Of taking inventories and cats sitting on your face

May I open this entry with: When the fuck did it get to be March?!

Done.

BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS ENTRY. IT WILL BE HEAVY.

In the interest of full disclosure – I was diagnosed with severe depression yesterday.I took the Beck Depression Inventory courtesy of my therapist. I scored a 34 which is in the severe depression range. It’s the low end, but in the range nonetheless. I’ve suspected it for a while. When I first started seeing her almost 5 years, it was part of the basic assessment. One of the things she said was a HUGE red flag was you stop bathing or showering. I went a week without a shower, justifying that baby wipes and dry shampoo were sufficient since I was working out in the morning & didn’t really have time to shower. Even so, I should have taken a shower when I got home. Really Emily? The Bullshit meter was going off the charts. I refused to admit it. I bought myself some fancy Lush bath bombs & bubble bars to make myself take a bath. That was Thursday night.

Part of the exam also assessed suicidal intent. At least twice during my commute my last week, I thought “You know, I can just crash my car into that barrier and it would be over. No big,”. I wouldn’t do it because I care too much about the people who love me. I don’t want to leave them behind wondering if they said or did something to make me do it. Regardless, the thought was wandering around in there. My justification was I’m broken. I’m so broken that no one can put me back together. It’s not fair to everyone around me to deal with that. Plus, it would shut my brain up. You can’t think if you’re dead.

Another clue was I didn’t want to be touched. By anyone. At all. Ever. Highly unusual for me. I’ll bounce over and give or take a hug any time. Any member of my “freebie” list could show up at the door and I’d be like “Put it away, zip your pants, and I’ll take a rain check.” I didn’t even want a hug from my own parents. Hands where I can see them, please and thank you.

Before we immediately jump to medication (especially given the epilepsy meds), I was given a daily “to do” list for the next 2 weeks:

  1. Bathe or shower every day: Checked this one off for today. I showered, brushed & flossed my teeth, & put good skin products on my face. I didn’t wash my hair, but I’m getting my hair blown out later today. I can outsource that one. My therapist also said don’t go cheap on products for the rest of my body. I need the good stuff. If you can buy it at Target, that’s a no.
  2. Get more exercise: Granted, the wacky weather this week didn’t help this one. That said, it would have been no problem getting to a 6a class on Friday. My alarm went off and I was like “Fuck it” and went back to sleep. That’s a no go. I don’t have to burn 500 calories in an hour, but at least get out and take a walk. There’s a walking trail around my office. It wouldn’t kill me to get out during lunch and walk around for half an hour or so. The place where I’m getting my hair blown out is an outdoor shopping center. I think I’ll go up there before my appointment and just walk around for a bit.
  3. Be creative: This could be anything from a pottery class to organizing a closet. I shit you not about the latter. I suppose figuring out where to put what can be creative. I’ve been on a writing kick the past few weeks. I wrote about a paragraph last night before I went to sleep. I have a ton of knitting and crocheting stuff around here. Even just knitting or crocheting a few rows while I’m idly watching TV counts. Not only does it use a different part of your brain, it leads to a sense of accomplishment. When you’re super depressed, finding a sense of accomplishment is like finding a tap dancing unicorn.
  4. Reconnect with friends: This one isn’t a daily task. She said try to spend time with friends at least every other week. I have plans to see one of my friends this afternoon so I can give her the Valentine’s present that’s been hanging around since the date. I have tentative plans with a very old friend in two weeks so he can give me some CDs that he burned for me forever and a day ago. The originals got lost somewhere in the shuffle and I think my music collection needs a little bit of a BSB detox (She says as she hits ‘repeat’ on their 2009 album [This is Us]).

There were some other circumstances that led to living with my parents for a few weeks. It worked out as a perfect “rehab” time. They might object to being called rehab. Whatevs. Point being, I’m in an entirely different location for several weeks. My therapist said a change of scenery does a lot up front. I can’t argue that point. My dad and I went to see Kingsman last night and that shook me out of it a bit. I also took the opportunity to tell him what’s going on. My mother doesn’t believe in depression like it’s Santa or something. He was supportive and told me to do what I need to do to get better. I’m very lucky that have a huge support network literally all over the country. I have plenty of people willing to encourage me, kick me in the ass, and help me up when I faceplant.

One funny story before I close out this one. Lily (my kitten) has turned into my little furry alarm clock. At 7 this morning, she was bouncing on the bed, planting on herself on my face so I would get up and feed her. Cat ass is exactly what I need to get the day going. Bad kitty. She made up for it later. I was sleeping on my stomach, she cuddled up next to my shoulder, and put her paw on my back like she was hugging me. I guess she knew I needed a little love. Then she went back to sitting on my face. A brief, shining moment indeed.

Take care of yourselves, fair readers. I’ll do my best to stay accountable in here.

XOXO!

Of rejection letters and next contestant please

Today is a “keep your chin up” sort of day. I know these are super First World Problems, but nonetheless:

I was officially rejected from a job I interviewed for a few weeks ago. I can’t say it was a huge surprise. When they didn’t get back to me within a few days, I figured I wasn’t in the running any more. It still stings to see it officially communicated, though. I know I’ve said it before, but I feel stuck. I don’t exactly want to wait around for someone above me to be promoted, retire, or die. When I was promoted last December, my old boss told me not to expect anything for another 2 years (read-end of 2016). It really is a double edged sword. The culture is really great. I’m generally happy with where I work. I’m frustrated because I’ve literally been doing the same thing since they hired me 3+ years ago. I’ve expressed my interest in learning more, but it’s fallen on deaf ears. While they’re letting me take another test, they were pretty straight up that I get paid too much to put it to any use. Thank you?

My car has also been having issues. Since it’s been really cold around here, I’ve had issues with the accelerator. I’ll hit the gas pedal and nothing will happen. After stomping on it a few times, all of a sudden it will work and I’ll go zooming off. Not exactly safe, especially going through residential areas. I finally decided to get it checked. I’ve been going back and forth with the manufacturer and the mechanic I saw last time. Depending on what the mechanic says, I may have to call the insurance company. I texted my boss to let him know what was up. I know tone of voice is INCREDIBLY subjective in writing, but I got back what I felt was a reply eluding to the fact he didn’t believe me. Dude, why would I lie about something that’s a very obvious safety hazard? If I were going to make up a story about my car, I would have said I got a flat tire or the battery died. Not that I can’t get the damn thing up to speed and when I do, it’s immediate and sharp. I’m already looking into getting a new car. This one will be paid off in July.

Really what’s happening is I’m second guessing myself constantly. It’s about the only consistent issue I have stemming from the abuse. If something doesn’t work out or I don’t get a reaction I’m expecting, all of a sudden I look at my actions and try to figure out what I did wrong. If I’m still doing the same thing at work, what have I done wrong to keep me there? If I got rejected from another position, what didn’t I do that would have given me a leg up? Hell, if Boy is abnormally quiet, I start racking my brain for something I could have said or done that was wrong. Everything that doesn’t go the way I want it or think it will go is because I did something wrong. Things can’t just happen. It’s a direct result of something I did wrong. I recognize that I do it and try to keep it in check. I try to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. If if I do screw up, it’s not the end of the world. No one is going to die because I put my foot in my mouth or I was a little more abrupt than I intended. I know when I’m doing the best I can with what I have and that isn’t something worth second guessing. I know when I’m half assing something. If I am, then I probably earned whatever happens. If I’m doing my best and it doesn’t work out, that’s not my fault. I shouldn’t blame myself. That’s painfully easier said than done.

I an epiphany yesterday. I was in the rowing class, mind you it was my third attempt EVER, and the teacher came over and corrected my form. My first thought was “Why don’t I already get this?”. Um, because you just learned it, girlfriend. The perfectionist in me walked over, slapped me in the face, then walked away. It’s amazing when you finally understand something about yourself on a practical level and not just a theoretical level. I’m a raging perfectionist because perfectionists never do anything wrong and therefore I don’t have to worry about what I may have said or done because I pulled it off perfectly. There’s no reason for anyone to be upset with me or for me to be concerned with what I did. I did the same thing in dance. I would look at other dancers and wonder how they managed to get it better than I did. Oh right, they’ve been attending class 4 or 5 days a week when I show up as it suits me and my schedule. It’s not right or wrong or positive or negative. It just is. That’s okay. I guarantee that the other people in the class be it dance, rowing, or spin aren’t looking at me thinking “Wow, she really sucks. Why is she even in here?”. I’m in there for one person. Me. Even if she is a second guessing perfectionist.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend full of fun and games.

XOXO!

Of Backstreet Boys and crippling insecurity

Confession Time: I’ve been binge listening to the Backstreet Boys’ entire body of work. For those keeping score at home that’s 18+ years since their first album was released in the US. Not that I’m a BSB hipster or anything *looks around all shifty like*. I do owe them a debt of gratitude. “Everybody” is what got me into dance in the first place. I had a VHS (yes, I’m that old) of a behind the scenes of the production of “Everybody” and “As Long As You Love Me”. Each section, of course, culminated with the video itself. I literally stood in front of the TV with the remote in my hand for days and taught myself the choreography for “Everybody”. After driving my mother nuts, she put me in dance classes. The rest was history.

In the process of going through the songs, it hit me how wildly unhealthy most of them are. It’s not 50 Shades of Grey unhealthy, but sets up ridiculous expectations of what relationships should be. When you’re thirteen, it doesn’t really sink in. “As Long As You Love Me” immediately leaps to mind. Moral of the story? I don’t care if you’re a felon wanted by state and federal authorities, it’s no big as long as you’re head over heels for me. *facepalm* Other messages include “I dumped you like a year ago, but I want you back now so I’m going to stalk you either by phone or in person” or “You dumped me, but that’s cool. I’ll still stalk you in person or over the phone”. There’s the handful of “I’m a total douche, but you keep me around anyway” or “I cheated on you, but I’m totally sorry and you’ll totally take me back. Right?”. It’s not a case of I wouldn’t let my daughter listen to their music because ultimately it’s what sells and I’ll take that over pimping hoes and capping homies. Just sayin’.

It is, however, a little insidious. I found myself starting to think some of it was okay. That’s romantic, right? No, Emily, it’s not. Tell your thirteen year old self to get her shit together. Their music spoke to a thirteen year old girl who had very little common ground with her peers. Being into one of the biggest pop groups in the world was something that bridged the gap just a tiny bit. Other girls liked them, so I wasn’t *that* weird. I did, however, steadfastly hide my Butch Walker and Goo Goo Dolls albums. That negated the normal that my BSB habit brought me. They also did put on epic concerts. I believe their show at the Georgia Dome during the Millennium tour still holds the record for largest indoor concert ever. I was there and witnessed all the pomp and circumstance. For the longest time on Facebook under my dad’s interests he had “Whatever my daughter are into”. Thanks Dad. :D

It took me a long time to learn to let my freak flag fly. I wish I could tell my thirteen year old self that it’s okay. It’s okay to be weird and different. It’s the weird and different people who make a real impression in life. Be into something because you like it, not simply to fit in. Even if it’s “over” and you still like it, own it. If it’s “in” and you actually are into it, go for it. If it’s something that causes people to give you the side eye, fuck ‘em. Of course, she wouldn’t believe me, but it might have stuck with her a little bit. There are still days that my thirty year old self just wants to fit in. Then I remember that normal people scare me. I know I’ve said it a thousand times before, but it bears repeating. I stand out regardless of what I’m wearing or how many tattoos I have. I’m the kind of person who walks into a room and the record screeches to a halt. People I haven’t spoken to in years remember me. Sooner or later, when you know you literally can’t disappear into the crowd, you learn how to embrace it rather than fight it. Thirteen year old Emily didn’t quite have it figured out yet, but she got there, Backstreet Boys or no Backstreet Boys.

XOXO!

P.S. If AJ showed up at my door and asked me to have sex with him, I’d do it. No more risk of statutory rape!

P.P. S. If you’re into N*SYNC we can’t be friends any more. Ever. You’re dead to me.

Of $90 yoga pants and the perfect thing for smart people who work out

Once again, my love / hate relationship with Facebook has resulted in love. I saw an add for ClassPass and was all “Hey! What’s this?”. It’s a genius idea is what it is. For $79 – $99 a month (depending on your city. NYC is $99 while Atlanta is $79), you get unlimited classes at the studios who have partnered with ClassPass. The caveat is you can only take 3 classes at any one studio per month. I’m down with that because it forces you to expand your horizons. If you really, really love a studio, you can book directly with them, but what’s the point? If you wait it out, you’ve got 3 more classes ready and waiting. Atlanta currently has 98 studios to choose from and is constantly adding more options. As of right now, it’s only in major cities. You also get one freebie “travel” city. My sister lives in another ClassPass city, so I picked that one. It’s nice for people who travel a lot to one specific location. Be warned – it’s heavily marketed toward women. So unless you’re super comfortable around a bunch of women, I wouldn’t recommend it for men. The overwhelming option, at least here, is barre. More on why that’s a deceptive name in a minute.

There’s one thing I’ve noticed about smart people. We get bored really, really easily. My theory is our brains pick up on things very quickly and as a result get bored because, well, we’ve got it. I’ve found this in all areas of my life from tasks at work to my exercise choices. I need to accept that when it comes to exercise, I’m a bit of a commitment slut. I’ll like a workout once, then sign up for something that requires extra money to get out of OR a bunch of classes that end up going to waste because I just wasn’t feeling it for that particular period of time. This idea is absolutely perfect for me. I have no obligation to go to the same studio to get my money’s worth. In fact, after only 3 classes, I’d paid for the monthly fee and then some. I’ve taken 8 so far this month and still have 10 days left before the end of the cycle. Thus my boredom issue has been solved.

As I’ve discovered, barre classes have very little to do with actual ballet. The barre is simply a prop along with exercise balls, resistance bands, and therabands (the stretchy bands frequently used with athletes recovering from an injury). In short, it’s Pilates standing up. I wasn’t thrilled to walk into my first class to discover there were no plies or releves. At one studio the instructor counted to 10 and that threw me for a huge loop. For those who aren’t aware, ballet is counted in 8s. However, when I tried a different studio, that instructor counted in 8s. That’s not saying they aren’t a solid workout. My lower abs and quads were making themselves known. Just like yoga, there are set moves, but depending on the teacher, your mileage may vary.

Lastly, I’ve gotten sucked into the Lululemon trap a few times. It’s the “it” brand for yoga and running pants. Like most “it” brands, they ain’t cheap. They’ll range from $80 – $100 per pair. Did your eyes just pop out of your head? Yeah, I had sticker shock, too. I got a pair just to see why these are so damn popular and every time I wear them, I bitch about how hot they are. Turns out, that’s the point. They’re designed to keep your muscles warm and more loose because they don’t lose heat. Oh. Learn something new every day. I’m not going to run out and buy a pair for every day of the week, but I’ll be a little kinder to them. Downside? They stink after they’re worn. It takes a round of Febreeze, a wash, another round of Febreeze, then a round through the dryer. Even then, it doesn’t completely get rid of the smell. You have been warned.

In short, if you can get your hands on a ClassPass deal, do it. I don’t usually plug things like this, but it was worth mentioning. Happy exercising!

XOXO!

Of 50 Shades of Beating My Head Against a Wall and Colin Firth with a bulletproof umbrella

Hello fair readers! I have not abandoned you! I have merely found this obnoxious thing called life getting in the way. ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day and not so happy 50 Shades of Grey release day. As the reviews roll in, everyone comes to the same conclusion. The movie blows and not in the fun way. The New Yorker concluded that all Mr. Grey wants is a pony. From the other side of the pond, The Guardian offers probably the most entertaining review. Warning – do not consume a beverage during reading. It will come out your nose. The Aussies also had their take and the only reason it got 2 stars instead of 1 was because one of the critics liked the soundtrack. Finally, and the coup de grace, is the stars themselves didn’t like it. Spoiler alert – Jamie Dornan admitted to taking a shower after he got home before he would hug his wife and daughter. Yeah.

However, it will still make millions of dollars because women, apparently, don’t understand the difference between abuse and romance. As a survivor, after I’m done with the satirical reviews and synopses, found it incredibly disconcerting. I had forgotten that he flat out rapes her in one scene. How is that okay?! Clue – it ain’t. Their relationship literally hits on every single indication of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Romance, ladies and gents, is buying your partner a gift *because you want to*, not to manipulate them into doing something they’ve previously stated they aren’t comfortable with. Romance is busting out the bubble bath with candles and rose petals if that’s their thing. It’s not mine and probably not most dudes’ things, but I don’t judge. If he wants rose petals and candles, more power to him. Abuse is doing something nice for someone else with the intent that they’ll “return the favor” regardless of their feelings on said reciprocation. Romance is doing something for your partner WITHOUT the expectation of something in return whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet or really awesome oral sex.

Naturally, I’m coming from the perspective of a straight female. The story also does men a disservice. Boys, that’s not how you treat your lady. If she says no, she means no. If she says she needs space, respect it. Be the dude who actually listens. Stalking her is not romantic. It’ll just get you a restraining order. I know most men are NOT this creepy cad, but it bears saying. Intimidation techniques should be left to the battlefield, not the bedroom.

Last fall when I was working DragonCon, there was a BDSM panel where people who were in the lifestyle talked about what it’s like, how to become part of it, etc. They flat out refused to address 50 Shades of Grey. Just because you may have been abused previously doesn’t automatically mean you become part of the lifestyle. People with standard histories can be just as into it as those who had abuse in their pasts. Ironically, BDSM relationships are some of the most sane because everyone has to know going in what’s going to happen before they start the scene AND agree to what is proposed. Depending on how hardcore it is, it could result in serious injury. One of the men spoke up saying that he had injured a partner and he felt guilty about it for weeks. There’s a level of communication that doesn’t exist in a lot of “normal” relationships. Pro tip: Whether or not your sex life involves whips and chains, talk first.

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve already heard this. For everyone who buys a ticket to this steaming turd of abuse glorifying, they should be required to donate twice the ticket price to a group which assists rape survivors and victims of domestic violence.

You can also just go see Kingsman. It involves Colin Firth using a bulletproof umbrella.  Samuel L. Jackson does an excellent job as a riff on a traditional Bond villain. Boy and I got to see an advance screening and it’s SO GOOD. Run, don’t walk to support well hidden weapons and an evil tech genius. It’s all the soul bleach you’ll need.

XOXO!

Of wish lists and sequined outfits

One week from today is my 30th birthday.

Instead of putting down New Year’s Resolutions, I’m simply putting my intentions out there for my 30th year. As a friend of mine put it after listing all the things she wanted in a relationship, “it never hurts to ask”. So for my birthday (and beyond), my list of intentions:

  • Find an occasion to wear all the fancy clothes I got over Christmas.
  • Don’t stifle my passions in the name of practicality. If I’m physically and financially able, go for it.
  • Laugh more. Mostly at myself.
  • Put on some lipstick more often.
  • Don’t let the bastards get me down.
  • Work a little magic in someone else’s life.
  • Say “yes”.
  • Don’t interpret ignorance as hate.
  • Perform a “digital detox” at least once this year.
  • Keep the dining room table clean (this is far more difficult than it sounds).
  • Get the art print we bought last February framed.
  • Volunteer at least once this year with an organization that supports a cause I can get behind.
  • Soften the edges of my opinions when expressing them to someone else.

Also a viewing of “13 Going On 30″ is necessary. And Boy is taking me to a Monster Truck rally to mark my birthday. Vroom vroom!

XOXO!

Of fathers and the advice they offer

Lately when I’ve been talking to people, I’ve noticed a lot of “My dad told me…” or “He instilled in me…”.  After almost losing him this year, I’ve taken what he’s taught me more to heart than ever. Since I love lists, here’s a list of things I’ve learned from my dad.

*Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

*Be grateful for the small gestures. It still means that person cares enough to try.

*Pick your battles.

*Basic self defense.

*The ins and outs of the working world, especially our industry.

*Recognizing when I’m getting frustrated and when to walk away.

*If someone breaks my heart, no matter how much he likes said person, he wouldn’t give a second thought to killing them, burying them face down in a shallow grave, and making sure that person is never heard from again. ;)

*Don’t take the world too seriously.

*Getting older is required, growing up is optional.

*You can never say “I love you” too much.

*The strength to take a deep breath, get up, and keep going.

*If you insist on throwing things during a tantrum, make sure it’s soft and you’re not aiming at anything living.

*Graveyard humor (as it were).

*There’s no shame in sobbing into someone’s shirt (read: his)

*Know your flaws and be patient with yourself. Don’t let someone else bring out the worst in you.

*Laugh

Now is the time to start planning something ridiculously over the top for his 60th birthday. I’m thinking Vegas. ;)

XOXO!