Finding the Silver Lining

It’s another one of those days. Those slow days of work that I’m starting to unfortunately get used to. And yesterday, we had a conference call that indicated an eventual possibility of limiting hours so that our night staff has some work to do. Which I totally understand; I wouldn’t want to not have any work at all just because I work nights. But limiting hours means less money coming in and I’m seriously considering looking for other work, even though I have no idea where to start looking because I’ve been doing this for four plus years and I’m no longer well trained to be around people. Plus waiting to get busy again is testing my patience.

So instead of looking at only the negatives here, I’m trying to find the silver lining to this mess and “enjoy the break,” as our supervisors told us. For me, enjoying the break is likely more difficult than for others because of my anxiety issues and needing a set routine as opposed to just going with the flow. But anyway, I guess my silver lining is being able to work more on my crocheting, which I’m also actually thinking about doing as a side business, because if I have all this time, I can get a lot more done than I have in past years because I was purposefully taking my time on those projects. Currently I have three or four blankets in the pipes, one of which I’ve started and had to restart because it ended up being bigger than a king size bed and I only want full size. But I have yarn for three additional blankets, one of which is going to be a reversible blanket, so it’s basically like doing two blankets and sewing them together into one. Additionally, in the past couple weeks, I’ve finished three hats and although I don’t wear hats myself, I’m happy to make them for someone else. I can also do scarves and probably whatever else gets thrown at me. I’m pretty adaptable with crochet items.

I could also do more weekly gaming and free up some of my weekend time for watching anime (or playing catch-up as it is now) or hanging with family. I’m two dungeons away from beating Final Fantasy V, but seeing as the second dungeon is the last dungeon, it’s likely going to require a bit more time than the other ones and I just want to be done with it. I can hardly wait to move on to Final Fantasy VI because it’s one of my absolute favorite games, probably tied for first with Final Fantasy VII. It’s also the one that got me started on Final Fantasy so it has an extra special place in my heart.

And I could probably be doing more writing, especially in working on revisions for my novel, which desperately needs my attention, and there are a couple character profiles I need to finish working out yet.

But most importantly, I need to focus on taking care of myself and getting back to a more normal sense of balance. With my aunts here last week, and my dad home this week, I haven’t really had much time to myself to mellow out since going off my birth control and I still have the lingering twinges of a tension headache and some stiffness in my neck from yesterday. (I also wanted to punch my dad in the nose when he said he should be telling me to “suck it up” whenever I have a migraine or headache of any kind. Even though it might have sounded like joking, it wasn’t funny. You don’t just “suck it up” when you have a migraine. Unless you have really good meds to make them go away, you basically have to wait for a migraine to pass and hope it doesn’t eat up too much of your day because you really can’t do much with a genuine migraine. Or at least I can’t. Nothing helps except laying down in a dark, quiet room.)

So my silver lining in not having much work and being limited on hours is finally getting time to take care of me and make sure my body and soul are nurtured and soothed before I try to take on anything else. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Easter Musings

Happy Easter to all of you! Sorry it’s been a while. I just recently went off of the birth control I started because it was giving me migraines and I basically lost a week’s worth of time to them, and I’m still trying to get back to feeling more normal and am not likely to get there until at least next week because my dad has vacation this week. I’m foreseeing a lot of time in this back room sitting at my newish desk with the door closed trying to enjoy my solitude.

Normally  I enjoy holidays because my family is pretty close-knit, but today was just draining. I don’t know if it was just the chaos of getting dinner ready, which I’m not normally a part of, or if I’m still adjusting to my own hormones again, but I am exhausted. I spent a few hours in the basement trying to finish my stupid game so I can actually move on to one I like and I’m still not where I want to be, so I’ll probably be playing that all this week too. I think once I get past the stress of feeling behind schedule with this gaming challenge, even though I’m still a little ahead, I’ll start to feel more relaxed. Although having steady workflow would definitely help too.

The past six weeks, I’ve only had one full work week, and since I only work about 25 hours a week, that’s pretty sad. It’s throwing off my whole schedule and making me seriously consider looking for a different job that can give me more consistent hours. And I love my job, I love what I do, I like a small group of people I work with, but after being promised to have more consistent work coming in, as opposed to this super busy, super slow roller coaster when we were bought out, I’m feeling seriously let down that we now can barely get a full week’s hours in.

And to show just how slow and intermittent we’ve been, I finished crocheting two hats and I finished my first ever sewing project in the last two weeks. The one hat I did in three days between our “busy” hours. I even started a blanket, which I then had to rip out because it was WAY too long, and am now currently on the third row of a significantly smaller blanket with the same ripple pattern. I decided to try and help my mom with her project list by creating my own and so far, I’ve gone through three of them in the past few weeks because we’ve been so slow at work. And I have to admit, even though she didn’t get any of the projects on her list done this past week while she was on vacation, she did get several smaller projects done with the help of her sisters, and I’m proud of her for that.

Aside from this blog post, which was kind of spur of the moment because I needed to clear my head a little and I did want to write something, the only writing I’ve done lately is daily to-do lists and filling out my weekly schedule. There’s been too much chaos to focus on anything, and that could be from the anxiety. Even growing up and going through middle and high school, I had issues with writing when people were around. I especially didn’t like having to write on command for my creative writing classes. It’s gotten better, the writing with people around, but I still need to be in a quiet place by myself and then left alone. Like now. I’m sitting in the back, media room with the door closed and music playing quietly in the background, which is allowing me to focus on this entry and slowly complete my weekly schedule.

I hope all of you had a happy Easter with your families and until next time, don’t be afraid to be yourself and do what makes you happy. Especially when you need to calm yourself and focus your thoughts just to get through the next few minutes.

Undeniable Proof…Plus an Announcement!

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned I got an unexpected text from Gia wanting to get together and hang out when she came home next? Well, turns out she didn’t want it all that badly because the day she came home has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single text from her. The only reason I know that is because I glanced at her Facebook page, having hidden her from my news feed, and she had already left this morning on her family vacation.

Looks like I was right to abandon this sinking ship.

This little event has given me undeniable proof that I had clearly been putting more effort into this friendship than she was and that the only time she wanted to, or claimed she wanted to see me was when she was already in the area for something else. I mean I get it, it’s a long drive from here to there, but that’s beside the point. Jared is still a ways away and he made time to come visit me just because he wanted to. This friendship street works two ways.

Needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t get a text. I went on an adventure this morning just to avoid her because I couldn’t remember what day she said she was coming home and yes, I may have been expecting a text, but I was also planning on ways to make myself unavailable. Clearly this friendship has run its course.

**

Now for the announcement: As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I stumbled upon a post by one of the literary agents I follow and it said she was looking for interns to commit 10 hours a month for six months, ideally. I read through the specifications of what she was looking for and after discussing it with my best friend, I decided to make the leap and apply for it. Now I know interns don’t get paid usually, but I see this as an opportunity to learn more about the publishing world and also potentially get hands-on coaching lessons from the agent to better my writing. I’m both nervous and excited, because I don’t know what the future holds for me with regards to this internship, but I’m hoping and praying I get it. I’m hoping it’s a stepping stone to the career I’ve always wanted.

Back to Normal

**Possible Trigger Warning. Please read with caution.**

This past week has been a bit nightmarish for me, partly because both of my parents were home on vacation, there wasn’t a lot to do at work, and I wasn’t feeling all that great from Thursday through today (I’m still a little under the weather, but functioning more normally). One of the oh so fun advantages of having a dust allergy is when you play in the dust for spring cleaning, your sinuses flare up for several days. And in my case, literally nothing helps the pain in my face go away, and the one time I tried to take painkillers, I ended up throwing them back up five minutes later because the nausea was so bad. Though I did feel better after that…On top of all this, I’ve been overly lethargic and sleepy and lacking all energy to do much of anything, and I haven’t been able to figure out why, though right now I’m feeling more like myself. It’s possible it was the disruption in my usual schedule, which is the most likely trigger, and this past week got me really thinking on what my unique anxiety related triggers are.

First and foremost, as much as I love them to death, my parents can both be triggers, especially if they are together. For me, their energies can clash, which puts a lot of strain on my mental state. Dad is generally more laidback, calm, and likes to watch tv a lot, but at a volume that is louder than I usually prefer. Mom can be kind of all over the place and chaotic, trying to do half a dozen things all at once and then getting more agitated when she hasn’t gotten any of them done. Having them both together can be like standing in a hurricane of energy with no protection and I found myself more often than not looking for solitude to refocus and re-energize myself. That being said, on any given day, I can be either one of those similar energies. I’ll have days where I want to be super productive and get lots of things done, and then I’ll have days where I just want to lay down and catch up on whatever shows I have recorded.

Second has got to be work, and sometimes lack thereof. For a work from home job, you wouldn’t think it would be all that stressful, but at times it really is. We have deadlines to meet, quality standards to meet in specific time limits, etc.  And when there’s a lack of work, it really upsets my schedule, because I can’t just assume nothing is going to come in during the day. I have to leave my schedule open so I can check periodically through the day for any work that comes through. Like today. I’ll be checking periodically throughout the day. And last July, work was the cause of my two worst anxiety attacks, because they happened within 12 hours of each other, which had never happened before, and has not happened since. The only thing that really helps here is, when there’s no work, to find something to occupy my time, like crocheting, video games, reading, writing, etc. And when there’s a lot of work, it helps to take mini breaks throughout the day not only to give my eyes a rest, but also my mind.

The rest of my triggers are more situational and less all-encompassing. Like large crowds, which I tend to avoid if I can, though doing chores like grocery shopping can be a bit overwhelming if I don’t have a plan for it (like listening to music while I shop). Other triggers can include loud noises (especially if I’ve been sitting in silence or quiet music all day), being around people I don’t know, being around loud and extremely abrasive people, any kind of change to my schedule (not just work related, but things like an impromptu lunch date or unexpected visitors), being around a former abuser (Gia), making phone calls, doctor visits, and pretty much anything that makes me feel pressured to do something or be someone I’m not.

The calming “antidotes” for each of these situations are as varied as the situations themselves. Stuff like phone calls and doctor visits, the best way to get over the anxiety is just to go through with it, which I know doesn’t always work for everyone. However, with phone calls, I generally keep them under three minutes. Journaling and listening to music are my biggest forms of therapy, because I can listen to my soothing (or not so soothing) music and write down everything I’m thinking, just to get it out of my head and stop myself from circling back on it and obsessing over it. Video games are another great form of stress relief for me, as is having my best friend to talk to.

So as this week starts with my parents going back to work, I’m looking forward to going back to a more normal daily routine and less stress on this happy hermit. ❤

Hoarding

**TRIGGER WARNING; Please read with cautious.**

This is kind of an awkward topic for me to discuss, not because I myself am a hoarder, though I will admit I may have some hoarding tendencies. I mean, I have an entire dresser full of random miscellany that some people would probably ask, “Why are you keeping this stuff?” Some of it is books I bought for research that wouldn’t fit on my bookshelf because of how tall they are. Some of it is coffee mugs I can’t use until I move into my own place again. And some of it is random collectibles from my childhood that you can’t find anymore and I can’t bear to part with it. However, all of these things have a place that is out of sight and not cluttering up my room, and I know what’s in each drawer respectively. I have obtained my father’s OCD about organization and I can’t stand a lot of clutter so my room is fairly organized with a minimal amount of chaos, and I do get rid of things from time to time. Like the half a dozen scented candles I’ve never burned that were given to me and I can’t use often because of my mom’s allergies.

That being said, my mom is the total opposite, though her hoarding hasn’t yet gotten to the point of looming towers of stuff and a foot of garbage, etc. But she has a crafting room which used to be an office downstairs. Her crafting stuff has spilled out into the rest of the basement in various locations. Now, her stuff is semi organized because I have tried on multiple occasions to help her sort and organize everything so it has a place in the crafting room, or the large “playpen” which is just like a wire crate on wheels. Yesterday, I was helping her clean again (this being probably the third or fourth time) and I wanted to start small, since I recognize her hoarding and I’m not sure she does and I didn’t want to push too hard because I know it’s not something she can necessarily control. So I decided we would start with the bookshelf, because it’s full of books I’ve never seen her read. Most of the religious type books did leave the room and she’s intending to donate them to a religious organization just two hours from us. Which is good; I honestly wasn’t expecting her to get rid of those. She also found a bunch of books and supplies that went to our local elementary school. I was also watching her go through huge stacks of paper detailing various crochet and quilting patterns, deciding which ones to keep. Now, she did throw a bunch away, but she also kept a few that I separated into two binders for her, one for crochet and one for quilting.

What really bothered me, though, was the fact that she wanted to keep what I estimated at being around 20-30 hardcover books on quilting. I’m not a quilter. My mom is fairly new to quilting; I think she’s made two or three quilts, with help from friends. I couldn’t understand why she wanted to keep ALL of these books and her excuse was, “They have a bunch of cool patterns in them.” My first thought was, “That’s not a reason to keep ALL of them when you have so many other projects to do.” (Although, having read through this again, I realized I might have 10 or so books on writing and improving my writing craft). One of mom’s projects is the “confetti” quilt. -_- She has a small bag of random, tiny, tiny bits of fabric that to a normal person’s eye, looks like garbage. It’s not usable because it’s so small. It’s her bag of “remnants” and I don’t know why she wants to keep them other than for this quilt she hasn’t even started yet. It almost felt like she’s afraid she’ll run out of projects.

But she also has at least 40 projects going on right now and between her job, my grandma, and her work at home like dishes and cooking, she’s stretched pretty damn thin. And I’ve been trying to help out more so she has time for these projects. I’ve done their laundry the last several times. But the thing is, she’ll start a project, leave it for a couple weeks because she’s too busy, forget she has it, and then start on a new one entirely. It’s maddening. So I’m going to try something with her, and we started it yesterday, where I have her make a list of her top five quickest, or highest priority projects, and she’s only allowed to work on one of those five projects at a time. When she’s finished all five, she can add five more to work on. I’m not sure whether it will work, but she’s made the list and agreed to it, so we’ll see what happens. And I’m a huge fan of this to-do list idea; it works great for me and I try not to fret when I don’t finish everything on the list (usually my lists are for daily accomplishments). So I will try to be patient with her, and I know that in starting to sew myself, I can see how this becomes a dangerous and slippery slope, having been in the store picking fabric twice already. But my plan ideally is to use fabric she already has before going to get more, because my mentality is do I need this right now, and am I going to use it right away?

To the untrained eye, her crafting room looks like chaos. To me, it still looks like chaos, but chaos that has been semi organized by me. As a whole, it’s still not ideal, but for now, most everything has a place and it’s not as all over the place as it was. And that’s a good start.

My First Sewing Project…Ugh

Part of this blog is about describing my own personal “reinvention” and part of reinventing myself is finding new things that I enjoy and not things I enjoyed because other people around me enjoyed them. One of the things I’ve wanted to learn how to do is sew and make my own costumes, because I’m kind of a tricky size and I don’t trust clothes made by other people because I don’t know how they’ll fit once I get them. So I wanted to learn to sew my own clothes just to be able to see how they fit as I’m making them, and then I can make my own adjustments. So the other day, I mentioned in a previous post about how I was playing with my “new” sewing machine, which was a rejected item for my grandma who decided she didn’t want it after the return date had passed. My mom and I spent about 45 minutes just learning where everything was on the machine, how to thread it, etc. and just how to change the style of stitches.

My mom had come to me a few days ago with a small, easy project for me to do as my first sewing project and as a birthday gift for my best friend’s daughter. So yesterday I had quite the adventure. First off, I decided to go to the mall to spend some time before popping in on this supposed journaling “class” my mom had told me about (which actually turned out not to be a class, but rather a hands-on demonstration to showcase fancy paper and glitter gel pens). Anyway, one of my stops in the mall was the Disney store to look around, maybe buy some birthday gifts for my adopted niece…The cell service in the store is spotty, so I had to keep walking around while I was texting my best friend asking different questions about what was available in the store. I probably spent half an hour in there just walking around kind of slowly, holding a bag of dolls and waiting for responses in the spotty service. Doing this made me feel a bit like a creeper, because I don’t have a kid that I could’ve brought in with me, like all the other parents were, and I was just taking laps around the store.

Eventually I made my purchases and was on my way to the store where my mom works to check out this “class” she had told me about. When I got there I was a little disappointed to see that the journaling stuff was just on a table at the front of the store with stickers, pens, and other random things. And then, my mom told me, “Why don’t you go find some fabric for your first sewing project?” Which is a little girl’s skirt for my best friend’s daughter. Ok, not a big deal. I wandered over to the kids fabric section and started looking around for stuff this girl likes, like My Little Pony and Shopkins. After a lap, I found the perfect fabric: Shopkins with rainbows, since her favorite color is all of them. I take it back to my mom and she tells me to go find a second piece…

By this point, I’m already tired from walking around the mall. My feet and back hurt. But I nod and smile and look around. The only problem is, even for a small store, there are TONS of fabric options and all I know is what fabrics not to match with the one I chose, like no fleece or flannel, etc. I spent the next 15 to 20 minutes walking around trying to find something to match, but I didn’t like anything I found. It was either too dark or too light, or just not right for the fabric. And after my experience in the Disney store, my anxiety was already pretty high. So now I’m even more overwhelmed and scared I’m not going to find a matching fabric, and my inner monologue was on a continuous loop of, “I just want to go home. Let’s go home.”

After 20 minutes, I go back to my mom with this look of disappointment on my face, desperately trying not to show her or anyone else how panicked and desperate I feel inside. She’s talking to this lady, another customer, who then suggested I take a strip of each color of the rainbow and sew them together. I really wanted to tell this person, “You know what, lady? I’ve played with my sewing machine for all of 20 minutes just learning my stitches, and 45 minutes just trying to learn the ins and outs of it, like threading the damn thing. This is too much work for me.” Of course, I’m cranky and tired and overwhelmed and I hold my tongue. When I tell my mom I couldn’t find anything and I don’t want to do this strip idea, she suggests this type of ribbon, which I had to ask the other manager, who I actually like and like to bother because it’s funny, where to find this ribbon. I finally find the ribbon and start looking through what’s there and I find the perfect one. It’s Shopkins themed and it fits with the fabric I picked out. It’s perfect.

I take both items back to my mom, having now been in the store 45 minutes just doing laps again, and she asks if I want her to get it cut later or if I want to get it cut now and pay for it myself. And now, I’m mentally exhausted. My back really hurts and I need to go home. So I tell her I’ll put it back behind the counter for her to do later, which I do, and then I went home and spent my day in the basement gaming just to calm myself down.

She comes home later that night and says she forgot the ribbon I had picked out. -_- I was very upset about that, even though I didn’t show it. After all that work and effort I had put into finding something for this project, she forgets one of the pieces. Needless to say, this was not a good start to what could potentially be a great new hobby and experiences like this make me not want to start anything new. One of the drawbacks of being a perfectionist is I don’t like to make mistakes, even when it’s something I’ve never done before. And I need things explained to me like you would a child, and in a visual way, since I’m a visual learner. In any case, having all of this information thrown at me and being surrounded by a thousand choices was way more overwhelming than I thought it would be and I’m almost not looking forward to making this skirt.

Projects

This weekend promises to be one full of projects for me and my family. For me, I’m working on another test crochet hat for my best friend, which is proving to be a challenge but nothing outside my skill range. It just might take me a little longer to finish than the previous hat I made. Right now, it looks like a very fancy coaster.

I’m also planning to spend my weekend playing more Final Fantasy and trying to advance the current game I’m in so I can get on to the next one, because after the next one, I’ll be able to play one I really enjoy. Also, when I’m taking some breaks throughout the day, I might try doing some more sewing things. When my mom gets home, maybe we can pin fabric to the patterns we’ve cut out. Or we might do that tomorrow instead of Saturday. Although, Saturday I might pop into the store my mom works for to see what a four-hour class on journaling entails. I’ve been laughing about that all day. Like seriously? I’ve been journaling since I was 11. It’s not that hard and certainly doesn’t require four hours to learn. I mean, in four hours, I could probably have 10 pages done, along with a hand cramp and a blister on my ring finger where my pen sits.

Now, I don’t mean any offense by that. Journaling is basically the same as blogging, but maybe more personal. You find some paper, or a word document, and you start writing. If you want to get extra fancy, you can get colored pens, gel or otherwise, stickers, glitter, etc. and go all out like you would a scrapbook. And if you write like no one’s going to read it, you’ll never run out of things to say.

That being said, my list of projects might continue into next week, which I’m actually dreading. Both of my parents are planning to be off work that week and I might love them both to death, but I enjoy my solitude when I’m working. I don’t like having the tv on, partly because daytime tv sucks and partly because I don’t need the added eye strain, and also, because of the month, I might be forced to watch A LOT of basketball. Bleh. Plus I don’t like the volume at which dad needs it because he’s losing his hearing and the noise is jarring on my nerves. And I don’t think they will be spending the entire week cleaning the basement, even though it probably needs a solid week of cleaning. I only have Monday off and I’m planning to help them clean our Christmas collection, because it’s very large and I want to help figure out which ornaments are mine so we can separate them from my brother’s.

If I actually get through all of these projects, or at least put a sizable dent in their progress, it will be a miracle, but I love being busy and for me, relaxing is playing video games or crocheting or writing. Basically any of my hobbies, I find relaxing.