watch. It was good – promising, but no True Detective. Then again True Detective had eight episodes, not sixty. I feel like I’m jumping on the bandwagon kind of late – but if it actually deserves the praise and ratings then it will be worth it.

I’ve always felt a slight annoyance in enjoying popular shows, movies, bands and books. Don’t get me wrong; I love the rush of thousands of fans singing their favorite lyrics in unison at a concert, the camaraderie of fans attending midnight shows to watch their favorite characters on the big screen and the excited chatter of a few friends discussing the latest installment of a great book series. It just feels like we spend a lot of time talking about how many episodes of such-and-such we’ve seen and not enough asking how we are doing. Shouldn’t we be talking about life? Shouldn’t we be asking how we are really doing, what and where we want to be and supporting each other through the ups and downs that come along with the journey? I do have those friends – the ones who will do anything when asked, will always pick up the phone and will always, always say I am totally right – even when I’m not. And I am lucky that I do – I just feel like so many relationships become shallower with time instead of deeper.

Maybe that’s just life. I don’t want every conversation to be a brooding, existential and introspective one – but maybe the daily minutiae is best left alone? I don’t know – I hate to sound bitchy. I just feel like as we get older, as we grow, see more of the world and understand our dreams and desires more – shouldn’t we be able to express and share more with friends? Not less? Wow, I just should-ed all over the place. It’s a dangerous word – I should use it less.

Day Eleven

fearful trees

Happy National Beer/World Health Day! Awesome. The best part is that National Beer Day has been unofficially celebrated since 1933 – World Health Day came around in 1948. Just sayin. We will be cheers-ing National Beer/World Health Day with a couple of tall boys while we watch The World’s End and burn some calories laughing. It’s gonna be good.

Day Eleven and I am worried that my firsts are pretty weak. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy that I am consciously making an effort to read up on new-to-me topics, plan and get excited for events, and most especially to push to see myself and others differently. It’s just – shouldn’t I be skydiving or taking public speaking classes or something? I don’t know.

Today I made my first serious attempt at taking on the fears that cripple me sometimes. I made a long, long list of the fears I have. Some I’m sure I forgot, others I have simply not even recognized yet. I want to add to the list when I think to – but mostly I want to recognize that I have these fears and work through them. Fears of being a disappointment in work, marriage, family. Fears of my body image, how others see and hear me, how I feel like I have no qualifications whatsoever. Some are so utterly ridiculous it’s crazy – yet knowing this does not stop the fear.

There are so many affirmations, quotes and mantras out there about fear and conquering it; but honestly – the wiki article is much more intriguing then any of these. Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events. Because fear is more complex then just forgetting or deleting memories,  an active and successful approach {to overcoming fear} involves people repeatedly confronting their fears. By confronting their fears – in a safe manner – a person can suppress the fear-triggering memory or stimulus. 

Every day some of my fears will resurface, they will persist, they will drain my excitement and confidence as I endeavor to recreate myself. I just need to keep telling them to eff off. I will shine a light in the dark.

Day Ten

davinci

At one point I looked in the mirror today and thought wow I look pretty good – and I said it out loud to my husband. I believed it – for the first time in my recent memory. I didn’t waiver and say “well except for…” or “especially since…” – I said it and it stuck and that was it. I moved on.

For the first time that I can remember I thought I looked good and said it and didn’t qualify it or take it back.

That really felt good – and it felt good to appreciate myself and move on. I didn’t even feel guilty after.

We are all such beautiful beings, beautiful creatures with amazing bodies that can think and move and feel. We breathe and convert that into life. Our bodies heal themselves when we break them. We don’t have to think about every breath, every blink, digesting every meal, converting what we put into our bodies into energy. Our bodies do that all on their own.

Our minds are free to analyze, to learn, to feel, to understand and misunderstand as we are fit. Our minds get in our way more often then our bodies do. It’s an exciting prospect to imagine what we can do if we fully control our minds and expand them. Stop all of the hating, over analyzing, worrying, holding back, dwelling, prejudices and ignorances that occupy our minds.

What would happen if we accepted ourselves and others for everything we are and are not? Now that is an exciting prospect indeed.

Day Eight

time

Happy Friday. Day Eight. Awesome.

Six weeks left and this past week went well. Can I say that I am a better person then I was, that I know more about the world and myself? I think so. The progress is slow and that’s just something I’m going to have to accept. At least I’m progressing, that’s all any of us can do. Move on, up, forward. I will devote the rest of my life to learning, growing, accepting, appreciating. How long will I be doing this? I don’t know. I do know that I am getting closer to not worrying about it, to not wanting it to end.

For the first time in my life – I read about time. I mean wiki style – like the definition, scientific and philosophical theories, etc. The learning started when my love sent me an article about the new atomic clock developed by the NIST. It’s amazing. This clock will tell the correct time, within a second, for the next 300 million years if it is allowed to continue running. I take back my earlier sentiment – it is not amazing – but astounding.

The idea of this clock, all it does, and how, raises so many questions. Why do we cling so closely to the notion of time that we need this type of accuracy for so far into the future? Will we even continue to cling to time for as long as this clock is built to run? If not, what will we have moved on to as a species, a planet, an ecosystem?
Time, according to Wikipedia.org, is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time is difficult to define. A wonderful and simple definition is that time is what keeps everything from happening all at once. Ha. Now that is a great definition. Time is so fleeting, we hardly notice it slipping by, but we never seem to have enough of it. We are all given a certain amount of time to exist on this earth, at least for the lifetime which finds me writing and you reading this post; yet so few are able to understand and appreciate and embrace every moment we have. So much time is spent wasted analyzing what happened in the past, fretting about the future. Do we ever really live in the present? Do we find our minds and bodies here, ready to live, experience and impact others positively right now? Do we understand how lucky we are to have pasts, to have a now, to have a future?
Now I am prone to pontification – a paternal trait I inherited much to many’s chagrin – so I digress. I am not a scifi nut, I am not “religious”, I am not a fatalist, a presentist, an eternalist. I am simply excited to seriously be thinking about time – for the first time in a long time. What my time has meant so far, how I can dig myself out of the hole I have let the past push me into, how I can make my time more productive, more relaxing, more impactful, and finally, how I can look forward to a larger length of time ahead.
A trip that we wanted to take fell through – but now we can go to Nashville as a result. We plan on moving across the country by fall, and we will still be able to see Manchester United play at the Big House before that happens. Time is funny. I am lucky I have time to think about it. I am lucky to have a now. For the first time I am feeling how good it is to be present.