I Just Threw Up a Little…

Last week I took a risk.  I saw an advertisement via Twitter for “Adventure!” and I took the bait.  I sent in the requested contact information and even BEGGED to be accepted via a postscript tacked to the end of my very brief email.

I was promised the need for a passport and a machete.  Instead, I got to choose my own adventure.  My adventure does NOT involve the need for a machete – but the machete seems like a MUCH safer option now that I’ve submitted my own risk IN WRITING to the Adventure! staff.

In the few days since I received my acceptance email and invitation to the secret Facebook group I have looked closely at the life I’ve created.  I notice now that while I thought I’ve been dreaming and scheming for the future that really I’ve been marking time.

I haven’t even been marking time as the freaking Drum Major; Large and IN CHARGE.  Nope – I’m Flute #5 buried somewhere in the middle of the block where I can mark my position from both sides and stay safely hidden.  I’ve made a few peeps – but otherwise have worked to stay in-line and invisible.

I have set a goal.  I think this is the first real goal I’ve set for myself in a really long time.  I’ve put myself out there to *strangers*.  And, these nice people who know only that I share their desire for Adventure! share words of encouragement even as my brain is screaming “Stranger Danger!  Stranger Danger!” and begging me to flee into the shadows.

I realize now that fear has paralyzed me for nearly 20 years.

Fear is a Dick.

In the next 24 days I’m going to re-teach myself to dream *through* the fear.  I’ve made a commitment.  Now I need to plan and then follow through with the whole shebang.

I’ve let myself become a person I don’t really like.  I’ve let myself lose hope.  I lost control of my direction.  I’ve let myself become a victim – and I’m NOT okay with that.

I’m done with the shenanigans.  Fear needs to start fearing ME.

I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else

It’s one of those days.  The kind of day that regardless of the task in front of me – I’d rather be doing anything else.  Right now I should be compiling a spreadsheet that will create the basis of ANOTHER spreadsheet that will then create a pile of invoices.

That’s right folks – exciting times are HERE!

So, instead of just getting this little chore over and done with I’ve made myself not very useful.  So far today I have: futzed with the color on my workstation monitor, caught up on blog reading via smartphone, chatted with a friend via Facebook, chatted with a different friend via Messenger, and stared at my growing pile of work while daydreaming of doing ANYTHING else.

I know my procrastination tactics have reached epic proportions when I start to dream of housecleaning.  I sit here in my little cubby dreaming of what I could be doing at home if only I was *there* instead of *here*.  If I didn’t have to be *here* my house would sparkle!

(Yeah…. Right.)

But, I think we all know that isn’t going to happen.  Let’s be honest – I’ve had years of practice.  I can push off anything to tomorrow, regardless of plans made when I was busy not doing something else.  Home is where things like television and cats live, which are both best enjoyed together, with a boozy drink.  Housecleaning just can’t live up to that trifecta of awesomeness.

(I realize those last sentences read like I’m a crazy alcoholic cat lady.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  But, it is the truth - so it stays.)

So, I sit here in my ill fitting desk chair with my legs falling asleep and check my Facebook wall, Twitter stream, Messenger window and cellphone screen in an endless rotation of distraction – hoping that something fun will arrive. 

I’m just going to have to figure out a way to make that spreadsheet entertaining.  It would certainly be easier with booze and cats.

Just sayin’.

ID Box

I believe Americans partially identify themselves by the work they do.  Asking what someone does for a living is usually in the first group of questions you ask someone after being introduced.  It makes sense.  We work hard and are driven to suceed as a culture.

We are the country of Yankee Ingenuity – where if at first you don’t succeed you try again.  And, when THAT doesn’t work, you dig your nails into your goal until you’re finally able to bring it down like a bobcat on a hiker on a suburban trail.*

Graphic?  Why, yes.  Yes it is.

But, while we live in the gracefully shaded land of Instagram and beautifuly photographed blog posts – all while sitting alone in our cubicle at work eating a brown bag lunch - it often becomes apparent that what we want and what we have aren’t exactly in line with each other.

(I realize that both the mediums above can be carefully staged – but Pinterest wouldn’t be the hotbed of activity if we all didn’t want these beautiful creations to be our lives.)

Growing up I had BIG PLANS.

BIG.

I had my eyes on a PhD in physics.  I realize now this was rediculous.  (I am not good at math.  At all.)

Then I moved on to geology.  (This was far more realistic and reasonable.)

Then, I got sent home from college in the midst of a psychotic break.

Oopsie.

(Change. In. Plans.)

Suddenly my career dreams disappeared and I spent all my time an energy focusing on keeping my life together (aka, staying alive and outside the padded white room).

Enter “the Job”.  I needed one – and am thankful for my family for providing the ultimatim that I GET one.

The job I got was administrative in nature and paid the bills.  This was my “hold over” job until “I started my career”, and therefore my life.

The only thing is, I’m still in my hold over job 12+ years later.  And, I have a hard time reconciling that job with the dreams I identified myself with.  Secretary vs. Scientist, kinda different in nature.

I’m lucky that my closest friends are in the science field – so I get to live vicariously through their experiences of reading (and understanding) journal articles, lab notebook grading and answering the same series of questions over and over and over again with each new semester.

I realize now that I don’t want to be a scientist in reality – although I wouldn’t mind playing one on TV.

(What I COULD deal without is the shocked look co-workers give me when I explain the most basic of scientific facts.  Hello people – I’m not a moron.  I have highly educated friends who share their knowledge.  Why is this so suprising?)

My wise-beyond-his-years brother shared something with me via a Facebook post late last night. He told me to focus less on my job and more on my passions.  Then he told me he loved me.

Damn kid made me cry at 4am before I even had my coffee.

Clearly he could see what I’ve stopped looking at: I’m NOT my job.  My job has a fantastic purpose: it allows me to eat, live somewhere I love, pay my bills, support my smartphone addiction, etc.  These are all good things.

But, they are not ME.

It got me to thinking: who am I really?  What would I want to define ME?

I came up with:

Kind.

Giving.

Slightly nutty – but funny.

Crafty (In the artistic sense, not the maniacal genius one.)

I’d been realizing lately that my job does not have to identify me to the world if I don’t want it to.  I’m currently chosing not.  The job is a job.  I don’t have to let the repetitive invoice processing, contract issuing and office politics define me any more.

Those self-imposed bonds can suck it hard.

I’m FREE.

*(If you’re interested: If I’m the bobcat – a Mary Kay pink Cadillac is totally my suburban hiker.)

Me vs. The Beemer

I may have mentioned before that I have a long commute.  Because of this I have possibly more than my fair share of traffic related rants in my arsenal.

Today it became very clear to me that I have some anger issues with the BMW driver.

Why?  Well, let’s recap this morning’s events, shall we?

I have a four mile stretch of road that is driven twice a day that goes through a suburban downtown area.  This area has been on the “revitalization” track over the past two years – causing gridlock on this little stretch of road on a regular basis due to construction insanity.

INSANITY.

Right now eight lanes of traffic are being whittled down to two – because they’re repaving the road.  I’m glad that repaving is taking place as the multitude of potholes was getting obnoxious – but TWO LANES????

This morning while I watched the light change from red to green to yellow and back to red again (without moving my car a single inch) I saw a station wagon inch up the shoulder on my right – BEHIND the construction cones.  This vehicle then made a sharp turn into the six inches between me and the bumper ahead of me – and then they gave me a little wave out their window.

The vehicle?  Yes, that would be BMW.

Seriously fellow driver (aka Cutter-in-Line), I only let you in because you gave me no choice.  I’ve been listening to the futile honking of horns for 15 minutes.  I want YOU to wait in line and experience this fun just as much I AM.  (And just a note: your little wave infuriated me.  Passive-aggressive much?)

So – win #1 for The Beemer.

I wouldn’t get all uppity – except then my lane disappeared and I had to merge into the one on my left.  The person who wasn’t going to let me in?  Oh yeah – BEEMER.

I’m only slightly ashamed to say I muscled my way in.

Let’s just chalk a win up to me – even if it wasn’t earned with sportsmanship or good humor.

(It was right about this time when I got cut off again by a different BMW.)

Commuting is turning into more and more into a TRON race these days.  It’s kill or be killed.

My vote: make it home alive and sane.

I realize that’s pushing it – but it’s all I’ve got.

Fear from the Clinically Insane

As someone who has identified as a mentally ill person for their entire adult life, I can confidently say that I’ve had a lot of experience with the “guess and check” world of head meds.

Months ago I wrote how I was trying to keep my sh*t together through routine.  (Read: actually eating nutritious food, sleeping on a set schedule and getting moderate exercise.)

Today I can say that my grand plan had a pretty good fail.

Luckily there have been not hospital stays that include10-minute “what are you up to?” checks – yet.

(However, there have been grand plans of quitting my job and lots of crying – immediatley followed by lots of frustrated anger – immediately followed by lots of crying.)

So, after visiting with my new Doc/ Drug Pusher last week I picked up a new perscription.

These bottles remain closed, with the receipt, in the bag they came home in.

STILL.

Yes, it’s been a week.  I’m aware.

(If nothing else my cheap gene should be kicking in about now.  These pills cost me 37-freaking-dollars.  I should at least try them so it’s not money wasted.)

I asked my doc all the questions:

#1:  Will these make me fat?

#2:  Are you absolutely sure they’re not going to make me fat?

#3:  You are aware that if they’re going to make me fat I’m not going to take them?

#4:  Do I take them at night or the morning?  Will they make me tired?  How long do they take to start working?  Am I going to get all twitchy?

#5:  Am I allowed to still drink alcohol?

Still – the fear lurks and the idea of actually ingesting one of these little beauties is enough to turn me to stone.

I. Don’t. Wanna.

One of my best friends gave sage advice today: “Suicide is scarier than side effects.”

She’s right – and has spouted such wisdom on other times such as these when the meds and I didn’t want to make contact.

(I believe the last time she said something along the lines of “intervention”.  Now there is definitely less drama involved.  Either that, or I’m further gone than I realize.)

However, I’ve got to be honest.  The memories of exceptional lethargy that would suddenly hit while driving to work on the freeway are freaking me out.  They’re freaking me out more than just a bit.

Or, maybe this is my excuse.  Maybe I’m totally grasping for anything that would justify me NOT taking the drugs and continuing along my hypo-manic/depression tilt-a-whirl.

I’m very busy being a statistic right now – because while I know that I NEED the drugs, I certainly don’t want to take them.  Right now I feel okay.  And, yes, I know that this will change in a drastic manner at a bad time.  I KNOW that at any moment someone is going to interact with me (or not) and I’ll transform from the snarky-kinda-has-it-together-girl into the sobbing-mass-of-jello-who-likes-to-throw-things that I become when the BiPolar Carny turns the ride on again.

A responsible adult would take care of business while the sanity is available.  (Apparently I’m more manic than I realize – because the idea of thwarting responsilbity is strangely enticing.  Bring it on, Beeeatches!!!!!!!)

Tonight has to be the night.  I have a return appointment to the Doc/ Drug Pusher next week and need to make good use of the time I take off of work/ money I spend in co-pays.  I need to have a week of meds under my belt so I can request something new if these aren’t working out.

Let’s get this party started.

Or something.

Orange Juice

Lots of times you hear about how “when life give you lemons, make lemonade”.

However, to me that just focuses on the sour parts of life.  What about the bitter?

(Yeah, I bet you thought I was going to say sweet.  Gotcha!)

Years ago when traveling I saw what I considered to be the coolest machine ever.  They were at walk-up food restaurants everywhere – and they squeezed oranges into fresh juice as the customer waitied.

This sounded wonderful to me.  Sweet, fresh orange juice for $4 a tiny glass (or some other outrageous sum).

Then, I shelled out for the juice and was startled by the flavor.

Sweet?  Not much.

Sour?  Kinda.

Bitter?  Oh, yeah.  Lots and lots of bitter.

Bitter has it’s purpose.  However, when life gives you OJ it can turn you into a bitch if you don’t watch yourself.

I’ve got my share of bitter going on these days.  My life isn’t where I thought it would be when I was dreaming of the future in high school.

Heck – last month I thought THIS month would be different too.  Keeping my head in a positive place is turning into a full-time job.

I’m fighting against turning into a full-on bitch who focuses on the regrets of life and relationships both past and present.  I really don’t want to be that person.

I guess awareness is the first step toward changing what you don’t like.

I think I’m there.

Operation “Not Orange Juice” has commenced.

Here’s to “more sweet and less bitter”.

 

Google Navigation Hates Me (aka Adventures Driving to The City)

The combination of me behind the wheel and driving to San Francisco has yet to work out well.

History:

Long, long ago when I first learned to drive (I was 21 at the time – please don’t judge) I dated someone who lived in Oakland.  As this was long, long, ago I had to do things like rely on verbal directions scribbled on a scrap of paper, a map and my “sense of direction” (the quotes are totally appropriate here) to get me anywhere.  I was given directions to get to this gentleman’s home that I now know to be CRAP.

(I was given the commemorative names  of the freeways I was to take instead of just saying “take 580″.) 

So, instead of ending up in the cute neighborhood where this guy lived (that had NO parking, might I add) I ended up very, very, very lost.

Long story short, my drive to meet a guy for a date included:

-  The refusal of a gas station clerk to provide directions ANYWHERE

-  Directions from a random person in the gas station parking lot

-  A trip over the Bay Bridge using the bus lane in the toll plaza (oopsie) using said directions from random person in the parking lot

-  A sweat soaked trip through the Embarcadero and BACK over the Bay Bridge

-  Getting lost in a VERY bad neighborhood trying to find my way to safety (fail on that one)

-  Finding a pay phone and getting propositioned by guys in a low rider, “Heeeeey Baby!  How YOU doin’?”

-  Finally being rescued by my date after being told to “Get back in the car. LOCK the doors.  Don’t move. I’ll come get you.”

Great way to start the date.  I should have had a clue and just drove home and passed on the entire experience of our “relationship”.

But, I digress…

This was my history with me driving to San Francisco.  I have not driven in a car I’ve been responsible for manouvering in San Francisco since.  I drive a stick shift with passable skill.  PASSABLE.  That does not include crazy San Francisco-style hill hell.  Therefore, if I’m going to San Francisco I will either make someone else drive or take public transit.

But, in current day, I now have a friend who lives in San Francisco.  She lives in the flat part (as long as you get off of the freeway in the correct spot and don’t have to double-back).  I also have technology on my side with Google Navigation on my awesome smartphone.  I convinced myself that a drive to the city was not only possible but would be easy and enjoyable.

Oh, how wrong I was.

See, I didn’t account for the evil sense of humor from those pesky Google employees.  (I should know better; after all, these are the people who will give you directions from New York to Paris that include swimming across the Atlantic.)

Things were going well – outside of the INSANE traffic on a Saturday morning in the MacArthur Maze.  (I could not do that commute each day.  40 minutes = 1 mile is not okay.)  I had my directions chirping at me from my phone.  I glanced at the map and the written directions.  I “had it under control”.

I made it through the maze and into the correct lane in the bridge toll plaza…

I didn’t get run out of my lane at the metering lights….

I was enjoying the scenery of the new bridge construction and gearing up for my big slow down at the “S” curve-of death near Yerba Buena Island.

Then, all the shit came off the rails.

I just didn’t know it yet.

I drove through the tunnel and onto the suspension portion of the bridge into San Francisco.  I was in the center lane, as I wasn’t sure if my exit was on the right or left of the road.  But, it was okay, because I knew which exit I needed: 1C.  Then, Ms. Navigation informed me that no – I needed Exit 2B. Exit on Left.  NOW!

So, off the freeway I go.  Then, I’m informed to make the first left.  Then, another left…

BACK ONTO THE BRIDGE – only this time I’m going back to Oakland.

WTF just happened here?

I’m informed to stay on the bridge and then exit at Treasure Island.  I look at my map – it wants me to take the Treasure Island exit – TOUR the freaking island – and then get BACK onto the bridge going BACK to San Francisco and take….

Wait for it….

Exit 1C.

Now, the on ramp from Treasure Island back onto the Bay Bridge is a death trap.  There is no actual ramp, but a small space of road with a stop sign immediately after the Yerba Buena tunnel.  The entrance is blind, and everyone is driving through the tunnel like Satan is at their heels in recoup for needing to drive 35mph through the S-curve-of-death immediately prior.

I made the decision to drive back to Oakland and try again.

Then Google Navigation asked me to make a U-Turn.

(For those of you not in the know – the Bay Bridge has two levels, each going their own direction.  The only result of a U-Turn is death.)

My mini-tour of the Oakland dock area immediately after the Bay Bridge where I turned around included snippets like “take a slight right” being repeated over and over – when the only thing to my right was railroad tracks…

I got to my friend’s house after ignoring the change in directions (which happened again – RIGHT after the tunnel – what the heck Google?????) and continuing on to my correct exit.  I was a full hour late, damp with flop sweat (ewwww) and speaking in that manic voice that clearly says I just experinenced a near death experience.

I kinda had.  Google hates me and is clearly in cahoots with the Bay Bridge to get me.

Next time I’m taking BART.