Outside the comfort zone

My life feels strange right now. I think it is because of the number of changes that have taken place in it in such a sort space of time. Life just seems to be moving on and I can either make the decision to go with it or get left behind.

I am suddenly busy at work. It is that time of the year. And busy is good. I can’t help feeling mentally bored at times – I am still doing the same rubbish I was doing 5 years ago, but at least I have something to focus on. 

I am being moved from one office to another, and upheavals like that always make me feel slightly at sea. Anything which forces me outside my comfort zone makes me feel like that. And in addition to trying to manage this change, my company has decided that now would be an excellent time to introduce a new computer system which I absolutely and totally hate. Plus, I am now forced to use Office 2013 which I detested instantly and which looks horrible. I am thinking that I will get used to it, but I am firmly of the opinion that Microsoft just moved a shitload of buttons around for the sake of moving them around, and stuck 2013 on the box to help consumers kid themselves into thinking that they MUST be getting something new for their money. If they are, I don’t see it. Forgive me if I offend anyone. I am not a “Office Suite Guru” – I just use it to create a few documents and graphs now and again. And sometimes, that’s all people need. A bit of simplicity. Yay for spending 45 minutes trying to do a graph in Excel which looks like a load of rubbish. I’m sorry for not liking having to open the online help; and get assaulted by 200 search results; just because I want to know how to add a second axis on it.

And whispers of a new “company internet usage policy” are floating around. Great. God knows what that is going to mean, of I am of the firm opinion it is not going to make my working day any bloody easier.

Right. I have just put myself in a foul mood. I am going to do the decent thing and move on.

Other changes in my life include a date (yes, seriously) and my brother coming home from Saudi Arabia for an unspecified period of time. Oh yes, and the fact that I am toying with the idea of dropping Warcraft which has been one of the biggest timesinks in my life in recent years.

And I see changes like these as being positive ones. My date in the next few weeks has helped me forget about a certain selfish female who up until recently had really helped screw my head over. I still think about her sometimes, and can’t help feeling regret that things didnt work out better with her (I really would have liked that), but at the end of the day she turned out to be a negative influence in my life and she had to go. She is no longer the centre of my attention anymore. Her loss.

My brother being over is a really welcome change too. Someone different to talk to and to hang out with. He helps shake the monotony of an otherwise pretty boring life. Anything new in that regard is always good.

And moving on from Warcraft…I need to see how that goes, but a break from it is nice at least. As stimulation goes, it was beginning to fall behind a little bit. A change is as good as a rest, and it is time for a bit of a change!

So overall, a lot of changes are taking place, and I have no option but to go where they lead. But at least I have stopped feeling like I am permanently rooted to the spot. I feel like things are getting shaken up a little.

Its not a bad feeling.

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Dear Death……

Dear Death

Why do you annoy me so?

We are old acquaintances; you and I.

You don’t remember me?? Let me remind you 🙂

I stood on that street corner that day as the bomb went off. I was 200 yards away, I was not hurt. You missed me that day.

Do you remember me stepping off that kerb as the bus swung round? I watched it’s tail heading towards me. For a second, I was tempted to take you on. But I decided to allow you the benefit of the doubt. I stepped back. You missed me that day too.

Do you remember the day I needed a bus and the Catholic Priest stopped for me in Belfast, and offered me a lift as he warned me it was a dangerous bus stop? I escaped. The guy who was shot a few days later was not so lucky. You missed again.

Do you remember me as I walked past that car……you know…….the one with the device strapped under it? The device fell off and failed to explode. And I walked straight past you as you watched me with your hungry eyes.

Do you remember the articulated lorry that decided it wanted to drive over the same patch of road I was on? Do you remember me pushing the throttle and escaping you with inches to spare?

And do you remember my slitting my wrists and watching as the blood left my body? Do you remember what the nurse whispered? That in 30 years she never witnessed a quieter night?

Yes, we are old acquaintances you and I.

Would you like to know my secret???

…………I have no fear of you……………….

And I want to live, I want to live and breathe and enjoy the sensation of “being”. I want to feel my nerves tingle in the cold; my heart beat as I get excited; and my mouth go dry as I meet someone I really like. I want to taste soup on a cold winter’s day, and taste ice cream on a really warm one. I want to know how it feels to drive a brand new car, and I want to watch someone’s face as I give them the gift of their dreams.

So, why do you annoy me so?

Why do you want me to help you in you quest to end my existence? Why do you so wish for my online friends to do the same?

Why do you try to persuade us that life is not worth living?? Why do you call to us incessantly; hoping we will hear your call??

I shall never submit to you, Not until I am ready. I am not ready to give up just yet. And you shall not touch my friends. Not whilst I have breath in my lungs and nerves in my fingertips!

With some slight regard but little else,

Yours Truly.

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes I think that we spend so much time chasing happiness, that we actually forget to be happy. I know I do.

Following on from the island theory by wecanbefine, I got to thinking about my own island, thinking about what there may be on it that gives me pleasure.

What gives me pleasure in MY life? What makes ME happy, totally independently of anyone or anybody else? I am curious…I want to know. I want to know more about who I am. The bits of the old me that I want to keep as I shed my skin.

So I came up with the following list:

1. I love Friday evenings. I love having worked all week, with the promise of the weekend right ahead. I look forward to late nights, sleep ins, and general unabashed laziness. There is always a certain buzz about Friday evenings! The prospect of being able to drop the shackles of modern day slavery for a little while, and work on your own life instead.

2. I love stepping out of the shower, and feeling fresh and clean, with the prospect of climbing into a bed that has just had the sheets changed. The pleasure I get from this is just immense! I literally sink into the bed and the feel of the clean sheets against my clean skin makes me tingle all over.

3. I love buying myself new things, be it a new computer game or a gadget or a good of some description. I don’t do it very often; but when I do, it feels great. I especially like ordering online and finding the parcel sitting waiting for me when I go home. Sometimes I delay actually opening it for a few hours just to extend the pleasure of anticipation. I love the feel of then opening the box, along with all the paraphernalia that goes with it – the individually wrapped accessories, the glossy instruction manuals, the bubble wrap, even the delightful smell of newness!  Plus the prospect of actually getting to switch it on and use it and put it through its paces….God!! I really feel like a little kid sometimes!!!

4. I love wakening up – remembering it is Saturday or Sunday morning, and falling back to sleep again. Heaven!

5. I love switching on the TV just as a good film is about to start. Its like I have just gotten a little present!

6. I love compliments or the feeling of doing something right….the sense of pride or accomplishment makes it all worthwhile.

7. I love the wit and humour that I come across in everyday life, especially the kind that sticks two fingers up at adversity. It can be either written, spoken or pictorial….but the sense of pleasure I have of laughing out loud sends electricity shooting up and down my spine. I feel hope, courage and inspiration. And knowing that there are people in the world that can make me really laugh makes everything seem less dark 🙂

8. I love the feeling of doing someone a good turn, making them laugh, or bestowing a gift upon them….I feel an immense power flow through me when I do that.

9. I love opening my inbox, and watching fresh emails flood in – I feel connected with the world…busy…even a little important!

10. I love the taste of hot coffee first thing in the morning….sometimes it is the only thing that makes me want to get up!

I think that will do for now (stopping on an decently round; even number!).  I suppose the whole point of this post was to give myself a chance to walk around my island a little bit, and realize that maybe it has potential for growth. I am a person too. I have feelings and emotions…likes and dislikes. I am reminded that I sometimes do more than just exist from one day to the next. Sometimes, I actually do feel like I live 🙂

Taking Ownership

Sounds like a cliche. Pop psychology term. Management speak. New Age thinking. To me at least.

“Taking ownership”. What does it even mean? Why is the term bandied about so much in therapists chairs, self-help books and advice columns? I don’t think I even like the phrase.

But, irrespective of my own bias, I see the value in it and understand it is something I need to do. Whether I like it or not. I need to “own” my life again. And I need to figure out how.

I suppose I need to start with identifying what it means to be “me”. I need to draw up boundaries. Within the boundaries are things I can do, achieve, take control of, take responsibility for, improve on. My life. “Me”. Outside the boundaries are things I cannot control. Job opportunities. The weather. Luck. Chance. The past. How people think about me. What they say about me. Whether someone loves me, or is attracted to me. Whilst I can do my best to influence these things, it need to accept that I have no real control over them.

I must focus on my life, and learn to be “me”, and worry only about the stuff inside the boundaries. I need to take stock of what I have. My possessions. My mental and physical health. My work. My pastimes. My living space. My family and my friends. My emotional and physical needs. I must invest in these things and look after them. They are all I have and they are what defines me. I need to start loving and respecting the life I have. Things could be much better, sure. But they could be much worse too.

Within my boundaries, I must learn to identify problems, accept them, address them, and get them fixed. I need to add to what I have, and make it the best of it that I can. I need to listen more to myself and my emotions. I need to respect myself as a “person” in my own right. Because I AM a person. I deserve love too. I have needs that too often I ignore because I always put myself last – like I don’t deserve better.

And here is “ownership” in motion. Funny it should happen whilst I write my blog.

I just got a message from the girl that I love. The girl who decided she didn’t love me back. A job opportunity has come up in another country and she is thinking of going for it. How do I react to this? How do I take ownership?

I know how I want to act. I want to rage because I am jealous. Why does stuff like this never happen me? I want to rage because whilst I am dying inside, she seems to be getting on so well in her life. She is enjoying it, and doesn’t think about me all that much. I want to cry because I know that this change will probably mean we will drift apart and I will eventually lose contact with her for good. She will forget about me. And other lucky guys will get the chance to know her and win her love. I want to drink. To forget. To wallow in sorrow and self-pity.

However, I must accept that I have no ownership over her or what she does with her life. I have no control over what job opportunities come up for her, or where they are based. The only control I have is over this situation is how I allow myself to think and feel and react. I must allow myself to feel sadness, and disappointment. Why shouldn’t I? They are rational emotions to this situation. I must not beat myself up for feeling sad or disappointed. I permit myself to. i LOVED HER! But I must not feel rage or fear. These emotions are much too strong – too negative – too out of control. They are based on assumptions that I have created in my warped mind.

She once belonged inside the boundary that is my life. She chose to leave. I must choose to let her go. I must choose to focus my energies on what remains. On ME!

Suddenly, taking ownership doesn’t look like such a bad thing to do with one’s self.

So I cant even get drunk now!

It is almost 6 am in the UK right now.

I have drank a bottle of Captain Morgans, which according to the bottle is 24.5 units of alcohol.

The recomended daily intake for a man (according to the Chief Medical Officers…whoever they are) is 3-4 units.

So why on earth do I not feel drunk? I don’t understand.

I waited on Skype for 6 hours, hoping she would come on. I just wanted to say hello to her. She didn’t come on of course. I am wondering where she is and what she is doing. I can’t help it. I know. Pathetic. I wish I didn’t love her.

What I wouldn’t give right now for a bit of self-esteem!

I got chatting to a few internet friends, but they all have their own lives. They left the party fairly early. The 13/14/15 year-old gamers bugged off at about 2.30 am. Sometimes I cant help envying them. They worry about so little…life seems so simple – so black and white to them, so excited about everything whilst pretending they are bored! Don’t get me wrong tho – I would not go back to that age for all the tea in China!!

I spent all day today reading blogs. You know who you are! And I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of humility. I am not alone. Other people feel the same as me. Other people suffer, just like me. Other people have worse problems than me. My problem is fairly simple. I hate myself. It is nothing that cant be fixed. Other people who blog here regularly suffer from much worse conditions. And they show much more strength in getting on with life. I choose to call them “survivors”. They survive. They battle life one day at a time. They overcome their personal hurdles. They pick themselves up and dust themselves down, no matter what. They wish they could opt out of the suffering.  Yet they blog. They open themselves to the world, and remain true to themselves. They acknowledge the challenges they are facing on a daily basis. But they keep going.

I am proud to have read their blogs.

When I feel isolated, and alone, I prefer to look inwards. I forget that other people are suffering too. ‘Cos my suffering is worse than anyone else’s isnt it? Part of me loves the “poor-me” attitude. I think I sometimes get off on feeling sorry for myself.

And maybe that is why I love the idea of a relationship. A relationship gives me the opportunity to focus on someone else for a change. I can forget about “me”. I can focus on the other person. That makes me an emotional parasite of sorts, i suppose.

But being someone else’s focus can be overwhelming to most people. I understand that. Being the centre of someone else’s universe can be tiring. Sometimes…normal people like being on their own. They like being on their own ‘cos they don’t drive themselves cray through thought.  And when they meet a chameleon like me, they begin to run out of energy, cos I require a LOT of feeding!

I am beginning to understand.

Thank you blog.

And thank you co-bloggers.

My New Skin

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

I am motivated to keep living. I am motivated because I think I still have hope. I have hope that I will eventually come to like myself, and experience happiness, just like any normal person.

To motivate myself, I begin to conjure up an image of who I would like to be, and how I would like to live life.

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Who I Want To Be

I want to be a normal guy, who used to be quite big, but who has managed to lose a lot of weight. I take care of myself and my appearance, because I respect who I am.

I treat others with respect too. I listen to them, and am interested in them. But I don’t crave attention from others. If you want to be my friend, you are most welcome to do so. If you don’t, I won’t take it personally. I have my own life to live, and you have yours.

I don’t worry about the future, and I forgive myself for my past mistakes. I forgive others for their past mistakes too. I don’t hold onto grudges or regret. Life is too short, and many of us may not be around tomorrow.

I take my time passing through life. I completely apply myself to anything that I need or want to do, and I never leave a job half-finished. I take pride in doing things well. I focus on what is happening right here, right now. That might be washing the dishes. It might be watching TV. It might be talking to you. But whatever it is, everything else can wait. I live within the moment. And by living within the moment, I get the utmost enjoyment I can from it. I have the ability to clear my mind and let go of mental burdens so that i can concentrate and enjoy what is front of me.

I am organised. I am not attached to worldly possessions. I only keep the things in my life that serve a need or purpose. I enjoy my space, and don’t like clutter. I tackle problems head-on, I don’t let them fester. I don’t bury my head in the sand.

I can make decisions, and once I make a decision, I don’t regret it, even if it turns out to be the wrong one. It’s OK to be wrong sometimes, as long as you learn from your mistake.

I am a firm believer in love, and that two people can make each other happy. I am not afraid of commitment or of showing how I feel. I am not afraid of talking about things. I will stay with you and love you as long as you can show me that that is what you want too. But I accept that things can and do go wrong, and if they do, I know I can rely on myself to see things through. I accept disappointment and grief as normal emotions associated with break-up, but I allow myself to move on.

I am happy in my own skin.

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THAT is my motivation. That is my new skin. That is what I am going to transform into. How I just need to figure out and develop the habits that will allow me to BE that guy. 🙂

Designing a New Life

I guess there is no point in deciding to shed your old life, and pick up a new one unless you know what the new one should look like.

That can be more difficult than it sounds. Ask me. I know.

I suppose what one has to do is to look at all the things that is wrong with one’s life, and make an active choice to either change them or get rid of them. In order to change yourself, you need to strip away all the stuff you don’t like first so you become a blank slate again. And then begin the process of rebuilding. But when ALL of one’s life is wrong, it is hard knowing where to start.

But I’ll give it a go. I need to open myself up and peek inside……..

First thing I need to tackle is my appearance. I hate the sight of myself in the mirror, and so I tend not to bother looking in it that often. If I am going to grow a new “self”, it has to be someone I don’t mind looking at. When I walk around looking like I don’t give a crap about myself, how can I blame others for not giving a crap about me either? When I look in the mirror, I see stained teeth, dishevelled hair, a double chin and usually a few days old stubble which has the audacity to look patchy. I cant even grow a decent stubble! God!!

i dont pay much attention to what I am wearing either. I dont go clothes shopping much, as it depresses me when nothing fits, so my wardrobe is pretty small. I tend to throw on the first thing that comes to hand in the morning and as often as not, it could do with a wash, or a let-out, or a let-down, or a button, or a patch…..bottom line is I must sometimes look shabby.

This has to change.

Second thing I need to change is how I treat myself. Because I hate myself, I punish my body daily. I smoke at least 30 cigarettes a day which is killing my lungs. I consume far too much alcohol which is killing my liver. I am obese (there I said it!!) which is killing my heart. If I don’t stop soon, there wont be any point in deciding to change my life because I wont have one to change. And by doing these things, I am complicating other areas in my life. I probably stink of smoke though I cant smell it, so people probably want to avoid me and my toxic breath. When I over-drink, I do stupid stuff and fall out with people which is going to destroy any actual relationships I do have in my life. And my weight reduces any chance I have of ever managing to hook up with someone, or even draw a second glance in a bar.

This has to change too.

Another thing I hate about myself is how I live. I glance around my office…my car…my living space….everything I see gives me an indication that whoever works, lives and owns here does not care about a single thing!

My office is a mess. Papers everywhere, files not put away, sticky notes covering every available inch of desk space reminding me of stuff I haven’t bothered to do. My car looks like I use it to transport hay from the local fields. And my living space….oh God. Clothes lying everywhere, laundry not done, rubbish not put out, curtains not opened in ages, books lying scattered where they were last put down….and stuff!! so much stuff…stuff I never needed, stuff I never use, stuff I never wanted, stuff that is of no use whatsoever to mankind…why have i got so much STUFF????!!!

This ALL has to go. I need a place to breathe for goodness sake!!

Right….all this peeking inside myself is making me feel slightly ill. But one thing is for sure…I need to pay a bit more attention to the basics I think.