Synchronized Living

“Let’s be heroes, let’s be martyrs, let’s be radical thinkers
Who never have to test drive the least of their dreams”

“Love Ire and Song” Frank Turner

Y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit… I don’t believe any of it. I’m not into anything mystical. I wanted to be way back when I was in single digit years. I remember it was 2nd grade, I never slept. I had an AM radio but all I listened to was static between stations. I thought it was aliens communicating with me. I don’t believe that anymore.

I do believe in synchronicity; not minor coincidences that happen all the time; major shit that is just undeniable for me when I am on the right path (in the flow). I only believe it because it is the strangest thing I have ever experienced. I don’t go around looking for it. I’ve only been overwhelmed by it a few times in my life. This whole summer has been one of those times. After I set the intention to make positive changes in my life. The coincidence was a negative choice but it led to a positive. I want to write all of it at once but the biggest one culminated last night.

I didn’t realize at the time I started planning my relapse a few months ago. I was conscious of it, I was taking deliberate actions, I wrote about it in several posts. Sometimes I was saved by dumb luck and others I caught myself by thinking it through and knowing there was no way this could end well. I knew what I was doing/ I didn’t know what I was doing. It was cognitive dissonance.

Back the point. It started while I was still trying to find people, places and things that didn’t revolve around drinking. I did a search and couldn’t find anything but I did see Frank Turner was playing at the Casino in Hampton and bought tickets on impulse. But what is he doing there? He’s from England and I don’t know anyone who has heard of him. I only like 3 of his songs but I really like them. They would be on my deserted island list. Only because when I first heard them I thought, if I had any talent I would have written these songs. I was wondered if I wanted to go because I they serve booze. But, no, I thought I was still sticking to the plan. I wasn’t having any thoughts about drinking. I told myself I can go to a concert and not drink. (Yeah, right) Still, he got straight, he even has a song called “Recovery”. But I don’t like that song. The songs I like are from when he was still using. I mostly forgot about it. But now I realize I lit a slow burning fuse that led to a huge explosion months later.

Another small coincidence was it wasn’t until after I finished the post about the chick I started texting while she was at an atheist retreat. (still don’t get that) She was the one who turned me on to Frank Turner. That’s no big deal, I was probably subconsciously reminded of her. That’s not the fucked up part.

Last night was the fucked up part. I never thought about attending an online meeting. It wasn’t until I was wondering why I couldn’t commit to the idea of a lifetime of abstinence. I came across the paper I had read a hundred times this summer and it was one of the major coincidences. I had always glossed over it because, I’m not a perfectionist. Come to my apartment and you will see. I don’t need to have everything, “Just right”. But it was the fear of failure part that never clicked. The parts of my life that are important to me are the ones I need to go according to plan. If they don’t, I failed. I put a lot of effort into it and I failed. I didn’t live up to the standards I set and then I start kicking the living shit out of myself.

I got sidetracked. A lot of the coincidences were the quick internet searches I would do when I noticed patterns I wanted to change. I would look up how do I change (whatever) and find out I am already doing the right things. (Still off track) The biggest one was “dealing with perfectionism.” I wasn’t thinking about addiction but the article I found talked about it. It said a high percentage of addicts are perfectionists. That made sense to me; no big revelation. Then it said it is the most dangerous combination because they are the most likely to believe they can solve their problem themselves. That is exactly my problem. I still wasn’t going to try the meeting! I’m thinking, I got this wrapped like a mummy. You know the story.

Oh yeah, the fucked up part. I’ve been thinking about the Frank Turner concert and how it probably was an excuse to get drunk. I figured I would have to tear up the tickets if they ever get here in the mail. It would be a waste of $80 but it could turn into a waste of a lot more if I go. (Again) Yesterday, I was depressing and casting a negative light on everything. I knew I have a lot of positives in my life. I’ve been writing them down and keeping them specific and believable. Sometimes I read through it to remind myself. Yesterday I tried and I had a counter-argument for all of it. I disqualified everything. I knew I was doing it so I tried all day to contest it. I started feeling better as the day went on. I was practicing all my healthy coping skills and trying new ones.

(Still in suspense?) Last night I was writing my blog and looked at the clock and thought, cool, I’ll be finished around 10pm, I’ll head over to the store and pick up some beer. Wait a minute! Back the truck up. How did that become the plan? That’s not what I’ve been doing. It’s not a new habit. It still sounded perfectly reasonable. I can’t do that. I was right, I finished at 9:40, time to walk to the store. Seriously? I did everything right today and now I’m going to reward myself by fucking shit up. Cancel that plan. If there is one of those meetings tonight, I’ll log on. I checked the schedule and the next one started at ten. Cool, I’ll just log in and wait. The first 2 times I logged in early, there was a graphic saying they would start soon. Last night, I clicked “join” 20 minutes early and a video was playing and it was blasting. (Do you know where I’m going with this?) It was Frank Turner, “Recovery”! No fucking way! It makes sense because the songs and other clips they were playing were based on that theme. But this song? By this guy who is not very popular? Still makes sense, but that’s where it turned for me months ago. Buy tickets was a deliberate action and I knew I was going to get fucked up if I went and the show isn’t until October 10th! Am I supposed to go and stay sober? Probably not a good idea.

More fucked up shit. They started the meeting asking you to click on the poll if it was your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd meeting. I was one of 11 people out of 200 and something. He asked if anyone wanted to briefly say why they are here. I certainly didn’t! So why did I start the meeting with my camera on even though I’m paranoid about being facially recognized and why did I just unmute myself and rattle off a quick spiel? That is not me. At the beginning the let the people suggest topics and one was what to do after a relapse. That applied to me, I did it again and talked about my problem being afraid to commit because if I drink, I beat myself up for being failure but if I do what most people say, “everyone makes mistakes, get back on track and learn from it” aren’t I giving myself permission to fuck up? He said it sounded like I had a problem with unconditional self acceptance. I started thinking, I don’t know anything about this program other than the basics. Maybe I should have read some of their website. I did “what to do before your first meeting.” The answer? Read about what they call “Tools”. Okay, the first one was, “Unconditional self acceptance”, Still making sense. But the whole fucking thing is what I have been tossing around for the past month. Dealing with feelings of hopelessness and making myself feel worthless. Basic shit, no revelations but I know exactly where they are going with this… “Perfectionism”. Maybe I stumbled onto something here. Some of the major coincidences this summer were I’ve been getting really fucking lucky. Something else I don’t believe in. But I’ve been dodging bullets I’ve intentionally been trying to shoot at myself.

Are you ready for more? I am. I have been relieved because my mania has settled down during the past week and I haven’t crashed into any deep depression. I slept for a few hours last night and when I woke up I was “Top Fuel” again. I turned on the tap to start the coffee and the power went out. Good! I don’t need any coffee. It’s another perfect day, I should get the fuck out of here. I can ride my bike again. Where? Nowhere…

Sit down. No power, no computer, no television. Cool, I charged my tablet last night. No wifi! I can still text and I did. I even texted, N____, not out of the ordinary but I figured she was still sleeping. She wasn’t, she had an appt. I asked her what she was doing later. Then I realized why I wanted to get out of the house so fast. I wanted to race over there and tell her all this fucked up shit going on all summer. I luckily I thought twice. I can’t do that. I’ll be trying to get it all out in 5 minutes, talking so fast I’m foaming at the mouth. All summer long she is the only one who knows I’m manic. I’ve only seen her in person a few times, I’m no over texting her. She keeps telling me I’m manic.

I’m getting to it. In the beginning of July, I blasted out 3 pages in the early hours and waited for her to wake up. I texted and asked who she sees. Why? She wants to know… Since the akathisia shit started I’ve been taking notes and I went through them and typed them all up and I need a professional who doesn’t know me to give me an opinion. She told me that is something I would have to do on my own. Then she said, This is what you do when you are manic. You take notes, you write everything down. When I would do your laundry I would find scraps of paper with scribbles all over them in your pockets. Read what you typed, I bet it doesn’t make any sense. She was right.

That’s not the fucked up part. The scraps of paper. Those were the poems I’ve been posting lately. I don’t write poetry anymore. It’s all from 20 years ago. I would be somewhere, I put it all together in my head. I have to find a pen and something to write on. I don’t read poetry, why am I writing it? I typed them up, put them in a folder. I read them once in a while, only a few people have seen them. They made sense to me. Now, 20 years later, some of them are cheesy but others hit me hard.

What else? That empath woman. Why was I going to spend cash on an Uber to travel all that way to meet her. She wrote 3 paragraphs of shit I don’t believe in. When I wrote a comment saying sorry it will be too expensive to get there, I didn’t hear back and forgot about it. A couple weeks ago she sent me an email saying she also does a group online. That was when I was still against Zoom. I said I don’t know maybe next month, I’ll be able to make it in person. Why did I say that? If I went last time it would have been just the two of us. What would we talk about? I guess synchronicity. She didn’t mention it but it seems right up her alley. Am I supposed to meet her? I don’t believe in fate.

After she wrote the email I checked her page and noticed only a few people had left comments. One of them was M____, my empath friend. Of course she was there 2 years ago! She used to piss me off so much talking about that shit. And the numbers. She would sit there and watch the clock until it hit 2:22 and say that’s strange, I’ve been seeing that a lot lately. She pumped $22.22 worth of gas into her car and made a big deal out of that. I’m just like , will you please shut up. I know how many times a day numbers repeat on a clock. It’s not that unusual. I kept it to myself because I liked her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Last month, I thought it was funny, I jumped up and just had to leave the house, I glance at the clock and it was 2:22. I laughed to myself thinking how she would like that and it was the first time I had thought about her for a while. But when I walked back in the door the first thing I saw was the clock on the stove telling me it was 3:33. I still don’t believe in it but something is going on in my brain.

There is a lot more but I can’t remember most of it. I wanted to go on about the last time I had it this strong when I was in my twenties but this is getting pretty long and I think it would add another 2,000 words and I imagine I’ve lost everyone by now.

You Get Me Closer to God

“You can have my isolation
You can have the hate that it brings
You can have my absence of faith
You can have my everything”

“Closer” Nine Inch Nails

What a long couple of fucking days! It feels like forever since I saw my daughter and that was noon yesterday (Saturday). She is fabulous. She finally realized Panera sucks too. She wanted to go but said it was like she remembered before the shutdown.

I’m not sure if I’m happy about downloading Zoom. I can’t handle the rejection. I don’t mean dating site rejection or I was hitting on someone. I mean being rejected as a human. I’ve been putting pressure on myself feeling winter coming on and I can’t go too far anyway. I’m going to be spending a lot more time indoors. They have an inordinate amount of online meditation groups on meetup .com. I think they are pigeon holing me now that I attended one because that is all that shows in my searches. I did a couple yesterday and the people were nice. I didn’t tell them I thought it was kinda fucking weird how all these WASP’s from New England became devout Buddhists. I kept myself to a minimum talking. Said I’ve been doing meditation on my own and I’m just trying new things to see what works for me. I didn’t follow the whole way through but when she asked how I liked it I said good, thanks.

About 10:30pm last night I got an email from the head of the group saying it was nice to meet me, something getting the rooms back or Idk? Then she said they are having a meeting on WhatsApp and if I wanted to join she could send me an invite. I thought it was weird, I hadn’t heard of meetings on WhatsApp and I don’t have it. I looked to put it on my iPad and it’s not available. Only for phones. I searched why and saw something about going over cell data limit and thought I don’t want that. I was busy trying to do 3 things at once and mailed her back, nice meeting you too, not sure about whatsapp… something, something. Then I realized, duh! People use WhatsApp cause it is free over wifi. I wrote back, Sorry, I was confused. I’d like to join. Still haven’t heard back. What was she doing up at 11pm on Saturday? Was she asking for my number? Am I an idiot?

One of the things I was busy doing was listening to an Online SMART meeting. I’m not sure how wise that was with how Zoom handles your data. But I am well documented as an alcoholic so who cares, I guess. The reason I was doing that was because all day while I was looking for anything to do online, it kept popping into my head to go join one of these groups at a bar. I wasn’t going to do it but I saw one group for hiking, canoeing and kayaking which I’m not running out the door to do but the meeting they announced was, “Happy Hour! at (whatever bar). WTF? All weekend I’m seeking out people I assume aren’t drinking. Why do I keep thinking I want to drink?

I don’t have anyone I trust to talk about it and I know a tiny bit about smart. I looked up their schedule clicked to join a meeting. Oh no. You have to register first. No personal info but it was a lot and the site is super uptight. It took me 4 tries. First my passwords didn’t match, I typed lemon but it was actually a picture of an Orange? I didn’t check the box to agree to terms. That happened twice but no because I was very careful to check the 2nd time. No big deal they say hit the back button to correct it. Oh no. You go back and all your info is gone and you have to start over. I’m really going to get drunk now. I got it done.

I start listening and thinking, fuck, this is just like AA. They have there special sayings and acronyms. They swear theirs is the only program that works. They even did the same thing. One guy is talking and says, “unlike another program with 2 letters that I won’t mention by name.” You just spelled it out asshole! Who cares how someone does it? If it works for them and they aren’t drinking, leave them the fuck alone. Listening to people’s horror stories makes me want to drink. But I did like when people went on about their past, the facilitators would let them do it but quickly change the subject to what they are doing right now to change and what they can do in the future. That was a bonus. It last an hour and a half. I stayed but I was doing other shit on the computer.

One good thing I saw was a graphic set up like a flow chart, Are you happy?>Yes>Then keep doing whatever you are doing… >No?>Do you want to be happy?>Yes>Change something… >No>Then keep doing whatever you are doing.

I didn’t sleep and Saturday night is not a good night to stay awake. Nothing for me to do. Maybe a little. Finally morning comes and I look to find another online meditation. Really? They are all fucking whacked. I don’t do it because I think it’s going to raise vibration. I can listen to almost any meditation on YouTube. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to what they are saying. It’s all about staying still and regulating my breath. The only reason I’m trying to find all this shit online is because I do it all day anyway, I might as well find other people who like to do it. Which is funny because when I joined the site I was trying to get offline.

The whole day was a mess. I got depressed and the more I tried the worse I got. I had already put a couple things on my gratitude list. I haven’t been going overboard with it. I only repeat something if there is specifically something different about it. Usually, I can read through it real quick and I actually have a lot to be happy about. Today I went to it and I couldn’t make myself believe any of it. This is wrong. Still nothing online. Fuck it there was another meeting. It was better in the morning. One of the guys had a lot of good answers for people who were struggling. The best thing I heard was when people started talking about treating that voice in your head that tells you to use like the enemy. A young guy said he had a problem with that. He said, that voice telling me to drink is my voice. I have to show it some compassion. Otherwise I’m just hating myself. So that was worth it. I’m always trashing myself when my brain makes a quick plan on how to drink. But that’s my brain. That’s me. I’m the one that wants to drink. I can’t bash myself all day, it will just make me feel worse and want to drink more.

Finally football but I also set my alarm for another meditation group in the afternoon. I didn’t think I would like it because it was about bathing yourself in a golden light. But same thing. If it’s working for them, I don’t care what they say. Good thing I did it. I was surprised because I usually have to wait for the group to begin but as soon as I logged on I saw the woman on video. She looked the part, older with grey hair to her shoulders, (not sure why she looked the part?) and she didn’t notice I was on so I didn’t know if I should say anything. She saw me and it was just the 2 of us. She asked me where I was from and why I was there. I told her I’ve been meditating on my own and I am just looking around for something that works for me. I think 7 people showed up. One woman had been doing it for 5 years.

Before she started she asked everyone to intro and why they were there. I said why and added I had to meditate before I started the meeting because my mind is flying, that is how much I need to meditate. My favorite person was this guy my age, Sitting on the dock on Alton Bay in NH. My state. He said, he does it because it is the only thing that gets him out of his head. I wanted to say, fuckin right, that’s me! Her favorite was a woman originally from Nepal of course. Which was funny because when the woman asked if we had any questions the woman from Nepal asked, why is it a golden light and not some other color? She stumped her! Ha ha. she started rambling. I did get a little pissed because there was a woman, probably 80, lying on her side in bed and I could tell immediately she was very depressed. She said she was there to calm down her mind and she had to pray to get closer to god. That’s not why I got pissed. The woman told her she couldn’t lie down and meditate. Sit upright, spine straight, etc… That’s bullshit! I’ve listened to meditations say, sit in a chair, lie on a flat surface, whatever, I don’t listen to them. I just do the meditation wherever I am comfortable. You can stand on your head if you want. It still helps. How does she know the poor old woman was capable of sitting up? Whatever. I will probably do that one again because it was the only one you got to know a little about the other people there. That’s the whole point of Meetup, right?

Believe it or not, I did another one! Only because it was called breathwork. I thought finally just normal meditation. Oh no. It was 2 women from Australia and me. I think I was the first new person but it was audio only. It was weird. 2 quick bursts of breath into your belly and let it out quick. 4 minutes of that and then hold your breath for a full minute. 20 minutes! I didn’t think I could do it but I did. I’m not sure what it was supposed to do. She made a lot of claims on her page. It did keep me from thinking of anything else for 20 minutes.

What do you know? Football, music and writing and I made it to 9:30.

Swipe Left Face, Swipe Right Personality

Robot Brain

I know I’ve been talking about spending too much time in the virtual world and trying to find ways introduce myself to reality. But I really hate winter. I know it is not close to winter but I can feel it approaching quickly. Last year I was lucky and we had great weather through the end of October. I was still out riding my bike in shorts and t-shirt. I even pushed it an extra week by wearing a hoodie. It was not out of necessity. I had money in my Uber account and only had to pay the tip out of pocket.

Yesterday (Friday) it was cold and rainy which ended my streak of leaving the house for walks almost everyday for the past two weeks. The difference yesterday was I stayed home voluntarily. I still wanted some kind of interaction with another human but didn’t know what to do besides text and I do most of that in the morning. I don’t want to bother people all day and I have never been much of a texter anyway.

My reptile brain was making plans on how to get me drunk. Not really what I wanted to do. Luckily, I had another synchronicity Thursday. It was another in a series. Since I started a couple months ago trying to figure out how to stop the automatic negative thoughts I would think of a new thing I need to work on. Most times I googled, “How do I deal with [whatever], I would find I am already doing most of the right things already. Many of the techniques were had commonality and were logical so they were no surprise. Since I discovered I had no idea I had the criteria of perfectionists and that tied into why I drink, I’ve been hitting on some pretty lucky discoveries in the right place at the right time. [I got distracted] Last week found a webpage that helped me and it mentioned a book. I didn’t think I would be interested but on impulse I checked my app and put a hold on it.

Thursday morning I read another interesting article about perfectionism and fear of failure and learned it is very common among alcoholics. The book I put on hold was supposed to take 2 weeks but when I opened my tablet to text I had a notification the book was ready. I started listening to it and it wasn’t my thing but I still listened to the first chapter and it was about fears in general and ways to combat them. I’ve been working on that for a while and my anxiety has dropped to almost negligible levels. In the book she gave specific instructions to pay attention to the fears you have that day and decide if they are real. I did that and no, they are not. Yes, I have fears but they are created by my mind. It helped Friday to remind myself when drinking popped into my head to remember it is based on fear. It helped. It only took a couple seconds.

I had to find something to do other than sit inside doing nothing. I relented and went online. Again the groups I found were based around drinking and my brain would think, that sounds like a good idea. (Habitual thinking) There are a lot of groups held online but I’ve had a fear of Zoom and they handle privacy worse than Facebook. I’ve never used it. But I thought what would someone find out from my iPad? I text my family a lot? I finally downloaded it. The most popular Zoom group is a speed dating site based in Boston. That did not sound like a good idea to me. I’m not ugly but I’m not going to win many votes in a beauty contest. Then I saw they give you one on one with a person for two minutes at a time. I could just imagine, my face on a video screen trying to answer conventional dating questions as quickly as possible. How many times do I want to get rejected in an hour? I’m not even looking for a relationship, especially online with someone who lives an hour away. Then I saw it was for professionals. And it cost $25. Not going to happen.

I thought there has to be something. I saw something about, social skills and communication. Like an hour long lesson but I thought that sounds like it could be good for me. I’m good with conversation but with some people or certain situations I feel awkward and fall silent. Then I saw it was based on the teachings of Scientology. Okay, maybe I won’t do that. Still nothing else coming up on 7pm and boredom is another factor for me. I figured how much different could it be than any other lesson? Aren’t they basic skills you need to practice to get good at them? Would I dismiss it if it just because it was put on by a Catholic? I joined through Zoom and the first thing the guy started was talking about how much of a genius L. Ron Hubbard is and everything he says is true, etc… (Ugh) Then I noticed, this guy is not very good at communicating. The group started with 35 people and they were dropping out left and right.

I decided to see what happened. I don’t know what kind of genius this was supposed to be. He kept putting up a picture of a triangle and the three points were labeled, Affinity, Reality and Communication. He was explaining it like people had never heard the words before and repeating and he only got to the first two points and it was halfway through the hour. Basically, if you like someone and you share a common reality, such as you both agree the sky is blue, you will have an easier time communicating. Well, thank you very much! I put on the Red Sox, they lost and I went to bed. But my brain had stopped telling me it would be a great idea to take an Uber to a bar in Nashua. I guess it wasn’t a waste of time.

This morning I was up early and I had already seen there were online meditation groups. I didn’t think I would like it but I clicked “attend” on two of them. One was in Portland, ME with 7 people. I hit the link and it was on Google meet. Another app I don’t have. I might as well go all in. I downloaded that. It’s not costing me anything. I had no idea what Sahaja Yoga was and I was the first one there and the guy started asking me a few questions. I think I was the first new person to the group for a long time. It had to do with Chakras and I’m not really into it but what else am I going to do at 8am? He wasn’t doing a great job of explaining it and then showed a video of a woman with a dot on her head giving a speech. They were losing me and then totally lost me when the meditation was silent. I already do that when I’m alone. At least I lasted 45 minutes.

I started typing this post until the next one started at 9am. It was Sahaja Yoga too! They had the same chart on the wall with the Chakras but they only spent a minute on it and got into a normal guided meditation. This time my camera wasn’t on so I kept typing but it was nice to have the voice in the background. Then they started playing the same video as the last group! They lost me and I kept typing this until I heard my name… What? The woman was asking if it was my first time there and did I like it. I kept tapping to unmute the microphone but it wouldn’t and they almost gave up but I finally answered, Oh, yeah, yeah, it was great, thank you. (At least I made it all the way through the hour)

Oh well, it got me through the morning and my daughter will be picking me up soon. Maybe I will be spending more time online. I forgot all about winter. There are other groups they show me are pretty out there. One was about psychics talking to the dead and wanted $150? No thanks! Zoom is all across the world. I’m sure I can find something I am interested in.

The woman I told I couldn’t make it earlier this month in person sent me an email which surprised me. I didn’t think I would hear from her she said they also do an online empath support group. I had no idea so many empaths were struggling. I don’t believe in much mysticism and she believes in everything. Maybe I will watch. I never studied synchronicity but I know a little about it and I do have a lot of strong coincidences when I feel like I am on the right path. Maybe we will have that in common. I want to believe! Ha Ha.

In the Throes of Passion

Robot Brain

“You don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on
I just need your body, baby, from dusk ’til dawn
You don’t need experience to turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’m gonna show you what it’s all about”

“Kiss” Prince

I forgot to tell you the best part about yesterday! I got sized up by a tall, young, strapping latino stud! (Not maybe, from across the room, did he just?) I was sitting in Panera , minding my own business. (I don’t know why I was in there again. I don’t like the food and I’m low on cash this month, but I’m gonna waste the $15 somewhere.) I think there were 2 other people in there, he was the 3rd and I don’t know where he came from. This time I really was minding my own business. I had just texted my daughter a picture of my flatbread pizza and I was still looking down at my phone because the thought bubble popped up meaning she was typing. I didn’t see him, I felt his presence. I looked up and he was stopped 3 feet in front of me staring me directly in the eyes with a dead serious look on his face. He scanned down my body, up my body and back to directly in my eyes, walked past and disappeared. The whole event last maybe 3 seconds. I thought, what the hell just happened? That was a first for me. Should I get a big confidence boost from that or not? I don’t know, you tell me.

Speaking of curiosities, I had another surprise recently. A couple days ago my back was still hurting and I wondered if insurance would pay for a massage? I have a doctor, I could get a referral. There is a “Massage Envy” franchise right there in the Walmart plaza. I googled their website and it didn’t say anything about insurance and their prices were too much to pay out of pocket and I was about to forget about the idea. I mean, do I really want to go through the trouble? I’m not disabled by it and the pain is nowhere near like it was before when it was all I could think about. It still hurts but it’s not calling me by name. It will probably be gone in a week.

Then I thought, that’s odd, I have never gotten a professional massage. Why not? Many men and women have told me how great it is and I agree it does sound great. Especially by someone who is trained and has to get licensed and it’s their job. Plus they make tips, right? (I think?) So the the better they did the more money they would make. Why have I never done it? I’ve seen the place many times and it never occurred to me. Like I said, now I can’t afford it but in the past I’ve had plenty off disposable income. I’ve worked manual labor jobs that made my whole body hurt. I could have used a really good massage then. I’ve never been cheap, I just blew $50 in the past week on food I don’t particularly like. I spend money on other people, I’ve let friend borrow money and never asked the to pay it back. Why have I never spent money on myself when it sounds so good?

I never thought about it before. I don’t know how much you would tip the therapist, but I could figure that out easily. Pretty sure insurance would cover it. What would it take? Two phone calls. Why can’t I be bothered? I thought I might feel kind of awkward being nude in front of a complete stranger, but you got a towel, right? That’s really weird, I never thought twice about stripping down and having sex in a straight, hookup with someone I just met. Drunk or sober. Whatever, probably not going to do it.

None of that was the surprising part. I said, forget the massage and closed the tab which revealed the google tab. Second on the search list was a place close to where I live, on the main road. (Something, massage therapy) I thought, I’ve lived in that town most of my life and when I didn’t I’ve lived close, there is no place to get a massage anywhere near there. It’s not a big city. It’s a small town. I clicked on the website and it was well done, professionally. They showed a picture of the building, it looked pretty nice and it said they were located directly directly across from McDonald’s. Okay, now things are getting really fucking weird. I’m not the biggest fan of McDonald’s but I’ve eaten at that location many times seated in front of the window looking across the main road. There is no fucking way I would not notice this distinctive looking building right in front of my eyes.

Now I’m really curious. I scroll down and they say, Asian massage, Full body massage, something else, $60 for 90 minutes. 60 bucks? That’s a third of the price of the place I just looked at. Down a little further, there were a few reviews and one of them was dated 4 or 5 years ago. Okay, they didn’t just build the place yesterday, I’ve driven on that road a million times. I’m not fucking blind. What the fuck is going on? Am I imagining all this?

I gotta know. I saw the address and looked it up on Google maps. Yes. Directly across from McDonald’s. And… Next door to the the little Chinese take-out joint. Now shit’s gettin’ real fucked up. I’ve eaten at that place a lot. It looks like trash, but it has really great food. Not only have lived near the place. I’ve practically lived inside the place. Eaten at the McDonald’s across the street, the Chinese place next door, Went grocery shopping many times at the store next to that. What? I know plenty of people in the area, nobody has ever said, hey, you can get a really cheap massage at this place a mile away from your house? I’m baffled. I look again at the map and see the blue line takes a tiny left and a tiny right. Okay, I look at the directions they say take a left, next right, the street has no name. Alright, I’m not crazy. It’s not on the main road, That is just their postal address.

Mystery solved. I’m about to close Google maps and I see “Street View.” Wait a minute. That. Is not the building on the website. In fact, it does not even closely resemble the building on the website. It’s the tiniest brick building AND it only occupies half the space. There is another business there. But, there is a sign, (Something massage therapy) I go back to their website and see something that puts it all together. Now I know what is going on. Building looks abandoned, Asian girls, Nobody has ever mentioned it… “Cash Only.” Pretty sure my insurance it not going to cover that.

Curiouser and curiouser

Robot Brain

“People are strange when you’re a stranger

faces look ugly when you’re alone

Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted

Streets are uneven when you’re down”

“People are Strange” The Doors

For the last few days while my mind has been in overdrive, I’ve been telling myself to cut myself a little slack. “Take a fucking day off, would you?” Yesterday was the same thing. Minutes after I wake up I’m walking around raving. I catch myself, “Get off the fucking clock! There is no schedule. It’s Sunday, This is the perfect time. All you have to do is chill out and watch football. It starts at one.” Somehow that turned into I have to get all kinds of shit done before one. What? What do I have to get done? Nothing. I’m getting nothing done anyway. I’m just spinning my wheels. I’ve been up for half an hour and I haven’t even started the coffee yet. That’s usually automatic. I’ve attempted three times but somehow I forget during the 15 foot walk into the kitchen. Finally I get it started, but now I’m behind schedule, right? What fucking schedule? Did I pencil in this walk around and yell at the walls time? How do I forget coffee? I’ve been drinking coffee every morning forever.

So, yeah, I get a cup, sit down, turn on the computer, relax, read some fucking blogs. Okay, I got it sorted. Open the reader, cool a lot of people posted. “Fuck! The lentils. I haven’t even started.” (Like I’m going to starve to death) That was another ordeal. Put the pot on the burner, walk away. I don’t know how long. What I did? “Fuckin’ lentils” Okay, three more trips to the kitchen. Got it! Turn on the burner. “Set the timer. That’s the only thing you have to do. Set that timer.” Good, remembered. Now I’m really behind schedule. “What fucking schedule? Give it a rest!” Alright, sit down, drink your coffee, read some blogs. Click, open a post. Full cup of coffee, ice cold! Back to the kitchen, dump it down the sink. Take a couple steps. Wait a minute, maybe, just maybe, I don’t need any coffee today. Dumped the pot down the drain. Smartest thing I’ve done all day.

Still going. Same fucking thing all morning. Finally, ate the lentils, same thing, apple, apple, apple, orange, orange, orange… Banana… Could you hurry up and do this? Hurry up and do what? Every time I sit back down, the first post I opened hours ago is still open. I haven’t read it. What have I been doing? I haven’t done anything else. What the fuck have I been doing? I woke up 7 hours ago. I don’t know. I read a couple. I forget. Now it’s the strawberries. I got to eat them. No I don’t. I had plenty of food. I like them but I can eat them whenever. Sit back down. It’s fucking noon. I gotta read all these blogs and all this other shit I added to the list because football starts in an hour. Why? I got all day to do this and if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I read ’em. Took less than an hour. But somehow that turned into I also have to write a post. No! I don’t! About what? Supposed to be taking the fucking day off.

Now I’m serious, “Sit down and shut the fuck up! Sit. Down. And. Shut. The. Fuck. Up!” I did it. I did it. Lying in bed. Calmed myself down, game started. I am really fucking relaxed. Like, oddly relaxed. I feel good. Really good. It’s Sunday. I’m in bed watching football. Patriots win, that’s good. Tampa’s playing next. I still like Brady. I don’t care if he went to another team.

Pops into my head, “I haven’t checked the mail in a few days.” I don’t like to check the mail on the weekend because if I get something I have to act on, I can’t because it’s the weekend. I will just stress until Monday. I don’t know, I got a minute. Just fucking do it. Easy enough. I’ve taken care of everything this month. Go downstairs. Fuck! Housing? I just did that. It’s jammed into the top of the box. What the hell? Fucking postman! Better not rip. Probably nothing. Back upstairs, open it.

Termination Notice! The fuck? My renewal paperwork is overdue? No it isn’t! I remember clearly. It was the end of August. I got it in the mail, saw the due date, thought, no problem I have more than two weeks. Not for me. If I put it aside for one day I will stress about it for one day. I was sitting right there, I had plenty of time. It’s easy. Do it right now. I did it, double checked it, put it in the envelope, double checked, “No Postage Necessary.” Okay, I have stamps, don’t need one. Walk to the mailbox at the store next door, drop it in, done. Less than an hour. Nothing to worry about. Until, Termination Notice?! I only have until Friday! Instant worst case scenario. That’s not enough time! I don’t have the paperwork to send because I already sent it. I’m gonna end up homeless because something got lost in the mail? Can’t do anything now, it’s Sunday. Already lost a day.

Settle the fuck down! Voicemail, email, text my case manager. Did all the right things. Still fuckin’ freakin’. Wait a minute. Calm down. Something happened but I do have time. Alright, I haven’t had to do this in a long time but it worked before. Write it down. That’ easy. Where the fuck is my pen? I got fucking ten pens. I don’t go anywhere. How the fuck did I lose ten pens? I’m fucking screaming cause I can’t find a pen. Found one. Got paper. What am I worried about? Okay. Why do I think that is going to happen? Okay. All of that is very unlikely. Okay. What is more likely in reality? Okay, read it, it makes sense, nothing to worry about. Tampa wins, Brady threw 5 touchdowns. I text my mom and N___ “I think Brady is gonna repeat.” Write a blog. Go to bed.

Woke up this morning, running fast. Not worried. I get a text from my case manager a few minutes before she usually starts working. See? Already started. It was a mix-up, they have my paper work, solved before 9:30am. See? Nothing to worry about. So why now does my anxiety kick in? No problem, relax. I can’t take the first breath. Now I’m giving myself about having anxiety.

Noontime. I crawl into bed, put the blanket over. Come on. How long am I going to do this? I’m giving up for the rest of the day? Get all depressed and shit? Fuck that. Look how nice it is outside the window. The whole idea was to get outside as much as possible. I broke the cat shit scoop. I think they are less than a dollar at Walmart. Okay, take your ass to Walmart. Outside, feeling better already. You know what? I’m going in Panera. I don’t like it. It’s over priced and the people who get paid to make sandwiches all day, have apparently never seen a sandwich before.

I get there and I held the door for this kid because he wearing the uniform but he didn’t look like he knew if he was going in or not. He looked like he might be a little slow. He said “Thank you” and sounded a little slow. I told him to come on in. For some reason it’s an airlock entrance so I opened the second door and let him walk through. “Whoa, lot of people.”

I got my shit, I’m sitting there eating, looking around, wondering who else goes there at noon on Monday. I figured it would be people on their lunch break but it was mostly couples. Only a couple other people sitting alone. I don’t know, I start freaking out for no reason. just want to get up and go home. “Just fucking calm down, alright? Relax.” I guess it worked. I didn’t notice someone else sat down in front of me. She looking at her phone. The fuck? Everyone I’ve seen today has been staring at their phone. I have my phone but I haven’t looked at it since I left my house. Next, another broad is sitting with her and the are both staring at there phones. Ignoring each other.

See, the problem is one of the books I started listening to a while ago, the guy was talking about ways to distract yourself from anxiety. One of them was, have an erotic fantasy. I can do that. I have erotic fantasies all the time. I wasn’t feeling good on the walk but I kept getting spontaneous smiles from people who weren’t on their phones. I got a boost but what is going to happen when I’m walking on the sidewalk. But it was unusual because I don’t know if it is everywhere but people around here go to great lengths not to make eye contact.

Whatever, I was having some fantasies about a few women who walked in after me. Not only erotic but in general. There was a nice looking woman waiting for food in my eyesight. She was younger, but close to my age. She had a little girl with her and you could tell it was definitely her daughter, about 4. She smiled at me and I smiled back. I wondered if I walked over to fill my drink and I wanted to talk to her? What would I do? Would I make her daughter laugh first and say, you have a lovely daughter? Enjoy it, my daughter was her age yesterday and now she has her license. I don’t know, I’m just thinking. I don’t really want to meet someone with a young kid. I have my own daughter and I don’t want anyone to meet her. I didnt want her to have a bunch of “aunts” when she was growing up.

Then the girl with the phone? What if I just sat down across from her and said something stupid? The phone seems to say, I don’t want to be bothered, stay the fuck away from me. But I don’t know. I didn’t grow up with cell phones. Still, it’s noon at Monday. I’m just having fantasies. Another good looking woman walked by with a half smile at me so I did but she went around the corner. Then I thought, I don’t even know if these women are married or have boyfriends or what. Why am I having all these imaginations?

What the hell, I’ll just refill my drink and get out of here. I put my cup under the black tea spout and a woman squeezed close to me an reached for the Plum Ginger Hibiscus some shit. I said, oh, excuse me and took a half step. She said, it’s fine, I just wanted to get in there. Whatever I could have just stood there but I looked up and said, Oh, I wanted that but it has sugar in it. (I lied, it’s clearly labeled) She said, Oh, no! It’s unsweetened, you should try it’s fantastic. I said, I know, I had it before, that’s why I almost got it. (lied again) Something, something. That was it, but still pretty good considering most people around here would rather die in their sleep than acknowledge you exist.

I’m telling you. I walk past someone going the other direction on the way to the store. Hey, how you doin’. No response. Sometimes I get a grunt. A grunt. Once in a while someone shocks me and says, good,how are you. I’m speechless. I mean. It’s not like I’m going to stop you in your tracks and have a conversation. It’s obvious I”m still walking. It’s just what people do. I don’t care how you are doing. I don’t know you.

I walked out of Panera and saw the woman who made me think, I don’t know if someone is married. I looked to the side and saw she is 10 million dollar rock on her ring finger happily married. Ha ha.

I don’t know. I’m on my way to Walmart to get something to scoop up my cat’s shit, I think I will just continue. The place empty except the pet section. Like 50 people. Not really. But I’m still having fantasies. I found what I needed. They were 99 cents. I got three because I had three singles in my pocket. Smartest thing I did today.

I hate the self checkout. There were two lanes with live people so I got in the line. She surprised me by saying something. I told her I got in her lane because people are more fun to talk to than machines plus I want to keep you in a job. Something, something. Three? Your cat must shit a lot. Pretty funny. She could have been my age but she looked like she was seventy. Weird though, two people in the same day said more than the minimum possible?

I feel better than sitting home but nothing to do but go back. I got down by Panera and the woman with the young daughter was leaving. I looked up and her face was turned towards me and she was smiling, her foot in the air turned a little toward me and she stopped for the tiniest fraction of a second and her foot went down and she kept walking straight. Was I supposed to stop? There wasn’t time to stop. She was past me.

Maybe, earlier I should have told her she had a lovely daughter.

Oh, No! It’s Devo-(lution)

Robot Brain

My mind wasn’t blown to find out my brain seeks out foods that are good for me. My mind is blown that it could be so specific. I know all life on earth evolved to seek out the nutrients they need to stay alive or else they would not be here today. But humans can survive eating any foods available anywhere on the planet. Aleutians thrive on a diet of almost exclusively blubber. So out of the 10, 000 food items available in the grocery store, how the fuck did I unintentionally end up eating a shitload of foods that years later are good for bipolar. Like, was mania so prevalent it was was going to kill off the human race?

Most of the foods I eat make sense. But I eat an abnormally large amount of foods that are good for the brain. Fruits and vegetables, no surprise. But, yeah, I like apples, okay, not my favorite. But once I started eating them regulatory, I’m waking up in the morning and making coffee and before I can finish my first cup, I’m getting all worked up thinking about that apple! And after that the orange. Oranges are okay but I always thought they were a pain in the ass to peel and then your fingers get all sticky. But now I’m thinking, Yeah! Let that juice drip!

Whatever… Reading about that makes sense. What surprised me was lentils. I started eating them because I found they were the most efficient source of protein and fiber. All I’m thinking is protein for muscle. I would never guess they did anything for the brain. I mean, I’ve been fucking eating them every day for years. I can eat anything I want for breakfast. I can walk 1 minute to the store next door and get a big tasty sausage egg sandwich for 2 bucks and love it. But everyday, first thing I do is put on a pot of lentils. I can’t wait for them to get cooked. Let me let you in on a little secret, lentils are pretty fucking gross.

Since I found out about these foods I’ve been eating, I didn’t want to go down the Google rabbit hole. So I’ve been restraining myself from searches. But the few searches I did, lentlis kept popping up. Like what the fuck? Okay, that’s unusual. I never would have guessed. But, you want to hear something really fucked up? I didn’t type anything in for foods or shit or anything. My mind was flying and I did a search, “slow down brain activity”. Up comes GABA. Okay, heard of it. I don’t know much about it. I read about it, it makes sense. I’m not going to buy every supplement on the shelf when I don’t know what is in it or what it does. Obviously, given recent discoveries, I was curious. I typed in, “natural ways to increase GABA”. Fucking lentils!

You think that’s fucked up? That’s not even the fucked up part. A few months ago when I started getting super manic, I don’t remember making a conscious decision, but I thought I’ll put some red lentils in my chili. A fucking pound! I know I don’t need more protein. I know I don’t need more fiber. I’ve been cooking chili for years. I never thought it needed lentils. I’ve never heard of anyone else putting lentils in their chili. Never saw a recipe.

I still have no idea why I did it. I didn’t think twice about it until now. Yeah, I like to cook but part of my cooking philosophy is to make it as easy as possible. So why did I go from putting the chili on the burner, setting the timer and sitting down until it was done. Now I have to get up, Add water, add lentils, stand there and stir it so they don’t stick to the bottom. Doesn’t change the flavor. But I’m all excited, this is the best chili I’ve ever had! I’m eating 5 pounds of fucking lentils a month! What the fuck is going on? That’s not even close to normal!

Another way to increase GABA in your brain is diaphragm breathing. I accidentally found out about it but I’ve been doing it for about the same amount of time. I’m telling you it works! I’ve had all these fucking therapists talk about mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness, What the fuck are they talking about? I don’t know what that word means. My last therapist; any problem I had, she said, “Just stay in the moment”. I’d say, What if the moment sucks so much you would do anything to get out of the moment? Crickets.

I used to do the meditation like they said but it only worked while I was doing it. As soon as I stopped, my anxiety came back. I’m doing meditations for an hour, like wtf? I’m here on the floor. Half the fucking time, I’m thinking, all this mystical shit is bullshit. After fucking years, I find diaphragm breathing and it works! I look into it. It’s no fucking secret. It’s no fucking mysticism . It’s fucking science! It’s fucking evolution. When it is safe to lie down and breathe deeply it turns on your para sympathetic nervous system and it is time to relax and go to sleep. It’s not fucking fairy tale shit. It’s measurable. You start doing it, your heart rate slows down (measurable) blood pressure drops (measurable) brain slows down (measurable).

I’m fucking pissed! Nobody fucking clued me in? This fucking simple fucking thing? Like right now, I’m super fucking manic but I know all I gotta do it go lie down and belly breathe for ten minutes and I’ll be sleeping. All my fucking life I can’t fucking sleep, I’m fucking running around 24/7 for weeks, they giving me more and more meds. Fucking ambien? I’ll be caught dead before I try that again!

Oh shit, this guy has to lie down and breathe 4 times a day. Let’s put him in the hospital!

Day Late and a Dollar Short

Robot Brain

“I’m not as awesome as this song makes out-
I’m angry, underweight and sketching out.
I’m building bonfires of my vanities and doubts to get warm.
Just like everybody else.”

Reasons not to be an Idiot, Frank Turner

Disclaimer: Skip the first paragraph and this turns into a really happy post!

Fucking Douchebags! There is piece of paper taped to the front door of my apartment building, handwritten, “Who stole my packages? My daughter’s birthday presents!” Who walks by and just swipes up people’s mail? Nobody here has any money. It’s not like you are going to find some treasure. It happened to me the first time I had a package delivered here. I got the tracking notification and went down less then 15 minutes later and it was gone. Good thing it only cost me less than $20. That just matched the color of my whole day.

I was planning on writing a positive piece. I still can because I know one of the most wonderful people in the world! My daughter!

My daughter is fucking styling! She picked me up after school yesterday. She is cruising around in 15 year old, black on black, one up model BMW with all power options. She acts like it ain’t no thing but I can tell she loves it. She’s gotta be the coolest kid in her school. Not really, but she would be the coolest kid in my school. She doesn’t want to be popular and she’s not great at making friends but she makes good friends. She has always been a good judge of character. Best of all is she has personality. Enough bragging on my kid. I’m sure yours is the best too.

I’m so glad they got her car fixed. It was overheating every 3 days and he couldn’t figure it out. It’s not worth bringing to a mechanic because they only paid $800 for it. He replaced the fan and the water pump but still nothing. A few weeks ago I asked her if he tried Stop Leak? She asked what I meant. I said they sell this stuff called “Stop Leak” and it’s made to stop leaks. She laughed. He knows more about cars than I do so I figured he didn’t need my advice. Maybe there is a reason he didn’t try it. Last week my ex texted me they put black pepper in the radiator and now it runs fine. Black pepper? I know that trick. I guess I should have said something weeks ago. I’ve put oatmeal in radiators to stop leaks… Crack an egg in there. What the hell? I thought he just didn’t want to try a hack. Whatever… She doesn’t have to worry about breaking down now. I’m telling you, she is stylin’… That fucking car is nice. The guy that owned was rich and paid to have it taken car of, had it detailed regularly. You sit inside and think the car is brand new. I’m jealous.

I’m so happy for her. She is so happy. She’s got a great boyfriend that worships the ground she walks on. We were sitting around last summer and her mom said, he walks around like he thinks he is the luckiest… And my daughter said, Of course he is, Look at me. She’s not vain. That is just her sense of humor. But that kid is pretty fucking lucky. I texted her the next day and said, “Anyone would be lucky to know you.”

Yesterday her mom told me she worked 7days and it is her first day of and I was the first one she was going to see. So I feel like the luckiest. So much for my bonfire of doubt this weekend. We were at lunch and she said she was meeting a friend for coffee in about an hour. I asked her where she was going for coffee. She told me her friend was pretty vague, she’s not sure she means they are going for coffee. I laughed and said, Where I come from “coffee” never means coffee. She laughed. She knows what’s up.

She had some exciting news. She is going to see one of her favorite bands, Cleopatrick, next month and she thinks she is going to meet them in person. I asked her how that came about and she said she has been chatting with them on Instagram. The bass player thinks she is pretty cool because she plays bass too. She said she wasn’t sure if she would get to hang out or what was going to happen. I told her I was pretty sure she was going to be hanging out with them. I didn’t tell her how I knew or why the guy in the band, “thinks she is pretty cool”. I don’t know. Her boyfriend is going to be there and they are pretty deep in First Love. Sox is driving them to the show so I don’t think he will let things get too crazy. I don’t care. She is living her best life. She’s 16, she should be having fun. She has always been responsible.

La Vida Loca

It’s the Little Things

Robot Brain

I am in a mood today, dude. I sleep a couple hours but I can’t get out of bed at 3 and start drinking coffee. Can I? I don’t know… The tinnitus was going but I’m used to that now. I don’t worry about it much. Sometimes it is so low I don’t know it’s there. The music thing was back and the tempo was too fast so my thoughts were too fast. That comes and goes. Is it going to last forever? I fucking destroyed my back. That hurts but, it will go away?

I think I might have fallen asleep or time just passed. I got out of bed. It was around 5. Close enough. The usual, coffee etc… The internet was dead. Am I the only one who can’t sleep in on the weekends? Fuck the t.v.

I looked at that gratitude page again. It didn’t sound so fantastic today. I typed in, “what to do about triggers to drink…” and Google auto-filled water as the top choice. Seriously…. I had to type alcohol fully. Nobody has searched this before? A couple rehab ads showed up, I went down and clicked the first real article. I started about evaluating your relationship with alcohol, then said, Maybe you don’t need to cut out alcohol completely and argued I should keep drinking, just not as much as before. Yeah, that should work out great for me. I’ve done the “I’m only going to have a couple…”

Click… The next article I forget how it started but it switched to referencing the Moderation Movement, and again maybe you don’t need to quit completely. I’m like didn’t that broad kill someone in a drunk driving accident? These were both health related websites.

Click… The next article I forget how it started but it switched to referencing the Moderation Movement, and again maybe you don’t need to quit completely. I’m like didn’t that broad kill someone in a drunk driving accident? These were both health related websites. Click… “Coping with triggers…”, this time substance abuse did come up but like 10th on the list. Getting closer.

This website said the way to deal with triggers is to avoid them. Then listed about 40 triggers in 3 categories. I guess I am supposed to stay home 24/7, not talk to friends on the phone or use the internet and only unlock the door for food deliveries. Isolation and loneliness were also on the list. I don’t know how you reconcile that. Those were the two I was trying to deal with all summer which led to hopelessness; which was not on the list of triggers. ???

My biggest trigger is losing my daughter. Last night it popped into my head she hadn’t texted me back since I texted her in the morning. Obviously that means she doesn’t love me anymore, right? That is half the Cognitive Distortions right there. My mind starts running in circles with reasons and arguments and counter arguments and counter reasons, over and over. I know what I’m doing… I know I should stop… I know there is nothing to worry about… I can’t stop. Now I feel like drinking to stop all these emotions I have worked up. I think, What are you stupid? (Oops! Another distortion. “Labeling” yourself.) She “usually” texts right back but plenty of times she doesn’t.

I just learned a trick that works for me. Write down the thought that is bothering you. Write down the faulty reasonings, then write down the logical reasons. For some reason putting pen to paper and writing down what I’m already repeating in my head, stops the rumination. Would not do it. Told myself it would not work this time.

Then I figured it out. I’m trying to give myself a reason or excuse to drink. I gotta put a stop to that shit. Somehow realizing that did put a stop to it. I went so long not thinking about drinking. Last week broke the dam and now I have to patch it again. It’s hard because all summer I was cruising along thinking everything is great not realizing half my thoughts weren’t grounded in reality. Then I got so depressed so quickly.

Whatever. Back to gratitude. One of the ideas on the list was keep a gratitude journal. I thought, Are you kidding me? I would feel like such an ass. I’m not one of those happy fucking people. I hate them. But that is what half my blog post was yesterday and I felt better after. I write a lot anyway and it said think of only a few things and don’t do it everyday because it will become rote and won’t mean anything. What the hell, I have to do something.

I opened a document and stared at the blank page. I couldn’t think of anything. I cheated and used one from yesterday. Then it was easy to think of two more.

(Ha! She just texted, I love you and is taking me out to lunch after school tomorrow. I’m such a freak show)

It’s not like I’m struggling materially. I have more than I need. I never had much. Even when I was making a lot of money. I blew it all on experiences. Maybe that is what I am lacking now.

I know it’s weird that I text my daughter but when she was a kid her mom would hand her the phone and every time it was, “Hi daddy, I love you daddy, Bye daddy” and she would hang up the phone. I would have to call back to finish talking to her mom. She can be a chatterbox in person.

I knew I was trying to set myself up last night. Good thing it was easy to stop. But plenty of times I have fallen for less. One of the triggers I knew I did but didn’t know I would see on the list was, “Planning to drink.” I was doing it for a while. I was doing it consciously and subconsciously. I made lots of plans. I kept stopping them but kept making more. How am I supposed to “avoid” that one?

Bounty of the County

Robot Brain

(Bear with me, this is actually a positive post) A few months ago it was no epiphany when I realized how negative my thinking has been. It has been that way for years. What was new was I thought, Why? Why can’t I have a positive thought without immediately following it up with a negative one? That is when I googled, Negative thinking and up popped the list of 10 common cognitive distortions. That was not news to me but I was surprised by how much my thinking usually falls into at least several of the categories at once. Especially when I am depressed or have high anxiety and then it turns into a feedback loop where that kind of thinking makes my anxiety and depression worse. Then I got a little pissed because I’ve had several therapists start with the thought distortions and I would say yes, I do all of that but that was the end of it. None of them ever suggested there was a way to combat the negative thinking. And my distorted brain said, oh well, I’m just fucked up and there is nothing I can do about it. To be honest I’ve had more severe issues but there has been plenty of time along the way to pick up on the subject. Anyway, I’m working on it. I’m really trying.

I didn’t sleep last night but I stayed in bed as long as possible. I made coffee pretty early and turned on the World Wide Web. I was surprised to see a lot of people had already put up their blog posts. I like when that happens because I like to read and stimulate my brain while I stimulate my brain. This morning I wasn’t in the mood to add to my own negativity so skimmed through, reading the previews and skipped a bunch. (Sorry if I didn’t give you a like today) I’m sure I get skipped a lot for the same reason.

Two blogs stood out. They were both about gratitude and they were both very short. One was a reminder to be grateful for what you have and the other I thought was really good. It was from someone who usually doesn’t post along that theme. It just said, “Things I am grateful for this week.” And listed off six or seven simple things. It made me happy.

I rant a lot here but I’m not a total Negative Nellie. Since the same realization a few months ago I’ve have been purposely thinking of things that make me happy. That’s where the problem with the automatic negative thoughts comes in. I think of one thing, “BUT”, another thought to detract from it. The more I try to stop it the more forceful it is. I was very aware of it this morning and I wanted to get it right. I started with the obvious, My daughter, my ex-wife, my mom, BUT, I fucked that all up. What kind of dad, husband, son am I? Like come on now. Shit happens in life. We all have great relationships now. Can’t I just be happy with that?

Now it was really starting to bother me and I searched something. It said try to start with something small that was good today. That was easy. I eat fruit everyday. Yesterday I went to the store for food and all the fruit was fresh and perfectly ripe and I got home and every time I looked in the fridge I thought how I couldn’t wait to start eating this in the morning. I thought of that and I was so happy while I was eating it. My favorite apples were back, Oranges so juicy, my mom talked me into buying bananas which I wasn’t sure about but yeah, that was good too. BUT remember last week you got those peaches that looked so good but the next morning they had mold and some fruit flies? What the hell? It wasn’t even a conscious thought. It just popped into my head. It wasn’t a big deal at the time. I threw the peaches in the trash and thought, oh well, I’ll have to find another fruit. I did. Bananas, and they were good. What is wrong with me?

I tried a couple more searches but the pages I found had pop up ads trying to sell you online courses before you could even finish the first sentence. At least I’m not the only one having a problem with this. I thought of one more simple search. “How to practice gratitude.” This was very helpful.

The site is trying to sell you a lot but the page I found was free, long, well written and step by step. The first step was about are you aware of how you say thank you.. Yes. I always say thank you and mean it. Even to the woman from my doctor’s office who was rude to me yesterday. I said, “thank you for calling me back.” She didn’t have to, it was late on a Friday. Whatever. That’s not what it was about. I picked up my phone and texted my daughter. I already said, I love you, this morning. I typed, “I am so happy I know you.” Then I sent a message to my ex-wife, “Thank you for putting up with me”, my phone beeped right back, “cause I love you”. that made me start to tear up. “Thank you again”. I texted my mom, “Thank you for talking to me every day.”

It worked. I was feeling better. It’s not new for me. I’ve been sending people random positive texts since I started trying to think more positively. I thought I was trying to make them feel better. I didn’t know it was making me feel better. Even the last time I was at my daughter’s house, her and her mom were busting my balls asking if I bought a book of inspirational quotes. I don’t send stuff you would find like that. Just simple messages I think will make them smile or stress less.

The list has some good ideas. Some of them are simple, some of them I couldn’t see myself trying. One was so simple I felt stupid. Use visuals of things that make you happy. I looked around my computer desk and it was covered with crap. I have a lot of pictures of my daughter in my room but none out here. I ran and got one. A school picture. It’s funny. I remember she was so happy when she got glasses and braces. What a weirdo. I think it is because it made her feel unique.

I feel better now. It didn’t solve all my problems but it helped get me through the day.

The Plot Thickens

Robot Brain

Last winter I bought a small pocket calendar to keep track of changes I was making and their effects as well as appointments, etc.. I didn’t think I needed anything big. Just something simple to write a quick note with a pen in 2 seconds instead of opening a device. Then all kinds of crazy shit started happening but I was still trying to fit it all on the few lines provided for each day. God forbid something happened on the weekend because they squeezed Saturday and Sunday into the space of one weekday.

After the important events slowed down, I looked back on it and it barely made sense. I was trying to squeeze much unnecessary information in there as possible alongside what I needed to remember. I would fill the space for one day and draw an arrow to continue in the space of the next day, only to find I needed that space the next day and would relegate myself to the margins. It was a mess. I was driving myself crazy flipping back and forth trying to figure out what happened when and what the hell my abbreviations were supposed to mean.

Luckily I did a good job of writing events as soon as they happened. I opened a word document and transferred only the facts. I was lucky to think of buying the calendar when I did because my sense of time makes no sense at all. I might remember something happened in winter if I happened to be outside standing in a foot of snow at the time. I could never tell you the month. But I did manage filter out the extraneous matters and type out dates and actions that would match dates and actions other people would have written in their notes about me.

Today I had an appointment and I noticed I had something penned in for tomorrow. It was the Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach. It is 3 days but the big day is Saturday. It has been happening for 30 years but I have never been interested in going, I don’t care for seafood. I flipped forward through the calendar and saw I had other places and times written in. I remembered. When I first joined meetup I was genuinely looking for sober activities but they were hard to find. The hiking and biking groups took place too far away but I joined them anyway. I signed up for a ton of groups I had no idea if I would be interested. Like online yoga classes or meditation groups. I’ve never done yoga and I certainly don’t see myself downloading Zoom and meditating with a group of strangers.

I realized what I had written down in my calendar were events from meetup, but groups I couldn’t or didn’t want to join but they were in my area. After last weekend’s festivities I saw what they all had in common. They were places I could go to meet people and drink. The Seafood Festival? Yeah, I don’t like seafood but I do like, “BEER TENTS!” Next week is a women’s group, brunch at Applecrest Orchard. That is 3 miles away from me. I can’t join their group but I can go to the restaurant. What was I going to do? Impress everyone with how many apple cider mimosas I can pound down before my egg’s benedict shows up at my table for one? Volleyball at Jenness Beach didn’t make sense at first. My leg is too weak after my accident to be jumping around in the sand. Then I remembered the site said they “sometimes” like to meet for cocktails at the restaurant bar across the street after the game. Yeah, “sometimes.”

I have no idea where I thought I was going to get the money for all this partying. I don’t exactly have a boatload of expendable income. I had big plans though.

I’m still on the site. I’m still looking for cheap, sober activities. I get notifications from some of the hiking clubs but I can’t get to the mountains 120 miles away. Plus some of them are overnight, bring a tent events. I’m not a fan of freezing my ass off. There are a couple bicycle groups I could reach but they do the “railtrails”, my bike is built for the street and so is my body. They haven’t sent out any notices lately. I even joined a couple book club groups. I enjoy reading but they meet at wine bars. And I do enjoy my wine. I could go and not drink but that may be wishful thinking.

I had one group left. I got the notification last week. It said, “You’re going!” Seacoast Empath Support Group. Well, I guess, I’m going! I looked at the group last night. It had a couple hundred members but only one was going. The creator of the group. She looked nice enough. She had a long ass description about her journey as an empath and she was deeply involved in anything and everything mystical. I just don’t believe in any of that shit. At the end it said she runs two podcasts. “The X-Files” and “I want to believe” Okay. Who knows what could be out there in this infinite universe but The X-files is a fictional television show.

What am I thinking? I still might go. It’s held in the crystal shop which she owns. I don’t know… I just kept thinking of my friend Marnie who said she was an empath. She always saying shit like, oh, I just got a strong feeling from my friend who lives a thousand miles away. Then she would ask me if I was afraid of what she was saying? I wanted to say, no, I’m getting pissed because you say you are an empath but you can’t pick up that I’m getting pissed you won’t shut up about this bullshit and I’m standing right next to you!

Click, “Not Attending”