Friday, June 26, 2020

Being Apart

Listening to: Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Mood: Contemplative

I don't talk much about the downsides of my decision to move half way around the world  - mainly because I don't focus on them. But I want to talk about them today.

I think the worst thing about being in India is that my family is most notably not it India. They are firmly ensconced in the Midwest. as they have been for a few generations.

I was talking with my daughter recently about how sometimes it creates disappointment when life and family don't turn out how you had hoped. I'm sure my mother deals with this, my grandfather, my inlaws, etc. I'm sure they saw their relationships turning out differently than they had.

It's actually hard to talk to my family sometimes. I miss them like crazy, but it's hard to reconcile for me that I'm the reason for that disappointment due to my choices. I was always the good child/grandchild. India is so fulfilling for me, it's hard to  be ok with disappointing so many people with my choices.

Covid has made this rather difficult as I truly wanted and planned to visit home every year going forward. And then I couldn't. I'm ever mindful that my family grows older by the year - My Grandfather is turning 94 next month! I know that my time is limited and every moment going by is precious. Even my mom turned 64 this year.

When you don't have anything current you can relate to you rely on history to patch you through. I called my grandfather today. I used to be very good at this and call regularly when my grandmother was alive; since she died it's been harder. Most of our conversation was reminiscing, but it was so nice to reconnect with my grandfather. He was such an influential person in my life and positive male role model.

One of the fallouts from my separation from my husband was that it was difficult to talk to different people because of secrets. I don't think my grandfather has any idea that life has taken this curve for me, and I don't want him to know. He suffered enough when my mom got divorced. So I have to answer questions about how he is doing, how his family is doing. I wouldn't know.

I'm not sure how anyone who has walked this path has reconciled, and I do the best I can. Family is the best source of strength and the worst source of many weaknesses. I'm still learning how to lean on people and how I need to be there for them.


Friday, May 1, 2020

The Sun is Peaking Out

Listening to: Qabool Hai
Mood: Positive

Hello Locked down folks. Hope you are all healthy and happy still. 

Last time I wrote, I talked about my anxiety and depression and the situation that we find ourselves in. Things have gotten better since that post. Anxiety and depression tend to follow a cycle for me. The bad times last anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the situation and my response to it. There are definitely things I can do to help, but how long it sticks around is not always in my control. 

Anyhow, things have been improving and the noticeable things about the cycle easing are there.  I also had a discussion with my friend on how this affected me. It was a very uncomfortable conversation for me, but I feel we understand each other better now. 

I have been trying new things in the kitchen and have been cooking like a mad woman lately, with very tasty results. I also have been working on my second novel quite a bit, which is making me very happy. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do much on the piano as it needs work and trying to play out of tune just makes me want to puke. At least one child has been in my home for the past few weeks, so that helps as well, giving me things to do. 

Stay happy and healthy!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Anxiety and Depression Suck Donkey Balls

Hello Fellow Covid Isolates,

Hopefully you are all well stocked with toilet paper, vegetables, and meat. While we don't have problems with toilet paper here in India (bidets people, bidets), the supply chain of normal consumer goods has pretty much broken and the current state is 2 middle fingers to the wind. At least near where I live that's how it is. We have vendors in our apartment, but what they will supply and at what price on what day is like a delightful game of roulette. From what I've heard, the neighborhood is shut down and shops are not open. Don't even ask about meat. It doesn't exist right now apparently. Amazon has fully retreated into it's compound with the guns pointed outward.  We aren't even allowed to leave the compound and try to find other sources of groceries. It's certainly a tense situation. But we are safe and not infected, so I'll just be thankful for those chickens.

As far back as I can remember, anxiety and depression have been a constant shadow for me. My parents both did and do struggle from both issues and I believe in genetics as well as how home environments teach people behaviors. How well balanced I've been able to be and control both of these issues has varied over the years. Of course difficult situations exacerbate those problems and I have had my share. I'm not a medication person unless really needed and these never seemed that serious to me that I'd need medication. 

I'm not really a people person. Interacting with others is an odd mix of I wish I could, but I'm super picky about whom I wish to be around. Making friends has been an interesting but ultimately futile exercise in India. 

After years of struggling with this, I've found that having a productive job helps me feel like I have a purpose. Of course I'm a mom, there's always purpose in that too, but that never met my criteria for what I wanted out of life. Of course I wanted to and love being a mom, but I never found purpose in that. I'm not sure if that's terrible or not, but that's how I feel. 

My job is people-y. It's heavily involved in infrastructure maintenance and meeting people face to face as well as doing paperwork and HR type things. All of those functions have vanished into thin air for the time being leaving me with very little real work to do. I feel disconnected from the company and the people I used to meet everyday. 

So I find myself with very little work to do everyday. I fill my time with my kids, cooking, cleaning, reading. But after you've hand scrubbed all of the floors and corners, how much housework can one do? And after the kids have gone to stay with their dad, who is there to talk to? Who is there to cook for? Anyhow, the point is I'm struggling with this enforced isolation. I'm sure as many other people are. 

I was told recently that I'm a phone addict. After some thought, I agreed with this assessment. Not for the reasons that were given to me, but because it gives me anxiety to leave things unanswered, so I tend to compulsively check my phone every few minutes whether or not a notification noise has come. I actually counted the other day. I got to 50 way faster than I should have and was rather horrified at what I was doing. So I decided to put my phone away during the day and only check twice. I allowed myself to answer the phone if it rings, but not to check notifications. 

Let me tell you that was one interesting exercise. I didn't completely succeed the first day. I ended up checking 4 times rather than 2. You may say to yourself that isn't too bad. The problem is I'm not good with limits and if 4 is ok, why not 6, 8, 10, you get the point. I ended up, as most addicts do, feeling anxious and uncomfortable all day. I anticipated this. This is not the first time I've dealt with addictions and I understand withdrawl. I think had the timing of this experiment gone differently it may have been a little easier. But I committed myself to it and I'm going to stick it out.

When I shared these feelings with the person who pointed it out to me, he was not surprised. He also pointed out (in the politest way) that since my husband moved out, I've become lazy and very negative thinking. Let me tell you folks, this bowled me over hard. Those are two very dirty words in my family. 

The past 5 years have been harder for me than everything else in my life other than my parent's divorce. This past year and especially the last few months have been excruciating in their own way. I'm still figuring out where my life is going and how to keep myself going in a positive direction. I've been working on myself and I'd like to think that I've definitely made a lot of progress from who I was even a year ago. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but that one sentence carpet bombed whatever I've achieved for the year.  
The worst part was I didn't see this coming, and I don't see myself like that. 

It's been difficult to find the motivation to do anything after hearing this. I haven't talked about my depression or anxiety to this person, although I am sure he knows to a degree. I also wonder how much he understands how these issues affect me at the best of times, forget the times when I'm really fighting to stay upright. The past few months have been no frills ones just trying to not engage in destructive behaviors. Hearing I am lazy because of this is very disheartening.

I'm not sure how to end this post. I guess just like this. I'll keep you updated as things progress.


Thursday, March 19, 2020


Mood: Contemplative
Listening to: The ceiling fan go crazy and not make a big difference

I've been thinking about happiness lately. There's a lot that's been said about happiness and it's importance.  There are of course many many Facebook experts that will tell you that you just need to do X or that you just need to adjust your thinking.  Many Self Help books. All the narratives that we grow up with thrown in the mix.

I always thought that happiness was tied to security and being content. This can mean many different things to different people. I also believe that people are responsible for their own happiness. If a situation isn't so great, you should change it, if you can. The older I get, the more difficult this becomes to hold on to as a belief.

Life has been rough for me for quite a while, and for the past year and a half, it's been rough for my family too. I feel that even though I go through brief times of happiness, it's more the quiet times that come between stressful times. I spent a long time until very recently dealing with stress and not being happy in very destructive and unproductive ways. As I've moved away from those coping mechanisms, I find it harder to ignore emotional upsets and stressed. As much and I try, I'm not a person who can just remain unaffected when things are difficult - I get stressed quite easily.

I've come to wonder as of late if happiness is one of those narratives that Disney and society have hyped so much that I'm chasing something that doesn't exist. I feel guilty that I'm trying to make myself happy and having a difficult time when so many other people have it very difficult. We're in the middle of a world wide health crisis for fuck's sake and I'm whining about happiness. I guess I should be happy we're all (relatively) healthy and alive.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Covid is coming!

Hello Fellow (hopefully) Socially Distancing folks,

I hope you are well and washing your hands like adults on a regular basis. 

Our office has closed to be supportive of social distancing. As my work is largely WITH other people aside from random paperwork, my work from home is a patchwork of housework that I have sorely neglected, child care, and cooking. And naps. Glorious glorious naps. Most of my music classes have been suspended as well. So I suddenly have LOTS of time on my hands.

I have once again decided to be more regular with writing. I've been having trouble writing as of late - I flipflop between my blogs and my new novel, largely getting nothing done. So I've decided to dedicate an hour a day to just writing. If it goes well, I may decide to do 1 hour each of blogging and novel. But I'm not getting overly exicted about this just yet. 

I also have decided to be more serious (read start) about exercise. While I do not have access to the pool (didn't you know that spreads Corona Virus too? It doesn't.) or the gym (ok I can understand this one), what I do have is I have ear marked some time in the evening for running and strength training. 

Let's see how it goes.

Stay healthy my friends.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

The one where it gets super strange and then I get Insecure

Good Evening internets and random people from Azerbaijan (seriously!). 

I'm still upright and kicking. Occasionally kicking myself, but still kicking.

A person who is very close to me recently told me that I tend to live according to quotations I saw somewhere. Um what? I was extremely confused as to what the hell he meant. Of course he wouldn't elaborate any further and declined to give examples. .

It left me quite stunned as I don't think I do this. In fact, I try not to. It reminds me of those people who are sanctimonious pricks who go around quoting self help mantras and useless platitudes rather than dealing in real interactions. Yuck and super annoying. 

After I was done being mad (which with this particular person happens quite often but never all that seriously), it made me think about how I think I DO live.

One of the things I've been working on changing in my outlook on life is my narrative. We all have them. Things we tell ourselves in order to form an identity and create norms. Narratives can be helpful, and can bring order. They can also be extremely destructive if you do not have positive ones or occasionally challenge WHY you have that narrative and whether or not it's working for you in the current tense.

As Naveen and I have been separating, I've been seriously considering what my narratives are and whether or not they serve a useful, positive purpose in my life. It's been quite the uphill battle, as most honest therapeutic activities are. I've kept some, thrown some, and completely over hauled others. 

So far I'm pleased with the progress I've made and always aware that I have much more to go. 

My next thought was the way we see ourselves versus the way others see us. The kicker in this one is that no one sees you without bias. Not yourself and not others, even the ones closest to you. This makes it incredibly hard to be objective. I think the only way to look at it is to collect multiple data points and "proofs" as it were. 

This person and I are extremely close, and while I trust him completely, he's had his own life experiences that color his world view. I hope he can provide me with further examples as time goes by so that I can judge for myself if this is how I am or not. I'd like to think not, but if the data points that way.....back to therapy I go.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Dismantling it, Brick by Brick, then Rebuilding

Listening to: Check Your Head - Buckcherry
Mood: Contemplative

So....Internets. Hello again. Today's topic won't be super light, but true to form, I'll try to keep you entertained in my efforts to deal with sucky things with humor. 

There's not really a lead in for this, so here it is: Daddy G and I have separated. 


Well that certainly got uncomfortable fast, but trust me, there's no need. In fact internets, this is the first time I've said it out loud and in (semi)public. 

I'm not going to go into why or all the painfully uncomfortable details - I'll spare you this time. I will say this. It's been a long, difficult, and painful road that has led me here. I feel like I am starting to finally get my shit together a bit and move on, which has been agonizing and amazing on the same coin.

I'm still in India. I plan to stay - I truly love it here. He has rented his own place and is in the process of moving out as he bounces between here and the US. I still work as an HR manager in his company. This is not that uncomfortable and I truly love my job. We shall see how long that lasts.

As I mentioned, I'm doing alright now. I'm working on stabilizing myself, saving some money, being a single parent, and developing my own plans and goals. 

My kids are ok for the time being. They've had time to adjust and Daddy G and I have been cordial and cooperative for their sake. 

Hi parents and the family that knows have been supportive and kind to me so far, I can't complain. 

I think I'll leave this here for now. Just an update on the direction life has taken me.