Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In Conclusion

Remember how I was trying to retrain my brain to be more positive? No? Well, that's embarrassing. I posted a vlog about it and everything. You're supposed to hang on my every word, people! Anyway, the whole idea was to do five tasks every day and by doing these things I'd get happier, and more optimistic and crap.

Well, the twenty-one days are up. The end result is not exactly what I expected.

Let me break this down for you.

While I do feel this challenge was worth my time and energy, my brain hasn't exactly been retrained. There are still clouds of negativity obscuring the sunshine from time-to-time. I never really considered myself a negative person, but it seems as though I am, indeed, a glass half-empty kind of girl.

I know where this pesky idiosyncrasy comes from, and I do try to kybosh it, but I have my bad days. On those days I can be a right Bitchy Betty, or a Sappy Sally, it all depends on how I roll out of bed. I tell myself the bad days exist in order for me to appreciate the good ones. And it isn't so much that I am pessimistic, but realistic, and I worry. I do. I'm a worrier. This is a hard trait to break.

In the end, I fear it will take a 365 day challenge for me to get over this deep-seated (and entirely annoying) characteristic. I am fully aware if I were a character in a book, this is the trait I would despise about myself. And yet, even now, as I write this, I am stressing about money and cigarettes. Don't ask. It will take far too long for me to explain.

The highlight of the 21 Day Challenge, and the five tasks, was, without a doubt, the exercise. Does that shock you? It's true. I felt like it was something I HAD to do, but I also WANTED to do it.

Back when I lived on the mainland, I used to workout every day at the gym. Breaking a sweat made me feel alive. Those endorphins are hard to ignore. They tease and taunt me. And being inactive, sedentary, is not fun. In fact, it sucks a lot. Everyday I didn't work out, I felt worse about not being active. A vicious cycle. One that's hard to break. Sometimes we need a push.

I decided to get up early in the mornings and sneak a walk in with the dog. To most, that doesn't sound like much exercise. A stroll around the neighbourhood with a hound padding softly at my heels. Ha ha ha. I wish. When I go for a walk, I run, climb and try to wrangle a eighty pound woofer who is stubborn as all hell. It's kind of a full body work out. The village I live in is riddled with these mountain trails and I love to get lost in them. By the end, I'm sweaty and there's usually a dull ache in my butt or thighs. Sometimes both.

This exercise isn't enough for me. I wish I could go hiking for six hours a day. But I have to work and all I have is the hour before work to do it in. This is something I am going to keep on doing. Being outdoors, in nature, using my body, makes me feel refreshed. And happy. Besides, what's an hour on the grand scale of things? It's a television program or a long soak in the tub. Exercise is more important than the latest Dexter or being clean. Maybe.

I would also recommend the writing challenges for everyone to do. Think of three things you are grateful for a day, write them down, along with a positive experience you have had. These truly did work for me. It opened my eyes to things I didn't really even realize I was seeing. It simplified my life. I was grateful for a lot of free, everyday events, people and objects. Things I see, touch, hear and smell every single day stood out to me. And stand out for me. Because even now, I see at last three things I am grateful for. Sunshine. Gumballs. And vintage thrift store finds.

It's funny because until I wrote these items down, I kind of took them for granted. Or didn't think about them. Now when I take a look around, I see things a bit differently. I imagine if I continued to do these two very simply tasks, I'd see the world completely different one day. That is an exciting idea.

Lastly, I suck at meditation.

I am actually thinking about giving up on this. In the last couple years, I have tried so hard to meditate. I've selected my mantra. Cleared my head. Closed my eyes. And...nothing. I focus on my breathing. Inhale. Exhale. And...nothing. I am still there. Listening to the world around me. Maybe this whole meditation Zen thing simply isn't for me. I am guessing I simply haven't figured out MY way of getting there. I would like to say I am hopeful and it will come to me, but I have my doubts. Until then, I will just try not to fall asleep.

The truth is, I think, the outcome of these sort of challenges vary. Maybe some people only need 21 days to retrain their brain, but maybe some of us need longer. Because maybe we have more damage or issues to work through.

So, the challenge was interesting. Totally worthwhile, but I'm just not there yet. It could have been because a massive monkey wrench was thrown in the works at the beginning of this endeavour. Learning to forgive AND retraining my brain might have been a lofty goal. But I stuck with it, so there's that, and I think a little pat on the back is warranted. Still, there is work to be done. Lots and lots of work.

Hot & Sweaty On Our Walk

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sex On Fire

It just dawned on me. And this may seem like a random thought, but...

If your sex is on fire, you might want to go see a doctor.

They might have an ointment to clear it up.

Or an antibiotic.

Just saying.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Less Is More

My always lovely sister-friend, Noelle, recently posted a blog about enough being enough. She was talking about Identity Thief, but then tied it in rather nicely with writing and adding useless things to your plot only to make it more convoluted and, in turn, less awesome.

It reminds me of the time I was chatting with my writing partner and friend, Missy, about this new work in progress. It was super awesome, then all of a sudden she added dragons into an already complex enough plot. We call it the time she went high fantasy, and we don't talk about it often.

Usually, we back peddle, and, hopefully come to our senses and take out the subplot about gremlins and why it is important to recycle. Or, if we don't clue in ourselves, we have someone in our inner circle who will tell us that less is more, and to take the gremlins and moral subplot out.

But, it seems, a lot of people don't have the back peddling moment, or the friend who will tell them they have gone too far. I know this because I am reviewing books now. I am, by no means, an expert, but so many of the books submitted cause me to raise an eyebrow, or two. Honestly, they start out promising, quirky and original and then, out of nowhere, with absolutely no warning, there is an underground subspecies of humans who are breeding hybrid dogs programed to eat the children of prominent political figures. Okay, that might have been a hyperbolic example, but you get the gyst.

It is most frustrating, really.

It's like when I am at the second hand store and find the most perfect pair of jeans. They hug my thighs, hold my ass up and don't give me muffin top. Then I turn around and the pockets are bedazzled to shit with rhinestones and spell out the word juicy or phat. Or there's lace for no reason, or embroidery. How annoying.

I think you all know what I mean.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Forgive You

So, I stumbled upon this quote that struck a chord with me. It might be because the past week has been a whirlwind of ridiculous emotions ranging from annoyance to an anger so fierce I desperately wanted to smash something to pieces, then back to a simple kind of sadness. Life gets derailed so easily, doesn't it? I mean, you're trucking along, then BAM the brakes fail just as you're peaking a monstrous hill, then you notice there are emotional sharks at the bottom waiting to devour you. 

Boy, I am colourful with the words today. 

But that's how it feels. 

Except, there are always indicators. Even when you're trucking along, there are warning signs, and intuition. We sometimes ignore it. Or miss it because we are looking out the wrong window. But it's there. Nagging softly in the back of our heads. 

I am still working through issues from when I was a little girl. Trust issues. Being scared of love being taken away from me if I don't behave a certain way. Fighting for attention. Sometimes I am the overweight, ratty haired girl just waiting for someone to notice her. Other times I am the stone cold, black-hearted woman who throws up a wall when she is disappointed and feeling foolish. I am fighting her. 

Seriously, we are battling it out. She has this double bladed axe of destruction, so sharp it'd slice through metal as if it were butter, and she wields it like a warrior. Just between us, I feel like I'm holding a toothpick in defence. Still, I'm pretty nimble on my feet and quick witted. 

It's as if I am waiting to see who wins this fight before I move forward, or backward. 

Truthfully, I don't have it in me to be mean. It's there in the back of my head, wanting to cause the same hurt done to me, trying to fall back into my old ways. Maybe I just want it known that everything is not OK. The thing is, I want to forgive. I know the anger will not go away until I do. And I know I will not move forward. (See why the battle with the She-Bitch is so important) That's why the quote hit home.  

Forgiveness is the final form of love. - Reinhold Niebuhr

I am working towards forgiveness.  

My sister filled me in on her infinite wisdom. She said forgiveness involves a conscious decision. It's important to pick a time and place, and tell myself I forgive, out loud, looking myself in the eye. This way, when the anger, resentment and hurt bubbles back up, I can remind myself I have forgiven. Hopefully this will sway me from being a jerk or placing blame. 

And, in her words, "The process requires mindfulness and consistent check ins with yourself. In the beginning, you will essentially be 'faking it until you make it' because it takes time to incorporate genuine forgiveness into your practice when your primary behaviour previously was to hang on to anger and never get to forgiveness." 

Yeah, she's a smart cookie. 

It's hard to forgive. I've never done very well with it in the past. Not with others. And most certainly not with myself. Learned behaviour, really. I remember my parents fighting and how they used to unearth all the old dirt. The hurts never went away. They never forgot or let go. Forgiveness is not something I'm well versed in. 

My ex, who knows far too much about me, said people make mistakes. They aren't always out to disappoint us. After all, it is the human condition to fuck up. Still, when it happens, it doesn't mean it was done maliciously, or intentionally. 

Writing this has made my toothpick stronger.