Sunday, February 15, 2015

A letter to my friends: Why I probably won't have a man in my life any time soon

If I had a dollar for every time of late that I've been asked when I will have a new man in my life, I would have amassed a decent amount of money by now.

If I was to be further compensated for explaining why I'm taking my sweet time about it without sharing every single sordid detail, I would most definitely be thinking about how I could best put the money to use to facilitate early retirement from my employment in favor of sitting at home writing anything but manuals really.

Part of the human condition seems to be that we can't stand to see fpeople single. There's this deep seated need to pair people up and have them fall in love.

I have spent the best part of the last nine months doing a lot of work on myself. That seems to be the accepted term to use for what's been going on with me. I would probably say that it's more a case of me having spent the last nine months making it my business to get to know my own thought patterns and processes to find out where it's going wrong or where I need to change it. My therapist likes to call my approach a meta-cognitive process. It sounds nice so I'm good with it especially since it's working, and that's why he's good with it too.

We tested the depression, anxiety and stress levels again last Tuesday and my anxiety is now down in the lower mild range (basically I'm real calm now - peace people), my stress levels were never really high (reassuring but surprising) and my depression is sitting right on the fine line between mild to moderate. I knew depression is still choosing to keep me company but since both anxiety and depression were maxed out on the scale nine months ago I declare myself victorious in the battles against both. It's been hard work but the results are worth it and they speak for themselves.

Incorporating a man into the mix now would be madness.

But, I've been thinking about it because that's what you do when you're single. You think about finding the One. It occupies a fair amount of your time and you spend time with the longing of having another person close to you. You check out potential candidates when you're out and about, and in my case you spend a lot of that time noticing things that you put on the list under the heading "no thanks" or "no way".

Based on that I've come the conclusion that what I need is nothing short of a wizard, a truly magical man.

He won't put up with bullshit, mine or from anyone else. When I slip into the "I can't do it" mode because of all my past shit he'll call me on it, and tell me I'm nothing short of amazing so I need to start acting like it. C'mon! Suck it up, cupcake! No more excuses or pity parties. No more compromises.

He loves to work. Some guys love to sit around nursing beers (or bongs) from Friday night to Sunday night watching all sorts of mind numbing things like footy or car racing. My guy loves to work and to be of service. He's not a poser or a loser. He doesn't mind chopping wood if that's what's need to be done (and he knows he's looking amazingly sexy doing it) and if the lawn needs mowing or something needs a nail in it to keep it together then he does it. If the little critters in the garden need something like an insect hotel then he'll make one out of natural recycled stuff just because he doesn't mind doing it, and he'll make it look amazing in the process.

He's a man who's worked through his own shit and has the skeletons in the closet to prove it. As a result he's a full human being, and he has real feelings, he admits it and they don't scare him. Kittens being mistreated makes him tear up in an almost girly fashion and he doesn't give a shit if anyone sees him cry. When something's funny he laughs at it without being afraid that some will hear it and he's not afraid of dancing to 80s disco music if the mood strikes.

He's a feminist because equality for all is the only way forward.

He's in tune with the world around him and he picks up on weird and secret things about people. He doesn't get weirded out when I say that I use my intuition to navigate the world or that my guides told me to do it. "So, you have imaginary friends", he says smiling as if it's just made me that much more interesting and multidimensional.

He has some serious emotional alchemy going. No emotions are out of bounds for this guy. As a result he doesn't play games and he tells you how he feels without hesitation or shame. He's highly sensitive, strong and in touch with his emotions.

He does stuff or gets stuff before you know you need it. It may be confusing but you learn to trust it and you learn to put things away for later because you come to realize he's just paving the way for your creativity. He can't wait to see you realize you need that thing for your latest project and to see you put it to use.

He understands the utter confusion that surrounds me and food at the moment so not only does he pride himself on bringing home fresh ingredients he doesn't mind getting in there creating a meal together, a meal that's best enjoyed with company and good discussions.

I have to have a truly magical guy. a wizard. I don't think I want anything less. No more compromises and no more excuses. I'm not saying I need a perfect guy but he has to be magical and in touch with himself and his emotions, and the world around him, and at least have a sense of the magical world without being flaky. I don't want flaky - I already find it too hard to stay grounded.

When I break out my tarot and oracle cards, and mutter something about needing to consult "the others" he will let me be and go make something awesome out of recycled wood or conjure a decent piece of sourdough bread I can ground myself with afterwards, and he will know when to bring a bottle of red wine so dark and heavy that it anchors you right to Gaia as soon as it touches your lips.

And when you've drunk that wine and you can feel it coursing through your veins he takes you outside in the clear night and tells you all the names of every star constellation up there in the dark velvet sky. You don't ask why and how he knows because why wouldn't he? It just makes sense.

And of course because he's a wizard he's tall, dark and handsome and wouldn't you know it, he has a dimpled chin too and is nicely toned too.

With a spec like that I think I'm safe for a bit, don't you?

I'm just saying.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

You know that feeling...

You know that feeling you get when you've just had a conversation with someone on Facebook in private message that you haven't talked to for a while, or really ever, so you don't know them all that well, and they it's all a bit awkward but you get through it, and then ten minutes later you see a post on Facebook that says they're out of toilet paper, and you realize that they messaged you, and you had your first "real" conversation with you, while they were on the loo doing a number two? #thatreallyhappened #luckyme

Monday, January 26, 2015

First World Grumble

It started with the grateful and wealth thing, at least here on the blog, and it kind of spiralled from there. In my mind though it was a much bigger deal. The whole business of collectively remodeling our minds and psyches in accordance with some sort nouveau socially acceptable trend that dictates we have to constantly be grateful for our "wealth" vexes me. It was irking me but it escalated the more I thought about it. It's feels awfully like being told to conform and that's like being told to wear a straightjacket when you'd much rather skinny dip.

I'm championing the right to be angry at and discontent with the world this year.

I'm just saying.

I'm going back to work in a few days time and it's painfully obvious to me that I'm going back to a job that I don't like. I mean, I love the business of writing but I don't love the business of working as a writer in a corporation. I love most of the people I work with but I don't love that they're exhausted, stress and powerless. I love producing documents and finding smarter ways to do it but I don't love doing in my job anymore. Those days are gone.

The thought of it all made me, or "made me" - choice and free was featured in there somewhere, munch through a whole bag on Minties last night.  That lead me to thinking about how corporations are free to supply us with what are products that essentially provide no value at all to our bodies and that are in fact harming. Capitalism has turned on us and if you go into a supermarket, at least in Australia, the sections displaying processed junk take up a lot more space than the sections that display produce that is scientifically proven to heal and keep us healthy.

Is it just me or WTF?

How can it be that we're so stupid we let this happen. I don't buy into that we're free to choose anymore when we in the first world are more overweight and more obese than ever. Something's not working here. Choice and free will is apparently making us slowly want to kill ourselves or at least ensure that we end up with medical problem that will lessen our quality of life and that will ensure we have to be medicated for the rest of our lives.

Is it just me or WTF?

I can no longer sit here and agree that choice and free will rule our lives when individuals are up against scientifically proven marketing techniques that are guaranteed to ensure that our own psychological defenses and bypassed so we go and buy products. The odds are stacked against the consumer when the marketing departments are savvier with knowing how the minds of their consumer works than the consumers are themselves. That's not choice and free will. That's manipulation.

I'm just saying.

I cashed in all my holidays to sit down and have a good think about myself and where I want to go. The conclusion is that I want to be a lot more authentic, and while that's a catchphrase to these days I'm embracing it as being true to myself. The problem with doing that is that you suddenly open yourself to seeing what a bloody mess we're in and where the power is really held. We need reform and we need to have the power handed back to the people. Large corporation cannot be allowed to be in charge of making decisions about the world we live in anymore. We've seen where that leads us. Big business is short sighted and only has profit in it sight, that's what it was created to do. Humanity on the other hand, is a long term concept that deserves a lot more than short sighted politicking bought by big business.

Like I said, I'm championing the right to be angry at and discontent with the world this year.

I love creativity and how humans have such great power to come up solutions and create the most amazing things. (The latest marvel in my life are multifocal contact lenses you can leave in for 30 days. I feel like Jesus touched me every damned morning I wake up and don't have to fumble for my glasses to see if I've woken up in my own bed or taken a wrong turn somewhere, and I don't even believe in Jesus. It's a miracle.) Why are we allowing ourselves to be so damned powerless, so easily lead, so zombie like and so damned unhappy and spiritually poor that we need to be told to collectively be grateful for our so called wealth?

Is it just me or WTF?

I want to start a revolution but it requires a lot of energy and I don't feel I have it at the moment. I want to gather people and empower them to rise against the insanity of our own society. I want to see people smile and feel alive not because they've been told to but because they feel life coarse through their veins and hope fill their lungs with every breath they take. Is it too much to ask for? Is that not our birth right to feel that way, is it not what we've been told since the day we were born? Yet, we wait for permission and we allow ourselves to be told when and why we are allowed to feel that way.

Is it just me or WTF? Could this world do with a major overhaul or is it just the frustration I feel at having to go back work in a few days?

I'm just asking.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sometimes my emotions betray me

I look at the last thing I posted on this blog, a sentence of the day, and it says 'Do not engage". It's a reminder to myself not to allow the part of me that is depression to take up any more time than I need to tell it to quit it.

Do not engage with it. I have to remind myself not to give it the time of day, and I have to remind myself that it's the one playing games, that it's not me. It's out to harm and it brings me nothing of value, at least not in the present moment. Its the one leaving dog turds in flaming bags on my front porch as it knocks on the door and runs away laughing.

Sometimes my emotions betray me.

I find it hard to put structure around that sentence because how can my own emotions betray me? How can something that is of me, a part of my own psyche, be so malicious towards me?

 According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word betray means:
  • to give information about (a person, group, country, etc.) to an enemy
  • to hurt (someone who trusts you, such as a friend or relative) by not giving help or by doing something morally wrong
  • to show (something, such as a feeling or desire) without wanting or trying to
I have come to see depression as a nasty character in my life embodying every single negative thing that has ever been said to me. It's collected it and how it felt with it happened, its skillfully remastered it into a tape that plays in my mind constantly.

It is out to harm and it is out to hurt. Sometimes it appears in the guise of being helpful and protective but it's always out to kill joy, destroy confidence and erode self-esteem.

It sneaks in and tramples anything good I manage to grow and there are days when it does a grand job of killing off everything basically worth living for.

It's the saboteur that stifles creativity, puts seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the way of reaching even the most modest goal and that kills of any pride I feel in whatever I do.

It kills by arrival and its poison permeates everything until apathy, depression's pale little BFF, grips my heart and soul and fills it with a darkness that just refuses light of any kind.

Depression is shit.

Depression isn't me.

Sometimes my emotions betray me.

A lot of what I emote and feel is born out of the depression that's been with me for about four years now. On days like this I wonder how it became so strong again and I can see that it's done its thing again. When it can't get me with words and phrases it resorts to a much sneakier method to find foothold.

Food. It sounds so pathetic but for someone like me processed food, sugary treats and simple things like bread cause havoc. Add to that simple dehydration and we have a sure fire recipe for disaster.

It's progressively almost tricks me to compromise eating habits. One cupcake can't be bad, right? It's only one, it's a special occasion and I've trained so much lately. One little cupcake....and we're on the slippery slope to where depression is winning the election and fascism is the order of the day. Let's face it, depression is a dictator and it doesn't like sharing the power with silly peeps like hope, faith, joy, growth, success and contentment.

For the past month and a half I've been in training for the race in August. I've done well. I'm running (at slow pace) 5km now despite my dumb knee and my resistance training is firming up parts of my body that really need it. I have allowed myself to feel a little proud of myself, and considering that a year ago depression had such a hold of me that it had begun manifesting as joint aches and painful muscle tension in my body I think I earned the right. I sit here today after a night of virtually no sleep and a body that feels quite a lot like it did a year ago.

I got here by bad food choices and not a lot of them. Choosing the right foods, fresh foods and lean protein, preferably plant protein, is the only thing that triumphs over depression and keeps it at bay. I'm kicking myself today because I allowed myself to slip up, I allowed myself to be tricked again. I'm sore at myself. I'm sad to the core. I'm cooking an omelet made with lite cottage cheese and I'm serving it with mixed greens for breakfast. I'm contemplating if there's such a thing as a healthy version of a red velvet cake that I can on my birthday next week. I'm fighting back. Depression may have won ground for now but there ain't no way I'm letting the f***er win. There ain't no way.

Sometimes my emotions betray me.

Sometimes I become a warrior woman who fights for my own right to be well and I don't take prisoners.

Most of the time I think it's not good enough to exist in a space where I have to live with the depression. It's not good enough for me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sentence of the day

Dare to be different, be an encourager, the world is already full of critics.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sentence of the day

Everything you say and everything you think are the foundations of your future.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

They're here now and we have to deal with it

The whole Charlie Hebdo is blowing up the internet, at least in my corner of the internet, but I have to admit that I haven't read a single article about it. I feel like I already know the story and the meaningless loss of life fills me with grief. I can't stand the inevitable xenophobia that follows so I'm leaving it alone.

I don't just grieve the people lost, there's much more at stake here. In a region of the world where xenophobia constantly bubbles under the surface but where they welcome a huge amount of refugees the stakes are high. Europe is a complicated beast with its many borders and history of warring amongst themselves. The last big war was a mix of things past - warring amongst themselves and forging alliances amongst themselves - and racism that resulted in genocide.

I can never quite decide if wars are started out of greed, fear or just plain stupidity. As a mother, and I know I'm simplifying now, I spent years telling my daughter to use her words when she got angry and not her fists (or teeth!) while the world use a lot more than fists to solve conflict. She actually called me on it at about age seven when she turned around and asked me why kids her age weren't allowed to hit while adults fight wars. Try explaining that in a way that the suspicious mind of a seven year old who has just started thinking for themselves can swallow.

I could be wrong but there seems to be an increase of attacks in the name of Islam. Every Muslim person I know or have ever met are peace loving and friendly people. They have no wish to be separate and they're more than happy to talk about their religion because they seem to understand that we're afraid (I'm generalizing). It makes me wonder who these people are who attack in the name of this religion and how much fear these attacks are generating in the Muslim communities. It must be unsettling being a peace loving Muslim in the countries where the attacks occurred.

In Sydney the fear and suspicion of Muslims are growing. After the recent 17-hour siege at the Lindt's cafe in Martin Place, which resulted in the death of two hostages and the hostage taker, it's hard not to feel the anger. Some people skip the feeling fear and they just get angry, and they demand retaliation.

But in Sydney we're also seeing the opposite. The day after the siege in Martin Place a young woman witnessed a Muslim woman removing her Jihab on the train for fear of reprisal. She approached the Muslim woman when they got off the train, and told her to put it back on and told her that she would ride with her. She tweeted about it and it went viral with the hashtag #illridewithyou and Sydney in part at least united against xenohpobia and general fear. The display of what Sydney is really made of didn't stop there. A Muslim bride took her whole bridal party to Martin Place to place her bridal bouquet at the temporary memorial set up for the two hostages who had died in the siege. It was a strong statement and it worked.

I have little time for people who can't be bothered engaging their brain before they lash out. Humanity has an awful history of doing just that. I can't help feeling that while these attacks are awful they serve as distraction for what's really going on. The population of our planet is growing and we have to learn to get along or else we'll see more and more conflict. We also have to learn to get along in order to save ourselves and our planet from environmental catastrophe. We don't have time to squabble over petty crap. We also need to understand that the people behind these are in the minority.

The first thing we need to figure out is why these kind of people do what they do and why they choose to do it in the name of whatever when they're quite clearly are not representing the majority of it. The anger they feel, the rage that gives birth to attacks where people purposely go out to hurt and terrorize, and don't care about their own survival, it comes from somewhere. What kind of fear and hopelessness gives birth to something like that? Is it the same kind of fear and hopelessness that gives birth to something like Columbine?

To me an attack is an attack and while the mechanisms behind it are extremely complex I can't help but to see similarities. There's a disconnect that needs to happen before you can get to the point where you feel justified to cause loss of life and to lose your own. In order to want to lose your own life the alternative has to look a lot more attractive and it has to offer more acceptance and connection for you. If your thinking has become that this world is so fudged up that it's better that you're not part of it and that you make sure you go out taking a few others with you, psychologically you've gone pretty far in feeling you are well and truly separate and disconnected.

Perhaps we've lost that loving feeling, that feeling of belonging somewhere, of having a community. Historically we've always had borders that are fiercely protected against outsiders and when you let these outsiders in, even as refugees, maybe somewhere in our psyche we feel invaded. Maybe we feel our connection is somehow diluted. Maybe the refugees who arrive at our doorstep not only feel the loss of their community (homeland) connection but also feel our reluctance to let them "invade" our turf and let them belong. Some people would be more sensitive to it than others depending on what they've experienced.

I loathe the new age preaching about acceptance and being One but we need a bit of that here. The one antidote to making people fight is to make them feel united and part of something, in others words accepted. People will only unite when they don't feel threatened or fearful. It's not so much about common ground, it's about removing fear and suspicion. A show of unconditional solidarity like #illridewithyou is so important because it shows a will to unite and to include, and it shows that there's a connection.

The title of this post was sparked by a friend posting on Facebook that in Denmark there's apparently talk about sending refugees back. I wanted to scream when I saw that because that is exactly the kind of talk that will cause more separation and loss of connection. Can you imagine being sent back after you've escaped from a terrible place to start with? Can you imagine being persecuted again? Can you imagine what it does to a person? Can you imagine living in a country where part of the population thinks that should happen to you?

It's a complicated beast but we need to deal with it and we need to deal with it not only as a world and as individual countries, we need to deal with it as individuals. Those of us who understand that mistrust of those who are already here as refugees is not the way to go, and that in this case they can be our greatest allies if we include them in our society, we need to get louder and we need to grow in numbers. We need to talk about the fear and dread we feel when bigotry and xenophobia raises its ugly head. We need to call the haters out on their behavior and the damage it does. We need to let people who will be tarnished by these hate acts by default that we will support them so that they feel safe speaking out and uniting with us. We need that connection.

This is a fight that won't end any time soon but we can end it sooner if we don't allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear. We need to be brave and talk about what really matters here, a world where everyone can feel safe and connected.

I'm just saying.