Live and let live …I guess?

 

Screenshot 2019-08-21 at 12.20.19 PMIn my endless pursuit of self-improvement, I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of books. One of the key messages of almost ALL self-care/self-improvement media (whether it’s about weight loss, spirituality, unleashing your full potential, etc.) is not letting other people’s bullshit affect you.

If you want to test yourself to see what mile-marker you’ve reached on your “journey of self-improvement (puke),” go on a family vacation. Hell, go on ANY vacation with a bunch of adults of all ages and one male 17yr old. The male 17-year-old is not essential- like, don’t STEAL one or anything- but if you really want to challenge your zen level, I mean REALLY want to push yourself, I highly recommended incorporating one into your travel plans.

What did I learn about myself?

I learned I’ve made some good progress, but I still have a long way to go. I learned that if people are pissing me off, I tend to take it out on my husband- which is obviously not cool and needs work. I learned I struggle with wanting everyone to be having a good time and feeling upset when clearly one or two people are not. I learned that I am more able to recognize these feelings in-the-moment and do some self-talk to manage those emotions.

(We’re just gonna go ahead and use “they” here- lest I have people calling for my head on a platter)

  • “They didn’t have to come along, but they chose to because they want to be with the family. So maybe they aren’t having a woo-hoo blasty blast, but they are content to be with the group.”
  • “They are just not as go-with-the-flow are you are and that’s ok. Actually, it’s great for them! They probably have a better credit score than I do because of it LOL”
  • “They literally just said 5 minutes ago they had an upset stomach- this is not about you- you lunatic.”
  • “We are a loud, obnoxious family, not everyone is used to, or is into, that!”

I also learned I’m not sure what the end goal should even be. Are we not even supposed to have feelings when other people act in ways that we don’t like and just understand it’s their bullshit causing them to act that way and understand it has little or nothing to do with us? Are we just supposed to accept and embrace everyone for who they are?  Most self-care media suggests surrounding yourself and spending your time with people who have similar goals and outlooks on life and avoiding people who drain your positivity. So are they suggesting you just “cancel” family members? I understand cutting ties with family members who have repeatedly shown they can’t be trusted; but what about the family members who are just not on the same wavelength as you? Or have very different personalities? Or perhaps some shit they should probably work on? Or just make you crazy? Are we SUPPOSED to enjoy all the time we spend with people and therefore only spend time with people who we enjoy all the time?  Well, that can’t be it because I would be alone 100% of the time both because there is nobody I enjoy 100% of the time and FOR SURE nobody enjoys ME 100% of the time (LMAO)! 

 

 

I’m offended at your offense of my being offended.

Screenshot 2019-07-24 at 8.53.34 AMI saw this article posted yesterday in a facebook group, and it was a HOT TOPIC! Is anything NOT a hot topic anymore though? Really? The old saying, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one!,” has never rung truer. And actually,  even that saying could spark a debate about it’s being exclusive to those who had anal cancer or some other issue that resulted in them being assholeless.

So, FIRST OF ALL- BRAVO to Macy’s because this is a BRILLIANT marketing scheme. Let’s all realize this for what it is.

2nd of all- The plates are just dumb. A plate of salad would put you “mom jeans” territory.

And of course, 3rd of all- the ultimate destination:

I thought a lot about the whole issue here, and for me, these things boil down to, “What message do you want to put out into the world to make it a better place?”

I think the world would be a better place if women weren’t judged by the amount of fat they have on their bodies or the amount of food they put in their face.

Therefore, I think these plates are sending an unnecessary message into the world. I think about people who own these plates and have little girls growing up seeing the message EVERY DAY that you should only eat that much food if you want to be “good.” Then add in someone who has boys too; little boys who grow up seeing every day that girls should only be eating tiny amounts to meet society’s standards but as boys, they can do whatever they want! I picture a 6yo brother and sister sitting at a table with these plates in from them and the messages they ate getting and think, perhaps, these plates don’t really need to be a thing that exists only to contribute to archaic ideas about what it means to be a woman?

But as we know, opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one and cares more about thiers than anyone else’s.

The little yellow cat

Sean came into the living room tonight to report there was a little yellow cat on the porch meowing, so he opened the door to investigate, and it chased into our entryway after him hissing and spitting and meowing. So I come out to see if there is even really a cat since you never know with Sean.

There is a cat. And it is indeed meowing over and over as it almost frantically walks around on our steps looking at me through our kitchen window. I open the kitchen door and, as previously described by Sean, the cat comes running into the entry towards me, hissing, meowing, and trying to get into the house (even with giant Piper eagerly trying to join in on the fun!). So at this point, we are trapped in our apartment by this cat that I am convinced is rabid or something. I have never seen a cat act like that.

As we contemplate our plan, the cat leaves our porch and walks down the driveway so we can’t see her anymore. Sean is satisfied to move on with life. I, of course, am not. I go outside to see where the cat went and to check in with our neighbors who are cat people (and I mean CAT PEOPLE- like run a feral cat rescue, cat people). The second I turn the corner the cat comes at me doing the same hissing, crying, meowing. I talked to her (because I speak to all animals like they are people), “What is your deal? Are you lost? Are you hurt.?” When she reaches me, she starts rubbing on my legs and standing up on her back legs acting like she wants me to pick her up, but hisses and backs up if I start to bend over. Repeat. Repeat. “Ok weird cat. I’m going to see if you belong to someone.”

She did. Our neighbor exclaimed, “Oh my god! She got out earlier, and we haven’t been able to find her, and she’s never been outside before!” He walked outside with me, and the cat immediately ran (meowing, of course) into his arms.

And that was that.

I just can’t stop thinking about that little cat and the emotional turmoil she was CLEARLY going through. So much so that I honestly thought she was rabid. She was terrified but knew finding people, STRANGERS, to help her was the only way to get back where she belonged. She had to trust in people when it was going against her natural instincts. A giant internal emotional battle inside a tiny yellow cat. A tiny yellow cat who let herself trust (as much as she could) and is now home.

Have you ever thought about suicide?

I am at a 2-day training.  “CBT for Suicide Prevention”

First of all. I should note I am bad at trainings, conferences, workshops, symposiums (I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been to a symposium, but I’m sure I would hate it). I hate them. I am that ADD 6-year-old boy in school wiggling in his seat, bugging people next to him, playing with anything he can get his hands on, getting up to “use the bathroom” over and over, etc. Think I’m kidding?

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So yeah, I look miserable and like I am not paying attention, but I actually am taking it all in; which was the original point of this blog before I got immediately sidetracked.

If I ask you if you have ever thought about killing yourself, have I suddenly put the idea of killing yourself in your mind?  Have you read this and now are suddenly thinking, “Shit! I never thought of that idea! You know what? Imma kill me today! OMG TYSM!” No. You aren’t. Yet we don’t ever ask the question even though suicide is one of our country’s leading causes of death. Every time we hear of a suicide, we hear things like, “We had no idea.” “He never said a word.” “She seemed fine.” “She seemed happier than ever!”

When the presenter was talking about this, I parallelled it in my mind with people who don’t want sex education in schools because then kids will want to have sex. Then I thought to myself, “What a great analogy to use with people! Just like sex education at schools doesn’t cause kids to fuck, asking someone if they have ever thought about suicide won’t cause them to shoot themselves!”

Then  I remembered we are living in the Handmaid’s tale era and there are still a large majority of people who still think sex education causes sex.

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Moral of the story: Ask the question even if it feels weird. You could save someone’s life.

Take it from someone who knows… I Jumped Off The Golden Gate Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

I feel weird.

220px-Dragonfly_movieI was just sitting here on the couch when I suddenly thought “I should probably be working on that paper.” Then I looked around to see if anyone heard my stupid thought because at the same time I had the thought I remembered THIS IS NO PAPER! It’s summer break, DUMMY!

So now what?  LOL Blog I guess?  I could clean…  But that’s crazy talk.

I am so used to being busy both physically and mentally that I have no idea what to do with myself in the absence of busy. I’ll figure it out, but for tonight I choose snacks and ‘Dragonfly’ -an all time fav that Lonnie told me he noticed was on Starz.

Thank god I have to work tomorrow.

 

 

Colleen’s blog of home remedies

20190302_1954075673056423182675959.jpgApparently spending the whole month of October on my death bed wasn’t enough. I’m sick again. For about 2 weeks now with 3 days of weirdly being perfectly fine in the middle there somewhere. I’m told this is “normal.” “Part of the grad school and internship experience,” they say.  Freaking “they.”

Oooh…. you know what is part of my new common cold experience!?  WHISKEY! I read that whiskey tea can be a more effective treatment for cold symptoms than drugs. So when I was sick in October, we gave it a shot (HA…. SHOT — see what I did there!?). Ok #1, DELICIOUS; and I don’t even like whiskey. And #2, it’s TRUE! My stuffiness and coughing are drastically reduced! #3 Even if they weren’t– I’m TIPSY; WHO CARES!?  So yesterday at like 11am and hours of coughing, Lonnie suggested a whiskey tea and I said, “Honey… it’s not even noon. I think that’s illegal or something.” He assured me it was fine because it was MEDICINAL. And it was indeed fine. I even felt fair enough to get a little workout in because I ALSO read it’s good to sweat and get everything moving (lymph nodes and blood and shit) when you have a cold.

Summary: Grad school=stress and germs=drinking

Seems about right.

Hit the stacks!

img_20190224_2149233317528163697950061.jpgI am currently reading 4 books. It was 5 but I finished one. This goal setting thing is getting a bit out of hand! Toward the end of 2017 I thought a lot about reading and how I used to love it, but never did it anymore because I had such a hard time focusing on anything more than a chapter or a few pages before my mind wandered. So I joined Audible and listened to 10ish books in 2018! But I still felt like I was missing something by not reading with my EYES. It’s an entirely different experience.  Studies have shown that for leisure reading, audio and printed word are quite comparable, BUT, when studying for learning, printed text read visually increases retention and comprehension, so there IS a difference! In addition, with all the writing I do, increasing my exposure to the writing of others increases my vocabulary and ability to write more creatively. Some of my favorite compliments are from those that enjoy reading what I write, whether it’s just a simple crisis contact note or a 10 page paper about the mental and physical health benefits experienced by homeless people who have pets!saxjq5.jpg

This year I set a goal to read more books WITH MY EYES! And I am super happy with my progress! I am noticing an increase in my ability to focus and realized (from this experience, and from the 2 books about habit-forming I am reading), I didn’t lose my ability to focus, I just hadn’t been PRACTICING maintaining focus by reading! Wouldn’t it be cool if THAT spilled into the rest of my life and I could actually do ONE thing at a time… and like… FINISH stuff before moving on!?

…said the girl who started this post by confessing she is reading 4 books right now 😉

There is no wagon

The other night I posted about not using food to manage emotions and how I was struggling to not do so. I didn’t succumb that night, but yesterday, I did. The difference these days, is I don’t just mindlessly swing into the McD’s drive through and order whatever I want and scarf it down. And then drive back through for a McFlurry. (Yes, that has happened a few times back in the day.) Now I put thought into it and announce to myself, “I am going to go off my plan right now because I want a snack and I want a snack that is yummy because I am stressed, exhausted & annoyed. I chose a little bag of combos and a little bag of peanut m&ms because I wanted to sit and eat them one-by-one and just escape for a little while. Now I KNOW this is “wrong.” Food is not an escape and I need to work on finding other ways to have ‘little escapes.’ But I also can’t help but notice that EVERYONE seems to do this. I spend many of my days in hospitals and college campuses watching people (ok that sounds creepy, but whatever). Even the skinniest, healthiest people use treats to manage stress. On the crazy days in the emergency department, a giant bag of candy ALWAYS suddenly appears in the nurse’s station. Practically everyone in the surgery and ED waiting rooms is munching on something!

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

Does this blog seem like incoherent rambling? Yes. Like making a big excuse for my behavior yesterday? No. I actually don’t even feel bad about yesterday which is part of what I am learning to do. Food regret and guilt leads us to saying things like, “Well fuck it, I messed this whole week up now, I may as well just start back at healthy tomorrow….. or Monday…. or next month.” And I don’t do that anymore. There is no “one last meal,” no, “I’ll start back up tomorrow;” there is just LIFE.

 

 

The only thing food can solve is hunger


dont-get-stressed-get-dessert-uploaded-to-flickr-public-files-by-ichabodhidesMy guru Corinne Crabtree says that all the time. Today I’m living it. I had a SHITSHOW of a day and spent a good part of it daydreaming about unwinding once I got home with some yummy treats. That’s not a thing. Ice cream, candy, Cheez Its…. none of those things cancel out a shitty day. In fact, if anything, they would only add to the stress of the day because I know I didn’t plan for them and I know I am eating them for an emotional reason and not hunger and that is not the person I am learning to be.

So here I am snuggled up under a blanket on the couch watching TV. I just finished my planned dinner. I’m thinking about a nice hot cup of tea. I’m not falling face first into a bag of Sour Patch Kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still think about it all the time. I think that is one of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the past few months. It’s natural to think about things. I’m not weird or broken because I have thoughts about wanting a cookie when I see them in their frosted glory on the Valentine’s display at the grocery store. I’m not a freak when I walk past a bakery and smell the bread and want some bread. I’m not damaged because I think about wanting some candy when all the nurses are gathered around the nurse’s station chowing down on a giant bag of assorted chocolates! I can allow the thoughts to come and recognize them and then dismiss them and move on.

Speaking of moving on…. Shit I just remembered I have homework!  LOL

2018 in review

Why the heck not, right?

(And if you are wondering where I’ve been (and I’m sure you’re not), 1. I am journaling- like with a pen. In a journal. every morning, so that hits my writing spot. 2. I tried the new WordPress editor thing in November and H.A.T.E.D. it, and it wouldn’t work right on my chromebook, so I got annoyed and haven’t wanted to deal with it again.)

January: We started game nights. It lasted about a month with an occasional smattering here and there the rest of the year. I “Konmari’d”  …way ahead of the masses doing it now because of her new show.  I think I need to do it again. Jessi came to visit (you’ll see a theme here).january

February: The last shrouds of game night. Jessi came to visit. The winter blues started to set in. I fought them by trying to cross country ski and doing other fun stuff. Fun fact: I can’t cross country ski. YET.february.jpg

March: Beach vacation canceled (Boo!) and turned into an Old Orchard Beach vacation (aka making the best of a horror show of a month) –and visit with Jessi (shocking, I know)–and a super fun St Patrick’s Day that may become a tradition! Winter blues now officially “Seasonal Affective Disorder.”march

April: Sean turned 16!   Jessi came home to visit for Easter! I smell spring! I see sunshine …and the ground! I got REALLY into audiobooks! Jessi and I went to see Justin Timberlake in Boston on the train! Lonnie got fully into outdoor stuff and started going out in the woods to “do stuff,” -sometimes overnight- in freezing weather!april

May: I decided to become a plant person in an effort to have more hobbies and interests. Spoiler alert: MOST ARE STILL ALIVE! Yes, I said, “most.” We hiked. Sean cooked. I ran. Sean went to the Prom (under much duress)! I had my tubes tied! (Those 2 things not related)may

June: It’s SUMMER! Ran some more! Went to the lake with the dogs on my own! Hammocked and attempted to read a book. Instead, got a dead fish thrown at me by Piper and chaos ensued. We planted a little container herb garden. We had a doggie guest for a few weeks and Piper was in heaven!

june

July: It’s hot! I dove with both feet into Phit n’ Phat and set a goal to lose 100 pounds. Lonnie got a new charcoal grill that immediately began to feel like “the other woman,” but since I got Paella out of it, it’s all good.  We took the fam to Boston for a couple days and had a blasty-blast! Sean saw his fav Youtuber, Lonnie and I had real Korean food, we sat in Teslas.

july

August: We went to visit Jessi. Twice LOL In my defense…. the second time was for Sean to go school shopping. I ate my weight in watermelon. I continued to kick ass with PnP -even in Boston!august

September:  I started at UMaine grad school- Bye Bye Walden! I also started my internship. Bye Bye free time. Lonnie started a new job too at the crisis unit, so we had to find every moment we could to spend time together! AND– We became KITTY GRANPARENTS!  Oh yeah, and Jessi came to visit to pick up her new baby. september

October: I mastered getting up around 5-530 every day. Lonnie got back into hunting, so one night when I was bored and he was working, I went out and filled a bag with pine and fir needles to store his clothes in. He was wildly impressed and only mildly concerned about my clumsy-ass running around the woods with a saw.  Oh yeah, and Jessi came to visit… I mean it WAS her birthday month after all!october

November: When I started PnP I decided to start on the half sleeve I’ve always wanted. One flower at the time, every 20 pounds. Got my first one in November! Super fun turkey day at Jimmy and Lisa’s house and super fun AND FREEZING Black Friday with the kids- because… you know… Jessi was up for a visit 😉november

December: Merry Christmas! In true full-circle, game night came back! Sean went to Boston ON HIS OWN (with a friend) on the train to see a Travis Scott concert while I stayed in Portland at a hotel (and visited Jessi LOL). Christmas  (and Jessi) arrived and macaron making was attempted with pretty good success! Lonnie and I both worked Christmas Day, and he worked Christmas Eve too- that kinda sucked; but we made the best of it!

We brought in the New Year asleep. And I’m good with that 🙂  Bring on 2019!!!

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