I Couldn’t Think Of A Title For This. Sorry.

This post is veering from my original intention for it, but I’m going to toss in some stuff that didn’t make it into my first post, so maybe my original idea for this one will get posted at some point (it was a really funny allegory, at least I thought so. Then again, I came up with it during a bout of my traditional post-migraine euphoria where everything seems amazing and awesome and wonderful, so I don’t totally trust my judgement.)

So, more stream-of-consciousness from the wild river of my mind. Ever since the new year began, I’ve been trying to get my life better organized. Since I work retail, during the Christmas season laundry/cleaning/dishes/etc. built up, and now I’m doing the fun task of trying to catch up on all of it. Yay! I’m also doing battle with an evil mouse that has invaded my apartment. It’s some kind of evil genius and has figured out how to eat the peanut butter off the first two kinds of traps I set without getting killed. I will be deploying the fearsome glue trap tomorrow.

Anyway, I’ve been working on all of this while continuing to work as many hours as I was during the Christmas season, and doing lots of little chores day after day. Obviously, there’s not a whole lot of improvement from any one thing. So my life recently has been kind of like, “Yay! I made it through another eight hour shift! I went grocery shopping! I’m sticking to my budget! I brought my lunch! I did the dishes! I’m building so much character and perseverance! Yay!” and “No, you don’t need to buy that Rolling Stone magazine, it’s not worth spending $4.99 just so you can read the interview with Stevie Nicks, at which point you’ll probably either toss it, or more likely, leave it sitting around until you lose it, and then find it two years later all crumpled-up and gross-looking. Also, you don’t need to buy that chocolate mousse either. It’s $3.50 and you already had a cookie today. Go home and eat some fruit.”

(I want my “Adulthood Trophy” as the brilliant Allie Brosch put it in Hyperbole and a Half.)

After several weeks, it’s been finally getting to me. The blog post I wrote last week helped- I got in touch with a bunch of people I hadn’t talked to in a while, which reminded me I wasn’t just some kind of productivity machine. Then yesterday, one of my supervisors at work mentioned that they were thinking of training me to advance to the next level, and he asked if I would be interested in that. I said yes, so hopefully that works out. Anyway, that helped some, but I’m still feeling like each day is the same.

I’ve learned that this means that I need to add more joy to my life, because otherwise I start unconsciously imitating the writer of Ecclesiastes and being like “Life is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” At which point I become a hermit and hole up in my hermit cave. So that’s partly why I’m trying to do all this organizing, so I’m prepared to move out fairly soon and find some place with more windows, no mice, and that allows cats. I’m MUCH happier when I have a feline overlord to serve.

I’ve not been having much luck though. A friend of mine and I were planning to go to a Fleetwood Mac concert, but the cheapest seats they had were $60 a piece, so it wasn’t really affordable for either of us (Side Note to Fleetwood Mac: Why are your tickets so expensive?!?! Aren’t you already really rich?) Hopefully I can think of something else soon that’ll actually end up working. Right now I’m gradually working through all the Diane Keaton movies that the public library has, but I feel like I need something with more sense of adventure. I’m feeling like the narrator of “Thunder Road” (which is an amazing and brilliant song that you should totally listen to). Anyway, this post is kind of all over the place, (and much less profound than I had hoped it would be) but I needed to get this off my chest. As always, feedback/communication of any kind is appreciated!


Thoughts About My Facebook Hiatus

I haven’t written anything long since my Annie Hall essay, so I apologize if this is somewhat random and confusing. I kept putting this off until I finally realized that if I didn’t just go ahead and do it it would never get done. So here it is, even if it is somewhat stream-of-conscious-y.

I decided to take a break from Facebook because it was messing with my mental health. Even though I know everyone tends to post the positive events in their lives and keep the negative ones to themselves, it was really getting to me. Every time I logged on, I’d start thinking how everyone’s lives were so much better than mine. It got to the point where I was really getting envious of others while discounting the blessings in my own life.

While I was on hiatus from it, I also realized I’d been using Facebook as a way to validate my self-worth. I’d post a witty status (at least I’D think they were witty) and them compulsively check to see if I’d gotten any new likes/comments. The first few days I kept thinking of funny things that would make awesome Facebook statuses, and then remembering I couldn’t post them, and I was surprised at how disappointed I felt. I realized I’d been pouring a lot of emotional energy into projecting a certain image of myself.

Eventually I realized that I needed to become more authentic, both in every day life and in relationships, and even with myself. This finally became clear to me when I was picking out a calendar for the new year. I was wavering between an illustrated medieval manuscript calendar and one that consisted entirely of sleeping cats. I wanted to pick the medieval manuscript calendar because it gave me a cool “I’m some kind of intellectual hipster” feeling, but I actually liked looking at the pictures on the sleeping cat one more. They gave me irrational happy thoughts, and I need all the irrational happy thoughts I can get. (The xkcd cat proximity comic is pretty much an exact depiction of me when exposed to felines.) So even though I thought the cat calendar was kind of kitschy (“Here, kitschy, kitschy, kitschy!”) I decided to buy it. After all, it wasn’t like I have people over a lot, so the only person the medieval calendar would impress would be myself (unless I made a Facebook status about it, of course.) And I realized it was more important to be happy than impressive.

I was also reading a lot of Cloud/Townsend (pretty well-known Christian psychologists/authors) books at the time, and they kept emphasizing the importance of relationships and how relationships are the fuel we need to keep functioning. I realized that the times I’d done the best were when I’d focused on keeping in touch with people and connecting with others. It made me realize that I don’t really tell others when I’m struggling with stuff (thanks to my German-American heritage and the phrases “This too shall pass” and “Motivation follows action” that were prominent in my upbringing.) I always thought you shouldn’t share your problems with other people unless you absolutely had to, because it would make them feel bad. And in the past, whenever I DID share my problems with people, I usually just got advice on what I should do, which was helpful on a practical level, but didn’t really help emotionally. Take a look at Allie Brosh’s blog post on depression (specifically the “dead fish” picture) which pretty much hits the nail on the head. Usually I KNOW what I should be doing, but it feels nearly impossible. So if you just tell me I need to eat better/budget/job hunt it just makes me feel worse, because I’M already beating myself up over that everyday. I need people who’ll be supportive when I work eight hours and then come home to clean up my kitchen and do three loads of laundry (i.e. last night) AND when I’m having trouble doing anything (like today, where my accomplishments are: cooking and eating two meals, one with vegetables!, showering, and leaving the house to go to Barnes & Noble to write this post. Granted, it IS my day off, but still.)

So I realized that I need to have deeper relationships with people where I can be more open about what’s going on in my life, instead of trying to project this perfect image of myself. I also realized I needed to quit trying to force myself into something I wasn’t just because it seemed more impressive. So I’ve resolved to quit trying to listen to classical music and drink wine because they seem more “sophisticated” and embrace what I actually DO like. (To be clear, it isn’t that I DISLIKE classical music and wine, it’s just that if you give me a choice between Dylan or Springsteen compared to say, Beethoven, Beethoven will lose every single time. And wine will always lose to the cranberry juice/Sprite/vodka concoction I love.) So I’ve decided to enjoy what I enjoy, without trying to force myself to do otherwise unless there’s a really good reason to. (i.e. like cooking. I KNOW it’s better for my health and budget, but I hate it.) Even though liking classic rock makes me feel unintellectual and liking Woody Allen movies makes me feel like guilty, like it means I endorse him as a person.

Anyway, I feel like I should end this with some profound conclusion, but I don’t have one, so I’m just going to go ahead and end it with that one. I don’t know what being more authentic means in terms of Facebook right now (Facebook doesn’t exactly promote being authentic…) I’m hoping to gradually increase the amount of one-on-one communication I have, since obviously I don’t want to tell everyone everything. I’m considering continuing this blog as well, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. Anyway, responses would be appreciated. Feel free to message/text me if you feel like it. So I’m going to go listen to some Springsteen on the way home and then maybe rewatch Manhattan.