310 seconds. Give or take a few.

Last year, on my 32nd birthday, I decided to start recording a video. More specifically, I’d heard about an app through my cousin, called 1 Second Everyday. The plan was to end it on my 33rd birthday and try and get as much cool stuff in it as possible.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

But then…roadblock. This past week, I had finally had enough of my storage notifications popping up on my phone. I couldn’t download any new apps, podcasts, was constantly having to delete photos, just to make room for this thing.

Yes, I realize I could just have not gotten the iPhone with the least amount of storage ever, but it was the cheapest!

So my self-imposed challenge to take at least one second worth of video daily for the past year came to an end about 55 days early.

I’m still pretty proud of the effort though. That’s a lot of videos.

So here it is, for your enjoyment. And I realize it seems like I watch a lot of TV. It’s because I do.

(It’s also because that’s where I was on some of the days that I realized I hadn’t taken the daily video yet, most likely. And my mild OCD would not let me skip too many days in a row.)

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In case you’re curious as to how my dating life is going…

I had this metaphor in mind for how online dating was like Pokemon Go, but not in a good way, because you catch all of the crazies and you don’t want to and then I realized I may not understand Pokemon Go and it all fell apart. But I also don’t really understand dating these days either, so maybe it does work? #fullcircle #inception

I know what you’re thinking – L, you are SUCH a catch. How on EARTH are you not spoken for yet? And to that I say – I guess this screen on my Bumble account speaks to that.

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Dating is exhausting. Or at least, thinking about dating is. Movies and TV shows where you just run into each other at the grocery or something are bullshit. I go to the grocery on the reg and have yet to be hit on. Even on days I don’t wear my yoga pants.

I just looked and it’s been over a year since I’ve updated you on my dating life. I’ve been on a good amount (in my mind anyway) of dates in that time. So I haven’t given up ALL hope. But you guys.

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I made the mistake of staying on Tinder until earlier this summer. Because I guess I needed attention.

About this time last year, I met a guy, Jared, through there who was in town for the week from work from Pennsylvania and I figured we’d get a drink, why not.

A drink turned into much more – including him continuing to text me once he went back to Pennsylvania and making plans to meet up when I went up to see my cousins because he was only a couple hours away. OH. And he managed to finagle his way onto another work trip down here a couple months after we originally met. He picked me up from the airport when I got back to Louisville, yes there was distance but we were seeing what happened because we’d had such good chemistry and conversation and stuff.

Example text, and in case you want to know my flirting style:

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Until he went back to Pennsylvania after that second visit and CEASED EXISTING BASICALLY.

The fuck?!

Aside – Will we ever be past ghosting? I hate it. So much. It’s a common theme these days. Because why actually tell someone how you feel when you can just disappear? HA. Feelings.

If only that was the end, y’all. But it wasn’t.

Earlier this summer, he apparently needed to feel better about himself and his shittiness so he messaged me on Facebook and acknowledged that he was an asshole and what he did was wrong. And that he regretted it because he liked me and he fucked up.

To all of that I said… Yup. You’re right. He asked if he could text me again and I allowed it because I wanted to see how far he would take the apology and try and figure out why he even bothered. We talked for about a week before, to nobody’s surprise, he disappeared again. I wrote a strongly worded message in response to that one and then sent three middle finger emojis the next time I got drunk. Because I am a classy lady that way.

Then I had this exchange and was done.

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In the winter, I changed it up and tried Bumble – a novel concept in that it’s basically Tinder but the girl has to initiate the conversation. No problem. I’m a feminist. Within a few weeks, I’d re-met someone from my high school who I kind of knew back in the day and he asked me out after a few days of talking.

We had an awesome first date – one of the best I’ve had in a while. Great conversation, a lot in common, he was really smart and I liked making out with him. Here’s the catch – he was unemployed. And living at home. I get extenuating circumstances and stuff, but the way he made it sound, he’d gotten fired. And he had no idea what he wanted out of a new job, his future, anything really.

I’m not nitpicky, but you gotta have some direction.

We went out a couple more times – had a conversation about how he was a horrible texter/communicator which should have tipped me off – and then he decided he didn’t want anything more serious than a hookup. Which I had to get him tell me after much prodding because he again, didn’t have his shit together in any way, really.

I deleted the app. Then re-added it.

Got some shit like this…

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I’m all about flirting but I’m not gonna play a game with you. Especially when I’m not entirely sure that it’s not gonna end in an unwelcome and unrequested dick pic.

A couple months ago I went on a couple dates and was talking fairly seriously – and fairly long, actually – with a guy from Indiana. That right there goes against everything in me, because Indiana.

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Long story short since hopefully you’re seeing the theme here… all was good until it wasn’t. Meaning three dates in he suddenly “didn’t have time to date right now.” Which is funny cause he was on an alleged dating site trying to meet people. To date. Allegedly.

So. In conclusion. I have trust issues. And need a break. And am taking one. I’m not going looking. A relationship can come find me. Maybe in the grocery.

#tbt, a little early

I cannot believe it’s been a year. I cannot believe how much has changed in that year.

365 days ago, I walked away from a steady paycheck, health insurance and a chance to go to the Derby for free every year (ha), because none of those things were worth me staying in a job I hated.

363 days ago, I became partially employed at what is now my awesome, wonderful, fun full-time job.

You all have heard me talk about that day and that job and what it was doing to me psychologically. For those that haven’t – here’s the post I wrote not long after I left:  On hold.

Today, I went to lunch with five close girl friends, none of whom I would have met (possibly, who really knows though?) were it not for that job I hated. Only one of the six of us still works there, and even she’s a week away from leaving.

As we caught up on our lives and jobs and everything that’s happened since we previously got together, I just kind of sat there and took it all in.

I’ve been bitter about my previous job. Obviously. And, I believe, rightfully so, because of some of the things I went through. But it was never and will never be a total loss of those four years of my life. I got some of the best friends I could ever want from that place (partially because of shared trauma) and all of them are worth every bit of the shit I endured. I cannot imagine my life without them.

One year later. And where am I?

In a much better place. If you’d have told me on this day last year how good things would be a year away? I’d have been skeptical. Because I am was a pessimist.

Not anymore.

A lot can happen in a year. I can’t wait to see what’s to come in the next 365 days.

The Hardest Thing

For the past year, I’ve started and stopped writing this post. Couldn’t bring myself to do it, say it, whatever…

It’s not that I wasn’t constantly thinking about it because I was. I am. All the time.

Around this time a year ago, I made a hard choice. I said goodbye to Charlie, the first dog that was just mine, the first roommate in the first house that was just mine. And it broke my damn heart.

Charlie and I had a rough start. Correction – Charlie had a rough start. A really rough one. Before he even got to me. Me, the one who so badly wanted to fix him, make him better, give him a good life.

He came to me in September 2014. When I heard about him and saw his face I thought: “This is it. This is my dog.” I knew he had anxiety, knew he had some fear, but thought I could love him enough to make him better.

So I tried to. God I tried. I didn’t make him sleep in the crate he was petrified of because he’d been obviously locked in there constantly and was fearful of it. I was gentle with him in how I treated and talked to him, trying to make up for the way he cowered after he’d done something he knew was bad because before me, he’d gotten hit.

Aside – Anyone who hurts any animal is a fucking coward and awful human being and deserves to have the same abuse they inflict on an animal done to them. End of aside.

We took classes. He improved so much and learned and did so well by the end of the two months of classes he won the “Most Improved” Award.

But there were times it was still hard. Times he’d tear things up because he was terrified, no matter how sweetly or calmly I talked to him or dealt with him.

Early on someone said it wouldn’t mean I was a horrible person if I gave up on him. He had a lot of problems, more than I could fix on my own – with my schedule and income and my own worsening depression and anxiety.

I remember a night I sat on the floor of my kitchen, crying as Charlie licked the tears off my face and tried to climb in my lap to comfort me. I buried my head in his neck, sobbing, and said “I’m not going to give up on you.”

And I never did. I tried so hard with him. I did all I could possibly do to make my home better for him, my schedule better for him, life better for him. All the while my own life was a mess – I HATED (yes, all caps) my job. I wasn’t happy. And as unfair as it all was to me, it was even more unfair to him. He deserved better.

In the week or so around my birthday last year, I’d come to the end of a particularly rough stretch of time with him. He’d been tearing things up through the house which were getting more expensive to replace. He was having to be left alone longer and longer because I worked for a tyrant who didn’t care about anyone’s time or life but her own. I called my parents and cried and they reassured me over and over that there were places I could contact about Charlie that would get him exactly what he needed and insure that he was in good hands.

So I called GRRAND. They’re an amazing organization that takes in dogs that need new homes and doesn’t let them go to those new homes until they are sure it’s the best thing for them. In the meantime, they live in a foster home, with someone dedicated to working with them and loving them and taking care of them. I told them Charlie’s story and through tears all the reasons (in my opinion only) I felt like I’d failed him. They said they’d take him in within the week.

It was shit timing. My parents were out of town, my sisters were unavailable as well … I almost had to take and drop him off on my own, the thought of which terrified me even more because I would likely have been a blubbering mess stuck in their parking lot for two days because I was crying too hard to drive. Luckily, my friend Katherine, who had been through something similar with a pet recently, was able to go with me. And for that I will always be grateful to her.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried that hard – and all of the other times were funerals of loved ones. And even as people kept telling me over and over that I was doing the right thing and what was best for him, it still hurt like hell. In my eyes, I had failed him. I couldn’t fix him. I couldn’t help him enough. I said my goodbyes and my sorrys and over and over that I loved him so much. And after a while, I left.

So it’s been a year. I think about him all the time. I wonder how he’s doing and have actually recently heard. I feel like I’m at a much better place in life now – mentally/emotionally, financially… to have a pet again. I applied, through GRRAND, to potentially give a home to another dog sometime (hopefully) in the near future. In one of the phone calls with them, I’ve found out that Charlie is headed to Wisconsin, to a family that will be working with him more on his anxiety and fearfulness, which has apparently not improved much in the year he’s been in the current foster home.

When I was unemployed for a while last summer, I stupidly thought I’d made a mistake and given him up too early. But then I realized at the time I was barely able to buy groceries for myself, even though I had all the time in the world for him now, I still couldn’t provide what was needed.

It’s taken this whole year to come to terms with the fact that I did do the right thing. That no matter how much it hurt to let him go, it was what I needed to do. Loving him wouldn’t fix his issues. I couldn’t do it alone, and I didn’t have the resources available for what he needed and will continue to need as he grows up and hopefully gets better. Deciding to let him go was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but ultimately for both of us, the right one. I hate that it came to that, but I love that I had the time I did with him.

I miss his goofy face and personality all the time…

I hope he ends up with a family who can give him everything he needs to get better and live a long, happy life. I’m sad it isn’t with me, but I’m glad we’re part of each other’s story.

Love and miss you, Charlie Buddy.

When you think you’re OK

In the past 9 or 10 months, I have been happier than I can remember being anytime before that. Things are good for me. Good family, good job, good friends, good extracurriculars, I can afford all my bills including cable, etc., etc…

Since I quit my previous job last June, I have tried to keep busy non-stop. As my bff once put it, I was the busiest unemployed person she knew.

And then I became employed again and got even busier.

And I love it. Don’t get me wrong. The nights I sit home with nothing to do – no options of anything, nothing I’ve said no to – are few and far between. And I like it that way.

However, when you have anxiety/depression, that way of life still comes with a catch.

Last week I needed a break. I chose to work from home one day, rather than go into my AWESOME job (and it is so awesome, I’ll tell you all about it soon) with people I love being around, because of anxiety. I needed a day away from people.

You guys, I’m outgoing. I will talk to basically anyone. I am a good time at parties and other celebrations.

Case in point, St. Paddy’s. I have no idea who these people are and also I bought that Captain’s hat I’m wearing (backwards) for $10 because YOLO.

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But you know what I mean. I like being social, I like being outgoing, I am what you would call a people-person.

Until I’m not.

Did you know there’s a thing called an introverted extrovert? I didn’t until the idea was posed to me a couple years ago in therapy. (GOD I LOVE THERAPY).

It basically means you are outgoing AF, but to recharge your batteries, you actually need to be alone, rather than around all of those people you normally love to be around. Weird, right?

In my case, it apparently makes itself known that it’s time for a reboot when I just get grumpy for no reason until getting out of bed one day seems like a bad idea, no matter how great things may be. Oh and in addition to the random grumpiness (for no reason), there’s also the BLINDING fear that because everything’s so great right now, soon it won’t be. That other shoe will drop. That’s anxiety and depression for you… Welcome.

I am 100% grateful that I am able to recognize this need in myself to take a breather, because many don’t. I am 1,000% percent grateful that I was able to text my boss (who understood and supported me) and tell her exactly what was going on rather than fake an illness or maintenance appointment or some crap (which I would have had to do at my last job, because that job was the reason I stayed home. Eventually the PTSD from it will subside. I hope).

And by the next day, I felt better. I felt like me again. Ready to take on the world and all that.

(Aside..ish) I recently read the amazing Jenny Lawson’s second book, Furiously Happy. I highly recommend it because I about peed my pants at least 5 times from laughing. And I also recommend it if you want to understand the person you love with anxiety and/or depression or to feel like you’re not alone because she articulates it so much better than I can.

Even on the days I want to be alone, I’m still not alone. And neither are you. And that knowledge is so helpful. You will get through it. I did.

One Hundred and Eighty

A week from today marks three months since I quit my job and everything changed.

Before June 1, 2015..I couldn’t tell you the last time I was legitimately, not-faking-it, seriously happy. I mean, y’all know. You’ve read this blog. How many times have I talked about my depression and anxiety and the toll it was taking on me?

(Answer: Three or four, I think).

Friends, I write to you from the other side…. and it is amazing.

Disclaimer: I’m not “cured” of depression and anxiety. That doesn’t happen. Nor do I want it to. It’s part of who I am and I’ve learned how to live with it.

The thing is.. now? It’s the most under control I’ve ever had it.

It’s ridiculous almost, how much one bad thing in one part of your life can take hold of the rest of it and completely bring you down. And I fully believe that one thing was that job.

So much has happened since the day I walked out of that office and breathed a huge sigh of relief because I never had to return to it. And now, I’m going to catch you up on (almost all of) it.

First of all, I only really had a week in there where I wasn’t sure what I would do. It was that first week after I quit, and it ended up serving as a little vacation, as much as you can call it that. I slept in a few days, but mostly I spent it trying to figure out my next move. Plus I went to that interview within two hours of quitting (that didn’t end up panning out but softened the blow of freaking out about income until I heard back haha).

Luckily, within the second week, I had not one but two amazing friends who stepped up and offered me things to do part-time. I’ve thanked them both about 100 times but probably will continue to, because they saved me a ton of stress in this interim. One of those jobs potentially could end up becoming full-time and I would take it in a heartbeat, because I’ve loved what I’ve been doing for them.

Not long after that, I got a three-day-a-week baby-sitting job through a friend of a friend. And then recently, I got a couple more regular baby-sitting gigs.

I got a part-time job running social media for probably my favorite restaurant in the city.

And soon, I will start work with one of my athletes from Special Olympics as a CLS worker, helping get him out of the house and involved in the community, working with him on budgeting and getting to appointments, finding employment and going back to school and just spending time with him.

I have said at least five times that I am basically Kirk from Gilmore Girls – which if you don’t get, I’m sorry, but this video should help some.

There’s been a little stress about the job and about money off and on, but I’ve managed to get every bill paid, even if they were a little late once.

I’ve gotten by, cutting back on things I don’t need while not becoming a hermit. I have paid much more attention to any signs I see about earning money — during a particularly stressful week, I saw a couple lost dog signs in my neighborhood offering rewards and thought about dedicating a few days to nothing but finding those dogs because that made all the sense. And money.

Here’s the thing though. That stress? Nothing compared to the stress I felt when I was at a job that made more than enough to pay my bills. Weird how that works.

What else… I have gotten a ton of stuff done for youth group-related events because I finally have time to work ahead. I got to go on a week-long trip with them to Montreat, which I am so grateful for because of the impact it had on every single one of us who attended.

I have become about 5 times more involved in Special Olympics, which I’ll discuss in another post soon.

A friend from elementary/high school got in touch with me early on this summer to join a group that focuses on accountability with getting healthier. It’s proved an awesome motivation for me and I can’t thank her enough. I have regularly hit up the gym, so much so that I need new workout clothes because mine fall off me. I’m not really a fan of my current situation, holding up my workout pants while I run, but it’s a damn good problem to have.

Everyone notices a difference in me overall. I was miserable before and it wasn’t hidden. At least 3 friends have said how much better I am to be around these days and I agree. I am happier to be around myself too.

The other night someone asked “So how are you? Are you ok?” And I said, with no sarcasm or irony or anything – “I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.” And I meant it.

As of June 2, 2015, I was venturing into the unknown, more excited than scared. I had no clue where any of it would lead. But going into it with the attitude that I would be OK and I would get better has made all the difference, because that’s what has happened.

I can’t say it enough, or really even in the right way I don’t think, but the support and love I’ve gotten since I made that decision almost 3 months ago have helped me maintain this new (old) way of living and looking at things. I am very blessed to have the friends and family I do.

Besides those that love me helping me in basically every way they could, keeping busy has been most helpful in preventing me from sliding into the sadness that could have come out of that decision June 1. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t have something to do that is either helping pay my bills or making me happy or both. And it’s usually both. Crazy, right?

When I wrote about my decision on Facebook, it got almost 200 likes and a ridiculous amount of comments. ALL of them supportive. One that stuck out especially to me was from a good friend’s mother: “You will be surprised where you are lead. It will be awesome.”

I was and it is. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The Tinder Chronicles Pt. 2

You guys, it’s hard to date these days. Anyone who says otherwise, well, send them my way then, because I obviously need a coach. Where’s Hitch when you need him?

I don’t remember exactly when I got it but I have been on Tinder, I believe, for about 10 months now. And it’s been an adventure.

I’m definitely learning a lot about what I like and don’t like (even more so than I already knew). And it’s simultaneously done wonders for my self-esteem while confusing the ever-loving shit out of me.

A few trends I’ve noticed/questions I have:

– Why have a Tinder profile if it has 0 pictures on it? This app begins (and ends sometimes unfortunately) with looks.

– Why have all of your pictures be of groups of three or more guys? I cannot tell which one is you, nor do I want to try because you have no bio information either.

– Your dogs are cute, but that’s not what’s gonna get me to swipe right.

– Are you trying to get more followers or a hookup? Because really, your Snapchat, Kik and Instagram info in your bio? What’s your angle?

– At least 40 percent of you look like serial killers.

– There are SO MANY COUPLES looking for a third. No thanks.

– It says you have four pictures, yet they are ALL THE SAME PICTURE.

– If you have a newborn in your picture, I’m assuming your wife/gf doesn’t know about your Tinder account, or she does and you all want a third, or you JUST HAD A BABY AND YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A HOOKUP.

– There are definitely 15-year-olds who made a fake account saying they’re 30.

– Why are all your pics in bathroom mirrors?

– Why is your shirt off in every one? Save something for later – be a little mysterious.

– Stop using memes as your profile pic.

– That’s so not your real name.

Now. About the all the “fun” I’ve had. I’m still too poor for Match, because unemployed. And I’m not all that worried about meeting someone at the moment, because getting a job again is priority numero uno. The bills don’t stop comin’, y’all.

There was the guy I swiped right despite only having one pic of himself and it was from far away. I liked his bio – we had a lot of similar interests. He messages me, starting a regular conversation….for about 3 minutes. Then, wouldn’t ya know it? He’s just here from out of town for the week for work and he’s at his hotel and lonely. Oh, and he added another pic, closer up, and his teeth are jacked.

Pause. I am not shallow. Personality is most important for me, for real. Because there have been really attractive guys who I could be with who have the worst personality so it didn’t happen. And I don’t have a type. But I have one requirement: Have good teeth.

They don’t have to be perfect. But if it looks like you’ve done meth/are related to a horse/been in a lot of fights where you got punched in the mouth, then I’m sorry. I can’t.

Anyways. Back to hotel boy. He would NOT let up. “Wish you were here babe.” Dude – all you know about me is my name and the limited info in my bio. You have not earned calling me anything but my first name and really? For all you know I could be a serial killer…providing that you aren’t already (see list above).

UNMATCHED.

Then there was Snapchat Boy. He seemed normal enough long enough for me to be OK with exchanging Snapchat names but no phone number yet, which was so dumb on my part because despite me sending a couple pics of myself sitting on the couch (FULLY CLOTHED), it took 2.5 seconds for him to send me a naked pic.

BLOCKED AND UNMATCHED.

There was this dude from the Navy who I actually saw out in the world a few days after we’d talked but didn’t go up to him because that felt weird plus I was working at the Derby at the time. He lived a couple hours away and wanted Derby booty though.

UNMATCHED.

I went to get coffee with this guy named Charlie… and solidified that not only can I not date someone who has the same name as the dog I had, but that when your gut tells you they’re weird, a coffee date will not change that.

UNMATCHED.

While we’re naming names, there was Seth, who seemed really cool for like a week (a record in Tinder world – though there is one I have talked to still on occasion for a few months now but nothing more). Seth was complimentary, actually wanted to know more about me than wanted to see pictures (usually it’s the opposite). We talked about some serious stuff that had happened to both of us – he was a recovering addict, he said.

We got to the point of asking last names (SERIOUS) and did a bit of Facebook stalking of each other, admittedly. So far so good, still. Until two days later when I guess he forgot to hide the latest post he was tagged in WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND.

BLOCKED and UNMATCHED.

There was Channing (not Tatum) and a few others who started out well enough but wanted me to come over within 10 minutes of saying hi so they all got unmatched real quick.

One I mentioned above – we went on a couple lunch dates and kissed in his car but that was that really. And another turned into texting for a bit but just kinda fizzled out.

And then, there was this next guy. I wish so much that I was making this up, but unfortunately, I’m not.

I don’t even remember his name because I am still trying to block the experience from memory.

He was cute, and a musician, according to his bio. We had some similar interests and he had a friend in common with me allegedly, from Facebook.

Oh, he was a musician alright, I realized when we began talking. A CIRCUS musician. In fact, according to him, he was on the train right now, feeling lonely.

PAUSE. Do they really travel on trains like in Dumbo and children’s books? I am not a fan of the circus or anything about it so I may be dumb here. But in my mind I’m assuming this guy is going to murder me on a train.

I asked him if he was full of shit – was he really a traveling circus musician? Is that really a thing? And you live on a train? No way.

He says yep to all of the above and, oh, how’s this for proof, his “neighbor” on the train is an actual CLOWN.

Him: “How does that sound?”

Me: “FUCKING TERRIFYING.”

He unmatched me when I asked if this scenario has worked for him often.

I deleted the app from my phone for a bit because I was tired of weirdos. Then went back because it is true what they say, it can be good for your self-esteem, plus when I’m on there, these blogs write themselves.

I need to be taking screenshots of some of these for Tinder Nightmares, which you should be following on Instagram because it’s awesome.

I’m not holding my breath on meeting anyone from there but you never know. Maybe one day I’ll be telling my grandkids the story of how their grandpa and I both swiped right and he didn’t bring up dragons, clowns, or ask for a pic exchange.

One can dream, right?

On hold.

That’s what I feel like my life’s kind of been like for a while now.

Yeah, I’m moving forward-ish. Buying a condo was going in the right direction. But other than that? I felt like I was treading water. I was doing stuff, for sure, but wasn’t going anywhere.

And in keeping with this water motif… as time went on, I felt more and more like I was drowning.

This last year or so has been hard for me. In a time where I should have felt more freedom, having my own home, making it mine..I was sinking, deeper and deeper into that depression that I thought was under control.

SURPRISE. It wasn’t.

I have an idea of what kick-started it all. And there were things here and there that didn’t help at all.

And then, I know for a fact what made it all worse. My job.

It wasn’t always bad. It was quite pleasant, in fact, at the beginning. And for a long time, it was bearable. There were some frustrations about it, as there is in any job, but it wasn’t anything to get upset about.

However, about a year ago, it ceased being pleasant. It became something to “get through.” So that’s what I did. I got through it. I counted down until the weekends, I lost motivation to do just about everything because that required time not being stressed about the work and I didn’t have any of that.

When I did have time to not stress, I filled it with sleep. Or bad habits.

I started looking for new jobs. I started thinking the reason it was becoming more and more challenging to get up and go each day was because I was being punished, but for what, I didn’t know.

The stress dreams came back, constantly. The ones where I find out I didn’t finish a class in high school or college so my degrees and diplomas are invalid and I am not good enough or smart enough to be doing anything I’m currently doing. That does a lot for the self-esteem.

I started this “Me Project” and then laughed at myself because how could I focus on me when I didn’t care about me?

My stomach started hurting. Every day. And no, it wasn’t cheese or appendix-related.

Sometimes I slept. Sometimes I didn’t.

I prayed, every night. For a break. “PLEASE, God, just let SOMEthing good happen.”

I felt guilty because I had a job, which some do not. I had money to provide for myself. People were dealing with worse things, with better attitudes. I was ungrateful and an awful person because of it. Maybe that’s why I was being punished.

Then there came, a few months ago, the scariest time. The time when I was driving my car home from work, and had the idea to take my hands off the wheel.

“What if I do that, take my hands off the wheel right now?” I thought. “I’ll hit the guardrail. And it’ll hurt. I’ll probably have to be in the hospital for a while. But ya know, I’d rather be in the hospital tomorrow than go to work.”

I didn’t go through with it, obviously, because so much more could go wrong and others could get hurt or I could die, and I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to check out for a little while, to get away from the stress.

I told one person that night. And no one else until very recently. Because again, I felt guilty. What did I have to be so upset about?

This past week, I was given the option to resign from my job, with a severance. And because of all that I just told you and more, I took it. And didn’t look back.

I currently do not have a job. I have a few weeks’ worth of money for bills. I had an interview immediately after I quit at a place I would love to work. I have leads on opportunities to earn some money in the interim. I have the support of my family, friends, all of my loved ones.

It’s been two days. And I can’t remember the last time I was this happy.

When I saw my therapist today, she said the difference from when she saw me a month ago was night and day. She didn’t suggest increasing the dosage on my medication as she had before.

I’m MOTIVATED. The past two days I’ve gotten more done than in the past month, if we’re being honest. Because I actually WANT to.

I joined a gym. And can’t wait to go back to it tomorrow because I no longer feel the need to crawl back into bed and shut the world out the second I wake up.

I have absolutely no idea when I will have a full-time job again, or where that will be. But strangely, for once, something like that doesn’t have my anxiety at Threat Level Orange.

I feel peace. Beautiful, wonderful, all-encompassing peace. I will be OK. Things will work out. I am not alone, or doomed, or a complete idiot. I am someone who put herself first, for once. Someone who finally realized life is too short to be stuck somewhere you don’t have to be. Someone who realized, maybe, the reason she felt so negatively all the time is because she was in something so toxic, she couldn’t see otherwise.

I’m using this time to explore my options, fine-tune my resume, focus on myself and my health in all aspects. I’m applying to every job that catches my eye. I’m waking up every day with a plan that is more than “just make it to bedtime.” I haven’t a clue as to what is ahead of me. And I am finally at a place where that’s alright.

Change is sometimes scary. Sometimes necessary. Sometimes wonderful.

I am currently, firmly, in the encampment of the latter. In this case, it is wonderful. And I don’t plan to waste it.

(Getting out of) my own way

There’s an underrated movie – the sequel to “Get Shorty.” It’s called “Be Cool” and if you haven’t watched it, you should. Even though he’s extra creepy now, John Travolta does alright in it – but the better parts in it are any featuring Vince Vaughn, The Rock or Andre 3000. Best parts (in my opinion) are in the video below (very best is right about the 6:15 mark).

Anyways. Be Cool. The phrase, not the movie, has been on my mind lately. Because, wouldn’t ya know it, one of the hardest things someone with anxiety can try to do or be told to do is “be cool.”

I wish I could tell you that after my last long post – you know, the one about Tinder and being single and finding love and all that – I’ve been MIA because that boy who asked me the trivia question and I fell in love and were living happily ever after.

Not quite.

We hung out, a couple of times. Until it became apparent (which it should have earlier) that he had different ideas about what we were than I did. Which is fine. If it weren’t for the games it took to get to that point. And some other things I won’t add here. And part of it, I will admit, was my own fault, because, silly me, I expected him to want to talk to me and get to know me more than he actually did.

So back to it, right?

Yes, but with stipulations. This next time, no games. And if they say some weird stuff up front, THAT IS A SIGN, LAURA. That meant weeding out guys like the dude who messaged me and asked me to do something I hope no one ever asks me to again because that’s the SECOND time in my life that’s happened and, REALLY?? No thank you.

There is this one though. We’ve texted for a while now. And have attempted to go out three times, two of which were on the days where we got the most snow we’ve gotten in years because OF COURSE WE DID. Thanks, Universe. First time I get a date in a while and you dump a foot of snow on us. Twice. Point taken.

Anyways. So far so good, which means that’s when it gets harder to be cool. And harder to stop worrying so damn much. And harder to stop getting in my own way – second guessing texts or words or as sometimes can happen, lack thereof. I have to remind myself, out loud sometimes, that I am good enough, that I am worth pursuing and being with and stuff like that because this thing that I have – my mind – is doubting me and second guessing me at every turn. By the way, if I don’t remind myself, I have others that are doing it for me, my unofficial life coaches, if you will.

I haven’t had the best luck in relationships. When I got to a point not too long ago where I thought I had, I was wrong, yet again. I guard myself quite fiercely anymore, so when someone gets in, they’re in. Which makes them deciding to leave that much harder.

I’m not punishing people going forward for what others did to me in the past. That’s a new rule. As is the one about being yourself and if they don’t like it they’re not gonna be worth your time anyway.

The fact that I’m writing an entire blog post about it may show I’m thinking about it too much which is breaking the cardinal rule of being cool. But it’s because I want to do things right. I’ve waited a long time for good things in the relationship department, and if I can stay out of my own way, maybe I’ll get them.

Can I blame the weather, partially, for this too? This winter has been miserable, and when you live with already heightened (or lowered, I guess) emotions, it can take even more of a toll. When you only want to stay in bed or on the couch (which is basically your default anyway) because it’s too cold or gross to go out, you have too much time to think. Thus the analyzing and “should I have said this and that” and “I wonder if that was stupid” or dumb things like that.

And then sometimes you drink a 45-ounce margarita and it gets worse.

Long story short – I am trying to be cool. Some days it works better than others. Some days the lies my subconscious tells me are quieter than others.

Dating is hard, kids. Dating in the social media age and when everyone communicates mainly by typed out words is harder. Dating when you have an anxiety issue is hardest.

I refuse to be a hot mess though. And I refuse to rush into anything or settle for the sake of being with someone/anyone.

So. Baby steps. And reminding myself to be cool.

Um, whoops…

So I turned 30 and abandoned my blog.

Unintentionally, as usual.

I’ve done this a few times before. And I hate it every time. Every day that goes by that I don’t write, I feel guilty, but obviously not guilty enough to actually write something and post it – which I totally could have because, insomnia. This is one of those posts that you’ll skim through ’cause it’s something new but it’s not as substantial as most of the other stuff. It’s one of those that tells you that I’m alive, I didn’t forget about this place and I have lots to tell you.

At least this time I have more of an excuse. Since I turned 30, a lot has happened.

The abridged version – most of which will be expanded on in individual posts:
– Three weddings
– Three graduations
– Covered the Derby Red Carpet for work and a gala where I met someone super-famous
– Four or five (I lost count) graduation parties
– A bachelorette party and wedding shower
– My depression/anxiety got better..then got kinda crappy again..then got a little better
– I made it through the 8th week of Couch to 5K
– I went to Boston for the last time for a while and to Minnesota for the first time ever (and to Wisconsin where my dad tried to make me visit cheese places even though that would probably send me to the hospital on account of the lactose intolerance.)
– I planned/chaperoned and exhausted myself with a weeklong mission trip/staycation in Louisville that included 15 of our friends from Jamaica from last summer and all of my youth group babies.
– OH AND I BOUGHT A CONDO.

Yeah. Consider the fact that I just had to plan out over a month ahead of time when I want to have people over to paint one of the smallest rooms in the place and that tells you how much free time I’ve had lately. That and the fact that me and the bff haven’t seen each other in about 4 weeks and we just scheduled a time to hang out together on Aug. 1. With planners.

Excuses, excuses, I know. But it is painful to not have time to write and get out all that is going through my head every day and I’ve made a promise to myself to make sure to do that from now on. Regardless of if I post it, I will take about 30 minutes every day (which may be at 2 a.m. when I can’t sleep one night) to write something/anything, because it physically makes me feel better, not to mention helps the anxiety level go way down.

Plus, I’m all caught up on Game of Thrones now so I don’t have that distracting me.

So yeah, welcome me back and whatnot..I promise I won’t take 3 months off again – until I get my book deal anyway..