Saturday, December 18, 2010

my navel has a scar inside it

December 17Lesson Learned
What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

I'm once again drawing a blank.

I'm learning that I don't have the patience for this kind of question anymore, that's for sure. There was a time when thinking about myself and writing about myself was satisfying, but that time is long gone.

Yes, yes, this blog is all about me. I get that. But I don't want to treat it like a therapy session. Been there, done that. It's not only boring for me, it's potentially deadly for anyone who may read me.

A life examined is a life well-lived, I agree, but I don't want to do it publicly, I guess.

So why did I choose to participate in Reverb10? Because I wanted to write more. I didn't know it would be this line of topic but even so, I'm okay with that.

It's got me writing, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

in my dictionary, s followed t

December 16Friendship
How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

In 2009 it was T who changed me. She did it in about a week. She convinced me I was fun, deserved to feel confident and even that I was attractive. No one has ever gotten me to believe those things before. After a week with her, I even believed I was likable and that my friendship was desirable.

In many respects, what she did for me led me to this year's influencer, the South African hottie.

The hottie has led me to sensibility. I've become significantly more aware of my finances and responsibilities, my physical condition and my inner motivations. He's not let me 'fuck the dog' anymore, as they say back home.

The hottie has made me choose and he's made me live. It's not been easy; in fact, it's been a lot like learning to walk after a lifetime in bed. I haven't liked it and sometimes he's pushed me too hard, but mostly he's been on the money. I find him very interesting and frequently infuriating.

He may be away right now, but his influence is still here. If it weren't for that, I'd have waited much longer to pick myself up after the job shoved me down the stairs last week. Now, not only am I doing what's necessary, I'm allowing myself to dream and to chase the things I really want.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

i'm glad that's (almost) over

December 155 Minutes
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010

Ok, alarm set now!

And... I'm drawing a blank.

It doesn't help that I've had a beer. It doesn't help that the last part of this year has sucked.


You know what? Lots of bits of this year have sucked.

I had some pretty rough times at work - the job before last, not the one I just got fired from.

I drowned my iPhone and a Garmin in Coke.

My purse was stolen and I had to replace all my ID. I also had to pay to have my car towed so we could program a new key for it.

My car was opened - probably with the keys that were still in my purse when it was stolen - and a tote carrying car cleaning supplies was removed. Also inside: a license plate kit that just cost me $50 to replace so that I can put a plate on the front of my car now that I'm in New Brunswick.

The South African hottie went out west to work for a year.

Yeah, I'm gonna need more than five minutes to think of good things that happened.

I got some freelance work that I've been craving for a year. I'm writing reviews for Appolicious. Come visit me!

I got a job in social media. That was a dream, too. It's dead now, maybe, but whatever.

And there are 40 seconds left....

I discovered The Wire! Yeah! Holy shit am I glad of that. Especially as LOST is over.

That's another thing: LOST is over.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

chomp on *this*, life!

When I was in my very early 30s my grampy died. I had no job, the guy I loved was tormenting me with feelings that took me on a roller-coaster ride and I was having trouble making rent.

My friend Billy told me it could always get worse, which infuriated me enough that I stormed out of my own house.

Not only was he right - it got worse within the year when my mother died - I see now that he wasn't trying to belittle what was happening at the time.

Ever since then, when bad things happen, I'm conscious they can always get worse.

Last time I posted I thought I was in a rough place. I knew it could get worse - and it has. And I know it could get worse still. So I'm keeping my head up, plowing forward, somehow determined to thrive.

On Friday afternoon I was approached at work by my manager's manager. In two-plus months he's only really spoken to me when something's gone wrong so I was immediately on my guard. I asked him what I'd done now (paranoia, much?), and he sorta smiled and said to come along 'for a sec'.

An HR person was already in the room and she had a letter in front of her. I had a feeling I was about to get a talking to for some tension I'd caused on Tuesday and I knew it would be embarrassing because I had handled a situation badly by letting myself become impatient and frustrated. I was ready to own up to that, however. In fact, I'd already apologized to the people affected.

But no, I wasn't getting a talking to. I was getting fired.

'I wasn't fitting in' and since my employment was within the probationary period, that was that.

My dream job had just been flushed.

But that was on Friday. Every day since I've lifted myself taller and taller, doing what needs to be done (i.e. look for work, apply for Employment Insurance benefits, email people with ideas for things I could do for them), and today I got my first piece of work doing some freelance writing.


And now it's time to play catchup (again).

December 10Wisdom 
Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

It's not surprising that all these questions seem so relevant to me right now. It's only natural, in fact, that I'd try to find a way to apply them to recent history as opposed to events that are more difficult to remember. But seriously: omgwtf?!?

The wisest decision I made was on Friday afternoon when I kept my plans to visit my aunt and uncle in Moncton, 90 minutes away. Instead of driving into a concrete wall, of course.

I've just described how it played out so I'll move on to the next one.

December 1111 Things 
What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Oh, shit. I'm really attached to my things. I already know that because the South African hottie and I argue about how much I love my iPhone, my laptop and my Bath & Body Works toiletries.

I got 'permission', of sorts, to sell my grandmother's Wedgwood china, so that's a likely sacrifice. My aunt had once told me that if I didn't want it I should sell it to her but I knew that if I did it she'd resent it so I kept my mouth shut and held on to the china. This weekend she volunteered that if I wasn't using it I should sell it. w00t.

I could sell the thousands of dollars worth of cross stitch supplies I have stored away, but I still dream of having time to complete projects on a regular basis.

I could sell my bike, which I haven't ridden regularly in years, but I still dream I'm going to ride it because it feels so damn good and I spent so much money on cycling clothing. Which I could also sell.

I've already given up on replacing the Garmin I ruined on one of our apartment-hunting trips to Fredericton.

There's not much else to mention. I own a laptop, a nice bed, an okay flatscreen, an older TiVo, some books and some clothing. I could get rid of the TiVo (I'm not using it) and the flatscreen, I suppose (I'm not using it). I guess I'll look at kijiji later this week....

Will getting rid of this stuff change my life? Sure, if I earn some money from them. I might even gain a modicum of respect from the South African hottie, for that matter. In the long run, though? I'll have less stuff to move when the time comes, but that's it.

China plus flatscreen plus TiVo is only three things, but I may find another item or two of I try. Let me start small, okay?

You still with me?

Good. Next!

December 12Body Integration
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?


December 13Action
When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

The job hunt. See above.

December 14Appreciate
What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

It really is getting easier to pull myself out of the manure pile. I express gratitude by talking about it and by smiling. And by telling the South African hottie he should congratulate me on my little bit of freelance work instead of telling me I have to replace his Pyrex dish I broke this morning.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

at least it's not a pity party

Today has been a good day.

I didn't mention it before but I've recently changed some medication and it's definitely messed with my ability to sleep. My spirits have also suffered because of the switch, and that's on top of the effects brought on by fatigue. I'm not completely stabilized yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not far away at all. It'll be very good to be 'right as rain' again.

Here is today's entry:

December 9Party 
Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Well, shit.

(You may want to say that in a Clay Davis voice, for full effect.)

It's a good thing I don't read these prompts until after I've copied and pasted them. I probably wouldn't write a word.

I don't mean that they're bad ideas. They're just not great for someone who's as much of a loner as I am.

Hell, just today I earned the Lone Wolf sticker on GetGlue, for crying out loud. Even the Web knows my true nature.

A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday. It was also the weekend of the office Christmas party. It was an amazing opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, really celebrate my 46th with a lot of cool people who share one of my most important interests. Oh, and I skipped it because I was too scared to be around people who didn't really know me.

That's a pretty damn classic example of why this kind of prompt isn't an ideal topic for me.

The only gathering I can recall for 2010 was my farewell dinner for my last job. I was surrounded mostly by people who couldn't be trusted (I'm not making this up) and some of the folks I did want to see couldn't make it. Only three could really be called my friends (which isn't a bad number, considering how difficult it is for me to get close to people). Still, they did get me some very cool parting gifts, so I came out of it okay.

By the way, I'm starting to think participation in Reverb10 is going to make me out to be quite the sad and tragic figure, when my life isn't usually like that at all.

Sure, I'm transitioning, and if you know anything about Tarot you know that the card for transition is Death, so if there's a better indicator of how tough change is I can't imagine it.

I'm a content, silly, outgoing and funny woman, usually.

Usually. Just not lately. But life's like that sometimes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

i should probably just go to bed

Yesterday was a craptacular day.

I made something of an ass of myself at work and that, on top of remarkably poor and sparse sleep the night before, meant that preparing dinner was as much as I could muster before trying once again to rest.

That's made me late with my #Reverb10 entry, but I intend to do double-duty tonight.

December 7Community.
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I haven't experienced community in many years, though I came close during my last few years in Nova Scotia. I'd been at my job for so long that I knew tons of people and was known for my real self by a decent number of those, and that wasn't bad at all. Now that I've moved away I'm on my own again, so community isn't something I feel a part of right now.

I want to be a more substantial part of the community at my new workplace, but I believe that will take just as many years to accomplish as it did in Nova Scotia, so I have quite a way to go.

I can't express how painful it is to be away from people who know me. I feel isolation, helplessness, anxiety and frustration. I don't yet share a language with anyone in New Brunswick and so a lot of my time is spent inside myself, which isn't a particularly bright and sunny place to be right now.

Self-pity isn't always with me, but it's there. I try to summon patience, too, knowing that my circumstances will change with time. So there's hope, but I stumble a little too often in these early days.

December 8Beautifully Different.
Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Oh, for crying out loud. I hate these things.
I'm not a goddam snowflake and I'm not special and I'm not beautiful. It's all a lot of horse manure.

I'm getting by, like everybody else. Sometimes things go amazingly well and I'm on top of the world and I feel great and I know I'm loved and I feel secure, and other times things are really rough, but most of the time it's just mundane and routine and ordinary. I go to work, I make huge and embarrassing mistakes, I worry I'll be fired, I think about quitting, I think about giving up and that's what lots of people do every day.

This isn't a dark time at all. It's just not the best time and there's nothing remarkable about that in the least. I'm not remarkable, either, but that's not a bad thing.

I'm not the best person to talk to right now, is all.


Monday, December 6, 2010

time is never the hurdle

December 6Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

During my year of unemployment in 2003 I spent at least eight hours a day doing cross stitch. It was one of the most peaceful and productive years of my life.

Once I got back to working, cross stitch became something I had to push myself to make time for.

The last thing I made was a cross stitch Christmas tree ornament. I gave it to my friend Andy last year.

I stitched him a snowman on perforated paper and used a foam backing with fabric-covered wire for hanging. I rushed the job a little at the end but it still came out OK.

This year I wanted to make something special for my co-workers but I still haven't started it. I have some time off coming so maybe it'll still happen, but knowing me....

It's enough that I'm making time for these blog entries. I'll be pleased with that for now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

catching up

I've just committed myself to Reverb10.

That means, among other things, I'm going to write every day.

I have some catching up to do; each day of December has its own topic and I've come a little late to the party.

Here goes:

December 1 - One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My choice for 2010 is not an adjective. No, I'm going for an adverb (and some emphasis): "finally!"

I can explain.

For my whole life, all I've wanted is to know where I belong and get myself there. I couldn't sort it out at university in my early twenties because my mind was too clouded by depression. In my late twenties I diverted from my own path by one dictated to me by fundamentalist Christianity. In my thirties, my mind began to clear and I found journalism. I was good at it and thought I would become a star; a single bad decision led to depression and cost me everything I had.

I got lucky in my forties. I found a job that should have been a short stop along the way except for a single friend I made early on. He got me started on a path to professional clarity. I had to endure a lot of confusion and crap but I got the experience I needed to get me somewhere better.

A year or more ago, I knew I wanted to be part of social media. And, just before my 46th birthday, I got there.


I'd like to end 2011 with the word "comfortable". I'll explain it if and when I get there.

December 2 - Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I get distracted. It's that simple.

I start a task with a goal in mind and then I find some article online and I start to read it and then I decide to read another and then I check my email and then I check the news, maybe, and then I decide to watch TV or play a game on my iPhone, and then I decide it's late and I'd better go to bed.

There are so many things I want to give my attention to. To accomplish today's writing task, however, I came to the laptop determined to start and not stop until I finished the whole exercise.

I don't need to eliminate anything to write; I need to add that same focus and determination. I have to accept that other interests have been made secondary now that I have this commitment.

December 3Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I'm not sure I've had a moment like that this year

I had a moment of perfect joy a few weeks ago when I did my first run after several months away. The music from my iPhone was invigorating, my body felt so grateful to be moving again and I was so blissful I reached a place of high peace. But I've had moments of aliveness and that wasn't one of them, though it was close.

December 4Wonder.
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Haha - I didn't realize it was a goal! The question implies it's something I should have striven for, something I should have been conscious of.

Maybe that's not how wonder works. Wonder is a quality that sneaks up and surprises us; it's not something we can watch for. How can we prepare to have life delight and amaze us?

December 5Let Go.
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?


Well, most recently I've let go of the South African hottie. He's away for a year to work and I believe we both accept that the separation could have a terrible impact on our relationship in the long term.

I was happy to let go of my life in Nova Scotia, especially the job. That company and that centre were killing me slowly but surely, chipping away at my connection to the outside world. I'm living as an adult now, with other adults, and though I'm timid about being in these new surroundings, I'm more grateful than I can ever express.

This was the year for big changes and I couldn't be happier about that. Those changes will force me to rediscover myself and to put myself in the world again.