14 March 2015

Three Blessings Challenge, Day 2

I'm still doing this. I'm still doing this. I'm STILL. Doing this.

Three Blessings Challenge - 3 Things That Went Well Today and Why

1.) I got to sleep in

2.) I got to see my friend Crystal

3.) I got to get groceries alone


1.) I've been running long and strong and hard all week and sleeping in is such a rare circumstance in my life. Besides that, it was guilt-free sleeping in. After far too many years, I'm finally really good about getting up in the morning. Making good time, starting the day, which wasn't like before. Before, I used to feel a lot of sadness about not getting enough sleep. It made me feel like I was constantly running against myself and would only get up because guilt of duty prompted me out of bed. It induced a lot of hardship and I hadn't known how to change it. I don't know what's changed exactly, but I'm so happy to know that it has. I'm much happier now, much more satisfied with.... what... I don't know, but it's so very nice to know that when I have the rare chance to sleep in, I can; AND that I just don't have to do it that much anymore. Maybe it's because I'm in an environment where that's supported and my better half gets it, maybe it's just because I'm getting older and those changes that come with age compel me to get up earlier regularly, maybe I'm just a heck of a lot happier and that just affects everything. But sleeping in is still a reward that doesn't have to happen anywhere near as much anymore and I really enjoy it when I get the chance.

    *plus, I got to camp out with Trevor on the couch, who's been recovering from his tonsillectomy for two weeks!

2.) I really didn't think she had to work today and was surprised when I texted her to see if our girls could get together to learn that I wouldn't get to see her, but she's just someone who makes you happy to hang out with her; and so I went to see her at work. We used to work together, but I've since changed jobs and got to visit her in the temporary trailer where they've got all the personnel housed until the rest of the new building is constructed and the two departments are merged.

3.) I really hate grocery shopping. Or at least I used to. It is the ultimate drag chore. I don't remember how I ever survived it in my married life, and I sure the hell hated doing it with the narcissistic ex, but I have hated the whole haggling of it. Trying to figure out what groceries really cost, as you stand there in the middle of the aisle, trying to subdivide in your head and figure out the cost per unit, the weight or volume per unit, while comparing and contrasting, for every single item you place in your cart, shrewdly calculating if that thing on sale is really on sale or if getting the generic brand will do. And let's not even get started on the Air Miles thing! Sure they put the Air Miles item on sale, but it's still expensive and you have to buy multiples. UGH. Up until now, I have hated every aspect of it. The math, the standing around, the aisle-blocking, the navigating other cart drivers, the suspense of whether the cashier can bag the items properly, the gut-punch of the total, the toting it out all out to your car, and finally getting it in your house PLUS putting them all away.

But I have since learned that, for some crazy reason, Trevor views going together as quality time and has assured me that he likes it when I'm there and we talk about grocery stuff together. I have a hard time seeing that way, but try not to grumble my way through the process so that we can have some semblance of enjoying it. But it takes a long time to do it that way; and I'm really good at going straight in, getting exactly what's on the list, and marching out. So doing it the chatty, aisle-meandering, quality time way is good and been good for me, but it takes a long time. And so today, not only did we actually go through the flyers before I ventured out and comprise a list of essentials, but I got to bee line for each item in the store and get out. Yes, there was haggling, which used to make me feel so stupid because I would never calculate properly, but I got out; and I think this job I have and the relationship I'm in have helped me exercise my brain. Both require me to think. A LOT. And this is a good thing. If you've read any of my previous entries, especially on the car accident I was in, you'd understand. It doesn't hurt to think anymore. Both job and boyfriend have been just exactly the loving and challenging boot camp I've needed for my brain. And going grocery shopping alone was therapeutic and cathartic.

Why It Happened  

1.) Getting to sleep in happened because I didn't have anything to be up for, no obligations, no kids to pick up, and all my house cleaning had gotten done yesterday. Because Trevor loves me and wanted me to be close. Because of a lot of good things.

2.) I got to see Crystal because I know where she works, because I have a car that had gas in it, because I know how to drive.

3.) Grocery shopping happened because we are able to sustain ourselves, because even though we're not quite in over our heads in debt, we're able to decide on those things as a team. Because Trevor has higher standards than I do about what we eat and is able to provide for us in that way. Because we are blessed. Because God provides for all of his children, the least and the neediest, and we are certainly not that and he still provides us in the middle ground. Amen!

Three Blessings Challenge

I made this up myself. Well, sort of. Actually, it's not that far of a stretch from any other three-day, 7-day, 30-day challenge, nor did I think up the idea at all. I just assembled two other people's ideas - other challenges I've seen (and some I've completed) and this article about training your brain to be happy; and figured I would turn them into a challenge for myself.

Challenge is a word that seems to draw more ambition out of me than say, "diet" or "excercise routine" and, well, the article linked to above was just the last straw, the last kick in the pants I needed to get back into blogging and/or journalling. I love writing. I've missed it. But I've also learned that moving out of a small, cramped town still does not remove the absolute necessity of discretion in subject matter and composition style, so I'm pretty much flooped as I like to bitch about things.

But that's where we are. The constant struggle to refrain from negativity. I've waffled between the worlds of positivity and negativity since before I even started this blog and still I struggle. This blog was initially meant to be a vehicle for that struggle and venting in a safe place. But unfortunately I learned that as audience-less as this blog is, it has fallen - more than one time - upon the eyes of just a few right people - or wrong; and it's given me occasion to step back, become more chompy and bitter and figure out what I need to do differently.

While reading, rereading, and more reading on every morsel of discerned piece of advice that I could possibly acquire in the segmented fractions of time that I have to do so, it has finally sunk into my brain that I do, indeed, need to do more positive thinking exercises. At last, there is no way around the very central fact that 1) I need to do this and 2) it's okay.

Heavy sigh. It's okay. It's actually OK to do this. It's ok.

It's. OH. KAY.

To go through the motions of an exercise that earlier in my life I would have written off as cheesy, bullshit garbage.

Because of the following reasons:

1.) I used to think counselors were bullshit, garbage fluffballs of do-no-good, help-thwarting la-la land dwellers, (some really are)

2.) I thought I had too many and too deep of a problem to get anyone to understand; beyond what any fluffball piece of sugary anecdote piece of crap advice could hope to inject,

3.) When I finally started to see their good and had the beautiful opportunity to talk to a few really good ones, I thought I had WAY too much stuff to work out - way more than the average life - that it would take time and committment that I just didn't have or want and was absolutely irate about having to schedule in appointments to order to continue,

4.) The idea that I couldn't get myself through something, anything, of the trials I'd been through, irritated the piss out of me. Surely the way I survived was the kickassest way. It was the Cazares way. It did just fine, thankyouverymuch, and wasn't I kickassy enough for everyone to see that?

 5.) My dad confirmed that counselors/therapists/psychologists were just bullshit, too, when I young. Before I even took my first step into the real world or had my first real taste of obstacles, I wasn't going to stand a chance in hell of resembling anything close to a healthy adult.

And... why, I wonder, was I so negative?

The problem is and has been for a lonnnnnnnng, terribly long, time affecting just about every. single. relationship. I've ever been in.


Since the history of Amy Maria Cazares.

Huge and apocalyptic defensiveness. To seed and seep into every pore and vein within my tentacle grasp. Write the word "defensiveness". Circle it. Now draw all the branches out with the names of every perceivable consequence of that word written on each branch until you're blue in the face or exhausted or both. There. Now you have some idea of the havoc I've wreaked on people. And, consequently, how I've distorted the SHIT out of everything with every single emotion I've ever tinkered with.

From the Old Amy to the Now Amy, I'd like to think I've moved my way from thinking like a cavewoman to a smart person, with more fully formed ideas and logic, rationale, common sense (REAL common sense, not the relative common sense.) But it's still there. That urge to growl, snap, force those I love to cow down before me, lash out. I might as well be the hunter and the gatherer.

But all those reasons for thinking help, getting help, or seeking out help was so "cheesy" are also exactly why, finally, now it's okay. I finally read enough articles, talked to enough people, and struggled enough with my stupid, damning pride through plenty enough years to finally get it through my stubborn, super thick skull that I can see that, yes, these are signs. Signs that point to the need to do something to help myself. To practice what I cannot preach.

So with that, just like with any routine of discipline, much like music lessons or sports abilities, you have to practice what you're not good at with steady rigor and patient repetitiveness. And since I've got that going for me (the ability to play piano), which is nice, I am ready and able to practice what I'm not good with. Being positive. I am taking the advice of the above-mentioned article and turning it into a challenge.

Three Blessings Challenge - 3 Things That Went Well Today and Why

1.) I got the house clean

2.) I got to blast the kids' music in the car

3.) I finally got back to blogging


1.) I felt accomplished. It got cleaned the way I like it. It was nice to move around and feel relief that piles weren't running rampant and taking over. And Trevor was home to enjoy it with after.

2.) It made the girls smile and be surprised. I got to be the cool mom for a sec. I got to be "that" mom for a moment. The weather was the most beautiful day of the season thus far. And it took me back to being a kid wishing she could drive and jam to her music. And I got to do that for my kid self, but also garner my daughter's smile.

3.) I enjoy writing and I love being able to put myself into my work and now I have something I can put all of that excitement into in a constructive but unhampered way.

Why It Happened

1.) I had an EDO today. I had time. God blessed me with a government job after much heartache in other jobs.

2.) I just got in the car without balking about gas. I just enjoyed my car, used the sound system, revved the EcoBoost that gives it balls, took corners a little too fast because my car maneuvers like a dream, picked up Ce's friends all over town to take them to a cute little get-together. I wanted to make Celia and her friends happy and at ease.

3.) Because I finally bit the bullet. Because I finally paid attention to signs that were so evident and clear that I could no longer just shirk them away. God was more persistent and stubborn than me. PRAISE IT!