Monday, June 23, 2014

Breathe (file this under annoying advice that actually works)

I have cold feet about Friday's date. It's not something I can really explain right now. I have to sort out what's going on inside.

Anyway, today something interesting happened at the dentist. So, I'm like, terrified of the dentist now, right? A culmination of some painful experiences has turned into an aversion that I have to seriously fight.

Well I was sitting in the dental chair going "FUCK! I never took my freaking heart pill!" (the one that makes it less likely for stress hormones to send it into an abnormal rhythm) and I thought well, now that it's just me vs. me with no medical assistance, let's try that goddamn deep breathing exercise I read about.

So, whenever the body's in fight or flight mode, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is in order to prepare us to take down a saber-toothed tiger or scale a tree to get away from the woolly mammoth (good luck with that, btw).

Well, every system in the body has a series of checks and balances that exist equal & opposite of each other, and if you want to calm down the sympathetic nervous system, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (to release hormones that will combat the adrenaline & cortisol, etc.).

I'm pondering this idea while in the dental chair, brain screaming neither rational thoughts nor ones that responded to rational thought (for example, telling yourself, "Shut UP, you're not going to die!" is not useful). So I decided well, since my brain is basically not helping here, I need to otherwise trick my body into calming the fuck down in a way that doesn't involve the brain.

How, you may ask? Easy. Breathe slow as fuck.

So I deep-breathed through the entire appointment and for the first 20 minutes, the only thing actually accomplished was having something to pay attention to *besides* worrisome thoughts. But progress, right? It *was* actually useful, even if only by 10%.

But then something *happened* at the 20 minute mark.

I actually began to FEEL relaxed.

Floored, I sat there, calm as fuck, basking in this powerful new feeling. It takes about 19 minutes for your body to clear of the fight or flight hormones, so maybe that's where the magic number came from? Or maybe it was the placebo effect. Either way I hope I can tap into this again when I get some fillings redone in a couple weeks.

(Sent from my phone)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Text fight

(My first roll-out says "Shaved guinea pig = baby hippo" if you enlarge [and fix the typo]).

Part 2:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kindness, by Naomi Shihab Nye

This was read in my meditation class tonight and is now my favorite poem ever:


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho 
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans 
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.  
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth. 

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 
     purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
By Naomi Shihab Nye

(Sent from my phone)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ready? Who's ready?

Text convo between a buddy and me, while agreeing to meet at the gym at the crack of dawn:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Are Secure Relationships the Key to an Exciting Life? (Psychology Today article)

"Across three studies, psychologist Michelle Luke, of the University of Southampton, recruited hundreds of participants from websites, such as psychology forums, Linked in, and online communities with a psychology theme. All were asked to imagine a relationship in which they felt secure, insecure or “neutral,” using as series of guiding questions, like “Please think about a relationship you’ve had in which you found it relatively easy to get close to the other person…and didn’t worry about being abandoned..." (a secure prompt) They were then asked to picture this person and how they felt in their presence, and given separate scales to describe how secure and how “alive", "energetic", "vital", etc. they felt.

"The first study confirmed what Luke suspected: people who imagined a secure relationship felt more energy than those who didn’t. But the next studies were arguably even more important. They offered the first evidence that feeling secure might create a sense of vitality over and above just being in a great mood. People asked to imagine hilarious moments from their favorite movie or TV show didn’t experience the same charge that securely prompted subjects did. They were happy. But they weren’t excited. And as for people prompted with the insecure or neutral visualizations, once again, they missed out on the secure energy boost. The author’s conclusion? People who anxiously cling to, or push away, their closest connections are drained, enervated by their lack of security. They’re simply too wrapped up in bad feelings to embark on new adventures."

See full article:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

How do I get someone to change? (I heart this advice so much)

[Most of this entire problem is snipped -- all that matters is this last question because it can apply to any dilemma in which what we want is not actually what's happening:]

 Dear Carolyn: 

How do I address [this issue] without just complaining and revisiting a few prior discussions? How much complaining is too much complaining?


Any complaining that occurs when you know you’ve made your preference clear, and after you have given the other person a chance to act on that knowledge, is too much complaining.

Upping one or two clear requests to “several discussions” hasn’t stopped her from [doing that thing you don't like], so standing on your head and wearing a glitter vest and serving popcorn for the nth conversation (with n = several + 1) will likely hit the same wall.

The answer to your “how do I address” question is to face the fact of that wall. She wants to [do that thing, obviously, because she keeps doing it]. Why? Only she can say.

I suggest taking this a step further and facing the fact of her. It’s common to go into a relationship, then commitment, with an image of how a shared life should look. Please don’t do that to either of you.

Instead, look at what you have. Look at who you are, and who she is. Look at what you create in combination. Then decide if that’s a life you’ll commit to.

Meaning, instead of taking another run at the idea of [fixing the problem your way], see her. ... You gave her a chance to do [things] your way, or compromise on them, and she stuck to her way. This isn’t right or wrong; it’s just who she is.

Accepting that is a “good way to prepare for a life together” — or for breaking up, if that’s what makes sense. It’s better, certainly, than racking your brain and mine for new methods of changing her ways.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The suckitude of society, part 1

I have a very humanistic view of people. This is good for those with low self-esteem because anyone who tells me "I'm not worthy!", I automatically do not believe them and reply instead, "borrow my eyes!"

But most in society view you through your own lens.

If you revere yourself and hold your head high, they treat you with the same exalted presence your entitled ass expects. Conversely, your humble self may be trod upon.

This is why people act invulnerable, because this fact is inherently understood.

Well I don't care. I'm going to be both humble and open and I will not play by the rules. I will revere you no matter your own view and I will continue to face my frailties honestly.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Symptoms of Codependency | Psych Central

I pretty much have grappled with all of these except for being controlling. Whoa.

  • Feeling not good enough.
  • Sacrificing one's own needs to accommodate other people. 
  • Feeling responsible for other people’s feelings and problems.
  • Reeling when someone else's opinion of you is negative (because it feels like that is a statement about you instead of just realizing it's one person's opinion). (Codependents give other people's opinions too much power.)
  • Caretaking to the point of putting other people ahead of themselves.
  • Trouble communicating thoughts, feelings and needs. Sometimes not knowing what one needs is the issue but other times it's fear of being truthful to avoid upsetting someone else. (It is always, always better to be honest, even if the message is painful.)
Yay? I can see I have come such a huge way, but I can also see that I'm not "there" yet (as in, fully... actualized?). Whelp, better step up the work on this!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You're doing it wrong!! (Dating profile pix gone bad)

Posts like this are time-consuming but someone has to say this. DUDES, you're doing it wrong! (The below dudes, that is.)

I would have thought that anyone who has access to the internet and is able to compose enough of a string of letters to create a username has received enough education to intrinsically understand what might be appropriate on a dating site, but apparently that is not true.

But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

1. Shirtless = pedophile/rapist/serial killer

Gross! Not only is this guy shirtless, but the photo introduces the question as to whether clothes have ever entered an 8-foot radius around his computer. And the way he's dropping his shoulder down at an angle just makes it look like he's beating his junk to the webcam. Eew. No.

2. The Player:
 This one's great because women always want to see photos of potential dates with their harem, especially the pre-orgy kind where everyone is obviously seconds away from ripping off their clothes in drunken abandon.

4. R. Kelly:
 Any username that bespeaks (the poster apparently hopes) of one's bedroom prowess... just NO.

5. Great photo, if I could only tell what he actually looked like:

Why do people post far away photos where you can't see their faces? Like the above, or (this is very common) in front of gargantuan, eclipsing landmarks? Like, I'm glad you got to see the Parthenon, guy, but all I see is a huddled gray shadow. I'll never be able to pick you out of the lineup of blind dates waiting for their counterparts at Starbucks.

6. Looking for Girlfriend to Visit Me in the Hospital:

This photo instantly makes me fast forward to my role as his girlfriend either caretaking his paralyzed body and changing the gauze on his unconscious, mummified form or wearing black for the entire year after his funeral, all because he refused to wear a helmet. Motorcycles are dangerous enough WITH protection. What is wrong with people??

7. Looking for Girlfriend to Shovel Buffalo Manure:
Why do people add photos that say NOTHING about them? This photo says "Bison."

(And "ZgByAGUAZQAgAHIAbwBhAG0..." ...suddenly everything is so much more clear.)

So let's guess. Is he conveying an undying love for bison burgers? That he needs help maintaining his prairie (which, I might add, is obviously nowhere near the metropolitan area in which I live)? Is he indicating, through some magic, secret code, that he was a buffalo in a past life? Is it an inside fraternity joke?

I give zero fucks about landscape photos. I want to see what he looks like, not the herd of buffalo that will trample me to my death on our first weekend away together.

8. The Mystery Man:
Does anyone actually respond to posts without photos? If there is a compelling reason NOT to include picture, there should at least be an explanation, such as that the guy is famous or complying with a restraining order. If he is only browsing and does NOT actually want to meet anyone just yet -- which is fine -- don't wonder why no one ever responds.

9. Let me just glove up a sec...

I understand the goal here is to say "I can have fun in a tux!" but I cannot help but note, of all the photos that must have been accumulated during this particular special event, he chose to include the "gloved up" version. (This won't hurt a bit!) (Or maybe he is putting on gloves so there'll be no fingerprints?!?)

10. Would it kill you to smile?

A sourpuss face is not going to land dates. That is not a "sexy" frown. Guys don't have to grin like a clown in each photo but the MAIN profile pic should be one where we can tell you have fun sometimes.

11. Bonus profane example:

I can't post a photo for this so am just including the link. HOLY FUCK is this NSFW. It likely will disappear soon so click while you can. Warning: dudes may be traumatized:

Yes, I am looking for genitals to shave. Not an actual person, just genitals. How compelling, let me jump right on that.

For more on dating profiles gone terribly wrong, see Date me, DC!'s posts:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Well, let there be a lesson in everything. With distance comes clarity, as it always does, and I can see, now that I'm feeling better, what got me.

See, if I go on a shitty date, and I can TELL they're not into me, it's not a surprise. The thing that hurts here is that I couldn't tell. I told a buddy earlier and he said, "Yeah, I understand. I once talked to a girl for 2 hours on the phone and the next day when I called, she said, 'Don't call me again.' What?!? I thought things were going great. It really caught me for a loop."

What hurts is this: how could only one of us be having so much fun? How could I have missed the obvious signs? How can I trust my own judgment if I missed the signs so thoroughly? I'm doomed!

Well, obviously, people feel a sense of responsibility to display a modicum of decency and not act how they're feeling, which is likely that they'd rather be getting their spleen removed than be sitting across the table from you, but is it necessarily better to act maybe less enthused?

I guess they don't know you so they won't be able to tell your enthusiasm's turned down so maybe there's no real choice other than to be polite and brief.

Dating isn't just about compatibility but also timing.

What makes us vulnerable when dating?
Feelings of acceptance too tied up in other people's opinions. Wanting to be done with the process. Allowing a sense of hope to creep in too soon.

The takeaway is basically: grow a thicker skin. Be more resilient. Don't put so much weight on the dates that seem good, you still never know where someone is. Let the good date spur hope that there can be more fantastic dates, not fear that this is the last great possibility on earth.
You know, lessons.