Monday, September 26, 2011

tearful and fearful

I'm preparing to move again - second time in just over six months - and I feel the depression deep inside my belly.

The anxiety of hoping I get everything done in time, the pressure from the landlord to be out a bit early so she can get extra cleaning and painting done, taking on responsibility for the damage deposit that won't even come back to me (it was paid by the South African Hottie when he moved in) ... these are just a few of the things taking their toll on me.

I've received help moving some things, thank goodness, but I need a little more and I'm afraid to ask. I hate asking people to put themselves out for me. I'd rather experience the stress of doing things myself ... but some things I can't do myself.

Fear of the future is what's really eating me, though. Will my needs be met in my new home? Will I be comfortable? Will the South African Hottie come back before the end of the year or will it be at least May before we have a home together again?

This morning, for just a moment, I wished I could go back a year or more to the simple, empty life I had in Nova Scotia. No decisions to be made, just routine movements, same job day after day, same activities night after night.

Safety and security are underrated.

Monday, September 19, 2011

can't take it back

I had a setback today. I spent $500 on something I didn't need.

What I bought doesn't matter, though I'll tell you for the sake of clarity: I bought bras.

They're very high end and they were 25% off and they fit me noticeably better than what I've been wearing and they even come with matching panties, but I didn't even really want them.

I bought them, I fear, because I was too embarrassed not to.

Isn't that stupid?

I had visited a local shop for the first time. Their sale was advertised on TV so I decided it was an opportune time to refresh that part of my wardrobe. After all, it's been three years since I bought the ones I own now and one of them has already fallen apart and been discarded.

I tried on two dozen bras, each one brought to me by the saleswoman. I didn't look at a single price tag - because I couldn't see them (the change room was lit with dark 'romance' lighting, for one thing) - so it was only once I'd made my selections that I asked about the cost. Ninety-nine dollars for one, $129 for the next and $229 each for the remaining two - but those were 50% off so if I picked one I could get the other for 'free', essentially.

I've never seen $100 bras before, let alone $200 bras. As I stood there stunned, trying to think myself to 'no', someone offered to tally the cost. When I heard the total I considered what that would leave available on my credit card and the answer made it easy to say no to the buying-them-all option, but I still couldn't openly say no to everything.

Even as I moved to process my credit card to pay for the first two bras I was telling myself I could stop - should stop - but I didn't. It was nearly an out-of-body experience, watching myself act and feeling the shock as I observed myself still moving.

As I waited for the approval to show on the screen I saw the store's notice about layaway purchases.

I asked, 'could I do that with the other two bras, the $229 ones?'.

Yes, I could.

And so I did. I put down $60 for a deposit and have committed to paying the remainder within 30 days.

Why? I have no idea whatsoever.

I read another notice while I was waiting: no returns, only exchanges and store credits. No opportunities for buyer's remorse there.

I'm disappointed - to say the least - that I couldn't act on the voice in my head. It has something to do with not being prepared to say no. I believe if I'd seen just one price tag in the shop before heading to the change room, I could have spent the time in there making real decisions about what I wanted to do. At the counter, without the advance knowledge I apparently needed, I was embarrassed to make the decision - the right one - in front of the staff. For some reason, I cared about what they thought of me.

I am aggrieved that I've done this. I've set my financial goals back at least a month. I don't even feel excited about my purchases, though I have admired myself in the mirror a few times since getting home and changing out my old bra for a new one.

Rather than self-flagellate, however, I'm determined to use this day to prevent another. I'll remember how silly my actions were and use that understanding to refuse to make the same mistake again.

In the meantime ... that was definitely stupid. Really, really stupid.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

links

I dreamed of Pappy and Dotty last night. I was traveling in the dream but they surprised me by tracking me down while I was en route to some unknown destination. They looked fantastic; Dotty looked 40 years younger than she is.

I was troubled by the dream when I first woke up, but now that I've talked to my Dad via Skype I feel better. All is well; nothing has changed. Nobody's in heaven. ;)

~ ~ ~

More troubling, it turned out, was a popular thread on reddit. If you read a little of it you should have little difficulty figuring out which link I didn't follow.

I'm a rotten.com fan from way back - I can't even remember the first time I stumbled upon that one - but there are some things I just won't watch. I've seen the pictures of the Hussein boys, I've seen the Japanese chick in the bathtub and I've seen the amputations and deformations and the violent automobile collisions. After merely reading about a couple of serial killers in the Ukraine, however, I think I could give even Two Girls One Cup a go - though I won't. There's repulsive ... and then there's repulsive.

On the other hand, I didn't know I had any innocence left worth corrupting. I'm not naive, but something about what I know is in that leaked footage has infected me.

I deliberately haven't linked to any specifics, of course. I don't presume to know what you can handle and what you can't. If your stomach is weak, you probably shouldn't click on much.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

missing

The last time I saw my father - sometime in late March - he had two legs.

Now much of his right leg has been removed and it just doesn't seem right to me that I wasn't present for either of the two surgeries he had.

In 1982, when Mom left Dad, I started to become the family caretaker, the one who pulled everyone together and made sure things got done.

This time it's my brothers who are doing all the work. It's my brothers who are part of the scene and creating closeness and memories I won't ever be part of.

My Dad and I have always been close. But this time I'm not there and it really hurts. I just hope it hurts me more than it hurts him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

fall back, spring forward

Last December I lost my dream job. I've been in a fugue state ever since.

It was many weeks before I understood what happened and stopped taking all the blame. It's only now that I feel my life is moving forward again.

Since December I've felt that my professional life was doomed, that I'd never have anything good again. I felt like a train that had jumped the tracks; how in the world would I get back on? I didn't think it was possible.

It turns out I had merely switched track, though I've passed through some pretty barren landscape since then and so it's understandable that I interpreted the emptiness so wrongly.

I have a new opportunity, a new understanding and a renewed determination.

Daylight Savings has returned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

stuff

For 18 months or so, the South African Hottie has been telling me I have too much stuff. It's not that he's a minimalist, he just won't spend money on anything. We're opposites in that way, which is why I'm broke and he's able to do whatever he wants when he wants to.

My impending move to Alberta to be with the SAH has meant I've had to make decisions about my stuff. I can only take with me what will fit in my car. My life reduced to six totes and a few little bags. Considering I brought a couple of carloads and a cube van load of stuff with me to Fredericton, the past week has meant a purge like I haven't seen since, ironically enough, 2002, the year I returned to the East Coast from Alberta.

This time around, however, the purge has been more conscious. Nine years ago, I packed at the last minute. If it didn't get in the car, it stayed behind. This year, I considered each item individually. Would I try to sell it? Donate it? Store it? Or was it critical enough to take with me?

This time around, I've learned something. I've learned that the only things that matter are the ones that make my life easier. If it doesn't contribute to the meaning of my life, it's got to go. I've kept some frivolous things - I have a frivolous side, after all - but I believe that what remains now has value, either fiscal or 'spiritual'.

One principal that proved helpful to my decisions was this: could I replace the item? If so, bye-bye. Another question I asked was: am I using the item? If not, bye-bye.

Not everything has been easy. Making these decisions day after day and hauling stuff away or packing it into a tote or putting it for sale on Kijiji has been tremendously stressful. I don't want to ever experience this again.

I've told the SAH that I believe I've been addicted to stuff. I don't know if I've broken that addiction - I won't know until I'm tempted again - but I finally see what he's been trying to tell me all this time.

The SAH and I expect to return to the Maritimes in a year or so. I'm curious to know how I'll respond to the items I've decided to store - will I be pleased, or will I wonder why I decided to keep what I did?

Sounds like I've built a short-term time capsule, doesn't it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

a different cancer

I overheard a colleague today talking about various illnesses she's been diagnosed with. They've caused her suffering beyond the physical, and she was relieved to find a doctor who could treat them - and validate them.

"People think they're all in your head," she explained to her listener.

But what if the illness is in your head? What if you experience depression?

If you experience depression, you routinely make the kind of mistakes that get you marginalized, that hold you back at work, that act like speed bumps on the road to success and happiness. You can't think clearly, your emotions are bigger than your ability to reason, and everything - even the small stuff - seems more meaningful to you than it does to the people around you. I can't count the times I've heard that I'm overreacting.

It's embarrassing, frankly. I look back at some of the ways I've behaved in the past and I wish I could disappear. I think about how others perceive me and I compensate by trying too hard to make people 'like' me or by avoiding personal contact altogether.

I'm too old to be acting so foolishly, I often think. I'm too old to be starting yet another entry level position, I'm too old to be living more like a student than a homeowner.

Depression has stunted my growth and that's something no doctor can treat.