Trust is a choice.

Trust is a choice. I don’t believe that people have to earn your trust, I believe that you have to choose to trust them. Sure, trust can be irrevocably broken, of course, but in those instances the choice is still yours. You choose that you can no longer trust this person and move on, accordingly.

Choosing to trust is fucking hard, though. It requires an uncomfortable amount of vulnerability and faith in another human being, two things I struggle immensely with. Choosing to trust is acknowledging what we can’t control. We can’t control the actions of others. We can’t control the choices that anyone else makes.  It’s a lot easier to look through the lenses of suspicion because if we’re hurt while wearing these dark glasses, at least the sting isn’t accompanied by a blindside.

The truth is, people lie all the time (the irony of this sentence wasn’t intended, but I like it). We tell white lies to spare feelings, we tell “small” lies to avoid minor, annoying repurcussions, we tell bigger lies when we’re afraid of an outcome. We lie to our parents, our partners, our friends. Those who say they don’t lie are the biggest liars of all. The thing is, when we are confronted with a known lie, this is the time the trust choice comes into play. We must ask ourselves, is this fracture in the trust facade something I can smooth over and move on from? Do the cons of the betrayal outweigh the pros of continuing to trust?

On Magical Thinking

Let’s talk about magical thinking for a minute. This is actually a saying I was only partially familiar with until quite recently, and now I can’t stop using it.

Magical thinking, in my own words, is the belief that our thoughts can change the outcome of a situation, for better or worse. I do this. A LOT. Only, when I do it, I only believe in the “for worse”.

“The Secret” (that weird and, in my opinion, totally bullshit cultural phenomenon from the mid-2000’s) basically claimed that magical thinking was a real, life improving possibility and that you just have to put those positive vibes out there. Want a better career? Put it out there into the universe. Want to cure your cancer? Just will it to happen.  Full disclosure, I didn’t read “The Secret,” but I have discussed this ridiculous notion with my therapist on several occasions. Not so ironically, my therapist, Dr. C, actually reported a spike in patients around this time, because so many people actually became afraid of their own thoughts. People worried that if they “accidentally” had a negative thought they would destroy chances of good occurring in their lives. They also wondered why said “good” things weren’t happening, what with all the positive vibes they were putting out there. Spoiler alert: not only does this not positively or negatively affect things happening for you, but you can actually control many things with good ol’ fashioned hard work.  I mean, it all sounds crazy, right? Right. Buuuuuuuuuut, I can’t stop obsessing about it.

You see, my magical thinking consists mainly of me worrying that everything I want, that I can’t control, is, in fact, being controlled by my worrying thoughts. For example, I am ready and very much wanting to get pregnant. Beyond, getting it on at approximately the right time each month, this is not exactly something that I can control. I know that, you know that, anyone with a brain and some basic knowledge of biology knows that. HOWEVER, I can’t help feeling overwhelmingly concerned that my wanting it too badly, combined with my personality’s natural pessimism is preventing this from happening for me.

How many times have you heard – regarding any number of situations – ‘it’ll happen when you stop trying’, or ‘looking for it’, or ‘when you’re least expecting it’? I bet lots. And lots. AND LOTS. This is all contributing to the magical thinking epidemic. I have almost simultaneously been told this exact thing and also to put positive thoughts out there and it will happen. So which is it?? Do I put the thoughts out or do I stop trying?? Do I go about my life and try to forget about it and it will come, or do I put it on my vision board?? (DISCLAIMER: I do NOT have a vision board).  The part of my brain that has some level of logic knows that neither is true. I should continue to do everything in my power (have, above mentioned, unprotected sex at above mentioned times; stay as healthy as I can be) and the rest is out of my control. Logical brain doesn’t tend to help illogical brain too much, though. You’d think they would work together, but alas, they do not.

Okay, I thought this entry was done, but then I just had the thought, “I think maybe I’m pregnant” which was immediately followed by crippling fear that if I was, I have undoubtedly just ruined it. So, now you know the depths of my issues with magical thinking. And let’s be honest, mine is a black magic.

On Anxiety, Amirite?

Anxiety is a bitch. Seriously. Like the mean girl in the cafeteria who convinces everyone not to let you sit with them for no apparent reason at all, but even though you know you didn’t do anything to deserve this, you still wrack your brain trying to figure out what you did wrong, because it much be something.

I wrack my brain daily. More than daily. Hourly. As soon as that chest tightening feeling starts to occur and my breath feels a bit more shallow than normal, the brain goes into overdrive trying to figure out what I did to mean Ms. Anxiety.  Sometimes I think of concrete possibilities, “did I turn off my hair straightener this morning? Surely, I would know by now if my house has burned down…should I have said that slightly off-colour joke the other day? Have I gravely offended someone past the point of repair?” Yes. This is all one fluid thought, and I experience something to this affect several times each day.  The problem is, Ms. Anxiety is actually me, so it’s not just a simple matter of cutting her out of my life and moving on. I’m the one metaphorically convincing everyone to shun me.

What all of this means, is that I am treating myself the way that mean bitch in high school would have treated me. The old cliche is to treat people the way you would like to be treated, but I wouldn’t inflict on my worst enemy what I do to myself. Furthermore, I would probably have more compassion for my worst enemy than I do to myself. I beat myself up, then I beat myself for beating myself up. It’s a cycle, it’s vicious and I’m trying my damndest to break it. Stay tuned.

On procrastination. Part 2

I make a lot of excuses for not starting things. A lot.  My personal favourite is a weird O.C.D. like trait, in which I have to start on a significant date. My birthday. New Year’s Day. The day of my wedding. Since that last one is super unrealistic, the day AFTER my wedding would suffice, but if I wait TWO days then nope. Better wait until my first anniversary.

I think I have always been this way, but I know I have always been a terrible procrastinator and personal projects are the absolute worst. Without a rigid deadline and serious repercussions I won’t do anything. I don’t know why, though. Procrastinating makes sense when it comes to dry school or work-related assignments, but we’re talking about things that I enjoy! That I not only want to do, but feel the need to do! For myself! It’s so stupid.  Anyway, I’m calling it a personal victory that I started today, because not only did I push through my procrastinator’s tendencies, but this day doesn’t mean shit. My birthday was three weeks ago, my anniversary isn’t until March/May (more on that later), New Year’s is still months out, and yet, I just started. Yay, me.  To be totally honest with you, Mr. Nobody, I even had to fight the urge to start tomorrow or Monday, because either starting on a weekend or the first day of a week – any week – seemed more legit to my crazy mind.

The other frustrating aspect of the countless years of procrastinating is that I have so many ideas! I often drive or walk somewhere, alone with my thoughts, unable to mindlessly scroll through Instagram posts for fear of…well, death by vehicle. During these few and far between alone times, I think of so many blog ideas, writing ideas, plots for children’s books, plots for novels, podcast themes, you name it. I am not tooting my own horn, either, I’m sure most of them are garbage, but the point is, I have them and I do nothing.  Okay, I lied back there. It is so ingrained in me to say that I’m worthless (not ingrained by anyone but myself, please don’t go calling adult protective services or anything), that I said my ideas are probably garbage, but I actually don’t think that. In society, we, especially women, I would argue, are taught to be “humble” which is a slippery slope into self-deprecating and I am certainly not an exception to that. I actually think most of my ideas are really good, but I have a hell of a time admitting it (I feel like I want to say more on this later, there’s way more to unpack with this).  Anyway, the point is, I have ideas (good ones) and I’d like to spend a little less time sitting on my ass watching sitcoms and looking at former Bachelor contestants’ social media pages and a little more time trying to build my own presence on this planet.

On Being a Liar

Is that title provocative? It was meant to be, but it isn’t really. I lied in the last/first/not first entry. I said I hadn’t written anything in 12 years, but I set this blog up and  wrote one post a year ago called “The Anxiety Monster,” if you care to, you can read it. You see I planned on deleting it, because I don’t think it’s very good and I think the title is stupid (full disclosure), but in the interest of reminding myself I am most likely just talking to myself, I thought I’d leave it in a brave act of anti-narcissism. Just kidding, not brave, but now, way over thought. The end.

P.S. I just realized I actually have a lot of actual thoughts on being a liar, so stay tuned for those someday.

P.P.S. That day could be tomorrow or 10 years from now, so don’t stay too tuned.

On Procrastination

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I have had a rather extreme case of writer’s block for…oh, just about 12 years now. I kept journals as a teenager, rather religiously, or at least at certain points, religiously. They all seem to drop off at some point or another with a “talk to you tomorrow” and pick up a year or so later. Nevertheless, this is definitely the longest “drop off” at about 12+ years.

One of my problems with writing is the new (okay, not so new) age of the blog. As did everyone else, I’m sure, I always wrote in my journals with the thought that maybe someday someone would read it. Not just my mom or sister, but some famous publisher would find it (in my messy bedside drawer, obviously, makes complete sense) and just HAVE to publish my inner most teenage thoughts. We are all terribly narcissistic at 14, aren’t we? I know I wasn’t alone in this though, thinking that my teenage troubles were somehow unique and fascinating to more people than just myself. The problem today, however, is that if you choose to write a blog, which I have mulled over for nearly a decade, your words are likely to be read. Sure, I could jot down feelings and ideas in a journal, but in many ways, I am still very much that 14 year old narcissist. Don’t get me wrong (yes, I am aware I’m doing it now, talking to an imaginary person, but bear with me, Mr. Nobody), I know that there are millions of blogs falling under the self-indulgent, self-deprecating, self-aggrandizing, self-loathing and any other self-centred genre you can think of. Mine would just be another needle in the world’s largest haystack, but that has still somehow held me back from writing. As if, I want people to read my words, but I also don’t. As if, I know that the likelihood of going viral is approximately zero, which both encourages me to just do it and also discourages me from even bothering.

I am a procrastinator, through and through (and through and through and through), so that has been a huge part of it, but I have also felt myself drawn to writing more and more and more lately. It’s been missing from my life for so long, and yet, it was only recently that I started feeling an undeniable urge to get these thoughts down on paper (metaphorical paper; actual keyboard/computer screen). I’ve started to think in written form which is something I haven’t done in many years and something only a writer could relate to, but if you write, you will know what I mean. And yet, here we are, at 31, writing for basically the first time in over a decade.

We’ll see how this goes.

The Anxiety Monster

I am an anxious person. When I say anxious, I don’t mean the nail chewing, lip biting for a few minutes kind. This is an all-consuming, chest tightening, vomit inducing monster who chooses to take over my bodily functions at the drop of a hat. Seriously. All of my bodily functions. I’ll leave the details up to the imagination.

My anxiety monster rears its ugly head primarily over matters completely out of my control, involving my loved ones. Today, for instance, it was sparked by the news of a bad accident on a highway my fiance may have been driving on. Yes, you read that right. May have. In all honesty, I don’t think he was, and I don’t even believe that the accident even occurred in the direction he was traveling, but just the thought of the slimmest chance of his involvement was enough to send me into a shaky, sweaty tailspin.

You see, if it were up to me and the anxiety monster, I would be the master of all the puppets in my life. I envision myself sitting up in the clouds, wisely navigating my family and friends away from any situation that may harm them.  I knowingly smile as I slow down the car while it approaches the curve in the road. I shake my head with disapproval as I shrink my mom’s tumours –‘ not this time, Cancer, did you forget who was in charge here?’ The fact that with current technology as it is, this seemingly is not possible, has been a great source of frustration and — yep — more anxiety.

Here’s the kicker, while my anxiety monster may try to convince me that this insatiable desire to manipulate the lives of everyone around me is for their own good, it is actually highly damaging to my various relationships.  My fiance ‘G’ bears the brunt of my behaviour (or, that of my anxiety monster) and to say it’s wearing on him would be a gross understatement.  The fact of the matter is all I can control is my own behaviour, around said loved ones. As much as I whine and complain, claiming to myself and anyone else who’ll listen that I have no control over A.M., I do. It’s me, not some predatory alien who has taken my body as his vessel. If I choose to behave in a way that puts my family at ease, rather than help them to create their own mini monsters, perhaps my own stress will slightly diminish. If I choose the alternative, however, I will almost definitely push away the very people I love so desperately, I wish I could keep them safe in a bubble for all time. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty counter-productive to me.

Serious Musings

While I mostly enjoy cheeky banter and witty observations (see my “salty musings”), I have a lot of serious thoughts, as well. I struggle with intense anxiety and I am a chronic worrier of matters large and small alike. This space will be darker than my salty musings, but maybe worth a visit if you feel you can relate.