“It’s like my life is buffering.”

arial photo of road fading into fog

I’m in the middle of an epic struggle with The Depression Monster.  Despite this, I’m still able to hold my head up without too much effort.  I have an arsenal of tools to compensate for this interruption arrayed around me.  I sprayed some aromatherapy essential oil as soon as I awoke.  It smells like citrus with a hint of vanilla in my apartment.  I’m surprised how much it’s helping lift my mood.

I purchased a singing bowl, mallet, and silk cushion set.  It was an impulse buy, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.  I’m stunned by how good it makes me feel.  I didn’t even read the instructions.  I just started dragging the mallet around the outside (in a circle) while holding it on the pillow because it produces a sound that resonates through my whole body.  It’s like tickling my spirit, and it’s always just right.

I also recently got an acupressure mat.  I lay on it when I start to feel like I’m wading through molasses.  At first, using it was a bit startling, but now I could fall asleep on it.  I take off my shirt and place it over the pillow part before laying on it.  Then I take a deep breath and summon my ancestors to surround me and fill me with hope.  The more I use it, the longer I want to remain on it.  I’m up to half an hour each time.  I feel energized afterward.

person surfing a wave

Drumming is another powerful tool when I’m depressed.  It has the same effect as working jigsaw puzzles, writing code, and organizing closets.  It puts my brain back in order (or distracts me until it occurs naturally.)  Only I’m using all of me to do it, to a beat.  🙃 It’s the best midlife skill I’ve picked so far.  I’m also learning synthesizers, which is like building a secret friendship with a unicorn who always has candy.  Both skills are great to save for when you’re 50ish.  You’re welcome.  💜

I’m in a band, but I’m under no pressure to produce anything but my smiling face to practice.  The low-key Loki in me thinks it’s funnier if I train as if I’m going to be great before I die.  So that’s what I’m doing.  If I blow up out of nowhere, you’re in on the joke.  🤭  (Because drummers and synth players who started after their second do-over are notable throughout history, don’t you know.)

Drumming with an acoustic kit is incredibly healing.  The act of deliberately making a lot of noise, alone, is significant.  I was conditioned to be as quiet as possible.  Gross.  Fixing it.  I’ve compared notes and nearly everyone I’ve asked shares this intense need to be silent.  Based on my non-scientific data, you have to be the firstborn son in a religious family with one or more siblings and both parents to feel safe making noise.  Heh.  Drumming defies.

Side note:  I just got an email from Uplift Desk showing a photo of an under desk hammock.  I don’t get it.  My stress level increased from just looking at the picture (warning Will Robinson.)  Is this for at home?  Why don’t you lay on your bed?  Are you sleeping at work?  Am I misunderstanding?  Is this how it starts?

Writing while depressed is messing up my works in progress, but it’s as if the Muse is sending me pity inspiration.  Whatever.  I can chop it out later and save it in the vault.  Someday I’ll use it to write a novel that will make Alaskans and northern Europeans say, damn that’s depressing.  Heh.  I’m off to practice like I’m Beyoncé. ✌🏽💜

“This is emotionally magnificent.”

denver airport mural

I’m in a weird headspace.  I just spent 20 minutes in a massage chair in a very public space.  It was an incredible experience I plan to repeat often.  The massage itself was mediocre, and I didn’t allow my head to rest against the pillow (because I have ridic rules about my hair.) Nevertheless, strangers sitting on either side of me and hundreds of others from all over the planet passing by made it fascinating.

I didn’t feel sensory overload, which is astonishing.  It’s possibly due to being so overwhelmed, it went full circle, and I landed back in my comfort zone.  (Selects save for later.)  I was present while in a crowded space, and it didn’t result in a new distance record for projectile hurling.  Being present in an international airport made it not only simple to navigate, but kind of fun.  I helped someone new to flying to get to their ride after our flight.  We even did chit chat on the train!

I was able to respond out loud when she asked me where I’m from on the first attempt.  (No awkward pause to compile.)  I had a fun conversation with my Lyft driver en route to my hotel.  Here’s a tip:  If you struggle with making small talk, place personal interest identifying stickers on your suitcases.  (My carryon has Steven Universe and Star Wars stickers.)  I had three great chats about the upcoming Star Wars installment with fellow geeks, all of which left me smiling.  Much better than grinding my teeth to suppress anxiety while failing to respond to direct questions out loud, resulting in retroactive mortification.

denver-airport-horse

I traveled to reset my depression and anxiety levels back to manageable.  I intended to do this by using recreational weed in a legal setting.  I just realized I don’t even need the pot to achieve this; the journey was the synergist.  (I see what you did there, dear universe.)  🤭 I’m going to redirect that energy and visit a museum.  (Not something I could do while stoned because I require a buddy-sitter.  Shup.)  🙃

Guitar Hero is out of town for something related to fame.  (He’s not famous to me as I had never heard of him when we met.) It’s more relative than ever these days.  It amuses me how excited I feel about certain people I’ve never met, but others who are well-known are just people to me.  I’m a(n) carbon interest-based life form.  Heh.  (And grammar is still not an interest.)

I’m on a roll with social interaction.  I’m going to think up a challenge and go for it.  Maybe visit a comedy club or something.  If I find a comedy club with a pinball machine, I’ll squee.  I’d also like to talk to some strangers about religion and spirituality, so I’ll probably head back to the airport early.  Funny how a place that used to resemble a hostile environment has morphed into a fun place to pass through.  I’m off to the museum.  ✌🏽💜

p.s. I love Denver; scary, weird art included.

“I’m the valet. You have to give me your car.”

person in bunny suit sitting on a bench

I’ve been reading (audio) books by actors of late.  It started with How to American:  An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, by Jimmy O. Yang.  It was so good I finished in two days.  (I laughed so hard, I don’t recommend listening in public.)  It made me fall in love with America all over again.  If you don’t read it, I feel sorry for you.  Next, I listened to The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, by Jenna Fischer.  I loved it.

I have no plans of becoming an actor, but she mentioned it on the Office Ladies podcast, and it sounded like useful information regardless.  It turned out to be fascinating.  I learned a lot, and it led to thoughts about defining success, how to recognize it, gather it, and how to continue growing despite it.  Since it means something different to each person, I think Jenna Fischer did a brilliant job of conveying her journey in a manner easily translated to alternate paths.

I loved hearing it in her voice, too.  The authors narrate these books, (and when the reader is an actor, it’s excellent.)  I mean.  Duh.  They’re professional storytellers.  Damn.  I just typed the obvious.  I laughed a lot with this book, too.  (I should probably make a rule about listening to podcasts and audiobooks by funny people in public.)  I’m currently more than halfway through reading The Bassoon King:  Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, by Rainn Wilson.

making shadows

I like Rainn Wilson even more than Dwight Schrute.  I saw him on Mom recently playing a therapist.  He was great in that, too.  After reading about how these actors struggled when building their careers, I remember a moment of feeling retro alarmed.  In all three books, they emphasized the significance of seeking out opportunities in areas that correspond to your strengths.  I thought back to when I joined the Army, and how I chose my MOS (military occupational specialty.)

Before joining, everyone takes the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.  It’s a tool you can use to help choose your job.  I scored well overall, so I picked a job that would help me improve in the area I scored lowest, not a job that required skills I already possessed.  To me, it was the most obvious thing in the world.  And I just found out it’s probably the opposite of what most would decide.  Whoops.

Fortunately, I got to learn some amazing stuff I had no idea even existed.  I also got to help pioneer a new job opened for women in the Army (my ego still appreciates that bit.)  Unfortunately, I loved the training and theory but felt no passion for the job, which mattered because it led to my getting into shenanigans with tearful consequences out of boredom.  So I went back to training and did it again.

cliche fake nose glasses

The second area entailed nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare training.  (sings, hated it.)  I decided if there’s ever a nuclear explosion, to run toward the flash.  I don’t even want to talk about the other two.  Guess what?  I went back and trained again.  They called me The Educated Soldier at one point because I was continually going on TDY for school.  It did help me figure out I was destined to be a chairborne warrior, though.  Anything with a computer was my eventual specialty.  Heh.

I don’t regret taking the scenic route. Skill-building does lovely things for my self-esteem.  I love being more capable than people expect.  I think one of the coolest things I learned is there are all sorts of ways to be intelligent, and most of them don’t include what they claimed in classrooms as kids.  I met soldiers who could talk to engines the way I talk to computers.  They awed me; (aside from that time, they sent me out to fill all the tires on the tracked vehicles.)  I’m off to continue my book.  💜✌🏽

“I have another complaint for Jim’s permanent file.”

decorative toys and stuffies

I had a fun Halloween.  I dressed up as a sloth and passed out candy very slowly to trick-or-treaters.  I suspect some of the kids didn’t recognize I was role-playing and thought I was just old.  Heh.  (A few got impatient and went to another apartment, then returned when I broke character after noticing it only amused me.)  The kids were loud, excited, and adorable.  I liked having their energy breeze through.

I couldn’t figure out how to take a selfie while masked.  🤪  M invited me to join him at a party, but the theme included the word haunted or horror.  We both started laughing after he asked.  I’ve never been wired to appreciate the thrill of being scared.  Epigenetics, yo.  I’m a wee bit jealous of the people who can participate in such things (without crying.) I have my Blu-rays of Us and Get Out that I won’t be watching, ever. (I bought them to support Jordan Peele.)

I haven’t even watched American Horror Story, and Stevie Nicks is in it. (!!!) (M said that alone proves it’s epigenetics.)  😂  My mind is running all over the place.  I’m officially a Lizzo fan.  I loved her immediately.  I find out about new-to-me artists from my favorite podcasts lately.  My introduction to American Griots, by Louis York, was terrific.  They performed a song on The Friend Zone podcast, and it was ear candy.  I preordered the album immediately after.  (It’s so good!)

neon sign stating, it was all a dream

XD, from Jade and XD, created a unisex fragrance, called, D’Leau.  I ordered some, and in the process, created two scents of my own.  Both M and I are in love with D’Leau.  It’s officially my favorite at this time.  However, the ones I created reek.  (It turns out; I suck at it.) Fortunately, I don’t care because I have D’Leau.  😆  I’ve had two people ask me about it so far (and you know I don’t get out much.)  😂

It’s World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary.  I’ve been playing on and off for eleven years now.  I have no plans of quitting, although I did have an unfortunate incident the other day. I was soloing a dungeon from The Burning Crusade, and some toon assassin appeared from thin air behind me.  It scared the shit out of me, and I nearly had a panic attack.  I took a three-day break, then got right back in there and reran it, this time on the heroic setting.

It still startled me when I triggered the assassin again, but I didn’t panic.  I just stood there and let the bastard try to kill my toon until I got bored, then ended him with nonchalance.  (I’m a level 110 tank, and he was level 80 or something.)  I’m so glad Blizzard allows us to travel back to lower level areas to exact revenge.  I don’t do it often, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis I usually have a blast.  I’m going to upgrade because they’re releasing a new expansion next year.  It’ll probably take me that long to reach level 120.  Heh.  I’m off to play.  💜✌🏽

p.s.  Missy Elliot was on The Read TV show on Fuse!!!

“Did you know your ID says you’re a security threat?”

mural of two human heads

I need to get this out of my head (before I forget.)  Forgive me if what I’m about to share upsets.  I spent years of my life overcoming an irrational fear of men.  (It resulted from being raped by a male soldier while serving in the Army.) It also (weirdly) led to me becoming a super-soldier for a year.  Then reality caught up to me.  I’m still in awe of what I accomplished during that year.  (Even though being a human-robot is often synonymous with being an excellent soldier.) 🤭

Suddenly, all men became predators who would hurt me if I ever let my guard down.  I was too ready to burst into a tornado of violence or flee like the wind at the first hint of danger.  People who typically would have been like brothers made me tremble if they merely noticed me.  I could reason that my feelings were ridic intellectually, but it did not affect my fear.  Worse, I didn’t realize I was physically reacting to the men I encountered as if I was steeling myself for an inevitable attack.  Eventually, I figured out why men kept giving me the stink eye.  They were offended (and rightly so.)

I had to train myself to stop, and it took time.  It was horrible to be terrified of nearly half the world while knowing it was due to the actions of one.  I hate being irrational against my will.  Thank you, dear universe, for gay men (who were immune.)  It helped tremendously to spend time with them and allow myself space to reclaim my sense of safety.  Eventually, I stopped behaving like I was anticipating ambush all the time.  (It was exhausting.)

eerie person running from the light in the woods

Also, thinking that way made me incredibly paranoid.  At one point, I had to pause life and figure out how to stop negotiating the world like a win-or-die game of chess (that only I was playing.)  I even created a crappy video game to encourage myself, instead, to anticipate joy whenever I entered a room or went around a corner.  The graphics were so poor they were funny.  (Parody is a fabulous copyright loophole when creating while depressed.  Especially for people ((like me)) who love comedy but lack the gift.) 🤫

I was seriously worried I was losing my grip on reality, though.  Then I realized I was imagining the worst-case scenario and behaving as if it were the reality (like there was a prize), followed by wondering why I was sofa king anxious.  🤪  Eminem had a positive influence on my reclaiming safety among men.  So did Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter.  From there, I was able to pinpoint what about them was helping me heal.  It turned out to be their willingness to be vulnerable publicly as a man.

The more instances of witnessing men sharing their feelings and perspective, the more I healed.  (Hello, Will Smith obsession.) 🥰  But the man who had the most significant healing effect by far is Chaz Bono.  The documentary, Becoming Chaz, helped me to understand important distinctions between men and women from both perspectives. It helped that it was from a source I valued since childhood (when allowed to watch Sonny and Cher only when their kids were on.)  The information presented in the doc is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  Hopefully, what I learned can help provide a healing shortcut for others who struggle with something similar.  💜✌🏽