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I’m going to hell, but it’s ok

Like most people I know, I do not like death. I ACCEPT death for what it is, and I know it’s this awful, inevitable end we must all face, but I absolutely do not like it and wish to avoid dealing with it at all costs. My Uncle died in 2006 and my boyfriend’s grandmother passed away in February of 2013 – I kind of prided myself on the fact that I had avoided funerals and viewings for that entire span of my life. Everyone handles it differently, no one handles it well, and I, frankly, don’t want to handle it at all. Death is still such an unknown to us, which I think is my true fear. It’s not the end of life, it’s the “Well, what the hell happens NOW?!” situation. I feel like that is why we wrap ourselves in these traditions of a mass, and last rites and an entombment – the dead don’t care what happens to their bodies and they probably don’t even know what’s going on after they leave them. These rituals only try to bring comfort to those of us left here, but they don’t ever really answer questions or tell us what is REALLY happening out there or make me feel like my spirit or my essence or my ‘being’ won’t end up being less than nothing after it vacates this meat suit.

My morbid thought process today is due to the fact that my step-grandmother passed away on Saturday. I’ve been a part of her family for something like, 24 years now, so it’s not like we didn’t know each other well and I am sad that she’s passed on, but I’m not overwhelmingly upset or going through the 5 stages of grief over it. I saw her several times a year and always sat down to chat when we were at an event together. She accepted me and my sister pretty easily into the family when other members did not. She was always honest, a great cook and prided herself on her family and how her home was decorated. I have many memories of her, from the Christmas morning brunches, to the shoe themed bathroom, and I truly don’t think she ever said a mean word to me. I will remember her fondly and I am thankful to have known her, but I selfishly feel like I should be less involved in this whole situation than I am. I mean, I’ve been asked, and out of catholic guilt and respect agreed, to do a reading at the mass on Saturday, assuming of course that the bible I may read from doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames as I approach. Now, Ma had 5 children – each child is married and all have 2 or more of their own, except the youngest who has one child, but that STILL amounts to a heaping pile of children and grandchildren….and yet, the non-biological step granddaughter is doing a reading at the mass?! Are there going to be THAT many readings or something?! I mean, shit. For reals?

Now, you can see where the crazy really comes in and the guilt goes through the roof – I cannot get past the fact that I will be spending approximately 8 hours at viewings and another 2-3 at the funeral itself this weekend, MY weekend, away from my overwhelmingly frustrating means of paying bills, AKA my job, and I am even scheming on how to get out of at least an hour or two. My job has me so stressed out right now that I look forward to a day off in the same way a kid looks forward to Christmas. My weekends are precious to me – this whole working for a living thing SUCKS – so losing a weekend to something like death is just about the last thing on my To Do list and almost as much fun as waxing my hoo-ha. And yet I think, this woman has just shuffled off the mortal coil and here I am worried about spending my day off of work at viewings. She no longer has a choice on what to spend her weekends doing and here I am feeling resentful at spending ONE of mine honoring her life. Shit, I’m going to hell.

 

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Complacency Kills

Today I got a little reality check cashed that I wasn’t expecting.

I thought I was doing so well with my depression and my coping issues for months and months and months now. I’m no longer on antidepressants, my therapist released me from ongoing therapy, and my life has been on quite the upswing. But today was proof that even when everything seems to be going right, shit can still creep up on you and flip you ass over tin cups.

I work with a girl who frustrates me to the point that I have become obsessed with everything she does wrong, just to shake my head, tsk-tsk in her direction and say things like “I don’t know how she still has a job”  behind her back. Her lack of work, while I bust my ass, and the way I feel that management has allowed her behavior with no consequence, straight up makes me resentful. You see, I have a job where I do what I’m supposed to do, my manager and I sit down every couple of weeks to go over my case load, and unless someone starts jumping up and down in the meantime, I’m pretty much left to my own devices otherwise, and expected to just do my job. This girl I work with takes advantage of our freedom and often spends more time during the day texting or surfing the internet than she does actually WORKING and I’ve become too concerned with what she does, or doesn’t do, each day that I’ve been making snide comments to fellow coworkers. Apparently others have heard my comments and went to my manager about them, thus resulting in a call today. I can be an awful bitch at times, for sure, and heaven help those who get on my bad side as I can say some nasty stuff with proper motivation – and you best believe that this girl gives me proper motivation. Through all of this, I have not lost control of my caseload and I do not have issues with unhappy or neglected clients, but I have certainly delved into the zone of negativity which is a place I strove for a very long time to climb out of. It’s a place I haven’t been in a while, and slipping back into it was so easy, it kind of scares me.

I feel a lot of shame, too. Shame for being so petty about this girl, shame for being naive enough to think that management had no clue of her shenanigans, and shame that I made my manager waste some of her precious time just to tell me that I needed to get a grip. I can’t believe that I’ve forgotten where I was when I started this blog years ago – miserable, negative, hating everything, feeling nothing and being just plain depressed and anxious – and how long and hard I struggled and cried and learned and fought and what I implemented in an attempt to change all of that. And here, I have allowed one co-worker, in a matter of a few months, to ruin that for me and start to take away what I worked SO HARD to obtain.

My manager was ultimately right, and I thanked her for bringing this to my attention. Sometimes, it’s hard to see how extreme a situation has become until an outsider points it out. I promised her that I would let it all go, and starting tomorrow, i intend to do just that. I’m going to let go of the resentment, let go of the shame and let go of the negativity – I don’t want to be that person again because at this point in my life, I have too much to lose.

 

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Continuing the trend

My father is the most negative human being that I know. He actually used to be angrier, or at least used to show his anger more, but as he’s gotten older, the anger has turned from cussing and throwing and breaking shit, to just being a downright bummer.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and when I called my dad to thank him for the birthday card and check that he mailed to me, we ended up having a relatively decent 35 minute conversation about how my life was going good, how work was going good and how I didn’t really have a lot to complain about. I’d venture to say that his ability to withhold the negative peaks at around 36 minutes, though, because we quickly went from HAPPY HAPPY to “Just be glad you have a job because if you didn’t, you’d have a hell of a time finding one right now.” and “You should be better at saving your money” and “Well, I gave you that 6 months ago – you haven’t done it yet?” Thank you dad, for ruining whatever high I had on life by inserting your usual bit of negatively slanted realism. Can’t I just be happy for a frickin’ minute, here?!

Most people who do that to me usually get thanked for dropping the Bummer Bomb in some snide, sarcastic way, but my dad is not most people. He is the poster child for emotional suppression and avoidance, so if I were to bring it up, he’d just get angry and most likely say something like, WELL, IT”S TRUE ISN’T IT? To which I can’t really argue, but there is a thing called TACT that he seems to lack. In fact, his need to end on a sour note seems almost purposeful to an extent – there was nothing in our conversation that could have segued him into how suck-tastic the world is or how terrible the weather is or how awful the state of the economy is. He just started hating on shit with no prompting. Yeah, I get it, sometimes shit sucks, but if all you do is dwell on the negative, everything becomes ABOUT the negative and I’ve worked really hard to get my thinking out of that downward spiral pattern. And this, my friends, is the long winded version of why I don’t talk to my father very often and when I do, it’s in very short bursts. Gotta get out before the negativity sets in.

 
 

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Daddy Issues

I’m going off of memory here because I’m lazy and don’t like to incorporate research (BLECK) into blogging, but I believe it was Freud, and Oedipus, that theorized our first loves are our opposing sex parent when we are babies and young children. Little boys love their mothers and little girls love their fathers truer and deeper than they think they’ll ever love anyone else, and the reaction of said parent is more important to how we shape our views of ourselves than I, and most people I’d wager, ever realize. Whether this is true or not, I can’t tell you, but I know for me, my father and our relationship has proven to be the catalyst for most of my crazy issues as an adult.

My parents divorced when I was about 5, and most of the memories that I have of the time before are not so peachy. Lots of yelling, lots of fighting and lots of pissed off dad. His anger was scary, he’d yell and scream and throw shit, and as a 5 and less year old kid, I had a decision to make – be afraid of my own father, or try to do things that didn’t make him angry. Queue the emergence of my brilliant wit. I learned quickly that when dad was laughing, he wasn’t yelling and the choice for me was obvious – I wanted a laughy dad, not a screamy one. Besides, a couple of hits on the ass with a wooden spoon would have even made Jesus renounce his religion, if it had happened to him as a three year old.

Flash forward to my adult life and the main lesson that that little girl learned – do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation and make sure everyone is happy in order to avoid chaos and fear. To this day, I make jokes in tense situations to avoid the anger or sadness that may present itself otherwise. Laughter beat out dads anger, but the laughter was just masking my fear, not displacing it. Don’t get me wrong, I love laughing and having a good time, but I pushed myself into being that way as a child because it was a way better option than being screamed at and cracked over the ass with a wooden spoon by my dad because I spilled some milk on the kitchen floor. Remember – 5 years old and less….

Our relationship as adults is less of a relationship and more of a requirement. He expects me to honor and obey, and forgive him when he tells me that depression is something I should be able to handle myself, and that it’s ‘stupid’ that I am on antidepressants. He wants me to go out of my way for him and give him the unconditional love that he’s never given me. He wants me to yearn for his affection that he withholds like it’s the last jar of peanut butter on earth. Yet, despite all of that, I still try to make him happy. I still try to be uplifting and funny and I still try to be that little girl who he used to get so much enjoyment out of  – but as an adult, it’s harder for me to suppress the fact that I’ve never felt my dad loved me for who I am, only for the laughter I could create. I’ve always felt he loved me just because I could make him not be angry, and that isn’t the unconditional love that a child needs from their father. It’s made me derive my self worth through how I can make others feel – if I can’t make people turn that frown upside down, then I’m worthless. If I can’t solve a problem for someone, I’m a piece of shit, and so on and so on.  I want him to be happy, I want him to enjoy life, but every time that I try to bring that to him, he shoots me down. He makes sure every conversation ends with a ‘reality check’, which leaves me feeling like the world is terrible and not worth being a part of. He’s so resistant to letting go of his negativity and constant belittling that he makes no effort to ease our strained relationship, despite the fact that he is acutely aware that it exists. And that makes me sad for him, and sad for me because there is so much more to this thing called life than just hating on it and bitching about the bad shit that happens to us all sometimes. I want to have a relationship with my father that is healthy and loving and where I feel he accepts me and that I am good enough to be called his daughter, but I’m realizing through age and therapy that that just isn’t going to happen. He’s always going to think I could do more, or be better, or thinner or prettier or a harder worker, but not in an encouraging kind of way, more like a ‘you are not good enough’ one.

Tonight in my therapy session, I realized that my dads happiness is not my responsibility, and it’s OK that that makes me sad. I cannot live my life for him, and I cannot allow him to drag me down when I find something to be positive about. I love my dad, and I always will, but I don’t LOVE my dad, and I wish that I could.

 

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Dial up the crazy

It almost feels funny to type this, as it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve used this word, but, I have a ‘boyfriend’. He’s wonderful, I like him a lot, he does all the things I think a good boyfriend should, and I hope that I get to keep calling him my boyfriend for a very long time. With all that said, however, my crazy still manages to poke holes in what could otherwise be a completely normal relationship, and in times like these, I write.

I live in southern Pennsylvania, (southern enough that I rarely admit to the PA residency except when trying to prove that I drive the farthest to work when compared to anyone else), and for those who don’t know, Maryland and Virginia (along with many other states that i have no reason for mentioning here…) got hit with a helluva storm the last weekend in June, with 80 MPH winds, hail, monsoon volume rains and excessive lightening. There are people to this day that are still without power due to the storm damage, and my boyfriend works in Maryland, for one of the companies that’s out and about replacing some of the telephone poles that were broken, cutting up trees that were splintered and generally trying to fix some of the shit that got jacked up. Since he and I have about an hour and 15 minutes worth of distance between us, his long hours and 7 day a week shifts have taken a toll on my emotional stability the last 2 weekends, as I’ve seen him for a fraction of the amount of time that we PREFER to see each other. See, I intentionally typed “we prefer” to try to outsmart the crazy, but the crazy is uber smart, and it sees through my thinly veiled attempts with little to no effort. The small amount of time that we HAVE been able to see each other isn’t exactly the same sort of QT that I’m used to spending with him, either, as he’s exhausted, a mere fraction of his usual awesome personality, and I swear – dude falls asleep LESS THAN 5 minutes after his head hits the pillow – I don’t think a narcoleptic could top that. So this weekend, I ate dinner with him and his family, then we watched a movie, I got to sleep in his arms, and then got up at 5 am and drove home as he went to work. I’m not complaining, because I wasn’t exactly living la vida refreshed either, but as soon as I give my brain a moment to wander, it immediately jumps to him distancing himself from me for some yet to be discovered reason. Or for some reason that I may have thought of but dismissed, or for some reason that I may never even think of because there’s probably not even a reason in existence at this point. Logically, I know what sheer exhaustion can do to a person and that this is his true reason for being less than all over my grill as of late. Yet my crazy expects him to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, utilizing every second I am within his vision to adore and fawn over me, despite the fact that he’s worked no less than 10 hours per day, for the last 10+ days straight, and he’s already doing about all he can just to stay awake and spend a few hours of face to face time with me. I am interpreting his exhaustion for disinterest, and this is where I inevitably lose my sub-par grip and sob into a pillow for a few hours. Queue the red, puffy eyes I’ll have for the next 2 days.

I must feel safe with my boyfriend, though, because instead of bottling it up and becoming aloof, I’ve opened up and explained these feelings to him, and god love this man, he consoled me and assured me and managed to quell my concerns in just a few words. In past relationships, I would have been told “That’s stupid, why do you feel that way?” and it would end up being an entire discussion about my feelings and why they are dumb, his lack thereof, and I would still never feel that acceptance or understanding that I longed for. Despite the fact that I want to talk about my feelings, I don’t feel the need to make an entire presentation out of it – I want to say my piece, have him reply, and move on. Then I want to reiterate his reply in my head to make myself feel better whenever crazy girl sneaks in and tries to overwhelm the awesome that I have created. Seriously, I know that these crazy thoughts are crazy things that only crazy people make up, but I literally CANNOT help them from seeping into my brain and once they are there, the only way to make them go away is to say them out loud and gain affirmation for their complete idiocy, or their legitimacy.

One huge thing I’ve wanted in a boyfriend is someone who would actually listen to what I say, and HEAR me when I say it. I don’t need it fixed, that’s on me, I just need a man to understand that I have feelings (I know, you’re thinking ‘You’re a chick – DUH you have feelings’ but wait, explanation on this to follow) and be OK with hearing them out-loud. Too many men seem to completely suppress, or downright forget that chicks have feelings, and need to express them to get over them, and firsthand I can say this has created more than several issues with me and men in the past. This one guy I dated told me that I wasn’t ALLOWED to tell him when I was disappointed. His reasoning was that he didn’t like making plans anyway, so when plans fell through, I wasn’t allowed to be disappointed because it was something I used against him to make him feel badly. Not badly enough to NOT break plans or to even TRY to not break plans, just bad enough that he didn’t want to hear about it. I feel that you don’t get to know a person if you’re always just putting on a show, so I want to be honest and try to share who I am in my entirety. All the world is a stage, but even the stage hand gets to know the REAL person playing the part, and I want to be with someone who knows all of me, not just the stuff that’s lollipops and gummi bears. Long winded reason # 47 why my boyfriend is awesome.

 

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Some things change, some things stay the same

It’s been several years now since it started, (somewhere between 4 and 6, I honestly stopped paying attention) and yet I’m still about to write this next sentence: My therapist has suggested that I start blogging again. It helps to solidify the neuro pathways that I’ve rediscovered and it helps to emphasize the reasons behind why I’ve made the choices that I’ve made, and why I used to think that I only deserved [X] amount of anything – happiness, love, kindness, friendship, you name it. I almost feel like I should create an entirely new blog as I am not the same mentally nor emotionally as I was when I started this, or even the last time I posted, and its only natural to want a fresh start after such change.

My ‘perception filter’, as my therapist calls it, is still distorted to a point, but I’ve managed to get the blame game down to a dull roar and I can now see where my deep-seated feelings of guilt, worry and my overwhelming fear of disappointing others comes from. The knowledge alone has opened so many doors in my head that I feel like my brain is a freaking mansion as opposed to a cardboard box. A cardboard box that was once shared with evil, spiteful rats, gnawing on whatever was left of my well-being without regard.

Thanks to my amazing therapist and my own want to learn and grow, I am excruciatingly happy today. I am content with who I am, and I am content if there are people out there who don’t like that, or me. I can say with confidence that, emotionally, there isn’t much I can’t handle now, and I have more confidence and trust in myself now than I’ve had in a long time. Life is good and I look forward to each day with a genuine smile and the outlook that great things are on the horizon. After several years of dating, trying to find the man who fit into my needs and wants while I fit into his, I have found one who is the closest I could ever hope for, and I know that were it not for my therapist and the progress that I’ve made personally, he would not be in my life at this time, and that is the best motivation to continue to grow that a girl could EVER ask for.

I hope to continue to explore myself and what makes me tick, and I hope that I can begin to start sharing my growth again via writing, as it truly is something that I enjoy and I denied myself enjoyment for too long. I saw something via one of those witty websites the other day, a meme of an EKG heart rate; underneath it stated “If life didn’t have ups and downs, you’d be dead.” Well spoken and a good reminder that the bad things that happen don’t have to define who you are or what you do – YOU make those choices and only you can take back the control and turn life into what you want it to be. Thanks be to my therapist for helping me learn that lesson.

 

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What I learned today, or, Why I should go the hell outside sometimes

  • Today I learned that I can, in fact, sit on my couch and watch 35 consecutive episodes of Reno 911. The show is THAT. GOOD.
  • Today I learned that a three-day old bruise from giving blood makes me look a lot like I have a problem. With injecting things into me. Like, drug things. People look at you funny when they think you have track marks and suck so bad at shooting up that you cause yourself to bruise egregiously.
  • Today I learned that my mother’s dog whines and follows me around more than my own problem child dog, and it’s really starting to annoy the shit out of me, 24 hours into dog sitting him. I thought my tolerance was through the roof since I live with a dog who thinks he is my shadow; to the extent that I ALWAYS find him outside of the bathroom door whenever I open it. ::SIDEBAR:: As a habit, I tend not to close doors in my home as I live alone and have ridiculously dependent pets, but when I shower, I like to get all steamy and fog up the mirror and shit, so I shut the door. Never fails – my helper is laying in the hallway in such a way so that he can see my face from the moment the door’s crack is wide enough for recognition.
  • Today I learned that I do love that annoying little dog and his habits of being near me at all times, even though he drives me insane and causes me to trip over him on a daily basis. There is something to be said for being that loved by a soul.
  • Today I learned that if you own a pick up truck with a lift kit, and you’ve re-routed your exhaust to go up and above the cab of your truck, 18-wheeler style, it’s in your contract to hang out in the Arby’s parking lot. They take their obligations VERY seriously.
  • Today I learned that 50 degrees F and no sun makes for a very cold, long day that continuously seems later than it truly is, which causes you to waste the day away while at the same time wondering what happened to the day.
  • Today I learned that fountain coke tastes better than fountain Pepsi. But if given the choice between a can or bottle of coke versus a can or bottle of Pepsi, I would choose the Pepsi. This fact was validated today on two separate trips to places that sell fountain sodas.
  • Today I learned that evenings in are more fun whilst intoxicated. Tanqueray and limeade is the SHIT, people. You don’t know what awesome is if you’ve never tried T&L.
  • Today I learned the most pretentious way possible to google ‘quotes that make me happy’, which is a very popular search and gets me a lot of hits. This is an IRL google search that got someone to my blog: “to make life colourful and happy wordings”
 

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