For crying out loud

Sometimes I really feel like I need to cry, but I can’t.

Sometimes I don’t want to cry, but I do anyway.

Sometimes I start crying and have no damn idea why.

Kitten rescue videos always make me cry.

Movies that I think will make me cry often don’t.

I fully expect to cry through most of The Last Jedi.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade makes me cry.

I often wish I was one of those people that didn’t cry easily.

Sometimes I’m glad I’m able to cry easily.

Crying is never easy, really.

It all ends in tears, anyway, right?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hunger/Reboot

You guys! I may have figured out a way to get my life on (some sort of) track.

I recently read Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (excellent book, highly recommend reading it). She is very forward about her struggles with obesity and the events that drove her to seek comfort in food, but there’s so much more to be taken away from her story. It’s really about what she hungers for in life, the good things that she doesn’t feel like she deserves because of something terrible that happened in her past. While her life events are quite different from my own, I still felt a real connection to what she was saying; because of things I’ve done, things that have happened, and choices I’ve made, I don’t feel like I deserve the good things I hunger for, which is depressing.

sleepy cat
rebooting, please wait

I also followed along last year as Wil Wheaton did what he called a “life reboot” where he chose areas in his life that he felt needed improving.

So where do these things intersect? I figure maybe, just maybe, if I work on the areas of my life that I’m constantly telling myself I need to improve, maybe I can finally being to address those feelings of hunger, and start to feel like I do deserve good things.

So I sat myself down and came up with a list of things I wanted to change. Needless to say, it was SUPER long, so I decided to trim it down into a few categories that would encompass many, if not all, of the things I would like to address (and would it really be me if I didn’t make the list sound a bit vague and silly? Of course not). So here it is!

Heathers life reboot in six easy steps!

  • Move it move it
  • Clean my plate
  • Honey do
  • Write like a writer who writes
  • Mini mental vacations
  • Earn my explorer Badge

Move it move it: This one is pretty simple–I need to exercise more. I need to move my body before it starts to break down and not work. Before I hit a point of no return. I’ll probably end up varying what I do, but for the time being, I’m going to say I will go for a walk three days a week and do yoga five days a week. Seems like a safe place to start.

Clean my plate: By this I don’t mean I need to be a “clean plate commando.” I need to clean up what I’m eating. I need to cut back on the fast food and processed junk, eat more veggies, and do my best to eat three meals a day. I’m going to start this goal with increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits I eat on a daily basis.

Honey do: There’s plenty of things that need to be done around this house. Things that need to be gone through, projects I’ve had planned that have fallen to the wayside. I’m going to start kicking this list in the ass. Anytime I find myself sitting around thinking “eh, I’m bored,” I’m going to find something on this list that needs to be done and do it. Hoping to knock off at least one item a week.

Write like a writer who writes: I used to write a lot. I kept a journal nearly every day, I wrote letters, I wrote stories, all kinds of stuff. Lately the only thing I write on a regular basis are tweets. I’m making it a goal to write SOMETHING (tweets not included) every day. Whether it’s a post here, something personal I don’t want to share, or a short story/vignette that’s been floating around in my head, I’m going to write that shit down at least five times a week. Maybe I’ll even start a page for creative writing on here (no promises).

Mini mental vacations: I considered saying “meditate” but that’s just too rigid right now, though that is pretty much the end goal. I’m going to make time every day to clear the mental clutter and slow the racing thoughts and just focus on the here and now. I may do that through a guided meditation, or by focusing on an activity like knitting or cooking. Whatever way feels best to do it that day is how I’m going to practice being here now and not off somewhere in the la la land that is my imagination. I figure if I can do five minutes a day, that’s a good start.

Earn my explorer badge: This one sounds extremely ambiguous on purpose because it could really be anything. I want to go to some new places. I want to listen to new music. I want to try new food.  I may just take myself to a movie I want to see, or go wander around a book store. Mostly what I need is to get out of the house, but I’m leaving this as a space to explore, try and learn new things. I’m not going to put any rigid guides on this right now, I’m just going to wait and see how it unfolds.

So that’s my plan. I’ll check back in every month or so with a progress report. I’m hoping this will help hold me accountable so I actually follow through.

I finally came up with a new name for the blog that fits!

fairlyordinarystories.com (as if that wasn’t obvious)

I spent so much time wracking my brain trying to come up with something pithy or clever, a play on words that basically said, “hey, this is a blog where I write about my life, which is, for the most part, not that exciting,” and the WHOLE TIME it was staring me right in the face in the blog title–a life fairly ordinary.

Duh.

More to come…

Sofa King Awkward

Take my social life. Please. Because I’m not doing a very good job with it.

I’ve kept myself pretty isolated for a while. Most of my face to face interactions are with my son. Sure, I twitter and I have friends that I text with, but I rarely get out and meet people and talk to them in person. I decided maybe it was time to change that this year, and now I remember why I was isolating myself; because I’m a total fucking train wreck.

I am an introvert, but that shouldn’t mean I don’t know how to interact with people. I mean, I know how, but afterwards I spend so much time second guessing the things I say and do. I feel like I tell people things I shouldn’t be saying and they’ll think I’m insane, which, honestly, I kind of am. Not dangerous insane, just off my rocker insane. Add to that the fact that socializing often involves alcohol and then I really really really hate myself the next day. Even if its just text messages or twitter, I feel like I come off like a complete needy jackass.

Then add in the fact that I have a very empathetic personality (INFJ in the house). I see people struggling, upset, not feeling well, and I just want to help. I want to fix it all and make it better. Even with people (and animals) I don’t know. I tell people I want to help, I give unsolicited advice, I ask people to let me know what I can do, but then I think, “well that was pushy of me. Why did I do that? Now this person will not want to talk to me anymore.” I mean well, I really do, but I think I come off all wrong in trying to express it.

So when I do these things, when I feel like I overshared, or I pushed too hard with the caring, and then I don’t hear from someone for a while, it just emphasizes that feeling of not being good enough that I’m already struggling with. That feeling that I’m not worthy of anyones time or attention. And I get that people are busy, and most of them have other people in their lives and jobs, but I still doubt myself to the point that my brain goes on this loop of things I feel I did wrong, and how I’ve alienated everyone, and I end up with massive anxiety. I don’t tell people that I’m feeling or thinking these things because I don’t want them to think I blame them for the messed up things my brain tells me.

I give compliments and then immediately wonder if they’re out of line. Then I wonder if I should let the person know I meant what I said in the nicest way, but I know I should just back the fuck off. But backing off is hard when you’re already feeling pretty lonely and bad enough about yourself and can’t stand the idea of someone hating you because you were trying to be nice. How much does that idea suck? Oh, and don’t even get me started on my bizarre sense of humor, because that’s another entire dissertation.

It’s a really vicious cycle that I throw myself into. I think I need to move somewhere far away from everyone, or at least get a certificate saying I’m an official train wreck that I can show to people when I meet them so they don’t have to wonder “what the fuck is her deal?”

Oh, hey, no big surprise here

I haven’t updated this in ages. Again. I’ve been too busy having a mid-life crisis.

It’s not just the getting older part, but it’s also a major identity crisis as well which is bleeding over into everything else, including blogging (which, no real surprise, I wrote about last year). I know I want to rename the damn thing, but that is proving to be more difficult to do than I thought it would be. WordPress doesn’t make changing your domain exactly straight forward, so I’m debating whether I should buy a domain somewhere else and link it or whatever you call it.

Right, getting off track.

I’m having an identity crisis, have been for a while. It’s not that surprising when you look at how my life has unfolded over the past 24 years. I spent the first five years of Zachs’ life being a stay at home mom, basically (posthumas thanks to my parents for the help with that. I would not trade those years for anything). When he started school, I went back to college. I thought I had a straight path planned out but I let myself get derailed, probably because I wasn’t super enthusiastic about dental hygiene. Then I left my bachelors program because my mom wasn’t really well enough to care of Zach while I worked during the day and went to school at night. Worked a series of jobs I had little enthusiasm for. Sure, I’m capable of being an office zombie/assistant, but the last job was SO bad, it just kind of murdered my spirit. Then my mom got sick. Broke up with my fiancé. Then my grandmother died. Then my dad got sick. Then my mom got worse. Then my dad got sick again. Then my mom died. Then my dad was a miserable SOB who couldn’t be left alone until he got sick again and died. I think I’ve told that story, though.

So here I am, with no real job, no real skills, no useful degree, and no real idea what I want to do (other than get the hell out of Florida, and travel). I’m still trying to get everything settled with my parents estates (can at least say that is in motion, though). Add to that the realization that I’m getting older, my son is grown up, and I don’t have many friends to spend time with. I’m still very single and not showing any prospects of that changing, plus the crippling feeling that I don’t really have anything to offer anyone even if I did meet someone (a feeling which someone was “kind” enough to confirm for me recently, is true). In order to try to keep my head above water, I’ve been on what I like to call a “booze and bad decisions binge.” I go through these every once in a while, usually when my life is thrown into some sort of chaos, especially if that chaos leaves me with choices I have to make. So I just drink until I’ve had enough to make a bad decision, do something stupid, and then I’m left thinking, “oh god what the fuck did I just do??” followed by “well, at least I made a damn decision!” Sure, sometimes I have fun, and I often surprise myself, but it’s not always in a good way.

My mind is a very confusing place to be, and considering how much time I spend there isolating myself from other people because I don’t feel good enough or like I deserve friendship/love/companionship/all that stuff, I suspect I will be certifiable maybe by the end of the year? I’ll set up a P.O. box or something so people can send me comfy pajamas for when they lock me up with the other crazies.

Watsky x Anxiety

“You’re officially welcome to grab your crotches, synchronize your watches and pour us a couple scotches.”

Back in August I hit a pretty rough patch. I was feeling really down, extremely antisocial. Basically I was in full blown “life is awful and I hate it and its never going to get better because I don’t know what to do with my life and what’s really the point anyway because I’m going to die alone oh my god make it stop” mode.

Hello, my superhero name is Heather the Extraordinary Eternal Pessimist.

I was basically just hanging around the house feeling miserable, eating lots of cookies and not much else, and spending a lot of time trolling around YouTube to try to keep my mind entertained and distracted. I came across a video from Elliott Morgan reacting to Watsky’s new album X Infinity. I’d heard of Watsky before because of his pale kid raps fast video that went super viral several years ago, but I’d never listened to his music because rap and hip hop aren’t my usual go to styles. But Elliott’s assertions about the music peaked my curiosity, so over to iTunes I hopped for a preview, which then led to me purchasing the album.

Then I got Cardboard Castles. Then I got All You Can Do. Then I got Watsky, because god damn, this kid is a fucking lyrical genius if I’ve ever heard one. Plus the music is varied and fun, not at all sounding like the usual rap/hip hop suspects. Then I found out he’d written a book of essays called How to Ruin Everything so I got that and tore right through it. His stuff was enough to keep me occupied and distracted from my miserable reality, which at the time, I really needed.

Now that I had most of his music, and read his book, the next logical step would be to go to his upcoming concert, right? I mentioned something about it to my son who made the comment of “I don’t think that’s your scene” which, well, I couldn’t really deny. I felt dissuaded. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the only way out of my current rut was to do something out of the ordinary. Something I wouldn’t normally do, so the day before the show I hopped online thinking “scene be damned, I’m going to this concert, even if I have to go by myself which is going to probably lead to a great deal of anxiety because I don’t do downtown Orlando with other people much less by myself holy crap I just bought this ticket so now I have to go oh my god.” (my anxious brain likes run on sentences, and a good twitter storm). Day of the show I had a good twitter panic, but got support from some really awesome people who basically told me to go to the damn show and have fun.

So on September 11, I went to a rap concert that was full of mostly college aged kids, and do you know what? I had a fantastic time. I had a few overpriced beers, jumped around and waved my hands in the air.

img_1093
Kinda wish I’d taken better pictures but I didn’t want to spend the entire show watching through my tiny glowing screen

After the show I ran into one of my sons coworkers who had been at the show (you would think that would be awkward, right?) and hung around and waited to meet the Watsky man himself (because I apparently I am a 15-year-old fangirl on the inside, and I really wanted to tell him I enjoyed his book, OK?). While I was waiting I realized that a couple of people I know internet-wise had been at the show as well so I wasn’t the only “older” person there (score). Talked to a couple of kids (I say kids but they were in their early 20’s) about music, movies, comics, Pokemon and sports while I waited. There were a lot of people hanging around, and I felt a little dumb waiting, but I’m glad I did.

The next day my throat hurt and my calves were achy, but I’d say it was all worth it. I’d do it again, as long as my social anxiety lets me.

Fun with hurricanes; a cautionary tale

I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years. Before that I spent nearly every summer here with my grandparents. I also was born here and lived here from age three to seven, so I really should know that Florida is a magnet for hurricanes.

Should being the operative word.

When I moved here in 1996, Florida was in a bit of a “dry period” hurricane-wise. I think the most recent large storm had been Andrew in 1992 (don’t quote me on that, though). Every time June would roll around, my dad would insist on being prepared, stocking up on canned crap food, water, batteries, and reminding me to never let my car get below half a tank of gas. I played along because I knew it was his way of showing me he cared, but inwardly I was rolling my eyes and thinking, “pfft. We’re not going to get a hurricane this year. Florida never gets hurricanes anymore.”

For the most part, I was right. We had a few brushes, like Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I had a feeling it was going to end up missing the state, and it did (the guy I was dating at the time, who was not a Florida native, laughed at people being afraid of something named “Floyd”). I actually had a pretty good knack for knowing whether or not a hurricane was a threat, a sixth sense of sorts that I inherited from my grandfather. I was never wrong.

Then 2004 rolled around. It was Friday, August 13th. I’d just lost my job the day before, had been out getting drunk with friends that night, so I was a little surprised when I woke up Friday morning and realized that Zach’s school had been cancelled and my dad was rushing around bringing in patio furniture and potted plants because Hurricane Charley was on his way, due to arrive that evening. Apparently not only had my luck run out, but the luck central Florida had dodging hurricanes ran out, too (this also seems to be about the same time my hurricane prediction “gift” disappeared).

Charley, while not big in stature, was strong in wind and rain, and he was pretty damn fast. Thinking back, it feels like the worst of it only lasted about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Once it was through though, we realized just how bad it was. The power was out, and there were trees down all over the place. We couldn’t drive down the street in either direction because it was blocked by large toppled trees. The house didn’t sustain any damage, but the neighborhood lost a lot. Our power was out for eight days while crews worked to replace poles, lines, and repair transformers. While it was a huge inconvenience, I know it could have been a lot worse.

Then Charleys’ friends Frances and Jeanne decided to blow through as well. Neither were as strong as Charley and didn’t cause any major problems or extended power outages, but three hurricanes in the span of two months? It felt like we’d had our fair share.

Things got quiet after that hurricane season, which led to a serious case of what I call the “lackadasies” when you become completely lackadaisical about something you should take seriously. I started ignoring hurricane preparedness. Didn’t make sure the battery powered lanterns were in working order, didn’t have an adequate water supply on hand, etc. It was bound to catch up with me, which it did last week with Matthew.

I knew it was out there, I knew it was possibly coming this way, but I didn’t get nervous until Wednesday when it seemed pretty definite that it was going to hit, and I started seeing pictures on the news of store shelves being emptied of necessities. Meteorologists were predicting this to be worse than Charley. Commence panic and scrambling. We were able to get some water, junk food, batteries, tiny flashlights, and ice. The patio furniture was put away in plenty of time, but man, that was a miserable few days. I already have issues with anxiety, and the constant news coverage of how bad it was going to be, coupled with not being prepared had me in a constant state of static. If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw all that anxiety come out in a huge number of tweets.

We got lucky, again, when Matthew moved a bit to the east, saving our area from the hurricane force winds we were expecting. We did get a decent bit of wind though which lasted for close to a day. The power went out for a day and a half (if it had been longer, I’d have lost it given the state I was already in), the roof, which is already in not great shape, lost a crap ton of shingles, and I busted my toe stomping on a block of ice in a cooler (go me), but other than that, we were very fortunate. We didn’t even get that much rain from it while places four miles away were near flooding.

Safe to say that next June, I’m going to be checking off my list of hurricane preparedness items. I figure if I’m prepared, the less likely we are to get hit with anything bad. I think of it like that old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Also, as soon as I can move out of this state, you better believe I’m going to.

So that Whole30 I did?

I wrote a blog a bit over a month ago about my experience with Whole30. Since I wrote it, I’ve debated taking it down, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the fallout I’ve experienced since doing the program. Things have changed since my Whole30, and not all in good ways.

Am I a dietician or nutritionist with the knowledge or degree to back things up? I am not. Am I going to drop a bunch of links telling you why this diet is flawed? I am not (with the exception of this one herethis one right hereand maybe this one, where, if you look around, you’ll see the Slim Fast diet ranked higher on the list ).You’ve got google and a sense of curiosity, you can do that yourself. Instead I am going to give you my real life, post Whole30 thoughts and feelings.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Whole30. I mean, yes, it’s your body and if you want to do it, I can’t stop you. I know there’s a lot of great Whole30 success stories out there, and they make it tempting to try the plan. That’s how I got hooked into it. I didn’t feel well, knew I needed to change something, and all of the grandiose claims (red flag #1) about weight loss and improved health really spoke to me and got me pumped. That is exactly what a fad diet is supposed to do. It’s supposed to hit you at a visceral level, it’s supposed to make you feel like it’s the “One True Answer to All of Your Problems.”

Fad diets are NOT the answer. Ever. I have YEARS of experience in this area. The only explanation I can give for why I fell for it is a complete sense of desperation.

When I was reading the books that outline Whole30 and all the reasons why it’s so good, there was an inkling in my mind that said, “eh, something about this doesn’t seem right.” (red flag #2) I ignored that. Now, the more time passes post Whole30, and the more non-Whole30-subsidized reading I do, I really wish I had listened to that voice.

The grandiose claims for instance. There’s TONS of them, ranging from weight loss to apparent cessation of medical conditions. I’m not saying these people are lying about their experiences. If they did have tons of success, I’m happy for them. I do think those claims are leaving out a lot of important information (red flag #3), though, like what were they eating before Whole30? Did they only do the diet for 30 days, or did they do it longer? Seriously, if someone who eats a diet that’s primarily processed foods starts eating whole, clean food OF COURSE they’re going to see positive results. Switching from a fast food diet to food you prepare at home and have control over is going to provide anybody with better nutrition. I think its fair to say that’s a common sense conclusion (which you are free to disagree with).

In the books, particularly It Starts with Food, they have a lot of resources listed to back their claims. I haven’t read all of them since they are not all easily accessible (i.e. available on a website for my lazy ass to read)  but ones I’ve looked at feel very cherry picked. They come from entities who are already pro-paleo or anti-grain. You can always find both sides of an argument, and yes, you do want to use the research that backs up what you’re saying. I’m not saying they did a bad thing doing that, if anything it should have been me who did more vetting. However, using bully language (red flag #4) to make people believe your way is the Right Way, and that your one-sided claims are The Only Truth ? That doesn’t sit right with me.

I didn’t mention in my last blog, but they offer daily email support. Yes, it cost like $15, but I wanted the extra support and elusive resources those emails were supposed to give me. At the end of the daily email you click a button that either says “yes, I stayed on plan. Go me” or “No, I fucked up, so now I have to start over.” (not exactly what they said, but that’s how my brain remembers them) The emails were, in some ways, kind of alarming. They were full of broken links (red flag #5) so I didn’t get all of the resources and benefits I expected. There were also several instances where they person they linked to had decided paleo was not so great after all (red flag #6). The newest articles were at least two years old (red flag #7. SERIOUSLY, WOMAN HOW DID YOU IGNORE ALL OF THESE RED FLAGS???).

Just after the half way point, one of the emails addressed how to decide if you should start over if you slipped up. “Did you drink some wine or eat grains? Then abso-fucking-lutely you should start over. That’s what we tell you from the start. But if you ate salad dressing and then found out there was agave nectar in it? Eh, don’t worry. A little sugar isn’t that big of a deal, really.”

Wait, what?

I’m supposed to be “slaying my sugar dragon” and you’re now saying that a slip up on sugar isn’t that big of a deal (red flag #8)? I clicked my “go me, I win” button and closed my email thinking ,”did they actually just fucking throw out their own hard and fast must be follow rules and expect me to feel good about that?”

The last ten days of emails were the worst. They were the most pro-paleo of the bunch. The subject of reintroducing foods was addressed, along with the question of “how do I know if I should continue my Whole30?” They say its never “Whole365” but 45, 60, 90? Thats not necessarily a bad idea, but Whole30 is still really awesome and life changing.  But then, in these last days of emails, that they FINALLY admit (red flag #9) that no, 30 days is not going to undo years of bad eating. They recommend continuing if you’re either not feeling the awesome effects (red flag #10), are seriously high on said awesome effects (red flag #11), or if you haven’t “slain your sugar dragon.” Oh, you mean the sugar dragon I might have fed with that “heh, a little sugar ain’t bad” sweeter I might have slipped up and eaten? That before that one email I would have led me to dejectedly start the program over feeling like a failure (red flag #12)? Yeah. That’s the one. Its safe to say, I was seriously pissed.

My results weren’t earth shattering, which I outlined in my last blog. Did I learn some things? Sure I did. I think the most important thing I learned is that obsessing over food and trying to stick to a really strict plan is not a healthy option, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your mental health. One of the reasons I didn’t blog right after I finished the program was because I felt so miserable, mislead, and turned around by the whole thing (not to mention feeling like a big ol’ failure in general) that I was kind of depressed. But since I’d put so much work into the diet, and did learn from it, I tried to wrap it up in a semi-optimistic bow for anyone else who might have done it and felt lousy at the end. Cause I’m helpful like that, you know?

Have I continue on a good eating path since then? Well, considering I just ate peanut M&M’s for breakfast, had McDonalds at midnight a couple days ago, and some days only eat a handful of almonds in the morning and then nothing until dinner because I’m too fucking annoyed and tired to want to mess with preparing anything, its safe to say I haven’t. If anything, I’ve felt too bummed and burned out to care. Yes, there is an obesity epidemic that has been fueled by the wide availability and ease of crappy food. I know what foods to eat most of the time, and which ones to eat in moderation (actually, maybe I should write a diet book). I’m just not doing it because I have no wind in my sails at the moment. Yet another fad diet failed me, and while that’s not a surprise, I’m really angry with myself for falling for it.

I know I don’t get a lot of traffic here, but if you, too, stumble across this after feeling duped by Whole30 and want to commiserate? I welcome you. Also, if you are pro-Whole30 and want to leave me a comment defending the diet, go ahead. However, if your comment is full of unnecessary vitriol that doesn’t lead to reasonable discussion, I probably will ignore it.

Now I should probably go eat some real food. Preferably something with gluten . . .