The Riptide of Depression


Beth was my best friend throughout high school and college. I’ve mentioned her before, and no doubt I will mention her again due to our many misadventures together during our formative years.

Beth & I often took spontaneous road trips. We loved adventure and the freedom of the open road, as many college kids do. One early summer weekday we decided to head to the beach. We both had the day off and enough cash to buy gas and snacks. We packed a few supplies, got in her big red truck with the “Don’t Mess with Texas” bumper sticker and headed southeast to the coast. Upon arrival, we grabbed our spot on the shore, stripped down to our bathing suits, and got in the water.

The public schools hadn’t yet let out for the summer, it was fairly early in the day, and there were no lifeguards on duty. The beach was relatively empty and we had our little section of the ocean to ourselves. We paid little attention to the world around us as we splashed around in the ocean, and soon we found ourselves farther out from shore than we had intended. So far, in fact, that we were past the end of the nearby pier. We failed to pay attention to the waves, failed to pay attention to the current.

We’d gotten caught in a riptide, and we were in trouble. A lot of trouble.

Thankfully, enough survival instincts and training kicked in for us to swim back to shore. The journey was rough, exhausting, and there were times I didn’t think I would make it. I’m not a strong swimmer in a pool, and swimming in an ocean is – as you know – even harder. When we finally reached the shore, we dragged ourselves out of the water, splayed ourselves on the sand, and attempted to catch our breath while coughing the water out of our lungs. When we finally regained our bearings – and enough strength to stand – we walked the couple hundred yards back to our pile of clothes. We had the whole “That was Really Scary” & “I’m Never Swimming Again” conversation and then hopped in the truck to travel further down Highway 17 towards the next adventure.

That particular misadventure was tucked away in my brain for sixteen or so years, all but forgotten…until Beth died.

Beth’s death was the catalyst to this long and tiresome grieving period that I’m in. I’ve been here a little over three years. The grief I feel these days isn’t for Beth’s death, but for more current events in my life….but regardless of why I’m grieving, a three+ year grieving period is really freaking long, you guys. Really.Freakin’.Long.

With that grief has come some bouts of depression. It’s not the pseudo ‘Starbucks is out of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes’ or ‘my favorite show got cancelled’  kind of “depression” (btw, that’s an inconvenience, you guys. Maybe a sadness. Use your words.) It’s the kind of depression that requires help from Therapist…though I have just now (after six months with him) said anything close to “um, this is depression, yo,” because a) I’m REALLY good at faking the happy, b) trust issues & c) It took me awhile to realize I was in full blown depression mode.

Here’s why I didn’t realize it was happening again: Depression comes like a riptide. Hey! That’s why I told you the Beth story! See? There was a point to that. I can be swimming along, minding my own business, thinking all is well and enjoying the sun, barely noticing the sneaky pull…until it’s too late and my feet are no longer anywhere near the ground, and I’m surrounded…by agony. Waves of wretched thoughts bash over and through me while I gasp for air and scan my surroundings, desperately seeking the safety of the shore. It’s exhausting, frightening, and there are times when it seems like sinking to the bottom would be easier than treading water or swimming.

Beth and I reached the shore that summer day because we had each other for support. I gasped “keep swimming! You can do it!” when she got tired and she yelled “The shore…it’s right there…just a few more yards” when my vision was impaired by the salt water. I no longer have Beth to direct me to shore, but I do have others to be my eyes when I can’t see. I know I’m not alone. I grab a lifeline when I need it, and I keep swimming until I make it back to safety – regardless of how tired I am.  Thanks to hope, faith, and sheer defiance, I will always make it back to shore.

I’m good right now, by the way. I’m on the shore, watching the waves and brushing the sand away from my tired soul. It took awhile to get back this time, and I’m exhausted, but I’m good. Suck it, depression.

If you’re suffering from depression: Remember, depression lies. It will try to drag you down. Don’t let the lies pull you under. Look towards the shore, start swimming, and scream for a lifeline. You’re not alone out there. The number is right here, lookit: 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.) Call it. The safety of the shore is closer than you think, even if you can’t see it right now. Don’t sink. Swim. You can do it. You can. I believe in you.

I’ll wait for you here on the shore.

Click for Photo Credit

 

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Atypical Thursday


So after deciding that I was going to write, finish & publish all the authentic & potentially (probably) unfunny posts last night, my brain must’ve flipped out. It was all “YAY! ALL THE WORDS & THINGS!” and woke me at 4:50 am today. FOUR FRIGGIN’ FIFTY.

kinda like this

My brain

I laid in bed listening to Stella & Brando (the Wondermutts) snore for twenty minutes while my brain rambled about I have no idea what. Cuz it was 4:50. Bitter.

Eventually I conceded, slowly waking the sleeping Wondermutts (that whole “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” is good advice, but more on that another day) and dragged them out of bed. Usually it’s the other way around. Typically Stella has to stand on me to force me into a vertical position. 60 pounds of Stella standing on your chest is NOT how you want to wake up, by the way.

 

funny hocus pocus quotes | Funny:) / Hocus Pocus is my all time favorite Halloween movie on ...

Me, every morning.

So I put on my Hi-Vis safety shirt (safety first!) & attached tiny flashlights to the Wondermutts’ collars & went for a brisk 45 minute walk in the dark. Because I was up before the freakin’ sun. So bitter.
For the record, this is why I got a Spaniel mix instead of a yorkie - I want my dog to run with me, not ride along on my hip.

Not at all how I looked.

Wait – I had coffee first. Cuz coffee. & I’ve had coffee ever since. So that’s an extra 1.5 hours of coffee consumption.
Funny Coffeeology | Funny coffee quote from Funny Technology - Coffee Every Day - Community - Google+ via Wyatt Martin | #funny #coffeequote #caffeine

not ashamed.

& I’ve been writing in my online journal (two different posts) all morning (while also doing the work that earns me the paycheck) cuz THE WORDS JUST WON’T STOP COMING & my brain is all THINK ALL THE THINGS. The only writer’s block I had was the one I put there, apparently.
Calvin and Hobbes on "Writer's Block". @Andrea Brown  I think I've found  your problem ;P

Calvin is of my people.

That or I’ve just hit manic mode.
Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: Today's forecast... Manic with a slight chance of bat shit crazy.

probably this.

Apparently now that I’ve given myself permission to write (& therefore deal) with the heavy crap, my brain is all
Funny Pictures " go insane go insane lock me up and make it rain." said the mentail person!

I steal all these images from the Pinterest, btw.

Dear Brain:

shut it

You tell it, Chandler.

You could say it was the coffee’s fault. You would be wrong. The internal marathon monologue is finally slowing down. It took a pot of coffee to get to this point. Instead of overlapping thoughts, they’ve finally started forming an orderly line. WAIT YOUR TURN, THOUGHT.
Puppies!

Before

İşte bu.

After. Also? I feel like the tree.

So here’s where I am today: bitter about the 4:50 internal alarm, drinking lots of coffee, alternating between real work stuff, a private journal post, a journal post containing blog ideas, and this. And it’s only 2pm.

Oh, and as a teaser (warning??) here are the working titles of future blog posts. You’re welcome (I’m sorry??).

 

Don’t Take the ClickBait

Content Marketing is Killing Content

256 Shades of Gray (alternate: The Black & White Blinding Effect)

Riptide of Depression

Mania

How to Focus on Work When Your Brain Won’t Shut Up

The Joy Killing Laughter Thief

Group Texts, Group Messages & Reply Alls, Oh My.

Personal Brand vs Professional Brand

Facebook tags & Challenges & Why I Hate Them…Mostly.

Gossip Kills

Unplugging “Friendships” to Renew Relationships

Postcards from Pee Wee

Body Image Bullshit

The Haunt

A Bared Soul is not a Cry for Help (A Venn Diagram!)

Titanium Ta-Tas – The Cancer Scare!

Stop Telling Me What I Need (Clickbait Part Deux)

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie – Literally. No Really, Literally.

 

 Ok, back to work now. Stay tuned!

 

The Problem With Becoming Authentic


[aw-then-tik] 
adjective
1. not false or copied; genuine; real:

Genuine. Real.
“Be authentic in your relationships.” ~ That’s what the leaders of the church urge.
“Bring authenticity to your character.” ~ That’s what the directors say.
“Be authentic in your writing” ~ is what Therapist eludes to when I explain why I haven’t published any blog posts or finished any stories lately.
true statement, ya'll.

true statement, ya’ll.

There are many benefits of being authentic. I get that. Integrity: good. Trust: good. Realized potential: good.
However, the problem with becoming authentic is: often it’s difficult, and sometimes it comes with a price.
Becoming authentic means dealing with your crap – even if that means risking the loss of a relationship because you have to admit past betrayals.
Becoming authentic means taking off the mask – even when it means risking a friendship because you need to admit you want something more – or, conversely, admitting that you don’t want something more.

oh boy!

Becoming authentic means being honest – even if it means hurting a loved one’s feelings because you admit you hate they way they make grilled cheese sandwiches. (this rarely happens. grilled cheese is awesome)
burdened with glorious cheese

burdened with glorious cheese

A lot of risk is involved with becoming authentic. And what is risk? Risk is exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance. So. To truly “become authentic” means having to “take a risk,” and you can’t take a risk without first confronting the fear: the fear that someone won’t like you – the fear that you may not like you.
That’s the problem. If you are authentic, somebody is not going to like you, and you have to be ok with it.
I told Therapist I wasn’t writing because the posts & stories were too dark, too heavy. I don’t want to finish them. “But that’s where you are right now,” he nudged.
“But…I like writing funny posts. I like making people laugh.”
Because of course I do. Funny people are liked, funny people are loved.
Well, shit.
Soo…yeah. Those unfinished, unpublished (& probably very unfunny) posts about grief and depression and betrayal and all the other dark stuff I don’t want to write about? They’re coming.
 

She Died Today


She died today.

On the day I woke

already a lump in my throat,

obstacles to face,

dragons to slay.

She died today.

She taught me to be a Phenomenal Woman,

she taught me why the Caged Bird sings.

She died on the day I fiercely needed

to be reminded of such things.

Two tears I shed at work,

Then wept later in the shower.

I wonder if she knew the gift she gave,

the gift to me of power.

I know her voice,

I see her words

Graffitied all over each page.

A whisper, a shout,

“Go, girl, let yourself out of that cage.”

“Lift up your eyes upon.

This day breaking for you.

Give birth again.

To the dream.”

She died today.

I will listen.

I will live.

U2’s Bad: The Lifeline


Person’s Assignment:

A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes. 250 words.

In 1989, Beth, “Foxley Moxley,” and I were in Pembroke, NC to compete in the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) State Festival. At least, I think it was Foxley Moxley, though it could have been Eli. The memory is foggy. I was a sophomore, they were seniors. It was the second show I’d ever designed (as a lighting designer,) and the first real road trip I can remember that didn’t include parental supervision. It was a time before GPS, when we had to rely on actual paper maps and directions to get us from point A to point B. We had finished day one (check in & whatnot) and were in unfamiliar territory on our way to crash at the house of a student from a “nearby” competing school.

Being from Raleigh, we were used to city highways. We learned to drive on the Beltway (now 440) and, even as high school students, could merge on & off as well, if not better than, some of my current adults friends who say “I hate driving on 440.” We were used to city street lights, city directions (the ones with actual street names), and city churches, and we were traveling down a two lane country highway, in the dark, with no manmade structures to be seen for miles on end.

It was a visually dull & exceeding long drive, so we passed the time with chatter & music. Foxley Moxley (Eli?) had two cassette tapes with him: U2’s Unforgettable Fire & U2’s War, and we listened to them repeatedly. The cassette would end, either Beth & I would yell “FLIP,” and off we’d go again, listening to the haunting riffs of The Edge’s guitar underneath our oh so important high school topics of conversation. Foxley Moxley loved him some U2, and, because of this trip, I learned to love them as well.  I sat in the back (sophomores rarely earn shotgun when seniors are in the car) and mostly listened, only contributing occasionally when they’d prompt me to do so. I preferred listening to small talk instead of contributing, still do.

The desolate country “highway” began to look creepy after awhile. We’d been discussing favorite books and movies at the time and probably discussing Stephen King, as the further we drove into the isolated area the more creeped out we got. I remember passing an old shack of a house with a black dog on the porch that we could barely see until the headlights reflected red against his eyes. Bam: Cujo. Then we passed one of those old country one room white churches with the steeple on top & red stained glass windows. There were people inside, which we thought odd since it was a Wednesday night (not discovering until much later that Wednesday night church is actually a thing in rural NC.) As we passed, it appeared as if they all simultaneously turned to stare. Bam: Children of the Corn. Giggle filled screams crowded the car as Foxley Moxley picked up speed in search of the next turn.

We escaped the terrors of our imagination, obviously, and eventually arrived at the student’s house. I remember sleeping on the floor, or attempting to sleep rather, too keyed up from the adventure and the upcoming competition to truly rest. I remember the excitement of the next day’s performances, and the awards we won. I remember the drive back in daylight being far less frightening than the previous night’s adventures. I remember hours of U2 on the stereo. I remember laughter, and I remember Beth.

Beth and I were friends for a long time, and then we weren’t. The details are for a different story on a different day, but in short, our friendship ended poorly. Words were said…screamed, rather, and a phone was slammed back to the receiver (pre-cell phone era.) Years of laughter-filled road trips over, a friendship broken. That was 1998.

I tried over the years to pick up the phone, to call, to make amends. I couldn’t find her. Then, when Facebook started, I tried again, and again to no avail. Of all the high school/college friends that I had, she was the one I needed to reconnect with, to apologize to, and to forgive.

Beth died unexpectedly in 2011.

I did not get the chance to make amends.

I will not get the chance to make amends.

Every time I hear U2’s Bad, the image of that country road flits past my eyes, and The Edge’s seemingly endless guitar riffs release whatever vice happens to be gripping my mind at the time. It is my aural woobie, my sedative, my calm in the eye of the storm. When I hear it I am immediately transported back to an easier time: one filled with laughter, hope, and friendship. It is my reminder…to let it go.

Explanation of The Writing Assignment


Every once in awhile my “person”  will remind me, gently, that I need to write. Last night during the Oscars she did it telepathically while the presenter for best screenplay was talking about writers. Yeah, I heard you, Elesha. I felt your stare, woman. This morning she sent me an article (that I’m entirely too lazy to find & post a link for) which basically said I should be writing, and then just commented “love you, mean it. :-)” That’s her mild mannered version of screaming in my face.

So I wrote back & basically said “Ok fine. you want me to write? Give me an assignment & a word count to get me warmed up.” I thought it would buy me some time. I was wrong. Apparently she was “for serious”, because she sent me the following within the hour:

“Okay, here are two prompts to choose from…
 
1- what is your earliest memory of reading dr Seuss? First book, fave book or lines? 
And why? Make your own rhyme. 🙂 
 
2- in honor of music Monday: 
A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.
250 words.”
It’s Dr. Seuss day at her sons’ school, Seuss’s birthday was yesterday, and she’s a substitute teacher (w/ a teaching degree) at her sons’ school, hence the Dr. Seuss post. Also, I like to rhyme & she knows it. New music Monday is a thing we just started. #NewMusicMonday #awesome #keepsmefromlisteningtoshowtunesallthetime
Yay for only 250 words. She’s being kind, and I assume will increase that number as we progress with the whole “force Suz to write the words” project. 
I choose new music, mostly because it’s snowing outside & I don’t feel like rhyming. I’m not Elsa. I don’t sing or rhyme in the snow (Frozen reference! Totally haven’t seen it! I dunno if she even rhymes but I hear there’s a song by some woman named Adele Dazeem…)
Yeah, we’re looking at you, Travolta.
I digress.
If you want to read the assignment regarding the song that transports me to another place, click here. If not, here’s a picture of the poor sap that is now the joke of the interwebs.
travolta

NaNoWriMo Makes My Brain Hurt


After a long creative drought, I’m finally back to writing. Sort of. I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year in hopes to finally write a book that’s been swirling in my head for a few years. NaNoWriMo, for those that don’t know, is a writing challenge. It’s simple: write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Easy peasy, right? Totally. So I was all, I’m gonna write the book this year! I have a title! I have a protagonist! I’m ready!

Big problem, though: I have no plot. Plots are hard and I’ve yet to really form even an outline for one. I’ve written more on my blog during NaNoWriMo than I have in the book. NaNoWriMo seems to be more of a path to self discovery than a novel writing experiment so far.

Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

1) I’m really good at titles. If I could write a book of titles I’d be done by now.

2) Writing in third person is hard. I really have no idea why I started writing it in third person. Bad choice.

3) The Wondermutts are jealous of my laptop, which means so far I’ve only been able to write late at night after they’ve finally given up and passed out. At that point I’m too tired to form complete sentences.

4) The more I create, the more I want to create. This is a good thing. It would be a lot more useful if I could stick to one freakin’ subject or project at a time.

5) I get easily distracted.

6) I want to paint right now as much as I want to write. Why? See #5.

7) I’ve kind of forgotten how to write. Stupid creative drought.

8) I like lists. If I could write a book of lists, I would, but that’s been done.

9) I’m  more in the mood to write blog posts than a book. So that’s what I’m going to do. Why?

10) Cuz I do what I want.

11) The Wondermutts really need a bath. This has nothing to do with self discovery, I just wanted an eleventh thing. Cuz eleven is a prime number & those of you that like nice, even lists will be all “WHY ELEVEN, WHY NOT TEN??”

Here’s what I can tell you about writing: nothing. Well, nothing that wouldn’t cramp your creativity. If you want to write, then write. Write every day. Realize some of it is going to be total crap. Don’t wait to be a good writer to start writing. Just write. Crappy writing is part of the process.

So yeah, I’m quitting NaNoWriMo, at least for this year. I do intend to try and write at least one blog post every day for the rest of November. Get ready, cuz some of them will be crap.

And then maybe I’ll write one that will make you laugh & then I’ll be all “YAY!!! VICTORY IS MINE!”

The End.

How to NOT Get Punched in the Throat


This is a follow-up to How to Not Punch People in the Throat, the handy step by step guide to avoiding assault charges when you get annoyed to the point of potential violence.

Fact: Most annoying people don’t know that they are annoying. It’s true. You probably have at least one frenemy that you want to punch at any given time, just because she breathed in your general direction. That person doesn’t know she’s annoying, and that’s why you have employed some “How to NOT punch people” best practices.

I’m here to break a little bad news to you, though. In some instances, YOU’RE the one that is about to get punched…and you don’t even know it. I know, it’s a shocker. GO ahead and take a moment to let that fact sink in. I’ll wait.

*gets coffee, watches a few pointless youtube videos, checks email*

Better? Ok, let’s continue.

Ever wondered how to tell if a comment or behavior of yours is going to get you punched in the throat? Since I admittedly have a hot Irish temper and the tendency to Hulk Smash items (usually foam cups, cuz I’m not that strong and smashing things can get expensive), I know these signs well. I’m usually the one giving the signals to the perpetrator to run away. I’m going to reveal these signs now, as a favor to you. Because I care about your safety, you guys. You’re welcome.

Here are a few tell-tale signs:

1) You’re getting ignored even though you keep talking.

2) The subject keeps changing to a different topic than the one you want to discuss.

3) Responses are given in short, concise sentences…usually one or two words, or sometimes just a mere grunt. If you hear the word “fine” more than once, you’re in trouble.

4) The person is consuming copious amounts of chocolate or wine as a way to sedate themselves while talking to you.

5) Flared nostrils.

6) Narrow eyes and a stabby look in the eye. – This one is key. If someone is looking at you like this, they’re already imagining what it would be like to punch you in the throat. Time for you to employ one of the following tips.

Remember kids, this is what  you’re trying to avoid:

How to NOT Get Punched in the Throat

1) Be polite before beginning a conversation. “Do you have a minute?” is better than launching into a game of 20 questions. You may be interrupting something very important.

2) If the agitated is staring at a computer screen, avoiding eye contact and diligently trying to work, quit trying to interrupt her. She may be deep in thought. Excuse yourself and ask to speak to her later. She will appreciate that you respected her time, and will usually respond in a positive manner.

3) Know your audience. Read visual cues. This is especially key if you are a morning person and the person you wish to speak to is not. You could get punched just for smiling before 9 a.m. If your need to talk to the individual is great, do the following: Approach slowly and quietly. Hand person a cup of hot coffee fixed the way he likes it. Don’t act too chipper. Speak slowly. Remember, NO sudden movements or loud noises. You wouldn’t wake a sleeping bear, would you? Of course not. Treat tired night person the same way. The same is true if you are a night person speaking to a morning person during evening hours. Just substitute wine or warm milk for the coffee. Maybe hand him a blanket. Other option: have the conversation at lunch time. Usually both morning people and night people are alert enough at high noon to use and understand complete sentences.

4) Excuse yourself from the conflict. You can’t get punched if you’re in a different room. Reconvene when the agitation has subsided.

5) Distract and flee. If you are receiving “the glare,” immediately hand chocolate, wine, or cash to the person and then run away. Cash almost always works.

6) Realize that you are not the center of the universe. It’s true. Neither you nor the agitated Hulk-like creature in front of you are. Sometimes you have to be the first to realize it and concede. You know, for safety.

7) Learn to compromise. Ultimately Hulkster wants to punch you because you are a) annoying him, b) interrupting him, or c) acting bull-headed. Stop it.

8) If 1-7 don’t work, wear proper protective clothing at all times. Just be sure to hydrate, that gear gets hot.

Remember, it’s unlikely that the individual you are agitating will ever change, so you must learn to work with the person, not against. Perhaps she hasn’t read How to Not Punch People in the Throat yet. You could share the link in an email, because that’s not passive aggressive at all.

Good luck!

The End

How to NOT Punch People in the Throat


Preface:  I found this draft, originally created in April, and am posting it now. Obviously the video was added today, not six months ago, since the video was created in September. I don’t have a time machine. Ya know, in case you were wondering. To clarify, today I’m actually in a pretty good mood and don’t want to punch anyone in the throat. At least not yet. It’s still early, though. My mood could change. It’s been known to happen.Oh, and I never punched the acquaintance in the throat, either, because I practiced these tips, of course.

How to NOT Punch People in the Throat:

I’m trying to brainstorm of multiple blog posts & FB posts & tweets for multiple sites & my head is all floopy. Plus also an acquaintance of mine & I are disagreeing and I want to punch him in the throat. But not really. Ok yes. Really. But actual violence never solves anything even though it may make you feel better for just a moment or two. At least that’s what people tell me.

So I figure I’ll post a couple of handy “how to NOT punch people in the throat” tips that have worked for me so far. I hope you find them useful.

1) Excuse yourself from the situation. This is KEY. No longer having to stare your nemesis in the face will help calm your nerves & give you a chance to think rationally and non-violently. Plus you physically cannot punch them in the face if you’re in a different room. I mean, not without the use of telekinesis or the ability to teleport or something. If you do have those powers, please let me know. Gas is expensive, the ability to teleport would come in handy.

2) Self medicate with chocolate & wine. But only chocolate if you’re at work. No wine at work. Employers frown upon that unless, of course, you’re a professional wine taster. In that case, drink away. Also tell me how you got that job. Disclaimer: Moderation, people. Do not do this step if you have food/alcohol addictions. For serious. Maybe just skip to number 3.

3) Buy boxing gloves & hire a personal trainer to hold pads for you so you can hit the pads as hard as you want. Then it’s not violence. It’s training….to be violent. Wait. Ok, so technically this IS violent, but you’re not attacking the person who is bothering you, so therefore it’s ok. I think. Plus this training also teaches you hand/eye coordination, which is useful on many occasions. Like frisbee golf & not dropping babies. Plus also boxing releases endorphins & endorphins make you happy & happy people don’t kill people…usually. At least that’s what we learned from Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, so obviously it must be true.

4) Realize you’re not always going to get your way. I know, it’s shocking, but the world indeed does not revolve around you. Sorry ’bout it. This is an especially hard fact for those of you that grew up as only children and never spent afternoons smacking the crap out of your siblings for taking your G.I.Joe and/or Barbies. Or, ya know, legos. I don’t know what you played with as a kid. I don’t know your life. Who knows, maybe you had a pet monkey. Lucky punk. Anyway, you are not the sun, and the world does not revolve around you. Learn it, know it, accept it.

5) Accept the fact that the person you want to punch in the throat probably will not change. Ever. While this is disappointing, once you accept this fact you can stop wasting your precious energy dreaming of ways to cause the person pain. This acceptance is quite freeing. Does it mean you will no longer have problems with the person? No. Will you find occasions where you still want to punch him/her in the throat? Sure. However, once you realize that a punch in the throat will not solve the issue, you can learn to find other ways of dealing with this individual. I dunno, like compromise. There’s a thought. This is a far more useful practice. Stuff actually gets done when you compromise.

So there you go. Feel better? Less violent now? No? Here, watch this video.

If that didn’t help, I dunno what to tell you. Except get a freakin’ therapist. You need more help than I can give you.

The End.

Attitude of Gratitude


So it’s the 5th of November and the now annual “30 days of Thanks” thing is happening again on Facebook. My inner smartass is all “Why are people only thankful in November,” & the (allbeit small) compassionate side of me is all “UM, CUZ LIFE GETS BUSY & SOMETIMES IT GETS CRAPPY, SO PEOPLE NEED A REMINDER. GIVE ‘EM A BREAK.” And then Inner Little Miss Sunshine is all “AT LEAST THEY’RE POSTING ABOUT THANKFULNESS & NOT POLITICS” & all the voices in my head scream “VALID POINT. YOU WIN.”

As much as Inner Little Miss Sunshine would like to think I could play along & post some new piece of gratitude every day, Realist Suz says “yeah, right. Not gonna happen.” It isn’t because I’m not grateful, I just get distracted easily. Cuz life.

gratitude

So instead here’s a list of thirty things I’m thankful for, because I like lists & actually have time to write one & also cuz I AM THANKFUL, YOU GUYS.

I just don’t want to try to remember to write a post every.single.day.  You can read one each day if you like, or you can read them all at once. Or you can not read them at all. Whatever, it’s your choice. The list is not necessarily in order of importance, just based on what thought sprang into my head first. Also, having the list in blog form means when I’m having a crappy day & not feeling thankful I can come straight to the post & say “oh yeah” instead of digging through the wonky Facebook timeline for reminders.

The List of Thanks:

1) God. – I’m grateful that He gave me life, free will & the ability to make choices (I’ve made some awesome ones and some really really really bad ones). I’m also grateful  that I’m ultimately not the one in charge (that’s a lot of pressure) and that He still loves me even when I screw up royally.

2) My Family – We’re few but we’re mighty. We’re not without our problems, but as an adopted girl, I know I could’ve ended up in a waaaaay worse situation. I’ll take the bad with the good. There are a lot of kids (& adults) out there that have less family than I do, so I’ll gratefully take what I’ve got. Cuz my mom rocks.

3) My Home – It’s older than I am, it’s got more trees (AND LEAVES) than I know what to do with, and I’m constantly googling DIY stuff on the interwebs to fix things, but it’s mine. I mean, well, it’s the bank’s…but one day it will be mine. I’m thankful that I have a place to call my own. Not everybody has shelter, so I’m blessed to have mine, even if it’s not shiny & new.

4) My Job – I HAVE A JOB. I have a place to go to work every day, the people here are made of awesome, & I earn enough cash to pay for the home & a few luxuries as well. I also know a hell of a lot about toilet paper, so there’s that.

5) My Car – “You’re my boy, Blue. You’re my boy.” That Hyundai is a mighty little beast. It’s paid for (POW), it’s old, it’s reliable (I’m hard on cars) and it gets me from A to B quickly. And again, not everybody gets the luxury of having a car. Car = freedom. Yay.

6) My Dogs – I am an introvert (no, really) so I like not making small talk. The Wondermutts don’t require me to talk, they take me as I am, and they provide company and cuddles. They also keep the squirrel & vermin population in check. If I could teach them to clean up after themselves, life would be GOLDEN.

7) My Person – My Bestie, My BFF, My Human Sedative, My Sanity, My Person. The Watson to my Sherlock. Just the other day she & her rad family showed up at Ed McKay’s just as I was getting twitchy. They were randomly stopping by on the way to Trader Joe’s as I was waiting for my trade-in books to get counted & credited. I hadn’t been there in five years, had been waiting an hour, and was contemplating rearranging all the books by color. Then Person & Person Clan showed up. Coincidence? I think not.

8) My Person’s Clan – I’m thankful she has them to keep her sane, because keeping me sane takes a lot of work. Plus, they’re awesome.

9) The Divas – The divas are my inner circle. I’m fortunate to have five really close friends that I can call on anytime for any reason. Not many women can say that. I can. I’m beyond grateful to have had these ladies in my life for the past ten+ years.

10) My Friends – I know a lot of awesome people, all with their own unique qualities and quirks. I know who to call if I need to laugh, who to call if I want to share a good meal, and who to call if I need to bury a body. Just kidding about that last part…probably.

11) Diversity – I’m really grateful that I know such a diverse group of people. I see people ranting on the interwebs a lot in an “us vs them” way & it frustrates the hell out of me. We’re all different, why would anyone try to change that? I wish more would celebrate diversity instead ridiculing or judging it. The only kind of person I don’t like? A mean person. Mean people suck. Don’t be mean. If God wanted everyone and everything to be the same, there would be one kind of flower, one kind of tree, one kind of person (that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t look like you or me, for that matter.) Enjoy & embrace & be thankful for the differences. How boring life would be without them.

12) Books – READ ALL THE BOOKS. LEARN ALL THE THINGS. A good story is a great escape. I’m so thankful for other people’s stories.

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13) Music – I am so thankful for music. Life would suck without it. I have music playing at least 80% of the day. It’s always in the background. It helps occupy the part of my brain that would otherwise never rest, which enables me to get things done. It invokes happy memories, it helps heal the scars from bad memories. I can’t breathe without music. love.it.so.

14) Mass Transit – Mostly planes, but trains & buses are pretty sweet, too. We mere humans can fly, you guys. That’s pretty sweet, especially when it enables me to see old, far away friends faster. This year, due to mass transit, I got to visit a new city & spend time w/ old high school buddies. I also got to spend some quality time with one of my best friends when she flew home to visit.

15) Fresh Water – I live in a country where I am privy to fresh water every.single.day. I can shower whenever I want & drink as much fresh water as I want. Everyone should have fresh water, but not everyone does. Thankful for fresh water? Think everyone should have access to it? Then donate to charitywater.org. They’re making it happen, one well at a time.

16) Good Health – Fortunately, I’m a relatively healthy person. My immune system is a beast and other than some joint pain & migraines, I (at least for now) don’t have much to worry about when it comes to health. Others around me got dealt a different hand, and manage to handle their afflictions with amazing grace. I am in awe that they go to battle every day against cancer, arthritis, etc with a good, strong attitude. I am very grateful for the healthy hand I got dealt, as I make a HORRIBLE sick person.

17) Food – …and the fact that I can afford to buy it. There are a lot of people struggling out there. There was a time when my (single) mom struggled to put food on the table, so I’m grateful that (at this stage in my life) I don’t have to worry about that. Nor do I have to eat spam. I do NOT miss spam & mac ‘n’ cheese night.

18) Therapy – It’s a good thing. For reals.

19) Laughter – Laughter really can cure what ails ya, at least mentally. I love a good laugh, and I love making other people laugh. I don’t consider a day successful unless I’ve made at least one person chuckle. & if I can make someone laugh so hard they snort? BEST DAY.

20) Theatre – I am thankful that I have an outlet for all my craziness. I am thankful for the friends I’ve made there. They’re all weird and amazing and quirky and wonderful. I love the smell & feel of an empty theatre, and the rare times when I’m the first one there & can enjoy the quiet calm before the rest of the cast & crew arrives. It is my sanctuary.

21) My Muse – I have a new muse. Other than some lighting gigs, I haven’t really created anything new in a couple of years. I haven’t written anything, which should seem obvious by now, as boredthis is a ROUGH post. The worst part, I haven’t really WANTED to write. I haven’t WANTED to paint. I haven’t WANTED to create. I’ve been in a funk. Bored. Unmotivated. Grey. Only going through the motions. Then along came a creature whose lust for life is remarkable, delightful, infectious, inspiring…and suddenly I find myself writing again. The writing is crap, but I’m writing. I’m reading again, too. I haven’t read a book in two years and now have four partially read books on my side table. I haven’t painted anything either, and suddenly I find myself craving a paintbrush & fresh canvas. Will the muse be around long? Who knows. Will the desire to create last? Who knows, but I’m thankful that the muse is around right now, because blah filled boredom is exhausting and annoying.

22) My hands – I have to make…stuff. God weaved that into my being. Whether the medium is light, paint, fabric, food, wood, clay, digital…it doesn’t matter. Sometimes I make really cool stuff, sometimes I make total crap. I have more unfinished projects than I do finished ones, but that’s ok. A lot of them got abandoned during the “grey phase.” I’ll get to them eventually. I make things because I have to, so I am grateful to have (mostly) strong & nimble hands to help me bring my ideas to life. And, back to number 13, I’m thankful I have music to listen to while my hands work.

23) Wrist guards – Because I am a maker of things & always have been, my hands aren’t quite as nimble as they used to be. Too many years at  light boards,  sewing machines, and keyboards have left my hands sore & tired. So I’m thankful to have wrist guards that force me to keep my wrists straight (instead of in balled up fists) when I’m sleeping in order to minimize & slow the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Wrist guards may be a weird thing to be thankful for, but whatever. They ease pain & enable me to keep creating.

24) My Massage Therapist – I’m lucky enough to have enough friends to more than cover a “30 days of thanks” list, but this friend gets a special mention because he eases my migraines (& wrist pain & back pain & knee pain,) so he fits in the same category (sort of) as the wrist guards. He uses his skills to make me better so I can continue to do all the things I do. I’m a bad patient, so when I have a migraine I’m downright hateful. He makes me less monstrous. And he’s pretty friggin’ funny, too. The dude is worth every.single.penny.

25) Butterflies – Coolest real life example of metamorphosis.  I have butterfly images all over the house, and not in a creepy “Silence of the Lambs” kind of way. They remind me that change is a good thing, and that any humble little caterpillar can spread wings & fly.

26) Sunrises – Brand new day!

27) Sunsets – Best paintings you’ll ever see are above your head. Look up once in awhile.

28) Thunderstorms – Especially at night. Best sleepin’ weather ever. Bring on the thunder & lightning, I say. Bring it on.

29) The Ocean – Big, vast, turbulent, still, constant & ever changing.

30) Coffee – You didn’t think I’d write a list about gratitude & not mention coffee, did you? Seriously, it’s like you don’t know me at all.

There it is. Thirty days of gratitude wrapped up into one freakishly long post. That’s not all I’m grateful for, but I need to move on to other projects. Go forth & give some gratitude.

The End.