In fact, she said looks aren’t even that important to her.

I’m slowly recovering from my recent excessive traveling.  I’m at a point now where I recognize the difference between how I was feeling when I first got home versus today.  I distinctly recall feeling like it would take months for me to recover enough to travel again.  And at the time, I thought it was a conservative estimate.  Today, I agreed to return to Denver on Saturday.  I didn’t immediately agree.  There was a lot of breaking things down into small bits, and re-examining the challenge, before I got there.  The overall result is that my anxiety is lower now.  That’s always a good thing.

There will be structure to my time, as usual.  I always try and knock out a few goals while I’m there.  I figure when I’m already that far outside of my comfort zone, throwing in an interview or hair appointment on top is a good strategy.  My anxiety level can only go so high, as far as I’m aware.  So far in my life, the highest point is a full blown panic attack, resulting in my laying on the ground like a puddle of goo, hyperventilating, crying, and either wishing very hard that nobody would approach me, or thanking the universe that nobody approached me.  It sucks very much, but it’s never killed me.  So when I know I’m going to spend the weekend with my anxiety level just under the panic attack stage, I add 1 or 2 things that would normally have the same effect individually.

I guess my logic is that if I’m going to do something that makes me feel like shit, I may as well do as many as I can manage in short succession.  The odds are too near even on whether or not I end up having a panic attack either way.  Might as well do as many panic inducing things as I can manage, since the rest of that day will be spent in isolation beneath a weighted blanket, regardless.  I still jump in the pool all at once, rather than lowering myself in slowly while adjusting to the temperature.  I realize my logic is flimsy, but that’s part of why I like it.  It’s like Logic is being a smart ass, and that’s a personality trait that I find particularly delightful.

The water was cold and the chewing warms me up.

I’m having an anxious day so far.  I got up way too early again.  It was my fault this time.  I got out my carryon suitcase to pack last night, and my cat immediately climbed in.  Apparently she’s decided that this time, she’s coming with me.  Eventually, I had to move her so I could pack.  She wasn’t happy about it, and got her revenge at 4:27 AM.  She’s probably on a different schedule now, because of my feeding her so early yesterday.  I took my time getting up to feed her.  I stripped my bed, then fed her.  She acted like she was starving, even though there is food in her bowl.  She eats directly in the middle of the bowl, leaving food around the edges of the bowl, then acts like it’s empty.  It’s adorable.

As much as I hate being awakened too early, she always makes me laugh.  The longer I have her, the better we are at understanding each other.  It’s hard to believe she was timid when I first got her.  I set out water bowls in strategic places, (where I’m not likely to trip).  She walks around the apartment and inspects each water bowl, then climbs on the bathroom counter for me to turn the water on.  I can’t blame her for wanting it as fresh as possible, but when I got her a fountain, she used it to store her toys.  I have no idea what that meant, so I don’t bother with it now.  I leave the faucet on a trickle when I go out of town, and when I return, all her bowls of water are much lower than when I left.  It’s not long enough for it to have evaporated, so I figure she’s just weird.

At least she doesn’t stay in front of the door for most of the time I’m gone anymore.  There would be a fur nest making it obvious she spent a lot of time there.  I hope not calling for me.  My neighbors haven’t said anything, so probably not.  Even if I could take her with me, I wouldn’t.  I’ll be busy shopping for furniture.  I always get nervous before travelling by myself.  Then I go, and it’s fine, and I wonder what I was so uptight about.  I’m going swimming since it’s 80° F already.  That should distract me.

Denver bound

I’m off to Denver today. Yay!! I’m excited to go this time.  My anxiety is a little high, but not more than I can handle.  I didn’t sleep well again.  More Trump nightmares.  Sigh.  It’s just so hard to reconcile the fact that it’s 2016, and so many are still ignorant and full of hatred.  I’m trying not to think about the fact that the 2 leading candidates are racists.  I’m not feeling terribly proud to be an American.  For the next few days, I’m going to have fun, and try to forget about the ugliness.  At least I’ll get some sleep.  Hopefully nightmare free.

The show is about nothing!

It’s 68 F here today.  It’s perfect.  Light breeze, sunny, low humidity.  I’ve been doing my chores while watching a Fixer Upper marathon on HGTV.  My sleep issues are bad enough now that I’m going to seriously put forth effort to eliminate them, starting tonight.  The only thing that’s really lacking from my sleep routine is closing my bedroom door with my cat on the outside.  She has several prime nap spots throughout my apartment, so she’ll adjust.  It’ll probably be harder on me than her.  If she cries, then I’ll let her in.  But other than crying, she’s kicked out from now on.  Sleep is just too necessary for my overall wellbeing.  I suspect that I’ll be less scatter-brained once I start sleeping regularly.

I have a pretty regular routine that’s otherwise working for me.  I think if I am asleep by 11PM and get up at 6AM, I’ll spend less time on obsessive behaviors that are overkill.  Such as when I wander about my apartment with a Swiffer duster, and dust everything.  It would be fine if I only did that once a day.  Or less.  But my mind disengages from the task to think about other things as I aimlessly dust.  It’s a step up from pacing, but not by much.  I do have allergies, so that’s probably good.  I think I might be craving mindfulness.  I didn’t see that coming.  Being efficient is important to me, so eliminating wasted time matters.  I did a 10 day forecast for Denver on a few sites, and one predicts light snow on Thursday and Friday.  While I love snow, it’s been so warm of late that I was planning to pack lightly and not bring a coat.  I think I’ll compromise and bring a hoodie.  I have my doubts about it snowing.  Probably because it’s so warm right now.

When I was changing my linens, my cat helped.  She was running around on my mattress while I was putting on the fitted sheet, and she went beneath it.  I put on 3 corners and then watched her chase my hand under the sheet.  It was so funny because she’s so vocal, and she was squeaking.  When she found her way out, I finished making my bed and she lay on my quilt and it looked so much like she was smiling.  I melted.  My cute little Purrminator.  She’s asleep on her tower of bad quilts right now, snoring.  My nephew is coming to visit, which is ridic considering I’m going there Friday, but I don’t mind.  He’ll be flying with me this time.  I can fly by myself easily, but he had something to do in Minneapolis, so he wanted to hang out and go with me.  He’s been working on some plans for my bed.  It’s going to be queen sized.  I prefer to feel enclosed when I sleep, so he’s doing a padded headboard that wraps around the sides a bit.  Then the footboard will also wrap around a bit, but will connect to the headboard above in a rounded arch.  It’ll all be upholstered in leather.  He said to imagine 2 Chesterfield sofas facing each other with a bed in the middle, and the backs of each sofa connecting in an arch above.

I can sort of visualize this.  I’ll probably float it in the middle of the room so that I can put my head at either end.  He’ll make a miniature version for my cat.  I’m leaning toward a cream colored leather with charcoal stitching.  The walls will be a light, pale pink.  I have to pick a rug and lamps.  I’m going to do a mural on the ceiling.  Surreal clouds.  Then I’ll choose a comfy reading chair and that’ll be it for my bedroom.  My closet was originally going to feature a swing in the middle.  That’s been scrapped, and instead I’m getting built ins for shoes, dressers, a bench, and big mirror.  I have an obscene number of t-shirts that I’ll be purging before I move.  But I use a flip-n-fold, and store them in baskets by color, so I’ll have cubbies for that.  Then drawers and hanging space.  He rendered it for me in 3D, so I have a good visual of how it’ll look.  I have to decide if I want to use wallpaper, paint, or leave exposed concrete and wood.

My floors are polished concrete in a light grey color.  I chose a high gloss.  I’m sure it will all come together later this summer.  My half bath has been finished for a while, and it’s bold and geeky-graphic.  I love it so much.  The toilet and pedestal sink are black, and there is black subway tile.  The ceiling is high gloss magenta.  It looks awesome.  The chandelier is cool, too. The mirror is oversized, and sculptural.  I have to find some hand towels for it, and am leaning toward getting black and white striped.  It’s Graphic-Geek-Whimsical in full effect.  It’s the first room I ever designed.  Here is the mural and similar products to get an idea:

halfbath

The toilet and sink are the same high gloss black as the subway tile, and the floor is the same polished concrete as the rest of my place.  It’s the boldest room by far, but I haven’t done my playroom yet.  I’ll be getting in touch with my inner geeky, artistic collector in that room.  But for now, I only have to focus on paint colors and kitchen cabinets.  It’s nice having builders in the family.

Disability Day of Mourning

Today is Disability Day of Mourning.  There were lots of posts on Twitter.  There was a list of disabled people who were murdered by family members by date, name, and cause of death.  I skimmed the list to see if the little girl who lived across the street was on it.  She wasn’t.  Her name was Rachel, and she was 9.  Her mom took her into their basement and shot her, then herself with a shotgun.  Rachel was Autistic.  My sister, Heather, was her babysitter.  Naturally, the whole neighborhood was shocked.  Murder is not an acceptable way to cope with disability.  There are no excuses.  Nobody has the right to steal someone’s life.  Especially not that of a child.

Even when I was serving in the Army, I firmly believed that killing someone is wrong.  I didn’t claim conscientious objector status, because it wasn’t an issue for me.  There was only one incident in which a weapon was fired intending to hit me.  That weapon was practically a relic, and it’s shooter was only 15.  Of course I didn’t return fire.  I told on him, and he got smacked by his grandfather.  I got an Article 15, but it was just company grade, and not my first.  That Iraqi boy’s life was totally worth 14 days of extra duty and restriction.  Other than that, I was what is commonly referred to as a “chairborne ranger”.  I spent the majority of my military career in various schools.  I enjoyed it.  My motivation came from finding out that in the event of chemical or biological warfare, the first person required to remove their protective mask and gear was the person least mission essential.

I didn’t want to be that person, so I made sure I had crucial skills.  I eventually became the NBC NCO (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Noncommissioned officer).  That alone pretty much guaranteed it wouldn’t be me.  The often denied chemical and biological agents used in Desert Stormy by Saddam Hussein caused a lot of people to get sick, and some passed it on to family members.  It’s only recently been acknowledged by the VA.  They tried to pull a Vietnam/Agent Orange again.  Fuckers.  It takes 10-20 years for the VA to overcome denial.  Unfortunately for Vietnam veterans, it’s apparently a recurring condition, as they’re dumping programs for them left and right of late.  Fuckers.

I don’t regret my service, though.  I learned some crucial lessons.  I learned that maintaining American freedom is not the reason we’ve participated in wars since WWII.  That’s just the lie that gets suckers like me to volunteer.  It works well when you couple it with the bullshit they teach in public schools.  I was 17 when I shipped out for basic training.  I was a young, naive 17-year-old with an extremely sheltered childhood and undiagnosed Autism.  I bought into the whole “protecting my country’s freedoms” line.  This is an embarrassing admission in hindsight, but I joined the Army because I wanted to be a soldier so I could help prevent war.  My high school debate training left me thinking that I was good at stating my case, and convincing others to adopt my views.  Shut up.

So it was an eye opening experience, but one I needed.  I literally grew up in the Army.  It was so painful to accept the fact that America isn’t the best country ever.  That we have a bloody, horrific past, just like pretty much all other nations.  That as a nation, America is a teenager who hasn’t yet figured out where she fits in on the world stage, and has shitty boundaries.  I’m sure plenty of other people had this figured out by age 17, but I didn’t.  It was like finding out there’s no such thing as Santa Claus all over again.  I remember watching CNN, and being floored by the fact that they were lying their asses off.  I had assumed if it was on the news, it was true.  Shut up.  So yeah, I had to grow up.

I also learned how to embrace and love hard, demanding physical labor.  The feeling of being completely exhausted, and barely able to walk after a hard day of work is so good.  I learned that my capabilities are far greater than I ever imagined.  I learned how to cope with incredible fear.  I shake, cry, hyperventilate, and emit strange moaning sounds when I’m extremely afraid, and I can still function despite it.  The first time I experienced this was when we had to throw 2 live (REAL) grenades over a wall in basic training.  We stood inside a bunker with a thick plexiglass window to observe those who went before us.  Every time, we’d duck for cover when the shrapnel flew at us and embedded in the plexiglass.  It was loud, it smelled badly, and I was terrified.  I was in the middle of the line, and when it was my turn and I was handed 2 live grenades to put in my LBE pouches, my legs were like Jello.

I walked so carefully and slowly, trying to make sure I didn’t trip.  It was a short distance to where my Drill SGT waited by the wall.  We were told to throw them like a shotput, not a baseball.  All we had to do was pull the pin, and project the grenade over the top of a wall that was probably around 10′ high.  It was a very simple process.  However, our Drill SGTS told us the horror stories of the Private who threw the pin and kept the grenade.  When I finally made it to the designated spot, I pulled out the first one, pulled it’s pin, and threw it as hard as I could.  It probably went about 2 feet beyond the wall.  Then my Drill SGT grabbed me and shoved me down against the wall, and lay over me.  This was standard procedure.  I got back up, and started crying.  I asked if it was okay if I just threw the one.  It was not okay.  So I threw the other one pretty much exactly like the first one, bawling my head off the whole time.

Another important lesson I learned in the Army was how to let go.  How to let go of people, stuff, and places.  I had friends who got orders to move to other countries.  I literally lost everything I owned when moving back to America from Germany.  I lived in Texas, Maryland, D.C., Virginia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.  I went on field problems in 29 Palms, California, and Yuma in AZ.  I went to basic in South Carolina.  Suffice to say, I’ll never be a hoarder.  I don’t allow myself to get overly attached to objects.  There are other important things I learned from my Army experience, but these are the ones that remain helpful.  There.  I’ve managed to refocus in order to prevent my grief over the murders of so many innocent disabled people from crushing me.

Off to NYC

I thought my tooth socket got infected, but I had it checked, and it’s just sore while it heals.  I’m relieved, as I’ve followed the instructions.  I rearranged furniture in my lounge, and now It flows much better.  No more broken toes between now and moving time.  I’m flying soon.  Our airport has good wifi.  It’s faster than I get at home at this time.  I guess it’s a perk of having such a small airport.  I slept well last night.  Leaving a window cracked, and then piling blankets on top of my weighted blanket was nice.  I woke up when I got too hot, fed my cat, and then crawled back in bed for another few hours.  I did a lot of work on a new project over the weekend, so I don’t have much to do while visiting my sister.

The time difference messes me up a little, but it’ll be nice when I return.  I got some Skittles and Mt. Dew for a snack on the plane.  I’d better go get ready to board.

A ramble

Today I should totally go to the airport and pick up my car.  It’s supposed to be done snowing for now.  I’m not looking forward to it.  But I need to get food.  And run some errands.  The streets should be plowed by now.  My cat is back to her normal self.  I lost my wallet.  I’m pretty sure I left it in the taxi.  Fortunately, none of my cards were in it, as I put them in a shielded case.  It was a Tokidoki wallet that I probably can’t replace since they’re limited and sell out quickly.  I’m not too upset about it.  It could have been a much worse scenario.

I haven’t felt well for the last day or so.  I’m not surprised when I recall the number of people coughing on the plane home.  When I did my run this morning, I used the treadmill in the main gym.  I was the only one there.  I think it’s funny that for a few weeks following new years, a bunch of people will start using the gyms with good intentions of making it a new lifestyle.  But after a few weeks, it’ll be back to the usual people.  I don’t know when exercising became optional.

I didn’t sleep well last night because I had bizarre dreams.  I only remember that they were strange.  I’ll be glad when the holidays are over so I can get back to work on an game I’m almost finished with.  I’m waiting on the illustrator for now.  Then on to adding voices.  I have beta testers lined up as well.  It should come together nicely.  I have to work out a marketing plan too.  Right after I find out what a marketing plan entails.  That’s as far as I can look ahead without getting overwhelmed.

Dang, I think I’m getting a cold.  I’ve sneezed about 10 times since my run.  I ended up taking my macbook pro instead of my gaming laptop.  Once I got it loaded into the backpack with my mouse and the power cable, the backpack was too heavy.  I’m glad I went with my R2D2 carryon and a smaller backpack.  The wheels came in handy, and a lot of people complimented it.  I still feel a little bit unsettled from my routine being altered while I traveled.

I’m looking forward to moving in a way.  I should say I’m looking forward to being settled in my new home, and comfortable in my new routine.  My anxiety has creeped back.  I’m trying not to be hyper aware of it.  Just knowing there’s a way to take a rest from it helps.  Once I finish my errands, I’m going to set up my new guitar.  I need to order a strap for it.  I’m excited to start playing it.  Seeing Marie Osmond on a nutrisystem commercial now.  She must have had work done.  She was never this hot when she did her show with Donny.  She looks great.  Hollywood is like the real Twilight Zone.  A microcosm of vanity.  It baffles me on so many levels.  I’m off to shower.

PTSD Sucks

Anxiety is kicking my ass.  I’m trying to ignore it because I know it’s from pre-trip jitters.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  I got 2 hours, but after my cat stepped on me to change positions, I awoke and spent a good hour imagining all the things that could go wrong tomorrow.  It’s semi-productive in that I brainstorm ideas to cope with potential disasters.  But it also makes my anxiety skyrocket, and if I entertain it for too long, I’ll chicken out and stay home.  I’ll be bringing my Apple Watch, even though I rarely remember I have it.  It has a feature that makes it vibrate briefly to remind you to stand up if you’re seated for too long.  It annoyed me at first, but now I see that it might be the best feature for me to avoid getting too focused.

I’ll be sure to set some alarms on it while waiting for my return flight.  The 1 hour early rule for security is a bother.  I worry I’ll get too absorbed in a game and lose track of time.  When I was half asleep, this was a potential disaster.  Now that I’m awake, I recognize the fact that it wouldn’t be a big deal.  I could just purchase another ticket and go home later or the next day.  Probably the next day, as there aren’t  a lot of non-stop flights between here and Denver.  If this happens, I’ll go back to the hotel and get a room, run on the treadmill until the pending meltdown goes away, and then carry on like it’s not a life and death situation regardless of my fight or flight kicking in.

That’s probably the worst part of PTSD.  Having minor situations turn into fight or flight physiologically when it’s not at all a reasonable reaction.  A sudden loud noise.  Someone bumping into me.  No reason I can decipher.  It sucks.  It feels like I’m about to be pushed off the top of a skyscraper, and I can’t do anything to prevent it.  This is not how a person should feel when someone coughs loudly.  It makes you want to curl into a ball and cry.  I’m past telling myself I should be “over it” by now.  I’ve accepted that this is life for me.  I do what I can to avoid situations I know will cause this reaction.  But I also know it will still happen sometimes, and that even though it feels like I’m dying, I’m not.  It’s just my body being out of sync with reality to due to trauma that my mind couldn’t process in real time.

When I break it down like that, it makes it less overwhelming.  I’m tired and wired, but that’s okay.  I’ve mastered functioning with sleep deprivation and anxiety.  Yes, I rock in public like I’m listening to hip hop on steroids.  Yes, I walk around like I’m trying to physically escape anxiety.  It makes me feel like I have some control.  So I do what I have to do to be okay, and am okay because of it.  Fair trade.  The occasional person asking me if I’m lost, or need help finding a bathroom, are people who probably recognize that I’m autistic and alone, and just want to help.  They don’t know that their attempted assistance makes it many times more anxious for me, and mean well.  Headphones help with that.

Yesterday, when I was at the county clerks office to re-register as a Democrat, some asshole sitting across from me in the waiting area started rocking with me and laughing.  I flipped him off.  I was so not amused.  He’s probably a Trump chump, who figured it’s funny to make fun of other people who are different, because their chosen idol behaves this way, and gets lots of attention for it.   And *I’m* the one considered socially awkward.  Go figure.