Tragic Adjacent

Ya know when you’re wallowing in your own anxiety about your first world problems like getting rid of internet at home for financial reasons and if I’m being honest, a whole host of other financial problems? Then the universe, God, karma, what have you, smacks you upside the head with letting horrors happen to others in your life to bring you a shit ton of perspective? No? Just me? Oh okay. Sometimes it feels like it’s just me. But considering one of my supervisors told me I was tragic adjacent after I spent the hour describing what had been happening around me, I’m guessing this happens to everyone every now and then.

After a couple different text exchanges with different family members resulting in me wanting to go to them and kick various people’s asses but instead promising to pray for them (because that’s what we do in my family when we can’t get violent with the offending party), I was left spending my Christmas not feeling so bad about the ongoing financial struggles of being a one income family. My family problems aren’t mine to go into detail about, but they were shocking enough to jolt me out my head. And if anyone reading out there reading this has anxiety, you’ll know just how difficult it can be to get taken out of your head. Then New Year’s Day happened (cue the scary music)…

My plan for New Year’s was to do nothing. Maybe, I’d let my person convince me to go to one of the parks near us. Maybe. It wasn’t like I was hungover or anything, I’m just lazy. Oooor I like doing nothing. (Isn’t that the definition of lazy? I don’t know and can’t be assed to look it up.) I woke up around 9:30 and plopped down on the couch. My person started making us bagels as I gained the energy to start making coffee. We heard sirens and person saw a couple firetrucks come into the parking lot my apartment building shared with the one next to us. Person decided to step outside to see if there was anything going on worth going outside for. A few moments later, he came into the kitchen to inform me the building adjacent to ours was in fact on fire, and they had evacuated the apartments.

It took a couple minutes for me to register what he had told me. Once my coffee was done, I decided to take a gander outside. Yup. Three units (1st, 2nd and 3rd floors) toward the middle of one side of the building looked to be burning. The rumors were already swarming, but the gist was someone drove into the ground floor and the two units above it were damaged as well. The strange thing about the fire was that every time it looked like the fire was under control, it would start up again. As it came out in the end, the car had hit a maintenance room and ruptured a gas line which the firemen didn’t know about for a couple hours.

By the time the gas leak was discovered, the units next to the initial ones were on fire. So, I spent my New Year’s morning with my last eggnog latte of the season watching the apartment building next to mine burn. Around noon, when the fire still wasn’t contained our power was shut off. And the news crews started to show up. And then the Red Cross came. Then the fire seemed to spread into the attic. And the center staircase of the building caught on fire. Eventually, the flames seemed to be under control, and the fire departments from surrounding towns were sent away. Our power was turned back on. Then… the other side of the building, the one closest to my building started burning. The fire burned for about twenty-four hours before they started demolishing the building in an effort to put the fire out completely.

The two people in the car both ended up dying eventually. Sisters in their seventies. Seven fire fighters and one resident were taken to the hospital for exhaustion, smoke inhalation etc. Only one kitty was rescued from the building, and I heard of at least two families worried about their cats they couldn’t find before they had to evacuate. Over eighty people ended up homeless. We having been living next to large pile of the charred remains of people’s lives where if the wind is blowing just the right way still reeks of smoke.

By being tragic adjacent, I’ve had a lot of perspective taking. Financial problems are NOT the worst thing that can happen to me. However, the last time I was this tragic adjacent it was the catalyst to major depression that changed me. The waves of sadness and gratitude take turns as I remind myself neither will last forever. And I remind myself that it doesn’t have to be like last time. I’m still on edge about what will happen next, but nothing has happened to me or those in my circle in a couple of weeks now. It’s bizarre that it has only been four weeks since the first instance of being tragic adjacent. It seems like so much longer. Alas, I think that’s the nature of time… it flies when you’re having fun or not living in a state of worry for your family and neighbors and then it becomes sloth-like (the animal not the character from The Goonies) when you just want things to return to the status quo.

The moral of this story is to renew your renter’s insurance. Happy New Year (thirteen days late).

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I’m not creative enough to think of a good title for this one

My person started working for the first time in about a year. There are many reasons why it had been this long. Too many to go into details. But I’d say the move across the country and him not having a vehicle probably are the top 2 reasons. Even though he’s working, he’s still managing to go to the doctor. I’ve been on the east coast for almost a year and haven’t found any doctors for regular visit. I mean I broke my contacts shortly after moving out here, and I got insurance in January. Really. There’s no excuse for me not to be getting my eyes checked (or my body too for that matter).

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my distaste for modern medicine. I really don’t like western medicine, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of eastern techniques either. However, I know I need to get my eyes checked and get some contacts. My glasses don’t make my eyesight as good. So because of only having one vehicle between my person and me, I thought I’d take the opportunity over this weekend to research eye doctors and PCPs and maybe even find a dentist. So, yesterday I made fried chicken, did laundry, roast some mushrooms, took a nap and put clothes away. Oh! Also I read a Missing 411 book (if you don’t know what that is-Google it).

Today, I’m writing this blog (obviously-it’s one of the best procrastinating tools I have), and I’m thinking about taking out the trash and recycling. Perhaps I’ll even take a bath, make pizza dough and go to the gym. Not necessarily in that order. I could also keep reading my book or start a new one. I was also kicking around the idea of taking my camera to the small cemetery at the edge of the property my apartment is on and take some spooky Halloween pictures… on the cloudless, sunny, green-leafed day. Pretty much anything else but break down and look for the medical professionals.

Because I’m making a blog about it, my person will read it eventually. Then he’ll get on my ass about taking care of myself. And he’ll peer pressure me into finding a doctor. I’ll respond with something I consider charming, but he’ll consider irresponsible. And then we’ll fight about forcing each other into adult roles in the relationship. Or. I could actually follow through with all the research as soon I post this, and then do the activities I’ve talked about. I mean it’s not even noon yet. Yeah. It’s not noon yet, I’ll have plenty of time to look for a doctor before my person gets home and take a nap. I probably shouldn’t do the research while I’m so tired, so I should take a nap first and then look for a doctor.

Hit in the Head by the Laptop

I’m not exactly “coordinated”. I mean I just hit myself in the head with my laptop as I was setting up to write this. It’s a wonder I’ve only ever broken toes. Granted I’ve had lots and lots of sprains and bruises though. And there are some questionable moments in my past where the people in my life tried to get me to go seek out professional help because ” that [insert random body part] shouldn’t be that color” or “[aforementioned body part] doubled in size in a matter of seconds”. Blah blah blah. Just because I can pop my ankle now as many times as I want doesn’t mean they were correct.

Like my physical coordination, my mental coordination (as I like to call it for the sake of today’s blog) leaves something to be desired. In my head when I was planning the move across country and move-in with my person, it was so simple. Load up car, head east, arrive, find job, find apartment and viola! New life. Unfortunately, coordinating all the changes in my physical surroundings has been much easier than coordinating (and executing) the other changes I wanted to make. Changing my habits has been like the times I’ve tried to walk down various staircases and I’ve managed to fall instead. (Yup, I have fallen downstairs, being perfectly sober mind you, multiple times in my adult life.) Take for example eating right… I had a reasonable well-balanced day food-wise yesterday. But today I’ve had ice cream for breakfast, a spaghetti sandwich and Kraft mac ‘n cheese.

At least I’m making the effort. Right! Right? Right. I didn’t give up on walking after that time I was headed out of my friend’s apartment and ended up face-planting on the sidewalk which left a scab reminiscent of Hitler’s mustache. I didn’t let smacking myself in the head with my laptop deter me from writing this masterpiece. And so, I’m not going to let my love of sweets and being lazy stop me from at least making the effort to do those things I wanted to be doing when I pictured my new life. I will keep going to the gym. I will make the effort to read and write more. Hell! I’ll even trying that green stuff my person puts in a bowl with carrots… I think he calls it a salad. Does that sound right?

Maybe coordination is overrated. I mean had I been able to stay standing my ankles would be identical. And my arm wouldn’t tell me when it’s going to rain. (And there’d still be moose track ice cream in my freezer.) It makes me grateful for all those close calls I’ve had, because I didn’t wind up going tits up after sliding down a cliffside. The effort I put forward into the changes and knowing that I’m going to not always do them, makes me proud of those times I actually take a shower on the weekend.

Taking Care of Myself

Today, I just want cake. I don’t even need an entire cake-just a slice will do. Maybe three. Whatever. I’m not particular about what kind or the frosting. Just not carrot cake. Do not put veggies in my cake! Fruit doesn’t belong in doughnuts. Vegetables don’t belong in cake. Those are the rules. I didn’t make them. Okay, I may have made them up otherwise apple fritters and carrot cake would be things, but just because they exist doesn’t mean they should. And after that long rant about produce in certain baked goods, I get to my point. My point is… I don’t have any cake nor do I have the energy to make one. So, instead I followed advice I heard from Oprah? The internet? Dr. Oz? I can’t remember, but whoever said it led me to eating fruit instead of cake. I’m here to tell you, it is not the same.

Since I started grad school, self-care has been beat into like the multiplication table was in elementary. I feel the need to confess I was going say like a red-headed stepchild but thought that was 1) a bit inaccurate and 2) gingerist, as in the act of being anti-ginger (the hair color not the root. I love the root.) Okay, at least this side note wasn’t as long as the other one, back to the topic at hand. So self-care. Even my mom started beating me with the self-care message after I moved and she was not longer able to take care of me. Every time we got off the phone, she told me to take care of myself. Every. Mother. Fucking. Time. And to be fair to all those concerned about me, I hadn’t been taking care of myself at all.

Then. Last week. I got pissed off enough to start going to the gym at my apartment. And as what has happened in the past, is happening this time. Suddenly, I’m questioning what I eat in terms of “is it worth it?”. I know I could go to the store and buy a piece of cake with relatively little financial remorse. However, the fact I spent 25 minutes on a mother fucking treadmill this morning after I worked out my arms and legs with the weight machine thingy, makes the chemically tasting, over-sweet, cake not worth it. And as I may have mentioned earlier, I’m too lazy to make a cake that would be worth it. But like I just said 25 minutes on a treadmill and weight machine thingy. Not to mention, I started a load of laundry. So, I don’t want to strain myself too much.

Despite all my complaining at the moment about not having cake, I’ve noticed this past week I felt better. Granted, resolving last week’s fight with my person helped. But I’m not going to disregard the whole getting up off my ass after work thing. Okay, I have been sorer. Thanks stupid weight machine thingy. Yet, ugh please forgive me for what I’m about to say, its a better type of sore. I can’t even believe I said it, but ya get my point. Right! Right? Please tell you understand. The soreness is better than the pent up anxiety from doing grown up shit all day. The effort is worth it to not feel like I’m going to lose it if one more thing happens. So, while I miss easy access cake and have to make the effort to go to the gym, I’m starting to take care of myself. Who knows maybe I’ll even make a doctor’s appointment? Just kidding. I can’t do everything all at once.

Dreaming that Everything’s Gonna be Alright

The past couple of days have been rough… rougher than usual. This whole grown up relationship thing is more difficult than my two years ago innocent self could have ever imagined. Hmmm. Well, I watch a lot of true crime, from which I’ve learned that the partner always done it. So I imagined ending up in a various scenarios with my family questioning what happened to me. To be fair though, that was before I met my person, and despite not having talked in 24 hours even though we’ve been in the same space, I still don’t think he’ll end up on Dateline proclaiming his innocence, whilst the nation watches with skepticism. (Go run-on sentences!!)

I’m spending the night alone listening to sappy songs. However, in my quest to find just the right songs, I’ve been led down the rabbit hole of music I semi-secretly enjoyed in my early teens. Before grunge fully caught on and metal was still holding on by very flimsy fingernails. And because of being raised in a strict, religious home, most of these music is Christian themed. It’s beyond belief… (Okay, 10 points if you know that reference. Just move on if you don’t get it-I don’t feel like explaining. Or YouTube it. Whatever. It’s Friday night.) This is how I make myself feel better. That. And mac ‘n cheese and popcorn for dinner. Picture of healthy.

Somewhere within me, I know I’m just distracting myself from what’s not right. And I know eventually, I’ll have to confront my portion of responsibility that led to this latest fight with my person. But I don’t think I have the strength to do all that just yet. I wonder if this is normal. And then I chastise myself for using the word normal reminding myself that I’m the one who gets to define my normal. So my normal is listening to a bunch of different songs only to come full-circle and deciding to enter the rabbit hole again. Reminiscing of a simpler time when I had more flannel and less debt. And I was stupid and not travelled and I’m pretty sure I had recently cut my own bangs. Okay fine. The past couple of times I needed my bangs trimmed, I did it myself. Some things don’t change, and I’m okay with that.

Just a Tiny Confession

I’d be fucked without my parents. Okay. So maybe it isn’t exactly a tiny confession. To me, it’s downright huge. When I was younger, I had a huge ego. Like two maybe three times as big as it is now. Well, sticking to theme of honesty, today, it’s closer to a billion times bigger. (Just gotta love those humbling days.) Anyhow, with my huge child ego, I always said I didn’t want to be like my parents. I saw how they struggled financially. And when I was big, I was going to be rich. (Wow! the 80s were awful in some regards, but we had great cartoons. Hang on. Different blog for a different time.) I wouldn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. Great theory. Then I decided to go for a degree that doesn’t actually pay-off financially speaking.

What I failed to see as my brain was developing and even into my mid-twenties was that they weren’t doing anything wrong. They both worked hard and sometimes that wasn’t enough. They had four kids to support and a house payment. Because they had the house, I’ve always had a place to go when my plans fell through or I decided to go down a new path. Fuck. Those years I was immobile because of my depression, they continued to have my back. Never once did I have to worry about where I would have to sleep that night unlike so many others I’ve encountered. Even today, my mom reminded me that I have a place with them if I need it.

The financial toll of moving across the country and starting over has been far more than I expected when me and my person sat in the room of planning last year. Things don’t go according to the plan. Things come up and bite you in the ass. Things pile on top of things. Okay, I’m not talking about material things-fuck those things. I’m talking about the life circumstances things. Well, fuck those things too. Those things are fertilizing my anxiety lemme tell you. And today, I had to once again ask my mom for help. She wasn’t able to do a lot, but just talking to her reminded me that credit scores rise and fall; sometimes bills have to go unpaid for a month; the world won’t end because once again I had to claim financial hardship and not pay my student loans.

Talking to my mom also reminded me that I have my parents support and love; as I mentioned earlier I have a place with them always; when I make my choices I’m doing what I think is best at the time and of course I’m going to argue with my person about financial issues because that’s what couples do. I read an article that says talking to your mom has the same affects on the brain as something good. I want to say an anti-anxiety med, but I doubt they’d compare mothers to benzos. (Side note: I need to come to terms with the positive aspects of benzos.) I actually think it was a hug. Apparently, positive physical human contact is good for you as is talking to your mom. While I can’t speak for others, I know my mom is magic in helping my anxiety lax a bit. Even if it is temporary. So yeah, I’d be fucked without my parents.

The Day After

Yesterday, there was a little wedding in England. I don’t know if you saw it or maybe you heard about it. A prince and an actress got married. You know the story. It directly affects my life in absolutely no way, and yet seeing the pictures and just knowing the story left me with the feeling that perhaps I should be doing more with my life. Am I becoming a princess? No. Am I moving to a different country? No. Am I even wearing not my pajamas today? Hell no. It’s fucking Sunday. I digress though. Marriage isn’t a goal of mine, but not being forgotten is. Just like the song Billy Idol passed on because and Simple Minds got.

In lieu of breaking up with my person to pursue a relationship with a prince in order to become a princess (see Sugar Tits, I do care), I cleaned and cooked and wrote and read and watch conspiracy theory videos. You know super productive shit. I even wrote a to do list, but as getting dressed isn’t on it, I’ve remained in my pjs. That and I can’t be assed to put on underwear today. Right moving on to something a bit more important, my self-loathing. Is self-loathing the correct word? I don’t know. I mean I don’t hate myself. I just think I could be doing more than taking naps and eating waffles. So whatever feeling word that is.

Wanting to make an impact on the world has always been important to me, and I don’t want to be forgotten. But if I want to make a change, I need to start with the man in the mirror. (You all saw that coming, right? I mean it’s pretty fucking obvious.) Well, as my person constantly reminds me, I don’t have a dick nor balls and I’m in fact a woman. But MJ didn’t sing about the woman in the mirror. And as today’s blog is rapidly becoming an 80s songs references galore, I had no choice. But whatever. You get the point. Because of that mother fucking wedding yesterday, I decided to start taking care of my damn self and do the things that are good for me-like making waffles and caramel.

I’m mature enough to know that when I get restless and not feel like I’m doing enough, I need to start taking care of myself. Fuck. I’m mature enough to know that the near constant butterflies in my stomach for the past couple of months mean I should have started going to the gym. I just get so wrapped up in my own bullshit and can’t pull my head out of my ass long enough to put away my clothes. Once someone I know made an analogy of getting mentally healthy is like when a baby cries when you change its nappy. (We were in England. So just in case nappy=diaper.) They’re uncomfortable in their own shit, but it’s uncomfortable getting clean. So, yeah, this is me crying while I’m changing my own damn nappy. Because I’ve sat in my own shit far too long.

Speaking of which, I need to check on the potatoes I’m cooking. Because it’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. But first I’ll finish making this blog. It’s hard to take care of yourself when your natural reaction is to talk shit about yourself. I’m doing what I can. It takes so much more energy to do things when anxiety and depression are fighting to dominate your life but you can’t let them win because you don’t want to be homeless. I should have made that last sentence personal. My depression and my anxiety are fighting to control my life, but I can’t let them win, because I don’t want to be homeless so I go to work. Also, I can’t let them win, because I know what it was like last time I let them take control, and it was too dark. And I question whether or not I would survive it again. Right. Potatoes. Chicken. Doing stuff.