Boyfriend/Anxiety/Vicious Cycles

I’ve been waiting on something extraordinary to happen, so I could fill the world in with what new “adult” like things I have learned. And not to say that I haven’t learned anything noteworthy, rather it’s just taken me an incredible amount of time to understand these lessons.

I searched a long time for inner peace. I worked really hard at being comfortable with where I was in my life despite some of the “uglier” things that I didn’t like. I was good, life made sense and I had my shit together.

And then all of a sudden life didn’t make sense. And I didn’t have my life together. I met a guy that totally flipped everything on it’s tail- and in no negative way at all. Suddenly I was in a place where I “missed” someone. I wanted to tell him things that were exciting or sad or happy or just tell him what I had for lunch. The little 24 year old divorced person became a 24 year old and “holy crap is this guy real” person. And that was a shock to my system.

My weekends were routine, and as were my work days. I knew the desires of my heart, and I knew what my soul needed at all times. And then it changed. My weekends became a delicious blur of two people playing in a kitchen and talking for hours. Work days became sprinkled with funny or sweet texts at the most opportune time and I was *living* for it.

Everything was perfect. So why didn’t I feel like it? I felt like I had met the most extraordinary man, someone who could be the literal definition of perfection, and yet I was struggling more than ever. And then it clicked- I wasn’t protected anymore. The little ice walls I built around myself after my divorce came down quite easily with this new guy. I let the walls come down without a second thought.

Once I realized I really liked this guy and that the feeling was mutual, everything became terrifying. Almost like a “this is too good to be true” type of feeling. For weeks I was overanalyzing things that people were saying to me, I could barely sleep, I was having a hard time being positive in my everyday life. It’s like subconsciously I decided that things were going amazingly and that now was as good a time as ever to self-sabotage.

This self-sabotage thing is so common for people to do. And we all do it, in one form or another, all in varying degrees. It basically stems from anxiety, fear and a belief that you are not good or important enough. For weeks my apartment was unbelievably messy. I was behind on laundry, behind with my blog, and just mentally not who I had been. *disclaimer, I was also quite sick for about two weeks during this time which didn’t exactly help the mental state* I was self-sabotaging my happiness, relationships, and even my laundry at that point.

And then, once I realized that self-sabotaging stems from anxiety and that annoying belief that you are not good enough I had an epiphany. Like anxiety and depression, this was a classic case of “vicious-miserable-cycle”. Example- you go home miserably sad and unmotivated and you lay in bed. You look at YouTube or go to sleep and neglect laundry or your responsibilities. This in turn only adds to the list of responsibilities you have and buries you even farther in your miserable state.

The only way I was able to break this cycle (with a lot of Tylenol and open conversations with my boyfriend) was to GET UP AND GO. I had to force myself to pick my room up, clear my email, deep condition my hair, and literally get my shit together. Sometimes we fall so far off of the path because we are sick, or going through a tough time. But it was comforting to know that I was not alone in this. Once I started in on the things I knew I needed to do it almost seemed like I was uncovering myself a little bit at a time. I didn’t let the stress or anxiety of what I was feeling control and dominate my life. Instead I pushed past that. I had to make a conscious decision to act against my anxiety and do the things I feared. Everybody has their ups and downs- but you have to appropriately deal with those low moments in order to truly get over them.

If you find you’re also in this slump, where you’re not depressed, but good lord you are just DONE for a bit, I recommend the following.

Do your most daunting task. And yes, it’s going to suck balls, but if you can get that one thing that’s keeping you awake out of the way, then you will be able to defeat ANYTHING.

Talk with a friend. Lay it all out on the line and just explode in your gross reality and listen to them when they say it will be okay.

Eat some good food and drink tons of water. You’re already dealing with stuff emotionally/physically so at least try to make sure you are trying your best to deal with your blood sugar and hunger pains.

Get out and go for a walk or a hike. Fresh air will do wonders.

And of course, always feel free to reach out and share how you have dealt with hard times too.

Coffee Catch Up

So I feel like we might have some things to catch up on considering I have been rather MIA for an entire month.

I’m like a cat in that way. Finicky and obsessed with sleep.

There’s a lot of new things going on that I don’t know if I am completely ready to talk about. Mainly because if these things stay in my head then that means that I get to protect them. I mean, I know that’s not the way that life works. But we can pretend.

So the thing is I’ve half way started to see someone. I say “kind of” because I am a little too scared to think that I am actually *dating* someone. And this human is a nice guy. He’s got his shit together and there are no obvious red flags. Which inherently means I am sure at some point I will mess this all up. Either with my ability to see through people, my annoying ability to empathize too well, or with my extreme anxiety deciding to rear it’s ugly head again.

I think in my mind I am worried that I am still “unlovable” or “undesirable”. I know a lot of people will say that I have to work through that on my own before I decide to get in a relationship. But turns out I didn’t even know that was an issue I had post-divorce until now, with this human.

I think it’s also hard for me too, because this human is super nice and kind. A genuinely normal and compassionate person. It’s easy to like someone when they are good to you! But it’s a two way street, relationships. Both people have to be interested and ready for a relationship. So even knowing I could like someone and that they could check off the proverbial boxes on my list doesn’t mean that the feeling there is mutual. And that’s a kind of weird and strange thing to think for me.

Now I am not saying that this human does or doesn’t like me. I’m truly just trying not to think about it.

But fuck, if this is dating, I wasn’t prepared for this. Lol

Exhausted Because I Am Growing A Hippocampus

No but really it’s true. In my psych class right now we are studying all sorts of strange things. One project is a case report on a 7 year old girl. Now I suppose I could pick issues out left and right with the textbook by my side and I could diagnose this child with a million things. But one, morally that feels quite strange, and two… she’s 7.

So in reading pages upon pages and doing so much research I found that we have a hippocampus (okay, I already knew this exhisted, but bear with me). The hippocampus is largely in charge of aggression, emotion and memory. The hippocamps regulates emotion. So it’s kind of an important thing, right?

Well turns out it develops with you until you are about 285 when it is fully developed. So *basically* we have been making decisions with only have a brain for the first 25 years of our life. I feel like this explains so much.

All jokes aside, it was a interesting moment when I realized that we are still physically and emotionally developing. Maybe this gives excuse to our crisis break downs at 20 and how we can’t logically think through some tough areas in our life.

The hippocampus, though located in the limbic system therefore associated with emotions, memory and motivation is most highly involved with our memories.

Let’s do math. Memories + Under Developed Emotional Capabilities + Stress= 20 year old life crisis. This explains so much.

This explains how it is possible to be so emotionally exhausted. We are searching for answers our brains don’t even have yet. Working with undeveloped organs.

Even though we are adulting and kicking asses and taking names- we are still tired. It takes a lot of work to grow a hippocampus (I mean, probably. Not a scientist or anything). Just think about these things the next time you’re pissed because you don’t know why you feel a certain way or why you can’t emotionally work through something. And then blame your under developed hippocampus.

Stop Letting Things Make You Miserable

A theme I’ve seen lately is that everyone I know, sometimes even including me, is just miserable. Maybe we are miserable because our kids are bouncing off the walls or financially we are miserable because no matter how we save we can’t seem to get out of debt. Maybe, and perhaps the worse, is that we are miserable because of our job or our relationship- two things that take an enormous chunk of time and emotion to deal with.

I’ve struggled with these feelings as well, and I think it’s pretty normal for the ebb and flow of how life goes. One good day, two bad. One good kid, one kid mooning their kindergarten teacher. Such is life.

But being miserable? That is not a part of life.

Let’s clarify. If your hamster dies, you can be miserable. That’s sad and it hurts, and then after some time it’s not so painful and no longer miserable. BUT. If your relationship makes you miserable because Nancy accidentally made that dinner you hate or Will was abducted by a demigorgon (sorry, playing Stranger Things the Game right now) those are not “miserable qualifiers”.

Here’s why: if Nancy made you dinner and you hate it, make your own dinner. If Will was abducted, go find his stick self! If your boss gets angry because you were late turning in a project and now you’re in trouble- don’t turn in late projects! This isn’t to say that we need to do everything ourself for things to work out- this is to say we need to take some responsibility for our own happiness and stop waiting around for other people to fulfill that.

Now I know it’s not that easy, especially with kids. Your child will continue to stick boogers under the table while you’re not looking- that’s their sole job right now. They will “accidentally” forget to clean out their lunch box for the 6th time in a row and you really shouldn’t be surprised by that.

Kids will be assholes. Bosses will be assholes. Sometimes partners will be assholes. AND THAT IS NORMAL. (I bet even sometimes you’re an asshole too. It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone)

The thing is- you can’t change a freaking thing about this. You can’t hold your kid upside down until they promise to clean their room, or force your spouse to take out the trash if they don’t want to.

But this is what you can do.

  • Find a new job
  • Talk with your spouse (likelihood they know they are being an ass is pretty slim)
  • Find a creative outlet where other people don’t mess up your beautiful things and you can find something to cherish within the world of assholes.
  • Realize you can’t control others or make them do anything they aren’t willing to do
  • Learn that any change you want to see starts from within
  • Stop expecting to be happy all the time and stop beating yourself up when you have a bad day
  • Know that everything is temporary
  • Know that things really aren’t that bad, you’re just in the midst of it and so it seems bad.
  • Stop making excuses and blaming other people for your downfalls and start taking initiative.

You see. You can’t change Nancy, or Will, your spouse, boss, friend, kid, parents. You can only change YOU and the things YOU do. The sooner we realize that and start to take some initiative the better things will be.

Where I’ve Been

If you’ve been here a while you will know that I am usually quite active on my blog. The past three weeks or so I haven’t done anything with Adultish. Not because I want to quit or because I am over it, but because I am in an area of growth. Almost like when you have a baby and they go through a growth spurt and they need extra cuddles and sleep and they get cranky. Yes, it’s exactly like that. I have been really introspective lately and just trying to search deep for what it is I feel I am missing. Sometimes I feel like I am just missing coffee, and other times I have to stop myself from driving to Canada when I am supposed to go to work. We are going through some things, that is for sure.

I wrote this a while ago, and while searching for whatever I felt I needed at the time, I found this draft tucked away when I was thick in my feels. Interestingly enough, I am in the same state even now, weeks later.

“I’m putting my life on Do Not Disturb. Not that I am saying “don’t talk to me”. But that I am saying “slow down”. I woke up and I listened to the birds, I felt the cool morning wind on my face and it was exhilarating. I watched bunnies pop around with their white tails and I just sat in complete peace. I have been learning how to be in the “now” as Eckhart Tolle explains in his book, The Power of Now.

It’s the concept of transcending the worry or the pain in your body and being fully present- something he explains far better than I can. It’s magical- the ability to transcend what seems to be hanging over you.

On a hundred roller coaster rides that terrified me, I was able to reach a state of nothing. I know maybe that sounds so stupid, but it was amazing. If I am upside down three hundred feet in the air and can be “nothing”, what’s stopping me from doing that with emotions and physical pain? My spine is bruised from ten hours of roller coaster rides with BK. I have a headache from being dehydrated and that “sun poison” feeling you get when you’re out too long and close to death. But I am nothing.

Nothing- but not in the way depression makes you feel “nothing” but rather the ability to almost be out of body a bit (I know, total freak) and control what I am spending my mental energy on.

I am on Do Not Disturb- I simply can’t be disturbed. Sure, work disturbed my zen like state, but only when I let it.”

This resonates with me as I just came back from a vacation and just walked back into reality. I am still learning how to be okay with things that I can not change. I wholeheartedly believe that your reactions to situations can change everything. If you are okay on the inside and at peace you are more able to positively react to what is going on in the outside. Every situation has both positive and negative potential, and your reaction makes that determination. Being in a zen like state, or choosing happiness in your life sets you up to react in an edifying way. So while we can’t put our jobs or relationships on do not disturb, we can mentally decide what we allow to have hold over us.

When You’re Raised In The South

I grew up in Texas and lived there in all the Southern Glory until I was 18. Then I moved to what is arguably the opposite side of the world, San Diego. Stan The Man, BK and I went on a cruise leaving from New Orleans, Louisiana and then stayed a few days once returned to explore good old NOLA.

It’s important to note that I have never considered my self a “southerner” and I’ll gladly take someone calling me a “valley girl” as a compliment. But I guess it’s true, you can’t take the south out of a southerner. And here’s why:

When you’re raised in the south

You say thank you, to everyone, all the time. It doesn’t matter if you hold the door open for me or if you scan my boarding ticket. THANK YOU.

When you’re raised in the south you greet everyone. In the elevator, the hall, on the bus- everyone gets a smile and a hello. It’s just the nice thing to do.

When you’re raised in the south you instinctively know (especially if you’re up against the Gulf of Mexico) that you need to pack shorts for the hot hours, a sweater for before the storm, umbrella for the storm the weather forecaster didn’t mention, and then a bathing suit for an hour later.

When you’re raised in the south you don’t straighten your hair. You scrunch it or put it in a pony tail because humidity is real. Or you pay lots of money for good anti-frizz products.

When you’re raised in the south rain is nothing special. And you’ve likely stood outside during the beginning stages of a hurricane as a child. It’s what you do.

And lastly, when you’re born in the south nothing scares you more than an old granny because you know she can go from sweet cookie maker to devil worshipper in 3 seconds flat.

A Wrap Dress On A Windy Day

Let’s paint a picture, shall we. You know those super cute wrap dresses that are all the rage right now? Basically a bath towel with a string in the midsection that’s supposed to stay nice and tight and keep you covered. I think they are really adorable, and I have always been a huge fan of dresses anyway- no pants needed and it’s just one thing to pull out of the closet. So I bought one (okay six) and I love them! Comfortable, not restricting and, like mentioned, no pants needed. Well it looks great from the outside. This super cute dress with a cinched in waist, falls a few inches above the knee and has just the perfect V-neck. To the outside world, I got it going on!

But realistically- this dress comes untied eighty-two times a day. One swift wind picks my dress right up and I am not very covered at all then. When I sit down the two pieces of fabric that aid in the “wrapping” are never together. One has fallen on my desk chair while the other is creeping up my leg and I am left constantly moving this damn dress so I don’t get written up for a dress code violation at work. I can see it now “Came to work in hooker apparel”.  Let’s not.

But I do LOVE this dress- it’s cute and comfortable and easy and it looks good! This all got me thinking about society and what we think we know about other people. No one knows I am constantly correcting this dress- they just keep complimenting me on it! Just as no one knows last week was incredibly rough for me, or how I struggle to get out of bed sometimes. All they see is what I let them see- this 24 year old in a wrap dress and cute shoes always super (moderately)  positive.

A lot of times we assume we know the lives of others. We paint this picture in our head “nice clothes, nice car, always looks put together, lives in an expensive part of the city…” and we just assume things about them. I’m guilty of this. I assume that those people who live in the nice gated communities with the Infinity SUV or the Lexus convertible are super financially stable and “have their shit together”.  But little do we know they are swimming in debt, or their parents bought that Lexus and its 6 years old. We don’t know that they worked so incredibly hard and they have also had their years of eating boxed macaroni every day. We don’t put things into context- we just assume.

This assumption leads us to comparison. We begin to question why our peers have nicer things than us, or go on vacation when we can barely afford a pedicure. But that’s just the same. You don’t know their finances, their secrets, the ins and outs of their lives. You only know what people let you see- and usually that’s all fluff anyway! No one is ever going to tell you that they have to debate between groceries and gas, but the Coach purse was a gift from their grandma for graduating college. Spshhh- they are going to tote that beautiful purse like the awesome gift that it is because that’s what makes them happy!

Now, I don’t have a Coach purse, a Lexus or Infinity, I sure as shit do not live in a gated community. My purse is from Kohls, I drive a Toyota and I live in a room of fairy lights. It hasn’t been but in the last year when I have had full control of my finances that I began to buy “nice” things. A skin care line from Clinique, too many Ulta points, a gel lamp and polish from Amazon that saves me money on manicures and one Kate Spade wallet (bought at Nordstrom Rack). Those are my “nice” things. But let me write a blog post or take an Instagram photo of my wallet, my Clinique filled counter top and see me at work with perfect nails at all times- you will assume things as well.

We are all living our life like a wrap dress in the wind… super great on the outside but low key, we know at any moment we could shock the world. So don’t compare yourself to others based on what you see on Instagram or Facebook, or by what their clothes say. Regardless of if they look poor, or rich, look like they have their shit together or not. It’s exhausting to compare and it really does no good.

Instead, focus on yourself. If you see someone went on Vacation and you want to go don’t envy them, think about saving or planning a trip. Ask them where they went and what they loved about it instead of talking to others about how you never get to go anywhere. Use these moments when you could compare yourself to instead grow yourself.