Friday, July 13, 2018

Gone to the movies...

For the last month, every time I sit down to write, what comes out is a whole lot of ugly. I have several saved starts where I got halfway done and realized I could or wouldn't post what I'd been writing. I'm not in a good place right now, I'm not able to sleep, and even when I do sleep I wake up every hour. Overall, I'm having a rough time.

But, today, I had a small victory and thought I'd try to write about that instead of the ugliness. A milestone, of sorts. I actually managed to go out to a movie alone today. While I know that sounds like a small and somewhat pathetic thing, for me, it's pretty huge.

As an agoraphobic who also suffers from generalized and social anxiety disorders, I struggle to leave my house alone. I struggle to go to Walmart or even to just go out to put gas in my car. I do okay when I'm not alone, when my husband is with me, but I suck at alone. To make things worse, I tend to catastrophize, imagining the absolute worst possible outcome in every situation. When I can't sleep, the whole situation becomes so much worse.

So going to a movie alone, that's a negative... until today. Today, I actually did it. I went to see Skyscraper alone. I spent a good portion of the time worrying about being in the theater alone. I spent some of the time obsessing about whatever worst outcome could possibly occur. I don't usually go to movies, even when I'm not alone because my anxiety won't allow me to forget the short string of theater shootings that happened in the last few years. But, once I got into the movie, I was able to relax a bit and really enjoy the experience.

By the time I walked out of the theater, I felt pretty good about the whole excursion. An excursion that had been prompted by a fit of emotional upset about being home alone, miserable, while my husband's in another state spending his day off having a good time with his co-workers. Shortly after coming home and having lunch, the emotional turmoil had mostly returned, but for that little bit of time, I felt pretty good about having actually accomplished this small thing.

Deep down, I still feel pretty good about it. Seeing that I'll be 40 years old in less than two weeks, it was long past time to get this thing done.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Some things never change...

When I was a teenager, my favorite thing to wear was jeans and t-shirts. I favored pony tails and skipped the make-up most of the time. Flip-flops were my shoes of choice. I wasn't exactly a tom-boy, I just wanted to be comfortable.  And, because I, like most other teenagers, wasn't all that comfortable in my body I sought to be comfortable in other ways. And, I liked the way I looked in jeans and t-shirts.

This was somewhat of a friendly battle between me and my mom. She wanted me to be more girly. She didn't tell me what to wear, exactly, but thought I should wear make-up and do something with my hair, maybe wear something with flowers on it once in a while. When I began to attempt to attract boys, I tried to make more of an effort, but I never was very good at being interested in things that would make me "prettier."

Twenty-five years later, not all that much has changed. I'm still not all that interested in things that would make me prettier. I care about being comfortable, just like I did when I was sixteen. I thought this was likely (thankfully) one of the only things I have in common with my younger self. As I considered it, though, I think I may have sold myself a bit short. Maybe there is a little bit of who I was way back then still lingering inside me, deep down.

When I was tossing on my Deadpool Taco's t-shirt and jeans this morning, hair in a messy bun, no make-up, I realized this was exactly something my teenage self would have worn. It made me smile, but it also made me think about the things about us that change and those that remain the same. My mom's favorite saying is "the older you get, the more like yourself you become." I never understood that when I was a kid--grown-up mumbo-jumbo, if you asked me. But, as I've grown older, I don't just understand it, I both believe it and don't. I have a relationship with that particular bit of wisdom.

In some respects, I've become so much more who I was always supposed to be. In others, I thank God that I've changed so much that my former self is unrecognizable. Still in others, I've grown into someone my teenage-self wouldn't necessarily approve of. I think this happens to everyone, we're all a big ol' ball of hopes, dreams, and disappointments that make us who we are today. I'm able now, though, to step outside my comfort zone and do things I never could have back then. Maybe that's the difference between being an awkward sixteen year old girl and a 40 year old woman. The ability to differentiate between comfort and hiding. The ability to put yourself out there because you have to, or need to, or just want to.

I still want to be comfortable. I'm older now, but I'm still wearing my jeans and t-shirts. I imagine I always will. But when I leave my house, I usually wear make-up now, too. I straighten my hair so it looks good and try to be generally presentable. Not so I can be prettier, attract men, or look more my age, but because when I look better, I feel better and have more confidence. That's something my teenage-self didn't much understand or care about. I just try to do those things while wearing what will make me most comfortable.

Then there are times when comfort still wins over looking/feeling good and I leave the house wearing slippers.



Thursday, May 10, 2018

How I learned (a little bit of) patience...

I'm old enough to remember a time before online shopping. If we wanted something, we went to the mall and bought it. We drove to the store, looked at things, tried on clothes, and paid with cash or credit cards. While I still do this sometimes, it's much more common for me to buy things online. I even buy my groceries online and go pick them up at Walmart without ever getting out of my car.

I'm all about hassle-free instant gratification. I don't have to go to the mall--I absolutely hate malls--or even to stores. I get the experience of shopping, but don't have to leave my house. They just arrive at my door and do so pretty quickly at that. Thank you, two-day shipping. It may seem like going to the store to buy things would be much quicker than buying them on Amazon, but when you factor in going out to get said items and all the time it takes to shop in person... forget it.

This, however, has led to some impatience. I don't like to wait for all these things I'm buying online. With quick shipping, I rarely do for more than a day or two. Considering I can buy virtually anything, virtually, a short wait is easy to swallow. And, if what I'm buying is books, there's no wait at all. I can buy e-books and start reading them almost instantly.

Then, one day, along came Kickstarter. This is practically the opposite of instant gratification. If you haven't done this, Kickstarter is a way to support projects you believe in while getting some sort of reward for your investment. We've backed 11 projects to date, all of them hobby-related (dice, gaming books, collectors edition paper dolls, etc.) and the wait has been fairly long each time. As an example, we backed a Kickstarter in October 2016 that has still not been completely fulfilled. We've gotten about half the books in the set with the other half to come over the next year.

Even knowing that backer rewards won't be available for most Kickstarters for six months to a year, I still back them. I still give them my money and then I wait. I don't just wait, in most cases, I'm happy to wait. This is how I learned to be patient... Kickstarter taught me patience. In a world where I, like every single other person in the first-world, don't want to wait, Kickstarter has made me more patient. It's allowed me to embrace the old adage that all good things are worth the wait.

Okay, well, maybe some good things are worth the wait. It hasn't exactly made me a paragon of patience... I'm human, after all. But, it has helped me to develop just a little bit of a virtue that I never, ever possessed before and that's something, right?


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do they remember me?

I opened Facebook the other day to find than an ex-boyfriend from forever ago had liked one of my pictures--when I say forever ago, I mean like, more than 20 years ago. This isn't exactly a new thing, we've been friends on Facebook for several years, and he's occasionally liked my photos or left a short comment. But, for whatever reason, this time it got me thinking about the people I've left behind or moved on from.

Do those people ever think of me? Do I ever occur to them at all or have I become a lost memory? It's not the first time I've wondered, but it's the first time it's sticking. I can't seem to stop thinking about it. I feel like the answer to those questions has to be multi-faceted. It must depend on factors like how close we were, how much time we spent together, and what kind of relationship we shared. But, sometimes I think some people just leave such an indelible mark on your memory that you can't help but think of them. I kind of hope I made that kind of mark on someone, at some point.

For me, it's just once in a while. I'll smell something, or hear a song, or see something that will bring someone to mind. An old friend, an ex-boyfriend, a family member I don't ever speak with anymore. Admittedly, there are some people who crop up more than others and that's likely because they had such a deep impact on who I am now, as a person. For most, I think back fondly, while there are a few that bring such memories of unhappiness screaming forward I'm left feeling pretty rotten.

And it's always the odd memories that crop in, nothing substantial at all, just little bits and pieces of things that you wouldn't think would still be rattling around in there. Hearing the word fuck trudges up memories of high school. Smelling certain soaps brings back memories of... errr, okay, I can't really share that one with you (sorry). One particular Garth Brooks song comes on the radio and I remember a certain older man I dated for a while when I was 18 years old. Pumpkin pie makes me think of my grandmother and, strangely, the time she made home made syrup that was so thick the pancakes stuck to the plate and we couldn't eat them.

But, I also wonder whether those people I think of most and most fondly, are the same people who think of me once in a while. Maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing. Maybe it's simpler than all that and people do occasionally remember me just out of total subconscious inability to prevent it. Hell, I know that I think about some people, sometimes, just because I can't stop the memory from bubbling to the surface. Whether I want that memory or don't.

I suppose, though, that it's just nice to think that someone, somewhere occasionally thinks back and remembers me. ♥


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day isn't about us...

It's Earth Day. I keep seeing posts on Facebook asking what each person is doing to make the earth healthier. It's got me thinking about how I'm helping because, well, I've always been interested in what I can do to make the earth better. When I was small, I sent a letter to McDonalds asking them to stop using styrofoam. Still hate the stuff. I use the blue trash can for boxes, cans, and bottles. I wash some of our clothes in cool water. I only do full load of dishes and laundry. I work from home, so I don't drive much. I don't run the water while I'm brushing my teeth. You know, most of the same stuff every conscientious person does.

But each year on Earth Day, something that always seems to come up in childfree circles is how we--the childfree--are saving the earth by not having babies. Okay, yes, but also, no. It's a fact that having fewer people in your household lowers your carbon footprint, so yes, science. But, I seriously doubt that most childfree people choose to be sans kiddies just to save the environment, so... no. I mean, I can acknowledge that some do and that it's a consideration, at the very least, for others. I suppose it's just really exhausting seeing it every single year, same thing. I kind of hope we'll stop hijacking Earth Day, like it's about our choices, because it's not.

When I chose to be childfree, it wasn't because of the environment, even though I've always cared about the environment. Hell, I was 16 years old and didn't really have a good idea about carbon footprint and how having kids affected that. I made a choice not to have children because I'm not mentally healthy. I'm not mommy material. I'm not maternal and most days I can barely take care of myself. I chose not to have kids because kids make me uncomfortable. Most of all, I chose not to have kids because I did not want them and I didn't really care about societal pressures to procreate. It just happens that not having kids makes me more environmentally friendly than someone with lots of kids. It's a happy coincidence, not the cause.