06 January 2016

new years resolutions. still no coffee.

So it's been a few months since I've stopped drinking coffee. Five months almost, to be exact. I just felt compelled to write a blurb on my thoughts on quitting addictive substances, since it's quite a process. You would think that by the fifth month, you'd be in the clear from all feelings surrounding the matter, but this is actually far from the truth. In reality, from what I've read, and based on my experience, it can take years to go through all of the withdrawal stages and come out of the other side.

Speaking of time lines, over a year ago, I made an effort to quit all caffeine, but primarily coffee. I held strong from May 2014-October 2014 in terms of chocolate, from what I can remember, and then started having decaf coffee in Nov/Dec 2014 with caffeinated on weekends, and before I knew it it became and every day caffeinated-thing and then one in the morning and a Starbucks at night, and chocolate when I felt like it. That was up until August 2015, when I put on the brakes, because I realized my addiction to caffeine was negatively impacting my life in so many ways.

Since August 2015, I have had maybe 3-4 cups of coffee -- actually, make that 3-4 HALF cups of coffee... a few of those were actually quarter cups. I have also had some chocolate...pretty much once a month until December, where I went a little haywire, given the holidays. However, I've since gotten back on track with still no coffee, and no more chocolate. Of note, even having had the 3-4 half/quarter cups of coffee since August and the few relapses on the chocolate end is a tremendous improvement from having caffeine every day and multiple times per day, prior to August 2015.

Having the caffeine free Ginger Ale soda from Trader Joe's has helped, along with gum. Somehow the addiction to caffeine is correlated with a craving for sugar, I've realized, as having sugar helps abate the caffeine craving. However, I don't have much sugar as is. It's just given that having had chocolate not too long ago has caused me to think about coffee, the sugared caffeine free drinks/gum are the least of the two evils, and I'm better off this way.

I noticed when I had the chocolate in December (some Hershey's bars and some Hershey kiss/pb Christmas cookies), the chocolate provided a momentary lift. Esp the Hershey's bars. Apparently, according to something I read, it has something to do with the sugar being released from the liver or something that produces this effect. Pardon me if I'm scientifically incorrect. It has something to do with sugar being released somewhere though, that causes an instant lift.

Anyway, I find that I have been dreaming and feel much more relaxed off caffeine. I do still feel a pull toward it, esp in this cold weather. It would be nice to have some Starbucks. I have some gift cards to Starbucks, which make it all the more easy access. However, rather than give into temptation, I am going to just get the herbal teas when I go. I do enjoy the Oprah Chai tea, which is free from caffeine.

Basically, the point of this post is to describe how coming off of caffeine is no easy process. There is no quick fix. I have had lengthy periods of abstinence in the past, and notice my willpower has weakened with age. I had quit coffee from 2008 to probably 2013 or so. Still, I was regularly consuming chocolate during that period. However, I didn't notice my addiction to it until I started consuming coffee regularly.

It helps to keep in mind that all will be okay, if I stay away from caffeine for a while, if not for longer than a while. It feels like I'm missing out on something awesome, and in a way, I know I am, because nothing compares to the flavor of a nice dark brew of coffee. However, the momentary lift is not worth the hours/days/months of aggravation that ensue whenever I give into temptation. The sleeplessness, high level of irritation, skin issues, short fuse, reduced appetite, lack of rem sleep. I don't miss those negative side effects.

So, cheers to this continuation of a resolution made prior to the new year to keep on this path of no caffeine and/or chocolate.

One more note, there were a few days I had gone to my parents' house around New Year's and I thought to have some coffee if they had any left over, and those few times, the coffee storage thingy had been washed and was on the drying rack. I guess in a way it was symbolic to me. Like the gods trying to assist me with my efforts to abstain.

Having Starbucks gift cards lying around (as given to me as Christmas gifts) is merely another test of strength. It's like 'can she resist when it's in her hands and the Starbucks is right around the corner...?' Sometimes my emotions get the better of me. Like today. I'm in a good mood and it seems a cup of coffee would make it all the better, yet I'm feeling good because I don't have caffeine in my system, so I'm not about to ruin that.

My goal at the start of this (back in August) was to make it to June 2016, so onward we go, even though I feel like my fingers are crossed at this point.

30 December 2015

So today has been a rather good day thus far. I had an interview this morning and it was held by two women, one of whom I knew, which I didn't realize until I entered the room. This woman worked for my family doctor all throughout my childhood. I remembered seeing her there. She handled the front desk administrative duties and worked with her mother. I remember the past few times going to my family doctor, wondering where she went and why she no longer worked there.

As I entered the room, she held my resume up to her face and said, 'Wait, I know you,' and lowered the paper to reveal her face. She looked familiar, and it was then that she mentioned my family doctor's name, and I told her I had wondered where she had gone. It's funny how life comes full circle sometimes and you run into familiar people in the weirdest of places and scenarios.

It reminded me of a few months ago, feeling really guilty for how I had treated this one coworker at my job prior to my most recent job. This guy was a friendly guy, but he got on my nerves at times, and there were times that the stress got to me and I took my frustration out on him. I can think of three or four instances that I really cringe to recall, because I really wasn't the nicest to him. One day, he actually came into the office with a cat calendar, somehow knowing that I'd love it, and I was so thankful, but secretly wondered how he could be nice to such a b----, given how I'd acted toward him those several times. Somehow he always rose above any underlying tension to extend an olive branch through striking up conversation with me.

When I left that company, actually resigning without another job lined up because I was so fed up with the job, I later thought of how I had treated him, and felt very guilty. Interestingly, the office where I had worked shut down only five or six months after I had left, and I ended up finding out through a coworker, whose husband worked for one of the other offices that had closed within the state. I started to think more about this coworker, and at one random time, this wife of the other former coworker told me that she'd run into the guy of whom I'd been thinking, let's call him WM. So she mentioned her husband had some of his coworker friends over and WM was one of the attendees. She mentioned how he struck her as a bit odd and she asked me about this, and I was so surprised that she'd actually mentioned him when I'd been thinking about him and feeling bad about how I had treated him.

I told her he was so nice and I wished I could speak with him. Then... sure enough... so there was a night or two that I prayed to God that I would somehow be able to reach closure with WM.

Well, don't you know it but not long after, I went to NYC with my friend -- last April -- to see Jessie Ware in concert at Terminal 5. On the way home, I raced to catch the train and my friend actually kept the conductor waiting and they had a bit of a back and forth as the conductor wanted the doors closed and my friend kept urging him to wait and called for me as I was racing down the stairs of the escalator. I was able to board, by God's will, and so I'm standing in the aisle, sweating and with my heart beating a mile a minute because of the intensity of having been the cause of the hold up and having everyone on board witness. A few guys up front joked, saying my name, mimicking my friend, who had been calling to me, and said 'geez, like it's the end of the world,' since there had been such a fuss between the conductor and my friend to keep the car waiting for me. I felt so embarrassed and kept my head down, my body shaking with nervousness and sweat pooling on my skin.

A few stops later, the car starts to unload and is not as jam-packed as initially. Anyway, so the third or so stop in, I take a seat, but don't look around, still feeling ashamed that everyone had witnessed me making a fool of myself, given the whole boarding fiasco. Shortly thereafter, the guy next to me gets up, a stop or so later, and I see that it's WM! I'm like 'WM! Omg! I didn't know you were sitting there.' I then asked him for his contact info and he told me his email address. I felt so ecstatic and befuddled that fate literally placed me beside him in the train car, when I'd been wanting to express my apologies for my behavior in the office. Well... I did get my closure to a large degree as we exchanged emails and I said I really felt bad for being rude to him at times, and he said he understood, given the stress of the environment.

I guess I just can't help but think of how things sometimes manifest when you ponder certain things. It's weird how the universe works like that, but I truly do believe sometimes you can manifest your desires through prayer and contemplation...

There is a book I'm reading right now which touches on the topic of making sure to think positively, and you might not see the importance of such a notion, and it's hard to think positive sometimes when you're feeling down or just are in a rut, but I think it is sometimes a good idea to just let go and embrace the present, and see what gifts unfold from there.

29 December 2015

Life after reality tv and hollywood gossip sites.

So, I feel like I'm transitioning into this stage... and have been, for the past year... where I'm shifting the focus to my world, my thoughts, my life, and drifting from that state in which I fawn over celebrities and their drama, either via watching reality tv shows (namely Real Housewives and KUWTK), and via online websites (like the Daily Mail, my fav).

I didn't even realize the kind of impact it was having, immersing myself in these shows and reading the celebrity gossip all the time. In hindsight, these things served as a distraction from my own life, and also were a way to pass the time without having to exert much effort, after a hectic day at work. You know, just zone out and read about the crazy lives of celebrities and watch the Real Housewives and Kardashians engage in drama amongst themselves.

I had previously analyzed the possible impact these shows were having on my life, but I sloughed it off, because it was just such an ingrained habit, and as you know, habits are intensely difficult to break, especially when they've been part of your daily routine for years. I remember first watching the RHONY in college, senior year, second semester. It had me instantly hooked, with the drama between Jo & Slade. I had been a year out from a breakup at the time and it was the perfect thing to divert my mind.

Not long after, I starting watching KUWTK, Real World, and Jersey Shore. Before I knew it, I was a reality show junkie. I can't say when I started to look at celebrity gossip websites. I first liked PopSugar but they changed the layout of their website and the manner in which they delivered content, which I didn't like, so I stopped going to that site and at some point, I can't recall when, but at least 2-4 years ago, frequenting the Daily Mail site had become a daily habit.

It wasn't until having my heart broken again last year, that I started examining my habits, and how they were influencing my life. Obviously, I saw how coffee and chocolate was getting me revved up and making me anxious, and I subsequently eliminated coffee from my diet, and have cut way down on the chocolate intake. It is now that I cannot watch Real Housewives anymore, because I see how devoid of value it is and how it serves no purpose but to perpetuate this glorification of the lives of others and their conflicts.

These shows completely detract from the core essence of life, which is to live and be expressive in one's own right, and not to just sit back and watch things happen. So yeah, I've definitely been in the habit of just watching others do things while I sit idly by, and I don't want to be that person anymore. Also, it's numbed me from elements of my own life to which I should be attentive, like the desires of my heart and soul.

So here I sit, at 30 years old, having just been awakened from a stupor it feels like, and it's bittersweet. It's bitter because it took me this long to really have reality shake me and say 'look, this is what this is doing... this is your life,' and I sit here in need of major revamping of my interests and hobbies, and it's sweet because at least I still have time, God willing, to make a change.

What's that Gandhi saying? Be the change you wish to see in the world. It's true. At times it's hard to change habits when everyone else is doing it and it feels like since everyone else is doing it, you might as well just keep doing it because you may never meet someone with the same perspective, and if everyone is numbed out with bad habits, what hope is there in this life? Yet, then I think about how I'm doing this for myself. I'm not doing this for anyone else. I'm doing this to clear out the gunk so that my conscious state is about the present, the here and now, the goings on in the world -- the REAL world, not the faux real world, if ya know nom sayin'.

It's about getting back to the basics. Getting a feel for what is going on, improving my life and becoming more well rounded in an attractive sense, not a societal sense. It's being true to myself and knowing what is real and what is not. Living in the here and now. Living.

It's about not minding that I have a bundle cable plan that includes tv, phone, and internet, and now, what is there left to watch? and should I feel guilty for not watching tv anymore since what else is there to watch? It's about exploring new things and seeing where this new life takes me.

It's not about feeling guilty for just getting to this point now, and kicking myself for not having this realization earlier, and somewhat wasting precious time over the past several years watching these people live their lives on tv and in the tabloids. It's about being okay with that being where I was then and thankful that I learned a valuable lesson and have the opportunity to grow from this.

It will be interesting to see where I am 6 months down the line. Surely I will have my slip ups and maybe not know what to do with myself in my down time, but it will be quite the feat to figure it out, and in the process, live life. Real life, yo.

Never underestimate the power of the addictive voice.

I was actually going to label this post 'never underestimate the power of organizing your place,' because I just organized my living space and feel much more clear-headed now, but I notice when I'm organized and bored, my addictive voice kicks in telling me to do all those things I've worked hard to get away from doing.

It's weird how that works. Maybe it's not that weird and it's just the nature of recycled thoughts. They say it takes forever to break a habit. It truly does. I know this from experience. You will have thoughts that convince you it's okay if you do a little of this and a little of that. Just a little won't hurt, it urges you. Before you know it, you're reaching for that little bit of what won't hurt. Yet, it's not that it hurts right away when you engage in the bad habit you've been trying to break. It's the aftermath that's the worst. Afterwards, there's the myriad internal reprimands for having just done that thing that's out to destroy you. Okay, so maybe destroy is too forceful a word. That thing that wants to see you remain stuck.

It's a fine line between not being overly restrictive and crossing into dangerous territory. I'll use caffeine as an example. Christmas is in the air so you figure, what's a little chocolate? You deserve it. The holiday blues have hit hard and you need a release. As you sit there you think, what is it that I need? I feel like I need something. Then it hits you. CHOCOLATE. So you go to the fridge, and what do you see? A bar of Hershey's dark. Okay, one day's not going to kill me. So you delight in the fact that you're giving yourself a break. A much deserved one, duh. You deserve this. You've waited so long for this and you need it, deserve it, owe it to yourself.

Looking at all the lovey dovey couples out there, you need some reprieve. So you chew that chocolate bar in all your angst and feel the tension melt away. You feel happy.

Yet it's just a ruse. The happiness is fleeting, and an hour or so later, you're feeling tired and have no energy. The following day, you can barely keep your eyes open throughout the day and you drift into a depression. What's that you say, mind? Some more chocolate? There's another whole Hershey's bar in the fridge? What's the harm, you think. You go for the second and down it in one fell swoop. Okay, not one fell swoop exactly, but you get the idea.

This becomes a pattern. Then there's those chocolate cookies, made just for you. Then you're given a literal box of chocolates for Christmas. Is there some metaphor being conveyed here? Is this a test? If it is, I'm failing. So I've eaten three full Hershey bars at this point, many chocolate peanut butter cookies, and now two Lindor chocolate truffles. I mean, seriously. This thing is outta hand.

You're keeping it together, but you're barely above water.

Today, I told myself, two more Lindor chocolate truffles. Just until the box is done. It's sitting there, this gold box. These truffles are waiting to be eaten.

They're not even that good. They have an artificial flavor.

Makes me want to go get some authentic caffeine, some Pike Blend from Starbucks. That way at least it's the real stuff.

Did I mention I got two Starbucks cards for Christmas?

Yet, I've resisted the voice telling me to indulge in those Lindor chocolate truffles, and I'm not getting that Pike Blend which will cause my anxiety to spike out the ying.

I'm keeping it caffeine free. Trying to carry out without my vice, even if it keeps calling me....

26 December 2015

Texting / online dating drama

So I've been thinking... about my primary dating dilemmas. I swear I could write a whole book on the travesties of online dating, for how long I've been at it. It has been an embarrassingly long stint. To think some people NEVER do online dating, either out of pure disinterest, or because they found someone without it, is crazy to me. I admire and envy those people.

Sometimes I wonder why I even persist when all it does is get me nowhere. You know that expression: when you keep doing the same things, expect the same results. Yeah, well my online dating experience is an epitome of that phrase. I've gone on so many dates, and it's led me to the same place every time... back to being alone and single and even more frustrated with the passage of time.

Now I'm all about experiences. Hell, I even answered the okcupid question, 'would you rather have good things happen to you or interesting things,' with the obvious: 'interesting,' of course. Haha. Well, the joke's on me, because this experience is getting old and wearing me down and causing my hopes to shrivel. It's actually gotten worse, too.

At least before, guys would actually call to set up the date. Now, everything happens via text. It's communication via messaging or email on the sites and then it segues to sms and then before you know it, you've met, and ah, yes, back to lovely sms again. Kill. me.

You see, the average person maybe doesn't mind sms. In fact, I'm sure of this, as everyone in my social circle uses sms as their primary means of communication. I get it. I didn't join the club until about a year or so ago. I've never been a fan of texting. And when I say never, I truly do mean never. I mean, I've always been irritated by it for as far back as I can remember. Sure, I used it to correspond with people several years ago. Not often, but when dating and occasionally to keep up with friends. I only started to really engage and tried to get into it a year or so ago, when a guy I liked was texting me. I thought, hmm, maybe I just need to adapt with the times. Yet, no siree. Not for me.

It allows for so many misinterpretations. In fact, right now, my one friend and I aren't on speaking terms because he misinterpreted what I wrote, and I was too lazy to call to explain. I figured, if he didn't care to dig for the deeper meaning, that's on him, not me. He knows I'm not a texter. In fact, I make it clear to everyone I meet, esp the guys from the dating sites. And what do they do? Persist with texting me. Lol. I have to laugh about it, because I can't help but think it's kind of comical.

There have been times I have complained at family gatherings, to my aunt, mom, and grandmom about this modern day quandary when it comes to dating, and they have suggested I tell the guy I prefer the phone. If he is really interested, he'll call, right? Well, oddly, no. Most, if not all, guys continue to text, despite me explaining that I am not a texter. It is such a turn off to me to even have to state this, that sometimes the conversation dies because I get sick of conversing via text and the guy doesn't bother to follow up or anything, and sometimes there's a conflict, and the guy cannot face it so they just disappear.

This is so common it's disheartening. It makes me wonder if there are any true gentlemen out there today who are old school like me and actually want to converse--like truly communicate, in a personal manner. I'm sorry I'm not into lame communication?

Sometimes I wonder if there is a guy like me out there who shares this sentiment.

I talked to my friend about it and we concluded that in order to date someone in this society, one must be down with the initial texting phase. Yet, it's so hard for me to acquiesce. I've tried. No, I've actually acquiesced. Yet, it always ends the same anyway. The lame ass who couldn't communicate... it turns out he can't actually communicate and we're better off not dating.

It seems like a fairly simple formula to me. Only texts = can't communicate/can't deal with personal interaction. It's tried and true. Trust me, I've had much experience with it.

The tricky part is to NOT get sucked into this texting chimera from the get go. And it is tempting not to give in sometimes, believe me. It seems like there's no hope otherwise, and what if this guy is the catch of the century. Well, ladies you can rest assured that the catch of the century is not wooing his woman with text after text, asking bs questions like 'how is your afternoon,' and 'why don't you come take a walk with me?' Um no thank you.

Call me jaded by the texting drama, but I'm so done with it. Like, you will not see me initiating any more texts. Sure, I will respond politely to those who try to engage with me in this manner, but I refuse to lower my standards to accommodate lame ass guys who can't communicate. It is true that guys who are bad communicators resort to texting. It is true, I tell you to save you the annoying experience.

25 December 2015

X-mas.

It's Christmas y'all. I remember when I was younger, it would bother me when people would write 'x-mas.' It seemed wrong to me. Like, something dark to have the x cancel out the whole meaning of the word. Oh well, I've now gotten over it and don't mind it and actually prefer the abbreviation when communicating via text.

Got up this morning and thought about life, as I typically do, and how I'm going to first go to my parents' house to exchange gifts and eat, and then visit my grandmom in a nursing home. We'll probably play cards. Not sure if my aunt and uncle will be there.

These past few days have been quite anxiety inducing as I've reflected on this past year and how it's been quite the whirlwind, with a lot having happened in the disheartening sense. To keep afloat in the midst of it all hasn't been easy. I'm starting to get back to journaling how I feel, at night. Last night, having written, I realized how much I want things to be a certain way and get frustrated when they aren't the way I want at the time I want them.

There was this sense of peace that kind of came over me as I was writing, which urged me to go with the flow and let things unfold naturally, rather than try to force things either via exerting actual force or willing them to happen with all my might through thought or prayer.

It just feels better to kind of let go of the fear that nothing will ever be right, and I will always be fighting the tide. It's empowering to let go, because it relieves the heavy burden that dampens your spirit and makes you feel like everything is out of control and spiraling downward fast. I didn't realize how entrenched in that mindset I was, until I started writing down my thoughts and had this epiphany.

So I woke up this morning with a fresh perspective, and it is helping to center me, which I'm quite thankful for, since it is Christmas, and this is the holiday that tends to get to me the most for some reason.

So here's wishing a happy x-mas to the rest of the world, and hoping that everyone finds it in their heart and soul to go with the flow and not let the fear of the unknown or the ghosts of your past ruin the holiday spirit. xxx


24 December 2015

Today is Christmas Eve. Well actually, tonight is. It's probably the most sad Christmas Eve I've had in a while. No wait, last year was. The year before last year's Christmas Eve was quite depressing too though, so I have to say it's actually been a while since I've had a pleasant Christmas Eve.

So many changes have happened over the past year. You'd think I'd be on the brink of becoming my better self or something. You'd think I wouldn't feel so down tonight. Something is in the air, I guess. It has been for quite a while, and it's just bubbled to the surface this past year, and I've seen everything for what it truly is, without the coated layer of idealism.

No longer do I use Twitter. I used to spit out my thoughts on there, thinking it was getting me somewhere. It wasn't. I've changed dating sites. Kept the one out of two from last year, removed the other, and added another. Still sometimes trying the same thing and expecting different results. Am realizing this is not the best approach, but old habits truly do die hard, and it's hard to switch up what you're doing, even if you know it's for your greatest good. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

I'm learning to use my instinct, as I've been concealing it with various coping mechanisms. It's still hard though.

Today I've been thinking about all of the pain I've experienced this past year. The lost friendships, failed dating ventures, the disconnection from certain people I thought would always be there, who I realized were never actually there. Coming to terms with the fact that some people just aren't who you think they are and never will they be the image you have in your heart of them.

So that's my Christmas Eve in a nutshell. I've been resting most of the day. Haven't moved around much. Have just been reflecting mostly, and feeling sad, sentimental, and in a weird state, if you will.