Things I’ve recently Googled

Yesterday was a long day, made longer by staying up late to finish a book (yay!) Today was a restful day and not one of any deep contemplation. Church was nice, I ate leftover curry, and me and the kitties napped. I thought about skipping the blog today, but that would not bode well for the rest of my challenge, so here I am with a thing of little substance. A glimpse into my google history:

  1. Movie times to 2 different theaters– I recognized none of the titles except of one playing at 9:55pm. What.
  2. Ebola vs. E. coli– they sound alike but wreck you in different ways
  3. Bodies in Barrels podcast– True crime love
  4. Exit West– to make sure I spelled the author’s name correctly (Mohsin Hamid)
  5. Taylor Swift– I’m undecided about her as a person, but she makes really catchy music!
  6. Gyms near me– ugh.
  7. Opening a  Roth IRA– these past 2 reek of New Years Resolutions, huh?

 

What’s your most recent Google? Do you dare?

Attitude is everything

During my childhood, I was frequently called out for my attitude. Through my actions, my words, and DEFINITELY my face, you could see every vile thought I was thinking. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it was the 90s. My instructions were to change my attitude, but there were no strategies given. So, I mostly just learned how to hide the attitude.

Then along came depression and anxiety, which I didn’t have words for a the time, but I knew how they made me think and feel. (Spoiler: not fantastic). But years of dealing with these and learning how to cope, I also learned a few things about improving my thoughts, and therefore, my attitude (in general, or towards something specific).

I say all this to say… this week SUCKED, business-wise. I had 3 massages all week, until today. Today I had 4 back to back. This is not unusual for Saturdays, but to be honest, I’m usually not thrilled about it. I know I’m going to have to talk to so many people. I know I’m going to end the day tired and sore. I spend even Friday night dreading it.

This week, I tried a different tack. Because this week was so slow, I barely made any money. So when I saw the 4 appointments, I got excited! I got READY! I knew this was the way I make money and provide for myself (and my cats, let’s be honest).

I just finished up my day. I’m tired, but amazingly, not exhausted. I’m not sore. I had a great day. Because I went in with a different attitude, I had a much better day than I normally anticipate. Hooray for great days and making money and better attitudes!

What are you dreading? How can you change how you’re feeling about it?

Connections

I’m weird in probably many ways. But in particular, this: I love meeting new people. I love small talk. I love small talk that grows into big talk.

I used to be really terrible or terrified to talk with people, but years of working in customer service (waiting tables, barista-ing, retail, etc…) gave me plenty of practice. Plus, growing up I watched my dad, who was/is a great conversationalist. And his trick was this– ask questions. Don’t interrogate, but ask. Be interested. Listen. Develop more questions. Because what subject is everyone’s best known? Themselves.

I’ve been told I’m the “world’s worst introvert” because I can strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. I talk to people in line at the grocery, at coffee shops, just about anywhere I go. I also rarely put on headphones because I feel like it’ll impede getting to talk to someone new.

Today I got to meet a new person that may become a part of my life. If they don’t, I still have a lovely afternoon where I learned about a different faith; I met a person with a lot of dreams, one who is experiencing some very tough decisions for a young person to make. I loved hearing their story. I loved giving small bits of advice (do it. have the adventure.) I loved connecting with someone I knew very little about before today.

I don’t know, there’s something very comforting and connecting in getting to hear someone’s story. It makes me feel part of something bigger. It reminds me that there are so many lives to live. You remember that your experience is so different from anyone else’s… and yet– so much alike. I’m one of seven million and my story is my own, but my struggles and pain don’t isolate me, they connect me with people. My experiences can help someone else. My smile and questions can put someone at ease. Can help them remember they’re connected, too.

What about you? Do you hate small talk? Do you wear headphones? Have you ever met anyone on a plane?

Less

My mom and I both recently read the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. By “recently” I mean I finished it about two days ago.

In it, Flanders sets up a shopping ban for herself for one year. That didn’t strike me. I occasionally splurge, but honestly– I’ve got my budget pretty tied down right now. What did hit me was that in addition to buying nothing (or next to), she also got rid of things. Like 70% of her current belongings.

Oof. This one hit me. I have… a lot of stuff. I thought I’d kept it pretty paired down during my 20s because of all the moves I made, but somehow, sitting here in the home I own, all of my belongings that were strewn across states sometimes are all sitting in my possession. I have spent a lot of money on things I do not use.

So today, I made a pile. I really only went through wardrobe stuff, because when I got to my spare room that holds everything else, I got really intimidated.

less clothes.jpg

So from my closet(s), hanging rack, dresser, and other shelf full of clothes, I pulled things I haven’t worn in a long time, if ever. I ended up with something like 5 dresses, 7 pairs of jeans, and 4 jackets. *And a partridge in a pear tree*  I didn’t count the number of shirts, because I’m not even sure I can count that high.

I’m still left with an inordinate amount of clothes. For example, the category I have most of is “sleep shirts.” Which translates to “t-shirts I would not wear in public but are still nice enough to be worn so I wear them around the house and and night and stuff.” I don’t even know how to get rid of these. But I have nearly an entire draw full.

Next to tackle is what I call “Spare Oom” (Narnia reference). It holds everything from the day I moved in (October 2017) that didn’t immediately need placed to keep a house. So far, I pulled some papers to be thrown out and a Brita pitcher, a clock radio/iPod player, and an alarm clock to be donated along with the clothes. I don’t even want to think about what else is in the boxes that I’ve forgotten about. And don’t get me started on shoes.

Should I keep the red strappy high heels, for example? Have you ever done a huge purge? Read Flanders’ book? Felt an urge to GET RID OF STUFF?

A hole with no wifi

Where have I been? I’ve been in a hole. It’s been dark and a little damp, maybe. But it’s been cozy and for a long time, I didn’t mind. Then I remembered that there’s a whole world outside of my hole and for the first time in a long time, I told someone “I’m not doing so well.”

I’m not out of the hole, but I’ve got plans. I’m poking my nose out. I’m seeing more light that I had seen for a while. It feels good. But honestly? Also exhausting.

Because I think I do okay with challenges (only ones I present to myself)– I’m going to try something. I haven’t been writing, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but I guess my hole has poor wifi reception? Anyways, I read something about someone else trying to post on their blog THIRTY DAYS IN A ROW. So I’m going to try.

At first I thought, I’ll do it in January. But you know what? That’s just as arbitrary a date as today. Plus, it gave me a few weeks to back my way out of the challenge. I really won’t be going for quality, here. Just sheer quantity. And that’s supposed to be the opposite of the way you do this, but I think I need to get my butt in gear. I need to open my laptop and log in to this blog every single day. It’s like an exercise routine, but for my brain.

So my apologies for the short posts, the random thoughts, and for the silence before this. Join me in my arbitrary month of posts!

Self Care: Reaching out

Sometimes, telling people you’re having a hard time is the hardest thing to do. Especially when you know everyone is busy and dealing with their own stuff.

But it can be the best thing for you– and maybe for them, too. My friends and I call it the “Bat Signal.”  Tell someone you need help. Mine usually goes like this: “Hey, I could really use some people time.” And just like that, friends hop into making dinner plans.

Last week, all it took was an hour long dinner with friends, just chatting away. As we walked away, one friend asked “did this fulfill your need for people time?” And you know what? It did. All I had to do was reach out.

I am often alone. I live alone (and have for almost 7 years), I’m single, my job involves people but there’s not always a connection. Add in weeks or months of busyness of my people, and I start feeling a bit unmoored. Even we introverts need people every now and again.

When’s the last time you put out a Bat Signal? Maybe this evening is the right time?

What I read in August

Yes, this is a bit late, yes, I thought I’d at least get this in before October. But… you do what you can, you know?

ESPW

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

What I liked/didn’t like– this book is full of a culture I know little about, but I loved getting to know. It’s a Punjabi population in London, filled with their own stories, idiosyncrasies, fears, and traditions. A writing club turns out to be so much more– surprising the modern Punjabi female teacher, the women in the club, and the community at large.

I LOVED this book. I rooted hard for the women finding their own voices, their own enjoyment, their own… lust for life? It was a thoroughly enjoyable book. My only quibble was that the climax (*snicker*) happened rather quickly and seemed a bit rushed towards the end.

Rating- 4.5/5

 

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (and A Wind in the Door)

What I liked/didn’t–   This was actually a re-read for me. Or at least, Wrinkle was. It was required reading in sixth grade and I remember thinking it was weird. But I have some friends who are still huge fans, and I’ve become much more open to fantasy/sci-fi, so I thought “Why not give it another shot?” As it turns out, my friends were right- A Wrinkle in Time is delightful. Charming in every sense of the word, from baby Charles Wallace to Aunt Beast.

A Wind in the Door? Now that was a bit weird. Less charming, more made up words. Honestly, it was a sci-fi/fantasy written in the 60s, so I can’t knock it too hard. I guess. I have the other 2 books left in the quartet, I’m hoping they get a bit more palatable. If not, L’Engle still throws some gems in there to be plucked out. I see you, Madeline.

Rating- 3.5/5

LF

Little Feminist by Galison and Kleinman

What I liked/didn’t like– I bought this little box of cardboard books to keep at my house for my niece. We read them several times, I think she liked the pictures. I know I did. They don’t get too in depth (duh), but tells a tiny bit about each woman. There could have been more WOC.

Rating– 3/5