So. I've been in a good mood for months. Months. Happy shiny months of months.
I went to BlogHer. I came home. I started writing again. I went to the beach, for a fabulous week. I came home. People like me in a good mood. I like me in a good mood.
And then I crashed. It kind of started at the end of vacation, the weird way I get when things are just a little off, the frequency starts humming just a little too loud and nothing helps. I'm owning it here because I don't know what else to do with it anymore, honestly, but also because I figure if I can go back to making this a daily practice when nothing else is happening with any consistency, at least that's something.
And what I do when this happens is I isolate. I go back to my literal and figurative basement. I do not want to talk about it. I want to sit and not talk. I don't want to tell anyone what really goes on in here, because really? It's not interesting and it's not engaging and time is limited for even interesting and engaging things.
Maybe not writing about things keeps them buried. Maybe that was the purpose of keeping myself on lockdown for a year. Or it's like a conference hangover, you know, you're surrounded by all of this positive reinforcement and "you can do it", it's all Amway and Mary Kay but it's not, it's the epically cooler versions of those. And you start to think - I'm doing it again, writing in the "you" speak when really I mean me, I hate when I do that - I start to think of all the things I want and need and maybe should do to bring some order to these proceedings.
I knew things were building up. Old patterns started repeating (Addicts to any kind of behavior or substance will likely recognize this statement.) When I start listening to August and Everything After on repeat and the "I should never have left Ohio" mental tape starts playing I know I'm screwed, which, as true as it may be, and lord knows I have so much love in my heart for Dayton, it's not useful thinking because it didn't happen, and I needed to get out of that place when I did because if I hadn't I wouldn't have left and I'd be divorced with 2.5 children and driving around Centerville drinking wine out of a sippy cup, no question. (But property values? Could totally own my own house to be drunk in.) August 9 was my tenth anniversary back in Maryland. Maybe I can blame it on that.
Everything started triggering tears again, and I hadn't been doing that shit for MONTHS. It's not like I set out to do it on purpose, it just happens and I get so ANGRY when I feel it happening again, because it just doesn't seem fair that it happens when I'm just cruising along minding my own business and trying to do good things and really when I'm in that place I am super. Even I can cop to that at this point. In any event I'm the opposite of sitting there going, "Oh, thanks, this has been great, could I please have a MOTHERFUCKING MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL END OF SUMMER SALE???? THANKS DUDE! GOT IT COVERED THANKS."And as always happens, something stupid triggered it.
Saturday I went to see Julie and Julia, which I didn't really hate although I thought I would, and it plunged me into a ridiculous horrible pit of depression because I don't have my own kitchen (I'm not kidding. This is huge right now for some reason. It's like I want to make pot roast every night or start a cupcake of the week club. I. Am. Insane.) This is also no one's fault but mine. These are life choices writ large. And also my blog sucks and no one loves me as much as that little man loved Julia Child even though she talked like that all damn day and I didn't come up with the idea to cook 365 days of recipes that I stole from someone in order to get a book and then a movie deal and everything just sucks it sucks it sucks, are you going to eat that meatball? No? Thanks. And perhaps more wine?
I had an embarrassing episode immediately following the movie based on the confluence of these factors and my entire weekend tanked, miserably. See how fast that happens? I am a phenom with the overanalysis and the crazy.
Speaking of wine and meatballs, I've also been off the regular exercise routine that had been going so well and really went down the drain between BlogHer and the beach, because you know what? I was TIRED. I did a few crazy long walks on the beach which probably helped keep me stable for the amount of beer I drank while I was there and I think I may have needed a break from the almost daily literal beating I was taking at the gym. It's just so easy to spiral out of control if I let it go even for a little while. Even a week is too long. It also turns out that workouts are essential to my mental wellbeing, and without them, I end up here again, where I do not want to be. And it's really easy to go down in a hole about this particular issue, especially when once I've broken the workout cycle it's SO hard to get back in the groove. All the head games start again and these games are complex and difficult to win.
Oh, read Devra's post about body image while we're on the subject. I've gone on about it almost everywhere else so I may as well do it here too. Her comments about this particular issue are important.
ISSUES, I have issues. I'm trying honesty around here. It may or may not be working.
And yet. And yet. I am trying. I'm thinking of the lists of things to be thankful for, which makes me stabby more than it helps sometimes, because I kind of like my gratitude to be natural and not forced, but maybe I need to get over myself where that's concerned too. I am trying to be forgiving and understand why people intrude upon your personal physical and psychic space with weird comments and invasive behavior, why they won't pick up on social cues to behave just a little bit differently, please stay behind the yellow line until your number is called, that sort of thing. I am trying not to say mean things to my students. I am trying not to purposefully seek out things that will upset me. (This is a big one that will make no sense to anyone but maybe two people but it's here for the record and let's just say I need to let the past stay in the past. The poorly dressed, overly critical past.)
I haven't been very much fun to be around for the past two weeks, and I don't like it either. Knowing that action cures anxiety, I have assignments for myself, the life management shit I hate, and I'm trying very hard to take an action every day. I know what to do, the ass-kicking I need to give myself to avoid the bad places. The long-term goal list needs to be revisited. And as for the short-term, I'm going to try to go back to kickboxing, because if there's anything I need right now it's aggressive physical activity. Listening to a lot of pissed off screamy music is helping too. And I need to communicate even when I don't feel like it with people I know are good influences, because at times like this I'm editing myself before I open my mouth or type a word and that's part of the problem.
And it turns out that due to the muscle deterioration that quickly occurs when one stops working out in a concentrated fashion for almost a month, I've lost two more pounds. So you know, there's that.
Counteracting the bad place:
Karen is amazing. Her pictures are amazing. These are amazing.
Schmutzie shared this recording of Virginia Woolf on her linkblog and as much as I love most of the stuff that Schmutzie does, I particularly enjoyed this.
I spent some good time at last year's San Francisco BlogHer with Jenna at the Word Cellar and this post on turning envy into inspiration is getting some good attention today, for good reason.
Margaret and Helen are awesome too.