Tag Archives: vulnerability

Beginnings, Middles, Ends…


Beginnings

For my entire adult life until like April of this year, I was ashamed at my sparse dating experience. I felt my shame was obvious to everyone else, despite me never telling anyone in person. I felt safe to in the anonymous false comfort of Reddit and other message boards. Now, I think: Fuck it. It is what it is. I’ve come to terms with it. I can’t change the past, and I’m not starting from zero. I do have experience, and knowledge about relationships and dating. The few times I have been in the dating pool, I’ve learned each time. In the past year, I’ve grown so much, it’s like I got a college degree in that stuff.

But ultimately a degree is an ending and a starting point. The whole point of learning anything is to use that information in the world. Though I’ve changed for the better, I’m still afraid. Afraid of rejection. I’m afraid I’m not enough. Last month, I paid for a month of Tinder and Bumble and not much luck. I’ve gotten a handful of matches, but only one conversation went somewhere with a real person. Fucking catfish.

Which, when I told her that met someone (the catfish before I figured it out), and wished her luck. I got an amazing response back, which was heartwarming. I’m not sure I want to reconnect yet… My heart needs to rest.

To be fair, I feel my dating profile might need improvement. Therefore, I have room to improve as a person, as a man. Thanks to stuff easing up, I can go out and do activities in person with vaccinated people. Online dating is ruthless with men because we outnumber women by a ratio of 2-3 to 1… So you really need to stand out to get noticed. Finally I can have fun and get pictures. By living life for the sake of it.

I have a day left on Tinder premium and it feels like all the women are blending into the same person… Highly active who lives outdoors outside of work, drinks, doesn’t want a hookup while having multiple pictures with cleavage or lingerie , has a blank profile, lists their instagram, their dog is their baby (To be clear, I like dogs. but the obsession and pictures they choose with their dogs is unsettling.). The worst is when they match after I like them then never respond.

Technically I’m in the middle of my dating journey and that’s enough. I guess I assumed I would have this stuff figured out by now at 35…

Everyone starts somewhere. I’m in the process of figuring it out.


Middles

I feel I’ve entered a transition period in my life. As of last week, I’m fully vaccinated, been at my job for a month and thriving, and things are starting to open up again. While the CDC lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people, I’m going to continue to wear a mask until 80% of the US population is vaccinated. This year has taught me that you can’t trust people to do the right thing in America. The pandemic isn’t over folks. Be safe, for the children who are waiting to be vaccinated, and those who are medically vulnerable. Please, Get the covid 19 vaccine folks.

It feels strange emerging into the post pandemic world as a privileged vaccinated person. I do want to see friends again, but still paranoid of getting covid-19 from other people. Even if we’re both vaccinated. While I’m treated for the virus, I haven’t recovered from the side effects of the PTSD from the pandemic. I can thank my past recovery from PTSD for this. Without that, I’m not in the dark and can work through each stage of the grief.

I’ve had trouble writing posts for the blog as I’ve adjusted to my job. Thankfully, it has a consistent schedule, I am good at the work, I know what to expect every day, and I like my coworkers, but it takes time to adjust to new routines. Sorry for the missed posts and random post times. Things should get back on track soon. It’s been a big adjustment from being unemployed and having time whenever to write, to working full-time again.

I’ve been thinking of trying something different with the blog. In the about me page, I said that I want to write fiction, to publish a novel and/or a screenplay, and recipes. So far posts have been heavy on my life, and I feel I need to write about something different. Those things were put aside in 2020 because I felt the need to work through the difficult things going on in my life. In this new stable period of life, it feels like the right time to work on those again. Which seems to be a theme in life right now.


Endings

I had my final therapy appointment this week, meeting my therapist for the first time, for the last time, in person. All of the therapy appointments for the past year plus have been over zoom. On my desktop screen for a good part of the pandemic 2020, then on zoom through my cellphone screen. 14 months working together, during the pandemic over the internet.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, connect me to zoom. I have therapy in 5 minutes…
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

We met at a park after work. It was warm and sunny, and it many people were out on the large path. It was the first time I’ve walked along that park, and it was lovely. Most people were still wearing masks, and it felt like I was baring cleavage by not wearing a mask, despite being vaccinated. Having an outside therapy appointment was a little weird but okay for a final meeting. It was a review of our time together, how far I’ve come, and where each of us are going from here. It was nice to be able to hug her as we met, and as we left to go our own ways. I said “Thank You” one last time. I’ll forever be grateful to her. Thanks to her I was able to trust therapists. I was able to experience for myself that therapy does work. I was able to not be terrified that she would leave out of the blue. Unlike doctors or any other specialists, you can’t change them often. You need to be able to trust that your therapist will be with you working on your issues for a long period of time. Often several months for each thing, after you’ve built trust.

I’m slowly realizing that our time working together is over. All this happened at a good time. It felt like a natural transition. We were in a spot where I was figuring out what to work on next in therapy.

I am in a really great place in life because I chose to continue on. and gave therapy one more try… Despite being letdown or heartbroken in my quest to get it. I’m not used to feeling proud of myself. I still feel weird expressing myself and who I am. I have things to work on, and will work on for the rest of my life like everyone does.

I may have been unemployed, and looking for employment, but my actual job last year was as a person in therapy showing up and doing the work. I didn’t waste the precious time I had last year.

It was a bittersweet end. Once again I’m without a therapist. I’m so grateful that I had her help during this time. I hit rock bottom last year, and the pandemic made recovery worse. I’m here today better than I’ve been in years because of therapy. That said, I feel I have quite a bit to work on myself.

This sucks because I feel isolated again. As an introvert, I am comfortable being by myself and doing things. But I do need connection with others. I don’t feel like there is anyone I can talk to emotional things about. Because of the pandemic, it feels like all my friends are online. I’m limited what I can share with my family. Not everyone is safe to share emotional or personal things with. Or it’s a spectrum and maybe the things that are bothering are things they don’t have the professional training to help with. I kinda trust myself and working on this. It takes me a long time to trust people. By default I don’t trust people.

It comes to me that writing this is ironic because I’m being vulnerable as I write this.

I’m in insurance limbo again. While I’ll have health insurance with my job, I don’t know what the plan covers. I’ll likely have to pay for meds and appointments with the plan, because it’s a private plan. Worse than WA Applecare. Then I have to find a therapist who offers appointments after or before work, then, a therapist I click with. 🙄 Man I hate American healthcare.

Maybe not the final therapy appointment with my (previous 🙁) therapist, but this is an ending.


Betty

Betty the chicken died in the night on May 9th. She was 6 years old.

I wrote on Facebook:

Looks like Betty the chicken doesn’t have much longer. I had to pick her up from the run outside the coop, and place her inside for the night. The younger chickens were perched inside ready to sleep. Poor old girl couldn’t make it. I think she knows too from the look in her eyes.

I said goodbye that night. Told her she was a good chicken, and I liked living with her.

Betty would hang out with us outside whenever my mother or me would sit outside on the deck. Or the chickens would follow me inside as I took out the trash and recycling. Chickens are a nice companion. Rest in peace Betty.

Mom buried her in the dirt in the coop area. She asked if I wanted to be there, but I declined. I had my time with her the previous night.


Epilogue:

I’m looking forward to getting a haircut and makeover. My hair and beard are out of control 😅. It’ll feel good to get a professional cut.

I wonder if I over share with these posts… Or the right amount to find people to connect with?

My healing journey from now moves from the mental space to the physical space.

Life

The only thing you can count on in life, is change.

I’ve been fortunate in life to have a large family. Six aunts and an uncle on my mom’s side of the family. Despite life’s ups and downs, they’ve been the one constant. So, it’s tough to be reminded that they are human, vulnerable.

Two of my aunt’s are in the hospital.

My Aunt A who has been kind and loving to me –despite our polar opposite politics– has late stage cancer. Nobody deserves to suffer from cancer… At any stage of life. We’re prepared for the worst… ☹️

My Aunt M fell, and needs live in support. Something else is up, and we hope it isn’t serious. I hope she recovers, and is okay. There is too much unknown. It’s hard to see this happen to her, as we’ve been so close in my life. I’m so grateful I got to visit her last year. ☹️

It’s so hard to see people I love age. Especially right now during the pandemic. I haven’t even had a funeral for my grandfather, who passed last October.

This too will pass, until we all do. Despite being sad, I’m grateful for these tears. Back to “one day at a time”.

Song of the post: Blowin’ in the wind by Bob Dylan.


Inflection Point

Dream catcher

When was it that I gave up on dreams?

When was it when I lost hope in the future and being optimistic? My meds do help… To a point. Therapy helps… To a point.

When was it that I gave up on the world. Or more importantly, myself? There’s only so much one person can do for that.

Maybe all this insecurity has ignited because of this solitary pandemic lifestyle. Lately I’m not so sure. I feel like this current lifestyle isn’t that different from before covid-19.

I don’t believe in myself… When did this happen?

I don’t have any dreams anymore. For a long time, my only goal was to become mentally healthy. It’s hard to tell if I’ve improved since last March.

These days, I wish I didn’t have to wake up. I wish I could sleep all day. Sleep feels great, and I look forward to dreams, though I haven’t had many over the past year I can recall. Sleeping is awesome. Especially when it’s REM sleep, and you wake up refreshed.

Goals feel pointless. It feels like a never ending hamster wheel.

I feel like I’m procrastinating until the pandemic is over. I’m at the point where I don’t enjoy things. Depression or pandemic fatigue? I can’t tell. Probably a little from column a and column b. Once again I’m wasting precious time. I don’t know what to do.

I’ve reverted back to being a NEET /hikikomori once more, and that worries me. I do like watching anime, but I also feel ashamed because I spent years of my life doing this activity to pass the time. I feel I should be using this time to do something productive.

Im at a point in therapy where I’ve hit a wall, and don’t feel motivated. I don’t know if these changes are actually worth it. I’m unsure because I’m confused at what I want from life.

Im at a point in looking for work that I have to consider: “Would I risk getting covid and possibly dying for this job?”

All I want is a job with the same schedule, no overtime, no weekends or holidays, and I’m not exhausted from work after. Decent health insurance would be nice too.

Maybe all this is the monkey brain gone wild.


On the other hand…

I’m so lucky to have unemployment income. I’m lucky that I live in wa state, and qualify for amazing healthcare due to my income. I’m lucky that I don’t have to work . I don’t have to risk my life because I need to pay bills.

When will I not be crazy, and be enough?

I’m not sure I understand life… I sure am tired of feeling frustrated.


Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!


© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.

Sonder Meander

Life is a puzzle. Some days in life, puzzle pieces match up witin and you learn something.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Sonder:

As I sat down to my computer and logged into wordpress, I checked the blog email and notifications and had a moment of clarity.

Fellow Blogger Zoewiezoe says it best in her post today:

“(didn’t realize I was coming off as that much of a wreck? But just fyi – I’m actually doing quite well all things considering – the dark tone that works so well in blogs is not my general state of being all day every day )”

https://zoewiezoe.com/2020/12/12/the-misery-habit/

For a while now, I’ve been doing blog posts with little editing, thus little awareness of how I might be perceived by readers. For these marathon December posts, I’ve been writing them by the seat of my pants. Straight from the heart because I guess as I write this, I’ve had a goal to be vulnerable and honest. Basically, practicing doing this through my values than choosing decisions from emotions. Every post is a slice of my life and state of being at that time. Whatever emotions are most alive in me as I write.


Growth is uncomfortable:


“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

James Baldwin, Source.

Sometimes what we need is a pick me up from others. Especially right now in our socially-distant-pandemic-world-society.

“I think you’re really brave to put that kind of information about yourself out there and I know it can be depressing –the reality of life and stuff– but I think you’re in a good spot even if you don’t feel like that. Writing about how you feel can help you feel like realize how you actually feel maybe I don’t even know dude.”

My long time friend, Gus, who wrote a lovely email to me with this gem in it.

Meander:

Where do we go from here? What can I do to radically change my life with what is available to me with what I have? Right now, I don’t know. For now, for today, I need to restart self care. I haven’t had a long walk in a few weeks. I can’t remember the last time I had a really long meditation. Nobody else can answer what I need most right now, I have to discover this on my own. Mindfulness meditation for insight it is:

Some days in life, puzzle pieces match up witin and you learn something.


December blog marathon posts:


Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!

© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.

Depression, Gratitude, and a Break.

Source

Depression:

I feel that I need to say that I am doing better today compared to Sunday, the previous blog post.

Some posts are a reflection of my well being for the day posted, and others are my feelings for that week. The last post was how I felt on the 25th. While I struggle with depression, thanks to my commitment to mental health, the depressed days are happening less and less. I thank therapy, medicines, and changing my unhealthy behaviors/thoughts as the reasons why I’ve grown so much this year. I am suffering less from depression because I am fighting it. I have this wall that I can’t overcome without proper medicine regarding depression. Half is something that can only be managed with the anti depressant I take. It took me trying 12 others (Which breaks down to 1-3 months adjusting to the medicine, another 1-2 to taper down if it doesn’t work to avoid nasty side effects, rinse repeat. Add in the horror of the cost of some medicines, and American health insurance companies being selfish monsters, and its a nightmare. This makes working for bettering your own health a battle against two enemies, your condition(s) and the healthcare system.) before I found the medicine that my body responds to, that works. Depression is a medical condition that happens in our brains that changes the hormones it produces. Having depression is like having a constant bully that is yourself, that knows all your weaknesses and insecurities, and does everything it can to stop you from being better. Just like the classic Sun Tzu quote from the Art of War, it’s a losing battle of attrition.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

So, I’m not going to quit writing or blogging. My body is telling me that I need a break to recharge, so after this post I am going to take a break for a couple weeks. I’ll keep people up to date on the blog Facebook page.


Gratitude:

Sometimes what you need is a helping hand to help you. Yes, we need to be self sufficient and stand on our own. That said, everyone needs help at times. So I want to give back by acknowledging these people:

First I would like to recognize my Mom. While we live together and can drive each other crazy at times… She is always there for me at my worst. She taught me how to be an advocate for my health for me before I could. I would not be here without her. She checked up on me that night as soon as she read the post. She told me again that I can always talk to her, and that she cares for me. Thanks Mom!

Second is my lifetime friend and brother from another mother, Gus. He sent me an awesome email -The first fan mail sent to the blog email! – Checking up on me, relating to the post, and empathizing with the struggles I wrote about. I feel this summary diminishes how touched I was to read his emails and what it means to me that he did that. I want to keep this private. In it’s place I feel that Gus deserves more recognition as a modern day renaissance man with serious chops as a musician (You can check out his album on Bandcamp here) and as a writer for the South Seattle Emerald here.

Third is blogger Olivia. I am a little shy to say that I follow and enjoy her because it’s a NSFW BDSM blog. You know what? I’m a 34 year old man and I have needs. Erotic literature is one way to satisfy this… Anyway, she left this nice comment, and sent an email!

Olivia, thank you for the lovely email! I am so touched you felt concerned for a total stranger and my well being! It’s the first fan email from a blog follower! 😀

Last but not least! Is blogger nopassingfancy. In her own words from her gravatar:

Source

We’ve been following each others blogs for a while, and its really nice to chat with her! And she posted this lovely comment on Sunday 🙂:

Link to her blog! https://nopassingfancy.wordpress.com/


I never thought that online comments and email would make me so happy!

One gift that 2020 has taught me is that there are good people in the world. it would be a crime not to appreciate this. I hope I didn’t miss thanking anyone in previous post comments…!😬 If I did, please forgive me.😷 Thank you everyone who comments and follows the blog!

Post continued below…

Good old Facebook memes that describes me lately!

My fellow Americans, the election is on November 3, 2020 in 5 days! Don’t forget to Vote! Here is how to register and find how to in your state!:

https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote


Positives. I had my second full shift of work yesterday at my new job at Clēēn Craft. My job is to pack cans of hemp infused sodas into cardboard trays from the canning machine and onto wood pallets for orders. It’s a physical, repetitive job, but I like it! For now the job is seasonal, one day a week with potential to grow into more depending on sales of our products. I like my coworkers, and I feel I am keeping up with work, doing well despite mistakes. The job is the challenge I need. It’s nice to give all I have to succeed one work day at a time. After being unemployed since January, it’s nurturing to work at a job I like.


If you would like to try the sodas we make, you can get them on Amazon here:

https://amzn.to/2TBT9PC

Or, through the company website for anyone in the world:

https://cleencraft.com/shop/


A Break:

Based on the last blog post, I need a break from blogging. Life has been tough the past month. I didn’t realize how tough until working through it in therapy on Wednesday and Thursday. This October I: had a covid test to be safe (It was negative but I had to wait a few days for results), Had to bring Coconut to the vet for the first time, had a job interview over zoom that went well but I did not get, had a job interview for a job I did get, start a new job after being unemployed for 8 months, and do all this while grieving my grandfather’s passing. All that without the stressful shitstorm that the U.S. is right now. It’s no wonder I crashed this past week.

While 2020 has been a year of inner growth, it’s felt like hell at times. After years of feeling like I’m stuck and not growing as a person despite fighting to be better, my life is progressing. Continuing my quest for my own Holy Grail: being mentally healthy, being accountable, and living a full life. I need to focus on self care, and give myself permission to be human. Rest is as important to action in growth.

A lesson my therapist taught me is to not personalize mental illness. Don’t say: “my depression”, say: “the depression I am experiencing.” This gives power back to you by treating depression as a medical condition that is treatable.

This video is a helpful reminder of depression symptoms, and shows how people without depression can help:

I blog about my feelings, my problems, the mental illness I manage because it’s empowering.

Source

So, why do I blog? Why do I write? What’s the point?

I blog because it helps me work through things. Blogging for everyone to see makes me accountable. I write about my problems because I hope that maybe it will help someone else struggling. To overcome fear, shame, ignorance, and problems, you have to face them. Change is hard. I need a break from blogging. I was reminded of the Cowardly Lion today when “If I were King of the forest” from the Wizard of Oz movie soundtrack. Sometimes all we need is a little Courage. I have three posts planned for the near future, and after that I’ll take a break from blogging for a few weeks.



Music of the post:

Chains and Things by B.B. King
You’ve got a friend by James Taylor
Walk by Foo Fighters

Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance from others to fight Covid-19!

© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.

( 11/01/20: Made a few edits for clarity!)