Slapsgiving

Sadly, not true. I probably won’t get to slap anyone tomorrow. But you never know. I am going to be spending Thanksgiving with Calla’s family, which should be a cool experience. I’ve never spent a Thanksgiving with anyone other than my family, so I don’t really know what to expect, but I’ll get to spend basically the whole day with Calla, something I haven’t been able to do since before she went into Menninger. I miss getting to spend time with her without constant staff supervision – though her family will also be there.

This may be the last time Calla and I get to spend any significant amount of time together, so I hope we have a good time. I know she’s pretty worried about how things will go tomorrow, but I hope that her family can keep things under wraps enough so that she, they, and I can all have a good time tomorrow. I wish I was better at telling her how I feel; I feel like there is always so much I’m not saying. I wonder if she has a problem with that; if she does, I hope she feels comfortable telling me.

I’m on the schedule to work on Black Friday, which is a little intimidating. It is the busiest day in the retail year, after all, and I’m told there are some pretty serious deals going even at my workplace. I feel confident that I’ll be able to make ti through, though; it’s only 8 and a half hours. But of course, those could be famous last words.

In any case, don’t expect to hear from me until Friday at the earliest; I expect to spend a large portion of tomorrow in a happy food coma.

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Day of (No) Rest

So, today is Sunday. And so, much like last week, I made the assumption that my work schedule would be the same this Sunday as it was last Sunday.

This, as it turns out, was a foolish assumption.

I got a call at 10:15 this morning, from work wondering where I was. I, who had assumed I was working at 1:30, told them so, to which I was told ‘nuh-uh’. It seems my schedule changes on a weekly basis. Odd, and quite embarrassing. In good news, I did manage to make it to work in record time, and with pants on, no less. After some fervent apologies, it turns out my manager, benevolent being that she is, said it wasn’t a problem, I could work from 11-7:30 instead of 10-6:30.

So, I spent most of the day working at the registers, which was long periods of customer chaos with moments of tranquility thrown in. It was actually kind of nice, because as busy as it was, it also mean that the time passed relatively quickly, and so my first days of screwing up at work ended several hours before I thought it would.

I mention this because last year, had something like this happened, I would have been mortified, felt awful, then assumed that nothing I did was good enough, nothing could be good enough, the manager was just acting when she said it was OK, and that I was just a screw-up too damaged to even work a minimum-wage job. But now, though I felt lousy when I was late (even though it was only partially my fault), I got right through it, I worked my shift, and I felt fine by the time I was done with work.

It’s not exactly man walking on the moon or anything, but it is a good sign for me. Oh, and now I have peppermint cheesecake, and it is awesome.

Friday Discovery

So, it’s late, and it was a long day at work – I worked from noon to 8:30, anf today was a big day for the store, being essentially the warm-up for Black Friday. It went relatively well, though I need to remember to start bringing Advil or Excedrin, because I had a massive headache for the last half of my shift. But that’s nothing really deep or psychological, so let’s move on.

I got an invitation for Thanksgiving with Calla and her family this morning (well, yesterday morning, but who’s counting), assuming she can get a pass to go out for some time with her family. Like I sad last time, I’ve never really spent the holidays with anyone besides my family, let alone the family of someone who, frankly, I’m still very interested in. I want to go, mostly because, in lieu of my family, I think some family, even if it isn’t mine, would be nice, and because I want to spend time with Calla. At the same time, though, it’s a little intimidating. Not a situation I’ve been in before, I have to say.

I keep thinking about Calla, and how she might be headed somewhere else, possibly far away, for six months or so. I want her to get treatment that will help her, but I know I’ll miss her a lot when she’s gone. But she’s such an amazing person, even though she doesn’t see it, and I think seeing her when she’s better, or at least better able to manage her issues, would be worth waiting all the time it takes. I know I seem to write about her a lot, and I don’t want other people in my life to feel like they mean less to me, but she is currently the one with the most pressing issues.

My own issues, really, seem pretty small these days. I have my friends, my place, my job, and a life for myself. Granted, none of it is perfect, and I certainly have my moments of depression and doubt. But I have people to talk to, therapy to help me unburden myself, medication to help me manage what I’m feeling, and things to keep my mind off the times when life doesn’t look so great. If you had told me I would be here a year ago, I would have – well, not laughed in your face, because I wouldn’t have really felt like laughing, but been skeptical and sarcastic enough to cause physical damage.

I’m not really sure where to go with this blog, really. I don’t have groups anymore to talk about them, and while I am familiar with many of the issues of people I know, I don’t want to talk about them without permission. My depression, while not – and never – cured, has at least become pretty manageable, to the point where at least one or two people who knew me before Menninger say I’m not the same person. I don’t want to just make a diary of what I do, because honestly, I don’t do anything all that thrilling – and if I talk too much about working for Barnes & Noble, I might get in trouble, because they can apparently be touchy about that sort of thing.

So, any suggestions? I know this isn’t the most widely-read blog of all time, but I’d guess that some of you, even those who don’t know me personally, have been reading this blog for long enough to have some suggestions. I’m sure there are things I could talk about that just haven’t occurred to me yet, or areas that would be interesting to open up some kind of a dialogue on. Honestly, I’m nudging towards 200 blog posts in around six months, so some relief ideas from a fresh set of eyes or minds would be more than welcome.And yes, I just mixed up a baseball metaphor, deal with it.

 

New Home for the Holidays

So, Thanksgiving is coming up, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be spending it with my family. Now, I’ve been spending Thanksgiving, and most other holidays, with my family for basically my entire life (and since I’m 34, that’s, of, most of 34 years). So not spending Thanksgiving with my parents, sister, and other family members will be kind of weird for me.

I’m not actually sure what I’ll be doing for the holidays. I mean, I work both the day before and the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I work on the infamous Black Friday), so I won’t have a lot of down time to work on preparing food or finding things to do. I’ve had one quasi-invitation, but I’m not really sure how that will work out. But I have a number of friends in the area, some of whom will also not be celebrating with their families (possibly purposefully, for some of them). I think we’ll find something to do, even if it isn’t the same kind of spread my mother usually puts out (that will definitely be among the things missed, though, along with family).

The build-up to Christmas will be interesting, too, since I’ll be working retail during the biggest part of the year for sales. . It seems likely that I also won’t be seeing my family for Christmas, so again I’ll probably be relying on my friends in the area for holiday plans. I am looking forward to the whole gift-giving thing, because I like giving gifts to friends and family (though some people I know aren’t exactly huge of the gift-receiving, but they write Christmas stories about people like that, right kids?) This may be the first holiday that I’ll be buying gifts with my own money, so things might not work out as well as normal, but thankfully, working for a big retail chain has its privileges – I get some pretty nice discounts.

So I won’t be alone for the holidays, but I will almost certainly be in a situation I haven’t been in before. I know my family is worried about me, and to be honest, I’m a little worried, too, both about myself and at least one of my friends, Calla. I know she’s been going through some pretty painful and nerve-wracking things, and I don’t envy her that; I wish I could do more to help. But I think one of the best things I can do, especially in a time of year where so many people find themselves trying to be close to the people they care about, is make sure she doesn’t feel deserted. So I’m happy I can be around for her. It’s a good time of the year to be supportive of those who we care about, right? Homes is where the heart is, after all.

And for the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home. (Sorry, never-ending Christmas music loop at work).

Men at Work

So my blog entries for the last week or so have been a bit sporadic. As some of you may have guessed, it is because of my new job. To be honest, spending eight hours on my feet is something I am not really all that used to, and it’s been taking a toll on my body – particularly my back. My feet seem to be OK, but standing in one space, largely immobile, for several hours at a time is making my back cry for mercy.

I imagine I’ll get used to it after a bit, and so I won’t be quite as worn out – and thus my blog writing schedule will pick back up again – but it will take some time to get used to. Until then, I’ll be posting every other day or so, just because I tend to be so worn out after work that I don’t think first about writing this. It isn’t an indication that I’m not really feeling good mentally, more that I am just worn out.

On the other hand, I do seem to be getting some time to do some cooking between shifts, both because I need to eat (much like the rest of us mortals) and because it’s a relatively stress-free exercise that keeps me focused and generally end up with me eating something that is better for me, if not always as appealing, as pizza. I suppose someday soon I’ll get around to asking my friends around here, like Calla, what things are on their lists of favorite foods so I can work up to making some of those. I mean, you make someone’s favorite food, they have to come hang out with you, right? It’s like a rule.

Really, it’s just kind of a fun activity, which is odd for me to say. Between that, reading, watching TV or movies, and working on roleplaying games, I have a lot of things keeping my mind occupied these days, so it’s a good way to wind down after work, or keep myself active on my days off – I don’t want to spend all day in bed, after all.

In other news, Calla seems to be doing a bit better than she was the other day, but she’s still having a tough time, though she’s made it clear that she thinks I’m not impeding her progress at Menninger. It’s good to know, but I still wish there was something I could do to help. Just that urge to try and fix things, I guess. One of the good things about not being able to physically fix things, though, means that listening is one of the few things I can do – and while I do still occasionally try to find things to fix while in conversation, mostly what I do is listen and try to give Calla (among other people) a metaphorical shoulder to cry on, let my friends know that they have someone who is willing to listen to them.

In any case, I’m finishing this entry just before I head off to work a shift from 7 AM – 3:30 PM, so I’m going to go finish getting ready and hope that I’m not completely tired out by the time I get home.

Mr. Fix-It

Man, it is hard to fight against the way we are at times. I’ve talked a lot about Calla here, and about how much she means to me, and so it is hard to watch when she’s going through tough times. So, being me, I want to try and help, to fix things, to make her feel better. But I also find myself wondering if that is really the way to go.

I’m a guy, and I imagine most guys will admit that seeing a woman crying, basically any woman, is hard to see – we, at least in my experience, want to help, to try and fix things to make the crying stop. (I dunno if the same is true of women seeing men cry; I’ve always found watching guys cry just very awkward.) But I wonder if that impulse here is the right one. I wonder if, in my well-intentioned trying to fix things, if I’m not actually making things worse.

One of the biggest positives to my time at Menninger was in getting to know my fellow patients (or peers, as we’re told to call them while we’re there). Some people I only knew for very short periods of time, and that often wasn’t enough to really get to know them. But others, even after just a couple weeks (which is an absurdly short period of time for me), are people who I still talk to, seriously, on a regular basis. My contacts list on my phone has tripled since arriving at Menninger. The relationships I formed there have helped to get me where I am today.

I wonder if I am doing Calla any favors by remaining close by, always ready to visit if she wants me to. Maybe the safety of that relationship keeps her from forming others among her peers. While I can’t deny that there is some appeal in being such an important figure in her life, I don’t think it helps anyone if our relationship keeps her from forming new ones. I want to be there for her, but I also don’t want to impede her treatment.

It’s hard to watch her go through such a tough time. After watching her descend from a relatively good mood earlier today into what seemed to be relatively deep depression, after leaving I was just a mess of fear, anger, and sadness; it took me a couple of hours, some loud music, and hitting things repeatedly to get me back in a pretty normal state of mind. I’m not really sure what to do, whether I am helping her or hurting her, and that not knowing is really messing with my head. So, how do I fix this situation I got into by wanting to fix things? Is that too recursive?

On a more mundane note, my forays into cooking over the last few days have been stuponfucious (that is too a word, Penny Arcade says so and they’re never wrong about words they created). I made mashed cauliflower and broccoli and Stilton soup, and they were both awesome (though the soup was less soup than puree, but still super tasty).

New Age

So, the last few days have been pretty busy. I started work on Tuesday, doing training, and yesterday I spent some time cooking, cleaning, and reading – which doesn’t sound too busy, but then you didn’t see how tired I was after my first day at work.

Today, I went in to work to train on working the registers, and actually got a while to work on the register by myself for about an hour or so. Other than the back soreness created by standing up without moving around for a long time, it was a pretty decent day at work, and I think I actually did a relatively good job for my first time out.

After work, I got to grab some food and go visit Calla – we didn’t go to the cafeteria there, because I brought food from Sonic. I am, of course, the man (not meaning, of course, that I am the male in this friendship, though I suppose I am, but more along the lines of general awesomeness). She’s been having a rough couple of days, and so I was glad to get the chance to come see her.

Seeing her is the high point of my day every time I do it. I know that she isn’t in a great place mentally right now, but I still feel good just being around her. It must show, too – when I was talking to her earlier, she actually told me, and this is no joke, that I was ‘too optimistic’.

Yeah, I know, right? When you recover, just think how surprising I found that.

It’s been a life-altering 8-10 months, and I think that her statement, however joking it may have been, is a good indication of how far I’ve come. I went from basically being a deadbeat, suicidal, hopeless, lonely guy to a guy with his own apartment, living among friends, having a job, activities, and people around here who I care for and who care about me (I mean just the immediate area, I know there are other people who care about me).

So I may be, justifiably, more optimistic than I was a year ago. That’s pretty cool, now that I think about it. I hope that Calla can start in that direction, because I really like her. I think she deserves to be in a better place in life, where she feels at least kind of as amazing as I think she is.In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to be a support for her, and my other friends, and hope they’ll do the same for me. I think writing this blog has been really therapeutic, and a big help to me, and I hope it can continue to be so,

But, really, what kind of a funny face and/or noise did you make when you saw someone said I was ‘too optimistic’?