And Then There’s BUBBA!

As an introvert, I like being at home.  Living with PTSI makes staying at home much safer.  While I have been dealing with PTSI, I learned to crochet.  So while my mind is meditating, pondering, considering, and thinking, I crochet.  Even though I can only make afghans, that works for me, because once they are finished, I give them away.

It’s been 9 months now that I have been seriously dealing with my PTSI and learning to control the tremors, nightmares, voices, hallucinations, and other symptoms by focusing on crocheting.  And it seems to be working, for the most part.

I call this therapeutic craftiness BUBBA, which stands for Butt Ugly But Big Afghans.  I try to incorporate a message in them that helps me and will, hopefully, help others.

Here is my first effort:

Woosah

It reminded me to go to my safe place in my mind when I feel the symptoms begin.  I gave this to one of my coworkers who was struggling with stress and anxiety as a reminder to find a peaceful retreat from the world for a while each day.

My next effort was:

Peace

This reminded me that my safe place within myself is a place of peace.  It is a fortress of peace where none are permitted to disturb.  I gave this to my neighbor who was dealing with the loss of her pet.

My third effort:

The Adventure Begins

The message in this BUBBA is: “The Adventure Begins.”  It reminded me that each day is an adventure, and with PTSI it can truly be quite the adventure.  But when the adventure is taken in stride, then it becomes an adventure of discovery and healing.

I gave this to my favorite bartender who was struggling with some very personal life situations, to remind them that life is an adventure.  Sometimes we must struggle to find the place of peace.

My fourth effort:

Live Laugh Love

This served to remind me that in order to truly Live, I must learn to Laugh and Love.  If I cannot learn to laugh at myself and love myself, then I am not living…merely existing.  I gave this one to a friend who was going through a divorce.

My fifth effort:

Dare To Care

This reminded me that caring is a dare sometimes because we don’t know if anyone will care about us.  So I must learn to take the Dare to Care whether or not it was returned, and I learned that more times than not, people who know you care will care about you.

I gave this to a server at the Tree House Coffee Cafe who was depressed and believed no one cared.  Hopefully this helped prove someone does.

My sixth effort:

Embrace the Woosah

Serves as a constant reminder to embrace the times of peace in my life.  When things get hectic, stressful, or anxious, I need to embrace the peaceful place within until the peace permeates my very soul.

I gave this to my counselor.

These are just a few of the BUBBAs that have helped me tremendously and I hope they have also helped others who are struggling.

 

What REALLY Matters?

What Matters

I do a LOT of thinking.  As a matter of fact, thinking is one of my favorite hobbies.  With all the roaring, protesting, insulting, offending, bullying, intimidating, basically all the crap we see in the news, what is REALLY important.

One of my favorite places to visit is Charleston, South Carolina because it is such a wonderful and historical place.  Plus they have some of the most delicious food my mouth has ever enjoyed, but that’s another story for later.  One of the things I like to do in Charleston, and this may sound weird, I like to wander through the cemeteries.  Partly because I love the history and partly because there are a LOT fewer people to interact with there.

On my last visit, a thought struck me during my wander: “What REALLY Matters?”  You see, when one looks at the stone markers all you see is a name, some dates, and perhaps a few kind words. But the truth of the matter is this, beneath that stone EVERYONE IS EQUAL!  Beneath that stone the person’s political views no longer matter.  Beneath that stone the person’s reputation no longer matters.  Beneath that stone that person’s looks no longer matter.  Beneath that stone the person’s wealth or poverty no longer matters.  Which begs the question, What REALLY Matters?

I put to you this thought, as it is my own perspective: What REALLY Matters Beneath That Stone is how you treated others ABOVE that stone!  Why? Because THAT is what people left behind will remember!

The Mind Is A Truly Dangerous Place

Introvert Struggle

I truly dislike social functions.  In fact, I don’t even like having social functions on my calendar.  Now, I can’t, and won’t, speak for any other introvert, but just knowing that I have some sort of social function on my calendar kicks my anxiety level into warp speed!

I will stress and obsess about the event day and night, which drains my energy faster than a snake strike.  As the day looms closer, the stress and anxiety built to the point that I withdraw from contact, I feel nauseous constantly, my heart pounds so hard I can feel it AND hear it in my ears, antiperspirant becomes just another myth as I begin sweating uncontrollably.  All this culminates into a depressive state where I would rather vanish than consider attending the event.

During the event, I have all of the above symptoms ramped up by 10 and I seek out places where I can have just a couple of moments to breathe.  I feel as though I am drowning and cannot get enough air.  I will slap on a fake smile, have a couple of drinks, then hide, come back to smile and nod (perhaps even chuckle at some idiot’s bad joke), hide, come back and begin to dream of scenarios whereby I can make an escape, hide, come back, have a couple more drinks, then disappear.

By the time I arrive home, I am so exhausted that I may or may not be able to change clothes.  I will ultimately flop on the couch, turn on the television, try to relax (which is a complete joke), feel as though my mind has kicked into turbo drive and sit there glassy-eyed until the sun comes up.  Then I stagger into the shower, fix some breakfast, all on auto-pilot.  By the time Monday rolls around again, I have calmed down enough to return to my normal routine but I am completely exhausted and just want to sleep.

I don’t like social functions!!!

 

Wisdom

Oogway

I’m just a big kid, methinks, because I still enjoy watching cartoons.  One of my favorite movies is Kung Fu Panda (the first one).  There is one scene that I have had stuck in my mind for years and it comes to mind when I am stressing about whether or not I have a purpose or if my purpose has already been fulfilled and it’s time for my exit. Yeah, that thought process gets pretty dark and dangerous (it’s called depression).

In this scene, Master Oogway is talking with Shifu the Kung Fu Master about the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom.  Oogway reminds Shifu that the peach tree has a purpose and that purpose cannot be controlled. The leaves will come when they are ready and the fruit will ripen when it is ready.  Shifu has control issues (don’t we all to some degree) and states that he can control when the peaches fall and he can control where the tree grows.  Then Oogway reminds him that he can only plant the seed, if left unattended and uncared for, then the peach tree may or may not grow.  Also, if a peach tree is planted, it will only produce peaches; not apples or coconuts, only peaches.

This got my gears to grinding…there are times where I am troubled because I want to make sure that I am at the right place at the right time to fulfill my purpose.  There are times when I wish I was more outgoing, better able to deal with crowds, younger, with talents I see in others.  Then this scene comes to mind and I am reminded that I am a peach.  Not only that, I can only be a peach.  I don’t have to worry about my purpose, my job is to be who I am and that is the best I can do.

I am an introvert, a loyal friend, a book nerd, a coffee and beer snob, a lover of deep conversations, thinker of deep thoughts, and so much more.  I cannot be anything else.

It’s Not You…It’s Me!

walking the beach

I freely admit that I am an introvert with social anxiety.  Social Anxiety, in my life, means I don’t handle crowds too well.  I also have difficulty with loud noisy groups.  As such, I don’t go to concerts, ballgames, or activities where there will be loud crowds. This admission begs the question from others, “How do you manage to survive in the ‘real world’?”  Quite simply, just because my chosen environment might be quieter and less crowded than yours does not make my world any less real.

I like to wait until a movie comes to Netflix or on DVD before I’ll watch it for a couple of reasons.  First, I can sit where I like and know that no one will decide to sit right in front of me.  The last time I went to a movie, I purchased my ticket, popcorn, soda and selected a seat I found suitable as no one else was in the theater.  When the movie started, I was still the only one in the theater and I was settling in to enjoy this showing.  Just after the opening commercials had ended and the main feature began, enter a boisterous giggling group of kids.  Of ALL the empty seats they could have chosen, they chose to sit right in front of me.  Throughout the feature, they talked, laughed, texted, all without any consideration.  Thus, I no longer go to the theater.  The second reason is the fact that I can pause the show at any point to use the lav or get more snacks and not miss a moment.

The last time I went to the beach, I selected a rather secluded area where people seldom go so I could walk and think in peace.  I like to think!  Not only that, I like looking for shells and shark teeth. To be able to engage such activities in peace is truly relaxing and priceless.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy doing things with a small group of close friends.  I am not a hermit.  I simply am an introvert who enjoys time doing things in the quiet of alone.  This doesn’t mean I don’t like people. With a few exceptions, people are quite fun.  I am not opposed to attending gatherings, I just like having the opportunity to step away when I have had enough social input for one evening.  When I go to my favorite pub, I’ve even been known to start a conversation or two with other patrons.  Again, I reserve the privilege of stepping away when I have reach my social activity limit.

So you see, it’s not you that’s weird…it’s me!  Hello, my name is Paul and I am an Introvert!

 

Sunshine On My Shoulder Gives Me Sunburn

Desert

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am not a fan of the outdoors.  Especially in the Summer.  And more especially when it’s in the Summer in the Southern United States.  The heat is bad enough, but the humidity (aka: “The Air That You Wear”) is so thick breathing becomes a challenge and a chore.

Today has been no different with the exception that it is Friday and I got a new fan for my desk which dost cool the air whilst sending it across my desk and onto me.  Thus, desk sweat is not an issue.  I also came into a tiny refrigerator which can hold a six pack of soda or 4 bottles of water.  It has come in so very handy as well.  Keeping it stocked has become a bit of a chore, but such is life.

I get to listen to people tell me of all their adventures such as running, biking, hiking, gyming, generally things that make one sweaty and smell funny.  While I do enjoy the tales, I cannot help wondering why such activities are such a necessity? Let’s face it, if I wanted to get sweaty and smell funky, I could go stand next to my car for a few minutes.  No other effort on my part would be required.

I wish I could say that I kid regarding the Southern Summer and it’s evil Humidity, but I cannot. Yet, at the same time, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the lessons I have learned from this environment…

  • if one does not leave their window down a smidgen, then the interior of one’s car will feel like a blast furnace and the air conditioning will finally catch up about time the destination is reached.
  • although delicious, it is not a good idea to purchase ice cream or frozen foods without a well insulated carrier, else the congealed mess in the car seat will be sticky and stinky for years to come.
  • Mosquitoes in the South are not bothered in the least by the heat.  They seem to enjoy it and especially take great pleasure in attacking you when you are already too hot and funky to care.
  • air conditioning is a true gift from God!  There is nothing quite so refreshing as stepping out of the heat into the cool air of the indoors.  Mosquitoes get sluggish in the colder air….MWAHAHA revenge is sweet!!!
  • Ice water is EXTREMELY delicious when the heat is ravaging the outdoors.
  • The flies which have overheated and begin to crash and burn are called “Fireflies”
  • Ice does not last long!  Regardless of what container you use, the ice just doesn’t last long. Nor do the puddles left by the melting ice.
  • You may not be able to fry and egg on the hood of a car, but touch it when bare skin and it will burn you and make you cuss.
  • I get why people enjoy wearing as little as possible in the Summer.

Given that my own skin is pale to the point of being translucent, sunscreen is a must when venturing out of doors for any amount of time.  Thus, I must choose the sunscreen which does NOT smell like coconuts or Pina Coladas.

I will admit that most days, I feel like Clark Griswold roaming the desert in National Lampoon’s “Vacation.” And I completely agree with Sheldon Cooper’s assessment from The Big Bang Theory, “If ‘outside’ is so wonderful, why has man spent so many thousands of years perfecting ‘inside’?”

 

Everything Would Have Been Fine…

I'm Old

I was visiting my favorite pub when this lovely and energetic server came bouncing up with a big smile.  She introduced herself as “Serena” and I, politely, introduced myself.  She went over the list of “on tap” beverages and I made my selection.  She smiled and said she’d bring it right up.  I was feeling pretty good because I was about to enjoy a beverage and would order another one to go with my meal, not to mention the server exuded happiness.

Sure enough, “Serena” returned promptly with my chosen delight and we chatted a bit (which makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable but I managed to muddle through).  I placed my order, the Beefeater Sammy, and sat back to enjoy the game on the many televisions whilst I awaited my scrumptious meal.

When “Serena” brought my meal, we chatted again for a few moments and she smiled again and told me I reminded her of someone.  My mind, at this moment, was screaming: “Say I remind you of your Uncle!  YOUR Uncle!” and I would have been happy with that…HOWEVER, the next words out of her mouth simply destroyed me and made me feel like a dust filled mummy.  “Serena” that adorable, sweet, energetic young lady said, “You remind me of my Great-Grampa!”  Okay, I admit that was damaging enough, but then she just had to dig the knife in a little deeper by adding, “but he’s dead now.”

mummy

I’m going home now. *sigh*