Give a man a fish
He eats for a day
Teach a man to fish
He eats for a lifetime
So the bible reads
Yet fishing is not difficult
It's metaphor for
Living life fully
Why was he not fishing
To begin with?
Did he fall ill?
Was he somehow hurt?
Did his previous fishing
End in trauma?
Perhaps he was born
Or lost a hand
In an accident
Perhaps his only skill
But life took him
Far from any water
Perhaps a mishap
Almost took his life
Left him feeling futility
Skills or tools
Perhaps he did his best
And still fell short
Perhaps he made mistakes
Big or small
Many or few
That caused him to
All his tools taken from him
Given in and given up
Maybe he has lost faith
In God's guidance
Maybe he sees no reason
To keep trying to fish
Never quite experiencing
The supposed benefits
It doesn't mean it's not
Maybe those are all
He doesn't know
How to overcome
The ability to fish
Is more complex
Than society acknowledges
Still a worthy goal
Still better than just
Giving the day's fish
Perhaps it's humanity's
To come together
To solve the complexity
Of teaching all men
Not just how to fish
To teach them how to
Their fishing success
Where once it was lost
To keep trying
To keep doing
Finding the knowing
Of his place
His role in
This vast eternal
Finding the knowing
Has been trying to
Get through to him
Even in the obstacles
We all fish
Some have more
Obstacles and challenges
Our responsibility to
We learned to overcome
Community coming together
Learn to fish
No matter the cause
Of the need to learn
~ Treasa Cailleach
So I mentioned that I had been climbing out of trigger holes this week. I’m going to talk about that a little more.
One moment just after my birthday, I had a bit of jealousy sneak up on me. I quickly acknowledged that was going on and talked myself out of it. I acknowledged that jealousy is based on the belief that someone has something that you want and don’t have, but also some level of feeling neglected. I pointed out to myself that neither case was actually true. If the shoe was on the other foot, as in viewing myself from an outside perspective, I had that which was causing the jealousy, and I am far from being neglected. It simply wasn’t actually true, so that was an easy trigger to solve.
My other major trigger this week, and one that was reoccurring every single day, was simply the bitter cold and how it was affecting my life. One element of that was the whole ‘it’s the week of my birthday and the weather straight up sucked’. The other element was that it began directly affecting my daily work experience.
See, the clinic has two halves on two different heating systems. My office is in the half that has what is commonly referred to as a mini-split. Simply put, it has a unit outside, and then wall mounted units to accomodate both heating and air conditioning without the need for ductwork or other hazards of central heat/AC. They are only slightly less costly than a centralized system, but they are supposed to be more energy efficient. The biggest problem that I have noticed with the older unit governing my office, is that it no longer handles temperature extremems. It has gone down 3 times in the last two years, all during extreme temperatures- once due to heat in excess of 100°F, and twice due to temps below 15°F. This week was the second round of below 15°. The units work decent when they are only attempting to bridge a gap of 30 or 40 degrees, but once the range exceeds that, problems arise. This time it was the exterior lines froze preventing any function.
That treanslated into trying to function solely on space heaters. Generally not a huge concern, except that the 3 office rooms were wired on one 20 AMP circut. Which means that we could only power 2 space heaters on full, or if I needed table heat on, I had to turn space heaters to low. It was frustrating to say the least. So, it meant coming into a frigid space and doing my best to warm it by the time people needed to be disrobing for their massage. We blew the breaker well over a dozen times this week, just trying to get 2 of the 3 rooms to a decent temperature. Finally, the acupuncturists decided to temporarily relocate, so I was the only one attempting to get a room to normal temperatures. I still managed to blow the breaker 3 more times trying to warm the room up as quickly as possible.
It was frustrating, and at times infuriating. I kept climbing up from negativitiy, and something would set me off again. At one point the one acupuncturist asked me how I was doing, and I lost it on her, spending several minutes ranting about the whole situation.
I’m mostly (referencing generalities) still in my detached space, and because of that I keep repeating “Not my monkeys, not my circus”, but it is directly affecting me and that is why it keeps triggering a negative loop. I can’t stand weather this cold, and especially when I get bone chillingly cold myself.
In my perfect world I would be that person that takes an extended vacation when the weather turns crappy like this. I would love to have a birthday in Cancun or Hawaii, but alas it is not currently possible.
It also doesn’t help that no one seemes to care about the problem in a long-term solution sort of way. The chiropractors knew I was upset and began turning on space heaters before I arrived, but there was no motion towards a real fix. I pointed out to the acupuncturist that this was the third time I was having to deal with this situation and I have yet to make my 2 year anniversary. I explained that even though heaters don’t go down all the time, that it is a possibility with any system, and whoever wired 3 offices on one 20 AMP breaker was dense. There should always be enough power for worst case scenario. Yet, there is barely enough amperage for normal function in 3 rooms.
For instance, I am a massage therapist, and I have 4 seperate devices that draw a good amount of power. My room alone could blow the breaker if I turned everything on. I know becasue I did when one of my space heaters was taken by the acupuncturist. At that point the whole building was struggling to maintain, and the office manager and chiropractor had taken space heaters for themselves, and so one of my 2 tiny ones went to the acupuncturist. My solution was to turn on my hot stone roaster, my hot towel cabbie, and the table heater. The other space heater was already running, and the lights were on. 30 seconds later the breaker tripped. So just my basic devices which I have utilized for years, tripped the breaker becasue they were all on at the same time.
There is no way that those three offices can handle all of the devices that could potentially run at the same time. I can not run my menagerie, and then have the acupuncturist try to use diathermy, or even a laptop being used on top of my regular stuff would be too much. It simply is no good for a lot of reasons.
Ultimately, not only does the mini-split need some serious TLC to try and get it more functional, but if I had a say, I would call an electrician and figure out the cheapest solution to get those three rooms better power in a permanent way.
There also should be stored space heaters and fans for situations like this. As it is, I brought in 2 of my personal space heaters and the one accupincturist had one of her personal units. That means if we hadn’t been on the ball, the whole office would have failed due to a lack of heat providing devices. It would not be any significant financial strain to buy a fan and space heater for each room, and all of the rooms could come up with the shred of space to store them when not in use.
Alas, it is not my circus. I have no financial investment in the building or business. I am simply a contractor trying to keep clients happy, so no one gives a flying eff about my opinions. So, on top of hating the cold, being upset over a frigid birthday, and then spending an entire work week battling the cold inside of my office, the lack of my opinion mattering was just the icing on the cake.
It took every ounce of my mental fortitude to keep pulling up and finding my happy this week, and today I was so exhausted from it that I really just wanted to stay in bed and not even go to work.
Yet I did.
I showed up 40 min early, and the chiropractor had already turned on the space heaters, so it wasn’t as frigid as previous days. The sun was shining, so I got a bit more sunlight than the previous several days. I even managed to get in a decent workout between clinic and my 2nd job. I’m holding steady, and hoping that they seriously figure out a long-term solution before the peak of summer heat kills the equipment again.
Regardless, it’s not my circus and I will always do my best to stay focused on my happy place. I will keep finding better feeling thoughts, and do my best to keep pulling up, even when triggers are plentiful and repetitive. Sometimes it just takes way more effort, and I’m somewhat wondering if I will ever see a good reason to keep reaching up so diligently. Hopefully that’s just the remnants of discouragement talking.
May you have many birthdays with beautiful perfect weather. May you find that finding your happy place is easy. May it be life affirming and easy to regain your balance and feel good. May you have plenty of rest and plenty of warmth. May you see the results of your energetic and thought work. May you know that God loves and supports you in all that you do, no matter what.
Ok, so sometimes my addictions, turn into a Multi-player Mortal Kombat round. I’m just as proud of myself, if the worst one of the ‘enemies’ is the one knocked out, as I would be winning a duel.
Sometimes it really is about picking your battle, and knowing that if only one was knocked out, then at least I didn’t die, and I’ll make it another round.
I am doing a lot better than I used to, but my addictions win more often than I would like. It’s a battle I’ve been practicing at for over 7 years and I still loose occasionally, but the little voice of inspiration said that I make it look too easy, and I need everyone to know it’s not.
The text conversation at the beginning of this post, was from the middle of a 5 hour shift yesterday. I was working front desk and it was a little slower for a change. Usually not a bad thing, so I never complain when it’s slow. The one exception caused my message to Nathan, I didn’t say a word to other staff because of embarrassment.
I was feeling weak, and probably could have used help, but it might as well have been the conversation I had to have over a shotgun which I couldn’t get out of my mind. I simply couldn’t have that conversation, over goodies, and with people that don’t really care about me to begin with. They care that I show up, do my job, and when shit hits the fan that I can handle it. They simply don’t want to have a conversation about, “hey, can you hide the goodies from me, my brain is torturing me already, …please?”
So I didn’t say anything.
An hour in, I had already looked at the box of Ding-Dongs over a dozen times. The brand new unopened box of Godiva chocolates had almost had as many views, but because it was unopened I wasn’t certain it was for staff, and kept telling myself someone would come pick it up any minute.
At one point I got so flustered that I got up abruptly, and quickly walked to the mail room, forgetting there’s a camera in there. As soon as the black globe caught my periphery, I froze in blush. Quick thinking, I gestured like I was looking for something and left. Only problem was, I noticed the box of brittle, I’d forgotten about, on the mailroom counter as I turned to leave.
I stood in the empty hall trying to figure out what I was doing, why, and what I needed to do. On my way back to the desk seat, I grabbed my seaweed pack and consumed it crunchily instead.
I drank a full bottle of water.
I amused myself on my phone for a little bit.
Then I noticed one too many glances in the directions of goodies again. At that point, I was lone staff, because the other person was delivering day-sheets throughout the building.
I got up and paced the floor. I refilled my water bottle and glanced at the brittle again on my way past. I grabbed my celery and sat to eat it, not quite even having gotten to hour two yet. I thought ‘better not eat it all, just in case’.
It was a little limp for not having eaten my sticks for 3 days. I’m burnt out on celery and it’s lost any appeal it ever did have, even the peanut-butter is losing any appeal to my taste buds. I ate about 6 celery sticks, each dipped once in peanut-butter. That was more than enough. I closed lids and left it sitting right in front of me.
Approximately 30 minutes later, my text to Nathan (above) went out as I was losing my resolve. Almost 3 hours into my shift, the Ding-Dongs were looking far too tempting. How was I going to make it another two?
I decided if I couldn’t managed a TKO, then at least the worst option should go down in flames. Instead of: gluten, and red-40, and chocolate, and sugar, and chemicals (all things found in Ding-Dongs that are bad for my system); I chose to go for the least impact, especially since the Godiva box was unopened and questionable. So Brittle won, and Ding-Dongs and chocolate were knocked-out!
Me and brittle. Mmmmm.
When I went to retrieve a piece, I got a big chunk with two smaller ones stuck to it. I decided I’d eat the two small bits and save the big one for later.
As my last two hours ticked by it was: celery stick with pb, pause, brittle, pause, celery stick, pause, brittle, pause, celery stick, pause, brittle and so on. Every few minutes a nibble of something. I also worked on a non-vital computer task to distract myself.
It worked. I ended up eating only brittle beyond my regular celery and seaweed I take everyday.
In the ring we have Valentine Ding-Dongs, Godiva Assortiment, Apple Pie Peanut Brittle, and Treasa with her green shit. And let the fight begin! …. Oh Treasa is taking some hard hits there, but she stays standing every time. Oh, she’s fighting back, 1-2, oh, the right hook…. Now APPB has sided with her, oh my folks, who’s going to win this battle royale! … And the winning team is Treasa with greens and Apple Pie Brittle! …Crowd goes wild!…. Aaaaa!
Sorry for the corney ring-side joke, I grew up on things like that.
Anyway, my point is, I didn’t say anything to anyone except Nathan, and he even only got a couple of texts. But for me it was 5 hours of torture, mostly mental – granted, and a very strategic battle to overcome the worst damages of losing altogether. It’s hard to know what’s going on inside another person’s head, and it’s even harder when they have 20 years of experience hiding it. I’m not perfect at anything, but I highly doubt the other two people that worked via the front office yesterday, had any clue I was even having a mental battle, let alone that the two culprits to trigger it were within reach all day.
They were oblivious to my mental torture, because I’ve spent 20 years either fighting it silently, or withdrawing from the world. When I withdraw, I’ve either lost the battle and given in fully, or I sleep it off and hope I wake to less triggering things. I’m glad to report that these days, my withdrawal periods are few, fairly well distanced from one another, and short lived.
So if you’re struggling with an addiction, even if it is “just food”, know it’s hard. It sucks, and takes everything you’ve got to function as normal as possible, but it’s worth it. On one hand my addiction won’t kill me with one oopse (overdose), but it’s so many places in life that it’s super easy to get and often people readily supply the worst versions for me. I don’t even have to pay anything for mine to be triggered. And those people that say it’s just food… They have no clue the chemical storm that an addiction stirrs in your brain, regardless of what the trigger is. I would also add that known reactions to chemicals used in some foods, are indicative of some of the same known reactions to some recreational drugs. Sugar has been compared to hard drugs like cocaine in numerous studies on brain function. So, it may be just food, but it’s still very much an addiction.
It’s time that everyone get some slack for how hard we’re all working to overcome challenges, especially when many of us are very much addicted to “just food”. An addiction is hard no matter what “it” is. If you’re fighting at all then you deserve a damned medal.
Be kind to yourself and give yourself some love for it.
Also, find people you can confide in. I have my Nathan, but he gets tired of hearing of some the same things repeatedly, we all do. You need enough people to confide in that they don’t get sick of it, but don’t utilize having more options as a reason for complaining more. Keep in mind everything you talk about and focus on brings more of it, so if you focus on the battle too much you’ll just get more battle. So, regardless of my embarrassment, I still do my best to talk about my battles as little as possible, in an attempt to reduce their frequency. It is working, just very slowly.
Those of us fighting the good fight, we rock. Anyone that wants to put you down or belittle your efforts can take a hike or KMA. We are fighting addictions of a wide variety that didn’t exist 100 years ago. We have a bigger challenge than most in older generations would even consider. Appreciate your own efforts and thank your body every single day, that you have a chance to try again. Give your own self some love for all the things you survived, and apologize to every organ sincerely explaining your doing your level best with all the challenges that come your way.
Know it could be worse, there always something that’s worse. But also know that you are winning a tough battle and that makes you amazing.
May you triggers always be conveniently out of reach, literally or metaphorically. May you know you have loving support if you need it, and the ability to discern if it’s better to distract yourself and attempt to attract fewer battles. May you have confidence in your ability to overcome and succeed in all endeavors. May you love yourself for all that you have managed to accomplish. May you know you’re on the right track. May you know you are loved and supported by God in all that you do, and everything you need.