Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Light Bulb!

Something profound is going on in my brain. Significant mental shifts have been taking place in the past little while and I've been processing and re-evaluating like crazy. The most recent has come as the result of a $6 book I saw at Chapters and bought on a whim. It's funny because I had actually gone there in search of Gail Vaz Oxlade's It's Your Money (I found Debt Free Forever instead) and Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. After seeking out those titles and deliberating for far too long whether or not I could afford to buy them both right now (it's incredible how I let myself become so mired in indecision sometimes), I put them both down and was going to leave empty handed when I spied a bright cover on the shelf with an interesting (although - at first glance - unappealing and maybe even offensive) title that jumped out at me: Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb. It is a hardcover that was regularly priced at $ I read the back and figured "what the hell?" I could use some new reading material (I subsequently returned to Chapters and bought both of the other titles...which I have yet to read).

Anyway, this bargain buy turned out to be a Godsend. I found myself reaching for it whenever I had free time and was essentially unable to put it down. I'm kind of disappointed to have just finished it. It came at a time when I needed to hear it's contents and suddenly everything made so much more sense to me. Well, OK, not everything...but a whole lot of what I've witnessed and/or experienced in terms of dating, relationships, and marriage was viewed in a new light. It isn't all crystal clear and I do have to sift through some information and concepts, as some of it really conflicts with what I have been conditioned to see and believe, but all of a sudden I am looking at everything with a new perspective and I have this sense of insight and relief. I also have to say...two of the 26 year old guys I have been talking to (one of whom I've sort of been seeing) have really got some things figured out...things that I wish some of my girl friends would be willing to accept and understand, and things that I am still struggling with but coming to realize more fully.

Don't get me wrong, my girl friends and I have already figured out that who/what we are attracted to is not always good for us...we just haven't all found a way to integrate that knowledge into better practice when it comes to potential partners. A lot of that inner conflict stems from what we, as girls (now women), have been taught to use as a relationship gauge: the level of chemistry/fireworks/spark that we feel - often from the beginning in the form of crazy infatuation that drives us to do things we would normally consider to be at the heights of insanity. I am not sure where, exactly, this notion comes from, but it is deeply ingrained into our culture and media and reinforced by our friends. The book, however, is about being practical and realistic and learning to look at more reliable indicators of relationship longevity and happiness. It's about valuing what really matters and learning to let go of what doesn't...things we would all probably claim to do but which, in actuality, most of us don't. I know from personal experience that many women (myself included, at times...despite the fact that I am more likely than any of my friends to be decently open minded and give a wider range of people a chance in theory, in practice I have sometimes found it easier to find reasons/excuses to dismiss men who are not my ideal and forgiven things I should not from men who appeared to meet the ideal - it should be noted that none of them actually did live up to what I am really looking for - and I am determined to change that) are apt to give the guy we find attractive and feel that initial 'wow' factor with much more of a chance than the guy who is more stable and reliable but exudes less 'oomph.' Oddly enough (actually, not oddly at all), this has not been the case in my long term relationships...they started out with guys who I wasn't all that attracted to in the beginning but who won me over in other, more important, ways (admittedly, my choices still weren't good ones and there were big red flags I should have been seeing and heeding, but the point is I have had more stability with guys who I never felt crazy about right away). Interesting, too, is the fact that this book has showed me that although I never thought so, I am prone to pickiness. Who'd've thunk it?

I could go on and on detailing the firing of various synapses in my brain as I read through this book, but suffice it to say that it did give me hope that I am on the right track in some ways and pointed me in a better direction in others. It also replaced the panicky feeling that always accompanied the conundrum of finding Mr. Right with a sense of calm rationality. I actually identify quite a bit with the author's friend 'Erica' (also 31...go figure), who says that she now feels like she "could find the right person because he doesn't have to fit absolutely every one of my criteria" and that she "could be happy and find love if [she] just adjusted [her] attitude, and not if [she] was just supremely lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time...". Yep, I must agree - that does sound a whole lot more empowering! And in case you are wondering, the author does not in any way suggest or imply that anyone should accept deplorable behaviour from a partner, nor even settle for less than would make them happy. Uh huh...while the Bitches books and He's Just Not Into You had their own merit and their own words of wisdom to impart, the advice in Marry Him feels more down to earth, authentic, reasonable, and easier to implement...

Incidentally, this book has caused quite a stir amongst females. I cannot say that I am surprised. The author gets a chance to voice her opinion about those up in arms and defend her work here.

In other news:

I relapsed on the quit for a few days and started over on Sunday night. I will be done Day 3 of this quit in about 3 hours. So far these three days have been easier than the last first three days. I hope it stays that way.

I reconnected with the old friend I had to take a break from a while back. We shall see how that goes.

The weight battle is a bit of a write off at present with the quitting battle taking precedence. However, I am still trying to increase the amount of exercise I've been getting and not give into every food whim in place of a cigarette.

Work has been rather slow. I am currently in central for a few days (I got booked out here for tomorrow and Friday before the holidays) and looking forward to getting back to town already. Next week I plan to go hit some more schools to try and drum up more sub calls.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Afternoon Mashup

On the work front:
I was starting to second guess myself and get really worried about my decision to come back to town last week...especially after talking to my mother and being told I'd missed a couple of calls for work. However, I ended up getting 2 1/2 days in here afterwards. That is a good start, considering. I also have an audition on Thursday. I haven't been to an audition in a while now. Could be interesting...

On the smoking front:
This is Day 8. I had one slip on Day 5 and smoked a cigarette. The whole time, I was analyzing my physical and psychological reaction to it. It was not nearly as enjoyable as I remembered, yet as soon as I was done the urge was there to have another one. I fought it. And now, according to Quitnet, I have NOT smoked 60 cigarettes (minus that one it doesn't know about...shhhh!). That sounds like a helluva lot, but in actuality I was not a heavy smoker. Crazy when you consider what numbers a pack-a-day smoker would be looking at at this point.

On the dating front:
I'm still spending time with the guy who started out as a friend. I had intended to just go with it and see where it led, but I realized that I was actually putting pressure on myself to figure out whether it was going anywhere or not. I'm more than a little gun-shy after all my previous experiences...I'm scared and I don't want to waste any time. And because he does seem like a decent guy, I want to be clear about my own intentions so as not to hurt him or use him to fill a void or lead him on in any way. There are other factors to consider, as well, and I am confused. I have been honest with him about all of that...and he is still here. So, I have decided to stop stressing about this. Really, it hasn't been that long since I started looking at him as more than a friend, and these things do take time. Perhaps it is more than a tad unrealistic to think that I would know right away whether or not I can see any long term potential with someone. After all, I have felt certain that other situations I've been in were going somewhere and I have been dead wrong. And, as I've said time and again, I'm actually not in any rush to jump into anything serious anyway. So why not just enjoy spending time with someone I care about, and who cares about me, and not worry about anything else for the time being?

In other news:
I have been continuing to work on reclaiming my space. I am also making it a priority to increase the amount of exercise I get and reconnect with people I've been neglecting. In theory, all those things should bring more fulfillment. Yay for 2012 and yay for me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day One Conquered

Since 6am when my eyes popped open, I have been obsessed with wanting to have a cigarette. There was a three hour reprieve when I was at work this morning, and the rest of the time I have been practically living on Quitnet. I thought I had the afternoon and evening covered, but my plans went out the window (through a series of events out of my control) and so did my cool, calm, collected self and my resolve to stay smoke-free. I felt irritated, frustrated, disappointed, angry, let down, not in control, and afraid. So afraid, in fact, that I couldn't trust myself to drive across town as my Plan B to see a friend or my brother and possibly go for a walk (which I thought would help me feel better) because I was certain I would cave and buy a pack of cigarettes the moment I went through the door with the high stress level and vulnerability I was experiencing.

I am not gonna lie, it was not pretty there for a while. I spent about three hours in an escalating state of panic and snotting and bawling like an emotional basket case. Which in turn made me feel like a pathetic weakling and I cried harder with the sense of impending failure and hatred of myself for not being stronger and more composed. I remember being emotional the first time I quit, but I didn't remember it hitting this intensely so soon in the quit. It also irked me that the friend who wanted to quit the least has been having the easiest time of it today.

Thankfully, I got myself to a chat room where supportive fellow quitters were ready and willing to get me through. They kept tabs on me, encouraged me, reassured me, checked on me, gave me their tips, tricks, and words of wisdom, made me laugh, consoled me, comforted me, soothed me, told me what I have been experiencing is normal...they commiserated with me, stayed with me, kept me with them, and helped me hang in there until I was strong enough to leave and they assured me that they would be there should I find myself needing them later. How wonderful is that? And so, eventually, I was able to take the Nicorette inhaler out of my mouth, where it had been hanging haphazardly and being chewed and puffed on intermittently, throw the wadded up ball of tissues in the trash can, clean up my blotched and tear stained face, and sign out.

The relief and excitement of making it into Day Two (which feels like a huge accomplishment at this point, I gotta say) combined with the humble gratitude for the help I was embarrassed to need but glad to receive allowed me to breathe a little easier and gave me renewed faith that I can do this. I made a list of reasons to keep my quit (which I plan to keep on hand and review frequently), I have plans to make a list of distractions for when the intense cravings hit again, and I have bookmarked more websites to explore.  Happily, my eyes are no longer puffy and bloodshot. My hope now is that I will be able to sleep tonight and that tomorrow will be a little easier than today.

Quit Day

It is now 12:45 pm and my last cigarette was 8:30ish last night. It wasn't too bad getting through the night (popcorn, reading, writing, water, and TV helped) or the morning once I was actually at work...before that was basically a blur of cigarette obsession from the moment my eyes opened until I was through the doors at the building...and that is what I am once again experiencing now. I just ate and this would be a routine time to have a smoke. It's all I can think about. In fact, I'm typing this in the hopes that keeping my fingers busy may help. I'm half afraid to check and see how the girls are doing, but I sent them messages asking how Day One is going so far. No responses as of yet. I wonder if their inner addicts are pressuring them to cave, already, too? One hour at a time, I suppose...

Sunday, January 8, 2012


As previously noted, I had selected January 10th to be my quit smoking date. That has changed. I went out with my smoker friends tonight and it turns out they have also decided it is time. I'm not sure if that will make it easier or tougher. On the one hand, we will all be going through the same thing together...on the other, there is a risk that someone may not make it out alive with all the emotional upheaval caused by withdrawal. I remember those feelings well and am not looking forward to experiencing them again, but I know the payoff will be greater than the temporary discomfort.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to smoke what I had left and start the week without cigarettes (I actually find it more appealing to not stop mid-week for some reason, a fact that my inner addict was using to try and convince me to prolong the smoking until next Monday rather than stop on a Tuesday).

The problem is, I am working tomorrow morning for the first time in a while at a school I haven't been to in about a year and that makes me nervous. The thought of getting up and going there with no cigarette fix and leaving without having one afterwards is stressful for me right now. However, thanks to WiseWebWoman, who helpfully introduced me to Quitnet, I have had support off and on all day while trying to mentally prepare for this farewell. And a lot of those words of wisdom and encouragement from former smokers reminded me of something I had forgotten: the fear of quitting is often worse than quitting itself in some respects.

I just hope I can sleep tonight because I will be needing my rest for tomorrow...


Journal has turned up safe and sound. I am one very relieved and thankful girl. Lesson reaffirmed: trust in myself. I may overlook things once in a while (such as checking the same place 3 times before finding my precious soul extension), but I'm not careless enough to leave it somewhere it's depths could be plundered.


So I was going to write in my journal today...and then I realized that it is evidently on the missing list. NOT GOOD. My mind is racing, trying to think of where it may be. It's not like me to be careless with something so personal and revealing. That book chronicles my experiences and details my innermost thoughts and's like an extension of my soul. I shudder to think who may read and what they may discover and am praying it turns up somewhere in my apartment, safe from prying eyes...

In other news, I blew the quit plan to smithereens and I have two days left before the 10th. The addiction is starting to play with my brain. It's trying to convince me to make deals with myself that I know I will break.  I'm reaching deep inside to find the necessary resolve and rise above it.

Wish me luck, on both counts!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I was wasting time on facebook and stumbled across some pictures posted by an acquaintance of mine. I experienced mixed emotions looking at them...vicarious joy and wonder at her experiences (this woman is amazing and very well rounded), inspiration to go out there, grab life by the balls, and start LIVING, regret that I didn't get to know her better while I was in the same vicinity, envy that I didn't get to do any of those things myself whilst on the other side of the country (or at all, in some cases), longing for BC, and the sad realization that looking at glimpses of someone else's life was making me view my own as empty, mundane, and devoid of excitement and fulfillment.

Thankfully, I had the sense to get outta there instead of stay and wallow in self-pity. But before I left, I sent her a positive message to counteract the negativity attempting to creep in. I also told myself that comparing my own life to someone else's is futile. We are all our own people, we have our own personalities and our own paths to travel. My time will come. I am putting the steps in place to eventually reconcile my dreams with my reality. I just have to remember to keep working towards what I want and not let discouragement, anxiety and fear stop me in my tracks any more than they already have. I also have to account for the fact that her income is much higher than mine at present and, much as money can't buy happiness, it is a requisite for a lot of activities. So, again, renewed determination to go for progress and stability this year. I have been booked for work Monday morning...that is a start. I also came to the conclusion, once again, that I need to broaden my circle of friends. If you continue to mix with the same small group of people, chances are you are never going to meet anyone new or be introduced to new and different things. I need those opportunities to experience increased diversity. It's time to step outside of my comfort zone once again and see what happens...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Up and Running

I'm quite proud of myself. I have so far devised a quit plan, made a list of schools to hit (8 of which I visited today), printed off resumes, and cleaned and tidied a couple more little sections of my apartment. I am oozing positivity and good vibes and I love it :) I think I may have finally regained my balance. Here's hoping I can keep it and make it work for me!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


So this is it...the first day of 2012. I must admit, there is a shift in me today...but I think it's one that has been formulating inside for quite some time. It doesn't feel like anything monumental. Just another day. But an opportunity to make a new start and get off on the right foot. I'm glad that I'm not hungover today. New Year's Eve was less than thrilling and I came home from the Sheraton at 10am-ish this morning. But I'm happy. There was no kiss at midnight, I barely danced, and I hardly fact, I didn't even have anything to sip on to toast and yell "CHEERS!" when the countdown ended...but I was with my girls. New memories were created and the most obscure encounters of the evening stirred some kind of deeper understanding in me. When the New Year was rung in, we were standing on the dance floor - together. It also feels good to be able to function right now...I've unpacked my bag, done the dishes, and started laundry since arriving chez moi. Mundane? Totally. Yet also satisfying. It's better than being sick or just going to bed and sleeping the day away. I feel older, wiser, and there is a sense of accomplishment inherent in not having a kick ass time on the biggest party night of the year, but still being able to appreciate it for what it was.

2011 was a great learning experience. There were lots of fun times and lots of not so fun times. I found myself living it up and making up for the loss of my social life in my 20s and I also found myself drowning in my own sorrows on more than one occasion, lost and drifting in an endless sea of uncertainty. There was excitement and there was heartbreak. I didn't accomplish a lot of the things I had wished to, but I did come into my own a little more on the inside. Here's hoping 2012 brings more progress and stability my way...and brings you whatever it is that you would like to have in your own life. May it be kind to us all. 

PS: I have decided that January 10th will be my quit smoking date. The weaning starts today.