An Annual Afterthought

If I were to place a percentage of good versus the bad in the span of a year, I would have to say that the year is 90% good and 10% bad. The bad, as always, seems worse than it is.

With regards to that 10% bad, it can be further broken down to 7% during the holiday season (that being November to December) and the other 3% being this past week. Most interestingly is that it is this past week that tends upsets me more than the other 7%.

You see, this past weekend, was my birthday. I received one card from my family. I got birthday texts, but two of those felt like last minute “oh right, it is your birthday.”

It is how it has been for the past several years. At this time of year, I feel like an afterthought.

Sure, I can say that this year it was because of my grandmother’s death. However, every year, it is not one thing it is another. It is always something.

It hurts. I admit it does hurt.

Also, it is alright. I am okay with it. It is only one day. Sure, it is my birthday, but I have already had 41 birthdays prior to this one. I will have many more.

I am not really convincing, am I?

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Reset, version 2.0

Last week, I finally hit the reset button. Slowly, I am returning to some form of normalcy. And just in time for Gobble Day, no less, when I am going to need my sanity to get through it. Pretty sure, I will be able to put on my game face and move forward with out even a pause.

Last week, I finally hit the reset button. The past month was filled with too many different emotions. And I have had enough. I am back in to a routine where therapy is included and I am okay with that.

One thing that my family does not understand well is that talking to them about what is going inside my head does not help me. They are going to be biased. Their emotions will get in the way. They will try to offer ideas that helped them. The problem is that what might work for them definitely does not work for me. I need to be able to talk with a person who is outside of the situation. Someone who listens and can interpret what ever is in my head at that moment.

In the past two weeks, the two emotions I have felt the most were anger and frustration. The anger was associated with what I use to do for a living (Ha! I am still doing it, but it is the last project and then I am done). The mere thought of being a designer angered me. I will get to that in a minute.

The frustration, which I am still trying to contain is associated with my creativity. Before, I had no trouble with being creative. I always had ideas in my head and it was easy to get them out. These days, the ideas are less frequent. When they are there, I am afraid of them. I begin to question my abilities and I get frustrated. I know I am talented, but it has been suppressed for so long.

And here is where I return to that designer = anger part.

For over fifteen years, I have put my personal creativity on the back burner to create for others. It was two years for one company, followed by five years for another, eight for another, and finally the past year for several individual clients. I can count the number of times I painted or drew something in that time frame on one hand.

Sure, you can say that I was still being creative, but it was not for me. It was for others and it was strict – confined within very specific parameters. It was work. It paid the bills. Creativity, confined creativity, became a job for me. That is what angers me.

I am angry because I no longer loved being creative. Let me rephrase that. I was angry because I did not love being a creative person at that time. I was being someone else’s creative person.

I am frustrated because I let that happen. I did not continue being creative for myself. Now, I want that creativity for me to return, but it is not happening as fast as I want it. Wait, no I am frustrated because now that I can be creative for me, my brain is not letting me.

I can play the blame game and put the blame on others. However, blame does not solve anything. Looking at the past and feeling sorry for myself will not solve anything.

Hitting a reset and starting again, will. For me.

Empathy Millionaire

Yesterday, I read Jenny Lawson’s most recent post about how people threaten her to support their causes. They try to use empathy or guilt. It got so bad for her that she had to write a very well thought out response explaining why she cannot. Well, I might be giving you a really high level point of view on it – read it for yourself.

It made me angry at society – a certain part of society that feels their causes are the most important cause above all others and that we need to support their cause (I am fully aware of that run-on, thank you). Some of my friends are like that. Their social media pages are full of posts supporting their cause. People have become very self-entitled and narcissistic in the social media age.

Me? I have a blog, right? Am I not one of them? Well, yes, and no. I have a blog, three, actually. This is the blog that no one know about, with exception to five, maybe six people (and those who stumble upon it). I come here when I need to express something that I do not want to express any where else.

Wait, I am wandering far away from the original reason for this post. So back to it, shall we?

Once I finished reading her post, I started to think about the people who “threaten” me in my life, and my field of work. Except, replace the word “threaten” with “empathy.”

I am a helper. I like to help others. I am a freelance graphic designer. Sometimes, being both bites me in the ass.

In my realm of the world, I deal with situations with “friends” who do not threaten me, per se, but use what I like to call charity empathy. First, they start off by complimenting me, telling me how talented I am, and they want me to design a new logo, or illustrate/paint, something for them. Then, they share with me that they do not have the money to pay me because of <insert sickness/debt/your-my-friend-so-you-should-do-it-for-free reason here>.

Can I find it in my heart to do it for a small fee, like $25?

Because I am a good person?

Because I am such a dear friend?

Because it is in my genetic makeup to help others. I usually agree to help – at a tiny fraction of what I would normally charge. I tell myself, “It’s practice.”

Then I complete the logo. My friend loves it. The check is on the way.

I am still waiting. This was a year ago.

Then, this friend reaches out to me again for something else. I say no. I remind her that she never paid me before (in a non-confrontational way, of course). She gives me more guilt (using her children this time as her reason). She apologizes. She says she will pay. Then silence from her end for months. No payment. Then, she need something again and the whole circle starts again.

Only recently, have I stood my ground. I am truly sorry that my friend is in a state of monetary restraint. So am I. So is most of the country. I cannot tell my doctor, “thank you for the surgery, however, I cannot pay because the future Little Timmy that you just removed from my body needs braces.”

How am I suppose to pay my bills? Hell, I just went got off a phone call with my bank, because I could not log in to my account and I was afraid that I got hacked, again. I think I am having a little monetary crisis myself at the moment.

Maybe I can pay people and institutions in empathy? I sure have plenty of that.

But empathy does not pay.

Airhead

Since earlier this year, I have been battling a consistent case of being and airhead. However, I am not an airhead in the usual sense. I am lightheaded, consistently. I sit down, I get up and the world goes black for a few moments. It is not fun at all. It really cuts into my plan to be happy and carefree. How can I be happy and carefree if I might completely black out one of these times?

I had some blood work done earlier in the year and the results showed that my sodium count was low as was my Vitamin D. Apparently, I drink too much water, hence the low sodium thing. I also was under a considerable amount of stress. There were a lot of factors in my life that were just getting in the way of my ambition to get on with life.

Funny, because usually, you are told to get on with life. Yet, here is my body, telling me that it does not want to do that just yet. Is my body really going through drama withdrawals? Is that really a thing?

The thing, is that it went away for a few months, but now it is back, with a vengeance, and it is hindering my ability to focus on tasks. I hope that come Wednesday, I will have some answers from my doctor. If not, then I suppose I will have to figure out what options to take next.

Anyone ever find themselves in the position?

Empty

I spent a week and a half living in an apartment that was not mine. It was not furnished or equipped with anything that was mine, save for a few essential items. The whole time, I felt dirty, alone, depressed, and unsure if I could continue to live that existence for another three months.

Fast forward to now and I have spent the past week, sitting in an empty apartment, with minimal furnishings, and its ours. I feel clean. However, I feel like the apartment, empty. I can manage to keep myself busy for only so long. Then I have to face reality again, that my surroundings offer nothing for me right now, but space, a view of the trees and the sounds of the birds. This is how I have spent each day for the past week.

You would think that I would be missing my family, my friends, an area I know so well. I don’t. I miss my stuff. Until everything down there is up here, I am going to feel empty.

Continuing the bumpy road of 2014

This year continues to be difficult, to say the least. It is frustrating to keep hitting roadblock after roadblock. It is slowly defeating me, each and every week. Each time, I finally make some progress, there is something else to set me back again. I have tried to keep a positive attitude about everything so far, but I am starting to falter.

Fortunately, change is coming in the form of relocation. This time, however, it is now down the road 30 minutes but up the road to a entirely different part of the state. The last time I lived more than two hours from here was back when I was in college. Now, with 40 just around the corner, I am finally leaving.

I have been making big speeches to myself for the past two years that when I turn 40, I am going to change my life. Well, I am doing it.

I only hope the road starts to smooth.