Being An Adult Is Hard

I’m sure you can all agree with my above statement and if not… then please tell me your secrets so I can be living the good life too! I would love to live one of those picture perfect lives where everything you do and stuff is instagram worthy and make sit look like its all so effortless but, apparently, I’m not graced with that (though from what I’ve read not a lot of people are even of those who make it seem like they are).

So I not only just got diagnosed with Lyme disease recently (something my doctor is pretty sure I’ve actually been struggling with for a while without knowing it – something that is very common) but I have also gotten a job! I am ecstatic at having some income and a reason to leave my house every now and again. However, there is one thing that I am slowly learning that I sorta wish I’d already known and that is that I am just not built for retail.

Now I want to make this very clear: I have the utmost respect for those who actually work retail because it is not an easy job.

Now I want to delve more into why I can’t do retail and why I’m coming to terms with that as being okay and not something I need to force myself into. To start I want to explain the reason why I can’t do retail, which is really quite simple. I can physically do all the things that the job requires of me, that part isn’t the problem, but when it comes to dealing with that many people for 4 to 8 hours a day (depending on the length of my shift) I can’t cope with it. This part of the work is so mentally and emotionally draining that I basically become a bit of a walking zombie by the end of even a 4 hour shift.

Now you might be asking why is that and I’ll happily answer that for you. The simplest answer is that I am introvert and have really bad anxiety on top of that. Let’s break that down and talk about each reason on its own.

We’ll talk first about the introvert part. I have a feeling a lot of you know what an introvert is and why someone who is in this class of personalities might not make such a good retail worker. Being an introvert means that one gains their energy from time spent in a more solitary setting doing something calming rather then gaining energy through shared experiences with groups of friends. It does not mean that I do not like to socialize but that I prefer to do it on my own terms with small numbers of people who I know and feel comfortable around. Though even with those people I consider friends I can still get overwhelmed and I certainly still need time on my own to recharge my battery. Basically the fact that I have to deal with a large number of people who I don’t know every day working in a cafe means that I am very quickly drained of my energy reserves since I am required to be an extrovert at work. That on its own is quite tiring but not enough to be utterly draining.

Now add to the natural introvert nature the anxiety and you start to see why it becomes something that is so overwhelming. I am not currently taking medication for my anxiety (though my therapist has recommended it but my own personal issues with taking lots of meds are sort of getting in the way) and I don’t really have any coping mechanism in place to deal with it either. This means that I spend pretty much my entire work day panicking about things that haven’t happened and generally aren’t really likely to happen. I panic that I’m going to mess up someone’s drink horribly and they’ll be angry or that I’ll take too long and they’ll be upset. Its all these little things that build on each other in such a way that even writing this is making my chest feel tight, making breathing difficult, and giving me jitters and I’m not even at work right now.

It is this combination of things that results in a draining of every ounce of energy that I would prefer to be putting into writing (something that requires a lot of emotion for me to do well). I end my day wanting nothing more then to curl up on my own couch and just lay there. The most I do in the evenings when I work is read or play with my dog because he’s adorable and demanding. It takes me multiple days off in a row to recover even a fraction of that energy and by then I’m back to work again. I realize this is an unsustainable cycle in the long run because it will, inevitably, lead to me not writing anything at all which defeats my life goal of becoming a writer.

This job will eventually eat away at all my free time just as the previous retail job I had did and I’ll wind up miserable again and yet I get myself into this situation again and again. I want to work and make money. I want to be able to go in and do my job every day and still write in the evenings. I want to be a normal(ish) member of society who can do their job without it being detrimental to my mental and physical well being. These are all things I am desperately trying to grasp at while making sure I’m not doing myself the grave disservice of forcing myself into a situation where I have to pick work or my love and desire to write stories that touch people’s souls. It is a struggle and I don’t know how to win because the ‘responsible’ adult in me says to forgo writing for now in favor of having a stable job even if it means I’m exhausted and emotionally drained outside of work because that’s what everyone expects and wants of me. But on the other hand the dream in me says to screw work and go all in for that perfect life I dream about, the one where I can create and make things on a daily basis and not worry about money. These two aspects of my being are so fundamentally different that I don’t know how to reconcile them.

My entire being and soul yearns to be creative and make beautiful things that people can admire and that make them feel something but my mind reminds me to be practical and says I don’t have the skill or resources to make that a viable possibility. I want to reject my current reality in favor of the one I wish to create but the fear of failing and being without the resources to live are a crippling weight that I do not know how to shake off.

Maybe some day I will look back on this time in my life and see the path I’ve taken has lead me to where I want to be… but I fear I’ll look back and realize this was the moment of me giving up all those dreams.

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Why The MIA

So I realize I have been entirely MIA (missing in action) lately and that’s not what I set out to do. I set out for this to be something to prove to myself I could do a thing and I really haven’t. In fact I feel like I have proven the opposite, that I cannot keep the promises I make or do the things I set out to do. Its a failing on my part and one that seems to be systemic of the rest of my life at the moment. I keep making promises to myself and not keeping them for one reason or another. None of these reasons are particularly valid except for one.

I have been suffering from a lot of strange and seemingly separate symptoms. I had written these off due to different things like stress or not sleeping or even just general lack of having reasons to leave my house. I had accepted that it was simply my life to be exhausted nearly constantly, have achy and stiff joints, and a myriad of other problems including brain fog that made it hard to think. I figured I would just have to live the rest of my life function at bellow normal levels and learn to cope and work around that, though so far I really haven’t been able to do that.

I recently started talking to a family friend who said my symptoms matched up with what she’d been going through with Lyme Disease. For those who don’t know that’s a tick born illness caused by a bacteria that invades nearly every part of the body and frequently suppresses the immune system making a lot of the body function bellow acceptable levels along with a host of other problems. While there are some areas of the country that tend to have more Lyme then others its quickly becoming more common everywhere. Colorado has never been a place with a particularly high count (though that is changing now) but my mother’s family is from Massachusetts where it is very common and I’ve spent most of the summers of my life there.

So I figured it was worth going in to talk to this doctor that our family friend had been to and see what she had to say. After taking a urine sample test and going in for a consultation about the problems I’ve been having the doctor wanted a few more tests but is fairly sure that it is Lyme disease. With a diagnosis in hand I can now start on medication that is hopefully going to help my body fight off this and return to some normal way of life. The road to that isn’t the easiest as the way to do it is kill off the bacteria within the body thus causing a die off which results in the body over reacting and often the symptoms can get worse before things start getting better. Also since the bacteria is very good at hiding itself in the body it isn’t a quick and simple process either.

That being said for me even just having some idea and being able to start some treatment is really helpful. It just feels really good to know that what I’m going through as a reason and is valid rather then just me making it up or exaggerating my symptoms. It just feels good to know that a doctor actually thinks something is wrong and isn’t just telling me its stress or me not sleeping or what have you.

I feel like this is all a step in the right direction to getting my life back under my control. Having my life heading in a direction towards not being tired all the time and feeling like I can focus and keep a train of thought is really amazing. I really look forward to figuring this all out and getting my life back.

Garden Your Way Out of Stress

So I haven’t been posting at all lately and mostly that’s because my stress level has gone through the roof. When I’m feeling that stressed out its really hard for me to do anything much less write down my thoughts. Though someone pointed out that maybe I should write more to get my stress out (thank you therapist!). So now I’m considering doing that but for today I found a bit of a better way to get my stress out.

I’ve never been great with plants though I really wish I was. My mother has orchids that bloom every year and each year they seem to produce more and bigger flowers. For the life of me I don’t know how she does it though she claims its just regular watering and orchid food. I’ll be trying her theory but I’m not so sure its going to work. I’ll certainly keep you all updated on how well it goes.

Being that I live in an actual house now and not an apartment I have a yard. In fact I have a very nice front and back yard here in Boulder with grass (lots of dandelions) and even some really beautiful flower beds (that had quite a few weeds). I’ve been putting off weeding because I wasn’t really sure what was weeds and what wasn’t weeds. On top of that it felt like this insurmountable task just given how many weeds there were and how mixed in to everything else they were. It was insanely daunting to the point that I was almost tempted to just take everything out and start over but that was way to expensive and wasteful to do.

Either way my dad and roommate took me out into the garden today and showed me what to do. They showed me what was weed and what wasn’t, answered my questions when I had them, and helped me clean things out. I slowly found that it was actually really helpful in getting stress out. I just imagined the weeds as my problems and ruthlessly pulled them out which really made me feel much better! It, of course, didn’t fix any of my problems but it gave me a chance to work out some of that anxious tension and stressed out energy that makes things even harder to figure out.

Hopefully now that I have some of that gone I can focus on getting things done, getting some real rest, and also moving forward in a positive light in my life. I’ve got some ideas of ways to spend my time while I get a job (and it really is just a job for money and not a job for the love of the work) that should help me feel less stressed out every day. The pressure to get a job really has been a driving factor in my feeling constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. I want a job, I want to be making money, but I’m terrified of getting stuck into some job that I hate with no way out. I’m terrified of finding a job that leaves me emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted at the end of the day to the point that I can’t write and express myself. Even writing this I can feel it writhing up again and threatening to choke me into taking whatever job I can get to make the money I need and just say fuck it to my life goal of writing a novel. But that’s not the way to react to this because it would just be going backwards and, like a shark, I refuse to do that.

Either way if you have some stress in your life to get out I suggest you find a patch of garden and start pulling weeds.

A Light Bulb Going Off

Writers block is a terrible thing that all writers have to deal with at one point or another. If someone who claims to be a writer tells you they’ve never had writers block then please send them in my direction because I would love to know their secrets! I have had a lot of writers block in my life and I’ve heard a million different ways of dealing with it.

The most frequent advice I have been given is to take a step back and go do something else while letting yourself think about it. Or, you know, not think about it because that might be better. Either way its usually advice saying that you need to step away from the problem and give myself time to let my thoughts figure themselves out.

Honestly this never really seems to work for me and I usually just get myself more confused and more blocked. It just never seemed to work for me and I just didn’t understand why. I thought I had to be doing it wrong or that I had to be mixing it up somehow because if everyone said it then it had to work, right? After all no one would be giving out advice if it didn’t work for them or work for someone, right?

Well I think its because it certainly works for some but not for everyone and I’m just not one of those people it works for. That really hit home today when I was googling random writing related quotes and found this one. I think I’m one of those people who needs to write through my thinking block and not think through my writing block. I think I’ve been looking at it wrong all this time because its not really writing block for me so much as its a thinking block. My brain is getting in the way of the story and I need to let it get all its words out of the way so it can get back on track.

So, here is my contribution for today and to all those other writers out there who aren’t finding the “just think through it” advice for writing block helpful. Hopefully you’ll find this advice as helpful as I have found it.

Yeah… I’ve Got Nothing

So I’ve spent most of today trying to figure out what to post about today…. and, like the title says, I’ve got nothing. I’ve wracked my brain over and over again but I keep coming back to a big old blank page. To me blank pages are a little daunting and most certainly intimidating so I think I’ll talk about that.

One of my biggest challenges in writing is honestly just getting started. Those first few words that I put down on an otherwise blank page seem impossibly difficult to pick out from all the words in the English language. I feel like they carry so much weight and thus must be the perfect words to start a new story or a new whatever its going to be. I feel like everything that I think of to put down just isn’t good enough. Even starting this I wasn’t sure about what words to use and kept second (third, and even forth) guessing myself.

I feel like I frequently forget that I can go back and change the start if I don’t think its up to grabbing people’s attention. Just because I’ve put words down doesn’t mean they have to stay there in that particular order forever. This is a medium that can be changed and altered at any time when inspiration or thought hits home and provides you with exactly the words you think are best. And of course your opinion on what exactly is best can change as well. One day you might think you have hit on the very best idea out there and the next day you go back and wonder what the hell you could possibly have been thinking the day before.

Frankly I find a page with words on it much preferable to a completely blank page. Once I’ve gotten started and have something down its easier to continue from there and keep going. I feel like the words somehow get together and birth more words in my brain but its that first spark of black on a white page that is so very hard to come by. In the end, however, every great novel has (at one pointed) been born from a blank page. The words needed the space to move, breath, expand, and become the great work of words it was meant to be. And even then it only does that after you’ve gone back a time or two and allowed yourself to edit the words on what had at one point been nothing more then a blank page.

So maybe I shouldn’t fear the blank page but embrace it as a chance to create something new that, in the end, may or may not be all that great. But without that first creation on a blank page I’ll never find all the words to write a novel worth reading.

Mind Fog

Some days I swear it feels like I’m walking around with fog stuck inside my head. Its not that thine wispy stuff that probably would actually make for some interesting and possibly spooky ideas but rather the stuff everyone keeps referring to as pea soup fog. Its extremely thick and yet somehow seems to get into even the smallest of spaces, covering everything in a gray mist were thoughts come so close to the surface I can almost see them before sinking away again.

Its a really irritating thing because, for once, I have a lot of motivation to get stuff done right now but no energy or ideas to work from. My mind is just all wrapped up in that thick fog and it makes me want to curl up in layer upon layer of blanket despite the mostly warm weather we’ve been having. I was really glad today when it was overcast and gloomy by the time I had to get ready to go out. It meant I could leave the house in long pants and a hoodie without looking like an idiot for walking around like that in hot weather. It just felt right for the way my brain felt to be all bundled up in warm and soft clothing.

I’m hoping this fog lifts soon because, like I said, I have motivation and I’d love to be using it. I keep running across things that I feel would be interesting but then my energy levels drop and I just sort of give up on the idea for another time. I’ve probably horded away more ideas then I’ll ever really use but we’ll see. I suppose its something others deal with too and I wonder if any of you have suggestions of ways to get over it? Well if you do let me know because I’d really like to be done with this.

Gardening

Hey guys! So I’ve been a little busy lately and neglectful of posting on here though I’ve been trying to be more active on some of my social media sites at least! You can always find me posting pictures on instagram, reblogging on tumblr, or trying to twitter without really knowing how to do that.

However! I wanted to share here about my gardening because now that I have an actual house with a yard I’ve been working on making it beautiful! The biggest thing was this patch in the front by the driveway. It was basically just weeds when he first moved in because very little had been done with it and so it had just grown whatever. Well we ripped up the garden fabric that had been there and got rid of a mound of dirt that had somehow formed right by the blush at the end there. And then we sort of got super busy with our lives and just left it so it didn’t look great.

Well we finally got around to going down to Home Depot to get the wood we needed to build the barrier for more (and better) dirt. Well the boys did all that work and got it set up in no time flat! They even borrowed a trailer from one of their father’s and got the dirt and shoveled it all in. That left the actual planting of things to me and my other roommate. Over this last weekend (on Mother’s Day no less) we decided to finally do something about it!

The first step was actually soaking it with water which turned it into more of a mud pit then we were expecting. Then we had to figure out what we wanted to plant in the front. In the end we planted some of what we already had growing including a plants for pollinators packet, snap dragons, and milkweed (as well as a singular merigold I believe). We also planted the Columbine seeds down at the end nearest to the bush (apparently you need to germinate these in the fridge where its cold if you don’t plant them before winter because, being native to Colorado mountains, they need the cold to properly germinate!). Then we added in two different pea plants where both of the polls are sticking up and finally we took the two snapdragon seed mixes we had and scattered them all over the ground.

I wish we’d taken a picture of the mud shoes that the two of us got from walking around in there but we didn’t think to before cleaning them off. It got really bad at one point and it really felt like I had an actual heavy work shoe on my foot! But it was really fun despite all the dirt.

I took this picture after I had finished watering it all again so that’s why the water is pooling on there and all that. We were having a really hard time getting the water to soak down past the first level and really soak into the dirt all the way so we drenched it pretty good. I’ll post up pictures again later once the plants start growing more but for now I’m just so excited about having an actual garden! Now if I can just get the back yard into what I really want it to be that would be amazing (and probably a bit pricey with what I want to do with it)!