Teeny tiny itty bitty steps.

•August 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I Have No Idea

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I’m really really really bad at making comprehensive task lists.

And I really wish I weren’t but I am and I just have to deal with it.

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I am not the type of person who relies on them to accomplish a set of assignments, mostly because I jump around from item to item. It is extremely difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time, for various reasons.

I have tried Wunderlist, Google Task, notebook after notebook after notebook, agendas, day books, virtual post its, the notepad on my phone, Gmail, and probably a few more.

If these things work for you, that is awesome. May you be prolific in your daily, weekly, and monthly vocations! I will be sitting alongside you among a litter of partially finished tasks, offering an encouraging smile and a pen if you happen to lose yours.

But if you are like me and to-do lists just aren’t your thing, there is one list that can help. It’s the “things I have already done and should feel proud of” list. It’s basically the golden star sticker of lists, a happy pat on the back to calm your nerves.

you tried

This may not seem like such a huge deal but it is. While people who are good at to-do lists are happily rewarding themselves with check marks or strikethroughs (visual representations of their burdens being lifted off their chests) we’re sitting here thinking about all the things that still need to be done.

Which is okay! And sometimes productive! But other times it can feel heavy, and for those with increased risk of anxiety (another thing that is sometimes okay and sometimes productive) it can become a huge source of self-doubt and misery. So I find that writing down the things you have already accomplished can place them in front of you, ready to be skimmed in the event that your brain starts to short circuit.

It can help turn,

“oh no I don’t do anything I never get anything done, I am so useless and lazy!”

into:

“okay well I already did this, this, this, and this, so what is something else I can do?”

The key to this, is breaking things down into very small portions. For example, my husband and I are putting together an immigration file. It needs MANY MANY MANY things in order to be completed. It is overwhelming to think about most of the time, so here is what my Things I have Already Accomplished List looks like:

  • printed necessary forms
  • bought supplies for finished file contents
  • finished form IMM1234
  • finished form IMM5678
  • scanned all of husband’s IDs
  • scanned all of my IDs
  • scanned cutesy letters for proof
  • sorted through Instagram photos for proof

And it goes on and on like that. What’s great about this is the smaller the items, the longer the list grows, and so does the feeling of accomplishment. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of self-deprecation when you’re doing something, especially a larger something, because you don’t get any immediate rewards.

It’s okay to feel stuck sometimes, but there’s always wiggle room. And you might be surprised just how many little steps you have been taking throughout your day to get where you want to be.

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The Tango

•June 21, 2015 • 3 Comments

Do you like dancing? I wasn’t sure I liked dancing, but everyone seemed to think it was so intriguing and some people were even dancing already. They talked about dancing in a hushed tone and asked me who I wanted to dance with. When I was 13 I said absolutely nobody, and when I was in high school, I pretended to like the idea of dancing, because I felt weird if I didn’t. I got a boyfriend and the pressure to dance was even more intense than ever.

Sometimes, I would dream of dancing and it sort of intrigued me, but never enough to do it. My body was changing and I think it wanted to dance but my mind just wasn’t there.

I only ended up dancing because of pressure and because, in the end, I thought it was the normal thing to do. I thought it would make my relationship normal and complete. I thought dancing would reset all of the weird, bad things that were happening.

But, instead of making things better, it… well, it didn’t really do anything. I was in the same place, with the same problems, and I couldn’t just dance them away.

sticker,375x360.u4

I didn’t realize I was on the asexual spectrum until much later, and once I did, I felt both happy and sad. Happy because I was finally able to relate to others sharing similar experiences. Sad because, well, it made me realize how prominent the idea of sex is; from virginity and onward, sex is a constant theme in our lives that is surrounded by pressure and societal norms. And I don’t mean to say that sex is unimportant; quite the contrary! I think a healthy sex life is essential to living an overall fulfilling life.

The thing is, “sex life” has become normalized and anything deviating from accepted social standards (although when sex become a social matter is beyond me) is either hated, misunderstood (often both), or ignored entirely. Asexuality is on the latter end of the list.

What’s sad about this is we’re taught there is a system, or set of feelings each individual is supposed to embody. Of course, this system is reinforced through subconscious conditioning through our parent(s)/guardians at a very young age. The same conditioning that normalizes heterosexuality, long-term monogamous relationships, and gender roles.

But rather than go into detail on these various and complicated systems, I will bring it back to my own experiences and why I’m even talking about this to begin with.

A sex life can contain as much or as little sex in various forms and it is still a sex life. A sex life which lacks sex completely is still one that needs to be maintained in a healthy manner. This is where I think most problems stem from. I was taught to believe that sex is something I will inevitably yearn for and when puberty hit me in the face, so would lust.

But that’s just not what happened for me.

Instead, I ended up in a relationship where I felt romantic attraction, but was put off by the experiments I was supposed to be conducting with my body. And when my first boyfriend thrust my hand in his pants and said, “you don’t want that there, do you?” I shook my head no and hoped it never happened again. But it did, and although sometimes I didn’t mind, more often than not I felt isolated and broken. And when my boyfriend kept begging me to do things I gave in. When I stopped giving in, he found other ways to get what he wanted.

I always blamed myself because I was the one who was abnormal, after all. Why should I deprive my significant other of something that is expected out of a relationship? I liked kissing so why not more?

I now understand how toxic that way of thinking is, but knowing these ideals are still being implemented today is worrisome. I worry for the young individuals who, like me, did not understand why they didn’t “grow up” like their peers. I worry for the individuals who think they need to give more than necessary; who think their love and affections aren’t enough, that their needs aren’t as important.

And even in the asexual community, I worry for the individuals like me who are able to enjoy sex if they want to but still feel comfortable with the ace label. Entering this circle has given me answers and comforts, but it has also subjected me to gate-keeping and further doubts about who I am and what I feel. Even here, the urge to view things as black and white is present.

A fog is a light burden.

•December 12, 2014 • 1 Comment

hand

I often hear depression described as a fog, but that’s not what it’s like for me.

It’s more like a plastic casing, thin and malleable enough to do the most basic of movements. But even with its malleability, the plastic seems to weigh heavily on my entire frame, making my movements sluggish and my energy rapidly decrease.

A fog blurs, but this plastic is clear enough to see what is on the outside.

“It’s like drowning,
except you can see everyone around you breathing.”

My thoughts seem clearer than they ever have before, depicting my true form, revealing every mistake and every flaw. The clearest thoughts, though, are the ones that cry for help. There is nothing foggy about the screams I see alive in my mind, unable to give them voice. A raking inside my skull mimics the metaphorical fingernails scratching at the sarcophagus it has made for itself.

My eyes droop at the extra energy lost trying to calm them.

They say depression rolls in, but sometimes it knocks you off your feet. A memory, a few distant words, and depression wraps itself around you, encasing you once again.

The worst thing about depression isn’t a fog covered image of your life, it’s quite the opposite really. It’s seeing everything function around you, moving forward, while you’re stuck attempting to join in. It’s the constant “snap out of it!” thoughts that are shouting at you from within, unable to come to fruition.

Even the numbness that comes forth reverberates through my skin, suffocated by the plastic film tightening itself around my torso and limbs. The smiles I muster threaten to tear and reveal what I’m really feeling. The plastic is heavier and breathing is shallow, the light in my eyes is dim.

A fog is a light burden compared to the heaviness within.

Dreams alive in dots.

•November 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I really like the latest poem I wrote (here), but I happened to post it at an awkward time of the day. So! I wanted to give it some attention on this blog. If you have any constructive criticisms, I’d be very happy to hear them. The poem feels unfinished to me, so I might revisit it at some point. Even just telling me how the poem makes you feel could help. C: Thank you, have a wonerful day! ❤

Sometimes we are strangers to ourselves.

•November 21, 2014 • 2 Comments

“The reflection that we see everyday has nothing to do with how others see us. The glass lies.”

I often reflect on my image in the mirror and count the scars, the stretch marks, the imperfections. My eyes glide over them and sometimes I feel sick to my stomach, sometimes I look at them and wonder what I would be without them.

My asymmetry, though not abnormal, stands out the most.

Some places sink lower than others, my lip trembles higher on the left side. My mind eats up my misshapen form and spits out hurtful things, bombarding me with flaws I can’t control. I sat and watched a video of myself talking, unable to listen, only thinking about the way the words seem to fall from one side of my mouth only.

Then I think about how grateful I am for the way my waist dips in and out to my hips. I force myself to look at how my eyes sparkle and seem almost translucent in the sunlight.

I understand I am lucky to have a fast metabolism, so that when the scale reached 110 for the first time, I was relieved instead of sick with starvation and exhaustion. I think about how my legs are fragile sticks.

I think all of these things but rarely give them a voice, because if I set them free, allowing them to roam outside in my physical world, they would surely consume me. And I don’t think I can let that happen.

Instead, I keep them inside, not letting anyone know how absolutely selfish I am for hating myself from time to time. I sing and dance in the kitchen, and laugh with my whole heart, letting my crooked teeth show as I grin; without thinking. Because, thankfully, there are moments in life that remind you how insignificant a perfect set of eyebrows or muscular calves are. These moments remind us how important it is to set aside the self hate, to continuously battle the obsessive thoughts. To look outside, instead of in; to look at the asymmetry in rocks and lakes and understand you are part of them.

Embrace who you are and what you have to offer, because no matter how rotten you may feel on the inside, what you can put out into the world is wholesome.

Too often we hear “what we think on the inside makes who we are” or “the world will believe in you when you believe in yourself”. To an extent, these things are true, but I will tell you one thing:

Insecurity makes us venomous.

It is something we contain that can cause harm if we administer it into the world, affecting our relationships, our lives. We have control over the toxins we contain and who they affect. Unfortunately, we ingest poison through media of all types, and through other people who can’t contain their own toxins. It’s okay that you react and it’s okay that you need reminders of who you really are sometimes. Just don’t allow yourself to be venomous; keep the toxins to a minimum. Start to minimize the poisons in your own life, it will help, I promise.

Asymmetrical Nature

Confirmation bias.

•November 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

dilbert-confirmation-bias

“The tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions”

above definition from science daily

Confirmation bias is a trick the brain not only plays in the scientific world, but also in our every day lives and is arguably a significant factor in the close-mindedness of the entire population. It aids in the perpetuation of stereotypes, hinders a person’s ability to gain self-confidence and recover from mental illness.

Wishful thinking, limited capacity for thought, and other explanations for the phenomenon help open our eyes to the general restrictions of human intellect. It is also a window into the selfishness that underlies all human interaction, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, despite the bad connotations held by the word ‘selfish’. I suppose a better word would be ‘self-preserving‘; whatever your idea of self-preservation may be.

Generally speaking, self-preservation refers to the behaviour that aids in the protection of an organism. This behaviour, in my experience, is highly dependent on a person’s comfort zone. This can be very problematic in settings where a person is self-destructive and/or emotionally unstable.

Here is an example:

John Doe, a functioning alcoholic, is convinced that people only contact him and want him around when they need something.

This perspective, although false and very unhealthy, is comfortable for him. It allows him to take on the role of victim and validates his binge drinking.

One sunny morning, John’s daughter is about to walk to work (which she does nearly every day) and says goodbye to her mother. She walks outside, knowing her father is out back, and let’s him know she is leaving. She says goodbye, waves, and is on her way.

John walks to the front yard and says he will give her a ride, so she climbs into the truck. Having drank a lot the night before, he feels uneasy and says to her, “I really shouldn’t even be driving.” This confuses his daughter. “Why did you offer to give me a ride then?” He looks at her, apparently shocked, and exclaims, “Well you made it so obvious you wanted me to give you a ride!”

That is one of the more extreme cases/situations, but we all do it in one way or another. Not only is it horribly damaging to relationships but it can also cause you to miss out on so much. Even in discussions we seek to validate our already well established opinions.

This is just a reminder to keep an open mind. One thing I always make sure to do when forming an opinion on something, is gain information from multiple sides of the argument; be aware of each point and perspective. You never have to completely agree with one side. It’s so easy to take the defensive, especially when speaking about something you’re passionate about, but don’t let this be your glass ceiling. Always aim higher.

(S)crawl Foreword

•October 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

For the more poetic thoughts.

Yes I know, the name is so clever, I am too creative my friends.

Kidding. You should check it out though.

Not much in it… yet.