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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Too exhausted to title this one

I am more than a little exhausted today. After that 13 day stretch of work, I took one whole day off to help out at my parents’ Christmas in July (but in August) party that was also somehow a 30th birthday party for my brother. Then I had to drag my tired ass in to work at the booze job yesterday just to hear “I can’t believe they make you work on a holiday” a hundred times. I passed out on the couch after giving my fuzzy babies tuna (and some whitefish from my parents), and was curled up in bed with Bowser watching over me by 9pm.

And here I am again, sitting at a desk at the book job. I was passed over for a permanent position here and am still doing the supply thing, so I got called in last minute for a full day shift. If I wasn’t on-call this week with only one pre-scheduled shift, I totally would’ve turned this shift down.

I am just drained. And as much as I love my family, and as much as I love their obsession with Christmas and feeding people, spending my one day off helping with that party just did not help me relax myself at all.

As you all know, I have a lot going on right now. Living with X is really draining me mentally, and it’s to the point that it’s starting to take a physical toll. Saturday night, he started in on his whole “the reason we broke up is because you never ever bothered to make time for us” spiel that he likes to throw at me every week or two. Basically, I had to start working Sundays when out collective agreement was renegotiated at the booze job. I did take time off when he needed me to, for things like weddings and his birthday. But I chose to be at work on my birthday, because that’s where I wanted to be.

I have a long list of things that I’ve wanted to do, and I’ve made brief mention of them in the past. But according to X, I’ve never ever wanted to do any of these things, and have certainly never mentioned them. I’m a horrible person, a complete bitch, for taking a day to go help my family with their party, or to want to take an hour after work to have coffee with a friend, and the entire reason for our relationship falling apart is because of this.

I’m trying to come to terms with what he’s saying to me is doing to my mind. I actually went into my parents’ party feeling guilty for being there. Never mind all the times I did take off, or all the time I spent trying to spend time with him. I let him get into my head like a cockroach and noodle around in there, rearranging things so I just couldn’t find anything happy inside.

Maybe that is why everything seemed to get to me so much. Of course, everyone asks for updates on life when we only see each other twice a year, but my updates were the only ones that people laughed out loud at. My living situation, my stories from work, the condition of my car even were enough to make people laugh. Normally people telling me I should write a book about my life makes me laugh, and sometimes even makes me want to write more. But with the frame of mind I was in already, it just grated on my nerves. By the time people began to trickle out of the yard, internally I was a mess.

Why do we let people get into our heads so much? I know X’s argument inside and out by this point. We’ve argued about it a hundred times over. “We used to have Sundays together. I know it’s not your fault that you have to work them now, but……..”; “You didn’t even take time off for your birthday like I wanted you to……”; “Well of course I took a few hours to myself after work to myself. That’s my me time. You just need to work around that if you want to spend time together”. And we’ve been over the replies to these a thousand times. “………I can take the odd Sunday off for us, but not every week. If I have to constantly give up hours to make time for us, would you be willing to give up a Tuesday and we could both take the day off?”; “………….it was my birthday, I wanted to be at work with my friends, and I didn’t want to do anything to celebrate. I didn’t even want a gift. I just wanted to treat it like any other day.”; “…….. and you have your ‘me time’ every single day. Sometimes you’ll get home from work at 4pm and still haven’t taken a shower yet when I come home at 10:30pm because that was all your ‘me time’. If I have to constantly give up my time to make time for us, then it’s only fair that you give up some of your time for us, especially when I don’t have to work late and get home around the same time as you.”

You see, each argument had a counter-argument with some reasoning behind it. We’ve had that exact argument so many times that I have all of my responses to his basic arguments memorized. I don’t even have to think anymore. I may as well just have them on cue cards and pull out the appropriate one when he starts talking. But every time I counter, he comes up with something new. How dare I even think about making plans with other people, when I never made enough time for us; why do I suddenly want to do things and stuff, even though I’ve been making a list of things and stuff I’ve wanted to do all year.

How do you not let someone into your head? How do you stay strong? It always seems like no matter what we have ever argued about, somehow it has all come back to being my fault and I’m the cause of things.

A few coworkers keep bringing up the term “gaslighting” when I talk about this. I remember hearing the term back in school, but don’t know much about it. Maybe it’s time for a little re-education, see if learning a little more helps me regain a slight bit of sanity. For now, though, I’m sitting at the Kid’s Desk at my book job, trying my hardest not to let my anxiety completely overwhelm me.

Relaxing?

I am exhausted. Like mentally, physically done.

I’ve been trying to get myself to relax, but it’s just not working. I’ve been doing 20+ hours at each job the last few weeks. There’s a lot of running between the two jobs, a lot of bizarre split shifts. One day I’ll be 9-12 and 3-5 at the book job and then 5:15 to 10:15 at the booze job. Another day I’m 9-12, 1-2, and 6-8 at the book job. When I’m home between jobs, I’m cleaning. A just finished moving out, so there is a tonne of things that need to get done at home (like scraping the 37 million pieces of Sticky-Tac off the walls). Some days, I’m lucky to get half an hour to make myself something to eat and sit for a few minutes.

Well yesterday, I was done work by noon. I did a quick drug store run for some hair stuff, and then headed home for the day. The plan was to do a little light cleaning, and then put my feet up and relax with some books.

Well that didn’t happen.

I threw a few things in the sink to soak, made myself a quick lunch, and tried to settle down on the couch to relax. I had books, Netflix, YouTube, some notebooks, and my kitties. I sprawled out on the couch, ready to just block out the world for a little while….. and my brain won’t shut off.

I pulled out a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic, threw on some Under Arrest on Netflix, and my brain went into overdrive. “What needs to be cleaned? How long will it take to do A’s room? What if we can’t find people to rent with us? Would it be worth it to just start fresh in a new city? If I decide to just take off and move to a new city, should I try to get into that really hot tattooed guy’s pants first? Why is he always playing with his belt and pants when he’s standing in my line? Should I bring him another burger? Should I get myself some burgers? Should I make burgers? How many burgers are int he freezer right now? How bad is A’s freezer? Will I have to deep scrub it? What else needs some deep scrubbing? I wonder what Bowser is thinking right now.”

The louder my brain got, the more I tried to quiet it. I tried meditation, singing random songs in my head, day dreaming, stream of conscious writing, and even tried to close my eyes and nap on the couch.

Nothing helped.

I think I’ve forgotten how to actually relax. I can’t just put my feet up at the end of the day, pour a glass of wine, and let the day go. Now I pour that wine, talk with the X about our days, help finish making dinner, try to find something to watch on Netflix or YouTube, top up my glass of wine, mentally go over my to-do lists for the next few days, go over my work schedule for the next few days, make sure alarms are set, do a few Buzzfeed quizzes, try to pay attention to whatever X put on the TV, and group chat with some friends. Multitaskin Relaxin, that’s what I call this. I try to do ALL the relaxing things at once, because if each one is relaxing on its own just think of how relaxing they’d all be combined!

I’ve read all the articles, looked up hints and tips, read some books, and still can’t figure out how to just relax. I am completely worn out and need some sort of break, but I just can’t take one. As soon as I sit down to relax, I start thinking of all the things I should be doing instead. Instead of catching up on the sleep I need very very badly, I really should be at axe throwing school, or scrubbing the walls, or baking brownies for my coworkers at the store. I tell myself that I need the sleep, and that little voice in my head starts screaming “forget the sleep! You’re wasting your life! Think of all the things you could be doing right now! You’re going to die alone with 37 cats and they’ll eat your face!!!!!”

Ain’t anxiety grand?

So I guess I’ll just keep this routine going. I only have one shift scheduled next week for the book job so far, and I know I should take any time off I get to just relax and take some naps. But I already have a huge to-do list going in my day planner of things to get done when I don’t have to be at work.

Because what could be more relaxing than taking every article of clothing you own out of your closet and dressers, refolding and organizing everything, clearing off all your shelves and under your bed, vacuuming everything including the mattress, doing all the laundry, washing the walls, and dusting every available surface?

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.

Rapid Decent into Chaos

Buckle up Sunshine, because you’re in for one doozy of an update!

So as you know my living situation has been strange lately. AAB and I broke up, so I can’t really call him the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend anymore. Let’s just call him The Ex for now. We were fighting a lot towards the end, but have decided to keep living together at Casa Del Failure for the time being. Our motley crew also consists of out weird roommate A, and another ex-boyfriend of mine called J who only lives with us odd weekends. There’s another bedroom in the house, but it’s been empty for a long time now.

So last weekend, X and I were in the kitchen listening to some tunes while we made dinner. Somehow we got to arguing about the Smashing Pumpkins and french fries, which segued into an argument about how he didn’t get the lawn cut because I distracted him, and then went back to Smashing Pumpkins. We weren’t screaming at each other, or slamming doors, or anything super loud really. Still, A felt the need to come into the kitchen and start talking at us.

That’s right, talking at us. Not to us.

It was totally out of character of him, but he stood there rambling on about how we were screaming and it was keeping him awake because it was 11 at night and he couldn’t deal with it anymore.

Sunshine, it wasn’t even 8:45 yet.

So X and I are trying to end our disagreement while A is standing there rambling on about how generally awful we both are. X turned and told him to just shut up and go to his room if he didn’t need to use the kitchen. When he didn’t move, X and I went and sat in my bedroom to talk things out.

An hour or so later, we could hear A in his bedroom yelling at us.

“Am I allowed out of my room yet? Have you decided which common areas I can use? Are you going to try and fight me?”

Now X had felt bad for snapping at A and was going to apologize to him, but this was just too much. A came out of his room, started yelling and screaming at X, to which X yelled and screamed back. So there I am at 10pm on a Sunday, standing between two grown men trying to tell each one to calm their asses down so I can try and settle things between them in a civil manner. A would insult X, and then X would get mad at him for it, and there I am in my nightgown trying to keep them separated.

And then A crossed a line with me. His insults for X started getting personal, and they started to include me. When I sent X out of the room to calm down, A told me that I’m never going to find another boyfriend because X and I are the only two people in the world crazy enough to stand each other. He said that one of these days he was going to just pack up and move and not tell us, and wait until we panic.

He knows that all three of us have anxiety. It’s something we’re all talked about together. For him to insult us both, use our anxiety against us, and threaten to screw us over by moving out suddenly, that was just too much for me and I told him so. I told him that if he actually considered screwing us over in any way, then I had just lost any and all respect for him that I had ever had.

And that’s when he called our landlord on the other side of the country. Right in front of us, too. When X told him that making a call like that at that time of night (it was after midnight by this point) was just crazy, A told the landlord that we were standing there insulting his mental health issues. When he hung up, he kept texting the landlord in front of us.

I finally said things had gone too far, that we should all just go to bed get some sleep to calm our asses down, and that X and I both had to work in the morning.

“Because you guys are so important, with your jobs and your money, and I’m just nothing here. You have to get up in the morning and pretend to be so important, like you matter, and…….”

I didn’t hear the rest of whatever the hell A was saying, because I was exhausted and upset and just burst into tears. X followed me to my room and sat with me for a few minutes before go back to his room to go to bed.

Honestly, I thought that would be the end of it. Both X and I had to be up at 6:30am on Monday and neither of us got even 4 hours of sleep that night. I had to put in 7 hours at my book job and then run to my booze job for another 5 hours, but decided to soldier through it. I was going to get a salad for lunch, drink some tea, and try to have a nice day.

Then I got the message from the landlord. He asked me to let him call me Tuesday so we could have a chat. He said that A was moving out, and that he wanted to talk to me because he was concerned about me. I start panicking right away and texted X to fill him in. That night while I was at work, X and A had a very brief talk. A swore up and down that he wasn’t moving any time soon, and that we’d get at least two months notice from him before he went anywhere.

Tuesday after work I talked to the landlord. He told me that A was moving out, like right this second. Also, he wanted to know if I needed him to kick X out since we had broken up. I had to reassure him over and over that we were perfectly fine still living together, and he still insisted I take a few days to think about it.

Sunshine, if you think I was shocked by all of this, you should have seen X’s face when I told him. While him and A weren’t exactly best buds, they did get along pretty good. They had long talks when X got home from work, would have a drink together in the kitchen sometimes, and they confided in each other regarding mental health. When A went through a very scary and traumatic experience, X was right there to reassure him that he had his back, and would protect him.

We’ve both been super crazed and busy since then. Our landlord wants the house in showing condition, looking sanitized and less lived in. I’ve been there 6 years, and now I’m having to hide my presence in my own home to try and draw new people in. We had made a lot of concessions for A, given him a lot of extra space. He’s supposed to have one cupboard in the kitchen, and he used 6. He’s supposed to share a fridge with whomever new comes in, and he had his fridge crammed so full it barely closed. We’re supposed to keep our areas clean, and the quick peek I got into his room showed that he hasn’t seen his floor in years.

X and I have to reorganize the entire house now. A is moving out tiny bit by tiny bit, and we’re stuck cleaning up after him. How the hell does someone get the outside of their fridge so filthy? I’m doing a few 12-13 hour days a week this week, working 6 days a week this week. Next week I work 7 days (for a 10 day streak in total) with multiple split shifts and a bridal shower to prepare for.

I am at my wit’s end right now. X is a huge help in all of this. He has the yard looking beautiful, is cleaning up the deck, and is even doing a few projects around the house like re-caulking the bathtub and shower. He’s making sure I eat and don’t exist solely on junk food which, with a McDonald’s between my two jobs, I am very tempted to do.

It’s still super stressful though. My only day off this week was yesterday. Instead of taking a nap (which I desperately need), eating my veggies, and reading a book, I spent 6 hours scrubbing the walls, bleaching the bathroom, beating door mats, doing laundry, and washing the floor by hand with a sponge and a bucket of water. My “relaxing” was running errands on top of all of that, and buying fried chicken and a slurpee from 7-11.

So if my posts get a little….. strange…. in the next little while, that’s just my total and complete breakdown. My anxiety is super high during all of this, and I can feel something bubbling to a head with me, maybe even a full-blown panic episode. I’m hoping it’s a fun one!

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.

A Very Late Update, with More to Come Soon

Hello, lovelies!

Yes, it’s been about a month and a half since my last update. I have had a lot going on in 2018 and came to realize that I was using this blog more as a personal diary than as what I had intended it for: a tool or resource to help others learn from my mistakes and experiences.

Yes, some good came of that. I was able to open up quite a bit about my anxiety, and about the issues I’ve had involving alcohol in my life. Those are huge things for me and really helped me grow as a person. Also, I got a few emails (which I chose to keep to myself and not post here) from others going through similar experiences with alcoholic partners and family members. Still, this seemed more LiveJournal than ProfessionalWiter’sBlog. So, while I took the time to adjust to my new store, I imposed a blog-hiatus on myself: no writing, no note-taking, no pre-planning at all. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo to help get this blog back on track, but I’m still unsure as to my participation in it.

So what has been happening in my life lately?

My new store is quite a bit rougher than the old one. We have “parking lot people” who beg for change and a few have actually grabbed people and demanded money. So there’s that to deal with.

Also, have a lot more shoplifting. No one likes doing the reports and camera work so I could spend a whole day catching up on that if I could. We have banned more people for stealing in the 6 or so weeks I’ve been at this store than we did the entire almost 4 years at my last store. And some of them are so brazen. Just the other day one walked in and just started loading up her backpack. When the assistant manager caught her, she dumped everything and started receiting legal jargon at him about how he couldn’t call the police on her because she technically hadn’t stolen yet (which would be true, if we didn’t have her on camera stealing a few times in the past week, and if she were not permenantly banned from the store). She’s been through the system enough that some stores know her by name.

There’s also a lot more people with different addiction issues. We have a very heavy meth user who tried to attack our security staff one day, who keeps trying to come in. He scares the hell out of me. The other people with these issues are mostly fine, but this guy almost put his fist through a plate-glass window because I refused him service once. I am actually terrified some nights that I’m going to be attacked by one of the people we refuse or ban from the store.

I do have a former coworker I had a crush on working with me now. I will freely admit that physically, this man is perfect. I mean, his ass should be framed and hung up in the Louvre because it is a damn work of art. Working with him again, though, the crush isn’t there anymore. We can still tease each other back and forth, but I know that the two of us are a horrible match. It’s fun now having him around because we get along great and he’s a great person in general. Now that we both have pets, every shift pretty much starts with the sharing of pet pictures.

I’ve taken a lot more sick days at this store in the last 6 weeks than I usually take in a year. I usually take maybe two a year. Today was my third day since moving to this store, after already taking one before the move there. I took two days off one week because this store is horrible for my anxiety, and I was puking more than I was eating for a while. I needed a few days to get my strength back and keep some food in me. I had my first full-blown, laying on the floor in hysterics, screaming and crying and shaking, totally scary panic attack since my last year of University. Usually, it’s more of the jittery, pukey, head constantly spinning and heart racing feeling I get, and that I’m able to somehow deal with. But this time, I just went over the edge. It scared the hell out of the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend, who had no clue how to help. His first instinct was to hold me, but that’s pretty much the opposite of what I needed. I let him try to help, though, and got myself calmed down a bit. Later that week, though, when I still hadn’t completely come down, I had to take two days off. I just told the boss I was having stomache issues.

Also, I’m not as forthcoming with my anxiety issues with my coworkers here as I was at my other store. My former assistant manager moved to this store the week after me, and he knows a bit about my issues. But I don’t talk about them freely like I did before. There just seems to be so much more judgement, and gossip, and back-talking that I don’t feel comfortable speaking up. That was a big reason why I didn’t update here: I knew I could talk freely on here, but needed to become comfortable in my daily life with it again too. After renaming my group chat with my former work fam to “Fam Squad”, and sharing in the misery with them, I realize now that there are too many trust issues in my store for me to be open. I don’t have the bond with my coworkers that I did before. I’m much more guarded about sharing information about pretty much anything with anyone but three coworkers I knew before moving here.

To top all of this off, I took another sick day Wednesday. My wrist has been bothering me due to the increase in use. Remember, I was bumped back to 4 hours a week. That means I got roughly 175 customers a week, or 700 a month. At my new store, I’m getting closer to 10,000 customers a month, which means more time on the scanning gun. This is in addition to my new duties scanning the store (with a gun that uses the same motions), The increased strain has left me with the beginnings of a repetitive stress injury. How did I find this out? A bird flew in through an open door at home. While trying to corral cats and shoo the bird, I fell on my already sore wrist and sprained it. Took a day off work, went to a clinic, and am now medicating with wine because the doctor knows I’ll listen to my body and what I need to do rather than drag myself halfway across town to a series of different medical appointments over a series of months. If I have any further issues, I’m more than welcome to come back and see him. But he didn’t give me papers for work, or a prescription.

My wrist has been ok so far today. I practically destroyed it at work last night, so I’m surprised I’m not in more pain. To top everything off, we have a new District Manager who is changing everything about every store, and is passing down new motion study procedures to all of our larger stores from her bosses. Somehow it’s supposed to take us only 10 minutes to fully scan and put away a skid of product, even though most stores are short handed and some have only one person working the load at a time.  And then they wonder why so many of us are getting injured………

Of course, this has all been on top of everything else that comes with life. The apprently accepting Bowser Kitten has fully embraced his new baby sister Baby Sketchpad McCaffrey. The two are pretty damn adordable together now. He’s a bit protective of her at times, and she’s a hyperactive accident waiting to happen. It’s a match made in heaven.

We had some family issues to deal with for a while, and had the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s father stay with us a few nights so AAB could help him out the following morning. That really took a toll on AAB, but baby kitten snuggles have been helping a lot. I have some new work possibilities coming up, and have been thinking about doing some more schooling if none of those pan out.

So with this all off of my chest, I’m hoping to get back to this blog’s original purpose: to give people to knowledges, resources, tools, and advice that they generally aren’t given to make important decisions, create better habits, and live the best life they can. Yes, I will update about myself and my life from time to time, but not at the rate I was recently. I want this blog to be more of a help to others than glorified LiveJournal.

And with that, Sunshine, I bid you adieu for the day. One of my former coworkers gets married tomorrow, and I have a lot of beauty crap to do today before work to get ready for the party tomorrow. AAB and I will be heading out there with my WorkBFF and her fiancee, and we’ll all be reunited with the FamSquad for the day. Now, go out there and enjoy the day!