changes of the Self

in August 2015, Brian and I moved from southern Louisiana, very near to the Gulf Coast, to the “great” white tundra of the Minneapolis, Minnesota — which is over 1,000mi (1,600+km) as the bird flies, or ~1,1200mi (~1,800km) as the car drives.

there were many reasons for this move: Brian found and earned a job that would at least incorporate his academic focus (very slightly so, we later fully learn) for a reasonable pay; I wanted to get away from my family drama; I wanted to get away from my paternal drama; I wanted to escape many of the acquaintances I had; I wanted to break free of previous obligations and social contracts I had; I want to explore the world/nation; I legitimately wanted culture shock; and … I wanted to try to recreate myself.

I managed to do so somewhat within the nearly four years I have been up here. I gained better habits and lost some worse ones — some instances of each by choice, and others by force or requirement. so with us discussing the potential success of Brian’s job hunts elsewhere in the nation, it’s time to review these changes and reflect on them.


Who I Was in Louisiana

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I was social butterfly, and often the center of attention.
  • responsible, in charge: I was constantly organizing events or hosting, rarely delegating and actually really being just a participant.
  • empathetic: I pretended to be very kind and compassionate, almost as if I was genuinely interested in other people.
  • adventurous: I sought out wild opportunities and places (granted, I was restricted to the local) in hopes of an absurd escapade.
  • inquisitive, curious: I always wanted to know more about everything, was often researching random facts or topics, and was always asking questions.
  • pillar of strength: The backbone or glue or a group or the unflinching emotional support of a given person — it was more often than not me. Though, naturally, I relied on one (or at least, very very few).
  • energetic, loud, hyper: I had boundless energy, and could go from one activity or event to another with no break necessary.
  • alcohol lush, drunkard: I was the group’s (usually) happy drunk. Any unfinished drinks?– everyone knew I would empty them.
  • giving 110%: if I did anything, I did it to my full capacity — including my faults. moderation was not a concept I understood.

Who I Was in Minnesota

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I still embodied this, but to a lesser degree. I was at several parties wherein I actively avoided calling the group’s attention to myself.
  • responsible, in charge: I let up on this a lot too. I was, in fact, tagging along more often than note with the already created plans of others. Brian has said I take on more of an “okay guys, I’ll join in on your thing” approach than I did back home.
  • empathetic: I did this still too, but I lessened it. if I had too few Spoons on a given day, I didn’t listen to all the bullshit others spouted, but instead scurried away quickly.
  • adventurous: I lost this drastically. part of the limitation on this was winter exists up here from October to now (April) — by which I mean, it is so cold outside it is physically painful.
  • inquisitive, curious: I still had my curiosity, but I didn’t really act on it much. I was too tired all the time to put forth the effort to research anything.
  • pillar of strength: I became a Pillar of some sort for several people up here. but I made to have them understand I was not on-call for them figuratively or literally. even when hanging out IRL, I would sometimes be distance.
  • energetic, loud, hyper: this depleted greatly too. I took breaks when I needed them (even while volunteering), I actively scheduled “Recovery” time in my Google calendar, etc.
  • general lush: I still drank way my than I should. and my first social connections up here were made via a kink community, I was none for my input and presence there (not so much actual physical involvement, granted, due to Brian’s requests).
  • 90-100%: I gave less of myself to other people and things. sure I still “did my best”; but I help back when necessary, so as not to over-extend or exhaust myself.
  • open about my Crazies: I was much more open about my struggles here than I was back home — which is saying something, because I was a major advocate back home. by embracing my faults in an early meeting of someone (other than of employers, lol!), I set the stage such that if I fuck up in one way or another (my bad memory, my low Spoon, etc.), no one is surprised or offended.
  • patience for bullshit: normally, I would just let people say shit no matter how dumb. but now, depending on the person, I either address the fallacies I see or I just walk away. I’m not paid to give you my attention, and in most cases, I don’t even care — so fuck off.

Who I Hope to Be in the Future

this is where we are now. I’ve already begun some of these changes (as you will see below), though I have not been in many situations wherein I can challenge or test the adjusted approach or reaction. so we’ll see how it goes.

  • sociable, person enthusiast: I think this is a skill set I still want to maintain and occasionally practice, as it is very useful for making connections for future social or occupational concerns. however, I do not need to make it the core of my identity any longer.
  • responsible, in charge: again, this is useful if I maintain it as a skill and not as a personality trait.
  • empathetic: I think this is at a fairly good level currently. I am empathetic to gain the favour and affection of others, but I don’t drain my resources on pretending to care.
  • adventurous: Brian has mentioned to me multiple times recently how this is obviously incredibly important to me. and he’s right. I do need to incorporate this into my life more.
  • inquisitive, curious: I’ve started getting this back already. I’m getting my Productivity Projects going again, so that’s nice.
  • pillar of strength: I need to be careful who I befriend. granted, you can’t tell right away — but up here, most of my early friends, I have learned, were exceptional needy. and I just can’t do that anymore. not for everyone all of the time.
  • energetic, loud, hyper: I need to balance this. I don’t like how low-key I’ve become, but I like that I’m learning self-care.
  • sober: another one I’m already well started into. as Brian says, he likes being in full control of his faculties — I’ll adopt that saying as I’m so all over the place already, I can’t risk giving up anything.
  • 90-100%: I think I’m at a healthy point for this one. I try harder than most anyone there, but I’m going to break my back for you. I just have to continue this when we move.
  • open about my Crazies: again, setting up my faults and being open about my issues early one makes it less difficult and more accepted in the long-run.
  • patience for bullshit: I’m still learning the balance on this one. I’m ignoring my father’s stupid political comments, literally not even acknowledging that he said them sometimes. so I like that. but avoidance can only work on some people; I need to figure out my approach for the other folk.
  • solo fun: branching from “adventurous”, I need to learn to have fun by myself. I spent so much time in Louisiana organising collections of people, I never learned how to go out on my own. I want to grow into that before we relocate again so that I can better explore the city and learn about it on my own time, instead of waiting for someone else.
  • us vs them: I have always had an inclination to the “not our kind” mindset, as much as I hate it. working in the political landscape recently, I developed a quicker reaction to it. I also developed a stronger sense of unity, conversely, in my internal effort to fight the aforementioned propensity. but wherever we go, I want to continue getting this out of my system.
  • volunteering: I stopped volunteering as much here as I did back home. in part due to my parents not being here with scout trouble in which I grew up, and in part to my constant transportation issues (RE weather or no license). but wherever we go, I need to start doing that more.

you may be noticing I didn’t include a terrible number of “bad” character traits. that’s because I like to think I am quite aware of those and am already working on fixing them — trust issues, self-hatred, anhedonia, anger issues, superiority complex, a general impatience, misanthropy, etc. I mean, that list I can make in a hot second!

but this was just a very quick, light assessment of my recent growths and how I want to be as positives, a side of myself on which I’m rarely focused.

if you know me IRL and have insight or comments on anything, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to ensure my self-perception includes at least the consideration of others’ perceptions of me. so it would be beneficial for me to hear — both the good and the bad.

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“go all Henry David Thoreau up in here”

I think I need a vaccay from people. like, from all humans. even Brian. go all Henry David Thoreau up in here or something.

I used to camp all the time. year round, and as much as possible. I would volunteer with organizations too. a lot of my time used to go to volunteerism.

I mean, I have a pessimistic, natural inclination to assume the worst about a given individual. but I used to at least allow them enough room to hang themselves. these days, I can hardly wait to pull a handle of judgment to drop people to a doom they possibly didn’t rightly deserve.

and those aforementioned communes with nature or surrounding myself with heartfelt people — they would reset the innate hatred I have within. they would fill me with beauty, awe, and hope. and then I had the energy to go tackle the harsh reality that is life.

but with no vacations to remind myself what matters, with no groups or friends also struggling to focus on the light, I feel … I just feel hopeless, adrift. like I’m just barely staying afloat in life instead enjoying the waves at a beach.

I will make it a point to find a volunteer group again. I will make it a point to go camping again soon (once it fucking warms a little, because I am a pussy in the cold). and I will make it a point to write again … even if there is no one remaining to read anything.

it’s been a crazy few weeks

so it’s been a while since I last updated y’all on everything.

my family came in on Monday 6/12 and left Sat 6/17. in the party was my mother, my father, my little bro (he’s 27), and my brother’s friend. overall, we had lots of fun! Monday was just them recovering from the two-day drive. Tuesday, Brian joined the whole lot of us in walking around the Mall of America for 10 hours. that’s right, I typed 10. hours. but in those hours, we flung balls around during putt-putt, went cut up at the aquarium, got lost in a mirror maze, and cut up with strangers the whole time. Wednesday, Brian and I both worked. each Thursday and Friday, I worked only in the morning; Brian still worked all day. Thursday, I took the family and bro’s friend through the skyway. I had never walked it, so it was new to me too. then Friday, I took them out to St Paul to see the cathedral. (St Paul is one of the patron saints of my family’s catholic church back home.) then they departed around noon on Saturday when I had to leave for a volunteer work function.

OH! but while I was at work one day, guess what happened…… THE BEAST WAS EVICTED FROM THE OFFICE!! I mean, it took all four of my guests to capture the creature. but they did so, and Contact came to pick it up. it’s gone!! oh, what glorious days are these!!

last week, much time was spent repairing the apartment from all our guests. see, the four visitors slept in the living room. so we had no office and no living room for a week. it was exhausting. as was the clean-up.

then last Tuesday, my car overheats and never sufficiently cools enough for me to drive it. had to replace the entire radiator. not fun at all. so I was back to bussing to work for about a week. got it back Friday, right before the weekend. for which I was thankful, as I had a busy weekend planned.

Saturday was a workout day (more on that in another post); then I had a therapy appointment. I’m wondering why I’m going anymore. I want to ask her at the next session wtf exactly are we doing, what are we working on? she said at one point that she wanted to work on my negative talk. sure, that’s great. but when are we to start it??

anyway, after that, I went to the store to get hair dye and bleach. OMG, the colour did not turn out as it was supposed to. everyone during the weekend commented positively on it. but still. I’m having to re-dye it so I can keep my job. it’s way too bright. I’ll see about trying to upload a photo later. in the meantime, just imagine hot pink with a hint of pastel pink in it. eek!

Saturday night, Brian and I went to see the play “Booty and the Beast”. it was comedy skits influenced by social media, online dating, and Disney flicks. XD it was hilarious.

Sunday was the famous Minneapolis Pride Parade & Festival. and it was AWESOME. so much love and acceptance. and some of my kink friends were there, so I go to meet them IRL finally. and my hair was a hit there, of course. ūüėÄ

so yeah. it’s been an eventful few weeks. sorry for my absence. but I’m back, and I’m looking forward to catching up on what YOU’ve been doing. ‚̧

that darn cat

we thought The Cat had escaped. ¬†like, completely. ¬†we thought it got out of the Office and left through Zero’s pet door back out into the wild. ¬†this has been a concern since Thu afternoon.

we moved this week’s Date Nite to Monday, and we almost just didn’t have it because I was having a breakdown about this stupid cat.

then this morning, Brian swears he heard a noise in front of him, while Zero was behind him. ¬†also, dry food that we had forgotten about (outside the live traps) was all gone, and it was on top of the giant tower — where Zero is very unlikely to go. ¬†there was also something knocked off the tip top of the highest bookcase — also a non-Zero location.

so there’s a possibility…

I just wish we knew for sure. ¬†and I really hope we catch her before my parents come up in five days…

an update on The Cat

it’s over a week later, and I still can’t drive my stick-shift car or do my kickboxing because of Motherfucking Bastard.

Brian and I are aiming to return to Urgent Care tomorrow evening for a follow-up.  my thumb is still generally useless.

Contact emailed me yesterday to inquire as to how The Cat was doing, to let me know we may have an adopter, and to inform me the upcoming meeting has been rescheduled.  in my response, I was honest [names changes, of course]:

The Cat is still really skittish and hiding.¬† I’m concerned that our fostering her didn’t help much, as we are so rarely home.¬† Also, as we discussed on the phone that one night, she went from letting me pet her the first few days to hissing even when I would put food in the cage. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†We’re still trying to socialize her and the like, but again we are not home as often as she apparently now needs.
My parents and brother are coming into town from Louisiana sometime on Monday, June 12 (exact time currently unknown).¬† I can’t promise I can make the meeting, but I will try my best to.¬† Would we be able to return The Cat before then?¬† In further thought, I’m concerned the loudness of my family may frighten her. ¬†(My dad and brother are very¬†loud people, lol — even their “indoor voices”.)
Let me know what works for you and what you think would be best for¬†The Cat.¬† I’m fairly flexible.
I never mentioned my hand. ¬†I don’t think I will. ¬†I don’t want her making a big deal out of it. ¬†I just want this over and done with.
we still haven’t really¬†seen The Cat. ¬†Brian spotted her once before she slinked away into hiding again. ¬†but that’s it. ¬†to catch her, I’m afraid we’ll need a live trap. ¬†that’s not a sign of a cat having been socialized.
I’m concerned this will affect my involvement with and acceptance in the organization that runs the adopt fairs and earns money for clinics (henceforth “The Org”). ¬†I enjoyed volunteering for The Org, and I really support and appreciate what they do. ¬†but Contact may use this experience as negative weight against my involvement with The Org. ¬†and that would make me legit sad and disappointed.
granted, I have five million other organizations with which I volunteer, plus random things here and there (like a 5k event this weekend that I’m working instead of participating in). ¬†but that’s not the point. ¬†I don’t get turned down; I don’t denied: people don’t tell me “no”.
…but I guess that’s a topic for another, more psychological post.
for now, we’ll continue to hold on to The Cat. ¬†I’ll let y’all know how this all unfolds.

three days serviced by Urgent Care

I was in Urgent Care on each Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week, with threats that I might have to go to the hospital to have surgery on my hand.

I volunteer with numerous different organizations here in the Twin Cities, many of them relating to animals. ¬†one such organization, that I shan’t name in this context, needed some help fostering two feral kittens a while back. ¬†with Brian’s approval, I volunteered. ¬†shortly after, my contact (henceforth “Contact”) for the fostering said it wouldn’t be necessary, as she found someone else.

a few weeks pass, and Contact requested again that I foster the kittens. ¬†I agree. ¬†when next she contacts me, she informs me she needs me to foster an adult feral from Mexico (henceforth “The Cat” or “Motherfucking Bastard”). ¬†I hesitate. ¬†I’ve assisted in and/or have fostered all ages of cats before. ¬†but my guy was telling me this was a bad idea for both The Cat and me. ¬†however, I didn’t want to back out of a volunteering offer I made, so I reluctantly agreed.

I’m back at work, but I’ve a brace on my right hand. ¬†the pain is so great that I can’t even drive my stick-shift car or hold a glass of water. ¬†I could not wear pants due to my inability to zip or button them.

Contact arrived with her “kitty condo” — something similar to this –, explaining that she was hoping we’d keep¬†The Cat in it and inside the room in which we spent the most time. ¬†that would be the Office. ¬†again, I had reluctance. ¬†my tactic was always keep the feline in the bathroom — she had space to hide, but would still be exposed to use frequently. ¬†but it was her cat I was fostering, so I followed her rules.

at this point, The Cat was responding well enough to me.  she let me pet her and almost never hissed at me.  by the third day, however, she was hissing more than she let me pet her.  she also had begun yowling at night and pacing in her cage.  it was obvious she was growing miserable in that small, enclosed space wherein she had no control over her visibility.

the trick is to give them somewhere they can hide slightly if they like, and let them come out at their own time.  this tactic has never failed me.

by the end of the week, I would get near the cage and she would hiss.  her yowling was incessant.  and even Zero was getting upset with the situation.

I called Contact and explained that this wasn’t working. ¬†after brief discussion, Contact and I decided I would still keep her in the office (per her request), but that she’d be out of the cage (my request).

and that’s when all hell broke loose.

the pain in my hand is so great I am occasionally taking Vicodin.  me, with my high-ass pain tolerance.

Brian and I walk the Office trying to remove as many too-small hidey holes as we could. ¬†I thought we had done a sufficient job….

Saturday afternoon, while transitioning The Cat from the cage into the room, she spazzed and escaped into the living room.  it was my fault for not ensuring the Office door was closed; that fact, I will own.  in an attempt to collect and relocate her, she scratch Brian on the nose and bit deeply into my right hand.  nevertheless, I got her into the office with no actual physical pain on her part (as far as I could tell).

and then she was MIA for two whole days. ¬†she did not come out to eat, drink, or use the litter. ¬†I was terrified she got herself into a hidey hole we couldn’t find, and was going to starve herself to death. ¬†I was terrified that I had now scarred her forever, and she’s in a worse sociable condition now than when we first got her. ¬†I was terrified of so many things.

at one point, an IV drip of antibiotics was rushed into my body, as mere oral dosages were too inadequate for the severity of the infection.

meanwhile, my hand was swelling up and turning red. ¬†Brian urged me to the doctor; I denied — both repeatedly. ¬†then one of the bite marks started to puss, and I had lost most mobility in my thumb. ¬†I reluctantly agreed to go Sunday evening.

the doctors expressed great concern that, even thought The Cat was fully vaccinated, I may have an infection that was starting to go after a tendon or the bone. ¬†while I was sitting on an IV drip of antibiotics, I was also prescribed oral antibiotics and Vicodin for pain. ¬†I mistakenly expressed no need for the pain¬†medication; let’s just say I have since been very glad multiples times that we got it filled anyway. ¬†I was instructed to come back ASAP the next day.

I messaged and emailed the attorneys at work a brief tale of my misadventure, requesting to remotely do payroll from home so that I can then promptly go back to Urgent Care to get my hand reviewed.  my supervisors are very wonderful, understanding persons.  they approved my request with no hesitation, informing me to let them know if they could help in any way.

back at Urgent Care Monday afternoon, my hand showed signs of neither worsening nor improving. ¬†after some discussion and inspection, the doctor braces up my arm. ¬†I’m instructed to once again return to Urgent Care the following day. ¬†this time, if no improvement was evident, hospitalization would be required — surgery to either mend the wound or amputate part of the hand.

when got home that day, Monday night, we see evidence that Motherfucking Bastard emerged and ate her food. ¬†we still have no idea where she is hiding. ¬†but at the moment, it’s not our top concern. ¬†the potential necessary removal of my right hand was.

I work a full day on Tuesday, very slowly and almost ineffectively.  after work, Brian takes me once again to Urgent Care.  three times in three days.  this time, however, there was evident visual improvement of both the infectious redness and of the swelling.  I was released on the condition of continuing taking my antibiotics (and probiotics) as instructed and that if it at any point gets worse, I was to just give up and go to ER.

once again, The Cat had emerged ate, and even new feces was in the litter box.

so where are we at now? ¬†it’s Thursday morning. ¬†how is The Cat doing? ¬†how is James’s hand? ¬†how is Brian’s face? ¬†what all does Contact know of situation? ¬†for how long are those fools going to keep The Cat?

Brian’s hand and face were fine. ¬†he’s on the same antibiotic plan as me, minus the initial drip. ¬†by day two, everything was cool for him.

my hand is healing, albeit slowly. ¬†I still can’t really use it for anything. ¬†I can type on a full-sized keyboard for the most part, though my usual usage of countless keyboard shortcuts are limited and typos are abound. ¬†however, I cannot use my right hand, thumb, or index finger for: texting on my phone, anything that requires fine motor skills, anything that requires more than minor grip or holding, anything that requires muscle usage in the aforementioned areas. ¬†as I’ve already stated, I couldn’t even wear pants to work for several days because I could not operate the zipper or buttons. ¬†I’m wearing clip pants today, and I’m learning that was a bad idea.

Motherfucking Bastard is somewhere still in the room. ¬†I don’t know where. ¬†the current plan is keeping¬†her for the next two weeks. ¬†at that point, I will return her to Contact, explaining that Zero is not pleased and my family are coming with their dog the following week. ¬†however, if she continues to not emerge at all while we are in the room, eating and shitting only while we are at work or asleep, I may send her back sooner. ¬†it’s doing no one any good if she is that terrified.

and currently, Contact knows nothing after the phone call wherein we came to a compromise of letting The Cat loose in the Office.  I wanted to wait to see how things panned out first.

I tried to keep identity of the involved people, animals, and organizations. ¬†but¬†I may never foster via that group again; I will, however, still help and volunteer because of what their primary goals are. ¬†there’s a difference between fostering feral cats, and housing a yowling monster.

that’s not to say Contact isn’t kind. ¬†she purchased us a new super-large litter box with Zero, provided a ton of dry and food wet and of cat litter for The Cat, and even gave me a Starbucks giftcard as thanks. ¬†but I think their system of fostering just doesn’t sync with me.

just a check-in

I’m noticing certain attributes and quirks about myself return as I’m continuing to not be on the Seroquel. ¬†not all good, but whatever. ¬†my therapist is suggesting that it’s not an incoming of a hypomania, but may be just getting back to “myself”. ¬†I don’t feel like I have a “myself” — I am whatever the disease makes me.

she wants to work on how critical I am of myself.  we both understand a lot of it is connected to my relationship with and the my upbringing by my parents.  we both understand that this is going to be a difficult journey.  she thinks good will come of it; I think it may not make a difference.

I described to her how my brain was broken, and one such broken part was my self-critical nature. ¬†I didn’t go into it, but another broken part is how I won’t let myself be happy. ¬†I’m not even sure I want to be happy, because I’m not sure I deserve it. ¬†of course all of this ties together. ¬†but the overly self-judgmental portion is going to be the first focus. ¬†we’ll see how that goes.

 

work is okay, I guess. ¬†I’m still seeming to not do things correctly, and I’m still not fluent in Spanish. ¬†so of course I believe that I’m still failing at this job. ¬†everytime I take a step of initiative, it backfires. ¬†and everytime I think I’ve really got something down, I’m informed of how inaccurately I did it. ¬†it’s getting old; it’s exhausting and discouraging.

and the attorneys aren’t cruel or rude about it or anything. ¬†I mean, every so often I’ll be told something in what I think is an necessarily forceful manner, but that doesn’t really get to me. ¬†it’s the general suckiness of myself that gets to me.

as I was telling one of my besties, there seems to be an issue of miscommunication between me and another attorney (the head honcho, of course). ¬†I don’t struggle with any other staff members, just her. ¬†and I don’t know if they have issues with her too or not; and I’m not inquiring.

 

Wrestlemania was this past weekend.  if I get around to it, I may fangirl about it a little on here.  because OMG UNDERTAKER RETIRED AND THE HARDYZ ARE BACK.  what is happening in my life.  but more on that later, maybe.

 

I’m volunteering a lot again. ¬†that’s kinda nice. ¬†give me a fake sense of purpose, lol. ¬†I volunteer one to two Saturdays a month with a pet food shelf; I’m trying to get onto the local nerd convention staff; I’m on my apartment complex’s volunteer team; and I’m about to be on the volunteer staff for the Minneapolis Bike Coalition. ¬†so yeah, I should be keeping busy soon.

 

the weather is finally turning nice. ¬†there’s a sun more times than not, and I’m down to wearing just my jean jacket over my work clothes, instead of seventeen different layers of fluff and puff.

 

okay, this is a long entry. ¬†I’ll end it now. ¬†write again soon.