Cold

I was in a good mood. Now I’m not. Ridiculous.

Anyway.

I hate being cold.

I’ve spent a lot of time being cold, in my life, and I’ve always hated it.

Just over a year ago, I bought a new winter coat when my very old one (which I didn’t like, but at least it helped keep me warm) broke to the point where I decided it was no longer worth salvaging. It was also quite cold then, so it was important to me to get a new coat as soon as possible. And as inexpensively as possible, to boot.

I carefully picked through the women’s coat section at the new Winners nearby, and was disgusted at the lack of functionality. I could be stylish, yet not remotely warm.

To hell with that.

So I bought a man’s coat. One I don’t love, and which is now quite huge on me, compared to when I first bought it, but at least it helps to keep me warm. I’ll take functionality over style any day, when it comes to winter coats. Apparently, however, that would be easier if I were a man.

We are a strange breed, we human beings.

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Some Changes On My Mind

I don’t know, man. Sometimes I feel like it might soon be time to abandon ship. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand to be around so many people all piled into one place, and keep thinking I might soon decide to just get out of the city once and for all. I probably won’t, because it’s been on my mind for years and I haven’t done much about it yet, but I guess we never really know what the future holds. I just know my past experience with success has been…I haven’t really had any. Haha

Sometimes life just happens and we do little more than hold on for the ride. I’m definitely a passenger, through and through.

Been able to slowly watch things off my PVR the past few days. Checked out Designated Survivor (of course) and liked it okay, but the premiere was definitely all about setting up the story and introducing the characters. Which is really all it can be, but I look forward to seeing where things go from here. Note that “look forward to seeing” could also be read as “impatient to see”. Haha

I really, really liked the series premiere of Pitch! I like the format of fluid movements between past and present, I love the characters so far, particularly the protagonist and the team’s catcher. I love that they found kids who could actually have been the lead actress at different stages of her life – like, they’ve time-travelled to the present so they could play her earlier years. I love that it came out swinging and set the tone and – for the premiere, at least – isn’t treating the series as a one-act play. Young black woman becomes the first female to play in major league baseball. I’d seen comments about how it should have been a movie because there aren’t legs for a series, but after having seen the first episode, I have to disagree. Well, I already disagreed, but now I disagree more. More than 2 decades went into the moment she stepped onto the field for the first time, and that moment wasn’t the beginning of her journey. There’s more to come, and there’s more that has passed, and that it’s engaging thus far bodes well, as far as I’m concerned. I’m on board.

Speaking of coming out swinging – holy returns for Quantico and How To Get Away With Murder! So so good! I’m right back in love with both shows, and actually a little afraid to find out who died at the end of the season premiere of HTGAWM. I suspect I’ll watch the next episode with a drink in hand. Or a few.

I was asked recently about what I want to do next; what my dream would be, to do with my life. I don’t have an answer for that yet. Some vague ideas, but nothing I can pin down. I used to think I would be a teacher. Sometimes I still do, but I’m not really meant for a public school classroom, I don’t think. Maybe something a little different, but still education-related.

I’ve also been enjoying some small event planning, media marketing, public relations and…I don’t know what to call it…pseudo producing? With respect to The Mind Reels and interviews and radio plays and breaking a Guinness World Record. I have so many ideas for taking even larger steps, and some seem to be coming to fruition, which is encouraging. I would need to narrow my focus to see if I could actually succeed in any of those environments, but there’s definitely something there worth considering, I think. I’m just not sure what yet.

And then there’s the non-human animals of the world. I need to find a way to stop feeling like I need to save everybody, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to work with and/or for them. Even after a rather bad day at my volunteer shift this past weekend, getting to spend time with Marley the ring-tailed lemur before I left, and then taking Brody the Munchkin out for a long walk when I got home did a lot to heal my mood. As did talking about it a bit the next day – but that was like the final step I needed. Mostly it was the good animal interactions that brought me the balance I’d lost from the less desirable ones. My relationship to animals has changed in countless ways since meeting Hudson the polar bear, and as a result, I think they are actually becoming more of a daily focus for me than less of one. I imagine that can only be a good thing, really, but if I can figure out a way to pursue that environment more regularly in my life, I think that might feel like the most right path for my spirit. Maybe not for my pocketbook, nor always for my heart.

But I don’t own a pocketbook, anyway, so what have I got to lose?

Life, Transit, and Holding Onto Alysia

Had kind of a harrowing morning – not for me, but for others. Came the closest I think I ever have to watching not one, not two, but three squirrels get mowed down by vehicles while I was out with Brody. One was literally right next to us, but on the street instead of safely on the sidewalk. Luckily all of them escaped, but my heart did not. The drivers didn’t even slow down. There’s zero need to be driving that fast on a residential street, especially with a school right there. You can slow down enough to at least try and avoid taking a life. I mean – it’s life. If you can’t respect a life, then what else is there, really?

Then on the subway a woman next to me collapsed just after we left the station, so we had to wait until we got to the next station before the train could stop and someone could come take a look at her. I feel like that whole system is flawed. Everyone around her reacted appropriately – she was determined to get up so people helped her and got her into a seat while another person activated the emergency alarm after someone else said to. Part of me was thinking that it wasn’t really necessary – the woman insisted she was fine, although they did help her off the train once we got to the next station. And she said she didn’t need medical assistance, which – I don’t know if she ended up getting any, or not. But everyone in that part of the train reacted quickly to take care of her, which was great to witness.

However, there’s also the delay to the entire line every time that alarm is activated. They have to stop and investigate, and the vast majority of the time the person isn’t in need of medical/fire/police intervention, so much as they just need some air. Which – don’t even get me started on how the transit system neglects to take into account the fact that we are all dressed for being outside, and therefore do not need the heat cranked when we step on board the train during the winter months. There’s not enough room for all those people AND their layers of clothing and outerwear once they’ve removed as much as possible to adapt to the sudden heat. It’s ridiculous. Just circulate the damn air, already.

Anyway, what was I trying to say? I know it’s unrealistic to expect people to wait a moment before activating the emergency alarm, to ensure that it’s actually an emergency that requires further intervention and assistance. But at the same time, activating it immediately didn’t make any difference. The train still had to proceed to the next station before anything could be done, and by then the woman was doing much better, and could have just gotten off at the next stop, anyway. I guess I just wish there was a way to alert the train operators to what was going on without having to hold up the whole line longer than necessary. I don’t know. I don’t really have any solutions. I just was thinking about it this morning after everything happened because it didn’t feel quite right to me, while also realizing I didn’t know how it could be better or more efficient.

Yesterday I wrote about the end of my first relationship, and actually still feel pretty good about the process of writing it all down. I wrote most of the words I didn’t want to write, and the few I left out actually weren’t required for getting the point across, so I call that a win. I wouldn’t say it was easy, at all, but it definitely wasn’t as difficult as I feared it would be. I also didn’t feel down after; my different mood and mindset since starting this little project has remained in effect, despite reliving some of the more heart-shattering moments from my little lesbian relationship journey. That process may also be somewhat responsible for the little crush I have going on lately, which I haven’t had for quite some time. Maybe it’s a coincidence and they aren’t at all related, but maybe it’s not. Either way, I intend to continue with both writing and crushing for the next little bit, at least, and see how things go. Like, for me, I mean. I don’t expect anything in my real life to change, but I am thus far noticing a change inside me – in terms of mood and state of mind, mostly – and so far it’s all positive, so I want to see if that continues at all, or if it’s just a temporary high brought on by alcohol and lack of sleep. Haha

Last night and today, I’ve been thinking a lot about Alysia. I realized that I am starting to forget things; about her, and about our friendship. She’s been gone, like, 2 and a half years now. That’s far longer than I knew her. We were friends for months, not years, and while the length of time has zero to do with how much I loved that kid (our connection wasn’t instant, but still pretty close), it came as a shock to realize not only how long it’s been already, but also how much longer there is to go without her being in my life. I’m starting to feel almost disconnected from her now. Not in an “I’m over it” kind of way, but rather in the sense that I can’t feel her as well anymore, her presence in my world. I’m forgetting little details, and I only have a small yet finite number of my own memories to draw from as it is. That I’ve known and loved her mom and brother so much longer than I knew her is…not wrong, exactly, but not right, either.

It’s hurting my heart and pissing me off at the same time.

The only upside is that it makes me want to just sit and hug Brody all the more right now. That much, at least, is never a bad thing.

Zoo Day Okay

First day of a four day long weekend for me, so tried to sleep in a bit, then went to the zoo for a while.

Headed out later than usual to avoid the school crowd, and that actually worked out pretty well.  More people were leaving than arriving, by that point.

I’m still not in a good space, and even he happiest place on Earth couldn’t cure my blues, but it still had its moments.  I decided to not visit the pandas because I needed something more immediate than a half hour wait for thirty seconds of time, so I headed straight for my friend, Juno, the polar bear cub.  Back in her big brother’s day, it was the Tundra Trek where I spent the beginning and end of my day, so it seemed a better fit.  I tried taking a few deep breaths once I was in the relative quiet of the Core Woods, too, just to try and wash some of the “me” off of me.

Juno is really freaking cute.  She spent a lot of time trying to get her keepers to bring out some more food once she had emptied her bowl (saving some on her nose for later like the delicate flower that she is), but did come over closer a few times, and I got some golden shots of her adorable little face.  She’s getting good at taking a running jump up onto her rocks, now, too.  I still have yet to see her in her pool, though.

I swung by to check on a few other friends – the giraffes, white lions, Watusi, penguins – but I spent a great deal of time with the gorilla troop.  I was even there for most of the keeper talk, and then spent several minutes chatting with the keeper more after, too.  I love being around that family.  They never fail to just calm the world down.  My heart was so down today that I had tears in the corner of my eyes more often than not, but still…they are just so much love.  And Charles is such a big kid when it’s treat time during the keeper talk.  Totally chill, but so kid-like he makes me heart explode sometimes.  Don’t even GE me started on Nneka, either.  That baby girl, man.  She is really something else.  I will miss seeing her and Nassir together, but she’s really growing into a sweet, hilarious, Independant youngster, and I’ m enjoying watching her interactions with everyone else, now, too.

Baby Lynx, a  zoomobile ride through Eurasia, Dairy Queen, time spent with a friend, and then home to the critters I love most.

With the very real possibility that I’ll do at least some of it again tomorrow.  Maybe by then I’ll be able to enjoy it more, too.

On Loss and Depression and Stuff

A combination of things that came up within a couple of days of one another reminded me of something I’d noticed about myself some time ago, but still haven’t fully come to terms with as of yet.

One was talking with my buddy and hearing him say how he used to love hanging out in his backyard, and how he should start doing more of that now that the weather is nice. His backyard, it turns out, is ridiculously amazing, and I can’t wait to hang out in it again, myself. Never give that up, dude! Haha

Another was a passage in the book I am currently reading, Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler. It mentioned something about how, when one experiences a loss of pretty much any sort, one ceases to be the same person they once were. Sometimes there are massive changes, and sometimes it’s just something little – something you used to enjoy that you don’t anymore. Or that you still do enjoy, but which you’ve forgotten in your attempt to deal with said loss.

I mean, people change as they grow older, anyway, of course, but I feel like this is something a bit different. Sometimes it happens because we equate at least some aspect of the thing with whoever was lost, and we no longer derive enjoyment from it as a result. Sometimes it’s more the depression that comes after a loss, or – in my case – that’s triggered by the loss. It’s hard to feign enthusiasm about something you used to love when you’re just not feeling it anymore.

And it’s confusing.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve remembered loving something, yet been too detached inside to still feel like I love anything, let alone any particular thing. Usually I keep trying to do it, anyway, even if I no longer get much enjoyment out of it. Then the sense of emptiness and of disappointment that accompanies the attempt to enjoy something I remember loving before pushes me down even further. The sense of let-down; that I’ve let myself down, and that I’ve let others down. Especially with fandom-related things, where the sense of community was once so strong. Though, really, I think the fans pretty much ruined fandom for me, for the most part. I think that was more one of the losses, for me, realizing I didn’t feel like I had that anymore.

In most cases, though, the thing itself didn’t change; I just don’t feel the same about it anymore. I changed, while the thing remained the same. And if I can’t still feel like I love the same thing as I once did, then who’s to say I can love something else as much? What if I can’t find the next things I love?

What if I can’t love at all?

Well, that escalated quickly. #melodrama #pms

Anyway, there is a definite difference between realizing you don’t love something anymore – be it due to a particular loss, or depression, or just aging and personal growth – and realizing that you do still love it, but you’ve been letting life and circumstances keep you from doing it more and/or enjoying it to its full extent. It’s not always simply a case of “fake it ’til you make it”, or of just doing it and relying on whatever it is to turn your mood around.

Sometimes it’s not about a mood.

Actual depression isn’t something that can be fixed by pretending to be happy, or thinking happy thoughts. It’s not about being sad all the time. It’s more about not being happy, if you want to simplify it, but from what I can tell, even that’s not very accurate. In my experience, it’s usually more of a lack of feeling anything at all; a deadening of the senses, of emotion, of thought. Of course, I have also been on medication for it regularly since 2009, and off and on for years before that, so it’s quite likely that the meds are doing their job and I can no longer accurately remember what it was like before I started taking them again, when everything was still very raw.

I do remember a few occasions where I suddenly realized that some of the things which had previously made me happy were no longer doing so. I remember being confused by that sensation. I remember not being certain if I would ever really feel joy again, but being more concerned with getting out of the emotional hole I was stuck in for a time. The purpose of the meds was to take the edge off so that I could work more productively both with my therapist, and in my daily life. Not employment work, so much as just being able to express awareness of my own feelings and understand what I needed to do to take better care of myself. To even want to take better care of myself. It’s a delicate balance – it’s not like I don’t still feel; I just have more time in a middle ground instead of highs and lows – but it’s a balance nonetheless.

Sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes spending time in your sweet backyard is really all you need for now. 🙂

Sometimes It’s The Little Things

I’m going to try a little real-time blogging tonight.  By that I mean kind of free-form.  Unplanned.  I thought I knew what I wanted to talk about this morning.  Then something happened that basically took over and was all I could think about.

Now, though, I’m watching the season premiere of Face Off, the competition show about make-up effects.  I freaking love this show.  I’ve been watching since the first episode of the first season, and have been in love with it ever since.  Yes, it’s a reality show, but I guarantee you it’s unlike any other reality show you’ve ever seen.  I can’t get enough.

And despite how upset and disheartened and resigned I was feeling when I walked in the door this evening, this show made me feel better, and now IT is all I’m thinking about.  Everyone is so talented and creative, and they support one another, even as they are technically in competition with each other.  I sit on my couch eating Spitz sunflower seeds and watching these incredible artists create whole characters from scratch, in awe because I don’t have as much talent in my fingernail that any one of those people have on their worst day.

Wait – does that even make sense?

They are crazy talented, in ways that I am not.

What’s more is that they all respect and admire one another’s mad skills, too.  It’s like a big talented, creative love-in, every week.  They group hug the person who gets sent home.  They congratulate the winners.  The judges and mentors are all insanely talented, as well, and even as people get sent home, they learn a crap-ton each moment that they’re there.  And I love that the models are game for pretty much anything week to week.

In addition, host Mckenzie Westmore somehow gets better looking every year.  She’s also super personable and relatable.  She our gateway to the show, and is the tie between the contestants and the judges, in a way.  Mckenzie is the glue.  The glue of Face Off.  Haha

When I got home tonight, I’d wanted to talk about respect, and how I don’t understand how to earn it.  Or that I don’t understand why my opinion isn’t valued in a way I feel it should be.  How there can be so much disconnect between my concept of reality, and the actual world.

Or at least my little corner of it.

I’m pretty ready to give up on a particular part of my corner.  I’ll start from scratch again, maybe.

In the meantime,though, I’m fully inspired by the crazy talent being displayed on my TV screen right now.

And tonight, that’s all I need to face tomorrow.