Archive for the ‘Getting it out of my head’ Category

It’s my birthday!

I have always been a kind of “it’s my birthday month!” kind of person. I have been known to remind people all year round, in fact, of the exciting day at any time of year. I used to post on FB items that might make a great birthday present, reminding people that it was only 6 months away and it was never too soon to buy. Not that I really expected to receive hundreds of gifts – nor did I. I considered it fun – or funny, even, to let the world know what I wanted.

Like this beauty I saw for the first time last year

Like these beauties I saw for the first time last year

This year, I’ve found myself flummoxed twice when someone asked me about a gift for my birthday. I couldn’t think of what to say and really, didn’t answer either person with a very direct response. I think part of the reason is because I’m really feeling the strain of the end of grad school (read: educational poverty) and I have many things on my “Wish List” which seem to me to be necessary items. Like shoes. Or car repair. Or glasses.

lems primal

Dude. They’re zero-drop and I can wear them to present!

I decided to set about making a wish list that I could share with people. It was really hard to do. It caused me a lot of brain energy, wondering what to put on the list, adding things and then deleting them over and over again (all this while I was studying, you understand). And then last night it came to me – I remembered/realized why making a list was so hard!

birthday list 0

While I used to laugh and joke about what people could buy me, in real life, telling someone what I want for a gift is actually the LAST think I want to do.

Here’s why:

In my family, my mother had a real thing about gifts. There is a long (probably apocryphal) story about my father’s first gift to my mother, which was disdained by my mother (for cultural reasons that my father could not have possibly guessed). Since that first, fateful gift, my mother made it a habit to tell my father, and even her children, what to buy for her. I remember gathering up my babysitting money at 12 years old to pay for a portion of a shoe and purse pair (sharing the cost with my sister and probably my father) that my mother requested.

Till the day he passed away, my father never bought a gift for her (as far as I know) without her direct (or indirect via one of us kids) approval.

The older I got, the less I liked this, although I surely understood his point of view. I remember my mother’s response when I brought something I’d made at school to give as a Mother’s Day gift – “What is that, anyway? Huh. Dust catcher.” Yeah, who wants to risk that kind of response?

Some mother’s like them, apparently...

Some mothers like them, apparently…

But I did, occasionally, give my father a hard time about it. I’d ask him how many years he had been buying gifts for her (40 years) and then run down a list of her strong likes/dislikes. Then I’d encourage him to choose something he thought she’d like. But he never did.

Even now, when she is “forced” to engage in Secret Santa or some such gift giving thing at work or church, she tells people to wrap a gift for a child for her, so that she can then give it, un-opened, to some child at her church.

wrapped-gifts-rbkcgjsw

After leaving home, though, I had a friend who bought me a book by an author I’d never even heard of, and I loved it. She knew my tastes well enough to find something for me that I didn’t even know existed yet was completely engaging to me. And other friends repeated that amazing feat, time and time again. A friend I haven’t seen in years has sent me fabulous gifts from Italy. One friend knows how to pick the perfect shirts for me. One far away friend has delighted me every year since I left MN with treats and surprises that quickly become parts of my every day life.

On the one hand, I can understand not wanting to receive things that you don’t want or like. I do. But when I compare that to the absolute DELIGHT that comes from receiving a gift that makes you feel like the other person really knows you…well, that just seems silly. Those are my favorite gifts. The ones that called out to you, when you saw them, that they would be perfect for me. They are things I would never buy for myself, and am delighted to own anyway. They are things that may or may not actually arrive on my birthday or any other holiday, which suddenly and immediately become irreplaceable. So there you go, that’s my wish list.

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Being me

Recently someone told me, “She has great personal integrity – you can trust her to mean what she says” I was glad to hear it, and it got me thinking. I hope that I could be described the same way, that my friends would say that about me. There was a time when I would have been sure about it, but these days it’s more work than I’d like to admit.

Growing up I learned to be “brutally honest,” until I realized that sometimes that meant being mean (thanks for good old family training). And then I swung in the other direction and kept things as close as possible to protect the other person. I went back and forth between the two over the years and gradually shortened the arc until I felt like I was reasonably healthy. I still tended to be more open and straight forward than some people expected, but I understood when it might be better to just stay quiet.

Somewhere over the course of the last 8 years, though, things changed. I changed. I did everything I could to make it easier on the ex (not blaming, no one ever asked me to do so outright) whenever I could. Of course this meant more things that looked like outbursts out of nowhere to the ex, because eventually some little thing I was hiding, holding, would pop out.

And while I’m not blaming anyone, I will go ahead and not blame MN, either. However, I have to say that I have been told to hold my tongue in one way or another in pretty much every job I’ve ever held here, and seen looks of surprise on people’s faces over and over again over some thing that I said that seemed minor to me.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are thinking, and how what I am saying might affect them. Which kind of almost sounds like a healthy thing, except that I don’t really believe that. I mean, if a client said to me, “Well, I’d like to say this, what if they say that?” it’s extremely unlikely that I would encourage them to keep silent. I don’t believe that we get closer to people by keeping our mouths shut, I really don’t. And I don’t believe that people need to or are even able to read other people’s minds (you know, apart from, like, magic) and that there is no reason to expect others to do so.

I believe that being fully yourself is actually your best bet – which includes having great personal integrity. And I seem to have strayed from that path somehow.

This is me, setting my intention to be as fully myself as I can manage, gently and respectfully.

I noticed a funny (or is it sad?) thing

I wrote the last post a few days ago, then let it sit a while before publishing it. I wanted to think about it and decide what I wanted to do with this blog before publishing. As it happens, I really didn’t think about it much, except to remember it was here, hanging around, waiting for me in it’s unpublished state.

Meanwhile, I did manage to update the other blog. It wasn’t a very clever posting or amusing to anyone but me, really, but it made me think about how very divided I feel, sometimes. The thing I really wanted to post about was loneliness and depression, which belongs here. But the dog entered the story and so then it seemed to belong there. As if just because I’ve set up these two different blogs, somehow my life ought to divide up neatly into these two categories.

I was thinking about that as I was publishing the last post, and wondering some more about publicizing it…when I realized, hey, I have two facebook pages too. I could just publicize this on the corresponding facebook page!

Which made me think, wait, I have two facebook pages. My best friend was just saying how in the new facebook app on her iTouch she can customize her privacy settings when she “shares” something. I checked on my BlackBerry and I still can’t do that there. But then, I never need to. Want to know why? Because I post from my BlackBerry to my “real” facebook account. The one where I am all myself, no holds barred, (nearly) total transparency! “That’s your privacy setting,” my friend commented.

Now I can’t decide if that is sad or just funny.

Debt

Dating, dissertation, depression, debt…what do these items have in common?

Apart from the obvious…they are all issues that I am dealing with. With varying degrees of success.

Today I made calls to all my credit card companies in an effort to get the interest rates lowered so that I can keep my f-ing head above water. My ex and I are drowning in this debt. We have talked about debt consolidation, debt management and bankruptcy before. The thing is, everything is still on time and in good standing, I even try to pay a little extra every month. Bankruptcy is out of the question at this point, they want you to be months behind on payments before they will even start looking at you. And I don’t really want to be that far behind if I can help it.

The problem at this time is that the interest payment each month is so close to the minimum due that we are not making any kind of headway at all on them. We haven’t used any of these cards in more than a year, some for nearly two!

I’ll get into the details of the bills a bit later. Today I managed to get one company to lower my rate, but when I called on the last card, they referred me to NovaDebt. The terms the woman there talked about were good. I looked around online for reviews on the company and it looked pretty good. The BBB has them rated at A+.

Anyone else have any relevant remarks, review or referrals to offer?

Depression

If you talk about depression to the average person (is there such a thing?), the symptoms that might most likely come to mind would be feeling sad and hopeless, sleeping a lot, gaining weight, and lethargy.

That is not the kind of depression I have. I am depressed, but I am in continuous movement, for the most part. I stay busy – too busy , probably. I work, go to school, work out, take the dog out, sing in the choir, cook meals from whole foods… I read 10 million books at a time while listening to one in the car. Looking at me, most people would never guess that I’m depressed. In fact, I forget myself sometimes.

Except that I really am…I can only really tell, though, when school and work slow down. First, I get sick and/or a migraine. This is my body telling me, “Ok, fine, you don’t want to slow down? Fine. Watch this.”

And then, the depression hits. I can’t read. Nothing interests me. I can’t concentrate on the books I have, I’m not interested in new books. I search for junk that I don’t want or need online, hoping for some retail therapy. I facebook incessantly. And I have watched some 20 episodes of Un Posto al Sole – my Italian soap opera. I have also watched half a dozen movies in the last two weeks, too. This is depression for me.

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