Thank You Loopy Brain

I’m having the worst time trying to write today. There’s a lot of random crap circling around in my brain, and none of it will shut up long enough to let me concentrate on just one thing. I’m feeling like there’s so much work to get done that doing something for pleasure is out of the question. However, the part of me that’s still sane is like, “It’s Saturday! Loosen up! Enjoy yourself – it’s your day off!” Right now, both of those voices are just yelling at each other while I type away, trying to get just one small written work out before I lose my train of thought again. Too late, it’s already happening. Ugh.

Meanwhile, the toddler next door is wailing at the top of his tiny-yet-powerful lungs, which certainly isn’t helping things any. I live in a six flat of 450 sq. ft. studio apartments. Each one is good for one person – two if the couple isn’t prone to bickering. The guy next door has a live-in girlfriend, and on the weekend his two young sons come to visit. They’re cute kids, but by the time night rolls around, one or both is usually losing his shit and screaming like a banshee. Whether it’s the threat of bedtime or bathtime, or if dad’s just feeding them junk food and they end up crashing by 7pm, I’m not sure, but the walls aren’t that thin and I’m still presently hearing every guttural howl emanating from my neighbor’s apartment. Ugh.

Also, my cat’s been farting next to me for the last ten minutes, so there’s that. Little squeaky farts, a tad bit bubbly. But if he’s sleeping, it means he’s not trying to pet me, which he does the entire time he’s awake. He’s one of those cats that tell you they’re ready to receive a petting by dabbing at you with their paw. He’s constantly looking for love, typically by gently scraping his paw (claws extended, of course, because why not) across my face or arm. It was adorable for the first couple of years. Now, not so much. Most days he gets about a solid hour and a half of massage time, begs for more for another hour or so, then resorts to annoying his sister for another hour or so before passing out on or near my lap. And apparently farting. Yay.

The apartment is really messy. Even when it’s totally clean, it still feels messy. I just feel like there’s too much stuff in here. Ideally, I’d love to minimize my belongings to the point where there was still some character, but not as much crap laying about. I’m just not sure how to achieve it. Maybe I’ll spend some solid time tomorrow just taking more stuff out to the street corner. My street corner has magical powers. Anything at all that I take out to the street corner will be gone within an hour. Of course, I’ve left some juicy tidbits out there – books, workout equipment, random knickknacks – but some of the stuff I’ve left out there is just utter crap, one step up from the junk pile. But no matter what, it ends up disappeared within the hour. I even left the remains of my old air conditioner out there once, and by remains, I mean that the thing was in many pieces after we had to dismantle it to get it out of my window. It wasn’t working, and some of the pieces were obviously broken/missing. It was carted away within the hour. Who takes the things? It’s not the trash collector. It’s someone that also thinks I have a magic street corner. They think that they’re just in luck, that this street corner always seems to be accumulating rare goodies every time they pass.

Still haven’t painted my St. Francis statue, and I also really want to paint this little side table that I bought at a yard sale a few years ago. I think maybe tomorrow I’ll try checking out the local hardware store to see what paint colors they have in stock. It’s a small store, so I’m sure the collection won’t be as nice as it would be at a bigger place, but who knows – maybe they have the shade of magenta I’ve been dreaming of.

I paid off another credit card, but had to sign up for health insurance soon after, and of course I didn’t have that amount of money in my bank account, so it went right back on the stupid credit card again. I hate that. What I don’t hate is that starting January 1st, I’ll be able to go to the doctor again. I can’t wait to go and get my first decent checkup since college. I’m going to get a full health exam, all the trimmings. Yes, I’m excited about going to the doctor. Guess I’m getting old. Plus, I’m really ready to get this thyroid thing figured out and get on meds. Especially since I seem to be growing out of my current size jeans. Last time I checked my weight I was up by a lot. Part of me is horrified by the amount of weight I’ve been putting on, but I can’t help but also think it’s kind of funny. I guess I’m also just relieved, in a way. I’ve always hated my body. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been grossed out by how fat I was, and the way my cellulite looked, etc, etc. Now, my real self is starting to match the mirror self that I’ve always seen. It’s weirdly comforting. I’m not saying that I want to stay this way. It’s just that suddenly I’m finding it exhausting to keep hating myself. I think maybe I needed to just break myself in order to figure out what it was that needed to be done to get put back together properly once and for all.

Speaking of changes, I’ve also started to play my first real video game. I’m playing Portal. So far I’m finding myself utterly incompetent, and having trouble not getting aggressive with the computer when I screw up. I think that might be what guys like about gaming, though? I’m not entirely sure. There are other games out there that I’d probably understand a little better – story-driven games, more likely. But I really like puzzles, typically, so I’m starting with the game that everybody and their brother has assured me I’d love. I’m trying to get past years of fear and confusion, and get around to a point where I’ll be comfortable. Gaming seems uniquely masculine to me, though. I’m not sure I get it. But that’s what I thought about comic books, and I just went to a comic book convention today for the first time ever, so things change, right?

OK, I’m pulling the plug on this drivel-y post. My guilty pleasure is inane chit-chat. I like to empty out my brain a bit from time to time. It gives me enough space up in the old brainpan to do something relaxing, like watch terrible horror movies or do a little bit of origami. Or maybe just go to bed early. Mmmm, that sounds lovely.

Sunday Thought Process

Got a lot of random noise floating around in my head today, so just want to jot down some notes here to empty out my brain just a bit…

1) Today I did four loads of laundry and two loads of dishes. I swept, straightened, and cooked a casserole while talking to my mom on the phone for Mother’s Day. Afterwards, I walked a mile to the nearest movie theater, where I watched Iron Man 3 and ate a fancy cheese plate and marinated olives. Then, I came home and read half of “Tuesdays with Morrie” and watched some TV.

2) My entire day was a waste, other than talking to my mom. Cleaning sucks, the casserole is boring, the movie was good enough but not worth paying way too much for that fancy theater. The book is not as good as I had been led to believe, but hoping that’s just because I’m not thinking that clearly today.

3) I got my 10,000 steps in today, thanks to walking to the movie theater. I wish I had more opportunities in my day to cover a few miles of walking in completing my chores (on top of running at the gym) just so I could have more reason to burn calories. I work so close to work that even though I walk, it’s not really that much of a chore.

4) I had meant to call my grandmothers today. I haven’t talked to one of them in almost three years, I guess. The other one and I haven’t talked since July. Either way, it’s far too long. I’m afraid they’re going to die before we talk again, but the thought of talking about myself on the phone makes me want to puke. I hate talking on the phone. It’s not quite at phobia level, but there’s a definite sense of “malady” that accompanies my irrational distaste of using the phone in a traditional manner. Plus, the first grandma and I had a minor falling out, and I just haven’t felt like trying to reconcile. Not that I don’t love her, just that I really hate arguing or even really discussing opposing viewpoints. The thought of having to debate things with her is just mentally exhausting. But then again, so is worrying about my grandmothers dying before I get around to picking up the phone. I’m so screwed in this arena.

5) Forgot to pick up cat food. AND litter. I’m such a bad cat mom.

6) Which reminds me…I want a kitten. Or a pug puppy. Or another few catfish. But not really. I don’t think I want any more pets. In fact, I want more pets more than I want one human child. Am I ever going to want to have kids, I wonder?

7) But if I did have a kid, I’d name it Arya, after the coolest character in Game of Thrones.

8) Oh shit, Game of Thrones is on tonight.

9) Speaking of which, there was a mass shooting today in New Orleans at a Mother’s Day parade. At least 17 people were shot. Who the fuck opens fire on a goddamn MOTHER’S DAY PARADE? This city is full of incredibly dangerous idiots. Nine to one bet that the person or people involved were only looking to shoot one guy, and had no fucking clue what they were doing with the gun(s) they chose.

I can’t wait to get out of here. A few days ago, there was a kidnapping and rape less than a block from where I work. It barely made the news, unlike the more high profile kidnapping/rape scenario a couple of months back that happened about 10 blocks from my house. There are shootings and muggings all the time now, at all times of day. A purse was snatched from the restaurant that shares my work building. I’m afraid to go out of my house at night, to walk home from work by myself, to walk from the door of Walgreens to my car, even in a well-lit parking lot. I hate that every day feels like the day I’m going to get mugged or otherwise attacked. And most of all, I hate that you’re not supposed to mention it here, and that for me to say that I don’t feel safe is in some way evil or negative, like I’m a bad person for not just going with the flow and living one day at a time.

It’s really hard when you’ve got a crack-addled, one-shoed panhandler screaming about how FDR came back from the dead to kill JFK, right outside your living room window (he’s a regular on our street, and the cops won’t bother him since he doesn’t do much other than scream at empty air about farfetched presidential murder plots). Or when it’s a normal occurrence to find that you’re being followed by a man or men who stick to the shadows and try to look inconspicuous as they stay about a half block behind. I seldom walk on my own anymore, and never after dark. I’ve always been one to watch my back, and carry pepper spray, keys, or a knife. But I’m so tired of it now. I don’t want to move to suburbia or anything – I’d just be happy to move somewhere normal, like Chicago, where I can take a look at the crime map and move somewhere else. I dunno, I’m just rambling. I’m just scared. I hate it.

Raising the Bar

Today I read an update posted by a dear friend on Facebook. She declared herself to be in a very low place, feeling unlike herself. Being no stranger to highs and lows, I immediately wrote back with a few suggestions for crawling out of the rut, but if she is anything like me, I know she took my suggestions more as meddling than helpful hints.

In my own life, periods of the blues have been frequent and often quite deep. As I aged, I mellowed. Part of this change was no doubt due to pesky hormones, part to a change in lifestyle, and a large part in a change in how I nourish myself spiritually, mentally & physically. We’ve probably all been through this in some way or another. One of the best things about being human is the capacity for growth and change, the journey ever upward (with occasional sidesteps and roadblocks).

I wish that I could help my friend see life in a different light, but we live so far apart, and all I can do is be there in spirit. It’s disappointing, and frustrating, especially when I know my words sound empty to someone in such a different place. All I can do is offer her hope that life gets better, and it doesn’t have to be boring, or sad, or lonely.

You just have to reach out, and someone, somewhere will be there to enrich your experience. It might take awhile. It might not be immediate. It might be the smallest return, like someone commenting on your FB status, or letting you ahead of them in line at the grocery store (talk about small miracles, right?) The Universe is looking after you, whether or not you believe it or choose to acknowledge it. If a beautiful flower can grow out of a crack in the sidewalk, it is possible to make a good life grow out of a series of not so great days. You’ve just got to be open to the opportunities, looking for the tiny happy moments and being conscious of how they all link together. Once you can do that, you’ve got a good thing going. Sometimes I forget this, the same as everyone else. This is as much an affirmation as it is admonishment to myself to be more grateful of the love that surrounds me.

My little advice to my friend: collect one pretty image a day that makes you smile or laugh (online or elsewhere) – that way you’ll always be able to go somewhere for a smile or laugh when life is getting you down. Come to visit, so I can make you laugh. I don’t care how old we are, I will always love to see your beautiful smile.

My own personal plan: look for moments that teach me something, whether or not I like what I’ve been taught. Try to be mindful of these lessons, and carry them with me. Take time to be active every day, and don’t do active things that seem boring or like a chore (I go to Zumba, go dancing, and run, run, run). Get pampered often, even if it’s something as little as taking time to give myself a scalp massage while I’m washing my hair. Tell my friends I love them every time I talk to them. Think about what it means to love. Envision good, wholesome energy flooding from me to my friends & relatives whenever I share my love with them. Share nice thoughts with people I meet – if I see a stranger wearing a beautiful dress, I work up the courage to tell her how nice she looks. All of these things come back to us. Try to imagine what other people are thinking and feeling, and will think and feel about whatever action I’m taking. If I can see a negative outcome, determine if that outcome is what I really want before taking the action. Sometimes I miscalculate, and I end up having to apologize. Either explain why I meant what I said, or just suck it up and apologize – it’s good for everyone involved. Embarrassment is inevitable at some points in life; try to be graceful about it, or at least wear smudge-free mascara. Breathe, breathe, breathe – deeply and often. Eat real food, not processed crap. Hydrate – it makes your brain happy! And I sing and write whenever the hell I feel like it, as a matter of principle.

What do you do to make your life a better place to be? I know that one person who reads my blog travels the world to bring medical care to those who need it. Another takes time out to care for special needs cats at her local shelter. Still another writes enough great content to fuel a small magazine; I wonder if she ever sleeps! Then there’s a very special cat who is training to be a model yet somehow finds time to keep a great blog. I’m so inspired by reading all of your blogs and seeing what inspires you – I’d love to hear your own personal recipes for happiness. Comment away!