I start projects and never finish them. I'm afraid of most people. I aspire to greatness, but sabotage my success.
I like bacon and Doctor Who and post it notes. Actually, I love those things.
I write long ass posts about what's going on inside my mind and my heart. I reblog things that make me laugh or think.
Sarah would like to do something that requires human interaction. Maybe she’s interested in making new friends. Maybe she wants to interact with the ones she already has. Maybe she’d like to learn something. Maybe she needs help.
Sarah should get out there and talk to people, right?
Well not so fast there. We can’t just go out there and talk to people. Interacting with people can be great, but it can also be dangerous. Have you ever had an injury from interacting with people before? It hurt really bad, didn’t it?
So before you get all excited and start rushing out just interacting with people all willy nilly, you need to do a proper safety check.
Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you emotional? Are you in a safe frame of mind?
If you said no to any of these questions, don’t try to interact with people. It’s not safe. You’ll say something you regret, or be overly defensive, or even worse, emotional.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: it is NEVER safe to be willy nilly about showing your emotions. You should avoid doing this. Showing emotions show signs of weakness. Weakness might be endearing once in awhile, but if you show emotion, then you have to avoid talking to that person for awhile so as to avoid a flood of emotion.
When you have a flood of emotion, you get overly attached to a person. You appear out of control. You end up being draining to a person. People are innately good and want to help people and they will want to help you. DON’T LET THEM DO THIS! They will feel good for awhile, but when they see that you always have emotions are always need help, they will become exhausted. They will dread interacting with you. And then they will hate you. So it is best to always be in complete emotional control, especially if you really like a person.
Went off on a bit of a tangent there, didn’t I? Where were we? Oh yeah, we were trying to figure out if Sarah should go ahead and interact with people.
Once we’ve determined that she’s full, well rested, unemotional and not volatile, we can ask ourselves a few more questions.
-Do we know this person?
-Do we plan on talking to them again?
The answers to these two questions provide important clues as to how we approach things. If we know this person, then we need to consider our previous interactions with the person. Have they been welcoming? Was it a good experience? Did you feel comfortable? This can give you clues as to how to approach the next interaction. If you plan on continuing interactions with them, then you need to think about how you’re presenting yourself. Would you want to talk to you again?
If it’s someone you never plan on talking to again, then smooth sailing buddy! You can say or do anything you want! You don’t have to be ashamed of how you look, worry if there’s anything in your teeth or be desperately afraid you’ll fart. There’s no need to wonder if you’ll say the wrong thing, come off as weird mix up your words or forget what you were going to say. You’re never going to see them again! To them, you’re a story of a random crazy they met. To you, you’ll never have to face them again, so it doesn’t matter. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re never gonna see them again. So obviously, this is the ideal situation for interacting with people. You can be open and honest with zero repercussions. There’s nothing to be afraid of here.
Unless, of course their final perception of you matters. Then you need to address them like you will be talking to them again.
The first step in preparing for an interaction with someone who matters is to figure out your goals. Do you want to say hi? Do you need help with something? Do you need someone to talk to? Keep it as factual as possible. Even if your socks are wet and you feel a little blue and you’re scared and you feel like crap, keep discussions to things that can be quantified. All else leads to emotional derailment. Keeping discussions to things that can be quantified also helps you to get in and out of the interaction as quickly as possible. The longer you linger in a conversation, the more time you have to make mistakes. Also consider your language. Do you need a more formal language? Would a diverse and varied vocabulary be welcomed or alienating?
If you can, bring cookies or some other kind of baking. It’s hard for a person to hate you when their mouths are full of chocolate. This advice is crucial for when you are dealing with groups.
Once you’ve cleared all of this, you are ready for an interaction with a person you know! For every exchange in the conversation, ask yourself these questions:
-Am I catastrophizing?
-Am I over sharing?
-Am I offering the other person opportunity to speak?
-Am I appearing engaged despite the fact that small talk bores me?
-Am I displaying any kind of faux pas?
-Am I setting realistic expectations for this conversation?
You can’t just ask them once, you have to continually ask yourself these questions whether they are in person, over the phone, or text based. A conversation can drastically change direction with each new line of dialogue.
If you find you’re catastophizing, over sharing, displaying faux pas or setting unrealistic expectations for the conversation, get out! Get out as fast as possible! At this point, I usually tell the other person that I have to pee. I don’t think that’s really socially acceptable either though… I dunno.
If you find yourself dominating the conversation, give them an opportunity to speak by asking them an open ended question about something they like to talk about.
If you’re bored of their small talk, remember that small talk is usually short lived and smile at the fact that it will be over soon.
With over sharing or being overly emotional, it’s easiest to avoid these two things by avoiding people you feel compelled to spill your guts to or show your emotions around.
What if Sarah has friends? Surely she must like talking to friends!
Young Padawan, friends bring on more rules for interaction.
Well, to put it bluntly, the more emotionally invested you are in someone, the more you have to lose when you fuck up.
When? Don’t you mean if?
No. I mean when. Because they all go away in the end.
Yes everyone. You see, things can’t last forever. And no one can hide their emotions forever. Eventually you will become tired and weary from carrying them for so long. Once you’re worn down from keeping your emotions under wraps, you’ll become vulnerable and you’ll believe them when they tell you that you can confide in them. When you let the demons out, you’ll feel relief at first. It will feel like a huge weight has been lifted, like you’re free. But don’t be fooled. No one can handle your innermost truths for long. When they find out just how much you’re hiding, they’ll leave. People already have so much going on in their lives, they cannot take you on as well. And when they leave, they’ll throw all of your stuff back at you, leaving you to clean it all up and reorganize it all over again. They mean well when they offer, but they don’t know what they’re getting into. They find it to be too much and the. They leave. And when they do, don’t blame them. It wasn’t their fault. It was yours for letting your guard down. You know better.
This is why if you’re feeling emotional or volatile, you must avoid interacting with people. This is why if you start to become emotional, you must exit the conversation.
But isn’t that when we need people the most?
Yes. Why yes it is. Which is why it is important that you stay away. When you need people, you act out of desperation, not out of rationalization.
When interacting with familiar people, there are additional questions to ask:
-Am I being emotionally appropriate?
-Am I getting too comfortable too quickly?
-Am I misreading signals?
-What are my intentions?
-What are their intentions?
-Am I dominating the conversation?
-Am I putting myself at risk?
-Am I potentially harming them?
Like the earlier questions, these must be asked and answered with every line of dialogue.
But with all of these questions, don’t you find that you have awkward pauses during conversations?
Not really. It just takes practice. Eventually you’ll go through these various checklists so quickly that it becomes second nature and you don’t even realize you still ask them. You’ll notice that ever interaction you have with a person leaves you exhausted and you’ll have no idea why. You’ll find that if you have too many interactions in one day, you’ll want to go home and curl up in a ball and cry. And that’s okay as long as no one else is there. If you’re alone, you have nothing to hide. You can be emotional. You can be crazy. You can have holes in your underwear and un rushed hair. You can love who you choose you can sing what you please.
Eventually you’ll find that most interactions just aren’t worth it, so you stop having them or at least avoid them as much as possible. But every now and then you’ll get it in your head that you want to move past all the questions and interact with everyone the same way you’d interact with someone you’ll never see again. Next time you get that in your head, remember this:
Every stranger, if interacted with enough, eventually becomes a friend. Talking to a friend the way you’d talk to a stranger is not possible because then you wouldn’t be able to be mindful to their needs. It’s like dividing by zero. It’s undefined.
Last week, I set 3 goals for myself.
-leave debit card at home on Friday
-eat 1 serving of fruit or vegetable with breakfast
That’s all I had to do.
And I did it!
I’m feeling much more energized and motivated to keep going now.
This week, I’m down 4 lbs. I suspect that it’s mostly water, but don’t really care because it’s the first time in far too long that the scale’s been getting lower.
I also figured out a workaround for some of my roadblocks. My huge frustrations came from trying to carry everything around. Gym clothes, enough food to feed me for a day, and oh yeah… all my school crap.
I’ve been working around this by putting my locker to good use and keeping my school stuff in my locker. Because my school is exactly on the way to work, I’ve been bringing my clothes to school in the morning and then leaving them in my locker. It makes the carrying around all my food so much easier.
So my plan for this week is to kick it up a notch, my challenge is in holding myself back a bit and not letting myself go to extremes.
-eat a fruit or a vegetable with every meal this week
-leave my debit cards at home on Thursday and Friday
-go on an adventure
Yesterday, I happened on an adventure when the Art Gallery had free admission in honour of International Women’s Day. It was really, really amazing. Something outside of my comfort zone, different from my norms.
It is my goal to have an adventure like that again next week. Not the same adventure, but maybe take a bus I’ve never taken to an area I don’t know and walk around and see what I find. Or go to the museum, check out a coffee shop, take pictures, see a show.
I want to learn to separate the parts of me less. Like my school goals, my fitness goals, my work goals, my mental health goals, my financial goals, my music and art… I tend to treat these as all different departments. And they are, but all of these different departments are parts of me.
And I want to get off the Legacy system that makes it hard for all of these parts to communicate and work together. It’s time to integrate and learn to embrace all of these parts of me. Together. Because all of these parts of me need each other to succeed, so they all need to be strong.
That was kind of a hippie ramble there. I think I threw up in my mouth a little.
But that’s why the goal to go on some kind of adventure.
I am excited to see that progress has been made and want to keep this progress party going.
Still definitely got a lot of fear going on. Fear that I’ll get it wrong. Fear that any weight I lose will come back 10 fold. Fear that I’ll have another emotional crash.
My biggest challenge will be healthy weight loss while keeping the rest of me healthy too.
First Friday of Lent. Two days in.
It’s been interesting.
The first thing that struck me is just how often I eat cheese. Never saw it before now. I really did take for granted how much cheese I eat.
When I first made the decision to give up cheese, I thought my major thing would be replacing the Babybel I have with my veggies in the afternoon.
However, the last few days have shown me that my afternoon cheese is the least of my worries.
My Friday night pizza. I could order pizza without the cheese, but what would be the point?
This morning at work, Charity asked me if I wanted a taco. I normally would jump at a taco, but cheese.
Bagels with cream cheese.
The list goes on.
I really wasn’t aware of how much cheese I eat. This has been really helpful in making me aware that I have been really disconnected with what I’m putting in my body.
Today being Friday is meat free.
The cool thing is that it forced me to be more creative and put effort into my food.
Something that I found interesting was when Charity apologized for having cheese in front of me.
People often apologize for smoking in front of me too, upon hearing that I quit.
What they don’t understand is that if I make the decision that I don’t want something, I am not tempted.
I have no self control around a box of cookies if I don’t want to stop eating cookies.
But I feel no temptation to partake in what I do not want to partake in.
The stuff I’m not sure I want to leave behind or feeling deprived of something is completely different.
I guess the certainty of the things I do not want is a step in the direction of knowing other strengths of mine with the same certainty.
The last few days have definitely opened my mind in a lot of ways.
Ahhh! First French comment! How exciting! Like legit, super exciting. XD
"I like your project for French class. it’s magnificent. You are a magician with words."
Merci beaucoup ! J’aime beaucoup ecrire et je suis excitee que je peux bien ecrire en francais comme anglais.
(Je suis desolee, je ne sais pas comment ecrire des accents avec le clavier Windows.)
Thanks so much! I like writing a lot and I’m excited that I can write well in French and English. (I’m sorry, I don’t know how to type accents on a Windows keyboard)
For French class, I was asked to write about whether I am for or against laws against the sale of food that is bad for your health, such as McDonalds. It’s a grammar class and we have just recently learned about conditional and subjunctive verbs and hypothetical sentences. Our textbook’s vocabulary has been focusing on food and parts of the body.
Ugh. So confusing. Despite having read the textbook, written the essay and passed the exam on this, I still feel lost and confused.
If you know French and were interested in what I had to say on the subject, it’s below. The English tl;dr of it is 1. Businesses sell it because it is profitable. There is a demand, and businesses are filling that want. Prohibition has not worked with drugs and alcohol, why would it work on junk food? 2. Healthy food, that is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is a privileged diet that people living in poverty cannot afford. To ban the sale of junk food would make things even worse for those who can barely afford food as it is. 3. My body, my choice. Governments have no business being in my pants.
I’m not Catholic. I’m not really religious. My spiritual beliefs are slightly closer to the Christianity side of the Agnostic continuum.
But I like some of the ideas around Lent. Particularly, the act of giving up one of your vices for a fixed period of time.
The fixed period of time is helpful for when you don’t want to quit your vice, you just want to get away from it for a bit to break free from an unhealthy codependency.
Like cheese. Cheese is one of my vices. It is delicious.
Cheese is my gateway drug. I want to cheese all the things. I want to eat all the cheeses.
Cheese is my pathway into the seven deadly sins. Gluttony. Sloth. Greed. Wrath over those who get between me and my cheese. Envy of those who have cheese when I don’t. Pride over my ability to do magical things with cheese.
Cheese leads to pizza. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However ordering delivery and making a night out of eating a whole pizza and wings is (which I definitely do not do every Friday night with no pants) is definitely not a good thing.
Cheese by itself isn’t evil. It has a lot of good nutritional qualities in appropriate serving sizes. But an appropriate service size is not the same as an adequate serving size.
A 1in cube of cheddar cheese is 120 calories. That is not a lot or nearly enough.
And so I like the idea of giving cheese up for Lent because it let’s me detox from cheese and find a way to be able to eat the cheese without eating all the cheese. We need a break so we can have a healthier relationship.
And it’s doable. It’s not like giving up sugar or salt. It’s not giving up an entire food group. The nutrients I get from cheese can be easily replaced with other foods. It will challenge me without torturing me or putting me in an unhealthy place.
I also like the idea of meatless Fridays for the next few weeks.
I don’t know that any of this will bring me closer to God or give me some spiritual awakening.
But it will save me a few thousand calories and be an adventure.
I got my math midterm back today. I got a 37%.
And it was the best news ever.
I’m not one of those people in the progressive unschooling anti testing camp. I know that it’s not always the most accurate way of testing someone’s knowledge. It is, however, one way of doing it.
Math has been an interesting challenge for me this year. It has challenged my intellect, my emotional stability, and yes, even my body on nights when I stay up marathon working on math because I know that I am just one right answer away from mastering a skill.
It has forced me to come to learn things about myself that I never knew existed. I didn’t know I could do math. I had to be brave enough to ask for help. I’m still not perfect at asking for help, but at least now I know how to get help when I’m too scared to ask.
A major challenge for me has been learning about logic. I hold such deep seeded truths in my head, things that I know without a doubt and can explain and articulate quite intelligently. (In times of psychosis this has been an incredibly dangerous trait.)
Learning math has forced me to look at logic from other perspectives and in turn learn to start thinking differently.
I think that maybe sometimes I cling to my pasts and my mental illnesses as truth like a Westboro Baptist clings to hatred of everything that isn’t Westboro Baptist.
Learning math has forced me to redefine victory and defeat, passing and failing. It’s been my perfectionist reform camp.
Defeat was not failing my first quiz by a couple of percent. Victory was writing it, not understanding it and not crying.
My average on quizzes this term has been pretty brutal. I haven’t really looked too closely, but I’ll give a generous estimate at an average of 25%. A couple weeks ago, my current grade in the class was a 27%.
And I have to admit, that kicked my ass pretty hard. So frustrated. So angry. So let down. So drained. All this studying and extra practice? For what? For 27 lousy % not understanding a damn thing?
Going to class is hard, but I keep on going out of the hopes that when I take this course again next year, some of these concepts won’t be as hard or as scary. So I sit there not understanding most of it tucking it away for use at a future date.
And then I wrote my midterm.
I didn’t understand most of it. I didn’t expect to. Although there is one question that I got right and I have no idea how I got that right…
And in our pass/fail, victory/defeat system, most people would say my ass got handed to me pretty hard.
But 37% is a huge victory! A desperately needed one. 37% means that not only have I retained my knowledge, I have built up more. I have improved.
I don’t feel so drained and so crappy going into math class now. I actually have the motivation to log back into Khan Academy. Maybe even see what my homework on WebAssign is. Because clearly, the effort I have been putting in hasn’t been a waste.
Now granted, I still have to repeat this course. I still have a lot of work ahead of me. But I think I can do it. Which is a far cry from where I was yesterday which was “why do I still go to this class? It’s seriously cutting into my binge eating cake and feeling sorry for myself time”. I think that maybe it’s possible that I had some obstacles to overcome that were slightly bigger than rationalizing functions. And now knowing what to expect, having already experienced what is in my mind the worst possible scenario, and getting over myself a bit, I think I am in a much better position to pass the course the next time around.
All this to say while I don’t think that testing is the most accurate way to measure someone’s abilities, it is one way. And 50% is not necessarily the marker of success.
I do though have the goal to pass one quiz this term. We just started trig. I have a good feeling about this unit…
I feel like a fraud. I lost 50 lbs, becoming some success story, being able to shop in normal stores, feeling sexy, being able to reach my feet.
But at 50 lbs lost, I became incredibly freaked out because that’s what I do when I have any kind of success. I lose weight and I stop working out and start binging on cake. I get straight A’s and I start skipping school and stop studying. I get a job I really want, I call in sick at least once a week. I get a volunteer position that could really open some doors for me and I freak out and rage quit.
But I digress.
You know what you rarely ever see? Obese seniors. And those you do see look pretty miserable. They’re in scooters and hooked up to oxygen. I don’t want that to be me. I want me and Ocean to escape our respective nursing homes to go out on adventures. Not waiting for the nurse to wheel me to where I want to go.
I lost 50 lbs and it became my claim to fame. And I stopped losing weight for a shit ton of reasons. And then I gained weight. I gained all of it back. Plus another 30 lbs, making me bigger than when I started. I got too fat for my old fat clothes.
And now I feel like a fraud. I inspired people to eat healthy and lose weight and I couldn’t keep it off.
The more weight I gained, the worse I felt.
My therapist a few weeks ago expressed concern. “When you first came to see me, you were really skinny. You’ve gained a lot of weight in a very short amount of time.”
"Yeah." I snapped back. "Tell me something I don’t know."
I feel so shamed. So overwhelmed. So angry. So out of control. So desperate.
There has to be something. There has to be some way that I can lose the weight and keep it off.
And this thing that feel like failure I know is supposed to be some kind of lesson. I want to try again. I know that fear holds me back.
-I’m scared I won’t be able to lose the weight.
-I’m scared I won’t be able to maintain a healthy diet.
-I’m scared that I’ll stop being able to afford healthy food like last time.
-I’m scared that I will end up overwhelmed and frustrated and just give up.
-I’m scared that people judge me for my weight.
-I’m scared that I’ll look like this forever.
-I’m scared that I’m just meant to be a fat chick.
-I don’t really know where to begin.
I know that goals are supposed to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. But my goal weight of 130 lbs doesn’t fall into any of those categories. Hell, under 200 doesn’t feel possible.
In January, I set the goal to lose 10 lbs by my birthday. I gained 20.
I’m “more to love” and I’ve got “personality” and I’m “smart”. You know, every fat chick cliché in existence. Gag me with a spoon.
I’m desperate to get back on track somehow. There has to be something I can do. Even with my schedule being this crazy. There has to be something.
So I have set 3 goals for this week. Just 3 little goals.
-eat 1 serving of fruit or vegetable with breakfast
-leave debit cards at home Friday
I’ve outlined some goals for the next few weeks that involve me leaving my debit cards at home more days every week (I’m really bad for impulse buying junk food.) and adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet. It’s not that I don’t like fruits and vegetables. It’s that I buy them and I’m afraid to eat them in case I stop being able to afford food again. I’m really bad for that, hoarding my food for fear I’ll run out and then when I find myself starving, I run and grab Pepsi.
But this week all I need to do is 3 things.
-eat 1 serving of fruit or vegetable with breakfast
-leave debit cards at home Friday
That’s it. That’s all. And that’s starting somewhere, right?
You can take the most respectful, sensitive people, give them Cards Against Humanity, and in a few minutes they’ll be laughing about genocide.