Life

putting myself in time out

I’m doing better at listening to my body and reading my own cues that I need to take a step back. This is actually kind of huge so I feel like I need to pat myself on the back a tiny bit for it. A couple of weekends ago I had to pull an epic triple shift. It was a work the makeup job, come home to change clothes, work the overnight on-call at the day job, come home to shower and change, then back to the makeup job. It wasn’t bad by any stretch and I got through it, but it definitely threw me off. I remember lying in bed for a few minutes before I took my shower and feeling like my brain was starting to spin in out of control circles. I couldn’t shut off the thoughts and it was terrifying. Anyone who has ever had a manic episode will tell you that feeling of things revving up is one of desperation and hopelessness. It sucks.

I ended up really lucky; when I came home later that day and collapsed I was able to sleep well and I didn’t fall into a manic episode (no small miracle considering a lack of sleep is one of my mania triggers.) I did, however, end up off my game. My schedule and productivity were really out of whack. Then I took a minor fall at Costco and banged up my knee. Then my mother ended up back in the hospital. I found myself clinging and grasping to hold onto threads of routine only to fail over and over. By the time Saturday rolled around I was fried. Crispy-crunchy fried. Done.

But.

A rookie's latte, salted peanut butter cookie, and Lagom magazine. It was all amazing.

A rookie’s latte, salted peanut butter cookie, and Lagom magazine. It was all amazing.

I had that day off. I had a glorious Saturday off so I did the only thing that made sense: I put myself in time out. Grown up time out isn’t the kid version. I wasn’t standing in a corner or in a room with no toys. Instead I gave myself permission to not check my email and not respond to any text or call that I didn’t want to. I decided I didn’t have to do chores because they would keep. Instead, I went out for breakfast and then took myself out. I did a little shopping, but mostly I parked my car and wandered around a shopping center that I don’t often go to but find beautiful. I struck up a conversation with a barista about music and learning to make lattes. I had an amazing cookie. I bought a hipster magazine that I spent more than I should have on. It was indulgent and a little lazy and it was the best possible thing I could have done. I feel good. I should put myself in time out more often. We all should.

Happy Monday.

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Life, Social Media

Antisocial Media

I’m sick of Facebook.

The last few evenings have found me sitting at my laptop (usually on the couch with my dog-cat trying to head-butt his way into my lap and a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy in my right hand*) scrolling around Facebook hungrily. I felt like an addict seeking a fix while at the same time feeling bored. This feeling has repeated itself nearly every time and every way I’ve accessed the site and other forms of social media lately. I catch myself checking feeds almost compulsively and feeling empty after. Last night I hit a wall, though, and realized that I had finally reached the place where I didn’t even want to be on Facebook anymore. I got actually angry at something someone posted and it wasn’t even a post that warranted an emotional response. I just got annoyed and then angry and found myself calling this person stupid as I sat and talked to the dog-cat.

So much for kindness…

Maybe the person was being annoying and maybe their comment was stupid, and yes, my internal response was unkind and exactly the kind of thing that I am trying to overcome, but the reality is that there is also a lot of crap on Facebook that just wears people out. For example? Sad animal stories.  I have a lot of friends who are involved with animal rescue. I have been involved with rescue groups off and on myself, and my cats are rescue kitties. I’m not opposed to the occasional post about how and animal needs help or something heroic someone has done for an animal in need.  Instead of moderation, however, my feed is pretty much one shared link or video or page after another of tear-jerking stories about animals in need or who have been abused.  It’s like a never-ending sad animal Sarah McLachlan commercial for the ASPCA or something. The more of those shares I see the less of a damn I give—something that frightens me.

CHANGE THE CHANNEL!

CHANGE THE CHANNEL!

That’s not to say that all I see are sad story animals on my Facebook. There are other things as well and most of them wear on me, too. If it isn’t a sad animal story it’s a share of some fundraising thing for me to go donate money to someone’s surgery, school, disaster recovery, whatever fund. I’m a giving person. If I have money that I can spare and put towards helping another person I will do it, but just today when I looked at my feed if I had donated even five dollars to every “please help” link I would be blowing my entire paycheck.

Yes, I can hide those kinds of stories and shares, but even when I do something new pops up in my feed that is just emotionally draining noise. What happened to posting about your actual life or your thoughts on something? Don’t just post a link and call that communicating.  Don’t just post a check-in somewhere. Talk about what you’re doing? Checking into the gym? Awesome!  What are you going to do at the gym today? How are you feeling about it? Getting any results? Read an article that really moved you about the plight of an adorable shelter dog? Tell me why that article moved you so much. Think there is a fundraiser that I should help with? Message me directly and tell me why you think it’s a worthy cause. I get on Facebook to hear the stories and experiences of the people I consider part of my world. I don’t want a link. I want you. I want to be able to comment and interact with you about it, not just click a video and be depressed. I am sick of Upworthy, Viralnova, and whatever other content bullshit sites packaging half-truths for the social media diet. That crap’s mental junk food and it does nothing positive for anyone. It makes me want to post mean things.

It’s really hard to be kind when mental junk food is leaving you hungry and making you mean.

So what am I doing about this? I’m thinking about taking a break from Facebook for awhile, maybe a week or maybe a month. The break is mostly for me to clear my head because the reality is people aren’t going to change what they post no matter how much I wish they would. It’s going to have to be on me to seek out interaction that has nothing to do with sad animals or fundraisers. I’m going to have to go the extra mile and connect as a human being and not a mouse scroll. The change has to be with me. I can’t expect the change to come from anywhere else.

Let’s see where it goes.

*Yes, I know. This is not a gluten-free beer. I’m still trying to get the hang of things. If anyone has any great beer suggestions that are celiac-safe and I can mix with tasty lemonade please comment and share them with me. Otherwise I’ll just suffer a bit because I’m sort of a huge fan of Summer Shandy.

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Life

This is what burnout looks like.

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My mantle…my weirdly still Christmassy mantle.

Life has a tendency of sneaking up on me, running past me, tripping me as it goes, and then mocking me from afar as it tosses more stuff in my way.  My mantle is pretty much the perfect example of that: I didn’t get the holiday decorations up until about a week before Christmas and they are still there a few days before March.  Classy, right?  It’s actually not too unattractive, but it is subtly annoying.  The rest of my apartment is worse and I can’t even look at my dining room/office without feeling a mild bit of panic.  There’s a lot of papers and things that need to be dealt with and I am definitely feeling very overwhelmed in certain areas of my life.  Add to it all that I recently fell on ice and sprained my ankle and it’s all more than a little crazy.  I’m worn out.  I’m a little cranky.  I want a break.  This, as I say more than I should, isn’t cute.

What is cute?  Pinterest.  What else does the chronically harried and out of whack do but troll around Pinterest looking at all the magical solutions people have come up with for the very problems they are seeking to solve?  Okay, they shop.  I’ve done some of that recently (and soon will have a new purse to squee about!)  They eat (my ridiculous love of bananas and Nutella is definitely in full swing.)  But they also do Pinterest, which is what I am doing right now with my messed up ankle propped up on a pillow that is resting on a laundry basket full of clean clothes that I need to put away.  I’m finding some neat ideas, too.  Here’s to hoping that maybe I can find something cool enough that it will magically fix the mess in my life right now–though it can keep Yule Goat on the mantle.  Yule Goat is awesome any time of year.  Seriously.

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