Friday, September 7, 2012

Fuzzy Logic

I've been having epiphanies about what I really, truly at the fundamental level believe.

One of these deeply rooted beliefs is one of my biggest obstacles to happiness. I seem to have a superstitious view - I genuinely believe that if I'm too happy for too long...something terrible will happen. Like someone-I-love-will-die-terrible. 

The rational side of my brain can see how this makes no sense. Logically, in my head, I can make the statement that my being happy has no control or effect on someone else dying. Unless I do something to directly cause the Tragic Event - it's not my fault.

But I can't believe that.

For example - today has been a GREAT day. A really awesome Friday. It started overcast, rainy, and in the 70' just the kind of weather I love. I made it to my class on time (I was worried because of the rain) and had a really great lab session - great students, funny banter, some good one-on-one enlightenment which I love. Just a great morning.

It kept going. I went and had my allergy follow up appointment, which was fine, and then found out that I'm going to be unexpectedly paid $1000 for work I was already doing for free. What a boon!

THEN, I get a call from our property manager and we're getting a $150 rent credit for all the problems we've had with the AC going out this summer! Thank you!

All of this should have me soaring higher than a kite - and I was for moments today. And I still kind of am...but my kite is anchored with a heavy pressing weight of anxiety. It literally presses on my chest. And more than once today, I've found myself wondering when the other shoe will drop. As each great thing added to an already great morning...I'm filled with increasing dread that something increasingly terrible is waiting in the wings.

It doesn't help that my dad had a stroke at the beginning of the summer. And then a possible TIA just last week. 

I think if I could shake this unswerving belief that somehow my personal happiness is going to somehow cause personal tragedy...I'd be a lot happier.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And on that note

It's a cruel and ironic world. I'm spending a fair amount of time on my job application materials for academic jobs. The trouble is that is taking considerable time away from (and thereby stalling) my dissertation. I must finish the dissertation to get said jobs. However, I must do a good job on the applications to get said jobs. 

You see the irony there, right?

*head* *desk*

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Joy of Yoga

Time for a more positive post! Since I seem to be mostly motivated to write when not in such a positive place.

I've started doing yoga. I definitely love it. And it's been amazing because some sessions leave me feeling like I just had a massage - I feel that relaxed and open. But it's much cheaper than a massage, so bonus! And...possibly better for me?

I usually practice with an "intention" (as guided by instructor) and usually I make my intention Inner Peace and Tranquility. Because that's something I need more of. Tonight I made it Inner Peace and Happiness. So far, I think it's working.

I'll be focusing more on that Intention.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My "Hobby"

It's taken me a long time to come to this realization, but I'm glad I'm finally there. I've felt frustrated off-and-on for at least 2 years now...for reasons I could never nail down, until now.

You see, I realize that my husband and I treat what I "do" as a hobby.

Not, a Job.

Despite the fact what I do is challenging, time-consuming, has specific requirements, and does, in fact, pay...somehow, we've decided it's not a Job. It's a hobby.

I think this goes back to when we were first married, 6ish years ago. And when I first started my master's degree. I was in school, making a pittance as a grad student, and my dear husband was slaving away for a Grocer-that-shall-not-be-named. In the very beginning we were quite precarious financially, but within 6 months my husband had been promoted to an Assistant Manager. A Job, for sure. With salary, benefits, and STRESS to boot. Not to mention an iron-tight fist held onto all of his "free" time. He worked 17 hour shifts, y'all. But he was salary so he never saw an extra dime. In short, it sucked.

And while he held this life-force-sucking Job, I was in graduate school. And I'll be honest. Those first two years, I was living it up. I had free time. Plenty of it. My best friend at the time found herself on bedrest due to pregnancy and I would spend about 4 hours nearly every day at her house with her. Scrapbooking. While we watched crappy TV. It boggles my mind now, how I had the time to do it...but somehow I made it work. I still met my obligations to my "work" - usually working on it in the wee hours waiting for my husband to come home (usually around midnight to 2am).

But who was I kidding? I was enjoying myself, had plenty of free time, and made less than half what my husband did. While we certainly needed my eager income to meet our financial requirements (including saving) didn't feel like a Job. Not compared to my husband's, anyway. So I think that is when we both started thinking of what I do/did as a "hobby". And I'm as much guilty as he.

The trouble is, now, some 6 years on, I don't feel what I do counts as a "hobby" anymore. I've taken on extra jobs in addition to the grad school gig. I teach at a community college. (that is, in fact, a job, am I right?) I spend about 40 hours per week at school working on my PhD stuffs and TA duties, and then still have work at home in the evenings after the wee one is in bed.

Which. Sounds very Job and not Hobby to me.

So, despite the fact that my time commitment to my work, and the amount of work I'm doing has changed, our mentality has not. So I'm still expected to do more of the housework. And if it comes down to deciding between his work or mine, his will win because it's "real" and mine can wait.

To be fair, I have more flexibility in most deadlines than he does. He's currently teaching middle school and has to be there certain hours of every day M-F. I...don't have such strict time requirements. But by golly, I still have important shit to do! And I'm tired of us acting like what I do is not important, does not amount to real work, and therefore it should go Last on the List of Family Items. 

This is all being tipped off by some recent comments and a very fun and relaxing vacation for the 3 day weekend. I had been fixing after getting a MacBook Pro. Mr. Random finally conceded I could buy it if I needed it...but through a fun twist of fate, my computer at work got updated after in the end I didn't NEED it as much as I had the week before. So decided to wait. Though I argued one advantage would be being able to take it with us on all these vacations we've been discussing taking (one during his Fall break, when I don't have a break at all but probably can make it work) - and he said, well, you shouldn't take work on vacation...doesn't that defeat the purpose of vacation? I conceded his point.

That was last Thursday y'all.

Fast forward to...Friday. The very next day. When we left for our 3-day vacation. Guess who brought a mountain of grading and was hoping to get his lesson plans done?


So. Hmmm. It's okay for him? But not for me? I brought this up and he defended himself by saying that he has hard deadlines and I, do not.

I find myself wondering what's going to happen when next year (I hope! I hope! I hope!) I have an undeniably "real" job as an Assistant Professor (I hope! I hope! I hope!)? What then? Because at that point, I should be making more $$ than him. And certainly my job will be real. And more prestigious. Will the pendulum finally swing back the other way and it will be him taking the lion's share of baby-caring and house-keeping?

I doubt it.

Which is why I suppose we'll have to talk about this. Which brings to mind another post - how is it, that after 10ish years with find it harder to bring up important things, not easier?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On jealousy

Have I already written about this? Despite having my wonderful two year old, I feel jealous when I see birth announcements on Facebook. What is that about?

At first I the maybe it meant I was ready for number 2. And maybe I am? doesn't feel like that's the root of the jealousy.

Maybe it's just the Facebook effect? I find I already think these people have perfect lives, and NOW they get to have a perfect little baby. And it just wasn't perfect for me. And my life is so messy and complicated and ?...

Anyone else?

I don't like feeling this way.

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happiness, ever fleeting

I realized in the past few months that I have not been truly Happy. I thought I was. I like what I do for my research. I enjoy teaching. I love parenting my little boy. But somehow, the sum of all these things doesn't equal Happiness, not truly. Not even Contentment. Mr. Random had pointed it out to me...oh...6 months ago? Maybe even a year? And I pooh-poohed him and told him I was, in fact, Happy, thanks so much.

But I'm not.

I haven't been.


Confronting this question has been terrifying. Because my God, I've been in college level education for 10 years now all leading up to this grand Ph.D. degree that is supposed to be the ticket to the career I can be happy in. But if I'm not happy now...what changes when I actually have the fancy Dr. in front of my name?

The increased salary (one hopes) should help ease some stress, but I'm not foolish enough to think money can buy my Happiness. And if I can't be happy doing this, then what!? And why have I wasted so much time in this futile Ph.D. effort?

And I started thinking that the key will be making the choice to be Happy. Clearly, changing my situation is not the key. Because I've changed it a few times in the past and even though I always think that change will lead to Happiness, it has not. The one change I need to make is in myself. Which, in a way is reassuring because it means I should be able to be Happy doing most anything. Which is slightly depressing given the amount of time I've been pursuing my current career path (to be a professor).

And then I was reading this blog. Her post about anxiety (Aug. 5). And it so rang true. I am a Worrier. In every possible way. I fear traffic accidents stealing my loved ones away. And now thanks to Colorado, I fear crazed gunman as well. I've always had this anxiety/fear - it's just been amplified since becoming a mother. I've addressed it a bit in Counseling - evidently it's part of being OCD. For realz. It. Sucks.

No two ways around it. But as I read her post it dawned on me - what if I've been choosing to be Unhappy, because it feels like then terrible things won't happen? I know it sounds crazy, but it feels True. Somewhere deep in my core I really believe that to be too happy, for too long, is inviting Terrible Things. And I'd rather be stressed out, anxious, and Unhappy but have my wonderful family than be Happy - so I continue to self-sabotage.

But in a moment of Self-Counseling, let's take a look. I've been Unhappy for at least 3 years now (probably more, but let's just go with 3). In the past 3 years I've lost a house to foreclosure (Terrible Thing - though not as Terrible as I feared before it happened and the pain/embarrassment is lessening with time), my mother has needed a hysterectomy - thankfully it wasn't cancer after all, my husband lost his job after being attacked and injured by a shoplifter, my father has had a stroke - albeit mild.

These are Terrible Things, though they all could have been worse. So I find myself thinking - See!? See!? They all could have been worse, but weren't. Why weren't they? Because of my self-sacrifice of Happiness. *smug look*

But I can hear my counselor telling me that I don't have control over any of these events - the foreclosure to some extent but I had no control over the events that ultimately made that the right decision for us. But the health problems? The shoplifter attack? Not in my control. Never were.


Because I want, no desperately need, to feel like I am in control. Because if I'm not....

then I'm intensely vulnerable to all the things I fear most. Nearly to the point of debilitation.

But I can hear a small voice. Trying hard to help me see what I know my counselor would point out, with very sad eyes as she looked at me. First, none of this is within my control. But second, and more pressingly - what cost is this irrational fear and unreasonable need for control exacting on my life? On those I love?

I'm so stressed out and to the point of nearly have all out anxiety attacks when small things go wrong. Or when I even perceive something as going wrong. That's not healthy. That's not pleasant for my husband or son to live with. Wouldn't they rather have a Happy Wife, or Happy Mom who can embrace life with them?

I know so. 

And maybe if I can phrase it that way - and focus on doing it for them, I'll be able to make the first steps. And then...hopefully, be able to do it for myself.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tips and Tricks

I've been in a funk. A stressed-out, crabby, no-fun funk. I know a lot of it is due to exhaustion. But I still struggle to get into bed before 11pm. And somehow even 7 hours of sleep is just not enough right now. I've always been "sloth-like" and it's really detrimental in this phase of my life.

But some tips and tricks I've been discovering/remembering lately are starting to help me pull out of the Funk of Despair. I won't say it's full-on depression...but it might well be heading there. Something to keep an eye on.

In the meantime, things that have been helping, and have helped in the past, but somehow, I forget, which is why I'm writing them down here:

1. Exercise. Just do it. It helps me loads.

2. Adjusting my attitude. This one is so hard. But it's so helpful when I manage it. For instance, I've been feeling stressed and woe-is-me that not only am I working 2 jobs and trying to finish a dissertation, but I'm also the primary child-carer (after daycare). Woe is me that so much is asked of me, blah blah blah. Today, I turned that thinking around. I'm lucky that I get to spend each morning with my son. My husband misses out on those special moments. I'm lucky that I get to have the fun horsing around in the car every day. I feel woeful that I don't get to see him more in the day, so why am I adding woe by being resentful that I'm doing primary child-caring at home? It makes no sense! Feeling lucky instead has done wonders for my mood today. I need to keep reminding myself.

3. Getting sleep. It just has to happen.

4. Cleaning. I took half of the day off today and cleaned our apartment. Totally worth it. The cleaning itself helps me feel better and the cleaner apartment's like a weight off my shoulders. Totally necessary.

5. Finding things that are joyful in each day. And remembering at the end of the day 5 things that were wonderful that happened or I saw.

About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.