I’ve been having a really hard time for the last month and a half (or more, if I’m honest, possibly back to early October). I’ve been trying to decide if it’s my own personal form of SAD (based on it being Death Memory Season1), or if it’s something else.
For example, I make decent to very good money currently. I still worry about bills, because I’m wired that way; but as long as I don’t splurge every single month on frivolous (read: unnecessary) items, I can pay my bills including extra on my credit cards. That means I’ve been paying down one large credit card, and trying to keep the others at minimum. I’ve been doing slightly odd (for me) things with multiple credit cards to keep my credit up, based on advice from bankers and loan advisors. My credit isn’t as trashed as it once was, when I was the victim of identity theft, but it’s still a little weird. I still get calls based on that thief’s name actually being very close to mine. She’s changed it since, as have I, but it doesn’t really force the credit bureaus to behave.
Why is this a problem? Well, even though I make a decent wage (more than fair, because of various perks), I feel sort of trapped. I’m not in a field that I consider “mine”. I actually work in a field that I don’t particularly enjoy, at the moment. I am not a numbers person, but I’m working with them. Sometimes, I can trick my brain into thinking I work in computers, or with databases, or with any number of adjacent fields – but I’m not really, and sometimes my hindbrain narrows its eyes at me as if to say, “Hey. Wait a minute… Is this what we wanted to do when we grew up? Because I don’t think it was even on the D list…” And my forebrain has to play Jedi mind tricks.
In general, I really like my co-workers. We go on cool trips together! We make each other laugh! I don’t really ever forget I’m older than all of them, but some of that is my own hangups more than anything they do intentionally. But there have been a non-zero number of times lately where I don’t feel listened to. I will report an item verbally and in writing, but somehow, sometimes even within the hour, the information is requested again. It’s most annoying when it happens within minutes.
And after the last week or so, I’m beginning to think that is the thing besides my personal SAD that is making me particularly grumpy. It was especially galling the other day to be told by my manager that she was listening, she just didn’t retain the information! It’s making me really question my usefulness, effectiveness, and importance. Because at this point, I’m concerned it truly is me! My communication skills have just deteriorated that badly!
On the other hand, I really don’t think they have. Usually, the people hearing but not actually listening and retaining that information are also dealing with a lot in their own lives, and are just very distracted. And I want to be empathetic and forgiving of those problems. Everyone is human and should have their own lives outside of work. I just find my patience is frayed to shredded about that. I’m not forgiving about it. And I’m therefore mad at myself for not living up to my own expectations.
I haven’t figured out a solution for this, other than to vent on twitter occasionally, and now on a blog. I would like a change to see if that would help, but I can’t (and really, don’t see the need other than this thing) job hunt. I wouldn’t be able to find another position of comparable level at this pay scale, really. Base salary? Sure. But not actual take home pay. So I am not sure how I’m going to fix it, in the long run, other than continue to take very deep breaths and try desperately to weave my patience back together every weekend so that there’s some semblance of it, no matter how patched, come Mondays.
1. Death Memory Season: September – lost my youngest maternal aunt at entirely too young of an age, also first marriage had a BIG ending step of actual physical separation; October – lost the first cat I raised personally from a kitten, basically my baby boy (I’ve got another baby boy, and I’ve had other cats, and this was the second cat I helped raise from kitten ever, but he was MINE); November – dad really took a downturn with his cancer; December – lost both mom and dad (in separate years) in mid and the end of the month. I adore the fall, I really, really do. And autumn through early winter means 3 of my favorite holidays, but damn it’s hard for my emotional memory.
I am tired.
I am tired of being doubted, repeatedly enough that it feels like always.
I am tired of micro-aggressions that nick and crackle at my patience and soul.
I am tired of half-truths and secreted things that breed more negativity.
I am tired.
I read a story about Buddha in the last day that was wonderful. He was being abused by an angry man who thought he didn’t have the right to teach. Buddha asked, “If you give me a gift, and I refuse to take it, who does it belong to?” And the angry man said, “I do. I bought it.” And the Buddha said that the anger was like that. If he didn’t accept it unto himself, it simply turned on the giver.
I liked this, because it’s true. But it also means that the anger feeds and increases on itself. And that part wasn’t mentioned. It’s wonderful that the Buddha can let go and not internalize anger and hatred. And it’s definitely something to aspire to.
But it’s not something that most people can do. That’s why the Buddha, Jesus, and others who have preached only love are so special. It’s hard to do.
Because really, anger isn’t inherently bad, any more than sorrow is inherently bad. When they feed, when they don’t have a healthy outlet and become unthinking tangles of so much frustration and deep depression that lash out like a wounded animal when prodded, bad results. Often, things occur that are not even the things the tangle-bearer would have dreamed of intending.
And that more than anything else, makes me so tired.
I am extremely good at being extremely hard on myself.
This can drive close friends and family crazy.
The good news is, I’m getting better at noticing when I’m doing it to myself. I’m also getting better at noticing when I’m getting snappy with loved ones as a result of being hard on myself.
For example: I often show love for my husband by cooking for him. Or baking for him. Or cleaning for him and otherwise doing household chores he’s completely capable of so he can relax when he gets home. I think, in part, I do it because it’s good to do things to help out and I like them done a certain way, so… it lessens arguments. I also do these things because my mom (and dad, sometimes) did them – an example was set. Also, I must admit I love the good feedback of compliments and gratitude. (This tastes good, sweetheart, thank you! The kitchen looks great! You worked really hard! Would you please make me X dessert soon?)
But. I also slowly start to resent it when good feedback doesn’t occur, or if the occasional turnabout doesn’t occur. And since I set up a sequence where I’m the one who does those things, it’s a jerk move to resent something when I haven’t communicated that I’d like a break in doing the things. (I think I missed the communication part between mom and dad, so in my head, partners just notice when the other person needs a break. And yeah, sometimes, but in real life it’s better if we communicate.) Now, luckily, doing a thing that sort of drives me crazy (scheduling the dinner menu for the week) has a nice side effect of being able to communicate that certain days might be more ripe for him to cook or us to go out to eat. It’s also better for budgeting for grocery items.
The thing is, I love that I can bake a consistently decent pumpkin pie. Even the one pumpkin pie I made in the last couple years that didn’t taste good had a perfect consistency. (Bad can of pumpkin. Didn’t taste like anything. Taught me to ALWAYS taste the pumpkin puree before I add anything else.) I love that Terry’s face dissolved into a big grin and I hear a woah-ho-ho! when he walks into the house to the smell of that or apple pie or molasses cookies. I don’t love that I get tired of doing it, and thus don’t want to. I don’t love that it adds to my waistline (and honestly, probably his).
So it’s complicated.
I have a similar love/hate with a very clean house. It doesn’t last long, will need redone quickly, and is a pointless exercise in those regards. But. Someone besides me can find things if they’re in their place (not everyone’s brain can handle organized chaos), it’s less anxiety-making to walk/live in a decluttered place, and it’s healthier for the cats.
I suspect everyone has things about the way they show love/caring for others they love and they hate. I don’t think it’s individual to me. But lately, when I really wish it was easier to lose weight and eat healthy – but comfort food is so reassuring after long stressful days, I really hate how I express love via food the most. And I blame myself for being stupid enough to express love that way, because in the end, I hate myself for being heavy.
What about you?
So, I’ve written before about having a complicated relationship with fall and the holidays. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved the fall and then through til Christmas the most. Even New Years was special, to a degree. We could see fireworks on TV and occasionally out the windows if one of the people in the country shot some off. My birthday was just this summer thing. And while I enjoy summer, I used to get so excited for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
And I still do. I love the excuse to hand out candy and wear silly outfits and watch silly almost scary movies.
I love the food that goes into Thanksgiving and thinking about the last year, and life in general, and what there is to be thankful for.
I love sparkling lights and pretty paper at Christmas. I love giving gifts to people. I love thinking up neat ideas for those gifts. I love the food (although in many ways it’s exactly the same as Thanksgiving, for my family traditions).
Hard things have happened. And for some reason, even as I’ve moved on in some ways from those things, and they stab less, they still bring a grey cloud to the world. I miss Domino. I miss my nephew-cat being in my sister’s life. I miss my dad. I miss my mom.
Today has been both not-so-bad and abruptly horrible. Today is my dad’s birthday, and also the day he died. A thing happened that normally would irritate me a little bit, but isn’t outside the realm of expectation for the person and situation involved. Instead, because of finding out about it today, it’s horribly upsetting and frustrating and I really desperately want to yell and sob at that same person. Even though I know what happened isn’t intentional. Even though I know that person is upset about the situation in general.
I’ve been both more patient and less patient than I would expect or hope for, this whole season so far. I’m wary about Christmas, and still looking forward to it. I expect to enjoy it, and have some dark moments late in the evening.
It’s hard, because I don’t want to MAKE the moments dark by preparing for them, but I also want to be prepared for if it does go dark by realizing the underlying reasons why.
Thankfully, my husband is very patient, and thoughtful. And he has come up with a very good idea for February. I’m not sure he knows how much I’m looking forward to it, but I really am. For a few days, we get to get away and go to the coast. It will be good. I’m hoping it will be at the right time to help really shake me loose from the holiday blues.
I am apparently having a day.
I did art. Of at least 2 types I enjoy.
I put things in a pot, knowing at the end of the day, there would be yummy, hot, comforting food to eat for dinner. (Chuck roast. Potatoes. Carrots. Beef broth cube. Fresh ground pepper. Salt. Water. A drizzle of olive oil.) I was right. It was lovely. I also took concentrated orange juice and powdered sugar and made a glaze for an orange vanilla pound cake I had baked the night before, and I drizzled it over the bundt cake. And then I covered it and took it to work. I checked the break room before coming home and half of it is gone, which makes me very happy. (Not just because people ate it. Also because breakfast for tomorrow. There are 4 eggs in a pound cake. It’s totally breakfast.)
I also worked on a tattoo design of the tragedy/comedy masks with a ribbon with words on below. It’s much closer. I’m trying to decide if I want to scan in and try to teach myself vector design in Pixelmator so that I can get it all pretty and neat and tidy and colored and sized properly to take to my tattoo artist so I can say “This. I want this on my leg above the last tattoo please. How much and how long, so I know what to save, and when should we schedule it for?” But I’m scared of teaching myself a new thing. So I may end up tinkering more with pencils and paper for a bit.
And yet. And yet I’m sad. And I’ve felt lonely today. And I’ve felt as though I’m strange and different and Not Right all day long. There are weird moments, where I almost feel as though I found the correct key, and I’m part of the melody and I fit with my little silly, unique side bit, and then the main piece shifts into a major chord, and I twang discordantly in my minor key and I want to hide.
I tried to see the pretty things. There were several. I threw a frisbee ring so high and far. It was lovely and gravity defying for a moment. The leaves were drifting down in fluttering showers of yellow-orange-rusted-red to gather in the gutters, on the grass, in the street.
But I still came home tired.
And for a bit, my sweetheart was home. And we ate dinner together. And fed cats, and cuddled and played with them. And I got to curl up on the couch and just rest with my head on his chest, tucked up under his arm while he checked things and showed me things on his phone, and I mostly listened to his heart beat and felt at home; safe and loved.
And that was very, very good.
But it was still a day.
And now I want … something. Someone? Someone to talk to by typing, I think. So I’m blogging. Sometimes, I think it’s that I miss gaming on *mushes. Where there was socializing OOC and RPing that was really community story-telling or a giant game of “Yes, and then…” But I am so rusty, I don’t know what I’d do if dropped in such a world again.
Perhaps I am only feeling old. Perhaps it’s hormones. Perhaps it’s winter coming, and much as I adore Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas, I dread the anniversaries of loss.
I don’t know. I just wish my heart would settle and I could find focus in something for longer than 2 minutes.
…My brain is parsing in phrases instead of proper sentences and paragraphs. But I’m in the mood to blog, so blog I shall.
That moment when you realize you are exhausted and didn’t do any “real” work, but got a lot done in the office. We reconciled accounts and went through emails and verified that our desks were lost somewhere between Sumner and Seattle and they’d call us back. And then we went on a Bi-Mart and Costco run for the office kitchen (mostly, we also picked up a grounded extension cable and a 6′ surge protector). Upon return with beverages and snacks and things, and after unload, and after my boss ate her lunch, our desks arrived! The rest of the afternoon (which was kinda sadly short) was spent assembling desks*. And for a brief moment, a remote co-worker and I had another snippet of ongoing Doctor Who discussions in which he asserts he’s the Doctor (rule number one – I lie) and we decided that if he was the Doctor I could be Amy. (This was a digression that made sense, and makes sense, because while I love River I’m definitely NOT his wife, and if I’m Amy I’m his mother-in-law, which I said I was okay with, especially because my sweetie has things in common with Rory. Co-worker decided it was getting complicated, but didn’t seem phased by this.) This conversation occurred while we were trying to determine status of paperwork for someone related to co-worker. It was one of those multi-thread things that happen when you talk to your co-workers mostly through Skype.
*Really, only desk was mostly assembled. We still need to assemble 5 drawers. Then we can start desk number two. But we got further than our other co-worker whose desk was delivered with ours.
Also, I am tired and punchy and have been all week. I suspect annoying dreams tonight are on the docket. I am really, really hoping they won’t be too bad. Had a brief flare up of hives (or heat rash, although from itchiness I’m really thinking hives) again today at work. Not sure WHAT I’m having an allergic reaction to. Debating full dose of diphenhydramine before bed. Loratadine helped last night, but I’m not sure they both have the same anti-histamine effects I’m after. Need to research boxes to decide.
Finally, I did chore type things upon getting home. So I was productive and should feel good. But still feel vaguely restless and unsatisfied in general. I’m hoping that the socializing planned for tomorrow helps with some of that. If it doesn’t, that means I probably need the opposite, and need to hole up with a book. As I have a stack by the bedside that hasn’t been read at all, and shelves I could re-read, that should be easily remedied? I hope.
Anyway. Rambling blog is rambling.