Kindness Do Over

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Kindness Blog

Marina Keegan Quote Photo Credit:

The new year is only twenty-five days old, and I have a confession to make.  Thanks to a less than ideal start to 2015, I have been less than kind to myself and others.  This realization has left me feeling even more guilty, stressed, and anxious, and these negative feelings have been compounded by the flu I succumbed to recently.  I have found myself regretting the way the year has begun and wishing that I could either rewind 2015 or fast forward to 2016.  Today, though, I found myself making peace with 2015 and my place in it, as I returned to a path of kindness.

As my physical symptoms from the flu begin to subside and the swirling negative emotions and thoughts slow to a manageable mix, I stopped wishing this year away and started refocusing on how to change it for the better for those around me…

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Typical Nighttime Ritual

???????????????????????????????Bedtime: 9:30 p.m.  No drinky or smoky for me tonight, thank you very much.

Just get comfy; dear husband starts to snore.  I get up and move to the other room.  Wake up to use the bathroom in about an hour and a half.  Wake up a couple of hours later for the same reason.  Wake up shortly thereafter with the chatter in my head going full steam.  Here’s the first thought I heard last night, “Federal has primacy.”  WTF?

Deep breaths; calm down, go back to sleep.  Wake up again with the chatter going on and on about  . . . just stuff . . . doesn’t even make sense, just keeps yakking.

Deep breaths; calm down, go back to sleep.  Wake up because my shoulders, neck and upper back hurt like hell.  Change positions, take an Aleve.

Deep breaths; calm down, go back to sleep.  Wake up when I hear the neighbor’s truck start at 2:30 a.m.  It’s loud and it runs for 20 minutes before he leaves.  Asshole.

Deep breaths; calm down, go back to sleep.

It’s now around 4:30 a.m.  I am finally sound asleep, then the fucking alarm rings at 5:30.  Sigh . . .

No wonder I am an irritable bitch.


Squirrell stretched out on a rock in the shade under a fir tree.

Wiped Out.

First thought this morning after waking up with alcohol-induced tachycardia, “When is this going to end?”  Last night was the second night in a row of uncontrolled drinking, smoking, and eating; the third night in the last seven days.  Went out with my sister on Saturday and knew we were going to drink because that’s how we are, that’s what we learned to do in the early 1980s when we were young, wild, and free.  That’s how we relate to each other.

Yesterday, when I was recovering from the Saturday binge, my traitorous mind kept whispering, “Embrace the crazy!”  Between that and the boredom from yet another day sitting at home with no motivation to go anywhere or do anything else, I gave in with no argument when dear husband suggested we buy some beer.  “There are still a couple of joints left.”  That sealed the deal.

I think about not drinking every day.  I think about drinking every day.  I think about the consequences of pursuing either path and neither option is particularly attractive.  If I don’t drink, what will be left?  What will take its place?  The old adage is true — change is scary.

If I do continue to drink, how long before absolutely everything falls apart?  Just because I’ve managed to maintain my good job and a degree of respectability, does not mean my carefully crafted house of cards can’t all come crashing down when I am found out or when my health fails.

My husband will continue to drink, even if I don’t, although maybe not quite as much as he does now.  Can I stand it if he continues to drink and I don’t?  I’ve tried this and, honestly, the resentment puts me in a bad place, and I don’t like who I am when I go to that place.

My sister binges.  My brother, well, as far as I know, drinks all the time.  My aunt drinks.  My father was (is?) an alcoholic; he quit drinking almost 30 years ago — now he is old, in ill health, and developing dementia.  His brother died of alcohol-related illness.  My paternal grandmother was a binge drinker.   My mother, not a drinker at all, nevertheless, has her own issues with addictive substances; tobacco being her drug of choice, television her escape from reality.

David Cain, over at, wrote a good piece about self-esteem and its link to one’s activities.  I highly recommend reading, “Where Self Esteem Comes From“.  I will ask myself that very question when the thought crosses my mind to indulge.  “Do I like who I am while I’m doing this?”  And the answer will be all over the place depending upon where my head is at on that particular day.  So much for emotional intelligence.

I know I don’t like who I am when I’m wound up with tension.  I don’t like who I am when my irritability is enough to make me hate the sound of my own voice.  I don’t like who I am when I’m avoiding people because I don’t want to deal with them.  I don’t like who I am when the despair makes it hard to even get out of bed.  I don’t like who I am when I’m recovering from a hangover after drinking too much, smoking too much, eating too much.

But I do like who I am when I’ve got a good buzz on and am having fun, listening to blues, dancing, playing card games or dice, laughing, joking, crying, playing Ping-Pong, coloring, gardening, contemplating the mysteries of life. . . I like who I am when I put in an honest day’s work and feel like I accomplished something.  I like who I am when I take care of myself.  I like who I am when I meet my family obligations on time, with no delay.

“They” say that binge drinkers are not necessarily alcoholics, but that binge drinking can lead to alcoholism.  I am not an alcoholic in the sense that I am physically dependent upon it, but drinking 30 twelve-ounce beers over the course of two days is certainly not an innocent, seldom-repeated occurrence either.  If I am not an alcoholic yet, I am well on my way to being one.

Noise: A Screed



Noise, I HATE you!

I hate the roar of planes overhead, the National Guard helicopters flying around and around in circles on their training flights, the small aircraft flying around and around in circles for the pilots’ little adrenalin thrill, the larger planes flying in and taking off.  I never knew when we bought the house 20+ years ago how bloody awful it would be to be under the flight paths of two different airports.  Try to sit outside and enjoy the birds and the wind in the trees, and the peace is ruined every few minutes — sometimes every minute for up to an hour — with the ROAR of a plane or helicopter or both at the same time.  It is what drove me inside to write this screed today.

I hate the chatty coworkers who just will not SHUT UP Two hours later they are still talking and laughing, I’m sitting in my cube with earplugs stuck in as far as they will go, resentment building to the point where I envision standing and screaming at the top of my lungs.  Instead, I remove myself to a small conference room, hook into the wireless, close the door, and relish the quiet and dark.  I get SO MUCH more work done.  When I get back to my cube, I can smile at the offending parties and not want to slap them upside their inconsiderate heads.

I hate the unending murmur of the television on from the time I come home until I go to bed.  If it were up to me, the damn thing would never be on, except during The Walking Dead, American Horror, Twelve Monkeys, or a really good apocalyptic movie.

I hate the overzealous screech of commercials and radio announcers.  I quit listening to the regular radio stations 30 years ago because of this.  Unfortunately, that means I’ve missed out on a lot of good music over this period.  I mute the commercials on the television when I do watch it, so the sound is on and off constantly.  Drives everyone around me nuts.  Drives me nuts.  No one wins.

When I’m especially sensitive, I hate the sound of my husband’s voice; his incessant and unending cheerfulness.  Not fair to him and I wouldn’t want him to change, so I grit my teeth and keep my damn mouth shut.

I hate the chatty Cathys on their phones on the train, as if they are the only people in the world and everything they have to say is so important, it can’t wait, has to be said now, because, by god, they are significant and busy people.

I hate the announcements on the train that bore into my head and make me wince in pain.  I’ve taken to wearing earplugs whenever I’m out in public.  I don’t have an iPhone or an iPod or an mp3 player; that would just be more noise.

I hate the incessant drone of traffic noise on the streets around me.  The only time it is quiet is around 3 a.m.

I hate the sound of my thoughts, the constant chatter in my mind.

An Introduction

Antelope squirrel sitting upright on a rock

This is me, my squirrelly mind, standing at nervous attention.

Ever have days where you feel like everything is blowing up, melting down, falling completely apart?  Welcome to my world.  Glad to meet you.

I have NO reason to feel this way.  I have a great job, money in the bank, a loving family, a home, enough to eat, enough of everything.  So why the craziness?  Why the anxiety?  Why the self-induced stress?  Irritability?  Low mood?  Hate every fucking thing?

I have been half-crazy ever since I hit puberty, an embarrassing number of years ago.  Tried therapy, tried self-care and self-medication.  Tried meditation and deep breathing to calm my squirrel mind (didn’t work).

The only thing that has worked temporarily is self-medication.  Beer and marijuana; cigarettes and food.  But even that is failing me now, some 40 years later . . .

So I started a blog . . . so I can vent . . . so I can be completely honest.  It won’t always be pretty, and some of it will be indefensible, but I need a place to put my thoughts, to hush the crazy person inside my head by getting out what she is constantly chattering on about.

Before I get any crazier.  Or perhaps I’m just indulging my crazy . . . or maybe I’m not crazy at all, just self-indulgent and narcissistic.  Or maybe I’ll end up in an institution . . . again . . . spent a good part of my youth in one, why not my late middle-age?

Enough already!  Got things to do.  Settle down, settle down, settle down.