Goals for Zen and Π

Blogging U.

So I just now found out that there was a sort of blogging university here on WordPress. After taking a look through the daily challenges I have decided to try some of them out in both the 101 and 201. I am a bit behind so I am playing catch up but I’m also getting the chance to skip around and change some of the challenges to fit what I want better. I also just found the post a day thingy too and I am considering giving that a try too once I feel a little more comfortable.

Yesterday I checked out the first 201 challenge. It was about setting goals for your blog and I really got to thinking about where I want this to go. I know that obviously I want more follows. But why do I want more followers. I guess the main thing I guess want is comments and critiques on my writing. I also want to find people to bounce ideas off of. People who might get me thinking about things more than I already do (thats scary). I also want feedback on what kinds of things people want me to write about, within my own interests of course.

“Blogging is a conversation, not a code.”

― Mike Butcher

One of the questions was what would your blog look like if it exceeded your wildest dreams. The first thing that comes to mind is a community. I want to write things that get people talking. I want to start the conversation and watch it unfold in my comments. I want to see where my ideas can take other people. I’d join in here and there, bouncing ideas and finding more inspiration. Writing more and continuing the cycle, building it up more and more every time.

So how do I get there? Obviously I need to get better with my networking and social media skills. I started out on Tumblr before I came over here and even there I’m only at about 650 followers. I’m also on Twitter but I don’t do a whole lot with it. I post but I’m not good at joining or adding to the conversation. I think maybe the people I started following in the beginning were people who made me laugh not people who necessarily talk about the things I am interested in.

So for now I’m just going to keep writing. I want to get to a point where I can post daily. My blog is still super new so I’m trying not to expect too much this early. I want to try and try to check out other blogs and comment there. I need to start utilizing Twitter better as well. I figure five comments a day on other blogs and a couple tweets and replies a day is a good start. A year from now I’d like to have people viewing my blog daily and commenting and I’d like to be closer to 1,000 twitter followers.

So let me know what you think. Please, I welcome any advice I can get! I am so new to all of this but I am committed. So far blogging has been a joy but I really need to find other bloggers to connect with and learn from. Comment with advice, critiques, or even a link to your own blog if you have one, I’d love to see what other people are doing. :)

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The Result of the Things I Have Thought

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“The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness—genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource. And when we devote our energy and time to trivial matters, and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant. From that point, we perpetuate our own sadness, and we lose sight of the things that really make us happy and rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.”

― Christopher Aiff

I’ve struggled with my depression for a long time, but I’ve found that anymore I am almost choosing to be miserable. I am trying to fit in and I am trying to hold on to a part of me that I am afraid is all of me. Sadness and cynicism have been like a security blanket my whole life but I have noticed lately that things are changing. I am running out of things to be unhappy about and I see myself just making up reasons to be negative. I want to change though. I’ve had a small taste of happiness lately and finding that there is no need for the security blanket has changed me.

See I have everything to be happy about. I have a wonderful girlfriend that takes care of me and does her best to make me happy. I have a pretty easy job and even though it doesn’t pay a whole lot, it’s enough to pay the bills just fine. We have a home that is quiet and all our own. I have a good life and I want to feel good about it. So I started doing my best to DECIDE to be happy and positive and NOT allowing anyone or anything to bring me down. No negative thoughts or feelings are allowed to take up anymore of my time than absolutely necessary in order to figure out whether a problem can be solved or needs to be let go

Everyday, every moment I choose what I want to feel. I’ve decided that I will do my best to no longer allow my mood to be affected by other people, and I will not tolerate continually negative people in my life. I am learning that I am the result of the things I think and I can change my day and my mood just by changing my thoughts. I’ve been experimenting lately and I have noticed that when I decide that I want to be happy, or productive, all I have to do is summon the will and I can change my outlook.

It’s not a new concept at all. We’ve all heard that putting out positivity brings positivity back to you. Positive thoughts lead to positive vibes and, ultimately a positive life. It’s not magic and it’s not just some hippie bullshit, it’s real. I’ve, obviously, been reading more and more about being more zen and part of that is being mindful. There’s kind of a lot to it but part of it, to me, is not letting your mind wander away from you. If you let your mind wander too much you might find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be. This is where I am and I really want to find my way back.

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings & emotions”

― Will Smith

Through this effort I have noticed who around me is trying to keep me down. They say misery loves company and it is definitely true. There are people who want nothing more than to spread their crap around and they will do anything to make that happen. They will manipulate you into taking on their negativity, they will ask for more from you emotionally than is fair to ask, and they will act as if nothing is fun or worth smiling about until the next thing you know they have drug you down into their hole. The funny thing is once they have you there they will abandon you in the dark.

It’s not like I am positive all the time. I’m still learning and it does take a lot of effort. I am getting better everyday though! I see other people who are being negative or complaining and I try to be an example. I show them that things can be made at least a tiny bit better by trying to smile, by making someone else smile, or by doing a bit of good. If nothing else try being a little more productive, do a little something you can be proud of. I’m telling you it works!

I’m not saying every situation can be made better easily. After my dog passed away I was very depressed. Nothing really mattered and nothing anyone said could make it better. I had no motivation to even begin to try to climb out of the hole I was in. I had to give myself time. The moment I felt a tiny bit better I started trying again and everyday it gets better and easier.

So I encourage all of you, if you find yourself feeling down everyday, try a bit of experimenting for yourself. Try choosing to be happy for a day and see what happens :)

Things You Said to Me

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“I Love You”

I met my girlfriend during a really bad time in my life. I had just turned 17 and my mom had kicked me out. I had dropped out of school and moved in with one of my aunts and her two teenage daughters. At about that same time I had decided to come out to my family and the older of the two daughters said she knew the perfect girl for me, her best friend.

We met in May, I had just turned 17 and she had not yet turned 16. That summer felt like something out of a movie. We were young but we took things slow, just going to the movies, talking on the phone, hanging out at lunch, that sort of thing. It was wonderful. I pretty much loved her from the very beginning. That August I got up the courage to ask her, over the phone, in the most awkward way possible, if she would be my girlfriend. She laughed at me and said yes and that was the happiest moment of my life, up until then.

I had been with other girls before her, but nothing like a real grown up relationship. In order to protect our pride we both pretended like this was nothing, we didn’t want love and we did nothing that resembled intimacy. Our feelings got away from us though, and shortly after midnight on New Years Day, 2003, she told me that she loved me. That night we held each other and fell asleep in each other’s arms for the first time.

“I Treat You Like This Because You Let Me”

Fast forward a few years, we’re living together and the stress of bills and the pressure of trying to be grown ups was taking its toll. I wasn’t measuring up to her ideas of what a girlfriend should be. In all honesty I was failing miserably. My emotional crap was coming to the surface and she was taking care of me. Her emotional crap was coming to the surface and she was taking it out on me. Our fights would start over the the smallest, pettiest things and last for hours. She would yell and say mean things she didn’t mean and I would cry and ask her to stop, to just comfort me. She always pushed me further away though, and told me to stop being a victim. Everything changed when one night, during one of our frequent late night fights, I was crying in the doorway of our bedroom, asking her why she was so mean to me, why was she treating me like this? She looked me in the eye and told me she treated me that way because I let her. I changed that night and I decided to start fighting fire with fire.

“I Seem Strong on the Outside, But Deep Down I’m Fragile”

After that I got mean. I stopped caring and said all the mean things I thought every time we fought. This wasn’t me though and  I started to feel so much guilt and I hated who I was becoming. I decided I couldn’t live like that anymore and sat her down one evening to tell her this wasn’t working. She cried and we agreed to take a break but the intention was to work on things and rebuild our relationship. And then the worst thing happened…..a friend of mine started making me feel better then she did. Unknowingly, and unintentionally, I started having an emotional affair. She found out about it and we fought like never before. She told me not to come home….

For over a year after that I felt confused about which direction to head, whether I stay with her or go? And during that time I watched her emotional state deteriorate. She had always been so strong but to see her break down and cry in front of me, I knew there was a side of her that was vulnerable and sad. I loved her so much then….I had thought she didn’t love me, that she didn’t care about me at all, but she did, maybe she just never knew how to show it. I realized that the whole time our relationship had been falling apart I had stood up on my high horse and thought myself the innocent one. I wasn’t though, she needed me to help her too, to show her how to be open and vulnerable because without that we couldn’t truly understand and love each other.

We fought a lot then, almost daily, and one night, both of us sitting on the hallway floor, emotionally exhausted, she told me that all that time she had tried to be so strong, but deep down she was fragile. For her to admit that to me, I knew that she not only loved me very deeply, but that I had also hurt her very deeply. I knew then I wanted to be with her. I wanted to work things out and do everything I could to get us back to where we had been before, young and so in love.

“I Thought You Were Perfect”

I had messed up so much, I thought there was no way I could fix things. Hell I had even made some mistakes more than once! I told her she was the one I wanted, I begged her to take me back and she agreed. It was a hard road though, and I fucked up a lot along the way. She didn’t trust me and nothing I did was right. At first I didn’t understand, if she loved me, why couldn’t things go back to the way they were?

One day we were talking about it and she told me the reason. The years before the break up I had always just been her girl and I had always done the right thing. The years when we were apart, I had hurt her so badly that her whole view of me had changed. I was no longer perfect in her eyes. Hearing that from her hurt so badly, even though I deserved it. Someone had loved me and thought I was the most perfect thing, and I had fucked that all up. I was no longer good and all the bad things I had thought about myself were true. I was a bad person……

“Maybe I’m Not The Right Person For You”

I kept trying though. Working everyday to show her that I really did want her and only her. We talked a lot and we realized that we were both to blame for our relationship falling apart. She saw things from my perspective and knew that she had not treated me well. I was still hurt by things she had said to me during those fights and I was afraid of becoming an emotional punching bag again. When we fought I panicked, thinking she would go back to basically hating me again. I was so scared to upset her that she started to think maybe we could never come back from things we had said to each other. Too much damage had been done.

She ask me again and again if maybe was was not the right person for me. Maybe I did need to go find someone else who would love me the way I needed to be loved. I respond every time by telling her that she is the perfect person for me. See I understand that we had been so young and we had been trying to be what we thought a couple should be and neither of us was happy that way. We needed to just be us. We needed patience and communication and above all, acceptance, and those things take work, everyday.

“I Love You”

Things have been getting better and better and we have been closer than ever. I strive everyday to let her know how much I love her and that I am her partner in everything we do. She does her best to show me that she loves me too and she cares about my feelings and respects me. We are getting back on track and figuring out what we want, not what we should want. As corny as it sounds communication really is key. Lots of talking, lots, and lots of talking. It sounds tiring but the reward is being in a relationship with someone who truly is your best friend. At first it was hard but slowly we both, mostly me, learned to let go of our embarrassment and fear and to just tell the other how we really felt and what we really thought. We both also learned how to listen and accept the other persons feelings. We aren’t perfect and we still slip back into bad ha it’s sometimes but we just keep trying and the effort is enough.

“Yes”

Last spring I began planning to propose. It was hard finding a ring and buying it without her knowing. I worked with an artist on Etsy and ended up with a beautiful, custom ring with an 8 ct. raw sapphire, her favorite. I decided to pop the question on the anniversary of the day I asked her to be my girlfriend, August 18th.

We decided to get a hotel room and spend the weekend downtown. We went to dinner that night and I won’t tell the whole story here but she said yes and it was the happiest moment of my life! Almost 12 years after we first met we are finally getting married but honestly, in my heart I know we have already been married for a long time and we have already loved each other “for better or for worse”.

I think maybe now she might see me more the way she saw me before everything got so messed up. Not perfect, I know I will never be perfect like that to her again, but maybe a different kind of perfect, a more real kind of perfect. Before what she saw of me was an illusion but now she sees all of me and loves all of me, flaws and all. And that, I have learned, is what real love is.

 

 

 

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Taking a Snow Day

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I didn’t feel like going in to work this morning.

Just felt like I needed a little time to myself. Being around other people is just so tiring, and nothing seems important right now. It’s not like I’m depressed, I mean I am sad, really fucking sad, but I’m not depressed really. Not any more than I usually am anyway. It’s just that my dog died, and that was a big event, and it makes everything else seem petty and unimportant. I care about going to work yes, because paying bills is still important, but everything I do at work seems stupid now. My boss talks and I zone out. People ask me what to do or what the plan is and I just shrug my shoulders. None of it means anything.

I do still care very much about my girlfriend and I care about our home. In fact the only time I feel happy is when we are at home together, safe in our own world. Nothing else even exists when we are home together. Sucks she couldn’t stay home with me this morning though. I’m not sure if being at home without her is any better than going to work but she will be off for lunch soon.

I hope with time this feeling will go away. I see people at work treating me different and feeling awkward around me. Yesterday I felt like they were pushing for me to go home or take time off. I know part of that was actual, genuine concern, but I wonder if part of it was not wanting to be around my attitude. I’m afraid my boss will start feeling like I’m not doing enough, or he will stop giving me work to do out of pity. Right now I have the luxury of acting like this but next week I will be back to regular work and I will have to get my shit together. Get my poop in a group as my friend would say.

 

 

 

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My Poor Baby Boy (Update on Samson)

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We got the call early this morning, our poor baby Samson had passed away.

Last night the vet called to say that the surgery had not been a success. They had hoped that they could go into his stomach and get whatever it was that he swallowed. The x-rays from the day before showed something, not bone or metal, that was caught in his throat and went down into his stomach. So the vet thought he could open up his stomach, grab it, the pull it out through the abdominal wall . Well, they opened him up but they couldn’t find whatever it was he swallowed. It’s fucking baffling to me that the x-ray showed something the day before and they go in yesterday and it’s gone. So they closed him up and let us come see him.

The vet told us his chances were slim, very slim, he thought there was just too much damage, and he felt that whatever Samson had swallowed was now embedded in his esophagus. He didn’t think it was possible for him to survive this….We wanted to make sure we did everything we could so we agreed that maybe he should stay with them overnight, that way they could monitor him and see if anything else could be done.

We wish we had opted to bring him home last night. I know it might sound sad and morbid but I wish he had passed away with us, at home, surrounded by everything he knew, rather than in a veterinary office kennel, surrounded by strangers and other sick animals. We would have laid with him and told him it was okay, that he didn’t have to fight anymore. We wanted to tell him that we loved him, and that he was a very good dog.

Grieving has been hard. Being in the house without him is hard. I’m used to spending a good amount of time worrying about where he is, or what he’s getting into, or what he might be peeing on. He barked a lot and ran around and was always either trying to jump up on me or trying to get me to throw his toy. Now the house is quiet and boring. I wander around thinking he might just be in another room or maybe just outside, and I feel like any minute now he will come running in to play with me.

My heart literally hurts, and my stomach is in knots. I feel shocked and I’m in perpetual disbelief. I just want my boy to come home. Then I accept it, he is gone and he is never coming home again, and then I cry. We’ve been looking at his pictures and telling little stories about him and laughing and then crying some more. I didn’t know how much I loved him and I didn’t know how much of my life revolved around him until now and I wish I had appreciated him more. I wish I had given him more treats, taken him more places, thrown the ball just a little more….That’s all I can write for now.

Rest in peace Samson, we love you and we miss you.

My Baby Boy Is Sick

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Samson with all of his friends :)

My little dog is sick, and I am about out of options to help him. His name is Samson, he’s only 2 years old, he’s tiny, only about 5 pounds, and he’s super cute. On Monday my girlfriend came home for lunch and let him out in the back yard, as she usually does. When she let him back in she noticed that he had something in his mouth. She tried her best to dig it out of his mouth but Samson hates to have things taken from him, so he swallowed it. Then he immediately vomited, then he vomited again, and again, and again. After about 4 or 5 times he calmed down and my girlfriend put him back in his kennel with plenty of water and came back to work. We’ve been through dogs eating things they shouldn’t before, many times. They puke a bunch and then they are fine, she figured Samson would do the same.

A few hours later we both got home and I went straight to his kennel and saw he had vomited again. So I gave him a warm bath and laid with him in the living room. He curled up and the floor and whined a bit but I figured he was just worn out from throwing up and he was being a big baby. I didn’t offer him any food but kept water available. Tuesday he was the same, still refused food and was very tired but he seemed a tiny bit better so even though I was starting to worry I still thought it was just upset tummy and he would be fine. Yesterday is when I really started to worry. I went in to work my morning shift and when I came home he wasn’t any better. I offered him food from my hand and he ate a bit but then, almost immediately after eating, some pretty terrible sounds started coming from his stomach and he vomited again. I knew something was really wrong so we got in the car and took him to the vet.

The vet looked at him and said yes it was concerning and she wanted to keep him for the afternoon and quoted us about $520 to check him and x-ray him. The price was a bit much but we agreed to that and after work we picked him up with instructions to try to find an affordable place to take him. They aren’t sure exactly whats going on but they are afraid of a bowel obstruction. I called a few places and no one had time to take him until Friday so I called the vet back and she said to feed him chicken and rice in the morning and see what happened.

This morning we did as instructed and feed him the chicken and rice, and as soon as he swallowed it he started making a HORRIBLE screeching sound. We panicked, called the vet, and brought him back in. She is encouraged by the fact that he didn’t throw up but she kept him again and we agreed to more x-rays and another $250. We are out of money now though and I just don’t know what we are going to do. Yeah I make more than minimum wage but not enough to afford that bill and possible surgery. I know everyone says you shouldn’t have a dog if you can’t pay for their care, and yeah I get that and I totally feel like shit for not being able to pay for this, but thinking like that doesn’t help Samson at all right now. I’ve called a bunch of places, and we applied for Care Credit, but nobody will do a payment plan and Care Credit only approved us for $500. We are feeling hopeless and helpless right now, and we feel guilty too. We feel like the worst pet owners ever.

So now we are waiting. Waiting for the vet to call back and tell us what to do next. I am hoping that he just has an injured esophagus, there is medication for that. Or maybe he is just really constipated and he will poop soon and get better. I told him if he got better I promise I would appreciate him more and take him to the park and not yell at him when he barks. I will watch him better outside and take better care of him…..I just want my boy to come home. The house is so empty right now without him. We don’t have kids and the cat doesn’t really care much about us unless she wants to be fed or petted. Samson’s whole world revolved around us and he loved to be near us. Without him the energy has gone from this house.

Please get better Samson, we love you….

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Baby Samson, he was so cute an teeny-tiny!

The beginning is always today.

I am about to turn 29 in a few weeks and I am beginning to feel a bit old, or at least very adult. I’m engaged to my beautiful girlfriend, whom I’ve been with for over 11 years. We were waiting for marriage equality here in Colorado but civil unions will have to do because I just can’t wait any longer. I love her more than anything but we do have our ups and downs just like any other couple. We own a home that may require more money, time, and know-how than we have but we are determined to fix it up and sell it eventually. And we also have our pets, Samson, our little ankle biter, Sophia, the cat, she’s kind of a bitch but I like her that way, and Delilah, our awesome Ball Python.

As my title suggests, math is my favorite subject, and I’m currently exploring a more Zen way of living. I read a lot, books were my first love. This year I’m trying to read one new book a month but so far I am failing miserably. I also try to follow current events and politics pretty closely, especially anything having to do with civil rights or women’s issues.

I’ve always liked writing. It’s a lot like reading, it’s quiet, requiring a lot of focus and attention. And just like reading, at the end you get the feeling of having accomplished something significant, even if only for yourself.

As a teenager, and into my early 20s, I wrote a lot. I journaled, I wrote little personal stories, and I wrote sad teenage poetry. I was trying to express myself but after awhile the drive to write just went away. Part of it was life getting in the way but mostly my writing just never seemed very good to me. I knew I had a story to tell but I didn’t know how to write the way I needed to write in order to say what I needed to say.

It’s been years and off and on I have started again but I never made much progress. I think it’s probably because I have always ever just written for myself. It was easy and nice but there’s is no challenge in it, I could never get any better. So I’m starting this blog, to challenge myself and to learn to write for you, the reader.

I have a lot of down time at my job and I tend to think, a lot, about everything, I’m sure I will have plenty to write about. I’m trying to commit to at least one good post a week, maybe more if I get comfortable. I hope to write things that make you think about how the world works and why things are the way they are, and I hope to do it in a positive and encouraging way. And I might even try to make you laugh every once in awhile.

I’m new to blogging so hopefully after figuring things out this blog will feel more like my own little place on the internets. I welcome comments and critiques, or any tips you can offer, or just stop by sometime and say hello. I’d love to hear from you. You can also find me on Twitter or Tumblr, or maybe Google+ if you’re on there.

Until next time,

L.