“Just pack it, Shan”

In my suitcase right now, I have three skirts.  Three.  All three are different lengths and styles.  One is a maxi, one is a tea length skirt with a cute flare at the bottom, and one is tea length with a high waist and is business suit style.  All of them are black.  They’re for the weekend coming up.  I also have two different tops, one cover/long sleeve sweater type thing, and a heavier short sleeve sweater.  Again, all are in black, except for one of the tops.  I was instructed to pack all of my dressy clothes, and since it was predicted to be warmer in Cleveland than the usual around this time of year, I made sure to grab skirts.  Well, looks like I’m going to need to pack a pair of dressy pants after all.  *le sigh*  Curse your sudden yet inevitable weather betrayal, Cleveland.  I’m betting that no matter how cool it is outside, it’ll be hot inside.  I’m hot natured anyway.  Probably makes you wonder why the hell I moved to Texas in the first place, huh?

Well, when you’ve been buried in snow for 25 years of life on this earth, there comes a time when 100+F degree temperatures sound amazing when compared to the -10F and below wind chills of wintertime.  And the seemingly six months of winter.  It snowed earlier this month.  SNOWED.  Meanwhile, I was here in Texas enjoying the sunshine.  You see, I love sunshine, and I’m not much for gloomy, overcast weather.  Only 49% of the year in the Land of Cleve is full sunshine – not partly or mostly sunny…100% sunshine.  Talk about gloomy.  I think I looked up weather facts once, only to find that Seattle has more sunny days than Cleveland.  I think the only way I might make it across the pond in England would be thanks to all of the pubs.

Anyway, I digress.  My bad; I do that a lot.  So now comes the decision of which shoes I should take.  I don’t want to take both; I want to operate under the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  My suitcase is a small (yet adorable) Mickey Mouse carry on, but it’s akin to the Tardis in the simple fact that it’s bigger on the inside.  (Yes, I’m a geeky Disney fanatic – SUE ME.)  I was able to pack a couple of my Fox shirts and my Red vs. Blue shirt (people, if you haven’t seen RVB – fix that – it’s actually been my standby with all of the grief I’ve been experiencing, and it legitimately made me laugh the other day).  I guess I’ll have to grab a long sleeve shirt, too.

My digital SLR will also be making its first trip to the Great White North (note:  this is my lovely nickname for Cleveland, especially during the wintertime because it’s fun to mess with the native Texans by informing them that you’re from the Great White North…yeah, I know I’m not Canadian, but it still gets funny when you see the terror cross their faces as they realize just how cold it gets “up north”).  I’m glad I bought a backpack style camera bag when I got the camera.  It’s going to be super helpful!

My mom had suggested checking my suitcase so that I could bring both my camera and laptop, buuuuuuuut I just got my adorable Mickey Mouse suitcase, and the thought of an airline manhandling the thing made me all sad inside.  Mickey Mouse does not deserve that treatment.  (As an aside, after purchasing said adorableness on wheels, I realized that it matches my Disney purse exactly, as it has multicolored silhouettes of Mickey himself all over…I promise you I didn’t do that on purpose.  My boyfriend does not believe me any farther than he can throw me.)  So now I have to figure out how to fit my tablet in the camera bag since I’m not sure how to reconfigure it to fit everything there.  I don’t have much in the way of equipment yet since I’m still a noob (again – I used to be old school and developed my own black and white film and such when I took the courses in high school and refused to change for the longest time…heh).

Tonight I’ll finish packing and try to get everything situated.  Easier said than done.  Ten bucks says I have a small freak out about whether or not I’m bringing the right stuff with me (I am), and I’ll get to thinking that I have to unpack everything I’ve already packed to make sure it all matches my list (it does).  The way my brain works is mystifying sometimes.

Welp, I’m here…that’s something!

Lately, when people have asked me “How are you?” or even “How’s it going?” I respond with “Welp, I’m here!  That’s something!”  Because it really is.  I get out of bed between 5:15 and 5:25 (sometimes I hit the snooze for a whole whopping 10 minutes, as if it’s going to make up for the two hours of sleep I skipped because I wanted to chat with the boyfriend about his day after he’s worked late).  Yes, I do have coffee every morning, but there are those non-morning people that understand the fact that sometimes it really doesn’t work.  And when that’s the case, you’ve gotta wonder…what exactly is it that you’re paying for?  Maybe I should invest in Death Wish Coffee…see if it will, in fact, wake me the heck up in the morning.

I know for a fact that some will understand that first paragraph.  More may understand this…I live in Dallas, right?  The ninth largest city in the U.S.  This isn’t by accident, either.  I wasn’t born here; I’m not from here.  So, how did I end up stuck in the ridiculous traffic that plagues the city for hours twice a day?  I’m glad you asked.  I took a great offer to come here to work for an awesome company – and it’s kick started my career.  I enjoy my job most days because I get to work with all sorts of different people, and no two days are really all that alike.  For example, I could be sitting at my desk, but I’m not always working on the same stuff.  Anyway…I’m from Cleveland.  Yes, that city in Ohio.  No, it’s not the “Mistake on the Lake,” and quit insulting my home, you ass.  You know what the mistake on the lake is?  Toledo.  Now, I mean no disrespect to the people that are reading this and happen to be from Fair Toledo (after all, I got my degree from the University of Toledo).  What I mean is this:  Ohio and Michigan got into a war over Toledo.  No, you didn’t misread that.  They got into a damn war, and Ohio just so happened to win.  I’m not kidding.  That info is here.  Maybe we should’ve let Michigan have Toledo after all – I mean, Toledo and Detroit used to be tight – to the point of where if the Detroit economy sneezed, the Toledo economy would catch a cold.  At least, that’s what one of my professors used to tell me.  Anyway, I got way, way off topic.  I don’t like fighting traffic more than once a day (and it took me 90 minutes to make my 30 mile commute home last night…ewwwwww).  Therefore, I get up before the sun does, put my sleepy behind in my car, and come in to work.  I usually get there around 6:15-ish, and there’s not much traffic then (thank God).  It’s the going home after 4:00 that incites my disdain with others and especially in the way they drive.  Oh, and if it’s raining?  Be prepared for people to panic over the fact that water is really wet.  Who knew?

So here’s another fun fact about me.  I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD for short.  I know!  Imagine my surprise when the panic attacks started!  My boyfriend and I were discussing a house and where to look and such, and with each house we went to go see, I got angry and stressed because it wasn’t what was shown on the pictures, nor was it anywhere close to what the description of the house had been on the websites.  I was really frustrated, and the poor guy was frustrated with me because I was making the whole process more stressful for him without intending to.  It wasn’t until about a month ago that I realized I needed some help.  (We finally found a house in November and moved in in December, and I wasn’t able to be here on closing day, like I had planned…long story for another post.)

So I naturally turned to my friend Google and asked it to help me find someone I could convey my worry and anxiety to.  Google happily obliged and sent me over to Dallas from my new to me, happy home in the southwest corner of the city, where I met my awesome therapist.  I say therapist because I want to try talk therapy before going anywhere else.  I don’t feel that it’s so bad that I need pills (yet, if at all, anyway).  So I’m trying something called ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  It’s basically accepting the fact that I have anxiety and committing myself to living along side it instead of fighting it.  Fighting it only makes it worse, as I’m sure some of you know.

Living with anxiety sucks because the people who don’t have it don’t understand you, and the people that do have it and actually understand you identify with your frustration at those that don’t get it.  And when you try to send pictures and cartoons to your boyfriend who currently doesn’t have anxiety, he says “Well, you need to stop caring about that stuff and overreacting.”  Now, the boyfriend is a very strong, supportive man, and I’m very grateful to have him in my life (even though he doesn’t know when I’m really complaining and when I’m actually venting).  But he doesn’t have the anxiety, so he doesn’t really get the lovely revolving door of doubt, worry, fear, and confidence breaking distress.

But you might get it, right?  And that’s what counts.  At least my fellow anxiety ridden people will understand.  At least someone does.