Category Archives: Emotions

Sailing Off Into the Sunset

I have this feeling that I’m in one of those years where I’m leveling up, and it feels very freeing, but it’s also stressful. In a good way.

2008 through 2011 were very challenging, unsettling years for me where it seemed that everything that could go wrong, did. I was not in a phase of making progress toward big dreams in my life then. If my life was a boat, then my boat had been ravaged in a storm and was full of holes, and I was so busy frantically trying to bail out the water to keep from sinking that I sure couldn’t focus on sailing away to discover new land.

2012 was the year I finally got all that water bailed out, and patched up all the holes. The boat looked a little worse for wear, but it was keeping afloat and I’d found calm seas. Didn’t really get anywhere, though.

And now 2013? THIS is the year of discovery. This is the year where things are actually moving in the right direction. I not only got my own apartment without a roommate, but IT HAS A SPARE ROOM. I upgraded my old beater car to the car I’d been dreaming about for years. I took a vacation to Vegas to hang out with a bunch of strangers from the Internet who have turned out to be some great new friends, and I checked my most dearly held item off my bucket list:  I went to see Shania Twain perform live. It’s looking gooooood this year.

But there’s a lot more I still want to do. Things I need to do. Bigger things, things that would have a bigger impact on my day-to-day life. Career things. Expanding-my-comfort-zone things. Taking big risks that have the potential for huge reward or crash-and-burn disaster.

That’s the clincher, of course, is that these things will require me to leap outside my comfort zone, and that is Scary with a capital S. So there have been some freakouts.

My general process for dealing with overwhelm looks something like this:

  1. Lightbulb goes on… big idea! Inspiration! Excitement!
  2. … which lead to more ideas, more than I can keep up with. Write them all down.
  3. Shit, I’m losing some of my ideas before I get them inked on paper. OH NOES I WILL NEVER GET THIS TO WORK IF I CAN’T REMEMBER EVERY SINGLE RELATED BRAINSTORMY STEP. STRESS! HULKSMASH!
  4. Deny & hide. Watch some Netflix.
  5. Turn off Netflix, take a good long hard look at brainstorm notes and attempt to create an action plan.
  6. Realize just how much work this is likely to take, how uncomfortable or risky it’s going to be, and how little time I have to get it done and how impatient I am for progress. This usually hits me in waves.
  7. FREAK THE EFF OUT. Cry for two days and watch more Netflix while talking my sister’s ear off about how my life is so hard and I’ll never amount to anything and this is all impossible.
  8. Get over myself and get to work on that action plan.
  9. Watch as my hard work yields actual results. Celebrate with champagne!

I’m doing a pretty good job of staying focused on #8 most of the time these days, but I’m having my moments of #7. Thank God my sister is a saint but also not a pushover and will listen and offer advice but then call me out when I’ve been navel-gazing for too long. I hope to be able to share some of the bigger stuff I am working on soon.

What’s your recipe for dealing with overwhelm? How do you “do it all”?

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Weird Things That Have Been Known To Make Me Cry

Beyond the obvious (breakups, deaths, stress, and realizing your fat pants have become your skinny pants), a curated assortment of the more unusual causes for the activation of my tear ducts:

  • Any flash mob video, ever.
  • Dogs that can do dance choreography.

  • Discovering that I had lost my multi-coloured chalk for my kitchen menu chalkboard during my recent apartment move.
  • Realizing I tweaked my back again and wouldn’t be able to do the hike I’d planned this evening. (In past, this would have led to a celebration)
  • Finally figuring out what I want to do with my blog.
  • Looking at my high school yearbook.
  • Harry Potter books. Every single time.
  • Grey’s Anatomy on an alarmingly regular basis.
  • Looking at myself in the mirror and thinking to myself that I looked pretty.
  • Walking away from the Echo for the last time when I bought my new car.
  • Anytime I’m on an airplane and it’s about to land in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for 2 years or 2 days, it happens anyway!
  • That time I got to meet Dooce and I unexpectedly turned into a ridiculous teary fangirl. I had a walk away lest she might discover that I had become a blubbering tween girl at a Justin Bieber concert.
  • The Olympics. Especially the theme song from Vancouver 2010, but any Olympics will do.
  • Little kids’ dance recitals or plays. I mean, they’re just so proud and they wave to their parents in the audience with big grins! It’s so charming.
  • Yoga, occasionally!

My Heart On a Roller Coaster

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Vancouver – sunny with clear blue skies, and the first day this year that felt warm enough to go without a jacket. My roommate and I decided to take her dog for a walk at the local off-leash dog park.

While we were there, we passed these two guys about my age walking their dogs. They smiled at us. One of them in particular really caught my attention. This was an unusual occurrence… it wasn’t just that I thought he was cute, though I certainly thought so. There was something more than that. There was an immediate jolt of energy that stayed with me after he walked away.

We saw them again walking back in the other direction. We’d caught up to them. They said hi to us and we said hi back. All four of us were all smiles but I was still particularly drawn to the taller baldie with the Mr. Happy tshirt. I started gushing to my roommate about how I wanted to talk to him as soon as we walked away.

As we were finishing the walk and loading the dog back into the car, they came over and chatted with us. I commented on how cute his dog was. He responded to me, “he’s well-trained to only approach cute women!” We both laughed. Then they headed off to their car and we drove off in our separate directions.

I immediately regretted not saying more, wishing we had a way to contact each other. This is not something that happens to me, EVER. I didn’t want a guy with whom I had seemingly electric chemistry (and a mutual love of dogs and weekend hikes!) to walk on by. So I did something I considered bold and very out of character: I posted a note to him on Craigslist Missed Connections. I didn’t expect to hear from him, but it was all I could think of other than going back at the same time the following week and hoping to see him again.

The craziest thing happened: he saw my message and he wrote to me! I’d written the message for “Mr. Happy” and he included a photo of his tshirt to prove it was really him. He’d been thinking about me all day too, and also wished he’d left with a phone number. He randomly decided to check Missed Connections before going to bed and was thrilled to find my message there.

My heart literally soared with excitement. I had managed to text my sister and my roommate in the 3-minute space between reading his first message and the second one that followed, which read, “I’m hoping you were the one in the driver’s seat because I can’t get that smile out of my head!”

I was in the passenger seat.

Maybe You’re Gonna Come Back

The lyrics from the song “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson are really hitting home for me today. This song says to me that you can’t keep someone by refusing to let them go… so you let them go, and hope they might come back one day. In the meantime you get on with your life. I know that Mike is not coming back, and that I probably shouldn’t want him to. But I am still sad and I still miss him every single day. Sometimes I just want him to show up on my doorstep unannounced, envelop me in a bear hug, and tell me he came to his senses and will never walk away again.

I don’t wanna be the one to say goodbye
But I will, I will, I will
I don’t wanna sit on the pavement while you fly
But I will, I will, oh yes I will

‘Cause maybe in the future, you’re gonna come back
You’re gonna come back around
Maybe in the future you’re gonna come back
You’re gonna come back

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back
You’re gonna come back to me

I don’t wanna be the first to let it go
But I know, I know, I know
If you have the last hands that I want to hold
Then I know I’ve got to let them go

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back
You’re gonna come back

I still feel you on the right side of the bed
And I still feel you in the blankets pulled over my head
But I’m gonna wash away, oh I’m gonna wash away
Everything till you come home to me

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you’re gonna come back, you’re gonna come back
You’re gonna come back to me

Turning Negativity On Its Head

I’m not going to sugar-coat it; the last two weeks have been a hellish roller-coaster of emotions for me. I broke up with my boyfriend of 6 months, but not because I wanted to or for any particular reason that I can identify. I still don’t fully understand what happened; it’s just the way the cards seem to have fallen.

I am angry, I deserve better treatment than I got, I love him, I feel ignored, I regret my mistakes, I want to fix things, I miss him, I’m in denial, I am devastated, I want to make him feel guilty, I want to be heard & understood, I just want him to be happy, I want to be happy. I feel all these things at once, or in very quick succession from moment to moment. I’m surprised by the intensity of my feelings; I’ve only known him for six months, but I thought he was It. I fell so hard and fast for him, it seems I lost track of just how much distance I covered in that fall! Over the last two weeks I’ve felt confused… so VERY confused. I’ve had moments of happiness, inspiration, and motivation. But mostly I’ve cried oceans of tears. I’ve taken a day off work because I woke up last Friday with an emotional hangover, my eyes so red & puffy from crying all night that they were nearly swollen shut. I do not like this upheaval. I miss his physical closeness. I miss talking to him. I just miss him.

Beyond my romantic partnership falling apart, I have been unhappy in several aspects of my life compared to where I think they *should* be. Feeling so bereft because I miss Mike naturally makes me think about other ways I also feel disappointed… it’s that downward spiral thinking we all do from time to time. Sometimes I get so trapped in it that climbing out of the negative spiral seems like too much effort. I climb out anyway, because being down there sucks out my soul, but then I’m so spent that I’m certainly not about to go fixing all the areas of my life that clearly need attention. Which, ironically, is exactly what I need to do to prevent that type of thinking again in the future.

All this emotion spilling out of me makes me hyper-aware of my thoughts, my surroundings, the consequences of my actions and decisions. I feel more alive than usual, because I’m feeling things so deeply right now.

I think I’m starting to accept that I’m single again, that this is my new reality, and the dust is beginning to settle. But before I go back to feeling neutral, I want to channel the alive-ness into action.  All those corners of my life that I’ve given up on fixing… I want to dust off the cobwebs there and do something good while I’m paying attention. I want the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” to actually MEAN SOMETHING to me. It hasn’t before; what hasn’t killed me thus far has definitely made me weaker.

I’m going to change that.