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. 

Advertisements

My Thanksgiving and the Families

My brother came all the way from Maryland to see me for Thanksgiving. That made me very happy. I had such a great time with him. Unfortunately his wife couldn’t make it. I hadn’t seen my brother since January of this year. He arrived on Wednesday and stayed until Friday afternoon.

April’s family arrived Thursday morning. Her older brother showed up drunk with two beers in hand. He was rude and a bit belligerent. Fortunately he sobered up as the day progressed and his good side came out. He clowned around and had everyone laughing. Her little sister was very sweet to me and everyone else, but not very friendly to April. Her mother and younger brother weren’t very friendly to April either.

My mother and stepfather weren’t too bad. My stepfather grabbed one of my cats by the tail at one point, but she was okay. I was enraged, but I vented out of sight of everyone. My mother stole money that someone gave her to give to me, and she didn’t get the desserts that she was supposed to bring, but it was fine. The only embarrassing thing that my mom did was bring out gifts for me that we’re covered in dirt and cobwebs because they’d been in her hoard for months. She waited until most people had left, though.

Now that the bad is out of the way….

I think it all turned out fairly well. The funniest thing that happened was when my stepfather was saying grace. Everyone was standing around the table, heads bowed and eyes closed. I just knew if no one was looking a cat would get into something, so I kept my eyes open. Sure enough, one of my cats jumped onto the table. She wasn’t trying to get into the food; she was just curious. She landed with her front paws on the edge of the cranberry sauce bowl and her back paws on the table. She looked like a question mark. I swept across the room and snatched her up so quickly she squeaked. Everyone laughed.

There’s a movie that I like to watch every November called “Pieces of April.” The main character, April, is the misfit of her family. She hosts Thanksgiving one year and tries so hard to impress her family, but everything goes wrong. I’ve always known that that would be how my first Thanksgiving would go. I was right, and just like in the movie it all worked out.

My turkey was still frozen Thursday morning. I didn’t have a clue how to cook most things. I ended up having to leave my roommate in charge of a couple things and she overcooked them. We didn’t have a table big enough to seat everyone. On and on. But in the end, it really did all work out and it was pretty nice.

It was especially funny that my cat jumped on the table right where the cranberry sauce was because that was the dish I was most proud of. I made it from scratch. I’m sure most of you don’t eat cranberry sauce out of a can, but my family and April’s family had never had real cranberry sauce. My favorite part of the movie “Pieces if April” was when a neighbor asks April if she has cranberry sauce and April drops it out of the can with a loud “shloop.” The neighbor says “Oh no, no honey.” Then she helps her make real cranberry sauce. That really would have been me had I never seen the movie. It would have been a hilarious disaster if my cat had actually jumped “into” the bowl of cranberry sauce. I’m so glad she didn’t!

Two of my friends stopped by to meet my family, which really meant a lot to me. To have friends who will take time out of their own holiday to come to my house for a little while and meet my family was just so wonderful.

I would say my Thanksgiving was stressful, comical and nice. I enjoyed seeing my family, and no one overstayed their welcome. I got to celebrate with my best friends and my relatives. I’m especially glad that my brother came. April even said she was a bit jealous of my relationship with my brother, but not in a bad way. She said my brother is really cool and she’s so happy for me that we’re close enough that he would come all this way just to see me.

Between April and I, I think we epitomize the meaning of “dysfunctional family.” Haha. I also think we pulled off a pretty impressive holiday for what we were working with. We were both proud.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope everyone’s holiday was wonderful!

Brief Work Update

I got that promotion at work. I am now officially the assistant head of housekeeping.

I am conflicted about my new position. It was Michelle’s position. She is absolutely enraged. I feel for her and I understand her, more so because she’s bipolar. She has verbally attacked me, the general manager, the head of housekeeping, the owner, and the housekeeper who I work with most often.

Michelle was not doing her job properly. That is why I got the position. I’m told that I am the best housekeeper there. I have to believe that now that I’m checking rooms behind all of the housekeepers.

I am thrilled that in the two days that I’ve had this new position, the two housekeepers who I have been checking behind are already improving and missing less and less. Kathy used to deliberately slack off with the bathrooms because Michelle never properly checked behind her. She knows that I will check properly, so she is now trying harder. I’m proud of her for that. Her rooms are looking so much better.

Michelle is so angry about losing her position that she and I were not scheduled to work together until the end of the week. I feel bad for her, but I also know that had she been doing her job properly she would not have lost it. I did nothing to steal the position from her. Everyone knew that I didn’t “want” her to lose it. However, I have more appreciation and respect for my job and the entire business.

I know I’m stressed and conflicted because I had a dream about it last night. I feel a little more ready for it today. I received no training for this position, but today is my third day and I think I now know what I’m doing. So, I’m going to do my best to release this stress that I’ve been feeling. As for Michelle, I’ll see her on Saturday and hopefully we can work out the personal aspects of it all.

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. 

Bad Luck Monday

So many things went wrong yesterday that April and I decided to call it Bad Luck Monday. Haha. 

First thing in the morning as she and I were trying to do our laundry, the washing machine broke. Neither of us have any money at the moment, so we headed to her job to pick up her tips for the week. We had all her laundry piled in the backseat of her car so we could go to the laundromat, then we were going to get groceries afterwards. We were also going to apply for food stamps and go to the hospital to get my heart monitor results. 

With a full day ahead of us we set out for her job. When we got there, I realized I forgot my cigarettes. I knew I wouldn’t be okay without them, so we turned around and went home to get them. Once again on the road back to her job, her car suddenly stopped running. It just slowed down until it finally stopped moving at all. We got it out of the road at least. We both thought it ran out of gas because her gas gauge doesn’t work. We stood out on the side of the road calling and texting everyone we knew, but no one could help us out. A Sheriff spotted us and pulled over to see what was going on. 

Now, I don’t know about other places in America (or even Florida), but where I’m from law enforcement officers do not help people. They will call an ambulance or make a report if there’s an accident, but they won’t actually help people with anything. This Sheriff took April in his car to get a gas can and some gas, brought her back and even put the gas in the car for us. If that wasn’t enough, he stayed to make sure the car started. Sadly, it didn’t. It didn’t budge at all. He looked under the hood for us and checked the fluids. He determined that it was likely the fuel pump. He only had one seat in his car, so he drove me to April’s job and then went back for her. 

It completely blows my mind that this officer helped us so much. Never in my life have I seen a law enforcement officer putting gas in someone’s car or checking the fluids under the hood. That is seriously foreign to me. I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated it and that the law enforcement where I’m from just don’t do that. 

The Sheriff was the best part of the day and the only good luck we had. 

So, since April had to spend the last little bit of money she had on the car that’s no longer in service, we didn’t have anything left for groceries. We thought we could get her tips from work, but her boss said they wouldn’t be ready until the next day. We found a ride home and April found someone to help get her car off of the side of the road. Our neighbor fixed our washing machine and I managed to throw together a pretty good dinner. Things were starting to look up. 

Then April realized she’d lost her keys and her ride to help with her car lost his wallet. Luckily both were found, but it took hours to find them. Meanwhile, the washer broke again with April’s king sized comforter inside. April, Jessica and I had to wring out and hang up a soapy, sopping, 100 lb blanket. Then I realized we were out of drinking water (our tap water isn’t safe to drink), so I had to borrow some from Jessica and then find some change and a ride to the store to buy more. 

I never made it to the hospital and we never got groceries. April and I are both fairly positive people, so we sat for a while laughing at our Bad Luck Monday, then decided that all was fine because at least our rent is paid for the month! Next month and the car repairs can be tackled then! Haha. 

 

All in all, I think we were more amused at our bad luck than stressed by it. This is what I love about April. We can be in a crisis and just laugh about it while facing it and figuring out a plan. We still didn’t get groceries, but we’re getting the car towed by a friend and I got a ride to the hospital for my results. Everything is going to be alright. 

 

Break from my story…

Between some current things going on in my life and the last few posts I’ve written on here about my past, I’m just not in the best state of mind of late and I think I need to vent a little bit.

Going through my past and recalling all the feelings throughout the years probably was not a good idea right now when I’m dealing with some current issues and trying to hold things together for myself and some people in my life. I should have waited until I’d gotten through this rough patch before drudging up memories and feelings from the past. I get a little impatient sometimes and I thought I could start writing my story now instead of waiting like I’d initially intended to.

Oh well, what’s done is done.

 

Lately, I’ve felt like I’m the only one giving strength and encouragement to some people in my life and I’m not allowed to have difficulty myself because then they will fall apart. This may not be the case at all, but it’s how I feel.

I know these people care about me and they’re not doing anything wrong or intentional. But I feel drained. I feel like I’m giving and giving and not getting back. This is in part my own fault because I’m not exactly asking for anything back. My girl said that I should express how I’m feeling and let people know that I need something back, and she’s right, but I’m scared to do that because I don’t want to be a burden or make things any harder for them than they already are.

I’m struggling with insecurities and doubts, as well as some unrelenting anxieties.

Being my own source of strength and encouragement is something I’ve learned how to be, something I’ve accepted… but I don’t “want” to anymore. I will continue, because that’s just what I need to do, but damn it would be nice to have more support outside myself at times.

I don’t mean to sound all self-pitying, but I need some place in my life where I can safely express myself and I’d like this to be it.

 

I’m moving soon- very soon. I have a dog that I cannot bring with me when I move and no matter how hard I try, I cannot find her a home. It’s hard enough as is to give my dog away, but I’ve accepted that it’s the very best thing for her and for me. I’ve been trying for months and months to find her a home and I can’t. I’m scared and stressed because I don’t know what else I can do. I know what the problems are, but I don’t know the solutions. She is an older dog with food aggression (not toward people, but toward other pets). The 3 people who actually showed interest in her decided not to take her because 1) they had other pets and she needs to be a single pet, 2) they lived in a small house and she is too big (about 40lbs maybe), or 3) she’s too old and they want a younger dog. In addition to that, the problem is the area I’m currently living in. This town is too small. It’s incredibly difficult to find any pet a home here. I’ve branched out to the town I’ll be moving to (that would be really nice because then I could visit her), but no luck. At this point I am willing  to deliver her anywhere if it means she gets a loving home. There must be someone, somewhere who can love an older dog. How can find them?

 

My personal relationships feel rocky. It feels like those I’m closest to are ready to part ways at any given time. Again, this may not be the case, just the way I feel.

I don’t have very many close relationships (mainly by my own choosing), so I deeply value those which I do have.

I feel like I’ve done something wrong or like I’m simply not deserving. I feel like if I mess up just once that will be the end. I don’t even think any of this is true, but it’s my insecurities and doubts. I feel like the people in my life are only maintaining a relationship with me because they can’t have what they “really” want- like I could lose them the moment someone better comes along.

Normally I don’t stress about such things. Normally I’m a bit cold in that sense. If someone doesn’t want me in their life, so be it. Trusting or getting close to people doesn’t come very easily to me. Caring comes easy, I care about a lot of people (everyone, really). But I don’t often let people get close enough that they can hurt me or let me down. Those who I have allowed in are very important to me and I’m scared of messing up those relationships.

 

My anxiety has been really bad lately. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly. The instability of my personal relationships as well as all of the roadblocks I’ve been hitting in my move are just putting this incredible pressure on me, knotting up my insides and fogging up my brain. A lot has gone wrong lately, but there’s no need to list it all. It’s just all built up this anxiety within me and I’m having trouble calming myself.

Sleeping is getting easier and I am doing that now, but eating is still really hard. I felt like I’d lost weight, so I weighed myself yesterday. Due to past issues with eating disorders and such, I try to watch myself. I try to make sure I don’t drop below 110lbs (115lbs would be healthy for my height/structure). Well, yesterday I weighed 105lbs. That’s not too big of a difference, but it’s a slippery slope for someone with a history of disordered eating and body image, so I have to be careful. I managed to eat pretty much all day- breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.

And then my tooth broke.

I really don’t need this right now. Here I am struggling to get my appetite back and just as I think it’s returning, my tooth breaks and I can’t eat. Worst yet, I can’t get in to see a dentist until Monday the earliest. I’m glad I ate all day Friday because I now have to get through today and tomorrow on the liquid diet I do when I lose my appetite. At least the stress of it has basically smudged out the little appetite that returned briefly yesterday.

 

Okay, enough complaining. I want to include some gratitude here.

 

What I’m grateful for this morning- July 28, 2012

  • My friendships, no matter how rocky they feel at the moment. I truly value all of the relationships in my life, including the distant ones that are mostly online.
  • My cats- They are the constant in my life when everything else is up in the air.
  • Coffee- Time for a refill now, in fact. 😉
  • Art- There’s a blessed calm in the smooth, repetitive strokes of my pencil; a certain pleasure in watching an image form from what begins as messy strikes across a clean, white page.