Friday, January 2, 2015

2015's Word of the Year is (Self)Compassion

To be completely honest, I hadn't given much thought to a word for 2015 until I started seeing people talk about it on Twitter. (which is probably a fair indicator to how much attention I paid to 2014's word) (to be fair, I actually did do a pretty damned good job of striving for mindfulness on an almost daily basis: I just kinda forgot it was my Focus Word).

So, I did what I do best and panicked-ish (as panicked as someone coughing up a lung can be). I started a list (something I also do quite well) which just got long. And unwieldy. And overwhelming. I was working on Mara Glatzel's on-demand course, 31 Days of Deserving (excellent course from an excellent woman: you should check her out and see all the awesomeness she has to offer), so deserving seemed like an appropriate choice.

Enough stood out as well, as in "I am enough," but it didn't feel right. Nor did believe, even though it's tattooed on my wrist. I looked at Susannah Conway's Find Your Word ecourse (thanks, Beth!) and Ali Edwards One Little Word class. Both are helpful, but hadn't solidified a choice.

I started therapy a couple of months ago. Big step for me. HUGE, in fact. I've known for years it's something I'd benefit from; hell, I was talking to my guidance counselor once a week from grade 10 through 12 and missed those sessions sorely once I graduated. There's just always been a reason an excuse not to pursue it again: money, time, uh... money.

When I received the depression diagnosis, I was urged to pursue therapy (which is where I received the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) diagnosis); it was covered by the province's health coverage, but I was supposed to attend a 12-week therapy group. Because of the timing, I would've missed 3 hours of work every Wednesday morning for 3 months; needless to say, I was terrified I'd lose my job, so I didn't go.

A year later, I was laid off, so I figured I'd give the group therapy a shot since I had the time. I'd gone for the initial session with a therapist, got the details for the group that was set to start 2 months later, and... we moved to another province within a month.

Fast forward three years, and I'm now in a position where I am fortunate enough to have access to therapy sessions. It took me awhile to come around to take advantage of this opportunity, but once I made the call, I was all in (once I make the first (hard!) step in any situation, I'm in it for the long haul because I'm stubborn/not a quitter).

I know the work will be hard. I know it will take a lot of commitment and resolve to work through it, but I'm looking forward to it because I know there is value here for me. I also know that, because it will be hard to dredge through my childhood, I will need to exercise a great deal of loving kindness and be gentle with myself. Hopefully being cognizant of this will make it easier to do.

Compassion kept popping into my head - self-compassion. I read Kristin Neff's book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself a couple of years ago, but I don't think I was ready to fully grasp the message (I'm a firm believer that we cannot appreciate opportunities or learning experiences until we're 100% ready and/or that when we're 100% ready, opportunities and learning experiences will benefit us - case in point: therapy).
So, that's my word for 2015: (self)compassion. I have compassion for others in spades; it's high time I start showing myself the same.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

I Think We've Been Outgrown

It seems the bloom may be off the rose of my longest and dearest friendship. There have been... rough-ish patches in the past, but they were (mostly) explainable and nothing major enough to end the friendship. Well, mostly because the behaviour ceased.

In the past year or so, they've discussed a serious, major life change; this proposed change came with a not-so-subtle shift in attitude. It started with them being uncomfortable with the attitude that was first shown to them; however, as they got further into the potential change, they started adopting similar attitudes: looking down their noses, being very judgemental, making questionable money decisions - gotta have the best of the best regardless of finances/affordability. They've made decisions we find questionable, but it's not our life, so it's not our business: we've kept our asspinions to ourselves.

When we first moved here, I was discussing the house prices of the home builder I worked for; he commented that he'd "NEVER" pay more than $XXX for a house. Fast forward two years, and all of a sudden they "NEED" a huge house with a huger (is so a word) price tag. For three people. After buying a brand new, fully-equipped vehicle.

We've spent numerous New Year's Eves with them over the years. This year, we were asked if we were interested in going over there again because they were thinking about inviting a bunch of coworkers over. The way it was stated made it clear it was an either/or situation, not an and/if.

Chebbar's been more and more... uncomfortable? with their change of attitudes, commenting here and there after spending time with them ("hoity toity" may have been used at one point). He's been more and more unimpressed with them each time we visited because the attitude has increased.

The final straw for Chebbar occurred the past week when I had to inform her that we couldn't babysit because of Chebbar's graveyard schedule (our house is tiny: we have no spare room, no office, nothing - Chebbar would be up all night on the couch/"guest bed"). The response I got was just... weird: I commented to Chebbar that it felt like I was being dismissed like hired help (they've used us as built-in babysitters for years with very little consideration for our plans, but a great deal of guilt trips). Chebbar declared that he didn't like the attitude I received.

The final straw for me was last night. While explaining our inability to babysit on Saturday, I received a comment about New Year's Eve likely being out; I told her I'd talk to Chebbar, but I didn't see it being an issue, since he has to stay up all night. I realized last night, as I spent the evening with Netflix and the dog, that I never heard back from her: no inquiry as to how I'm feeling (I've been sick), no checking in to see if we were available tonight, nothing. Radio silence.

So,  yeah. I'm feeling butthurt (and yes, I recognize that I could've called her, too, but she issued the invitation to her house, and I have a thing with inviting myself places), Chebbar's unimpressed, and I don't see this better-than-us attitude going anywhere soon. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this: a little sad, a little disappointed, a little relieved.

I guess time will tell how this will turn out, but it still feels... icky. Pin It

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thoughts on the 2014 #365feministselfie Project

Wow. If you had told me a year (a year!) ago that I would've stuck with this to the end (without missing a single day, no less), I would've laughed: I've never been a fan of pictures of myself, nor have I had a great track record of seeing things through to the end when it's "fun"/not for work/not required.

There were days it was bloody hard, too, days that made me want to quit, but I wanted to see this through, to show myself I can show up and be there for myself.

I wish I had profound reflections to share, but cold meds are messing with my head. I'm sad to say the pictures didn't magically get easier to take. A full year later, I still had (have!) days where I hated what I saw; however, I learned that being your own worst critic is very true. None of my friends ever had anything negative to say (not that I expected it), but I never received negative comments on any of my pictures.

Except, from myself.

We really don't see ourselves the way others do. I've longed wished for that perspective. I've been pondering my word for 2015, and I started therapy* last month: perhaps my focus for 2015 will be working on seeing myself more kindly (baby steps, yo).

I did learn some things, though...
  1. I learned I can follow through on something where there are no demands for completion from outside forces
  2. I learned I can put myself out there both to trusted friends and strangers
  3. I learned 99.9% of the viewing population won't belittle, mock, or insult me
  4. I learned there are even more amazing, supportive women out there than I had suspected
  5. I learned people might unfollow you (even if their family members have been posting (multiple) daily selfies before selfies were "cool")
Some women will continue; some are glad the year is over.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. There have definitely been moments where I was counting down until this day, but it felt like a nice gesture to do this for myself every day. I'm torn between giving myself a break and looking at this from a different perspective, of showing up for myself instead of just showing myself (semantics: they're my friends). I could always just challenge myself to show up when it's hardest - bad hair day, bad mood, whatever - instead of every day, but I have a feeling that would make the showing up that much more challenging. I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings...

How about you? Did you participate? Did you hate it? How come? Are you going to do it (again) in 2015?

(Big thanks to Veronica Eye for starting this initiative!) Pin It

Friday, December 12, 2014

What a Fucking Day

I was literally walloped upside the head with a sensory memory when I walked past a group of people, and my brain shrieked, "OMG! IT SMELLS LIKE THE DONOR!!!" (Pert Plus shampoo. Barf.)

My morning meeting was half an hour late. And didn't technically show. And then ran later than the originally allotted hour.

Person I Supervise A did the same. damned. thing. we've discussed 347 times.

Person I Supervise B totally dropped the ball even though we've discussed said ball recently.

I found out about Person I Supervise B's fuck up when My Boss *spoke* to me about it.

Person I Supervise C is worrying me.

I couldn't fix coworker's work phone.

Because I wasn't working at my own desk.

Which meant I was unable to complete the Very Important Task I was assigned. This afternoon.

An acquaintance died in an accident.

I had a massive headache.

Which, strangely enough, wasn't helped by booze.

I'm quitting you, Friday.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

When I Want, What I Want, How I Want

Recently the very wise Tracie wrote a post about "wasting" time on the internet and how blogging has changed, but not for the better, what with all the focus on page views and SEO and brand relationship building.

It struck a chord with me because I've been struggling for awhile with whether or not to shutter this space or to write. I've lost count of the times I've felt a desperate need to emo-word-vomit whatever is going on in my life all over this ol' blog, yet hesitated because...

...I haven't written in so long one's going to care
...maybe this is too much
...or not enough one even reads anymore's just too much work for little to no return on investment (of time)

I knew most of those things were wrong (save perhaps over-sharing), yet I was frozen enough to close the tab and walk way, words building up inside to overflowing with nowhere to go.

'"...I like having all of my words together in one place. I like that my blog is a record of my life for the last nine years." ~Tracie
When I read those lines in Tracie's post, the fog lifted. Who cares if no one reads? Who cares if no one comments? Who cares if it's funny/edgy/snarky/poignant enough? Just bloody write. Use your blog as it began, as a way to get stuff out and work through things; as a way to catch moments, events, thoughts, fears; as a way to track dates and times when your memory fails you (I'd somehow forgotten how many times I've gone back through my posts to figure out how long it's been since XYZ or to clarify details 123).

So I'm going to give it a shot. Without completely changing tactics and exposing myself, I'll go back to using this space as a place to document my life and thoughts and fears and hopes - silly or serious, engaging or boring. I'm going to do my damnedest not to worry about how often I'm posting, and to hell with page views and comment counts. And if anyone's paying attention, I've started immediately by *gasp!* posting on a Saturday AND a Sunday.

Cuz I'm a rebel like that. 

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