Month: December 2018

Early morning musing

It’s 3 in the morning. I woke up at 1:30 again (thank you period cramps) and couldn’t fall back asleep. I know, I said the dreaded ‘p’ word. But you know what? It’s a fact of life for women. It sucks. And I’m tired of having to pretend its not happening. Mine especially as it currently feels like someone is trying to rip my spine out through my belly button and the only relief I can get is having an ice pack on my back for most of the day. I still managed to get in a 3.5 mile hike yesterday which was awesome. Found a new trail in Golden that is almost worth going out in Denver traffic for.

So here I am, philosophizing like I do so many times at this time of morning. The world is dark and still. No one is yapping in my ear or telling me of what normal thing I should be outraged by now. I’m not getting run over by stupid people that can’t put down their phone in their car, or suddenly realized they need to dart across five lanes of traffic because they’re going to miss their lane or just think that they deserve my space on the road more than I do. It’s peaceful and serene. I can actually think without being bombarded by noise.

I wonder what would happen if the world would turn itself off for a week. No news. No media. No paid for ‘experts’ screaming at us that we need to be outraged by this or that. No advertisements telling us how horrible we look or act or have going wrong in our lives but hey we have this thing that will make it all better if you just give us your credit card. No video games. No traffic jams. No phones. Just people being people without all the noise in our lives.

There’s a line in Jurassic Park I love. I’m paraphrasing but it’s something like “Everybody got so wrapped up in the fact that they could, nobody stopped to think if they should.”

Technology is great (when it wants to work). But now that we’ve all become saturated in it, we need to try just spending a little time saturating ourselves with peace and quiet. Paying attention to the world, and the people around us. Taking extra time and dealing with our mistakes correctly (like just going to the next exit in traffic) instead of dealing with it instantly and creating all sorts of havoc (yes this example comes because someone almost killed my boyfriend in traffic today because they had to dart across five lanes at the last second before an exit). Wake up people.

We’re all guilty of this. Of not paying attention. Of getting consumed by the noise.

Maybe its time we all unplugged just a little.

 

 

 

Awake at 1 am

It’s 1:30 am. My boyfriend is so deep asleep next to me I’m not even sure he’s breathing anymore. He is, thankfully. I’m awake. I knew I fell asleep too easily. I stare into the darkness, into the direction I think the ceiling is, willing myself back to sleep. I try all my tricks including counting to 10 in Japanese. Odd I know. But sometimes it works to get my brain to shut off.

Not tonight. Apparently all I needed was four hours of sleep because my brain is off and running. Hurting like hell, because why not wake up with a headache when you can’t fall back asleep.

I try for what seems like an hour to lull myself back to sleep. But my head just keeps pounding worse. I finally give up, rummaging around in the dark for my sweats. I head down to the couch, grabbing a glass of water on the way. I hate drinking water at night because my taste buds seem to turn off and it tastes disgusting. But I do it anyway because I figure my headaches from dehydration. Oh, the joy of living in Colorado, the land of little humidity.

First I play some Plants vs Zombies. Normally I don’t do video games, but sometimes doing something completely mindless can make me sleepy again. Not tonight, unfortunately.

I try reading, one of my favorite past times, because if nothing else I can enjoy my time up.

3 am and I finally give into the obvious. I’m not falling asleep again tonight. I sigh, because my brain and body have been doing this too much lately. I know I’ll finally crash around 6, 6:30 for an hour or two, then wake up completely messed up for the rest of the day. Headaches. Aching joints. It’s almost like having the flu except its just my body’s messed up response to a messed up sleep schedule.

I grab a can of Pepsi just because I don’t want to use the microwave to heat up my chai in case I wake up my boyfriend. I know once he wakes up he’ll be up for good too, and at least one of use should be getting some rest tonight. Hopefully I can ward off the 6 am crash with enough caffeine and just stay up all day.

I decide to do stuff (quietly) to get ready for my day. I do my exercises down in the basement. I check my camera gear to make sure it’s charged and I have everything I need (sleep or no I am still going for my hike!) Then I decide to use the time to write this post.

It seems like this has been my sleep schedule my entire life. Either I sleep for only a few hours and wake up, my brain going “Hey we slept! Get up! Get up! That’s enough”, or I sleep for ten hours and basically have to be blasted out of bed or I would sleep more. Sometimes I really do wonder if I’m not somehow half cat like my boyfriend contends. Either I’m sleeping all the time or I’m up in the middle of the night with the ‘zoomies’ wanting to get stuff done. That and I love napping in sunbeams (insert laughter here).

There’s also the nights where my brain refuses to let me sleep in the first place. Where my anxiety latches on to some mundane thing that has happened or will happen or may happen or isn’t even a possibility but hey lets worry and fret over it anyway.

I don’t like taking sleeping pills. I used to take antidepressants prescribed by my doctor, but those gave me really horrible dreams and I’d wake up in panic attacks. I take CBD oil, which helps keep me stay asleep sometimes but not always. I do melatonin and other vitamins that are supposed to help. And they do, sometimes.

But sometimes is not all the time. And I end up with nights like this.

Yet I have to admit that it is kind of nice. Being up in the middle of the night. The world is completely silent, except for the humidifier. If it wasn’t so cold I’d go for a walk. I used to do that all the time, walking at night. Even in the biggest city, there’s a silence to the nighttime. A stillness that speaks to the writer, the artist in my soul. Maybe I’ll go photograph the sunrise this morning.

They say that the early morning hours are the creative hours, and I can see why. No distractions. No phones. No TV blaring in the background. No traffic or trains blowing their horns or planes rumbling overhead. No garbage truck banging and squeaking as it passes. No noisy neighbors with their little yappy dogs that never shut up. No one bugging me or begging me to do a survey or buy this thing or that thing or anything. Just peace and quiet. Stillness.

I hate these nights when I can’t sleep because I know I’ll eventually hit my wall and it will turn into a bad day. But I can enjoy this time in the peace and stillness that it gives me.

 

 

Shame on You (and dealing with it)

Today’s culture is obsessed with the idea that you can change your future, no matter how old you are or what you’ve been doing up until this point. Which is an amazing and positive thought. I love it, and am currently trying to embrace it. I’m going back to school. I started trials when I was 30 (I mean, who starts riding motorcycles at 30?) I’m starting to get into photography. I’m working on my attitudes. Dealing with my anxiety and learning how to work with it. Not apologizing because I think or act differently. Not apologizing for being interested in ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ things. Becoming more confident in myself.

For a long time I had it stuck in my head that whoever we were coming out of high school or college was who we had to be for all of our lives. Even when I started cracking my shell and letting new things in, I really struggled with the ‘new me’ vs ‘old me’ aspect, like two sides fighting a war inside of me. Then, within the last year or two, I realized that there really wasn’t a ‘new me’ or ‘old me’. It was the same me. I was just letting go of the shell and becoming more freeform. And feeling ashamed about it.

I know, it might seem weird. Why would I feel shame for trying to be a better person? But the fact is, I felt it. Some of it was the friends I had at the time. They had settled for working minimum wage jobs and sitting on the couch watching movies and being out of shape. Nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you choose. But it wasn’t what I chose. Fights ensued because I was working and trying to get better, and they had their own issues with that. Whether they realized it or not, they tried to shame me into feeling bad for wanting a different situation with my life. At first, it really hurt me because I was hanging on to the memories of the friendship and I didn’t want to lose it. But I finally realized that no one had the right to make me feel ashamed of myself for wanting to have more confidence. For wanting a life where I was happy. So I made one of the hardest decisions in my life and let them go.

I felt shame because by understanding myself and becoming more of who I felt comfortable with, I was letting people down. A friend got me into a MLM health business. The company was great. He was awesome at it. Me, the introvert? Not so much. I struggled for two years, always making promises and beating myself up because I couldn’t make it happen. Then I realized something. I’m not good at sales. Some people are and that’s great. I’m not. I’m an introvert. I have anxiety. I hate talking on the phone. I hate talking to strangers. That’s not my zone. My zone is writing. Art. Getting to know someone one-on-one. I felt a lot of shame for letting him down because he believed in me so much. But I realized that people have to accept that not everyone is like them. And I was tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Trying to jam my square into a circle because someone else believed that I could. I’d been doing it for my entire life, and it never worked. There was no shame in standing up for myself and not wanting to keep banging my head against a wall.

Finally, I felt ashamed because of how unlike me I had been for so many years. For a reason I still can’t identify, I feel the need to apologize to myself for doing things differently. I mean, I recently started working out in the mornings. Just little things, like shoulder rolls and arm circles and working on a balance board. Takes about 5 minutes. It feels amazing and I can already feel the difference in my core and my upper body. Yet it makes me feel ashamed that I spent so many years not doing this simple thing. Why didn’t I just do this before? Why was I always lazy? Why did I procrastinate? I’ve been doing this with so many things lately, as my boyfriend helps me recognize all of the really bad habits I have that don’t have to be there. Mainly my procrastinating. Why don’t I just do the dishes while I’m waiting for my toast? It’s right there. Walking by things when it would take 5 seconds to fix them. I felt shame realizing how much I procrastinate. I felt shame doing the right things because how could I have not been doing them for so long. Shame that threatens to undermine the new thing so I can just go back to the comfortable old thing that isn’t any good for me.

But that shame I feel is wrong, all the way around. I can’t change how I acted in the past. And how I act now is a really good thing that I can carry on for the rest of my life. Every day I try to push myself to find one little thing to change, one bad habit that I can start nibbling away at until it falls away and its not a habit anymore.

Standing up to your shame and going ‘NO! You don’t get to have a hold over me anymore” is a hard thing. Like I said, I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost jobs. I’ve lost a lot trying to get myself out of bad situations that weren’t any good for me. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Getting yourself to a good place mentally, physically and environmentally takes work, sweat and a lot of hard decisions.

But in the end its been worth it. I’m going back to school to finish my degree in Technical Writing so I can finally get a good job in a field that I love. I live in a beautiful state where I can go hiking and ride my trials bike, and have made some great new friends that have become family. I met my boyfriend, and can’t imagine my life without him. And most importantly, I’m striving forward to make me better everyday. Exploring this world unapologetically. Having fun and finding all the excitement and wonder the world has to offer.

Shame probably has its place in our lives to tell us when something we’ve done is wrong, or has hurt somebody’s feelings. Yet it can grow and take over our lives, stunting our growth. It gets misplaced, and we feel it in places where it shouldn’t ever be.

We should never be ashamed for wanting to take care of ourselves. For wanting to get ourselves in a happy place, whatever your individual happy place turns out to be. Other people do not have the right to make you feel ashamed for anything. Shame steals so much of our happiness, and we let it. For no reason other than someone else told us that we should feel ashamed about that.

Identify your shame. What specific things make you feel ashamed. Why? If the answer is anything close to ‘someone else is making you feel ashamed because you aren’t acting like they want you too’, it’s time to dump it. It’s time to move on.