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Why are we all so STRESSED OUT?

It gives me some small comfort that pretty much everyone I know is on drugs.  Prescribed medications, of course.  Mostly.  I even joke that we should have someone at the door where I work, standing to the side like a WalMart greeter.  I envision them holding a platter with colorful pills of blue, yellow, pink and green, offering whichever flavor the incoming customer prefers.  It would just make everything so much easier if EVERYONE were on medication.

That said, when did we all become so stressed out?  Mental illness has been around for eons and ages.  People have been axe-murdering each other since forever ago.  But I have to wonder if it wasn’t television that gave us all the big boot into modern day neurosis.

From what I’ve read and in my own non-professional understanding, back before World War II we didn’t all realize that the guy next door could potentially be a serial killer.  We were all sort of content to smile at one another and believe the best in our neighbors.  Once war images started being televised, society realized that there was some ugly stuff going on in the world.  Not that we were really oblivious to the dark side of life, but maybe not aware of its reality on such a large, worldwide scale.

Nowadays it seems everyone is on something just to handle the craziness of everyday life, and social media isn’t making it any easier to maintain one’s sanity.  Seems like any stupid thing you do might be subject to millions of viewers on YouTube if you happen to be in the vicinity of someone with a cell phone, which – let’s face it – is pretty much everyone.  And the constant play by play of a life can wreak havoc on the mental condition of anyone.

My advice in a crazy mushed up world?  Think about what you WANT, and remember what you’ve already DONE.

* Think of the best case scenario for the day and hold that image in your mind.  Yesterday, for example, I was feeling punky, and I imagined myself out on a lake, just floatin’ on a boat.  Improved my mood immediately!  Did I get to go out on the lake?  No.  But seeing myself there made my body relax and set my mind at ease, so that I was better able to deal with what was right in front of me.

There are waayyyy too many of these kind of lists:  “I should have”; “I ought to”; “I didn’t”.  We all beat ourselves up over the littlest of things, because there are always so very many things to be doing.

* Keep a journal (I use an old unwanted book someone was tossing out, and use colorful Sharpie markers to write all this down) for your new lists.  In one column or page write the things you’d like to accomplish for the day:  Grocery Shopping, Pick up Dry Cleaning, Wash the Car, etc.  In the other column or page, write down what you actually accomplish that day.  Include little things like: Treated myself to lunch on the river.  Took the dog for a long walk.  Finished that short story I’ve been putting off.  Washed some dishes.  Took a long bath. bubbles 3

We tend to berate ourselves for things we DON’T accomplish instead of praising ourselves for the many things we do without thinking about it.  Try to remember and include all the awesome things you took care of today.

Will this increase your performance and efficiency?  I don’t care!  The fact is, being nice to yourself will probably give you a longer life expectancy than beating yourself up over a less than perfectly organized house.

Just my thoughts on how to be Accidentally Happy with just a little effort.

DSCF1789

 

dunder…

Where does Bullshit come from?
I mean, the obvious answer to that is “from Bulls”.

but where does the phrase/word “Bullshit” originate?  Kind of a rancher swearword, you know?

If you are somewhere they don’t have bulls – like the underwater city of Atlantis for example – you wouldn’t get what I meant if I said that was bullshit.  Would you?\

So do they say “GiraffeShit” in Africa; or “KangarooShit” in New Zealand?

just wonderin’…

b

melting away the pretense

Lansing seems to be so hot lately, i’m concerned there won’t be much of it left after the summer is gone!

 

well ok, this is actually a house left over from a fire.  but it’s pretty cool.  i mean – sorry – it’s never cool to have your house catch fire.  so i hope everyone was ok and got out all right.  but the melted structure looks pretty cool.  interesting.  odd.  like the house was fed up with its outfit and decided to shed its old personality for something more up to date.

it’s fascinating.  looks like sculpting clay being scraped away.

do you think houses have feelings?  i wonder if the house is embarrassed about its semi-nude appearance?

around town.7

I’m in love with architecture.  Quirky buildings with peeling paint.  Light fixtures that look like they belong in another era.  Ancient doors with crooked hinges.  There’s something delicious about buildings…I imagine who might have lived there, and which of them might still be there in ghost form.

I long to see these ghostly beings walking the halls and have a mini conversation with them about their day, their neighborhood then.  I wish I could travel through time and see some of these old buildings in their hey day.

But they are just as beautiful to me now that they are crumbly and old.

dunders and such

 

Sometimes I’m hard on myself for my lack of memory. I feel weird or bad that I can’t seem to remember parts of my life, like almost all of third grade, or where we spent Christmases, or when I first had sex. But seriously, what is remembering anyway? I mean, literally, what does it mean to “remember? Re-member. Surely I’m not the only one to find this a strange word to describe trying to recall an event, idea or person.

Re-member them? Like, re-attach the body parts? Hi, I’m Denelle. We met once at a party. You may not re-member me, because it was the bodily-un-attaching party last year.

Not that it really matters in the big scheme of things, why ‘remember’ is what it is. But I wonder about it. My sister and I call these questions and ponderings of mine “Dunders”. For, like, “Denelle Wonders”. ‘Cause I come up with these kinds of weird questions on a pretty regular basis. I may start blogging my Dunders here…because – although they may drive readers crazy with annoyance (why does this wacky woman care about these inane things?) – the curiosity and thinking keeps my mind preoccupied for a while so I can eat half a bag of Doritos without realizing it.

accidental happiness; stardate – all of it

When I was thirteen I tried to kill myself. I was in seventh grade the first time I tried, and just continued dabbling with the idea off and on for a year or so. I’d probably been suicidal for a while; and at the very least depressed for a good many years. The first time I actually remember trying to cut myself I was around five, and stood in the kitchen by myself with a butter knife, ready to do some serious arterial damage. Of course, it would have taken me an awfully long time to draw blood with a butter knife, but look, I was only five, I wasn’t schooled in the proper techniques of murder and suicide. By the time I was in seventh grade I’d at least figured out that I should use some type of sharp instrument. Had my family made more money, I might have had a nice little razor blade to injure myself with. As it was, my family was on the poor side, so we had nothing but disposable razors in the house.

There I was, with my little pink Daisy razor with the flowers all over it, slicing away at my wrists, getting the feel of suicide in my bones. The skin cut easier than I thought, and hurt less than I expected. The slight sting was more tantalizing than scary, and the blood oozing out was rather intoxicating. These first few times I cut were more flirtations with danger than real attempts at death, but they got me hooked fast. The adrenaline in my body, the tension in my muscles, the power I felt over SOMETHING in my life was a sort of intense little window of possibility, where the world lay open for me, and it was MY choice to live or expire. In my world, having a choice was not common. Tempting myself with death became a particularly seductive past time. It meant freedom.

I began cutting my ankles along with my wrists. The veins on my ankles were puffy and prominent, and I began to imagine that if I managed to kill myself this way, perhaps I would end up in the local news as some sort of two minute celebrity for a bizarre and tragic departure. Girl dies at age 13, wrists and ankles bloody pulps. I also took pills, though, because I wasn’t just into cutting. I actually did want to get out of my life situation, and if that meant getting out of life, I was amenable to that.

If I had known back then how bizarre and interesting my life would be, I can’t say for sure that I would have made the same decisions. Today it is raining heavily, the cloud cover so dark it feels like it is nine o’clock at night, when it is only lunch time for me. There is a dark, moody feel about the day; somber, pensive, romantically deep. My life is full of these moments – full of intensely beautiful days where the sky is so blue it hurts my mind, and the contentment in my heart seems unique to humanity. There are days where I feel desolate, empty, unloved and barren. Days that I wonder how anyone can choose to love me because I am such a challenge and an emotional roller coaster.

But this is life. Up, down, inside, outside, colorful, dark, dramatic, silly, intense, monotonous, and spectacular. Every year the trees change colors before my eyes in a wonderful parade of life and death. Every year the sun comes back in the spring, coaxing hiding animals and tiny buds on trees to burst open with hope and life, and continue the cycle that has been going forever.

Had I known about these wonders when I was thirteen – about broken hearts and dreams dashed to pieces; about disappointments and sorrows, love lost and love expiring; about passion and desire and intimacy; about laughter and acceptance and people that love you enough to talk to you in the morning when you have Christopher Walken hair – I would have laid my Daisy razor down in the shower, and kept it for shaving. I would have spared my skin the worry and nervousness. I think. Because life is hard, and wicked, difficult and damaging. But the beauty in life – and the POTENTIAL beauty – is worth the risk.

Life is an accidental and beautiful happiness.

a life’s work

perhaps my life’s work is just being me.

not a grand vision, really. being me. i’m a rather creative individual, full of ideas, ambitions, concepts i want to flesh out. i’m not someone who thinks they can cure the world of hunger, disease or violence. but i do think i have something to offer the world. and i frequently feel the need to present something in my life; as though i have to explain to the universe why i have earned my spot on this earth, what i have done to merit my existence.

i don’t have much to show for this. i’m not wealthy. i’m not outrageously beautiful. i’m not successful in the traditional sense of the word. i’m just alive and kicking. and it’s not like i have anyone showing up at my doorstep on the weekends, asking me “hey, we’re with the Life Police. what have you done worth living lately? ‘cause if the answer is ‘nothing’, we’re taking away your membership card and oxygen supply”   no.  it’s not like anyone is pestering me to come up with the goods.  i guess it’s a thought process in my head that tells me i’m somehow lagging behind. that i was supposed to have accomplished something great by now. save a small country from conflict. single handedly solve a missile crises. become a gourmet chef. something awesome and difficult. and here i am just plodding along with the daily stuff. get out of bed. wash face. eat food. write blog. i’m just not that spectacular.

and as much as i’d like to think that something in my life will have an affect or change on someone else’s life – a piece of poetry i write, a book i publish, something of my essence altering someone else’s view point – i don’t know for certain that this will ever happen. if i constantly make my life’s work some THING outside of me that i am striving for, some intangible that i never truly achieve, then i will never accomplish it. it will no longer be a ‘life’s work’. it will become a ‘life attempt at something futile’. so to maintain my sanity, or rather try to win it back from the vortex to which it frequently travels, i must just accept that i am my own life’s work. being me is work enough!

accidental happiness…stardate 9.3.2010

gorgeous walk this morning!  i am such a FALL person.  (ok, true i used to have better balance and awareness of my surroundings, and now i trip and stumble all the time.  but i’m actually talking about AUTUMN)

the sky was beautiful, it wasn’t twenty-seven-thousand degrees like it has been all summer, and it was windy.windy.windy.   yummm, fall is coming!  interesting that the severe humidity we had this summer made lichen grow on many of the trees.  now most of the trees on my walk are covered in fur, like they decided that fuzzy green bathrobes were the look this season.  even my favorite little guy Poncho is sporting the look a little.  this was the third hottest summer in my city, and the humidity made my walks impossible more often than i wished.  but today made up for it.  leaves scattered on the ground, confetti after a park party the squirrels must have thrown.  they are always getting into mischief.  and i saw a bird gliding in the air, sort of thumbing his nose at the world, that he had the day off from work and could just meander around in the clouds, casually cruising the sky.  of course, birds don’t really have thumbs.  i’m not sure if it was a crow or a hawk, it was so high up in the air i thought it must be a hawk, being as huge as it was.  but i couldn’t see great from where i was.  either way, a welcome start to what i hope will be a good day.

movement…faith required

moving day at the zoo.

and i know that change is good, and this change too will be good.  still, right now my life is very up and down, inside out, and loaded with raw emotions that spill over into all areas of existence, like a waterfall of insecurity.  still, if i can find a piece of paper, i can make myself a boat, and sail on down the waterfall, adrift on a sea of questions, but protected nonetheless.

rightness

 

i’m in the wrong place at the right time.

i’ve never understood that idea or phrase,

thinking always that it meant

to be accidentally at the bank

at the moment it was being robbed

or to be finally sun bathing

in the nude

when a freak and heavy hailstorm hits

and you’ve only just gotten your

nipples pierced.

i didn’t know it meant this.

that i might be here

in this place …

the wrong place.

wrong for me in so many ways and

so many facets

and for so very many reasons a place

that is altogether not right.

yet it is quite the right time for me

to be wrong.

if ever there was a time

well suited for the wrongness

it is now.

and it is right,

this wrongness.

and thus the strange phrase finally

fits snugly inside my brain.

(written summer of 2009.  i think.  or fall.  maybe.)