So?

“So?” 

This has been one of the most powerful questions anyone has ever asked me. 

Most often, it is my brother asking. He’s a man of few words and rare explanations. 

 

Me: “Mom is so infuriating!” 

My brother: “Why?” 

Me: ” Because she keeps telling me that I’m wrong for being gay; that it’s against God. She can’t even give me a good reason. She says I should basically suck it up and marry a man that I don’t love because that’s what’s right!” 

My brother: “So?” 

Me: ….. 

 

Now, of course it’s hurtful if my mother feels that way and doesn’t accept me, but my brother’s point was that it doesn’t actually affect me unless I choose to allow it to. I am living my life and she is living hers, regardless of what either of us think of the other’s lifestyle. There is no point in dwelling on something that I can’t change. 

Please keep in mind that is just an example. My mother did in fact feel that way, but no longer does. Other people feel that way, which is easier to let go of because they’re not family. 

 

Here are some more examples of where “So?” can be applied: 

 

“That 300 pound woman on the beach is wearing a bikini!” 

“So?” 

 

“That man is kissing another man!” 

“So?” 

 

“That girl is dressed like guy!” 

“So?” 

 

“My ex has found someone else and moved on.” 

“So?” 

 

“Someone stole my parking spot!” 

“So?” 

 

“She’s skinnier than me.” 

“So?” 

 

“They have a nicer car than me.” 

“So?” 

 

“I spilled my coffee this morning.” 

“So?” 

 

 

The list can go on and on. Some things will be more significant than others, but in the end they can all be things we overreact to. 

All this is is learning to let things go that don’t affect us. We all hear about it in our lives, but for me it was my brother always asking “So?” that had the greatest impact. 

Now, when I see something that shocks me or when I’m stressing or getting angry about something, I ask myself “So?”

Granted, the real questions are “Does this matter right now? Does it affect me? Is it going to matter or affect me in a couple days, weeks, months, or years? Is it really important? How significant is it? How much energy does it deserve?”

 

Here are couple examples from today…

When I moved into this duplex, the old tenants had left behind a lot of their old junk in the shed out back. When my new neighbors moved into the other half of the duplex, he took all of that stuff out of the shed and left it in the yard because he needed to store his tools in the shed. He has been saying for months that he will haul the junk to the curb for trash pick up. Some of it was furniture that one person can’t carry alone, so that’s been his reason for not doing it. I’ve been telling him just to let me know when he’s available and I will help him. Reality is, it’s not even our responsibility to get rid of this junk, but it is what it is. 

I worked half of the day today, then came home and did my chores. When I finally got a chance to sit down with my freshly brewed cup of coffee to relax and blog, my neighbor decided he was available to move all that junk. I’d just showered and wanted to relax, not get dirty hauling rotten furniture and trash out to the curb. 

But does it really matter? No. I got up and we hauled the junk out. Now it’s done! 

 

Then, I was nearly finished with my post and one of the neighbor’s friend’s kids run up and slammed into my table, knocking my coffee over and spilling it everywhere. 

I was upset for a very brief second. Poor little girl. The look on her face said it all. I told her it was okay and smiled, and she ran off to play. Again, it didn’t really matter. It took me less than two minutes to clean it up, and I don’t really need coffee this late in the evening anyway. 

 

I have complained about things that don’t really matter in the past, and I’m sure I will again. I am human and I get frustrated. But I would like to try to remember this. I’m posting this more for myself than anything. My brother’s simple question of “So?” really made think every time he said it, so I’m trying to remind myself to ask it when I feel stressed. 

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OCD

It’s gotten really hard for me to tell what is my OCD and what is something else. I decided to make a list here to hopefully figure some of it out.

So, here are some of my quirks. I’m sure a lot of them will seem really rude, but I need to be honest.

 

  1. It seems fitting that the first one should be my obsessive concern that I’ve said or done something wrong. Fitting because I have a feeling by the end of this list I will be regretting much of it and worrying. I’m fairly certain this is an OCD trait, because OCD has a lot to do with obsessive thoughts. This one is so bad for me that I still regret stupid things I said when I was a kid. 
  2. I cannot use cleaning rags because I throw them away. I have cats, so there is always cat fur when I’m cleaning things. As soon as there is some kind of hair on the rag, it becomes trash. I just don’t don’t know how to clean rags properly. Hair seems to stick to them eternally. Instead of spending a fortune on rags and throwing them away, I buy a certain kind of sponge for cleaning. This sponge is made of a material that doesn’t hold onto hair, so I can clean it. I bleach my sponges regularly. I have several of them for different things. I have some for the bathroom and some for the kitchen. I even have one just for the walls. I don’t know if this is OCD or just common sense.
  3. I have two closets. I have all my clothes arranged from summer to winter shirts, and pants in the smaller closet. I love my closets. They’re exceptionally organized. Maybe this comes from the fact that I never had an organized closet growing up. Closets were where you shoved everything that didn’t have a place when I was a kid. When my grandfather passed away, I bought a nice outfit to wear to his funeral because I didn’t own anything nice. I was living with my mother and there was nowhere for me to put the outfit where it would be safe, so I gave it to my mother. She put it in her closet, I think. When I was moving, I tried to find it. I opened her closet… that was a mistake. There was an avalanche of stuff and it was clear I would never see my outfit again. Those are the closets I’m used to, so mine are beautiful to me. I hang all of my clothes facing the same direction, right-side-out, perfectly organized. No one else is ever allowed to put my clothes away because they will do it wrong. This could be OCD…
  4. I don’t anyone rearranging anything in my home. Everything has its place and it makes me angry if someone changes that. This one is my OCD.
  5. I have routines which are very likely OCD. I eat certain foods together, or with specific utensils, or while watching certain shows. Some examples are: I always eat Chinese food with chopsticks. I can’t even fathom using a fork. I prefer chopsticks in general, though. They are like using your fingers without the mess. I eat bagel bites with extra cheese, garlic powder and parsley flakes while watching my “stupid shows” like The Simpsons or Family Guy. I always eat french bread and grapefruit. It doesn’t feel right to eat just french bread. I want my grapefruit with it.
  6. I can’t stand the smell of food unless I’m hungry. My mother bought me some sweet smelling candle-like stuff once. It smells like fresh baked cookies, and I hate it. I got rid of it. It’s nauseating. I only want to smell cookies when I’m about to eat them. Then I want the smell gone. I hate cooking in my house because it’s so hard to get rid of the smell when I’m done. I wash all the dishes and spray air freshener, but it lingers. It’s horrible. I don’t know if this is OCD.
  7. More routines or habits are pacing while I talk on the phone (I can’t sit still on the phone), drinking coffee whenever I blog (hence the name of my blog), and playing logic games on my phone while watching a movie or show. These could be OCD.
  8. Ever since I was a child I have separated my food. I used to take my cheeseburgers apart when my parents took me to McDonald’s. I would separate the whole thing and eat everything by itself. I would eat all of it, but not together. I’d eat the bun first, then pick the cheese off the burger, eat the pickles, then finally eat the burger. I still do this with a lot of foods. For the most part I will eat things all together, but there are times when I just don’t want to and I’ll pull it all apart and eat it separately. Probably OCD.
  9. I’m gay, and I absolutely hate it when men try to touch me. A guy at work always tries to hug me and I just want to kick him for it. Maybe it has to do with them wanting to date or sleep with me, though. My boss, who is a man, can hug me and I don’t mind. He’s like an uncle to me. That one guy at work is always trying to hook up with me, though, so that’s probably what it is. I doubt this one is OCD.
  10. I can’t stand people teasing me. It drives me crazy. I never give the expected reaction. I don’t even know what people expect from me when they tease me. I have no clue how to handle it at all. I generally force out fake laughter, which is not even remotely convincing, but that doesn’t seem to be the right reaction. Also probably not OCD.
  11. People talking to me about unimportant things annoys me. When my neighbors try to make small talk, it takes all of my willpower to be polite and not just walk away mid-sentence. People talking about important things can annoy me, too, though, if they don’t know what they’re talking about. Also probably not OCD, but my severely lacking social skills.
  12. If I get sick, I throw away most of my food. Anything that has been in my fridge for a while, even if it is still good, has to go. I also throw away tupperware containers if food has gone bad in them. I don’t feel like I can get plastic clean enough. I don’t even want to own anything plastic. Try finding a glass water bottle, though, that fits my strict criteria. No clue if this is OCD.
  13. I have panic attacks over anything that is too dirty. I haven’t had this problem since moving into my own place, though. It happened often in the hoarded house I lived in. I remember trying to clean and hyperventilating because it was just so frightening. Definitely hoarding-related OCD.
  14. I have to wear my headphones and listen to music at work because I can’t stand listening to most people. Some of them just have voices that rub me the wrong way, and others just have nothing valuable to say. Probably not OCD… I’m probably just a jerk.
  15. I can’t stand the way it feels to file my nails. I’ve been working on this and getting a little better. I can’t stand if I bend a nail, though. If my nail bends, I will cut it off. Even after cutting it off, I can still feel that horrible feeling, though. I think this is OCD on some level.

 

Okay, I think that’s enough for now.

HOARD

It’s that time again. Time to write about hoarding and its place/influence in my life.

 

I walk into my kitchen and start putting away the now dry dishes. Everything has its place; everything has a home. As fluidly as I brush my teeth in the morning, I spin around the kitchen placing things where they belong. It is second nature; I don’t even have to think about it. But I do think about it.

I stop for just a moment, look around at everything neatly organized in my kitchen, look down at the spatula in my hand and I know exactly where it goes. I know where it goes, and I know that it fits. I won’t have to jam or stuff anything into a place. Everything fits and everything is neat and organized. 

I have to think about it, because there was a time when I had to think about it for a different reason. Washing dishes, doing laundry, putting things away, etc., was a chore. Everything was a chore. It was all difficult because nothing had a place and even if it did, there was never enough room for it. OR, if there was room, you wouldn’t want to put it there anyway because, let’s face it, no sane person wants to put clean silverware in a drawer full of rodent feces. 

I have to think about it because I have to appreciate the mundane things that everyone else takes for granted. Those things are wonderful to me. 

I clean my bathroom sink every single day because the one I had before was falling through the floor and cleaning would collapse it. My sink here is pure white, perfectly clean and absolutely beautiful. It shines, literally shines. 

I move my furniture and sweep/vacuum and mop underneath and behind it because where I lived before, this feat was impossible. 

I sit on my couch because I never sat on the one where I came from. It was soaked with urine and the stench was overwhelming. 

I throw things away like old tupperware containers because no one can get mad if I do anymore. I donate old stuff to the thrift store because no one is telling me they’re saving it for something. 

I do these things now that I could not do before, and I appreciate them more than a normal person, because my mother is a hoarder and I didn’t have simple “luxuries” when I lived with her. 

I dance and spin and skip and run and jump through my entire house, because I have the space to do it. I walk through my house at night with the lights turned off because there is nothing in my way that I can run into and get hurt on. 

I invite people into my house. 

I tell people they can crash at my place, because I finally have somewhere for someone to sleep. I even have breakfast and coffee to offer them in the morning. I have guest pillows and blankets, and those have their own space, too! 

I’m 25 years old, and now I can finally have sleepovers like I wanted when I was a kid. Too bad I had to grow up in order to have a sleepover. 

I am doing all the things I couldn’t do before, and it’s a beautiful thing. 

 

Hoarding is so much more detrimental than some people realize. Even now, 150 miles away from my hoarder family, I am still affected. I would love to go visit my mother, but I can’t, because in two mobile homes and three campers, there is still nowhere for me to spend a night. I don’t want to sleep in her neighbor’s guest room. I wouldn’t be going there to visit them. 

I’m also still struggling with some OCD because of the hoarded conditions I used to live in. A friend came over a few weeks ago and cooked dinner in my kitchen. I did okay with that, but she also washed my dishes. When she put them away, she moved my butter knives over one space in the drawer. 

Even thinking about it now angers me. It’s not like I have a panic attack when things like this happen, but I get angry. It’s disrespectful to rearrange someone’s things, especially when everything is perfectly organized to begin with. It really bothered me. It was as though I couldn’t put the butter knives back in their place enough times to make it right. Classic OCD. I didn’t repeat the action multiple time, but it is still bothering me. They should never have been moved in the first place. 

I don’t look OCD. I don’t act OCD. No one knows I’m OCD. No one can tell. But I am, obviously. Everyone would know if I actually allowed it to show. I don’t let people see it, though. I didn’t say anything to my friend about the butter knives. 

 

Thank you for reading my long, boring rant about hoarding. I need to get it out of my system every once in a while.

It’s Not Okay To Do This!

There are some things that happen in life that just cannot be properly expressed in words.

I’m not even sure what I want to say, just that I must.

Guilt, pain, fear, worthlessness… There are so many feelings that arise with any of the multiple forms of sexual abuse. And apparently so many feelings that arise for the victim’s friend, too.

This time, it wasn’t me. This is neither good nor bad; it just is.

My best friend got drunk the other night, very drunk, and was taken advantage of. I don’t know much about this in the sense of what can or cannot be done. When I’ve experienced it, I’ve been alone and I’ve done nothing. I don’t even think anything can be done, and in my experience the victim doesn’t want to do anything.

I came home yesterday to multiple people pulling me in every direction. I’m not very strong and I cannot give to several people at once. My best friend will always get my energy before anyone else, but this didn’t even matter this time.

I’m not seeing Deven anymore. There is far too much going on in her life that I want no part of. I had to let her know that I just can’t do it anymore. I was trying to let her know that after work, but instead she showed up at my house and announced that she was pregnant. I don’t know if this is true or not. She’s been sleeping with a man who is engaged. After learning this from Deven, my best friend shows up and tells me that the same man took advantage of her the other night. Then, that man basically tells me that he’s suicidal.

Well, suicidal or not, that man is no longer allowed at my house or anywhere near my friend or myself. And Deven can stay with him if that’s the life she wants. I’m sorry, but I don’t really feel bad for not being there for Deven and that guy after my best friend was hurt.

 

I know the stages one goes through when something like this happens. The first one is mainly confusion, with guilt underneath. Then the guilt makes its way to the surface, with anger underneath. Anger comes out, and then depression. None of the other feelings go away; they just circle within you and certain ones get stronger or weaker. Add to it the feelings of disgust, filth and worthlessness.

My friend was in the first stage when she told me about what happened. She tried to convince me that she was okay, but I told her to give it some time before she decides if she’s okay or not. I let her know that her feelings might change and that it was okay.

It didn’t take long for her feelings to change. I found her later last night hysterical in her room, sobbing. I climbed into bed with her and held her. She was shaking violently and barely choking out coherent words. I held her tightly and told her that it was not her fault. I reminded her that she was very, very drunk, and that no man or woman has a right to touch someone who is that incapacitated.

I don’t care if someone is sprawled out naked begging for it, if they are drunk, they should not be touched. I feel like this should go without saying. Unless you are in a relationship with someone and it is clear between both people before any drinking is involved, you do not touch someone. 

The man, by the way, was sober. So, there is no excuse for this. She was drunk and he “helped” her to her bedroom.

 

I am angry, and I feel guilty. So, incredibly guilty. I should have known something was wrong. I should have protected her. I should have taken care of my best friend when she was drunk. More than anything, I really should have known. I can’t believe I let this happen.

I’ve already had my friends tell me that I’m not to blame, etc. I know it wasn’t my fault or whatever, but I’m going to feel guilty for a while. Plus, she’s going to go through the angry stage and she is going to blame me for not knowing and not stopping it. On my end, I’m okay with that. She is allowed to feel and express whatever comes up. However, I don’t know how I can be there for her if she gets angry at me.

All of the shit in my life has disappeared. All that matter to me right now is my best friend and getting her through this. I’m rallying a group of our friends to help. They all care deeply and will be here for her.

 

One of the worst parts of all of this is that her birthday is in 3 days.

Love and Life

Right now, that’s all that’s on my mind- love.

Damn Australia. Why must it be so far away? And so impossible to get in to?

I told Michelle at work about her. She asked me what I’m doing here; why I’m not in Australia with my girl. Good question. I’m here because it’s too damn expensive and complicated to move to another country. Believe me, I would be there if I could.

I asked my girl if things would be different if I were there. Of course they would have been different. Obviously my national limitations aren’t the only reason I’m not with her, but if I could have been there when she needed me, everything would have played out differently.

I guess things work out the way they’re supposed to, but this can’t be all that’s supposed to be. This can’t be the end.

I look forward to the moment where things fall into place and stop hurting, no matter what place that is.

Alright, enough crying about lost love.

Life is still good. I’ve been working for Ruthann, taking care of her mother. They’re such good people.

Yesterday, Ruthann told me that her mother said I was her nicest friend. Haha. So sweet. I think her mother is just wonderful.

Plus, with this second job, I think I might be okay financially. It’ll still be a bit tight, but I’m getting there. I got extra hours at work, and I’m getting paid pretty well working for Ruthann. Not to mention my art. I’m going to set up a shop soon and try to sell my work.

I’m not as stressed or worried lately. Things are going well and I am going strong. My heart hasn’t been as bad lately. I actually think part of my heart problem was literally a broken heart. Heartache is stressful. I’m learning to manage it while at work, though, so things are improving.

As soon as I have an evening off, I’m going to start a new painting. I look forward to uploading it here and sharing it with everyone.

Off to work now.

Disordered Eating

As life gets stressful and I lose control over certain aspects of it, I find myself turning to old habits as a crutch of comfort and familiarity. Lately, my crutch of choice is that old eating disorder. 

I find myself unhappy with what I see when I look at myself, but I know it doesn’t actually have much to do with my appearance. If I weren’t so stressed and depressed, I wouldn’t be unhappy with my appearance. Recognizing this is beneficial in preventing a relapse. 

This is going to sound a bit… mystical, I suppose, but I don’t really mean it that way. It almost seems as though the universe is trying to tell me not to give in to my desires to indulge in old disordered eating habits. Each time I’ve been on that brink, ready to give in and jump off, I’ve been called on to help someone else with an eating disorder. 

In trying to comfort and advise my friends in their eating disorder struggles, I’m forced to consider my own advice. I can’t be the hypocrite who suggests to others ways of managing an eating disorder, then turns around and indulges in one myself. 

It’s funny how these things work out. I now have one friend who I can talk to about the eating disorder issues without fear of lack of understanding or someone having a relapse. 

Life is so good. Everything always works out. 

Memories/ Depression

I got up this morning, made coffee and tasted a memory.

I drew the curtains, stretched and felt a memory.

I turned on the radio and heard a memory.

I’m not homesick for my old place, but I’m homesick for those tastes, feelings and sounds.

I’m homesick for some of those old memories.

______________________________________________________________________

Interesting how I had more hope for the future back in that wasteland I came from.
Suppose all one can have is hope for something better when one has nothing at all.

I didn’t cry this morning. My depression is getting better. It’s going away.
As I’ve said before in reference to managing bipolar disorder without medication, there are certain things that one must have and do. I finally have the support system I’ve needed. It does no good to hold everything in and not talk about it. I have April, Jessica, Deven, Daniel, and my girl. Of course, my depression comes from missing her, but being able to tell her and talk to her about it helps. She cared about me. She misses me. She’s trying to be there for me. All of that helps.

I wish my support system was a little bit stronger, but I’m grateful for what I have and I’m smart enough and strong enough to know and do what I have to in order to pull out of it.
And if worse comes to worse, I know when I’m bad enough that I have to seek professional help. I almost reached that point. I almost gave in and went to a doctor. I think I’m okay, though. I don’t think I need to do that. I just have to follow my own advise. I’ve dealt with this before and I have to remember that. I have to force myself to do things and take care of myself.

I don’t think I’ll stop missing her. I don’t think I’ll get over her. She wasn’t just my girlfriend; she was my best friend, my lover, my partner, my soulmate, my other half. One doesn’t just move on from that.

What kills me is that everything would be different and she would be mine if we weren’t nearly 10,000 miles apart.

We talked last night and she apparently didn’t realize that my depression stems from her. She thought I was dating and moving on. She doesn’t seem to realize how special she is; how no one in America will ever compare to her. How can they? She’s too perfect. She is everything I’ve ever wanted in a partner. I appreciate all of her strengths, weaknesses, quirks and qualities. She’s not “too much” or “too little” of anything.

Next month is going to be the hardest for me. I’m going to fall apart for a little while. I know she’s not coming, and it’s going to kill me. She was supposed to be here for Thanksgiving. The holiday is going to be really hard now without her here.

But I’ll be okay.