Every Day is a Struggle

It’s been a long time since I’ve hated a job.

Just last year, I loved my job.  This year, I hate it.  Thanks, new boss!  Hating my job is stressful.  It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve dreaded going in to work.  I’m the girl who arrives an hour early, remember?  And I still do… but the entire time I’m getting ready, I dread getting there.

My last post was about how much I dislike my new boss so I don’t want to let him monopolize this one as well but… this is what is going on in my life.  It impacts everything in my life.  I’m passionate about what I do and so, when someone screws with that, it really sets me back.  I have no energy when I come home.  So… I don’t work out.  What do I do instead?  Oh yeah, I eat.  That coping mechanism I’ve known since I was all of 3 years old rears its ugly head again.

To make matters more complicated, I’m having some issues with my gluteus medius.  It hurts a lot.  It hurts when I sit too long.  It hurts when I bend at the waist.  It hurts when I maneuver around in certain ways.  And obviously, this makes me want to work out less also.  Not working out leads to negative body imagine and weight gain.

Weight gain leads to me hating myself.  Ok, I don’t actually hate myself…. but I do hate my body right now.

I really need to do something about that.

At least the cookies are doing well

frankie1 f2 photo (32)

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For the First Time

I’ve been working for a long time.

I was in the 8th grade when I got my first job and I’ve been working ever since.  For the most part, I’ve loved having a job.  When I was younger I loved the extra money and the independence it gave me (as well as the sense of importance).  As I got older I just liked meeting people and work is just one of those places where you meet people.  I’ve been an antique store clerk, a video/ice cream shop clerk, a waitress and a short order cook, a Subway sandwich artist, a telemarketer, a data entry person… I’ve worked Shopko, a grocery store, a speaker factory (literally the only job I’ve ever hated).  I’ve done hotel housekeeping, residence life at college and finally… teaching.

What never actually occurred to me until very recently is that I’ve been incredibly lucky.  I’ve had wonderful bosses this entire time.  I am a person to make the best of a situation so I’ve always tried to make work fun and enjoy what I’m doing but I’ve never had to suffer under a bad boss or even one I seriously disliked…. until now.

My old boss of 12 years retired at the end of last school year.  I’m happy for him.  I adore that guy and while he wasn’t perfect by any means, he was someone I could always count on to be as fair as he could and who would treat me with respect.  I never realized how much I took him for granted until this school year when he is no longer at my place of employment.

I started out the school year really liking my new boss.  He’s funny and seemingly easy going, a bit uptight about giving up any sort of decision making power but I figured it was just because he didn’t know me or my department and we would soon develop a good, working rapport.

Nope.  Things have only gone downhill since the beginning of the year.  Every week he does something which makes me furious.  It’s not about the amount of work he wants us to do (which is a ton) in what is, essentially a rough transition year for everyone involved due to new work demands in the first place.  It’s not the work.  I’m not afraid of hard work and I often make more work for myself by being a perfectionist and trying to improve every single year.  It’s his attitude.  He gets snippy.  He hates taking individual circumstances into consideration… something I was incredibly used to with my old boss.  If you approach him after something that has upset him (and you have no idea it’s happened) you can be prepared to get your head bitten off.  He is telling my department to focus on something which is impractical without first doing something else… and won’t take the time to look at what he’s telling us to focus on to understand why that is true.  He just keeps saying he doesn’t understand why it’s a problem while also saying he’s not overly familiar with the standards but it seems like it should be a simple thing.  

He doesn’t read emails.  He skims them.  He misses questions in emails or details in emails and he never responds to them.  Oh, but he also doesn’t want people pestering him in person.  We have a new boss who has new rules and new goals for all of us and he is, unfortunately, not interested in answering questions.  I asked a question just yesterday to make sure I understood what he wanted and instead of answering “yes” or “no” he went into an exasperated explanation of his logic behind his decision…. making me feel like an idiot because I wasn’t trying to question his logic.

At first I thought it was just me.  I had a really good relationship with my old boss and he and I had a lot of mutual trust and respect.  I thought maybe I was just taking the loss of “power and opinion” hard.  But no… there are grumbles all over the building.  He has apparently snapped at everyone for little reason.  He has apparently ignored most people’s questions or emails.  He apparently doesn’t care if he wastes everyone’s time as long as they don’t waste his.

It’s infuriating.

And the school secretary… who at the end of last year was barely even speaking to my old boss (long story involving personal affairs and whatnot) just said to me “I miss the professional relationship I had with <old boss>”.  

It’s good to know it’s not just me.  But I hate that this guy makes me dread going to work.  I hate that he’s taken something I love and tinged it with a negative vibe.  It seems like I can’t escape him, either.  He’s everywhere.  I cannot avoid talking to him every single day.  I try.  I look busy, I duck into a classroom when he’s coming.  Maybe I’m being overly obvious at this point but I cannot stand to talk to him anymore.

I once thought I would retire at the school I work for.

I now know that’s impossible and it makes me sad.

The speed of light

Well, I managed to put a title on this post… that makes this one automatically better than my last.

It’s the beginning of the school year: two new members of my department, a new boss, new requirements, less planning time than ever before and me…. running around trying to accomplish everything.  While I have a few rants I’d like to write I simply don’t have the time to do them properly and so they will have to wait until my brain and body settle down.  (Yeah, I’ve been having daily neck fatigue/pain which really sucks.)

In the meantime… this is what I’ve been up to lately in the cookie business….

df2 minnie3 sp2 tree2

Every year at this time, I say goodbye to the zen and relaxation of summer and gear up for work again.

Every year at this time I make a mental note to try to hold onto the person I am in this moment because I am so much nicer when I am relaxed like this.  I usually don’t make it very far.

There are a lot of changes at work this year.  A lot.  None of them are under my control and, as a control freak, that bothers me on a couple of levels… but I’m doing ok with it for the most part.  I have a lot of changes in mind but I haven’t solidified anything and that should bother me more than it currently does.  Next Wednesday is go time and I have no desire to hammer out the details of the changes I plan to implement.

And you know what?  I think I’m just going to go with it.  I need to relax more.  I need to be less rigid.  I need to be more of the person who can go with the moment.  Planning is great and I am an excellent planner… but planning isn’t everything.  Sometimes, in my profession, what you really need to do is learn to be spontaneous and go with the flow, relax about covering absolutely everything and focus more on making the experiences rich.

I have several goals for this year.  One of them is to learn to relax and take things as they come.  It’s going to be a challenge for sure.

Closer to Normal

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to step into the life of another person?

I’m not talking movie stars or famous people as I think we all do that from time to time.  I’m talking your average, ordinary people.  I only ask because every once in a while I find myself trying very hard to imagine what other people’s lives are like.  I don’t take xanax very often, but I do have a prescription.  Yesterday I took a couple to ease me into this golf outing I’d be talked into participating in.  As I drove down the road toward my destination, totally relaxed and a little bit excited about the prospect of being social I started to wonder if this is how normal people feel every day of their lives.  I’m sure it isn’t.  Xanax is a wonderful drug and it kind of makes you not give a damn about much of anything and it’s my assumption that most of us worry about something sooner or later.  It’s just… it would be really nice to go through life without being constantly plagued with anxiety about the stupid things I shouldn’t care about.  I’m great at my job.  I take charge of things.  I like being in control of big projects, etc.  But ask me to go and do something others might perceive as fun and I’m instantly trying to find excuses.

Part of the above comes from being an introvert.  I’m not necessarily energized by being around people and social outings can really wear me out.  Being an introvert does not, however, mean I need to be riddled with anxiety.

Seriously.  Before the xanax yesterday?  I had a million moments of “they’re all going to laugh at you” inside of my head.  I even asked my friend if I could drive to her house and follow her to the event.  Why?  Well I didn’t know what the protocol would be for check-in once I got there, I’d never been to this location before, and I was afraid of standing around a bunch of people who might not talk to me.  Yeah.  Had I driven alone and not followed my friend I might have just kept on driving and made some excuse of having a migraine.

Part of me just wants to shake myself and tell me to just grow up and get over it.  But I can’t.  It’s very real.  And trust me, until recently I didn’t open up about it.  I never sought help for what I felt was me being a stupid, insecure, idiot.  One of the positive things to come from my car accident?  I had PTSD for a little while and riding in a car would send me into a shaking fit.  So my shrink suggested I ask my doctor for some xanax.  And then, one day I thought about popping one prior to a social event I was anxious about.  And then I went to the event and had a great time just like everyone else there.  Groundbreaking stuff, yanno?

Add another year to that startling revelation and I start admitting to my friends that the reason they can never count on me when I make social plans with them is because I get anxiety.

And you know something?  Those friends?  Well gosh darn it would you believe those friends turned out to be real honest to goodness friends and accepted me anyway and are always willing to do a little bit extra to help me out.

The sky did not fall.

Nobody judged me.

I actually have a bit of a social life now.

One step closer to normal?  Possibly.  But what is normal, anyway?

I’ve always had the urge to create stuff.  In high school I dabbled in painting (in a cheap acrylic paint on poster board sort of way), I knitted a series of scarves in college, I tried writing poetry at various stages of my life, and I’ve always enjoyed writing in general.  I would say I’ve attempted drawing before but I really haven’t given it a true effort.  My drawing attempts are rivaled by those of a kindergarten student and I wind up terribly embarrassed and hunching over my paper afraid someone will see.  Seriously, it’s that bad.  And in all of the above endeavors I haven’t really had anyone helping me out.  I wasn’t taking a class, I wasn’t consulting a professional, most of it was all done in the privacy of my own living quarters and hidden from the world.  So I guess it isn’t any wonder I missed out on some of the lessons being creative can teach a person.

Example?  Of course.

Today I started working on some cookies for my largest cookie order to date.  Six dozen cookies, pale green onesies with pink owls on them.  Sounds adorable, yes?  And the owl is your basic no frills easy enough shapes owl.  As I have no drawing ability I went to the internet to find a piece of clipart or drawing of the cute little owl to trace.  Yep, I find an image… resize it on my screen so it fits my cookie cutter and then trace it onto a piece of paper from my computer screen.  (This is where having a printer would probably come in handy, eh?)

What I failed to do before I drew out 100 of those little buggers on a sheet of paper is make sure the drawing I was using was even.  I mean, sure, he LOOKED fine.  Adorable.  Cute.  But as I was tracing one after another onto the sheet of paper I began to notice his wings didn’t seem evenly sized.  So, instead of stopping and trying to figure out a way to make this thing super precise and then start all over… I just trudged on and figured I could fix the issue when I was laying down the icing.  (For those of you confused at this point I put the sheet of paper in a sheet protector then use icing to make what’s called a royal icing transfer.  Once it dries, I can lift it up and place it on the cookie.)

So here I am this morning working on my royal icing transfers and trying to figure out the best way to go about it.  And as I’m working… I’m getting concerned.  I rarely outline anything and for some reason I outlined everything this morning first.  Then, when I put in the wings with a different color… OMG my owls started to look like crap.

 

These are three of my owls where you can clearly see I was trying to figure out what to do about the wings.  Starting from the left… I added MORE icing on top of the old in an attempt to make it poofier and less noticeable.  Fail.  Then skip to the far right because that’s the one I did next.  I thought maybe outlining the wing would make it look better.  Fail.  In the middle you see me wonder what would happen if I did some brush embroidery and, while it looks like crap there (wrong consistency and same color as the base) I totally saw the potential.

And in a matter of seconds my 100 owls went from beyond repair to….

owl transfers 2

 

…. totally adorable.  (I know they look weird without the black parts of their eyes right now but I have to wait for everything to dry properly first.)

My lesson of the day?  There are very few things in the world that are beyond repair.  I have had similar situations so many times with my cookies I can’t even begin to estimate how many.  And each time I find a solution?  I’m totally amazed at how something so small can have such a dramatic impact.

And isn’t it the same with life?  I mean… sure things are messed up… but adding a few tweaks here and there can take something I currently find unable to be salvaged and make it into something I can totally live with.  I think the creative people in my life already know this awesome secret.  They’re the ones who are always saying “Oh, I’ll make it work” when I’m freaking out and running around crying out “OMG I HAVE TO START ALL OVER.”  Maybe I don’t have to start all the way over.  Maybe all I need is a creative tweak here and there.  Maybe I am able to be salvaged after all, eh?

Dear Reader,

I haven’t posted much.  I think you guys should get used to me starting out every post with an apology for not having posted much.  However, this post is dedicated to one of my favorite readers.  The one who emails me her comments because she’s a private person and doesn’t put her stuff out there for everyone to see… and I dig that.  In fact, that’s how I am when I’m not blogging.  I’m not one of those people who wants everyone to hear their opinion or their advice.  I’m just not.

Anyway, dear reader… this one is for you.

It’s been a tough couple of years for me since my accident.  While it didn’t permanently mess me up, it made me stumble and slow down.  Slowing down made all of the bad habits in my life creep back up on me.  I let them, naturally, because they’re familiar and therefore “safe” and I know how those things work and aren’t we all tired of trying to figure out the next thing?

The issue is this: long after I could stop my slow down to recover, I lingered in my old life.  I ate too much, I avoided too many issues, I ate crap and junk food, and I stopped looking at who I want to be.

Why is it that everything in my life seems so connected?  You pull on one loose thread and the sweater of my life unravels and I run around pretending to look for my knitting needles but really just sneaking bites of chocolate in the pantry while no one is looking.

I knew my weight/exercise/personal issues were all related.  My weight loss was just as much a journey of emotional release and trekking through emotional mud and swamps as it was learning a new way to live my life, finding what works for me and trying not to be afraid.  I just didn’t expect everything to unravel so easily.  I could say I haven’t blogged because I’ve been busy – and I have.  I could say I haven’t blogged because I’ve been distracted – and I have.

The truth is that I haven’t blogged because blogging, for me, is a form of self reflection and I don’t necessarily like myself right now.  

Oh sure, I mean I like myself just fine.  I’m still besties with myself.  But I know I could be better.  I know I could be dealing with issues that I have and face some demons in my life who have been patiently waiting for me to come and slay them. (Honestly, I have some very polite demons.  Maybe if I stopped seeing them as demons I could start making progress, eh?)  I know that blogging about my life means I will likely start looking at it through a magnifying glass again and I already know what I’ll see and I’m just freaking scared of everything I have to do.

So yeah, it comes down to fear.  Do we ever escape fear?  Fear of pain. Fear of challenge and adversity.  Fear of failure. Fear of loss.  Fear of being nothing to anyone.  Fear of being alone.  Fear of being lonely even if I’m not alone.  Fear of who I am and who I’m turning out to be.

I ramble a lot, don’t I?

Dear Reader whose emails I always welcome with a smile, I can’t profess to know what you’re going through.  I can’t profess to know what you’re up against or what you’ve had to face.  All I can say is you’re not alone, you’re not the only one taking a look at something and going “oh crap, that could be describing me” and feeling a punch in the gut.  Knowledge is power.  It enables you to act.  It enables you to move forward.  It enables you to take control.  It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you move forward…. just move in that direction.  I’ll be somewhere out there moving forward as well (sometimes at the pace of 1/25 of a snail’s rate… but I’ll be doing it.  And so will you.

 

 

Am I codependent?

Way back when the ex and I went to marriage counseling, our first counselor gave me a book titled “Codependent No More.”  At the time I didn’t see a whole lot of myself in the book.  Sure, there was a thing or two I could relate to but as far as my marriage went, I didn’t relate to the book.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m beginning to reexamine that notion.  And it’s scary.

 

HERE ARE A FEW CHARACTERISTICS OF CODEPENDENTS: 

– Feel most comfortable when they are giving
– Find needy people to take care of
– Try to please others instead of themselves
– Have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility
– Feel anxiety, pity, and guilt when other people have a problem
– Wonder why people don’t do for them
– Feel victimized by the “selfishness” of others
– Try to be all things to all people all the time
– Have difficulty saying “no” and/or setting boundaries
– Feel empty and bored when they are not involved in a crisis
– Seek out chaos and then complain about it
– Get angry when somebody refuses their help or doesn’t take their advice
– Tend of have a self-esteem that is connected to “doing”
– Try to prove that they are good enough to be loved
– Are afraid of making mistakes
– Are easily offended by other’s “rudeness” or “insincerity” or “uncaring attitude”
– Can become self-righteous with phrases like “I would NEVER do that….”
– Try to be perfect, and expect others to be perfect
– Have self-blame and put themselves down
– Must be in control at all times


I took the liberty of making all the ones I relate to bold.  I’ve often referred to myself as a “caretaker” and while I find a lot of pride in my ability to respond to the needs of others, I wonder if the reasoning behind it is a need to fulfill my own self worth.  I also struggle with the idea that I am worthy of being loved.  Love seems a difficult subject for me.  I don’t always feel like I deserve it and I always feel as though one wrong move could lead to the end of a relationship.  I put a lot of pressure on myself, feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility for nearly everything (especially at work), and I try to be perfect.  I also have this habit of taking charge of everything I have my hands in.  If I’m not going to be in control of it, I usually take a very minimal role.

I don’t know if these things mean I have some of the signs of being codependent or if they mean I have some personality traits that are compatible with being codependent.  I just know that, when it comes to a romantic relationship, I like being able to take care of someone, and I am constantly surprised when I find they want to give something back to me.

Whatever the case, this is the issue I’m currently mulling over in my head.  Being more aware can’t hurt, right?  In the meantime I am going out of town to celebrate the arrival of my new nephew who is entering the world via scheduled c-section tomorrow morning.  I am super excited!

Is anyone out there codependent?  Does anyone else out there suspect they are?  Anybody working through it?

Hormones

Hormones.

They have this absolutely horrible effect on my body.  For example, when I take birth control… I wind up seriously depressed, sobbing in my shower while singing Tori Amos songs and then going straight to bed.  Or… I wind up transitioning from screaming at someone for absolutely nothing to crying because a commercial just came on TV and that dad really loves his son.

Yes.  I am potentially insane when I take birth control pills.

However, I also get mildly depressed during my period.  It starts out with me being… clingy.  I need more reassurance than normal.  I fish for praise.  I fish for compliments.  I become convinced people hate me when I don’t get both of those things.  Sometimes I cry if I don’t get enough text messages from a certain someone.

But the period thing goes away and with it so do my blues.  Currently I carry a prescription of xanax I can take if things get to be a bit much for me during that time.

Why is any of this relevant to my current life?  Well.  I tried emergency contraception.  For a day or so after it I felt clingy.  No big deal.  And then… instead of ovulating… I had a period… which is a normal side effect.

What isn’t normal?  Oh… the fact that my eyes kept crying for a good 24 hours.  Literally constantly watering and never more than 2 seconds from an actual sob, I cried for about 24 hours straight.  I convinced myself that no one loves me.  No one really cares about me.  I stayed in bed for almost 48 hours.  And no… I did not shower or change clothes or even my panties.

Sexy, I know.

What is absolutely frightening to me, now that I’m nearly back to normal, is how I KNOW on some level that it is just the hormones messing with me…. and yet I absolutely cannot “snap out of it.”  It’s the absolute worst for the girl who logics away most of her negative emotions.  (Not that I don’t acknowledge them, I just prefer to realize that most of the people in my life do NOT set out to upset me and thus I shouldn’t feel personally slightest when they don’t do what I expected/wanted/needed.)

So, needless to say, I had a rough weekend.  It’s nice to be out of bed…. kinda.  I mean.. I have showered but I haven’t exactly put on a new outfit yet today.

Maybe I should go shower….