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Happy and Fragile

I cried at work yesterday.

And it was as embarrassing as it sounds.

It wasn’t even over something good like missing my Dad. I wasn’t even having a bad day! I swear!

Basically someone very sweet and kind pointing out something I kinda already knew about posting about aggravations with my house on Facebook while selling my house and the combination of it being

A) Something that made me feel dumb because I should have kinda known it already and
B) Something about SELLING MY HOUSE: Currently the thing that makes me the most stressed right now

it all just hit a trigger point. I felt the tears IMMEDIATELY and tried to hide my face in work but I had to talk and it was so obvious and she felt so terrible and I kinda wanted to jump out of the window into the CVS parking lot below.

SO EMBARRASSED.

But y’all. Obviously that was SUCH a trigger. Even now, thinking about it, I’m having to fight back tears.

And then, because of this, I went and viewed my Facebook page as someone NOT friends of me would see it and changed the privacy on all of my public posts. I should have done this AGES I go. I know people stalk people on Facebook, I’m certain if we get any serious buyers they’d do that. I just hadn’t really thought about THAT as it relates to my assortment of public posts. (For the record, my coworker’s comment had nothing to do with that kind of stuff, it was just related to selling my house and things I post on Facebook so it got me thinking.)

So I went to make them back to private and that SUCKS because if I make a post public, it’s because my friends are sharing it out. It means my words about some issues (usually social justice) were so good that someone wanted to share it so I made it public. So I had to take time to change all of those to private just in case someone who wants to buy my house is NOT a friend of the LGBT community. And before the Target bathroom fiasco, I was confident none of my posts would offend anyone because we had an OUTPOURING of love here when gay marriage was legalized.

But now half of my feed is boycotting Target and half of my public posts are Trans advocacy posts and well, which do I want more, to sell my house or to make sure strangers know I support the Trans community.

And the answer to THAT is depressing too.

But really, it’s selling my house that’s depressing. Because I can not keep it clean. Everyone is trying but jeepers, we are just DAMN BUSY.

But also? I’m sad my friends are boycotting Target.

I don’t know. I’m really in a good place. That’s the other frustrating thing. This week has felt good. YESTERDAY felt good. Those tears anger me even more because I feel like they say, “Mentally unstable!” when truth-be-told, I’m the most stable I’ve been in months. I AM FINE. I PROMISE.

But the tears. I could not stop them. House. Trans Advocacy. Target.

I’m super sensitive and crying at the drop of a hat BUT I SWEAR I AM DOING GREAT. I mean, does that even make sense? I want to be like, “Don’t worry about me! You should have worried about me a month ago when I didn’t cry in front of anyone. Don’t worry about me now! I know I’m crying but I promise! I’m fine! I just wish I could sell my house and I wish people would see the Target Bathroom Drama through the eyes of people who love their Transgender neighbors. It’s painful. THAT IS WHY I’M CRYING. I promise! I’m actually happy!”

One thing is for sure. I need to go for a run this morning. So I don’t have time to wrap this up in a cohesive way. I guess this is maybe a Stream of Consciousness type of post. Thanks for hearing me out. Here’s to miles bringing some emotional stability. Here’s to happiness disguised in tears.

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Training For Gratitude.

This week has been full of enlightenments in so many forms that I sat down this morning to write and thought, “I CAN’T EVEN DECIDE WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT.”

The cool thing is a lot of my revelations came from friends, AND I DON’T HAVE TO PAY THEM! Woo Hoo!

I had a meeting at my house last night and one of the points of discussion was, “How do we make sure our kids don’t grow up spoiled or entitled?” I think we all agreed that some entitlement is inevitable, but what can we do to minimize that and to make sure they have a realistic view of their own privilege? It’s so easy to think the greater world is just a BIGGER version of our small sphere of experience, but it’s so VERY NOT true. Relative to the world, hell – even just to the rest of our country, my family is wealthy in many different ways. How do I make sure my kids realize how rich we are, even if half of their friends have iPads when they don’t?

It turns out a lot of my friends institute gratitude rituals in their families. In some, it’s part of prayers, in others its just part of recaps of days. In my house? It’s part of nothing. We do “Highs and Lows” some days, but we don’t specifically talk about gratitude. One friend referenced that gratitude is like a muscle you need to work out regularly so that it’s always in shape and comes easy and almost instinctively. One friend does this with constant questioning of her kids, “What are you thankful for?”

So, obviously, I’m stealing that idea.

I’m going to try to start making that part of meal time. We don’t do prayers, except at big family functions. But I like the idea that before meals we could take a moment to share something we’re thankful for. I already forgot to do it once this morning at breakfast, so obviously my gratitude muscle is just as in need of working out.

Do you have any gratitude rituals in your family? Do you have any ways to kinda “force” your kids to recognize things in their life they should or could be thankful for?

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Lightening the Load, Without Actually Lightening The Load

Programming Note: I’m very self conscious about constantly referencing therapy, not wanting to be that person who talks about therapy all the time. So from here on out, please assume any wise conclusion I come to I did not come to on my own.

I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and about 2 weeks ago I started realizing I need to remove some of it. We’ve all been there, right? And it’s a terrible place to be because inevitably, you’re letting someone down.

I examined my “To Do” lists that I was never completing and found very little I could really let go of as there’s a certain level of obligation you kinda have to accept due to commitments made. I did have to turn down freelance work for someone I really like working for, but other than that? There was really nothing I could remove. The truth of the matter is, until this house sells? I just have TOO MUCH on my plate.

So, after turning down the freelance job, I opted to maybe lighten the level of “clean” (although it was already pretty light) I was trying to keep my house and just telling the universe, “If someone won’t buy my house because there’s dust on those shelves in that room I never go to, then so be it.”

And then it was time to approach my obligations differently so maybe they wouldn’t stress me out so much. I did three things.

1) I stopped wearing my watch. I found myself constantly analyzing how much time I had left either because I was trying to finish something on time (cleaning my house before the showing) or because I was frustrated I couldn’t get to something (when errands are taking too long) in time. I also was hyper-aware of how little sleep I was getting, something that has gotten even worse with allergy season. SO? Now I have to deliberately decide to look at the time either on my phone, clock, or computer. Which makes time a little less of a source of anxiety.

2) I stopped dating my To Do lists. Normally daily pages in my bullet journal have pretty banners at the top with the date on them. But that kinda makes me feel really shitty when I can’t get stuff done on the day I assigned the task. Now? It just a general TO DO list that I add to until it’s time to start a new page. I don’t stare at the un-checked items under YESTERDAY’S page and feel guilt.

3)I made a To Joy list that I stare at all day. I like to keep my bullet journal open on my desk so I can write things down in it throughout my day. But that means I’m staring at my To Do list and a lot of the things I can’t do from work. So, now? I have a To Joy list with things that have INTRINSIC value and THAT is the list and THOSE are the items I stare at all day. I check in on the “To Do” list occasionally of course, practically it’s necessary. BUT – I’m not staring at it all day as it looms over my subconscious.

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I’m hoping these things help with my anxiety level which, HOPEFULLY, will help with my stress eating. It didn’t work yesterday, for the record. BUT THERE IS ALWAYS TODAY!

We’ve had 5 showings in one month (compared to 3 showings in 6 months the last time we tried to sell) on our house but everyone hates all the stairs leading to the front door. We have another showing this morning. Let’s hope these people like squats.

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The Beauty Of Our Flaws

Yesterday my therapist introduced me to “Kintsugi” or “Kintsukuroi” which is the art of repairing pottery with a substance that is laced with metals/gold so that it highlights the cracks instead of hides them.

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This is something I don’t think I realized I was doing, but that I think has been instrumental in helping me break through my social anxieties. For example, I joke a lot on Facebook about my social ineptitudes, mainly because I want them out in the open so that when I inevitably screw things up…no one is surprised. I get names wrong ALL OF THE TIME and I disclose the many MANY times I’ve embarrassed myself so that maybe when I mess up someone’s name, they’ll take it less personally because I’ve been open about my problems with using names incorrectly.

This idea of Kintsugi works really well in reference to my problem with getting names wrong because, truthfully, I have terrible stories about getting names wrong because of how many times I get names right. I like to use people’s names as often as possible because I feel it gives an extra connection that makes me more at ease in a social situation. It’s a stabilizing force when I use someone’s name, like a reminder: YOU KNOW THIS PERSON, DO NOT PANIC.

So, getting their names wrong is actually a flaw aligned with a very good habit of just using names in general. So it’s actually part of a more beautiful quality and highlighting that one flaw – the times I fail – just adds beauty to the trait all together: Of me making social connections by using people’s names.

I like this much better than trying to pretend it never happens, OR WORSE, giving up using names all together to keep it from happening again. NO. That would be fixing the crack but hiding it. Instead, I’m finding beauty in the entire piece of pottery and seeing that the flaw of using the wrong name can be a beautiful part of a lovely work of art.

But also I like the idea that even as we work on some of the “flaws” in our pottery, we don’t have to hide that they were ever there. This is again, something I like to openly discuss because I feel like it helps me make connections. Pretending I’m perfect has never helped me make friends. Bonding over ineptitudes has. The majority of my good friends and I connect a lot over our own social anxieties. I even joked with one friend recently about an expo we were both working at and we both kinda admitted we were VERY overwhelmed by the entire thing (SO MANY PEOPLE!) and how I stayed behind my table the whole time and she noticed and told me she was jealous because that’s all she wanted to do. Before that day? I considered her an acquaintance, but now? I consider her a friend. Bonding over our own flaws opens a vulnerability that I think really helps form connections.

I just love the idea that perfection is not the goal. We want to function, we want to hold water, so problems need to be address that impede functioning at a human level. But they don’t have to be hidden. We fix what can help us hold water better, but we don’t have to hide it.

I’ve not been very present lately. I’ve been the opposite. I’ve been disconnecting from my family and my life a lot just because I’m tired. Not just physically (although I’ve not been getting more than 5 hours of sleep a night for a week) but emotionally. I’m just frazzled with this general feeling that I’m not on a path that will help me make the world better. I’m kinda just stuck in this mundane existence, trying to sell my house, trying to raise my kids, trying not to be so overwhelmed that I jump off a bridge, but GLOBALLY, I’m doing nothing. And that has me retreating a bit into this disconnected existence so that I don’t have to think too much about that.

But I really want to be more present. I want to be more DELIBERATE. I want to connect more instead of less. I want to find inspiration. I want to feel that even if I’m not feeding the poor or medicating the sick or saving the planet, I’m still doing something in my tiny world to add positive energy.

So I fill my cracks with gold and I try to hold water again so that I can at least nourish the people around me for a moment. And maybe they’ll be the ones that make the world better until I find a path that allows me to join in.

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Why I’m Not On American Idol (Thankfully)

(NOTE: Sorry if you’ve heard this first story before, but it’s relevant to this blog entry.)

I used to LOVE singing at church. I would sing LOUD and PROUD and would even sing my favorite hymns in the shower or just passing time. I thought I was a GREAT singer. I sounded GREAT in my head. Then, one day a girl named Michelle whispered to me during school mass, “Um…you know you don’t sing well right? And you’re really loud.” I didn’t believe her at first, but then I recorded myself and played it back and was like, OH MY GOD. SHE IS RIGHT. I AM TERRIBLE.

IT DEVASTATED ME.

BUT! I’ve been VERY grateful for that truth talk ever since. First off, I still kept singing, just not as loud when there were/are other people around and even to this day (hence the note) I tell people who might hear me singing, “I know I’m a terrible singer, but I like singing so I do it anyway.”

But if she hadn’t told me I might have ended up as one of those clueless singers on American Idol that everyone makes fun of. So, while it hurt me, I’m still grateful so I could have prevented a lifetime of further embarrassment.

All of that brings me to a realization I had in my groggy day yesterday. A terrible self-realization that makes me wonder why anyone has bothered to hang out with me.

I complain a lot online. A LOT. Now, I always do it in some sort of funny/snarky tweet or facebook post or instagram caption, but deep down it is still ZOOT COMPLAINING AGAIN. I think I never noticed because I always try to be funny about it but still, it’s always me being “funny” about being sick, or getting no sleep, or having to clean the house, etc. It’s never me being “funny” about positive things in my life. It occurred to me that people who only know me from those quick blurbs (and even real world people I don’t see often so they only keep up with me from those blurbs) that’s all they ever see. OH LOOK, Zoot is trying to be clever but STILL COMPLAINING AGAIN. If you scroll back through my past few weeks of Facebook statuses or Tweets or Instagram posts it’s all…Sick Kid, Sick Spouse, Poison Ivy, Other Sick Kid, Damn Cleaning House, Sick Spouse, Sick Kid, Bruised Legs From A Fall…

JEEZUS, ZOOT. Is there anything good going on in your life?

Like I said, it’s all hidden in what I obviously consider to be cute/lighthearted posts…but still…COMPLAINING. I thought about it all day and just replayed all of the statuses recently that were just complaints hidden behind cute verbage or snarky stories. I tried to be funny, but still, ALWAYS WITH THE COMPLAINING.

I have become the person I hate.

I thought about it a lot and I think the cause is twofold.

1) I just like to be active on social media and those are totally easy schticks to fall back on. Oh! Sick kid! Let’s joke about that. Easy material.

2) I feel like I’m dropping a lot of balls lately – or at least late throwing them in the air – so I want to make sure everyone knows why. I just want it to be out there: ZOOT’S WHOLE FAMILY IS SICK AGAIN so that if someone is wondering why I haven’t answered their email, they’ll see that and know why.

But still…that doesn’t change that when that’s ALL I do, I become that person we all secretly hate on the internet. Zoot’s got a problem in her life again. Woe is her. Big surprise.

And I do NOT want to be that girl. SO! I’m going to challenge myself to see how long I can go without posting a status/tweet/instagram that hides some sort of complaint I’m having. If someone needs to know why I haven’t answered their emails? They can ask. But maybe I can just try to – I don’t know – CATCH UP ON STUFF. Which maybe I can do now that I can breathe again.

(I’m obviously not going to stop hiding my complaints on the blog. That would be crazy.)

I’m going to TRY to limit it in my real life too, because the realization of seeing how much I do it online triggered the realization of how much I do it in my family life and like I said…I always try to be cute/laid back about it so I’m not a Debbie Downer…BUT STILL. ALWAYS WITH THE COMPLAINING. But real life is going to be harder so I’m going to start with my online life. THINK BEFORE YOU SEND/PUBLISH, ZOOT.

I guess I just wish Michelle were still in my life so she could notice the bad traits I have and point them out. I’m hoping people who like me don’t notice, or just let it slide, but since she and I were never close she did not have that obligation. She was just brutally honest and protected me from a lifetime of embarrassment.

Thank you, Michelle…wherever you are.

Here’s to not finding cute ways to hiding complaints in all of my social media. Instead, I’m going to go back to talking too much about Hamilton.