So yeah, I went to see Ed Sheehan last week, and it was AWESOME. I know there’s a lot of hate associated with him, I’m guessing because he’s successful and people like to hate successful people, because otherwise I’m not sure what there is to not like. The guy is talented. Full stop.
He didn’t have a band. He didn’t have a huge stage set up with lots of props, aside from the video screens. It was just him, his guitars, and a loop station. He sounds just as good live as he does on his albums. It was a great experience. I’ve been to a lot of different kinds of shows, I’ve seen “really popular” performers, have been to big stadium and arena shows, but this one goes up there just in terms of the musical performance. He didn’t need a lot of flash and bang to make it a good show.
When he was talking to the audience at one point, he said concerts are one place where people come together for a common interest. Sporting events are similar, but there are two sides, but at a concert, everyone is there to see the same performance, all rooting for a good show. It’s a rare moment of togetherness with strangers that we don’t get too often.
I really wish I had better words, but I’ll just let him sing for himself.
Its that time of year, the time of year when my frustration tends to reach a peak. Usually its weather related because the heat and humidity make everything feel so stagnant with no relief in the near future. Maybe the weather is playing a part in my general frustration level, but the things that are bothering me are not centered around “damn its hot” but instead its “damn I’m alone.”
I do my best to be there for people. I do what I can because I enjoy helping people, and I’m just one of those people who has that annoying “empathy” gene. I worry that I’m not doing enough, or sometimes that I’m trying too hard. If someone is clearly upset and won’t talk to me, I worry more and tend to think I’ve done something to make them not feel like they can trust me (yes, that is self centered thinking,I know). Sometimes I try to do things, whether they are actual thing things, like something someone could physically benefit from, or just to be supportive. When I try to be there for someone, or do something for someone and they reject it, it really stings.
I know I can’t control the actions of other people, and I’m responsible for my own happiness. I don’t often let people in on things that are bothering me. I either internalize them, or occasionally I come here and complain because nobody reads this. I like to help people, but I don’t like to reach out for help. If I ask for help with something, it’s usually skill related, like I need advice or help fixing some “thing” around the house that I don’t fully understand. I don’t usually tell people the stuff that scare me or upset me. Then everything boils up and I act weird around people because I really need to talk but am afraid to say, “hey, I need someone to talk to” because I’m a) afraid they’ll say no, and b) I don’t like letting people into my carefully constructed walls because that just leads to me getting hurt. Especially when I reach out to them and they won’t reach back.
I don’t know if this is making any sense. I don’t really care if it isn’t. I just want it out there. If you’ve ever been in a crowded room, a room with friends and family even, and just felt so completely and utterly alone, then you know how I feel.
A month ago, I decided it was past time to start making some changes in my life. While I’ve been feeling like a lot of things are out of my control, there are plenty of things that I do have control over, and I was not tending to them properly. Basically, I’ve been doing a shit job of taking care of myself. So lets check in, shall we? I’m going to rate each area on a scale of 1-5 (1 being “not really doing it” and 5 being “doing freaking awesome”).
Move it move it: My goal was to walk at least three days a week, and do yoga five days a week. While I was a bit slow on out of the gate with the yoga, the walking came much easier than I expected. I go first thing in the morning, and find I’m able to mostly ignore the heat and humidity. I’ve been walking five days a week, and doing yoga at least that many, if not six. I’m giving myself a 5 out of 5.
Clean my plate: My diet was atrocious, I was eating too much junk and craving junk. I wasn’t eating meals a lot of the time. Instead I was just mindlessly snacking and then eating dinner. While there’s still definite room for improvement, my goal was to eat more vegetables and fruit every day, and I’m feeling really good about that. I’ve also just cut back on junk in general. The days that I cook for myself, I’ve been leaning towards vegetarian meals. I feel like I could be balancing things a bit better, but I’m off to a good start. I’m going with 4 out of 5.
Honey do: I’ve been making small amounts of progress here and there. Part of the problem has been not having an actual physical list of things I need to do, and instead just keeping a mental inventory. I fixed that this morning, and started writing down some actual things to cross off. Still, even with my haphazard, unorganized approach, I’ve managed to get a few things done that have been nagging at me. Lets go with 3.5 out of 5.
Write like a writer who writes: Ha. Yeah. I said every day, then I said five times a week in the same paragraph on that one. Can’t really say I’ve been doing either. Most of the writing I’ve been doing is kind of free flowing “I need to get these thoughts out of my head” private journaling, but it’s not as frequent as I would like, which is bizarre because I often feel better after I write that stuff down. I can improve here for sure, so 2 out of 5.
Mini mental vacations: While I’ve been taking some time most days, it hasn’t been every day. The days I do something guided, it’s usually longer than a simple five minutes. When I get back from my walks in the morning, I could very easily use my cooling off time to just take a five minute mental break. I just need to set a timer or something. I do spend a decent amount of time reading every day, which keeps my mind focused on one thing, but reading time is reading time, and I don’t want to cross the two activities. What I need to do is learn to quiet and focus my mind when I’m feeling most frazzled. Going to give this one 2.5 out of 5.
Earn my explorer badge: The vague one, because I didn’t want to limit myself in what would be considered a new adventure. So how am I going to grade myself? Ah, hindsight. I’ve been getting out of the house more, been to a few new places, tried some new activities (and one old one that now feels extremely foreign). I’ve been trying new recipes. I’ve been trying new routes I was previously afraid to take on my morning walks. I read a book I wouldn’t have chosen on my own (and LOVED IT). I feel really good with this category. Points me 4 out of 5.
Overall, I’m feeling really good. The exercise especially, I think, has made a huge difference. I’m sleeping MUCH better, my anxiety hasn’t been as bad. I feel stronger physically and I’ve been a bit happier in general. I think I made a good choice starting this. I’ll check in again with this in a months time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to post something other than just pictures.
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.
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
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.
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?”