Voice

I can feel it following behind me. It’s a creepy motherfucker and I can feel it’s hot, stale breathe on my ear. It starts small, “You’re not good enough” it whispers. I can easily dismiss this notion. It’s absurdity makes me chuckle and I keep on my merry way. It repeats itself, ad nausem and catches me at just the right moments until it slowly grows louder.

 

It starts as a nothing and grows to a translucent non-thing that grows darker and bigger with every sentence. This voice is starting to take form. It looks a lot like my shadow. I can’t shake it off and it’s growing larger and larger. It grows because I’m not strong enough to stop it. “You really aren’t that smart, look at how you did in school. I mean, you went to college for almost 10 years and you’re not a doctor.” it says.

 

I hear it’s voice come out of my mouth. I’m shocked and realize I didn’t want to say that. I would never think that on my own. That wasn’t me, I didn’t mean that. “STOP TRYING” it shouts to an empty room.

 

It gets in my brain and changes the way I want to think. I think that letting go of everything I thought I cared about would be so fucking easy. This voice, my voice, tells me that I have a good life, and it’s unrealistic to keep going.

 

“Live a contented life.” I say and I think I mean it. This voice reminds me of how simple it would be to stay in the same place, do the same work and live a life that is just okay. “You can make it work.” these words escape my mouth without my brain telling my tongue to stop moving.

 

I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t try because I might fail. I believe that I should be happy I made it this far. I compliment myself for making a good point. I remind myself that many people, my friends and family would be happy with my life and that I’m selfish for wanting more. It is telling me that my idea of an extraordinary life is just a dream and to keep my head down and shut up.

 

I’m talking myself out of trying because I already know that the failure is going to be too much. My voice has changed to one of pity. Now I’m reminiscing and looking back on what I’ve done: I hear my own pep talk: “You gave it your best shot and didn’t succeed. Time to pack it up.” I’m thinking about all the jobs I didn’t get. I berate myself “WHO DOESN’T GET HIRED BY TARGET FOR FUCKS SAKE!” I think about all the tests I didn’t study for in school. All the required readings I didn’t do. All of the hours I didn’t practice… “Why would you be good at anything, when you couldn’t even get into your first choice for colleges.”

 

My voice changes again, now I’m telling myself that I’m not a good writer. “Your sentences are too short. You’ve never been able to string a cohesive paragraph together before, why start now. I mean, really, who puts two e’s in cohesive. Shit, you don’t even know if there is suppose to be an apostrophe in the previous sentence. Did you even use the word cohesive correctly?” I can’t stop. I’m getting louder and louder and I’m on the verge of starting to speak aloud. “Great, now you’re going to be the fucking nutter who talks to herself. Classy. No wonder you have dandruff.” Low blow, self. Low blow. “I’m not the one talking my myself am I?” Fuck, yes I am.

 

“stop” a whisper. It was so quiet, I try to listen for it again but I don’t hear it. Did I imagine that? Great, now I’m imagining two voices. That’s twice as crazy.

 

“You’ll get through this.” is what I want to hear but maybe it was my twice as crazy brain saying “Pundit’s two fish.” I’m not really sure, but it’s enough. It’s enough for my voice to get angry and try to fight this new whisper. “NO YOU WON’T!” I scream “NOT THIS TIME, ASSHOLE! I’M MINE!” The other voice gets louder “Dude, that doesn’t even make sense.”

 

“Shit” I say; I would have sighed that but I think I read somewhere that you can’t sigh words. I ask the new whisper “Can I wallow a little more?”
“No” It’s gotten stronger, It’s not my voice, it’s HHP, it’s the Js, Ns, S & A, Ks and the friends I’m not good at keeping in touch with but I think about all the time. This new voice echoes with so many voices but it’s loud and clear and like a salve protects me.

 

I pick myself up, wipe the non-existent dirt off my ass and before I can start to utter any protests about it being easier to just lay on the floor the new voice beats me to the punch.

 

“Yes, right now it would be easier, but not getting back up is boring. And even I can’t make a good story out of that.” It says. I look behind me and see the shadow growing smaller. “Come back” it whispers, “I was gonna make espresso.”

Trying

I’ve been struggling lately. Being unemployed has really taken a toll on me. I’m meeting with a doctor this week to discuss mind-altering medication but I’ve been reading a lot about cognitive therapy. Wil Wheaton’s post made me cry.

“When you feel bad, when you are thinking and feeling that you’re worthless or anything like that, I want you to recognize it, and then make an effort to replace those bad feelings with good ones.”

I was completely incapable of doing this. I couldn’t think of a single good thing I’d done or accomplished. And then I cried some more.

HHP even posted the 7 Things article on TinyBuddha on his Facebook page. He didn’t want to draw attention to my problems (he’s good like that) but he wanted to remember to tell me about it.

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene

I want to be the first person to do this. And I think I’m almost there. So I’m trying to be nicer to myself. Maybe kick myself a little less when I’m down. I even suggested a healthy dose of self-care (and vitamin D) by going to the beach today.  And that’s when I heard this.

I went to Cal, but I’m not smart enough for that.  

For me, this sentence is on par with this:

Hearing that, everything clicked. Like a light bulb. I’ve never said that. Never even thought that. That phrase is just not in my realm of possibility. I’ve never not been smart enough for anything. Sure, I’m physically unfit, and my willpower is pretty much non-existent, but I’ve never not been smart enough for anything. And as the little voice in Wil Wheaton’s head said “it’s okay to feel a little proud about this.” I listened to it.

Warrior Dash

HHP and I are going through a bit of a rough spot. We’re talking a lot but we aren’t hearing what the other person says and we are both missing super big important non-verbal clues. It’s neither my fault or his fault. I think we were super focused on improving ourselves and now that we’re ready to pay more attention to being a couple it’s hard.  So when I conned him into signing up for the warrior dash I thought it would do us both some good.

Obviously, neither HHP and I are in prime physical condition so I knew it was going to be hard. He was unsure about the whole idea of the race; jumping over fire was intimidating and the idea of  “dying” were definite drawbacks. I was concerned about getting all Kirk Cameron left behind and not having enough confidence in myself to finish. I’m really quick to quit something because it’s hard and I know that I don’t push myself as much as I should.

So we get there, and it’s scary as fuck. There are tons of people running around some of them mud covered and even a few dressed as Link and Princess Zelda. We saw an incredibly patriotic Captain America who completed the course with a giant American Flag that didn’t get muddy at all. People dressed as Street Fighters, Spartans and even a few brides running the race.

The flames shot up at 2:30 and we were off. The first obstacle was a giant fucking hill. It was pretty similar to the hill to our house, except not paved and I couldn’t stop and pretend to check my cell phone to take a break on it.  I was caught up in the rush of the crowd and ran up it and then we came to the mud. I’m not talking about a little bit of mud, I’m saying like brownie batter, diarrhea, fire swamp from the princess bride  mud.  I fell a few times, my shoe came off once and HHP biffed it too. That part of the course exhausted me. I knew it was going to be muddy and hard but I had no idea that mud could seep into my shoes and make them 5 pounds heavier. HHP was great and he would pause and wait for me to catch up and didn’t even laugh when I face-planted into what I’m pretty sure was deer shit.

When I get in stressful situations I get snippy and shut down. HHP kept me from quitting by telling me that he was proud of me and to not care that we were getting passed by people that started half an hour later than we did. We made it through the Swamp of Sadness and then we found ourselves with more obstacles. Climbing over walls, under barb wire fences, balance beams, and even more mud. It was exhausting. I was most terrified about climbing this giant wall and I couldn’t do it but HHP did. He started to struggle a little at the  top but I think I promised him “warrior dash anal” if he completed it. We could smell the fire when we came around one of the last turns. It was much smaller than I was planning and taking practice leaps over the speed bump near our house totally paid off. HHP sailed through it and I can’t wait for the sports photos to see my look of sheer terror.

We came up to the giant cargo net. You could hear the DJ spinning Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby got back” and I was pumped. I just wanted this thing to be over but in yet another awesome act of selflessness HHP asked me to wait until a woman at the top who was visibly terrified of the downward climb got started. We cheered her on and didn’t start our climb until she was securely on the ground. We slipped ass first down a giant mud hill (I have wicked  grass rash from that) and we crossed the finish line holding hands. Ok, really HHP was pulling me along.

It was the hardest thing I’ve done in recent memory, but even when I was covered in mud hating everything and everyone and repeatedly telling HHP that this was the worst idea I’ve ever had I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I got to spend a few hours with my husband, totally relying on him and his encouragement to keep me going. That doesn’t happen very often. In our relationship I’m usually the one pushing him and encouraging him so it was a really good change of pace. The whole walk back to the car we were giddy with excitement that we accomplished something that we really didn’t think we could do;  we felt closer to each other which was exactly what we wanted.

We didn’t end up getting around to Warrior Dash Anal last night. Honestly, by the time we got in the house, sex was the last thing on our minds. We took showers, HHP dressed my wounds since I couldn’t see them and we passed out.

Everything hurts today, we’re both dragging ass and all I want to do is not wear pants but I’m happier than I’ve been in a while. We’ll probably do it next year, heck I might even do the one in NY in August and Tennessee in September. But neither of those races matter because I’ve got this:

image

Vulnerability is a four-letter word.

This blog post about being vulnerable struck a chord with me. I’m not very pleased about writing this, because I prefer to live in my delusional world that I’m almost always right/perfect and have few if any flaws, but this post really brought me down a peg or 7.

Fact: I don’t do vulnerable.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where, but for a long long time now, I associate vulnerability with weakness. It’s taken me a while, but I no longer think when someone else gets weepy or is emotional that they are less than me, but I flat out refuse to show that side of myself. I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of people who have seen me cry in my adult life (this includes the woman who removes the hair from my upper lip.) I don’t feel comfortable expressing sadness, grief, disappointment or fear. Give me anger, rage, joy and lust any day of the week. I’ve read enough to know that I won’t connect with people or establish true interpersonal relationships with people because I don’t show my vulnerability but frankly, it’s just not in the cards for me to call up someone and tell them that I had a super shitty day and I just wanted to share. I have to be pulled, while kicking and screaming, into sharing my emotions. I go on auto-pilot when someone asks me how I am. The words “I’m fine.” have rolled off my tongue more than a million times and even if I show a hint of not being fine, no one pushes me to elaborate.

While I could have not written anything about this, this sentence struck me:

“Lame not just because I can be a gigantic asshole but lame because I am then never ever getting my actual needs met when I express myself this way. “

Fuck. I hate not being able to place the blame on someone other than me.

The blogger’s New Year’s resolution is to be more vulnerable in 2011. She’s going to accomplish this goal by focusing on 3 tasks.:

“1) tune into my true feelings, 2) disclose those true feelings (admit when I’m wrong, admit when I’m afraid), and 3) take into consideration the feelings of others and be open to their emotional processes (especially when they’re unlike mine.)”

I think I have a good handle on steps 1 and 3; being married to HHP has made me empathetic. I can tell when people are upset and I think I’m ok with dealing with other people’s emotions. But step 2 is the biggest one for me; I think I’d rather go to the dentist and gynecologist while simultaneously getting my upper lip hair removed then disclose any negative feelings I have, but I’m going to challenge myself to try. What’s the worst that could happen?

90-day Cult

Because I’m a dumbass trying to better myself, I agreed to join some people on the internet to a 90-day challenge.  They posit that you can break/start a new habit if you do it everyday for 90 days. I have a lot of addictions/bad habits but none that I’ve purposefully started. So this whole ordeal is pretty new to me. For me, it’s not about losing weight or getting fit it’s about committing to something. I’m such a quitter it’s not even funny. I’m always the first person to pull back or am paralyzed with fear to try something new. And if you know me in real life this may seem like a surprise, but it’s true.

rippedThis is exactly what I want to look like after 90 days.

So I decided to sign the dotted line and have committed myself for the next 90 days to the 90DayCult. I will workout for at least 20 minutes everyday, be it holiday, wedding, funeral or even if I get trapped in a mine for 69 days (too soon?)

I worked out for the first time tonight in god knows how long. I went downstairs to my apartments gym (read: elliptical machine my landlord found on the side of the road) and worked hard for a good 20 minutes and 30 seconds. The 30 seconds extra was because I think I blacked out and forgot to stop.

Here’s a play-by-play of my workout:

:00.15 Man, why have I put this off for so long? This isn’t so bad. I can totally do this. 90-days you are my bitch.

:00.23 What? Why is time going so slowly?

:00.46 Okay, I’m pretty sure the time on this machine is wrong. I’ve been on here for at least ten minutes.

:01.30 I really should start preparing my will, I don’t think I’m going to last all 90 days. Tell my dogs I love them.

:02.45 Why the fuck did I agree to this? Has time stopped? God hates me.

:03.57 Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” just came on my ipod. Fuck you ipod, fuck you and your brilliant sense of irony.

:08.00 My landlord came over from his side of the basement to tell me about the heart monitor built into the elliptical machine. I really hope I don’t throw up on him.

:09.15 A pre-workout cocktail was a bad idea. A really, terrible, awful, bad idea.

:10.23 I wonder if I could read while doing this?

:10.45 Why am I doing this? Honestly, these ladies won’t know if I don’t do this every day…

:12.30 I’m pretty sure I could read during this, that would be fantastic! I would get so much more done if I could dedicate a solid 20 minutes to reading.

:14.47 What the fuck was I thinking? I can’t read when I’m dying. Who the fuck do I blame for this terrible idea?

:16:54 Neck Sweat….ewwwww

:18.00 I just tweeted during this…it took me 3 minutes to try and type, that was a terrible idea, but a really good time distraction.

:19.45 I think my heart just exploded…

I hope tomorrow goes better, I’m glad I completed the first day but frankly that shit was hard.

Wish me luck!

Coming out of the Generational Closet

I’ve been wallowing…I haven’t done anything productive recently. I’ve had a pity party table for one for a few days weeks months, is more like it. I’m making changes and I think the proper motivation is a public declaration. I’m tired of my current life; I want something more, something better, something that I can be proud of. For far too long I’ve been telling myself that my problems are so unique and no one understands how my talents are being wasted. Which is pure crap. I am no different than anyone else and that’s okay.

I am a member of Generation Y. I’ve struggled with this notion for a long time. I always thought I was too angsty and rebellious to be anything but Gen X. I like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and was too busy being into thinking about things my peers couldn’t understand. I was appalled at ideas and assumptions older generations put on me. I was angry whenever I was systematically categorized with people of my age. I wanted to scream “don’t you know I’m different, I’m not like them! I’m special damn it!”

And then it hit me… EVERYONE in my generation screams of their special-ness. All of my peers are defined by their special qualities. Where Gen X didn’t want to be categorized together because the man was making the categories. Gen Y doesn’t want to be categorized because that would make them less unique. This individualistic tendency makes older generations uncomfortable. Now, I understand that all of the negative connotations to my generation are made from older generations who don’t understand my need for individuality.

All of this realization is leading me to rethink how I live my life. I’ve become far to passive for my own good. I focus on the here and now because it is my safe zone. I’m comfortable and I know that my current comfort is doing nothing to enhance my future. I feel like I  am in a recovery program. “Hello, my name is Stefanie and I’m a member of Gen Y. I’ve been a member since birth, but it’s taken me 27 years to accept that.” I have to learn to accept my generation and all that it entails. I need to express my uniqueness in ways that I haven’t ever before. I need to become more Gen Y before I can become the Stefanie I want to be.