Moving On

It can be hard to move on. Whether we’re moving on from a break-up, getting fired, or a familial fallout, we can get stuck in over analyzing things.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be good to go over they “Whys”. There’s a proven problem-solving method called “The 5 Whys” and it can help get to the bottom of a problem to find a better solution. It kind of works like this:

  1. Why did my girlfriend leave me? Because I wasn’t satisfying her emotional needs.
  2. Why wasn’t I satisfying her emotional needs? Because I didn’t know what they were.
  3. Why didn’t I know what her needs were? Because she never told me.
  4. Why didn’t she ever tell me what her needs were? Because we both had different schedules and never spent time together.
  5. Why did we both have different schedules? Because we had to go to work and help family and friends.

So the underlying problem isn’t that he wasn’t meeting his girlfriend’s needs, it’s that they weren’t making time for one another in their busy schedules. Now he can move forward from constantly asking, “What did I do wrong?” to “What can I do differently next time?”

But sometimes, moving on can be difficult. Even after we go through the “5 Whys”, we can still ruminate about the things that happened. Even when these things are not our fault, we can feel that familiar pang in our chest that is reminiscent of regret.

When we start to feel regret over the situation and are struggling to move forward, we might try avoidance strategies to put ourselves into a conscious state of denial. Although this can help at first, it can lead to more emotional build-up and more stress. In the long run, this can actually lead to taking longer to moving on.

“Well then, what’s the magic secret to ‘moving on’?” you might wonder. There isn’t one. It’s just a daily reminder that you are doing the best you can, dealing with the emotions as they arise, and constantly tweaking your coping mechanisms to replace the now unhealthy ones with newer, healthier ones.

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of stress and I’m finding it difficult to keep my anxiety and melancholy in check.  Getting outside and walking in the sunshine, making short trips to places that aren’t terribly crowded, and cleaning seems to be this week’s way of dealing with things. Throw in a bit of reaching out to trusted individuals, having awesome pet buddies, and playing games with the Hubby, and my anxiety is.. manageable

Just remember, even though you may feel as if you’re going through hell, try to handle things the best you can. It’s not fair to lash out to others who are trying to help. I know, sometimes the ‘help’ seems more of a hindrance. Tell them. Communication is vital in this scenario.

Whatever it is you do, just keep moving forward each day and soon.. it will all be an unpleasant memory.

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The Perils of Confusion

I sincerely apologize for being human and “down in the dumps”, as many call it. I know that society today teaches us to avoid negativity in any shape or form. We run after fleeting moments of happiness to distract us from the monotony of being an adult.

I’m tired of running.

It seems the world is filled with people that think being genuinely kind is a weakness. Instead, we are trained to prove ourselves through derogatory remarks that are thinly veiled as humor. It makes us feel smart, accepted, and “normal”. Never mind that the remarks are excessively obvious and unnecessary. No matter what, it is not acceptable to openly expose such behavior – that makes you odd and makes you the weird one.

I’m tired of being the weird one.

When there are problems, just complain. Offering solutions in a respectful and productive manner is not acceptable. People will ignore you, tell you that’s how they’ve always done it so it’s okay, or that you don’t know what you are talking about. No matter how severe the problem, use humor (again) to diffuse the situation and not fix anything. Try not to care that the problem will continue and negatively effect those nearby.

I care too much.

I’m tired of living in a world where I have to find coping mechanisms to “fit in”, be “normal”, or adopt an air of seemingly negative qualities. Is this what being human has come down to? I’m not interested.

I’m not interested in developing bad habits to cope with tendencies that are continually stunting our growth as a race. Drinking, over eating, thrill seeking.. you name it. In varying degrees, these habits are socially acceptable. It’s okay that half the workforce has to show up drunk or high on drugs in order to get through the day. Just shake your head at their obvious failure as a human being. It’s fantastic that people jump out of airplanes just to feel “alive”. What a great accomplishment! This is totally normal and okay.

It’s not okay.

I’ve always fought hard to try and be that which I thought I was supposed to be: An organized, multi-tasker who gets things done. Someone who continually moves forward. The thing is, there really is no place to go. It’s all a sham, a mirage. It’s all a giant hamster wheel that you’re running on while people are slinging eggs in your face. You’re supposed to grin and bear it, pretend it’s not happening, and even congratulate them on their aim.

I’m tired of living in a world where I so obviously don’t belong. I keep searching for a reason to stay.. a way to stay. I keep desperately looking for a way to exist the way everyone else does but without losing what seems to be my basic humanity.

I just can’t find this magical way. I’m beginning to think it’s not there; it never was.

People tell me that this means I must have a mental illness. I must possess an inane and genetic quality that makes it impossible for me to belong in this world. I must be different in a way that is unfixable. On this note, I must work to find ways to diminish this unfixable aspect of myself. I must hide it. I should be ashamed of it simply because it is more acceptable to be in denial about such things than it is to point them out.

I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired of carrying around guilt for seeing things differently than everyone else. I’m tired of this life. Just tired.

It just doesn’t make sense to me and I’m tired of trying to wrap my head around it. I try so hard to pretend to be “normal” and behave the way everyone else does. But I do it wrong, somehow, it’s not quite right and I can’t figure out why. I feel like an android pretending to be human but they all know I’m not like them. It’s not that I’m a robot with no feelings, quite the opposite. I seem to feel things more severely than everyone else. Simple slights make no sense to me to be made in the first place, nevermind that the intent was “in good humor”. If it was in such good humor, why risk the slight to begin with? If you are truly so comical, why put people down to get a laugh?
I’m so lost in all of this and there doesn’t seem to be anyone around to aid me, anymore.

I’ve tried everything I ought to: medicine, therapy, self-help techniques. Some of it used to work but none of it does now.  The thing is, I have to continue the charade. No matter how much I bumble about and fail at it, I have to do it again and again each day. If I don’t, those who rely on me won’t have the resources they need to live in this wretched world.

So each day continues the living nightmare. The dread of having to exist in my own skin. The guilt of not responding to things like everyone else does. I carry around confusion as to why I am so angry and frustrated all of the time. I can’t seem to understand why I am ignored, brushed off, and pushed around so much. I just don’t get the excuses: “You need to be more authoritative,” “You shouldn’t let things get to you so easily,” etc.

Why?

Why should I have to be borderline aggressive in order to have my verbal communications taken seriously? Why should I be indifferent to the intentions of others? Why should I not care about other peoples’ suffering as long as I’m not? I don’t get. Someone explain it to me. Why?

Married Life

Being married is just like being in any other type of cooperative relationship. There are times one or both people involved are not too happy with the current situation. But because there are goals to be met (not just financial ones), each individual agrees to work past these incidents and continue the team effort.

Okay, enough adulty, hoity-toity, therapy session talk. Lets, get down to the nitty gritty: Married life can be difficult. It can also be wonderful. Oddly enough, it can be both of these things at once. I’ve recently run into people that I haven’t seen in years. They ask how I am, how my family is doing, and if I’m enjoying married life.

That last question always confuses me.  I want to say, “Well, not always,” but I’m afraid they’ll take it the wrong way. My husband and I are what many would call “Happily Married”, but “happy” is such a relative term. We both work hard at making it work. We both appreciate what the other does. We both go out of our way to lift the other up.

On the flip side – we’re both lazy, selfish, and can be overly demanding. You know why? We’re humans. Neither one of us is a super powered spouse whose every move is perfect and doting. We all have various forms of needs, wants, and outright tantrums. It happens.

That being said, I wouldn’t give this up for anything. My husband is my best friend, my confidant, my support. He’s always there to make me laugh (especially when I don’t want to), listen to me even when what I’m talking about has no relevance nor substance, and I know that he will always be there if something should happen.

And yet, being married usually requires sharing things. We share living space and sleeping space. We share utensils, technological gadgets, vehicles, and sometimes even clothes. We share the affections of our pets, our families, and our friends. Sharing can be very good.

And sharing can be very frustrating.

“That’s not where that goes.” “That’s not how we organize that.” “That’s not how I do it.”

I have found that even in the most mundane of daily events, we have to stop and find the best way to do something for the team. Where do the kitchen utensils go and why? What is the best way to organize the filing cabinet? What kind of furniture should we get for the living room? We often spend more time than we should discussing (or compromising) the ways we do various, daily tasks.

In the past, I made decisions on my own. I might hem and haw over them, or I might make them on impulse. Either way, I was the one who made the decision and it left me feeling empowered (or regretful). Now, we both make decisions. It empowers the relationship when we work together to find the best solution. And when we make the wrong choice, we both deal with the regret together. (Or both chime in to convince one another that we did the best we could).

So if someone stops me to ask how I’m enjoying married life, I’m just going to smile and say, “Pretty good.” I know they may not understand, but that’s alright. The only other person who needs to understand, already does.

 

Worth It

Please understand that this is not meant to be advice. I will not get on my lectern and point fingers at those people who “aren’t doing things right”. Instead, this is just something I have learned along the way that I wish to share because I feel like we are in a good place to do so.

I have only been married for going on four years. Hubby and I were friends for about three years before becoming romantically involved, dated for a laughably short time, and we lived together for a year before getting married. It has been a “never a dull moment” relationship with lots of ups, downs, loop-de-loops, and gorgeous vistas. I have been exceedingly fortunate to have someone in my life who is so dedicated to our relationship. He has fought for us even when I was ready to throw in the towel, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Hubby and I met at work, where our jobs were in different departments. We kept it a secret and maintained our professionalism so that no one at work even knew we were dating.  We never showed PDA, we used eachother’s names instead of romantic nicknames, and we maintained avenues of appropriate communication (paging for something instead of texting). No one even knew we were dating until we showed up one day – married.  Let’s talk more about that.

We were planning a Spring/Summer wedding but I became fed up with other peoples’ opinions about what I should or should not do. The scheduling was also an issue. By the time we had appeased everyone’s schedules, we would have been getting married in October or November. That was a “no” for both of us; I didn’t want to get married when it was cold outside and Hubby didn’t want to get married on Halloween – like I suggested.
Lying in bed one night, Hubby joked around (for the millionth time), that we should elope. He said that Leap Day was a couple of days away and it would be fun. I said, “Hell yes.”
Certain family members were well aware we were getting married, but none of them knew of our last minute plans to elope. My Mother-In-Law had even taken us dress shopping so I could find a nice outfit to get married in (I didn’t want an expensive dress that I was only going to wear once). No one knew at the time of this excursion that I would be wearing that dress much sooner than anticipated.
The interesting thing is that his mother worked at the County Clerk’s office, at the time. We didn’t tell a soul about our plans and she was pretty shocked when we showed up all dressed up at her office and asked for a marriage license. (She was even more shocked that we weren’t shaking. Apparently, most people have wobbly signatures from shaking so hard while signing their marriage license.)
Since we got married on our lunch break, when we got back to work all dressed up, people knew something was going on. They were floored that we had been dating and living together for so long and they didn’t even know. One coworker even rushed out to WalMart to pick up some Bridal gifts. It was a pretty neat moment.

The next few weeks the information spread around work. I was asked on an almost daily basis about it and I got to show off my ring (that I don’t wear anymore because, apparently, I’m just allergic to jewelry). I was never one to walk down traditional paths so I didn’t want the attention of an engagement or a big, fancy wedding. Still, it was kind of nice and gave me a few weeks of no bad days at work. Who could be upset when you get to flaunt your diamond ring? This quieted the naysayers who kept telling me that, “I should have had an official wedding because every Bride deserves her special day.” That shit made me cry so thanks for that people who supposedly care.

The thing is, after the novelty of all of this wore off, the real issues began to rear their ugly heads. I was distracted with working full time and going to school full time, so it took a little longer than usual. About a year after we had gotten married, I started to notice things and I reacted in a not-so-loving way. It’s a long story and I’m not getting into the particulars. What I have to say is more of a general lesson that I have learned over these short (but seemingly long) years with my husband.

I am a strong-willed and independent woman. This is one of the things that not only attracted my husband, but has also almost caused me to lose him on several occasions. Let me set something straight before I go on – Hubby is exceedingly supportive. He has not been jealous of my independent streak. He has not tried to tame it. He has not put me down for it. Rather, this quality caused some interesting reactions from me to situations beyond my control.
Being independent, I hate codependency. I don’t do things or behave in ways that will prevent people from feeling certain things. I am of the mind that we are all adults and responsible for our own feelings and behaviors. Having said this, I do not go out of my way to be callous towards others’ feelings, I simply do not tip-toe around them. In other words, I am not an enabler of negative behaviors. Hubby does this and for various reasons. Mainly, it was a coping mechanism growing up. It is ingrained in him and I have tried all these years to convince him to stop doing it. It drives me crazy! Whenever I ask him a question about his opinion, he tends to pussyfoot around the answer in the fear that it may upset me. That’s what upsets me.

Not to worry, I have my own “quirks”. My coping mechanism of super-independence has lead me to having a “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality. Why should I wait for someone to hurt me? I can just be overly paranoid about their behavior and dessert them first. Problem solved. I am not hurt and have moved on with my life. Afterall, I have conquered every other obstacle in life this way. Why should this be any different?

Oh, but it is.

This type of mentality is the actual problem. I’m not saying that Hubby was an innocent angel. He has behaved in ways that have compromised our relationship, as well. But you know what? He has been working at that and his improvements thus far are impressive.
Basically, my paranoia that Hubby will behave this way again led me to a “No man hurts me” way of thinking and this simply reinforced the already present “I’ll ditch him before he ditches me” mentality. Several months were spent where it was difficult to be in the relationship. To say we struggled is laughable. We basically clawed our way back to where we are now.

Trust is a huge thing in a relationship. Some people feel, for many different reasons, that once this is lost – the relationship is over. Hubby and I had to work hard to get trust back, from both of us. He had to learn to not cross certain lines, and I had to learn that being apart of a loving relationship did mean trying to say and do things in a less hurtful way. We both had to learn to love one another, again. We still have our bad days, but we are having more and more good days. Hubby is learning to curb his “humor” and I am learning to curb my “Fuck you” attitude.

It’s so nice to go through that initial infatuation stage, but that is not love. It is infatuation. Life will throw things at each of you and at both of you. Love is a purposeful decision to stay together even when you’re both not feeling so loving, anymore. As I said in the beginning, I am so lucky to have a person as my companion that fights so hard for both of us. Even when I’m trying to push him away, he’s trying to hug me. Whenever we fight and I “go for a walk”, he hunts me down. When I say I don’t know how much more I can take, he reminds me of how wonderful life is with him. Marriage is many things, but easy is not one of them. This isn’t a lifelong vacation. It’s a lifelong “Stay until the job gets done” kind of place.

We’ve had our ups and downs, and we will continue to have them, but neither one of us is clocking out early.

Just follow your dreams.

I am so tired of hearing this sentiment, and for multiple reasons.  First, a little history.

When I was a teenager, I bought into the whole “if you think it, you can do it” mentality. I worked very hard and enjoyed doing it. I had great grades, a super grade point average, and was the favorite of all the teachers. “Stop bragging,” you may be saying. You’d be totally wrong.

I had no friends and socialized in a combination of avoidance and verbal acid. I developed a very serious anxiety disorder and several physical health problems.  I ended up dropping out of school at the end of my sophomore year.  Or maybe it was the beginning of my junior year.. I can’t remember. The thing is, I don’t remember much of that time except that I was constantly studying – and sleeping. I didn’t do anything recreationally – I just lived and breathed schoolwork.

I did my homework (and all extra work) on the bus ride to and from school, at my lunch hour, during study hall (when everyone else was napping), and at any time I was home and not eating or doing chores. I have worked hard to not regret these years as much as I used to. I keep thinking of the opportunities that passed me by: fun times with people, a part time job to help out, and maybe – just maybe – a healthier person overall.

This experiences, and the fallout afterwards, has brought me to a point in life where I can appreciate a “all is for naught” attitude. It is dangerous to delve too deeply into the depression that such an attitude can bring about. In order to counterbalance this, I turn it into kind of a philosophical state of mind. I’d talk about Nihilism and the implications of it on life, but I think that may be a bit too much for all involved (including myself).

Here’s Today’s Lesson: Yes, by all means, follow your dreams. It’s hard work to get there. Just sitting around dreaming about it won’t get you anywhere. Still, be sure to enjoy life itself.  Don’t “put your nose to the grindstone” all of the time. Talk to people and truly enjoy being in their company. Take part in solo and group recreational activities. Learn about the environment you live in (small town, big city, countryside) and come to appreciate all it has to offer.  Life is precious and it’s too short to be chasing something you think you need or want. Instead, enjoy what you already have.  It’s far more rewarding.

10 of the most wonderful things..

..in my life.

I figured that since I did a top ten list for annoying things, I’d counteract it with this one. You know you love it.

  1. My Hubby.  Oh  I know, gag me with a spoon.  It’s true, though. Without my hubby, I wouldn’t have anymore sanity. He keeps the humor going and that’s a difficult thing to do with my overly serious attitude. Not to mention he’s a wonderful cook!
  2. My cats. I love my little furballs, despite the littler box fiascos. They are always there for me when I need a good cuddle and provide plenty of antics for me to laugh at.. or to yell at them over.
  3. Books. I love to read and don’t do nearly as much of it as I would like. Good books can help you forget your sorrows altogether, or give you some insight into better ways to manage them.
  4. Crafst and hobbies. Oh my, this should be a sub-list. Let’s see.. crochet and knitting, drawing and doodling, writing, crossword puzzles, and the odd bit of wreath making now and again. I wish I could devote all of my time to these wonderful activities, but I must make a living. Unfortunately.
  5. The outdoors. Again, something I don’t do nearly as often as I should. Being outside on a wonderful day (or a gloomy one) can really lift the spirits. Even better is time spent outside with people you like being around.
  6. Food. This really should be number 1.5. I love food. Seriously, I am addicted to all the wonderful morsels of yummyness.  If ever I’m in a bad mood, food will set me right again. Especially chocolate. Mmm, if chocolate were a person I’d do very naughty things with them all the live long day. Chocolate..
  7. Sci-fi and fantasy. This could fall into the “books” category, except that I also like movies, games, and other sci-fi and fantasy oriented things. I’m not a diehard fan of anything in particular so I don’t consider myself a geek, though I truly wish I had the attention span to be one. Still, absolutely wonderful.
  8. Comedies. Specifically, Britsh Comedy. I love to watch BBC shows. I am currently watching (and re-watching, and re-watching, etc) The Vicar of Dibley.  I adore Dawn French. I wish I could find a good copy of Murder Most Horrid, but haven’t had any luck. British Dramas are just as much fun. Although a bit dated now, the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth is absolutely scrummy. Mmm.. Colin Firth…
  9. Sleep. I’m a daydreamer so I love to just lie back and let my mind wander. Well, when it isn’t mulling over stress and worry.
  10. Technology and all that. I am fascinated by coding languages and troubleshooting computers. I am still working on my comptia A+ certification (more slowly than I should be).

Lit-Shaming, and then some

I recently read a post by The Opinionated Man about Lit-Shaming.

I have to be completely honest – I am guilty of lit-shaming. If you read any of my other posts, you would know this. I lit-shamed the hell out of paranormal romance books in my Bizarre Surprises post.  The thing is, I know a lot of people who like to read books that I tend to poo-poo.  They are great people; they have great senses of humor, are compassionate, are there to listen, and tend to read other genres as well.  The whole lit-shaming thing has nothing what so ever to do with the other person. It’s about my own pet peeves and how I’m projecting them onto anyone who will listen.

I think this can be applied to anything people get interested in.  Movies, music, clothing – it can all be “shamed”. That’s such a drama queen term.  When you tell someone you think their outfit looks stupid, you really aren’t trying to put the person down.  I know, I know – it sounds stupid, but hear me out.  Most of the time, the “shaming” is done with little to no thought. The words fly out of your mouth and then it’s done.  Once out there, it’s really up to the receiver to decide how to handle it. My husband is a pro at this and can turn this stuff into comedy gold. He even “shames ” other people’s likes in a funny way which makes it seem more acceptable and can get people to laugh at themselves. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

I remember growing up, I didn’t like the same music as other people my age. I went through a new age jazz phase.  I loved it but it drove my brother as crazy as his grunge music drove me. He would say snarky things and I would take them personally. I eventually stopped listening to the music because of it. When he noticed this, he told me that wasn’t his intent. He was just teasing me and did not mean to hurt me.  It sounds like a stupid explanation, but it’s true. I think “shaming” is just our way of teasing the people around us because we seem to think that we matter enough to them for our opinion to matter – as just that: an opinion. They know better than to take it to heart and can return the same teasing to reinforce the relationship.

Sounds weird, but it seems to be my experience.

Of course, there is a kind of shaming that is done to bully.  Again, growing up, I didn’t like to wear what everyone else my age wore. I didn’t want to show skin and I wasn’t into brand names. I like cheap clothes that were functional and wouldn’t show a lot of dirt. I tended to wear a lot of beige pants and flower print tops. You can imagine the type of feedback I got from my peers. It could have been considered bullying, and at times I thought it was. But then I realized that I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to change the way I did something because a stranger decided they didn’t like it.

I think that’s the difference. When someone you like and know “shames” something you like, it can be taken much more personally than someone you don’t know. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it: You are going to stop doing something because someone you know teases you about it even though you know they like you and wouldn’t change you for the world.

With all that being said, I am not sorry that I tease people about their choices in life. I expect my friends to tease me and I tell strangers who do it to feck off.  Life is too short to get worked up about such nonesense.

By the way, nothing is better than cold shouldering someone who is trying to get attention by putting you down. Nothing.  Well, maybe a fist to the groin, but that will get you arrested.