Anxiety and Lime Green Cars

Green carI have a theory.

It is my belief that people who buy brightly coloured cars can’t possibly suffer from anxiety. For 3 weeks we’ve been test driving cars. Finally I’m getting rid of the Impala (complete with wood grain interior). We’ve had it for 10 years and the only reason I agreed to it back then was it had a sunroof, spoiler and tinted windows. Back then the only people who drove Impala’s were old people and cops, which I can only guess was because they could fit a fraternity of drunken university boys in the back seat comfortably. But I liked the car. It was way better than driving the dreaded van. Plus, the upside to driving a cop car is never being pulled over, which is more than I can say about the Caravan. Who gets pulled over in a Caravan? This girl.

What can I say? I’m a bad ass.

A bad ass who can’t stick to a topic…

Anyway, buying a new car stresses me out, well really buying a shirt stresses me out… but in this situation…Which car? Is it safe? Is it sexy? Will it fall apart in 5 years?  Will it make me look 20lbs lighter? So I did what any decision challenged, anxiety ridden person would do in today’s social media world. I asked Facebook for opinions. Here’s what I learned.

Ford people hate Chevy.

Chevy people hate Ford.

Both of them hate Foreign.

I got no help what so ever because it’s a personal decision and sadly I suck at those.

We finally decided on the car. I’m not posting what kind because first, I don’t want to offend anyone… but really I’m afraid of receiving comments. Something else I’ve learned is that people love to tell you their car horror stories, especially if you just purchased the same car. Just know this, we went with the car that gave us the most bang for our buck, good warranty but sexy enough to satisfy, unfortunately though we did sacrifice our patriotism. Please forgive me Canada, but the way I see it the employee who sold it to me was Canadian, so you know food on his table and the tables of all the service workers at the dealership. I can rationalize anything. Try me.

I shouldn’t have said that. I’m going to get emails.

Now here is where the decision got really hard and the whole reason for this rambling post.

What colour?

How could colour be such a hard decision? I have to admit, I didn’t see it coming. We jumped back and forth for a week. Now get this, it wasn’t even a bright colour we were deciding on. It was black or white.

BLACK or WHITE!

Because I knew neon green, bright red or even a simple blue would just stress me out. This is where the theory comes in. I looked at all the brightly coloured cars on the lot and I thought, “Not a chance in hell could I ever be comfortable in that.”

I started paying attention to the brightly coloured cars driving around. I would look at the driver and think, now that’s a person who’s comfortable with themselves and knows what they want. I want to be like that.

I’m not.

Black is super sexy and happened to be the floor model sitting there all sleek and shiny with its tinted windows, calling my name and I did like the look of it better. But as my sister so lovely (not so much) reminded me, I’m not exactly great at keeping things clean. Black shows everything. I know because all I could base my decision on was what was around me and what was around me was a dirty, dented, scratched BLACK Dodge Caravan.

Plus my daughter pointed out that cosmically we didn’t want two black vehicles. Buying another black one could screw with our universe. “Go with white,” she said, “Ying and Yang and all of that.”

True. True. Plus the husband will be driving the black van and me the white car, making me good and him evil.

We went white. It’s a balance thing.

If I was really serious about facing my fears maybe I should’ve got the lime green car. If I drove around in a bright car would I develop some kind of sureness about myself? …Or end up in an ugly lime green car questioning my ability to make a rational choice?

Someone with more credibility than me should do a study on the anxiety levels of people in bright colours. I need to know if I’m on to something. Then I can do one of those magazine survey things. “What Your Car Colour Says About You.”

What colour of car do you drive?

Movie Theater Snobbery – The Snob Being Me

I am a complete and utter movie theater etiquette snob. I admit it. I’m uber anal about my experience.  Are we still using uber? I feel a little silly about it. I think I heard somewhere that it’s no longer a thing…If it offends, I’m sorry but at the moment I’m at a loss for more hip sounding slang.

Going to the theater is my favourite thing and because I’m a bit of an introvert (sometimes…when I’m sober) going by myself kicks ass. Having a practically empty theater, kicks the largest ass in existence…I won’t mention any names.

I need my space. People’s behaviour distracts me. Sometimes I swear they do it on purpose, like some hidden camera show or something. I half expect Howie Mandel to jump out and declare it was all a joke on me. Of course it never happens but my mind goes there, I won’t lie. I know my impatience with people is not your problem, or theirs necessarily, but I can’t be the only one who gets annoyed.

I don’t think of myself as hard to please, if fact I’m fairly adaptable. I rarely send a meal back, I eat the stupid birthday cake even if I don’t want it because I don’t want to make a scene about being on a diet…you know, I try to be versatile, just don’t screw with my movie experience.

What happens to people when they get in a dimly lit theater?

From the woman explaining every single little thing to her husband, to the old man with the gigantic mitts digging into his popcorn and grabbing up handfuls so big he has to strategically maneuver it around his face until every single piece is lodged in his mouth. And who can ignore the typical teenager who can’t stop texting, giving iPhone related migraines to everyone forty and over? They all drive me insane and I will admit there have been times I’ve given Karma the night off and lodged some kernels in their hair, but usually just the young ones…because I’m bitter about their youth and carefree nonchalance.

Last weekend I went in with a good attitude, but as the theater filled my anxiety grew and then the lady beside me picked up her popcorn. I know what you’re thinking, she was probably a cruncher. But she wasn’t. Actually I’ve had plenty of experience with the cruncher and the shoveller…in fact, I married him and I’m not far behind, but only when people aren’t around.

You see? I’m sensitive to other people and I guess it’s my own problem that I expect others to play along and be considerate. I try to chew slowly if I’m sitting close to people, I put the popcorn in my mouth and if it gets really quiet I just silently suck the butter off until I can swallow. If someone I’m with talks to me I’m extremely uncomfortable and worried we will disturb someone. Don’t get me wrong when there’s no one around I’m giving the man with the big mitts a run for his money, until I’m sick to be honest and still I look for stray pieces in my bra.

But the woman this weekend was unique. She was a slammer. Every time she took a handful of popcorn she’d lift her entire arm, grapple around in the bag and then slam her elbow down on the arm rest. Every ten seconds…SLAM, SLAM, SLAM…

Fucking kill me.

Finally she put the popcorn down and I got a 5 min break before the lady with her pulls out a plastic bag from the Bulk Barn and start dragging out baggies and baggies of candy. It was a freaking buffet. Those two alternated between popcorn and candy the entire movie. I didn’t know if I was angry or jealous.

So please, now that the Oscar worthy films are upon us and the theaters will be packed…can we all just agree to some movie etiquette? How about we start with something easy, the thing that dries me absolutely bat ass crazy? The next time you’re leaving take a look around at the garbage people leave behind.

Take your freaking garbage with you. I mean you walk right by the bin when you exit. I know it’s someone’s job to do it but do it anyway. It’s just the right thing to do.

Please?

For me?

Baby Steps to Blissdom

This year I promised I would get out of my comfort zone and do what frightens me. I started this blog even though it was a big scary task I knew nothing about. October marks one full year for Good Girls Wear Thongs and so far I haven’t been criticized (to my face), yelled at or told to shut up. I have however, been looked at funny, backed away from and whispered about, “Don`t talk to her she might blog about you.” But that’s just my family…

Since I haven’t made a total mess of it, I thought I would take another step and investigate this blogging life a little further. It seems to be a lovely way to (insert sarcasm font here) earn a living, especially if you don’t particularly like getting out of your pajama’s every day and if you don’t need money to survive. I’ve been told it’s rather difficult to cash in, even for spare change and like anything it requires dedication, perseverance and a hell of a lot more blogs then I’ve been writing.

I read as much as I can. I bought Blogging for Dummies, but every time I open it I end up horizontal with drool down my face. Not exactly thrilling stuff. I’m better one on one. I need a blogging coach or therapist (if you will)…someone who knows what they’re doing; who can draw me a pie graph of my time divided into focal points (social media, writing time, etc.,) then slap me across the head with it for wasting time looking at a graph when all it does is make me hungry for pie.

I’m hoping to find some answers next weekend (Oct 20 & 21) at Blissdom, a bloggers conference in Toronto I signed on for months ago when I was feeling enthusiastic.  I’m looking forward to the advice and inspiration of the guest speakers and the answers to the important questions like, what do I do now?

As the date nears I’m getting nervous. Emails, Tweets and Facebook conversations are coming fast and furious telling me to get ready for round table discussions, costume parties and fun excursions, which all sound wonderful if you’re not a hopeless recluse like me.

Blogging is a community, a community I’m not yet a part of, which means a lot of these women already know each other and just know a lot more about everything in general. My blog is small potatoes with green skin and big hairy eyes. Of course, I know the whole point of going is to get acquainted, mingle and network but that’s exactly what scares me. I feel like my parents moved me to a new city in the middle of freshmen year and I don’t know whether to wear boots or heels to my first day of school. I’m an amateur; a (gulp) newbie. I hate not knowing things, not being in control. I don’t know if it’s because Halloween is just around the corner, but I keep hearing the scary voice from Carrie echoing in my head, “They’re all going to laugh at you.”

Not to mention there will be sponsors looking for a good match for their products, someone who will fit into their marketing plans. I’ve heard the word “brand” a lot over the last year. What’s your brand? How do you market yourself? What is your theme?

What am I supposed to say, “Well, I write about ass dimples and getting bit in the vagina by black flies?”  Who is going to sponsor me, Raid?

I don’t have a good answer, but I better have one by Friday. If I want to move forward I have to talk to people and make them like me, believe in me, invest in me.  Oh good Lord! How on earth do I fool them into doing such a thing?

I don’t know. I really don’t know anything about Blogging, I just shoot my mouth off when I feel like it and you read it for some reason. But, I know I like it and even though I’ve been distracted lately and feel like topics are eluding me, I know when I write and purge whatever is on my mind, I feel a little better; a little lighter. I don’t know what it all means right now, but I want to find out, so I’m walking through the fear and grabbing my cafeteria tray and going to find a place to sit.

Wish me luck!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Where have I been?

Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower because the movie adaptation premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month to some really good reviews, which isn’t surprising after I did a little research and found this book has a huge cult-like following. I’m a sucker for cult followings, innocent cults, not purple kool-aid cults…unless there’s vodka.

Written by Stephen Chbosky, it was published in 1999; thirteen years ago. Where was I? Well, I was pregnant eating chips with my head stuck in, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

The book is comprised entirely of letters written to an anonymous source, which makes for a fast, yet thought provoking read. The letters are written by Charlie, a high school freshman who lost his best (and seemingly only) friend to suicide.  Charlie’s a straight A student and an avid reader with extremely poignant observations about the world around him.  He’s honest, poetic, sad, innocent, romantic, quirky and cool. He comprehends classic literature and instills it into the modern day, yet, he doesn’t know how to stop a run on sentence…we could be twins. The writing is so easy you zip right along page after page until you realize, you have feelings for Charlie. You understand Charlie and in some way and at some point, you were Charlie.

At a chance meeting at a football game Charlie becomes friends with seniors Patrick & Sam (half-siblings) and they develop a bond. Through his first year of high school he fights his anxiety and depressive tendencies by standing back and taking in the actions of this older crowd.  Along the way he’s introduced to homosexuality, drugs, alcohol, love, infatuation, abortion, among other things, only to immerge at the end of the school year with a better understanding of why he is who he is.

And isn’t that what we were all searching for in high school?

There’s a moment when the three friends drive out of a tunnel in a pickup truck, music blaring and burst into the city’s skyline. The now famous line reads, “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.” I remember those moments, feeling so good and invincible. At the time I knew it was something special but I couldn’t put it into words, I just remember I liked it.

I wish Wallflower would have been written in my time. There’s so many quotes my younger self would have fallen in love with,

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be. – The next time my kids ask me what high school was like, this is what I’m telling them it felt like for me. So simple. So true.

Things change. And friends leave. And life doesn’t stop for anybody. – Forget high school, I’m still trying to come to terms with this.

The fact that one of these ladies was my mom made me particularly sad because my mom is beautiful. And she’s always on a diet. Sometimes, my dad calls her beautiful, but she cannot hear him. – Charlie gets it.

So obviously I highly recommend getting this book if you’re one of the few (like me) who hadn’t heard of it until now. If you have a teenager you can probably save your money because chances are they already have a copy hidden somewhere. Give it a try before seeing the movie and let me know what you think.

Step Away From The Book

Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.

Katharine Hepburn

Out of all the advice I can give my kids, I hope it’s this message that sticks. I’ve spent too many years “wondering about myself” and it’s exhausting, not to mention a total waste. All this investigating in self discovery has gotten me absolutely no where. The only thing I’ve succeeded in doing is adding more “labels” to my persona. I could’ve put a down payment on a small cottage with the money I’ve spent on self help books over the years. The topic range is endless; Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Mothering, Marriage, Perfectionism, Mindfulness, endless Diet books, OCD, SAD, Meditation and my personal favourite The Chakra Bible.

The thing is I can find myself in every single one of those books and poor Homer has to listen to my rambling every time I discover a new quirk of mine. You know the one that’s going to change my life? The one that’s going to give me vision, clear the clouds and I’ll finally be on my way! He nods carefully because he knows better than to roll his eyes and say, “Here we go again.”

Truly, I must be an exhausting spouse. Don’t tell him I said that.

But no matter, because whatever book I’m reading at the time there is a moment when I think; this is it. This is the answer. This is why I’m like I am according to this woman/man with a bunch of letters after their name. After I follow their instructions, I’ll be fixed and then I can start my life. When I lose this weight I can go on vacation. When I get a hold of this depression, things will start happening for me. And on and on and on. When this happens (fill in your blank), then this is how I will be rewarded, (fill in your reward). Sound familiar? If not, forget what you read and continue on to the next blog.

All I have to do is follow these steps, do this exercise, listen to this chanting, drink green tea and I’ll be cured. But cured of what? Myself? How does one get so lost that they waste years dismissing what’s right in front of them convinced there’s a better, easier way? If only wishing on a star worked. I blame Disney for making me believe this sham in the first place. None of the princesses went through any identity issues. When Cinderella was running around cleaning up after her step-bitches and living in a tower with only small animals for company, was she depressed? Nope. She just went on her merry way singing and laughing. The message? Happiness is easy. She never worked at her happiness. It just existed.

Then one day we wake up older and have a coffee table made of books we thought would open the skies to our future. And when they don’t you feel like a failure, an imposter in your own life; the life that doesn’t include a pumpkin carriage.

In the end, I always lose interest in the book of the month and don’t do the work. My fault, I know. I lose focus. Like everything else I go whole hog and then get bored and start looking for the next label to paste to my forehead. I get busy with life and then mad at myself for not following through. Cue endless negative self talk.

I’ve never been one to ask for help. I can do it myself. I don’t want anyone to know. If I ask for help I’m weak or worse, if I tell anyone they will think I’m weak. Why are we so afraid to show our shortcomings? If we only put our hands up in surrender and acknowledged our need for guidance once in a while we might have an easier time of it.

With age comes wisdom and I’ve learned the best thing I can do is talk to others. Isolating with a book (or worse the internet) only takes my mind to crazy places. Being validated by someone with the same struggles makes me feel insanely better. I guess this is why there are so many support groups and message boards out there, because people just want to belong. I want to listen and share with people I identify with so I don’t feel so alone. And it helps, but it’s not enough. Like anything else, nothing changes if nothing changes.

No one has it all together. If we did Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t be overflowing with inspirational quotes. Enjoy yourself. Tap into yourself. Let Go and Let God. Just do it. Or whatever slogan works for you but stop wondering how you work and work with what you have. Just stop wondering and start doing.

The tricky part is the doing.

Feeling Blue?

I’ve just finished a book by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, it’s a few years old, called Eating, Drinking, Overthinking. A more appropriate title would’ve been, Kelly, This Means You (with a big embedded picture of me on the cover). While not everything in it pertains to me specifically, a whole lot does. This makes me nervous. Not that I’m into outing myself with suffering from any psychological disorders (I don’t want to talk myself out of any party invitations here) but l’ve been known to go through bouts of depression and have had my midnight anxiety attacks that have landed me on medications, on a therapist couch and over the course of the last five years added 25 pounds to my frame. It all sounds so traumatic and horrible, but let me assure you, it’s all quite common in women.

Susan (since she wrote a book about me, I feel I can call her by her first name) calls it The Toxic Triangle, a vicious cycle of depression, eating & drinking. Doesn’t that sound frightening? Who wants to be caught in a Triangle? My parents used to go on vacation when I was a kid and they would fly over the Bermuda Triangle. I always thought, “Well, there they go, gonna fly over that triangle and get sucked right in!” (Gee, I wonder when my overthinking started.)

But, really Susan? Did you have to make it sound so harsh? Vicious? Toxic? There’s no cushion, just BOOM, you my lady are in a Toxic Triangle, what do you think about that? Well, not too good actually because one of those “sides” of the triangle I feared would be ignited right away. I would over think this. I’ll run it around in my head all day and night. I’ll find myself on every page of the book, then Google everything I can about it and tell myself I’m broken and in need of repair stat!

And so it begins.

What should I do? Besides relax (even I know that), but I’m not particularly good at it. My body? Yes. My mind? Nope. But, just because a person with a PH.D., (and a Yale graduate) is picking my life apart, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Right? RIGHT?!

There must be exercises I can do to rescue me from this triangle of terror. I finally found them near the back of the book and felt a bit of relief. At least I had a plan. There is a way out. Except part of the plan is meditation and we all know how well I did with that. (See last post).

Okay, maybe like the book says, I’m just over thinking everything. I take a deep breath, relax my shoulders and pour myself a glass of wine. Wait. Drinking is another side of the triangle. That’s two out of three. Oh hell, it’s one glass of wine to calm me down. What is life if you can’t have a glass of wine once in a while? Or two? I finish that glass as I contemplate this. Then I take my second glass of wine and continue reading, but suddenly I’m hungry. I put the book down and go into the kitchen, stopping to scrutinize myself in the mirror. This is the same mirror I’d past just hours before and berated my chunky reflection swearing to never touch another carb again, but now, two glasses in… I look good enough for chips.

After the chips (and some cheese and crackers), all hell breaks loose. How could I have eaten all those? Why am I having wine on a Wednesday? Then I continue to stuff myself with anything not nailed down as I clean up from dinner. But all is not lost, because I did leave one glass of wine in the bottle so I could tell myself that, “at least I didn’t drink the whole thing.”

I wipe the crumbs from my chin as I carry my bloated body up the stairs where I lay in bed thinking, “‘I’m three out of three. What if I never get out of The Toxic Triangle?”

And, I’m back to overthinking.

I think I’m starting to get it now.

How do women get into this mess? The answer is simple says Susan, The quieter problems of woman don’t bother other people nearly as much, so they aren’t dealt with properly.”

Meaning, we take everything internally. If we could just hit something like men then maybe we wouldn’t be tearing the cupboards apart looking for a year old King Dong. We don’t tell the whole story, scared to death of judgement, so doctors tend to only address one of the issues (depression) by throwing prescriptions at us and tell us to be on our way. The meds work, but they’re only a stepping stone to the underlying issue and they’re only addressing one side of the triangle. They clear our heads enough to see how we feel, think and talk about ourselves, to ourselves, so to speak, but it’s what you do with that information that’s the way out. If you just take the medication and wait, not addressing the internal problem you’re just sitting idle, stalled in your own life. Who wouldn’t want to fill their face with beers and chicken wings?

I don’t want to bore you with the statistics, but let’s just say that there are a good number of us challenged with one or more of these “sides”. The stigma associated with any type of mental illness doesn’t make it any easier. People with depression don’t walk around like Eeorye with a big cloud over their heads. They hide it well because they’re scared to be judged by their peers when chances are; their peers are hiding something of their own. Isn’t it silly?

Okay, one statistic; 1 in 4 women will suffer a severe depressive episode at least once in her lifetime; 50% experience mild symptoms of depression. Most have repeat episodes time and time again because they don’t have the tools to stop it. And they don’t have the tools because they’re too proud to seek help. And no one notices because we are women and we are trained to shut up and keep going so we don’t appear weak.

Don’t you think this statistic could be better if we just freaking talked about it? We’re so scared to be open, to be judged or God forbid someone think we don’t have it all going on that we hold it all inside. I mean, it has to come out somehow right? I hate to bring it up again, but kind of like a fart in your pantyhose, sooner or later it has to make an exit.

We have to learn how to take better care of our mental health. Getting rid of the stigma of depression or any mental illness is high on the list. It’s like Maya Angelo said (and Oprah repeats over and over and over again), “When we know better. We do better.” And I want to do better for my children because the probability of them ever having to deal with a period of depression is high. So I want them to be prepared, be educated and not feel like they have to hide it like it’s some nasty sexual transmitted disease (another awful stigma). It’s a fact of life and if we give voice to it now, it will be easier in the future to nip it in the bud and move on before the issue even resembles a triangle.

Then again I could be just over thinking this and reserve the right to delete this post out of shame and embarrassment.

If you’re interested in the book, here is a link to Chapters online. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Eating-Drinking-Overthinking-Toxic-Triangle-Susan-Nolen-Hoeksema/9780805077100-item.html?ikwid=eating+drinking+overthinking&ikwsec=Home