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Archive for January, 2006

old dog, new patent

i just spent an hour or so catching up on the phone with my first ‘boyfriend’, a certain tall red-headed skater boy who now resides on a farm in Idaho with his wife and (coming very soon) daughter. and look what he is up to now.

an inventor- who’d have thunk it? he may even make it to the wedding. wouldn’t that be a trip!

it’s funny how life turns out.

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anxious

i don’t know where to begin. i feel like i’m losing my mind. this morning (and, come to think of it yesterday morning, and the morning before that..) i woke up with my mind racing with fears and anxiety, about everything from money to my relationship to life and the universe in general. i wake myself up with fears. and i can’t get back to sleep. i try to calm myself down, i lay there diligently repeating in my head “calm, calm, everything is okay,” but it never seems to work and eventually i am driven out of bed, tired or not, to the computer, to face more fears and dire headlines and overwhelming responsibilities.

i really am afraid i’m losing my mind. or control of it, anyway. and the worst part of it is that when these anxieties pile up on me i take them out on J, sure that if HE were working more often, if HE were being more responsible that I would feel better, less afraid. where does this come from?

here’s a more complete background on that particular strain of anxiety: as usual, i am worried about my and J’s financial situation. he is 32 years old, and a waiter. january is a traditionally slow month for waiters, so lately he has been working anywhere from four shifts a week (that’s about 28 hours a week) to none (that’s NONE), with an average of two shifts being the norm. that means that there are weeks when i work 36 hours a week and he works 12 to none. this bothers me. my job is not exactly a high-paying position either, but at least i’m working. i hate my job, but at least i go. true, when he works, J can often make more in two nights than i make in a week, but that hardly makes it feel more fair. initially, J was waiting tables because it was the only job that gave him the flexibility to pursue his improv and performing dreams, but lately he is not doing any improv (or performing of any kind), so i am starting to wonder why he can’t work a regular (read: stable) job. i hestitate to ask him to take a second job during these slow months, but then i reconsider when i realize that even a second job would just require him to work the same amount of hours that i ALWAYS work. i hate having this resentment. i hate that i take out my anxieties on him, but i don’t know how to stop myself. the best i can do is not to tell him about my resentment and worry every time it springs to mind, but even that is not something that i can always control, and there are times when i just want to yell at him at the top of my lungs that he is he is LAZY AND IRRESPONSIBLE AND IT’S NOT FAIR THAT I AM DOING ALL OF THE WORK!!! the thing is that none of these things are true- he is not irresponsible, he’s not really any more lazy than i am, and he does work, just not as regularly as i do. he has still managed to pay his bills and set some money aside for the wedding, or if he does fall behind one week he always gets me back the next; he has been fabulous about sticking to his budget, and not going out if he has not been working; and since he’s been working less he has started to single-handedly handle all of the housework and has been very involved and helpful with the wedding planning stuff. if i am doing more work outside of my job, driving myself nuts with my obsessive and maniacal need to always be ‘doing something’ it’s because i choose to. well, because i need to to feel useful, and productive, and whole. lately i cannot relax, because downtime makes me feel guilty.

like i said, i’m going crazy.

actually, yesterday during one of my now regular mini-anxiety attacks, my friend R threw out a word that may apply more aptly than “crazy”. i think i may have a codependant personality. i looked up ‘codependent’ today on the web, and a lot of the symptoms(who am i kidding, MOST of the symptoms..) sound eerily familiar. for example:
-Inability to know what “normal” is
-Difficulty in following a project through.
-Difficulty relaxing or having fun.
-Judging self, others without mercy.
-Low self esteem, often projected onto others. (eg: Why don’t they get their act together!)
-Belief that others cause or are responsible for the codependent’s emotions. (Codependents often use language like “you make me feel ______”, or “I was made to feel like____”)
-Overreacting to change. (or intense fear of / inability to deal with change.)
-Inability to see alternatives to situations, thus responding very impulsively.
-Constantly seeking approval and affirmation, yet having compromised sense of self.
-Feelings of being different.
-Confusion and sense of inadequacy.
-Being either super responsible or super irresponsible. (Or alternating between these.)
-Lack of self confidence in making decisions, no sense of power in making choices.
-Feeling of fear, insecurity, inadequacy, guilt, hurt, and shame which are denied.
-Isolation and fear of people, resentment of authority figures.
-Fear of anger or bottling anger up till it explodes.
-Hypersensitivity to criticism.
-Being addicted to excitement / drama. (Chaos making.)
-Dependency upon others and fear of abandonment.
-Avoidance of relationships to guard against abandonment fears.
-Tendency to look for “victims” to help.
-Rigidity and need to control.
-Feelings of responsibility for other people–their feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs, well-being and destiny.
-Feeling compelled to help people solve their problems or by trying to take care of their feelings.
-The feeling that it is easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others than about injustices done to you.
-You feel safest and most comfortable when you are giving to others.
-You feel insecure and guilty when someone gives to you.
-You feel empty, bored and worthless if you don’t have someone else to take care of, a problem to solve, or a crisis to deal with.
-You are often unable to stop talking, thinking and worrying about other people and their problems.

this would explain why i think that controlling J and “fixing” his “inadequecies” (instead of just “fixing” myself) would solve my esteem problems . this would explain my extreme need for control in every aspect of my life and my feelings of failure when i fail to achieve this totally unreasonable control of the uncontrollable. this would sync perfectly with my sometimes debilitating fear of abandonment and loss.

so i’ve possibly identified the problem, now for the solution. what do i do? how do i learn to trust myself and relax? how do i learn to trust J and have faith in his ability to be a grown up and take care of himself as well as pull his weight in our relationship? how do i learn to trust that everything will indeed “be okay” without my worrying about it and fixating on it every waking moment?

for now i will try yoga, and therapy, and b-vitamins, and a little more self-love and patience. this last one will be the hardest; it appears i have a lot of bad habits to break, and a lot of fear to let go of.

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quickly

exercise really is the best cure for the blues. true, booze or chocolate may be quicker and easier to reach for, but with exercise you actually feel BETTER about yourself afterwards, which is a nice side-effect. this winter i am determined to exercise away both my blues and my ass- what could make me feel better than losing both of those?
that’s all i have to say.

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a smack in the face

it’s funny how death just sneaks up on you. i am sitting here at work, the beginning of a regular saturday night shift, and suddenly we get word from one of the producers that a popular actor here at the theatre has died of a heartattack on his way to a gig. he was young, less than forty years old. he emceeded a show that my band played in less than three months ago. he was just a regular guy- funny, talented, full of life. he wasn’t a thin man, but he was no chris farley, and in fact he had been trying to lead a healthier life as of late, exercising, eating better, drinking less. i did not know this man in more than a passing manner- i’d seen him at parties of friends, around the building, and around the neighborhood- but i knew who he was, i had met him, and said hello to him, and made small talk and snide remarks with him, and i knew him as a living breathing person.

and now he is dead. in just an instant. no warning, no hint, no preparation at all.

death is like that, it can come out of nowhere, like a phone call in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a sunny afternoon, or the middle of a regular saturday night shift. it can come to anyone, at any time, and there’s nothing we can do to predict it or to stop it. yesterday you’re alive, today you’re not.

and it’s just not fair, it’s just not FUCKING fair.

i think i need to go cry now.

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scary thought

it just occurred to me that we are more than half way through the 2000’s. we are four years away from ‘2010:a space odyssey’, four years away from VH1’s ‘i love the 2000’s’.

wow.

scary.

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as i sit here in my stupid, meaningless job on new years eve, handing out tickets to people naieve enough to pay twice as much as they would have paid last night for the exact same show just because of the date on the calender (not to mention the ass-raping {i.e. $50 cover charge for $2 paper party favors} they will receive should they try to enter their friendly neighborhood bar this evening), i feel the desire to reflect on the year gone by, and anticipate the year to come.

for the world at large, 2005 was not the greatest of years. that it started with the SECOND innauguration of George “i’m an idiot” W Bush, certainly did not bode well. tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, riots, bombings, and war; the continuing erosion of political systems and freedoms around the globe, the death of a pope, two more conservative supreme court judges, and britney spears was actually allowed to breed.

well, at least Chicago won the world series.

for me personally, it was not such a bad year. i got engaged just before it started, and consequently had 90% of my wedding planned by the end of it’s first month. february brought the first child born to one of the “old gang”, (and november welcomed the second!). J and i discovered in May that our building had been sold for condos, and found our much beloved (and much more fabulous) current home by the end of June. summer held an engagement party on the east coast, moving, my grandfather’s 90th birthday (hope i inherited his longevity!), and more wedding planning. the fall was all about weddings: first one of my closest friend’s- the tall and lovely R- in which i was the maid of honor, then J’s best friend’s, in which he also stood. then came the usual holiday madness, my big 3-0, and the startling realization that my own wedding is now less than 6 months away. this year i returned (briefly, but i’ll start again next year, i swear!) to therapy, procured health insurance for both J and myself (it only took me nine years), finally finished paying the government back for those tax years that had ‘slipped my mind’, went to my first writing conference, conquered my fear of writing fiction, received my first paycheck for singing with my band, discovered that i do indeed remember how to make friends, and began to think seriously about babies and graduate school (though not in that order).

all in all this year was about growing up, which- now that i’m actually doing it- really isnt’ as bad as i thought it would be (though in have no plans to ever complete the job). for the world, i hope for better times in 2006; for myself, i know they will come. this next year holds my wedding to a wonderful man who is my best friend, a return (hopefully) to the world of academia, and continued growth and adventure all around. this ‘life’ thing is pretty fun- bumpy at times, sure, but overall well worth the price of admission.

happy new year to all of you and yours, and may life in 2006 continue to be a wild and wonderful ride.

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