Day 6/7: Overflowing With Gratitude

Yesterday was a blur and I thought I’d have time to write at the end of the night but I got so wasted and passed out! So this is technically an entry for yesterday (day 6), even though I’m writing today (day 7) and I’ll write another one tonight because I feel like this is just one of those like…really important weekends.

Anyway.

I feel like I’m literally overflowing with gratitude right now for so many reasons, and I wish I could remember this when things get rough…hopefully I do. But I guess that’s why it’s good to write these, right? Everything that happens in our lives is such a unique moment in time that we share with everything around us. It’s all connected and even THAT is worth appreciating. But yeah.

Yesterday I had to leave early to visit my, I call her my pseudo mom, Karen. Even though I had to leave early, it was Eddy’s last day before going back to work on Monday so I wanted him to bring Han by the office to meet my showrunner’s dog Kiwi, and also to see where I work and have lunch with me during the day before he goes back. Just the fact that my showrunner is so cool that she would urge me to bring our dog into work to meet her dog (dogs aren’t allowed btw) made me so grateful to work where I work ;_;

Working in animation really offers a flexibility that you don’t really see in other more “normal” jobs, and I think when I get into a dark headspace I fail to remember that. On my good days though, I’m able to step back and be like “Holy shit I made it. I’m here, this is where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m SO LUCKY.” Yesterday was one of those days.

It’s also SO dependent on the crew you find yourself on. Talking about this, I can’t help but remember the jobs I had where my supervisors didn’t understand me. Like working at the garden nursery in Newport Beach and being told not to bring dolls to work and also to dress nicer, or the retail shop in Yorba Linda where my supervisors turned my desk around so they could monitor what I was looking at on my computer. Working in animation, I feel like they understand that artists’ minds work differently and the flexibility accommodates for that. But even still…the current crew I’m on like…as long as we finish our work then basically anything goes.

It was so nice to see Eddy during the day. The more time goes on, the more I feel like he’s my rock. He grounds me and even if I’m feeling uncomfortable, everything changes when he’s around. He really is like the other half of me that is able to calm me down and make me remember that life is worth living. I wish we had done more lunches during the day because now it’s too late… the 6 months he had unemployed and we never did it once until the very last day. It taught me a lesson to seizethe day more. Carpe diem is a saying for a reason, and I think I’m just now really starting to feel it. It was so nice to take a break during the day and visit with Lynn’s dog, then go eat ribs in a park with Eddy and Han. I imagine that’s what heaven feels like…it really is a place on earth 🙂

Here’s a video of Han and Kiwi together! Kiwi is still just 3 months old so she’ll never be this small again! I wanna remember this ;_; I really wish more people could’ve seen Han while he was small. You really don’t know how quickly puppies grow until you have one 😦

Shortly after Eddy and Han left I had to leave work to visit Karen in Huntington Beach which is like a 2 hour drive in rush hour, but always totally worth it. She completely surprised me with an AMAZING wedding gift, even going to far as to make her boyfriend record her presentation of it to me for good reason.

Karen never fails to amaze me. I hate even saying it because she doesn’t like to think of age, but she’s about as old as my mom but chooses to see life as a gift, and so much more positively than anyone else I know. To me, she transcends age and gives me hope that if I work at it, I can someday be like her. I guess you could say she’s a mentor to me, but she’s way more than that even…you know it’s like one of those things where words aren’t good enough to describe her. I love her energy and how she chooses to live her life. Both her and her boyfriend Jay are an inspiration to me, and I’m beyond grateful to have them in my own life.

She just came back from going to like a billion countries in Europe for school (she went back to college for a degree in her 50s.) Jay was explaining that the whole time she kept telling him that she wanted to get me a present, but that it needs to be meaningful. She always thinks “well Elora is an artist, she would appreciate this” sorta thing. I’m very much not a materialistic person who likes things because they’re expensive or a certain brand. I love things that are different as sentimental, and Karen is that way too. Boy did she deliver.

She presented me with something called “legendary lace” from a small Island in Italy called Burano. She went to tour this lace factory which I can’t even really describe so here’s a link. But she told me they were saying that 7 women made the lace handkerchief she gave me, and only together could they have made it. The lace is so gorgeous and fragile and special, I got so choked up because I dunno…I feel like with her giving me this lace it’s the beginning of a family heirloom that I want to pass down. I’ve always loved the idea of tradition and meaningful items that are embued with the power of those who came before, and I really do feel like this is exactly that. I was excited to tell Amy about it, and she describes it as a magical quest item which it totally is! Karen says that in olden times, due to the importance of this lace for trade, the women making it were required to stay on the island and leaving would be punishable by imprisonment or death (it doesn’t say this online, I’m assuming it’s from the tour she did.) Obviously they don’t do that anymore, but in my mind there’s something magical about these ladies coming together to create something so delicate and beautiful.

On the way to Karen’s I was thinking about art and how essentially what it is, is an expression of those fleeting moments in time. It’s the attempt to grasp a feeling that’ll be gone in an instant. And to me, this lace that Karen gave is a representation of just that. When she got it, she didn’t even know I had 7 bridesmaids, but it was 7 maidens who made the lace. Coincidence? I think not. More like a reminder to cherish the important people in my life because they make me who I am.

After the glorious and beautiful bachelorette party my girls planned for me last month, Amy (maid of honor) had mentioned that working with them as a group made it clear to her how each one of them was a reflection of me. Years ago I was terrified I wouldn’t even have bridesmaids if I were ever to get married, cuz I never really had good girl friends until now. It’s shocking to me that somehow I have 7, and really I need to be more grateful to all these girls on a regular basis. Amy is right… Really thinking about it, anyone who knows me well enough can break down why each of those girls is in my life, and why I chose them as my bridesmaids.

We can’t share our full selves with anyone. Everything in life is so reactionary, and who we think to share moments with, only THEY can share that moment, no one else. Our friends, everyone we interact with really, sees totally different and unique parts of us. And the friends we choose to keep around and continue to interact with, over time collect fragments of our souls and hold onto them like no one else can. The people important to us will always hold a part of our hearts that no one else can ever have… and I feel like that’s what this lace represents. 7 maidens make a whole. And even better, these lace makers are all women who would pass their knowledge down from mother to daughter. I can’t wait to use it on my wedding day cuz I’ll be bawling like crazy, but using it will basically be like I have my 7 bridesmaids and Karen there as a shoulder to cry on (in the form of lace handkerchief lol.)

Here’s the lace and Karen’s poem that she wrote to accompany it 😀

Last night was amazing. Karen and Jay took me out to a great dinner and dancing afterwards. Something amazing about Karen is she lives life with no regrets, and doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of her. We were dancing like fools (way more than anyone else in the bar) but just being with her gave me the energy and courage to also not give a shit, something I wish I could take back to my normal life. And I can! Who’s stopping me really?

I just need to make more of an effort when those irrational moments of fear or self consciousness set in — What Would Karen Do? 🙂

 

 

 

Day 3: Shower Epiphanies, Running and Dogs

I woke up this morning to find that Eddy had pulled an all nighter to finish freelance, and we ended up going to McDonalds to get breakfast. This is something we’d do SO MUCH in what I call our “old life” when we first started dating to about like a year ago when I tried getting really serious about our health, then we would only do it for special occasions like going to the airport or Disneyland or something. I realize though that the mornings where I do unexpected things puts me in a really good mood because it makes me feel like I have a life outside of work.

I’m trying to go deeper into understanding why work gives me so much anxiety, and I think it’s because I spent so long trying to get into the animation industry that I constantly feel unworthy and never wanna fuck it up. My mom raised me to be an academic, which in recent years when Christie told me about the MBTi stacking traits and the enneagram, I was told that I was being forced to function at my lower traits my whole childhood. I basically felt trapped and unable to explore, when exploration and learning through others and learning through doing are my primary function stacks that result in my higher learning. So basically being at work reminds me of being in school, and because I spent so long trying to please my mom with good grades rather than figuring out who I was at a younger age, I feel like I can never slack off or treat work like other people do. Hence the anxiety and not knowing how to interact with people at work. Not understanding the balance of work to play… The only times I was ever comfortable at work were when I was working at Roger’s Gardens and Style Addiction and basically had my own office away from everyone else. It’s kinda ironic because I love people but I can really only interact with them when I’m able to fully immerse myself in the experience, such as being outside, at a party, or… well haha anywhere but work xD So then I feel like nobody likes me since I never visit them at their desks etc. I’m realizing more and more that if I’m around people who I don’t feel comfortable enough with, it affects me way too deeply that it can set off my mood and make me hate the world during the day, which in turn causes me to stop focusing and not get my work done in time, leave late and fuck up my whole schedule and make me feel like a failure.

Wow that was a long tangent. I was basically trying to say that… doing stuff with Eddy in the morning that I would normally do like later in the day makes me feel like I’ve had an enjoyable full day of interaction with the loves of my life, Eddy and our pup Han, so it puts me at ease for when I get to work and sets my mood up for success. I already interacted with people at work today! So everything is happy! 😀

What I really wanted to talk about though was how eating the McDonalds made me really start to see how eating healthy changes your palette over time. The sausage egg mcmuffin and hashbrown used to something that made me HAPPY BEYOND BELIEF but now I can basically taste all the unhealthiness of it. It was still good, but definitely didn’t have the same effect on me as before. Right when we began dating, part of what made me realize Eddy was the one is how he would wake up early and grab me McDonalds breakfast and leave it on the bedside table so that I would wake up to it… such a knight in shining armor.

Anyway, when I went to run I had this pain in my lower stomach, similar to cramps but not really. I assumed it was from the sausage mcmuffin. Regardless, I forced myself to run 3 miles because I think I’m getting addicted to running O_O YESSS! What i’ve always wanted! I’ve hoped to be consistent enough to get addicted but could never force myself out… having Han helps since I have to take him out first thing in the morning anyway, so it’s nice that it gets me out of my shell enough to just suck it up and do it. But seriously now running gives me such euphoria, and I think it’s because I’m choosing to be mindful about it. I’m also really starting to see WHY it’s so important for people with mental illness to exercise, and why so many people, especially with depression, have said that running has saved their life.

I think one of the big things that started changing my relationship with running was the decision to stop listening to music and focus on my surroundings. I used to run high and tell myself “Ok Elora, now look through your 3rd eye” and when I would make the conscious decision to do that, I felt like I could feel the truth of everything around me. I realize now that what that actually means is being acutely aware of my surroundings. I find that when I do the 3rd I thing now, I essentially choose to focus on one sense at a time, like smelling the grass being mowed in the park or the fertilizer, listening to my steps hit the ground, the birds singing, squirrels chittering, today I heard that beagle Faith barking incessantly after them… feeling the dirt under my feet, the wind and sun against my skin… I find that focusing on any of these things rather than my thoughts helps me appreciate the world, appreciate existence, and also makes me feel like this is just the matrix so I need to not take it as seriously as I have been. It makes it feel like a videogame, and I find that over time my music has become the world. Running quiets my thoughts, and I feel like that aspect of “game” makes me feel like I’m never going to get bored of it.

I’ve been building a habit of, when I feel pain, to close my eyes and try to run in a straight line while counting to 10. In the beginning I would chicken out and think I’d run into someone coming my way, but today I counted all the way up to 30 without even cheating! (Like opening my eyes a lil bit) The pain in my stomach seemed like not even that big a deal, and sometimes I would even choose to meditate on it and FEEL it… but in the way that was interesting rather than intolerable. I wanted to go 4 miles even but I REALLY had to take a shit.

Here’s a link that Bre sent me yesterday with runner Deena Kastor talking about how mindfulness helps with HER runs too 😀

I’m trying out this pomodoro timer thing to make sure I don’t ramble on and on forever. You know really… it’s cool that I have this blog because I can type faster and more than I could ever WRITE BY HAND in my journal in 25 min. I have 8 min to go and have already written this much! 😀 I love the idea of the pomodoro because it’ll beep when I’m done and NO MATTER WHAT I’LL HAVE TO STOP.

Anyway! When I got home to shower, I had a sudden epiphany. Both me and Eddy are such messy people, but we’re both working hard to try and become aware of our bad patterns and fix them. I think it helps that we’re getting married this August, and I think it also helps that we have a puppy now. When our old dog Einstein died last November, it was a shock to our whole world because we started to understand that we HAD to change. Einstein was 16, and because he was old it made us be ok with just staying in, taking it easy, and living in filth because he couldn’t control his bowel movements and it was excusable.

Now that we have Han though, it’s like we have to get our shit together because he’s so new to this world (7 months now). I can’t even express how much he’s changed our lives… maybe someday when I have a full 25 min I’ll explain, but dogs really are such a gift to humanity. They have such great personalities and I dunno… remind me so much of humans but with the ability to truly live in the present and be a pure expression of love. They are so happy just being around you and don’t compare their lives to that of other dogs. They don’t feel envy… just love. I think humans love having them around for that reason. They remind you what’s actually important in life, and they don’t put up walls in the same way humans do.

OMG I’M ALMOST OUT OF TIME!

When I got in the shower after running I couldn’t help but instantly be disgusted. Neither of us ever take the initiative to clean, and I felt like I was just getting sick from all the mold in there, yet didn’t feel like I had time before work to clean the damn thing. I NEVER HAVE TIME. But I actually do. That mindset needs to change. Seeing this dirty shower really had an effect on me today… maybe it’s because my feet were super itchy for a weird reason. Maybe I have to clean my shoes? Or maybe I felt like I haven’t felt 100% for months and breathing in mold fumes wasn’t helping. But whatever it is I had the epiphany of “Do I do this to myself for a reason? Why do I let things get so bad before I actually do anything to fix them? Do I gain some weird pleasure from this?”

Regardless of what it is, it made me take a step back and look at my life, my mess, my chaos. I think I’m really truly starting to understand why people say that organization and cleanliness is a huge part of mental health. If I’m gonna do this no meds thing, I really need to start with cleaning my room.

BOOM! TIMER DONE! Looks like I can write a LOT in 25 min… woohoo!