Adjust Accordingly

I saw this thing on FB that said to make a list of things that make you happy, and then a list of what you do everyday, and then compare the two and adjust accordingly.

That sort of fit in with some similar things I’ve been thinking about recently, so even though I know my lists won’t be even remotely the same, it occurred to me that I wasn’t immediately sure what would go on my happy list. And that’s a larger part of the problem than what constitutes my day job, so I figured I should start there.

Some things that make me happy, in no particular order:

  • getting people to talk about their passions (ie via The Mind Reels) and, more recently, doing reads of old timey radio plays
  • being around non-human animals, especially if I get to pet them
  • writing and other methods of creating – I have an amazing creative mind, but lack the talent to do any of it really well
  • planning things – events, trips, tattoos, etc – especially if it’s for me to partake in
  • learning – and usually challenging myself falls into that area, as well (I actually quite enjoy school and taking courses and the like – I think that’s part of what I thought I’d like about teaching, actually)
  • taking and sharing pictures (I love taking pictures, but I think sharing them with others makes me even happier)

That’s as much as I came up with on the subway. I pretty much kept it to activities, really. I guess I could include things like sunshine, mountains, the sound of waves, the smell of bread baking, ice cream, popcorn – food and salt in general, I guess, reading, listening to music…all that kind of wind down stuff I like to do. Collecting things. Watching TV.

I guess there are lots of changes I could make to ensure I am doing more of the things which make me happy during my day, but I was heading in to work, so work was on my mind. Not much there makes me happy, except when I figure something out – which falls into the learning/challenging category, but it rarely happens, so it’s not very happiness-sustaining.

It also takes up a vast percentage of my everyday life, so it’s harder for me to check things off the happy list when the majority of non-work time is spent sleeping. Which sometimes makes me happy, too. Sometimes not, though.

I’ve also been thinking about this whole notion of relationships and how everyone seems to think we all need to be in one. I was thinking about how I never imagined nor planned out my wedding. Not as a kid, nor as an adult – I was never really looking ahead to how my wedding day would be, or which song would be the soundtrack to our first dance, or where I’d want to go on my honeymoon or any of that stuff people supposedly do. Well, except to joke that I’d walk down the aisle to the Imperial March. Otherwise, though, I was never imagining my someday forever love, nor what our lives would look like together. To me, it was a little difficult when I had no one specific in mind. To me, that was a major factor in what the rest would look like. I wasn’t looking for a generic cake-topper, so much as an actual person.

I remember worrying that I wouldn’t be paying attention and miss them whenever they came into my life. I think that may have made me more open, though, because instead of trying to find someone who fit whatever vague notions I had in my head, I was watching; noticing when my initial reaction to meeting someone in particular was different from meeting everyone else.

Recognizing that one handshake could be all I needed to let me know that love was near.

I was getting angry and frustrated at not fitting the mold that others seem to fit into – like, not even understanding it, really. But then this morning I was thinking about those people who use vision boards, or whatever they’re called; wherein a person will place photos and other objects into a sort of collage and look at it regularly, imagining those things coming into their lives. A child, a relationship, a trip, money – anything they want. They kind of meditate on it every day, and it kind of focuses their attention on those specific things, as a way of sending their wishes out into the Universe and hoping for them to manifest sooner rather than later.

I wondered if I have been wrong this whole time (ie my life) in not picturing the specific way I want my life to look; what I want my future to hold. I wondered if maybe I had been doing that – picturing and focusing on what I wanted this entire time, if my life would be any different today. If my future would have been now.

I guess it’s never too late to start.

Though I wouldn’t have missed that handshake for all the world. Not for anything.

I’ll start with the happy list, as I have a feeling other things just fall into place when you’re happy with yourself, anyway. And part of that, of course, will include paying attention to anything else I might want to add to said list.

The sky’s the limit, as they say.

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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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Know Thyself

Every so often, I dream of a plane crashing.  Not one I am on, but one I witness dropping from the sky.

Last night, it was three.  Two smaller air show-like stunt planes, followed by a commercial airliner.  They all landed in water and disappeared beneath the surface almost immediately.

I called 911 and let them know, but as I was talking, I had trouble remembering details, and then began to doubt whether I’d seen it, or not.

I started to wonder if I’d just been dreaming, and rather than waste more of their time, I hung up on 911. And then I woke up.

Sometimes I dream while I am in the midst of waking, and imagine things are happening.  Usually I have to turn on a light and think about what’s real before I can piece things together again.  Once I was convinced I saw smoke and was already planning how to best evacuate the house when I realized I couldn’t see it anymore.  It’s confusing, and the feeling never really leaves once I am fully awake.

In other news, it occurred to me earlier that I’m back to my late 20’s weight, but with my early 40’s body, which means more appropriate curves and a smidgen of maturity. I mean, it’s also an early 40’s body with MS, so it is tired all of the time, and in pain much of the time.  Today has been particularly brutal, because I over-exerted myself the past two days.  So it’s not perfect, but I am content with it, regardless.

For the first time in over a decade, whenever I look at a photograph or catch my reflection in a mirror, I can see myself in it again.  There’s so much more to it than mere appearance, and even more to go as I grow, but it’s a pretty amazing place to be, I’ve gotta say.

It’s a sensation I didn’t know I’d lost until it came back again.  In a body I no longer know, due to a disease that takes away control, I can still see myself; see me again, and know me anew.

I feel a vague sense of power in that.

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Writing Prompts – Day 2 of 12

Day 2:  The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One

That Got Away.” What happens?

 

I realize that I’m not quite doing these things right, but at the same time, they are writing prompts, and I am writing about them. So suck it. I’m doing it how I wanna. Haha

Anyway…I’m going to delve into the vault of my actual past relationships for this one, just out of curiosity alone.

I was trying to figure out who I would consider to be “The One That Got Away”. I mean, every one of them dumped me, not the other way around, so in that sense, they all got away. Most of them, I was eventually glad they got away for various reasons, but there are three in particular that I miss, and still sometimes wonder what life would have been like had we not broken up. Of those three, one was unlike any relationship I’ve ever had, and was only ever meant to be temporary. It was more of a glimpse into what I would like to have for myself in the future, rather than any kind of permanent long-term thing. It was always going to end, and it was never meant to be 100%, but I feel like she’d be proud of the person I’ve become, and into whom I am continuing to grow.

She wouldn’t be proud relationship-wise, obviously, because a) I haven’t been in one for a good 7 years or so, and b) I never did find the kind of pairing she’d shown me I’d want for myself. Almost, but not quite.

So that leaves me with the other two, and they are actually more alike than different, as far as our relationships went, so for the purpose of this exercise, I can pretty much use both, instead of one or the other. In this case, they are sort of interchangeable. They are both also the closest I’ve been to realizing the kind of relationship I want someday.

They are not interchangeable as people – at all – but as far as what would happen if I bumped into either one of them on Valentine’s Day. Or any day, for that matter. It would all go about the same.

For some reason, when I first pictured this encounter, it took place in a restaurant. Why I would be in a restaurant alone on Valentine’s Day is beyond me, though. Unless it was McDonald’s.

And neither woman lives in this city, so bumping into either of them would be a surprise, to say the least. However, in my first instinctive scenario, both would be with their families. The families they built on after dumping me. Both had a child or children when I met them, and one has more now. Both are married (to men, because neither was actually gay to begin with – I’m just that spectacular for short periods of time), and both love their families; families of which I’d wanted so badly to be a part. So naturally, if I’m going to run into The One That Got Away, she’s going to be happily living her life with someone else, and – more importantly – without me.

That is going to simultaneously hurt me to my core, and make me happy to see her smile.

Maybe she introduces me as an old friend. Maybe some of the people at the table already know me. Maybe she’ll tell me a little about the job she loves, and about where she’s living now. She’ll definitely share something about the kiddo(s) I know and how they’re doing now, all grown up.

She’ll ask how I am.

I’ll lie.

Even though she’s obviously happy and enjoying her life without me, I won’t want her to know how I’m actually doing. It doesn’t even necessarily have anything to do with her – or not as much as it might seem – but not having a job I love and not seeing anyone right now…just all the “nots” that she has now and I don’t. I’m jealous and sad and blaming myself for not being good enough to give her the happy life she deserves, and is now enjoying right in front of me.

I’ll tell her I’m at least okay, that things are going pretty well, I’ll brush off the relationship question and deflect everything with humour.

Then I’ll leave, because even though I’m in McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day, I suddenly don’t have an appetite anymore, and I just want to go home. I’ll flip through some old photos and memories, imagine what might have been, and allow myself to feel for a brief moment as though she’d just gotten away all over again.

After that, I’ll pour myself a drink, break open a bag of chips, and watch some TV, because no one needs to feel that much misery over someone else’s happiness.

Especially not when it’s someone you love.

A Little More Flynn

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A bit of an addendum to yesterday’s post about Miss Flynnie, just because I fully forgot to mention this kind of cool part of the story!

So, even though I’d had my eye and heart on Chimneysweep, the night before I went to the shelter for the first time, I had a dream. It was actually kind of horrible, in that the shelter in the dream wasn’t a shelter at all – it was more like a shed in some guy’s backyard that had crates of cats inside. Some of them no longer alive, and all trapped in their own feces and the like. My mind was reeling, wondering how I could afford to save them all but not tip the guy off to the fact that I was totally calling the police as soon as I got away from his house. On a top shelf of crates, there were these three weird-looking creatures. They were more like birds than cats, but then again, that’s dream life for you. The one thing I remembered most about them was the shape of their heads in profile; the way their foreheads sloped and their faces curved toward their chins. They looked kind of like beaks, almost (hence the bird thing), but that’s just how their faces were built.

I felt weird when I woke up, and disturbed, and secretly prayed that the actual shelter was nothing like that (it wasn’t).

Later, once I was home with Flynn and trying to get to know her while also keeping a bit of a distance (because my heart still hurt over losing Kate) and wondering what I’d just done as maybe it really was too soon to have another cat, I noticed something. Flynn’s head is kind of shaped like the bird-cats in my dream the night before. It has the same kind of slope that’s different from most cats. I guess more of a black cat head, but she’s also so fluffy that the effect on her profile is very similar.

She’s actually a lot like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, both in appearance and in personality.

Anyway.

I don’t think there’s much else to report at the moment. Or there is, but I either can’t or am not about to talk about it here. I’m moving extra slow today, as is my mind, because I’m still not caught up from overdoing things on Monday, and I didn’t sleep very well last night. I woke up a lot, but I also went right back to sleep after. It just wasn’t anywhere near enough. And while I was asleep I was dreaming – usually about having to get somewhere, or having to gather things together, or looking for something, or just – all very busy things. Busy yet mundane. None of it felt very restful, that’s for sure!

I wrote a short story for an online course once years ago, and the protagonist had very vivid, busy dreams, so she was tired all the time, too. Almost to the point of not quite being able to tell when she was dreaming, because there was always so much to do. When something extra weird would happen, she could recognize it as a dream, but mostly there wasn’t time to stop and think. I’m not quite at THAT point yet…though if I’m dreaming right now then I’ll miss my post for today…and probably lose my job…never mind, I think I’m fine. Anyway, it was a busy and restless night.

I remember when I quit smoking (and I’ll tell that whole tale in another post), among many other things, I started having really vivid dreams. Colourful. But every once in awhile, I would dream that I’d had a cigarette, and my mind would be disappointed because it meant I had to start counting the days since I last had a smoke all over again. That was part of what got me through, I think. I am stubborn, anyway, but I also really didn’t want to start over again at zero. I’d always be so relieved when I woke up and realized that I hadn’t actually had that cigarette – that it had just been a dream , after all. Less satisfying in the moment, but still a relief overall!

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