A new year

Well, we’re two days into the new year, and so far, so good.

I’d originally planned on writing a lengthy entry about all the things that happened last year, but then it hit me – I’d already written about them here.  I’ve noticed that with my previous blogging habits, I’d typically post when something big and exciting happened – and with the exception of finishing my dual masters in Information and Library Science last May (how did I forget to write about that?), I did just that.  So I think, instead, I’m going to look to the future.

That’s something I need to do more of – look to the future, or even absorb what’s around me in the present, as opposed to looking back at the past like I’ve done so much lately.  It is true, there’s a lot of things that have happened in my past that have shaped who I am today – in good and bad ways.  My behaviors, my anxiety and depression, all stem from some really unpleasant experiences with extremely unpleasant people.  I’m sure most of you have heard the stories before, many times – especially when I hit a rough patch and slip into depression, and start explaining the myriad reasons why I get into these weird moments of self-loathing/insecurity, or why I have so many strange responses to things that I’ve developed as a method of coping with rough situations and abusive relationships.

What I’m going to try to do this year, instead of shooting back into the past and digging out all the reasons for why I do what I do, I’m going to try to just accept how my brain works, and when I can, try to train it to behave better, to respond to my life now as opposed to responding how I expect life to be based on the past.  I’m going to try to acknowledge that yes, I feel depressed/anxious/terrified, and it’ll pass.  Yes, I responded to a raised voice with anxiety and defensiveness.  Yes, I responded to anxiety with hiding in bed all day.  But the past, the situations that drilled these responses into me, is just that – the past.

This is something I’ve been trying to work on in therapy for a while – since I started working with my current therapist, actually.  I tend to get wrapped up in my ridiculous emotions so quickly, though, that I can’t quite catch myself and remind myself that I’m safe, that I’m in a better situation, that things will be alright, before things all go downhill. So, to try and help my brain calm down a bit, and to try and help me be more present in the moment, in the now, I’m going to try and regularly practice mindfulness.


The biggest problem I’ve had with practicing mindfulness in the past is that I’d simply forget to do it – I’d simply space out on it, or have better things to do than spend time trying to be mindful.  I couldn’t quite focus on being in the moment, especially before I started getting treatment for ADHD.  But now, I think I’m ready.

So, with an idea and a plan, I’m heading into the new year.  I want to look towards the future, and enjoy today, without being tethered to the past.


Trying not to be so hard on myself

Not too many of you probably see this side of myself – it’s probably only really seen by Ross and J and Kasi – but I tend to be really hard on myself.  By that, I mean berating myself when I’m not meeting my own standards (which are sometimes stupidly high, which is a result of dealing with my mother’s unrealistic expectations when I was younger), or working myself too hard and not giving myself enough time to just relax and breathe.  I’m also prone to thinking I’m too much of a burden to my friends and family, especially when I’m really depressed, and I also spend a fair bit of time wondering why anyone actually wants to be around me when I’m deep in a depression hole.

When I’m feeling more stable emotionally, I don’t tend to be hard on myself in the “why does anyone even want to be near you” way, but I do tend to be hard on myself in the “just keep working and working and oh hey you should’ve gone home a half hour ago” way.  And neither of these are good ways of treating myself.  I know this.

I need to be more conscious of it, though.  I need to do a better job of taking care of myself.  Of claiming time for me, and devoting it to spoiling myself in whatever way I can – whether it’s just knitting something while listening to a podcast or an audiobook, or taking a cozy nap in my room with Hannah, or making myself a cup of tea and just sitting and enjoying it.

I think some of that also ties into being more mindful – which I also have a problem with, too.  I hardly ever spend time just “in the moment”, taking the time to stop and be aware of what’s around me, the sensations I’m feeling, the emotions swirling inside of me.  I think spending some time acknowledging my feelings – even though they’re nowhere near as intensely upsetting as they have been earlier this year – would help me a lot.  I just don’t know how to do it.  Should I journal?  Try meditating?  Find some other way that might help me focus on me?

I don’t know – but I do know I have to take better care of myself, and not be quite so hard on myself.  To quote Garnet in the Steven Universe episode “Mindful Education”:

Take a moment, remind yourself

to take a moment and find yourself

Maybe that’s what I need to do – take a moment to remind myself, to stop and find myself.


Things I’m thankful for this year


Yes, I’m even thankful for Steven Universe – how could I not be? 🙂

This November has been a rough one emotionally – for those of you who’ve been friends with me for quite some time, you’ll probably remember why November is not the easiest month for me. To sum it all up for those who haven’t been around quite as long, there are some unpleasant anniversaries that happen in November, and those combined with Daylight Savings Time ending (and it getting dark out so early now) leave me in rough shape. For some reason, this year has been worse than others, and I’m not entirely sure why, but I think I’m finally clawing my way out of the depression hole I fell in – slowly but surely.

And with today being Thanksgiving, I want to mention all the things and people I’m thankful for this year. So, without further ado…

  • As always, I’m thankful for Ross. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and I wouldn’t be the person I am without his encouragement, support, patience, and love.  I know things have been a little rough at points this year for both of us, but that doesn’t change how I feel about you – I love you, so much.
  • I’m also thankful for J and Kasi – my life would be completely different without the two of them, and their care and support.  I’m so happy and lucky to have them in my life.  Without the two of them, there would be so many experiences I’d have missed out on – like grooming angora bunnies, or watching baby ducks hatch, or getting to hang out with chickens.  Plus, they’re some of the best and most caring people I’ve ever met.  You two mean so much to me.
  • You’ll all laugh, and I’m pretty sure this puts me into crazy cat lady territory, but I’m thankful for all the cats in my life – my Steve and Hannah, and J and Kasi’s cats Tara, Jack, and Mist.  They’re all fantastic goofballs, who’ve all taken care of me in some way or another – whether it’s Steve gluing himself to my side when I’m anxious, or Hannah keeping me company while I work at home, or Tara finally deciding I’m worthy of lap snuggles without hissing, or my dear sweet silly Mist who gets so excited every time I come over that she’s almost shoved my glasses off my face with all the headbutts she gives me.  I love you all, you silly kitties.
  • I’m thankful for the fact that my sister Johanna and I are in each other’s lives again – our mother tried to mess that up years ago, but due to some very helpful therapy, I’m realizing that I should take everything my mother said and did with many, many grains of salt.  I’m glad I reached out to Jo, and I’m glad we’re speaking again – I missed my sister, and I’m so glad she and her husband are doing so well.
  • Speaking of family – I am ever so thankful for my in-laws/family of choice, especially Moogie (who’s the mother I always wished I’d had) and Don, and all my assorted siblings-in-law too.  They’ve always accepted me as I am, and loved me for it, and I’m incredibly lucky to have them all in my life.
  • This is going to sound silly as heck, but I’m also thankful that Mia went to a good home with Damion (my little brother-in-law).  I cried a lot the last time I had to sell a scooter, mostly because I was so attached to Scooterlou and had no idea where she was going to end up.  Well, I’m even more attached to Mia, and so ridiculously happy that she ended up somewhere where I can see her, and ride her occasionally, and I’m also happy that Damion enjoys her as much as I did.  (He even took her for a little ride on her birthday this year!)
  • I’m also thankful for my job, and the people I work with – we’ve also had a bumpy year at IT Training, but we’ve come out the other end pretty well.  I’ve had many opportunities for growth this year, and I even won some awards for my work – which is amazing!  I’m really lucky I landed where I did when I got to Bloomington, and ended up exactly where I wanted to be, career-wise.
  • I’m very thankful for my therapist.  I know, not many people will mention their therapist in their “I’m thankful for these things” lists, but without my therapist’s help, I wouldn’t have been able to start the process of healing from all the past hurts I’ve dealt with, and I likely never would have even thought about ADHD being the chief reason for why I’ve had so many difficulties through my life.  I’m so glad for her help.
  • I’m also thankful for my wonderful neighbors, especially Terri and Chris.  I’m really lucky to have ended up in this neighborhood, I think.
  • Also thankful for the fact that I CAN DRIVE AND I WILL NEVER NOT BE EXCITED ABOUT THIS.  Seriously.
  • I’m also incredibly thankful for all my friends, near and far.  Whether we talk frequently or not much at all, you’re all very important to me – and I’m happy you’re all in my life. You’re all so fantastic and fun, and bring different things to the table, so to speak, and my life is so much better for having all of you in it.  Whether we’re friends from work or Kishar, from high school or grad school, or anywhere in between, I’m glad you’re all my friends.

Apparently “I’m lucky I have these things/people in my life” is a common theme this year.  But it’s true – I’m so incredibly fortunate and thankful to be where I am in life, with the people I’m with.  And reminding myself of all of this helps a lot during this rough month.  ❤

Writing more regularly

I think I might start blogging more regularly again.  I used to write almost religiously, way back in the glory days of Livejournal, but I fell out of the habit years ago – and I do want a place where I can share the (sometimes) exciting things going on in my life with others – if they want to read about them, anyway.

This entry’s probably going to be a bit of a random brain dump, so here we go.  I’ll split it into easy-to-digest chunks, so it maybe makes a little more sense.

Seeing my sister


Johanna and Eric’s new home – an awesome converted school bus!

I saw my sister Johanna yesterday, for the first time since… 2010, I think.  It was so good to see her.  Like, ridiculously good.  We didn’t always have the best relationship, and I blame our mom for that – but now that we’re both adults, and away from our toxic family, we’re able to actually have a relationship now that doesn’t involve drama.  Which is good.  I was honestly nervous about seeing her and her husband Eric after so long, given the drama our mom stirred up around the last time we talked, but when they hopped off the bus and Eric gave me a big bear hug, I realized I was worrying for nothing.  (Like I tend to do often, hah.)

I introduced Jo and Eric to J and Kasi, and would have brought Ross along but he’s been sick lately.  We all rambled through dinner, talking about family and life and chickens and the bus and, well, pretty much a little bit of everything.  And at the end of the night, as I was driving home after saying goodbye to Jo and Eric, I realized this must be what it’s like to have family.  Not just in Jo and Eric, but with Ross, and J and Kasi, and Moogie and Don and everyone.  We all care about each other, and we all stick with each other, even through the tough times.  I wish I’d been a little stronger back when my mother was causing all her drama, so I could have been a better sister to Jo, but at least things are good between us now.

Driving in the snow

I drove in the snow for the first time ever this morning.  It was pretty and slightly terrifying at first, given my trained reaction to snow from years of scooter commuting (which is typically to either work from home that day or ask my friend Morgan to come get me and drive me to work).  But I fired up Lapis and let her warm up, and crawled in and drove slowly through the wet slushy snow.  It’s probably all going to melt by the end of the day, if it hasn’t melted already, but it was pretty this morning.

I keep saying it over and over again, but I am so glad I finally have my license, you all have no idea.  After years of being so dependent on others, it’s so nice to be able to do things like be someone’s responsible adult when they go in for a medical procedure and be able to drive them home afterwards, or hop in the car and go visit Jo when she’s in town and parked at Walmart because her bus won’t fit in my neighborhood.  And I’m getting more confident with my driving skills – and I’m pretty sure the longer I’m on the road, the more confident I’ll be.

I do miss Mia, though.  I know she’s fine with Damion, and he’s taking good care of her, but dang do I miss her.  And scootering in general.

My dream Halloween costume

Folks, it finally happened.  I was able to finally wear my dream Halloween costume, and I completely rocked it.



I finally found the most amazing store-bought Sailor Moon costume, ever.  And with a little bit of help, it might be a super-awesome cosplay, too.  But not only that… The wig, folks.  I absolutely love this wig.  And there’s a fun story about it, too – you know how some people ask their neighbors for a cup of sugar, or to park their car in your driveway temporarily?  Well, I asked mine if I could borrow a wig, if he had one.  (A very specific one, mind you.) And amazingly enough, he actually had a Sailor Moon wig I could borrow!  He said it was old and not in the best shape, but daaaamn, it’s the best Sailor Moon wig I’ve ever worn.  Like, ever.  And that wig, combined with the costume, made me squee every time I walked past a mirror.  For one night, I actually was Sailor Moon.  And it was fantastic.

I’ve been a Sailor Moon fan for over half my life.  I’ve dressed up as Sailor Moon twice before, and Sailor Jupiter once.  I’ve got Sailor Moon tattoos and Sailor Moon bedsheets.  I freaking love this show, even 20 years on.  And oh, to have this awesome costume to wear, it was like a dream come true.  The only thing missing was the red boots she wears, heheh.

I think this is pretty much all the stuff I had in my brain that I wanted to get out – at least for this week.  I’m going to try to post in here regularly, even if it’s just a photo or some random awesome thing I’ve found online.

Reasons why I’m happy I finally got my license

Yep, that’s right – since my last post in February, I actually got on the road – a lot – and GOT MY LICENSE OMG.  I’ve had it for a month and a half, now – and now driving feels a lot more natural.  It’s amazing, being able to go wherever I want (within reason; highway driving is slightly intimidating right now as there’s crazy amounts of construction on IN 37/I 69 right now) and not have to worry quite so much about all the silly things I had to worry about while scootering, including…

  • what the weather will be like
  • if there’s snow on the roads
  • if Mia will actually be able to make it up a hill
  • what the speed limit of a specific road is and if I can actually hit the speed limit on Mia without angering other drivers in the process

Sure, I’m still angering other drivers on the road, but only on the twisty-turny roads out to Lake Lemon, as I’m apparently the only person who listens to those suggested speed signs for those corners.  I don’t want to take those suckers too fast and fall off the road/hit another car/hit some wildlife (although I’ve seen more deer in Bloomington while driving than I have out in the country!).

But yes, I finally have my license. And I’m still really enjoying driving, for many reasons…

  • RADIO.  I listen to the radio pretty much wherever I go.  Strangely enough, it helps me focus.
  • Windshield wipers are fantastic (although I need to get used to them, sometimes they get a little distracting while I’m driving – but I’ll take that over having to wipe off a helmet visor constantly).
  • Sitting in traffic isn’t as horrible in a car as it is on a scooter.  On the scooter, I’d have to be super aware of all the other cars around me because nobody pays attention to anything that’s not on four wheels and taking up an entire lane, plus I’d be stuck standing still in baking heat/pouring rain/freezing cold.  Lapis keeps me cozy, comfy, and dry.
  • PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO ME ON THE ROAD.  I don’t have to drive like I’m invisible!  Although I do keep super aware of everything, and try and keep my quick reflexes in good shape, because I know all my super senses from scooting will keep me safe in a car.
  • Related to the last point: I have a protective bubble now!  When I rode Mia to work for the last time a few weeks ago, after taking Lapis to work for about a month, I felt weirdly exposed.  Oh, I still loved being on two wheels, but I realized just how much safer it is to be in a car.
  • I can actually carry stuff with me, more than what fits in my scooter trunk/backpack.  Need to bring my work laptop home, but don’t have my backpack?  I can put it in the backseat and it’ll be fine.  I couldn’t do that on the scooter – mostly because my laptop is ginormous.

I’m super happy I have my license.  Sure, it took me seventeen years, but I did it.


Lappy at work on the first day I was able to drive her in, next to her buddy Gipsy Danger (my friend Morgan’s car).

Mia’s enjoying her retirement from being a heavy-duty commuting scooter – she’s got a new home with my brother-in-law, and he’s enjoying riding as much as I do.  Which is awesome.


Damion and Mia!

Reasons why it’s a good idea to learn how to drive

I did it.

I finally set up my first official driving lesson.

I’m excited and terrified all at the same time.  To combat this, I’m thinking of all the reasons why it’s good to learn how to drive.  Here are the best reasons I’ve come up with:

  • I won’t have to base timing my commute on when the sun will be up, what the weather will be like, and what traffic is going to be like.  (Well,  I probably will base my commute on traffic, but it won’t be such a terrifying hassle to get to work during rush hour)
  • I can listen to MUSIC while I go places. (And maybe I’ll blast electroswing out my windows while I drive around downtown to combat the crappy bro-music that the little undergrad bros listen to)
  • I won’t have to worry about high winds pushing me over.
  • I will be in a big safe cage of metal and airbags, as opposed to sitting on a little chunk of plastic and metal hurtling down the road at 35 mph.
  • I won’t have to base my clothing choices on what’s safe to wear on a scooter.  (I can wear skirts and dresses without worrying about flashing my underwear to the city of Bloomington when a stiff breeze comes up!)
  • Raining?  All I’ll need to worry about is having an umbrella.  No need to wear the ridiculous day-glow pink rain suit if I’m in the car.
  • Holy crap, I’ll actually be able to see more of the road at night, as Lapis’s headlights are way better than Mia’s.
  • Did I mention Lapis is HEATED?  I won’t have to wear twelve layers when I want to go somewhere in February.
  • I also won’t have to limit what I take places because there’s only so much room to stash stuff in Mia, or choose what bag I take based on what I need to drag places.
  • I’ll also be able to do fun things with my hair!  No more having helmet-safe hairstyles!
  • Also: why wouldn’t I want to drive this delightful little nerd-mobile around town?

I can do this, you guys.  I can totally do this. I just have to learn how to do stuff with my feet that I typically do with my hands (gas and brake), and how to do stuff with my hands that I typically do by shifting my weight and gently moving handlebars (steering).  I can do this.

Anxiety: please leave.

Anxiety is like the worst uninvited guest, one who shows up unannounced and stays far too long for anyone’s comfort. Sometimes it’ll take the hint and leave, after too many suggestions that maybe now is not the time. Sometimes it’ll just stay there into the wee hours of the night, rambling on about things you don’t want to hear long after you should have gone to bed.

Tonight is one of those nights. I’m laying here in bed, typing this on my phone, waiting for the valerian root I took an hour and a half ago to kick in and help me emotionally unclench, listening to Ross snore. I’m trying to focus on how cute his weird squeaky snore is, because if I don’t, my brain will just go off down its rabbit trails of anxiety-inducing thoughts that make things worse.

Maybe I should have snuggled the cat for longer. Steve’s purring calms me down. And he knows I’m not doing well tonight. He was glued to my side earlier, and is laying by the gate at the end of the hall right now, keeping watch as best he can over his human.

Writing helps. It gives me a thing to focus on. If I have something to focus on, something to keep me distracted, I feel better. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it occupies all my thoughts. Writing, reading a book, listening to a purring cat or a snoring husband, so long as it takes up my whole brain, I’ll eventually get better. Eventually the uninvited guest will leave, if I ignore him long enough.

I just have to remember that I’m in a good place now, a safe place. I have a house and a car and a husband who cares about me, and two cats and a scooter which is finally mobile again. I have people who love me and care about me, a wonderful job that I love, and a warm bed to snuggle into at night.

And after a while of telling myself that, the anxiety will go away, leaving me emotionally ragged but ready to move on.

Music in the back of Pop’s car


Pictured: not my dad’s car

Two things happened today:

  • Leonard Cohen passed away
  • I talked to my dad for the first time in over half a year

And these things do interrelate, strangely enough.  Let me tell you a little story.

As a young girl, I always loved going places with my father.  Going for a ride in Pop’s fancy cars was always thrilling – his red Corolla, his silver Saab, his green Audi, his string of fancy silver BMW wagons.  He’d always be playing music of some sort, too.  One of my favorite memories of riding in my dad’s car focuses on one late night, I think on the way back from the New York State Fair, in his Saab with the little lights in the back seat that made me think of reading lights on airplanes.  We were listening to a cassette, Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man, and my favorite song started playing – Jazz Police.  I had no idea what the lyrics meant, I just liked the way it sounded.  It gave me goosebumps to listen to it.  I remember sitting in the backseat, looking out the window up at a full moon as Pop navigated his way through the crowded parking area in a field by the state fairgrounds, listening to Jazz Police.

Every time I’d end up riding in Pop’s car, I’d beg him to play Jazz Police, and he’d oblige.  (Unless we were listening to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.  That was something we’d both sing along to, and I knew every word to every song before I’d even seen the movie, thanks to my dad.)  Eventually he got a car with a CD player, and I think Jazz Police was relegated to a shelf in his den.

I hadn’t talked to my dad in a while, until today, anyway – I’d tried calling a number of times, and left voicemails at his office, and upon hearing of Leonard Cohen’s death I thought I’d give him one more call, leave one more message, and see if he’d get it.  Since I hadn’t spoken to him since March, I had no idea what was going on.  Was he sick?  Did my mother somehow get him to hate me?  Was he simply too busy? (The answer: he had a hip replacement earlier this summer, and is just now getting back to work full-time.)  I finally got a hold of him today, and we talked, and I felt better.

And when I got home, I rolled my scooter into the garage, crawled into Lapis (my car) and put on Jazz Police on repeat and closed my eyes, pretending I was in the back of my dad’s old Saab, getting lost in the bass and the lyrics (which I have far more understanding of now), and I could almost smell the leather seats from his old car.  (Which is a feat, considering Lapis has barebones fabric seats.)  And for a moment, it was like I was young again, maybe five or six, lost in the music in the back of Pop’s car.

Five whole years.


Five years ago!

Five years ago today, exhausted and slightly damp from splashing fish tanks due to the bumpy mess that was the Walnut St. exit off Rte. 37, Bryan pulled our giant moving van across six parking spots in front of what would be our new home – once the landlady showed up to give us our keys, anyway.  I was about to enter an entirely new chapter in my life, in an unknown city, with all my friends and family about 800 miles away.  It was Bryan and I, and three betta fish, against the world.

I was also about to start a new job, one I was ridiculously excited about because it involved helping people learn about technology.  I had no idea what I’d be doing, aside from helping people out during workshops about Photoshop and Word.  So much was unknown at that point, both at work and in life, and it excited and terrified me.

A lot’s happened since then.



Fast forward five years, and we have today.  I kissed Ross goodbye as he went to work, and he pouted slightly because I won’t be home until nearly 9 pm due to teaching an evening workshop.  I gave my cats some attention before getting ready for my day.  I scootered to work on Mia, a five mile trip, with my helmet open so I could enjoy the morning breeze.  I flopped into my desk chair, at the desk across the aisle from the one I started in five years ago when everyone in UITS moved over to the Cyberinfrastructure Building.  I marveled a little bit, even after being in my current position as Senior IT Education Specialist and Video Development Coordinator for a year, that I’ve pretty much got my dream job, and can do it full time.

I have a car that I need to learn how to drive.  I have two scooters, two cats, a room full of My Little Ponies and yarn.  I have a loving husband who I don’t know what I’d do without.  I have some of the best friends anyone could ask for.  I’ve gone through a divorce, crashed my scooter on accident, written two workshops from scratch, started a blog (that sorely needs updating), crocheted entirely too many objects for one person to enjoy, and grown immensely as a person.

Bloomington has been very, very good to me.

I’m alive.

Not that anyone really reads this blog, anyway, but I’m still here, and eventually I’ll update it with something more than just “oh hey I exist”.  I promise.  I’m working on my website, and figured I may as well link to this thing, in case people want to read what I’ve written here.

In other news, I am exhausted, the weather is depressingly rainy, and I ordered a large box of yarn today.  Nothing too out of the ordinary in the life of Beth…