Looking up!

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This will be a quick post. I read the last few posts, & I have to say now that I’m feeling better, I sound completely crazy!

Having been through it, though, to me it also screams “cry for help”, but just how many people saw it as that? Right, none. Because people don’t care if you’re being dramatic, even if you really are upset, and you really are having a hard time, and even you really are having a hard time keeping yourself together.

I’m really grateful that this depression, if I’m allowed to call it that, hasn’t become a severe, crippling depression. And that it seems to be lifting, that I’m even enjoying my job again. I’m looking forward to it each day.

But I’m still pretty much done by the end.

On the whole, I’m feeling much more capable, & I have reached out for help from the appropriate resources, both in the  personal and professional realms.

On the creative front, I have made significant progress with my writing! Excited about self publishing through Amazon, which is easy and super fulfilling. I love the instant rewards, I’ve got to say. Though I certainly envy all my friends who have done it the “right” way and have amazing publishers, I’ve also seen how they have to wait years for anybody to buy their book, not even taking into account the rigorous process of getting accepted for publication . Where mine was published and bought within 2 days, and it’s so exciting to know that there are people out there reading my work.

I do think there are benefits to having gatekeepers for the writing community. However, if you’re someone like me, who has a day job, it is really helpful to have an outlet: to not have to worry about how to get the story out there. It’s the nothing-to-lose creative process, which is exactly what I need!

After tomorrow, I have a whole week (plus some!) of vacation, & I cannot tell you how long it’s been since I had a vacation… Some of it is at home, and then I’m going to World Fantasy Convention 2014, where I’m going to see a bunch of my amazing fantasy writer and reader friends. I am busily highlighting my printed out program notes, deciding which panels I’m going to be attending in between hanging out with friends at the hotel bar.

Thanks for reading. :)

Identity

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Good morning!

Well, I’m starting to feel human again on a more consistent basis. The sense that everything is falling apart, that nothing is worth doing, that nothing in life is interesting… that’s diminishing.

I had a meltdown at work two Mondays ago. It wasn’t pretty. I’m rather embarrassed. But it led to my realizing a few keys things:

1) The department I’m in? They have no idea what I actually do every day. AT ALL. They not only don’t understand how hard I work in my fitness classes, but they didn’t even understand what each class was. I went in with ideas for how to structure the schedule to keep me from killing myself, and spent the whole meeting defining the classes for them. “This one is strength, this one is cardio, this one is cross-training…” This was monumentally depressing at first, but then I just went, hey, you know, I’m not the first or last person to feel misunderstood and/or unappreciated at work. In fact, I think a lot of this kriya has been about adjusting to the corporate mentality. I had one foot in that world, one foot out as a contractor. In August, I agreed to be part of their world, one of them.

2) To paraphrase a current popular song, I don’t have to try so hard.

Spiritually, corporate life is a little difficult for me. The Monday through Friday mentality. The cycle of working for the weekend, and then it comes back around so fast. That Friday everyone says, “Hey, yay, it’s Friday,” and on Monday everyone asks what you did. My answer is usually, “Not much, I rested.” And there’s something sort of depressing about it all, you know? It’s the epitome of the rat race, the multitudes trudging to work head down at the beginning of Joe Vs. the Volcano. But then if you share this with anyone, even someone you consider a work friend, they say, “But aren’t the benefits great?”

Well, yes. The benefits are great. They are the best I’ve had in my entire life. I haven’t adjusted to this, either. Oh, I can actually afford to go to the dentist, the doctor? To take time off just for pleasure? I’m not used to being that person. I’m used to being the chick who is struggling to get by, and who has bad or no insurance. I honestly had no idea how much this starving-artist mentality was affecting me until I started to cry when I got my cards in the mail. I never thought it would happen.

And I feel like I should be grateful. And I feel like everyone is telling me how grateful I should be.

I could honestly not ask for a better place to work. There is actual job security here, ya’ll. No shit. I can’t say where I work, but it’s one of the few institutions on this planet guaranteed not to be bought out, sold, cut back or downsized in my lifetime. As corporate cultures go, it’s a fairly happy one. Most everyone works hard and people are pleasant to each other. Men let women off the elevator first. (Sorry, I like that!) Benefits are great. Plenty of time off.

I mean! What more could you ask for?

So it’s really not the situation, but my adjustment to it. I had gotten used to piecing jobs together and getting by on little. I have actual money in my bank account now, and a vacation coming up in two weeks! I mean, luxury. So I think what I’m trying to say is I understand why some lottery winners get suicidally depressed. If you thought all the unhappiness in your life was because of not having money, not having job security… if you pinned your depression on not having all the things it seems everyone else has… and then you get it. And you’re still so sad.

That’s really, really hard. Suddenly it seems like there is nothing that will happen in your life that will make you feel better.

But I think I’ve found something. I started writing fiction during the week. I’d been saving it for weekends (because time), but now I’m working on a project on my lunch breaks, and a little after work. I notice on the days I do this, I feel so much better. I need that creative outlet, absolutely. I entered one of my photography experiments into the upcoming employee art show, and was accepted.

I’ve also given myself permission to have vices as much as I enjoy them. I drank quite a bit of wine a few weeks ago, then I felt like it was worsening the depression, so I stopped. This week I indulged in some TV obsession. I’ve been really into Supernatural (tenth season, crazy!), and have been curious about the misogyny I managed to overlook all this time – but now it seems like the writers are tackling it head on. Last night I watched the rest of Once Upon a Time from last season, completely reveling in Hook’s hotness. OMG, that smile!

So, yeah, something is working, or maybe I’m just riding it out… but things are looking up.

Beautifully said.

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Marian:

Just read it all, it’s great…. like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been mildly depressed. And I spent time worrying that someone from work would see it, which is really exactly what you don’t need to be worried about, right? This is exactly what i need people to know about me. That I am struggling, and it’s hard, and sometimes the fear that it’s going to be this hard forever truly is truly overwhelming.

Originally posted on jessica michelle singleton:

This is a rant. Not an angry one. Just an honest, wordy flow of thoughts, typed out on a fucking blog of all things. People will think it’s too long. Or too self indulgent. Or too sad. Or too soon. Or too late. Or too real. And that’s okay. I am okay with people thinking what they want. I have accepted that you don’t have to agree with someone to love them. So it’s all alright. And as you are reading it, please consider that this is coming from someone who is only now (within the last month) for the first time in 27 years, really allowing herself to fully experience feeling true emotion. I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, I’ve finally learned what it means to let go.

It shouldn’t be hard for a person who writes and speaks for a living to…

View original 1,265 more words

Struggling

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So,  I’ve been having kind of a hard time lately. Just the last two days I’ve been really sick with a virus,  maybe the flu? I am feeling better today, but got woozy after getting groceries.

I have also been dealing with a mild depression lately. Perhaps some lingering grief for my grandmother who passed away a little over a year ago. And finding my work really overwhelming.

This is a free form, free thought sort of post, which I don’t usually succumb to. But I definitely feel like I just need to get it out there, that I’m holding it all in with no one to talk to.

Which isn’t true, not really, I have an amazing support group, several friends who would listen to me right this very minute, and a work resource that is 24 hours a day just for this sort of thing. 1-800 stressed or bummed and you need help? Call us! What a great resource, right? And why am I not using it?

Among other reasons, it’s still really hard for me to admit that I’m not perfect. I really want to feel like I have everything under control,  and it’s really hard to admit that I do not.

I’m also not sure I’m very good at my job. It is such an amazing job. It’s not exaggerating to say it’s my dream job, or it was ….before I had it. A fun mix of teaching fitness classes and some personal training. But it is so much harder than I thought it would be, & it is making me physically weaker, not stronger.

I’m definitely experiencing some of the signs of overtraining. Getting sick often. Muscles constantly sore. And oh, right, depression. Not losing weight, though, because I’m stressed and constantly hungry. I try not to obsess on weight, but I’m heavier than I’ve been in years.

I teach 3 to 4 fitness classes a day. I became aware this was too much for my body a few months back, and started cutting back on how much I was actually participating. Coaching wherever I can.

It has only helped somewhat, especially since I’ve added Spinning to my repertoire. That has made it much worse… I’m exhausted. Literally sick and tired.

I don’t know what to do. I started eating meat again and taking multivitamins.

But most days I think, there’s no way this can be my career. I’m too old, or it’s too hard… or both. I’m living a fantasy career and daydreaming about another one. I’m writing a book, which I don’t plan to publish… but I do hope to publish the next one and I hope that I can make some money off it.
I am fully aware that it is seen as a pipe dream to live off of writing novels. But I have done some research, and it looks like it takes very little talent to write sellable romance novels. And I think I have talent!

Besides, I’m already “living the dream” in one career. So many fitness professionals wish they could have a job like mine. I’ve gotten lucky before, who is to say it can’t happen again?

500px

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This weekend’s creative project has been to start organizing my photos. I have a new camera and I’m learning the basics of photography, but I don’t want to have a thousand pictures on my camera and never figure out how to share or display them. I think a digital picture display thingy (technical term!) is on my list, but in the meantime, I’ve started a 500px.com account. I chose them because they got solid reviews and also seem to be targeted at artistic photographers. I’m not one yet, but it gives me something a wee bit higher to aspire to than, say Google+.

Here’s one of my early favorites. Which, I just learned, doesn’t look great as a thumbnail….. lesson learned!

Why GISHWHES Matters

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In August, I participated for the first time in GISHWHES – aka The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen! Led by the fearless and slightly crazy Misha Collins.

I wasn’t going to do it (“Too busy!,” thought I. “Who has the time for scavenger hunts? Young people, that’s who!”), but my intention for 2014 was to stay open to fun. Very last minute, I watched the video on the above page, and thought, “Damn it, that does look like fun. Now I have to do it.”

I am so glad I did! Since I have become a full-time fitness pro, what used to be my fun/hobby has become work. I mean, it’s still fun… but it’s work. So it’s been a struggle to make myself have fun, and GISHWHES definitely took me above and beyond the playtime I had managed so far in the year!

Yes, I must admit, taking pictures in a hot tub wearing an ice cream hat dripping down my forehead was way more delightful than I had ever imagined. (Even whilst trying to not get ice cream in the water and thus spend the week repaying your friend’s kindness with a deep-clean scrubbing.)

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Also fun? Posing in front of monuments, and making duct tape heads of John Barrowman after work (though that nearly broke me, to be honest), and made this goofy picture (epic battle between Elopus and the Wooster):

My team was brilliant. They got a car to do a backspin in a junk yard. They got 3D printings of pen and ink. They got bestselling authors to make fools of themselves.

But this post isn’t just about how silly fun GISHWHES is. (It’s VERY silly fun.) I’ve been mulling over this post since William Shatner (yes, he had a team! Here’s his post about it.) asked his Twitter followers how much their team spent. Most people estimated a couple hundred. Some said a thousand or more. (Totally unneccessary, but okay.) Then someone said the money would be better spent on a charity.

That has really been bugging me ever since I read it. And here’s one reason: Charitable acts are inherent in GISHWHES. On our team alone, we had people volunteer at food banks, bring hot lunch to the homeless, and become bone marrow donors and CPR certified. There was a nursing home in Maryland that got a ton of visitors that otherwise wouldn’t have.

But okay, let’s say there weren’t charitable acts, or that those aren’t such a big deal. (I think they are a huge deal, but let’s just say.)

What mattered most to me is that it got me out into the world. I have lived in this city all my life, and had no idea how much I missed every day: how much I drove or walked by without really seeing. A bingo hall in the middle of the city? Packed on a Tuesday night. Sure, we shook things up by walking in as a superhero family, but it was just as big a deal for me. Every time I drive by the building now (it’s right off the highway), I think, “People play Bingo there!” I know that sounds silly, but it’s completely delightful to me. I had seen the building before, but now I see it.

The park across the street from work? I avoided it because of all the homeless people. For GISHWHES, I walked up to one of them and we got to know each other a little. I see them as individual human beings now, not just “homeless people.” (Yes, it embarrasses me to admit that’s how I was in the first place!)

Then I think, you multiply this by the hundreds of teams and thousands of people? That must have a massive impact on the world!

People write checks to charitable organizations, and that’s all well and good. Non-profits do such great work in the world, and I am not discounting that at all. But the impact of something like GISHWHES? Getting people out there, engaged with other people and with the world around them?

That’s way better than writing a check, if you ask me.