24 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 24

I can't believe I'm in the home stretch now! Only one week of these prompts left, and then I'll be writing a lot more loosely, and about a lot more random stuff (which is totally my usual style, so that's fun).

What's something you wish someone would say to you? In this case, it's not that I want just anyone to say this - it's that I'm looking for it from one particular person, but don't feel like I will ever get it.

I want to feel like this person is proud of me - really, genuinely, honestly proud of me. I want them to tell me that they're proud that I've made it mostly on my own for so long. I want them to acknowledge the fact that they've helped others a lot more than they've helped me, and that when I was practically begging for help, and they didn't help me, that they should have.

I'm not trying to imply that I never received a helping hand along the way - because I have. But I've also had to fight pretty hard to get to a place of peace where I am now, while other people in the situation have been able to sit back and be given handouts. I don't want or need the handouts - I just sort of want the acknowledgment that there's been an unfair distribution of help and support. 

23 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 23

What does your support system look like? How can you make it stronger? Why does this one hit me so hard? I feel like I'm not even sure what my support system looks like. I mean, my friends at work keep me from going crazy most of the time (I mean, I usually go crazy anyway, and they're just there kind of egging on my craziness, and telling me why my craziness is valid at any given point). My boyfriend offers help and support when I really need it. And I do have a handful of friends who are there when I need them - but by text or call or Facebook message. It really is tough to realize that your core group of friends are all between 3 and 5 hours driving distance away from you. Really tough.

A lot of times, I actually feel like I have to deal with everything on my own. There's not really anyone around who understands the whole big picture of my anxiety, my depression, and that little bit of crazy in there. No one has been around long enough to remember who I was before all of this. No one has been around long enough to remember the pre-broken version of me, or what I was like before it felt like all of the pieces had fallen apart and been strewn about.

I guess what bothers me is that the people I think should be my biggest supporters are hardly even there for me. It's taken me a long time to try to deal with that - and I guess from the way I'm walking about it, I never really dealt with it, since it still bothers me. I find myself often jealous of people who have these big, loving, supportive groups around them, while I sit here never sure who to turn to when I really need someone. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. I realize, though, that I need to just sort of suck it up and get over it. It takes the credit away from those who really are there for me. It takes away from those few people who do stick around when the going gets tough. Those who have stuck around really are amazing...

22 March 2018

Product Review - Go Pet Club cat condo

I've been looking for a long time - since before Christmas, I believe - for a nice, sturdy, fairly large cat condo/tree for the cats. Of course, pre-Christmas, it was just Harlow and Stella, and they ended up getting a really small one from Santa Claus. With the addition of three more kitties (I'm crazy, am I right?!) in the last couple of months, I knew we had to upgrade soon!

I'd been reading reviews on Amazon for a while, going back and forth about what I thought would be best. Plus, I knew I didn't necessarily want something in the living room, but since I was creating a nice little sanctuary space for myself in one of the spare rooms, I could throw a cat condo in there with me.

Once I started getting my room/office/sanctuary set up how I liked it, I finally settled on this enormous beast of a product. Reviews were good, plus I had gotten a 10% off coupon offer emailed to me - score!

It took close to a week to arrive, but did arrive on the day that Amazon had promised it would. It only took the boyfriend and I about thirty minutes to assemble - to be fair, he and I are both pretty versed in assembling flat-pack furniture from places like Wal-Mart and IKEA, and I've put together a cat condo before for my last crew of cats. It's surprisingly well put together for what I paid, and I'm impressed with how roomy the condo parts are for our average-sized cats. I actually was able to get both orange boys into one condo, and they both fit.

The product is a beast. The top pole makes it expand up to 106 inches tall. We were able to adjust it to have it against the ceiling in a spot that was ideal for our needs. You could theoretically leave that top post off - you'd just need an extra bolt for that part of the top of the condo. Structurally, this thing is nice and sound. I was afraid we'd have to end up doing some maneuvering to anchor it to the wall, but once it was together, I realized that wouldn't be an issue at all (the only time I could foresee it not being sturdy enough is if someone was using it for several large cats - my five are all of average size, so this is ideal for us - and could fit bigger cats - but if you had three fifteen pound cats scaling this thing all day long, you might want to look into some anchoring options, perhaps.

As soon as it was assembled, the cats were interested. Stella immediately picked out her spot in the lowest condo, and the boys went and claimed some higher spots. Harlow hasn't been as interested that I've seen - though once I brought her into the room and showed her, she hung out on the condo for a while - and Gabby pretty much hides all of the time, so asking her opinion at this point wouldn't really be fair.

When I bought it, the condo was $89.99, minus the 10% coupon they offered me, and for me and my crew, it was worth every penny! Plenty of room for all five of my little fluffy loves to hang out, snooze and play - without having to be right on top of one another. We're giving it a ranking of five paws up!

The only complaint I have is that the dogs are jealous that the cats got such a cool new toy, and they're wondering where their fun new toy is.

Check it out here on Amazon: Go Pet Club Huge Cat Tree.

31 Days of Self Love - Day 22

What things make you feel bad, but you find yourself doing them anyway? I was originally going to say "going to work..." as kind of a joke, but I realized that since my anxiety calmed down, that isn't even true.

It's going to sound crazy, but "having a lazy day." The old me was full of lazy days, which inevitably would make my depression worse. The less I do, the less I feel good about myself or my life, the more anxious I would become, and the more depressed I would get. The difference is, the old me didn't know how to snap out of it. Now, when I tell myself that I deserve a day to hang out, be lazy, do nothing, I find myself completely regretting it by about noon. The truth is, the harder I push myself, the better I feel about myself. Now, that doesn't mean I need to push myself to run all over the place and change the world - but I do genuinely feel better when I accomplish something during the day these days. I spent my Saturday off this past weekend cleaning the house. I scrubbed toilets, swept and mopped floors, vacuumed, did so many loads of laundry - and I felt amazing. I felt so good, in fact, that when the boyfriend got home at night, I was ready to keep going and get more accomplished. Can we clean this? Can you help me move this? I would have happily gone into the basement and rearranged clutter. I would have pulled all of the cardboard from the burn pile and shoveled a path outside to the burn pile - I had that much energy, just because I didn't rest during the day. Yesterday? I napped. And I felt like a pile of garbage by the time evening rolled around. 

It's funny - sometimes I feel like I deserve a rest, but they only serve to make me feel worse. Perhaps I just need a rest from the outside world - from people, from other peoples' problems, from trying to save the world. Perhaps my rest days just need to involve cleaning the house, never sitting down, and making my home a better place.

21 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 21

What's something you're working on believe that you deserve? Wow, these questions are getting deep -at least to the girl who's never really thought she deserved much of anything...

Really, I guess that's just it - I'm working on believing that I deserve anything. I've never thought I was good enough for good things to happen to me. Now, don't get me wrong - my life hasn't been this horrible mess or anything. It's been fairly normal I guess, with a generous sprinkling of really hard times thrown in for good measure - my mom dying when I was sixteen, being raped (and subsequently losing a lot of friends, who just didn't understand - and neither did I - how to deal with who I had become afterwards), having to live in a hotel for a while (because people aren't as kind as they pretend to be, if I'm being entirely honest). I've dealt with evictions, job loss, being at my breaking point and not knowing how to not fall completely apart. I've dealt with depression and anxiety, and spent days on end curled on my couch, barely surviving, wondering if I should just put myself out of my misery. To be fair, in hindsight a lot of my problems were mental - and had I realized that in my twenties, and learned how to cope with depression, things probably would have been so much better for me.

So now, I'm here in my mid-thirties, in a home that I love - and don't live in fear of losing - with pets that make my life happy and hectic and wonderful, and a boyfriend who is probably a lot more kind and forgiving to me than I deserve. I have a job that I actually look forward to going to (despite it being with the same company that screwed me over before). I have friends at work who make the days so much more fun, and friends who've been around for a while who mostly live at a distance, who I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like, but they're genuine and they're real and they're wonderful. And I really sit here wondering how I got so lucky, and why I deserve to have so much good in my life. I sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something bad to happen, for someone to swoop in and take it all away. I'm working on believing that I deserve these things - or at the very least, that I'm worthy of having these things.

20 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 20

How can you give yourself a break today? Between a day of work that is generally fairly physical (nothing crazy - just a good bit of lifting, and constantly being on the move from one end of the store to the other) and hopefully a trip to the gym for some much-needed treadmill time, I have no real intention of taking it easy physically today. I've gotten better, though, and don't push myself as hard as I once did (a pulled back is not a fun time, if you wondered).

Mentally, though? This. This is my break. Taking time to sit down, write out my thoughts, work on pages of the blog, think of ideas for what I want to do once my thirty-one days of self love prompts draw to a close. It might not sound like a break, but this is my sweet escape. This is my quiet time, my way to just spend time with myself with no distractions (aside right now from the sound of two of the kittens play-chasing each other up and down the hallway outside of my room). My Spotify playlist is quietly playing as I type - Shooter Jennings' "4th of July" making my crave a road trip and hours of music and scenery. This is my sweet mental break.

19 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 19

How are you making the world a better place? Well, way to put me on the spot, 31 day challenge!

I really think I'm making the world a slightly better person by being compassionate - to both people and animals - who have nothing and no one. More than once, I've opened up my home to friends who just needed a chance to try to get their lives figured out while saving money. I try to do things for people that I wish had been done for me when I was at my lowest. I know what it's like to have nowhere to go, to have to sleep in a seedy motel for a few weeks, to not be sure if I was going to be able to eat that night. I've been there, and I hate to think that anyone else that I know should ever be in a situation, especially when I'm at a point that I'm okay.

My biggest impact on my small piece of the world will probably be the way I have rescued and cared for feline leukemia positive cats. I have rescued a total of ten at this point, and it's something that I'm really proud of, and sometimes I don't think that I give myself credit. It isn't until my boyfriend smiles and tells me what a big heart I have as I cry over the ones I couldn't save, and as I tend to my eternally-sick Stella right now (two to three times a day of having to medicate her, clean her face, shave the mats from her fur that are caused by her not being able to properly groom). I have such a huge place in my heart for animals that are in need - the voiceless and the sick. My impact will be small on this world, but for the cats I've saved, I'm hoping that it will be enough.

18 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 18

You know, I never actually look at these questions until I am ready to sit down and type them out. In hindsight, I probably should have written them out on paper, taken notes before I sat in front of the computer, maybe acted halfway organized.

But I think anyone who knows me knows that that isn't my style. Wing it. That's me. Always winging it. I wake up early, take my Thrive (aka my lifesaving magical potion) and settle down at the computer, fairly excited to see what new things this exercise will push me to think about. I'm actually kind of glad that I wing it... it works for me. With that...

What's one change you can make to increase your happiness? It's funny - I've already worked on so many of these things, without anticipating that I would ever sit down and try to write about improving my life. Now, I'm not saying that my life is perfect - it's far from it - but the last several months, I've really been working on me, my happiness, and becoming a better person.

Going forward, I'd like to work on voicing concerns and issues I have, rather than bottling them up so much. I always spend so much time trying to make sure that everyone else is happy and comfortable (not a bad attribute, I'd say), that I let things build up and bother me a lot. Then, when I do finally let them out, it's like an emotional explosion, and everyone is so confused about where it came from. Last summer, I had anxiety/panic attacks on a regular basis. I hadn't yet figured out how to master my anxiety (it still gets the better of me more often than I care to admit), and on a weekly basis, I'd be in full panic mode - usually complete with tears and screaming, and occasionally I'd just completely shut down for a bit. The newer me has worked through a lot of that, but I hope to do so even more.

17 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 17

When was the last time you indulged yourself and how? It's funny - this question really depends on what they mean by "indulged yourself." I don't often do pampering type things for myself, which is kind of how I read this first... so I'll take it just to mean the last time I did something for myself to make me happy...

About two weeks ago, I saw someone had posted an ad on a local Facebook yard sale group selling off her enormous collection of yarn. I treated myself to one hundred skeins of yarn (at a dollar a piece, it really was a steal!).

The thing is, in the last year especially I've become the type of person who questions nearly everything before I commit to making a purchase (I mean, to the point that I went back and forth for ten minutes over spending six dollars on a Funko Pop I really wanted). I've moved so much in the past, and tried to sell things off, or given them away, or worse - just thrown things away that were perfectly good, because they weren't worth enough to justify renting a moving truck to move them. I can't justify buying a lot of silly things or trinkets - even if I want them. I even have my boyfriend analyzing whether he really wants things at this point (to the point that I feel bad, and try to encourage him to treat himself, even if it's something silly, if he really wants it and he's at a point that his bills are caught up and such). So, for me to buy a ton of yarn (oh, the projects I have in my mind!) without putting a ton of thought into it (okay, I thought about it for like thirty minutes) was a huge deal.

Next thing I plan to do to indulge myself? Why, a vacation of course. My "vacations" are generally planned around Thom & Coley shows, and with them deciding to go off the road for a while, I feel like it's especially important that I knock out another show this year before that happens... I somehow can't justify spending $50 for a local concert where I'll have nosebleed seats... but dropping $700 between gas, hotels, tickets? One hundred percent justifiable for them. Hoping to hit their Panama City, Florida show at the end of April. Why? Because TREAT YO'SELF.

16 March 2018

31 Days of Self Love - Day 16

What is the most loving thing you've ever done for yourself? It's crazy that this feels almost selfish, but the most loving thing I've ever done for myself was to start actually putting myself first.

Now, I really still am one of the most giving, helpful people I know. If someone is down on their luck, I am the first one there to help them out, with food or money or a place to crash for a while. And really, I think I'll always be that person. But I also got to a point where I realized that all I was doing was things that would benefit others, and nothing that would benefit me. I was tired, I was broken. I realized after a very long time that you can't pour from an empty cup.

It's sort of ironic, I think, that the person who made me really see the need for self-care was a person who's also been through a lot, and who also seemed pretty broken. A friend had gone through some serious mental health stuff, and was pretty bad off (thankfully she seems so much better these days, but I know it's still a constant struggle for her), and I knew that it was going to get to that point for me if I didn't take a deep breath, back off, and take some time for myself. Truly, taking care of me was the most loving thing I could ever do for myself.