Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Don't get drunk on nostalgia

I had a visit with an old high school friend today.  We used to ride the bus to school together. We were tight! Seriously I wasn't social then and I am less social today so truly we are friends on Facebook only because we attended the same High School. My plan was to meet him in the driveway, give him what he needed, and then run away and hide. What the hell would I have to talk about with this man? I hate small talk on a good day. We barely know each other. I seriously met him in the driveway. I would have thrown what I had for him but that would have been rude. I get Madagascar vanilla beans directly from Madagascar for dirt cheap and he's a really good cook who seems to love doing it so I thought he'd appreciate some. But I was nervous, what would I talk about with this man?

He lives in a different world than I do. He and his partner are both artists. They are both tremendously creative, liberal, very open minded people. In their Facebook photos they look like two hipsters out of the 50s in their personal style and decorating of their home.  It's something I absolutely love but couldn't pull off if my life depended on it. Simply put, I am NOT that cool.  I know it and that's okay. We can't all be. 

I live in a conservative world. My life is very full of capitalists from my past in the finance industry. Many of my friends are middle to right wingers (some wing nuts even). A lot of them have closed minds and narrow vision. That said, I have some friends who are left as you can get but I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb sometimes with them too.  I like to think I am evolving even as I type this.  I keep creeping further to the middle, leaning a little to the left.  I learn more about everything every day broadening my views. This friend appears much further along than I on the social evolutionary development scale. 

So when I say I met him in the driveway, I really did meet him in the driveway.  I sent the dog first because Brandon, that's his name, the friend not the dog, is a dog lover.  I figured the dog would be a good conversation piece   Well imagine my surprise when an hour and a half later Brandon and I were hardly out of breath talking world views, politics, and basically solving the world's problems. Heads up organized religion, in our world you're pretty much fucked. If the roofer had not come to do some work I think we'd still be on the front stoop shooting the shit. 

Brandon said something to me today that hit me like a punch in the face. I have been in therapy since I came out of my mother's uterus. They sent me from there directly to a shrink because I refused to cry. I thought it might offend my mother and I didn't want to upset her. I have done group therapy, exposure therapy, DBT, CBT, in house hospital care, psychiatrists, psychologists.  You name it, I have done it all. Because of that I have heard it all, read it all, and been advised with it all. Suddenly it was like a massive light when off when he said, "I was drunk with nostalgia" with reference to making bad choices.  Choices he made that didn't r
eflect who he is today but based entirely on nostalgia.  

"I was drunk on nostalgia". See that? That's world problem solving shit right there.  

They always say, forget the past it serves no purpose. Don't look to the future as it isn't here yet, and stay in the present. That theory does have it's benefits. If we stay here in the present we don't long for the past, which cannot repeat itself no matter how miserable we make ourselves hoping for it. If we stay here in the present we don't worry about the future. Being the debater that I am and mental health advocate I don't like simplicity in complex situations. Simple ideologies that make light of human suffering and the solutions for the same piss me off. I have seen so much mental illness suffering. It's a fact that you have to address your past if you are suffering. Suffering often comes from a past we haven't let go of, addressed, or moved on from. The future to some extent must be prepared for to reduce anxiety in those that suffer with anxiety disorders. While I like the theory behind "stay in the now", it can be argued against when it comes to healing the mentally ill mind.

There isn't much to argue against on that fact that we make poor decisions when we make them because we are drunk on nostalgia. Nostalgia impairs your thinking. You cannot do things today based on what you felt "back when".  Let's say your childhood home is still standing, falling apart at the seams, but still standing.  Visiting this home would be one thing. Deciding you need to live there because it triggers feelings of your childhood is another.  Being friends with someone today because you like them today is great.   Being friends with someone today you don't get along with just because you were friends when you were children is another.  It's the same concept of "the now" but better because it basically says nostalgia can alter your thought process greatly so don't make decisions while under its influence.  Don't drunk dial your ex boyfriend!  That sums it up perfectly.

I will no longer allow myself to get drunk off nostalgia and make decisions while in that altered state of mind. I think this gem he gave me today could help many and this girl can drink to that! *cough*  Get it? Drunk, drink to....hilarious I know. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Check yourself, don't compare yourself

Jealousy and envy while disregarded by many as ineffective feelings based only in judgement, albeit true, are still feelings most of us feel. And if you feel them, that makes them legitimate. Valid even. Your feelings are allowed. No matter what they are.

You can either be inspired by those feelings or hate because of them. Feel inspired!!!! Do something with those feelings. Talk about them with each other. Words often release feelings. So let go of your resentment by sharing what you are appreciating in another woman, with that woman. Even if it's to tell someone that you envy something about them? "You are so beautiful". "You are so smart". "That smile". "You're so funny". "You're so kind". Tell a woman, appreciate her. You will probably let go of your envy, jealousy or resentment by appreciating them. In turn, you might appreciate yourself for being so generous in spirit.

We are not in competition. You do not have to be as skinny as her, as fit as her, as happy as her, as successful as her....those are all your judgements of her and in return of yourself. Why not be your best self without comparison? Do you know how many of us would be happier? Would struggle less? You will always come up short in comparison, always. You cannot be someone else, as much as you may want to.

I know for me when the darkness of mental illness takes a hold, as it often does, I have to stop comparing and start self loving, as fast as possible to avoid spiralling.

Every single day we look at other women and say, "I wish I...." Either do for yourself, or accept yourself. Those are your only choices. Change or accept and love. We are all individuals. If I wanted her abs, (you know you've said, "Oh my god I want her stomach"), I would have to surgically implant them.  My abs, whether hidden under a belly or not, are MY abs. They will never be the same as hers. They will always be mine and that means they will look different, they will act different, they will be different.

I might want to be a Victoria's Secret model. I might envy them, feel jealous even. My feelings, your feelings, our feelings, are always valid. I can either tell them how I feel and let go of my comparative resentment or I can figure out how to starve myself and exercise for 8 hours a day. It probably means some serious surgery too, you know to remove my injured spine. The more you think it through the less realistic it is to become someone else entirely.  
Oh and for the record, I don't personally know any Victoria's Secret models so by "telling them" I meant express your feelings, even if to yourself. Just be honest with yourself about what you are feeling.

I can exercise for my personal mental health, to be my physical best, and to ensure into the future I can continue to walk with my injuries. I have been thin. I have been (am) fat. Neither which is better than the other, they are just me. Just because I like food more than the next gal doesn't make me less than.

Be you. Embrace you, embrace other women. We are all individuals. And perfect as we are. Without compare.

*Nothing compares to you.....* (sing with me) I can't harmonize worth a damn but I will try for harmony's sake with all women.