Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lessons From My Mother

There are two things my mother said repeatedly to me as a child that really stuck with me and were a big part of making me who I am as an adult. 

"Who said life was fair?"

Whenever I would whine or complain about anything (and let's be honest, I was a very whiney child), this was my mother's retort. I heard it often. I think it instilled in me an understanding that life wasn't an endless stream of sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes life is hard or simply annoying. This prepared me to cope and survive all the moments that haven't been perfect. 
She also said this to me a lot, but we won't get in to that.
"Not weird. Just different"

In elementary school I came home each day with stories from class or the playground. They often included details of the (what I deemed to be) oddities of my various classmates. Things ranging from the food they ate to the words they used or the things they believed.  To every comment of "Sally is so weird..." would come my mother's at the ready reply of "Not weird. Just different."

I'm incredibly thankful for this particular lesson. As an adult, it has allowed me to see past differences in order to get to know some truly amazing people. Listening to their stories has in turn given me much greater perspective on the world we live in. Perspective outside my 'privileged white girl' existence, which has allowed me to grow as a person. ‎

Thanks Mom! Happy Mother's Day!
 If I went with 'b', she would tell me 'a', but I always seem to go with 'c'

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mosquitoes are Assholes

Thesis:  Mosquitoes are assholes!* 

Evidence:  The multiple mosquito bites on my elbow

Argument the First!: The skin on my elbow is probably the toughest skin on my body (with the exception of my heels with haven't seen a pedicure since that time the lady at the spa sliced me with her foot file - nice job pedicure lady!)  Because it's so tough it must make for difficult stabbing with their proboscis (thank you Google).  This means they're putting extra effort in to biting me there.

Argument the Second!:  Once you get through that tough skin, there's pretty much just bone there.  It must be like trying to suck water out of the sand of the Sahara.  This means that not only are they putting forth extra effort, but they're not getting as much food reward.

Argument the Third!:  It's itchy as hell!  Far itchier than any other bite I've gotten this year!  Driving me F'n crazy itchy!  Want to take a metal brush to my elbow itchy!  This MUST be their reward.

Conclusion:  Mosquitoes are definitely assholes!

Wait a minute....the itchiness has gotten my mind off the other crap going on in my head... could it be that the mosquitoes were trying to help me out using the art of distraction???....ummmm.....NO!

Conclusion (amended):  Mosquitoes are definitely manipulative assholes!!


  * I've been reading a lot of The Bloggess lately and you have no idea how much I wanted to put a "y'all" at the end of that sentence.  She's awesome by the way.  You should check her out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

You know when you look at big fluffy clouds and you see things in them?  Like a dragon...or a unicorn... or Jesus? 
(By they way, I totally took the picture above rather than my usual grabbing from the Internet.)

Apparently I do the same thing with sound waves.  If it's quiet and there is any sort of white noise, I hear music.  My theory is that the sound waves, from for example a fan, head directly to my ear drums, but they also bounce off all the hard surfaces in the room and then these also head to my ear drums at varying times and decibel levels.  My brain then turns all this additional information into music.  (I totally do science!)

It's as if one of the neighbours is having a party and playing music in the distance.  I can make out a beat, a bit of melody, maybe a voice or particular instrument, but it's muffled in such a way that I can never figure out the song and can't make out the words.  I can generally qualify it under a genre.

It drives me absolutely batty!!  If it was one of the neighbours, I could just call them up and tell them to turn down the music, but it's in my head so that isn't an option.  I've tried shifting my head, but that can be just like changing the radio station.  I've even wandered around the house making sure it isn't just a TV left on in another room or something. 

It was particularly bad last night and I was keeping the hubby awake as I told him whenever the music changed.  I can't remember all the genres I went through, but I do remember when it made me think of the music they played on MASH and when it sounded like ABBA and at one point it was kind of country, but with an oboe.  At that point the hubby said that if he listened really hard and stretched his imagination that maybe he could hear the oboe.  With those few words he pulled me back from the edge - It wasn't just me!!

From that conversation I've decided that I'm not completely off my rocker.  I just have a really good imagination.  It's a gift....and a curse!

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's Not Perfect, But It's Mine

A good friend recently told me that I put too much pressure on myself and that I need to give my poor mind a break. 

I've always been a bit of a perfectionist and taken comfort that I generally had a good grasp and some control of any given situation.  Right now I spend my time either in my head or zoning out.  I don't understand what's happening in my body and I have absolutely no control.  It's terrifying, but everyone (friends, doctor, therapist) assures me that I will come out the other side.  I take great comfort in their certainty and their support.

So I will try to take the suggested break.  I'll try to stop putting so much pressure on myself to get better.  I'll try to relax and let this play out however it's going to.  It will be hard because this is something I've never really had to deal with. 

In the meantime, I'll listen to Tim Minchin - by far the sexiest man in mascara!

This is my brain and it's fine
It's where I spend the vast majority of my time
It's not perfect, but it's mine
It's not perfect, but it's mine
It's not perfect. I'm not quite sure I've worked out how to work it
It's not perfect, but it's mine
But it's mine

Thursday, July 4, 2013

OMG! Boobies!!!

Leave it to Pop Culture to give me something to focus on when I'm feeling out of sorts!

Justin Timberlake has come out with a new video.  It was immediately banned by YouTube 'due to its explicit content'.  Canoe was nice enough to post it along with a poll wherein one of the options is "offensive and sexist".

I watched it.  The song is okay - might grow on me.  Watching Timberlake dance makes me think of a white Michael Jackson (artistic but somehow awkward).  The rest of the video is made up of skinny women in g-strings gyrating, dancing and writhing.  There are some moments where they've gone artsy with patterns and colours which somewhat blur the women and are quite lovely.  Most often it's just straight up almost naked women. 

Now I love the look of the naked female body.  The lines, the curves....  Absolutely beautiful!  And I'm not offended in the least bit by this video.  And as for sexist...why is that even an option?  The women chose to do this and were most likely paid very well.  What is more feminist than women choosing what to do with their own bodies?? 

What I don't understand is why they made the video, in this society, with that level of straight up nudity.  Two reasons come to mind.  1. Simply to push the envelope.  2.  For publicity.

The one thing about pushing the envelope is that it needs to be a subtle, but consistent push over time if you actually want anything to change.  Go too far too fast and those against it will rally together and shove you back down.  The makers of the James Bond films have done this beautifully with their opening credits - Goldeneye is a perfect example.  The women are definitely naked, but the presentation is art. 

For Timberlake, I foresee boycotts and that points directly to publicity.  It would have been nice if he believed in his talent as an artist enough to work at creating actual art instead of meaningless publicity.

Feeling Lost

"And crawling, on the planet's face, some insects, called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space... and meaning." - The Criminologist, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Feeling a little lost today and can't get this line out of my head.  Don't know if it's the meds or just my state of mind, but I'm just feeling really out of it.  I find myself zoning out and I won't know how long I've been standing or sitting and just staring.  Sometimes I couldn't even tell you what I was thinking about...if anything.

I've been out of bed for 3 hours now and have very little to show for it.  I gave the dogs their supplements.  I moved the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  I showered.  I wrote a three sentence post about asparagus.  Either I'm moving in slow motion or my memory is on the blitz or perhaps I've fallen into a Time Warp?  I'm spaced out on sensation like I'm under sedation.

I'm having a hard time fighting the urge to just go back to bed, put on some mindless TV show and phase out.  But I'll keep fighting.  Chances are I won't be leaving the house today, but I'll try and keep myself busy and focused with writing, reading and household chores.  Small victories.

Perhaps I'll avoid the pelvic thrusts as I'm aiming for the side of sanity.

Asparagus is Evil

Asparagus is an evil vegetable. 

It's all "Look at me!  I'm a beautiful bright green colour and full of nutrients and tender-crisp and rolling in delicious butter and I go well with bacon.  You should eat me!"

But really it's thinking about how hilarious it will be if the next time you have to pee is in a public restroom.  Muwaaa-haaaaa-haaaaa!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Silver Linings

So anyone who knows me, knows that I've gone a little 'wackadoo' lately.  Complete mental breakdown, emotional overload, panic attacks, depression.....You get the picture. 

It appears that the old saying is true...dark clouds do indeed have silver linings.  I can't say that it's always true, but it seems to be in this case. 

What is the internet without lolcats?

Firstly, as I have spoken out about what I'm going through, my friends have rallied around me.  They've shared their own stories and in doing so our relationships have grown closer.  In making ourselves vulnerable to each other we ended up making ourselves stronger.  We support and encourage and build each other up.  Sometimes it's in person and sometimes it's just messages, but I love all of these friends and I know that this journey would be far longer and more difficult without them in my life.


The second thing, and perhaps even more amazing, is my marriage.  Our relationship has always been great...not perfect, nothing is perfect, but still great.  My hubby is my best friend and our marriage is my foundation.  I am absolutely in love with the man.  But let's face facts....after 21 years together things get a little too comfortable.  We know each other so well that we don't talk as much as we used to.  We agree on most things so talking about them is like preaching to the choir.  For the things we don't agree on, we've already talked those to death.  We started taking each other for granted... never in thought, but often in action.  You know those old couples that you see in restaurants...the ones that will sit through an entire meal and not say a word to each might even be reading the paper.  Those couples have always made me so sad, but I totally understand how that happens.

Well here's the wonderful thing.... As I have been on this road to recovery, the hubby has jumped into action to take care of me, support me, encourage me, calm me and generally let me know how much he loves me, how much I mean to him and how much he wants me in his life.  I, in turn, am trying to do the same for him.  In my current state it isn't always easy... I always feel it, but it can be hard to show someone just how happy they make you when you're crying all the time.  The words combined with the behaviour just aren't convincing.  But, as a whole, big changes are happening.  We're having date days and date nights.  We're being far more affectionate.  We're openly discussing our needs and our wants and we're finding compromises when those desires are sometimes polar opposites.  We're finding things to do together, things that we can share and talk about. 

I think it's pretty accurate to say that we've shaved a good ten years off our marriage.  To expect the excitement and jitters of the early days would be unreasonable, but we've changed our marital path away from that sad old couple to a more vibrant future.  My love for him has grown and evolved since the day I met him, but now I feel like we've looked at what the future holds and we're putting a plan in action to make sure that we are as connected then as we are now.

Who The Hell Is That In My Mirror?

I caught sight of myself in the mirror last night after my shower and I just stared for about 15 minutes.  I'm down to 114 pounds - still 8 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day 18 years ago, but 12 pounds lighter than I was 2 months ago (before my breakdown).  12 pounds might not seem like much, but consider that I've lost almost 10% of my original body mass and I thought I was at a pretty healthy weight then.

The lower half of my body is looking pretty good.  My thighs and hips and butt have trimmed down nicely.  My stomach is as flat as it was in high school.  I'm pretty happy about that.  But then there's my upper half.  My cup size has gone from a C to a B - not a huge deal, but disappointing nonetheless.  It's the other areas that don't look healthy.  It's okay when I'm just standing there, but then I inhale and that's when things change.  Not even a deep breath.  Just a normal intake of oxygen.  The first thing I noticed is that I could see the outline of my ribcage above my breasts.  Made me look emaciated.  But that wasn't even the worst part.  There is cartilage at the front base of the ribcage just above the diaphragm.  A quick Google search tells me it's called the 'xiphoid process'.  When I inhale, it looks like a big lump.  STILL not the grossest part.  It sits very close to the heart so I can actually watch the damn thing pulse.  That's just sexy!  <insert sarcastica font here>

Found a picture of this lump on someone else since the hubby probably doesn't want me posting naked pics on the web.

So considering I'm beginning to look like the poster girl for anorexia, it's time to do something about it.  I need to start eating more and I need to start moving.  The hubby suggested McDonald's, but I want to do this right.  Proper healthy meals and snacks to begin with.  All four food groups in appropriate portions.  Good thing my garden's coming in nicely so soon I'll have more produce in my back yard. 

As for moving, I think I'll start with slow walks on the treadmill to see what my endurance is and maybe build it up a little.  Then I'll move it outside.  Maybe I can even keep the general shape and just build up some muscle and toning.  Now if only there was a way to inject a Big Mac into my boobs...?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why So Public?

I'm often questioned on why I'm so public with various aspects of my life.  The basic answer is that it's just who I am.  I've always been pretty much a 'what you see is what you get' kind of person.  As the years have gone by, the person I am has just become more and more controversial and/or non-traditional so this part of my personality has become more noticeable.

I think there are a lot of reasons why I am the way I am.  For one, I want people around me who actually enjoy my company.  I believe that we need to put our true selves forward in order to have genuine relationships.  If we're all just presenting ourselves as who we think others want to see or if we only show people the superficial aspects and nothing deeper then our relationships aren't real.  That said, there are people in my life that I know I need to be more reserved around and I accept that sometimes it's necessary, but as a general rule I do my best to avoid those people.

Second reason is that, while I'm sure most people are generally good, there are some folks who like nothing better than digging up dirt on the people around them and spreading it around.  This is why many people keep everything personal to that others can't use it against them.  I take the opposite stance.  People can't really gossip about you if it's public knowledge.  "OMG!  Did you hear that she had a mental breakdown???"  "Ummmm ya.  It's on her blog."

Another reason is the feedback I get from people around me.  It's amazing what happens when you share your own difficulties.  People come out of the woodwork with similar stories.  Often people you would never expect.  I find this particularly beneficial in two ways.  First, when I'm in the thick of the issue it's so helpful to talk to people who have been through it already.  They provide perspective, insight, tips, support, encouragement and they make me feel so much less alone.  On the other side, when I talk about past problems and hear from people who are currently going through a similar situation, I can be the one providing all of the above.  I remember once being at a specialist appointment (have had so many, can't remember which one) and I was going over my medical history and medications with the nurse prior to seeing the doctor.  She questioned one of my medications and I told her all about it.  She suddenly blurted out "Oh my god!  I have the same problem!  I didn't know anything could be done about it?!?"  We ended up talking for like 20 minutes while I filled her in completely and she intended to make an appointment with her own doctor to discuss it.

In looking at my own comment above, I see probably the biggest reason of all.  "...and they make me feel so much less alone."  We, as human beings, have a tendency to think we're the only ones who feel the way we do.  Teenagers go through high school thinking "everyone else seems fine so what's wrong with me?".  Women go through life thinking "if only I was beautiful like that woman on the magazine cover?"  Well guess what - all teenagers, even the jocks and the cheerleaders and the valedictorians, all feel anxious and inferior and depressed and scared sometimes.  And guess what - that woman on the magazine cover most likely thinks she's fat and was probably photo-shopped so thinks even less of herself.  We all go through crap in our lives on a regular basis and if we were just willing to talk openly about it, I think it would all feel a little less crappy.  We wouldn't feel alone because we wouldn't be....EVER!

So yes, I have recently been through something traumatic which has caused an emotional breakdown like nothing I have ever experienced in my life.  I'm still in the middle of it and I question my sanity daily and, quite frankly, I'm scared shitless.  But the one thing I no longer feel is alone.  I have people to talk to who understand and empathize and who know for a fact that this tunnel has an end.  No one can tell me precisely when or how I'll find it, but they assure me that it is definitely there and they support me through my journey towards it.

Mental health on its own has an unfortunate stigma attached to it.  My breakdown coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week/Month which was actually quite helpful.  There were campaigns going on all over the place which provided information and support and reminded me that this isn't anything to be ashamed of.  The brain is a complex organ and sometimes it goes a little wacky.  For some it's temporary and for others it's permanent, but there is help for everyone.  I'm doing my best to get the help I need and blogging about what I'm going through helps me focus and find support.  If openly discussing my journey encourages others to seek help for themselves, then that's an added bonus.