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.

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?

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.

Today, I am proud of myself.

It has been a rough day. In all honesty, the last couple months have been difficult. I had to leave my job due to unsafe working conditions. I have found another job since, but only just recently.  Here’s the problem: I filed for unemployment and am being bounced around through loopholes.

Here’s the deal-io: I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a nice lady from the unemployment office. I am being serious, she was very nice. She only put me on hold to read through my case and whenever I corrected her on something, she said, “You’re right, let me try to make more sense of this.” She finally went and got her supervisor, who enforced a loop hole and she was no longer able to help me.

It was difficult. We are not currently drowning in debt collectors, but we are just barely keeping our necks above the murky waters. We have had to extend our bills out to the maximum amount of time before late fees are charged. We have sought public assistance programs and will need to again, shortly. Still, things could be far worse. We still have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry, and we are both now working so this situation is certainly temporary.
The thing is that I earned that unemployment by working. I had to leave my job to prevent any further physical harm from coming to myself. It was not just a “I’m sick of having to work, I think I’ll draw money off the system” type of deal. It was a difficult choice, but I believe I made the right one. Jobs can be replaced, fingers cannot.
Having said all of that, I was very distraught when I got off the phone with the nice lady. I threw myself on the bed and sobbed, loudly. I could hear my neighbors murmuring. They were probably wondering what on Earth was going on. It only lasted 5 or so minutes, but I continued to cry for a good hour afterwards.  Taking a shower, reading, and trying to get proactive about the situation has helped, but I am still fighting the urge to curl up in bed and sob.  Despite this, I am proud of myself.  Why?
Because I have not allowed this unfortunate situation to overwhelm and engulf me. I am going to get a huge stack of necessary papers together and physically go down to the unemployment office, where things will be straightened out.  I am not going to mope around the house all day, I have things to do. I am an adult and I have responsibilities. The good thing about this is that it is very distracting and helps me realize that life does go on.  Even if it turns out that I do not prevail in this situation, life goes on.
Still, I have learned something. I believe it is time to leave Indiana. The labor laws here are atrocious. Corporations are favored over individuals. It is a highly depressed are due to this and other situations (such as addiction being treated from a criminal standpoint instead of a mental health one, a very gender biased public assistance program, and a piss poor educational system).  It is high time Hubby and I took a good look at our lives and how negatively impacted they have been because of this. When we are able to move out of the area, I would rather go to a state with better labor laws, better social programs, and a much better educational system.
Lesson learned, Indiana. You are not worth the negativity.

Frankly My Dear..

You know the rest. But I do! I do give a damn!

I came home from Mom’s and grabbed the mail out of the mail box. There was a flier from one of our state’s congressmen.  I didn’t really think anything of it because we tend to get fliers from congressmen whose district we are not in. We tend to get them a lot, actually. I was ready to throw it in the burn pile, but morbid curiousity took hold of me and I read it. I READ IT! Ugh.

govment

It was a thick, high gloss flier that had a perforated area you were supposed to detach and send back. It wanted you to check off all the things you thought the state government needed to focus on. National Debt, Job Creation, and Border Security were just a few options. I went to grab a permanent marker to make one big “X” that would cover all the check marks, but something grabbed a hold of me. I snatched a pen from the pen pot and started writing in the “Other” section. I told my congressman about how piss poor employment is here in Indiana. That job creation wasn’t the problem, employment at will was the problem. A so called “right to work” laaws had paved the way for companies to treat their employees like disposable commodities instead of human beings. Turn over rates, accident reports, and job dissatisfaction is on the rise. Something needs to be done now!

laborlaw

I looked over my sentences that were peppered with exclamation points and shrugged. It would either get thrown away at the congressman’s office, or I’d get contacted for being aggressive. Either way, I had done my part, right? Wrong. I turned the flier over and noticed something at the top right hand corner. There was a little box. Inside that box there were four words, “Place Firstclass Stamp Here”. What?! This flier was franked.

I had heard about this on the news. Franking in America (this is my new  favorite phrase BTW) is the process of stamping an envelope to state that the postage is paid for.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a good method. It’s not so good when government employees start franking mail with taxpayers dollars, however.  The flier I received had been franked by a machine, with one of those “First Class Postage Paid” markings. next to a pre-sorted marking.  This means, the money to send it to me came out of my own pocket, as a taxpayer, and now I was being asked to use my own money to send it back.

postmark

WHAT?!

Oh L no. Homey don’t play these games. If I was going to have to use my own money to pay for the postage on the return trip, I was going to be saying a lot more. This is probably how I am going to spend my evening: drafting a well written letter to my congressman about the perils of treating individuals like throw away razors and treating companies like human beings. In between bouts of politically-fueled ire, I’ll work on my afghan to ease tension. I think I’ll probably have to use more than one stamp to send him the book I plan on writing, but at least it (hopefully) gets his attention more than a few measly check boxes.  I hope not to get so much attention that I get labelled dangerous and thrown in jail, but I did always wonder what the inside of a jail cell looked like.

The nerve.

Work Rant

Caution, this turned out much larger and precarious than I had imagined.

 

These past few weeks have been a tumultuous experience. First of all, I became very ill and for no apparent reason. It was determined that I had a secondary sinus infection, but that shouldn’t have caused a fever that was quite so high nor one that lasted so long. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the medicine had actually worked, but I just seemed to keep getting sicker. I had difficult staying awake, food did not seem like fun, and my moods were shifting into dangerous areas.

Sick from Work

Sick from Work

Because of all this, I had to take a week off of work. It’s a good thing I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open just from moving from the bed to the couch. I can only imagine the very nasty things that would have happened if I had actually tried to withstand a full shift at work.  I was hoping that was it. Surely one whole week of rest is enough to conquer any fever, right? Wrong.

The pure stress from work combined with strange hours and an allergy to fine dust particles made it too much to bear. My body simply could not fight the fever off. After the first day back, my fever spiked again. My body ached and no medicine helped the pain. I was feeling delirious, again, and it took everything I had not to cry myself to sleep. Despite this, I forced myself to go back to work the next day.. I think. It’s all kind of a blur. I remember having to go back to the doctor several times and get different doctor’s notes. It is possible that I slept one day and then went back.

Anyways, on my next day back, I lasted 40 minutes. Yes, 40 minutes. I didn’t even make it to the first 10 minute break. I just couldn’t handle the physical illness on top of the exceedingly unreasonable amount of stress. I didn’t cry when I got home, I slept. I think I slept the next day, too, but as I said before, it’s all a bit of a blur. I know I still feel weak and if I miss a dose of medicine, I get sick again.

Stress from Work

Stress from Work

This is where I get confused. How can we live in a place that demands so much out of each employee that their physical and mental health is at jeopardy? Is it like this everywhere in the US? The factories I have been working at as of late all seem to have the same attitude: Work them hard, work them fast, and don’t treat them like human beings.

I know, any company has to make a profit. And yes, I agree that people do need to be held accountable for their actions. People need to be willing to learn how to function at the required task and do so efficiently. That being said, it would be great if those in charge understood the implications of their unreasonable expectations. The thing is, they do and they still don’t care. “Figure it out”, “get it done”, “make it happen” are phrases too often uttered by those in charge. Those in charge who have no idea what it actually takes to complete the work. Yes, they are working too, but they do not understand that just because a job is labor intensive and considered entry level, it is still a hard job.

After awhile, such a hard job can take it out of you. This is especially true when you are required to work an outrageous amount of mandatory overtime due to the inability of those in charge to properly schedule people. This could be because they are running out of people to schedule, which is just one of many vicious and dysfunctional cycles that exist.  Again, I am not calling out any one company in this. It has been this way at the last four factories I have worked at. I have been told by a few that it isn’t like this everywhere, but those who only live in the state I do, seem to disagree.

Fired from Work

Fired from Work

I suppose this is all from a much larger problem: at will employment. The ability given to employers by the state to fire anyone and to do so at anytime is absurd. It causes situations where people will not object to working exceedingly long hours, all the while doing the job of two or three people. They can’t afford to lose their job – they aren’t going to say no. This needs to stop.

We are all human beings, we are not disposable commodities to be replaced and discarded like a used razor just because we demand fair treatment. I can honestly see why unions were necessary once upon a time, and I think that time has come back around.

Because of all of this, I am determined to better myself and get out of the dysfunctional companies that care so little for their employees. Their employees – the very people making it possible for the company to sell any product in the first place.

Good riddance.

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.