Comfort zone

I don't like ever talking about what goes on deep inside of me. A few close friends may find out, but not co-workers or you, my reader. But the truth is, I've gotten a taste of what it is like to be struggling with something psychological. And I've decided to let you in on that.

I have a busy mind, and a strong sense of responsibility or duty. That sort of thing easily leads to stress because I've lost the ability to say "no" without guilt. So anxiety has been creeping up on me for almost two years. It's mostly work, but that means that anything bad happening outside of work becomes harder than it needs to be because I have nothing extra to give.

I canceled a trip to Czechia this summer. Prague, home of the astrolabe clock tower, is a city I've wanted to see for years. But it went back on my bucket list due to being so utterly stressed out I couldn't even think about packing without crying. I wasn't staying in the moment but instead had leapt ahead to the week after vacation at work.

Bad move.

A good move was telling a friend and getting some time to talk. Another good move was looping my boss in on what was going on when I got back to work. She sent me to the company shrink. 

My comfort zone: Sitting on a bus, on a rainy day

My comfort zone: Sitting on a bus, on a rainy day

The psychologist was in a neighborhood I hadn't been to before, so I had to figure out bus schedules, and timing so I wouldn't get stressed out if I got lost. I made a decision about which bus to take, and I had taken it before so I knew that leg of the journey.

Sitting on the bus, on a rainy day, knowing I didn't need to worry about missing my stop, I started to feel myself again. I was back in my comfort zone. I know this. I know how to ride a bus. I know the rain. I know how to get myself to an unfamiliar address. I know how to adult that much. So I watched the windshield wipers fight the weather, feeling all warm and fuzzy.

The meeting with the psychologist gave me what I needed. A chance to think out loud and get some feedback. I know all this shit. I know about meditation and affirmations and etheric oils and about not trying to live up to the imagined expectations of others, but all that is beyond my grasp right now. And I kind of want it to be. I don't want to figure this out by myself even if I do know what to do. I want to talk to someone else, get some perspective my own brain can't come up with. Most importantly, I need to hear I'm normal. I don't know that I am, you see.

The psychologist told me I am, and it felt good to hear. One thing I told her was that I feel guilty just sitting. I like surfing the 'net. I like solving sudokus while I listen to my favorite podcast. I like knitting while I watch TV. I like sitting at a keyboard, typing. I like writing. But according to every article I've ever read, all this sitting will kill me, so I feel bad about sitting.

But I like my "sitting hobbies"! And especially the writing and knitting, both activities that produce something, are rewarding. So she asked me, since I was already down and didn't need more pressure, what about not beating myself up further, but instead look upon my "sitting hobbies" as something good, something helpful?


Coincidentally, in the way only the universe knows how to organize, a fellow blogger challenged me to write about song lyrics for three days and, boy, did that feel good, even if it was a topic I would never pick! Just the act of writing, of looking for links and words and putting them together.

One lesson learned.

Stay tuned. I'm not done yet. With any of this.

The almost astrologer

So, I'm busy downloading old photos from my Flickr account because Flickr is being sold and I'm tired of dealing with various TOS. 'Sides, I'm paying for Dropbox. And digging through the old stuff, here's one from 15 years ago: The weekend I was a professional astrologer.

Giving an astrological reading at the Bergen New Age Fair (Alternativmessen) 2003

Giving an astrological reading at the Bergen New Age Fair (Alternativmessen) 2003

First of all: Dig the Mac laptop! The toilet lid, as Norwegian Mac afficiendos called it. Heh. I still have the striped knitted sweater behind me. Handknitted by a dear no-longer-with-us friend who picked quality wool and did quality work. I shared the booth with the Tarot reader in the corner. Haven't stayed in touch.

If you dig into the links to earlier pages, you'll find where I wrote about the weekend I spent at the New Age Fair 2003 in Bergen and some other astrology stuff.

I never stuck with it. It turns out I don't find people all that interesting. Let me rephrase: I like helping and stuff, but I don't really "get" people. It takes me a long time to understand someone else, and I usually never do. I never seem to learn anything about other people. I certainly don't understand their motivations. I understand human motivation; I understand why someone would cheat or murder or steal, for example. I just can't understand an actual individual's motivations. I can't apply the theory.

The friend who knitted the jacket for me? She always gave me amazing and appropriate gifts. I'm not aware of others enough to do that. I cared enough about her to pay attention and ended up buying her a book on a topic she had expressed an interest in several times. She burst into tears when I gave it to her. I was surprised. I was also relieved and happy I'd bought that book. I finally did something right in the gift-giving department!

You see? I'd been friends for years with her, paid attention to her interests, and was still surprised when I got it right. Honestly, sometimes it would make sense if someone told me I was on the autism spectrum or something. At any rate, I try to remind myself to pay close attention so I can do something nice for a friend.

Since it takes so much effort and energy for me to get into what's going on with an individual, even with the help of a horoscope, I decided that working with people as a counselor was not for me. But I'll happily dish out advice on the fly if you ever need it.