31 December 2013

Day 4 of Caffeine Withdrawal & More.

So today marks the fourth day off coffee. Woopie. Actually, I'm quite pleased to have made it this far. All things considered (ie. the crappiness that is my job that so conjures up images of me savoring cups upon cups of coffee to abate the misery I feel inside). I feel very much irritable and foggy, as though I have a mild headache. I also feel tired. The good news is that I have been sleeping soundly. I have been dreaming too. Having weird dreams, but still dreaming, which is a step forward, considering when I consume caffeine, I don't dream as much and am not as restful. I've been sleeping like a baby and am happy with that element of progress.

However, boy oh boy am I craving coffee and chocolate. I have never wanted coffee and/or chocolate so badddd. Maybe I have, but the craving seems so freaking intense today. I feel pretty crappy and can't stop focusing on the fact that I want it. However, I know how my body reacts to it (negatively) so I'm holding strong. It's hard, very hard though. I realize I need to just deal with whatever withdrawal symptoms may arise. The lethargy I can handle. It feels good, after all, to doze off without difficulty. It also feels nice to not need it first thing in the morning.

That doesn't mean the desire for caffeine doesn't set in a few hours later, like this morning at work. The problem is, my caffeine habit is being cued by stress that I'm experiencing in my life, mainly in regards to my job situation. This is why it's more of a struggle to resist the caffeine on work days than on weekends. Right now I'm feeling very foggy and unwell. If I can manage to move past this groggy haze, I can possibly do some sort of exercise tonight, which might assist with my overall sense of well being.

Happy New Year everyone!! Here's to starting resolutions in advance. : )

27 December 2013

Coffee crush

Where have I gone wrong? What brought me to this place? I'm going to examine my relationship with coffee. I don't know when I began incorporating it into my daily life after a few years' hiatus, but it's been at least several months, if not nearly a year. Heck, it might even be over a year since I started drinking it regularly again. All I know, is I have tried to give it up for quite some time to no avail, most recently succeeding for three weeks last month, before succumbing at the end of November.

What I noticed when I gave it up is that I felt less anxious, yet more tearful on the whole, and my energy level had not returned to baseline by the end of that three weeks. It was a slow process. I gave in on November 24 (just 1 day shy of a full 3 weeks cold turkey) because... well, I couldn't contain myself, having awakened to an insanely deliciously smelling brew in my friend's house in Philly, and then coming home with the hangover effect of having realized the guy I was crushing on was married.

Maybe that was a test I needed to push beyond, but I figured maybe I would be able to resume my coffee-free challenge the day or so after. Ha, like it would be that easy. However, then I made the excuse that given that I would have off the following week from work, I would be doing myself a disservice by depriving myself of the daily morning ritual of coffee, especially given the warmth and inspiration it would provide when it came time to press forward with my novel writing efforts.

So the week of November 24th and the week after, I had coffee, and some chocolate, to cap off the good feelings that the caffeine provides. I kept in mind my intent to reduce my consumption, sooner rather than later. There was a week or so this month (December) where I did cut down to less than a cup for a few days, to try to slowly wean myself off it before going cold turkey again. However, I have not been able to resist the temptation since that fateful November day.

In fact, these past two weeks, I have been on a downward spiral. I have been treating myself not just to one, but two, and even three cups of coffee a day. One and a half in the morning and another cup and a half in the afternoon as a pick me up. I swore I was going to cut back, particularly before my company's Christmas luncheon (which took place last Fri), because I was already stressing majorly about it and knew if I were to cut back, it might help with the mounting anxiety. However, despite my convictions and my vow to give it up each successive day, Thursday creeped up on me and I was still hankering for that mid afternoon Wawa 12 oz, and obliging that hankering to the utmost.

I ended up taking 2 magnesium pills and cutting out caffeine the following morning (the day of the luncheon), but still felt anxious. However, I presume that my anxiety was far less intense than had I indulged the morning of the event. However, I did relent that afternoon upon getting back to the office and had a cup, which revved me up like no other. I suck at moderation, so since then, my consumption as been steadily climbing.

This week, nearly every day I had three cups of coffee, in addition to an entire bar of chocolate last night and the night before (The dark salted caramel kind from TJ's -- My absolute fav). It's a bit out of control. It may have to do with the TOM approaching, as well as some anxieties I have been having just in general, about work... and life... and relationships, or the lack thereof in terms of romance in my life. All I know is my gut is telling me to quit, but I keep ignoring it.

While at night I have plans to not have it the following day, I make excuses upon awakening. Furthermore, while I could reduce my consumption little by little, I seem to fail and enacting this plan of action and end up going overboard, having triple the amount I intend to have, for one reason or another. It's really making me an anxious mess and my tolerance level for stressful situations and noise is at an all time low. Furthermore, my salivary glands are suffering. Also, I can tell it's taxing my digestive system and my adrenals, and my body needs a break. However, at this point, I actually feel a bit fearful of the impending withdrawal symptoms, because I know it will be worse than ever since I have never consumed this much caffeine ever on a daily basis.

I anticipate headaches for starters, low energy for a few weeks if not months, as well. Also, I notice my teeth have been really sensitive lately and they're yellowing, so that's an unpleasant side effect of this caffeine habit. What I have realized is that weaning off the stuff little by little doesn't work for me. Not my style. I either go full board or nothing. Give me a little and I'm hooked to the extreme and take it to the next level and beyond, making excuses every step of the way to compensate for my love for it, and before I realize, I'm in over my head and upon closer inspection, realize my body needs a break. It's screaming from the inside out to give it a rest.

So with that, I bid adieu to my beloved caffeine. At least, in the hopes I am able to resist temptation. I need to be strong and do this for the right reasons. My friend relayed to me a great analogy the other night. He said Jillian Michael's said something like: 'If you're on the highway and a tire goes flat, do you just sit there and stall, do you get out and slash all four tires out of frustration? No, you replace the damn tire.' So that's what I'm doing. I'm moving forward despite my past indiscretions. So I have been overindulging in the coffee and chocolate department. Am I going to let it hold me down? Am I going to let it eat at me and suck me dry? No pun intended. Am I going to just continue to cave in day by day, thereby theoretically slashing each last one of my good tires? No. I'm going to drink more water. Exercise. Eat well. Essentially, make the change by cutting it out, until I feel better, or at least, okay without it. One day at a time. Better yet, one moment at a time. Moving forward. Over and out.

25 December 2013

Merry Christmas & Some Personal Thoughts

Merry Christmas to all, everywhere, in any given situation. I wish nothing but the best, for the most love and compassion to emanate throughout the world right now, to ease any and all worries, to bring us back to center and give us the hope we need and so desire.

Yes, I have work tomorrow, and this stinks and detracts a bit from the celebration that is today, but it doesn't detract fully from the meaning of today and the fact that there's the opportunity to cherish time with close family, and reflect on that which is most important in life.

Tomorrow, it's back to business, but I'm savoring the holiday for the remainder of the night. I had a dream last night that I put in my two weeks notice without having another job lined up, and wavered between feeling weightless and borderline ecstatic versus concerned at the lack of certainty as to my future job prospects and financial security. Before I had gone to sleep, I had actually asked my spirit guides and God for assistance, so I definitely consider this a sign. A lot to think about, the remainder of this week, and moving forward.

24 December 2013

The day before Christmas. Thoughts of him.

Thank goodness for Christmas break. Not only for obvious reasons: to be able to praise God and the best family I could ever have been blessed to have, but for time off work. Yessss. We got out early. We were permitted to leave at 1 p.m. to be exact. There was a happy hour type get together among those coworkers in my department. I had overheard them talking about it, and half expected them to leave me out, since they usually go out and grab lunch together without inviting me. However, my boss did include me, at least for this function. I opted out of going, because I was tired as heck after spending an hour or two on the phone with some exasperating customers and was quite stressed that I could be overheard during each one of these conversations. This is the worst part about working in an open cubicle space, as everyone can listen to your every word on the phone. It makes me really anxious. I also overheard my coworkers laughing, which further exacerbated the anxiety, because I thought it possible their laughter might be directed at my conversations, since no one else was on the phone. I swear, my coworkers, esp those closest to me, never use the phone. If they are on the phone, they get off before me, and they stay off the phone as long as I'm on a call. I'd rather be surrounded by others who are engaged in phone conversation so not everyone is tuning into what I'm saying, but this is not the case. It's also a small office and you could literally hear a pin drop, so imagine how my voice carries. I feel more frustration towards my nosy coworkers actually than those with whom I'm dealing with on the phone, as I spend the majority of the time stressing about being listened to by my coworkers. When they all left, it was as though a weight had been lifted. I wish it could always be me alone in my own space, making calls without any worry of being judged or heard. I prefer privacy to loads of people intruding upon my personal space. Yes, these cubicles are so close that I can hear even subtle movements/sounds of those coworkers seated on either side of me.

On a more positive note, about a half hour after everyone left, I finished making some calls which were necessary and then grabbed everything to head out of there. I had a various containers of food and was trying to figure out how to juggle everything, and had a flash of a vision I'd run into a certain someone, and he would wonder what in the hell I was doing with all these uncleaned dishes as I was walking to my car. That didn't happen, thankfully, and I managed to stuff the myriad bowls into a bag. However, wouldn't you know it, but as I get into my car and turn my head towards the building entrance, I spot him in my peripheral vision. I actually did a bit of a double-take to ensure my eyes weren't deceiving me, because I never get to see him walking to his car, yet always long to see him. What are the odds too that I'd get to savor a last look before going away on holiday? So what do I do? While contemplating slowing my car a bit as I turn to face him and maybe waving, I decide otherwise, instead continuing on the chosen path in as quick a manner as possible, and at one point as I'm about to turn onto the main road, I nod my head in rhythm to the tune by Capital Cities, "Safe and Sound," as though I'll look cool if he is to see me doing this. Now I thought it kind of ironic that this song was playing given my sentiments and this chance glimpse of him. Almost as ironic as hearing Alanis sing 'Ironic' this morning and hearing the radio host speak of the tune afterward, pointing out the specific lyric of interest: 'It's like meeting the man of my dreams and then meeting his beautiful wife,' before commenting, 'Never had that happen before, but I'm sure that would be quite unpleasant.' And the knife dug a bit deeper, further lancing my ever lovelorn heart. I kept glancing in my rear view mirror, hoping to see him near me from behind. No such luck. He must have taken the route around the building to the other side. Being the analytical person I am, I of course read into this small element of occurrence. That he saw me and was annoyed by me and dashed in the other direction to get away fast.

On a related note, earlier today I had received a note from a friend who is now working in another office for the same company as I, in which he indicated that he's collaborating with my work crush on a few projects. It's not as though my work crush has any idea of how meaningful it is for him to be in communication with my friend, but I get a bit giddy with the knowledge of their interaction. It's like I'm communicating with my work crush through my friend. You have to read Sorrows of Young Werther to fully understand. The author explains perfectly my feelings. I swear, my intuition, when I allow it to be free, does forebode certain events. Kind of like the dream I had a while back in which I found out a guy I had loved was married, and was very much hurt upon finding out. Then there's the fact that I have had several dreams of my 'crush' ignoring me in the halls at work and passing me by in a restaurant at an event involving other coworkers. These events in my dreams did/do correlate with my present day reality, as he avoids me (knowingly or unknowingly) at work (ie. I rarely see him), and at the company luncheon last week, he had also acted nonchalant towards me and would not  look my way whatsoever throughout the entire event, despite me sneaking glances in the hopes that he would by the grace of God acknowledge me.

This encounter today (if you can call it an 'encounter' anyway, since I just happened to see him from afar), was bittersweet. Sure I caught a final look before some time away, to further savor the memory of him. However, if he did notice me, he might have thought I was rude for disregarding him, and that makes me feel bad. On the flip side, it hurts that he might not have given the sight of me a second thought. I can't help but think the former would more so apply than the latter. Call it the hopeless idealist within me, or my intuition. Whatever you will, I know he saw me. What he thought of me choosing not to wave or acknowledge him, I do not know. All I know, is I felt nervous as hell driving in view of him that I freaked a little on the inside and could barely think straight, let alone manage to wave. So I fled the situation, the adrenaline rush overtaking me. I need to work on that, fleeing uncomfortable situations. In this case it was a pleasant discomfort, if that makes sense, but so intense, given our interaction last week.

I wonder how he'll spend his Christmas. Hope he enjoys it with his wife. Actually, I think he's Jewish (explanation to come), so maybe he won't be celebrating. However, like me, he has off tomorrow. I thought we had off tomorrow and the following day, but it turns out I had been looking at the schedule of next year's company holidays. That was a bit of a bummer, but is it wrong of me to feel not so bad about returning on the 26th, when there's the benefit of him being close in proximity? Even if it is futile and something I need to move past again. Had there not been that resurgence of emotion at the end of last week, I might not be so consumed by thoughts of him, so hopelessly hopeful. These thoughts and feelings just need to be worked through, since I can't have him, since he's fully unavailable and will never be free for me to have, or to have me. For now, I'll merely admire from afar and vicariously through a close friend's contact with him. Then, hopefully I'll move past it and recover once again from the letdown of this particular reality.

17 December 2013

Kindness goes a long way.

This morning on the way to work, a simple wave from a passenger in a passing truck as I sipped on my full bodied coffee, made me break into laughter and smile. It felt good, to look that stranger in the eye, and reminded me that it's okay. I can breathe. It's not so bad. As long as I have the capability to smile, as long as I am reminded that there is good in this world, it will be okay. It's funny, that simple act of spontaneity, set the tone for my day. Then of course, there was the coffee to lift my spirits even further -- yes, I did have a double dose today (more on that later, possibly). It's funny that preceding that random exchange of waves and smiles between strangers, I had been feeling a bit perturbed by the fact that my car had become a target for some large piles of snow being lifted off of the truck in front of me. The momentum of the forward movement had thrust these large snow chunks off the top of the truck trailer onto my windshield and the impact was forceful. I was afraid this falling snow might contribute to some chipped paint off my car because the snow was a bit on the icy side and the remnants were rather large. So I move to the right lane in an effort to slow down and allow that truck to proceed at a far enough distance ahead of me to get away from the flying force of the snow hurling off its trailer, when I look to my left side and see this guy waving and smiling. He was the passenger in another truck. Of course, with me being a lover of random acts of niceness, I couldn't resist returning the wave, all the while busting out laughing at the randomness of this roadway interaction and the look on his face as he kinda put his palms up, as if to say, 'Oh well, whatcha gonna do? This snow. It's got a mind of its own. We best make the most of it as we trek through it.' That's literally more or less what I got from the look. It made my day. So therein the darkness lies the light. The reminder that the good is still there in this world. It sometimes surprises me. I actually had a customer call me the other day and say I sounded surprised when he had agreed to close a deal on which we had been negotiating. I wanted to tell him that I sounded surprised because I'm so used to customers yelling and rebuffing me every step of the way. Kindness can give me quite a jolt, in a good way; therefore, I guess he mistook my inner excitement for surprise. All I can say is to keep your eye out for kindness, because it not only goes a long way to make another's day, but it perpetuates the cycle of good in this world. Don't forget that it's in you too, this greater good that sometimes you may suppress when life gets in the way. Smile. Say hi to a stranger. Compliment someone. You never know how it could turn things around, for you, for the person on the receiving end.

15 December 2013

Caffeine-free, what it means to me.

Today was supposed to be my first day off coffee. It wasn't. I woke up, said to myself, 'Yes. Thank God for coffee,' before reveling in excitement at the thought of savoring it as I do each morning. Yesterday, I decided today would be day 1 of the cold turkey quitting period so I would not have to experience withdrawal the first day of a long work week. However, upon awakening, my tune had changed. After consuming my first cup, I then decided to keep it going, to get the most enjoyment out of it, since I resigned myself to stop drinking it starting tomorrow. Ended up going overboard and drinking 2-3 cups. Talk about out-of-control.

We know how this goes. I tried quitting last Monday, yet didn't follow through as it was Monday. Never plan to start something serious Monday. Isn't that how the saying goes? Or, never start a major project on Monday. Quitting coffee is a major freaking project. When I last quit cold turkey, it was November 4th, which happened to be a Monday, so I guess it's possible. However, I remember feeling encouraged by the fact that my crush (who was out on vacation for a week or so at the time) would return to notice how revitalized I was when not jacked on caffeine. Of course, I had other motives as well, but the crush factor was good incentive.

I lasted twenty days. Twenty days. Went through some withdrawal symptoms including headaches and feeling down and emotional. Craved chocolate several times on the way home from work due to emotions running on high, yet persisted. Kept reminding myself of my many reasons for giving up caffeine. Stayed strong in my conviction. Figured I would at least make it to thirty days. Thirty days is nothing, I told myself. Anyone can do thirty days. It was my goal to re-evaluate my plan once I reached that point.  However, there was a plot twist. I discovered one Saturday, through facebook, the fact that my crush was married. The following day, I gave into the fix. What would have marked three weeks caffeine-free was celebrated by a surrendering to the craving. I made excuses to justify having surrendered to the vice. Told myself I deserved it. It's close enough to thirty days. What's ten days short? No one besides you is counting anyway. Who cares? You only live once. I also rationalized that given that I was going to be home a few days during Thanksgiving week and the week thereafter, I might as well make the most of my break by indulging, lest it be devoid of that extra dose of fun. So I have been drinking coffee every day since November 24. Aside from evidencing the fact that I have a soft spot for coffee, this demonstrates the fact that I don't do moderation well, as I didn't just pick up where I left off and discontinue the coffee intake that following day. No, I not only fell off the wagon, but was now being dragged through the dirt. Bad analogy. Oh well, tried my best.

So begins yet another attempt to curtail this habit, which is somewhat of an emotional crutch for me. In looking back at the month of November, I realize now that it was a rather stressful month all around so I am not going to beat myself up for not completing my self-imposed thirty-day challenge. There were the thyrogen injections, the side effects of same, the recovery period, and the stress of what this treatment signified. Of much lesser significance, but still upsetting, was going through withdrawal from my crush and then discovering the disheartening reality that he was not only unavailable but married. It was not an easy month and as a result, I buckled in terms of caffeine pressure. To me, caffeine is a means of release. As much as it triggers anxiety and other adverse symptoms, for a brief bit, it lifts my spirit and makes me feel so alive. It's a symbol of hope and energy. It's that one thing I can look forward to each day, to further brighten my outlook.

Why then am I so emphatic about this cold turkey business? Because aside from the crash effect, heart palps, racing heart, anxiety, panic, and digestive issues, all induced by my consumption of this deliciously splendid drink, I dislike my emotional attachment and addiction to it. I notice when I am stressed or upset about something, I look to caffeine as means of coping. While, of course, I believe there are many benefits to caffeine, for me, the cons outweigh the pros, at least in terms of routine consumption. My goal is to get back to the place where I don't need it to function, to cope, to deal with life's stresses, but rather to simply enjoy it as an occasional treat. This is the goal and why I intend to jump back on the wagon of being caffeine free for the most part.

Work week outlook.

Every week is the same, in that I set goals for happiness during the work week, that are rarely achieved. By the end of the week, I'm tired, I'm worn down, unrecognizable even to myself. My stomach aches. My heart longs for peace and distance from the drudgery of this soul-sucking job. This week is the week that I intend to follow through with my goal to maintain a sense of inner peace and order. My health depends on it. It's not worth the pain, the tears, the stomach aches, this job. It's not worth it. It's toxic to me, detrimental to my well being, and a change is needed. If it continues down this path as it has for quite some time, I'm out the door. In the meantime, as I work towards getting out, when time permits that I pursue other avenues, I plan on putting less pressure on myself at work. It's not getting me anywhere but in a hole of misery. This week will be different. I will take breaks. I will listen to music. I will meditate. I will do yoga. I will exercise. I will take walks in the cold. I will continue with writing my novel. I will release those fears that forcefully attempt to take hold. I will put my anxieties in God's hands and ask that he direct me to where I need to be. I will pray. I will mean what I say and say what I mean. I will focus on my goals. I will explore other options.

14 December 2013

It Won't Stop. Sevyn Streeter. Obsessed.

Is anyone as obsessed with the Sevyn Streeter song 'It Won't Stop' as I am??? For real, this song speaks to me. So sensual. Gets me in the mood, if you know what I'm sayin'. 'Everything you do got me feelin' some type o way.' So true. Brings me back to the '90s or early '00s. Her name is so sweet too... and I like the spelling. Definitely a work out song. Hypes you up and gets you going, fo' real. Everybody. Listen to it. Now.

Dealings w/ personal email acct.

As a quick note, I am finding it quite liberating to not delete any inbox items in my personal email account. I have decided to let that ish pile up and just handle those pressing items that catch my eye. It actually requires effort to check off all the items that belong in the trash and then hit delete, and I don't feel like doing it. It's too much work. In fact, it reminds me of being at work and causes my anxiety level to rise, so I'm taking a break. It feels good. It's helping me deal with the challenge of facing a mountain of crap and being able to tackle only those items of critical nature. Feels good.

Effects of minimizing tv time

Having sifted through my twitter feed last night, I noticed a tweet in which I commented on a particular reality show, The Challenge, which I love, back at the end of September, I think it was. It was in regards to the reunion show. That was when I was weaning off of tv. I had gotten down from several hours of television per night to about two to three hours per week. Since then, my television schedule has reduced further. I watched the season of The Ultimate Fighter for the past month or so and now that this has finished, I am not committed to any shows during the week and only watch UFC fights some evenings, on weekends. I have noticed the passage of time is much slower, even if it seems to pass quickly. When I was watching loads of television as part of my regular routine, time passed much more quickly and I'd be looking back of months of inactivity wondering where in the heck the time went. Now that I have not been watching television, I have accomplished more. I have exercised more, met people, and made progress in writing my novel. Also, I've written more blog posts. I've also meditated more. In essence, I've done more with my life and am more cognizant of time. In looking back at the past two months, it seems like the passage of time has been slower. I'm not as regretful and not thinking 'crap, where did the time go?' I'm thinking, a lot has happened since that time, since the end of September, that would not have happened, had I not relinquished my television habit. For me, watching television is not productive. It's a form of entertainment on weekends only, and only for a few hours on Saturday night, for the most part. I don't even miss it. In the beginning, it was a struggle trying to figure out what to do with all the free time on my hands. It prompted me to find other means to keep myself occupied. It required that I re-evaluate my priorities and make strides towards achieving my goals. For this reason, minimizing the amount of time spent mindlessly staring at the black box has been of great benefit for me and has contributed to greater awareness of where I need to be and what needs to be done. It's been a reminder to experience life rather than expecting life to liven before one's eyes without any effort. Sure it takes effort, to get off the couch and take action, but it's well worth it. It's living. It's appreciation of what life has to offer.

Skin issues. Potential causes. Paleo efforts.

Let's talk about skin. I have this cystic pimple in between my eyebrows right now and it hurts. Typically the pimples I get don't hurt, so this strikes me as a bit odd, but I can't say I have never had a pimple that didn't hurt, so I'm not that worried. What is more concerning is the flushing of my face. It's a noticeable flush and irritation. As I have gone paleo for about a week thus far (not strictly so, but for the most part), it is easier to pinpoint the source of this skin irritation. I've narrowed it down to the following potential culprits: supplements, tomatoes, or eggs.

The other day I had meatloaf, made of crushed tomatoes (and meat of course) and the following day, experienced facial flushing. Yet yesterday, I didn't have leftovers of that meal, but rather had vitamin D and magnesium supplements, and bam, facial flushing today. Not sure if it's the vitamin D, magnesium, or both, so this may require some trial and error testing, but tonight I will not be having them to see what tomorrow brings in terms of complexion status. I've been having loads of chocolate all week (part of the non strict paleo part since the chocolate brand I'm consuming does contain some sugar), yet haven't noticed major flushing until the days after I had the meatloaf and supplements. Eggs are another thought since they have been a staple as of late.

In sum, other than this disturbing zit in between my eyebrows and the facial rash I'm experiencing, my skin is pretty smooth and I feel that having not consumed gluten and/or dairy is benefiting me. Not giving up just yet. I do have to attend a company luncheon next week for the holiday (more on that later) in which it will not be possible to refrain from gluten and/or dairy, but plan on staying strong on the diet save the rare occasion in which it would be rude to not have non paleo food.

13 December 2013

A not so wonderful week, and one component to cap it off today

An understatement. 'A not so wonderful week,' that is. It started with Yammer and ended with Yammer, so I'll first lay out what went wrong in terms of this stupid social media site my coworkers and I were encouraged to join, by my boss, of all people. I received an email from my boss regarding this last week during my absence from work, and was so excited to see what it was all about, even going so far as to conjure up images of posts stating the truth about thoughts had by colleagues through the work day. Truth, none of this fake political BS, is what I thought would be contained within the site. I thought it would be a way to lighten up the work day, that it would be like passing notes in class, but for all to see and comment on in carefree fashion. I thought it would be a source of excitement to liven up the work day. How wrong was I. In reality, the site contains very little substance and is highly political. To demonstrate how little is actually going on, since I joined this week, there have only been a total of five to six new posts, all of which have read as follows (in no particular order and slightly modified for security purposes):


Post 1: Welcome Beth, let's all give Beth a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Beth?

Post 2: Welcome Jamie, let's all give Jamie a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Jamie?


Post 3: Welcome Anthony, let's all give Anthony a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Anthony?

Post 4: Welcome Ian, let's all give Ian a warm welcome for joining Yammer. Do you have anything you would like to say to Anthony?
   Posted response: Hey Ian, wassup?

Post 5: Do your best in all your endeavors.
  Posted response: You too. You always do!


Post 6: It's a lovely Friday.
  Posted response: 'Tis.

The first day it was novel and I of course, in all of my idealist glory, anticipated something cool, something laugh worthy, something to ease the pain of being holed up in this cube surrounded on two sides by people who refuse to acknowledge me. I felt a bit disappointed however by the lack of activity as the day progressed. I expected more. Maybe a simple 'welcome!' in response to the 'Care to welcome new member Beth, anyone?' post at the top of the newsfeed. A new message would inevitably surface at some point and catapult us all into uncontrollable laughter. It would be so great. I could feel it coming. It would be an escape from the drudgery that is work. Then I started scrolling through the newsfeed. The posts were bland, trite. There were a few eager beaver type comments in response to the initial 'Welcome' notices, in which one coworker responded to each 'Welcome...' so it read like, 'Welcome Sandy,' 'Welcome Trudy,' 'Welcome Amy.' I felt bad because all of those welcomes were posted by one coworker. She eventually stopped, as clearly her anticipation had died, as mine would. A few other comments shown on the newsfeed read as follows: 'Hey bud, how are you doing this morning?!' 'Yo Chuckie.' 'Howdy, have a wonderful Turkey day.' Wow. Okay. This was not what I envisioned. There was no 'Omg, this xxxx is annoying as xxxx' 'God save me from this misery,' or 'this blows, I'm out,' to comfort the masses of employees who need that ray of sunshine. That peace of mind. That spark of normalcy and realness. The cold hard f'n truth, in other words. To further diminish the appeal of the site, only about three coworkers were logged onto the site throughout the day. Such a flurry of activity and excitement it was.

In a previous post, I mentioned how I had received an invite to the site from two coworkers. It made me feel good that one of my coworkers had thought to invite me. It was a cordial, 'Hey, you're invited, don't worry, we want you to join us.' The other coworker who sent the invite did so in obligatory fashion I realized upon thanking her, as she told me she sent one to everyone. 'Oh...thanks.' I laughed uncomfortably and felt myself blush with embarrassment.

On Tuesday, I received an email stating that I had a new follower. There's followers? Who knew? I have a follower! Yay. I logged on to see that those coworkers who had sent the invites were both listed as followers and it was showing that I was following them as well. This piqued my interest, this 'follower' aspect. I then then perused the site to see how many followers other coworkers had. It is then that I realized that it's more of an ego-boosting mechanism than anything else. The schmoozers, of courses, had the largest follower count. I noticed some had not returned the favor of following their followers. Definitely some machoism going on there.

It was not my intention to add any followers to my account. I had two followers and this suited me fine. I was largely outnumbered by nearly all of my coworkers, save the freshest members of the site, but who cared? I'm me, I don't follow. I do my own thing. I am the anti-hype, anti-follower non comformist. I refuse to follow and don't care if anyone follows me. A tiny part of me wished that I had some additional followers, but no biggie. I wasn't fretting it.

Of course, being the over analyzer that I am, my main concern was what my boss might think of my not following him, especially given that many in my department were. Not one to follow the crowd (I'm a marcher to the beat of my own drum in general), I wavered in terms of whether or not to follow him. I didn't want to just grant him the ego boost that he was possibly seeking, yet I didn't want the hassle of him thinking I wasn't being a team player or whatever by being the only one in our department to not follow him, so after some consideration, yet with reluctance, I pressed the follow button this morning. There is another manager I consider an acquaintance, and thought it would be nice to follow him also, so I clicked the follow button on his profile too. I decided if they didn't follow me back, I'd be okay with it. Sorta, kinda, maybe not, but I would at least try to be okay if there were a lack of reciprocation.

A few minutes after pressing the follow buttons on their profiles, I refreshed my email, expecting a reciprocal follow notification email. None to be seen. An hour passed. Still none. I logged onto the site, thinking maybe the site failed to generate a notification email. Yes, that had to be it. Checked my followers. Still had two. I felt a little disheartened. There was a very short lapse in time between pressing follow and my boss approaching me to discuss something, non work related. He had to be getting ready to follow soon. Yes, the email notification was coming, sooner or later. What about the other manager? I'm not sure as to his email turnaround time but I knew my boss had seen the notice shortly after it would have arrived.

Fast forward to this afternoon, I'm feeling a bit resentful at this lack of reciprocation from both of these managers. It's actually quite bothersome. I check the site once again and see that not only has my boss changed his profile picture, but whereas he had only followed about half of his followers when I last checked, at this time his follower count outnumbers his following count by one, the excluded one being me only.

10 December 2013

An ode to coffee

I know coffee is in a way, a crutch of mine, at least for the time being. How do I know? I know this because I'm a bit too impatient for it, a bit too emphatic. I think about it far too often, like hours before bed, and of course every waking moment until I have an opportunity to seize that straw (yes, I drink it with a straw -- to prevent teeth stains, duh) and savor each morsel of a sip. Yes I wrote morsel of a sip. I wrote this to savor the memory of the savoring of each sip. I am getting way too deep with this topic, but I seriously cannot restrain myself. It's too good of a component of my life. As I drove to work today, several hours late given the weather conditions, mind you (heavy snow, slush, basically experiencing the aftermath of the morning storm),  I inched closer to my office and had an epiphany of some sort. My mind commanded me with its fervor in the following conviction: 'Why shouldn't I? Why should.. I.. not?,' My inner voice boomed.What else is there if not for coffee, to excite me, to enthrall me, to psych me into getting ish done that otherwise I would over analyze to the point of not being able to motivate myself to accomplish in the slightest (okay, maybe I would get around to doing what was necessary... but it would be painstaking... painstaking I tell you). Coffee is my saving grace. I love you coffee. I love you and can't wait to hold you in my arms tomorrow and bask in your warmth and mind stimulant glory. Okay, that last part... totally corny. Coffee lovers though get it... the drift is had. It's all in the drink. The java had me at first sip. The end.

09 December 2013

Overcoming Analysis Paralysis

What I have realized is how much I over analyze and obsess over things that are complete. I need to move past re-reading and reviewing items already brought to conclusion. There's no sense. It's just madness.

Case in point:

Reviewing letters/emails more than once prior to sending

Analyzing letters/emails after having sent them

Obsessing that I made a fool out of myself and rehashing in my mind the ways in which I screwed up interactions [this occurs primarily in the workplace]

Detrimental effects to this over analysis:

It wastes time and is unproductive

It makes you feel crappy

Sets off anxiety

Diminishes one's self esteem

Lessons derived from such over analysis:

Be yourself [if others have a problem with it, that's not your problem; as long as you're not hurting anyone, you're good], we're not perfect, what's done is done [be content with past activity, or at least accept it for what it is and don't dwell on what you deem to be negative components of the past], there's a reason they say, Let Bygones be Bygones

Spend time on more important matters, like the present moment

Let go [free yourself of the past to appreciate what's in front of you]


Yammer is the new thing at work. I had received two invites to the site by email, which I noticed upon inspecting my inbox last night. It piqued my curiosity, for sure. According to my review of the site's description as noted in the invites, it seemed to be a site of social interaction, online of course, similar to facebook. I liked this idea. Finally, some enjoyment. I couldn't resist but to sign up within minutes of arriving to work to check it out. Shortly after doing so, a message appeared beside my name, advertising to the other users, 'Beth just joined, let's give her a warm welcome.' Of course no one did.

In reviewing the past comments, nothing noteworthy was seen. One person said, 'Hope you have a good weekend!' while another urged users to 'Join my group!' More coworkers than expected had uploaded a photo to appear on the side of their name. On the bottom right hand side of the screen is a chat bar that shows all users who are logged in versus those who are just a part of the collective whole. Only about two to four others were online most of the day today.

True to form, in an effort to see my vision that I'd witness and be able to participate in quirky interactions to make the work day pass by more easily, I kept popping in and out of the site to see if anything radical would occur; if someone would be bold and brazen enough to bust a move, so to speak, to say what they really meant (in harmless fun, of course). Ohh, I forgot to mention, an email my boss sent while I was out indicated that we must be careful as to what we say on the site as it is a company based site and he'd already seen a post stating, 'I'm so bored.' This made me laugh and gave me hope that someone might have spiced things up a bit. Not so fast. What I envisioned as feverish messages between coworkers, bringing us back to our days of lighthearted fun, and making me enjoy work once more, was not the reality.

Also, just to demonstrate how reality doesn't always quite live up to my ideals, I had felt quite appreciative that two of my coworkers had forwarded an invite, one with whom I rarely converse, and the other who is newer to my department. When I saw one of these individuals today, I said 'Thanks for the invite to Yammer.' Her response: 'Oh no problem. I sent one to everyone, not just you. Not that you're not special.' Which kinda made me feel like an idiot. I laughed because I was so embarrassed. Oh well. So this site in summary is not that special and is not quite the medium I was expecting to encourage some spontaneous fun in the workplace. It's just another mode of business where no one dare infringe upon the underlying protocol. For those familiar with facebook, it is pretty much the equivalent, save the randomness of interactions and liberty for people to write whatever they so choose.

08 December 2013

Post work vacation anxiety

First day back at work post-vacation begins tomorrow. Kinda makes me feel a bit shaky. Okay, truth: I'm really anxious, and not in a good way. I'm feeling overwhelmed already and am kicking myself just a little bit for peeking on my email inbox as well as my voicemail messages. This so was not a good idea, considering the stress said actions generated. I quickly entered my voicemail passcode and as soon as I heard the number of messages, tried to block it out. Then I had this intense urge to check my email, and after resisting for a few minutes, bit the bullet. Literally, an entire page full of emails. Not as heavy an email load as my prior job, but since I have been in my current position for almost three years and have compartmentalized those experiences of my last job (due to them being deemed too traumatic to relive), I don't feel any relief in comparing and contrasting the work load. It was heavier previously, but it is all relative to the situation.

I'm trying to breathe and let myself feel how I feel and move along, or rather, move with the feelings rather than resist the strain I am feeling. The anxiety started to build a day or so ago. All week, work has been in the back of my mind. It became the forefront mainly this weekend when it was more of a reality that I would be returning. I have been out since November 28th, so a total of 11 days. It feels like I've been a part of a different realm, a separate universe than that of my job. It's a foreign land at this point, although the similar emotions of impending doom have resurfaced to some extent. However, I am doing my best to take these emotions in stride, to keep them in check. My plan is to focus on emails and voicemails the first day and to not rush completion of these tasks, but rather make my way through the rough tide purposefully and in a calm manner. I know, easier said than done. However, my goal is to not overtax myself in playing catch up. While I have the ability to work swiftly and multi-task, it doesn't always benefit my sense of well being and tends to stress me out more than necessary. If there were ever a pre-New Year's resolution begging to be started, it would be implementing decompression strategies during the work week and going with the flow.

05 December 2013


Totally now have this fear that every single person for which I have searched on FB knows about it; in particular, that 'certain someone' who I had hoped would be on the back burner of my mind at this point but continues to linger in the forefront. The data pulled when entering a single letter on the search bar has officially started to creep me out, and then there's this idea that these people know when they've been searched because some of them are now appearing on my search bar at a higher ranking than, say, a few days ago, despite me not having logged in for over a day. Does this upward movement correlate to my checking of their page which in turn prompted them to check my page, or is it totally coincidental and merely indicative of my past previewing of their pages only?This should make for some awkward workplace encounters next week upon my return, should my intuition be correct in its assessment that these people know.

I did so well in avoiding entering a certain sequence of letters into the search bar, for the past two days, only to have caved today because a certain other facebook profile came up unexpectedly on my search bar of someone associated with the aforementioned certain someone, making it impossible (willpower wise) that I not enter the forbidden letters. Gah, this FB thing is totally not a good thing. The only positive is that it has spurred a few story ideas, and had I not ever searched for a certain someone in the first place, I would still be thinking there were a chance for he and I, which I now know not to be true. Pretty sure maintaining an active FB page is merely prolonging the agony of having been crushed by the work crush. #FacebookProbs

Mt Tammany, I love you.

Just returned from the poconos. Had fun, save for my knees giving out on my on the way down Mt Tammany. Must do something about the knees. That was the best trail I've hiked in a while. The view at the top was breathtaking. There was a view of the river below and it's unique curvature that one could only appreciate from a height level with the sky. Along the way, I saw a waterfall, many trees, and traversed through many rocks, large and small. I sang 'Oh Holy Night' on the way up, talked in a foreign accent on the way down, and sang some Beatle tunes as well. I'm cool like that.

There was also a segment where my dad forged far ahead. It started out funny, given that my dad tends to proceed ahead when he's enjoying the trail. We joke about it. He can't help but speed off in the distance. However, he'll inevitably reappear, either when we call him or he'll stop on his own and trace back to ensure my mom and I are on the right path. This time however, my mom and I walked for quite a while and hadn't seen him. We looked for his orange hat but couldn't locate that or any other visual that would give away his presence in the distance. My mom then called to him. We both figured this would solicit a quick response and he'd respond and circle back within moments. He didn't respond. At first I joked with my mom about it and assured her that he was just up ahead. However, when she continued to call him without response, and I joined in, also to no avail, it became worrisome. Adding to the worry was the lack of response to our calling out to him and not seeing him, despite the fact that we were gaining ground.

My mom put the scare in me even further by surveying the ground below in search of my dad's belongings. This really freaked me out. It was like a movie where you head out with a group and one of the group members, though in the distance ahead for quite sometime, and easily spotted with the orange attire (to stave off hunters), is all of a sudden nowhere to be found and you fear the worst, that an animal was the culprit, or that he got lost. I started to contemplate how earlier in the hike I had joked about it being like a movie, where it's quiet before the storm. He ended up being by the waterfall around the bend after we made our way down a steep side of the mountain, taking photos. He had not been able to hear us given that the bend had blocked off the sound of our calls. We then laughed about the fact that there he was, in all his photo-taking glory, mesmerized by the waterfall of which he attempted to capture in panoramic view, oblivious to the fear his absence had instilled for a good fifteen minutes prior.

Safe to say, it was a fun hiking experience. I found peace and comfort in the crowd of age old trees that conveyed with their mere presence: 'we've seen it all, we've been around a long time, experienced much, and we're here to tell you everything's gonna be okay, just breathe.' There were trees of all sizes and ages packed throughout the trail, conjuring images of my ancestors walking by these trees. I envisioned possibly walking past those very trees in a past life myself. I wondered what it was like for others who came before me, what it might have been like if I had been here before, what kind of worries confounded me then. Were those other people battling some internal wreckage? Was I in my past life free of the worries that presently afflict me?

On a lighter note, for the first time, I actually felt eager to spot a bear or a rattlesnake or deer. Some sign of living, breathing wildlife aside from the beautiful trees. We took the red trail up and the blue trail down the mountain. Highly recommended. At the bottom of the blue trail, a sign read something like: 'Rattlesnakes and Copperheads: These creatures are a natural element in the background and therefore you may encounter them. Will not attack. However, if cornered, will defend themselves and fight back.' It was more metaphorical and better worded than I can recall, but it brought to mind humans, the quiet, unappreciated kind. 'The Humble Ones: Make up a natural part of this environment we occupy. They sit back and innocently observe their surroundings. Be sure to respect and admire them. Will attack if cornered.' Same idea. Snakes, humans, intrinsically alike despite the obvious external differences. Same message: thou shall not misconstrue humility and quietude for weakness. The sign conjured a vision of several high school boys huddled together, getting their kicks by harassing and mocking the creature, the snake getting the last laugh by swiveling around their shoes towards their necks and putting them in their place by threatening the choke hold, yet ultimately granting them mercy, and deciding not to effectuate the maneuver, instead letting go without inflicting any damage, the kids left shocked at its ability to enact comeuppance upon its bullies.

03 December 2013

An ode to FB

Dear Facebook,

I hate you and I have every intention to deactivate you in the near future. The only reason I'm keeping you around is for the potential of future social connections, although the likelihood of such connections seems to be waning with each passing day. My hope for said connections is diminished (along with my self esteem) each time I log on to view mindless status updates on my news feed which I must say, are not funny nor entertaining. The ridiculously mind numbing news feed updates coupled with the lack of friend requests and/or incoming messages is enough to further validate my intention to remove myself from this isolating social media realm. What's the purpose of this site? The goal was to reconnect with old friends. Thus far, I've only had one halfhearted reconnection. Case in point. Unproductive and unnecessary. Life before facebook was better.

My skin's present suffering is a reflection of my stress level.

My complexion has been looking pretty bad lately. It stems not only from hormonal issues (TOM), but stress from other factors, such as: too much caffeine (I've been overdoing it coffee and chocolate-wise), finding out my work crush just got married, and eating less clean than usual. Yes, I had pizza, yes I've had lots of cheese, yes I've been stuffing my face with chocolate bar after chocolate bar, and have been going at the coffee no holds freaking barred, as a form of comfort. The caffeine provides me with a temporary high, from which I come crashing down shortly thereafter, but it's all good. I figure, it motivates me to write. The pizza effect was out of pure laziness. Today was supposed to be my second day off dairy, but I had no energy to make me a clean dinner, so I went with it. The chocolate bars galore have been the result of fluctuating (ie. out of control) hormones due to that lovely TOM, yes lovely tom tom, my good old buddy.

Then there's the crush factor. Gosh darn the crush factor. I'm so feeling disheartened, still, a week after uncovering (through a facebook search) that he is married. In fact, this just happened, his marriage. Oh, and he got engaged a year ago. This would have been good to know... uhhh, about three months ago. Would have saved a lot of heartache. Now, you're probably wondering how someone can experience heartache over a work crush. Enter: me, the hopeless romantic, ever becoming more devoid of hope by the passing year. Well, I'm making progress in one regard by not checking his facebook page and not entering the first letter of either his first or last name on the search bar as inevitably his face appears, along with that of his WIFE. Lol. That's so not funny, but it IS because it's such a parody of my existence. "Hey, you. We're married over here. You, who have been single for seven plus years. Yes you, the one who got her hopes up because of a few recent random work interactions, yep, joke's on YOU. Haha! We knew we'd fool ya. Muwahaha. See us smiling as we revel in our post-marital bliss over here? Say cheese!"

Quite simply, this sucks. So, my skin suffers as a side-effect of the stress. My heart hurts too. I watched two movies last night. One was about a woman who wanted a divorce, but somewhat regretted her decision since the guy she had married was her best friend. However, she moved forward and became stronger for her decision. It was a rediscovery of herself, basically; an empowering message. This was uplifting, but still sad because I wanted her to get back together with her best friend as they seemed meant to be together. The second movie was about an older couple whose relationship was devoid of romance and intimacy, until after seeing a therapist, at which point the fire was rekindled. Movies like that, I need to avoid for the time being. Seriously not good for me right now. Makes me rethink whether I should read some of the novels I just picked up from the library tonight. Probably a good idea to start with a different genre other than romance. Good thing I picked up seven books, so I have an assortment from which to choose, probably two of which aren't too romance-heavy. We'll see how that goes.

Poconos, plotting, and novel writing, oh my!

You know those spontaneous moments that arise and leave you thankful for one's inability to predict the future? Well, my mom just planned a random trip to the Poconos so this is one of them. We leave tomorrow and we're going to do a three mile hike on what is supposedly a rocky trail. Should be fun. I've wanted to go back since our trip in September, which was such a respite from the demands of life. It truly did help relieve some stress build up and had me inspired to forge ahead with plotting my novel. It was all about nature and nurturing myself and in the moments of rest in between hiking, I sipped coffee and delved into my plot. This plot has been a long time coming and has been worked and reworked for quite some time, most seriously, beginning in the summer. I say 'most seriously' because I had drafted a plot before then, but abandoned it once I began writing, because it felt too restrictive and stifled my creativity at the time. Then, I came back to it when someone provided me the feedback that a plot would assist me in gaining some direction in terms of where my novel was headed.

This week I have been off work and have continued with my plotting and actually started to write -- gasp -- the story line. I have reached a point where my plotting has gotten tedious and it just seems like now is the time to actually create some scenes, lest I never get back to actually drafting a novel and end up plotting the rest of my life. Today, I reflected on the part of my novel that has been tucked away for quite some time; tucked away, as in stored on the computer. In a frenzy, given that I was feeling scattered and all over the place this morning when my goal was to move forward with this story I have envisioned, yet struggled with formulating my thoughts on paper -- starting the actual writing process after focusing solely on the plot for several months left me a bit frenzied, not gonna lie -- I decided to peruse the piece I previously started, and stored away several months ago, for safekeeping. The problem was that I stored three different versions of the same piece on my flash drive, with various amendments made to each. In an attempt to get my ish together, I printed off each version. There was a fourth document containing a shorter piece of another novel I'd started, which I also printed. So I have this random assortment of these fragments of an eventual story at least closer at hand, which serves as some sort of solace, since I can see bits and pieces of my plot outline within each of these unfinished drafts.

When I thought of how to move from plot drafting back to novel writing, and whether or not to continue to develop these previously initiated works or if I should just start anew, I realized that it's best that I create individual scenes and piece them together to make up the entire puzzle that is the plot outline. Therefore, I can use that which I have already written, and expand upon it, so that I am moving towards a finished piece. What I thought was that I might have to start over and adhere strictly to this plot outline. I thought starting over would be easy as my plot outline would allow me to move from point A to point B swiftly and with ease. What I realize now is that, for me anyway, the plot outline does not make the writing process easier. Writing is still an arduous task and not for the faint of heart. What the plot outline does (for me) is provide structure and serves as a resource to facilitate the piecing together of the scattered, individual scenes. Therefore, today, I wrote two separate scenes. At the top of the paper, I wrote the gist of what would occur within the scene, before detailing the events that it encompassed. I did this twice, so I have two separate scenes. The other night, I flew by the seat of my pants and ended up with another scene. What I have come to realize is that these three separate scenes tie into the story line. They are not exactly what I thought I would write and definitely not in the exact order of my plot outline, but they are necessary components of the overall story. For me, this is important. It's not how you get from point A to point B, it's that you get there. You put in the time and effort and you will get there, and that is what matters. No one can tell you the method that is right for you to achieve the end goal. You end up finding your way as you go.

29 November 2013

Facebook status update.

Today I promised myself I would stay away from facebook. It's only 11:02 a.m. and I can safely say I am adhering to my intrinsic desire to keep my distance. Thus far, I have only been on the site a total of four or five times. There is some really shady ish going on at times on this site. For starters, I got this very strange friend request the other day when I was using my Kindle Fire and accepted it, yet the person didn't appear on my friends list. I keep seeing the person's profile over and over, but am still unsure as to what that was about since the friend request came through but when I accepted, he didn't appear on my list of friends.

Then I went on a family member's account (with his permission of course) to see what my profile looked like from an outsider's perspective. When I logged back into my account, there was a friend's request from the family member's account, even though I had been on that account moments prior and did not send the request. When I went back to check the activity log of the family member's page, there was no indication of any friend request having been sent. Very weird. This got me thinking, what if random friend requests are being sent to those profiles I've looked into regularly? This idea made me panic a bit inside, but I realize if it's happening, it's out of my control, so there's no sense in worrying about it. I just reallllllly reallly hope the guy at work whose site I've checked a few too many times has not received any notifications pertaining to my page. How embarrassing would that be? Oh well, again, I can't worry about this stuff.

Facebook friends..um, not.

As a continuation of my last post, so I messaged my friend several hours ago sarcastically thanking him for deleting my posts (After sending the message, on impulse I deleted him from my friends list. Acting impulsively has seemed to serve me right as of late, so I thought why the heck not?) Then I compulsively checked my FB page for the next four hours, mostly awaiting his response. Funny how if I don't respond to him right away when he contacts me, he'll continue to contact me obsessively to solicit a response as soon as possible, yet I have to just deal with his casual placing me on the back burner and making me an afterthought. He writes me back stating that my posts were not relevant to the topic at hand. He thought they were more appropriate for a private message, and he intended to talk this over by phone the next time we talked. Is this for real? So you're going to censor me, of all places, on facebook? Then you want to have an in-depth discussion about my posting to your wall or timeline or whatever? What happened to being playful and appreciating spontaneity? What happened to your sense of humor, your ability to lighten up and have fun? It's freaking facebook. It's not that serious. In fact, it's not serious at all. Something else that just got serious however, is your over analysis of stupid ish like what I post on your timeline in good fun, and your desire to have a detailed discussion about it.

This facebook experience over the past few days has really opened my eyes, for starters, to this so-called friend's major insecurity issues. He's got 500+ friends and shows up as a friend of nearly anyone who pops up on my screen. The fact that he has more than 500 virtual friends, yet doesn't get out much, is very telling in terms of how he views himself. I actually feel pity for him because he has so many virtual friends and hardly any real ones. I would rather be real and post comments on a whim and not give a crap about what the 500 hundred virtual friends think, because they're not real friends nor do they matter in the real sense.

As for my facebook friends, I currently have three total after ditching this insecure one. Currently, I am contemplating deleting two of the remaining three as one of them was suggested by the aforementioned person and his posts don't do anything but annoy me, and the other one is someone with whom I was friends with during my college years, yet we drifted apart, and despite trying to reconnect since having joined facebook, she's not that responsive. All in all, there's only one facebook friend whose posts make me laugh and who I could see hanging out with, in the real world. That person is actually one of the only reasons I'm giving this thing a chance, to see if other connections could potentially be rekindled or created, not in the artificial sense, but as an addendum to my reality. I'm all about being real, and if someone can't accept that and decides my posts aren't good enough for his FB page, he can move along. Keep the facade going with your facebook friends. See what that does for your life.

28 November 2013

Whyyy facebook, whyyy?

Why did I rejoin facebook? Although I only joined five days ago, I'm already contemplating deactivating my account. I literally feel the impulse to check it every five seconds, for no other reason than to see who comes up on the search bar when I type every letter of the alphabet, to check on whether anyone has sent me a message or submitted a friend request, and to review my ever stagnant timeline. Nothing is happening, yet I continue to go back in the hopes something has changed. Each time I sign it, I feel like I lose a piece of my soul. It's a soul-sucking vortex, I tell you. Even tonight, I signed on a few times, despite being surrounded by family in celebration of the holiday, and felt guilty each time I snuck away for a another facebook peek.

When reviewing my activity log, I discovered that a friend had deleted several posts I had entered into his timeline. That pissed me off. Aside from sending him a message voicing my thoughts, I then deleted him as a friend, reducing my overflowing group of friends from four to three. I'm cool like that. I'm not getting much out of facebook other than the hope that something potentially good could come of it in the future, like expanding my social connections. At the present time, the inactivity is not sitting well with me, and I have the urge to escape. It feels like I'm at a party, sitting in a corner, hoping for someone to reach out and initiate something with me, to throw me a bone. I sip from my cup slowly, peering up at the crowd before me, preparing for my exit. It feels right, this getting ready to leave. It's that awkward moment when you wish you never showed up and wonder why you did.

It reminds me of a party I went to a year or so after college. It was either a birthday party or a graduation party of a friend I used to be close with in high school but lost touch with in college. I was not very well acquainted with her group of friends and though I debated attending the event, I ultimately decided to go, out of respect for my friend and wanting to be a good sport. It was such an uncomfortable experience. I remember feeling so out of place and not knowing what to do or say. All of her friends knew each other and were grouped together chatting, and I just could not bring myself to maneuver myself into the conversation, so I sat off to the side. A boyfriend of one of my friend's friends sat beside me and talked to me a little bit, but even that was awkward. At one point, I talked to my friend's mom and at another point, I tried talking to two other girls who were engaged in conversation and I got the feeling they didn't want me to be included. It was such a feeling of not belonging that I felt and it so parallels how I feel on facebook. Even my friend, who I considered to be a close confidante, can't be bothered with me. 

27 November 2013

Running on pure emotion.

There's this game I play when I'm doing something I know I should not be doing, yet continue to do it (or at least don't try to fight it). What happens is, I assure myself that 'I can stop... when I want to... I'll get around to it.' This, of course, is never a good game to play. Okay, so it feels good, and I really like it, because I realize that I'm freaking human and I can always begin again, later, when I recover from being in a funk. Let's take facebook for example. I just reactivated my account. In reality, I just activated an account, as my old account has been obsolete for the past seven years. It was junior year of college when I deleted the damn thing, vowing never to return. Oh wait, didn't I do that with coffee five years ago? Wait, didn't I do that with... yeah, I can think of a few more things.

Anyway, regarding facebook, over the past few years, I have toyed with the idea of becoming a member again and I finally bit the bullet this past Sunday. (I broke all kind of rules this weekend; drank coffee after nearly three weeks of refraining from it. Okay, so that's only one other rule, but it was a big one and led to me binging on chocolate all week.) So aside from compulsively checking my facebook since having joined once again, because I'm an addict like that, I keep happening to catch a glampse of what's-his-face's profile pic (you know.. the guy I thought was into me, who ended up being *cough* *ahem* *cough* MARRIED). Wtf?! Okay, so I ate two rows of chocolate brownies tonight (half with walnuts, half without, for those who want the full deets). Definitely not beating myself for that or for the fact that when I type in the first letter of what's-his-face's name in the search bar of FB, his profile pic pops up. Like damn, can't a girl catch a break?

Rather than beat myself up for feeling how I'm feeling, I'm going with the flow of these emotions, with the understanding that I'll get around to getting over this shiz when I get around to it, as with all things. Setbacks are the nature of being human. Disappointment is inevitable at times. Emotions can overtake us and make us give into our old habits. Chocolate and coffee make things better, at least temporarily, and that's good enough for me. 

26 November 2013

Another chocolate bar bites the dust.

The amount of chocolate I eat (or caffeine I consume) is directly proportionate to how emotional I am feeling. Therefore, one can estimate my level of emotion given that I downed an entire bar both today and yesterday. I must say Trader Joe's Organic 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar beats the heck out of Green & Black's. Just sayin'. That's my humble opinion. Anyway, I had two freaking cups of decaf coffee this morning. Yes, I drank decaf like it was my business, when in fact it was not good at all. It was way too acidic and made my head feel a bit weird, so there will be no more of that. Furthermore, the taste was not on par with the real thing, despite being a reputable brand. So screw the decaf. Not having it any longer. First and last day of that ish.

Okay, so I was feeling drained emotionally at the end of the (work) day and therefore lost all inhibition and went for it (the chocolate) full board. Why, you ask, was I feeling this way? Well, for starters, as I mentioned in my last post (if you happened to pave your way through all the rambling), I just found out recently this guy I have been crushin' on really bad is married. Yup, not purely taken, but married, as in off the market, permanently. How's that for a cold dose of reality? At least I had the weekend to soak in that realization. Then of course, came the surrendering to caffeine. Okay, so I overheard him speaking today and caught a very minor glimpse of him, which kind of set off a trail of unexpected emotions. Over it much? The fact that I felt myself shaking made me realize.. not quite. Couple that with the fact that I didn't converse with any of my coworkers today (save for a few minor pleasantries in passing), and my boss pretty much talked to everyone but me, and I was left feeling left out, and like I was in solitary confinement (without of course the benefit of not being surrounded on each side by people who don't care to communicate with me). It makes me sad thinking about it. Every day at work it's the same in that regard. The lack of human contact spurs in depth analysis, as if there were a way to 'think' myself out of this situation and corresponding feelings of rejection.

You see, we have this new office set up where I sit in the far corner of a cubicle division, composed of four separate cubes. I am flanked on either side by two male coworkers. These two guys are friends with one another. They hang out and go places together like Wawa and sometimes walk over to each other's cubes to chat, yet they never initiate conversation with me. No 'hi,' 'bye,' nothing. Hell, I'm lucky if I get a 'God Bless You' when I sneeze. I truly made an effort to reach out to the guy sitting nearest me by retrieving some of his faxes and placing them on his desk for the first week or so in this new office set up, yet he barely acknowledged me in doing so; thus, I gave up on that. I've also said 'goodnight' and 'have a good weekend,' yet the last time I said this, he sounded perturbed, so it's made me stop making an effort in that regard also. The thing is, I enjoy a sense of quiet. However, in this environment, there's something so awkward and uncomfortable about it, because I sit so close to these two people, yet they hardly say a word to me, and of course I internalize it and it sets of a flurry of negative self-deprecating thoughts. It makes me feel like an outcast, like I did something wrong, even though logically, I know I can't be blamed for their keeping mum and choosing to exclude me from their interactions. It doesn't make me feel any less isolated knowing this, though. 

Some days it feels like I'm invisible, like I'm a fly on the wall that everyone would prefer to swat away. Today, I tried not to let it get to me by telling myself that my shyness is a positive and if they can't appreciate me for me, it's their loss. With that said, I can't shake this constant feeling of isolation. There is one guy, who doesn't sit close to me, but rather on the other end of the room, who will occasionally initiate conversation with me, and it's like this small beam of light in the darkness that I can't help but admire and savor, while it lasts. It's like he perceives me feeling left out and tries to offer some sense of connection. For that, I feel grateful. As for the people who pass in the hall who might offer what seems on the surface to be a platitude, to me, it means so much more. 

24 November 2013

I was twenty one days into this caffeine free life, when things went a bit wrong. Okay, things went very wrong. So last night, I went to the city to visit a close friend. It has been ages since we have hung out and I have been looking forward to this moment. Two months ago and I would have been truly present in the moment and focused solely on our meeting, but last night, I had some other things weighing on my mind, namely this guy at work, who I have been into since September, when we connected and I first felt the sparks and saw the signs that meant he was interested, or so I thought. Anyway, so even though I have not seen him in nearly a month, and was in the process of making every effort to move past him, thoughts of him continued to pop up even during my train ride downtown last night. It kinda put a damper on my excitement, not fully but partially, as my mind wasn't fully focused on the impending get together with my friend. So I take the train down to Market East in Philly, and meet my friend at the loading dock upon exiting. We exchange pleasantries. This involves me jumping up and down and freaking out about finally seeing him and telling him he looks like he did in college, and him responding that we need to stop at CVS on the way to his place. He seemed stressed and was nowhere near as hyped as me, which made me feel kinda bad. I ask him what's up and he tells me he's just been very busy all day, cleaning his place and preparing for tonight. We then go to CVS, where he purchases some toiletries and a few cleaning products. Afterward, we stroll to the subway, taking it to the stop nearest his place, and then walk the remainder of the way in the cold, passing by the hospital where he used to work, on our way. Upon entering the house he's currently renting, with two other roommates, he shows me through the space, and then we sit down at the dining room table to talk over champagne. All is going well. He then introduces me to his roommates, who also enjoy some champagne with us while we discuss relationships for a bit. At one point, something reminds me of the coworker I've been thinking about, and I can't help but drop him into the convo. No one seems to care and it makes me wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut. His roommates then go out to the bar and we agree to text them later in the evening, after we get a bite to eat. My friend and I, at my urging, sing 'Everything has changed.' So then some crazy ish goes down. Basically, my friend is on facebook, and I have this urge to tell him to look up my coworker, after feeling a slight hesitation to make such a request. He had previously told me he'd searched for him weeks prior, but was unable to find him. After scrolling down, I immediately see a photo of him and a woman and say 'He has a girlfriend.' My stomach sinks. My friend opens the page,'That's him?' 'Yes, he has a girlfriend.' He clicks on the guy's main page. My friend says, 'Oh my gosh, he's married!' I try to maintain my composure, while my stomach is doing acrobatics. I confirm it with my own eyes. 'Oh my God.' My friend says, 'He just got married, yesterday.' 'Or at least, recently,' I respond. We sift through the photos, depicting said coworker and his wife and friends. Shame washes over me in droves. I sit in disbelief before getting up and exclaiming that this is crazy, how did I misread the signs, this explains why I haven't seen him in a month. This explains the vacation. This explains why a coworker congratulated him for an inaudible reason, which I half-jokingly assumed was due to an engagement or marriage, but hadn't been able to secure any concrete proof. In fact, I've been analyzing the situation for a month, wondering what the heck went wrong, why everything that had at first seemed so right had fallen through and stopped making sense when I'd stopped seeing him around the office. Seeing his facebook page provided closure. However, I felt so torn over the whole situation. I needed time to think. I wanted to go home and reflect on it further, but my friend and I had plans. I came all this way and didn't want to ruin the evening, but was feeling quite emotional. Shortly thereafter, despite my internal struggle to accept this new reality, we went to dinner, followed by two bars. It actually turned out to be quite fun. More on that later. However, I didn't get the sleep I needed and felt I deserved to implement some leniency on myself just for today, so I had a few cups of coffee and had a box of double chocolate cookies. Problem solved. New beginnings. Also, I rejoined facebook for the first time in seven years. I figured, ah what the hell. There's not much to lose, but much to gain with some potential future connections and I consider it a new little hobby. My instinct was demanding that I do it, so I followed through as soon as I returned home, while sipping my first cup after the twenty-some day hiatus. It felt good. Overall, I'm just happy to have uncovered this critical detail about my 'crush' sooner rather than later, despite it still hurting a bit. It mostly took me by surprise. However, as my friend put it, 'Better to have a few weeks of moroseness over the whole situation, than months upon months to a year or so without knowing and then experiencing extreme hurt in the end, and wasting all that time, because you weren't aware.' Another tidbit of advice he gave me, 'Be sure to check out the hardware' as that is my flaw. I fail, every single time, to check the digits for a ring. In this case, it likely would not have resolved anything as I don't think he was wearing the ring, and do believe he just got married before I stopped seeing him around the office. However, it's good to keep in mind. Sparks or not, facts are facts, and better to go in with all the details than be blindsided and experience the blow. So that's my lesson learned this time around. Also, I realize that if I'm questioning things too much (ie. overanalysis in overdrive) or making excuses, that's never a good sign. Another positive: everything happens for a reason and for one's greatest good. If it's meant to be, it will be.

23 November 2013

Back on Gluten

After 17 days of being gluten-free and noticing my skin seems to be worsening and I'm more hungry than ever, I have decided to halt the gluten-free diet. I have previously been tested for celiac disease and tested negative. Now I know that there are false negatives, and you can be gluten-intolerant despite not having celiac disease. However, I just don't feel satisfied with this gluten-free diet. Although I have noticed I'm more 'regular' since having gone gluten-free, it hasn't completely eliminated my digestive issues.

Also, I have been losing weight, which I cannot afford, and I feel a lingering sense of hunger all the time. I want to be able to live my life and given that there's no definitive proof that I have celiac disease or am gluten intolerant, I don't see a reason for me to deprive myself. So that's it. I made a valiant effort, greater than two weeks. I would think my skin wouldn't be getting more rashy if this gluten-free diet were right for me. I could hold out the full three weeks, but I don't think 4 days is really going to make much of a difference, so I don't see the point. My body is telling me to bring back the gluten, so I'm listening.

One of the instigating factors to me having started this diet was the fact that my Uncle has celiac disease and my Grandmom was recently diagnosed, so I began to ponder my risk for it. However, as stated above, I have tested negative in the past year or so, and so without any concrete evidence to demonstrate that I should abstain from gluten, I feel I should continue to have it.

21 November 2013

Still goin' strong... caffeine & gluten free.

Not to sound all mushy, but I feel like this detox or cleanse or whatever you wanna call it, essentially this beginning of a gluten-free, caffeine-free lifestyle, is truly a renewal process for me. It's been really difficult for me, these past few weeks. For anyone who is concerned about the numbers, today marks my 18th day off caffeine and my 16th day off gluten. To be honest, I actually like to count the days since I started because it makes me feel like despite the lows I've experienced since the start, I'm making progress. I'm accomplishing something at least.

As far as my cravings, today I didn't really crave caffeine at all. I haven't had much of a yearning for glutenous foods either. However, earlier this week, I was feeling intense pangs of hunger for the coffee. Yes, I wrote hunger because I was ravenous for it. Every fiber of my being called out for it. Thanks be to God, I made it through. It arose the other day at work when I overheard a coworker commenting on how he had to review five hundred pages of medical documentation and needed the pick-me-up and he was asking a coworker to accompany him to my favorite coffee joint in the world --- Wawa. I listened and of course could not help but cue into his voiced need for coffee, which in turn triggered mine. The coworker with whom he was speaking asked him if he'd had any this morning and the guy who wanted to go to Wawa said he had some on the way to work but really needed some more to become motivated to review the medical documentation. As I was listening to their conversation, I realized how lethargic I felt and recognized my need for coffee. Just do it, I told myself.

However, then I thought further about it. In a frenzy, I sent an email to my friend begging him to save me from the calling of the cup of Jo. He didn't respond. It took me a while to work through it but ultimately I decided to push through the feeling of lethargy. When lunch came around, I figured it was too late, I wouldn't be able to savor it to the extent I would have had I bought it earlier, so I figured the following day I could always get it. However, last night, I researched 'how long it takes to regain energy after giving up caffeine' or something to that effect and was relieved to uncover that it can take three weeks or more. This provided me with the encouragement to press on as the rewards do not come instantly, but take time. Also, why give up now when I'm so close to the 30-day point? Who can't get to 30 days? I'll be damned if I can't.

What I've learned is that, I can do this, just as I did it before, and it will benefit me in the long run. Already, I've noticed I'm much more even-keel mood-wise than when I was consuming a cup to one and a half a day. For the first time in a while, I slept the whole night through, dreamed, and woke up only ten minutes before my alarm sounded. This is what I have so wanted, for a peaceful, lengthy slumber. At this point, I don't even see myself considering having coffee. Something about this 18th day has really solidified my decision to keep away from it. The cons of coffee, for me, far outweight the temporary goodness. That's not to say I won't indulge on the rare occasion. I just don't like to be addicted to things. It doesn't feel good. Add in the side effects, and that's enough to keep me from making it a habit once again.

As far as the negatives I've been experiencing, the most prominent negative aspect of this cleanse, aside from a purging of many unpleasant emotions, has been my skin. For some reason, every inch of my face is covered in a very pinkish/reddish rash and I can't seem to stop it from persisting. Each day I wake up to it and with certain foods, it seems to flare. For instance, tonight, I had a chicken and cauliflower dish along with brown rice pasta covered in tomato sauce. Then I followed this meal with a snack of Mary's Gone Crackers Black Pepper crackers, and I feel worse for the wear, complexion-wise. It just feels sooo freakin' irritated and rashy. I'm going with 'it's purifying itself,' although I'm sure it's that I've been stressed lately and certain foods exacerbate it (namely packaged items). Whatever it is, I hope it sorts itself out stat, because it's making me self-conscious.

18 November 2013

Today... day 15 (coffee detox), day 13 (gluten-free)

A few changes have occurred in the past two weeks, since giving up caffeine and gluten. For starters, I've noticed that despite the fact that my anxiety still kicks into high gear when I am at work, the annoyance I typically experience when things go unexpectedly does not linger and logic kicks in more easily. For instance, last week, something came up where I was told that I did not need to be on a conference call as a person from a different unit was assigned to handle it. However, an hour before the call was scheduled to take place, I received an email from the party who would be taking the lead on the call as he had wanted to confirm my attendance and thought I would be the only person on my company's behalf involved in the call. Of course, this upset me as although my boss had told me that I need not partake in the call and that another coworker would be assigned, he failed to communicate this to the other parties involved.

Although I did become a bit up in arms and panicked for a good ten minutes, as the call was only a half an hour from taking place and my boss was at lunch and the coworker who was supposed to be assigned was not in the office, I finally resolved to just let whatever happen happen and to simply see what my boss wanted to do when he returned. It ended up not being a big deal, as I presumed would be the case after reflecting upon it. Had I been caffeinated, I'm sure this would have played out a bit differently. At least, I know my frustration would not have dissipated as quickly and I may have dwelled on it a bit longer. My thought process was much more clear and composed in this situation without having had caffeine.

Also, today I received a criticism from my boss, and rather than take it personally and harp on it in my mind, I realized it wasn't all that bad. I didn't feel as defensive about it, and just rectified the issue and moved on, with no hard feelings towards my boss.

Another change I have noticed for the better is the fact that certain actions or attitudes of others do not anger me as much. They still hurt me though. For instance, if I feel ignored or I'm insulted, of course, I feel hurt. The most marked difference is the fact that I feel more sad and emotional than angry. I am able to cry. This is a weird one, as I have been able to cry on occasion, but it's been rough these past few months and it's been difficult for me to break through that emotional barrier throughout the work week, when I've really felt I've needed to purge the build up tension. Since eliminating caffeine, I have been able to release the built up pressure by crying (outside of work). The strange part is that I've been feeling rather down in the late afternoon at times and a bit teary eyed on occasion, which is a new feeling for me. I'm used to feeling extremely anxious after my lunch break, but not sad/depressed. However, I'm feeling more down lately. At the same time, I can at least more clearly reflect on why I'm having those feelings I'm having when not wired with caffeine. It seems to correlate with the stress going on in my life outside of work and the pressures I'm putting on myself in many aspects, work and otherwise. I'm no longer escaping and/or suppressing those feelings with my caffeine habit. Could be a result of eliminating gluten too, who knows.

A few things I've noticed with my anxiety and sadness throughout the work day is there are those activities that exacerbate my feelings and those activities that mitigate those negative feelings (Again, going caffeine/gluten free can be accredited for my achieving this clarity):

- Meditation - When I meditate regularly, I feel better on the whole, more equipped to cope with whatever is thrown my way

- Interaction - The more people with whom I come into contact throughout the day (aside from telephone calls), the less 'down' I feel when the late afternoon rolls around and the more motivated I feel

- Music - This can have dual effects. If I'm trying to concentrate, it's an interference and can trigger my anxiety. If I'm feeling overly anxious and need a release from the quiet tension at work (since it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop and for some reason this makes me feel that any and every movement I make is pronounced), music in this case can be quite the relief I need. If I listen to music throughout the majority of the work day and then try to unwind without it later in the afternoon, I feel anxious. Fast music particularly triggers my anxiety at work.

- Monitoring others - There is a way to check the status of others' work loads in my work environment. When I check on the status of others' tasks, it causes anxiety, without fail.

- Email checking - Checking my email frequently leads to anxiety. It is difficult however to resist the urge! Sometimes it helps if I keep a tally so I don't overdo it, but I struggle with sticking to this method of self-control.

- Voicemail checking - For some reason, whenever the voicemail indicator (a red beady light) is on, I become anxious. It worsens when I retrieve the voicemails as I hate to have any background activities requiring completion and I'd rather get everything done at once and not have to worry about menial tasks, like phone calls, popping up as I then feel like I need to handle them immediately or they just prey on my mind. The beady light and the actual voicemail messages are a deadly combo for my anxiety.

- Deep breathing - Helps me calm down a bit (or very much so, depending on my diligence)

- Focusing on the present - Listening to those sounds in my environment and really attending to the present moment helps relieve some of the fears that contribute to my anxiety. The one problem is when I listen to others speak, there's a lot of internal comparing going on which of course affects me negatively, so I obviously need to work on that aspect.

Coffee detox day 15.

Today will mark the 15th day of my coffee detox process, and I so still want coffee, like right now. It is, to me, an escape, from the intensity of emotions I feel throughout the work week. Last night, I was lying in bed, reading through my past journal entries, from June through this month, and recognized that my craving for coffee had returned full force. As I lay there, reading one journal entry after another, and enjoying myself -- sounds kinda self-centered, but there is something really therapeutic about reading your thoughts from several months ago on daily life -- when I recognized a resurfacing of my coffee craving. How could this be, I pondered, given the fact that I thought habits were supposed to die out after two weeks; that is, that cravings dissipate given a two week hiatus from the source of the craving. Guess that's where the other saying comes in -- Old habits die hard. They truly do. I resigned myself to drink coffee the next morning (today). I was determined to have one cup, nothing more, and then continue back on track with the elimination process. However, when I woke up this morning, I realized this might not be such a great idea. My moods have been so much better since giving it up and having coffee at this point I feel would set me back. Am I still craving it? Absolutely. Could it be because I smelled it several times last night after dinner, just as a feel-good mechanism? Not sure, possibly, because I have not be craving coffee this intensely since the first few days of quitting cold turkey. About the gluten free diet, I'm not sure if this is contributing to the persistent rash on my face. It's making me want to just have gluten to be rid of it, but I think it might be part of the healing in removing it from my system. Could also the hot showers I've been taking be a factor? Most likely, yes. It's a combination of really dry skin and a red rash. Anyway, that is the one element of this whole detox process that has perturbed me the most. While all other aspects seem to be improving, my complexion seems to be headed in the wrong direction, and that to me, is frustrating. My goal is to give it maybe another week to see if there's any improvement.

16 November 2013

12th day of detox.

Yesterday was my 12th day off caffeine and 10th day off gluten. Throughout the day, I still had the desire to go to Wawa, but resisted doing so. I had a mini breakdown session at lunch, as I was feeling emotional about unrequited feelings and other elements of work, yet the day ended on a good note. In the late afternoon, I enjoyed chatting with a bunch of coworkers. You could tell Friday was in the air and everyone was gearing up for weekend mode. At about 5 p.m., I was ready to hit the road. On the way home, I reflected a bit on my feelings before jamming to some more Chaka. Then I went to Wegmans and loaded up on several gluten-free items so I would be able to make it through the first full two weeks.

It's not my preference to eat many pre-packaged gluten-free items as I would much prefer to eat whole foods that merely do not contain gluten in their natural state, like rice, sweet potatoes, nuts, fruits, veggies, etc. However, for the longest time, I have wanted to test out GF pizza. So I purchased some GF pizza, GF flour (for pancake making), some lime corn chips, a box of Mary's Gone Crackers, and maple syrup. The GF pizza, which I ended up having for dinner last night was not so good, and by that I mean it was terrible. Oh well, it was worth a try. The fact that it contained skim milk should have been my first clue that it would not sit well with me. The lime corn chips were not so hot either. We shall see what happens with the pancakes.

As far as my coffee addiction, I have been good in that department. I have continued to take a few whiffs every now and again, as it makes me feel good to just smell it, even if I don't fully indulge in the caffeine experience. My energy levels are returning as I feel much more awake in the morning and my moods are much more stable throughout the day.

I cannot attribute my feelings of betterment completely to the lack of gluten and caffeine, however, as I feel meditation has also been a key component to improving my sense of wellness. This past week, I have been slacking in my mediation practice, but yesterday and the day before I meditated and felt much better for doing so. I notice on the days in which I meditate, I have more of an inherent sense of optimism that I'm lacking when I don't. Sometimes, I become so preoccupied with other aspects of my life that I put meditation on the back burner, and the negative voices in my mind seem to take hold. So I guess one could say this 'detox' period is about more than just eliminating caffeine and gluten. It's about healing all around, and I've experienced how meditation plays a major role in this effort. This makes me more motivated to make it a priority, having seen how it benefits me on the whole. Of course, I have my ebbs and flows, which is normal. There are times I don't want to do it, and I don't force it upon myself at all times. I feel like with meditation, you have to be flexible and go with the flow, just as with all aspects of life, including this entire detox journey.

14 November 2013

Day 11 of coffee detox.

You know what makes a bad day better? You know what lifts the spirits when all else fails? Chocolate. Coffee. Pick one or the other. They both do the job.

All I wanted tonight was chocolate. Endless pieces of chocolate called my name from the Enjoy Life bag, sealed and unopened since I purchased it several weeks ago. It called me on the drive home from work and it calls me now as I sit here at 8 p.m. typing. Cue Usher, 'You got it, you got it bad.' I feel like it would do me so good, the deep, dark sensual flavor melting in my mouth. Yet, I will not go there. Over it. Okay, not really, but at least I'm making an effort, so that counts for something, right? I'm eleven days into this thing. Eleven freaking days without a single sip of coffee. A few whiffs, yes, but not a single sip.

If I had chocolate, it would undo all the good. After the initial delightful high I would experience while eating it, there would be two inevitable negative side-effects: difficulty falling asleep and heightened anxiety. What I have noticed as a result of doing without chocolate and coffee, is that I feel much more emotional. I have noticed in the late afternoon at work, I feel a surge of anxiety and feel depressed and on the verge of tears. As mentioned before, I still have anxiety and lately I have felt a desire to escape my emotions because they are so intense. Without the caffeine, I'm realizing I used it as a sort of crutch. Feeling emotional or having a crappy day, reach for the bag of chocolate. Eat as much as your heart desires. Feeling on edge after lunch and need something to make it better, go to Wawa and get some coffee. You deserve it. The only problem is the benefits are short-lived. It's a band aid on a scar that needs air to heal. Sure, I'm on top of the world as I savor the 12 oz. Wawa regular and yes, each bite of the chocolate seems to soothe my soul. In reality though, I'm merely suppressing the unwanted emotions that I am supposed to let be. Maybe that's why caffeine makes me so tired, irritable, and anxious later. My body rejecting the suppression. It wants me to feel, no matter how uncomfortable the feelings may be.

While I still feel awkward when talking to some people at work and anxious for the most part when forced to speak in front of others, there has been an improvement. I'm more communicative and not as apt to run away from conversations that I would otherwise if I were jacked up on caffeine. I'm still waking up early, but it's only about an hour early, which is not bad and is much better than waking up at 2 a.m. and not being able to fall back asleep.

No one said it was going to be easy to quit caffeine cold turkey. For me, it was the only way to do it as I don't do moderation well. No one said the positive results would be instantaneous. I almost caved tonight due to my impatience. I thought to myself, 'Why not enjoy life and just have some chocolate? You're not that much more energetic and it's been eleven days. If there hasn't been much of a change by this point, why not just resume eating it.' Yet when I reflect on how awake I felt on my way to work this morning and the fact that I was singing and dancing to Chaka Khan on full blast and having a good old time... when I think about how I initiated more conversations at work today than usual... when I think about how my appetite has returned to normal... I realize I want to continue on this path.