Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today Was Eventful In Its Own Special "Only In My Head" Way

I was eating an apple turnover today and after I took a bite I set it on the corner of the table (I do not know why) while I reached for my tall glass of cow-juice (nice imagery, huh?). As I tilted the glass to my lips I saw the apple compote spill out of the opening I had made with my last bite. Everything turned all slow motion-like and I said "Nooooooooooo!!" as I reached out to save the fruity goodness. I then realized that things had not in fact turned slo-mo-like, but rather I perceived it this way because the fruit guts of the turnover were quite gooey and thus moved at a very plodding pace. I was tricked to believe time had slowed down by an apple pastry.
Have I mentioned I am sick and had just woke up from a nap when this all occurred? Yeah, that still doesn't give me a good out, but perhaps a little lenience can be allowed.

During my nap I dreamt about a friend that I have not seen in the flesh for a good 10 years give or take, coming to visit me at my parent's house in Washington. He showed up with approximately four garment bags stuffed full and proceeded to change his clothes three times over the course of 20 minutes (in dream time, which has absolutely no bearing on reality time. Also, YAY DREAMS). He asked for advise on what to wear on a date with my sister (not my real-life one, but the extra one I have in my dreams. Again, whoa dreams). I pulled out some button down shirts and nixed them. I found a baseball shirt with a rather intricate diagram/flowchart on how to determine if what you want to do is okay by social standards. The only part I remember clearly stated the following in blue and red script: "Is the person you are asking if your actions are okay, smart?" "Yes" pointed to this bubble: "Follow their advice, they are most likely guiding you in the right direction" "No" pointed to: "They're stupid? Fuck 'em. Do whatever the fuck you want."

I cannot say this enough or with adequate emphasis, I NEED THIS SHIRT.

(above shirt is not as close to as rad as I need it to be, but you get the idea. Also google image search can only do so much.)

Before this epic nap adventure took place, I was on the couch bemoaning my sore throat and swollen glands to my cats (as no one else was around) and ended up wrapping my scarf around my head a few times in an effort to warm up my ears and thus up my overall body temperature. I had this sort of hip turban look going on, I am certain. The cats were less than impressed, but dude, they are cats. Nothing other than hunks of tuna, catnip and string actually gets them aroused in any fashion anyway. I took no offense and drifted off into my own personal turban wearing land of nod.

This was all well and good until some sleep shifting occurred and I woke up with start. (In my dream someone was running towards me with a jousting stick, or whatever the hell those scary, large pointed medieval accessories are referred to as.) I sort of lurched forward, only to find that one of the end of my scarf was tangled beneath me. This would have been fine had the rest not been coiled around my neck in a rather constricting manner. There was a battle between me and an inanimate object, from which I reigned victorious, but narrowly so. Fucking scarf, with its innocuous soft warmth and fucking ninja-like thin/longness being all dangerous and shit when you least expect it.

To cope with all the excitement of today, I am going to have a economy size glass of wine and scribble flowchart ideas on scraps of paper. Maybe I will make a flowchart about whether or not you need to make a flowchart to illustrate a point or facilitate a process. That is META, MUTHAFUCKAS!!! And probably has been done a million times over by others and with better graphics than the ones I would come up with.

Oh, and Happy Holidays, or something. Mine can be summed up in the following sentences:
1. I love my niece and nephew.
2. The other family members are pretty cool as well, for just the right intervals of time (not too long, not too short).
3. I am pretty fucking ready for 2010.
4. I got hit on by a Boise State football player on a plane ride and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. He was only 22! (Though cute as hell. Had the tall/dark/handsome thing going for him. Oh, and a southern accent as well as southern gentlemanliness to top it off. He must be used to getting all sorts of positive feedback on planes. I think my "sitting next to you friendliness" paired with my rather short goodbye threw off his sense of game. His parting look after I said "pleasure talking" and walked off was priceless.)
5. I do not like when people I know get hit by cars. It is stressful. (Said person should be alright. He's 89, but built like an ox, as AM puts it.)
6. I ate of lot of cookies.
7. One day was dedicated to solely eating fried pork skin and donuts. Yeah.
8. I got to see snow. Not bad.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Hate Dory (Dory Was Right)

I am at a point in my life I never anticipated being at. A crossroads, time of change and uncertainty that is has left me without orientation. My compass rose is malfunctioning and true north could be any which way as far as I am concerned. In the past, my mood and mental health would dictate that during a time like this that I curl up in the fetal position and stay there for as long as possible. Rarely washing my hair, often eating too much or hardly eating at all, and crying buckets in ragged tones. Ya know, clinical depression, or whatever the doctors were calling it at the time.

However, this time through the confusion and sadness, something is different. Something palpable and good.

I have so many unknowns flitting around in my head . Where am I going to find a job? When? Will I be able to afford a new place to live? Will my mood suddenly collapse? Am I going to loose friends? The questions are nearly constant. A buzzing, humming noise in my mind. It is always there, but is most noticeable when everything else is quiet. Needless to say, I listen to a lot of Pandora lately. The unending circle of questions results in something new however. I have answers that I keep saying to myself: It will work out, it always does. I’ll be fine. I am strong enough for this. I will keep going.

I cannot count how many times I have said these words out loud to the reflection in the mirror or the even more multiplied times I have repeated them as my mantra, silently before bed. Laying in the relative dark, city lights seeping in the crack of the windows just as the questions seep into the cracks of my mind.

My way of coping with loss is different than ever before as well. In times past of emotional turmoil I have resorted to tears, self-abuse, copious amounts of alcohol and a near constant verbal assault on myself. I’m no good, I don’t deserve happiness, I am a failure. People's support and willingness to love and help and listen was seen, but not understood. It was just another way I was a burden. I hated to rely on anyone, I hated to ask for help, say I wasn’t okay.

Alright, so some things haven’t changed too drastically. Asking for help, love, support takes epic amounts of energy, nerve wear and hours, days of contemplation. There is a certain amount of perceived control that is lost in the action of saying, “I am not enough on my own, and I need help”. You must understand, coming from the family I do, giving up control is sort of like giving up a limb or two for absolutely no reason. Who would do that?

"Hey Anna, why did you shear off your right arm and leg?"

"Oh, just to see what it’s like."

NO. That simply does not make sense, thus it is not done.

But I have asked for help. And I got it.

Before I did any of this though, I decided I was going to keep moving. I was not going to let the sadness and scariness of what may be, stop me in my tracks.

Everyday I set goals for myself in order to keep going. Some days it involves applying for at least three new jobs, and writing the corresponding cover letters. Other days it is cleaning house, cooking dinner, practicing music. There are days where I start with one simple goal and once it is accomplished, I set another one. Incremental steps that get me out of bed, and often times showered and relatively productive. In the mornings sometime I have to set goals like “I am going to count to 5 and then get out of bed." Some days I have to count to 1000 in various increments of time before I actually get out of bed, but I don’t beat myself up about it too much. I just get up and set the next goal. In 10 seconds I am going to put pants on, etc.

Which leads me to realizing that Dory, from “Finding Nemo” was right all along. When you are lost, just keep swimming. When you are scared, just keep swimming. When you don’t know what comes next, just keep swimming. Just. Keep. Going. Pretty soon you find yourself dressed, fed, contacting loved ones, laughing, singing, writing, and perhaps dipping into the occasional dark alley of the mind, but walking back out in time. I hate that I can take all my life concerns, boil them down and realize the basic answer is to quote a fucking cheesy Pixar movie. Although, let's be real, it was a pretty good movie…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silly For Silly's Sake (And My Mental Health)

(click on the picture to read the text better)
Superpoop is one of the greatest online comics ever. DO NOT ARGUE ME ON THIS POINT. Chances are I will contradict myself soon enough anyway.
This is how I am tempted to approach all of life's challenges. I shall just hammer them to pieces until they yield to my will. Or they become a pile of broken plastic. Whatever. Also note I have pliers and a screwdriver. Do not fuck with me anymore universe, for I am prepared to assemble Ikea furniture. What? I need an allen wrench? I HATE EVERYTHING.
Click to embiggen. I forgot to keep the link to the source for this poster. I suck at blogging, okay. What's new?
The day I realized I was probably getting canned from work I did exactly this. I stayed in the dark for a few hours, burrowed under the covers with just my nose and eyes showing, not moving at all and wondering what else could go haywire. I gave myself one evening for this kind of moping. Now I am driven and energetic and mope on the go! Sitting on the couch sending emails! While going for a walk for no reason! Shopping for groceries! All prime mobile-moping opportunities. It is way different then staying in bed.
I never liked the owl trend. The "ORLY?" owls as well as pretty much all of the kitschy, 60's retro owls that were plastered on all hipster items just didn't do it for me. These owls, though? These owls rock my face off.
I don't really have to ask because I already know what the answer will be to the question "Who wants to take a sled-ride in their jammies on a rainbow that originates from the crotch of some floating sky-man?" I know, EVERYONE. Line starts behind me!

And thus concludes the latest installment of: Anna collects random ass pictures/the internet has no lack of WTF.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sometimes When You Start Writing What Comes Out Is Not What You Expected

I meant this to be a subtle mulling over of greater desires in life, but I got real specific, real soon. I give you, Whoa Is Me. (Yes, Whoa, spelled that way, not woe. It's funny, so just go with it.)

Everyone is looking, searching for something. A lost button on a shirt, a soulmate, a cheap but functioning car. I am searching for a job again. I am also thus searching for what my professional calling is. I really, REALLY want to be done in the field I have been working for... oh god, eight years. The thing is, I am quite good at what I do most of the time. I work long hours, come up with super creative ways to address behavior concerns of kiddos with developmental disabilities, can train a new tutor like it was nothing, and build relationships with intention and empathy. The area I fail in time and time again is the nit-picking bits. The items I feel take energy and purpose away from the ultimate goal (independence and self-assurance for my clients) annoy me, frustrate me and ultimately, trip me up. The constant additional paperwork that the supervisors who forgot what it is like to be in the field all the time assign, the accounting for every last minute of all work completed in triplicate (at the minimum), and the expectation that you will learn all of the intricacies of policy and operation with no flaws whatsoever. And it's funny, because ultimately I actually love details. I love making sure everything is covered and taken care of. Generally speaking, I thrive on these elements, but when you are told to spend 75% of your time making direct visits (face to face with consumers), but are still expected to have all the tedious paper and electronic work completed without full compensation, one gets a little... grumpy. Now, it should be noted that my previous employer (yes, I was let go) was pretty much the best company I have worked for, but there are pervasive elements in the field of ABA that no matter how wonderful your company may be cannot be avoided. Nature of the beast, or something like that.

I will miss my kiddos. They were amazing, and well on the way of their loosely linked path to independence and personal success. Wildly variant, I learned the most from them over the years. I have loved them deeply, all the while playing the professionals role. Did they know? Brief glimpses told me yes, but the majority of the time I spent with them I was enforcer, trainer, teacher with a mission, etc. I have had a kid within five minutes of my arrival grab my work bag (3/4s of his body weight), drag it to the front door, and start waving goodbye. Yeah, love you too, you stinkbutt. But I would always stay and by the end of the session be giving tickles, making silly faces, learning how to put on shoes, playing appropriately with the Ironman action figure, or practicing saying "mama".

So it turns out I focused too much on ideas, hopes, and innovation and forgot to track my time perfectly. And guess in which area you are not allowed second chances? You got it right. And it was my fault so I have no one to point fingers at besides this miffed redhead. I hate to know my passion also sabotages my success. I asked point blank if my confession of personal strife (details withheld from readers because I said so) had effected their perception of me as well as the quality of my work so much that it was over for me. The answer was no. They didn't want to lose me and would have liked to have worked to develop me professionally, but when a company has a no tolerance policy...

And here I am, unemployed again and SO ready to do something... different. It is time. I have applied for a few positions already and will apply for even more tomorrow and the next day until I get what I am looking for. Okay, until I get a reasonable offer if we are gonna get real about it, but I do hope it is brand new to me and at least for a little while, fulfilling in a novel way. I need a tabula rasa to scribble my abilities on and see my marks, not anyone else's.

A girl can hope.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Got Nada.

'cept for some pictures that reference The Beatles. Look, it has been a long few weeks and promises to be a long many more. Breaks need to be given. Also, this shit is funny.