I Just Keep Making Lists……

I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me lately. I used to be really good at scheduling 37,000 things into my week. At one point in University I worked two on-campus jobs; took 4 courses (two with labs); was on the Board of Directors for an organization, chaired one of their committees, and sat on two other committees; was a volunteer academic adviser; worked with the Welcome Week teams doing events throughout the year; did classroom public speaking for a few organizations; AND I managed to marathon Buffy the Vampire Slayer in it’s entirety and workout 3 times a week.

Man, I was on fire that year.

I was living in a little basement apartment that year, with a giant bedroom with no closet. My roommate would either cook ALL the protein at once, or lock himself in his bedroom while he was home so I didn’t have to deal with him much. It was almost like having my own apartment, since my room was the size of a small bachelor. To keep my schedule straight I had a 4 month dry-erase calendar, a 1 month dry-erase calendar, a day planner, a daily to-do list, a weekly to-do list, and a monthly overview list. I was so freaking happy that year.

These days, with my dumpster fire of a life, it seems like I just have so much piling up and I can never catch up. I still keep a day planner and a wall calendar, but not like I used to. I still make my lists, but now a lot of them are lists of lists I need to make. I used to use lists for motivation, now I can’t even get motivated enough to make a damn list.

For a long time I thought there was just something wrong with me. I had been so motivated before while I was a student, and now it just seems like I can’t get anything done. So I took a look at what was different about what I needed to get done. Back then, it was deadlines. I always had a few dozen looming deadlines, whether it was school work or grading papers or committee presentations. These were all things that were expected of me, things that others were relying on and keeping track of.

Back then it was “go go go” with a purpose. I was running my ass off going crazy because it was things that had to get done. There were other people involved, and my missing a deadline could severely impact them. If I didn’t get my part of a group project done, that effected my entire group. If I didn’t get papers graded on time, then students grades wouldn’t be posted in time for them to sign up for their next classes. If I didn’t get that committee presentation done before the meeting, what the hell would we be doing in the meeting? Everything seemed dire.

Now? I don’t have anywhere near as many things that are that “dire” for other people on my plate. I still make it to work, put in my shift, keep the rest of the house clean. Again, it’s the things for everyone else that gets done.

But what about me?

When it comes to me, I put me off. I will have no issues sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, and wiping down the rest of the house. But when it it comes to my room? I don’t have the giant room I once had before, and everything is just sort of crammed in there. It’s a cramped, disorganized disaster of a room. I’ve made half a dozen lists of things to do to get that room in order, but why bother with that when I can sweep and mop empty rooms that we might rent out someday? I know I need to Marie Kondo the ever-living crap out of my room, but I just never get around to it.

Even when I’m not replacing tasks with stuff for other people, I still put me off. I know I really need to stretch and do some exercises every freaking day. I’ve put on some weight over the years, my knee sounds like Rice Krispies when I walk thanks to falling out of too many trees while drinking (that’s a long story), and I’m not ridiculously flexible like I used to be. But why do that when I could read 27 pages of Not Always Right? I have lists of motivational lists to make to get my ass in gear, but instead I’ll fall asleep on the couch watching old Vines on repeat.

For some reason, when it comes to doing things for myself I just sort of blow myself off. I’ve spent so much time not taking care of myself, that I forget how to. I know, I know, I’ve preached so much damn “self care” in the past I should be an expert on this. But I just can’t seem to get my shit together when it comes to me.

I grabbed a book from the library yesterday that I’m hoping will help (because the cure for everything in my life is either in a bottle or a book). It talks about how we used to have these things called “weekends” back in the day. Even as a student, I had weekends. Yes, I worked on stuff throughout them, but on my terms. I may have to spend a Sunday witting on my bedroom floor surrounded by research and notebooks, but Saturday would’ve been spent at the beach and drinks at the frat house to make up for that. I always took time off for me, and had some sort of discernible weekend. There were no classes for me on Saturday or Sunday, 95% of my volunteer work was during the work week, and my friends’ fraternity only threw keggers on weekends. There was always that solid block of time to look forward to.

Now? Well, somehow I got two days off last week, thanks in part to my twisting my back until it didn’t want to work for me anymore while I was cleaning out A’s room yet again. With that, my work week officially started last Friday, making this day 6 of at least 11. I don’t have my book job schedule at all for next week yet, so I have no clue when I’ll ever get a day off again. Even if they’re short shifts, working every single day wears me out. This book is supposed to help with the “all-work-no-fun” rut I’ve thrown myself into. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even look at apartments anymore, even though living with the X is driving me insane (literally, my anxiety is ridiculous half the time).

But first, I need to look a little harder at why I keep blowing me off and push myself harder to do things for me again. I’m starting with a trip to Dollarama after work (I know, my life is so thrilling!), and then cooking a real meal tonight. I’ve been existing on McDoubles lately (and yes, I gave away another one in a sad attempt at flirtatious conversation that failed miserably). I’m grabbing some horror movies from the library after work, and I’m going to force myself to put one on while I stretch, read, and maybe work on those motivational lists I’ve been making lists of.

How the hell else do I get myself out of this rut and start doing things for me again?

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I Am A Garbage Human

I’ve been working a lot more hours at my book job recently. In the beginning I was lucky to get one 4-hour shift for a week, if I got any shifts at all. This week, I’m doing short shifts, but I’m working 5 days this week. Plus I have the 4 days I work at the booze job. Unfortunately, there is not 9+ days in a week, which means I’m not getting days off and have a few days of running between jobs.

Of course, this also means working more out of uniform. For my booze job I have to wear plain black pants and shoes with my uniform shirt. As long as I keep it all clean, I wear the same thing every single shift and no one cares. It’s not the same with the book job.

Dress code here is a little relaxed, but still professional. Some people show up in dress slacks and blouses, others in tights and tunics. Some wear nice jeans, some wear a different dress every day. Some have a very corporate vibe to them, some a bit edgier, some have a majestic hippy flare.

And then there’s me.

I like cardigans, pockets, and black. If I could, I’d wear combat boots or sneakers every day, with a cute dress (with pockets, of course) and a bandanna. I could change it up in the winter with tights and kilts. Adding tights to an outfit is the only difference between my summer wardrobe and my winter wardrobe. Sounds professional, eh?

I’m really not good at this “dressing like a professional grown-up” thing. Many many years ago, when I had my office job, it was so much easier. We sat behind desks in an office, and didn’t really care what we wore. There was no personality to it, no real effort. It was just dark dress pants, collared blouse, and heels. Sometimes I’d throw a knee-length skirt or some dressy boots into the mix, but it was all pretty basic.

But here, everyone has their own look, their own vibe. We’re working directly with the public, and are a different bunch of folk. We’re all very bookish, many of us are a bit artsy, there’s quite a few writers and researchers, and one woman who always seems to have pictures of bugs laying around for programs. Our CEO wears tights and shirt dresses, my manager wears pageboy hats and khakis, and we have quite a few visible piercings and tattoos in our break room. Basically, everyone is somewhat expected to show a little personality in their attire.

But I am a garbage human who can’t manage to combine “looking like myself” and “wearing something appropriate” into one look. Is a sundress and cardigan appropriate? What do I wear on my feet? Is rockabilly work appropriate? Are high heels ok to wear on the quiet floor? Are ankle bracelets professional, especially when they’re locally made and we push the “support local” movement? What’s the deal with bare legs? Or arms? Or face?

I’m just not good at this whole clothing thing. And it’s not just at work, either. I had to go to a friend’s bridal shower this weekend, and stared into my closet for a good 20 minutes before throwing on a long skirt and tank top. Of course once I get there, everyone is in jumpers: bridal party, friends, relatives of the couple, everyone. I was surprised the groom didn’t show up in a floral jumper at some point. I didn’t know jumpers were the thing to wear, and would have no clue how to wear one anyway.

While we’re on the topic of that shower, I am a total garbage human because I had no clue what to do for the shower. I knew enough to buy a gift off the registry, and had it shipped right to the bride’s house ahead of time like she had asked. The friends I went with did the same thing. But then when we showed up, they had presents. Like, they brought secondary presents to go with the presents they already sent. Like a present for the present!

The whole day was somewhat surreal for me. Woman were sitting around talking about families and careers, showing off pictures of kids and grandkids, talking about high school reunions and retirement parties. And there I am laughing in my head because a coworker sent me video of someone pooping in our parking lot that morning. Throw me in a bar, and I’m social. Carnival, totally social. Walking around downtown while checking on my homeless friends, extremely social. In a room full of women talking about regular, everyday things; awkward to the extreme.

I don’t know how to fully human.

I don’t get things like bridal showers, baby showers, gender reveal parties, engagement parties, housewarming parties, or basically anything else that celebrates milestones. When my brother graduated from University, we walked around for more than an hour taking pictures of him all over campus. When I graduated a few months later, I took back my robes and left. I didn’t even bother going to the graduation for my second degree, because what’s the point? I know it’s a big deal and all, but I just didn’t know how to make it feel like a big deal.

These events make me feel so awkward. I know I should be excited to be there, to be helping someone celebrate something in their life. But how? I basically sat around all day saying stupid crap like, “Wow, these potatoes are crisp”, “my what a moist chicken” and other nonsensical food related crap. I skipped the gender reveal party I was invited to right after that, because I can only handle so much awkwardness in one day. And to me nothing is more awkward than forced conversation with quasi-friends while a young couple smashes cupcakes in each other’s faces to reveal what their unborn spawn’s genitals will someday look like.

**shudders**

I know these are all like basic grown-up things that we humans do. We dress ourselves appropriately, we go to social events, and we celebrate milestones. This all seems so basic, and I still can’t wrap my head around it. Much like Jenna Marbles, I only have three looks: booze uniform, flannel-clad and disheveled with ripped jeans and old tank tops, and “what the hell am I supposed to wear, let’s close our eyes and pull things from the closet at random and hop it looks professional”. I have no real clue what I’m doing, whether it’s dressing the part or not being a socially awkward emu in a room full of majestic ostriches.

I’m just garbage at this.

But you know what? I kinda dig being trash. All of the people I’ve run into lately who seem to have it all together, all just seem so off. I’ve talked to people who are beautifully dressed, who have interesting lives and ideas, who do nothing but complain about every little thing. I complain about the things wrong with my life, joke about the dumpster fire it is right now, but I set about fixing things and enjoying the things I do have.

Instead of sitting around complaining the guy sitting at the corner on my walk is always there, and needs to get a life, and that if he took the $8 he made panhandling and put it towards rent he wouldn’t have to sit there, I freaking talked to him. He’s a sweet guy, limited income, who just like to sit and talk to people and has no one to talk to in his life.

Instead of ignoring my debts, pretending like they’re not there, and just hoping creditors will give up on ever collecting payment from me, I’m tackling things head-on. It’s as stressful as trying to bone quietly while your parents are reading in the next room and there’s no lock on your door. But it means I’m doing something about myself, I’m working on improving things, I’m working towards something, no matter how miserable it makes me at times. Would I like to bury my head in the sand and just forget all about this? Of course! But I’m not a majestic ostrich, just an awkward emu who is getting shit done.

Am I garbage? Hell yes! Am I awkward as hell? If you met me once you wouldn’t even have to ask that question, it’s a definite yes. But am I living life, working on me, trying to improve myself and my situation, and taking control of my life. Will I someday be able to navigate social gatherings? Maybe. Will I someday have the put-together wardrobe, the ability to walk in high heels, and hair that doesn’t remind small children of Ronald McDonald? It’s possible.

Just remember: if you’re a garbage human like me, if your life is a dumpster fire, if you are literal trash, things can always get better little bit by little bit if you put some work into it. It’s called a garbage CAN and not a garbage CANNOT for a reason.

Maybe I’m Just Not Worth It…..

So as a part of my book job, I have access to an unending supply of books. I’ll go through spurts, reading different things. I’ve had my graphic novel phase, cyber-punk phase, memoir phase, R.L Stein phase…….. I mean, I read these things normally in my giant book loads I bring home. But these were times when I was grabbing 6 or 7 of these books at a time and just reading them constantly.

Well right now, thanks in part to the spiraling dumpster fire that is my life, I’m in a self-help book phase. And oh boy, is it messing me up!

I’m reading through a few books right now. I won’t say what they are but I have the biggest urge to wash my face and not apologize at the moment. There’s some good advice in there, if you keep in mind that this woman has certain advantages that we average folk don’t. I mean, yes it’s very hard work to build up a social media empire and raise kids; it makes it a little easier if you can afford a nanny to help raise those kids though. I don’t want to demean the work she’s put in, it just needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

A lot of the advice I’ve read here so far is the same as what I’ve found in other books, just worded differently: you need to make time for what’s important to you in your life, go out and get what you want, and know that you’re worth everything you want. Somehow that got me wondering, have I not achieved the things I want in life because I don’t think I’m worth it?

I can remember reading in a few different places that when it comes to applying for jobs, men tend to apply if they think they meet something like 40% of the qualifications, while women won’t until they meet around 80%. I know that there were plenty of times I saw jobs that I really wanted and though, “Man, if only I had X, Y, and Z, I could totally do that!”. I passed up the opportunity to apply for dozens of jobs in my lifetime that I really think I would be great at.

Then I would start wondering how the hell I could ever get a job like that. If more education and experience was required, it just seemed impossible. How do you get case worker experience to qualify for an entry level position in that field, if you don’t have the experience for the entry level position? When it came to more education, I already have two degrees and know that I can’t possibly afford any more student debt to get any more.

This doesn’t just extend to job postings though. Everything from clothes shopping, flirtation attempts, writing projects, even apartment searching seems to come down to this feeling that I’m just not going to be good enough.

I’m an odd duck. I was once told that I march to the beat of my own drummer, and that drummer is tone deaf with no sense of rhythm. You can really see that at my booze job sometimes. When I work full doubles (full day at the book job, then closing shift at the booze job), I have to park my car at the store before we open and walk to the books. Then on my lunch break I have to walk back to the store to get my uniform and boots out of the car and throw them in the back room so they don’t either freeze or melt, before walking back to the books. I know, it’s a lot of walking and usually only leaves about 15 minutes to grab food and get back to my desk in time, but my booze job lets me park for free and they have security cameras in the parking lot. I don’t have time between jobs to get food, because I usually have 15 minutes between them.

My solution? A bag of McDonald’s burgers. I can order ahead on the app, pick them up at the McDonald’s near my book job on my way back at lunch, and then have them with me the rest of the day to either eat or give away in my sad attempts at flirting (It was just one time, but it still haunts me). I stand at my register sneaking bites of McDoubles (if I manage not to give them away), dancing to whatever crap is on the radio, and doing high kicks.

I’ve always been a bit odd, but trying to transition from the booze job to what I refer to as “my grown-up job” is extremely difficult. Now being in my book job, everyone says I fit right in. I’m still a bit more reserved and shy here than at the booze job, but it’s a much quieter environment. Still, when applying to other more “professional” sounding jobs, I get the feeling that I’m making a huge mistake.

I always jokingly refer to my office wear as “my grown-up disguise”. I guess because I always feel like I’m not a full grown-up. I’m not living that grown-up life I was always expected to. I don’t own a home, my car only works sometimes (and I can’t put anything heavy in the trunk for some reason), and I’m stuck working 6 or 7 days a week instead of going out and enjoying my life. A very big part of me always feels like the people at my book job are going to someday discover that I’m not a “real grown-up” and I’ll lose all this.

I’m starting to see that this has a lot to do with my dating life too. Truth be told, I was miserable with the X for quite a while towards the end of our relationship. Things were just falling apart so fast, and it was stressing me out so much. I really did want to try and work things out with him, no matter how much I was hurting because of him. Part of that is because I really didn’t think I could do any better.

I’ve had self-image issues for years, ever since putting on weight while sick with hives for 94 days straight. I’m a bit heavier than I wanted to be, but I’ve got a whole lot of muscle and an hourglass shape. I can wear the hell out of a sundress and carry a full grown man across my shoulders in a fireman’s carry while wearing heels. I’m strong, I’m cute as hell, and my hair right now is channeling Fairuza Balk in “The Craft” but in red. Add that to the fact that I hold down two jobs, pay all my own bills, don’t live with my parents at my age, have my own vehicle, once kept a plant alive for 74 days, can cook a freaking tasty chicken and make soup from the carcass, and can hold my own in the wine drinking department, and I’m a freaking catch.

But it seems like every time I find a guy attractive, all I can think is “I’m totally not his type! I’m too old/fat/much of a loser/immature/strange for him.” The thing is, deep inside, I know I’m the perfect amount of all those things. I’m just old enough for my age and fat enough for my weight, and enough of a loser over time to appreciate everything I have accomplished and have come to have. I’m immature and strange, but I revel in that and wear it like a badge of honour. So why is it suddenly a bad thing when some beautiful blue eyes or sexy tattoo sleeves come anywhere near me?

All of these self-help books I’m reading keep telling me to remember that I am good enough. The thing is, I already know that. I know I’m awesome, and I deserve people and opportunities and things that are just as awesome as I am. It’s when you narrow it down to one specific awesome something that I look all confidence faster than The Hiphopopotamus trying to free-style rap. I know I deserve to be with someone who is super awesome, whether it’s for a few dates or a few decades. But what if this one person is too awesome, or the wrong kind of awesome, or their awesome is so awesome that it cancels out my awesome? I deserve a job that I love and will work my ass off at, but what if this job needs more ass than I have?

See?

You can read all the self-help books in the world, take notes, make the changes they suggest. You can learn 37 different methods for being financially stable and responsible, and practice them all at once. You can chant mantras, polish your chakras, cleanse your diet, and go all natural with your hair. But if you can’t look inside you and find out ‘who am I too”, you’ll be in the position to make you feel so damn unpretty.

You’ll also wind up randomly quoting TLC songs other than the masterpiece that is No Scrubs.

I know I have things to work on inside my head. We all do. No self-help book is going to tell you exactly what you need to work on or lay out a map on how to do it. It’s all guidelines, and it’s up to you to figure out what’s in your head. In your he-he-he-head……….

…….zombies……….

Well, at least we know what’s in my head right now: the need to make a new playlist when I get home.

You Just Keep Doing You

The other night, the X went out for a big family event at The Keg and brought home some leftover steak to share with me. Decided to have a bit of that steak the next morning for breakfast with my eggs, and mentioned it online in a group chat.

I didn’t know I what I had just unleashed.

“You mean he went to The Keg? Without you? Did he ever take you to The Keg when you guys were still together? I bet he never thought to take you to The Keg. Why didn’t he ever take you to The Keg? Don’t worry, we’ll find you a man who will take you to The Keg!

Dude, I don’t want to go to The Keg. That place always made me feel uncomfortable. Looking at the menu makes me feel anxious. $37 for a chicken dinner? And chicken is the cheaper option!

I’m not a fancy restaurant kinda gal. Years ago, a friend came in from out of town and suggested we try out Ye Olde Steak House for a real grown-up meal. We showed up in shorts and sandals, ordered nachos and taco salads, and had pretty much every other diner there side-eyeing us.

Truth be told, I’m fine with a burger and fries. For me a great date would be the two of us cabbing it to the bowling alley so neither of us has to drive; then we’d have a bunch of drinks and laugh at each other’s sad attempts at bowling; we could end the night eating pizza and chicken wings somewhere. To me, that’s a great night out.

But people around me are very hung up on this notion that I deserve someone who will take me out to fancy places and buy me expensive things. They were always flabbergasted that the X and I were together more than three years and we never went on an expensive trip, he never bought me fancy jewelry, and we never went out for fancy meals. But I never wanted those things.

As much as everyone wants to set me up with these men ready to throw gemstones and steaks at me, I know those things aren’t important to me. I’m willing to give these guys a chance, but first I have to ask them if they’ll trade in their steak dinner for maybe some nachos and burgers. I’m not going to drag them out to a dive bar where they’d feel completely out of place, but I don’t want to feel completely out of place somewhere where the waiters uniform costs more than my wardrobe. If he’s willing to find a middle ground, then I’m willing to meet him.

Of course, this goes for all aspects of meeting someone. I need to find someone who will let me be me, and let me do what I feel I need to do for myself. I have spent too long living for others, and feeling trapped in my own life.

So now, I need to figure out what’s important to me in a lot of different parts of my life. What am I looking for in a romantic partner? How much time am I willing to dedicate to a relationship? What are my career goals, and how far am I willing to go to achieve them? Do I ever want to get married? Own a house? Have kids?

Some of you out there might have the answers to some of these for yourself. Some of you might have it all figured out. And some of you might have a list the length of your arm of the things you need to figure out. You don’t have to do it today, or this week, or even this year. The answers to things probably will change over time, and that’s ok too. You don’t need to know it all 24/7. You just need to be able to do you.

I don’t know where my career(s) will take me. I love both my jobs right now, and I love writing. Maybe one of these will become a full-time thing for me, or maybe I’ll wind up just doing all three of them forever. All I know is I love all of this right now, and this is where I want to be. So I’ll just do me, and keep doing what’s been working for me lately.

Get to know yourself, learn to love being yourself, and stay true to yourself Sunshine. People are always going to try and tell you what you’re doing wrong, even if it’s only in their eyes. People will have different ideals for how they want your life to be. Just make sure you’re doing what you need to do to be the youest you you can be, even if it doesn’t make them happy.

Embrace the Madness

Of course, the one day I sleep in a little bit is the same day the roommate decides to use the upstairs bathroom for his marathon turds instead of the one in the basement like he usually does. And of course, the one day I’m more than an hour late getting into the shower is the one day my scheduling manager calls me to come in early. Oh, and it’s hair wash day about 5 weeks into my Curly Girl Method journey.

So here I am at job #1 of the day (my book job) for a full shift. Then I have to run out of here when we close at 5pm to make it to my booze job for 5:15. I have 15 minutes to make it there, change out of my dress and into my uniform, and get into the office to count my till.

Since I was running so behind AND got called in early, I didn’t pack a lunch. I also had to leave my car at the booze job (parking there is free for employees, and it’s not at the book job) before the store opened, so I didn’t get a chance to bring in my bag with my uniform. It’s over 30 degrees here today, and I have black boots and a bag of gummy candies in my work bag.

Needless to say, my lunch hour was spent running around. Ran from book job to booze job to take my bag out of the car and put it in the locker room. Check in with the boss, make sure I have a day off later this month for the WorkBFF’s bridal shower. Chitchat with my security guy. Haul ass back towards the book job, quick stop at McDonald’s. Grab a side salad, junior chicken, and soda, and run back to the book job. Manage to eat half a side salad before I have to be back on desk.

I’m on desk for the next few hours, before I have to rush to the next job. Somewhere in there I have to eat my burger, finish my salad, get my schedule set for next week ( what little bit I can), and get moving. I don’t get time to sit between jobs, or breath, or even grab a coffee (which I desperately need right about now). It is pure and absolute chaos.

And I love every minute of it.

My book job is both amazing and stressful at the same time. I’m on the supply list, so I have to wait for times when shifts come available. This means that I’m up and in my work clothes at 8:30am, hair and make-up office-ready, Monday through Friday. Some days I get shifts scheduled ahead of time. Other times, I have to wait and see if I get called in. They will call me at 8:45 for a 9am shifts sometimes because they know I’ll haul ass to make it here. They’ll also randomly call me during the day to see if I can cover when someone goes home sick. So it’s not like I can take off my make-up and go back to bed if they don’t call right away. Yesterday I got a call at 1:30 to come in for 2 at a different location.

The last few weeks I’ve been lucky. I worked 4 days at this job, 4 days at the booze job, and had an entire day off from both jobs. This week (thanks to the holiday and a Stag & Doe) I had Sunday AND Monday off, then worked 4 days at this job and two at the other job. As it stands for next week I have my regular 4 days at the booze job (Monday night, Friday night, then shifts Saturday and Sunday), and work every day in between at this job. Real days off are a thing of the past for me, unless there’s a national holiday.

But I’m finding that I’m happier like this. I get to get out and walk a lot (which I love, even in this heat). I hit my steps goal for the day by lunch time today, and I still have to walk back to the other job and work a closing shift. Normally, I have snacks and such stashed away to throw in my bag so I don’t have to rely on McDonald’s (although I do end up there way too much). With the break-up and us trying to figure out how we’re splitting food costs now, I haven’t had much of a chance to replenish that though.

I love the busyness of it all. I love the rushing around, running from place to place. I get to talk to so many different people, confuse people when see me at one job but are used to seeing me at the other, and run around like mad. I eat healthier, sleep better, exercise more, my anxiety is low, and just feel better when I’m busy like this. It also helps me clear my head, so I can read and write more.

Sometimes, Sunshine, you just need to embrace the chaos and find the little things about it that bring you joy. This morning on my coffee run on the way into work, I ran into Strength at McDonald’s. We haven’t had time to talk in weeks, and only had a few minutes while I waited for my coffee. I got to check in on him, tell him a bit about the break-up, get a big hug, and I even got a free coffee. That little darling gathered up the McDonald’s coffee stickers from people there who don’t collect them, and got enough to get me my morning coffee. Wouldn’t take no for an answer.

So when things are a little chaotic (or hella chaotic, like my life right now), keep doing what makes you happy.

Guess Who’s Back…..

I know, I know…. I keep coming back and saying “THIS TIME I’m going to commit to this blog! THIS TIME I’m going to take it seriously!”. Months go by, and my next post is pretty much the same thing again. Repeat ad nauseum.

This time, though, I have a really good reason for ghosting on everyone. You see, my life has turned into a very poorly written sitcom. It’s borderline daytime soap at this point.

As you know, the boyfriend and I have been going through a huge rough patch for a very long time. We’ve been sleeping in separate rooms since the winter, and fighting constantly. I actually started keeping track in my day planner of when we fought and what we fought about. It was getting to be borderline ridiculous.

We fought about his drinking, his new-found drug use, his lack of financial responsibility, he lack of regard for me. I still feel like I never got to truly get through to him just how disrespected I’ve felt for a very long time. I felt more like an annoying kid sister to him than a girlfriend.

Things came to a head last month. In the middle of a fight on Sunday night, I finally had enough. We would periodically say things like “that’s it, I’m done with this” to each other, and almost fake break-up on the regular. But this time, I was serious. I told him over and over again that I was done. I had reached my breaking point with the substance use and the lies, especially the lies. I just couldn’t take it anymore and was ending the relationship.

Even though he asked me more than a dozen times that night if I was serious about this, he didn’t seem to realize we were actually done until Wednesday night when I asked him how his mother took the news. Oh, he flipped out after that!

This is where the awkwardness begins. Remember, we live together. Both of my jobs are classified as “casual employment”: my boozy night and weekend job is casual part-time, and my grown-up book job is on-call as a supply fill-in clerk. I have no guarantee of hours in my contract at either job. When building management companies see that, they pretty much throw my apartment application back at me and hide under their desks. I’m waiting for them to hold up a cross and back up while screaming, “The power of Christ compels you…… to get a better job!”. Until I can get something a little more permanent on paper, I’m stuck right where I am.

And it’s not like he can move out either. His vices are pretty expensive. He has no savings to speak of, his credit is shot, and he would have a harder time getting approved for a place than I do.

So we still live together.

And remember Jeff? My ex from years back? His parents own the house we’re in? We had a pretty amicable split. Basically, we decided that we weren’t right for each other, and set a date to break-up. We still lived together for a bit, gave each other advice and encouragement to get back out there dating, and remained pretty good friends. He moved out when the last boyfriend moved in, and has since moved hours away for his career. Except he still has a lot of social ties here, and likes to come back for long weekends of drunken debauchery. Guess where he lives when he’s in town.

Yep, I’ve sometime got TWO ex-boyfriends living with me!

Of course, we still have the roommate there too. He doesn’t seem to give himself food poisoning quite as often, but still hasn’t fully learned how to cook chicken fingers in the oven. He locks himself in his room most of the day, and takes a lot of trips out of town looking for a job lately. The only time we really talk is when the most recent ex-boyfriend is around.

Did I mention the ex and I are trying to keep things civil? In my mind, that means setting some ground rules. We already established that we can both start dating other people whenever we’re ready, but no bringing them to the house. We’re looking at things that were shared expenses before (rent and groceries, mainly) and deciding how to divide them up now.

To him, being civil means trying to set me up with his friends. Not just any friends, though. This friend is not also very good friends with one of my book bosses, he’s also the friend who introduce the ex to the woman he made out with behind my back! Because seeing him TOTALLY wouldn’t be awkward!

I also have my just general, everyday awkwardness. My anxiety has actually been pretty much in check since the break-up. It’s like a giant anxious weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I’m pretty much alone, friend-wise. I mean, I have some pretty great co-workers that I talk to and hang out with (FamSquad4Eva, ColdShotCru4Lyfe). As for my other friends, they all seem to have moved on in the last few years. The majority of them moved away and got jobs hours away from here. They’re all busy starting their new lives there, getting used to their new surroundings. The rest all seem to have gotten married and/or started having kids. Suddenly, I’m just not fitting into their lives anymore. They’re busy with play dates and group couples date nights, while I sit at home and marathon Netflix with a box of wine and the Ever So Confused Bowser Kitten and his sidekick Sketchpad.

I don’t know how to make friends at this age. I also don’t know how to flirt either, apparently. I have two of the most breathtakingly beautiful men coming into my boozy job on the somewhat regular. When it comes to the Beautiful Blue-Eyed Guy, I’m lucky if I can squeak out four words when I see him. And most of the time when I can manage a full sentence or two it’s more along the lines of “things could still fall to shit today, I mean the dumpster could get set on fire” than “how you doin’?”. I feel like that Mitch Hedberg joke: “Hey, you want some taffy?” And the man with the David Arquette eyes (shut up, David Arquette is an under-appreciate fountain of sex appeal!!!) is much easier to talk to, but that talking is mostly awkward ramblings while I daydream about sundaes (that’s a whole long, dirty, silly story for another day). I don’t think you can technically classify anything happening when they’re in the store as “flirting”. It’s more like a dumpster fire on a jet plane that’s crashing into cruise liner full of braying donkeys.

So to sum up: I’m recently single, living with two ex-boyfriends and a random man who gives himself food poisoning because he can’t manage to cook something as simple a fish sticks. I’m working two awesome jobs, but neither of them is enough for property management companies to want to rent to me. I have next to no friends, have no one to hang out with to do the things I like to do, am horribly awkward when it comes attempts at flirting, and apparently I used the word “apparently” far too often. I’ve been so busy dealing with everything around me that I’ve forgotten how to be me, and am this weird awkward shell of a grown-up.

Oh, and I started the Curly Girl Method a while back too, so I’m walking around in this humidity looking like a frizzy Ronald McDonald while my hair transitions.

I’m trying to get back to being me. I have been writing a bit, just not here. I want to update this quite a bit more often, get back into the habit of getting more of me out there. A very smart woman who has known me forever told me that I need to start doing things for me again, the things I’ve been putting off for years to work around everyone else.

Actually, her words were “girl you need to get inked, get drunk, get laid, and get some new underpants. None of that damn granny pantie shit you’ve been wearing. Get yourself something cute dammit!”

So I’ll be working on quite a few things in the next little while. I have decided to FINALLY start working on the tattoos I was going to get a few years ago, before my artist friend skipped town with the designs we had dabbled on together. I’m trying to get a bit more permanence in the workplace, find some sort of side hustle, and figure out how to get that whole work-life balance everyone seems have these days. I’m reading more, writing more, curating my Spotify playlists, and looking into getting back into the things I used to love. Maybe I’ll go see some local bands play in a small, sweaty club. Maybe I’ll lounge on the beach for a day. I can buy a guitar or a ukulele, teach myself to play. There’s online classes, crocheting, poetry readings, wasting an afternoon just chilling at the skate park, a dozens of other things I want to try.

But the main thing is, I’m going to get back to being me again. And the “me” I like is here in this blog. So get ready Sunshine, I’m coming back yet again.

What’s Holding You Back?

So I’ve been reading through my old posts on here the last week or so, just seeing how much has changed in my life. Looking back, I have been making the same non-resolution for years every January. Each and every year, I swear that THIS is the year I get out of the House of Random Strangers and get my very own grown-up apartment. And at the end of every year, I have still been sitting at my desk in the House of Random Strangers, wondering where it all went wrong.

Having my own apartment has been a huge dream of mine for a very long time. When I first moved out of my parents house for good, more than a decade ago, the goal was to get a cute little apartment somewhere and make it my own. Instead while I was in school, I shared houses and apartments with other people, never getting the chance to even decorate. I have lived with the majority of my belongings crammed into one little bedroom, sleeping on a twin bed (and sharing the bed with AAB for the last few years), basically a hermit in an ever-growing collection of crap. I don’t have the room to sort through my things, so they seem to keep accumulating.

Recently, while helping a few people look for places of their own, I had to look at a few apartments online. I started having dreams about living in my own cute little apartment, just me and the Still Adjusting to a New Space Bowser Kitten. It had wide window ledges big enough for some herbs or small potted plants, and a radiator heater. The floors were old hardwood, and the paint on the walls was a little faded. But it was mine, with all of my books and ugly furniture arranged exactly as I wanted them.

I wake up from dreams like that and start to wonder why I don’t have my own place, and started to actually listen to the reasons that pop up in my head. I have too much stuff that I’ve been cramming away into drawers and shelves for the 5 years I’ve lived in this house. This is the only real home Bowser has ever known. I don’t have a set amount of hours I’m given at either of my jobs, so I can’t really create a real budget to know what I can afford. If I move now, I have to figure out if having AAB move with me is a good idea.

Basically, I’m afraid. I know there are a lot of decisions I have to make in my life that I’ve been putting off, and the act of moving into my own place means I have to address pretty much all of them. I have to face all of the issues in my relationship with AAB, face my fear of financial instability, and face the fact that I can easily go through my crap and downsize but just choose not to.

Fear is what is holding me back, and that thought makes me laugh. I’m not a fearful person. My coworkers are always telling me that with some of the stupid things I do, I’m going to get “murder stabbed” on my break at work some day.

Case in point: there is a beautiful alley way full of professionally done graffiti art appropriately called “Graffiti Alley”. When I get a lunch break at work, my favourite thing to do is to wander down there and look at my favourite pieces. Sometimes I get sidetracked on my way there and wander down other alleys (never dark ones at night alone, though). Sometimes I’ll stop to talk to random homeless people and addicts in the street. Sometimes I will walk through Graffiti Alley with my favourite homeless addict while he shows me where he used to make his shelter down there.

Ok, I pretty much do ALL the things you’re not supposed to do if you really don’t want to get murder stabbed. The thing is, I’ve gotten to know enough people in the area that I know I can take certain risks (like walking through those alleys) with certain people and be safe. If I’m walking alone at night, I always stick to well-lit streets and make sure I’m very aware of my surroundings.

So I’m not afraid of walking through alley ways, hanging around a meth addict (with certain rules and restrictions on him on my part), wandering around downtown, or just grabbing a coffee with a random homeless person. But I am scared shitless of facing all the things I’ve been putting off and finally getting my own place.

I’ve been letting this one fear hold me back on so many things. I haven’t done a proper purge of my things in years, because I know that once I purge it’s easier to pack my things and move. I haven’t made any firm decisions on my relationship with AAB, because once a decision is made I can move (with or without him). I know that I have to face all of these things if I’m ever going to move into my own place.

So what’s holding you back from reaching your goals, Sunshine? Is there something you secretly fear that makes you put things off?