Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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DBSA Vision Board Presentation

Monday afternoon is DBSA at MHA. I got to do my vision board presentation again. I’m getting pretty good at it, and people are enjoying it. I’m actually amazed that people think I’m as good at it as they believe. I mean, I’m used to having to work so hard to be successful at something, so to have this pretty much come naturally is a real gift. I mean it, it feels like a present to me.

Most people shared their vision boards, a few people didn’t. I always ask if they’d like to share, and remind them that “no” is an acceptable answer to that question. One lady decided her piece was too personal to share, another was new to the group and felt shy. I am not about forcing people to do something that makes them uncomfortable. I want people to feel safe and respected.

There was a new lady today, and I talked to her for quite a while after the meeting. She had a lot of family issues that affected her deeply and she just needed to get it all out and not be judged. I am very good at not judging. I am a good listener. So I sat with her until almost 6, just because she needed to talk.

One of the guys asked for my number today and said he’d like to hang out sometime. I don’t know if I think this is a potential dating situation or not. I don’t think I’m his type and he is better looking than me, but maybe he can see past my plainness to my heart. It could happen. And yet I don’t want to think too much about this. We can be friends, see what happens. Maybe nothing.

He joined us for coffee at Cafe Brazil last week, and paid for my snack. And he hung around after class today and helped me bring stuff downstairs. So maybe he is being friendly but maybe it’s a little more. I can’t tell, but right now I don’t mind the uncertainty.

It’s nice to feel a little bit of interest. I have felt pretty much asexual for several years now. I’ve thought maybe it was menopause or maybe it’s my meds. Many antidepressants kill sex drive. So it’s fun to feel a little like, maybe there’s some interest there. No expectations, just noticing that I can still feel this way.

The rest of the week will be pretty busy. I have Recovery International tomorrow morning. Wednesday I’m covering Taking Care of You for the usual facilitator who is out of town. Thursday I’m doing the vision board presentation for the last time. Friday is ATTA. I missed them last week, I just plain did too much and was worn out.

I often wonder about that. When I work, I work 10 hour days, 7 days a week, and it doesn’t bother me. Then I get furloughed and I have weeks or even months to myself. But I have had regular 40 hour a week jobs, and they just drain me. Why is that? I feel like it must be related to the bipolar pattern.

And, I have been asked a couple of times now how people can help me out, since I am having money issues at the moment. If you want to make a donation, my PayPal is under rippledwords@yahoo.com. Otherwise I have an Etsy store where you could consider buying something. I am really feeling the crunch, any little bit would help.

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Rainy Day Like Night

It’s raining here today.

Not a gentle spring rain, but a thunder-ridden deluge, including hail. The sky is so black it’s like night out.

I am drinking coffee, grateful to be indoors.

I had plans to go to an art market in Deep Ellum today with my daughter, but she told me yesterday she was sick so I just cancelled it. Now with the weather, I’m glad I did. We’d have been miserable.

My daughter is training her kitten, Rider Die, to be an emotional support animal. She is harness training Rider and takes her out to crowded events to get her used to being around people. So far Rider is doing great, or so I hear. This weekend would have been my first outing with them together.

I’m not sure about the whole emotional support animal thing. I believe there are people who need emotional support but I also know several people who simply use it as a way to keep their pets with them 24/7. At least one of them has forgotten that I remember when her dog wasn’t an emotional support animal, and she used to fret about people who had them. So my girl is working on her cat being one, and I’m not sure if it’s because she really needs one or if it’s to keep her kitten with her all the time.

It’s a coffee and nap kind of day. I’m hungry but I don’t know what I want to eat. Probably tuna. There’s something about rainy days that makes me want tuna fish sandwiches. Or grilled cheese. I should make a sandwich. If I’m thinking about food, it’s probably time to eat.

Charli the kitty just came and napped on my chest. It was comforting. I napped with her. I didn’t need a nap, but there you go, it’s a sleepy day.

I’m nervous about making a sandwich. I mean. my rent includes dinner but it doesn’t really include other meals. No, wait, most days I do make breakfast, often a fried egg sandwich. (I like sandwiches, can you tell?) I didn’t have much for breakfast today, just some cottage cheese and a piece of toast. No wonder I’m hungry now.

I just don’t want to eat more than my fair share, and with no income right now, I can’t buy extra food to supplement if I’m hungry. I can’t hit a drive through. I haven’t even gone to QT for a cold drink. I feel very limited in options.

Well, I need to eat. There’s some cold cuts in the fridge so I’m going to make a chicken sandwich. With provolone. I wonder if there’s a pickle. Then, probably another nap.


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Vision Boards and Banks

I did the vision board presentation again today, and it went well. I’m pretty pleased with it in general. I need to figure out a way to bring some music into it. I don’t listen to anything on my phone and I don’t have a bluetooth speaker so my options are a little limited.

One of the guys finished his but didn’t want to talk about it. I talked about mine, a couple of the ladies talked about theirs. It’s good, I think, to look at what you end up with and think about how it reflects your life.

Tomorrow and Thursday I am facilitating some other groups. Then next week we do vision boards 2 more times. It’s a good thing. I’m glad I did it.

But to balance out the good, I got an email from my bank regarding an overdraft.

How did that even happen? I don’t believe I have overdraft turned on. If I’d known I had a little leeway, I’d’ve spent $20 on Care.com to be able to contact clients.

Now I know, if I’d gone to the grocery store, the card would have been declined, so I don’t know why they paid what they did. I zero’d out the account for a reason. I would think that was obvious.

Additionally, they just send me a new bank card because my old one got compromised. It has a new number which I have not given out. Another reason those charges should not have gone through.

So I will call the bank tomorrow and see what’s up. Hopefully we can get it together and I won’t owe the whole $200. Because I should get unemployment next month, but it will only be for one week because of that thing where they hold a week back. I don’t want it all going for an overdraft that never should have happened.


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Mothers Day

Mothers Day was yesterday.

Is it Mothers Day, as in the day we celebrate mothers, or Mother’s Day, as in the day we celebrate Mom? I don’t know. I don’t suppose it matters.

This is a holiday that I am truly ambivalent about.

In 1984, my mother died of cancer. Part of the issue was that she wouldn’t go to the doctor so the disease was pretty advanced by the time anyone picked up on it. Part of the problem was, well, it was 35 years ago, cancer treatment just wasn’t as advanced as it is today. She was given the option of treatment that would extend life but make her sick, or no treatment with a life expectancy of about 8 months. She chose to forego medical treatment.

Now let’s be clear. She turned down radiation and chemo. She said, “If medical science is done with me, then I am done with them.” But she did pursue holistic alternatives. Only, again, it was 1984. No internet. No community of people to help with advice. And “holistic” was a concept without a name.

I remember her insisting on organic produce, and soaking it in the sink to remove toxins. One time, after she had moved back to my grandparents’ house, she accused of us trying to poison her by not soaking the vegetables. They came from Grandpa’s garden, which was de facto organic because that was the way he learned to farm when he was a kid.

So I am without a mother, and by this age, I am without grandmothers. Nobody for me to spoil on this day. For many years, Mothers Day was simply a reminder of what I don’t have. I chose to ignore the holiday.

Only, I am a mother myself.

I have been terrible with holidays because I missed my family of origin, but that means my daughter has never really experienced a good holiday. I was perhaps too caught in my own grief and did not provide the right environment for her in terms of celebrating special days.

This year, I spent most of Mothers Day afternoon with my daughter. I went to her place. We drank rumchata (horchata with rum in it) and made art. I made an abstract of her friend, she tried out a texture technique that she didn’t like and painted over. Several of her friends visited. I laughed, and said it’s because I’m the cool mom, but really I know it’s because my kid is cool. People want to be around her.

So I am learning to make days special in non-traditional ways. What’s important is to spend time together, not to go to brunch or get flowers. I feel good about making art with a friend, and my daughter is becoming a friend. I miss my mom, but I will see her again soon enough. And I want her to see how far I’ve come, when we finally get to catch up.


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Shutting Down

So many things in life take money, and I have none, so I am shutting down parts of my life.

I can’t afford Ipsy any longer, which makes me sad. I was enjoying getting surprise cosmetics each month.

I also can’t afford Zine-O-Matic. Again, not that it’s so very expensive, just I don’t have the money for it.

But the one that really hurts is, I can’t afford Succulent Wild World any more. It’s a subscription Facebook group with SARK, one of my favorite authors. Right up there with M. Scott Peck, only very different. For self-help type stuff, that is. (For fiction I like Charles De Lint, Neil Gaiman and William Gibson.)

I have been part of the SARK world for several years now, and this was the first time I could actually afford to join. I get 2 group mentoring sessions per month and what they call dessert groups, which are small group sessions with other members. I haven’t been able to take part fully because I am usually in the living room and my roommates have the tv on, so there’s too much background noise to volunteer to speak. Maybe one day I’ll have both the money and the silence.

I know I have to keep cutting back. I can’t go as many places because I don’t have gas money. Not that I should be driving without insurance anyway. I can’t stop and grab a burger or an ice cream. I wore out the insole in my sneakers and I can’t afford a new pair. I am concerned about feeding the cats. And paying for my phone. The stuff in storage, well, I might just have to let that go.

Shutting down my life as I run out of money. Trying to keep as much of it open as I can. I need a life regardless of employment. Everyone needs a life. Life shouldn’t cost so much.


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Worn Out Sneakers

I finally wore out my sneakers over the weekend. I went walking with a friend both days. We logged over 5 miles. But I have now worn out the insole of my sneakers and I can’t afford a new pair at the moment. So I will keep wearing them for walking but I am shifting to boots for daily wear.

I told my friend I couldn’t afford the Alaska trip, and she paid my airfare. Wow. Now I didn’t expect her to do that, and I will pay her back. But very interesting response. I have to find the money for a passport now. The trip includes a stop in Canada and you can no longer use a driver’s license as proof of residence.

I get food stamps now. I am trading them for rent at the moment. I know this isn’t quite legal but I have no cash for rent this month. Or for gas or for meds. I should have some cash next month.

Next month, I can apply for unemployment again. I applied last June and was awarded a settlement. I then went back to work so I stopped collecting. That’s the job that ended in December. I tried to file against the new job, and was told that I still had the previous settlement to use up before filing for the new one. I used up the old settlement and tried to file the next one, and I was told I can only file one time in a 12 month period. So I can’t file again until the beginning of June. Hopefully I’ll qualify. I mean, I did the work, the job ended, I haven’t been able to find anything new.

I signed up for Care.com but there is a small problem. I applied for some jobs, but I don’t have the $20 to pay for the subscription part so I can’t hear from people through the website. I guess I’m going to have to start including my phone number or my email address. I could be pet sitting by now.

Next weekend I am pet sitting for a friend. I’ll enjoy spending the weekend at her house. I like her cat. It should be good. And on Sunday I’ll see my daughter for Mothers Day. We don’t have any money, so we decided to hang out and make art. I told her to invite some of her friends to join us. I figure they’ll be ready for a break from their own families by the middle of the afternoon.

I need to pack up all my art supplies on Thursday for the weekend. I have a whole plastic grocery sack of mail to reply so I need to bring my letter writing accoutrements. I need to bring paints and such over to my daughter’s place on Sunday too. Plus I need to have my vision board supplies with me. I shall have a car full of art, which makes me happy.

Ah, life. Money stress is what it is, but it could be worse. The rest of the world is working out okay. I just need things to fall into place for me.


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Vision Board Presentation

I did my first vision board workshop today. It went very well.

So, vision boards. In simple terms, it’s a sort of affirmation meets arts and crafts proposition, but it actually works.

When you think a thought often, you strengthen that pathway through your brain. It becomes easier to think that thought again. So if you are thinking something negative, it becomes easier to keep thinking it. That’s why we get caught in thought loops about being, say, ugly or worthless or stupid.

But the reverse is true too: If we get into the habit of thinking positive thoughts, those also become easier to think. That’s why affirmations work. You spend more time thinking a positive thought, it becomes easier to think it, and eventually it becomes second nature. I am a good person replaces I’m worthless.

Now the left side of the brain contains the language centers. Working with words like affirmations activates the left side of the brain. But there is another side of the brain, one that does not think in words but in pictures. You are familiar with its way of thinking, you call it intuition. It’s the things you know that you don’t have the words to express, because you don’t know it in words. In order to make changes, you want to activate the whole brain. So how do we activate the non-verbal righthand side?

Turns out, art and imagery are a good way to engage the right side. So if we want to fully activate the entire brain, working with words and images together is one good way. So if we combine the words of an affirmation with pictures, we get vision boards.

There are several benefits to creating one yourself. First of all it causes you to think about the topic. In my presentation, the topic was “live your best life” so people had to think about what their best life would be like. Then they had to find words and images that spoke to those ideas. Now some magazines have content that fits exactly, but lots of time it’s just a case of symbolism. You might, for example, find the word “relaxation” or you might find a picture of a hammock. They speak to different parts of the brain.

People find that once they go through these exercises, the ideas really do stick. And because they stick, we act on them. Maybe not consciously, but we open ourselves to possibilities and take actions in line with the new way of thinking. Both halves of the brain work together to bring about a change.

So my little group of people, they are going to find themselves experiencing some changes in the future. They have developed an idea of what their best life looks like and feels like, and they have worked it into both sides of their brains. The non-verbal side will influence their behaviors even if the verbal side still provides negative messages.

People had fun with the activity. One of the ladies found an image that clearly depicted the kind of confidence she wanted to have. One of the men found wonderful words that spoke to his self-described zen self. Several people asked for another piece of paper to do another one at home.

The only complaint was that there weren’t enough male images. Now that’s no surprise. I get mostly women’s magazines, and for some reason I didn’t have any Wired or Fast Company in my stack. I did have some National Geographics. But it’s a valid concern, so I will have to hit up Half Price Books and see if I can find some Sports Illustrated or GQ. Maybe Men’s Health.

So I would say this was very successful, and I’m excited to be doing it another several times. After this, I start to monetize it. Because I need something I can do when I’m not working for the government.