I’m Never Going To Be Ready

 

In the morning my alarm goes off at 6:11AM. I don’t have to be in work until around 10 or 11AM. So there are 5 hours. 5 glorious hours that many would kill for and that I could use to work, get active, make a breakfast that isn’t just a banana and 4 cups of coffee…  I could do all of these things instead of rolling over and saying “Meh, I’ll get up when I’m ready.”

Here’s something I learned and have accepted recently:

I’m never going to be ready to get up in the morning…

or to get into the shower.

or to take a jump into something unknown.

or to let go of someone or something.

or to  do my laundry.

or to  make that phone call.

or to  say what I’m feeling.

or to say no.

or to say yes.

I’m never ready for anything. Except, of course to make the excuse “I’ll do it when I’m ready.” For that, I’m always ready.

In my mind I’m always preparing for something bigger. Whether it’s putting that big idea out into the world. Or to book that plane ticket. Or to tell someone how I feel. Or to leave a client. Or to ask for more money. The desire to do big things is always cooking, but it’s never ready (or so I tell myself)  When asked, I’m always ‘working on it’. But I’ve found that I’m working toward a goal that I’m never going to get because it’s that last jump, that last action, that last corner to turn that I never take…

So, I’ve got a very hungry ‘wants-so-much-more’ soul inside of me. And if you know me, you know how hangry I get.

No wonder I’m so pissed that I feel like I’m doing all of the work, but nothing seems to be changing. I’m putting in all of the emotional preparations, taking the required steps, doing what’s needed,  but not doing any of the actual ballsy action work.

Everything is just kinda chilling on the launch pad, waiting to be ready. And of course everything I do or am working on reaches a point where all of the preparation work has been done and the next logical step is to take action… … and I stay in some kind of holding pattern.

For me, the preparation of everything is always the easy part. There’s a certain safety net in “I’m getting ready to…” or “I’m working on…” or “It’s my intent to…”  To everyone else, it sounds like I’m actively doing something, and hell, I may be. But usually in my case, I’m prolonging the hard part of whatever it is I’m working on. You know, I’m ‘waiting until I’m ready.”

BECAUSE ACTION IS SCARY, YOU GUYS.

So much can go wrong.

But I forget that so much can go right, and I’ll never know which way it’ll go until I do something.

So, self: do more stuff, okay?

I wish it were that damn easy.

How in the hell to I break this deep-set-almost 30-year old habit? I’m seriously pouting right now, because the answer is so clear, but I’m admittedly someone who really wishes shit would just happen and I didn’t have to make it happen. Like, can’t lasagna cook itself? Cant groceries buy themselves? Can’t tests grade themselves?

No?

GOD WHAT IS LIFE?

The more I think about it, the more I’ve been surrounding myself with people who don’t challenge me. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m responsible for my own actions, but it’s always helpful to hang with people who inspire you and push you to the next level. Sometimes I need that accountability; someone to keep me and my goals in check. So many of my kick-ass friends are making shit happen. Why am I not doing co-working sessions with them?

I just got three emails from three different people asking me to edit their papers / articles / idea maps. So, it’s not like I don’t have places to bounce ideas off of. I’m just… waiting until I’m ready. Again.

I’m very introvert-y, and I like to talk to myself. So, I’ve found that sometimes I have to have an actual conversation between me and my inner-don’t-wanna-do-it-chick in order to get things done. It goes something like,

Katie, I know you don’t want to get up right now. Yes, you could sleep for another few hours. But you kind of need to be an adult, get up, do some housework, and take a walk. Do SOMEthing. Staying here just isn’t an option today.”

Or more simply: “Katie, you don’t have to like it, but you’re going to get up and do it.”

This shorter approach is something I use very often. Especially since if I don’t do whatever it is in the moment I’m thinking about it, there’s a good chance it will get put off until another day. (See also: until forever and never gets done) (See also: Until I’m ready.)

The truth is, if I wait until I’m ready, I’m never going to accomplish anything.

And I want to do stuff. And love people. And go places. And make money. And get out of bed at 6AM and go on a 2 mile run. I’m always going to want to sleep. Let’s be real.

So, Katie, I know you don’t like it, but stop writing this blog post now, and fold your laundry. And send that email. And make that phone call.

kbye.

My Introversion Craves More Extroversion

I am an introvert living the ideal introverted life these days. I live in a house where our schedules are so different that we’re rarely home at the same time. Or, if we are, there’s a basement that’s completely finished where we can go and disappear and have some quiet time. When I’m not at home living the introvert life, I’m at work.

“But Katie! I thought you were doing freelance work?!”

I was, dear friends. I spent several years working from wherever I was living at the moment. Through a number of transitions, forward launches and backward paddles, I find myself again leaving the house for an office environment job. I bet  you’d imagine I’d get my dose of having to fake extroversion to remain “part of the crowd” and also make me crave my introvert life at home.

Negative. Even though I have a job that requires me to reluctantly wear pants and leave the house on a daily basis, I miss having coworkers. 

I really, really do.

Though the entire time I did have coworkers, I said that I wanted to work by myself and thought that the world would be infinitely better if everyone would just leave me alone.

In fact, during my 5 year stint as a financial adjuster at a collection agency, the best period of time was when the corner desk opened up, where I could work alone, with no one next to me.

Then, when I worked for the car dealership, as soon as I was able, I moved to the side of the room where no one else sat. Introverts love their solitude. Although, I’m the kind of introvert that, as I said, needs a bit of extroversion to balance out the typically overwhelming need to be alone. A little dabble of being social with real, live people to enable me to appreciate my solitude that much more.

Fast-forward through my layoff period, working solely from home and coffee shops, living “my dream”, taking another brief visit back into an office environment where I wanted to keel over from the stress and nearly did… to the present moment. <insert awesome transitional music here.>

The long-term project that I have now has me securely planted, solo-style in a gorgeous loft office in Old City, Philadelphia overlooking the Ben Franklin Bridge. CHECK IT.

I have an insanely huge Mac screen ( I think it’s like, 27″), free range to order office supplies if I need them, a bathroom with a shower, and the ability to take an hour to work out if I want to in the office. I am in sole charge of the playlist, and I can play whatever I want as loud as I want, and I control the temperature. If I need a breath of fresh air, I can go sit on the steps outside my 2nd floor door, and people watch. It’s basically heaven in an office form.  Even so, shit gets lonely. Sometimes, I get sent an amazing joke or a YouTube Video, and I want to share it immediately with someone. GChat is okay, so is email. But that human interaction is what I crave. Actually opening my mouth and speaking to someone instead of clicking away on a keyboard.This is likely why when someone calls me after work, I go ape shit and want to talk about everything. Or when someone invites me to brunch I flip out and get really excited going out. Or when my housemate and I do cross paths, I want to ask him all the questions about his entire life. “Oh! What did you wear yesterday? Really? Was it comfortable? How’s your family? How was your date last week? Do you believe in miracles? Want something to drink?”

This right here likely explains why when I was a guest on Peter’s #thePeteCast, I talked. A lot. I listened to that baby again today and I was all “Dude, I really have been feeling lonely, eh?”  I mean, I can talk a whole lot, but recently it’s been crazy as a result of the amount of hours I’ve been putting in at work and my contrasting schedules with friends. I just miss people. As much as I hate them sometimes. I miss them.

There are some days when I’m very grateful for being able to work alone. Like when everyone is pissing me off and I just need a moment. Or when I fight with my client/friend, and we get off the phone and I need to cry it out. I never have to wait to pee, and the bathroom is always clean. The office always smells of Mediterranean Lavender.

But then there are days when I wonder what it would be like to order out on Fridays, high five someone that it’s payday, go out for an afterwork drink, be invited to a baby shower, celebrate birthdays with cake, worship someone for brining in donuts on a day that epically sucks from the get go, casual gossip, and group meetings.

I suppose it’s one of those “Grass is greener” moments. As grateful as I am for the killer work environment that I have, I find myself really longing for the all-day social interaction that made my going home to solitude more of a treat than a continuation of what the entire day has already been like.

KNOWWHATIMEAN?

 

p.s. Know what made my day today? Randomly stumbling upon a conversation on Twitter and intruding on it. Before we knew it we had a nice crowd of people taking part in #fucklessfriday. The whole idea was to just share GIFs of the Internet meme of people not giving a fuck. It exploded into 30+ gifs shared. I already cannot wait until next friday. My favorite was this glorious find of Morgan Freeman, not giving a fuck in a more respectful way. I will exit without a fuck through the door, and leave you with Mr. Freeman.

Morgan Freeman doesn't care

 

Ditching My Old Story, Starting My New Story + Finally Seeing Changes

 

This wasn’t supposed to be an all over life change. It was honestly just supposed to be finding a better treatment than medicating for my anxiety.

You all know how it started. I knew things had to change, I knew I wanted to change a few things, but I had no idea that it would begin a chain reaction of things I’ve wanted to improve on, but made tons of excuses of why I wasn’t making those improvements.

The big thing that I struggle with, and have struggled with is finding the right treatment for my anxiety.  I’ve been to doctors, therapists, neurologists, the whole 9 asking the same question: “What’s wrong with me and how can I fix it?”

After being on some sort of anxiety medication off and on since 2004, I thought the answer was cutting it out completely. Maybe finding a natural way to deal with it rather than a daily pill.

I traded in my monthly prescription for a cabinet of vitamins.

 

Here’s the thing that I’ve never been able to admit to myself until this battle began, and publicly until now. Medication isn’t enough. Vitamins aren’t enough. St. John’s Wort isn’t enough.

I had a hard time accepting that I have a chemical imbalance. Once I did, I just jumped on the “I need medication” train. The way it would go,  I begin a new regimen, continue living my life the same way, and after a few months, I realize it’s not working. That’s why I end up constantly switching to a new method of treatment using medication. But even then, the problem still remains; anxiety and a general feeling of not being satisfied with how my life is right now. No natural or man made medicinal cocktail can fix that by itself.

Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve again switched to an all natural approach to medication. I knew going in that this wouldn’t be enough. Not if I wanted a long term solution to a life-long struggle that I’ve had. I either had to accept my anxiety and on/off depression as a permanent part of me or I needed to get more serious about making the changes and taking it to the next step. I can’t just take medication or vitamin and expect it to the make the changes for me. 

The hard part of all of this is that I’m an instantaneous gratification type person. If I don’t see results immediately, then I have a hard time staying committed. “It’ll eventually happen” just doesn’t work for me. I need solid proof, measurable results, and a reason to keep going. This is by far my biggest excuse / reason for not sticking with anything.  I knew right off the bat that I would be faced with the struggle of wanting to see changes to prove that my efforts were working.

The first week or two I had no choice but to take a blind leap of faith. I had to invest some time into getting really honest with where I was, how I was feeling, what I wanted, what I didn’t want, and where I was going. I needed to have a starting point in order to measure future successes. Admitting your vulnerability, fears, and past failures is horrible. But instead of looking at it this way,  I vowed that day to stop telling my old story. I’ve become too attached to that story – what’s happened, what I’ve overcome, why I’m where I am. I’ve been blogging about it, sharing it, and honestly using it as a crutch for years.

Instead of getting lost in my past story, and using it as an excuse of “Why I can’t” and “Why I’m not”,   I took a nudge from Nicole I told myself “My story starts here…” – That point, coincidentally January 1st, 2013 was the day that my new story began. Anything that had happened from the day I was born until that day became my old story. I’m not forgetting anything that has happened, I still celebrate how far I’ve come,  but I’m not allowing myself to get caught up in it anymore.

Approaching my journey this way was the best decision I could have ever made. Having that measurable moment, has helped me to really be able to identify changes and improvements. Of course, the first week sucked, since I had to get all deep and dirty with my emotions. I just had to take each day as it came, and even though I thought I wasn’t getting anywhere, I just kept moving. Radical faith. Trusting the journey. Call it what you will, but it was hard. But SO WORTH IT.

During week 2, I started seeing changes. I wasn’t as run down. I had hope. I knew I would be okay. I took my first Zumba class that week and for the first time in a long time, I felt truly happy. I was doing something I loved and it was good for me.  The changes just keep pouring in.

Since January 1st, I’ve lost 18 lbs. I’ve completely revamped my diet. I feel physically stronger. I’ve stopped drinking soda. I’m down to 1 cup of coffee per day. I eat fruit with my sandwiches instead of fries. When I want a snack, I reach for a yogurt. The Girl Scouts got me for cookies, but I’ve had two. Not an entire box. Two. Cookies.  I take Zumba. I get my 8 hours of sleep.

Since January 1st, I’ve said “yes” more than I’ve said “no” to plans with friends.  I’ve found my winter/spring TV shows. I’ve allowed myself to feel feelings, process them, and move past them. I realize what I deserve. I accept that some doors need to be closed so that others can be opened. I breathe through anxious moments. I change what I can control. I accept what I can’t.

I got the harsh news that my Grandmother’s time is very limited at this point. We’re talking weeks. Instead of using that as an excuse to shut down emotionally and spend a few days miserable and slacking in physical, emotional, and professional areas, I felt sad. I cried. I still cry. But I keep going. I’m not giving up. She wouldn’t want me to.

Some days are hard. This is by far the most difficult batch of changes I’ve ever made. But one month in, and I know I’m on the right path. The end goal is to be living a more “Katie-esque” life. The journey isn’t over, I’m not where I want to be yet. But the tastes I’ve gotten of feeling “Katie” over the last month have been incredible.

So, the new story continues to be created. It feels so great to ditch the old baggage, and create a new, more Katie existence.

Being Okay With Uncertainty

 

Among my endearing / obsessive traits is the need to know exactly what’s going to happen the moment its going to happen.

Like, if I have plans for the weekend, I need to know what time I need to be at the destination or when the party is coming to my house. From there, I check directions, traffic, travel times, and make a timeline in my head (or on paper) of how much time I need from the moment I step into the shower to get ready, to the time I should be approaching my destination. I print directions. I screen shot directions on my phone. I save a bookmark to my home screen. I go all out, yo.

If I don’t know what’s going to be happening, I freak the hell out and give myself an anxiety attack. I seriously give my friends and family mucho credit for dealing with me. When my mom and I make plans, even if they’re up in the air, I call her a few days before to get them set in stone. Then, I call her the night before to confirm what time I should be expecting her. I then want her to call me when she’s almost to my house. I get butterflies in my stomach as I wait, because, uh, what if she doesn’t show up? A breath of relief comes when I see her car pull up to my place. Whew. Okay. Everything is going as planned. I’m not going to have a panic attack. This happens with just about everyone I hang out with. I don’t rest easy until they’re at my house or I’m at theirs, safe and sound.

It doesn’t stop with plans – the same goes for other things. Like being paid. I’m paid on a consistent basis, but I worry like a fool on pay day. Because, uh, what if shit doesn’t come through? I won’t be able to pay rent! I’ll be evicted! I’ll be homeless! I’ll have to wear old Reeboks!  And then there’s the extenuating circumstances like surgeries, illnesses, state of the union-ish things (you know, like, what the status of all the things are), and people flying in planes. A client of mine was flying to Florida and I made him promise to text me when he got there. I stayed up until I got the text, because I needed to know that he and his family were okay.

I drive myself crazy with this stuff. Accepting the things that I have no control over has never ever come easy for me. It’s really not so much accepting the fact that I have no control, I get that…but accepting the situation as something I shouldn’t worry about because worrying won’t help the situation is just so out of reach.

My brain is sick of this mess and is basically like, “Katie, knock it the hell off. Seriously. Don’t you know we’re trying to get work done up here in your brain, and you know, SLEEP, and you’re worrying about plans you don’t have yet 2 weeks from now? And people and situations you have zero control over?  Chill. The. Fuck. Out.”

I haven’t found a solution to all of this mess, other than thinking “On a Scale of 1-OMG NO MORE PANCAKES EVER!” how much does this really matter? I made sure to make the highest end of the scale purely terrifying so I don’t fake myself out and give everything a 10. By taking the situation and really looking at it to see 1) If I’m inventing how serious it is and 2) Whether or not it matters in the scheme of things that need to be done now, I can put myself into check and calm my shit down before I pee my pants. Because, what’s cooler than peeing your pants over the worse case scenario ever?

This is one of those things I’m working on BIG time. Seriously, this is probably the cause of a large part of my anxiety. The events of the last few months have slingshotted me into a position where I either need to accept I can’t control things or succumb to a life to self induced stress. I thought I could handle ALL the stress of ALL the things, but apparently, I’m not Superwoman.

I’ve noticed quite a difference since I’ve learned to stop myself in my crazy-thoughts, think “what can I do right now to change this situation?”, and realize that there’s usually absolutely nothing I can do. Or, embracing the element of surprise, that people, situations, etc. will always end up surprising you in some way. I don’t know that I’ll ever be gung-ho excited about uncertainty and not having control over some things, but I’m learning to be okay with it, and not totally flipping my shit when I don’t have total and complete handle on something.

It’s a long road, but I’m traveling that thing, yo. Make no mistake. And the stress level as gone way down since I’ve been finding new ways to look at things.

Gotta go. Worried about pay day. And my weekend plans. And if I’m going to choose the right school for my unborn (and un-conceived) child. I’m a work in progress!

 

Being Comfortable Is Comfortable Until It’s Not Anymore

I’ve spent the last little bit of this year being comfortable. Coming from a girl with a history of depression and anxiety, it probably sounds like a lovely place to be — a place of comfort and questionable contentment. It’s a far cry for being in despair, turmoil, and looking for a permanent way out of pain, that’s for sure.

With this comfortable state has come some negative stuff too. Like, my health consciousness has fallen through the cracks. I’ve stopped pursuing new clients, I’ve even let some responsibilities go to bask in the comfort of not being required to do things.  I mean, my days off as of late have literally been spent laying around, taking naps, and eating horrible food. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy being a little bad and deviating away from the ‘right’ thing, but it’s taking a definite toll on my body and mind.

I began to notice that I was feeling much less proactive about things. I was more on edge, more sensitive, and feeling exponentially more needy than usual. I was looking to those who I was closest to to make me feel better. Probably not the best idea to throw up all over my friends. Especially when the key to me feeling better is inside of ME. That’s not to say that I don’t adore my core friends for the endless conversations and talking me through my mini crisis. Because, sometimes I just need someone to say “What you’re feeling is okay.” I think my favorite interaction came from my Boston Marriage Partner:

 

 

…and this is why I remain sane way more than I should be.

ANYWAY

This whole being comfortable comes with a price. Especially when you spend a few weeks, uh, okay, months, being comfortable and ignoring all of the signs of discomfort because “OMG, I’m too busy being so comfortable in my mismatched pajamas, eating greasy food, and drinking all the soda. Life is good. *BURP* *Scratch crotch*”

Any gross feelings that came up, I’d either blow ridiculously out of proportion or ignore completely. Neither of which helped address it. I’ve had this discomfort in my belly recently. Not like, THAT kind of discomfort. I’m not pregnant. I’m not constipated. But the feeling that something just isn’t right. I think they call that mess ‘intuition’ or something. I kept ignoring the feeling, swallowing it (TWSS), and waiting for it to pass. About a week ago, I spent the day sitting cross-legged on the floor, on the verge of tears because WTF WAS WRONG WITH ME? But I couldn’t cry. I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was feeling. Was I feeling anything?

I spent a few days doing something different. I felt the feeling. Like, really felt it, just as it was. I didn’t over process it. I didn’t ignore it. t let it take me over if it needed to. I felt…whatever it was I was feeling. There’s nothing more difficult than feeling something that you can’t give a name to. It’s like going to the hospital knowing something is wrong, but the quack doctor tells you that you’re nuts, and sends you home with some bullshit diagnosis that just isn’t right.

But then, last night, as I was sitting in bed, reading Sookie Stackhouse and emerging myself in the world of all things Vampires and Fairies, I realized what I’ve been feeling. I gave the feeling that’s been plaguing me a name. I knew I had identified it correctly because tears came to my eyes, and I felt like someone finally understood me. It was totally kick-ass to know that it was ME who understood ME.

What I’m feeling is a longing for the way things used to be. I miss people. I miss situations. I miss feelings. I JUST MISS THINGS! That’s it. I’m not batshit crazy, well, no more than normal. I have a legit emotion that I’m working through, and that’s okay. These feelings of missing things are still there, but now it’s easier to handle because I know what it is. DIAGNOSIS: MISSING THINGS. LONGING FOR THE PAST.

The next part, I know is that I’ll have to figure out which things are gone, which things aren’t coming back, which things are out of my control, and which things I’m just missing because I’m not doing them. Like brunch with friends. Nothing is stopping me from doing that. But missing people who are gone from my life, well, you know how that goes.

Learning to just be with my discomfort and not ignoring it is really hard. Sometimes I need to stop what I’m doing, go outside, and just breathe for a few minutes. I have tons of  back end stuff going on in life right now, but a lot of it is all about how I’m going to process it.

Shit is hard.

But, as Jillian Michaels says to me every damn day, “When things get hard, that’s when change is happening.”

Okay, Jillian. Not only do you have a smoking bod, you’re all up in my emotions too. Clearly I’m shedding more than lbs. this month.

I win.