Monday, November 28, 2011

I Wouldn't Care About All the Kicking if I Were in a Coma...

It's hard to walk into someone else's family gathering when you've just left your family behind you, 6 hours away.  No matter how high the flames or how strong the wine, there was a little voice in the back of my head saying, "you don't belong here."  I know that the people there would never want me feeling that way, and it wasn't anything they were doing in particular to make me feel that way.  It was that the holidays are upon us and I wasn't with my family.  I was with a family I see frequently...  far more frequently than my own.

It broke my heart.  Walking up to the bonfire, tears welled up in my eyes.  I stood there stiff, staring into the fire.  I faked a smile and stayed for longer than I wanted.  I wanted to shake all of them and say, "don't you realize I'm supposed to be with my family right now?!"  Instead, I answered their "what's wrong"s with "I'm very tired."  It wasn't all a lie, at least.

Being home for the short few days I was made me realize just how wrong of a fit I am in Connecticut.  The people, the weather, the drivers...  everything.  It just doesn't match.  I'm like a square peg in a round hole (or the other way 'round).  I have a feeling I'm going to be very unhappy for another two years because I'm not seeing much of an out.

I left the show I was counting down the days for early because of seeing some bullshit on facebook that made me cry.  I feel like I'm repeatedly being kicked while I'm down.  It's hard after more than a month of beatings to come back with some sort of rally cry and not just fold and start feeling sorry for yourself.  I honestly just feel like this is a really shit time for me and I'm going to have to suffer through it the best I can.

Somedays, I feel it so deeply in my heart that things would be easier if I just didn't wake up (not talking about suicide, folks).  Not easier just for me (mostly for me), but for everyone.  Everyone is so happy doing what they're doing.  It seems like I'm the odd man out not feeling it these days.  I'm tired of being the wet blanket, and it's obvious my friends are, too.  I'm ready to just fade out. If I could have anything at all in the whole world right now, it would be a 3 month break from my life.  I just want to go somewhere far away for 3 months, not have to worry about my bills or losing my job when I came back, and just resume 3 months from now.  Hibernation of sorts.  A mental health vacation...

It may become a forced vacation in the near future if things don't somehow turn around...  Not sure how much longer I can do this.  I'd consider picking up heroin so those around me would set up a sweet rehab intervention, but alas- there aren't enough people around me to notice some sort of dangerous drug habit. Oh, well.  There's always the slim chance of getting hit by a bus and slipping into a sweet 3-6 month coma...   *dreamy sighs*


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get Busy Living Or...

In all my (more recent) years of therapy, something I really got out of it was my therapist telling me to set timelines and goals for myself.  I have trouble with giving people and situations the benefit of the doubt a lot-- to a fault.  I know what many of you (if there are any men reading this) are thinking.  No- I'm not talking about having babies and my clock-ticking.  I'm not talking about rules society set up for us and following that kind of a timeline.  I'm talking about setting boundaries for myself on things I have absolutely no control over.  Yes, I get anxious when I have no say in what is happening to me.  That might be a bad quality, but I can't really help it, I can only try to soothe it as much as possible.

One way of doing that is giving myself some control by setting limits to what I will allow to happen.  How much of my time I will allow someone to waste, how much of my energy or emotions I will allow someone to take, etc.  Those kinds of limits and timelines.  If I don't do this, I allow people to take and take and take until I wake up one day and go, "holy shit.  I just wasted so much time.  I could have been doing something that would make me happier."

I think most people find this to be true with jobs.  Most people I know settle into their jobs, relationships, area they live, etc.  And then they bitch.  I don't want to fall into that cycle.  I have made some bold moves in the last year and a half.  You don't know how something can turn out if you don't try, so I've been trying.  I've been really trying.  Pushing myself way out of every comfort zone I've ever come to know (and love).

I guess now comes the time that I have to start setting some timelines for myself.  I did set one when I moved.  I swore I would at least give Connecticut a year before I ran and that timeline came and went.  It was hard to stick to at times.  There were definitely days where I was ready to head out and maybe not run home (since very few of my friends from back home were there to help me keep my chin up at all - I guess Dan can thank some of them for me feeling too lonely to even go back to what used to be my "home" on those days), but run.  I have even the tiniest bit of knowledge of a place like San Diego and I know for a fact that I fit in better there, the people are nice and friendly and open and that there are actually jobs in my field there.  Some days I thought, "If I'm going to start over, why not do it in a place I know I can transition smoothly into?"

The answer is pretty obvious.  I moved for Dan.  I'm here for Dan.  Dan has to be here for the duration of his residency (which is two more years)...  So unless I'm ready to give up Dan (rest assured, I am not), then I'm not ready to flee.

Things I saw for myself happening aren't.  Things that were well on their way (at some point...  I think?) are not any longer.  Things are at a stand-still in all areas for me, currently.  And while it is incredibly cliche, there is a Steve Jobs quote that stands out in my head daily, now:

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something...almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." - Steve Jobs

It's inspiring.  So inspiring that today I lived so honestly and boldly, I think I'll actually sleep comfortably tonight knowing that I lived today how I would have if I were dying soon-ish.  I was very deliberate with my actions and words today and it felt amazing.  I lived for me today, not someone else.  I really wish it wasn't under the circumstances it was- I wish I wasn't defending myself - but I stood up for myself and for what is right.  I felt like I had nothing to lose because in my situation, I'd rather have "lost" than continued the way things were.  I know I'm being incredibly vague, but it's just one of those topics I can't really be loud about here.

So today, I inspired myself.  It's rare.  It shouldn't be.  I'm going to start taking more of an active role in my own life.  There will always be things I have no control over, but if I'm not happy, I can't sit and watch anymore.  It's not in me and it's not something I want for myself.  I'm not a person who has ever lived with regret and I don't plan on starting now.  I'm too old for that shit.  Too old and too good for it.  Sorry.  I'm not saying me exclusively.  It's meant to be an inclusive statement.  If you're 15 and being treated like crap or living for someone else and not doing what makes you happy, you're too old for that shit.  It's no way to live...

I guess that's where I'm trying to get back to.  "Living."  I feel like that's stopped for me since June.  I need to live so I won't regret anything when death comes a knockin'.  I'm not saying that to be morbid.  I'm saying that to be honest.  It's something I think about and something everyone should.  I think the world would be a different place if more people even considered it.  Forget just being upset over petty bullshit, but people would be REALLY living.  Not putting off their dreams for one reason or another.  That gets dangerous- procrastination.

The next step, I have no idea.  I don't have control over much, but I'll figure out what I do have control over and I'll make it mine.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Memories

This was the first year that I actually got to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  It reminded me of being a kid and our Halloween traditions and rituals my parents lovingly built for us.  For a while, when all the neighborhood kids were youngin's and the neighbors actually all spoke to one another, we would take a hay ride from house to house where each neighbor would set up a fun halloween activity.  I remember being blindfolded and reaching in to feel the "eyeballs" (wet grapes), "brains" (cold spaghetti), and so on.  We would bob for apples at one stop and take in warm apple cider at the next.  The dads were involved by driving us all around in the wagons of hay secured to the backs of their tractors.  It seemed normal at the time, but looking back on it, it was probably pretty unique.

We lived in the middle of nowhere and on "our side of the fork", there was really only our one little street  (Sunnyside Drive.  No, seriously.) that was lined with houses.  Because there were only a handful of houses to get candy from, the parents made it extra special for us.  Some houses would go as far as playing halloween sound effect tapes when we approached to really set the mood.  Imagine that.

I vividly remember being so proud each year of our costumes.  My mom would hand-make all of them.  We would go to Jo-Ann Fabrics, pick out our costumes from massive catalogues of designs and buy the pack of patterns, the fabric, any extra glitter or hardware we needed, and then my mom would somehow find time to break out her sewing machine (while working full-time) and make us the most impressive costumes.  There are a couple of pictures of all us neighborhood kids in a group and amongst the store-bought plastic masks and cheapy transparent costumes overtop their regular jeans and sweaters, we three stood out.  The other parents must've secretly hated mine.  I would have if I were them.

I remember the first time I bought a costume for myself (as an adult), I felt like I was cheating.  I felt like I had copped out...  I always try to really go extreme on the make-up effects if I buy a costume, so I don't feel like I'm totally disappointing my mom's sweet traditions.

Anyway, after the kids in our neighborhood got a little older, we didn't have the biggest group any longer.  My mom would drive us over to the "other side of the fork" where there was a much bigger neighborhood.  Bryantown Hills.  It was tits.  It really was the perfect neighborhood for trick-or-treating. The houses were close to each other for the most part (not as close as in a city, of course, but you didn't need to be driven around in a tractor wagon) and there were tons of houses all handing out candy.  We would take pillowcases and come back with TONS of candy.  It was good candy, too.  Chocolate.  Not Dots, Necco Wafers and  dum dums (I call that "shit candy") which I saw this year they sell in a bag all together that is both the cheapest bag you can buy and also the one that will make kids feel like they wasted their time even bothering to show up at your house.

The reason I bring this up is because there was a specific house we went to that had a husband and wife who opened the door to give us candy.  The husband was a bloodied up dentist and the wife was his patient.  She had blood all over her mouth and shirt and teeth (real teeth or damn good fake ones) handing around her neck on strands of floss.  It was brutal and amazing.  They informed us that they were heading out to a party later on and it always stuck with me.  I knew I wanted to be those people.  It was so cool to see adults dressed up for Halloween.  It was a new concept for me.  I believe this was pre-slut-o-ween times, so while little girls still dressed up pretty like little princesses and little boys dressed like super heros, there was still a great amount emphasis put on scary.  I try to keep that alive today and it's greatly in part because of that couple in Bryantown Hills.

So, what I'm trying to say, is that this year, I finally got to be that couple.  Dan and I dressed up just to hand out candy.  A costume I've been wanting to do for years, I finally did.  No one understood what it was from (I was called "Dr. Piggy" a lot), but we dressed up as the Dr. and nurse characters from the "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" episode of Twilight Zone.  Of course we switched it up and Dan was the female nurse, which was fine with me.  Scrubs are like pajamas and I'd much rather be in PJs and sneakers than tights and a small dress (especially with the amount of snow that was outside).

Almost all of the costumes I saw were store bought.  There were also a few kids that were far too old to be trick-or-treating and had no costumes at all, but I'm too much of a wuss to tell them to fuck off...  We found out mid-way through the evening from our neighbor that they had actually cancelled trick-or-treating in our area because of all the down trees and power lines.  It made sense, but I'll be damned if I was going to be a part of ruining some kids Halloween.  We had our jack-o-lanterns out and lit before the sun went completely down and had our HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign (Dan made) prominently displayed on our door.  I'm glad some rebellious kids and parents stuck to their original plan and celebrated the greatest holiday of all.

Hopefully next year we'll see more kids and costumes (apparently they usually get around 150!), there won't be snow on the ground and we'll have more to dress up for than just handing out candy.  Hope everyone had a great (and eventful) Halloween.  Keep those traditions alive.  It may impact some kid more than you know.