Tag Archives: stress

We Interrupt This Blog for a Freak-Out: Moving

It was a dark and snowy morning when writergirl hit a block halfway through her blog post and said fuck that shit, and started from scratch.
A week into Arcticapalooza 2012 here in Vancouver, and nothing about leaving the house is appealing. Tragically, the French press bottomed out on inky black gold some time ago and the caffeine fumes are dissipating fast.
With 39 sleeps remaining before I move to Victoria, and 13 before the official start of househunting, it’s true to say this blast of winter, all the madness in my moving-focused mind, and the clusterfucked cold commutes, it’s been a doozy of a week. Tonight, evening plans loom after work, and there’s to be a monsoon or dire deluge or something. I’ll get in well after midnight, and sleeping in will never feel so good as it will tomorrow.
Whew. One of those stopping-to-breathe moments. I’m doing that more. It’s helping. I need focus, and it’s hard to find in the middle of my whirlwindy days.

Yeah, WHATEVER. Fuck that. Screw you, guru!

And it’s not like I have enough going on but I now have an apartment-listings addiction. Speak to me, oh property managers and Craigslist. Show me your rental treasures.
I’m now compulsively checking ads, and freaking out. Omigod! This would be perfect. But what if it’s gone? But if it doesn’t go, what’s wrong with it? Maybe one exactly like it will come up. OMIGOD, look at that one! THIS WOULD BE PERFECT.
Which is usually about when I smack myself in the forehead and spazz out.
See, I’m a big believer that we’re a product of our environment. While unhappy in this apartment for a long time, I’d been forever hedging on moving, but now that I’m onboard with the idea, I wanna be gone like a one-night-stand at 4am.
I want to be surrounded by my soon-to-be new world, but I’m aware my choice of home will have a great deal of influence on how my future unfolds. I want to pick well, but the choices I’ll have are completely out of my power. I have THREE days to pick. That’s it. I need the wind at my back, as the Irish say.
On the other hand, I was a big Monkees’ fan as a kid, and I’m a daydream believer, baby. It’ll all come together. And if it doesn’t, you’ll find me crying in my cereal one day. Whatever.
But I’m at that point where I need to decide if I want to live a little further out so I can get a dishwasher and insuite laundry, or would I rather be just a few blocks from natural beach where I can walk and frame my mind in a space I love but have a minimalist place and continue the life of handwashing my dishes? It’s a hard choice. What’s more important for the soul — more time to write, or prettier places to walk? Right now, I don’t know.
I generally find that I panic and worry, and try to shut that down as much as possible, because when I usually get to where I’m going, I somehow find myself making the right choices and getting where I need to be. It usually just… works out. So, under the chaos, I have faith.
That lack-of-having-control panic is one of the qualities about myself that I’m hoping moving to a slower, simpler pace of life will help me to switch off. There are a lot of things I love about myself, and I think they’ll find their way out more when I’m in a place that doesn’t always have me watching the clock or trying to tune things out. I wonder what life’s like when you’re trying to tune into it? That’d be another good switch to explore.
So this is where I am. Very cognizant that a way of life is coming to an end, certain it means I too will be changing from the inside out, and wondering what that all means for what my future holds. It’s pretty fucking awesome, really.
And weird. There are only TWO things I know about my life to come. I know what my furniture will look like, and I know I’m keeping my job. Everything else, I’ll know in about 16 days.
Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, obsessing and wondering about what’s the right direction to go in. And, deep down inside, enjoying the moment… because I know I know how infrequently they come, these times of complete uncertainty, when everything can change in a moment, and likely for the best.

The Christmas Myth of Time Management

There was a moment sheer heart-plunging terror as I added the line “bring up Christmas decorations and get started” to my to-do list for the week.
What with the what, WHEN?
Oh, lord.
It’s That Time Again.
So now, on top of the list of 26 things I need to do, I gotta work out more because the season’s full of food, clean more to entertain more (and because there’s more crap filling the house), plus all the baking for the Christmas gifts I’ll make this year, oh, right, and go to a zillion social events.

The Holiday Brought to You in Part
that universal sentiment surpassed only

And, like, three months ago, I started this little project of organizing my music CDs and putting them into binders.
Except… there’s, like, 300 CDs in piles, in the corner of the living room, where the Christmas tree soon needs to go.
Not only do I need to organize those fuckers and put them in the binders, but it turns out the binder sleeves are only pre-cut, they haven’t pulled the little piece of plastic out where I have to slide the CD in. Do you KNOW how much such things annoy me?
No. You don’t. I glower at this pile. I loathe this pile. I suppose the time has come.
A friend posted a great list today, the seven steps to “grow the action habit”, and the second one is: Be a doer.
I was a Girl Guide. I can be a doer. I know I can!
I shall be a CD-organizer doer-girl sometime this week.
It’s on my list.

(Found on a variety of blogs, always uncredited.)

Ironically, also on my list is to “make a list every day. ”
On the rare occasions of my life where I’ve made a list (I’ve seen more blue moons than I’ve made lists), I’ve been killer productive. If I remember to write on the list that I have to cross things off the list, that is.
On the upside, all those rare list-making occasions have been within the last six months. Nowhere near habit-forming, but at least I’ve had some positive results in the “I’ll try that for a dollar, Alex” category.
Let’s face it, life’s all about time.
It’s about getting things done —  a race to save time so we don’t waste time, but without enjoying the time we have. Or something.
Even when we do save time and knock obligations out of the park, we’re still left with fractured time, since no one turns off cellphones or does Just One Thing at length anymore. The proverbial ADD society, sure, but who actually lives in the moment anymore?
I’m still trying to find that balance of Getting Shit Done and Doing Nothing. Of course, I keep vascillating to extremes. I’m the ping-pong ball that ricochets from one wall to the other, never landing in the middle.
Still, I keep bouncing, keep trying, and sooner or later gravity’ll pull me to a stop — and I’m okay with that.
December’s kind of like my “new-year’s-resolutions-practice month”. I’ll fail dismally, likely, with all the socializing and all that, but at least I’ll be working on life more or thinking about how I can improve it (and want to), often.
Besides, it’s not about being perfect tomorrow, it’s about being better tomorrow and better the week after that.
When I can get traction with the time management, it’ll help me on all levels — I’ll eat healthier at home, live in a cleaner environment, process stress better because I’ll have an accomplishments system in place, and I’ll generally be less of who I’ve been frustrated in being, and more of the task-oriented person I’d like to be.
It’s an uphill battle for the next five weeks, though. It’s that annual time when we’re so inundated by responsibilities and the directions we’re pulled in that we’re more likely to overindulge in all our flaws — fall behind on bills, eat too much junk, drink too often, exercise too little, rest too little, and so on.
There’s a reason they’re called the “January blues”.
It’s why we’re all so compelled to visit change upon ourselves when the new year rolls around — Christmas brings out the best in us but also exploits all our daily failings. It’s inevitable. We have great fun and we pay the price in every way, usually.
Being prepared for that by taking little steps to try and avoid the severity of my Descent into Calendar Madness could be one thing that separates me from my recent years’ “Chaos Called Christmas” experiences.
And it starts with one little list aimed at getting me from here to November 30th with a lot of organizational success and a big game plan.
Item 27: Make a new list on December 1st.

Super Steff Pseudo-Single on a Friday Night

And what do I choose to do with it? Sleep. It would seem Girl has pathological bed tendencies. Someone get a shrink.
No, no. I had a migraine-ish thing. On the list of 817 things you don’t really know about me is the fact that I am the Human Barometer. Yes, a weather front shift looms, and so does a giant barometric flip of the switch in my head, and sometimes I’m felled by these mondo-mofos of a headache.
The Guy is being demonstrated the Evil Mind-controlling Superpowers of that arch-villain, The Office. While he’s out there battling Evil, I’ve been taking a break from my Autocrat of the World role. I “laid down” at nine and just rolled out of bed at 11:32. What am I, 12? I haven’t been to bed that early in quite a while.
Stop the presses, people. We may be on the verge of a mini Dating Dilemma. You see, there is now a great disparity in Me-Time ratios. Me, I’m drowning in Me-Time. I’m all lazy in my Joe Boxers and my hooded sweatshirt, curling my red-painted toes in the chilly spring night air, yawning, and debating between the merits of Bath versus Shower.
The Guy? Trapped in death-defying battle with his dreaded arch-nemesis, The Office, as he slays Deadlines and mocks the Greatly Abhored Accounting Department on the dreaded conundrum of Mandatory Overtime.
Tomorrow, I will be well-rested, and he will be bone-tired, having worked nearly 18 hours or more in a row. Thus, the Great Relationship Inequity shall begin.

[Please, someone, break through the Space-Time Continuum and break my shift-key, will you?]

He is likely to be short-tempered, low-energy, and unwilling to do much. And understandably so. I am like to feel sorry for him, then feel sorry for me being all Boyfriend-Deprived. And understandably so. But it can’t stop there.
This is life. My job as an adult, for this 72-hour period, is to realize he’s having a hard time of it, and I’m, well, lying around in my Joe Boxers and my sweatshirt, having eaten a good bowl of butter chicken . This means, no matter how I slice it, my weekend’s a let-down. But guess what? Guy’s weekend really went from zero-to-blows in about 60 seconds, long, long ago.
The additional fall-out is that sex may or may not be on the books for a few days. And understandably so. Does it mean I’m happy about it? What do you think, Junior Einstein? Oh, that’s right – that’s a big “No!” But I’m an adult, and I’ll deal just fine. I can’t even fathom having to work 17 hours in a row using actual brainpower like the Guy is now. To expect him to function at all like a human in the next couple of days is a tall order, despite whatever superpowers might reside in his pants.
Tonight, I understand. Tomorrow, when my body remembers it’s female and thus emotionally needy by nature, I might feel a sniffly sad thing or two that I’m not going to have the weekend I deep-down-inside want. Whatever. Grown-up powers, activate! (Okay, if you’re one of my collegiate readers and you missed the Justice League of America and the Wonder Twins, well, that’s your problem. You missed the minimum age requirement for riding, but we chose to overlook it. Feel grateful!)
Relationships are full of disparities, and the hard part is being perceptive enough and adult enough to realize when the scales have tipped drastically in one direction versus another. The other challenge is remembering that, while this “weekend” feels like forever when I can’t be with a lover I crave, in the long run, it’s a couple friggin’ days in the life of my relationship, so I need to keep perspective on just how troubling I feel my times really are.
It’s hard to pull your head out of your inner child’s ass sometimes in order to remember just how much there is a big world that rotates around your itty-bitty little existence. If you don’t manage the cranial extraction though, you’re fucked. It’s really that simple. A “woe is me” attitude only gets you so far.
No woe-is-me here. I’ve just been handed the opportunity to get my place dealt with, get out on my own a bit, and live my own life, hence pseudo-single. The Guy’s stuck being whipped by the Man, and those lashes are gonna sting for a few days. This is how the vicious circle spins, and my secret superhero Activator powers are just kicking in. (Insert powerful whooshing SFX here.)
Wonder Twin powers, ACTIVATE! In the shape of… grown-up!

Stress and Relationships

Life’s hard. We’ve all come to learn this through our own experiences. Adversity finds us, and it finds us with ease. Sometimes we deal well, and sometimes we don’t.
Almost always, the ones who bear the brunt of our emotional duress are those around us. Keeping our heads straight and keeping our emotions intact are what we’re told ‘adults’ do. So, we struggle. We keep ourselves under control, or at least we delude ourselves in thinking we’re managing to do so.
But then we snap. Little things piss us off, bend us out of shape. Inconsequential things, like other people’s bad driving, meaningless comments from our lovers, or so-called disappointments like the movie we’re wanting to see being rented out already. Then we grumble, moan, erupt.
Last week, a couple things sort of sent me headed towards Tizzy Land. My lover snapped at me once, and then said something a little crass and thoughtless the next day. Two things, two days in a row, was enough to make me start thinking, “Is this worth the effort? Don’t I deserve better?”
In reality, though, each of those moments couldn’t even amount to a molehill. Considering the weeks since we started seeing each other, all the adversity thrown at each of us, the fact that we’ve managed as well as we have in the face of those, and have had as many long and good and wonderful conversations as we’ve had, and that we have only had these two itty-bitty things to grouse about, things are going pretty fucking good.
The problem I’ve found with my relationship is that, with any new relationship, you get the “honeymoon period.” How doth I love thee? Let me count the ways. It’s the period when everything is bliss and sunshine, when you feel you’ve been blessed with something wildly great. It’s that time when everything you do is interrupted with those too-frequent giddy little thoughts of, “Mm, I’m seeing him/her tonight. Boy, I can’t wait! Mm… kisses!”
This relationship didn’t really come with a honeymoon period. It began with my being sick, followed by mutual money fears, followed by his short-lived good luck of being hired on permanently to his job, and then, whammo, a couple days later, he was felled with a serious broken leg that required two operations done same-day. Now, he’s on crutches still for about another month.
Me, I’ve been playing nursemaid, and I thought I wasn’t resentful about it. I really did. I’m the kind of gal who wants to be of use, who wants to help. Even more importantly, I’m a gal who spent a total of 20 weeks on crutches over about 13 and a half months, the last instance being just over a year ago. If anyone can relate to how fucking hard life on crutches is, it’s me. So, help I have, and as much as I’ve been able.
But then I snapped last week, and all because he had a grumpy moment. It’s fine and dandy to relate to someone’s problems, but when you think they have a reason to be grateful to you for putting yourself out for an hour or two, it’s far too bloody easy to forget that their frustrations are much greater than the few you’ve encountered in the recent hours. So, I disregarded how hard his life’s been of late, and how angry he probably is at all this, and let myself feel sorry for myself as a result, and then took it out on him.
A few years ago, it’d have been enough reason for me to walk away from the relationship. “Mmf, he doesn’t appreciate me.” I’d petulantly walk away, all in a huff, and take it personally. This time, I’m an adult with a little accumulated wisdom behind my years. I started to realize my anger wasn’t at him, not really. It was because we never had a honeymoon period, and now, here we were, in a “real” relationship, with disagreements and miscommunications, and it dawned on me… we probably would never have that honeymoon period after all. We’ve gone from meeting to having a mature, measured relationship, without any of the carefree bliss in between.
Caring for a person doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to be able to treat them as they deserve to be treated. It’s hard to be honest with ourselves about how difficult our adversities are. It’s even more difficult to be honest with ourselves about how overwhelmed we’re feeling in the face of those adversities. And let’s face it, it’s brutal to admit our powerlessness to someone we’re hoping always sees us at our best, especially if you’re the guy and you’re supposed to be stoic and strong. But as a woman, it can also be really challenging to admit those feelings because we don’t want to be perceived as needy or overly emotional. Both sexes always have too much to lose from telling the truth, or so we seem to believe.
Admitting disappointments and anger and fear and hopelessness is akin to admitting we’re not tough enough to take life on. None of us wants to be that person, the one who’s being beaten by adversity. None of us wants to admit to embarrassment or failure. The one person we ought to be able to admit these things to is the one person we hope will never find it out. We don’t want their illusions of us to be shattered. After all, we know the truth: We’re not perfect.
Or, maybe it’s a little different from that. In my case, I didn’t want to seem petty. I didn’t want my guy to know I was angry he broke his leg, that I was hurt by the reality that we were suddenly thrust into this serious situation whereby our bliss was hurled out the third floor window of a hospital. The incisions in his legs cut into the heart of our relationship and made things complicated – when things should have seemed blissful and easy.
The thing about a new relationship is that it takes the edge off an already hard life for a little bit, and we didn’t have that. I found myself resentful about it, and as a result, I hated that I could feel such a way – feel so petty, so needy – when I really, really liked the guy regardless of the struggles he now faced.
It’s hard to tell someone you resent what’s occurring to you as a result of their adversities, and that resentment can really prove damaging to us. A great example of this is from the absolutely incredible and amazing miniseries Angels in America, when Louis leaves Prior because Prior’s been diagnosed with AIDS. Louis loves Prior as much as any person can, but he’s too fucking weak to stand around and watch his lover succumb to his horrid disease, so he walks, and in so doing, very nearly destroys himself as a result.
We hate ourselves for our inability to deal with life’s challenges, and it certainly can kill our relationships. We all know that stresses send our sexual desires plummeting sometimes, and with that, one of our healthiest forms of release takes a walk on us, and next thing you know, an already unpleasant situation escalates.
In my situation, I think we’ve overcome the worst of the Guy’s adversities. It’s not over, not by a long shot, and I hope I’m woman enough to continue admitting to him when it’s difficult for me, too, while still being there for him when he needs it. I’ve no illusions about the difficulties that lie ahead for us as he begins the slow path to rehabilitation, but then, I’ve been through similar struggles myself, and I know that if anyone can provide the support and understanding he’s going to need during this time, it’s me. And, fortunately, something inside of me says it’s worth it. I hope I’m right. But therein lies another struggle, that of unknowing and that of doubt. We just never know.
But we can hope. So, I do. I know there’s one great tool we both have at our disposal, and fortunately, we both know how to use it, and that’s communication. It’s the only thing that gets us through these times, and it can never be underestimated.

I Shoulda Stayed Home

I don’t hear my monthly train a-comin’… it’s roarin’ right on top of me.
PMS, that fickle bitch, has struck. I was doing well, you know. Really. I thought I was in a good mood. A bike ride yesterday, was there for my guy when he needed it, had some time this morning to myself, and then things slowly went downhill.
I wrote something about PMS last month and just went back to see what I’d said. Now, normally, I’d never have the balls to quote myself. I try not to. It’s bad form, you see. But this one passage describes the day/night I began to have around 3:00, so I’ll save myself the work — since I’m still a bit on this side of Bitch — and break the “good” form and quote myself. Sue me. It’s my blog, and I’ll be a pompous cunt if I wanna. Deal.

It’s usually not until you’re half-way through the ever-increasing darkening that you remember: It’s that fucking time of the month again. It’s your early warning system for the red tide, and the villagers better get the fuck out of the way.
Women despise PMS. Women loathe the emotional charges that come from being victims of estrogen. We wish for days of smoother sailing, when everything would be a little less turbulent. Some days there’s just nothing a gal can do but wait to ride out the storm.
You guys think it sucks? Try riding the wave from inside the barrel sometimes, boys. You ain’t fucking woman enough to deal with half the head games brought on by that fickle bitch named Estrogen.

You know what set me off? Well, first of all, the fuckwits on the roads. See, I drive a scooter. (Think Japanese Vespa knock-off. Cracker’s song “Eurotrash Girl” is my theme, baby.) If you’re a driver and those two-wheeled contraption things are next to invisible to you, can you please, for the fucking love of all things holy, learn to look around you as you drive? Sigh. I love my scooter, I hate other drivers. It’s a bitch.
But then… it happened. The pissy, bitchy, diva hairdresser moment. I go to this guy who’s cut hair for all manner of Hollywood stars here in Vancouver, and he’s considered pretty hot shit. He likes me. Thinks I’m cute and funny and totally irreverent. I make a point of saying at least three or four terribly inappropriate things per session, and always bribe him with delish recipes, since he’s a diabetic foodie who just can’t get enough. And he gives me an insane deal. But he’s a real fucking prima donna.
Today, he went into rant mode. I rant, but I’m funny about it. Or, I try to be. Nothing cheers me up better than making someone laugh, so that’s what I do when bitchy (usually) — something I have in common with Mark Twain, who had a quote to that effect. He — let’s call him the Queen, since like most good hairdressers, he’s as queer as a three-dollar bill, like my dad would say, but in this instance, I mean it in a superior and arrogant kind of classist way — is so fucking negative and whiney and moany when he’s down. He slams people, says vicious things. Sigh.
Most of the time, I like him. Today, he was in serious danger. Scissors are sharp, and as the Guy will tell you, I am a very, very strong girl. I wanted to go fucking medieval on the Queen’s ass.
I repeat, there is a reason PMS has been cited as justifiable defense for homicide. And I’m well-read. I know this shit. I coulda gotten away with it. “But I was paying him ridiculous amounts to cut my hair in a way I’m not wild about, and he bitched the whole way through! I grabbed those fucking shears from his pudgy hands, and turned his neck into a sieve!”
There’s a testimony you want ring-side seats for, my friends.
Add to it the fact that he said I could come 15 minutes early and get me started, yet didn’t start me until 10 minutes after the original appointment time, and the stupid high-maintenance wench who couldn’t pick out a hair product in less than seven minutes with his supervision, and I was gonna pop an eye-vessel, man.
Then, I had to get food for me and the Guy. I’d already had the underwhelming experience of ordering what Subway THINKS is a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. (Fuck, that sandwich ain’t even in the state of Pennsylvania, let alone Philly!) The Chinese place I went to for their awesome Ginger Beef has this horrendous layout. The best seat takes about a minute or two to go around the counter to, etc. There were two people in the place, and naturally, they sat as far from the counter as possible. The food kept coming out 30 seconds apart, but instead of the woman selling me mine and getting me the fuck out of there, she’d drop what she was doing, take the food out, come back, start ringing me in again, and presto. Another dish. “Oh, I must do this. A minute, no more!”
“Fucking hell.” A 2-minute stop turned into 15.
Then, I get to the Guy’s house, and all was good — or so I thought. I gave him the new ankle brace he desperately wanted, and that I had no problem taking the time out to go get, although I had to go to two shops to get it. He was putting it on and it seemed he was having difficulty, so naturally I made a comment. He snapped at me to let him do it. Well, that was it. My grumpy afternoon came crashing down, and instead of what I thought would start out all fluffy and groovy and sappy and kissy, with him being thrilled and grateful and all, turned into him seeming to be bitchier than I was.
But it turns out he’s one of these guys who can snap, apologize and actually mean it, and have the mood utterly dissipate then and there. Honestly, if I’d been having the kind of week he’d been having, I’d likely have snapped, too.
Unfortunately for him, though, my train was roarin’ past, and it just crumpled me. I put our food together, and as much as I wanted to shake my mood, I just couldn’t. I tried and I tried and I tried. He was great about it, but a lot of fucking good that does, y’know?
His timing for snapping sucked, really, and that’s inarguable. One of those, “It’s out there — you can’t take it back!” things that get really annoying when both parties start wishing for a do-over. Throw a little PMS in the mix? Oi!
PMS. It is what it is: A reason to stay home and out of other people’s faces, most times. But I never saw it coming this time. I was happy, enjoying my day, and whammo, like a bus through a red light — whomp, there it is. “You, DOWN. And STAY DOWN,” sums it up rather nicely, honestly.
Fortunately, the Guy and I had a decent time. Nothing quite as nice as we’ve had before this, but hey. It happens. And I opened the toothbrush. And he has my robe there now. And we’ve had a snapping. Wow. It must be a relationship or something. It still rocks. PMS sucks, but it still rocks. I think. [Insert PMS-driven paranoia here.]
Now, a bath. Sanity. Sleep. In that order, too.