Social Anxiety, Kind of

I had to go out yesterday. I’ve only been out of the house maybe four times in the last month. I have asthma and I am at high risk for catching the coronavirus. The last time I had to go to a doctor appointment they gave me a mask to wear inside the building. I was very nervous being out and the mask did not help that. It was hot and made it hard to breathe. Not a good thing when you already have breathing issues. 

Do I look nervous? I feel nervous…

This trip out I was going to an area hospital for my monthly injection. It’s a shot to help with my asthma and dermatographia. (That’s the skin reactions that causes everything to look like a rashy writing on the skin.) Almost everyone in the hospital was wearing a mask. I was not offered one when I went in, though they did check my temperature. The nurse that took me back asked if I wanted a mask. I declined. 

As I stood in the elevator with her and then followed her down the hall, I realized that the mask would not alleviate my anxiety. The mask alone was not going to do anything. It was simply the fact that I was outside among other people. We don’t have enough people getting tested yet, not enough effective testing. And there is no herd immunity yet. It’s too soon. And too many people still don’t understand the importance of simply staying inside and washing their hands. 

I know the weather is getting nicer and people want to enjoy it. Kids want to play outside and adults want them to. But we have to be smart. I know as a group that is hard. People as a group are stupid as cattle. Individuals are smart.

We need to think like individuals and act as a group. Maybe, if we can learn to act smarter, we won’t become a virus ourselves. Like so many before us. 

With a little help from my friends

My nerves have been a bit frayed today. For all sorts of reasons that I’ll spare you. Several times today I’ve been tempted to put on my headphones and blast some heavy metal music. Just block out the world. But something always stopped me for one reason or another.

Finally, I reached my limit tonight. I put on my headphones and found myself not with screaming guitars in my ears but a familiar meditation playing. I like Native American music for meditating. Drums and flutes, mostly. It’s either light and airy or deep and earthy. Sometimes with the tinkling sounds of water or the rumble of thunder mixed in.

I let the music play while finished what I was stitching on a crochet project for the day. A new design I’m working on. I drew it out this morning and started on it after breakfast. It’s coming along nicely. But I needed that music tonight.

I haven’t meditated in way too long. I learned how several years ago after the death of my mother. It’s what got me through it. Helped me through a lot of emotional upheavals. Not sure why I hadn’t thought to do it before now. Caught up in all the news broadcasts I guess. That whole “not seeing the forest for the trees” thing.

Just the little bit of time I was plugged into the music seemed to help a bit. It’s important to take time for ourselves and to focus on our mental health. Especially now when the entire world is in an upheaval. There is so much stress over every little thing. Remember to take a deep breath, don’t hold it. Relax your shoulders. Give yourself a hug.

Dark :30

It’s late. Yeah, I know. But I made it. I’m back again. I have completed two projects today. And I did the boring paperwork thing I hate doing. It got done in between the two projects. I made myself do it before I started on the second project to make sure I got it done. That way starting on the project felt more like a reward for getting the paperwork out of the way.

I even got some filing put away. I guess today was about finishing things. Not too bad for a Monday. With the world on lock-down, finding a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something is a good way to put the anxiety on the back burner. Kind of surprising considering how much news I actually watched today. But let’s not talk about that. I already have a headache.

Let’s talk about the cute Fennec fox I crocheted today. He’s adorable and cuddly. I also finished a scarf. I love to crochet. Probably why I’ve been doing it for well over 30 years. I’ll save those stories for my other blog. That to-do list will get tackled tomorrow. But for now, I think I’ve accomplished enough for today. Now for some sleep. Sweet dreams…

Well, this is interesting.

I’ve been looking for some writing mojo for a long time. Life seemed to be knocking the steam out of my writing. After a good writing buddy died, I just could not find the words or the will to look for them. After getting some more stability in my life, the words still eluded me.

Recently, I left a message for a friend who was struggling with her writing during the CoVid-19 pandemic. Stress is a bitch. Let’s be honest. We all get stressed. It hits us in different ways. Apparently, as I get older I hyper focus. Yesterday I spent the day working jigsaw puzzles and listening to classic rock music. I must have needed it.

Today there are words. I’m here writing. And I can feel more words just under the surface. I don’t what they are, what they will lead to. Will they be another blog, a short story, a poem? I have no idea. But there are words. So I’m sitting here sharing some with you while I binge watch sharks on TV. Because I need those, too.

Trust Yourself

I woke up from a nightmare this morning. Haven’t had one in a long time, not like this. I woke up falling. I don’t have to give you all the details although I do remember them quite well. The main thing is that a decision was made and suddenly the person in the dream was me and I was falling inside a stairwell.

I woke up before I hit anything or hit bottom. I hate those dreams. For me, they always mean something is out of control. I was driving in an earlier part of the dream and that was definitely me. But I was trying to get away from the area I was in. That lead to the character in the dream being at the top of that stairwell.

I’ve been thinking about making some changes in my life: health, money, housing. It’s not hard to make the connection. I feel like there are things out of my control. Believe me, I am not happy about it. But I think the last part, where the woman at the stairwell made a decision (I remember her being asked what are you gonna do now), is very important. Don’t make rash decisions.

Decide what you want to happen. Research what you need to make that happen. See that list as goals to get your end result. Then come up with a plan that will get you there quickly and smartly. Get help when you need it. Make smart changes where you need to. Trust yourself and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, step back and reevaluate. Most importantly, you have to actually start work on your list of goals. Don’t just sit there looking at. It’s not your Christmas list. You have to put in some work to make those goals happen.

I’ve always said happiness is a choice. You can choose to stay in a stagnant situation and say you’re happy. Or you can choose to make a move to a better situation and do what makes you happy. Trust yourself.

Size Matters

There. I said it. Yes, size matters to us ladies.

I’m not talking about in the bedroom. I’m talking about clothes.

I was looking for dresses online. Went to the site for my local super store first since I knew I would be going there later in the day. Then hit up Pinterest since I do have a sewing machine. It didn’t take long to see the problem.

Even on Pinterest which has a plethora of ideas for any type of dress I could possibly want, size is a problem. I am not a small woman. Short, yes. Skinny, no. I’ve never been skinny, not even as a child. I have curves. I shop the plus size section. The fashion industry is no where close to recognizing how to dress us. They’ve started to see that we exist but they are still not getting it.

I first searched just dresses. Then I got more specific with sundresses. It didn’t help. Either the models are not plus size models. Or the dresses are too tight. Or they go in the opposite direction and have no shape at all. Or worse, they will have shaping and detail but it’s in the wrong place.

From Walmart.com

I’ll give you an example of one the worst offenders: the waist line is too low. Like this one from Wal-Mart in the picture. How does that work, you ask? What most people think is there waist line sits just above their hips. That’s the natural waist line of your body. On more curvy people, we are trying to de-emphasize our hips which are usually the largest part of us. The best way to do this is to move the waist line of the clothing up to draw focus to the bust line and face.

An empire waistline does this perfectly. So does putting the waistline just below where an empire waistline would sit. The difference is that empire sits just under the bust, like right under the bra line. If you put the waist a couple inches below that around the bottom of the rib cage, you get the same effect without having it right up under your boobs.

This creates focus around the bust, drawing attention to the upper part of the body away form hips or stomach. Focus can be on the cleavage, the face, jewelry. Anything you do above that line will keep the focus up. It’s not hard to design stuff with this in mind. Even a simple wrap dress creates a line that pushes the eyes higher.

This is not a new concept. I heard it for 10 seasons of What Not To Wear. Where are Stacey London and Clinton Kelly when we need them?!

It is very frustrating to continue to see models who are only plus size because they are either well over six foot tall or because they are a size 12 or 14. Really?! There are a few truly plus size models now but we are still tremendously under represented. Come on, fashion industry. Take an honest look at who really buys the clothing in the world. Snobby rich people are the only ones who care what goes down the catwalk. The rest of us are shopping at Wal-Mart and Macy’s and Amazon.

New Year, New Goals

I’ve written about resolutions before. I don’t like calling them resolutions. Nobody keeps those. Few people are able to last far enough into a new year to say they kept those pesky New Year’s resolutions. We get all excited at the ball drop or drink too much and have high expectations for what we think we can accomplish. And then we go back to work.

Reality sets in. It’s cold, rainy or snowy, or you get sick right after the holidays. You have to deal with taking down all the decorations on top of it all. You may be worried about paying for Christmas if you maxed out your charge cards. Your stress is climbing if you keep thinking about it. Those resolutions are getting pushed further and further out of your mind.

Stop. Just stop stressing yourself over it. Resolutions are fine but not realistic. We should all have goals. And not just at the beginning of the year but throughout the year. Realistic goals that don’t cause our blood pressure to rise unless it’s with excitement. There are some ways to keep your goals attainable.

Make them something you can achieve so you don’t feel like you’re never going to get there. If buying a Bugatti is 3 years worth of your salary, doing it this year is probably not going to happen. Get real. But if you do need a new car, plan for something that you can afford and will be able to work into your budget this year. Then you can save for the Bugatti later.

More achievability: say you want to save money for a vacation. If this is something you usually struggle with then you need to take an honest look at where your money goes. Buying high priced coffee on the way to work every day? Take-out more days than you cook? More drinking nights out with the buddies than hanging out watching a game on the couch? There are always places you can find where you can cut back on spending. Take a close look at where you money goes. Write down everything you spend and do for a month then go back and look at it. You may be surprised at where the money is. Then you can decide what to start cutting out so you can start planning that sweet little beach trip.

Another trick to keeping goals is to have accountability. Have a partner. Someone who can help you stay on track. If you’re trying to lose weight, have someone to work out with. If you live with someone who can help you, plan meals together and shop together if you can. Cook together and when you sit down to eat, turn off the phones and the TV and talk to each other. A big part of accountability is keeping communication open. If you talk to people about what you’re doing and they talk to you, you’re a lot more likely to keep it up.

Also consider time frames. Is the goal something that needs to be done within a certain amount of time? Are you trying to lose 20 pounds before a reunion or a wedding or some other event? Are you trying to get the garage cleaned out before movers show up to take everything to a new house in a month? Even short term goals should still be planned. Use a calendar or planner and keep it where you can access it quickly and daily to track your progress. Make notes on where you are and what your next steps are. That leads me to my next point…

Write down your goals. Let me say it again. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS! Make a big board with pictures and encouragement. Put twinkle lights around it. Put it where you will see it Every Day! You need the reminders that you have something to work toward. Keep telling yourself that you want this, and that you can make it happen. Make small versions of your sign and put it in several locations: your car, the bathroom, on the fridge, at your desk at work. Put them anywhere you need the reminder of what you are working toward.

Goals are good. We all need them. Professionally, personally, spiritually. Whether it is to learn a new hobby, a skill, trying new recipes, to read more books, or to write more books. We should all have something we want to do. Being stagnant is for ponds. Be a flowing river, ever changing, ever growing.

Is it December Already?

November was National Novel Writing Month. I was helping my local writing group go crazy trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. For each person. How crazy is that? Pretty normal for us writer types, actually. 

But that means today is December 1st. Time to deck the halls if you haven’t already begun to decorate for Yule or Christmas or whatever you call it. I like to call it Yule but I’m old school like that. You know, before Coke cornered the market with the jolly old dude in the red suit. But let’s not get off track waxing poetic about commercialism. 

The year is almost over. Are you ready for making resolutions to pretend to keep? Or do you prefer to call them goals? How do you plan on keeping them in the coming year? Now would be a good time to start thinking about what you would like to work on and how to implement those changes. Think of them as goals instead of resolutions. Goals are something you can work toward, with progress points along the way, giving yourself high fives and encouragement as you go.

Set a plan. Make it happen. You got this. 

Rebounding from Fear

TAXES! CANCER! VOLDEMORT! 

There! I said all the scary words.

I realized today that once you put a name on something it can make it bigger, scarier, more recognizable. For a long time I just thought I was having back and hip pain. Now I know I have sciatica and scoliosis. Those are scary words that come with medicine and tests and shots. The words make them more real. Before it was just pain that I could try to ignore and work through and go about my business as best I could.

Now I know that I will have pain if I forget my medicine. I know I will have follow-up appointments to keep in the coming months. There will be other doctors to see.

The point is that we let things grow until they overtake us. But do they really need to? If we are getting on with our bad selves before we know the names, do we really need to stop living our lives once we know those names? I saw a new doctor today who said he was running tests for a lot of things including a brain tumor, of all things. Does he really think I have a brain tumor? No, but he needs to rule it out. Does it scare the hell out of me? Yes, but I’m not going to let it change how I’m living in the week or two while I wait on test results.

To paraphrase my favorite nerd, fear of the name only increases fear of the thing. Learn the names, yes. Do research so you know what it is, yes. But fear it, no. Stand strong in knowledge and get on with your bad self.

Finding Veronica

I’m not sure why I came up with the name Veronica for my muse just now but we’ll roll with it. At least until she shows up and decides if she likes it.

Yep, she’s gone AWOL. I haven’t heard from her in a while. Well, I’m not sure that’s completely accurate. The ideas Veronica and I generate are not missing. It’s more like

women-arguing-2_orig

Veronica and I are not on speaking terms at the moment. I’m not sure which of us is to blame for that. Or if either of us is to blame for it. Blame is an ugly word. Let’s not us that.

Veronica and I are…socially incompatible at the moment.

…that sounds just as weird. *sigh*

This is November. It’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. I’m supposed to be letting the words fly from my fingertips and writing fifty thousand words or more in 30 days. This is my second blog. Do Facebook posts count? Granted, there was a death in the family last month but I have had no desire to write. Not like I used to. Historically you would find me with no less than two notepads of various sizes and half a dozen pens in multiple colors. People know me for this so well they often gift me with writing paraphernalia.

At the moment, I might have a pen or two in my purse. My phone has a notepad app on it but I’m not sure I have a piece of paper on me other than a tissue. How does this even happen? I have felt distanced from my writing for a while now. For a long time, the writing was an escape for me. I don’t have as many things I need to escape now. I’m not sure how to channel the same energy into the writing now that the emotional need is different. I’ve tried really hard not to let go of the writing. When I look back at some of the things I’ve done, I really like the work I’ve done and think it would be publishable if I keep at it. But then I don’t do anything with it. I don’t write anything else. Veronica does come knocking. I get more ideas and I do write them down so I don’t lose them. But they don’t grow into anything more. It saddens me to see notes scribbled in a notebook between shopping lists waiting for me to shape them into characters and plot.

Sometimes it feels like I don’t know how to get motivated. Which is absurd when you think about it. As many blogs as I’ve written about how to get your ass in gear over everything else, I should be able to figure this one out. Yet I here I sit with Veronica looking over my shoulder wondering why I’m not working on the idea she gave me. Hopefully she won’t get too mad at me.