“Stanley Gets Your Lunch.”

posable figure with antiquated black rotary phone

I’ve been catching up on HBO’s Silicon Valley.  It’s so funny it hurts (in a fab way.)  It takes me a while to watch an episode because I have to pause to get my breathing back under control.  (I don’t want to miss any dialogue because I fell over giggling.)  Also, I’m reading Always Look on the Bright Side of Life:  A Sortabiography, by Eric Idle.  (It feels like stating it’s hilarious is a Captain Obvious joke waiting to happen.)  Yep.  The Depression Monster is curled up in the fetal position in the corner.  (Lay by your bowl, bitch.) 🙃

I had to break up with (Amazon’s) Alexa, recently.  She woke me up by flashing an orange ring on my Echo device, indicating I had a message (even though I didn’t set up messaging on purpose.)  It was to inquire whether or not I’d like to reorder an item I just ordered.  And then she had a horrible accident involving a fall.  I’m delighted to report she didn’t survive.  Are you kidding me?  So anyway, I got this new speaker that looks a little bit like an Echo, except it can never wake me up and make me kill it.

Between that and several unfortunate quantity-over-quality decisions regarding their electronics, I’m done buying Amazon’s devices unless they create something at least as fresh as the Wii, and built as solidly as the original XBOX.  And doesn’t shit on my boundaries.  Good luck.  (I was set to purchase the new Echo, but they pushed back the release date just long enough for me to not want it anymore hate it.  Thanks, universe.)  It looks like Siri wins by default.  Heh.  (Just kidding, I built my own and was only using Alexa to play sleep sounds.)

microphone

I got my Vitamin D supplements from Ora Organic (via The Friend Zone.)  I’ve been taking it for a few days now.  I had no idea a deficiency can contribute to depression in those with higher melanin.  It can also lead to bone density problems in those with low melanin.  I like that it’s plant-based rather than sheep’s wool.  I haven’t had any digestive issues with it, so yay.  They’re having a sale right now.  (Captian Obvious strikes again.) I also got the pre/probiotic.  I already like Ora Organic enough to pay a little more (for knowing it’s not a fly-by-night third-party seller on Amazon pushing who knows what in unregulated capsules.)

I’m stunned by how disabling it is to be unable to speak on the telephone.  Probably because I used to be able to do it.  I thought since it’s practically 2020, I could use existing tech to compensate.  (I forgot it required someone else to use it, too.)  So I’m going to practice recording myself talking.  I’ll store some common phrases so I can play them over the phone if necessary.  I don’t mind having excessively long conversations (in the uncanny inflection valley) to set appointments since it doesn’t cause involuntary projectile hurling.  (Because evidently email is too new or hard or something.) 🙄

Kid Fury put me on to Mott’s fruit-flavored snacks.  He just mentioned them on The Read, and I heard, try them.  They’re amazing.  It’s my new favorite candy, as I’m not silly enough to believe the fruit and vegetable claims on the box (but am enough to chuckle at the audacity.)  I skipped the holiday gathering this year due to the weather.  I suck at driving, so I didn’t attempt to do it after it snowed the day before.  You’re welcome, people traveling nearby.  I’m off to create a beat for the car alarm going off so long I decided to sample it for a song.  😆💜✌🏽

“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.

Conference Room, five minutes.

computer workstation

So, the Fall lasted a week.  The Littlest Blizzard* is melting, and it’s warmed up to 39 F.  I wasn’t ready for winter.  I think everyone has Seasonal Affective Disorder, (making its status as a disorder questionable.)  They make up shit to sell more drugs.

Conditioning advert:  Are the cold, dark, dreary days making you depressed?

Everyone alive:  Duh!

CA:  You need more drugs.

I’ve been busy setting up my apartment in preparation for the inevitable depression hibernation season.  I’m better at recognizing the earliest signs of depression seeping in.  Irritability over silly shit?  Check.  Also, my body is continuously sliding back into survival mode for no apparent reason.  (I’m more conscious of my physical self these days.)  I have (full length) mirrored closet doors in my apartment.  I glance at myself sometimes, and I look like I’m making random gang signs while walking on an uneven surface after someone poured ice down my back.  Fat-the-whuck?

The worst part is, I strongly suspect I’ve been walking around like this for years.  It feels too natural to be a once in a while thing.  Why does my body think I’m a west coast gang member cringe-walking during an earthquake?  Do I do this in public?  I’m going with no because nobody has said anything.  I mean.  If I saw someone walking like that in Sioux Falls, would I say something?  Damn.  (I’m probably on YouTube against my will.)  Sigh.  I’m going to add music to my relaxation routine.  I’ll play F.U.B.U., by Solange, while I breathe in my Embodiment Oil.  And use the massager to force my body to stop (doing shit that can get me killed in California.)

Gaming station
(Sorry for the crappy photos without a flash or turning on a lamp.)

Hopefully, it’ll take this time.  Maybe I should watch the screen saver on my AppleTV 4k, too.  May as well hit all the senses while I’m at it.  With the latest update, the screen saver got a lot better.  (I’m still debating whether it’s live footage shot at a low frame rate or CGI.)  Either way, I enjoy it.  I pause The Office whenever I get up to do something, which is every few minutes.  I should add hyperactivity to my list of warning signs.  And insomnia.  (You wouldn’t believe the shit I thought up to worry about last night.  Alien related.)

I’ve set up all my abandoned monitors and HDTVs as computer workstations or console gaming stations.  (I don’t have Craigslist energy.) Between gaming, TV, and synthesizers, I don’t anticipate needing the heat much.  Last week kicked my ass.  My apartment complex was doing winter preparations, such as having the carpets cleaned in the common areas of all the buildings.  Unfortunately, this meant the insanely loud droning of the carpet cleaner truck for 3-5 hours every morning starting at 8.

It was inescapable.  My noise-canceling headphones didn’t help much.  On top of that, the driveway leading to underground parking was under construction.  At first, they said to remove our cars by Wednesday morning if we wanted to use them during construction.  Then we got an email on Tuesday morning, informing us we had an hour to move them, or too bad.  I was in the shower, preparing for my dental appointment.  When I emerged and saw the email, time was up.  And the droning of the carpet cleaning truck was still wailing and echoing off the other buildings.

Gaming station 2

I managed to text a friend before melting, but barely.  (The power of a friend acknowledging your situation sucks ass is surprisingly helpful in coping.)  Just as I was beginning to visualize strangling the (innocently by-standing) carpet cleaner, the droning ceased.  I messaged the dental clinic to let them know I was trapped.  Then I committed to winning surviving this epic battle against berating myself for missing the appointment again.  Sigh.  I lost a leg in an ambush this morning, but it’ll grow back.  (Mental limbs heal faster with/post-therapy.)

I’m leaning heavily on comedians at this time.  The Office is streaming now.  I watched The Read Late Night on Fuse (via app) three times so far.  My face hurt from laughing.  (The sign-off had me on the floor.)  I love everything about it.  I listened to Dana Carvey on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast.  Dana Carvey and Conan are now, The Comedians Who Made Me Pull an Abdominal Muscle From Laughing.  (It just occurred to me my comedy titles might not be as flattering as intended.)

I wrote the names of all the comedians who have made me belly laugh on my whiteboard.  I keep adding more while gangsta-crawking (it’s a word now) past.  Each name evokes happy memories from different periods of my life.  I still remember the awe at being allowed to watch a rated R movie (The Jerk) and understanding the humor.  I used to randomly call my sister, Heather, and say, I was born a poor black chile, then hang up to the sound of her laughing.  We scream-laughed when we first heard Steve Martin say it.

I haven’t been able to read much of late because I’m too hyper, and my mind won’t cooperate.  It alarms me as reading is fundamental.  Heh.  I’m going to switch to audiobooks and see if it helps.  Oofda, it’s going to be a long winter.  At least I have everything I can control tilted in my favor.  I’m going to get through this winter without being the Depression Monsters bitch.  I got this.  I’m off to watch Deon Cole’s Cole Hearted on Netflix.  (I love him.)  ✌🏽💜

 

*Thanks, Narcoleptic Aspie.

“It’s just noise coming out of an ugly scientist.”

sisters

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, Heather, of late.  The anniversary of her passing was in July.  She died the day before her 35th birthday.  She was coming to Sioux Falls to celebrate with me the following day.  I have no idea where I am in the grief process in her regard.  I miss her.

I still ask myself, would it make 7-year-old Heather cry?  If yes, don’t say it.  (A gift from my mom.)  I’ve since changed it to, don’t think it.  (I’m a notorious thought telegrapher.)  My desire to be kind is far stronger than my desire to be funny.  They used to compete.  🤭

When we were little, we had an unspoken alliance as the only black people in our family at the time.  As the older sister, I assumed the role of Heathers’ protector.  If a child hit her on the playground, I would see red and lose it.  As I got older and recognized Heather deliberately antagonized kids to see my response, I learned to relax and assess before attacking.

knight in armor

As a kid, part of me thought Heather was an asshole for doing this, but mostly, I was impressed because it worked.  As an adult, a psychiatrist prompted me to wonder why she behaved this way.  It was the first time I ever looked at it with adult eyes and perspective.  (It also distracted me for a bit when I most needed it.)

I wasn’t affectionate as a child.  Heather needed to know I loved her unconditionally.  So she tested me.  She did this well into adulthood.  I don’t remember ever saying it, (may have screamed it), but I showed her on her terms.  I think my inner warrior originated to protect my little sister.  I’m doing the groundwork (courage mustering) before letting go of that compartmentalization of my mind.

I can laugh about the time I almost went AWOL to (in my head) murder a piece of shit for beating her up.  It would be more efficient for me to surrender at the nearest police station than go through the motions of committing a crime.

Cop:  Did you do this?

Me:  (Long pause while I consciously, agonizingly, make the neurological connections necessary to speak.) Nod.  (Long pause while I debate whether I said it out loud or not.)  Yes.

It’s just not logistically feasible for me to attempt deception.  I mean.  I think there’s a 72-hour time limit to answer questions or something.  I’d need way more time, internet access, improv training, etc.  Just give me the damn jumpsuit.  (In Minority Report, I’d get suspended for murderous thoughts over horrible men who hurt my little sister.)

volcano

Fortunately for that guy, my military training prevailed.  Also, I’ve never managed to hold on to that level of rage for more than an hour, tops.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally.  I firmly believed the punishment for making Heather cry was beheading for about an hour, though.  Then I wept because I knew I couldn’t do that.

It was the last time Heather messed with horrible men.  Our relationship changed a lot after that.  We grew closer.  Listening to me weep over the phone from another country and repeatedly apologize for not being able to avenge her, even though I was a soldier, affected us both in ways I can’t explain.

Perhaps we both grew up a little.  We were honest about our feelings with each other after that.  We talked for hours about our childhood, and how we felt.  It’s when I first understood why Heather changed abruptly as a child.  When she first encountered racism, she was never the same.  She went from being called, Smiley, to an angry little girl who only acted out around me.

monarch

I noticed.  For a large part of my childhood, I hated Heather on some level, because I was the only person who was safe for her to express how she felt.  I’m just now fully grasping this.  The former resentment is now retro-honor.  I’m so glad I was a safe person for my little sister.  She needed me.  🙃

The day Heather graduated from high school, she moved out of state.  The day.  Everything she owned (and everything I didn’t take with me to the Army) was loaded up and ready to go immediately following the party.  (She relocated to the hood in a city large enough to have one.)

I moved out at 16, but only a few blocks away to my brothers’ house.  I couldn’t live with Heather anymore.  I wasn’t equipped to witness (or survive) her transformation from angry little girl to angry teenager.  (I remember crying a lot.)  She knew just what to say to reduce me to tears.  (Not like it’s hard to make a teenager cry; it’s mean.)

I left for basic training before Heather fully got in touch with her anger.  No shame in stating I’m glad.  My mom was an incredible person.  Somehow, their relationship strengthened during that time.  She certainly got over her fear of what the neighbors might think.  (Teenage Heather aimed at that little weakness.)  🤭

sisters

In some ways, I’m glad I was too busy trying to exist in a physically and socially hostile (to me) world to grok subtle racism.  Most of it flew by me unnoticed.  However, I also deliberately surrounded myself with more diversity as soon as I was old enough.  (I think this used to be a symptom of growing up in Sioux Falls in general.  It’s way better now than when I was a kid.)

I think Heather was the big sister when it came to coping with racism.  She was also the little sister; in that, she acted out her rage toward me because she was a child, and that’s how they express hard feelings.  I’m so glad I got to be Heather’s sister.  It was one of my most cherished relationships.

I’m glad I told her how much she hurt me when I was a child, and she listened and apologized.  She told me things I said that hurt her as well, and how those scars affected her choices.  I apologized, and we cried and forgave.  Then she asked me for a hug, and I presume I tensed up because she quickly retracted the request.

Sigh.  And that’s okay because it was my body speaking for me.  Hugging isn’t mandatory.  It’s just one of many ways to express affection.  I didn’t like allowing people to touch my body for most of my life outside of sexual relationships.  I now know it’s because I wasn’t in my body, and that made it a repulsive notion.

My cat forced me to get over this issue.  Weird.  A kid would have done it, too.  I’m just rambling at this point.  Heh.  I’m off to play Warcraft.  ✌💜