Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Facebook "Forbearance"

    For the past couple of weeks, I had been avoiding making visits to my Facebook account.  Even though I titled this blog article Facebook "Forbearance," I'm still not completely sure if that's what I want to call my chosen lack of Facebook experience.  I've been calling this period of time my "Facebook Ban" or my "Facebook Fast," but neither title seems to fit.  Facebook abstention?  Facebook stoppage, maybe?  Whatever words or label may fit the situation, it was still a choice I had made of my own free will to cease any and all visitation and activities with Facebook for two whole weeks.  And the experience was an overall positively refreshing one!
    Up until this point my experience with Facebook hadn't been all that bad.  Sure, every once in a while I come across a post that either annoyed or irked me, but it normally wasn't something I couldn't handle and was easy to ignore.  But within the past few months or so, the amount of posts that come across to me as negative, or extremely biased and/or contradicting, blatantly stupid or judgmental, so on and so fourth, had felt like they just sky-rocketed out of control.  And some of it felt targeted, maybe not specifically and personally towards me, but targeted in such a way that it included me.  And I was extremely hurt by that.  It's like having to relive The Year of Hell in sixth grade all over again sadly.  Some of it came from a page I liked thinking it was going to be cool, but turned out to be nothing more than biased opinions and click-bait articles.  I promptly unliked the page after coming back from my two weeks ban.  But the rest of it came from people who claimed to be my family and friends.  (At least the other six-graders that bullied me were open and honest about not liking me.)  People I can't unfriend without potentially causing ripples and fissures in already well established social constructs and make various social gatherings extremely awkward.  I really don't want to risk that.  I may not be perfect, but I'm not that low and horrible.  Besides, social gatherings are awkward enough for me without me making them even worse.  I do consider myself to be a shy introvert, after all.  But it's not like I gave up and gave in either.  I did my best to defend and protect myself and I did my best to fight back.  I made indirect posts and statuses pointing out how hurtful they can be and how they may have unintentionally both lowered themselves and hurt me at the same time.  How can you say that you're tolerant and accepting of everyone and everything when don't act like it all the time?  It's like being willing to go to church and behaving yourself but then turning around and scrapping off "Pray for China" off a pair of someone else's chopsticks that you borrowed because you don't want anyone to see you with them.  It doesn't make any sense!  Why are you making yourself look so horrible when I KNOW you're really not?  Or at least... I hope you're not.  But either my words were not seen or they were not understood, because it didn't stop.  I had enough and needed a break away from the madness.  Two weeks, I told myself, I won't go back on for two weeks.  And that's just what I did.  It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

How I was feeling just before the Facebook ban.
    I've been back on Facebook for about a day or two now, and so far so good.  Everything seems back to normal and positive, which is absolutely wonderful!  But I have no problems about having to do it again if need be, especially when I have the full moral support of my father on my side.  When my dad approves of something, it is a big deal and it is something to take notice and acknowledge, as he doesn't do it often.  When dad liked the car I got, I knew it was a good car.  When he likes the cupcakes I make, I know I made some really good cupcakes.  When he approved of my decision of avoiding Facebook for two weeks, I know I made a really good decision - especially when he wanted to join me!
    After skipping out on Facebook for a period of time and realizing all the benefits that come along with that, a "Facebook Forbearance" is something I'm going to recommend to people every chance I get!  Not only did my overall mood and spirit improve tremendously, but I had more time to devote to other projects: my semi-new blog, catching up on my October Horror Movie Marathon goal, starting a make-over project on some furniture, etc.  (Speaking of furniture, I noticed some shelves out in the furniture dumpster this morning that I think my husband might like, I must remember to get them!  Yes, I'm a dumpster diver and proud of it!  Just wait until I post my furniture make-over I currently working on as it was a dumpster find too!)  But, in all seriousness, don't freak out and close out your Facebook account just yet if you can get away with it.  Just take a breather and avoid it for a week or two, or perhaps a full month or two.  Whatever you feel like is good for you, do it.  You will not regret it!  It's like taking a much needed vacation and it gives whatever and whoever you're having to deal with on Facebook cool their jets and grow a little.  And you'll grow too and have a fresh perspective on things.  The only hard part you're going to deal with is the first couple of days you might be itching to get back on and see what's going on with everybody and what you're missing.  Don't do it, fight it, it is worth it in the end! 

    In the mean time, check out this article on The New York Times website I heard about from a friend of mine.  Apparently Facebook did an unauthorized psychological study on its own unaware and unsuspecting users on how positive and negative posts effected them emotionally.  Click here to check out the article on this controversial study.  It's pretty interesting, wouldn't you say?  Makes one wonder...

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Don't Worry 'Bout a Thing."

    I absolutely hate it when someone tells me not to worry.  Hate it.  Especially in the past few months or so.  I know they mean well when they tell me, "Don't worry about it."  But do they really know what they're asking me to do?  Here's my personal mental breakdown of how I've been translating "don't worry:"

Worry = Concern
Concern = Caring

Worrying = Caring

And because of this,
"Don't worry about it." = "You shouldn't care." 

    Or at least, that's what I'm hearing when someone tells me not to worry.  Sooo, I shouldn't care?  I should just be indifferent then?  Do you realize how awful this sounds?  Do you even hear yourself right now??  Are you really that insensitive?  That unapologetic?  That much of an uncaring, unconcerned, selfish, cold, emotionless, impassive fill-in-the-blank?!  Do you really expect me to be that way as well?!  Seriously??  My mind then proceeds to go off on an angry tangent of a series of questions and theories as to what could be psychologically wrong with this person who practically told me not to care about something I ought to care about as a normal, functioning human being with a soul.  *breathes*

    Yes, my mind tends to overreact, but you kinda see how I get to this point, right?  I'm not being completely unreasonable, am I?  Again, I realize in all reality that they mean well, but it just comes off so wrong sometimes.  Sometimes it's more hurtful than helpful.
    Today I got a reality check, I've come to the realization of why it comes off so wrong.  It's because I have forgotten that I can still be caring without the worry and that the act of worrying itself doesn't solve anything or make me care more than I already do.  Sometimes worry is necessary or important to motivate one into action or to cause change, but when no action or change can be made what's the point of worrying?  Not worrying doesn't necessarily make me any less caring, either.  The sermon at my friend's Methodist Church I visited this past Sunday reminded me of all of this.  It reminded me of what I had forgotten because I let my worry run off with my emotions.  My mind focused and zeroed in on the people and things caused me to worry in the first place so much that I was unable to control or rationalize how much I let myself worry.  Then I got angry, frustrated and hurt, either because I felt as if no one understood why I worried so much or because they didn't seem to understand or care why I felt they like they were the ones that caused me to worry (if it was people that caused me to worry to begin with).  And that just made things so much worse.
    Learning these lessons will not necessarily create instantaneous changes in me, I am aware of this fact.  Nor does this mean that I will not have to learn these lessons again in my lifetime.  But it's given me some ideas and guidelines as to where and how to start making changes in my life to where I can more appropriately worry less without feeling like I'm loosing any part of my sense of empathy.

    Also, typing in "worry" or "worry quotes" into Google Image Search and reading what comes up is a great help too!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nothin' but Cupcakes

     This past week I went out with my in-law family in celebration of my brother-in-law's b-day and I was in charge of bringing cupcakes.  Challenge accepted.  Let me tell you one thing about how I make cupcakes, I don't just make cupcakes - I make fabulous cupcakes!  Fabulous, extravagant, over-the-top cupcakes with so much thought and detail put into them that I sometimes amaze myself... either that or I end up pulling out my own hair because I've planned to do too much added elaboration to what was once a box of simple cake mix.  No matter which way it goes, everyone is usually happy with the outcome of the resulting end product, which makes me really happy too.  
    I asked my mama-in-law what flavor I ought to bake and the answer I got was chocolate.  I thought to myself, "Oooh, I love chocolate!  I can most definitely do that!"  To which the creative and insane part of my mind replied, "Just chocolate?  No, no, no, no, no, no, no, this simply will not do.  Let's make deliciously crazy chocolate cupcakes!"  The creative and insane part of my mind proceeded to take the original chocolate idea and run off with it like a overly hyper, caffeinated kindergartner on a sugar high.

Okay, what kind of chocolate cupcakes shall I make then, Miss Cray?  Chocolate Cherry?
Nah, that's been done.  To simple.  And too Valentines-y.
Hmm, okay.  Junior Mint?  That's always a good one!
Already made those.  Twice, in fact.  Lets do something different, shall we?  Keep going!
Umm, Chocolate Peanut Butter?
Too predictable.  Too common.
*sigh*  Okay, what about Chocolate Malt Balls?
Hmm, getting better.  What else you got?
Oooh!  What about S'mores?
I'm loving it!  ...But let me level up on that with Chocolate S'mores.  I know they make chocolate marshmallows!
I love it!  It's perfect!
Of course, it was my idea.

    And so Chocolate S'more Cupcakes came into being thanks to my weird thought process.  (She says "you're welcome," by-the-way.)  I took basic chocolate cake mix and added crumbled up pieces of graham crackers into the batter.  After they were baked, I filled them with a mixture of vanilla pudding, a package of hot cocoa mix, and marshmallow goop.  I then iced them with basic chocolate fudge icing and topped it with a mini s'more that was made with chocolate & vanilla swirl marshmallows.  Yuuuum!
    Everyone at the party loved them.  I encouraged them to take extras, which I had a couple of takers on my offer.  I still ended up with enough to where I could take them to work and share them with my coworkers, which I did.  Everyone at work loved them too.  A couple of them even took pictures!  That was a first for me!  I still ended up with quite a few leftover cupcakes.  That's okay though, I brought them to my parents house and they split one between them and I had a whole one.  Also, I'm going over to a friend's house to watch horror movies and eat junk food.  (An early Halloween celebration since I'm going to miss the official day this year to make it to a wedding on the following day.)  I'll take her and her family some.  That will leave me about 3 or 4 left, which I can more easily handle rather than 12.
    This was fun though!  It had been since last Easter since I made cupcakes.  But the chances and opportunities to make them is much fewer these days.  And they make so many that the only way it would work out is if I made them for a family event and followed it up with taking the leftover ones to work, or vice versa.  I absolutely refuse to let any cupcake go bad!  That would be wrong on so many levels.  *shudders*  But when I do get the chance and the time, I absolutely love making cupcakes!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Puppy Love

    I want a dog.  Like, I REALLY want a dog.  I've always wanted a dog since I was a little itty bitty.  But I never got one because my dad was allergic to them.  He had a dog once while growing up, an English Bulldog named Dutchess, but no one put two and two together until the dog died and suddenly my dad was able to experience what breathing was like.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't to that extreme, but it was enough of a change to notice the connection.  I've had a similar experience when I found out I was allergic to cats.  (All praise and glory to God for the wonderful blessing of allergy medications!  No, seriously, thank you!)

The Breath of Life in pill form.
    But even with the existence of wonderful modern-day allergy medications, the topic of getting a dog in my family still received the reply of a big fat NO.  "No dogs in this house!  Not now, not ever!"  Boogers.  *sad face*  But I didn't go without a pet though.  During the time I've lived with my parents, I've been blessed with having kept two wonderful parakeets that I loved very much.
    Now that I'm married and out of the house, I finally have a chance to get one!  ...Even though my husband doesn't really want one either.  *facepalm*  (But he's not allergic, I don't understand!!!)  Guess what though?  Right now, he's off in the Great Sandbox (as he calls it) nine hours into the future and I'm here by myself 90% of the time at an apartment complex where the cops have had to come out about SEVEN TIMES within the past year.  Although most of those have been for domestic disturbances, I still don't like it.  I'm not comfortable with it all.  Not only do I want a dog just because I've always wanted one.  I now want one so I won't feel so alone and isolated, and I also want a dog so I can have some sense of  protection and security.  Everyone has been telling me to get a dog.  And I would've had one by now, but there's one snag.  I visit my parents on the weekend, and I can't take the dog with me.  One of my friends has been trying to convince her mom to let her dog sit for me on the weekends.  But considering they recently lost their cat, and they have a new bird they're trying to break in, and that both of her parents didn't want another dog after their last dog passed away, I'm not going to get my hopes up.  If I found a place for my dog to stay for the weekend, I'd have it made!  So close, yet so far!

My thoughts exactly.

    Despite these difficulties, I've still been looking around.  I've visited one animal shelter and checked out  I've found some on petfinder that I thought would be a good match for me!   Here's a list of the ones I like best:

Schatzi, an adorable German Shepard:

Missy, a Lab Mix:

Newton, another Lab Mix that loves kids and other dogs:

Tiger Lily, those ears!  I love those ears!  XD

    This is just a small list of the ones I liked.  So far, I think Schatzi is my favorite, even if she's a pure bred.  There were some really nice Anatolian Shepherd and Anatolian Shepherd Mixes, but they were at a rescue place that expects you to have a fence and I live in an apartment, so that's clearly not going to work out.  Who knows, I may end up never getting a dog.  I sure hope that doesn't end up being the case!

Can I keep her?  Pleeeease!  :3

Saturday, October 18, 2014

This is Halloween-ish.

    Ahh, October, the month of creeps, sneaks, and horror flicks - and also tasty treats!  I love you so, you're the black-light of my life every year... except not so much this year.  Although the month isn't over and I plan to salvage what's left of it as best I can.  Despite all the emotional mess, the fact that I've banned myself from Facebook for two weeks, not being able to finish the decorative door cover in a more timely manner, the fact that I'm sooo far behind my scary-movie-for-every-day-of-October tradition, and the fact that I will miss Halloween day itself because I've got to be at a wedding the following day - I'm still determined to make the most of it.  This is one of my favorite times of the year, besides Christmas and my birthday, I gotta put SOME effort into the current spirit of things and I have.
    This is the first time ever that I've decorated for Halloween.  It's not much, but it's more than I have ever done in the past and I'm quite proud!  The only Halloween decoration that we ever put out for Halloween in my family was a string-mache jack-o-lantern that my mom made at a tot-takers ladies crafting club thing back in Texas. (I don't remember exactly, it was so long ago.  Although I wouldn't mind joining a similar club!  That pumpkin turned out pretty good!)  This year I put up a variety of window clings, warning/caution tape, and festively colored lights in the windows along with a sign in the big window that reads "Warning: Do Not Feed The Zombies" in the biggest window.  Here are some photos to show you, they're not the greatest but I hope you enjoy them anyway!

Glow-in-the-dark Jack-O-Lanterns & stars with black stars & bats,
warning tape, and orange, green, and purple lights.
Glow-in-the-dark ghosts & stars with black bats,
warning tape, and orange, green, and purple lights.
Black bats, warning tape, zombie sign, and orange lights.
Our humble apartment from the outside.
You can find us pretty easily as we are the only apartment that's decorated.
Nighttime view!  Blurry, but still pretty!
    So, that's all the decoration that I've done that can be seen on the outside.  Inside I covered up the dresser and chest of drawers that's stowed away in the corner of the dining room with "creepy fabric," strung the left over caution/warning tapes across them both, left out the candelabra (It works with the rest of the decor!), left out the decorative wrought iron heart and lizard (they kinda work in a gothic style sort of way), and a cheesey mini plastic Jack-O-Lantern container that I've had forever.  And for the pièce de résistance, I've placed in the corner my life size replica of the Six Shooter puppet from the Puppet Master movies. If you don't know who he is, here's a stock image of the replica: 

Now here's an image of him climbing up a wall in the third movie to fill your night with nightmares just for giggles:

    Speaking of movies, one tradition of mine that I've failed accomplish this year is my October Horror Movie Marathon (OHMM).  Basically, my goal is to watch a scary movie (or at least something scary) everyday for the entire month of October.  It helps me get into the Halloween mood and I do like me some scary!  So far this month I've watched ONE horror movie, Annabelle, and the first episode of this season's The Walking Dead.  That's it.  Oh well, at least it's SOMETHING, right?  The episode of The Walking Dead was really good, as they all are!  Annabelle was really good too.  Very creepy and scary.  However, it was the kind of movie that makes you want to move into a church and and never ever leave... surrounded by crucifixes and crosses and a ring of salt... with sage burning 24/7 in all corners of the room... with the doors and windows boarded up... and two guns, one with a never ending supply of bullets (silver for good measure) and the other a super soaker filled with holy water.  (Yep, I planned it out.)  They did an excellent job with the doll!  She slowly looked more decayed and menacing as the movie progressed.  At one point her eyes looked bloodshot!  And the scenes where they would focus in on the doll, you'd always expect her to move or blink... but she NEVER does, which somehow seems creepier than if she DID move.  That doll was made by the NOPE Toy Company in the proud country of the United Territories of NOPE and made with 100% organic NOPE
Another creepy face for your nightmares.  You're welcome.
Seriously though, who sees this doll and thinks, "Hmm, that would make a great gift for someone I care about!  Hey, doesn't Little Suzie like dolls?  She'll absolutely DIE when she see's it."  *facepalm*  Yes, yes she will if you get it.  Please don't get this doll for Little Suzie, the girl probably has enough creepy dolls in her collection that may or may not want to EAT HER SOUL.  Just saying.
    Lastly, there is the tradition of going to Magic Screams.  (Normally known as the theme park, Magic Springs and Crystal Falls.)  I will be going again this weekend and I'm super stoked!  They've got my favorite haunted house attraction again this year, Paradox!  If you haven't been to this house, I highly recommend it.  It's not your traditional haunted house (which aren't bad themselves, don't get me wrong), but it's more like an artsy acid trip.  It's filled with strange rooms, eerie black-light action, pumping rave music, crazy color schemes and themes, and filled with people in full body mesh suits that like to lurk in dark corners... or stand right in front or next to you without you knowing, whatever tickles their fancy I guess.  I absolutely love it!
    Other than that, I'm going to try to improve upon my OHMM tradition and try to watch some more horror movies and I still intend to finish the decorative door cover.  As for dressing up in costume this year, I'm afraid that won't happen.  The most I'm probably going to do is wear my Ghostbusters t-shirt out to Magic Screams.  Although this October wasn't the greatest, it wasn't a complete failure.  I can only go up from here next year!
   (Oh, by-the-way, I don't know why the last few paragraphs have obnoxious spaces in between the lines.  I tried to fix it, but to no avail.  Tired, going to bed, goodnight!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

To Whom It May Concern...

To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing to you now out of personal necessity.  It is unfortunate that I must write this public letter to you now, but I need you to know how I feel and how much you've hurt me.  I will do my best to write this as eloquently and as gracefully as I possibly can despite this, because I do believe you have suffered much and I wish to continue to respect that.

Oh, how I wish there was such a thing...
    Some advice that was suggested to me was that if I were to properly "remedy" my current issues I've got to deal with what is causing my pain to begin with.  I know why I've been so distressed, and what's frustrating is that I can't do anything about it.  I can't get away, I can't sever ties, I can't go back on decisions I've made, nor reverse time itself.  There's no "reboot," no "restart button," no "refresh."  Or at least, that's what the darkest part of my human psyche continually whispers from the back of my mind.  That part of me also wants me to regret.  It wants me to regret trusting you, for letting you into my life, for making you my friend, for thinking I could look up to you, for wanting to come to you for advise or for the problems that arise for me.  I don't want to cut off ties with you or regret, but the pain is unbearable and I can't help but be weary of you.  
    For the first time in my life, I've had to resort to taking
anti-depressants in order to cope.  They have helped tremendously.  I've almost felt like my old self again!  However, recently I've started taking a couple of other medications for completely unrelated physical problem and found out yesterday that I can't take my anti-depressants with them.  If I did, the combination would cause potential damage to my heart and give me an irregular/fast heartbeat.  I had been taking them together for almost two weeks and had experienced chest pains, but I assumed that it was either from stress or heartburn.  Now that I've had to quit taking my anti-depressants cold turkey, I'm now left in a particularly emotionally vulnerable state.
    Here comes part where I make a plea to you, not only for myself but also for a very specific part of you.  Please stop hating yourself and your past.  Please stop being bitter about who you once were.  Because who you once were, is still very much a part of you and who you've become.  Your self-hatred, bitterness, and regret towards that part of your life makes me wonder how you feel about those that still are, even me.  Do you hate me just as much as you hate yourself?  I sometimes can't help but question your sincerity, and I hate that. 
    I hate how you described your past, you left out a very important part: forgiveness.  There is always forgiveness.  You can allow yourself to forgive yourself.  As long as you continue to breath, there can be forgiveness.  You have completely misunderstood and quite possibly forgotten that.  That's okay.  We've all made mistakes and have misunderstood.  I have made mistakes and misunderstood too.  But never, EVER, apologize to anyone for who you once were.  You are not an alcoholic or a drug addict.  You are not a criminal.  Anyone who made you feel that way or continue to make you feel that way do not deserve any of the time you have on this earth, and THEY should be the ones who feel ashamed of themselves.  Please, seek professional help and/or see about taking anti-depressants if you aren't on them already.  There is no shame in it!  They do work, trust me!  If you want, we can go see the talking doctor together.  You get your hour, I go get mine, and then we go for ice cream afterwards!  I don't care if that sounds strange, if it helps - it helps!  That's a good thing, right?

C'mon!  You know you want this... ;)

    But... if my words don't ever reach you, if they mean nothing to you... please stay away from me.  I cannot put up with it anymore.  Even though these pills help, I don't want to rely on them for the rest of my life.  I want to move on, with or without you.  I'm tired of feeling like I'm nothing more than an old sack of crap.  I'm tired of crying every time I'm reminded of something you said or did.  I'm tired of my chest hurting.  I'm tired of sometimes feeling like life isn't worth living.  I'm tired of it all.  Don't get me wrong, I don't hate you.  I will never hate you.  But I hate what you're doing to yourself and what you're doing to me and maybe what you're doing to other people.  (I may not be the only one who feels this way.  Maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to say anything!)  I simply wanted you to be aware of what exactly is going on with me.  I will help you if you need it, regardless.  But as long as you're like this, I can't be around you.  I'm only doing this for my own self-preservation, my health, and my sanity.  I'm sorry it had to come to this, please understand.

                               Truly Sincerely and with Love,
                                      Christie M. Arnold      

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Music Exchange #1 - What Sounds Uplifting to You?

    Howdy!  Welcome to my very first internet blog post EVER!  Since this is my first blog post ever, I want to start this bad boy off in an easy-going, enjoyable sort of way.  Let's have a musical exchange, shall we?

    So, what sounds uplifting to you?

    This could include songs that are motivating, are about closure or forgiveness, about moving on and living life, encouragement, joy, make you feel reassured and comforted, etc.  They can be spiritual or not, as long as they are positive.  They can have vocals or be purely instrumental, whatever you like.  I want this to be an enjoyable interactive experience for everyone!  And, personally, I wouldn't mind expanding my musical tastes and adding on to my mp3 library. (Or purchase whole CDs if I really like what I'm hearing!  Yes, I still purchase CDs.)  Let me start off by giving you my top picks:

1. Live for Better Days by Ignite

    This is my all-time, most favorite positive song ever.  I love it to pieces!  It's got feelings of closure and speaks of forgiving one's self, moving on, and self-improvement.  Just living life the best you can and always striving for the best in yourself.  And as a bonus, the lead singer does volunteer work helping injured Pelicans!  How awesome is that?!

2. Get Well by Icon For Hire

    A motivating song about improving one's self and getting better.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.  If you need help, you gotta be willing to get it.  There's a saying that goes, "You can only help those that can help themselves."  It's true.  I love that about this song.  Self determination!  I also dig that the lead singer is a woman.  Really good lady rockers are so few and far between!

3. Dig by Incubus

    I identify so much with this song.  Forgiveness is really the main theme of it, but it's also got togetherness, love, and hope.  I just really dig this song.  (No pun intended... Okay, maybe it was just a little intended.)

4. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

    An oldie but goodie.  It's upbeat and about moving on with life.  You cannot tell me that you aren't at least doing a little bit of mock disco dancing in your seat while listening to this song!  By the way, whatever happened with roller skates?

5. Meant to Live by Switchfoot

    Such love I have for this song!  It's got a really good message to it.  We're all alive for some reason and that reason has got to be something amazing.  I actually got to see these guys in concert.  The lead singer actually came off the stage during one of his songs and started shaking hands with the concert attendees.  Impressive!

    Okay, so I can probably go on and on with this post, but I'm going to stop at five songs.  Seems like a good, solid odd number, don't you think?  Anywho, comment below or if you're friends with me on Facebook comment under it's posting.  Let me know what songs you like listening to that are awesomely positive!  I'd love to hear them for myself!  :)