I’ve Got 99 Problems…

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Things that I allow to stress me out for no real reason…

  1. Money even though it’s not really that big a problem.
  2. The fact that the cat keeps peeing on the deck.
  3. Wondering if I’m really not doing my best at my job even though I’m not sure what else I am supposed to be doing.
  4. Why do my pantyhose always get runs right away?
  5. Why can’t I remember to get my eyebrows done more often?
  6. What is that lump that’s appeared on my eyelid?
  7. Why the hell don’t they make boots that fit my calves?!
  8. (Is calves the plural of calf?)
  9. Should I be illegally downloading my TV?  Won’t I go to jail for this?
  10. Ditto books.
  11. Am I too apathetic about politics?  How did I end up educating future generations about how our government works?!
  12. Should I be volunteering more?
  13. Should I do my Masters Degree?  (Please see list item #1 re: money.)
  14. I know for a fact that I am not eating enough vegetables.
  15. Are my ovaries going to dry up?  Is this a thing?
  16. If I do have children will I discipline them in the same way that I discipline the cat?  As in: will they too be completely out of control?
  17. Am I sure that I want children?
  18. Yeah, I’m sure.
  19. Kinda.
  20. Will I get lice from a student one day?  How will I survive this?
  21. What if I have kids and they get lice?   Can I trade them in at this point for newer versions?
  22. Why is my scalp suddenly so itchy?
  23. I have too much clothing.
  24. I have nothing to wear.
  25. Why haven’t I thrown out a pair of shoes since the year 2000?
  26. Will the cat somehow get stuck in the oven, dishwasher, or hammock?
  27. (Just a sec, I’m checking on the cat.)
  28. She’s fine.
  29. Why do I have to wear a bra?
  30. Why do bras my size cost so much money?
  31. Is is socially acceptable to wear my pajamas to the laundry room in my building?
  32. Why are my feet always so cold?
  33. Ditto my hands.
  34. Did I leave the burner on when I left the apartment this morning?
  35. How are all the homeless cats currently doing?  Is there some way that I can adopt them all?
  36. Am I getting wrinkles?
  37. IS THAT A GREY HAIR?!
  38. Should I feel like a real live grown up yet?
  39. At some point I’m going to overflow the kitchen sink or bathtub and then my neighbours are going to hate me.
  40. Am I neurotic?
  41. Can anyone tell that this is going on in my brain right now?!
  42. Why are lunches so hard to remember to make?
  43. Does the cat deliberately sit beside me just as I’m about to get up or does she just feel rejected by me every time?  Am I damaging her self esteem?

I’m gonna stop there… writing out all 99 would be way too stressful.  I think you get the picture.

What’s your list?

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Really Mom and Dad? In What World Did Megan + Soccer Camp Seem Like A Good Idea?!

My parents put me into a soccer day camp when I was about 10.  It was the worst week of my entire life.  I’m fairly certain that it was also the worst week of their lives.  I put a lot of effort into making the whole household understand how deeply unhappy I was with the situation.  I apologize for that now because they probably really did have the best of intentions and probably weren’t trying to ruin my life.  Probably.

(Though, really Mom and Dad?  In what world did Megan and Soccer Camp seem like a good idea?!)

I hate exercise.

I mean, I REALLY hate exercise.

I always have.

People say that the trick is to find something that you love and do that.  I’ve never found something that I love more than I love laying around and reading.

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(#fatamyismyhero)

I love being strong, I love being fit, I hate that I am currently woefully out of shape.  I actually find it really embarrassing.

But I really really really hate exercise.

It’s never going to be fun for me.

I like hiking.  I love swimming in a lake in the summer.  I like paddle boarding and kayaking.  But I don’t like the up keep of being in shape.

I also hate allowing other people to see how out of shape or uncoordinated I am.  I find it humiliating.  Like, soul deep, going to cry hysterically later, humiliating.  I can’t seem to get over this no matter how hard I try.

The only reason that I’m writing this right now is that I made a promise to my students recently.  My promise was that I would join them for running club which starts in 6 weeks.  I’ve started a running program so that I’ll be ready.  Only the thought of letting my kids down is getting me to the gym.

I really need to go to the gym right now and go for a run (and also complete a ridiculous number of exercises that my physio has assigned me).  But I don’t want to.

Because I hate exercise.

(You might ask, why run then?  Why not just walk each day?  I do.  My body holds onto weight like it’s expecting a famine at any moment.  The only way I’ve ever budged pounds, aside from full fasting, is by running.  And my jeans are a bit on the tight side at the moment.  I need to start running.)

I’d love to get over this.  I’d love to be the kind of person who was all like “I have to go to the gym now!” (perky voice) instead of “I have to go to the gym now.” (pray that a bus puts me out of my misery on my way there, k? voice).  The fact that I struggle so much with this is one part of myself that I really hate.

I’m a pretty successful person.  I’m motivated, I work hard.  And yet the one thing that I’ve failed at in my life is the first thing that people see about me.  I carry it around on my body, a visible reminder of my failure, a visible sign that I don’t have it all together.  It really bothers me and it doesn’t seem to be as simple as just getting off my ass and getting to the gym.  I don’t know why.

Anyone else experienced this?  Anyone found a way to love their workout?

I’d love some advice.

I have to go to the gym now.

(Maybe I’ll get lucky and get hit by a bus on the way.)

(Maybe I should just horizontal run while watching Pitch Perfect?)

“Most Likely You Died While Hating Me”… And Other Thought Patterns I’ve Let Go Of…

I had this moment of clarity recently.  It doesn’t really matter when or why it happened.  But it was this moment where the following thought popped into my head, fully formed and unbidden: Whatever else happens my life is better for this moment, this one right here, this exact moment that I am currently living.

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The same kind of calm came over me as does when I am meditating and I can finally, and briefly, get my mind to settle.

I’ve never been good at being in the moment.  My mind is a busy place.  Most times if you ask me what I’m thinking about I’ll give you a list of several items. Usually I’m writing something that gets stored away in a part of my brain until I can get to a computer.  I am thinking of what’s for dinner, of my budget, of chores waiting at home, of marking that needs to be done, of a lesson that I’d like to try tomorrow, of a student I am worried about, of another that I am proud of, of my loved ones.  I’m looking back at the past and I’m looking forward to the future and I’m probably a bit worried about all of these things.

And I’m writing something.

All inside of my head, unseen to the outside world.

At.  All.  Times.

Everything can kind of get stuck up there, busy, and can choke me up so that I have trouble getting out words when I need to.  Or want to.

I analyze everything that I say before and after I say it.

If you know me well you know that I say a lot.

The thing is that I’ve really been working on this and I’ve been getting better about it.  I’m finding myself in the moment more and more often.

A friend posted this article today which talks about the things that only “over thinkers” will understand.  It totally described the person that I used to be.

If you didn’t answer my call or text?  For sure you were dead.  Or you’d decided that you hated me.  Most likely it was that you’d died while hating me.  

Mindfulness has shut this off for me.  I know that many people will think that this sounds a bit too new-age, fluffy, or something.  I’ll send you some science if you think this.  This stuff works.

It has literally changed my brain.

I saw this guy a couple of years ago at a mindfulness conference at UBC.  I’m not gonna lie, I kinda fell in love with him then and there.  Too damn bad I was married at the time, eh?  If you have 12 minutes I recommend that you watch this… and try what he recommends.

(Seriously adorable, right?!)

How we can move the entire average up.

When we are talking about our happiness… how can moving the average up not be the goal if it is possible?!

I used to live life like this…

Every time your brain has a success you just change the goalpost of what success looks like.

I don’t anymore.  I did the 3 daily gratitudes for 21 days.  Then I did the journaling.  The meditation I’d been doing for awhile already.  I kept it up for months, trying everyday to filter things through the positive lens.

(Exercise is my weak point, haha.)

I’m telling you, everything changed.  My brain did begin to scan the world for the positive instead of the negative.  I defaulted to happy rather than stressed.

I don’t know how I would have gotten through this year without these skills.

It doesn’t solve everything.  Nothing solves it all.

But it’s really nice to have moments like I had the other day.  Moments where you know your life is better for having lived them.  Moments that you are fully engaged in without any of that other stuff playing in the background.

Thoughts on The Bachelor thus far… And Love in general…

I haven’t quite finished all The Bachelor for this week.  I mean, even for me, 5 hours of episodes is A LOT of reality TV.  I just got to Whitney and Chris’s hometown though and I wanted to write a little bit about what I’m thinking.

Warning: there will be spoilers.  

At the start of this episode Britt was eliminated.  She was my first-night choice to win but she lost her pull with me as I continued to watch the show.  She was too needy, too demanding, too confident.  I lost all respect when they revealed that she put on fresh make up to sleep in.  I mean… seriously?!

So the way that things ended with Britt didn’t surprise me at all.  They had a great chemistry that’s for sure but there didn’t seem to be that much else there.

I don’t think that you can go into a relationship the way that they did and expect it to last.  She expected that they were together from night one.  It was like she saw herself as his fiance or something from that point on and considered the other girls to be minor obstacles.  He reinforced this by constantly giving her roses before the others.  I think he was blinded by the make-up, beauty, and the making out.  Who can blame him?  But nothing between them was real.

(Okay – I am aware that many of you just rolled your eyes so hard it probably hurt because you don’t believe that any of the relationships on this show are real – but bear with me.)

Relationships don’t happen overnight.  They can develop quickly… but they can’t be assumed like Britt assumed.  (We women are famous for making assumptions.)  This show is designed for quickly developing relationships but even for this show, Britt moved too fast.

I got to the Chris and Whitney hometown this evening and I realized that it’s going to be her.  First of all… there really aren’t many other options at this point.  Second of all… it’s so easy between them.  I saw this the other day and it reminded me of their relationship…

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It has seemed so easy for them.  Silly, fun, full of laughter.  Yes, they’ve had serious discussions and gotten to know one another.  But, overall, it’s looked like fun.  It’s made me smile.

It actually reminds me a lot of Sean and Catherine and how much fun they had together.

So this evening when Whitney pulled out the bottle of wine and told Chris that she loved him… I realized that it was going to be her.  It has to be.  I may or may not have teared up a little bit.  I confirm nothing.

Can I also mention that I kind of hate myself for being so into this show?

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.

I really need to get a life?

Hopeless romantic out.

A Melon Baller Removing My Eyeballs Really Appeals Right About Now…

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I remember my first really bad headache clearly.

(Well, maybe it wasn’t the first, but it’s the first that I remember so… same difference really.)

I was probably about 6 or 7 and I remember feeling strange during PE.  Suddenly the room was a lot brighter then it had been just moments before.  A few minutes after everything got really bright my head started to pound.  It was as if my brain was swollen and pressing against my skull.  It was as if the lights had turned up several notches and then begun stabbing me through the eyeballs.

(In my memory this happens in the middle of a Lord Of The Flies style game of dodgeball and I end up on the ground being hits by millions of brightly coloured “soft” balls… but I’m almost positive that that’s just my over-active imagination.)

Anyways, swollen-brains and stabby-eyeballs, are how my headaches have been ever since.

I can always tell when I’m in danger of one of these lovely headaches.

This morning I woke up and I just knew that before the day was out I was going to experience some serious pain.  Sure enough, by about 12:30 the lights had turned up and by about 1:00 my brain was swollen and the lights were stabbing me through the eyeballs.

I managed to finish work and drive myself home and then I crawled into bed.

And then I crawled out of bed and into the tub (filled with roughly 75 million pounds of epsom salts and boiling hot water) because bed wasn’t helping.

And then I slathered myself with a ton of Young Living Essential Oils because my friend swears by them and they cure everything… right?

(I’ve been watching American Horror Story Coven of late and in a recent episode one character uses a melon baller to remove the eyes of another character.  This scene appealed to me today and played over and over in my head.)

Somehow, between the bed, bath and oils, my head came down to a reasonable level and I was able to get up and make myself a healthy dinner.  Then lay on the couch and stare at paint colours for an obscene amount of time trying to figure out what to have my place painted.

I hate these headaches.  Hate them.  They remind me that I am limited.  That I need to sleep 8+ hours each night or I will end up in pain.  That I can’t trust my body to just function, on the most basic of levels, day in and day out.  They make me want to use a melon baller to remove my eyeballs for goodness sake and I really do prefer eyesight to being blind.  (I think.  I’ve never been blind so I don’t really know this for sure.)

Days like this I am glad I don’t have kids.  Sort of.  Actually not really.  But…

(“Mommy’s just going to go into the other room and die now darlings.  Disturb her only if you want to die too.  Okay?”)

So my sympathies to all my fellow migraine sufferers out there.  The melon baller is really our only option.

Also… I was joking about the melon baller.

(Sort of.)

Fifty Shades of Valentine’s Day?!

Ugh.

The Fifty Shades of Grey movie is coming out in a week and a bit.  I’m so torn about this because there is a (small) part of me that really wants to go see it.  The hopeless romantic, I don’t mind how poorly written the book is so long as it has a romance in it, part of me.

(The rest of me hates that portion of myself, fyi.)  

I’m sorry but Fifty Shades of Grey is bad.  It is poorly written.  It requires vast amounts of skimming.  Every time I picked it up I debated why I was continuing to read it.  But I couldn’t stop.

I mean, it has an obvious appeal (wink, wink)… but there’s no real substance there.

So why the hell is it so popular?

I remember, back when it was first out, talking about the book with a friend who was reading it (I hadn’t read it at this point) and an older woman reaming us out as anti-feminist for wanting to read a book that dealt with this type of female submission.  Her basic thought was that her generation had fought so hard to give women equal footing and we were willing to just give that away to men?

Bad, bad little feminists.

I’ve been doing some reading about the FSG phenomenon trying to determine what exactly is so appealing about the novel.  Submissive sex has also been making its way into TV shows, particularly Lena Dunham’s Girls.  (Have I mentioned my love of Girls latey?!)  We can’t deny that it (female submission) is a phenomenon.  I look around in public and see women reading erotica novels all the time lately.  They are here to stay.

In a Newsweek article “Working Women’s Fantasies”* Katie Roiphe states the following regarding a scene from Lena Dunham’s Girls:

…is there something exhausting about the relentless responsibility of a contemporary woman’s life, about the pressure of economic participation, about all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world? It may be that, for some, the more theatrical fantasies of sexual surrender offer a release, a vacation, an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality.  (read more here)

Shit.  Are women allowed to say that equality is exhausting?

Bad, bad little feminists.

Most women I know work full time.  They have houses, husbands, children.  They are financially strapped.  They are worried that processed foods are poisonous so they cook everything from scratch.  Gluten is evil so they don’t allow it.  They can’t afford a housekeeper or tutor so they take over that role too.

The pressure is to be a career woman, super Mom, healthy cook.

Oh, and we should have hot bodies with defined abs.

And, men please don’t be offended when I say this, but their husbands don’t appear to be doing much more than they were in 1970.  I had this discussion with a girlfriend a few months ago.  She was talking about how badly she wanted to take a yoga class once a week and she was describing how relaxed her husband was after his daily workout and how she envied that.  Turns out that he went to the gym after work each day… during the time that she went home to make dinner.  They met up at the dinner table.

I suggested that she get him to make dinner half of the time so that she could take her class.  She replied that he would simply order in pizza or something similar because he would not give up his gym time, it was too important to him.

Healthy dinner for the family was more important to her.  Even though it was another piece of work each day that did not relax her it had to get done.

Their priorities were different and she could not shift his to match hers.  She wasn’t willing to give up healthy dinners… so she had to make it.

Most of the women that I know love their lives.  And they’re exhausted.

So are these novels a way of rebelling against that?  A way of picturing a life that isn’t quite so dependent upon them holding up everything on their shoulders?

I can’t talk.  I’m not married.  I don’t have kids.  I find being alone exhausting at times but I know that my life is free of responsibility in a way that most of my peers are not.

So why does FSG appeal to so many women?  This quote from the Washington Post seems to sum it up best for me…

It requires acknowledging gender differences that we’ve been conditioned to deny.  (read more here)

Men and women are different.  This isn’t a bad thing.  We are allowed to say it.

(Bad, bad little feminists.)

FSG, though terribly written, is wildly popular with women.  We all admit to having read it.  Admit that it is terrible.  And can’t quite pinpoint it’s appeal.

But we read it.

Maybe the answer is simple.  Maybe women simply like erotica in the way that men seem to like porn?

I don’t think that’s it though.  I think that it comes from some deeper discord in the way that we are running our lives.

I’m tired and this is badly written.  I’m probably wrong.

I’ll leave you with one final wondering…

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True?  Or not?

*My understanding is that this article was completely denied by most who read it… but it made sense to me, hence the quote.

Sometimes Resting Bitch Face Seems Like A Better Option.

A few weeks (possibly a couple of months actually) ago a homeless man walked up to me in the park where I was reading.  He asked if I would watch his cart and promptly wandered off without waiting for my response.  I sat for an hour, waiting for him to return, guarding the cart which contained all his worldly goods.  I was tempted to go through the cart but I restrained myself.  Actually I didn’t really have to restrain myself because that is something that I would simply never do.

This video came up in my Facebook feed this morning and I think it perfectly explains why a complete stranger would be willing to leave me, for an hour, with all his stuff.

Those who know me well know what my angry face looks like even if I am often told that I still look nice with it.  My family knows my resting-bitch-face and might be surprised to find that this video seems to better describe my relationship with strangers.  (Because they see resting bitch face too often?  Oops.)  But it does.

The guy who “saw her smiling at him”?  All the time.  Then she giggles and has to explain that she really isn’t trying to flirt.  Again, all the time.

The fact that if one more man tells me that I look “cute when I’m mad” my soul might actually die.  I mean, I’m trying to ream you out for some indiscretion and all you can do is tell me that I look adorable?  WHAT IS THAT?!  Please just let me be mad.  Take me seriously.

Most of the time though it’s a great way to be.  Strangers talk to me.  Children love me.  My students find me approachable.

I would like to give fewer directions though.  Mostly because I don’t understand the concept of North, South, East and West and this tends to frustrate the direction-askers.

Perhaps I should work on this…

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I mean, wouldn’t want to get wrinkles, right?