The Big Dream

So, this is an extension of my last blog that covered work.

Basically, last time, I put the vibe out there that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the job I have that makes me money. By and large… Yes. That’s a fact.

I do have another job that fulfills me in every way a person could possibly imagine. I wish every day that it could be my paying job.

I am on the board of a non-profit organization called Crossroads Universal. We organize and host two very large community events every year: Cleveland Pagan Pride Days and The Cleveland Witches Ball. There are so many other dreams we have for the organization, but these two events are very solid, though, due to the ‘rona, we had to cancel the Witches Ball and we made CLE PPD a live-stream event.

Every summer, the weekend of PPD, I am with my true tribe, with my people. There is such a spirit of community, togetherness, and pure magic. It makes every ounce of work we put into it so worth it. Just having someone walk up to me and thanking us for all our hard work and sharing about what a wonderful time they’re having… well… it’s a very special time.

Watching children dance along with the drum circles, friends who don’t see one another often hug, laugh, and pose for a selfie together… it’s truly the most wonderful feeling, for me. I know the rest of the board and the planning committee agree with me.

Part of me wonders if I’d still love it the same way if it were my paying job. Part of me says yes because I could move the organization into so many different directions and do so many wonderful things for our community.

No… not part of me. All of me.

Time to figure out making this happen.

For Money

Week 2 of the Daily Om writing course involves work.

For money, I am an insurance follow up representative in the billing department of a very large, world-renowned hospital system. That should make me proud. In actuality, it does not. To be perfectly frank, I have never worked in such a … well … toxic environment, and that really says something.

See, I started this job after the pandemic introduced itself to the world, so I’ve been working from home since day one. I’ve never experienced their “in office” environment, but if it’s anything like the “at home” environment… let’s just say I’m going to have to actively pursue other avenues.

Most of my adult life was spent in the medical billing field. I gained all of my experience from a good company that cared both about their patients and about the people who run their processes and make things happen… you know, the workers. Every day I worked there, I felt valued, appreciated, and like what I had to say mattered. Where I’m at now? I have none of these things. In fact, it’s not a matter of simply not having them. Personally, I’d call it less than zero. In my world, that is a possibility.

Life tends to sling shit around, so, for the sake of practicality and for the sake of my sanity, I had to leave the job. I walked away from a great paycheck, excellent benefits, people I loved being around, and feeling cared about. Sure, I was a cog in the machine, but I was well-oiled and tended to. Any accumulated grease and grime were of my own doing, and they had a lot more to do with me and my own personal issues than they had to do with what I did to make money.

When I left that job, I took some time off to see if I could figure out what I truly wanted to do. I ended up working technical support for a huge company. I spent exactly one year of my life walking retail workers through the process of restarting their cash registers. For a lot of reasons, it simply wasn’t my thing. See… in the medical field, sure I was billing outrageous sums to people who may or may not be able to pay, but in the daily battle with insurance companies and with the “powers that be,” I, more often than not, was left feeling like I was genuinely able to help others, so I decided to go back to that.

Currently, I’m left wondering if that was the grandest idea I’ve ever had. Not because the specifics of the job don’t resonate with me, but because of where I am.

People and their attitudes about other people and life, in general, matter. You’re never going to have a good and easy time in life when you encourage adversarial relationships with people and entities who can make your lives easier or more difficult depending on your approach.

There are a lot of avenues to this “work” topic I’d like to explore, so there will probably be several posts for it. For now, I’m tired of writing and am struggling for words. This is the last day of my long weekend, and I don’t want to spend it bemoaning what I’ve lost and dreading what I get to go back to tomorrow.

Have a great Sunday!

Obstacles

Last week, in an effort to make myself dive into some self-exploration, I bought a writing course from Daily Om. Every week, you get a topic to ponder, explore, and to write about. I’m not sure where this trip will take me or if it will give the kind of discovery and growth I’m hoping for, but, for now, let’s get started.

This week’s topic is “Obstacles.”

I have two massive obstacles in my life, currently. The largest, I’d have to say, is myself.

I tend to get in my own way in numerous ways.

It’s funny, to me, how, before I sat down to write this out, my mind was brimming with ideas, yet, now that I’m here doing the damn thing, I’m at a loss for words. Why does that happen? Is that me, yet again, getting in my own way?

I feel like I compare myself to others too much, and, if it seems I’m doing better, then I must be doing something wrong. For example…

I signed up for an online yoga teacher training course. I was doing all the “technical” learning modules, and, on the online support group, everyone was bemoaning how difficult the anatomy section was. Personally, I didn’t struggle with it. I thought it was easy, and I aced the test the first time I took it.

That caused me to worry, though. Everyone else is struggling with it. Maybe I’m not learning it right. Maybe my study method was wrong. Maybe I only studied in order to pass a test and not to truly learn the content. “Everyone else is having a hard time, that means this shit is difficult, so why aren’t YOU struggling? You know, that means you’re probably just doing it wrong.”

And there’s obstacle number 1. I question myself far too much.

In fact, that may be my biggest obstacle. I can’t think of one thing in my life that wouldn’t be better if I just stopped doing that. But how does one accomplish that? I have all the basics down… we fail so we can learn, there’s no shame in not being the best, if at first you don’t succeed… you know, all that happy horseshit. I wholeheartedly believe them for others. For myself? meh… some days yes, some days no.

I read somewhere that anyone can know all the correct and right things to do, but true growth and wisdom comes in the doing of those things.

What about an asshole like me who knows and only does sporadically?

They say habits form after doing a thing x amount of times.

If that was true, I’d be out exercising, improving my finances, and not getting myself into fucked up relationships instead of doing this.

Yet, after waaaaaay more than the x amount of times doing a damn thing, seeing good results, and feeling successful, I just stop. Yet those bad habits linger. Why does my nature not drop a bad habit the same way it drops a good and productive habit?

Good habits are work and bad habits are not.

Which leads me to potential obstacle number 2. Maybe I’m just lazy.

That’s not a pleasant thought. Especially when I consider the myriad ways I bust my ass. But then I consider the myriad ways I really don’t. It’s a mix, so I’m not quite sure I can slap the label of “lazy” on the situation.

I want to do things. I want to know things. I want to be things. I lack the energy, motivation, and know-how involved in getting started. I was never trained in the process of achievement. Of course, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t train myself, but … again … energy, motivation, know-how.

Fear. Maybe it’s fear. I fear failure. I fear success. I fear losing. I fear winning. I fear not winning (I see a difference between “losing” and “not winning”). I fear mediocrity. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to the point where being “nothing” is no longer satisfying. For now, I mostly sit on the sidelines and watch life go on around me. I wonder if I’ll ever go on ahead and dive into the pool of life and swim.

This writing exercise has taught me that, for all the ways I know myself very well, I really don’t know myself all that well. It’s time to dive in and know more. The knowledge I do have is impressive. Most never achieve that kind of self knowledge, and that’s kind of a bummer, but the focus of these exercises is me, so no worrying over what everyone else has and does. I have a wealth of wisdom under my belt. It’s time to apply it.

Stick A Fork In Me

I knew today would be fun. When I say “fun,” mind you, I mean the 180 degree opposite of the textbook definition of “fun.”

Now that we have that clear…

I’m tired.

I’m cranky.

I’m a bit lonely.

I’m tired of being broke all the time.

I’m tired of the people who will say “me too” to that last one but still have the ability to make changes in their lives.

I’m tired of staying home all the time, yet there isn’t any place I want to go.

Winter always gets to me.

I’m constantly cold.

There’s this “thing” in my head that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it is the source of my displeasure and discontent. I don’t know how to figure out what it is, turn it around, and make it work for me instead of against me.

I don’t even have a clear thought for this blog? How’s that?

Goals Schmoals

“you just need to set goals for yourself…”

I’ve heard this, ad nauseam, since I was a child.

“you’ll feel so much more accomplished…”
“it really boosts your dopamine…”
“imagine how good it will feel to have a goal and to finally achieve it…”

I guess you could say I’ve done this on numerous occasions, and I’m still waiting on this feel-good thing to kick in.

I had a goal to make my living room useable before Thanksgiving, and it’s done.
I lost 100 pounds, give or take a few, on any given day.
Today? Most of my house got cleaned. Well, let’s not exaggerate… let’s keep it real. a lot of my house got cleaned today.

And still… I want to know… When does this amazing feeling of accomplishment kick in? When does the dopamine surge occur? When do I begin to stack my successes so that I can achieve even more?

Goals… I’ve never really been goal oriented, and I don’t know how to fix myself so that I can be. I’m not sure if the lack of this quality makes me deficient or if it makes me … me.

I hate those emails we get from work… “it’s time to set your professional goals for the upcoming year…” Ummm… I don’t know… maybe “not be unemployed?” How’s that for a start? I’m entirely certain that “not killing anyone during my perimenopausal hormonal outrages” is not acceptable, but do they even give a shit that this may be what I actually want? Nooooo…

I guess I can see how maybe it would help in building certain types of skills. I mean, I’m certain that if I had a goal of practicing my yoga every day, I’d be way better at it than I am now.

Alas, I do not.

Maybe I should make it a goal to set a goal.

It’s Been a While

I haven’t checked in here in quite some time.

There’s actually quite a bit going on with me.

Well, let’s start with the old lady stuff. Dear old Auntie, who has shown up with the regularity of the full moon, was 8 days late this month. Since I knew there was, without a doubt, no way that I was expecting any bundles of pure and utter dismay, I got all excited thinking, “this is it! it has begun!”

But noooooo… she arrived along with the shitty disposition, debilitating cramps, and all that other jazz that makes her visits oh-so-special.

All that aside, I have been feeling kind of blah. I haven’t really wanted to talk about it because, in our current circumstances, people seem to want to blame every case of ick on COVID. Unless I’m massively fooling myself, none of my internal bullshit has anything to do with the ‘rona, so it’s rather demeaning to have my issues relegated to some current event that isn’t really affecting me. Masks don’t bother me. I mean, sure, I’d rather not, but we need to, so I do. Anti-maskers don’t really bother me. I don’t put myself through the emotional trauma of thinking “if you don’t mask up, then you don’t care about me.” To me, that’s bullshit. But that’s a topic for another day. My one and only point here is that the ‘rona isn’t really impacting my life, so why would it be the cause of my funk, and why are people so quick to slap that label on me?

So, there’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a very long time.

In times of darkness and sadness, I’ve always gone back to my yoga practice. It brings me peace, it helps me ground and center, and it helps me stay present. I’ve thought for years about training to teach yoga, but I never really had the money, and my work schedule was never in line with me being able to do the in-person classes.

One benefit to the ‘rona…

A lot of learning opportunities have been forced to go online, which, gasp, brings prices down. They’ve also become “learn at your own pace” opportunities. Jackpot.

So, there ya go. I’ve begun classes so that I can become a yoga teacher. Why not help myself deepen my understanding of yoga and of my practice and help others find the same things I’ve been given by the awesomeness that is yoga? Nothing but win there.

So… that’s what’s up with me. I may need guinea pig students some time soon. Stay tuned.

ch-ch-ch-changes…

I’m reminded of lyrics from one of my favorite songs:

“I’m not quite what I thought I was, but, then again, I may have been more…”

Almost a year ago, each and every aspect of my life not only changed, but changed dramatically. There is not one part of me that wasn’t completely and totally upheaved, rearranged, and left in a big heaping mess.

Some of this was my own doing.

Like my former job.

I had been struggling in that position for some time, and I simply couldn’t do it anymore. Once upon a time, when I did that job, I was able to feel like I was genuinely helping people. Policy changes took that feeling away from me and, subsequently, sucked the joy out of the job for me. It got to the point where I had a fucking FMLA case on file for the anxiety attacks I would have in the middle of the day while I was working. Part of me feels infinitely grateful that this was available to me, but, at the end of the day, I really had to stop and ask myself “should I need FMLA time and drugs in order to be able to cope with my job?” That answer simply had to be a resounding “no.”

So, I left a job I had for the better part of my adult life. I left good benefits, a lot of paid vacation time, great wages, and, more importantly, people I adored. I left for my sanity. That had to be more important.

Some of this was a joint effort.

My long term relationship ended. I don’t want to say too much about that because there are people out there who do not deserve to have this information. All it’s really necessary to say is that this devastated me for many reasons.

Never before had I been forced to walk away while I still was very much in love with someone.

Addiction is a bitch, and that bitch certainly took her toll. In an effort to try not to be an enabler, I stepped back. I thought I was doing that new-agey thing and “holding space” for my love (some of you know what that means. For those who don’t, Google is your friend). I thought I was loving without condition. I thought I was being there without being a nag, preachy, or domineering.

You can say “I’m here for you,” until you’re blue in the face, and none of it means anything if no asking is going on.

All of this was met with accusations of neglect and not caring.

Well… it’s done. Nothing I can do about it now but learn, grow, and move on.

I’m not talking about the parts that piss me off the absolute most about all of this. If you simply HAVE to know, ask. If I feel like talking about it, I’ll tell you. If I tell you as kindly as I can that it isn’t any of your business, try not to let that get you down.

So… Some of these things, I’ve handled pretty goddamn well if I do say so myself. It’s only a year later, and I feel like I can cope, and I feel like I can do better and BE better.

During this process, though, did any of you know I legitimately had a nervous breakdown? No? Well, that’s good. That’s kind of between me and my doctor, but you know, this normal reaction to everygoddamnthing about my life being thrown in a blender, tossed all around, and left in a fucking dirty, nasty heap for me to sort, rearrange, and clean up all on my own (I’m talking about my own, personal, internal and figurative mess) has cost me some relationships I used to value.

I’m sure I’ve let some people down. I’m sure this particular snapshot they’ve gotten to see of me and my life leads them to think I’m not what they thought I was. Well, guess what? This has led me to see that they aren’t what I thought they were, either. There are some “hey kettle” conversations looming that are far overdue.

Diminished in one another’s eyes is okay, but now it’s time to move on, and it’s also of value to recall, at pertinent times, who kicked me when I was down. Not in a grudge kind of way, but in that healthy way of knowing with whom I can and can not extend myself in any kind of meaningful way.

Yes, life has brought me a lot of changes this year. I’m not at the point, yet, where I’m thankful for any of the upheaval, but I’m getting there. Every day, I feel it.

Whether or not you see it, well, that’s on you.

All of the Blah

Well, I’ve officially been detoxified from Effexor for about a month now.

I know I promised updates regularly about this, but… well… I didn’t do that. I guess I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot to say.

Life feels a whole lot more clear now. Some days, this is good; other days, not so much. The thing is… I am coping. I am coping far better than I have any right to, and I am happy about that. I didn’t do this expecting sunshine and roses, so I am not let down.

I can genuinely laugh again.
I can cry.
I can be angry.
I can be happy.

Best of all? I can choose what to do about all of those things.

Quarantine has presented her own unique set of challenges.

I feel angry that I was just getting back into regular exercise at a yoga studio, and now the studio has closed under Ohio’s quarantine regulations.

Now, I could do yoga in my own house, and I have, but the problem is that I don’t yet have suitable space available for this. Doing yoga on my kitchen floor was not very… yoga-fying, to say the least. I mean, I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but…

Working from home… what to say about that?

I mean, don’t get me wrong… I’m incredibly grateful to have a paycheck coming in. You know what? I’m going to leave it there, for now. I’m still working, I get to do so from home, which means insurance is still available to me, and I am lucky because of that.

Social media is on my last nerve. I’m tired of keyboard experts, fear mongering, and division. This whole spirit of “if you do/don’t do this/that, then I hate you/don’t want you in my life/think you’re a horrible person” makes me really really fucking sick. It’s seriously worse than when Captain Cheeto was installed as Grand Poobah of the USA.

I’m tired of being the Rodney King of my circle. “can’t we all just get along?” Apparently not. Not when everyone is right.

State of The Dissy

I’m finding it difficult to share these days. I seem to have fallen back into the headspace of, “no one gives a shit.” It’s not really in a “bad” way, though. It’s more like something I can’t quite describe.

I’m down to 1 twenty-five mg tablet of Effexor per day. I quit taking the Clonidine with it, as it was making me tired.

All in all, I’m feeling like a reasonably competent human being. Every day isn’t perfect, but I feel like I can successfully navigate through what comes my way.

At first, I thought I may want to stop drinking during my weaning off period. I felt, a couple weeks ago, like I was getting a little irrationally angry, but I’m thinking that may have been more PMS related than anything else. I had my once-a-week vodka drink last night, and I was just fine.

Without the Clonidine, the feelings of vertigo are a little more frequent, but they’re nothing that isn’t manageable.

I’m still seeing the shrink. I’m trying to decide if she feels too basic for me or if I’m just looking for an excuse to not engage. I’ve been known to do that from time to time (meaning, every other damn time I’ve spent any time with a mental health professional).

She is heavily encouraging me to look for a new job. The one I currently have is not contributing anything meaningful to my life, and, in fact, it makes me pretty irritated every time I’m here. It’s also made worse by the fact that I can’t exactly cover my bills and enjoy my life on my current salary. I guess we will see what we will see. She seems to have a lot of faith in my intelligence and my ability to do better for myself. Me? I’m fraught with impostor syndrome.

My sista and I have been hitting up a yoga class twice per week. We’ve been doing a yin yoga class and a vinyasa flow class. I’ve done yin before, and I suppose this class is ok. Personally, I think, in order to get the desired result, longer than an hour is needed. But, it’s something fun to do with Barb. Maybe, one day, we can do some work with the dvds I have. You know, after I have space in my house.

So, that’s about all that’s new in my world.

At Least the Stormtroopers Aren’t Coming to Get Me… yet.

Once, a long time ago, I told one of my “doctors” that Prozac was not helping me. For some reason, he decided to try me on some hard core crap. I can’t even remember the name of it, but that medication taught me all about side-effects. I guess some folks out there may have found them amusing. Me? not so much.

One evening, probably about 30 minutes after taking my medication, I left work. After stopping at the local shopping center (shit, are they even called that anymore?), I went about my drive home. I drove under a bridge and came to a stop at a traffic light. As I waited to turn left onto the expressway, I looked into my rear-view mirror.

I shit you not…

I saw a fucking Stormtrooper walking toward me, all business-like with his gun drawn. I mean, not that he’d have hit me or anything… But still… fuh-reeeeeeaky.

This is not The Dissy you are looking for.

I squeezed my eyes shut, shook my head, and looked again. As luck would have it, it was just a dude on a white crotch-rocket wearing a white jacket and a white helmet.

Fast forward to current times and current events…

When I advised my doctor (different from the doctor mentioned above) that I wanted to discontinue the Effexor, she told me she was going to prescribe something called Clonidine to help with side-effects.

Now, when I am prescribed a medication I’ve never heard of before, I go out of my way to dig up ALL the information I can find about it. You know… because I want to know if my arm hair is going to fall out, or if I’m going to grow some testicles from my belly button.

Luckily, the information only said they may cause some hallucinations.

I kind of thought that was bullshit until the other night.

I keep seeing movement around me. Shadowy figures and images. Usually, it’s just the screen door blowing in the breeze or the clock changing time, but for that minute, there is something in the room with me.

That aside, my mood has been excellent. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve been joyous one hundred percent of the time, but I’ve been able to cope successfully with things like anger, loneliness, sadness, and happiness.

I am, once again, experiencing pure, genuine laughter, and, thanks to a bit of flirtation, I am starting to notice other feelings returning. (“hello, lady parts, how you doin’?)

Everybody Loves Joey.

But… that’s where I am right now. Jumping at shadows and gladly interacting with myself again.