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Goodbye to a friend

My last year of law school I took a class on politics. Thoroughly bored with the law, I wanted to spend time in a class where I would enjoy the material. An adjunct professor, Peter Schalestock, taught the course since he had extensive experience in politics.

The very last class of the semester I had a presentation to give so I didn’t read the assigned material figuring I wouldn’t get called on. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Instead of looking away while Peter was searching for someone to discuss the material, I looked directly at him. And then he called on me.

Rather than try to bullshit my way through an answer, I said, “I’m not going to lie, I didn’t read for class.”

He responded, “But you looked like you had something to say.”

“Oh, I always have something to say. It’s just not always relevant.” The entire class laughed, including Peter.

After the class was over, he and I got to talking. For an hour in the entrance to the law school. Six months later, he was at the campus bookstore while I was working in the office next door. I ran out to say hi. At the end of the conversation, he handed me his business card and said, “Now you can prove to your friends that you know a Republican.” I got a good laugh at that.

Eventually I did email him and we started hanging out. He was swamped that election season. He was an election law expert and there were tough contests across the country. Surprisingly he spent a good deal of time in Montana. I asked him why that was, since there were probably more moose than people there. That became a running joke for us and that year for Christmas we exchanged moose gifts. He got a stuffed moose from me and I got a moose shot glass from him that I still have.

Not long after he moved to the East Coast for work, but we stayed in touch. I got a RUDY card from him for my law school graduation (he worked on the campaign until it imploded). When he visited Seattle we got together.

I was sort of floundering my last year of law school. I knew the law wasn’t really for me, but worried about that since I’d spent three years getting the degree. He assured me that there were other things I could do with myself and that it was okay, even normal, for me not to want the lifestyle of a lawyer.

We stayed in touch through Facebook over the years, exchanging messages here and there.

I found out today that he passed away yesterday. He’d had a long battle with his heart, and it seems that it finally gave out.

The world lost a great man with his passing. He was genuinely kind-hearted, brilliant, and funny. I will miss him greatly. In honor of our friendship, I bought myself a new necklace. When I wear it, it will hang close to my heart.

 

State of the Marital Union: The Exception to the Rule

Well, yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I have to say, I have no idea how 3 years has gone by so quickly.

The thing that remains true is that our marriage is easy. Life has thrown us some curve balls, but throughout all of it, our marriage has been fantastic. Our relationship has been so stress-free. We’ve had ONE really tense situation, and that was just because we hadn’t communicated well enough regarding a couple situations. We resolved it quickly too.

We were on our way to dinner with my mom and a close family friend (who’s like a mom to me) and they both talked about how marriage isn’t that easy. Again, it was pointed out how we are the exception to the rule.

I still find this amusing since I’m not sure what we do so differently than others that makes us the exception. I guess we’re just lucky.

We had lunch at The Melting Pot, which is a favorite of ours. At least we know which of the 7 Deadly Sins is likely to be my downfall. Yum, delicious GLUTTONY!

I hope we continue being the happy exception to the rule. I need the stability he provides in my life. He continues to tell me that I do something for him, though I have yet to figure out what exactly, LOL.

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

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Ripple Effects of Depression

I have a big personality. Anyone who has ever met me in person and maybe even some people who have only met me online will tell you that. When I’m joyful and happy, it’s infectious. When I’m down, it’s like a raincloud covers everyone around me. Depression blocked any recognition I may have of this. Now that I’m coming through the other side of the tunnel, I can see how depression affected people around me.

For months now Mr. Lyndsy has seemed down and upset. I know he’s been having a stressful time at work. He essentially has been doing two jobs for the price of one. I assumed it was that and let it go.

However, over the last week or so as I’ve really started to feel better, he’s seemed lighter and happier too. It was only yesterday that I acknowledged there could be a connection between how I was and how he is. Obviously people who live together affect each other, but from my opinion, this seems to have gone beyond that. I know he hates to see me in pain. All he wants is for me to be healthy and happy. So if I’m not, it bothers him.

It was just so much worse than I thought it was. His light is shining brighter. He’s less irritable, more ready to laugh, and generally easier to be around.

It’s not like I could have known in advance that this would have affected him so differently and I don’t blame myself for his moods. For me this is incentive to stick with my meds. His happiness and wellbeing are of paramount concern for me. Now that I know how deeply affected he is by my emotional state, I want to make sure I do everything I can to keep our lives as happy as possible.

Clearly I want it for myself individually. But I chose him. I chose to be a part of his life and accepted that things I do can affect him too. I have a responsibility via my vows to him to make sure I’m the best partner I can be. He deserves that much from me. I know he feels the same way and has that same sense of obligation to me.

I’m keeping a journal about all of this so in case I forget I can go back and remind myself. Constant vigilance is my friend. If you see me and think something is off, please tell me. I appreciate that you’re looking out for me and won’t take any offense.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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Should have done it sooner. Get the help you need.

About a month or so ago, I started seeing a shrink. The increasing and widespread pain I was feeling pushed me to an edge I didn’t like. I simply couldn’t deal with anything anymore. I couldn’t see wanting to live if I was always going to be in so much pain and there wasn’t going to be an end.

The shrink told me to stop thinking in such long and broad terms and do what I can to get me feeling better. Find the pain meds I need. Sleep. Journal. And she gave me a prescription for Cymbalta and another antidepressant to help me sleep. That sleep one has been changed to something new and I think it’s better. I’m waking up early and I feel like it’s too early, but that’s probably just been more because of what I’ve been used to. I’ve found I feel more awake during the day if I get up instead of rolling over for a few more hours.  I do need to try to get myself to bed earlier though.

What’s been the biggest thing though is how much better I feel emotionally. I care about things again. I don’t want to just sit at home and read. I’m interacting again. I’m taking better care of myself. I hit a point where I said if I felt this bad I would do whatever it took to make me feel better. Now I’m finally living that. I’ve completely changed my diet. I take a million meds, but I’m committed to them. I’m following through with doctors.

It’s a million miles from how I felt a month ago. I’m enjoying things. I realized the other day that I want to live.

My endocrinologist said that depression is a chemical imbalance and we shouldn’t hesitate to treat it like we would treat hypertension, diabetes, or anything else that might be wrong with us. I didn’t really need to hear him say it since I’d already gotten there, but it’s nice to have a doctor who understands.

If you are depressed, don’t wait as long as I did. I have had serious problems since 2008, but I believed I could handle it all myself. I figured if I knew what was up and found a way to deal with it myself that I would be okay. But it wasn’t okay. I had periods where I was okay, but there was always this darkness that seemed like it was waiting for me.

I’m not under any delusions that everything is okay now. I know that I need the meds to help me. I still do exercises to focus on being in the now and not getting stuck in cycles of anxiety. I have to be vigilant about my health.

But, please, please, please get help if you need it. If you need to talk, reach out. I’ll listen. If you even just think you may need it, seek it out. I know how hard it is to make that step and reach out. But once you do it, things will get better. Maybe not right away but over time. YOU are worth that investment.

Thank you to everyone who’s cared and been there to support me over the years. It’s appreciated more than I could ever express in words on this page or anywhere else.

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.

A Lucky Girl

It’s almost 4am and I’m the only one awake. Mr. Lyndsy is tossing and turning, sick. I hope I didn’t give it to him. He says it’s the change of weather, but who knows what I picked up on the plane. The dog is passed the hell out at the opposite end of our sofa. Not sure why she left the comfort of the bed. Maybe she thought I needed protection.

Jet lag is keeping me up, but so are the thoughts constantly running through my head. I have paperwork to get done so my student loans don’t skyrocket. I owe so much money that I’m not sure it’ll ever get paid back. At this point, I have a hard time caring. I thought I’d be able to work one of any several jobs but that didn’t pan out. At first it was budget issues since everything I wanted to do was government-related. Now it’s pain and health issues. Sitting at a desk doing anything for 8 hours a day just doesn’t feel like a possibility. I can’t get through a movie without my back and/or leg screaming at me. The fog that envelops my brain a lot of the time doesn’t help either. Hard to do anything detail-oriented if you can’t remember why you opened the computer in the first place.

I have no idea if my back, leg, or other issues will ever get better. I’m learning to live with what seems to be my new normal. I use the reminder app on my phone to keep lists (which helps, except when I can’t remember what I wanted to remember in the first place. (Seriously, I once thought, “I need Q-tips!” So I opened the app on my phone and then started making a list that included everything eXCEPT Q-tips.) I make sure I give myself plenty of time if what I’m doing requires walking or moving about very much. I have recovery days. Sometimes it’s just making sure I get a nap.

But then I think about our insane little dog who really is a bundle of love. I think about our fish who thinks the dog is insane (he told me so). I think about Mr. Lyndsy and his continuing support while I try to work out what the fuck is going on with my life. I think about the friends who were so happy to see me when I came to visit and the fact that I was able to visit. I think about my family, who are a little crazy, but generally a good group of people. I think about the toys I have to play with, a constant supply of craft materials, and that I have a bed that’s comfy even when I can’t sleep.

No, my life isn’t perfect. Far from it. But when I take a step back and think about all I do have, I realize just how lucky I am. And for now, that’s enough to get me through the shit of it.

Thoughts on Beauty

I am pretty sure I’m a bit slow to get to this thought, so for those of you out there who are light-years ahead of me, apologies.

There isn’t really any such thing as objective physical beauty. We’re all attracted to something different. I think Mr. Lyndsy is hot, but my cousin said she’d prefer someone with more hair. (I’ve always had a thing for guys without hair. Coach Walker, I’m talking about you.) People talk about how hot Angelina Jolie is and I mostly think she needs to eat a cookie (or four).

But when it comes to what makes a person beautiful on the inside, we all seem to agree. Caring. Kind. Compassionate. Sweet. Understanding. Empathetic. Joyful. Giving. Unselfish.

At the end of the day, when we’re trying to figure out who to let into our little circle of life, those inner qualities are the things that we generally focus on. At least if we’re looking for any kind of lasting happiness.

So why does the outside matter? What does it even mean? So much money goes into perfecting the outside. Why do we do it? I dye my hair, but not because I think it affects my attractiveness (Mr. Lyndsy actually doesn’t like it when I put blue, purple, and pink in my hair), but because I think it’s an expression of who I am.

I put on makeup as a joke the other day and realized that I hadn’t put any on in over 2 years. It’s not who I am. I know people who wear makeup because they feel like they have to because they feel that’s what’s expected of them. And that makes me sad because I also know people who wear makeup because they feel it’s an expression of who they are. That seems to me like the best reason to do anything. To fully express on the outside who you are on the inside.

And knowing that the outside really doesn’t matter that much, why do we waste so much time judging others for it? It’s fucked up to judge someone for expressing who they really are if they aren’t hurting anyone else by doing it.

Maybe it stems from being uncomfortable with the fact that someone is so comfortable expressing themselves. Showing who we are is hard. Seems like it would be a better investment of time, however, to deal with that issue rather than lashing out at people who are comfortable enough to do it.

Why is this so hard for us to do?