Untitled-1

Are We All Trying To Be Two Different People?

Glennon Doyle wrote a piece yesterday about a man who left her a terrible insult on her Facebook page the same day he announced via his own Facebook wall that his pregnant wife found out they were having a daughter.

There are not two of you, sir. There is not you, the father – and you, the internet misogynist. The internet you IS YOU. If you are a misogynist on the internet, you are also a misogynist in your daughter’s nursery. While you are holding her. While you are whispering to her your dreams for her: That she uses her heart and her mind and her passion to live a big life of purpose.

It was a great piece and I highly encourage you read it.

It got me thinking of all of the Anti-Clinton and Anti-Trump memes and status I see on my Facebook feed every day. I think we can take the message about concerning dual personalities into our own Facebook spheres.

We are in this scary political time where fear drives people to click links and view news; so the world of media focuses on rare (but terrifying) stories of tragedies and headlines are baiting with fear-inducing phrasing that rarely have anything to do with the content of the article itself. Political discord is built on Worse-Case-Scenarios that are posed as guaranteed outcomes if opposing governing bodies win any election. We have gone from trying to form a global melting pot to a perpetual fear of the OTHER and people who make money off our eyeballs on their content are capitalizing on that.

And all of this fear and anxiety is most easily expressed behind a Facebook status sharing nothing but a meme insulting anyone in your circle who thinks differently from you.

I have seen people post horrible memes and statuses on Facebook regarding politics of their opposition that they would NEVER say to the face of someone they love. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. There’s no surprise there. Yet no one has started a political conversation with me to inform me that my candidate is a corrupt idiot who will lead our country to an economic wasteland.

But holy crap if I don’t see that sentiment all over my feed.

And my side is worse. There are postings of insult after insult of people considering voting for Trump yet are any of those people taking time to recognize that there are friends and family in their circle voting for him – EVEN IF THEY DON’T KNOW IT. I know several respectable people who are voting for him. So, while he scares me, and I don’t quite understand, I’m not going to post something insulting about his supporters unless I’m willing to sit down with my friends and family and say the exact thing to their face.

We all are allowing ourselves different social rules on Facebook than we do in face-to-face interactions. That weird liberation from typical social norms tempered with the political climate of fear and anger has created monsters out of many of us.

All I think is that maybe we ALL remember that there can’t be two of us. If we are judgemental assholes online – simplifying people into worthy/unworthy based solely on their political leanings – then that’s who we are in the real world too. Consider the political statuses and memes you post. Now, imagine the friend or family member who votes the way that meme or status is slinging insults. (If you can think of NO ONE who votes differently than you do, we have entirely bigger issues to discuss.) Now, imagine that person standing in front of you. Would you say the words in that status to their face? Would you mock their candidate of choice if it was just you and them in a room together? Or would you maybe try to have a polite discussion with them about politics? Because if you can’t imagine doing either – then maybe you’re just adding fuel to a fire you never wanted to start.

But if you want to watch all of the relationships you have with people who vote differently burn, then keep pouring the gasoline. I think we’ve lost control of the fire at this point anyway.

This is what INBOX ZERO looks like in Google Inbox. It's huge motivation because it's so pretty.

Improving Digital Communications


“Oh! Look! An Email! I’ll read it during this 90 seconds I have while my lunch heats up.”

Zoot reads email

“Oh. This is a lovely email that needs a lovely response. (Or maybe: This is a question that needs a well thought-out answer.) My 90 seconds is up. I need some time to actually compose a well-thought out response. I’ll do it later.”

LATER NEVER COMES.

Zoot forgets entirely about email

This is my life. And it goes for Facebook messages and Twitter DMs and Instagram comments. I’m really bad about using small pockets of time – while waiting in line at Target, or waiting for my meal to heat up, or waiting for my kid to get out of the bathroom – to check messages and emails. THIS IS A TERRIBLE HABIT, I have decided. Because I never have time to respond if it requires more than 1 or 2 sentences and so I wait, and then eventually I forget about it. Not because the message or email wasn’t important. But because the message or email was digested during a rushed moment of “waiting” when my long-term memory is turned off to conserve energy for the task that I’m waiting on.

If it’s an email then at least, weeks or months later, I’ll go through my inbox and eventually see it and feel really bad and probably not respond because I feel so terrible. OR, if it’s some other message, I’ll miss it entirely and never remember it again. Email has an inbox where nothing gets cleared out unless I clear it out. But FB messages and Twitter DMs and Instagram comments just keep getting buried under other messages so I no longer see them, making them permanently forgotten.

SO. What is the solution? FIX ME, BLOG FRIENDS? Do I only read messages/emails/tweets/comments when I have time to respond and/or address them? BUT THEN HOW DO I PASS TIME WAITING IN LINES? Do you have designated “check communications” times? I keep my email open all day, maybe that’s the problem? Although email I at least notice once in awhile, the other methods of communications get lost after time. FOREVER. I at least address my inbox once a month or so. The Facebook messenger app is the place where messages go to die.

1524090051_364ba1e724_z

Productivity v/s Piddling

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post this morning. I was very happy to have discovered I had $114 in my Amazon account from the Amazon settlement and I really wanted to finally buy the perfect bag I’ve been shopping for forever. I found the bag (I don’t know if it’s perfect in general – BUT – it’s definitely going to be perfect for my vacation coming up to Breckenridge.) and had time to kill so I surfed around Facebook for a bit and found this article about the art of piddling.

A piddler does not fix a leaky washing machine, or a slipping transmission, or a hole in a roof. Such work is necessary, and the more necessary a labor is, the farther from piddling it becomes. A piddler may use tools, but only small, light ones, and only on things that are not needed right then. Changing out a car battery in the dead of winter is not piddling, because it is a necessity. But tinkering with a lawn mower in the middle of February is, especially if the grass is deader than Great-Aunt Minnie’s house cat and buried under a foot of snow. Doing a load of laundry is, of course, not piddling. Organizing one’s sock drawer by color and fiber is.

I’ve been debating myself lately about this weird illusion our society has created where success (or PERCEIVED success) is defined by:

1) How busy you are
2) How little sleep you get
3) How much you check off on your To Do list
4) How little time you waste

This has been a debate in myself because I’m an inherit planner (a trick to combat anxiety as mentioned yesterday in the comments) and so time should not be wasted. BUT! I’m also very proudly dependent on my sleep and refuse to sacrifice that if I can avoid it.

I’m often reading or hearing people talk about “how little sleep they get” and here I am doing my best to get in bed by 8pm and feeling suddenly like I’m less because of it.

I love to veg out and watch TV. LURVE IT. But, I often have this one part of me that’s like: GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING because I feel like if I’m not DOING something on my list then I’m a failure. But then there’s another part of me (the part that LURVES sleep) that says, “Life is short. Who cares if the floor is clean. This activity right here is making me happy.”

The article about piddling hit home because I used to piddle a lot more. I used to organize things for no reason other than I liked organizing. I used to rearrange furniture and rearrange the stuff on my desk. I HAVEN’T DONE THAT IN AGES. This article reminded me how nice it is to busy yourself doing something completely unnecessary while convincing yourself it is totally necessary in that moment. I MISS PIDDLING.

I feel like I have two very different parts of my brain battling it out and I think that’s not a surprise as I’ve always showed characteristics of having an engineering-type brain AND an artist-type brain. They’re both there but neither are dominant enough to provide any guidance. I’ve always been good at and and love math, but I’m also a very qualified space case who daydreams and doodles. I don’t do either WELL, but they are both very present and often create these dueling moments which DOES NOTHING TO HELP MY ANXIETY.

Let’s nap! And then let’s color in that new coloring book! And then let’s put all of our Harry Potter memorabilia on that one shelf that is boring upstairs.

The floor is gross. I need to clean the upstairs toilet. I’m behind on my email.

And it’s not even like it’s obvious which one will make me HAPPY because I’m just as happy wasting time with my Harry Potter knickknacks as I am crossing chores off my To Do list. What I’m not happy with is ONE voice in my head berating the other voice when the decision has been made.

And I’m also not happy that society seems to push me towards my “To Do” list more when – WHY? WHY ARE WE CONSTANTLY GOING GOING GOING AND NEVER SLEEPING? WE NEED MORE SLEEP, PEOPLE.

(Says the girl who wakes up before 4am at least 5 days a week.)

I had to cancel several therapy sessions in a row due to an inability to get it in around work as I’m about to go on vacation and need to get paid for as many hours as possible to make up for the days with no paycheck. This is a sucky fact of life that you forget about if you live with a salaried job. By the time I see my therapist again it will have been over a month and while she gave me homework that goes along with a lot of the work we’ve been doing, I think I’m going to shift gears with her instead when I see her and go in this direction. How do I find the right balance for me? How do I avoid neglecting the piddler/artist side of my brain because all of my friends doing ALL OF THE STUFF on Facebook make me feel guilty? How do I find the balance between “Doing what life needs me to do” and “Not forgetting the value of mindless piddling” to keep me at peace and to manage my anxiety?

Also – I gave up training. Not only did I realize I can’t run successfully through the night – thereby breaking me of my goal of 100 miles at my race in September; but I also realized it’s impossible for Donnie and I to both train during the same season. (I know. This is a lesson we already learned but we thought it would be easier since he was just running and not doing multi-sport training.) I’m running maybe 20 miles a week now? And it’s kinda nice. I’m going out for 3-5 mile runs a few times a week and THAT IS IT. And as guilty as I feel as an ultra-runner, it has been SUCH A TREAT not having to plan my life around running.

So, yeah. I need to find the balance because whenever I allow myself time to piddle, or a break from obligations, I am happier because of it. But then the guilt sets in because it feels like EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS SUPER PRODUCTIVE AND SACRIFICING SLEEP AND I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO NAPS ANYMORE.

Where do you fall on the piddling/productivity scale?

IMG_5148

Future Planner Addicts Of America.

I took this picture in August of 2006. I captioned it back then as “These are all of the calendars/planners I’ve already bought this year. I think I have a problem.”

210325755_b624e8a0b4_o

You think Kim of 2006? THINK? 8 months into the year and you already bought SIX DIFFERENT CALENDARS/PLANNERS? YES. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY.

(I haven’t done this in 3 years since I’ve been using the bullet journal system, FYI.)

And it wasn’t just calendars or planners. I was addicted to journals too because I liked to write things and there was never enough room in the calendars/planners. I remember my dad really losing his temper with me once over my compulsion with journals.

“YOU BOUGHT ANOTHER BLANK NOTEBOOK? BUT YOU HAVE THIRTY WITH JUST THE FIRST FEW PAGES USED IN EACH OF THEM!”

“…What’s your point, Dad? I’m not understanding the problem.”

Well…it looks like my daughter inherited the Planner/Journal Addict gene.

IMG_5148

IMG_5150

But watching her exhibit the same tendencies has been enlightening because it turns out the constant need for journal/calendars is simply a manifestation of an INATE URGE TO PLAN. It’s not just a compulsion to buy the planners/journals. No! The purchases are the side effect of the compulsive desire to plan because I’m seeing it come out in my daughter and IT IS AMAZING.

She has to know all of the details of upcoming arrangements. SO SHE CAN PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

There is nothing that thrills her more than to have thought of something someone else did NOT think of and be able to ride in on her horse and save the day. When we went to Tennessee for a race I realized I forgot tall socks but SHE HAD BROUGHT EXTRAS. Of course she had.

Is it a week-long engineering camp? What are the rules about pencils because that one camp didn’t provide pencils and she was SO GLAD to have some of her own in her bag.

Will there be outside time? She needs to pack sunscreen if there will be, she does NOT want to get sunburned.

She also wants to be ready in case YOU forget something. Did you bring enough snacks? She brought plenty if you didn’t.

And the lists she makes!

We’re going to Colorado in 10 days and she’s been quizzing me constantly on various plans so she can update her list of Things To Pack.

On that list? 12 shirts. TWELVE. For a week-long trip.

“Nikki. There’s a washer and dryer. I plan on doing laundry while we’re gone because you’re the only one who has enough close to last the whole trip.”

“What if the washer breaks?”

Good point, kid.

She also has a page in a journal drawn out mapping out her and her brother’s plans for the summers. I have the EXACT PAGE in my bullet journal, but she thinks I might need backup.

I mean, my Dad was a planner and list-maker and I became one too so I don’t know why this is so surprised but OH MY GOD, SHE IS ONE OF US. WE MUST WELCOME HER INTO THE FOLD AND PROHIBIT HER FROM EVER ENTERING STAPLES WITH A CREDIT CARD.

Now. She still can’t remember to hang her wet towel up after a shower. And she “forgets” to brush her teeth daily. BUT MY GOD, she will remind me 14 times between now and our trip that I need to bring my reusable grocery bags with me since Colorado charges .10/bag if you have to use plastic at the store.

5561795800_d722fa4820_b

On Dying And Imaginary Traumas

I listen to the You Make It Weird podcast with Pete Holmes and while I really find it fascinating, it’s SUPER Not Safe For Work Or Children. He does long-form interviews – mostly with comedians – but sometimes with spiritual leaders and scientists as well. The name of the podcast is because he has really personal/uncomfortable conversations with people. He’s a comedian by trade, so he’s also funny, but every guest has to answer tough questions about their belief in god and an afterlife and drugs (he’s open about his use) and there is A LOT OF TALK ABOUT SEX. Like, A LOT. Some interviews more so than others. So, DO NOT LISTEN WITH YOUR KIDS IN THE CAR.

Anyway – I’m not sure if he’s everyone’s cup of tea or not – but I really like how wide ranging his interview answers can be and it often gets me thinking about how I fall on the spectrum of Things People Believe.

I told my therapists once that one of my super-powers is Empathy – which I think is why I’m able to let go of grudges really easily. However, I have a hard time with understanding other people’s concepts and beliefs of an afterlife. It’s funny, I can find myself understanding why someone might cheat on their spouse or embezzle funds from their company or want to vote for Trump. (That’s not a joke, I actually can understand it. I don’t agree with it. But I understand it.) But put me with someone who believes in Heaven or fears death and I really struggle connecting.

Granted – I’ve never been dying, so maybe if I got a terminal diagnosis of some sort it would be different. But, I do not fear death on any level. I fear pain, I fear, FEAR. So I don’t want to suffer painfully or be scared up to the moment of death, but death itself? I’m more like, “Thank god. At some point in time I can finally stop worrying.”

My therapist says that’s really common for the anxious atheist. She says anxious religious people tend to go the other direction and death becomes one of their anxieties, but for the atheist? She says it’s common for them not to fear death and too look at it as finally getting a break.

(I felt the need to add that last paragraph in case you think “I don’t fear death” is a scary statement. It’s not! I promise! My therapist says so! It’s not being suicidal! No matter how bad it sounds!)

My Dad went into death so peacefully and so unafraid, I think it was a great final lesson to give me. And the idea of an afterlife actually FREAKS ME OUT. I know that the various religious teachings don’t say that you’ll be the SAME person you are now, but the idea of continue forever to worry about the people still alive that I love seems TERRIBLE and if I’m not worrying about them, then I’m not really ME am I? Nope. I have a hard time relating to the idea that Heaven is something people look forward to. I really do. The idea of spiritual immortality FREAKS ME OUT and it’s like the one part of religion I just can not understand how people like it. Maybe I just can’t understand how a “me” without my anxieties is still “me” but I have no desire to live forever in any form.

Some of the interviews people talk about hoping there’s a “cure for death” in their lifetime so they can live forever. I’m like, “NO WAY. DO NOT SIGN ME UP FOR THAT SHIT.”

It’s just strange. I can totally understand transubstantiation in the Catholic church and fasting for the Islamic Ramadan or for the Jewish Yom Kippur. I can totally understand monotheism and polytheism in various degrees. Earthly beliefs from most religions traditions I can usually get behind. But once death arrives? The rest I just can’t relate to and it doesn’t seem appealing to me in the slightest. When Pete asks people about the afterlife and they say, “There has to be something, right?” I’m like, “Please, No.”

I blame a lot of my practical anxieties on the occurrence of vivid dreams/nightmares that cause traumas. I’ve had more Death By Car Wreck nightmares in my life than one human should have to have and they’re vivid and terrifying and I often blame them for my intense driving anxieties. But I also – weirdly – feel like they’re also responsible for my lack of fear of death. I’ve had dozens and dozens of car wreck dreams/nightmares where I’m plummeting off a bridge or a cliff or plowing towards a head-on collision and in my dream, I know death is coming, and I don’t fear it. It’s a very weird sensation. I always wake up feeling strange from those dreams/nightmares. The fear the moment before the crash is always gone and I just settle in like, “Alrighty then. Here we go.”

Those dreams have increased my fears of driving because I’m constantly having flashbacks to terrible wrecks I never actually had, but they have eliminated any fear of death I might have had.

The mind is a very weird thing, don’t you agree?