Application

Yesterday morning, I sent in an application to serve on City Council’s Toronto Zoo Board. A half-hearted application, to be sure, but an application nonetheless.

I’m fairly certain there is no real reason for them to select me even for an interview, let alone to the Board. I’m also fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to commit to four years of it, which is what I think they prefer. I’m not always even sure why I applied, really. Though, at the same time, anything I can do to be a voice for the Zoo is good for me.

Ironically, I just got into a heated (on my end, at least) discussion about the tragic debacle over the elephants. Someone made the mistake of asking which side of the coin I stand on (I initially said there is no side, there are many shades of grey, and everything should be taken on a case by case basis), then asked specifically about that instance, so I gave him an earful. At least he learned some things he hadn’t known before. But mostly I just ranted and now I’m all worked up and can’t focus on my work so I am eating lunch.

I’d intended this post to have something to do with my ability/inability to commit to things…or…you know, I don’t even remember why I started writing about applying to a city council board upon which I have no real chance of serving.

I think I am also PMS-ing. My sleep has been very fractured and my dreams very strange yet vivid, in most cases. My emotions are therefore all over the map. I have emotional reactions left over from dreams, and then there is the ridiculousness that is my waking life.

How did I get here, man? Where am I going?

I think I might be bumping up against that turning point again.

I Need A Nap

Not feeling very great today, and not sure what to write about. I didn’t get much sleep and now I’m a bit dizzy on top of being tired, so it’s more difficult to focus. How is it only Tuesday? Haha

Over the weekend, I sold the wee felted Falkor I’d made, and so it shipped out yesterday after work. There is now enough money in my Paypal account to purchase something special I found on Etsy that I need, but I’m so paranoid about the buyer of my wee felted Falkor deciding she doesn’t want it, or something, that I’m going to wait a while longer before purchasing it. To make sure everything goes through smoothly. I paid a bit extra to ship with a tracking number, so hopefully it will get to its destination safe and sound. Hopefully the recipient will love it and not want to send it back. He’s really cute, wee felted Falkor. I almost didn’t want to sell him. But if all goes well, I’ll have something unique and perfect for what I need it for.

Sorry to be so vague, but whatever. I’ll talk about it in more detail if and when I am finally able to purchase the item.

Man, I really don’t know what I feel like talking about. I feel like napping, not talking. My mouth aches and my mind spins and my heart feels…not numb, but just…cautiously present. Haha

Maybe it’s napping, while the rest of me cannot.

Jealous.

Last night I was watching TV and texting with a friend and rubbing Brody’s belly when I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to the TV at all; so wrapped up in conversation was I. So I turned it off to watch from the beginning some other time (ah PVR). I actually can’t remember the last time I talked with anyone like that, let alone this person in particular. I feel like most of the conversations we have take place in my head, so I’m glad of glad it was in text form this time, because having it written down is a good way of proving it happened at all. It’s not even so much what was said or discussed, so much as how completely focused I was on it. I just sat and typed and thought and read and responded. I wasn’t doing other stuff, or talking to anyone else or thinking about other things. Brody reminded me when it was time to go back outside, and I managed to look up from my phone long enough to notice the skunk sniffing about in the next yard over, so Brody and I headed back home again. But otherwise, I was just in a string of moments with a friend I love, and it was nice. Some of the subject matter wasn’t nice, per se, but the sense of both of us being present in the same moments at the same time was really nice, to me. It was the first time in a very long time that I haven’t felt the need to carry on the conversation in my mind due to my holding so much back from the real one. There are a couple of things I meant to say, of course, but for the first time I felt like they could keep – in exchange for time to sleep – and that the chance to say them will present itself again soon.

In the meantime, maybe that’s partly why I’m so tired today, too. Emotions can be exhausting.

Antidepression Quandry

For the past several months, I’ve been actively trying to wean myself off of my antidepressants. It’s been going quite well, which is why I’ve been keeping it up. Slow and steady, as I am in no rush. I just feel like it’s time to get off them, and since I know from previous experience how difficult that can be, I figured I would take my time, and just aim for an eventuality. I don’t really want to be taking them for the rest of my life, if I can help it.

I’d forgotten how physically sick I would feel when I changed the consistency of taking them, so I went back to super steady, and made incremental changes as I went along. I keep forgetting when I last took one, so sometimes I still don’t feel great, even though my weaning period has been going on for a long time.

As far as depression goes, however, I’m still feeling pretty balanced. That, for me, has been the main thing to keep an eye on. Even when PMS-ing, though, I’m thus far able to differentiate between when I’m legit upset by something versus weeping unnecessarily hard over a commercial on television.

I mean, I have a new TV now, so everything looks splendid, but still…I can tell when I’m being hormonally over-sensitive, most of the time. So that’s good.

I’m wondering now, though, if I should start taking them regularly again, even just at the lowest dose. I find my ability to focus on one thing at a time is suffering a lot lately, and it occurred to me this morning that it might actually be due to taking myself off antidepressants. It was easier for me to direct my focus when I had something to take the edge off. Is it something I can learn to do for myself, if I keep working my way off of them? I actually don’t know. I’m not entirely sure I ever could. It’s fine on the surface – things still get done, and some of them even get done well. I write everything down now, anyway, because I have trouble remembering things since I started on these MS meds. So keeping track in alternate ways helps me, and is a habit I’ve developed anyway. But it’s frustrating on the inside. I feel almost overwhelmed sometimes, and more often now than I used to. Again, maybe I can learn to focus better, anyway.

But maybe not.

The other point in favour of going back on them more regularly is how, like…not exactly over-sensitive, but I’m having a lot more anxiety now, and as such I am getting much less sleep. I’m constantly thinking about things, and going over things in my mind. That on top of the usual MS fatigue I’ve been experiencing the past few years is making it harder for me to NOT break down and cry about even the smallest things.

Again, maybe in time I’ll learn how to quiet my mind naturally and get better rest. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I never really could. I’m not actually sure.

For now, I’m not really going to make any decisions. I just started thinking about it this morning, and since I’m definitely PMS-ing (bring me salt!) right now, I may as well wait until I at least have whichever faculties I usually have about me again, and go from there!

Monday

Left home earlier than usual this morning so that I could stand on the platform and wait for a train that I could fit onto. Well, I could have fit on any of them, if the people in front of me would move INTO the train instead of just crowding themselves into the doorway. Eventually I was the one boarding first so pushed my way into the area between two cars, where there would have been tons of room were it not for the pieces of shite wearing their backpacks, oblivious to the notion that there might be other people nearby.

Wrestled with a decision all the way in. Still undecided but possibly resigned to feeling like I don’t really have a choice, and that it’s my own fault if that’s the case.

Growing weary of the bullshit and lies, yet allow them to go unchallenged because I just can’t invoke my righteous rage if it’s in defence of my own well-being.

Arrived to find more angry emails about things that aren’t my fault, yet come down on me, anyway, because life.

Forgot to mention another little thing from my volunteer shift yesterday. It involved simply drying the feet of two birds (no idea what they are called) after they’d been in the sink getting a bit cleaned up. Neither liked it, and both of them kicked a lot as soon as they were lifted out, which is why it was a two woman job. I had to grab one foot at a time, but gently enough that I didn’t hurt the little ones, and luckily for me they both stopped kicking once I’d gotten a light grip on one foot, so I could pat them dry, and leave them to kick again once I’d let go.

I talked to them the whole time (not that it helped them, but I think it helped me), and it ended up feeling like this intimate little moment between us. Not an entirely good moment, but not an entirely bad one, either.

My family’s going through some stuff, my buddy’s going through some stuff, I’m going through some stuff. I learned at a young age that people will usually stop being cruel if they don’t get a reaction out of you, as the reaction is ultimately what they/we want. Same goes for other actions, of course, but usually we don’t want the good ones to stop. I learned to hide what I was feeling – hide my reactions – and I learned it so well that I have a much more difficult time expressing them now than I do keeping them closed. It can be frustrating.

I am angry today.

Another Busy Weekend Ahead

Alright! Had a huge long bout of insomnia last night (as in, more than usual) so am feeling a tad rough and headache-y today, but have managed to be at least a little bit productive at the start of my day!

Cancelled both Guinness World Record attempts I’d been approved to make – Largest Online Photo Album of Animals (my plan was to highlight the Toronto Zoo’s residents to help raise awareness as well as give zoo-goers a place to showcase their photos), and Longest Chain of Paper Hearts. My plan for that one was to get a Mind Reels booth at Toronto Comicon in March, and coincide that event with a launch of my children’s book about hearts. I wanted to get visitors to our table to help cut out paper hearts all weekend, and assemble them into a huge chain together at the end. The attempt/book launch was to tie in with other ideas we have for a con table, rather than be a stand-alone event in and of itself.

Speaking of which, I really need to find an artist one of these days, to help flesh out a few things with me.

At any rate, neither attempt was ever likely to happen, at least not any time soon, so I’ve scratched them off my long and vague To Do list. As well, I cancelled a subscription, which will save me a bit of money, and declined this month’s feature title in the Disney movie club.

Another packed weekend is staring me in the face, but at least I’m feeling physically better than the past couple of weeks. Not much, mind you, because #nosleep, but better nonetheless.  Do not be surprised if I don’t post much or at all over the next few weekends, actually.  Maybe next month sometime my schedule will go back to something normal-ish (for me).  I’ll be glad when I’m not writing this anymore and have time to focus on different, more useful (for me) writing, I think!  But if it gets me into the habit of writing every day, regardless, then it will have not been a complete waste, at least!

Will be sending out invites to start casting the next radio play soon – probably early next week, if not later today. I want to do it before the end of the month, though I am frustrated with our inability to go live with anything.

I’m frustrated with a lot of things.

I’ve taken to envisioning shooting people lately. Just random people who piss me off. It feels a bit like a cathartic release to imagine it – firing little rage bullets at the guy wearing his backpack on a crowded subway, or strolling along on the wrong side of the sidewalk (walk on the right, pass on the left, people), or driving too fast on residential streets in particular. Not in a they-deserve-to-die kind of way, but in a releasing of anger from inside of me. I mean, we’re all going to die whether we deserve it or not, but my imagination is more along the lines of a mental slap in the face, but more violent, and thus more satisfying. I never picture it as a hail of bullets spraying everywhere, either. I’ve often maintained that a gun is the weapon of a coward, but at least in my mind each shot is deliberate, and focused and up close. It’s personal. Each individual knows they are my target, and sometimes I even tell them why, like that scene in Dogma when Matt Damon wanted to smite everyone in the boardroom because they didn’t bless him when he sneezed. Only in my case, because everything happens in my mind, I keep my mouth shut and move on with my day, but carry less anger around as I do so.

I’m so completely not a violent nor confrontational person in practice, but the scenarios which play out in my head are everything I’m not. Which I guess is a good way to be, really. Much better than the opposite, anyway.

I managed to fall asleep for 45 minutes or so this morning, I think, before my alarm went off. Naturally, I had a really stressful and emotional dream during that time, to ensure I awoke even more exhausted than necessary for a Friday. I was moving slow, left late, but still got to work on time. The rest of the week I’ve been leaving early and getting to work late, so even that much went better this morning than it has been the rest of the week.

I just…need to get through the weekend without being even more of a mess by Monday morning!

Officially Amazing

According to my Facebook memory feed, it was one year ago today that I first learned I was officially a Guinness World Record holder. I started to cry pretty much immediately. Tears of happiness, relief, vindication – a myriad of emotions went through me in the moments following that message. I had to read it twice to be sure that it was real; that I had actually done it.

I actually had.

I needed to confirm a couple of things for them, and even then it would be a few days before the website reflected The Mind Reels’ official amazing-ness, so I decided to only tell a couple of people right then, and make it all more public later. Tim and I created an announcement video to thank those who had donated to our crowd-funding campaign prior to the event, but the majority of the celebration would have to wait until after visible proof was available.

I got home from work that evening and cracked open the bottle of craft beer that one of our lovely guests had gifted to us at the event. I’d told her that I would only open it once I’d heard back from GWR, and drink it either in celebration or to drown my sorrows.

Naturally, I drank it from my Guinness glass.

I’ve had mixed emotions about the whole thing all along, really. It was almost exactly a year between the time I came up with the idea to attempt breaking the record, and receiving the notification that I’d been successful. It was a bittersweet success, however, because I’d also learned a lot of hard truths along the way, and the toll it took on me – on every level – is still affecting me even now.

All the stress and anger and frustration and just staying awake for 55+ hours wrecked my body, of course, but it also did some damage to my state of mind, my heart, and my spirit. I learned that I am a terrible leader, in that I do not inspire confidence nor action in anyone else. I learned that things would likely go better if I just set out to do them myself from the start, because depending on anyone else to step up and help will only end in stress and failure. Most heart-breaking, though, was learning that I’m unable to get others to see my vision and work towards helping me to make it a reality.

That whole thing was intended to be an event to pull the entire channel together, raise our visibility in the public eye, and propel us all forward as a team. Instead, it ground everything to a halt, and even a year and a half later, we are still struggling to get started back up again. Those of us who are struggling at all, I mean. Most just seem to have stopped all together.

I couldn’t even get local media interested, even though I was trying to shine a light on Canadian talent, among other things.

Learning that we are no longer the official record-holders made me want to take another run at it – to make it bigger, stronger, better – rather than feel defeated by it. I have SO MANY ideas for making the attempt epic – even more so than the first one was envisioned to be – but it would require a lot of teamwork, and I do not have the ability to inspire that in others. I can’t even get my own little show going again, let alone something on that grand a scale.

And this isn’t me being down on myself, really. Maybe a little, but I feel like it’s mostly me being down on everyone else, and just trying to be nicer and more polite about it than I actually feel much of the time. Since the GWR attempt elevated my awareness of how things are, I’ve been constantly torn between asking for help to make other visions a reality, and just doing things myself/not doing them at all. Even small things require effort, and while I am no stranger to putting in said effort, I recognize that I can’t do everything myself. Not well, at least. So I’m not sure whether to focus and do one thing as well as I am able (despite my admittedly mediocre talent or ability), or do a few things half-assed, or accept offers of assistance, even though I no longer believe in anyone’s ability to follow through.

That’s pretty much the crux of it, I think. I don’t know what it is about me that makes those closest to me not believe in me, as I’ve proven time and time again that I am stubborn enough, at the very least, to do what I say I’m going to do. From where I sit, it’s everyone else who is falling short of the example I set. From a relatively young age, I’ve tried to lead by example, in fact. Yet for some reason, however, no one follows. It often makes me frustrated and angry, yet it’s an impotent anger – the kind that lets me cry and yell and stamp my feet and even slam the door…but still go to my room.

Maybe it’s time for me to focus on finding the source of that disconnect; the reason that I don’t inspire the confidence in others that I feel in myself – that I start off feeling in all of us, until I am let down yet again. I think I need to figure out what it is about me that holds people back from believing in me, and also determine why I keep giving out second chances, hoping for different outcomes, and whether or not I should continue to do so.

I broke a Guinness World Record, guys. Just imagine what else I can do – and how much more we could do together.

Because I imagine it all the time, you know. And it’s amazing.

Sometimes I even feel sorry for some of you, because you can’t see it, too.

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My Opinion…On Opinions

Opinions.

Everybody’s got them. Everyone is entitled to them.

Lately it feels as though more and more people are voicing them and/or sharing them on the internet, too. About everything. Even if someone doesn’t know a single fact about the subject upon which they are speaking, they are allowed – we all are allowed – to go ahead and spew forth whatever opinion we have on said matter. It’s pretty much our God-given right, and we’re going to exercise it every chance we get, dammit.

The thing is – and this is just my opinion (see what I did there?) – I’m not certain that a) any of our opinions actually matter to anyone but us, especially the uninformed ones, because b) we’re so busy screaming our opinions from the rooftops that we’re not bothering to listen to nor consider the opinion of another, but rather how to respond to them so that they’ll know they are wrong, and c) we’re basically all contributing to the rapid decline of intelligence and critical thinking in our own species.

You know…that thing that sets us apart from and above all the lowly non-human beasts of the planet.

Like, can opinions even be wrong? They can be formed upon misinformation, but can the actual opinion itself be incorrect? By definition, isn’t it really just how we feel about something based on what we believe we know about it? Wouldn’t something more concrete be more like a fact? Opinions can even change (on the rare occasion anyone bothers to inform theirs on something of a continuous basis), so can something so fluid really be considered wrong? Why are we all so eager to prove ourselves and those who agree with us to be correct in something we only feel rather than know?

If I say I feel light-headed one day, can someone else tell me that’s not how I feel? I would think that we should at least be able to agree to disagree, and yet, in most cases, the vast majority of what I see in the world – the public world – is that people can’t even do that.

I think this.”

You’re wrong, because I think this!”

We can both be right, from a certain point of view, and we can both be wrong. So sayeth Obi-Wan, kinda.

But I’m not sure opinion can be measured in a pissing contest, which is basically all we’re doing now. We’re all just peeing and then arguing about who’s pee is correct.

The funny thing is, none of our opinions even matter anymore, if they ever did. Instead of opening a discourse, all we are doing is peeing our pee, and letting others judge our pee – usually while they are also peeing and we are judging theirs – and no one is listening. I’m not listening to you, you’re not listening to me, no one else is listening to either of us.

Unless we already agree. Then we both pee and pat one another on the back for a job well done.

I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I was wondering if I should try to pass on to whoever will listen some of the things that I have learned in life thus far? Or should I focus on continued learning? Because I am fairly certain that I can not do both, at least not with any degree of success. I feel like I can focus on finding the right words to convey bits of knowledge-like gems gleaned over the past almost 44 years, or I can focus on paying attention to the world around me, and struggling to understand it better; to perhaps even understand another being’s experience with this planet, if only a tiny morsel of it.

In the latter pursuit, someone’s well-expressed opinion can help in learning a great deal, though probably the best teacher is experience – paired with mistakes – and finished off with a healthy dose of connections made in between. But it is imperative to good learning for a person to remain focused; to pay attention. To watch in silence more than speaking.

In the former quest, it’s vital to express thoughts and opinions well, and to re-frame words in different ways, in order to not only get them across, but to also confirm that you are doing so. Questions need to be asked to make sure the listener is on the same page before moving on, lest you leave them behind and with nothing to take away from the conversation at all.

Don’t be so busy talking that you forget to check in. If no one is listening at all, then you’ve failed on both counts – learning and sharing.

Neither are easy, but both are – or should be – necessary to some degree. I just feel like I personally need to focus more on one or the other for a little while. I keep thinking about trying to teach and share, but in the end, it’s my own somewhat selfish thirst for understanding that pushes me to keep watching.

And judging the rest of you. I mean, let’s be real – nobody’s perfect. At least I can admit it, though. Sometimes to my detriment, but still. I understand that I have much more to learn than I have already learned, and that even my perceived knowledge or understanding is deeply flawed, so that there is always room to grow. I am also really not good at confrontation. I find I can’t express myself very well when I am upset or passionate about whatever subject is being “discussed”. You know what, though? I don’t think the rest of you are, either. I don’t think anyone is. I’m not sure it’s even possible to have a personal, emotional stake in something and yet remain removed enough for logic and reason to overcome emotion. It’s just that most of you don’t care to give voice to your opinions so that others may come to understand them. You just think that peeing louder makes your pee more right.

And the thing is, for the most part, you don’t really know. You feel like you do, but you don’t. None of us do. But we say it, anyway, because it’s our opinion and we are entitled to it.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to just stay home with the dog and cats who live with me. I don’t have to remind myself to not read their comments.

The word ‘opinion’ looks like ‘onion’ when you type it enough.