Tag Archives: self improvement

How Creativity Died

9 Mar

First off…. Watch this: TED Talks

We have engineered creativity out of ourselves and our children. Isn’t it sad? I did horribly in school. I was fantastic come test time… I had the highest test scores in my class, but I had a very low grade point average. I was also taken to several psychiatrists and by the time I was 10 years old I took 8 pills every morning. I can’t even tell you what they all were. ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety, over-active imagination, tendency to exaggerate, over-dramatic, too much energy, can’t sit still, doesn’t play well with others, not enough attention to academics, doesn’t know how to study, obviously doesn’t care, failing.

What could I have been if they had just let me be me and express myself in the ways my body was telling me to?

I came across this quote from a site called toxicdrums:

Boredom is actually a form of distress.  To get a perspective on this consider all those relaxed lions dozing in the mid day sun on the African plains.  You won’t see a bored one.  But in a zoo they can (unfortunately) sometimes be seen neurotically pacing backwards and forwards.  That is a bored lion.  When you are feeling bored it is usually because the natural activities that you want are not available as choices in your conscious mind.  You are in some sense caged.  The typical reason for this is that  you have been restricted in your past by figures of authority, your parents, your teachers, or other people looking after you.  See the educating children page for more about how we stifle our children.  It’s called oppression and you learn to comply to stay safe and survive.  Eventually you are doing it to yourself without being conscious of it.  So it seems a mystery why you feel unhappy and stuck.

Isn’t it bizarre? Trapped in our own minds. I just wonder how to begin trying to reclaim some of what may have been lost to me. They say getting outside and exercising is a good beginning. I wish it would stop raining.

This is a minor Skadi day for me. A little shaky, but surviving. We don’t have internet at the new place yet so it’s hard for me to post. I took lots of pictures to share, but the internet from the retirement home next door is very weak and it’d take too long to upload them right now.

Featured image is body art by Emma Hack  – She’s fantastic

Cups of Tea = New Friends?

23 Feb

Remember last week’s social experiment that went well? Tonight was the second weekly meeting I’ve gone to. It was great! We went to a local coffee shop and all got some tea and snack and we just sat around taking about anything and everything. It was so much fun! The two girls that were last week were there and we were joined by a British lady who’s here with her husband for work living in the states. They’re all very sweet! I have to say I love finally getting the low-down on some aspects of British life and how it compares to American. I’ve considered trying to emigrate to the U.K. before, but I honestly just don’t have the money or marketable skills to do so. I’m very excited to have some new people to talk to and the possibility of forming some new friendships.

Today at work I was asked to design a t-shirt honoring a woman who passed away. I have to admit that being a) non-religious and b) that I never met the departed I was kind of confused as to where to go with it. At first I got a picture of an open bible and mapped her picture so that it looked like one of the pages. My employer told me it was “just not right” to insert some into the bible (even though the deceased was a pastor). So, Instead I put the bible in front of a framed picture f her. Then I was told to erase the words from the pages and instead insert some verses from psalms. The whole thing was rather interesting but I think it came out well. I’d post it here to show you, but I feel that may be a violation of her family’s privacy.

Let’s see… other news… Again we’re not trying for baby this month so I’m not even bothering to chart.

Um… Well I guess that’s it for today. A little short, but c’est la vie!

Comics and Confessions

19 Feb

Have I ever told you guys that my husband is the most fantastic and awesome guy ever? He is. Seriously. Yesterday he came home from work with a bundle of flattened boxes all bound together by some masking tape. I love that he listens. I never even asked him for more boxes! And then today he took me to get coffee and then to the comic book shop where I got an issue of the Doctor Who comics (the 2010 annual) and an issue of The Doctor Who Companion magazine! I think my affection for DW may be getting out of hand, but as long as Shawn is enjoying it as much as I am then who cares?

I want to get a tattoo. I love tattoos! This one will probably be next, because sometimes if I think about a tattoo too long I’ll talk myself out of it and what fun is that? I want to get sort of a cameo with lace around the outside but in the middle instead of a silhouette I want a picture of the tardis with roses growing behind it. And somewhere in the lace, kind of hidden I want the words “Bad Wolf” stitched into the lines. And then underneath the whole thing, maybe overlapping the cameo a little, banner that says “Allons-y”. I need this. It will go on the outside of my right ankle/lower calf.

Confession: I had pizza today and yesterday. That is totally NOT diet friendly. I feel like I need the move. I need this total reset to be able to get my life back together. My apartment is a mess (today I took out 3 bags full of trash). I guess ever since my last episode… I didn’t clean at all during it and the house fell apart. Big time. I just haven’t had the motivation yet to get up take it all back. I really hate the fallout from it. I was watching the United States of Tara and she was talking about how much she hated cleaning up after her other personalities… I kind of knew pretty much how she felt. Obviously not entirely… but, by the time I’m feeling like myself again there’s usually mess and destruction all around me. Not always physical either. It puts a lot of stress on my personal relationships.

There is another side to bipolar… not just myself and Skadi… there’s also the manic side. When I feel so happy and energized I could just bounce off the walls. It’s also the reason I was first misdiagnosed as ADHD. But, it gets to the point where I’m obviously not acting like myself anymore (I usually get the “Are you ok?” and the “What are you on?” questions). I’m a fairly calm and down to earth person in general. I like to be happy, but quietly. I haven’t had a good flash of manic for a while now. I could use one with the move coming up. I tend to get so much done. Endless amounts of energy, and like this crazy super focus. It’s like I can hone in on one thing like a missile and ignore everything else.  I could really use that right now. I need to get a lot done.

So… best to start right now. I’m going to put on some indie-rock on Pandora (welcome back springtime!) and I’ll work on cleaning, laundry and packing.

TTYL

Talking to No One

12 Feb

Yesterday, I did something rather strange. I set my little voice recorder to record and just talked. I was home alone and not feeling well. I had also been watching Dr. Who most of the day (surprisingly thought provoking). I talked to no one for roughly 45 minutes. Saying anything that came to mind. Getting everything out into the air.

Afterwards, I pressed play to listen back to it and see if I could make sense of it. It only recorded the first 10 minutes. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed. But, then I was kind of relieved. I had touched on some rather serious issues from my past and even though it felt good to talk about them… I’m not ready to share them.

I’m feeling well lately and have been packing for the upcoming move. I’ll admit I haven’t quite gotten back to the place I was in when I started this blog. Though, even now I’m noticing that if I just sit down and begin typing, surely something will appear on the page. Perhaps I should try more often to just sit and type. Who knows what would come out.

We’re still waiting for this cycle to get well under way so that we can attempt the baby-making again. I’d feel awful if I got pregnant this month. 9 months from now is the biggest project of the year at work and I’d be ready to pop right in the middle of it all (Not to mention 3 hours from home and without Shawn). So, we’re thinking we may not try too hard this month… my luck, that’ll be when it happens. The name topic has come up again (as it always does). I was playing around with the Baby Name Genie when it suggested Lillian Jane. Such a pretty name. The obvious problem is that every single form of Lillian including Lilla, Lilly, Lil and so on and so forth are all in the top 50 names. I brought up this sad news to my hubs and he got kind of ruffled with me and said “I don’t give a damn what number they are. I like the name Abigail, if it’s in the top 50, who cares?”. I was at first both taken aback and slightly excited by his laissez-faire attitude toward the whole thing. I guess, I’ve always been so afraid of my child going through what I went through being an Ashley in the great big “Ashley-era”. But, I think he may be right. If I like a name perhaps I shouldn’t shove it aside for something I like less just because other people like it too. So for right now the name on the top of the girl list is Abigael Elise. The boy list is still topped out by the only ever agreed upon male name Silas and since Shawn could care less what the middle name will be I’m voting for Beckett or Elliott.

I have to tell you, though… I have always had this really strong feeling that I’d have a baby girl first. Then, my grandmother did the thing where you hang the pencil from the sewing needle and thread (She’s really good at getting it right) told me I’d have a girl then a boy and then a girl. Silly really, because I have never in my life wanted more than 2 children and right now I’m considering having only one for financial reasons. And I’m a big believer in vasectomy. Still… something has always whispered “girl” in the back of my mind. I wouldn’t mind a boy… it’s just that feeling.

Anyway, I’ll be off now. I’m giving up on listing a to-do list. It rarely gets done!

Getting Organized

16 Jan

Today, I woke up with a lot of energy. I feel like today is a day for getting things done. Mostly, organizing.

I am not the neatest or most organized person on the planet (by far). I always struggle with keeping things in order, on time and generally from being a giant mess. So, today I’m researching some creative organization tips and thought I’d share some very useful ones with you!

SO handy!

So, this is an awesome idea! I love the hanging canisters by ribbons from the hooks along the bottom. I think this would be great for the various notepads I have around the office as well as my business cards, etc. I could put a ruler where the have wrapping paper. This would definitely free up some space on my desk.

Clothespin To-Do

Adorable and flexible!

I love this to-do list because you can easily move things around and it looks a whole lot nicer than all the post-it notes piled around the edge of my computer monitor. My to-do lists are massive.

File Box

So cute!

This is adorable! Especially since I’m always needing to file something and I hate filing cabinets with a passion! Although, I may replace the letter with a pretty printed tag or something like that; this is still a fantastic idea! If you click on the picture it will take you to a tutorial on how to make this awesome box (and a fantastic craft blog).

So, those are the ideas I have brewing at present. I had a really cute idea for something else, but I’ll have to see whether or not it’s cost-effective before I make it. I’m kinda broke, after all.

Also, today I have been pondering baby names. Again (still in cycle #1… OPK has not shown positive yet this month). I think the naming will be one of my favorite parts of having a baby. For me, it sets forth a part of their personality (Although, I watched an interesting documentary once that claimed names have very little true impact on children aside from job opportunities). Here’s the list of names I’m pondering today. Keep in mind none of these have been approved by the hubs, so many of these are probably not really in the running. (I’m putting the meanings of the name after each one)

Girls:

  1. Zoe – Life (I just love the meaning. I hope that my child would be able to embody it daily)
  2. Heidi – Noble
  3. Kaylan – Slender
  4. Riley – Rye clearing (an ex-coworker I know and rather dislike named her daughter this so… iffy)
  5. Corinne – Maiden (koh-rin…. may be confusing because my aunt’s name is Karin…)

Boys:

  1. Reese – Enthusiasm (another great meaning)
  2. Owen – Well born
  3. Finn – Fair
  4. Seamus – Supplanter (This was the name of someone from my past that was a really negative influence… but it’s such a nice name)
  5. Alan – Rock

So, those are my thoughts for now. No to-do list as I’m short on time right now.

Some Seriousness

11 Jan

I grew up in a town where there was pretty much nothing to do between the ages of 12 and 18. So much so that the biggest teenage pastime was selecting the food-serving/entertainment venue of your choice and loitering… for hours. You selected where you would hang out based on your classification and/or popularity status. It broke down kind of like this:

  • Taco Bell – This is where the “cool” people were. I could never quite figure out why their love of tacos was so great but if you wanted to find all of the jocks, cheerleaders and their lackeys… they were here. Sitting on the trunk of a car or on the beds of trucks (only a select few would actually have vehicles) eating burritos and cinnamon twists until the wee hours of the morning.
  • The Bowling Alley – This is where the rich kids hung out. I went to a school that was weird in that the student parking lot had nicer cars in it than the teachers’ lot. We had some generally wealthy people at our school (compared to the area… a half a million for a home doesn’t seem like much in some places, I know. But, here that was pretty much the same as owning a solid gold toilet.). They liked the bowling alley for the parking lot and the arcade. They would all show off their cars to one another and eat pizza all night long, stealing unfinished beers off of empty tables.
  • The Gaming Shop – I did frequent this one from time to time when I needed to change it up. Especially since it was only a couple of parking lots and an intersection away from my usual haunt. Here there be geeks. Playing Magic: the Gathering, Dance Dance Revolution or getting a LAN game of CounterStrike going was what these guys lived for. I say guys because there were about 5 girls in total (including myself) that would actually hang out  there. The place had snacks and TONS of games along with the occasional comic book and movie nights on the weekend.
  • The Patio Coffee Shop –  Man alive. These kids were all headed straight for Burning Man the SECOND they turned 18. Bongos, guitars and cigarettes. The self-styled “bohemians” loved this place. It was right on the lake and had a big outdoor patio with a small stage where they would hold random performances, impromptu poetry… the whole sha-bang. I really only went there occasionally but I did put in a few appearances and knew the regulars well enough to hang out without any objection.
  • The Book Store – These quiet nerdy kids didn’t so much “hang out” as they did “individually congregate”. They were all there… but none of them were talking. They all had their faces stuck in a book and a cup of 3 hour old coffee that they were still sipping.
  • The Park – How much skateboarding can you get away with before you get run off by the cops? These “skaters” were out to find out. All evening they’d terrorize the local greenery and attempt to look cool while continually falling on their asses before heading to McDonald’s when it got dark.
  • The Waffle House – So once you’ve covered all of the other categories and sorted all the people into their little groups you’re always left with some oddballs who don’t exactly fit into any one category (or any at all). Also known as the bottom of the barrel. All those people hung out at Waffle House. Including myself. It cost exactly $1.10 for an endless cup of coffee (The price went up as the years went on) and you could smoke inside. And we did. We would sit for hours just drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, talking and being generally bored. It was almost like a club. Whenever a whole bunch of “actual customers” would show up we’d migrate to the parking lot or (as we got older) someone’s apartment/house/parent’s house. There was a whole crowd of steady regulars that hung out there. You could show up on any day at pretty much any time and know someone. It was cool in that being a loner teenager in denial I could always feel accepted and like I wasn’t all alone. It was uncool in that as we got older we didn’t stop hanging out there… and the habits of the crowd only got worse.

By the time I was 18-ish a lot of the girls my age had kids, the boys had all seen the back of a cop car once or twice, a few of them had completely obliviated themselves with weed, and yet others had started down a road that would eventually lead to several bouts of rehab, AA, jail-time and the like. Not that everyone was bad or was getting into trouble. And a few people even began to break off from the group and move on with their lives to (usually) better things. It just amazes me that it went on for so long. They would all move into apartments together in groups of 4 or 5… the apartment would become a party-hub and eventually be torn apart by drama. I think the weirdest thing is to think that if I drove down there right now… there’s probably at least one of them still there.

The groups stayed pretty solid until I was around 20 (most of the people there were at least a few years older than I was). That’s when the big splits began to happen. When it fractured into smaller groups who didn’t get along with one another. We began to lose people to addictions and laziness… and the funerals began (car accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc.). As we got older it was no longer all fun and games and something to do on boring weeknights after school. I slowly began to realize that this was life now. This is what and who we were. And it was serious.

I ended up in a relationship that was, shall we say, less than healthy. I smoked 2 packs a day and he and I would rarely get along… eventually it came down to what has been termed by a couple of therapists I’d seen as “mentally abusive”.  After that I was broken, lost and had nothing to do but move back home and in with my mom and her new husband.

I settled back in to the Waffle House. Showing up every night, going out drinking on the weekends, and smoking myself into submission. It was so easy to not care when no else cared either. My friend, who I’d often thought of as probably the best friend I had, had begun his descent into serious and dangerous alcoholism starting with him causing an accident while driving drunk. Despite all my best efforts over the following couple years to encourage him to stop and try to get him to take care of himself in the end all it did was destroy what was left of our friendship. Luckily… when I had moved back home I began talking to Shawn on the internet. We talked on the same forum and had known about each other for a long while but had never really spoken. I was drawn to him immediately. He seemed to understand the way I think (a strange task in and of itself). He encouraged me to work to better myself instead of falling into the same “auto-piloted” rut of failure and apathy that I and all my friends had fallen into.

Eventually I flew out to California to help him move to Louisiana and about 6 months later he proposed to me and we were married a year after that. Since then with his help and support I’ve stopped smoking, I’m losing weight on a healthy diet, I’ve cut all contact with the negative influences that had driven my life for so long, I’ve held a job consistently and have worked to continue advancing in my life and career. He really is my knight in shining armor.

This started out as what was going to be a post about the quirky inner workings of the high school social system but it’s come down to this instead: You are never stuck. You are never defeated. You are never too old to make changes. You are in control of your own life. The system doesn’t own you. The “Man” doesn’t own you. Every day is what you make it. Take charge of yourself and realize that even old friends can be bad friends. Old habits can be bad habits. And both can be eradicated. Do what is best for yourself and you will be so much happier. I told this to so many of my friends as they faded into their addictions… It didn’t help. They just hated me for it.

Although, I miss some of my old friends, they’re not the people they used to be. They’re addicted hollow and burnt shadows of who they were. And in the end even though I’d give the world if I could save them, they wouldn’t do the same for me and they certainly wouldn’t do the same for themselves. Realizing this was the best thing I ever did. It set me free.

You may think that giving up on them was wrong of me. Sometimes I do too. But, they never wanted or accepted my help. I can throw out a life preserver to someone who’s drowning but if they refuse to grab it and keep gulping water instead to spite me… am I helping? Or making it worse?  I’m only human.

Sorry for the heaviness. I’ll skip the to-do list for today.