The Outsider


This is not a political blog & it never will be. But I HAVE made it clear that I am a Libertarian & I make no apologies for that. Today’s post is just a quick vent (before Rachel wakes up, if I can manage that). I am writing this purely for my own emotional benefit (e.g. stress relief), not because I need some kind of third party validation for my feelings.

libertarian

Being a Libertarian is hard. Everywhere I go I’m always the outsider, the objector. If I’m with my family or my more conservative friends, I’m too liberal because I support gay marriage & the legalization of drugs & prostitution (not because I think drugs or prostitution are good ideas- obviously they’re not- but because I see no benefit to society to criminalizing them), plus I love rock/heavy metal. If I’m at work or with my more liberal friends, I’m too conservative because I’m not a hardcore feminist, I support lower taxes/small government, I hate socialism, & I support the second amendment. Basically I am always the crazy person. Ha!

libertarian cartoon

To be clear, I am not complaining about my friends or family. They are all wonderful people who are accepting of me even though I’m very different in some ways. I’m just saying that there are days when I must admit I am jealous of those who have the luxury of truly fitting into a community of like-minded people. It must be nice to live in a world where you can be constantly reassured that your beliefs are the right ones, whether they are more liberal or more conservative beliefs. (Or maybe no one actually feels that way & I’m imagining it.) Meanwhile everywhere I go I feel like I’m constantly being told “you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong!”

libertarian graphic

But at the end of the day I’m a Libertarian for a reason: I love liberty. I love freedom. I truly believe in individual freedom & self-responsibility. And I truly believe that individuals are better when they are freer & thus our communities are better as well. After all, what our communities made of if not individuals? And if that makes me permanently a bit of an outsider, so be it.

piss off cartoon

This cartoon is my life.

Reflections on Tornados, Taxes, & More


The past week has been a rough one for me. There is just no other way to put it.  To be clear, this post is not a plea for sympathy or anything of the sort.  I’m just trying to make sense of all the anxiety & sadness in my own brain so that I can face this new week in a better frame of mind.  Also, just to be clear, & this will make more sense once you’ve read further, yes, I am fully aware that this past week could have been much worse.  Certainly I am very grateful for the many blessings in the midst of crisis.  And yes, of course I am aware that many others are suffering in far “greater” ways than I right now. However, none of that diminishes the sadness I am experiencing right now, & despite my innate tendency to feel guilty for being sad about things, I’ve learned by now that trying to squelch or dismiss grief is a surefire way to never get over it & indeed to only make it worse.appo tornado

With all of that out of the way, let me elucidate why this past week has been so challenging.  Initially I had some rather difficult nights at work.  There’s nothing more I want to say about that; just know that I started the week off feeling a bit more anxious because of that.  Then Wednesday rolled around & a tornado ripped through my hometown.  Bear in mind I did not grow up in the Midwest so tornados are not exactly something we expect to encounter; in fact this was only the third documented tornado in the county & by far the worst one.  In any case, the result was that hundreds of houses were damaged, some leveled completely to the ground, leaving hundreds of people with nowhere to live & little to none of their belongings.  A cousin of mine was home during the storm & barely made it into the basement in time to survive.  When he walked out of the basement after the tornado passed, he found that his house was completed destroyed.  (You can read his story here.)  When his dad, my first cousin, sent me a picture of the house I was just flabbergasted. tornado

http://wset.com/news/local/sheriff-confirms-fatality-in-appomattox-from-tornado

Once I started seeing more & more similar pictures online, I knew that my hometown was in great need.  Despite the many mixed feelings I have about my hometown, as I’ve written about here before, I just could not stay here in Raleigh doing nothing when I knew so many folks in my hometown were in dire need.  So I made a spur of the moment decision to go home & see my family & do what I could to help the community.  Off I went to WalMart where I bought a whole cartload of things to donate, everything from non-perishable food to towels to tampons to Gatorade & bottled water & more.  I’m so glad I was off work so that I was able to make this trip home & surprise my family as well as donate to those in need in the community, but the trip was still heartbreaking.  Driving around the county & seeing houses completely leveled with belongings, glass, pieces of wood, powerlines, & all manner of debris scattered all over the roads & the fields was nothing short of devastating.  I definitely had tears in my eyes as I surveyed the damage.  What has been heartwarming of course is seeing how the community has banded together to help those in need.  I just read yesterday that out of 375 people displaced by the storm, only two were left in shelters.  That’s amazing!  There have been volunteers & donations coming in from all over the state & even outside Virginia.  It’s wonderful to see all of this outpouring of good will, but nonetheless I cannot help but be sad for those who have lost so much.pay taxes

Next up, my husband did our taxes on Saturday morning & we found out we owe even more money than last year.  Let me just tell you nothing will make you a Libertarian so fast as finding out you owe several paychecks worth of money in taxes!  (Actually I was already a Libertarian because it’s just what makes sense to me, but the point stands regardless.)  And to everyone who keeps asking, yes, we have all of our forms filled out correctly.  We just don’t have any dependents (yet), & no matter what we do our employers never deduct enough money from our paychecks.  Argh.kindess quote

Following right on the heels of that I went to WalMart to get a pregnancy test because I got my IUD removed a month ago, my cycle has been all over the place, & for a host of different reasons I thought there was a possibility I might be pregnant.  In any case, I just wanted to know for sure whether I was or wasn’t.  Well, on the short trip there, a man rear-ended my car while I was stopped at a red light.  This marks the second time in four months that someone has rear-ended my car, & both times I’ve been kind/stupid enough not to call the police or file any insurance claims.  The first time I had nothing more than a few scratches on my car so I was truly not concerned.  This time there is a dent on the back of my car, but it’s pretty small & honestly I just feel like there are so many more important things in life that I can’t bother getting upset about a dented bumper.  In any case, I do wish I’d called the police or at least filed with the man’s insurance because my CD player stopped working after the wreck.  Now, as some of you know, music is basically my religion.  It is what motivates me on my darkest days & is the very lifeblood of my soul.  (Corey Taylor said it best: “Music . . . is the only real religion that is worth devoting your soul to. It is the last remnant of the primal scream, the funeral dirge, & the wedding march. It is the light that keeps me out of the shadows, & it is the reason my immortal soul is not in dire straits.”) When I found out my CD player wasn’t working, I can’t lie, that sent me over the edge & I truly cried for the first time all week. I had wanted to cry multiple times earlier in the week but I’d held it in for some ridiculous reason.  Thankfully my dear husband was able to rescue all the CDs that were in the CD player, & he found a replacement online for which the man who hit me has promised to reimburse me.music quote

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t call the police.  The simple explanation is I’m an idiot. The more complicated explanation is I was already an emotional disaster & I just couldn’t stand the thought of dealing with the police at that moment.  Also the man who hit me was black & there was a part of me that worried the police would treat him more harshly because of that.  I also couldn’t help but remember what a blessing it was when I rear-ended a delivery truck years ago & the owner of the truck asked the policeman not to charge me because there was essentially no damage to his truck.  To my great surprise & relief, the policeman complied with his wishes.  I still remember how wonderful that felt, & part of me wanted to give that feeling to someone else.  I’m not sure if it’s a mark of compassion, insanity, stupidity, or some combination of all three that I was even thinking of someone else’s feelings at a time like that, but the truth is I was.You-are-nice-quotes-kindness-quotes-politeness-quotes

Back to the pregnancy test, as soon as I got home after the wreck I took the test & was greatly disappointed to find out that I am definitely NOT pregnant.  I knew the chances were slim to none that it would happen so quickly, but I just couldn’t help but be disappointed.  I keep remembering being in OB class in nursing school & thinking how ludicrous it was that a woman could want to be a mother so badly that she would cry when she got her period or had a negative pregnancy test.  It’s not that I doubted this could happen; it’s just that at that point in my life getting pregnant would have been a disaster for me, & I just couldn’t envision myself ever wanting to be a mom that badly, so I simply had no conception of how that would feel.  Well, here I am six or seven years later, whatever it is, & now I know how it feels.  It’s something I can’t explain, & part of me feels silly for even being upset about this when logically I know I “shouldn’t” be, but I can’t help it.  And that makes me feel weak & hormonal & ridiculous.  Ugh.

Lavendar hanging from an old vintage door, room for copy space

In case anyone’s wondering why I’m sharing something so personal as all this, there are several reasons.  First, writing out my thoughts & feelings keeps me sane.  And secondly I truly believe the world would be a better place if we didn’t all pretend we’re ok when we clearly aren’t.  With that in mind, allow me to say this: I do NOT have it all together.  Perhaps it’s self-imposed because I have such high expectations for myself, but I often feel like people just expect me to be Ms. Perfect all the time.  I feel like people automatically think “Oh, she’s smart, she’ll be fine, she’ll figure it out.  We don’t have to worry about her.”  Maybe that’s all in my head, but the truth is I really do NOT have it all together.  Yes, I have lots of wonderful things in my life for which I am very grateful (a loving husband & family, friends who have become like family, an adorable corgi, a great career, etc), & some of those are things I’ve worked really hard to achieve/keep.  But none the less, I am just as human as everyone else.  And right now I am feeling a bit fragile & broken.  On the plus side, this is the first time in a very long time that I feel like my anxiety has truly gotten the better of me.  That right there is a huge victory.  Honestly, when I remember the constant state of high-pitch anxiety I was in during college, I have no idea how I survived.  All I can say is I’m glad I’ve gotten the help I’ve needed in the ensuing years.humanity

I’ll end this by saying that I can’t give enough thanks to all of those who have reached out to me during the past few days.  Some of you I haven’t spoken to in person in years, yet you took the time to message me & send words of encouragement, & that means more to me than I can say.

flow15a-feel-like-shit-chodron-quote

As a final message, I’m striving to remind myself of the incredible wisdom of these simple words from the Buddhist writer Pema Chodron:

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit & not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

Amen.corey taylor owe yourself

And just for good measure I’ll add a few more inspiring quotes from the great Corey Taylor.

“. . . the divine lies in all of us. We are miracles. We are “god.” If we shared a little more, we would not be left feeling less. We hold the keys to our own destinies. It is time we started looking for the locks.”

“Life owes you nothing. You owe yourself everything.”

Things I’m Abandoning in 2015


I just finished reading what I found to be a very inspirational post

(http://satinsheetdiva.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/things-i-left-in-2014/) by a fellow blogger regarding the things she wants to leave in 2014.  In other words it’s kind of an inverted way of doing new year’s resolutions.  Instead of saying these are the things I want to accomplish this year, it’s saying these are the things I’m going to stop doing or abandon this year.  For some reason, this really spoke to me so I’ve decided to make my own list of things I want to abandon in 2015.  Here goes!

t.s. eliot quote

1. Focusing on my weight as a pure number.  I’ve got to make my heart realize what my head already knows: numbers don’t matter; how I look & feel does.  If I like what I see in the mirror, my husband finds me as attractive as ever, I’m healthy, & my clothes fit, there is no logical reason why I should care what number is on the scale.  (And all of those things are true, by the way, so really I have nothing to worry about.)  I’ve been telling myself this for years but it’s never fully sunk into my psyche.  This is the year to let it sink in for good.

2. Beating myself up for not particularly liking young children.  I’m slowly starting to realize that there are other women out there who aren’t super fond of babies & toddlers either . . . & many of them have still made great moms.  My tolerance for young children has actually grown in the past few years so while I still cringe at the thought of having a baby completely dependent on me, I’m slowly starting to realize that that stage won’t last forever anyway & “mommy brain” will kick in & get me through it . . . someday.motherhood

3. Eating out entirely too much.  Ok, let’s be real: I love to eat.  I am very suspicious of anyone who doesn’t.  There has got to something majorly wrong with anyone who doesn’t enjoy eating.  Anyhow, possibly because I rarely ever ate out as a child/teen, I have somewhat of an addiction to eating out now.  It’s not something I do every day, I never go anywhere expensive, & quite often I order relatively healthy things (relatively being the key word here).  But nonetheless it’s something on which I know I waste too much money that would be better put into savings.  And it’s not exactly healthy either.  Part of me thinks it’s justified because once I have kids I won’t have the freedom or the energy to go out to eat much, but the more logical part of me knows that’s just a lazy excuse.  Last year I swore to myself I’d do better about this . . . and I probably did worse than ever.  So this year I’m forcing myself to do meal planning each week (nothing formal, just planning it out in my head & making sure I have all the necessary ingredients) & spending Sunday cooking several dishes that will last me throughout the week.  I know I’m a lot less likely to cave to the desire to go out for a meal when I already have good meals prepared at home.  So far this year I’ve made curry pork chops, a delicious curry chicken & apple soup, Tandoori cod & curry lima beans with Tikka Masala sauce, & my coconut curry chicken with mashed potatoes (yes, almost everything I make involves curry).

Curry lima beans & Tandoori cod with Tikka Masala sauce . . . I've had this twice already this week & it's delicious . . . & easy!

Curry lima beans & Tandoori cod with Tikka Masala sauce . . . I’ve had this twice already this week & it’s delicious . . . & easy!

4. Comparing myself to others.  To be perfectly honest, I know that as long as I’m alive I will be guilty of this to some extent, & I also know that I’ve gotten a lot better about this over the past few years.  But I still have a lot of room for improvement.  The fact of the matter is I will never weigh 130 lbs (at 5’6″ & with my bones/muscles that’s not even realistic anyway).  I will never have an immaculately clean or perfectly decorated house.  I will never be the perfect housewife who loves to bake & never leaves clothes in the dryer or dirty dishes in the sink.  I will never enjoy getting drunk & going to clubs & generally living the “party girl” lifestyle that is supposedly “normal” for my age.  And, short of porcelain veneers that I will probably never be able to afford, I will never have perfectly white teeth.  But none of that stuff matters because none of it is a true source of happiness or contentment for me anyway (if it is for someone else, that is perfectly fine of course).comparison

5. Worrying about what others think of me.  As above, I know that as long as I’m alive I’m going to care at least a little about what others think of me.  That’s just part of being human.  However, this year I’ve got to stop allowing other people’s opinions (or what I assume their opinions will be) to stop me from being honest about who I am or what I believe.  To that aim, let me just state a few things I believe that I sometimes keep to myself for fear or how others will react:  I support gay marriage.  I support the trans-gender movement.  I don’t think abortion is a good thing but I do think it should be legal.  I think our country spends way too much time & money on ill-advised overseas missions that are doing absolutely nothing to contribute to our country’s safety or overall well-being.  I support the legalization of marijuana.  I am a Humanist.  I am a Libertarian.libertarian quote

I sincerely hope this post doesn’t turn into a long debate over any of the above issues because that is far from the point of this post.  But I’m also tired of keeping some of my opinions to myself just to appease others.  At the end of the day, I know I need to have faith in my friends & family & trust that they won’t abandon me or treat me like an infidel just because we have different beliefs about some things.dr seuss quoteHow about you, reader?  What do you want to leave behind this year?