The good… the bad… and, well, there really isn’t an ugly…

I had a meeting today with the agency that’s helping me move and they had my move in date!!! I’m going to be moving on February 5th, nineteen more days! Which is great but I have so much left to do. I didn’t think I’d be moving so soon. I’m sure panic will get me through the next few weeks.

My main concern, once I found out my moving date, was Colin. He’d been assured that he’d have a place by the end of January but nothing more was said and his next appointment with the agency is the end of January. So I called the cheerful, optimistic lady who’s been assuring us everything’s fine and got told that they had until the end of February to move him and, if they didn’t find a place, they’d “try” to get him a storage unit and would place him in a homeless shelter. So a good chunk of this afternoon was spent looking at rooms for rent. He’s already messaged one place and is waiting for a reply.

I got to see pictures of an apartment identical to mine. I’m still worried about my dresser but the kitchen looks great and the bathroom looks amazing. The only downside is the side of the tub is lower so it’s easier to get in, which means no baths. This would be a huge disappointment for Colin because he loves baths but I’m not fond of them and have maybe one or two a year. I’d much rather have a shower.

Well I’m off to work on my holiday bins. I know that I don’t use as many decorations as there are in my bins so there’s plenty to donate or pitch. The storage room looks like something out of a horror movie so wish me luck!

When is a joke not funny?

I got kicked out of a group I liked because I literally could not understand how a Dad joke was racist against the Indigenous people of North America. The joke doesn’t even mention Indigenous people. If you want to help me understand feel free to break out the crayons and colouring paper because I really don’t understand and you’re likely going to have to bring it down to kindergarten level. Conversely, if you don’t see the racism, especially if you’re Indigenous, please let me know this as well. Here’s the joke:

nonbinary joke

I’d seen this joke in Asexual Aces earlier that day, where it was liked, and thought it was a pretty typical “Dad Joke”. I even shared it myself. Then I saw it in A Group For Only Cute Queer People and that’s where the shit hit the fan.

Almost immediately there were posters demanding it get removed due to the racist content. I had no idea what they were talking about. It was explained that prospectors killed Indigenous people so any joke that mentions prospectors is racist. I could not grasp that and still can’t. Does that mean talking about settlers/colonizers is racist as well? Are my friends being racist for joking about the Oregon Trail? Is mentioning my family’s background racist (they didn’t kill the local Natives)?

Chances are it’s probably the autism that’s sticking here. I tend to see things in black and white. But I do honestly want an answer. Feel free to put your answer below or, if you came here from Facebook, on my Facebook page.

Thank you!

Edited to add: Apparently it’s not just me. I had quite a few people comment on Facebook that it wasn’t racist at all and that’s with me promising I didn’t mind people disagreeing with me. Not a single person said it was racist.

I went through a year with a move with no date…

livingroom2Now we’re getting to the deadline. At least I’m assuming we’re getting there. Neither Colin or I have an actual date yet. He’s got someone coming in to help sort and pack next week. I’ve got my own two hands and panic to help me through mine.

One nice thing is I’ve got pictures showing me what my living room and kitchen will look like (I’d love to see the bedroom). And I’ve got a layout that gives me a good idea too. I’m still worried about where everything will go but I’ve worked out most of my furniture and am confident I can fit almost everything in, except maybe my electric stove, which is tiny but my room will be a tight squeeze for most furniture.

kitchen1

The hard hat is not included

I’ve been peering at the kitchen photo, trying to figure out where I’ll put things. The cutlery is easy. As for the rest, I’m thinking it’ll be easier to plan once I’ve moved in and start organizing.

My apartment is going to be great once it’s done. All new appliances… all new everything. Laminate flooring and a lot of kitchen space. The counter’s a bit smaller than what we have here but it has three outlets, which will be a help.

There’s three ways this move is anxiety inducing. The main one is simply not having a move in date. I can’t organize the movers, change my address via Canada Post and the government, or request elevator time with no move in date.

The next is comfort. This here is my home and my room is my sanctuary. I have a lot of new pretty things for my new room but will it feel like my room? Where am I going to go to feel safe? I had an anxiety attack the first time I thought of this and it still makes me uneasy.

The final is socialization. Right now I have friends who live in the building behind mine. I can get there in two minutes. We sing karaoke about once a week and chat on Facebook between times. I also was going to two groups a week, which was great. I’d meet friends on the bus there and there was always something interesting going on. I mentioned groups to one of the support workers whose going to the new building and got told, “Oh groups! Maybe we could throw something together”. That does not make me feel comfortable. Hopefully I can meet people around the building.

Time keeps moving me closer and closer to the date, even if I have no idea when said date will occur. So now I will head down to my storage locker to organize my holiday decorations (I have so many bins) and decide what I need and what can be donated. Hopefully I’ll have an actual date before I post again.

New Year… same me…

New Year same meI saw the meme on the left and it really spoke to me. I’m so tired of making goals to lose weight. It’s a never ending goal. I weighed 170lbs and was in a size medium and it still wasn’t good enough. This year I’m focussing on changing things to make life better and easier for me.

I’m joining a gym, not to lose weight but to keep flexibility and sleep better. It’s one of the healthiest choices I can make.

I’m eating better because I want to stay healthy. Diabetes runs in my family and I’d like to skip that. Plus I really don’t think junk food is going to help my depression. That being said, I have no problems with making easy food. I routinely buy boil in a bag rice and chana masala. That’ll be dinner tonight. Two minutes and a piping hot, healthy meal. My depression and anxiety makes eating healthy a challenge but I’m going to do my best to make quick, healthy meals to nourish my body and soul.

And I’m not going to push myself to the point of an anxiety attack. I don’t have to take out the recycling now, it can wait until tomorrow. Same with the dishes. And the world won’t come to a crashing halt if I sit in my swing chair for a half hour to unwind. It also won’t stop because I took a nap, and if that nap ensures I can function for the next few hours, all the better.

We live in a no pain, no gain society. Work hard… no harder! Train hard… where are your six pack abs? Diet to a size zero. We ask whether someone’s on keto or counting their macros but never how they’re doing mentally or emotionally. Where we are is not good enough when there’s someone else doing better. And we’re rapidly burning ourselves out in a futile attempt at being perfect.

None of us are going to make it to perfect. We all have flaws. As Leonard Cohen writes:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

So do what you can… do what you must… but don’t forget about you. The only person you’re going to be with for your whole life is you and don’t you think she deserves a little respect?

me-on-new-years-day

Me taking a walk on New Year’s Day

Saying goodbye to a decade…

Kathleen and Kait 2009It was 2009. I had a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Both seemed so old then and so young in retrospect. That New Year’s we went to my parents’ house for a family celebration that including a bonfire and cousins running everywhere.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I find that how things are now feel like forever, as if nothing’s going to change. And yet it does. Sometimes glacially slow and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Colin and I moved into what was my dream apartment (complete with pool) and he finished high school after many years of turmoil, mostly involving pronouns, his stims, and his love of math. Kait started dating her boyfriend and eventually had a baby with him. Kittens were adopted and adult cats grew older. The kittens did too but they’re still young. The adults are getting elderly.

I went to a friends’ apartment today and we were talking about the next decade and how old we’d be when 2030 rolled around. Sixty seems so far away but it’s coming closer in increments. Most of our time was spent chatting about happier things, stuffing our faces with food, and singing karaoke but sixty tugged at my brain. I’ve never pictured anything past 2020 so sixty is a novel concept and a not entirely welcome one. I can barely wrap myself around turning fifty.

I mentioned a few of my goals in an earlier post. Things like exercise three times a week and try to make friends. I want to get back into writing. I miss writing. I miss having a brain with an attention span too. I will definitely have to write in shorter chunks. And I need to make at least one friend. I don’t know how. I’m good at chatting with strangers but don’t know how to bridge the gap between chatty neighbour and friend. And I want to get back into cooking. Colin keeps putting stuff on the kitchen counter, which makes it difficult to prepare food. He has a lot of stuff, none of which belong there.

It is going to be so odd moving into an apartment just for me. I have never, in almost 50 years, lived totally on my own. Will I still be there on New Year’s Eve 2029? Who will be with me? Oh my goodness, my tiny toddling grandson is going to be in late elementary school! Our lives are going to change so much.

I’ve already had my New Year’s Eve celebration so I’m going to curl up in my swing chair and read a Patricia Briggs novel. Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Kathleen, Allison, and Sean

Myself, Allison, and Sean about to sing karaoke

Pas de deux…

These days I’m caught up in a dance I don’t want and don’t like. Both dance partners, anxiety and agoraphobia, hold me tight in their arms, making me feel like I’m being torn in two.

Last night I put on quiet music and turned the volume down until it was just background noise. I got my chamomile, rose, and white tea pillow spray and misted my pillow. The bathroom nightlight was on, which meant my room was dark but not too dark, and I read a chapter of a previously read book while ensconced in my swing chair.

The kittens were snuggled at the foot of my bed and stayed there while I made myself comfortable.  Then I closed my eyes and panic hit. It clenched my heart and sent my thoughts into an unreadable whirlwind. It was horrible and terrifying and I just wanted to die so it would stop. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even cry.

I knew what I needed to do. I started with my breathing. This was remarkably similar to taking a toddler’s plastic bucket and scooping the water back to stop the tide. Then I grabbed my bottle of Ativan and took one tablet. The time it took between making that decision and getting the pill was probably only a matter of minutes. It felt like hours. The Ativan makes such a huge difference but it’s addictive so I try to keep from using it as much as possible.

I wonder sometimes if people think I’m faking because I manage to get out and do things but, at the same time, have my meds set for delivery (for example). They don’t realize that some days I can go out to a couple of nearby stores and other days I can’t go out at all. Plus, if I know I have to go out to the drug store every week to pick up my meds, I’m more likely to be anxious about it and unable to go out at all. And just because I can make it through a handful of stores doesn’t mean I’m fine. I’m just as likely to go home and make a beeline for my swing chair, unable to do anything else that night. Cereal for dinner and a 7:30pm bedtime. Even the cereal is a struggle.

I went out to Marshalls today and Superstore. I managed the buses and crowds and even made small talk with the cashiers. And I remembered almost everything I needed (except for the green onions). I’ve also eaten nothing but Kettle Brand Dill Pickle Chips and Bixby & Co Crunchy Peanut Butter and Maine Sea Salt Bites today. A chickpea salad with canned chickpeas and cherry tomatoes for lunch was too much. Dinner’s set to be microwave in a bag curry and rice. I’ve used all my energy today. It’s not just managing all the minutiae, it’s managing it all while controlling anxiety and agoraphobia. Meanwhile depression is still kicking around but anxiety’s been stomping it into the ground. It mostly manifests itself as inertia.

I need to get off the computer.

Fifteen minutes later…

I really need to get off this computer.

I believe this is called executive dysfunction and it shows up in my meal prep and, well, everything. Have you ever needed to use the toilet and had to give yourself a pep talk to go?

I’m simultaneously looking forward to my move and outright terrified. Right now, even on my worst days, I can say, “You’re going to Metro for milk. Can you pick me up a bag of English muffins too?” I’ll be alone when I move. Organizing my groceries around meal planning is great if I knew that I could make curry for dinner on Tuesday. That would be a definite maybe. So I wing it and sometimes even winging it is too hard. So I eat Froot Loops or potato chips and hope that tomorrow will be better.

It’s 4pm this afternoon and I’ve only got 4 thousand steps today. Maybe I’ll go downstairs to the gym after dinner. I’m hoping that extra walking will help keep me from another night like last night. Who knows?

Googles exercise and sleep quality

Apparently John Hopkins University knows and a half hour of exercise can be beneficial. So I’ll be on the treadmill tonight hoping to stave of an anxiety attack like last night. I see my psychiatrist on January 20th and hopefully he’ll have more advice for me too. Until then I’ll be doing whatever I can to keep myself calm and in control of my surroundings.

Five years ago…

Five years ago a lovely young woman walked in front of a truck. She felt hopeless… without a future or an accepting family. Her name was Leelah Alcorn, something her family couldn’t accept even after death.

Don’t just love your children, accept them for who they are. It can be one hell of a ride but they’re taking that ride regardless of whether you’re with them or not and it’ll be easier on them if you’re with them.

Leelah will never have her chance but there are countless Leelah’s out there if you listen. Please support the kids (and the adults for that matter). Let them know you stand with them. Give them a chance to live. Leelah asked for this world to be fixed. Support will go a long way. And if you want to read my original post from 2014 you can find it here.

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