Tag Archives: tough times

Lost My Funny: Reward If Found

Moods often come and go.

Sometimes, though, they stay around for a while.

Overcoming your mental state generally means you have to change what’s going on around you, and some of us are excellent at doing that. I’ve proven my skills at overcoming adversity — to myself.

I think they're looking for the Funny. From picturephoto113.blogspot.com

But sometimes life can’t be changed, and it’s that immobility of circumstance that forces the mood to not just stick around but fester.

These days, I’m sort of keeping a lid on things, but I’m not myself.

I’ve been pretty much trapped at home for a month, due to sickness and the resulting finances that come with. I’m doing the watching-TV crap, I’m freaking out internally about certain things I don’t want to share with you, and there’s a lot going through my mind — but I’m too tired to get them done, and pushing could render me stuck in illness for a longer period.

It’s the original Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t scenario.

In the long-term, I think this illness will have brought great and lasting change by way of goals and lifestyle choices I’ve adopted after great isolation and reflection for several weeks. In the short term, however, it’s a really fucking hard place to be.

I’m tired. I’m tired ALL the time. And now I’m getting angry about being so tired. What, knocking me on my ass for a month hasn’t been enough? Aren’t we DONE yet?

See, unlike most people who get angry about getting sick, I’m that rare person who really DID succeed in making major life changes, lost 70 pounds, was on track for losing weight again, etc. I did all that so I could STOP being sick.

Instead, I’m not just sick, but I’ve got this stupid fucking pneumonia, something that knocks the stuffing out of people for weeks and months. I’m sicker than I’ve been in nearly a decade — a decade that was filled with chronic injury — and it’s PISSING ME OFF.

And I’m scared.

I hate being scared.

But I’m scared. I thank god I’m at least in Canada when things go sideways like this.

And while life goes sideways, there’s still the digital world around us. Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah. There are friends and there are followers, but few of them will be there when shit lands and lands hard.

The rest? I’m a dancing puppet, at best, is how it feels sometimes.

There are those who get all depressed when they lose friends during adversity. Me, I woke up to that reality a long time ago. I’ve been left and I’ve left others. It’s what we do.

We CAN’T be there for everyone. We pick those we can give of ourselves to, those we feel compassion and kindness toward. We have to pick our battles — and who we’ll go to battle on behalf of. It can’t be everyone. That’s just simple truth.

When it comes to Twitter, etc, I’ll unfollow people because they’re too depressive or needy or I’m-a-victim. I can’t read that every day. They might take it personally, but, you know what? We gotta do what WE got to do to get through life. I understand that.

So, if you’re some follower from Twitter who’s all disappointed because my Funny decided to take leave of me weeks ago, then fine. Be disappointed.

But don’t fucking tell ME you’re disappointed. Don’t think YOU’RE entitled to Happy-Happy Joy-Joy from me when I can’t even dig it up for myself. Who the hell are you that you think it’s about you?

Hey, I miss my Funny. I’d like to offer a reward if it’s found and returned to me, okay? It doesn’t WORK like that. I can’t go, “Here, Funny-Funny-Funny, c’mon, Funny-Funny!” and expect it to pounce out of the shadows like a dog being beckoned by its owner with a bone in-hand.

But tomorrow I won’t be jumping off a cliff or sticking my head in an oven. I’m not that far gone. I’m barely far gone at all. Instead, I’m methodical and just holding on as I hope to come back to myself, and I figure out where I’m at and how to get past it. I’m not concerned about entertaining YOU or making anyone laugh. You’re the least of my concerns.

I never unfollow the folks on my list who are going through tough times like chemo or other things that really beat you down over the long, long, long term. I admire them for at least keeping an even keel. They may talk of their disease and how tough it gets, but I can relate, and it’s a constant reminder of just how hard life can be sometimes.

I’ve been there in the past — month after month after month of illness or injury, where life just kicks the shit out of you and merely being able to drag your ass through it is an accomplishment.

I know I’m not there now. I’m just in an arduous place and it’ll pass soon.

On the upside, I’ve improved my diet, lost 10 pounds, met a weight goal, made my minimum bill payments, and have enough food in the fridge for a week.

If that’s all I can manage right now, fucking awesome. GO, ME. SERIOUSLY: Go, me! YEAH. Soon, I’ll feel like myself again. For now, getting by is good enough.

And if you want your fuckin’ Funny, turn on a sitcom.

I’m more than just a joke, so don’t treat me like one.

Oh, For God’s Sake!

Okay, to the anonymous who left the comment that has inspired this rant:

It’s okay, I’m not taking it personally, and I understand you were coming from a nice place and being genuine. Still. It ain’t you, it’s society, and I’ve been meaning to comment on this for awhile.

_____________________

I just broke up with someone, and I’m a bit touchy about it, even now, a whopping eight days later. I know, all these hours and days have passed us by, a whopping eight days and six hours, and I ought to certainly be all good and better and fine about it.

But I’m not. I know, I’m hoping to nip this in the bud before a stunning two weeks has passed, but I’m so emotionally stunted that I’m not sure I’ll quite manage that.

Okay, obnoxious mode is off.

Here’s the deal: I fucking hate the western culture of pretending we’re stoic and tough and good and fine just a few days after any kind of adversity befalls us.

It’s like old-school hockey. “Holy smokes! Didja see that hit?! That boy had his bell rung but good. The coach is looking him over, and he’s giving some shakes of his head. Holy hell, he’s joining the team again. This kid’s a trouper — bell ringing and keeps on singing!”

Back in the day, you took your hits like a man and played through, no matter what the cost. Naturally, it turned out the costs were high.

You have to understand, strong and stoic are things I strive to be. I understand life’s hard and comes with challenges, and it ain’t all fun and games. I’ve had some really hard times in the last decade particularly, and I think I’ve handled them all pretty well. Never perfect, but who among us is?

If I just up and dropped the thing with the ex, and all the struggles I’ve hit this week, you know what? You’d stop reading me. Because I would cease to be myself. It’s this overly analytical, detail-focused, mildly obsessive, often compulsive cynical satirist you’ve come to enjoy. That’s who I am. I’m a rebel without a cause, a thinker without a clue, and a poser with no apologies. That’s me. I get lost in the chaos that is my life because I am absolutely unapologetically self-obsessed.

I’m not at all the guru some people have taken me for. (WHY have you done this?) What I am, is a really, really, really good reality surfer.

See, whatever comes at me, I find a way to ride it until it breaks. I’m very good. I’ve had to be. I don’t have a smooth-sailing life in the least. Ahh, I’m so in it for the drama, man.

Anyhow, whatever. The point is, my relationship ended just a week ago. I’m not gonna just drop the topic and be magically healed like I’ve just had a Jerry Falwell moment or something. Anyone who does is just asking to get fucked mentally, because that’s not how to deal with troubles. Own it, experience it, make love to it, and let it go. Don’t just chuck it and hope the garbage guys come.

I’ll be moving on from this, you can bet your ass on that. Soon, too, probably, but it’ll happen after I’ve really come to learn something from the experience. See, my life is lived because I choose to examine it — and now, immediately, not some 50 years down the road as I write my memoirs.

Keep in mind: This week holds a party, a concert, a big social night out, and maybe a couple other things. It’s busy. I’m not sitting around on my ass as much as it might sound. When I am around, I need to learn a little about podcasting.

The podcast looms in the nearer future now. A matter of weeks, for sure, probably three of them. The trouble I now have is that I need to design a new blog. I will be keeping the Cunt alive, and feeding it periodically, but there’ll be a new blog, Smut & Steff, a companion blog to my podcast. You’ll see photos and notes and such about things inspiring me any given week, some postings of mine, and that sort of thing. I intend to have it be a very symbiotic relationship, sort of like blog+podcast=steffness, I hope.

So, a new blog, a new podcast… much looms. In the meantime, deal with my self-involved life — I can’t afford therapy, and you’re a sexy listener, so I’m thinking it’s working just fine for the short-term. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest and shit sometime this week and my writing will snap back on soonish, I suspect.

Thoughts On a Monday

I wonder sometimes if not being alone with our thoughts is why Becoming Single is often so hard for us. We finally feel like the scary silences are broken by this voice of this Other who has acclimatized themselves to becoming a part of our lives. And, one day, they go. For good, for bad, for now, for all time, they simply go.

Then, silence. And in that silence, questions of doubt, of your worth, of your import, they all start to whisper and wail in the walls of your mind, and then where are you? In a storm of your making. A thought storm whirling around your newly deserted cerebellum.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t think it’s me that caused my recent break-up. It doesn’t matter that I believe myself to be a good person to know and a kindred heart. It doesn’t matter that I know what talents I have an all areas of my life. What matters is, I’ve suddenly found myself single again. Naturally, the next step is to wonder what’s wrong with myself and why it didn’t work.

I’ve done a little of that this past week, but not nearly as much as I would have expected. Probably one of the least likely questions for me to ask myself, actually, is “why me?”

I once wrote a rant about how much existentialists piss me off, and how much I hate that question, “Why me? Why me?” I think I said, “Why you? Because it’s your fucking turn!” Maybe that’s as simple as it really is. I don’t ask why I go through adversity. I know why, ‘cos shit happens, and this shit is my shit, and trying to figure it out beyond that is gonna give me an embollism.

Sitting around after a week like I’ve had and wondering “Why me?” isn’t exactly productive. I do it, though, but to a different end.

I don’t remember how much I’ve said, but the people who laid me off on day two of employment have offered to have me back to the job on August 1st, and I’ve agreed. To tell you the truth, when I first started that job, I was expecting to be hired for another on my very first morning with them. I wound up catching my prospective new employer at a bad time, tried calling later, and remain in the dark about that job to this day. The point is, I walked into my “new” job with a really bad attitude. I didn’t want to be there, and wanted to be hired for another job by noon.

In short, I was a fucking spoiled brat who was living anywhere but in the present. WHAT IF I lost that job to get reminded of how appreciative we ought to be about everything that comes our way? What if I lost it to be shown just how wrong negativity and cynicism can be? I thought I would hate the job, because my perception was that it was 80% bookkeeping. Know what? That’s the last dude’s incompetence. In my world, it’s 6-8 hours a week, and that’s after having been around for a week. In fact, now that I’ve been there a week, I know the job’s a good fit for me. What’s more, I’ll be awesome at it.

So, this week and next week, I’m working for my old employers. (Never burn bridges.) Then, I’ll return. It’s nice, it’s the first job I’ve had in a long time where I’ve been able to walk in, figure out what needs doing, and not have anyone on my back micromanaging me. Some of us folk have motivation and a sense of work ethic, you know, and we work better without being told what to do. That’s me! If there’s anything I felt at the end of my day Friday, I’d have to say empowerment would be the word.

In the end, I’m glad to be single this week. I’ve been through the ringer, and while it’s awesome to have someone around to be a support and all, there’s also something to be said for enduring adversity on your own. This has been the second worst summer of my life. Hands down. Only the summer when my mother died was worse than this. And I’m so proud, I guess, that I’ve kept it together to a degree. I’ve not let all of you in as much as I could have about all the things I’ve been feeling. Those who read The Ditch probably know more about that side of my life of late, but either way, I’ve been stifling some of the fear.

I had a boyfriend once who fancied himself a philosopher. We were talking about insanity and Catch-22. If you think you can go insane, does that mean you’re more sane, or already insane? I believed then, as I do now, that it means you’re probably less likely to go insane if you realize the potential you hold for becoming insane, if that makes any sense.

After this past month, I can tell you unequivocally that I think it’s possible I could one day lose my sanity. I don’t think I ever will, but I could. This past six weeks felt pretty fucking close to it, but it never did happen.

I’m finally in silence, though. Not only am I single again, but the constant bickering going on at the back of my mind has ceased – the insecurities, the worries, the wonders. For now, it’s ceased.

There’s the old saying, “Why do I keep hitting myself in the head with a hammer?” The answer? “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Welcome to my life. And this, this is “stopped,” and it feels so-o-o good.

Doh, She’s a Sneaky One!

If you’re thinking, “Wha– where’d dem posts go?” then you have a keen eye, Grasshopper.

I’ve sanitized the last couple of posts, where I’ve been bitching about work. Why? I let slip that I’m running one of the top 9,000 blogs in the world, according to the goodly folks at Technorati, out of, oh, say, 49 million. Naturally, they were curious, and since I have no shame, in the morning, I’ll pass along the URL.

Like I say, everyone I know knows I write this shit. I have a big mouth. :)

I have good news, though. I’m out of my jam for yet another two weeks — my old employers have some work available. Then I have to decide whether to put my eggs in that basket, or in the basket of the temp agency who possibly will have work once they test and assess me on Monday.

You know, if there’s any one thing I’ve learned this past couple years, it’s that pride fucks you up. Need help? Ask for it. Don’t know where to turn? Admit it. It’s amazing where help comes from when you don’t expect to find any.

This morning was a fucking dark time for me. It consciously felt like I had hit “bottom” bottom. I don’t like knowing how that feels. Naturally, it’s not REALLY bottom. I can fall much farther. I simply choose not to. I can’t. Must keep upward. So, we’re back on the up.

And tonight I took receipt of my recording gear. I have one of the coolest fucking mics in the world, baby. And headphones. Tonight, before bed, I lie in bed with the iPOD and listen to some music on my real expensive studio headphones, not those cheap fucking fraying Sony plastic ones I’ve got.

Nice to have my day ending far better than it began. It’s funny, now and then I decide the price of earning money is too high for what the real / physical / emotional costs are. I cancel an appointment or something, knowing money’s too tight to mention, and next thing you know, it appears elsewhere. I guess I always just worry that luck’s gonna run out one day.

But, not today. Whew.

Envy me. I have Swiss Steak cooking in the oven. Fuck, it smells good. Man, I rock. Kiss this, Betty Crocker!

Every Day I Think About Money

I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately, for obvious reasons. My theme song is the Stereophonics’ live track, “Every Day I Think About Money.” A couple days back I was elated when I was able to pay for 95% of my groceries with the coin I extracted from my piggy bank. (And, yes, it really is a piggy bank. It’s an upscale pottery pig, a high-falutin’ pig, but it’s a clay porker-broker indeed.)

These days, any self-worth I have comes from me. I can’t pad things with purchases. I can’t buy a little somethin’ somethin’ to make myself feel better. Others keep trying to spend money on me, and every time they do, a little more of my pride whittles away, despite the fact that I know they’re just trying to enjoy some time with me and see me satisfied. And, yes, as Marcellus Wallace would say, that’s pride fuckin’ wit’ me.

I’ve always been a proud person. I learned it from my mother. She was broke in the three years before her death, and we didn’t have a lot of money in my teens, either, but through it all, my mother never looked destitute, and she sure as shit never acted it. I try to live up to that. Sure, I falter at times, but such is life.

It’s easy, though, when you have money to spend yourself to a supposedly better state of mind. It’s easier still to try and spend your way out of guilt towards a loved one when you’re not being the lover/parent/spouse/friend you think you ought to be. I think we’ve all done this in the past. It’s too easy to not have done it.

We like to confuse the issue and pretend it’s generosity we’re providing, but it’s really not that. It’s absolution.

Back in the day, the Catholic Church filled its coffers by selling salvation. For a lofty price, you could contact a bishop and acquire yourself a church-sanctioned piece of salvation; as if giving God money could cause him to avert his judgmental gaze from you.

Nothing’s changed. We’re still the same. We “give at the office” so we can justify all our transgressions elsewhere. We buy our lovers gifts because we don’t have the time or energy to be with them, or worse, because we’ve lied to them or betrayed them. Well, it ain’t workin’. It’s the financial equivalent of trying to pull off a Band-aid slowly. What the fuck you thinkin’, Willis?

Money may make the world go round, but it also keeps the shrinks at bay long enough to delude ourselves that things aren’t really what we know they are.

The good thing about being broke like this is that I’m forced to go inside myself more and see what it is I value about me, to try and remember the simple things in life that bring me pleasure. Lying on a sofa on a dark, warm summer night with some music playing and just the streetlight slipping in through cracks in the curtains. Finding a nice bunch of economical ingredients and creating something new and wonderful in the kitchen while still making budget. Taking the long ride home on the scooter while dangling my sandal-clad feet off the side to get a breeze through the toes. Singing to myself and switching up familiar melodies with new phrasing and note combinations. Reading a good book in the bath.

And few of those cost any money, and whatever does cost money is something I’d be spending anyhow, so I just spend it wiser, is all.

I’ve been trying to avoid going into stores for the past few months, because this money-being-tight thing isn’t a recent development — it’s just more intense now than it’s ever been. But stores are made to make us want all the things we don’t have. That’s their nature. What’s worse is there’s a science behind marketing that most people are ignorant of.

Next time you’re in a supermarket, look at how it’s laid out. The meats on one side, the veggies on the other, and to get to either, you must pass all the processed and packaged shit that comes with higher markups. The lighting’s dimmer over the processed aisles, too, by some 30%, so you have to focus more to see what you’re looking for, and in so doing, you’re more likely to purchase something you don’t need. The brightest lighting, though, is over the checkout counters so you’re hyper alert and pay the right money, plus you move and act quicker so they save time on every transaction.

I’m on hyper-vigilant stand-by mode every time I enter stores these days. I’m conscious of my knowledge of marketing and subliminal sales tricks so I can try with all my heart to not spend a dime more than necessary. And I’m also conscious in reminding myself that it’s how I live my life, not what I fill it with, that brings me joy. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I’d love to get new headphones. My toaster oven has a Mensa-issued turn-on switch that requires a secret handshake and multiple acts of finagling just to get the fucker to toast. I’ve lost so much weight that all my clothes hang on me, and my pride’s taking a hit (fuck you, Marcellus; it is what it is).

But in the recent months I’ve acquired something money could never bring me before: Resourcefulness. Self-knowledge. Strength of self. A kind of inner peace I didn’t know existed.

Yeah, I still hate the 28-year-olds driving cars worth 30 times what my scooter’s worth, but I also know the looks of envy I get from them when I pull up at a stopsign in shorts and a t-shirt on a sweltering day, tapping my feet and singing to myself under my helmet. I glance over and a grin spreads on their faces as they nod, wondering why they’ve bought into the myth of the fancy car and the big monthly payments.

We each find happiness in different ways, but I’ll tell you one thing: It ain’t on your Visa bill, baby, nor is it in the cracks of your couch.