Monday, July 30, 2018

Sweet Home Chicago

I was 26 when we moved to this area, with a little more than a year of marriage under my belt and a 15-month-old in tow. I still felt like such a baby, afraid of her own shadow. Scared of the booming thunderstorms, because we never experienced those in my area of California. Scared of living and experiencing life, of exploring an alien city. A big city, with a bad reputation. It was okay for the first year because I was still sheltered and we were living in a suburb in Indiana.

Then we moved to the city proper.

I cannot begin to tell you of the many things I was uncertain about. I was scared of the crowds and the buildings and just everything. I was scared in general because of anxiety and depression. I was stressed out all of the time because I wanted my home state, where I could hit the beach or go see family or just be around the familiar. I was so alone, trying to make a good marriage and raise a kid. It was overwhelming.

Slowly, slowly, I realized that I was only killing myself by being scared of everything, by not enjoying what this city was. Yes, Chicago has many many flaws, but what it has to offer is more than I could have ever hoped for.

I began to get involved with city life. We visited museums, we walked, we explored the vast array of neighborhoods. We mingled with the locals (to this day, I maintain that Chicagoans are some of the friendliest people in the world), we went to Cubs games (and befriended fellow fans). We tried new foods, things we'd never be able to try in California. I was hired for one of the best jobs I ever had and worked with some of the best people I had ever met. I renewed my passion for the arts, from going to the opera with my son to getting a membership to the Art Institute so I could bask in the glory of some of the greatest works of art ever (and snark on it, because that's just me).

We built a life here.

Our son grew up here.

East Hyde Park, Chicago. This neighborhood and all of the friendly familiar faces I know are a part of me, of us, now. This city is in our blood. It forced me to grow up and be independent and learn more than I have ever learned before. For eleven years, we have called Chicago home, and tomorrow I will no longer be able to say that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Work In Progress

That describes me.

After almost three months, I have finished my anxiety/phobia workbook.

So what does that mean?

Well, it means that I have read it all (even the spiritual shit, which I'll get into in a bit), did the written exercises (with the exception of my goals, which I will finish this week), implemented the coping mechanisms that were suggested into my daily life, and am now working on various other physical and mental parts of myself.

Does this mean I am cured?

No fucking way. I have a loooooooong way to go still. I still battle myself and my phobias and anxieties on the regular. Maybe not every day, but they are there. However! I am much more prepared for flareups of the hellbeast that inhabits my mind. I am also majorly struggling with is my self-esteem and self-image, which leads me to not taking care of myself physically. I still keep rolling on though, and someday I will catch on and get with it. Not perfectly, but moving in the right direction.

So what changed?

Quite a few things. I know how to handle anxiety better. I do deep breathing exercises. I do muscle relaxation before I go to bed. I read my Personal Bill of Rights and Daily Affirmations every morning for motivation. I have learned how to handle my mood swings better, and I think my family can attest to this. I rarely lash out like I was doing, and I choose my words carefully when things get heated. I try to stay calmer and less on edge than I was, but if I do lose control, I don't let it eat at me. I write about it, figure out what happened, and act accordingly (apologies, talking out why I did this and why I reacted this way, etc). I've also started meditating, but I don't know that is working out because I just started yesterday (it was the last chapter in the book, so yeah).

What was the hardest part of this journey through a self-help book?

Dealing with the memories that came up. Flat out. I have had a lot of unpleasantness in my life, and having those memories that I've tried to suppress come up was a lot of heartache. There were two exercises that helped with this a lot, even though they hurt like hell to do. One was getting in touch with my inner child. I think having to do that broke down a lot of the wall that was keeping everything in because that little girl was still hurt by the actions of others, but she was trying to be brave and adult.

The second exercise was writing letters to the people that hurt me in various ways. Granted, there were only three, but it was pretty extreme. They will never be sent, but a LOT of my anger and hatred came out in writing them. After the initial feelings, I felt better, and can now see these people for who they are. I pity them.

So what about the spirituality?

This is still a very sensitive area for me. I wrote about this in my personal diary last night, so here is part of that entry: "I think I've always wanted to explore my spirituality further, but organized religion has turned me off of even that. I know they are two separate issues, but it's hard to get past that mental thing of religion=spirituality, since that is what I grew up with. There are certain times of the year where I feel so close to a breakthrough on the higher power issue. It's so fleeting though. I wish I could describe that feeling better or hold on to it longer than a few days."

That's kind of where I am, and I really wish I could describe that fleeting feeling in more detail.

I did download a meditation app (you know shit is serious when I'm downloading apps), and it's FREEEEEEEE and covers various types of meditation, religion, spirituality without religion, and wisdom from various regions of the world. It's actually pretty cool for being free, and I think you can pay a one time fee if you want to download stuff to listen to offline. However, I'm never unplugged, so I'm good.

So now what?

I keep working on myself, loving myself, taking care of myself, and if things don't go perfectly, I will not beat myself up. Life happens. That is my mantra.

Life. Fucking. Happens.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The End

Just of this month of blogging. I feel like I copped out a lot, partially because I was sick, but mostly because I'm just a boring person. My life is quiet. I guess that can be considered a blessing. Maybe.

Anyway, I'm not making promises to write more because it never turns out well. If I get the writing itch, I'll pound out something. I doubt it will be with any regularity, because I don't roll like that. Too much laziness and apathy.

So until next time

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tomorrow is Halloween, which means I'll probably blog early so we can go wade through the crowds tomorrow night. Whee.

I don't really have much to talk about tonight. Shit has been going down all day in the real world, but I really feel like I don't need to recap it, since everyone knows what's up. It's been equal parts glorious and gross.

Anyway, I'm off to watch Supergirl.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

I need to win the lottery so I can have my friends sitting pretty. I mean, yeah, I'd use the money for myself and get shit sorted, but I can't help and fantasize about being able to be like, "Take this cut of my winnings and get the shit you need and get healthy because we can't lose you."

This is the reality of this country right now. Hoping you'll win the impossible so you can make a difference. For me personally, I don't even need that much money, and I've always just figured if that impossible dream happened and I became wealthy suddenly, I'd use it more on friends and family than on myself. I just need enough to get out of debt (like, mortgage or car payment or anything), get my health taken care of, and put enough away for my old age and for the kid to do what he wants when he's an adult.

We're not bad off, but sometimes you feel so helpless when things break (heater), or you have a surprise battery replacement for your car.

I live my life in a constant state of anxiety over something big happening. Illness, a major appliance breaking, a job lost. It's not a good way to live.

I want to get a job, but my job selection is limited right now. To be employed means I would have to find something at night or on weekends because of homeschool. It can't be too late at night because then I'll never be able to sleep, and the kid won't be taught. Walgreens in my neighborhood is open 24/7, but they always reject my application. Sometimes the University hires for overnight desk duty at the library or in a residence hall. I almost, ALMOST had a job there until I was told I would have to be on-call. I've also toyed with the idea of applying at the Target in my neighborhood. However! When I walked out in 2006 (long story), HR screeched out a threat of me never being able to work at one again. I am not entirely sure this is true (especially because the threat happened so long ago and in California), but I also don't know how petty Target can be.

Maybe I'll apply anyways. It can't hurt.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So now that I'm done binge watching "Stranger Things", I'll probably write better for the three days that remain of October.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Almost forgot to write a crap blog post because I got distracted by "Stranger Things". Seriously, if you haven't watched that show yet, GO WATCH IT. It's a hit of nostalgia for everyone that grew up in the 80s, and the story is so good. Do it. Do it now!

Anyways, don't expect quality (like you do anyways) because binge watching. Also, I need to grocery shop tomorrow. Also, I need to clean the house the next day. Damn, I got a lot of shit to do.