I gave up negativity for Lent. It didn’t really work.

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After the craziest end to 2016, I decided that drastic measures needed to be taken to change the current status of my life. I had been utilizing the best group of people as my support system, and when Lent came around, my support system had some pretty great suggestions on what I would be giving up. One of them was the need to “always win.” This would be referring to my consistently argumentative nature, and my inability to let things slide. Bah hambug! I decided to generalize all of the ideas and try to just eliminate most issues by giving up negativity.

The first thing I did was get rid of the journal I had started the beginning of the year since it was full of depressive notes. I started a new entry, just an update, and tried to keep it as hopeful as possible. This first step definitely made me feel like I was on the right track. I then made my intentions known to my friends. My friends were supportive, as they always are, and I got a couple kudos. A deep breath and onward I went.

The first week or so was very intentional. I was constantly reminding myself that I needed to be positive and turned every irritation into a learning tool. It felt like I was using the pain from my newly plastered perma-grin as a reminder of what I was trying to accomplish. Perma-grins are not as utilitarian as the good old fashioned rubber band.

By the third week I had given up “learning from my mistakes” and basically just avoided negativity by joking about avoiding negativity.

“You gave up negativity for Lent? That’s great! How’s it working out?”
“It sucks!”

The last couple of weeks of Lent, I gave up giving up negativity all together, and was positive that I felt more positivity by embracing the fact that I was just plain negative. You follow?

“Why are you so negative?”
“Because it’s easy.”

To sum it up, I still come out on the positive side, regardless of how this would have unfolded. I am positively on the better end of selflove, despite hating most everything else.

I’m sure some day or another, I’ll find positivity again, but forcing myself to do so is just plain negative.

Guidance Movie with Pat Mills

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I have power. I am confident. A success story. People think I’m an interesting person. I feel radiant and abundant…If I don’t fit it in an imperfect world, I am better than the world I live in.

Another one of my favorites from last year’s Tallgrass Film Festival is now streaming on Netflix, and I definitely have to urge/beg everyone to watch it.

A former TV child star David (Pat Mills) who refuses to grow up, loses his job and decides to become a high school guidance counselor despite the fact that he has no credentials and completely unqualified. He is in denial, broke, and an alcoholic.

Yes, this is a comedy.

If I could take a break from being an adult for even just a week. I would totally be this character. I’ve attempted and failed the bathtub scene with the plastic bag of wine, btw. Someday…

Trailer: GUIDANCE from oslo/fusion film fest on Vimeo.

Let’s just say I exist in a space between caring too much and not giving a fuck.

The Flex Menstrual Disc Review – Disclaimer: TMI

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Saw an ad for the Flex and decided to be a guinea pig.

My trial samples arrived and I waited for “the right time” to try it out. I opened the package and read the instructions and it was a bit intimidating. (Visit the website linked above to view instructions.) My main concern was not being able to “fish” it back out.

A little background. I am fairly regular, light flow, and usually my cycle only lasts 3 to 4 days. Therefore, I usually opt for using just panty liners during my days.

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First day. I was very careful to follow instructions and even felt around to make sure I was per diagram. The disc itself was practically the size of my palm so it was a bit daunting. I still used a panty liner because I wanted to be safe. My morning was scheduled for moving, and I thought, great, active wear trial. LOL!

First, I felt pressure like I needed to pee all the time. I went to the restroom, saw some leakage on the panty liner and chalked it up to what I just mentioned, leakage. I finished packing stuff from my apartment and loaded my car, did a meeting, and then got to my new place and started unpacking. By the time I was unpacking it started feeling uncomfortable. 6 hours in, and supposedly this was to last 12 hours. I went to the restroom to see if I needed to readjust and it was a total mess. I decided to “pull out” and abandon ship and try again the next day. I thought perhaps I had inserted incorrectly and would try again but to give “myself” a bit of rest.

Second day, I decided to try again and I looked through the instructions one more time to make sure the day prior was not user error. Still used a panty liner. This time I was mostly sitting at work, and the discomfort was gone, except when I started walking. When I checked I did have leakage, but not as much. After work I got home and continued unpacking and the discomfort came back. Somehow I feel the disc shifts with too much activity. I definitely did not last the 12 hours that it stated in the packaging.

I was only given two to try, but I think I will stick to the panty liners for now. Like I said, I’ve always had light flow, and the discomfort completely put me off on it.

From my opinion, Flex itself is a fail. Perhaps, sometime I’ll try a different brand of menstrual disc, but I might give myself a little rest period first. (No pun intended.)

When You Are Your Worst Enemy

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There’s a lot of stigma that comes along with having a mental illness. I was raised in a culture where mental disorders simply did not exist. We don’t take medicine for depression, depression just means you’re sad and that was temporary. Even now, in this culture, the stigma exists. It’s all in your head. Of course it is. Not a lot of people will admit to having been diagnosed. I have a close few that discuss it with me, and I’ve compared it to a sort of Alcoholics Anonymous group. We’re there to support, and hold each other accountable, but not to out each other.

If I think back to when I first realized I was thinking different that everyone else I would go back to when I was 16. That’s when I first experimented with cutting and/or burning myself. At 16 though, you chalk it up to teenage angst. I was sheltered. Despite the attitude problems, I was a good student, and I rarely spent time outside the house. I had friends at school, but I didn’t have close friends I hung out with outside of school. At 18 it started getting worse, and by then, I knew something was wrong and I did write suicide letters just in case, one for my parents, and one for my sister. I kept them inside my journal cover, and still have them to this day.

Around 20, a doctor suggested I was suffering depression. We tried a multitude of medications that just didn’t work. By 23, I saw a specialist, and was diagnosed Bipolar Manic Depressive. To this day I still question the diagnosis. I remember the doctor asking me, “Why do you think you act the way you do?” I simply stated “My mother is emotional. My father is temperamental. I’m both.”

The doctor placed me on a new medication that did work. It had its side effects of course. The manic went away. I lost my passion to be creative, my motivation to be productive, I lost my drive to live. I woke up every morning, went to work, did my chores, and lived like a zombie. I was referred to a therapist. She was actually very helpful. I communicated that I wanted to live without the medicine. She gave me projects to focus on. Things like concentrate on your blog, try going back to school, reevaluate your relationship with your parents. So then I had things to focus on and I was happy to write in my journal again, because I saw them as challenges I needed to accomplish. I think this was when my OCD with to-do lists started. We both agreed that since I knew what my triggers were, I could safely get off my medication, but I had to promise to start immediately when I felt I wasn’t going to be able to handle myself anymore.

Years passed. I had many slip ups, but nothing big. I had big life changes occur, but I still managed to keep my drive. Whenever I got in my depressive state, I’d give my friends the heads up. I would refuse social invites. I would stay home and read or watch movies. I kept to myself until it passed. I looked forward to the manic stages. I took advantage of the excess energy. Got super productive, super active, super social. That’s how I lived. I am an in-betweener.

Last year, during Tallgrass Film Festival A Light Beneath Their Feet was screened as one of the independent films, I watched it and it made me think of many things:

  • I could be worse, I could be like her
  • What if I end up like her?
  • What can I do not to end up like her?
  • Is this how I seem to everyone else around me?

I am still struggling with my own inner demons, there is absolutely no denying that. I am paranoid of how others perceive me, and I am attacking myself with makeshift scenarios that may or may not occur, or have or haven’t occured. I’m trying to keep my focus, I am trying to be productive, and I am trying to be accountable. This is going to be my life, for as long as I choose to live it.

I don’t think I can sum up all the battles I have to fight on a daily basis in one blog. So I choose to just site a webpage with the symptoms. These are not all inclusive. And if anyone reading this, wants to reach out, give advice or ask for advice, I hope you feel free to.

From http://www.healthline.com

Symptoms of a depressive mood episode may include:
• feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
• loss of interest in once pleasurable activities such as sex
• behavioral changes
• fatigue or low energy
• problems with concentration, decision-making, or forgetfulness
• restlessness or irritability
• changes in eating or sleeping habits
• suicidal ideation or a suicide attempt

On the other extreme side of the spectrum are manic episodes. Symptoms of mania may include:
• long periods of intense joy, excitement, or euphoria
• extreme irritability, agitation, or a feeling of being “wired” (jumpiness)
• being easily distracted or restless
• having racing thoughts
• speaking very quickly (often so fast others are unable to keep up)
• taking on more new projects than one can handle (excessively goal directed)
• having little need for sleep
• unrealistic beliefs about one’s abilities
• participating in impulsive or high-risk behaviors such as gambling or spending sprees, unsafe sex, or making unwise investments

Some people with bipolar disorder experience “mixed mood states” in which depressive and manic symptoms coexist. In a mixed state, a person will often have symptoms that include:
• agitation
• insomnia
• extreme changes in appetite
• suicidal ideation

For those that want to watch A Light Beneath Their Feet it is currently available on Netflix.

*One day at a time. Tomorrow, again by heart.

My Midlife Crisis – Finding My Happy

For those that missed my Facebook Live rant, the blog will become more and more personal, and less “watered down” or “censored.” I feel for myself it should serve a multipurpose, especially since I have found less and less time to journal, and more and more time posting on Facebook which for some people seem “excessive.” I’m not saying I’ll be posting less on other social media but definitely, I need to use this blog more as an outlet for how I feel and what I think. It’s not for anyone else, but for myself. I think it’ll more therapeutic and inspiring for myself, and for anyone else that might want to read it, take from it what you want.

I sat at Barleycorn’s (local bar) last night and started a conversation with the bartender, “So you don’t know me…” I think that’s a great opening because it tells them this conversation is not going to be normal. Finally, I asked when are you supposed to have a midlife crisis and he states “depends on when your life ends” and I thought what if I die tomorrow, I already missed it. And he said “Live each day like it’s a midlife crisis.” That was so good, I told him I’d write it down and I did.

Now, I’m starting my midlife crisis, and I don’t know when and if it will end.

Watching the movie “Mad Tiger” Kengo Hioki (AKA Peelander Yellow) explained his history in art and painting and finally after 10 to 20 years finding it ridiculous and “killing” his art.

“Resetting myself? No. It was an execution. I wanted to kill myself. I also hated myself. That’s why I wanted to kill myself.”

So, this is my version of my execution. Somewhere along the line I thought I could be the cookie cutter adult. Kill that. I’d rather be happy.

Kengo and I at Barleycorn’s last night

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Yes, I’m quoting a guy that looks like Pikachu, and he’s sort of grumpy in the movie, but who isn’t now and then. He eat your smile, though! Gotta catch them all! That should be a life motto.

Watch “Mad Tiger” trailer:

*also available to stream on Netflix

And to end, another quote from the movie:

1 John 4:18 … ‘There’s no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.’

Our fear originates from relationships with people. That’s where our fear is coming from. We put a mask on to pretend that as if everything’s going well and just have a facade and superficial relationships. That’s how we end up becoming insincere to each other by lying and deceiving.

The Little Prince – Movie

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So, I did get to watch The Little Prince on Netflix this weekend, and I it was not at all what I had expected.

First, disappointment, it was not a retelling of the book, it was a movie about the book. So, I still highly recommend reading the book itself. They tried to put in some of the good parts, but really missed so much.

It was still an entertaining and heartwarming story. It was basically, more about a little girl, her friendship with the aviator, and her fear of growing up.

Best part was the Jeff Bridges voice over. You can’t miss the voice. I love the way he tells the story. Definitely fit the old man character.

For those not in the loop, The Little Prince is still on Netflix. Here’s the trailer:

Neil Gaiman and American Gods

I had never heard of Neil Gaiman until last year. My friend bought tickets to a reading and he asked me to come with him. I was excited and so I decided to do a bit of homework prior, and the first book he recommended I read was American Gods. It definitely was a good introduction to the author. The book was so amazingly written. You know the feeling, when you finally finish reading a book and you just sit there telling yourself “It’s all true. It’s all so true.” That’s what effect it had on me.

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The reading itself was also an experience. Neil Gaiman is a very charming, and wonderful speaker. He read some, answered some questions, but what I loved the most were the stories. He inserted anecdotes here and there and all were funny, sometimes cynical, but always “so true” as I laughed and nodded in agreement with a man too far to even see me, but somehow I felt I was having a one on one. Thank you again, to my friend, for the experience and for introducing me to another wonderful author.

Neil Gaiman

As everyone knows, the blog became stagnant when I was switched projects at my last contract. Times got busy, but I always meant to post about this. Now more than ever, if I could, I would urge you to pick up a Neil Gaiman book. Let’s start with American Gods. Why? It’s been adapted into a TV series. Yes, my friends, I am totally nerding out.

I really don’t want to spoil the plot, because I want you guys to read it first, but here’s the trailer because it looks like they will do the book justice. Or, at least, I’m hoping. We’ll find out soon, so far the release date is a non specific 2017.

My Jewelry Making Hobby

In the age of Pinterest, idle hands always get inspiration, but inspiration doesn’t always come with the monies to complete what you want to. I got a little crafty one day and found a $2 necklace at the local Goodwill. (One man’s donation, is another man’s cheap project supply.)

Initially it looked like below, which was pretty enough on it’s own.

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Then I dismantled it, and decided that instead of one necklace, I could create multiple matching jewelry sets.

For the earrings I used a head pin, wire hook earrings, and small long nose, (all hand-me-downs from my sister’s forsaken hobby.)

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The concept is pretty simple, put them together, and make it look as polished as possible. Used the same technique to make the pendant, except instead of the hook earings I had the silver loop rings.

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The finished project (one of them) below:

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Fun stuff right? So next time, you decide to get some crafty therapy, instead of running straight to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, try the local thrift shop. You’ll never know what you’ll find.

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