Goodbye, Office Desk.

I’m not sure if it was a moment of clarity or partial insanity.

One particular afternoon, I snapped. It had been building up for a while, but before long, I decided to quit working at an office desk. And I had a pretty nice desk, in a funky office, in the area of town I always wanted to work in. How I manifested that is a story all on it’s own. It was exactly what I had wanted at the time. But, no matter how many times my title changed over the years, along with my jobs, or how many new computers or new programs I received – I wasn’t happy. How couldn’t I be? Isn’t this what I had worked tirelessly for? But, one afternoon, I decided to give up what I had identified my Self with for so long.

Or, was it my Ego I identified with?

Ospace1For the last decade or so, having two computer monitors, a decent online presence, and important meetings all day, made me feel like I WAS something.  Status, status! I want STATUS!!!! Also, I want something cool to put in my Twitter profile description.

This is in no reference to my previous gig, from which I was able to build my skill set, vastly improve my writing, work under pressure and inherit a whole bunch of fond memories and friendships. Really, I can say that about most of my positions over the last decade or so. Wow, I’m getting old.

But, slowly but surely, the monotony of sitting at a desk, staring at a screen on a time frame dictated by the rest of society started to pick away at my soul. My mind felt like it was in a cage. Not to mention, having a dollar value attached to you – which, for the most part, stays the same no matter how many extra hours you have to put in. If you’ve lucked out, it might be a good number, but for most – it’s enough to keep you coming back because the alternative looks pretty bleak or is bound to be way outside your comfort zone.

I felt like I was sitting life away, staring into a glowing screen on the hopes that one day when I’m 85 I *might* be able to retire and enjoy the fruits of my labor by taking my withered up body on a nice long vacation and have some fun for the last of my years. That’s if my vision isn’t totally shot from staring at a computer. We call that, “security”.

Fuck security. The only thing secure in life, is death – and in between, well anything can happen. Trying to make it from one pay check to the next (where the numbers are always the same) without any major catastrophe happening in between to mess up my ‘system’, is probably the least secure thing I have done.

Side note… It’s no wonder why we have so many health issues – most of us are down with the sickness of being sedentary. I began thinking about how I sit in my car to get to work. There’s always the bike, of course – although somehow I always end up in poison ivy on that thing.

That’s followed by sitting at a desk in an enclosed space for eight hours with a few five minute walks and several bathroom breaks. By the time 5pm hits – your exhausted and just want to sit on the patio with a glass of wine. Or sit on the couch and turn off your brain by staring at another glowing screen. But, before you do that, some make sure to hit the gym for an hour (which does zero for offsetting all the terrible things that happen to your body from the other 16+ hours spent sleeping and sitting).

mindI would crave to work on my own artsy endeavors because it feeds my soul – but the last thing I would want to do after thinking and brainstorming and writing and sitting and answering emails all day is more of the same. I didn’t want to use my brain, for anything. I couldn’t find the creative space in my mind either, because I exhausted it all drafting up a last minute report and I was too worried about prepping for tomorrow’s meeting.

I couldn’t do it, anymore. Done. Finished.  So, I decided to do something else. What? I really didn’t have a clue. I just knew what I couldn’t do.

workI was offered some physical labour in the construction field with an opportunity to earn based on the amount of work I did. I would be self employed. I was completely freaked out by the idea of working in a male dominated environment. I had been doing the same routine of walking into a room and sitting for the last decade or two (if you include school)… and I really didn’t think I could hack doing anything different. Even though my soul was uncomfortable, being in an office was my comfort zone.  No sick days? No holiday pay?  Just me, working for me?! No high heels? No dress pants? No skirts? No fancy bathrooms? No refrigerator? Being covered in dust all day?!

Scary.

But, I also started to wonder what it would be like to learn some practical skills. Up until now, the bulk of my knowledge consists of knowing how to do things with the use of technology. If I ended up in the middle of nowhere and had to figure shit out without the use of Google, I would be, well – screwed.

Also scary.

So, with MUCH hesitation, I decided to do it.

Do I love it? No.

BUT…

There are a number of things I have noticed, that I do love. Despite feeling physically tired at the end of the day, I could feel myself having more energy. Being able to see tangible, physical results, I found myself feeling a sense of personal satisfaction.  On the mental side, I started to feel significantly less stressed. Even my dreams became much more vivid and frequent. It felt like my mind entered a heavy duty detox. Undoubtedly, the greatest part, is the ability to create my own hours and leave when the work is done – taking none of it home with me.

And the other greatest part? After a day of work and moving my body, there is nothing like sitting down with a glass of wine on the patio and brainstorming some creative ideas.  This has also allowed me to still stay in my field of writing – on a freelance basis – and also for my own personal endeavors.

Maybe, just maybe, I decided to regain everything I had worked for.

Maybe everything that you want is on the other side of comfort.

parachutes

 

 

… And Breathe.

brainPrepare for brutal honestly.

I tend to write only positive and uplifting moments… moments that can inspire magic and hope into others – even if it is only my average readership of one person (thanks, Mom). But if I always did that, I would not be including the remaining fibers of my soul. I would only be showing one fragment of my being, and given that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I find it damn near impossible to hide the rest of me.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything uplifting to say, but today I’m just not in the mood. Maybe it’s the weather.

F#ck it. Today I write my feelings, as they are, in the present moment.

It’s my therapy.

Lately, the amount of days I have felt empty and alone and lost and anxious have outnumbered the days of feeling intrinsically happy and calm. It’s a piss off really, because I WAS there, and I have always been the purveyor of self fulfillment and wholeness – the importance of going on your own epic self journey – and yet here I am, trying to chew on my own words.

Maybe I’ve been looking at too many ‘throw back thursday’ photos and wondering how I went from hob-knobbing with the semi rich and famous, doing really cool shit (as defined by my ego), travelling, donning some low cut, sexified tank top – to sitting alone on a Friday night, in my Walmart-special hoodie donning a salsa stain on it, and on the brink of joining a nunnery. If I ever do end up on a hot date in this life time, I may need an instruction manual.

Anyway, that’s not the point. I get that my interests have shifted as I get older more mature. Actually, I don’t even know what my point is.  Blah.

After all the searching and inner workings – I find myself not knowing where the hell I am. But then again, where did I expect to go? I have no clue. I suppose I figured after going on sabbatical from being stuck inside some little box the majority of society views as ‘normal life’, I’d at least have somewhat of an idea as to what the heck I am doing or what path to take. Perhaps I even went as far as to think I might also have a morsel of romance after I learned to find it within my self, first.

I don’t.

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. F#ck all.

It’s like every time I think I have found myself, I get lost again. And again. Or maybe I’m just beginning. Maybe I have not yet learned to love myself in the first place. I don’t know.

Untitled

I also have a problem. It’s called self sabotage. It gets me every time. I am an expert on self destruction. Very rarely can I hold on to a good though long enough to let it play out. Instead, I kill it with impatience and a lot of ‘this-is-never-going-to-work-i’m-a-failure-my-life-is-OVER’ kind of thing. I have a solid habit of thinking of the worst possible scenarios in just about, well… everything. Some – if not most – days, it puts me into a total head spin. 

I’m starting to feel bogged down by those thoughts.

But I feel like lately that’s all I know.

My brain needs a bath.

I want to wash myself clean, scrub my negative patterns away until I bleed. Find a way to stop fearing the unforeseen and inch closer to my dreams.

But I feel like I’ve done that – over and over and over again.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey – I get that.

Good grief, I really need to stop saying the word ‘but’.

I guess I’m just frustrated, and I needed it to let it out.

Maybe I’m closer than I think.  

Exhale… here we go again..

yourself

 

 

 

How to Be Something!

If you’re human, chances are you may share the same sentiments.  If you’re one of the few that is totally 1000% satisfied with all that you are doing and have it totally figured out, I salute you.

Oh, and as a side note, I should mention these are thoughts that prelude what will be my next rant… somewhere along the lines about why I jumped from the routine and security of a corporate desk job that I relatively enjoyed, into self employment uncertainty.  I thought about writing it all as it’s really one long string of thoughts, but we’re busy people. We got other shit to do and I’m sure you’ve already fallen asleep, anyway.

Moving on…

For the last twenty-some years, I’ve been following a similar routine. 8-5 at a desk (or a variation of). At first it was school. Much like the general population, Monday to Friday I would haul my ass to class before the sound of the bell and sit at a desk. Save for recess breaks, when I would scramble to find someone to play with. I was an awkward kid, don’t judge.

Then the bell rang and us rug rats scurried back to class. Back to a wooden slab of a desk to be spoon fed all sorts of interesting and relevant information that I am sure we all fully remember and utilize every day in adulthood. All in hopes that one day we will land a good career, and ‘be something’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against school. I enjoyed phys ed, creative writing classes, and even failing math more times than I can count on one hand (I can only count to five, anyway). There were plenty of good things. Like overcoming the fear of speaking to an audience. I learned what I was good at, and I learned about the kinds of things I never wanted to do again.

It also taught me many of other things – social interaction, how to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, strengths and weaknesses, constructive criticism, how to meet deadlines, how to create sudden and spontaneous illnesses, forge sick notes, how to slice open an innocent frog, acceptance of routine (blah), and so on.  There were some teachers that simply showed up and read from a text book, and others that helped you to go past your fears and brought out the very best in you.

knowledgeBut in my opinion, there’s a lot of important topics school doesn’t cover in great detail – which are crucial to long term happiness. Unfortunately, they can only been taught through experience. There is no ‘Art of Being Human 101′ or ‘Inward Journey for Beginners’ or ‘Fundamentals of Soulful Living’ and you can’t get your Masters in Mindfulness. Important lessons that really help you BE the best you can be – in whatever field you choose.

And there was always that nagging question:

“So have you decided what you want to be when you grow up, Tanis?”

How do I know? Who says I’m going to grow up anyway? What if I die tomorrow? Does that mean I didn’t BEcome anything? But I already AM something, I AM me, and if I am ME, I’ll also BE me when I ‘grow up’, so doesn’t that mean I’ve already chosen what I wish to BE?

I loathe this question.

It makes it sound like you are not fully a human BEing unless you attach a fancy title to yourself. I guess you’re just merely human-ing, or something like that. Science is wrong, you’re heart only starts beating once you’ve found the perfect job to brag about. (This is incorrect, by the way).

So after school, I scurried off into the ‘real world’ and signed up for the rat race. Be something! Be something! I need to be something!!

As a society, we are caught up in labels, perceived meaning and the pressure to ‘be’ something that already exists (which is YOU, btw)… and less on what it actually means to BE. If you are reading this, I can only assume you’re alive – in which case you are already what you need to be.

“OMG. You’re famous?! Please let me lick the dirt off your heels! I bow to you!”
“Wow! You’re a lawyer! That’s so awesome!”
“So you’re a delivery person… Oh. That’s cool.”
“You drive a garbage truck? What?”
“Heh, so you work at McDonalds? Do you, like, not have any motivation in life? Ew.”

But, seriously. What if I really do actually enjoy flipping burgers and it makes me intrinsically happy? I actually really do enjoy BBQing.

routine3So, most of my life was spent in a relentless attempt to get to the top of some invisible ladder so that at my high school reunion I could say, “Look at me, look at what I am being!” And I was something. I was something that excelled in my field and sat a desk for a determined amount of time every day, Monday to Friday.

Anyway, after several fancy titles, a lot of time spent busy ‘being something’ – I decided I didn’t want to do the dance of routine anymore. I felt stifled and empty, not to mention I’m a terrible dancer.  I didn’t want to do things I wasn’t totally passionate about just to satisfy some ridiculous perception we have.  Disregarding who you are, compromising yourself in exchange for an inflated ego, a perceived monetary value of what you are ‘worth’ just so you can get by and hopefully go out and start enjoying life by the time you’re damn near dead, or because of a bunch of narcissistic societal beliefs, doesn’t equate to success. It adds up to misery and wastes the essence of who you truly are. Time you spend ignoring what you believe to be your true purpose is time you can never get back. Yeah, you can never get time back – that’s scary shit!

So I jumped. Into a foreign land of not knowing, no security, and not much routine. It might have been the most secure choice I have made. But, more on that later.

For now, though, here’s the thing:

Success is not defined from your job or the label you give yourself. If you’ve got degrees and certifications coming out of your you-know-what and you are a terrible person, I am sorry, but you are not a success.  All that does is make you a terrible person with a good education.

Success comes from BEing. That’s it, that’s all. Simply being. Being in the moment. As best you can. Great things happen when you choose to be awesome at LIFE, not just a label. BE a good person. That’s all there is too it.

If you don’t design your life, someone else will. That little nagging voice in your heart telling you to chase your dreams? Or at the very least, to make a change? It’s a real thing, listen to it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

You are already what you want to BE.

Go out and do it.

Be

 

Let’s Jump Into Bed

I’ve started to make my bed each morning. This has never happened. Perhaps, psychologically I feel that if I make my bed it will help to tidy up my entire life which some days feels like a disaster. That, and it’s a small task that leaves a feeling of pride to start the day off.

My inner child is stoked.

“Yeah Mom, Dad! Take that!! I totally just made my bed!”

Life = winning.

Amessy bed1nd at the end of the day, it looks even more appealing to climb into.

But, in actuality, it’s the same level of comfort.

So, maybe this small step can be carried over into the rest of the mess. Truth is, we are all a little bit messy. Some of us aren’t exactly where we want or thought we would be in life. Relationship woes. Marriage woes. Financial woes. Emotional woes. Woe is me.

Some of us have really messy beds.

But, look closer. Is it really, ‘woe is me’?

Fuck that. Not today.

WHOA is me.

It’s all perception.

We are taught from a young age that you ‘should’ make your bed. And if you want to, go ahead. Really. I am.

Because I want to.

It can be as messy as you want it to be. (Unless you share it with someone, it might need a little compromise. I don’t have this problem… yet.) Still though, it might need a little fixing up before you crawl in – and if you make it too tightly, you might kick your feet so that it’s a bit more loose. A little breathing room, you might say. The trick is to find the right balance.

Regardless, it’s your bed. It doesn’t matter how perfect it is. It doesn’t matter how messy it is. It might change on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll go for month with nicely tucked in sheets. Maybe you’ll go for twenty years with pillows strewn across the floor.

What matters, is that it’s where magic happens. (Okay, as of lately, I don’t know what this is like, but whatever, you get the point.) It’s where magic CAN happen. It’s waiting. Calling your name. Dying for you to jump in, roll around and make love to it. How you decide to play – to explore in it is all up to you.

It’s where dreams are made.

All you have to do is show up.

(Maybe relax a little.)

Whoa…

This is a metaphor for life.

Sweet dreams.

messybed3

What Every Man Needs to Know, Period.

I really am a firm believer in that what you place your intentions on, is what you manifest into your life. I know this because that is how many of my life experiences have came to be. I try to keep mine centered in positivity and gratitude in any given moment.

There is, however, one minor glitch.

They are called ovaries.

This might be an uncomfortable subject for some (mostly men), but the operating system I am currently working on is ‘Don’t Care 0.0′.

Included in this PMS inspired rant, are things important to note – pretty much ALL THE TIME. Grab your pens, men.  And a pad (of paper).

(Yes, I said ‘pens’.. there is no extra letter in there, I triple checked.)

Kudos to the women that handle PMS with grace and elegance. I certainly do not. It’s pretty hard to do so, when the walls of your insides are being torn down, forced out and you are still expected to put on a smile. During this time, it is also hard to believe that you were created from any kind of unconditionally loving energy when your guts are transformed into a grisly murder scene once a month. Whoever was responsible for creating women obviously had a vendetta to fulfill.

During this period (no pun intended) of time , every ounce of positive programming I’ve instilled into my psyche goes to shit.

Let me give you the lowdown. This may not be accurate in terms of all women (some are lucky to experience little effects), but for the most part, I think it speaks for many.

It’s a regular day. I feel happy and alive and even though I am not even remotely close to where I want to be in life, I am grateful for my many blessings. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Happy happy, joy joy. La la la la la life is good. 

(Repeat the above every day for about two weeks. As you get about ten days in, start shaving off roughly 10% of the positivity every day.

Still, not too bad.

pmsEnter PMS. Roughly day 16 or so. No, this is not the real thing. It’s only PMS. Pre shark week. More like week of the killer whale – because that is what you feel like. A whale. With killer instincts. Swimming though a sea of Hormone Hell.

I’m getting moodier by the minute. Don’t worry, it only lasts for just under a week. Small potatoes.

Mmmm. Potatoes. Finely chopped into salty golden French fries, covered in gravy and cheese and more cheese and bacon anything else that’s horrible for me. I’d also like a side of an ENTIRE pizza to myself, Cheetos, Taco Time Mexi Fries (so good) and a tub of chocolate.

Oh, right. Back to the moods. They like to jump around a bit.

Not only have I been bloated for the last week from all the water retention PMS creates, but now all the exercise I’ve done in the past month has effectively gone out the window along with my good intentions. My elastic waistline pants don’t even fit because I’ve just gained seven pounds in one miserable sitting. It’s one thing to put on your skinny pants – it’s another to peel off your fat pants.

Hello, depression!

But wait, it’s not just a mild sadness – it’s a full on blah fest. I am now a 30 year old baby throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. Give me a bottle to suck on. Filled with white wine.

The wine only causes a numbing effect – it doesn’t, however, erase the fact that every single problem in your life is magnified by a BILLION during this time.

What problems you may ask? Anything. During PMS, NOTHING goes right and EVERYTHING becomes a problem. Even the things that are actually good in life are now seen as epic disasters. Ie:

My once happy thoughts of being single and not settling are now turning into sheer misery because I’m in my prime, and I haven’t had a date in seven years – and after deciding to put myself out there again after too many horrific online dating experience, the first person I connect with turns out to be a total creep and sends me a picture of his junk after having my number for one day. I just made the best meal and I’m eating alone again. Damn that happy couple that just walked by! The universe wants me to be alone forever and no one will ever love me! Ever! Wahhhh!

The cost of living is through the roof, my only decent pair of winter boots are falling apart and I can’t afford new ones and wah! Life is a total failure! Forever! Why do I even bother anymore! I want to disappear!!! Wahh!!!

Screw all the accomplishments I’ve ever made – I’m not where I want to be in life, I don’t know where I am supposed to be, winter is too long, nothing is going right, someone cut me off on the way home from work and.. and.. and… I’m crying so hard I can’t breathe. Wahhhh!!

Everything is a sob fest. EVERYTHING.

Oh, but all is not lost!

There is a light in the dark! With the flick of a light switch, the tears have dried and I have now transformed into a hybrid between a preying mantis and a black widow spider and have all the powers of CARRIE. The Grim Reaper hath risen. Katie Kaboom is in the house.

katiekaboom

Did you just look at me the wrong way?

That’s just the emotional part.

While your body is preparing for a full on volcanic eruption – you get pre cramps. They aren’t quite like the regular cramps – they have a different sensation, but are equally as uncomfortable. Your ovaries are throbbing. Wearing a bra is like walking around in chain link armor. Migraines, nausea, fever, fatigue. Maybe even a cold, too. The water retention makes everything feel swollen. You can no longer make sound decisions because your emotions have just been through the ringer.

And the real fun hasn’t even started yet.

It is now day 20 or so and the calm before the storm sets in.

Enter, stage left. A random glimpse of happiness.

glimpse

Now it’s over.

BAM!!!!!!!!

And usually at the most inconvenient time – like in the middle of your sleep on a Sunday night, right before you have a Monday full of meetings.

meanwhile2You jolt yourself out of bed – awakened by the feeling of a rusty dagger that’s been sitting on a mound of hot charcoal - now being driven through your guts, twisting, turning and burning.

SHARK WEEK HAS ARRIVED.

The moods have subsided because the only thing you can think of is possibly performing a hysterectomy on yourself at this very moment. However, that would be dangerous and slightly irrational – so you fill up a hot bath instead – which you never really make it to, because you can’t move from the fetal position you are lying in. You are sweating through the pain, cursing your creator and praying for mercy at the same time.

Half a bottle of Tylenol 3′s and four hours later, you have finally fallen back to sleep – only for the alarm clock to go off five minutes later.

But it’s something men have never experienced, and women have always just ‘dealt’ with since the beginning of time, so skipping out on life for a day on account of your ovaries exploding doesn’t cut it. Get dressed, and prepare to be chronically tired for the next three days. (Day two is the worst). You will also need to budget time for a trip to the Ladies Room approximately every half hour. Don’t forget to put on a smile!

By day three or four you are now physically and emotionally wiped out. And it gets worse as you get older. Not to mention that, the amount of money you’ve spent on feminine products, wine, cravings, and medication up until now is almost enough to eradicate world hunger.

So, what can men do to reduce the effects of PMS?

Nothing. In fact, every time a man says they also experience PMS, a small puppy dies. It’s probably the worst thing you can say.  If you really want to experience the wrath, downing rat poison has similar side effects, although I would not recommend it.

Yes, our moods can put men through the ringer. We feel bad about it. Walking on eggshells and having everything be your fault probably isn’t easy. We don’t mean it. But, on a bright note – you can escape the emotional roller coaster to a degree.  (Only at the precise right time, of course. Don’t forget, we have PMS and likely a GPS – meaning, we WILL find you.) But, we can not escape the marathon of emotions. For those that come along for the ride – thank you.

joyAnd then, just like that – it’s over. Hallelujah! Rejoice! The sun has risen and the sea has settled. All is calm. I feel like a brand new woman! Life is wonderful!

Cash in on this wondrous, miraculous moment of time – because it will come to a crashing halt in approximately two weeks.

At the end of the day, embracing the flow is the best option. I hear menopause is a thousand times worse. Awesome! But I am sure I will still be dining for one by then (wahhh!!!) and no man will have to deal with it.

If you are not in the ‘flow’ – something is probably wrong. This is also a metaphor for life. Understanding and being aware and in tune with it all tells you that you are healthy – emotionally and physically. Period.

Who took my chocolate?!?!?