I have self identified as spontaneous, depressed, and anxious, so it won't surprise you that I had mixed emotions about going somewhere new. This year, I have gone to so many ne places, but most of these places were because someone encouraged me. I had a friend with me. I had someone cheering me on telling me that my anxiety was stupid and I was stronger.
I have come so far in the past few years. When I was younger, I wouldn't go anywhere by myself or try anything new. My diet is beyond predictable. I dare you to ask my parents what my favorite foods are. My dad will say a potpie. He knows I hate it and that is why he will say it. My mom will probably say popcorn with Kraft cheese or salad with so much ranch dressing you question the existence of a salad. She is a clever girl. It is mostly because I have ordered the same foods from the same restaurants for years.
This was actually a fun challenge because I knew that I had so many places that I wanted to go. I had food to eat, drinks to drink, stuff to buy... Here is the glitch. Did I mention that I went gluten free? It makes it crappy to try new places. Alas I still have been able to survive anywhere. I have gone boldly to many stores and bought nothing, I have been to food establishments and refrained from eating junk, and I have been to salons and just sat there.
Sometimes the best experience is just having good company and trying something new. I still think the greatest adventure is trying to stay gluten free, feel good, and stay fairly positive. You all know me. Wine will be needed for the last point.
It is a fairly common fact that I hate selfies. I probably have some deep seeded problem with most pictures in general, but I truly set this task up for failure. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the timing, but I have to admit that I failed.
For most of my teenage to young adult life, I was known as the photographer of my friends. I took pictures with my high school friends quite a bit, but it was probably because they appreciated the joys of captured memories. College and adult life ere different. I friends who invited me out because they knew I would be the photographer of the evening. Looking back on many special events, I have the pictures, but I don't have the pictures of me. It was like I wasn't there. I think I get this from my dad. He loves taking pictures, but rarely is caught in them. Even more elusive is the Chuckles photo with a smile. It is probably worth millions.
Well, I thought I would be spontaneous by trying something that I wouldn't normally do. I also don't normally talk to strangers unless it is for work. This is how I should have known this wouldn't work. Three things could go wrong from asking for a picture with a stranger.
1. I look physically goofy and people judge me
2. This sounds preposterous to the stranger and I am horrifically judged
3. I actually know the stranger and I look even weirder
Well lucky for me, I work at a university that is on summer break. I see the same co-workers every day. I never have to look strange with these people because they already know how strange I am. They know that I have frolicked on the edge and I take pills to make me happy. If I want a picture with someone, they would say, oh she probably just wants to use it for a collage or a prank or a fun new graphic.
Possibly my friends. I guess at the end of the day, I don't regret not finding a stranger to make uncomfortable. I know how it would have made me feel and I don't think that it is necessary to have any more versions of me out there. What I do regret is not taking enough pictures with my friends. I have some of the best friends in the world. I have new friends, old friends, and amazing family, but how many memories do I have to keep? Maybe I will be a next generation memory displayer and get text messages framed when my loved ones are gone. Maybe I will just take pictures or mental shots of social media profiles because that is who they are to me now. I don't want you all to be a check or a social media presence. I ant to remember the fun times we had and how utterly crazy weird we were... together. Let's capture that moment.
When I was younger, I hated reading. Sometimes I still struggle with this love hate relationship with reading. I love it when I am finally engrossed in something, but until that moment, I have to just talk myself into it.
I have had a few series that I have been absolutely obsessed with over the years, but when it came to new books, I have always had a hard time. That is exactly why I challenged myself a few years ago to join a book club. I wanted to read without it being a sappy vampire book. I wanted to read something with substance. I was surprised at how much I loved book club. I haven't always loved the books, but I love the people.
The books we choose are random. Nothing has any rhyme or reason. We have occasionally picked books to go with holidays and books to go with movie releases. This makes it easy to keep the non-natural readers. The other reason I love book club is because I love being forced to do something that isn't work or chores.
My challenge to myself was this: read something that isn't for book club. I have so many books in my queue. I have books that were gifts, books that I want to read, and books that I believe that I should read.
I promise that I have been relaxing, but indeed I have not been taking the time to "read" in the technical sense. I did try some new audible books so I feel somewhat accomplished. I am glad to have new knowledge in my head, but sometimes, you just want to spend a summer evening drinking a glass of wine and reading a book.
I am no stranger to new and strange fads. Fad diets, fashion, and yes relaxation techniques are no different. I was having a terrible week last week. My medication was not acting right, my brain was racing, and I just felt off. That is why I made one of my 30 days of relaxation goals to be do meditation.
First off, I am a huge proponent of hypnosis. I was slightly optimistic because I thought it was a relaxed state and maybe it would be similar. It really wasn't. I'll give it credit, it was relaxing. At one point, I felt so relaxed that it felt like I had a glass of wine in my system. I promise, I didn't.
I had no idea where to even start. Do you listen to a recording, watch a video, read a book? I thought videos and books seemed to defeat the purpose of having your eyes clothes and relaxing. I went for an audio that a friend provided. I shooed the felines away and sat on my bed in the comfiest clothes I could come up with. As I sat and listened to this strange man, I tried to push away all of my stressors. I think it worked because I was less temper tantrumy the next day. I remember as I sat there, my body would shift to what he was saying. As he talked about negativity, I found myself slumped. As he mentioned releasing, I would be straight up. I have no idea if I consciously did it or not, but it was fascinating.
Will I try meditation again? probably. I may read a book first to see what the goals and background are first. Until that time, I still have hypnosis to keep me from being a monster.
When I started this log, I started a challenge. I have had some challenges with anxiety and I thought relaxing and returning to my roots would help as a coping mechanism. While making my list, I thought back to a time that I was always so happy. Wait for it. It was back when I was not judged for watching Twilight.
I know this sounds terrible and not relaxing at all. Kristen Stewart’s acting was a little stressful, the sparkles were uncomfortable, and the amount of brunettes that they made blondes were beyond terrible. I still carry fond memories of having my Edward Cullen Barbie doll, the Edward Cullen cardboard cutout that Blythe surprised me with on my birthday, all of the late night premieres, and of course the vacation to Forks, Port Angeles, British Columbia, and Seattle just to see the sights of the movie.
I am fairly certain I proved my nerd power in the above statement. Unfortunately, I was not alone. Look at the sales to that franchise. It was insane. Luckily, I have a friend who also still feels that kind of love for Twilight. While we were enjoying our wine at Two EE’s last week, we were enjoying a pleasant bottle of wine. While we were sitting inside near the end of the evening, we heard familiar music. I found myself saying “hey this was on the Twilight soundtrack” or “This was from Breaking Dawn Part 1” or “this artist played on a few of the Twilight soundtracks”. This is where the idea was set in motion. During this long weekend, we would re-watch every Twilight movie. We hadn’t attempted this since.. well since that one time I interviewed for a job off campus and also had to take a break to get a tooth pulled all in-between movies. This was a long time ago.
Since that time, I have upgraded my technology and slightly run into a problem. I have a smart TV, but no blu-ray player. Okay I have a blu-ray player, but it is attached to the dumb TV. Netflix graced us with Twilight, but no other Stephanie Meyers fantasy.
It’s heartbreaking to know that if I want to watch a marathon, I will have to make it an all day PJs in bed event. I did not completely fail my mission to relax to nerdy vampire stories. Luckily my friend loves anime and she tried to convince me that it wasn’t terrible. I have now completed 2 seasons of Vampire Knight. I am now an expert at how not to have a relationship. Don’t date vampires. They are mildly incestuous and abusive even if it is in a passive aggressive way.
For the record, I don’t believe in vampires. Also, that Forks trip was my last vacation and it was 10 years ago. Who wants to sponsor a vacation that is approved for a 30 year old?
This Sunday, day 3 of my relaxation month, a dear old friend came to visit. Once upon a time, we worked together. She even took over my office when I moved to another office. It was always so funny going in there after that because it was a freaking jungle/greenhouse. She was truly plant obsessed. If you ever heard the story of how we got into a fight about trees and my paper waste, you would understand.
When we were trying to figure out what to do that day we had a hard time narrowing down options. The mall, drinking wine, eating, manicures, shopping for plants… You can see what won right? She was looking for a very specific succulent. I feel as if it had panda in the name. Good news is we found it. The bad news is that I stared at them too long. I kept remembering how many times I wanted to get a succulent, but I thought the price was ridiculous for a little plant that looked like rubber and could easily be faked. It turns out, they are cheap in the garden section. Just don’t get them in the floral area of a store. If roses are near by, it increases the property value.
I bought that damn succulent grouping for $4. I also got a little cactus for $3. The question we will have to answer is which I kill first. If I was more optimistic, I would say which is more like me, fake looking or prickly. At the end of the day, I keep my cats alive quite well. I will just have to work hard to keep these alive too. They are my new symbols of a new way of life. I should at least try to keep them alive through the month.
You know you have lived in Fort Wayne for too long when you get very defensive about a local sports team. My sister offered tickets to a South Bend Cubs game and I was like… ewww. TinCaps are my thing. Oh didn’t you know they are playing the TinCaps? Oh, I am totally there.
I went searching around for TinCaps gear. Total failure. Apparently the stadium isn’t open the day of away games. Makes sense. I spent the evening with my nephew who has suddenly become a Cubs fan. Not really sure how this happened. Our family has a strong history with baseball. Wile yes we are from the Chicago area, we were bred to be White Sox fans. Everyone except me that is. I like the Yankees. On top of that, my brother played baseball, I played softball, and my sister managed softball.
My nephew, Sweet Nathan, decided that running around with a baseball glove and an old ball were totally appropriate for a ball game. I decided it would be a good idea to taunt surrounding Cubs fans. I get how excited you al are about the big team winning the world series, but no, not you! Everyone around me gave me dirty looks. I clapped and “woohooed” when something good happened. My dad kept trying to put a Cubs hat on me and I would throw it off claiming cooties or Cubbie germs.
The TinCaps have become a staple in our little Fort Wayne world. This is why I chose this to be my 2nd day of relaxation. I capped off my evening perfectly with two things I love: baseball and pissing people off.
The first day of my month of relaxation was truly amazing. Work has been very interesting the past few weeks. I have started to feel lost. So many choices are in front of me. It is hard not make crazy decisions sometimes. On Wednesday, my best friend texted me and said that Two EE’s is having a sale over the weekend. Luckily, I was also hanging out with another friend who was in desperate need of some W&R. Sometimes you just need to take a few hours and go back to the basics.
For anyone who hasn’t been to Two EE’s Winery, you are missing out. It feels like this place has been around forever, but I think the owners are probably my age. It is by far the best wine I’ve had. Bonus… locally owned. It is always busy, has a rocking food truck, live music, and the wines are great. Friday was especially great because we had Sol Kitchen truck. Amanda and Jessica both were happy to join in the festivities of table hunting, wine slushy drinking, and bottle sharing.
As I was sitting with these two friends, memories of how much we have all been through came back. I have been friends with Amanda for 12 years and friends with Jessica for 10 years. Both of these ladies come from different words. One is from my Kokomo world and the other is from my Fort Wayne world. It was so funny sharing stories about how many times we almost died and how much trouble we have gotten in. It is like these parallel lives that occasionally swerve and intersect. As we get older, I cherish these moments of pure humor where we are all just laughing at absolutely nothing and make fun of all of the people bringing babies to the winery.
Friends are fine wines. They all have different flavors, different colors, and get better with age. It takes a few hours of going back to the people that know you the best in order to really get to know yourself and who you wish you still are.
Hi. Have you met me? I am high strung. Difficult. Edgy. I suffer from major depression and severe anxiety. I get it honestly. My grandma was bipolar and our family seems to have it honestly trickled into our personalities. I often use work to channel my anxiety when it is too overbearing. Yes, I take terrible medication that makes you gain weight and feel like Porky Pig. I also try to talk to people that understand the anomalies of my noggin.
About a week ago, I was talking to one of my good friends who has the same problems I have. She helped me put my super anxiety into perspective. What can I do to help with my symptoms. I decided to try something new every day in order to break my routine.
Day 1 – Winery with friends
Day 2 – Baseball game and root for the opposing team
Day 3 – Buy a plant
Day 4 – Watch a Twilight Marathon, because I don’t care how old I am. I still love it
Day 5 – Meditation
Day 6 – Read a book that isn’t for book club
Day 7 – Take a picture with a stranger
Day 8 – Go to a place I’ve never been
Day 9 – Get a pedicure
Day 10 – Get flowers
Day 11 – Spend an entire evening with my cats
Day 12 – Write a letter
Day 13 – Cook something that I wouldn’t normally cook
Day 14 – Write a brag entry
Day 15 – Look through old photo albums
Day 16 – Stargaze
Day 17 – Run
Day 18 – Start a puzzle
Day 19 – Take a bubble bath
Day 20 – Find a new hobby
Day 21 – Write 5 thank you cards
Day 22 – Sit outside and listen to the breeze
Day 23 – Clean out email
Day 24 – Volunteer for a new organization
Day 25 – Start a collection of items to give to a non-profit in need
Day 26 – Listen to classical music all day
Day 27 – Go for a drive
Day 28 – Develop new photos
Day 29 – Write a list of positive traits of all of your co-workers and friends
Day 30 – Watch a Disney movie
I have been hearing a lot about mentors lately. It wasn't until I worked in higher education that this word became a part of my everyday vocabulary. Some people are uncomfortable by them and some people swear by them. I just want to know where you get them?
I have had the privilege of working with amazing people, men and women, at all of my places of employment. I looked up to these people, attempted to model myself after them, but I don't know if I could call any of them mentors. Mentors seem more like a reciprocal relationship where one person knows that they are hot stuff and the other is not. The cool guy/gal is in turn supposed to be very Yoda like and teach the young Skywalker how to be just like them.
Here is my ad:
Young perfectionist, hard worker, and who probably needs to broaden her horizons, is seeking mentor. Mentor should be friendly, yet honest and to the point. No sugar coating. Mentee may need to be reminded what life is like outside her bubble. Mentor must love volunteering ant the community so mentee and mentor and make huge strides together.
PS This is unrealistic. If so many careers are advocates and even require mentoring relationships, should this be a normal step in order for young employees to advance?
Experiencing interpersonal relationships with people who are not your direct co-workers can be very rewarding. Maybe we can learn to get to know each other and learn something new.