Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Ball of Stress

That's what I am these days--well, not a ball of stress so much as an upright, walking, talking, human-looking container of stress, but I keep the expression I adopted in the days when stress continually forced me to curl up in a ball and try to hide in the nearest corner. I feel like banging my head against a wall when I go to church every Sunday, which is how I felt for several months last year when my mission papers took forever to go through and then I was told I couldn't serve a regular full-time mission because it would be too stressful for me and then I had no idea what to do with my life because I was certain the Lord had some work for me to do and I had really thought it was a mission. Yeah, I feel that way now. There is something I'm missing, something I'm supposed to be doing or leanring or some significant event is looming, but I can't quite see it through the clouds right now. And I want to bang my head against a wall to try and force the answer out of the depths of my mind, like maybe cracking my skull will release the pressure my thoughts are building up and then all the answers will be free to float lightly through the air where I can look up and see them. I feel like shaking myself and yelling, "Wake up and figure it out already!" But patience, patience. I actually did bang my head a little on the desk during the closing prayer in Sunday School. I also cried several time in church and afterwards today. The only meeting in which I did not cry was Sunday School, mainly because I was teaching it.

Two days ago, a good friend asked me to do something for her that I simply cannot do. I mean, I could do it, and it is tempting to do it because she wants me do it so badly to "solve" one of her problems, but I can't do it because I know it will solve nothing. In fact, it will perpetuate a gross lack of communication between her and another friend and aggravate the problem at hand. But she doesn't see the situation the way I do and insists that I can be the solution to her problem. I have done everything I can think to do for her, and now I am stressing myself out wondering if there is more, if I have missed something that will help her.

Then there are boys. I go through periods when I embrace modern society's gender role reversal during courtship. I happily (though not easily) ask out the boys that I like until, after a few months, I grow tired of it and wish I lived back when everyone knew that it was the man's responsibilty to pursue the woman and fewer people put off courtship and marriage the way they do now. Right now I am at that point where I am starting to get frustrated. I am currently interested in 3 guys. I don't know which one I like best because they are all quite different and I like and dislike different things about them. I suppose the solution to this is to go on dates with all of them so I can decide how much I really like them. I don't want to ask them out, though--I want them to ask me out. Sadly, I have never been successful in getting the guys I like to ask me out. Some girls are so good at that. But not me. Alas and alack and woe is me and pout, pout, pout.

Of course I am still enduring the adjustment to my job, and I have moments when I know I will get through it and love it and moments when I feel like I'm going crazy.

So while I cried in church today, I decided to ask for a blessing. I thought of several people I might ask, and couldn't decide on one. Then my home teachers, who never bother to talk to me outside of their short monthly visit and whose names I cannot always remember, decided to come over, and I thought, "Maybe I will ask them. It is, afterall, their responsibility to use their priesthood to meet my needs, and perhaps I need to give them this chance to be better than the sub par home teachers they have been thus far." I decided I would ask them if, during their visit, I felt like they were sincerely concerned for my well-being. I did not feel like they cared. They talked to me about the Red Sox, and, while I love the Red Sox, the conversation was not even close to meeting my needs and didn't show much effort on their part to determine my needs. Then, despite their failing my little show-me-your-sincerety test, I asked for a blessing anyway, and I'm glad I did. It is interesting to receive a blessing from someone who knows nothing about you because you know that what they say is pure inspiration, uninfluenced by their knowledge of your situation. And so I heard the words of the Lord, speaking directly to me through the voice of a young man I don't know, and it removes none of my stressors but helps me remember the gifts God has given me to help me deal with it all.

And as I have expelled many long and audible sighs, the kind that shake your whole body, while writing this, I realize I am worn out, and it is time to eat and sleep because these most primitive acts are the most comforting right now.

Current song: "For the Beauty of the Earth"

Monday, November 17, 2008


The past few weeks have been rough. I have a love-hate relationship with my new job at the center for women with eating disorders. I love it because I love the women. Every day I look at them and think, "You are so beautiful, and you have no idea!" There is one little girl who looks like she would crumble into dust if you poked her, but her big eyes will melt you quicker than a stroll on the sun's surface. Watching the women at meals is heartwrenching--the anxious trembling, the sullen faces, the sidelong glances at the bacon as though it will suddenly snap to life and attack them! Part of me wants to grab the bacon off their plates and stuff it in my mouth just to take away the pain I see in their eyes and slumped shoulders. But of course that wouldn't help them.

I wonder sometimes if I can handle such an emotionally stressful job. I am not the only one who wonders. A week ago, my Relief Society President came by to see how I was doing, and I had to admit I was miserable. I had been taking care of a lot of people (at work and elsewhere) but neglecting myself, and no one else seemed to be taking care of me, so I had a lot of unmet needs. Training on all the shifts (morning, eveing, graveyard) threw my sleep schedule out of whack, and being tired is no help for managing my mood. This morning, I was so tired that when my alarm went off, I started crying, cried myself back to sleep, and missed my shift at the temple. When I finally woke up, I spent the day consciously combating the flood of guilt I felt for letting down the other temple workers on my shift. So I don't know if I can do this, but one of the other care techs (that's my job title) said it takes about two months to settle in, and if I can survive that long, I'll be fine. My therapist thinks this job will be good for me and I'll be good at it, and she's the expert, right?

Segway to something unrelated: I had to work yesterday morning, so I missed church. Luckily, my friend Matt let me tag along to church with him in the afternoon. He attends the ward for single adults over 30. I had a fascinating experience there. In Relief Society, for several minutes, I watched a woman pick her nose and roll the mucous around between her fingers. All I could think of was what I have heard my dad say many times about the older single adult wards back home: "There's a reason some of these people aren't married." In the past, I have found that statement offensive, but provided it is not overgeneralized, it's accurate. I mean, come on, picking your nose and playing with your snot, in public no less? Really? Really?

Despite buger lady and several mildly offensive political comments during the Relief Society discussion about the "signs of the times," I enjoyed church. Mostly, I think I enjoyed going to church with Matt. These days, I go to church alone because my roommate is always ready to leave earlier than I am. Also, even though I have plenty of friends in my ward, I feel lonely at church. There was something about going with Matt--walking into Sacrament Meeting with him, seeing him waiting for me outside of the Relief Society room, sharing a hymnal and using his knee as the "book rest"--it all felt comforting somehow.

Wow, I really didn't realize how lonely I've been lately. Sad, sad. Bedtime now because sleep solves all problems (I'm only half joking).

Current songs: "Life in Technicolor" and "Lost!" by Coldplay

Organization: An Open Letter

Dear unauthorized viewer of my DVDs,

Despite the fact that I don't know who you are, you are welcome to watch my movies, but please put them away properly. My movie collection, which I keep alphabetically by title, is one of the only organized areas of my life, and I need it for my sanity. For your reference the alphabet is ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. This means that The Sum of All Fears does not belong between Bride and Prejudice and Bridge to Tarabithia, nor should Legally Blond be between Hook and Hotel Rwanda, as I found them this afternoon. If you would prefer to use the Greek alphabet, alphabetization by director, chronoligical release date, or some other organizational system, please discuss your ideas with me and I will reevaluate my current practices. Thank you for your consideration.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Little Justice

I found out that, while Bramble was re-elected to State Senate, he did not retain his position as majority leader. As hard as I have tried over the past few days to stifle my childish response to this, I give up and have one word now: sucker! But, to be completely serious and considerably more mature, I doubt this experience has changed Bramble, but perhaps it is at least part of a series of experiences that will humble him. We all need those experiences that force the pride right out of our bodies in beads of anxious, God-fearing sweat. Myself included.

Current songs: various Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas music (kind of blends together into one long song). I'm going to the TSO concert in Salt Lake this Thursday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Several people asked me today if I blogged about the election results. (These days every conversation I have with people seems to involve them asking me if I have blogged about something or telling me I should do so.) Really, I was avoiding talking about the election because an exhaustive email discussion over the past week with some friends about Proposition 8 has left me disgusted with politics. Nonetheless, here's what I think.

McCain's speech was excellent, and I hope the Obama haters will take a lesson from McCain's gracious attitude. Why can't candidates act like that during the race?

I am disappointed that RaDene lost and Bramble won. Maybe I will egg his house. (Just kidding, but maybe someone else will do it now that I've planted the idea. I am still amazed at the impact of my little voice.)

I believe the potential for good equals the potential for evil in every person and in every situation. When I was growing up, whenever some adult talked to me about reaching my potential, I thought, "Which one?" (Sometimes I think I fear to use my influence because I know that I have the power to hurt as much as to help--and it's far more power than I like to admit or want to have.) We have just chosen which candidates we will allow to show us their potential, and now our elected officials will decide for themselves to work towards either their potential for good or their potential for ill. I like to hope that the leaders we don't like and in whom we have little faith will surprise us. I find most people surprise me in a good way when I give them the chance.

Current song: "How to Be Dead," Snow Patrol

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grumble Grumble

That rain and thunder outside my window right now, that's my mood spilling out of my head and chest and climbing into the sky. I have been tired and stressed and grumpy for the past week and a half. Despite all the obvious mercies the Lord has extended me, I continue to sulk.

Mercy number one: Last Sunday, though my Sunday School lesson was ill-prepared and my mood was uncontrolled enough that I snapped at the class for being late, one of the young men who does not usually come to church appraoched me and said, "That was a really good lesson. I was surprised." "You didn't think I'd be a good teacher?" "No, it's just that usually Sunday School sucks, but that was really good." Then he walked with me almost all the way to Relief Society, discussing what we had talked about in Sunday School. So despite my frustration, I achieved my goal, which is always to reach the one person who needs the most help. (I don't know if he needs the most help, but I'm calling my lesson a success anyway.) But of course it was none of my doing because I was too grumpy to say anything of consequence on my own. In fact, I am surprised the Lord was even able to use me to convey a message to someone else, but whatever.

Mercy number two: On Monday, my first day of training at my new job, I was remarkably not overwhelmed or stressed at all. It is impossible that I de-stressed myself.

Mercy number three: On Wednesday, I received a very nice and unexpected phone call of sympathy and encouragement.

Mercy number four: Yesterday, I received a postcard from two old friends. They aren't on vacation or anything--they were just on their way to the movies and saw a stand with "postcards which screamed out to us 'send me to Anna Eagar!!!'" For a brief moment, I felt loved, undeserving as I am in my current state of hating the world.

Mercy number five: Last night, when I was thinking, "Gee I read need to do something more interactive tonight than watch a movie, but I really don't have the emotional energy to organize something," Lizzy invited me to play games at her apartment.

Yet I continue to feel unloved and unloveable and irrationally grumpy, with the strong urge to break something. Actually, what I really want to do is cook dinner with someone and sit down and eat together and ask the other person how their day was, but I won't because I am too busy wallowing. So today I will sleep, and tomorrow I will consider putting myself back together.