Life on a continuum

A good friend of mine wrote a book and she’s letting me take a crack at editing it. I just hit a part where she talks about how life is on a continuum, specifically related to where we think we are in relation to someone else.

I regularly think life isn’t fair. I went from being an active person to someone who spends a good portion of my day in bed. I’ve mentioned before that I have pain every. day. That hasn’t changed in three years and it doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon. That sucks.

But, there are people who feel worse than I do and those who feel better. That doesn’t really matter. I’m not them and they’re not me. My life isn’t their life. Their life isn’t mine. I have no idea where they live, whether they’re married, etc.

I wrote once about choosing not to have a child because of my health conditions. Well, it seems more likely than not that even if I wanted to, it’s not something my body can do. A doctor recently confirmed that it would be a “very high-risk pregnancy” given my age, diabetes, and lupus. But like I said, it seems that my uterus is actually quite hostile to the idea.

I get angry about that. I don’t even have the *choice* that so many other people get. Sometimes it’s made me hostile (only to myself, never at anyone) when there are pregnancy or birth announcements. But, I trust there’s a reason. So many things in my life have happened that put me in one place or another where I never expected to be but from which wonderful things happen. Right now I get great healthcare. I’m grateful for that because I desperately need it. Were I in the US, I don’t know that I would be getting that or that I could afford it if I were in the US.

Sometimes when I talk about how I’m unhappy with my constant physical pain or mental health issues, I get kickback from people who want to remind me that I should be grateful for what I do have.

Complaining about my current state doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for what I do have. But being happily married doesn’t change the fact that constant pain sucks. A lot. I don’t know how anyone on Earth could say that constant pain isn’t a big deal. Or that being so depressed that thoughts of suicide aren’t infrequent (though they happen less often now than before).

Just because someone thinks I’m better off than someone else, does not give them the right to tell me I can’t experience sadness or anger over the hand I’ve been dealt. It’s horrible to be denied that. It also means I’m not fully feeling emotions, which is unhealthy.

I can be grateful and pissed off at the same time. I can be sad about one thing and happy about another. I am more complex than that. We all are.

I will give you your suffering if you give me mine. I will give you your happiness if you give me mine. We all deserve that.

Well, am I just Polly Positive or what?

Alright, I’m kidding about that I’m not Polly Positive. However, I realized something strange about myself as I was trying to fall asleep (unsuccessfully, I might add). My view on living positively has changed a lot over the years. Let me explain how I even went down this rabbit hole of thought.

I follow someone on Facebook who is a product designer. She posted that she’s been terminated from her independent consultant position due to a conversation she had that she thought was private. At first that struck me as horrible since she was really quite successful at what she did. Apparently someone in the group conversation snitched on her.

That got me thinking about where I could end up myself if people linked my worlds together. If someone found my little corner of the internet here or some of my other projects – could I end up in trouble?

So I thought about it. I panicked, wondering whether I should quit everything except the job that brings me the most income. I didn’t like that idea since it is like the death of creativity and I need, and I mean NEED, a creative outlet.

I have long held the belief that you shouldn’t talk about someone behind their back unless you’re willing to say it to their face. For some reason, that never translated beyond the context of people and interpersonal relationships. It never occurred to me that it would have any applicability anywhere else in my life.

That, my friends, was completely incorrect.

When I started this blog back in 2006 (OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS!) it was a place for me to be angry and to vent about things. I was in a completely different place in my life then – I spent the majority of my day around people who were stressed past any point they’d been stressed before. The pressure on everyone to perform was enormous. After a while that wears you down. You don’t have the energy to filter through the emotions and we just sort of fell on the easiest one to find at the time – anger, frustration, and irritation.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that staying mired in the muck of bad feelings just made it harder to get away from them. We fed on each other’s stress and negativity. It seemed like it validated our existence.

Since then I have learned that positivity, looking for joy in all of life, and finding meaning in what you’re handed (even if it seems like a heaping pile of cow dung) actually bring longer-lasting and healthier results. I can probably only see this way now that I am taking medications to help me stave off severe depression.

I don’t want to post or produce content that only serves to bring us down. I want to be a force for happiness and good. I don’t want to rant about problems without first having tried to come up with a solution, even part of one. There are so many serious issues that we need to talk about. That we need to come together and work on. I don’t have time to waste on negativity, griping, and bringing other people down.

There’s more than enough success out there that we can all enjoy it. Why focus on anything but trying to find a way for all of us to succeed? Anything we can do for one of us enhances life for all of us. THAT is my focus now. THAT is what I want for all of us.

I’ve been wondering why posting here hasn’t been like it used to be. It makes sense though since I am not who I used to be and this blog is just an extension of me. I may not always be a ray of sunshine, and I still love my clouds, but now I focus on the fact that the rain clouds bring water which brings growth.

Bloom

Absence: Why absence in my marriage makes me happy

For some reason the other day I was thinking about being married and why Mr. Lyndsy makes me so happy. The word “absence” popped into my head.

I don’t mean it in the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” sense. I mean, I get it. I *hate* when he travels. It’s like my sense of balance is missing when he’s gone. It is a great reminder of why we get married, but that’s not what makes this so good on a day-to-day basis.

Sometimes, it’s the absence of something that you notice the most. So what is it that’s absent from our marriage that makes this work so well?

Judgment, for starters. There are days I don’t get dressed. There are days I barely leave bed. I dye my hair strange colors. I get tattoos. I say I can’t make dinner. I tell him not to put another dish in the sink because I do NOT WANT TO WASH ANOTHER FUCKING DISH RIGHT NOW. Ahem.

No matter what I do, his response is pretty much “Okay.” He doesn’t think anything about it. If I seem sick, he asks what he can do to make me feel better. If it looks like I’m going to throw all the dishes out the window, he says, “I’ll do the rest.” He gives me a hug when he sees blue in my hair. He gets that my tats are expressions of myself. So even when he doesn’t know I’ve been planning on a new one, he rolls with it.

Expectation is also missing from our marriage. The only thing he expects is that I will continue behaving in the way I have since I met him. That’s it. And that’s all I expect of him. So far we’ve both been really consistent in that. We’re both pretty set in who we are, so I don’t see that changing anytime soon either. I think that’s one of the benefits of having met in our 30s instead of 20s. We both had time to figure out who we are and what we want – and we worked to do that (after some gloriously failed relationships).

Bullshit and by this I mean that we seek each other out for help when shit’s gone off the rails, but we keep our own bullshit as our own. I have mood swings from time to time, get upset about stuff that has nothing to do with him and I sort it out for myself. If I need a hug he’s there, but I don’t take shit out on him and he doesn’t take shit out on me. Any outside stress stays outside.

Monopolization of time doesn’t exist here either. We do things together (TV is our jam and we love the LEGO video games), but we leave each other free to do the stuff we like to do. I read for hours and hours on end while he buys every game on the Playstation store. There are entire *weekend* days we don’t see each other because we’re otherwise absorbed. I’ve been with someone who didn’t let me have time to myself. If he wanted my attention, he pouted until he got  it.

I suppose that each one of things could be said a different way where ABSENCE wouldn’t be what joins everything together, but what I noticed was the lack of all of those. Perhaps it’s because the presence of awful things is really what helped me form ideas about what would work for me in a relationship and what wouldn’t. However you want to describe it, this is what works for us.

Interconnectedness changes who we are

I had this bizarre dream last night that involved someone who created a new bee technology – bees that seemed real, but weren’t. The point was that we could supplement the bee population without risking that they would somehow be killed by pollution or pesticides.

The bees came in contact with humans though and changed. They no longer responded to commands. Even if the interactions were brief, the bee was changed with no going back to the old ways. But as this was happening, the people in the dream were connecting too, and most of the time the connections were brief.

But when I woke up, the idea stuck with me that no matter how small the connection, we are forever changed. Interconnectedness changes who we are.

When we interact with someone else, we’re sending energy to them. The simple act of focusing on them sends energy. Much more is exchanged when we’re having intentional conversations. The more intimate or heated the exchange, the more energy is sent.

 

Most of us only think in terms of the effect that our energy had on someone else or the effect of someone else’s energy on us. We rarely stop to think about what we’re doing to ourselves by interacting with other people in the ways we do.

When we seek to “beat” someone else in an exchange, we are actually diminishing ourselves. When our goal is to make someone else feel bad, we hurt ourselves. When we express superiority over someone else, we are actually just showing our fears that we are inferior.

In order to make someone else feel low, we have to generate that sensation in our own bodies first. There isn’t any way to pass along that feeling without first creating it. Before the other person feels bad, we do. We may not notice it in our rage, desperation, etc. But once the exchange is over, that energy will still be in our system.

The irony is that the person to whom we send the negative energy is able to recover before we do. At some point they will be able to recognize that the negative energy and feelings were not their own, but rather ours. While there may be a temporary setback in their energy, they can shake it off. We, however, are stuck with it, especially if we don’t take ownership for it.

This leads to a downward spiral. Because we’re walking around with negative energy still, more and more of our interactions are clouded in it. Eventually, we will be both giving and receiving negative energy. People don’t enjoy being on the receiving end of negativity and will repel our advances in order to ward off the junk coming their way. Before you know it, we’re nothing but piles of bad feelings, without understanding how it happened.

I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to be a mass of unhappiness, rage, or sadness. The only way I can stop that from happening is to take ownership of my energy and control how it emerges from me when I interact with others.

It’s easier said than done in this day and age. There is negativity all around us. We cannot escape it.

We can, however, change it.

To do that, we have to consciously interact with everyone we encounter in a positive way. It is not always easy. We have to first learn to address our fears, because fear is often the motivator for being unkind to another. Fears that we are inferior (no one is inferior to anyone else), fears that can’t be ourselves (no one has the right to judge who you are), fear that we can’t have enough (there’s plenty of everyone), fear of the different (we’re all more alike than we are different), etc.

Once we have control over our fears, being more positive is much easier. Positive interactions are synergistic. We walk away from those interactions feeling happier and healthier than we could if we were generating positive energy independently.

It takes work at first. It’s easy to get trapped in the fear and negativity because they’re familiar and we’ve spent years listening to others put us down and make us believe it’s true. Understand that those people were speaking from their chairs of fear.

Reject that. Whether we believe it or not, the world is basically a pool we’re all swimming in. You may think we have separate pools for different people or want that to be the case, but that’s just not accurate. When someone is being nasty, hateful, or acting on fear, it’s basically like taking a dump in the pool. It may have felt good to take that shit, but after the fact, there is shit in the pool. And that person is probably not the only person taking a dump. Eventually we’re all swimming in shit. I don’t know about you, but I would rather not be surrounded by feces 24/7.

Instead, we need to focus on dealing with our own fears away from everyone else (get out of the pool to take that dump) and then return to the pool when we can be a more positive influence.

Once we start giving off positive energy (because we’ve reduced our fears), more will be returned to us. Then the happy interactions are easier to create and we sustain the positivity for longer amounts of time. At some point, that becomes our usual state of being. When that is everyone’s resting state, the world will be a better place.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” ~Gandhi

New Year, No Goals

Well, it’s that time of year again. As the calendar flips form 2015 to 2016, most of us have a good think about the past year and how we’d like to do 2016 different. We resolve to be better about x, y, or z or we set goals like losing a certain number of pounds or whatever.

What I have come to learn this year is that goal-setting and resolving to do things only matters as long as your situation doesn’t change. My health went into the shitter last year. I don’t have the energy to do a lot of things I’d like to do. Getting on the elliptical 3 times per week would be a great goal, but sometimes my body just won’t do it.

Perhaps if I weren’t so hard on myself it may be okay to set goals. But if I say I’m going to do something 3 times per week and then I don’t do it, REGARDLESS OF THE REASON, I feel like I failed at it. That just makes me feel worse. I don’t see any point in driving myself crazy over something I don’t consider “mission critical.”

My only focus right now is trying to feel as good as possible as much of the time. Right now I just don’t know what that will entail exactly. I will probably figure it out as I go. I’m planning on going to Ireland this summer and that will be a lot of walking and carrying things. I need to feel pretty good going into that trip, so I suspect I will spend some time working out so that my back and leg don’t collapse on me while I’m there.

I’m debating whether to set another reading goal for myself. At times I felt pressured to read more, but reading makes me happy and forces me to relax. I love the reading challenge on Goodreads and seeing the progress bar move is hugely satisfying. My goal was 100 books for 2015 and I don’t know whether I feel like that was too ambitious or not. I did get t done AND ahead of schedule. I have a while to decide.

I will continue with my 30-Day Projects. They’re fun and I’m amused by them. I had ideas at first, but now I’m just sort of winging it. That seems to be working out okay though.

The big thing is that I won’t be setting any workout goals or weight loss goals. That’s more pressure than I can handle given the state of my body and my emotional state. I want 2016 to be pressure-free and happy. I have the luxury of being able to do that so I may as well take advantage.

To 2016 and feeling good!

Not feeling the holiday spirit

It could be because I live in a Muslim country and there aren’t really any decorations up (though some of the stores sell them). It could be because we’re moving this weekend and trying to get organized for that is just exhausting.

Whatever the reason, I am NOT feeling the holiday spirit. I’m mostly crabby. Mr. Lyndsy isn’t really into commercialized holidays so there won’t be a gift exchange. He was shocked when my mom and I did it last year. (How he thought we’d have a tree up and no gifts underneath it is beyond me.)

I think the only reason I even notice that I’m not in the holiday spirit is because everyone is posting about how they’re getting ready or how they’re also not feeling the holiday spirit this year either.

I am generally sort of overwhelmed by the negativity that’s everywhere. We definitely should be talking about how Donald Trump is a racist, xenophobic piece of trash, how Ted Cruz is batshit insane, how there’s obviously some kind of problem in the US or people wouldn’t be shooting each other all the damn time, and it would be very nice if cops could stop shooting people while they’re unarmed or not a threat to the officer. All of that stuff matters. It’s just really intense right now. It’s hard to feel festive when shit is this out of control.

Maybe it’s all working toward some kind of breaking point where there will be massive change. When we’ll finally get our heads out of our collective asses and start working together to help each other. Maybe that’ll be the Christmas gift for everyone this year. I doubt it, but a girl can hope.

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!

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How I managed to marry a man who doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday is beyond me. Fortunately he’s fine with me treating mine like an international holiday.

Anyway, he doesn’t want to celebrate the day he graced the world with his presence. But I do.

I met Mr. Lyndsy at a pretty fucked up time in my life. My health was taking a turn for the worse, my job was killing my soul, and I was trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do next. Meeting him, even virtually, made me smile. He told me that whatever health issues I was dealing with, he’d be right there with me. We talked after all my appointments, he strongly encouraged me to go when I was ambivalent, and made me put myself and my health ahead of my job.

He knows when I’m lying to him about how I’m feeling. He’ll stop whatever he’s doing if I look like I need a hug. He doesn’t mind when I cry and get snot all over him.

Things lately have been pretty stressful. Unproductive doctor’s appointments, trying to make sure I’m taken care of after surgery, job stress. Above all, he just wants me to be happy and will do whatever he can to make sure I am happy.

I was reading in bed the other day and he came to lay down with me. He complained about a headache. I put my phone down and we rested together for a while. He passed the hell out and then got back up and continued playing video games. I asked how the headache was and he said it was better, that he just needed a hug from Wife. He always makes me feel good.

He is the anchor of my life and the one person who can always make me smile. For this, he deserves to be celebrated. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!