Mind wanderings


How does one blog when their mind is in a state of constant chaos? There are so many things going on in my brain, yet I don’t even know how to organize them well enough into written word to share. Moments like these, of overwhelming thought without means of expression, reinforce the fact that being a good writer is definitely a talent; blogging for the sake of blogging doesn’t really do it, despite what some may think. I feel as though my thoughts are meaningful, interesting and sometimes even humorous,  likely even things other people would like to read about, but I just struggle more and more every day to share them.

I think wherein the problem lies is that I have been mentally and physically stressed since 2012 rolled in. Coping with the grave loss and sudden responsibility that came at me all at once was difficult. Although things did work themselves out in a lot of ways, the year was one of deep internal struggle for me.

Despite knowing that I found much happiness throughout the year, my emotions feel like they were set to hypersensitivity mode. I found myself well into a new relationship which, although it made me happy, made me extremely anxious. I think at a certain point, once you have experienced so much heartache and you finally find something that gives you joy you are automatically programed to fear it to a certain degree. Why would you want to risk enjoying the way someone or something makes you feel, as good as it can be, when you know how bad the other end of that spectrum feels? Why enjoy something that you know could be very temporary?

My guard really went up after the fall of 2011, quite literally.

As much progress as I thought I had made by mid-year, it wasn’t long before I was derailed again. Two months shy of the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing my mother was diagnosed with the same deadly disease, Breast Cancer. I felt broken. Once word gets out everyone tries to give you some solace with their empty words, but what most of them don’t understand is that it only makes it worse. Why are YOU sorry to hear the news? Do you actually care how we feel? Damnit, why do my feelings even matter? How dare I feel hurt, I’m not even the one who has to go through this. But I do feel hurt. I feel heartbroken again and I haven’t even lost anyone this time. Am I allowed to feel this way? Why am I even thinking about me right now? The whole situation made me angry, the things I was thinking made me angry.

The idea of having to go through the same routine our family thought we would never need to live again made me sick. My paternal grandmother died of Breast Cancer when I was a toddler, my great aunt in 2010 and my maternal grandmother in 2011. To even fathom that this disease was rearing its head in my family again was nauseating, I can’t quite describe what the news did to me mentally and physically. I still don’t have the exact words, and I’m not sure anyone can really understand it, which is the worst part.

Although the diagnosis was completely different in stages, severity, etc., than my grandmother’s advanced case, or any of the other cases my family had experienced, I felt defeated. After the initial shock, my mom was surprisingly strong and positive however, much like my grandmother grew to be. This surprisingly positive outlook on the situation made me wonder how I could feel so negative. Does diagnosis put everything into perspective for the patient? Do they just magically realize that positivity is the best option? How much of their own internal struggle are they not sharing with me? Why do they feel as though they can’t or don’t want to share their true feelings?

I have so many questions, no longer about the physical consequences of the illness, but rather the mental consequences. Having gone through this a time or two, the science of what is going on, what chemo does to the body, how radiation helps, how the stages are classified, etc. is understandable. What I am having a hard time understanding is the mental struggle, the mental stresses this causes. I know how terrible being indirectly associated with this disease has made me feel but I don’t know if I will ever understand how they feel. Heck I still don’t really understand why I feel the way I do about it sometimes either. I have made a point to go to every chemotherapy treatment so far, and I will be there for the final one in on March 6th as well, but just seeing my mom go through it all kills me. I feel horrible knowing what the “medicine” is doing to her body, although it helps in the long run, and I feel even more guilty for not showing more compassion when my grandmother had to go through it. Is it possible that life is making me relearn this lesson in compassion because I didn’t learn it well enough the first time?

The guilt and pain I feel is so unbearable at times. Dear fellow bloggers and people of the e-universe who may read this, I hope you never have to feel the way I do, let alone the way those I love have had to in dealing with this illness. My loving boyfriend and some of my family are volunteering as crew for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer this June in memory of those we love and in hopes for those we will love into the future, if you care to donate please follow the link – Enbridge Ride.

 

Finances are more often than not a stressing issue for families and individuals alike. Generally even if we have enough, we still want more, and if we don’t have enough we stress about ways to find it.

Personally, as a single person living on my own, I loathe the encroaching moments when things are tight and I struggle to make mortgage payments, student loan payments, utility payments while still try to manage to have money left over for groceries and minimal socializing. The levels of anxiety the feeling of not having enough money causes is frightening. I realize having a job and a mortgage to worry about, let alone affording a social life, should be considered luxuries compared to the lives of many people, but I still don’t know many who don’t wish their salary was higher or that their yearly pay increments were more than 2% at a time.

I don’t take for granted that I have a stable job that pays me enough to survive but it almost seems as though basic survival is definitely a thing of the past, people aren’t interested in only sustaining their needs they additionally look to meet the numerous wants they have. Is it possible to be happy with only the essentials or are we naturally programmed to want more once we’ve meet our basic needs? If we haven’t fulfilled our basic needs do we not yearn for more, or do wants sometimes outweigh necessity? I’ve seen people stapped for cash, $50 short of rent money go buy a pack of smokes and McDonald’s for dinner instead of logically putting that money towards the bigger conern, but what drives us to do these things? Is advertising to blame? Are we more concerned about keeping up with the Jones’ than our own well being? Do we even really want all these “extras” or do we just acquire them because it seems like a good idea?

I often envy friends who live in the ideal “DINK” (Double Income, No Kids) situation where they have essentially double the income, shared expenses, and usually less debt because they have more money to put towards it. The DINK lifestyle additionally in turn comes with more vacations, nicer things, more frequent outings, etc. – who wouldn’t like that? Having someone to share the financial burden and an increased disposable income definitely alleviates a lot of money stress and feeds the desires for material wealth, playing perfectly into the wants based society we all live in. Don’t assume I am bitter though please, I aspire to be a DINK one day too, but until then I do take pride in the fact that I am making a go of things on my own and surviving.

I did recently, however, have my somewhat of a pity party regarding my lonely struggles put into perspective when I read the 2008-2010 stats Canada national income averages. When you learn that someone in your same “category” makes $10-15, 000 less than you do on average, you start to realize that maybe you’re not so bad off. I regularly wonder how I make it through, but I couldn’t even fathom the idea of making even a couple of hundred dollars less, let alone thousands less. The idea of not being able to afford paying the bills I have presently frightens me, what frightens me more though, is that I would almost be willing to give up some of the more essential luxuries I have like cable and an amped up cell phone plan in lieu of giving up my social life and car I rarely use.

What would you be willing to sacrifice in the name of something else more important to you, but still frivolous in the eyes of many?

Is it wildly inappropriate to compile all of my dating misfortunes into a novel? I have been working on a pseudo-memoir for quite some time, focusing specifically on my life events post university graduation, however, as I write on I begin to realize the majority of what I have to write about is my colourful dating life. I guess I wouldn’t be the first person to write about their dating life or to write about dating in general, but I almost feel like it could kill my karma for years to come. Then again it isn’t always my fault the dating experiences have been all kinds of “interesting” and I’m not looking to name names within my writings, even if the characters would be identifiable for those who were present in the real life version. Maybe I should wait until I am married until I release anything? I could single handily scare away all potential suitors by airing such dirty laundry, but hey, live life without regrets right? Ha.

I wonder if people think about the consequences of what they write before they do it? I have toiled with the idea of politics in my future and and I wonder if something like this, or even a personalized blog could be detrimental to those aspirations? It seems to be common practice that anything from someone running for office’s past can come back to haunt them during a campaign. I suppose what it may come down to is which passion is greater, and whether or not at the end of the day I mind if people know about this specific realm of my life. Who knows, maybe people will relate and appreciate it?

Regardless, below is an excerpt from chapter who knows what…

Two Drink Maximum

Although I am not a huge fan of reality television, one of my guilty pleasures is watching HGTV.  In the last year or so however the pleasure has extended to also loving a little Millionaire Matchmaker from time to time. I am quite confident that I am drawn to the show simply because I find comfort in knowing there are single people out there who have far worse dating experiences than I do.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, a ground rule that Patti sets out before setting her clients up on dates is the two drink maximum rule. I usually wouldn’t think too much into this rule going on a first date with someone because I don’t drink a lot anyway and because first dates generally don’t last long enough to get shit show wasted. Needless to say, I found myself in a first date situation where all of those preconceived assumptions went out the window.

I had been chatting with this particular gentleman, let’s call him Misfit, for quite some time on one of the many online sites I have had unfortunate experience of using. Like the beginning of most online love affairs, it appeared as though we had a great connection, especially since it seemed as though we both had a deep love for music, and better yet, good music. If you haven’t already noted, I kind of love music, and a man who also loves music to similar extents could easily have my heart. Regardless, we seemed to get along well and there was not a shortage of conversation. I was in the process of heading home after a dinner with my mom when Misfit texted me and asked if was interested in meeting up for a drink, considering I was just heading home to do nothing and it was the weekend after all, why not? I was actually alright with the idea of having good conversation over a beer or two. I should have however realized the 10pm meet up time was probably not entirely appropriate for a first date and the fact that he transited to our decided location so he didn’t have to drink and drive were warning signs.

I realize it has been a few days since the results were announced and most of the excitement has somewhat simmered in respect to the Alberta Election that just occurred however I think it was one I should at least briefly touch on — blog worthy if you will. I don’t want to get to in depth or go all political here, rather share some observations I noted.

Firstly, one of my favourite things about this election is, not only did my party win, but the poll analysts had no idea the results were going to pan out the way they did. I realize analyzing polling statistics and voter sentiments leading up to the big day is a pretty normal thing and clearly some make a living off of it but I kind of like the idea that some things, even the most analyzed of things, can be unpredictable. However, considering I went into the election phase without really knowing who I wanted to vote for (between PC and Wildrose of course), it doesn’t completely surprise me that analysts couldn’t pin point where the votes were going go.

I was curious about Wildrose, being a newer party and still following conservative values, there seemed to be some relevant reasons I might want to vote for them. Although I am a humanitarian at heart and I love the idea of social programs, I don’t believe in the models that NDP or Liberal parties bring to the table. I believe in paternalistic (“social”) conservatism if you will. Regardless, the first bit of research I conducted was to figure out what the Wildrose was all about.

Right off the bat a few things I didn’t enjoy were the website, the large focus on the “Redford Files” hate campaign and the lack of interesting “campaign promises”. I realize they can’t please everyone, and they have a long list of people to try and appeal to but I felt as though she was really aiming at helping the typical married with children family models which is fine and dandy but what about single people like me? Unmarried couples? Seniors? Middle aged couples with grown children? At what expense are the tax benefits for the families going to come from?

Additionally, I also didn’t enjoy the $300 Danielle Dollars idea either. Why would you just hand out free money again? Put it towards programs, infrastructure? Anything more useful? I don’t know about you but I likely wouldn’t think too responsibly when it came to spending a “free” $300 cheque anyway, and I am sure others are the same. It would be more productive to have the government to keep it and perhaps not halt projects instead?

I wasn’t a big Allison Redford fan going into this, heck I didn’t even vote for her in the PC leadership race, but as someone who follows the party she leads I owed it to myself to look past her — something a few men hopefully did in regards to Danielle Smith and her attractiveness. Believe it or not, I had several male voters telling me they were voting Wildrose due simply to the fact that Danielle Smith was attractive, sad but true story. It didn’t take long for Danielle Smith, along with her party to become unappealing to me. Did  anyone notice how evasive she was during the entire leadership debate? Did anyone count how many times she said “fear mongering”? All of this and I haven’t even gotten to mentioning the religious fundamentalist views from a Wildrose candidate that came out later, the Human Rights Commission controversy, the global warming denial, etc.

Working the election this year was also made the experience different and somewhat nerve racking as the poll I happened to be working at had an incumbent Liberal MLA with a large senior population of voters who came in droves still apparently interested in having him represent them. Once we started counting the poll Liberals were taking the lead but only because there was a clear even divide between PC/Wildrose votes, keeping the Liberals ahead. Had the Conservatives all still been one party they would have taken the constituency as their PC/Wildrose numbers added together surpassed the number of Liberal votes. By the end of the night the constituency remained Liberal which had me somewhat alarmed when I couldn’t see the bigger picture of results until I got home after midnight. I was afraid the same divide was happening around the province and the idea of a Liberal government was worse than a Wildrose one. Needless to say, whether or not it was “strategic votes” from Liberals who were afraid to get a Wildrose government in the end, or whatever else people chalk it up to, I am glad to see the PCs take office once again.

If I want to become a “serious” blogger and/or any type of legitimate writer I realized a few things I need to address –

Over usage of “roller coaster”
I really need to stop using the analogy of a “roller coaster” every time something ended up running less than smoothly and I want to describe it without just saying it was less than smooth. I don’t generally like to use clichés but apparently I do. I also realized in the past 6 months I have used “roller coaster” to explain my life in at least 3 different blog entries, lame I know.

More punctuation
I tend to write how I talk when I am fired up about something, quickly and without breaks. I re-read some of my past entries and I get overwhelmed with the length of some sentences and no punctuation in site. Oops! I really love “—” though, which is better than no punctuation, right?

Less vlogging !
My Kony 2012 period, while short lived, was a lot of video in a short amount of time. I almost hate looking at my blog and seeing excessive amounts of video and minimal text. The vlogging final results also reinforced why I love writing more. When writing I can re-write and edit as much as I like so I don’t end up with something that is just “okay” because I don’t want to re-record a whole new video to cover up the fact that I said something incorrectly, etc. If I was a videographer or an avid YouTuber I am sure I would be able to find a solution to that and edit the videos to my heart’s content, but I’m not, and I don’t.

More consistent posts ?!
Similar to when I was a student, I am a blogging slack-ass. I definitely don’t make frequent enough posts, nor does anything I write ever seem consistent. Although I have a lot to say on a regular basis I just don’t justify sitting down to put it in words as often as I should and come time when I really want to make a new blog entry I forgot why I thought whatever it was a week ago was important enough for me to consider delving on it in a blog post.

Less contradiction !!
I realize people can contradict themselves from time to time, but I hate doing it! I find it hard for myself because as much as I am a conservative minded person politically I also have a little hippie socialist weirdo in me too. I find these realms of my inner self often clash and I can only imagine what that appears like to an outside party. I also go a personal Twitter account, much to my own chagrin.

Stay tuned for the results and get ready to be amazed?! ha ha

Despite having some roller coaster experiences all at once near the end of last year I came into 2012 with much optimism. For the most part, the positive attitude has done well for me.

As part of my vow to be optimistic, I told myself that I would be open to developing all kinds of new relationships and work on keeping myself well socialized and motivated in work. Work took a turn for the better, out of much anticipation and waiting the outcome was good and I was reminded of how supportive and loving my closest friends and family really are. Best of all, my family and I had a chance to spend 10 days in Hawaii together learning to find a new appreciation for one another and really embrace the bond that we have, which I think was critical for us after the loss we all just suffered only months ago.

What I began to realize over the last little while is that when I am riding on high vibes and busy living my life, I end up having less time to worry about petty things. Keeping busy really is important, within reason and balance of course. I don’t recall ever feeling so content and generally comfortable with myself and the direction in which my life is moving. Knowing you can make it  through such a tulumtuous time and still have much to be thankful for and much to love about life when you get out of the rut makes it hard for one to stay pessimistic long.

Although I believe I have become more comfortable and content with the way things are, I wonder if it also works against me a tad? I have grown really impatient with people I don’t care to occupy my time with and those who evidently feel that way in regards to me. I have always been a multiple chances for redemption, wait around on  people and wait for them to come to me kind of person but I know now that isn’t fair to me. I am not going to evolve into some kind of introverted biatch but I just don’t feel like it is any longer necessary to waste time on relationships and situations that aren’t worth it. I have learned how fortunate I am to have many wonderful people and things to focus my energy on all around me, why would I bother with those situations I don’t feel comfortable with or those people who can’t dignify me with mutual respect?

Even as I write this blog I question how much time is necessary to spend talking about things that piss me off or that aren’t worth my time. I am turning over a new leaf, one I think I vowed to in some aspect or another once before, but one I am now deeply committed to. The future is bright and mine to make of it what I wish, why wouldn’t I want to be stoked about that?

I guess it is probably quite normal for people to crave things that are bad for them. Usually you would associate “bad” cravings with things like junky food, cigarettes, liquor, drugs or other like items. What I find can end up being the most hazardous thing we tend to crave however is people, especially those we already know are bad for us.

Even as children we likely found thrills in the idea of hanging out with bad ass kids that seemed cool on the playground or were neat because they lipped off the teachers. Despite the fact that we knew these people were just giant nuisances something in us still yearned to explore that side of ourselves and befriend these toxic people. At whatever point in our lives we happen to develop relationships with not so favourable people there ideally comes a time when  we eventually realize that the phase needs to end. Once the process of realization hits we take the steps necessary to cut ties and by the end of the whole thing we’ve usually learned a lesson or two making us better, stronger, more complex and interesting people — right? Okay, sometimes I guess we have a lapse in judgement, and perhaps think this person has changed their ways when they really have not. Maybe we end up getting burned a few more times trying to fully grasp the realization that we keep craving something more hazardous than good, but that self deprivation only happens for so long right?

I used to believe I could credit myself with good judgement and, although I can get sucked in by stories of “great change” every now and again, it doesn’t take me long to re-evaluate and get myself back on track. I even like to think living by the “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” type logic is generally a good rule of thumb but, for some reason, I kind of suck at sticking to it. The worst part is, I’m not sure I am even interested in trying to fix these people or see them treat me or what we had any better, I am just addicted to them.

Recently exiting a very unhealthy relationship I thought I would feel liberated but for some reason I felt exactly the opposite. Because I knew I had fallen back into the world of perpetual dating and  dealing with emotions I wasn’t really interested in having to deal with again, I started to develop an anxiety like I have never known before. I feel the older I get the more afraid I am to have things in my life falter. You would think with age fears would be lesser, as you have lived long enough to have built up some resilience towards turmoil, but, I’m not sure anymore. Lately, every time things start to veer too far to the left I get spooked and I start to panic. With this panic I feel I start to crave the stability of relationships past. Even though they were terrible for everyone involved, my past relationships were more or less predictable and that predictability created a hazardous sense of stability, but stability none the less.

It seems sick to even think that the constant you want to attach yourself to is one that is so bad for you. It seems sick to think that you would even consider seeking to reconnect with someone who clearly has no respect for you, someone who has already made you feel so low. The good times weren’t even that good, but somehow in your head it doesn’t matter — what makes us become so addicted to being masochistic? Is fearing the unknown and feeling anxious about making new mistakes enough to push us into copping out and choosing to live it being treated poorly?

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