Since I last posted, I’m creeping ever closer to regular old fighting-shape. I wonder if the lil’ concussion I had last Friday/Saturday somehow jolted my brain in a positive direction. It could happen. The brain’s a mysterious thing.
I’ve learned a couple of tricks lately. One is the whole ‘smile until you feel it’ trick. This one I learned from my dog. He does this thing where he licks my face like a maniac until I begin to laugh. It works every time, even if I am sobbing. I like to think he is the genius, awesome sidekick every superhero needs to have. He spurs me into smiling when I don’t want to, and by doing so, ends up creating a real smile on my face. Anyway, when I am not hanging out with Hurley, I have been practicing forcing my face into a smile. Or, I sing– especially in the car. Either way, after a little while, I begin to feel better. Are the facial muscles tied directly to serotonin and endorphins? They must be.
The second thing is remembering kick-ass characters in movies, particularly Quentin Tarantino movies. I rewatched Kill Bill 2 the other night (uncut) and when she is learning to fight from Pai Mei, working super hard and failing at first and having him deride her skills, I saw a parallel to my life, in a way. But then, of course, she gets better and better and earns not only his respect, but her own confidence. I can do that. Well, maybe not the kung fu… or, can I?… but I decided that I could work hard and fight through the crap and figure out what it is my bosses want from me. And then, kick all kinds of ass doing that thing they’re requiring of me. Why should I lie down and wave a white flag? That’s stupid. NO. I FIGHT. And I fight with resolve.
Another trick? A song I heard on Monday morning. It’s Before the Morning by Josh Wilson. Yeah… yeah… it’s technically a Christian rock song. But, wow. It’s got fantastic lyrics! I heard it on the radio and then immediately ran to my computer and downloaded the song from iTunes. I posted a very cheesy video below so you can hear it; I’m not crazy about the Christian imagery, since I think the message transcends just ONE religious belief, really…but whatever. It’s kind of my theme song right now. It works. It reassures me that it’s all going to get better. And what’s coming in my life is going to be better than good. It’s going to be, again, KICK ASS.
One other thing to help me tremendously was having a co-worker unexpectedly back me up in a meeting and express his own displeasure about how things have been progressively harder for both of us. It felt kind of awesome, and I didn’t know I was waiting for this until it happened. It basically told my boss that it’s not just me feeling frustrated. The challenges are legitimate. After that, my co-worker and I talked for a long time and he gave me some advice that was surprisingly astute. He pointed out how I often phrase things in meetings; I focus on the negatives and the problems and never talk about my achievements. Huh. I didn’t realize I did that, to be honest. So it was really helpful to get some critique that might give me insight into what I have been doing wrong.
Today, I tried to toot my own horn, as they say (ugh, someone hit me with the cliche-stopping-stick), in a couple of meetings, and DAMN. It feels very unnatural and weird. I feel like I am bragging, or I’m egotistical or something. I don’t like it. I also can’t take a compliment, and immediately try to deflect it. Why am I so uncomfortable with success? It’s very annoying that I do this. But maybe I can use the smile trick, and keep doing it until I feel it. Practice.
But you know what? My boss has responded VERY well to the little things I’ve been forcing myself to do. I’ve said things that could be bad news with a smile, and immediately offered a possible solution. And I said ‘thank you’ to a compliment. I went to her desk and talked with her about an article, rather than emailing her, and she just brightened up. Clearly, this is what she was looking for. She WANTS and NEEDS me to go and see her regularly. She likes the ass-kissing stuff. And so, that’s what I have to do. Damn, it feels so phony and I think I am just very weak at doing it. But, if I want to stay in the game, I’ve got to play. I don’t like the way I have to play, right now, but I can grow into it. I hope so.
And if things still don’t pan out after 60 days, I’m formulating the backup plan. I’m trying to figure out what I might want to do that’s a complete 180 from what I do now. While looking through the job ads, I was drawn to a very intriguing-sounding job title:
You know what that is? It’s the person who attaches sticky pads and wires to people’s scalps and records their brain waves. And then deciphers the squiggly lines on the paper. Honestly, I LOVE that crap. I’m just fascinated with the brain, and anything science-y these days. Plus, the subtle workings of the brain have affected my own family– when my Mom had her aneurysm and she had an amazing recovery, but yet had some slight personality changes after she healed. Why did that happen? I want to know how her brain actually handled that trauma, because I love that my Mom is still with us when the odds of her survival were stacked against her those first few days. I’m so grateful for her and her surgeon’s deft work, all the time. Twelve years later, I realize that I would not mind going to school and learning all about this. Plus, it (it’s known as END) shouldn’t be a particularly bloody or gory field in medicine. And who knows… maybe I’ll get really into it and study more and go on to do the gory stuff. I can’t rule it out. It might be fun to wind up a real doctor someday. No one would expect THAT!
So, that’s what’s going on around here these days, and how I am fighting off those horrible, hopeless and worthless feelings that seemed overwhelming last week. I had nowhere else to go, really, than down the positive road. I know my challenges and struggles with all of this crap I’m dealing with are far from over. I know I have to remain vigilant and not fall into the trap of sliding back into depressive, harmful thoughts. It can be too easy for me to do that. But, shit. We only get one life, right? I need to make it better. No one else is going to do that work for me.
Here goes nothing. Enjoy the magic show!