A Thought on Change

Sometimes change is scary but still a necessity…

It’s early morning and I find myself awake suddenly, sleep has been fairly elusive for me for as long as I can remember so it’s not a new sensation.  I found myself journaling on paper for the first time in a long time and decided to move some thoughts here as I wind down to go back to my bed and my snuggle pooch.

Uncomfortable Territory

Last night I went to an online community which I used to spend a lot of time with for a meeting (yes recovery related).  It has been a while since I’ve been to one of these meetings and I am incredibly well versed in this particular program thus I was hoping to work through one of the tools that I have been somewhat stuck on the last few days.  I found myself in uncomfortable territory as I knew absolutely nobody in a place where I used to be a fixture, part of me was happy to see so many new people seeking help but another part of me was somewhat depressed to see so many new people needing help.

In any case, I brought up what I was hoping to work on to little effect (my tool was much more advanced and most meetings at this particular site are geared towards early tools).  I sat through a good majority of the meeting but removed myself when I felt things were going south for me, the meeting started to tilt towards other methods used by other programs.  I thought it best to leave the meeting and let them do what they need to do as it was non productive for myself and possibly dangerous to others for me to stay.  I entered the public chat instead to see what other strange changes have happened.

I must bring up that years ago this particular community suffered a problem with a technology provider going south and a large number of us “fixtures” moved on to another platform as a stop-gap measure until things got figured out.  The organization that maintained this online community hit us with a lot of push back over the change taking it as a threat and as such a large rift was formed.  I will say that our stop-gap has become fairly permanent and while small our community is incredibly tight knit.  We have genuine concern for each other and it’s not uncommon for one of us to reach out to another when we suspect they need help.

In the public chat system of the old community I saw very few familiar faces, one of which I was very happy to see as I had not spoken with this person in a very very long time.  We had some very good conversation and we also managed to help guide two newcomers to help within that community.  I didn’t dare bring up our little side group for fear of the push back (banning, etc.) from the old community, I played it fairly straight forward.  While I never did accomplish getting past my “stuck” point in the tool that I am working I felt more emotionally calm and sound having possibly helped others.

I suppose the point of all this is that I was a part of a relatively strong and large community that simply changed, I felt incredibly uncomfortable last night as the old familiar feel of the community was gone.  Perhaps had I gone back sooner when they rebuilt the chat and meeting systems and let myself stay there I might have felt more comfortable with the change as it would have been more gradual.  Fact is, during the flux time of that community I myself was in a horrible flux time.  Fact is, I’m still experiencing a flux time though nowhere near as horrible.

Change, and seeing the results of change can often be incredibly scary.  I take comfort in the thought that both communities are still around at present and that both communities have no quam reaching out to those needing help.  I take pride in my knowledge of the tools and while my lack of using the tools in the past is depressing the thought that I am using the tools actively on a consistent basis currently gives me hope.  Will I once again haunt the pages and meetings of this older community that I was once a fixture in?  I cannot say for sure, at worst I will return now and then I suppose even if it’s just to refresh myself with a more dynamic group as our members are fairly fixed.

 I can take responsibility and utilize my own agency~~

I cannot say I like the changes I see, and in the case of the meetings being geared to early tools I am not a fan of the fact that some changes I feel are necessary have not happened.  The fact is communities like these exist for just that purpose to serve a community not to serve just me.  I can take responsibility and utilize my own agency to reach out to someone directly to help me with my more advanced tools.  I have to remember my goals and my responsibilities, it’s no longer a time to hide regardless of how uncomfortable with change I am.

The world is not going to stop for me, nor should it.  And I should not stop for any discomfort whether incredible or otherwise.  I have been blessed with a very large support system, many times many people have genuine concern for my well being and to ignore this fact any longer is a disservice to those that are there for me, as well as myself.  With that thought I will close and wander back to my bed and my pooch.

Tomorrow we should face whatever changes we need to with strength and understanding.

~J

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Splayed out

So pup has figured it out this is all hers!!  No longer sleeping under the bed she’s become my snuggle buddy!!  With the most amazing blue eyes and The calmest demeanor she’s perfect!!

I volunteer at the shelter and recommend shelter pups and cats there is always a risk.  My Elsa had an abusive family constantly getting kicked and beat so she’s shy.  She will never go through that again never ever!

My neighbors love her and I love her she’s a good pup this morning I will spend some time on heel and stay and of course spoil my girl.  She’s coming out and a wonderful pooch and god those eyes she’s the most amazing eyes!!

A man needs a pooch!

~J

Changes

So now I have purpose…

Elsa, I call her Elise as she responds well to the name, a border collie mix and god can she run!!! This poor pooches spent her entire life in shelters she’s a sweetheart but shy.

She thus far is most comfortable under my bed, I can now say I’ve napped under the bed I think she’s just used to the cages.  I’m hopeful it will change soon it’s only been half a day and she’s already showing improvement.  I can off leash her at the end of a run and she knows what door to go to.

It makes me think though, the last few months have been uncomfortable for me as I’ve been experiencing a lot of change.  And this pup is as well, even if it’s for the best I’m finding change itself a tough deal.

We live in routine and modification scares us often.  Today and next week I will accept the changes given and stand up to my challenges. After all I need to be a good example for my sweet Elsa.

~J

Fast Enough

Some people fear change, in fact I think everyone does to a degree at some point or another.  We like our comfort we like things to just “be” even when things are not exactly ideal.  Sometimes change is necessary to survival and growth, sometimes change causes great waves of negative consequences in either case change is in fact inevitable.  Regardless of whether or not we ourselves invoke it or it comes from external influences change is a fact of life.

My life is in an incredible state of flux currently, with many things that absolutely must change regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable I may be.  The primary question bouncing around the gray matter that I prefer to call a brain is “are things changing fast enough?”.  unfortunately it seems a daily occurrence that I mill about a number of thoughts in my head about regrets and frustrations with who I was and who I have become.  In this moment of my life change is an absolute necessity.

A necessity not just for survival but so that I may atone for many of the wrongs I have done.  I know it is probably best not to do too much in a hurry as I have always had this way of being overly alarmist and reactive.  Often this reactive nature exacerbates whatever problematic situation I am in and this is not a good thing at all.  While a lot of change is necessary for me I need to continually remind myself to step back and not force situations.  So many things are out of my control and it becomes outright scary sometimes.

My attitude teeters between depressed and anxious and sometimes a mix of both almost constantly and very few moments of clarity exist.  Fact is, I’m lonely lately and that makes for long days where I seem to just stew in my thoughts.  Finding things to do to take my mind off of things is not difficult, the difficulty lies in motivating myself to actually do them.  I live in my kitchen rarely seeing any other room of the apartment other than the bathroom and if I’m lucky enough to quiet my thoughts the bedroom for sleep now and then.  I typically only sleep after full exhaustion sets in now and am finding the act of going to bed nothing more than an exercise in futility.  Funny I waste more energy tossing and turning than I would by simply not even attempting to sleep and doing something productive.

Change will come, eventually and I need to welcome it this time as what I am doing now isn’t quite working so well.  I know it doesn’t seem to be a very positive post but I need to think about this subject and work these thoughts out so that I no longer bury them.

~J

 

Digging in, Digging out

Something *had* to give, and finally it did

I blogged a while ago about pulling myself out of a deep depression, sadly it did not last very long and I’ve found myself less than apt to do much.  Life has a way of being hard for everyone not just me and I must accept that.  In fact, it should be stated that I have been extremely blessed in life.  I have an extremely supportive family despite how poorly I have behaved both in the past and recently.  I have food in my belly and a roof over my head.

Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening

Not having motivation to do much is incredibly emotionally painful for those of us who have always maintained an active lifestyle.  Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening.  I found myself avoiding everyone in particular my family.  Something had to give.

 It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case

I used to suffer light depressive periods which are fairly normal for most human beings.  I never really understood a long term debilitating type of depression until now.  Short periods of pulling out and actually accomplishing small tasks such as cooking a meal or sweeping the floor, even smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke inside) become major wins in life.  The frustration seems to feed on itself- depression keeps me from doing things, thinking about the things I haven’t done creates more depression.  It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case.

So I’ve been working here and there as a day laborer, which has paid me just enough to pay for the gas and cheap lunches with little left for living.  Yesterday (Sunday) I was prepping for a good nights sleep as the day labor game requires me to show up at 5:30 AM in the “hopes” of getting work among the 100 other people.  I received a text from a friend of a friend of a friend asking if I would swing by to talk about a job.  A job in a career field I have been in before: hardwood flooring!

This was a small lead I got about a week and a half ago, I used to do gymnasium floor installation about 20 years ago and not only did I enjoy it but I was also quite good at the work.  And so I went and met with the man, I start tomorrow (Tuesday) morning!  Good work, full time, good pay!  I decided that today I was not going to shovel dirt for no money and instead prep lunches for the week and practice a little self care.

For the first time in months I used my camera to take some macro shots of wildflowers, I folded laundry, I vacuumed, organized some things.  I’m in a good mood and am hopeful that this time around I wont slip back again.  Tomorrow morning I go back to a career I truly enjoyed decades ago and I’m incredibly excited.  I am taking today to go through and do a personal inventory of all the ways in which blessings and luck have fallen on me through my life.  No negatives, just the long list of gratitude’s.

And I might even call my mother

~J

Pulling Myself Out Of The Brink

Depression and wasted time go hand in hand, I’ve lost a week and all without taking a drink.

So over the last week a lot has changed, inside and out.  Just the last two days I’ve found myself struggling to force myself to do things, to get up and be a human.  Last Wednesday I went to take an early afternoon nap and found myself living in my bed for days.  I did not sleep much as I still have issues sleeping but I did not move.  I moved just enough to use the restroom and eat now and then.  All I did was lie in bed and consider how much I hated myself.

This obviously was not good, I could blame the overcast clouds or weather but honestly it was my own failure that wasted a week.  I had things that I committed to that I failed to do, this ended up pushing me into a spiral hating myself for hating myself and failing.  Examining this is difficult this evening but I need to avoid going through the same thing again.  The bad news is that it happened, the good news is that through all of it I did not drink!  I locked myself in my apartment and lived in my bed for a week, not good either way.

So yesterday morning I had enough, perhaps its because I had a full nights rest for the first time in months or maybe I was just done.  I went to meet a friend of a friend for work and got a line on a hardwood installation job (I used to install gymnasium flooring) and I am today still patiently awaiting the business owner to return from the rodeo he performed at over the holiday weekend so I can nail some flooring!  I planted seeds, some veggies for our complex out in the yard.  I shredded potatoes for hash browns, swept, mopped, vacuumed, and cleaned.

Then I got a phone call from a friend, his gym was doing an exhibition for a no kill rescue (I forget the name exactly and am waiting for pics and info but I think it was DMK).  I’ve spent years practicing eskrima and they wanted to know if I could do a quick 5-10 minute routine, I did a performance of a Sinawali “Heaven Six” which are the basic 6 movements in stick fighting.  Then of course I entered the ring and proceeded to get my ass beat by a friend all in the name of getting pooches adopted.

The last time I was in a ring was probably 17 years ago, it was interesting and yes I spent today nursing wounds and sore.  My pooch, a boxer named Charlie was adopted that evening!  In fact there were 8 of us doing the exhibition each sponsoring a pooch and all 8 pooches were adopted as of this evening!!  I’ve gotten used to deleting emails as most of it’s noise but today I got one that just made me smile.  Three days ago I was a bedridden emotional mess, today I can say I’m actually somewhat happy.  I’ll try and post our group photo as soon as I can get my hands on it, 8 roughnecks in sparring gear with 8 poochies of all sorts.  (it was all I could do not to bring the blue heeler home).

Tonight I hope to sleep, and tomorrow morning a phone call to see if I can go nail some flooring.  I miss the activity and the work but to walk into a massive room with a concrete floor one day and 3-4 days later to walk out of the same room with a wood floor is an amazing feeling.  I’ve got a lot of calls to make and apologies to give out but I will live, and hopefully never find myself in the proverbial “pit of despair” again.

Adopt a shelter pet!!

~J

A Day Can Change In A Minute!

Do not discriminate against the downtrodden for often they most understand ill fate…..

I haven’t cracked my laptop in weeks, I’ve enjoyed it and I had no plans to blog at all today or for a few days even.  Then today changed, all within well… a minute or so!  I was returning home via the interstate here and on the off ramp to the road that would take me on my way home turning right when I noticed in the first left turn lane (for some reason lefty’s get two righty’s get one… hrmm) there was some young kid stalled out at the end.  Now this may seem to be just a simple bummer but we’re at the peak of rush hour and man it can get brutal.

Then something wonderful happened that changed my view of life and humanity as I have known it the last few days on it’s ass.  There are a few “regular” vagrants living under this bridge, this underpass if you will.  Well, 7 by my count over the last few weeks all the same all the time panhandling and what not.  ALL 7 of them came rushing out and set up, one flagging and the other 6 preparing to push as the light turned green.  The car in the far left lane knowingly hit his hazards so that they could cut in front of him to get to the gas station just a block away.

Not thinking, I cut over and wedged myself in front of the BMW that was trying to cut around, and shielding the car pushers as they managed to get the poor young kid up the street and to the gas station.  The only person not cheering during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home on a Tuesday evening…. the BMW driver who was instead cursing me.  I shrugged, continued to follow the car pushers and turned around to go back home.

often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered

I sacrificed a block, those on the off ramp sacrificed 15 minutes.  The so called “downtrodden vagrants” sacrificed sweat, energy, and a compassion that made my day.  Everyone hooting and hollering and giving thumbs up, it reminded me that yes there is humanity out there.  It reminded me that often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered.  I know several people who have rebuilt and done great things, truth be told that’s where I am at this point in my life.  To see the “lowlife” come quickly to aid while one that is more apt to help attempt to skirt the entire issue putting others lives at risk was polarizing in my mind.

I promised myself if I ever happen into a bit of good luck and enough spare change and the same “Compassionate Seven” are still there, I will march my lucky ass right on up the street and buy each one of them dinner!  What is interesting to think of and what is on my thoughts right now is that events like this happen every day, probably every minute across the globe.  I cant help but realize how blessed I am at this point in my life.

This gives me a great appreciation for experience, a great hope for humanity and assistance, and a great reason to be a better person tomorrow.

So Mr. BMW, you will be forgotten probably by the time I publish this.  To the “Compassionate Seven” I can only hope that my memory of your selflessness lives on throughout my life and actions and may you have touched the lives of all those others cheering out their windows at you as you assisted someone more fortunate.  I spent almost an hour coming up with the top quote for this article but I cannot take credit for it inexplicably belongs to you.

Be a better person regardless of where you are in life, people are changed by the strangest of things!

~J

Letting Go in a Positive Way

There is a difference between memories and physical objects

I love my grandparent’s home, I grew up here I have memories here. My grandfather built me a clubhouse in back, I used to climb a plumb tree and pick gooseberries and raspberries to eat on the spot. I remember my grandmother used to pick me fresh strawberries from the garden when I would stay the night and I would sit and dip them in a bowl of sugar to eat in the evenings before bedtime. I used to use the crawlspace under the stairs as a clubhouse, in fact “no girls allowed” is still scrawled on the little wooden doors. I remember watching Sesame Street on the color TV, one of those giant cabinet deals that must have weighed a thousand pounds!

I know this neighborhood, I listen to Revelry in the morning and taps in the evening from the nearby army base. I can hear the coal trains on distant tracks, I love this home. My grandfather always wanted a champion yard, it’s one of the best in the neighborhood and has been as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I moved in to get a jump start on a new life and tonight I sleep in the same room and the same bed as I did then.

Now word is they signed a year lease on a place in Arizona where they have been wintering the last two years. I think it is best for them, much better for their health as well as mobility as it’s a somewhat assisted living place. So, it’s inevitable the house here will go up for sale sometime in the future. I know they are stressed about telling me even though I already know as they are well aware of my attachment to the home. In all reality yes, I will be sad however this is the best thing for my beloved grandparents and I support that above any brick and mortar “thing”.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of “letting go” lately, today we moved all my belongings out of the home I shared with my wife for over a decade. Today was very emotional and between pondering this post and pacing the house aimlessly I’ve been stress cooking. Cooking has been a solid fall back for me to keep my mind off things, currently I am working on a soup for tomorrow with various beans, fresh veggies, and pan seared pork seasoned with turmeric, garlic, rosemary, and a little bit of Portuguese sausage seasoning. Unfortunately, now I am at an impasse waiting for the beans to soften, boil and soak… boil and soak… repeat.

It’s been an emotional week for me, and I need to remember to keep a positive mindset. My mother is in town and we have done well at mutual support. I also have an excellent support system in place by way of my online community at HipChat, everyone there has been nothing short of a god send for my sanity and most importantly my sobriety. So today I am going to re-frame, my life is in a reconstruction phase (go figure the title of this blog) and I have some flexibility in how I move myself forward. I can focus on the positive and create a better me and that is what I choose to do today.

The house going up for sale? I’ll probably get furniture and *hopefully* kitchen stuff for my new apartment. My grandparents moving out of state permanently? I can always visit, and I know they will have help when they need it from the place they are moving to. Moving all my things? Well, I need to go through them it’s an opportunity to clear out all the junk I’ve been dragging around. I will soon have a place where I can sit and not be bothered, a place of my own again. And it’s dog friendly so when things stable out I foresee a pooches in my near future!

I’m off to find something to cook,

~Joe

Life does get better if you work!

Exciting past 24 hours!

So as I type this I am chomping on a particularly darn good egg sandwich (I love my toaster with the egg poacher sidecar) and waiting for another exciting moment.

Let me rewind, in my last post I mentioned that I was looking forward to obtaining a new apartment as well as hopefully a new career in woodworking.  Later yesterday I received word…. the apartment went through!!!  Come the first I will have my own little space in the world for the first time in a long time, I almost couldn’t sleep I was so excited!  While it was slightly difficult to wait patiently to find out though I made it through.

I’m not going to say wish me luck, I’m going to say wish me positivity!

So fast forward this morning, I set my alarm for 6:30 and popped  out of bed at 5:00 with sheer excitement.  In less than an hour I will take to the road on my way to interview for this woodworking position.  I am currently well dressed wearing one of my best shirts and my Italian silk vest and I’m absolutely pumped.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if I maintain a positive attitude this morning I can clinch this thing.

I’m not going to say wish me luck, I’m going to say wish me positivity!  If there is anything that is going to get me this position it’s going to be a positive attitude, confidence, and honesty during my interview.  Very little “just happens” we have to be the catalyst and make things happen.  I will update you on how it goes later.

Be the catalyst to change for the better,

~Joe

A Real Bummer

Down but not out

Last week I wrote about my goal of a career change and in particular a position that I interviewed for which had gotten me incredibly excited and wanting. Today I received word that they offered the position to someone else with a little more experience in the actual position. The president did mention in the email that he wanted to keep my name on file as he expects to be hiring again within a month or two and I would be his first choice. He also praised me on my eagerness to work for them. I absolutely wanted this job and must say that right now I’m feeling slightly crushed.

Fact is, finding a job is hard work even for qualified individuals and I cannot let this keep me from forward progress. I have established a massive amount of forward momentum over the past few weeks and letting a small setback drive me to quit is just not an option. Matter of fact I should be looking at this from the positive standpoint, all of the communication I received was directly from the president (and owner) of the company and each time he praised my eagerness and follow through. The fact that he stated “first choice” for the next opening is a very good sign as well.

 I can never go back to my old ways and survive

So dear readers, I must continue on forward. I may be feeling down today but I am not out of the game by any means. Changing careers is a difficult thing to do, applying for jobs that I have no direct qualifications or experience in while having a strong work history in a field that most consider a better paying / higher level career track. I understand the fears of potential employers that I may jump ship for better pay, and what the future holds for me is still uncertain but I do know one thing; I can never go back to my old ways and survive.

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As for today, I’ve spent a while firing off some applications and resumes and went straight to my most recent comfort activity of cooking!!

That which is well seasoned is bound to be good,

~Joe