My Thoughts On a Crisis

The world is going through sudden pandemonium. And apparently none of us saw it coming. Even though we’ve been warned. Even though we’ve been writing books about it and making movies about it and scaring each other with it for years now. Because we never expected it to really happen.

Everything is changing, but I almost feel as if nothing has changed at all. My routines are still the same. I’m still alone all weekend because I don’t have any friends and my husband works weekends. I still do yoga most days. I still take my dog on walks and deal with her anxiety when there’s too much going on outside. I still go to work. I still buy things only in the amounts I need.

But life has still been thrown off kilter. I take public transit to work because it’s cheaper than filling my car up with gas every week. On Friday, I was one of the only people on most of my buses. I’ve been told the freeways feel empty. Everything is being closed or cancelled. And my company’s sales dropped by 50% in two days. Which means they can’t afford to pay all of their employees unless we drop down to four days a week. On Monday we’ll find out if more days need to be cut. Which means I’ll lose money when I’m barely making it as it is. Which means the review and raise my offer letter promised I’d get a month ago most likely aren’t ever going to happen. Which means I’m once again questioning every decision I’ve made in my recent years.

I sometimes wish I’d never moved to Alabama. I was making good money before that move. I was stable. But I was wild. I was going out and drinking and trying things that I once said I’d never try. I was staying out late and getting up early and working two jobs. But I was having fun. I was also in my early 20s. I’m not in my early 20s anymore.
I often wish I’d never quit my job at Starbucks. I had good benefits. I always knew I’d get hours. I had friends at work that I enjoyed talking to and listening to and hanging out with outside of work. I had stability. If this pandemic had hit then, that large corporation would make sure I was taken care of as a valuable employee. But I was depressed. I didn’t feel heard by the other supervisors or by my manager. I tried for months to quit that job. I didn’t have weekends or evenings off. My back always hurt.
I sometimes wish we hadn’t moved home to California. My boyfriend turned fiance turned husband wouldn’t have been screwed over by someone I was friends with in high school. And he wouldn’t have spent six months feeling depressed and isolated because that’s what small, shitty towns do to you if you’re not ready for them. Half my stuff wouldn’t still be in his dad’s basement or in random places in my childhood home. I would still feel like I could make it on my own. But I’d still be dealing with Alabama weather, Alabama wages, Alabama politics and everything that goes with that. I would still be told by old, slow, southern women that I talk too fast and be hated when I apologize and tell them I’m from California. I would still be homesick.
I wish I hadn’t quit my graduate program. I loved that program. I loved the people that came with it. I would be almost done by now if we hadn’t left. I would have a sense of purpose. I would know that I’d be actually stable in the future. Because I chose a program here and went through the process of writing essays and getting more letters of recommendation and getting accepted so I could finish only to be riddled with so much anxiety and stress and depression that I decided it was better to wait longer. Or maybe not go back at all, because I want to be in another program that is actually good where the professors actually care and where I actually know what is going on. I want to be part of program that I’m excited about it. But I’m not excited about much these days.
I quite frequently wish we hadn’t moved to San Diego. We didn’t have the money saved for this move. I feel so sunk in the hole that I’ll probably never get out. I don’t know anyone and I have no friends. Covered CA keeps fucking up my health insurance and has now cancelled it without telling me. I don’t make enough to keep myself afloat. I am struggling worse than I have since my mom died. I 100% don’t know how I’m going to get through this. But I know that I will. And I know that my partner is happy. I know that I did this for him. I know that I have someone to spend my life with and see everyday, and not everyone has that. I know that we’ll take care of each other. For better or for worse. In sickness and in health. We’re going to be okay, eventually.

So our world is sick. Actual insane (most likely white ladies) are buying up every roll of toilet paper, bottle of hand sanitizer, and non perishable food item on the shelves in literally every store. These people actually plan to never go outside again. Sucks for them. But you know what? The world is still turning. Most of us will survive this. We’ll someday get to say “remember when?” And hopefully this will open our nation’s eyes to how much we need healthcare reform.
After days and days of rain, the sun came out today. I got to feel it on my skin and was reminded that very soon it will be warm enough for me to spend hours laying on the beach. Because I only live a mile from the ocean.

Go outside, even if it’s only for a minute. Take a breath of fresh air. And then go read a book, do some yoga, watch a movie, binge some netflix, pet your dog, and kiss your partner. Take this chaotic time and turn it into a time to remember what peace is like. Remember what stillness is like. Remember what it’s like to not feel the need to keep up with everything going on. Take this as a time to hit reset for a little while.
Remember what the sun feels like.

Being an Adult Means Always Changing Plans

A little over three months ago my boyfriend and I packed everything up and moved across the country to my hometown in rural California. Our plan was to stay here for the summer, get jobs, save money, and move to Flagstaff. But with this economy things like that are easier said than done. So we’re still here. Indefinitely.

But I love being home. I’m not complaining. My life has always been up in the air, and I’ve never really known where I was going next until I was on my way. So I’m reapplying for school to finish my masters and seeing what sticks.
I have a good job that I like a lot. Bobby has a good job that he likes enough.

I’m incapable of having a five year plan, because every year my five year plan changes completely. We thought we’d live out our days in Arizona. Before that I thought we’d be in Alabama for a long time. Before I started applying for masters programs the first time around, we didn’t know where we’d end up because Bobby was applying for jobs all over the country. Before I moved to Alabama I thought I’d be in Mammoth for much longer. Before I moved to Mammoth I had plans to live in Portland. I once thought I’d live in England someday for a while.

I’m just not good at making plans. And I used to hate it. Because when I say I’m going to do something and then I don’t do it, I feel like a fraud. But life means always changing plans. At least for me it does.

So if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing, it’s okay to keep going. If you feel like your plans have all failed, they haven’t. They’ve just changed. Because there’s no way for us to actually see the future and see what option is best. Just know that life can still be good, no matter what your plans are.

So I Moved Across the Country

Again.

Everything has been crazy and stressful and exciting and fun. There are so many things up in the air and we’re just waiting to see what sticks the landing.

I’ve been home a little over a week. I missed home. A lot more than I thought I did. It’s good to be back.

Bobby and I both have found jobs. We’ll be able to pay bills and save. Things are working out for the first time in a long time it seems.

So yeah. I’ll try to be better. Because things are getting better. Welcome home.

Balance

Life is a lot about balance. You balance work and home. You balance chores and relaxation. Balance the things that need to be done, like homework, and the things you want to do, like watch Netflix or read a suspense novel.

I feel out of balance sometimes. My kitchen is cluttered because someone was working on our pipes. The work is finally finished now, but we haven’t put the effort into putting things back to normal. My living room is cluttered because every time we open a piece of mail lately, every time I open a piece of mail, it gets set on the coffee table instead of in the trash, where it most like belongs.

My room is cluttered because it always is. Nothing’s changed there.

But I don’t feel like doing anything about this, at least not right away. I’d rather do something interesting, or at least that lets me procrastinate longer. I forced myself to do the dishes today. It literally takes only five to ten minutes to sort and load the dishwasher. I finally put away the clothes that I pulled out of the dryer two days ago. Again, that couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes. So why do these tasks seem so daunting sometimes?

I understand the concept of balance. I understand what needs to be done. It just feels like a lot sometimes. Most of the time. But I really want to learn balance this year.

Common Sense

My mother always said that common sense didn’t exist, because it’s not common.  Everyone grows up differently and develops their logic based on the kind of mental training they have the opportunity to learn through.  So I’m getting kind of tired of people being berated for not using their common sense.

I watched a supervisor berate a subordinate for not using common sense when it was really busy because he didn’t see a label, so he asked a question.  Studies show that logic capabilities are not as strong when a person is under stress.  I work in a high stress environment, especially around this time of year, and I don’t see how anyone can survive if they’re not allowed to ask questions, even if the answer is right in front of them.  What happened to patience?  What happened to kindness?  What happened to caring?
So, as a supervisor, I tried to speak up.  I tried to say something, but apparently defending other employees means that I’m undermining the authority of another supervisor.

I looked up the standards of business for my place of work.  The first thing that is covered is “the way we treat one another.”  And I wish I had read this sooner.  I wish I had refreshed my memory.  Because page one literally says that we have the right to work somewhere free of bullying and harassment.  Does anyone know how many employees have come to me feeling that they have been bullied or harassed?  Far too many.  And I felt that I couldn’t do anything, because my manager won’t do anything about hearsay.  The most important person’s word will always be the strongest, and that will never be me.

I quit my job.  I start my new one soon.  More pay and less responsibility, and hopefully I’ll be out of a depressing and painful environment.  But will it be enough?  I keep wondering if I should do something.  I know that I should do something.  I know what to do.  But I’m scared.  We’re all scared.  That’s why none of us have done it yet.

I have two weeks left.  Two weeks of feeling caught in the middle.  Two weeks of feeling like a pariah.  Two weeks left of trying.  So should I try?  Or will I be shut down?  I guess it’s time to find out.

Complacency

I feel bored and overwhelmed at the same time.  I forget sometimes that I moved across the country and established a life here all on my own.  I think I forget this because I’m not satisfied and I miss home.

I had a dream the other night that I was trying to get my old job back in Mammoth.  I dreamed that I moved Bobby out there and we were trying to figure out a way to afford a big enough place for his studio.  But that was just a dream.  I have no plans to move back to Mammoth, and in all reality, I would probably feel almost as complacent there.  The only difference is that I would have a community that I some how took for granted when I lived there.

I’m looking for a new job.  Most people know this, but I guess it’s time to make it public.  I’ve been depressed where I’m at for some time now and I haven’t found a satisfactory way to make myself happier there.  I haven’t gotten any bites anywhere else yet though.  I feel so confused as to where my path is right now, but if I look back to my past, things have always worked out the way their supposed to.  So I have to believe that things will work out again.

I’m trying to get myself used to school again.  It’s hard and not hard at the same time.  I just haven’t retrained myself to set aside time in the right way.  I feel like I used to have far more time on my hands.  Where do all the hours go?
And I have to do this group project with no information, so that’s not stressing me out at all.

I decided to go back to therapy.  I’ve had exactly one session.  But how can I be a licensed therapist if I can’t even take care of myself?

I’m doing my best.  And my best probably looks pretty good to a lot of people.  But it feels like it’s not enough a lot of the time.  But I guess that’s what depression is.

Hello my old friend.

How long is 10 minutes?

The biggest thing about Alabama in the summer is that it is hot and humid and being outside is hard, especially if you don’t get into a routine early.  I’m not going to make excuses as to how or why, but I, once again, failed to get into a routine.  Thus, running or biking when the sun is out is just not a wise decision.  I want to be active, but I don’t want to die.
One thing that I’ve incorporated into my life over the last couple of years, but definitely even more in the last couple of months, is yoga.  I’ve been trying to do yoga for 20-30 minutes every day that I can, which, luckily, has been most days.  I do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, in case you’re wondering.

Today I went to the next video on the September playlist and it’s 41 minutes long.  I’ve worked out for longer than that many many times in my life before, but I’ve felt weak lately.  I’ve felt that I can’t do much.  I’ve felt overweight and out of shape and so many other things that probably aren’t true.  But we all tend to perceive ourselves differently than we actually are, don’t we?
So I almost skipped the 40 minute video.  Because ten extra minutes just felt too long.  I felt too weak.  I felt like I might feel too tired afterward.  But then I thought about how I usually feel after I do yoga.  Unlike other workouts, when I do yoga I just feel good.  My mood boosts in a different way.  My body doesn’t feel like I’ve done a hard workout, it just feels… I don’t know… good.  I told myself to do the 40 minute video.  It wasn’t hard.  Those ten extra minutes weren’t even noticed.

So I wonder how long ten minutes even is.  What else could I do for ten minutes that I might not even notice?  Could I do ten extra minutes of cleaning?  My house would look that much better.  Could I spend ten extra minutes outside with my dog?  Maybe when it cools down.  Could I spend ten minutes writing, so maybe my mind might be clearer, like it used to be?  I decided to find out.

What could you do for ten minutes?