Ice Cream

Today was Dad’s birthday, according to the Lunar Calendar, so we took him out.  At the end, ice cream was given for free!  And I dug in.  After that, I was pretty antsy, and Mother said perhaps it was the ice cream.  Wouldn’t it be crazy if it was that simple?  Call me complicated, but I don’t think most things in life are simple, and I generally take simple explanations as fun hypotheses, not as serious suppositions.  If only.

One of the most simple things in my life though was my courtship to DH.  Not that I never got upset with him, but where we were and where we were going was fairly simple, more than anything else in my life.  It still amazes me to this day.

Because I’m working for the parentals now, career has become simple too.  I jumped from place to place only to land in a place that I never wanted to be in, and to be okay with it.  In college, as a freshman, I went to see the department head of cognitive science, and she said something like “this is your major of the week isn’t it” which honestly offended me.  As time passed, I became more desperate, and I even pulled out the list of every possible major in Berkeley to try to cross things off that were either too difficult or too impractical and narrow things down.  I thought it was really going to make a difference in my life, but for me it hasn’t.  I am not doing anything remotely close to economics or speech-language pathology.  I am taking the route that I once thought would be most boring, and yet I’m not bored.  Husband knows I could say that about him too.  😛  Timing and experiences have been everything.

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Loneliness and Insecurity

There’s a weird feeling I have at the moment, and it’s called loneliness and insecurity.  It means I want to talk and make a friend, but I’m insecure/anxious about how the conversation would go and whether it would be a positive overall interaction or a negative one.

As an HSP, apparently I go out of my way to avoid uncomfortable situations, so you can guess where that leaves me.  I guess I’ve kind of forgotten about my HSP-ness, except today, I noticed one of my friends on Facebook, an acquaintance, rather, had changed her last name back to her maiden name.  That’s never a good sign when you know they are (were?) married.  It’s really disheartening and while one shouldn’t jump to conclusions, I thought back to the research I read a long time ago about how neuroticism is the number one personality predictor of an unhappy marriage, in so many words.  I think HSP-ness and neuroticism pretty much overlap quite a bit.  So I made my hubby take the HSP test.  He’s not an HSP (no surprise at all there).  I think when I make my hubby take tests like these and listen to his responses, I realize how much I assume everyone around me must think the way I think, or feel the way I feel in response to things, and how strange it is to find out that they don’t.  You mean loud noises don’t really bother you?!  You mean you’re not bothered by coarse fabrics?  You don’t get nervous when someone is watching you do something?  You must be an alien!  Except no, the alien, folks, is me.  Just kidding.  We are 20% of the population, so not so alien after all.  But the point is, something about us, oh, maybe the way we are so very moody, makes it difficult for people to live very very closely to us, which marriage is.  Anyhow, as you can probably guess, this doesn’t make me feel too good about myself.  So it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about these personality things.  Thankfully, it is the Lord who brought me to my husband, and my husband to me.  His ways really are higher than our ways.  My thoughts are kind of all over the place on this.  I guess I just feel bummed when things aren’t working out for people and of course I can’t have any way of knowing what is actually going on, so how can I say anything?  It’s all very confusing.  Years and years have passed and so much change, too.

I think that’s what ties all of these thoughts together.  Change.  I don’t like change.  Since I’m back home, I’ve realized a lot of folks are probably still around, but I don’t know if they would want to talk to me.  There’s always the past, the connections to this person or that person, and then there’s this huge gap of time, and by now, I have no clue what to think or what they think, or if they even think.  I want to connect with people, but I have no words.  Or maybe they’re busy.  Or maybe I’m busy.  I would be okay, except see the reason I’m writing this is that I spent too long scrolling through a NewsFeed, reading just that.  News.  News about people, when all I really want is to actually sit down and talk to them, except I also don’t want that as well.  Because what if they don’t open?  That feeling when you can’t seem to get through feels even lonelier, somehow.  Why do things change?  So we left our old community behind, but I am forming a new community here, and it will take time.

I feel there is a new stage of life ahead of me.  The leaves are growing a radiant reddish hue and life is morphing as well.  It seems as I grow older, family becomes more and more primary, and more of them actually need your care, or is it that I actually notice and care about someone other than myself.  I will be 29 in a few weeks.  Throughout most of my life, I haven’t felt my age.  I’ve always felt younger than I actually was.  Today though, my age feels very real to me.

Home Again

Here I am again.  I’ve found a new morning routine for myself, ever since I discovered the Sleep Cycle app.  It’s a really cool app which tracks your sleeping cycles using your phone’s microphone, and wakes you up at the point where you’re the most awake, so it’s easier for you to wake up.  For a person that has struggled with waking up since exiting the womb, well I had to try it.  It has worked really well, and it’s also very interesting to see your actual cycle from being awake, to sleeping, to deep sleeping.

A corner of the dining room lets in the morning sunlight, so that’s where I choose to sit in the anxiety of the morning.  I feel like a cat sometimes, curling up in a spot where I can feel the warmth of the sun after escaping from sleep.  I miss feeling calm.  Little bursts of electricity run around inside my body.  They gather in my core.  I just want to hide from the day, from the eyes, from the confusion, from the judgment, from the reverberations of billions of beings on this earth with convictions and experiences and opinions and knowledge and voices and actions.  I can’t tell if the ache inside is because I’m hungry or because of my mind.  I think a little of both.

The Kondo Method

I finally finished the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Marie Kondo is crazy!  I respect her, and she knows her tidying stuff, but I find myself unable to achieve her kind of perfection in tidying.  There is somewhat of a cult-like following of her method, and I can totally see why.  Maybe if I lived in a different universe, I would be in on it too.  But here are my reasons why I cannot employ the KonMari method of tidying.

  1. Anxiety.  What is this “spark of joy” she talks about?  To start tidying, I picked up a fairly easy shirt that I loved.  I did feel some joy.  But after that, with each additional piece of clothing, I started just feeling anxiety.  What if the next shirt I pick up doesn’t spark joy, and I have to get rid of it?  What if I really like that shirt?  For those of us with mood problems that are heavy overriders of other emotions, something as ethereal as a spark of joy may be hard to come by.
  2. Money.  I feel like you have to be decently well off to have the luxury to simply abandon clothing based on the amount of joy it gives you without a shred of worry.  Or maybe this brings me back to #1.  Anyway.  I have a set of clothes that I use for interviews.  Frankly, I don’t think any of those clothes will spark joy.  They are boring and blah, but they are professional.  Currently, I am not working in a professional field, but I can’t afford to get rid of them to buy new ones that do spark joy when interview time comes around.  The same goes for fine merino wool sweaters that are in bright colors which I bought using points.  I probably will never wear them without a jacket over them, but I can’t imagine tossing it away and having to buy a new wool sweater when I go to a colder climate.  Mom always said I had expensive tastes.  The items I wanted always ended up being the more expensive ones, even when I did not know the price ahead of time.  If I judged everything by whether it sparked joy or not, seriously, I would be spending too much.  Happiness here cannot be the measurement for everything.  Throughout the book, Marie makes the argument that if you end up needing something later, you can always buy it.  I suppose if you’re free from care about the past or future, then you wouldn’t worry about whether or not you’d even be able to later.  I get it, but I can’t totally embrace it.
  3. Sensitivity to soft materials.  Marie Kondo’s method is all about handling the clothes.  I am, however, predisposed to soft fabrics.  I love the feel of anything soft, and my roommates will tell you about how I used to carry my pajamas up to my face as I went to shower for the night.  My pajamas include an oversized Google shirt and gym shorts. Marie Kondo suggests “If you are a woman, wear something feminine and elegant as nightwear. The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit. If sweat pants are your every day attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact on your self image.”  But I love soft fabrics, and sweat suits are generally softer than feminine and elegant things.  And cheaper (See #2.)  OK, this is definitely taking her out of context, as her point is really that we shouldn’t downgrade clothes that do not spark joy into loungewear.   I’ll give her that.

So there you have it.  I feel like this method is kind of an all or nothing method, so it’s stressing me out a bit.  I’m going through my clothes, and we’ll see how I do.  Maybe instead of looking for the spark of joy, I’ll just have to use other tidying methods.  I was looking forward to the book, based on the reviews, but seriously?  Tidying is not the purpose of my life.  Marie Kondo, and I say this with as much respect and admiration as I can possibly convey, is, crazy.  You’re pretty awesome.  I think I will leave the awesomeness to you.

//edit//

OK, closet partially tackled.  I have to admit, I’m surprised by the sheer volume of clothing I stuffed into drawers, never to be seen again.  Maybe there’s something to this, after all.  But STILL.  I will provide myself with exceptions.

 

“But you’re happier”

she said.  This was after I told her my concerns about not feeling the impulse to write.  I guess the impulse to write a lot of times had been that feeling of sadness, heaviness perhaps, and when that feeling is gone, the impulse leaves as well.  It could also just be paranoia that I’m feeling this way; this could all just be a placebo effect, a product of my keen awareness of the potential side-effects of contentment.

The fact is, I don’t write as much as I used to, and I don’t really know why.  Maybe part of it is the feeling that I don’t know who my audience is, since I rarely receive any feedback these days.  Without feedback, it’s difficult for me to know how I should write.  There is, on one level, the reasoning that this blog is for myself, but ultimately we write because we want to express something to someone– the reader.  Now, without knowing who the reader is, it is difficult to know what to say.  In high school, I remember I had a Xanga.  My high school friends read it and we would all make comments on each other’s blogs.  I would blog about school.  I would blog about the funny things our teachers said.  I would blog about the things we pondered.  I’m not even sure what I would say, but there was always more from where it came from.  Day after day, there existed a house within which my blog lived.  In that house, were all the comments between me and my friends.  I think those were my happy blogging days.

I think I reminisce a lot, partly because I have a revisionist brain.  I remember when I drew a picture of a cat in grade school.  I lost that picture, somewhere in my room, and would sometimes remember it and wonder where it had gone.  I would think about how it was one of my best drawings and how I couldn’t draw like that anymore.  Well I eventually found that picture in a box years later, and thought to myself, “Now why did I think this was so great?”.  Maybe my standards were different then, or maybe my memories were wrong, or maybe both.

Tomorrow I shall start school again.  I am nervous, perhaps more than usual.  As I slide further down the side of my bed, I try to quench the anxiety forming in my stomach.  It will have to be alright.

“Aren’t you lactose-intolerant?”

People ask me this all the time, especially if they have known me since college when I swore off dairy foods.  And then I found out I was allergic to soy about a year ago, decided to test the theory of lactose intolerance by pulling it out of my diet and putting it back in, and found that my gastrointestinal reactions were psychosomatic, often precluded by an emotional event of some sort.  Whether I’m actually missing the enzyme lactase, or have less of it in my gut, is therefore still up for debate.

Scott, a writer for the Atlantic, recently wrote a rather long piece about his own life with anxiety, also mentioning something I have tried to describe to others but he says it better so I’ll quote it here:

“… medical researchers have charted the connections in precise and systematic detail: as one’s mental state changes, for instance, so does blood flow to and from the stomach. The gastrointestinal system is a concrete and direct register of one’s psychology. In their 1943 landmark of psychosomatic research, Human Gastric Function, the physicians Stewart Wolf and Harold Wolff concluded that there was a strong inverse correlation between what they called “emotional security” and stomach discomfort.”

Ever since I was young, I would complain about stomach aches.  Mother noted that I would complain about them after doing MathFacts at school, a one minute race against yourself to complete a list of 100 arithmetic problems.  It wasn’t that I did poorly, I actually did well, but the pressure was enough to drive my stomach into mental nervousness.  I also curiously would seem to feel sick before every piano recital, every retreat, and every long vacation trip.  So the conclusion is, I’m not really lactose-intolerant, at least not to where I can notice it systematically, when I’m feeling secure emotionally.  When I’m relaxed, I can eat whatever I want.  When I’m not, well that’s another story for another time.

Coffee

Is evil.  No but yesterday, I drank regular, caffeinated coffee for the first time in, well, awhile.  I knew I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t care.  I did it anyway.  (Sound familiar?)  I added three packs of sugar to it, or maybe four.  Anyhow, it tasted alright.  I didn’t sleep well last night, barely becoming horizontal at midnight and surfing the net until my weary over-stimulated self decided enough was enough and went to sleep.

I woke up with not the best of thoughts, and upon retelling the story to MK, received a “You should know better” in response.  Yeah, I should, right?  I should know better, especially after all those books I read about caffeine and lack of sleep and depression and anxiety.  But maybe a part of me felt strong and wanted to test it.  And I think I’m glad that I did.

Well I got home, and did not feel like doing a-n-y-thing.  Should I organize my cabinet?  Nah.  Study for the GREs?  Nah.  Clean up my closet?  Nah.  Go out with a friend?  Nah.  My eyes ached a little, a feeling that brought me straight back to the FTTA, you know, where every waking second was spent with less than stellar sleep the night before, and eye creams were introduced to my life.  Speaking of eye creams, I have since given them up after graduating.

So the point is, I should not drink coffee.  I need my sleep.  Without sleep, I no longer function very well nor care to.

The End.  How’s that for monumental and inspiring.