some random observations
I am so happy this week is over and so glad it ended on a decent note. Today was supposed to be my last day on the in-between work project I’ve taken on while I wait for our new client to launch. And let’s just say–I haven’t been much of a fan. The client is well-known and respected, but was basically asking for some pretty difficult things. Basically, every issue that could come up, did…and I was working more behind the scenes so I wasn’t able to help with fixing it. Relying on others who have less experience than I was not my favorite thing. Especially when it meant they were just constantly pressuring me to produce more when they really should have been pushing back and doing other things. Luckily, by midweek, my temporary manager stepped in–realized this wasn’t working–pushed back and also moved me to stuff I could actually make happen. And suddenly my week got much better.
I learned a LOT about myself this week, though, as painful as it was. I’m so glad things got better because I was not happy and thinking all kinds of things that–in the past–would have led to drastic, big moves. But, because I had committed to the big client launch, I tried to do my best and not wander away. Then today, my old manager let me know the new client launch has been delayed, so I have yet another week on this. I don’t mind now that I can actually get things done, but I am frustrated that there’s literally no way for me to earn a bonus this month, and my base is not good. I’m also frustrated that it will put me behind on yearly numbers and I probably won’t be as high up as I was last year. That’s pretty frustrating when it has nothing to do with you.
In any event, I’m trying to see this as a bit of a vacation–even though I am absolutely working hard and doing a good job. It’s not challenging at all. It’s much less volume than I’m used to and much less responsibility/stress. When things were bad, I felt like I was losing brain cells–but after that really stressful, difficult start to the year, I’m actually appreciating the rest…especially given that I’m still dealing with tooth pain (wisdom tooth consultation in 3 weeks), still hobbling on a broken toe, and really doing a lot of tough inner work these days. I need work to be non-dramatic, so another week of quiet–before the insanity of brand new and proving myself all over again begins–is a welcome thing.
That’s part of what originally appealed to me about this industry, but it can also be a rollercoaster. When it feels like a rollercoaster, it’s the worst. Epic highs and crushing lows. Never knowing where you stand. It’s a lot like my childhood. So I’m comfortable in it and do well in it, but it takes a lot out of me. It gets me stuck in those old patterns, and part of the work I’m doing now–on me–is figuring out how to ride those waves without losing my healthy self. I haven’t slept well in days. Ever since this change, my unconscious mind has been riled and sleep has been impossible. At least, at night. It’s left me exhausted all day–and the not challenging work has meant my mind has been dulled–which is a kind of lazy rest that doesn’t rejuvenate–so I don’t get tired until way later–usually when I’m supposed to wake up. And then I struggle through the day and take a three hour nap after work. That’s been my entire week. Even the weekend was like that.
My sleep patterns are a huge canary in the coal mine for me. When I can’t sleep, and it’s that egregious, I know I have LOTS of work to do. All week, I meant to set-up my healthy habits and my system for accountability. But I didn’t because I kept falling asleep and then didn’t want to do it at 1 am. So, I promised myself I would do it this weekend–even though I have to cook a mountain of food this weekend since I didn’t cook much this week because of the sleep BS. See how it piles up into this clusterfuck where I’m the sacrificial lamb? (I’ve since decided to do it Sunday and try to get all the cooking done tomorrow…but Sunday has always been sacred to me, so fine–let’s really commit to that). Anyway, because I was basically awake all night last night, I had time to think about how I wanted to start my day. I could feel the anxiety mounting already. Even though work has been boring and calm and I knew it would be a low-key day–I have so much memory anxiety that just kicks in because I’m going to be working. This adrenaline that pops up. It’s from all that crap I went through last year and early this year. My body immediately goes into savior mode the minute it starts approaching. And I can tell immediately because I get this feeling of overwhelm. It’s harder to breathe. My head hurts. I get hot. My heart races. It’s basically a mild panic attack. This happens every morning.
I was not doing that this morning. NO.
So I got up at like 5 am. Took my shower. Did a face mask. Did my skincare routine. Took extra time lotioning up and brushing my teeth. Actually put product in my hair, so my natural curl would come out and I’d look like I did my hair (except I didn’t). I even put a lip scrub on. I did some light yoga. Hugged the kitties. And then I decided–you know what–I should meditate.
I have this app on my phone called Buddhify–which I found out about years ago from mutual friends who knew the app developers. But I rarely use it. Meditation has never been my thing. Especially not early in the morning. I’ve always been an overthinker, and mornings are so stressful for me. Even working from home, without the pressure of getting ready and leaving. Like I said–that muscle memory anxiety kicks in. So, quieting my mind and being still is usually impossible and often UNWELCOME. Like hard core unwelcome. Because–if I quiet down–all the shit I’m trying not to acknowledge will show up to kick my ass. Shit like grief, anger–all the shit, basically. And my job is to be Ms. Mary Sunshine. Happy, docile. Downright chipper. It’s impossible for me to be those other things and do that too. Because I’m not good at faking it. When I’m in a shitty mood, I reschedule my calls because I can’t be Ms. Mary Sunshine that day. That’s the beauty of my job. And especially this project. Because I’m not client facing, I can take a sourcing day. I can schedule the calls for tomorrow when I’m not falling apart. In this case, this boring project is perfect.
But that wasn’t my day. I knew I had three screens this morning, and I wasn’t about to reschedule them. I had worked too hard to risk losing them. So, nope, this was going to be a good day, and I was going to have to find my inner cheerleader and slap a smile on my face.
I decided to do the wake up meditation. Five minutes. Easy. And my brain wandered. The anxiety welled up as I knew it would. So I did another one. Then another one meant for anxiety–which made me more anxious. Acknowledging my anxiety does that. Finally, I did one that was for waiting–and that was my sweet spot. Okay–yes–this worked. 20 minutes. A better way to start my day than the marathon sprint I normally engage. The idea that my center–peace–was inside me–no matter what–really helped me. The idea that I could acknowledge all my rogue thoughts and wish them well on their journeys as I let them go? Helped immensely. It reminded me of a time when I did a juice cleanse that really helped me. I had done cleanses before, and they were always really tough for me. Mostly because I was detoxing sugars and had done the juice cleanse to try to break some shitty habits. When the cravings would come up, I’d grab a juice and sort of meditate my way through it–instinctually–just because that’s what made sense at the time. And I noticed that–if I acknowledged the thought–didn’t fight it or tell myself I was bad for having it–if I just took a breath and waited–it would just leave my brain as easily as it showed up. And the struggle would be less the next time. That helped me so much with so many things. (But, of course, I’ve been using sugar again to keep myself going and probably need to do another cleanse! I’ve been actually thinking of adopting a no added sugar diet–so fruits and real stuff would be fine–but no sodas or etc…hmm).
It was nice to be able to find that same part of myself–my functional adult–in that meditation–and to start my day that way. Because I connected to her right away, taking care of myself all day was really easy. I had chats with my work friend all afternoon, I made healthy eating choices, I took breaks when I needed to, and I danced to music. It was one of the most enjoyable work days I’ve had in a while.
And actually–the reason I opened this blog post and started writing tonight was because of my reaction to something I did during my low-key day. While sourcing, I decided to catch up with Big Little Lies–which has all my faves in it and is just really really good. Amazing soundtrack too and set in one of my favorite places, so lots of pretty camera work too. And while I was watching it–I noticed something: as great as all the acting is in this show and as great as the writing is–the women fall flat. The male characters are nuanced and amazing. But the women are still lacking some depth. Well, with a few exceptions.
It’s something I’ve also noticed about another HBO show that’s female centric: Girls--which has actually been astonishingly good recently. I feel like they don’t use the male characters enough, and I’m always looking forward to them–way more than the female characters–who are honestly immature and grating. Come to think of it, the men are, too–but in a way that feels authentic–not some ploy to drive plot. And I also feel like the female trajectory for character evolution is totally unrealistic and flimsy. Case in point: Marnie this season. I won’t say more since I could spoil shit for people–but COME ON. And I actually love Marnie lately. My favorite favorite episode of the show was all Marnie last season. I just feel like women are often used as devices rather than being portrayed as actual human beings. It really frustrates me. Especially when I know the intention is to paint them as full humans. I have to wonder–what is it about our culture that shortchanges the depiction of female stories–even by feminists and those committed to tell these stories?
In any case, that reignited something for me. Most of my personal writing is female-centric, and I’ve been wanting to really talk about femininity and sexuality for a long time. I’ve been wanting to talk about my experience as a human being–but really as a female–in a world where we’re told we are sluts and whores–and deserving of all kinds of shit–while also being told we have to be virgins and saints. While also being expected to bear and raise more little girls. I have lots and lots to say about it. And it’s been in my head to write about this stuff since basically 2008. I’ve never really shared much with friends because–well–I don’t know that even they know that side of me. And the thing I want to write is pretty risky in that a lot of people are so not okay talking about this shit.
Anyway, the whole thing made me realize I need to start writing again. More than the blogs. And that has to be part of my self-care. And I probably need to date more to do that justice–which is a whole other rant.