Quarantine Day 13-15

Quarantine Day 13

  • The only reason I know it’s day 13 is because I am posting writing these daily. I am with the rest of you in the WTF day is it camp
  • apparently some radio station down in Philly thought it would be amusing to play Christmas songs to really fuck with people’s heads. It seems like something they should have done on april 1st, just sayin
  • I had minimal motivation today. I made myself get up and off the couch at 3 PM. I have mixed feelings about doing that in retrospect…stay tuned
  • Sharing is caring people. Little gestures go a long way any time, but especially right now

Time for my adventure in parks today

  • I scouted online to find a park for the vicinity I was going to be in. I find one, and it’s one I didn’t even know existed. Jug Mountain Reserve. I have lived in that area my entire life, and didn’t know where this place was. There is an obvious reason for this lack of knowledge in my life
  • I use Google maps to get me there, and it takes me down a short driveway. I’m like, um okay. This is clearly not where I am supposed to be. I see signs along the driveway that indicate the park boundary is there. I figure that it must be nearby, and I go try to find it. After about 10 minutes of going up and down this road, I give up. Google you have failed me for the first time in a long time.
  • I did find a cool new farm stand, and will go back there when I need produce.
  • I now look for another park that is close to where I had driven to at that moment. Great, there’s on like 10 minutes from here. Google maps to the rescue! Alas, not so much. It takes me to a private road, where supposedly I go 0.5 miles and the parking lot is there. I am not too keen on this idea. It’s a plague, and I do not need to get feel like getting arrested or shot to go on a hike. I look on Google maps again, and figure it must be further down then. I drive for about 10 minutes, and nothing. Lots of farms, which is always cool. But no park.
  • It becomes crystal clear that Google maps has failed me AGAIN. Now, Google maps have failed me in the past on occasion. But not twice in the same damn day. At this point I am getting frustrated. I just want to go to for a jaunt out into nature at this point. I don’t care what it is
  • I pull up the park brochure, and it gives directions. I think to myself, “okay, I’ll look for that road as a landmark for the park.” I drive back the way I came, and I look for that landmark road. Booyah, there it is!
  • This is just the beginning of this comedy of errors, guys. You will be pissing your pants reading this in a minute.
  • I pull in, and it is empty except for one car. Score! I change into my boots, and put on my hiking backpack. Why am I getting squirted with water?! Probably about 50/50 of you know what a camelback is, so it’s basically a water reservoir that you can sip on easily while hiking. I look down, and the bite valve came off (it’s where the water comes out of). I am like, are you fucking kidding me right now? Universe, what are you trying to tell me here?! Because you know damn well I am NOT getting back into the car! I am too damned stubborn for that. I rig it so the hose is upright, so it doesn’t become like a teething baby and let loose when there’s no diaper. I find the bite valve, and it’s under my car. I clean it off, I reattach it, and I’m off.
  • I came up with a new word. Wike, it’s when it’s not quite a walk and it’s not quite a hike. That’s what this turned out to be. A bit of elevation change at the beginning, about 1/3 of a mile, and then it becomes pretty much flat. It plateaus into a really cool hemlock grove. I haven’t seen a hemlock grove in a long time; thanks in large part to the Wooly Adelgid. This stand seems relatively healthy, and there are several that seem to be dead or dying. It’s still beautiful, and definitely worth the wike up to see it.
  • There is not a single person on this trail after the first 10 minutes. It was awesome and so quiet.
  • I head back at about the two mile mark. I start down the trail. I am walking and looking around. This is not a dicey trail. There are some rocks, but this is a very tame trail by comparison to the others I have been doing. Not that I have been doing anything crazy or intense hiking wise yet.
  • I roll my ankle on a little f-you rock. That’s what we call them in paddling. They are seemingly insignificance rocks that shouldn’t mess you up at all, but they f-you every time. I have been icing it on and off. I thoroughly hope it’s not sore tomorrow, so I’m playing it very safe by icing it now.
  • That ends the comedy of errors. Good news is that I don’t think it’s too badly sprained. I am also obviously off from work, so I can let it rest and heal, if need be. I also made a bunch of kids smile today, so getting off my couch was worth it. Sometimes I need to listen to the universe more because it was basically telling me to go the fuck home.
  • my goddamn radishes froze in my refrig. How freaking hilarious and odd is that?
  • Confession: I don’t like lettuce or salads for the most part. I really have to be the mood for them. For some inexplicable reason, on Saturday I decided to buy Bibb lettuce. Where has Bibb lettuce been all my life? It is so freaking good!! It’s the little things
  • the woman I have been talking to says, you can’t get injured and go to the hospital now! I thought it was wicked cute because it is a mild sprain.

Quarantine Day 14 and a Bazillion

  • It feels like I’ve been in quarantine for a lot longer than 2 weeks. You guys who have been in it like a month, what does it feel like to you?
  • Remember when my internet went out on Friday? They finally showed up today to fix it in the early afternoon, and they were very nice and got it back online. The one redeeming quality of my very slightly sprained ankle is that I wasn’t mad at them for being so late. If I had been able to hike today, and they came that late, I probably would have been PISSED. Right now, it’s a take it easy, watch stuff, and read a bit kind of time.
  • So yup, my ankle is very slightly sprained. It’s a tad sore, but it’s more stiff than anything. I am grateful for that because the way I rolled it yesterday, it could have been worse. Thanks yoga for helping with stronger ankles. I’d rather rest and heal it now than risk a worse injury the next time I go hiking. Because if I have to stay indoors anymore than necessary, I will legit lose my mind.
  • I am both jealous and insanely happy for those that got out today. It was a perfect day out, damn it. I kept reminding myself that it’s temporary, and I’ll get out soon. This is my internal slogan during this. It’s temporary, and eventually we’ll get back to “regular life”. Whatever that means, it’ll be interesting to see what that turns out to be. I’ll admit it was frustrating at times to say the least.
  • I cleaned out a junk bin today, and found all sorts of interesting and funny things. An old planner, and the liquid gold of finds right now. Hand sanitizer. Be jealous my friends. I never could have conceived that would be a thing I would write, and not have an ounce of sarcasm about it being valuable. Do people actually use planners? I seem to buy one, and then after like two weeks never use it again. Kudos to you if you do. Except when my mentor gave me a passion planner. That was bitching and pretty cool.
  • I went out to get an ankle brace because I have an ace bandage, but it didn’t seem to be doing much. As I was checking out, this kid comes right next to me and says not very nicely to the cashier, “do you take cash?” He says, very politely but with gritted teeth, “please step behind the line”. They also have a table placed in front of the cashier to give six feet of space, which I thought was very clever (see previous post about the candy). The kid did not take kindly to this, acted quite offended, and then left the store. The cashier shook his head, and so did I. The most disconcerting part of it was more the kids’ reaction of contempt than anything else.
  • Virtual happy hour with four of my friends! There was laughter, there was solace, and there were puppies and kittens. What else could one want in a plague? I think we will be doing this weekly, yay!
  • My cousin Cindy called because her daughter’s birthday is tomorrow, and we are going to do a zoom birthday conference at 7 to wish and sing her happy brithday! Have I mentioned how the person who created zoom deserves a medal? It’s been a lifesaver, and I’m sure in some cases literally. I am really excited about the ability to do this.
  • I actually did my makeup for the zoom call, so go me.
  • My favorite day of the month was tonight! It’s Training and Recognition for my health and wellness social marketing business. Tonight was even more special because a few of my friends qualified for highest level of management national vice president! I’m so very excited for them; they have worked their ass off for that success and deserve every ounce of it. The trainings were on-point too. There were practical tips, wisdom, inspiration, and gut punches. I love my tribe of inspirational hope dealers
  • Today it was challenge not to get frustrated because it’s so nice out. This time is weird and chaotic. I have to remember to give myself grace during those moments of frustration, lack of motivation, and melancholy. This is temporary, but it’s also a struggle. It’s okay for us not to be okay. The most important part in all of this is doing our best to not judge anyone in this madness. You or anyone else. You do not know their story, and sometimes we don’t even recognize our own. Forgive yourself for not being wonder person right now during this time of crisis. Plagues and quarantines are taxing. Let that shit go. Judgment is never helpful.
  • Stay safe, stay sane, and stay safely connected.

Quarantine Day 15

  • I made protein blueberry pancakes for the first time, and they were AWESOME. And one of them looked like a turtle. Little things guys. It’s always about the little things, but especially now.
  • this is my second day of my self-enforced non-activity for my ankle. Shit is hard, especially because it’s been so beautiful out. I have been exceedingly cautious, but should be back up and running tomorrow. Thanks for all the well wishes!
  • I love Sandra Bullock. The only movie of hers that I have seen and didn’t like was Speed 2. You can’t overcome a shitty plot even with amazing actors. I saw that movie exactly one time, and felt I lost brain cells watching it.
  • I think Hitch is a brilliant romantic comedy. It has everything, the goofy guy who gets the girl. The hot guy who gets the girl, and all with flair and charm that is lacking in rom-coms these days. Fight me.
  • I have one regular standard long gel ice pack. You know what makes a second great ice pack? Frozen peas or dried black eyed peas in a plastic bag frozen. The kind used to make arts and crafts as a kid on construction paper. Why? Because they are malleable when placed on let’s say a joint that is shaped like an ankle. And they can be reused just like an ice pack. Just remember not to eat them if they are the frozen pea variety. Eww, gross
  • I will never, ever take for granted seemingly inconsequential daily personal contact with people ever again.
  • I am starting to struggle a bit. It could be because I haven’t been outside, and that’s definitely a factor. The much bigger factor is people aren’t meant to live in isolation like this. We are social beings. Staying isolated is not good for our mental stability as a whole for human beings. It’s just not how our brain or societal connections work.
  • Please do NOT misunderstand me. The quarantines that are happening are NECESSARY. Could it have been handled differently? Hell yeah. Do I wish that our President would actually understand how serious this is, make an effort to understand the science behind it? Yes. The how we got here doesn’t matter. It is the going forward that does. Making this quarantine as short as possible. Please stop meeting up with people you don’t live with outside your home. Unless it is ONE other person, and as long as you keep safe distance of six feet, I don’t see the problem. I have hiked by myself this entire time, and just about everywhere I have gone, I have seen people practicing social distancing. Don’t ruin this for others by being a jackass
  • I’m a culprit in this, too. I am not infallible that is for damn sure, nor am I an expert. As recently as this past weekend, I was talking about getting a small group of people together for a hike. I did the math today. It is almost impossible to be able to hike as a group “together” if there are more than three people. Even three people are a stretch because that itself would be 18 feet. So, life is about learning from your mistakes and moving on. Hike with ONE other person, but it’s probably best by yourself for the time being.
  • They closed down all the state and even county parks in NJ. The more I think about it; the more I understand why. I think there could have been ways to implement it. Or people could have not been jackasses by using the parks as a place to congregate. If they do the same where I live, I will be legit worried not just for my mental well being, but countless others as well. Being outdoors has been shown to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and boost endorphins. Don’t fuck it up for the rest of us by being a jackass in parks, and using it as a venue to get together socially with people.
  • why don’t they put salsa in a low height but wide container like hummus? It would make it SO much easier when you get the bottom of the jar. Even if you are civilized, and put it on a dish for serving (rare for me), there is no way graceful way to get it out of the jar near the bottom. If you have a method, please share!
  • It’s my cousin Bessa’s birthday today, and we obviously couldn’t get together for her birthday or Easter. So Zoom to the rescue! And my sister figured it out, so proud of her. So as usual wacky family hijinks ensued. Obviously we are not looking to make a habit of this because nothing replaces the shared meal, hugs, and overall family togetherness. During that period of time, we laughed until we cried and/or snorted. I did both. It’s the temporary new normal. I’m glad we have the technology to allow opportunity to share a connection with those we love.
  • Another v-date chat thing tomorrow…I’ll keep you posted. 😀
  • The online dating thing seems to go in spurts, and I’m not sure why. I took the shotgun approach to dating, and am on all different apps. I think that’s how most people do it. FB dating was good at the beginning, and now it’s like the drunk uncle who doesn’t know where to piss.
  • Two huge shout outs: THANK YOU times a bazillion to all the essential workers that helping to keep this country at this time, especially those in the medical field. There are no words that could ever express that gratitude we all owe you. Mwah!
  • To my badass tribe of hilarious and awesome women. You have helped keep me sane the past two days. Mwah to you guys, too

Day two of doing living this, and I REALLY hope it’s the last.

Quarantine Day 10-12

Quarantine Day 10

  • I have virtually stopped going on facebook except to check my notifications and my one badass group that makes things fun. There is so very little that is positive out there right now, so I’ll stick with Instagram. It’s so much better.
  • Another hike today, and it was relatively short at 2 miles, but man was it challenging. I had never been there before, and I said “I hope it’s a challenge” to the girl I’ve been texting. FAMOUS LAST WORDS.
  • What was I thinking by saying such a thing. The first part of the hike was basically two-thirds of a mile straight up. My cardio is getting better at least because I only had to pause and not really stop a few times. At the end of this I may still have a pudge, but my cardio should be pretty on point.
  • I came across this vine that looked like something right out of the Secret of NIMH, and it was so cool. I thing I really dug about this trail system is there was minimal trail maintenance. If a tree went down they basically either made it into a step or they just left it. Mountain bikers might not like this feature, but I thought it was badass. There was one tree pictured below where they gave up trying to chainsaw it. The tree was that big that they gave up. The trail crew was like fuck this; the hikers can crawl over it. We are done with his.
  • I think and feel that this hike gave me a better workout than the 6 mile one. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? I know I’ve got some fitness gurus on here
  • How could NONE of you have any pointers about flirting? You guys have failed me. 😉
  • the appliance guy is coming tomorrow at 11, and I am going to do my best to remember to answer with a bra on this time.
  • I go home and I am starving. I still have a bit of stirfry left over, and I had some black beans. Then I decide to make my own fajitas. They were delicious…yum. That was a good impulse buy at the last grocery shopping I did.
  • I think buffy and x-files are the two greatest tv series in the 1990s and 2000s. Fight me. They still hold up incredibly well.
  • Online dating is so…weird. But intriguing how it makes connections and such.
  • Princess Diaries 2 is a much more feel good movie than the first one. Lilly was kind of a jerk in the first one, and that’s accurate for high school bullshit drama. Good storytelling, and I love the transformation that happens. PD 1 is the better overall movie, but for a feel good movie basically from start to finish, gotta give to PD 2
  • Yes I am that bored. Also when I am exercising as much as I have been, I tend to have a lot of reflective thoughts. Both self and overall.
  • I legit love how my brain processing problems sometimes. It’s so logical.
  • I thought the ultimate test of my tetris (packing) skills was illustrated best by the gear in my car. but no it is in my tiny kitchen. Except when I pull out one thing, other things often come flying out, if I am not careful
  • How are you guys all holding up? What has been helping you keep it together, and if you lost it how did you get back up? This situation is so weird and unusual. I think the only thing keep people together in all this is: alcohol (if that’s your thing), memes, and zoom. Yup you heard it hear first. Apocalypse thwarted thus far by the trio hero of inanimate objects of alcohol, memes, and zoom. Those are the three things that are keeping people together and sane in all this. I am really not kidding about this, and especially the memes and zoom. It’s a way to stay safely connected

Quarantine Day 11

  • Today seemed to go on forever. Like this morning seems like it was like three days ago
  • Which in this case, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a pretty productive day
  • Repair guy came and fixed my oven. I put on a bra, a shirt with buttons, and actual pants. He better have appreciated that 😉
  • I had to remove my collection of bags of bags (how did that become a thing where we now have bags of bags?) that was next to my oven for him to replace the part. They were surprisingly well organized, and I consolidated them into something even better. I think quarantine might have finally gotten to me
  • There are four things that should not be in my house ever because they don’t last long: beef jerky, chips, gummi bears or sour patch kids, and roasted chick peas. Once the oven got repaired, I figured I’d test it out. I made a can of roasted chickpeas. I swear they are the best snack ever. After they were done, I eat the whole container in an hour. Recipe in the comments
  • I had a chat with my boss, and let’s just say it was an interesting chat. It’ll work out
  • I cleaned my apartment, which felt really good.
  • O rings should last longer (for those who don’t know what they are, they are gasket things that keep things from leaking). The original on my mop lasted like three years. I’ve been through at least three in the past six months. I need an industrial o-ring, and I am NOT going to the hardwear store for a damn o-ring in the middle of the plague. I just mopped really fast.
  • My internet went out. During a plague. They couldn’t get someone here until MONDAY. Where would the memes come from?! I started freaking, and rightly so. I then texted my downstairs neighbor, and hers was working. She hooked me up. Thanks Dawn!
  • I have been trying to do hiking or yoga every day, or at least every other day. I think I’ve missed a day or two, but for the most part, I’ve stuck with that. Yoga today was holy abs and thighs batman, I’ll keep you posted on my progress tomorrow. Everyone has their outlet that has kept them (hopefully) sane during this temporary and difficult new normal we’ve got going on here. I’ve got no judgment about what yours is. You do you, boo.
  • I’m going to move onto pilates soon because I think I’m getting strong enough for that. Thanks for the heavy discount Sphericality for the online classes, and can’t wait to tackle the next challenge.
  • Things I’m grateful for: my health (including my family), that’s it’s April and not January; newly rediscovered discipline for fitness; my Arbonne business; connecting with women online and then offline (don’t worry not in person yet), and getting back in the habit of writing daily. This has been a reset for me in many ways, and I think it was been for most people.
  • Here’s what I will never take for granted ever again: hugging, dancing, paddling, people living our “normal” lives, and daily human in-person interaction. What will you never take for granted again?

Quarantine Day 12

  • I do not think I have hiked this much in about ten years, since I started really getting into paddling. For me, hiking is not enough of a challenge for my brain and not enough of a puzzle. Which is probably why I liked backpacking, because that is a challenge both physically and mentally. I really might get into mountain biking soon if I can find a cheap bike because hiking isn’t quite cutting it for my problem solving skills or as a challenge
  • New place for hiking today, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was looking to maximize my exploring and practicality into one trip. When I pulled up to this place, it’s a little more crowded than I would like, even if it’s a not a plague. However, I am stubborn and wanted to explore this area. If it turned out to be too crowded, I would turn around and find somewhere else. I was pleasantly surprised! Judging by the area, I thought for sure I was going to be going on more of a walk then a hike. I was pleasantly mistaken 😀 It is like an oasis right outside the city with lots of hills, and a boulder garden. I ran into Johnny who is a mountain biker, which was cool. All in all, it was a very satisfying hike
  • this year I really want to kick my fear of heights, as I was thinking as I climbed this boulder to look down at the valley. Nope, I wasn’t scared at all.
  • I found the weirdest and random thing I have ever seen while hiking. It looked like a very small concrete retention pond, but it was initially covered. Erosion has made it partially open, and I have no idea what the purpose would have been for. I was trying to think back to my environmental classes, and I got nothing. There was a cute frog in it, which made me happy
  • I hit the farmers market after my hike, and stocked up on a ton of produce. The fruit stand had heavily discounted their berries, and I took full advantage. I went a little overboard on the strawberries, but I’m sure I’ll be able to eat them.
  • I went to the store on my way home, and for the first time in about two weeks, I got comfort food. I got chips, hummus, and I even got gluten-free cookies
  • Hummus is going on that list of things that should not be in my house; it doesn’t last very long.
  • What monster makes the serving size of 2 cookies? That’s just absurd. If you have that kind of willpower, that is awesome
  • I was putting the stuff away I got at the store in my freezer. My freezer is packed, and I’m trying to think of what the hell is in there, so I am pulling stuff out. I find a bag of ice in my freezer. Why the hell do I have a bag of ice in my freezer? Who does that? Maybe I was camping and didn’t have enough of those blue packs? Which is not true either because I have about a bazillion of those too. I take it out, and put it in my sink. I feel bad about wasting the water, but I need the room.
  • I thawed a tuna steak, and made dinner with a ton of veggies. It was delicious, and made this cherry tomato salad with Bibb lettuce that was on point.
  • I’ll be eating that for a few days. Leftovers are a wonderful thing

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Quarantine Days 7-9

Quarantine Day 7

  • holy hell my abs hurt this morning, and you all with your memes being on point didn’t help
  • Today was a bit frustrating I’m not going to lie. There is very little that I hate more than trying to navigate professional, political, and bureaucratic bullshit. I am going to leave it there because one way or another it will get figured out. It is now out to the ether.
  • After spending almost three days indoors, I was going a little stir crazy. I have immense respect for those of you who sit behind a desk all day. I couldn’t do it. When I did do it for about six months, I’m pretty sure I was a miserable human being..
  • As soon as I walked out the door, I instantly felt better. I had a short window of time, but that’s all I needed. There’s an arts trail close to my house, and it’s near a creek. So both of those are a big win for me. I have always found water to be a calming balm to my soul. I spent 40 minutes walking along that path, and I felt like a new person. For me, that’s all it took for a total mental reset.
  • I am so grateful to have so many friends that check in on me on a routine basis.
  • I’m probably going to have a video chat date later in the week, and I’m pretty excited about that. We seem to get along really well 😀
  • This virtual happy hour is a great way to connect, and is SO much fun. We had people in four different states come together for bonding, laughter, and drinking. And all the puppies and kitties made appearances. Great conversations about important things, and also mundane life stuff. It doesn’t match the experience of meeting in person, but it’s the best we have. I’m grateful for the ability to connect with those near and far. Thanks internet!
  • Whoever created the app Zoom is a genius, and did a great job. Well played, sir.
  • The inanimate object winners for this plague: zoom, memes, and alcohol (if that’s your thing). I am really not exaggerating about that. The first two especially I believe are keeping relatively sane.
  • In memes and Andrew Cuomo we trust
  • Does anyone else think Andrew Cuomo should run for President? Is it too late? Because he would probably win.
  • I love that I can learn about nutrition for my health and wellness company, and how to encompass a fundamental lifestyle shift from my couch. Thanks Dr. Tanda, you were phenomenal
  • My awesome downstairs neighbor was kind enough to bring me some vegan chili, and it was damn good. Thanks Dawn for dinner and the tasty treat that went with it! I really have such an amazing life, in spite of how challenging life is at the moment (today I tested that hypothesis); pick something every day smile about. These are scary times right now, but temporary. Stay safe, stay sane, and stay safely connected ❤

Quarantine day 8

  • I really think the only reason I know what day of quarantine it is from writing these journal entries. People seem to be enjoying, which is cool. They are also cathartic for me.
  • Today was the first day where I truly had no motivation to do anything. I think a lot of it has to do with the weather. It better get sunny, or it’s not just me that will be having a hard time. I have basically spent four days inside, and today that choice was all mine.
  • I made my ass get up and get outside. I really deserve to remind myself that I always feel better doing so. The struggle was real today, and we’ll get through it.
  • I went on a walk today on the arts trail again. How is this different from yesterday? Yesterday was more like a mediation to relieve stress and center myself. Today was more about me needing a kick in the ass to get motivated. Thanks Mikki for helping me get out there. I love my tribe of badasses so much
  • I walked about 3 miles according to my Samsung tracker. I am seriously starting to doubt my Samsung Health app, and I have a feeling it has to do with elevation change.
  • For the past couple of days I have heard what sounds like scrubbing on the adjacent home to my apartment. I thought they were scrubbing walls because of this virus, but why would you have to do it so many times a day? Then I thought maybe they are doing home improvement projects like sanding. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Flirting has always been such a challenge, and it hasn’t gotten any better virtually or online. If you’ve got flirting skills, help a girl out 😀
  • I could get used to be called sexy…it’s nice to be recognized as such.
  • Friends of mine in my health and wellness company went into qualification for National Vice President. For those of you who don’t know, that’s an epically big deal. It’s the top qualification level in the company, and they haven’t been doing it that long. They busted their asses to reach this point. I could not be more proud of these women whom I have had the privilege to watch from day one of their journey. So much love to Bonnie and her daughters. You all deserve the massive success you are achieving right now
  • I had a bit of a scare with a friend of mine tonight, and she’s all good. She just went off the grid a bit, which I can empathize with.
  • I love when I can find another woman who appreciates driving stick shift as much as I do. Or really any gender at this point. It’s a dying art.
  • I had leftover sweet potatoes from the other day, and I decided to try something different. So I made sweet potato fries myself, and they were outrageously good.
  • I can’t wait for the oven part to get here. I rarely use my oven, but now that it’s not working quite right, I want to use it. I’m a stubborn bitch, I know. I’m proud of it, too. Most of the time it serves me well.

Quarantine day 9

  • I had a fulfilling day today
  • It’s my sister’s birthday, and the plan was for me to go for dinner, etc.
  • I call my parents around 10 AM, and say hey I don’t think that it’s a good idea for me to be there because I have been exposed to the public (I worked until last Tuesday). My parents are older, and my dad is especially is at high risk. I suggest we call or zoom, and I will sing happy birthday over the phone with all of you. My mom surprisingly agreed now is the time to be cautious. I was pleasantly surprised, because I expected a battle. My parents are learning this threat is real, and to not take it lightly
  • I figured out a different plan. My parents needed some stuff from the store anyway, and I called back with a revised plan. I’d pick up the groceries from the store; bring it off at my parents; exchange presents with my sister and the family, and then go home. Everyone wins! I love how my mind works sometimes
  • My friend Mel who lives in NYC birthday is also today, she did a zoom to celebrate her bday. Everyone on there lived in NYC or the surrounding area. It is eerily quiet I guess. It was nice to see and chat with her (it’s probably been three years since I saw her in person). Technology is wonderful. The virus was all anyone could talk about for the most part, and it made the threat all the more real
  • I belong to a FB group that is pure joy and supportiveness (yes apparently it does exist!) It’s the unicorn of FB groups. There are a number of people in there that are: older, high risk, autoimmune, or house-bound. I have always been a helper. I post on the group if anyone needs anything because I’m going to the store. I now not only have a plan, but I have benefactors of said plan. I am not looking to be made a hero here. There are others who deserve that praise. I will take credit for being a good person who loves to help those in need, when and if I can.
  • I go to said store and score the ultimate in purchases: toilet paper (add that to the list of 100+ things I never, ever thought I would say and mean)
  • This took longer than expected. My mom has an uncanny knack for calling when I pull into the driveway asking where I am. It’s a thing. Apparently my mom had my sister text basically ask where the hell are you as I am pulling into the driveway. Some things never change
  • I unload what my I got my parents, and bring in my sisters present. I am really happy that I thought of this plan. It is minimal exposure to my family and I get to see my sister experience her birthday. I will never, ever take hugging for granted again. It is almost painful not to hug my family. This is a big deal, and those who know me well understand why
  • My parents wanted a pack of the toilet paper out of the one I got for my friend (it’s a big pack). I try to explain that she is paying for this toilet paper, and you have plenty. Nope they want a pack. I sigh and give her a call. She being the wonderful person that she is says no problem. And my parents being the wonderful people they are pay for the toilet paper. Everybody wins, and I don’t feel like a total prick for telling my parents they can’t have the toilet paper someone else was going to pay for.
  • Yes this was a real conversation in fucking 2020, and I almost wet my pants when I got in the car. I couldn’t make this shit up.
  • I drop off said groceries to the two people who really need them, and they are so epically happy. They paid for them. It makes my WHOLE entire day. It feels so good to give back to a community that has given me so much
  • I head home. I am feeling very content and very happy that I got to please just about everyone today. That is a rare day even when there isn’t a pandemic
  • I pull over because the sunset is just ridiculously beautiful and majestic.
  • The girl I’ve been texting back and forth with, whom I really like, responds to my request for a video call. I say “great, what time works?” She says “now”, and I’m thinking okay. There’s a park right there, so that works. I really don’t feel like getting arrested for being in a random parking lot during a plague. Also, thanks Verizon (without any sarcasm for once) for increasing my data plan because for once you gave back to your customer base. I do mean for once.
  • It went pretty well. I am going to call it a random but awesome v-chat. It was fun, and it was nice to see her. The conversation flowed really well, and I felt a spark of chemistry. I have no idea what will happen, and we will see. Who knows. She lives pretty far from here.
  • I come home, and I have so many thoughts swirling in my brain as tends to happen on occasion. I make dinner, and it was awesome. Stir-fry awesomeness for the win.
  • Stay safe, stay sane, stay safely connected. Let there be love for all of us in unexpected places

Quarantine Day 1-3

I have been writing these daily quarantine life on my social media, and it started off as just goofy anecdotes. Several people have commented privately and publicly that they are enjoying them. They describe them as uplifting and funny to read. I figured I would clean them up and put them here. I will do two or three day increments, and hopefully I’ll be able to catch up. This is not my normal style of writing, and is much more off the cuff. It’s been a cartharic way to not only process the day, but also get back into the daily habit of writing. Enjoy!

Quarantine Day 1

  • Waking up without having to go to work was odd, but I adjusted rather quickly
  • I decided to season my cast iron skillets with my help from my cousin and amazing chef Scott
  • What do you mean the oven kept shutting off at 450 degrees? Yup, but where’s there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m quite stubborn, and figured out I have to wait for the oven to cool down to finish seasoning later. I also need to call the gas company apparently, so grateful to have the luxury of time at the moment. You gotta make the best of a challenging situation right? That’s what I keep telling myself.
  • So HIKE TIME! It’s beautiful out with it being sunny and relatively warm in the mid 50s. It’s go time!
  • I am usually Miss Prepared that is what I am known in my circle of friends. My car is basically my swiss army knife. I can fix just about anything with the things that are in it.
  • Except water. I get to the trailhead, and I realize that I forgot water. Epic fail. So I’ll shorten my hike, no biggie. Um, what do you mean I haven’t eaten ANYTHING today except for a few squares of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds hours ago? Oops.
  • Wait, I’ve got apples! I can have those. They have water and carbohydrates right? I’m golden!
  • About two miles in on this beautiful day and hike, my legs revolt. Legs we’ve got to get to two miles! What do you mean you are done? It’s a tiny hill. Oh alright, we will head back. I’ll circle the parking lot to get 2 miles in.
  • I get home, and have an Arbonne protein shake because I’m starving at this point. I start the process of finish seasoning my cast iron dishes. I feel a sense of accomplishment, and better now that the task is done. I also have a glass of wine.
  • I organize my kitchenware around in my limited cabinet space, and a lid shoots down onto my stovetop and careens into my glass of water shattering it all over my stove top. Meh, no biggie. It was a pint glass that I didn’t care for. I vacuum and clean up because I have this thing about glass in my kitchen that I’m kind of picky about. I remind myself to never start reorganizing my tiny cabinet because chaos ensues, and things seem to break. I’m glad it wasn’t my lid that broke, because that would have sucked. Be grateful for the little things.
  • I cook dinner, and it is a stirfry with a ton of veggies, spices, and turkey cutlets. My cast iron skillet is now like Teflon, and it is amazing how well the seasoning worked. I appreciate my cousin even more.
  • I have joined a plank challenge within a FB group I belong to. I am past a minute, which I am quite proud of. I will slay you winter coma of lethargy body into an amazon woman of strength.
  • I am grateful for this time that I will get to spend with myself (it is only day 1, so that might change). I am infinitely more grateful for the doctors, nurses, grocery store associates, and everyone else who was not sent home like I was yesterday. THANK THOSE PEOPLE when you see them. Especially your grocery store workers. Most of them are emotionally fried because people keep coming in expecting miracles or harassing them about stock. They are doing the best they can with what they have. Be patient, but more importantly, be kind and grateful that they are there doing their jobs during this time.

Quarantine day 2

  • I was not nearly as productive as yesterday, and I’m becoming okay with that
  • I made vanilla-chocolate protein pancakes for breakfast that either look like cookies or chicken cutlets, apparently. I am incapable of mastering a breakfast that looks palatable, and that’s okay because it all tastes pretty awesome. I specialize in fancy eggs and amoeba protein pancakes.
  • Chatted with a friend who is also on day 2 of quarantine, and we swear we are both going to lose our minds.
  • The meme going around social media that says either all my chakras will be aligned and shit done around the house or 20 pounds heavier with a drinking problems, I could see why that is now. There is no in between
  • I went to the store. The people where I live seem much more rational than the people near where I work (it’s only about 35 minutes away). There was flour, paper towel, and even toilet paper. There were actually things in the grocery store. I’m still amazed I didn’t get jacked for the paper towel
  • I scored a box of disposable gloves. Mark another thing off on the list of things I’d never be excited to find, let alone be buying, ever.
  • I broke down and bought plantain chips. Chips and gummi things (bears, sour patch kids, jelly beans, etc) don’t last long in my house. They are my kryptonite.
  • Pretty sure I busted another online dating scammer today. It’s kind of fun to do a gotcha test, and see them try to squirm out of it. It’s the little things.
  • I skipped the plank challenge because I did a killer yoga class. I expect my abs and arms to be pissed tomorrow or maybe the day after that. Muscles like to trick you into a false sense of compliancy of “that workout wasn’t so hard”. Then BOOM. Holy abs batman it hurts to laugh. Which is a problem because the memes are so on point.
  • Let’s send out a vibe to all the stay at home mom’s out there and teachers too. They are the real heroes, outside the medical profession and grocery store retailers, who are doing a lot of heavy lifting of their own. It’s a brave new world, and it’s a really challenging position for everyone. But it’s also an enlightening one.
  • Thank the universe tomorrow is going to be nice again, and I can get outside.
  • I will go batshit crazy if I have to stay inside for any length of time.

Quarantine Day 3

  • I was craving hard-core comfort food, which is very rare for me. I decided to make potato lasagna (yes it is as awesome as it sounds). The gas went off THREE times while I was trying to cook it. I was losing my shit, even though I knew it was a possibility. It still turned out great. Did I mention that I’m stubborn?
  • I really wish I had done laundry before this whole thing went down.
  • This was me during spring cleaning, why the fuck do I have so many clothes? Me now, YESSS for me having so many clothes. I can always buy more underwear
  • Another hike! This time I did all the things one is supposed to do when you go hiking. I ate beforehand; I hydrated on the way to the trail head, brought snacks, water, and my hiking backpack! Go me. I completed about 5.5 miles, and it was glorious.
  • Adventures in the woods today included peeing in the woods! Upon said hydrating, by the time I got to the park I really had to pee. Because of the virus, they closed all the restrooms down. I fully support this decision, and also have no trouble peeing in the woods. I go down the trail; I find a tree; I do my business, and I walk back up to the trail. There’s a woman coming down the trail as I am climbing back up, and she has a cute puppy. This woman looks at me like I’m some serial killer that’s going to kill her dog. Because it’s always about the dog. She basically herds the dog away from me, and the dog looks really sad. Poor puppy and poor me. Apparently she’s never seen anyone come up from a trail before, who knows.
  • It was a fairly leisurely trail until the last part. The last part was like a mile uphill, which doesn’t sound like much. Except when you’ve already done over 4 miles, and you are not in the best shape. A mile uphill seems like a huge throw down. You want to see the vista, you’ll have to earn it bitch. Well, I did and it was awesome.
  • In spite of two apples, lots of water, and a jerky stick, I was starving by the time I get off the trail. Thank goodness I have the potato lasagna I can eat once I get home.
  • Bet you were expecting something dramatic. Nope…I ate, I drank, and now I am on the couch.
  • I am grateful for this weather and for this to be happening now when we can all get safely outside. Can you imagine if this was happening in January? THAT would be epically worse. Be smart people.
  • This is the slogan I came up with: stay safe, stay sane, and stay safely connected. Connection in any form matters so much right now. Check in with your friends and family, especially those that single.
  • I am blessed to have a group of friends that have checked up on me, and it has meant and helped so much.
  • Eventually we’ll get to hug again. Kevin, I’m coming for you!

Stop the Stigma

This is an essay about suicidal plans and depression.  I am doing fine now, but I felt  people deserved to hear my story.  If this will trigger you, please do not read.

This is something that is not talked about much, and there is such a stigma around it. I am not writing this for pity or attention. I debated on even publishing it. There have only been three times in my life where I seriously contemplated suicide. The latest was during the summer of 2019, and it was by far the most likely to be carried out. I had severely screwed up my life (and affected several others in the process) through a series of bad decisions, which incidentally occurred very shortly after the “Owning Your Truth part II” essay. The consequences of those decisions could have been much worse, so I was and still am very grateful to have support of my family and those around me since that time. They only knew the consequences. They had no idea the pain I was going through emotionally.

The pain of those decisions and the subsequent consequences really got inside my head. I lost my freedom to an extent, and for those that know me, understand how independent I am. I do not ask for help easily, and I detest relying on others. I spiraled into a deep and profound depression. There were days where I literally didn’t get off my couch, which is quite unlike me. Especially during the summer. This is what nobody talks about with suicide. It is very difficult when the place you want to escape is your own brain. When the pain is so profound and pervasive that you feel powerless to elude its steely grip. It is the constant doubt of your place in this world, and how your disappearance might be a relief to this world. Your pain and shame overtakes everything inside your soul. For me, the feeling of being a failure in many aspects of my life, and my cavernous sense of disappointment made it even worse. My sense of self was that of a parasite, and how I provided no value to anyone. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. That hurt the worse of all. I have felt what it feels like to positively impact others, and it was amazing. I had let myself become a shadow of the person I once was, and I felt like my presence had become as that of an energy vampire to those around me. It is the very last thing I want to be in my life, and I couldn’t escape the shame of that reality.

run from own brain

I put on a pretty decent front. I went to work, and I did my job well. I focused on surviving. I occasional write gratitude posts on my social media pages, and I strived to continued to do them. Even if the reason seemed minute. It was one of the ways I was attempting to cope with my downward spiral. Except the pain and shame was something I couldn’t seem to escape. The gremlins in my brain were working overtime, and for the first time in ten years, I couldn’t shut them down. The sense that I had fucked up my life to the point that I was irredeemable was persistent and pernicious. It started to become too much to endure, and something had to give.

I started quietly planning out my death. My methodical mind went through the methods of suicide, and the pros and cons to each one. I had never gotten that far before with my suicidal thoughts, and that’s when things started to feel real. I picked a method that would leave a small chance of survival if done correctly, and the combination of the liquor would fry the liver while ensuring I would barely register what was happening. I sent texts to many members of family and close friends saying I love you. Nothing more, nothing less than those three words. I didn’t want to set off suspicion after all. I even made a list of things to give to specific people after my passing. I have a lot of gear and possessions, and wanted to ensure they went to the right people. I have a scientific minded brain, and this is how it works. It figures out solutions to problems in a very systematic way.

inside doesn't deserve it

In my mind, this would solve everyone’s problem. It would end the parasite-like relationship that I had perceived to be on my friends and family. It would end the doubt, shame, pain, sense of failure, unfulfilled potential, and my perpetual disappointment that seemed to be my life. When I reached the depths of my downward spiral, all I felt was shame, pain, and a deep loss of integrity in myself. I felt unworthy of love from those around me, and the love for myself had evaporated some time ago. People say suicide is the cowardly way out, but I disagree.  To the mind of the person experiencing that level of internal, inescapable pain, it feels like the only way out. This is what the rationalizing of my suicide felt like. I felt like I was not only ending my suffering, but also freeing everyone else of the burden that had become my life. I was sure my family would mourn me, but my friend circle is a small one. Beyond that, I figured the affect would be minimal. Life would go on, after all. I have no family of my own, and I don’t even have a pet.

So what changed? The plan did. What I told myself was that if it didn’t work, I’d be committed to an institution and probably mentally crippled in some way from the attempt.  The deeper reasons were multi-faceted. One of my friends from the Garden Elite in college was suspected to have committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. A mutual friend in that group said to me when we heard, “if he committed suicide, I’ll kill him.” That kept going through my mind the day I planned my death. The other was my family, specifically my parents.   It would kill my parents. Hopefully not literally, but it would shred them when they found out. Something one of my friends said to me previously about one of her kids (they are grown and in their 30’s) friends committed suicide. She said she couldn’t imagine the guilt of that parent. I didn’t want that for my parents. They deserved better than that.  They have enough to deal with.

that is pain

In the past month, I have told a couple of people about my mindset over the summer. One of them said, “so what changed?” I answered, “well, once I figured out I wasn’t going to do that plan, I knew I had to come up with another one.” She said something like, “that’s it?” I shrugged and said, “that’s how my mind works. If one solution won’t work, another one must be applied to the problem”. So that’s what I did. It was a battle to choose life over death, and it’s one I almost didn’t win. Glennon Doyle writes in her book Love Warrior about focusing on the next right thing. I implemented certain changes in my life. I started a cardio routine to get myself out of the house and back in shape; went back to yoga; got out of a toxic relationship, and cut down on my drinking. I also took responsibility for my decisions, and told certain people the consequences I faced. The shame of those decisions started to subside once I started to take responsibility for them. Shame thrives in the darkness, but can’t survive the harsh light of day (thank you Brene Brown!). You may have noticed that I started substituting and/or adding shame to the word pain. That is because as I was writing this, I realized the pain I felt over the summer was mostly increased by shame. Shame is a sneaky little bastard, and is the underlying cause of much of our internal struggle. The change in my mindset hasn’t been easy, and it’s still not. It is not like I snapped my fingers, and the gremlins inside my head went away. They are still there, but their presence is muted and limited in influence. Most days my tenacity to be better is greater than the pain of shame and self-doubt. Sometimes the hardest part for me is to remind myself that I am worth loving despite the fuck-ups that have and will happen in my life. With enough right steps, I have won the arduous battle to choose creating a life instead of crafting a death. The next right thing is to continue to accept and love my beautiful, fucked up self until the gremlins are transformed into fireflies of light.

Bitch of Self-Esteem

It is the

Hardest

mental

obstacle to

Overcome.

and
it
is

relentlessly

Lurking

in
the
Background,

Waiting to

for the

Moment of
Doubt

to Strike.

Even after

Barriers

broken,

Achievements
made.

 

Mental barriers

Overcome.

Things I never

Believed I
would be

Capable
of

Achieving.

Except

I

Did.

I rose above

Demons,
Challenges,

my own
Bullshit.

To achieve

Greatness.

and

Yet…

I still can

Cling

to the

Broken
girl
on the

Bus.

I have

Spent

my entire

Life trying to

Prove my

Worth to
others.

I am
Ready to

Prove it

to

Myself.

Which might be

the hardest

Challenge of
all.

To

Slay
the

Demon that
can
Be
my

Doubting

Brain.

Owning Your Truth, Part II

I have been steadily molting into truer versions of myself (for the most part) for the past seven years, and it started with my health and wellness social marketing business. I started on the self-development path because my mentor and coach advised me to, and I being the eager student, followed exactly what she told me to do and read. I consistently and steadily grew in my business and in my personal growth. For me, one of the most important moments of reflection was when people I had known for years, said (verbatim) “who are you, and what have you done with Alexis?” Before I started this often painful path of self-discovery, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye for more than a few seconds, and my head was constantly down when I entered a room. My goal in life until about six years ago was to be invisible in this world due to my perceived lack of self-worth. Breaking the perception of self-worth in my head was both uncomfortably painful, and even more incredibly rewarding and worth it every ounce of uncomfortableness to achieve. I am more “me” than I ever have been. And it’s been a hell of a journey. It’s a journey I choose to be never-ending because that is when one starts dying from the inside out. I know because when I stopped, that is exactly what happened. I was shrinking back into mediocrity because I felt I wasn’t equipped to deal with the issues in my life at the moment.

So as of today this is what my growth game looks like: my business is growing faster in the past three months than in the past two years; I am out and proud baby; I was in a relationship, and I feel comfortable in my own skin. I am actively putting my many talents and gifts back for the world to see and experience. If I am being completely honest, for most of the past two years I haven’t been allowing myself to be that vulnerable with my talents. I shrunk back into being trying to be invisible, but that wasn’t working either because I knew what it was like to be seen. My integrity was incongruous at best. I am purposefully seeking ways to bring my light into the world. I didn’t realize how much I had let it go out until now.

If you have struggled like I have with identity, self-worth; justifying your own bullshit story of mediocrity; validating yourself to your “peers”; trying to hide your emotions because to not do so hurts too much; the fallacy of being perfect (sorry not sorry), or trying to maintain an image that is not true to you- I am giving you permission to let all of it go. For those of you who don’t understand what I am referring to, that is AWESOME. I am both ecstatic for you and jealous. Because I thought needed permission to not be perfect. I thought I needed to wear a certain cape (e.g. persona) in order to belong. I thought I needed to be stoic because that meant being brave, courageous, and impenetrable to hurt. I thought I needed a certain job title and career to be accepted. ALL of it is bullshit if it does not serve you. And none of it serves you.

acceptance invisible

If I am being honest, I didn’t have much of an active personal growth game for almost two years. In my subconscious mind, my issues were too great. I didn’t know where to start, and I honestly didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until I started therapy. I was hiding. Again. And it was a shitty feeling to start to revert back to being invisible. I went back to being meek, apologizing, self-conscious, and my lack of self-confidence was back in full force. It started with a series of small decisions of not to do. My daily routine of gratitude, affirmations, and personal growth books became less routine, and then non-existent. I started listen to more audio trainings, which as a visual learner is not a good move of efficiency. It was a subconscious; “I don’t want to deal with any of these things right now in a deep way. So I’ll do superficial personal growth.”   There is a book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which is basically about making the decision to do the little things that are easy to do and not do. Both add up to big changes consistently over time. It is up to you whether they are positive or negative big changes. In my case, they were negative.

There were some attributing factors to why these things happened, but I allowed them to dictate my life instead of acknowledging their presence and figuring out what to do about it. Whether you know it or not, everything you do is an active choice. Most of the time the choice is determined by one’s threshold for how uncomfortable their lives become. I actively made a change in my behavior because the life I was living had become really uncomfortable, and that is not meant in the working through my shit kind of growth that will cause your life to get better at the end. This was the kind of uncomfortable where I wondered how the frak I got there, and how to climb out of the fire swamp that had become my life.

I am comfortable doing things today that I never thought I’d be comfortable doing. I have never been comfortable in my own skin, and had rebelled against finding out why until about seven years ago. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin unless it was canoeing or out in nature by myself.   Those were my churches. Those were the two communities I found myself accepted no matter how socially awkward I could be, and in those two communities became my refuge, they were my safe place to recharge and where I felt home. I used to say that I am a fundamentally different person than I was seven years ago. I don’t say that anymore. I say that I am the truest version of myself that I have ever been, and I will continue to evolve into being my best self.

come into your own

I feel comfortable enough to own my sexuality to be proud enough of it to be in a relationship, and believe I am worth of it. And unabashedly shout during Philly’s Pride Parade on behalf of my cousin’s church, “you are queer? We are here!” Did I ever think in my entire life I would feel comfortable marching in a parade at all? No. Let alone shouting for a mile with pride about my sexuality (a vulnerability that I used to hide behind), high fiving, and handing out a hundred stickers without feeling self-conscious at all? To have the courage to bond with complete strangers in a city I don’t know because we are really all there for the same reason? Hell no. But I grew to get there. I grew to be the person I am today. And I will grow to be person I am meant to be tomorrow. The growth doesn’t stop. It just evolves to destroy the next barrier inside yourself so you can become the truest version of you ever.

In my experience, the best and worst part of growth is you find out who your real friends are. Some people might not recognize and accept the new you, and fight against it. They might even try to tear the “new” you down with sometimes seemingly innocuous comments that sometimes hurt beyond measure. It is okay to feel that hurt, but don’t let it linger. I like to think of it like a paper cut. It hurts like a bitch when it happens, but is gone relatively quickly and forgotten. The fault is on them, not you. They are fighting against themselves because they are reminded what they could be, but chose not to fight for. Show them what you fought for. Even better, show yourself what you fought for. That is another thing the past few years have taught me. Proving others wrong is a great short-term motivator. Proving yourself right? That is when the magic happens, and when you start to discount the lies you have told yourself your whole life.

Owning Your Truth, Part I

This is what people don’t tell you about Love and relationships. How unbelievably messy they are. The other thing people don’t tell you about life in general is how messy it is. If you are living life correctly, the messes and barriers to greatness never stop. There is always another layer, another battle to fight, and a demon to conquer. And all of it is hard, but the result is always worth it.

Risk failing

That is me when I was around 2.  Thanks Dad for always capturing the memories 😀

One of my biggest demons is the ability to believe I am worthy of love. The friendship niggle I defeated years ago. I am now on to romantic love, and that is way more complicated to defeat. It is insidious, as most demons are, because they know us so well. The self-talk that one tells yourself is of utmost importance, and I have failed at that for most of life. It took a lot of fantastic mentors (thanks to Maria, in particular), personal growth, and soul-searching to really beat down the naysaying niggle that was constantly in my brain.

When it came to love, and when I finally decided to own my truth of being a lesbian for the world to know; damn did that demon come out to play. Trusting another person with intimidate details of my life, and entering the weird world of online dating. Attempted to be scammed not once, but twice within a month tends to put a damper on your self-talk when it comes to dating. It makes you doubt your choices. It made me doubt whether I would ever find someone that I would let my heart love enough to trust. The scammers were amateurs and never got that far, and I know karma will bite them in the ass.

I have never in my entire life really let someone get all the way to the point where I let myself fully fall in love with another person. Subconsciously it was the scariest thing that I could let happen in my life, to be that vulnerable. To let someone fully in meant that I would have to drop most, if not all, of my many emotional barriers. I wasn’t ready to do that. So I didn’t. I kept any romantic interests at an emotional arms-length.

relationship detective

I thought I had fallen in love once when I was in college, and for that time in my immature life, I was as fully in love as I would let myself be. Which at the time was until it got hard and until it got real (I was about to graduate). We were not right for each other, and quite honestly we lasted far longer than we should have. When I ended it however, I was the definition of a frigid bitch. I was cold; I was calculated; I was mean, and I hated myself for years for how I broke it off with her. It was the right decision, but the wrong execution. I think subconsciously one of the reasons I avoided coming to terms of being a lesbian, and subsequently coming out, for so long was because of the shame I felt over how I handled the break up. I wanted to avoid a similar event at any cost. So I hid behind a wall of sarcasm, casual flings, and non-committal relationships. The desire to cover up this vulnerability flaw in myself was deep. This included hiding my own happiness and being true to myself because my priority to myself was usually the last on the list until the past five years.

The scary love I have found is thousands of miles away fighting a war in Syria for the  US Army. I didn’t expect it; I didn’t want it, and I fought my feelings until I couldn’t anymore.  It is excitedly terrifying for many reasons. I was fighting my own war of unworthiness, vulnerability, and trust. I have been waging those wars for as long as there has been water in the ocean. Sometimes, one has to own your truth. Own your vulnerability. Own your passion for someone else, and put it all on the line. I don’t know how it will work out. What I do know is that I deserve to know where I stand. Sometimes you have to risk failing to truly rise to the your truest self. And it will hurt every time.

UPDATE:  so it turns out this one was scamming me too.  And it hurts, a lot.  This is the universe testing me, I guess.  I am ready for it to not do that so much anymore.  Love is out there,  I know it.  It will be glorious when I find it.

Ambition and Small-Minded People

To be successful you must have a few things as your core beliefs to achieve long-lasting success. I believe those things to be integrity, ambition, and stickability to never quit. I am lucky to have a reservoir of all those traits, and admittedly sometimes those traits get buried underneath stories that no longer serve me. The more dangerous aspect of being successful, though is you become a target. Often it is those closest to you. They tend to be jealous, narcissistic, and fear-based human beings who only know how to deal with success-minded people by hurting them. I am calling it the small-minded syndrome.

As I rose in the levels of leadership, I had wonderful mentors who offered council on how to grow and implement strategies to continue the platform of success. Along my journey of self-discovery and greatness, I had various and sometimes close members of my family say very hurtful and occasionally devastating proclamations. Such as, “this will never work”; “you are never here when we need you”, and my personal favorite, “you’ll never move out” with a sneer and scoff. They wanted to keep me “small” because their life is small. They were unable to make the commitment to make their small, unfulfilling existence into something they could truly be proud of. They resented not being able to be courageous in their life; therefore aimed to keep me small in mine.

 

The little jabs that are seemingly innocent at first, when reflected upon become a glaringly obvious lever of manipulation and belittling. It took me a long time to realize that what my friends and family were saying was not only debilitating to me, but indirectly to them. It is a direct reflection of how they value their lives and themselves when they bring people down with sometimes seemingly innocuous comments. They might even perceive themselves as being funny, which I have written about here. I am realizing that the people verbalizing to inflict wounds are not usually bad people. I believe that most people love and express themselves in the best way they know how, and sometimes that way is royally fraked.

There are people in society who do not have a life of their own, so they must tear down others to feel better about their small life. This is not to say that it doesn’t hurt just as deep. Because It Does. Holy hell it does. There are some people who know just what buttons and emotions to press to sustain massive internal damage that can leave us wrecked for days. It can continue to hurt for some time after the initial barrage after you process the hell you’ve endured, and the effects can last for years. They say forgiveness is really a gift to yourself, but I have a hard time forgiving those who have deeply hurt the ones closest to me. To be honest, I do not think I’ve ever fully processed the people who have hurt me the most. I am not sure I want to.

There are times in my life where I felt untouchable and kicked ass in every aspect of my life. When anyone tells me I can’t do something, I take that as a personal affront and avenge to prove them wrong. And I do, almost every time. It often comes at a cost, though.  Everything worthwhile has a cost, and it’s a cost I will gladly pay. You find out who really loves you and wants you to succeed. And who wants to keep you small and on their level of comfort. This is when small-minded people feel threatened the most, when you are ready to have a mindset shift. It is also the time when the disparaging and denigration is at its peak. I have come to the conclusion that this is a defense mechanism, and it saddens me. It still hurts like hell when someone close to you assaults you with words. The person who wrote, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was an idiot of epic proportions. I would much rather have someone throw a stone at me than words that penetrate and sometimes break my soul open. Cuts bleed, scab, then heal and fall off. Words though? They penetrate and can become a black hole of self-doubt, pain, and anger. They can fracture families and leave a permanent rift that will never be healed. Words become thoughts, thoughts become actions, and actions can have devastating results. Verbal abuse leaves a much longer affect on the soul and harder to remedy on one’s psyche than physical.

that is pain

Any kind of abuse is traumatic and shouldn’t be underestimated, but one is more sinister. It is much easier to hide from a physical and psychological aspect.   It often takes place through self-delusion and denial brought on by low self-esteem from being broken in the past. These pieces are often buried deep, and sometimes we think we have gotten past them. This is where small-minded people are so insidious. Because they are usually weaved into your life, and sometimes pretty intricately. And they know us. The clinically narcissistic ones use that knowledge to inflict the worst kind of psychological pain.  Some even take glee in it.

Everyone is a work in progress. I have hurt those I love, and some of them deeply. The difference is I am willing to apologize, and learn how to corrective action so I don’t hurt them again. Small-minded people have no desire to better themselves because that would take effort and a commitment to go outside their comfort zone. They would much rather tear others down instead. I am working towards accepting and almost feeling pity for those with small-minded syndrome. Except the hurt goes deep, and I’ve got a long way to go for that mindset switch to occur.

Protecting Our Students

I started this as a Facebook status that morphed into a blog entry. It is obviously not my typical subject category, but I feel this needs to be written and explored. This is not the time for hate, rhetoric, or FB political discussions that tend to be non-productive at best. It is a time for love, light, and actual discussion of a solution to solve this problem. One of my unwritten rules of this blog was no politics. I am breaking that rule today.

politics

I am scared, confused, and heartbroken for not only my country, but also every citizen in it. Risk is a part of my life. It is part of what makes it fun and fulfilling when we push ourselves to be better or do something outside our comfort zone. Risk should not include seeing a movie, going to school, or church. Death should not be a considered risk for going out.

I respect and support the right to own guns, but there is not one reason outside of the military and law enforcement that anyone needs a semi-automatic assault rifle. NO ONE. Not hunters and not people who shoot for the skill. I have lots of friends who own guns, and most of them say there is no reason for people to own semi-automatic assault rifles.

GunControlMeme

How did we get here? I am not even a parent yet, and I am almost scared for my cousins and all my friends with kids. How is this okay?! How do we teach them to love and live in a world that is filled with hatred? These are hard questions that are just getting more complicated and scary. School teachers who texted their spouses something like this: “don’t be a hero and get out of there if [a school shooting] were to happen”. This is NOT normal.

School is hard enough without having to worry about getting shot in the process. I am not being glib. Middle school is brutal, and it doesn’t get much better in high school. And now some of them have to contend with the thought of being shot, too?

Five school shootings this year, that’s a little less than one a WEEK since the beginning of the year (Cox, et. al). Something needs to change. The country and our kids deserve something more than thoughts and prayers because that phrase gets more hollow every time mass shootings happen with no action to back up those thoughts and prayers. Do they (Congress, leaders) prayer for a safer life and community? Do something about it that will actually ensure change for those prayers and not just rhetoric for a sound bite.

arm every teacherThere have been studies from around the world of why mass shootings are such an issue in the United States. Many theories abound: lack of mental healthcare; it’s a violent society, and it’s a divisive country. It’s quite simple, and it’s about math. It’s the astronomical amount of guns. We hold 4.2% of the population, but an almost an insane 42% of the world’s guns. Only Yemen has a higher rate of mass shootings than the United States (Fisher et al). The article is quite a stark look at gun facts across the globe. The difference is the culture and the choice we have made over the years. Unregulated gun rights versus responsibility and cost of society. Life is about choice, and government is no different.

john oliver

Depending on the source the number varies to as low as 25.  It’s still a high number.

I am not delusional in thinking that there will be sensible gun laws enacted any time soon. In fact our president repealed the mental health background checks last February. The first argument will be “but the 2nd amendment!” Yes, we have the right to bear arms. I do think it’s safe to say that there should be restrictions in the right to obtain those arms. I hope there aren’t too many logical person that actually thinks the government is coming after your legal guns that you already own. I would be very interested to see actual evidence that this has ever happened in the United States in recently history (meaning the last 25 years). I am not talking about buying back gun programs; I am referring to guns permanently removing legally obtained guns from a house that were not connected to a crime. I am not saying it hasn’t happened, but it’s probably pretty rare.

Another favorite argument, the criminals will get guns anyway so why make it harder for responsible citizens to get one? Agreed, people will always find a way to get something if they really want to. But why not make it harder for them to get it legally? Stronger background checks is something 90% of Americans and even 52% to 74% of NRA members approve of (Parker 2017, Kertscher 2015, respectively). Another argument is Chicago’s gun violence, which does have strict gun control laws. The surrounding states, however, do not have strong gun laws. More than half the number of guns recovered in crimes came from out of state (Kurtzleben 2017).

forefathers

I love this country. I think we are in a time of transition, and we aren’t quite sure where to go or who we are. We are like teenagers, and there’s so much at stake. Not just for this country, but for the globe. The United States has set the precedent for many world issues in the past, and we have fallen behind in many areas. I almost feel like it’s Star Wars, and the country is being pulled to the Dark Side. There is a growing divide in this country of hate and derision that is only getting stronger and spreading. I do not pretend to know the answers, nor do I wish for this to extend into the typical online forum of very little discussion and much rhetoric. I am all for an actual discussion though. Let there be peace and change.

Sources

Cox, John Woodword and Steven Rich. The Washington Post, 2/15/2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/.

Fisher, Max and Josh Keller. “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer”. The New York Times, 11/7/2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/americas/mass-shootings-us-international.html.

Kertscher 2015. “Most NRA members back background checks on all gun purchases”.   Politifact, Times Publishing Company, 3/18/2015. http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/mar/18/lena-taylor/most-nra-members-back-background-checks-all-gun-pu/.

Kurtzleben 2017. “Fact Check: Is Chicago Proof that Gun Laws Don’t Work?” National Public Radio, NPR, 10/05/2017. https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work.

Parker 2017. “Among gun owners, NRA members have a unique set of views and experiences”. The Pew Research Center, 7/5/2017. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/05/among-gun-owners-nra-members-have-a-unique-set-of-views-and-experiences/.