Motivation

No, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to update this blog in a long time. Part of it was I had too much to say and the energy required to write it all down was too much. The other part was that life has been more difficult than I’d like to admit this past year and while everyone around us has been like, “Oh great, life milestones, amazing, be happy, you’re going places,” for us it’s felt stifling, stressful, and oh so not amazing a great majority of the time.

I know it sounds like I’m complaining or ungrateful, but the reality of my emotions is far from that. But stress is stress, and in one year, we planned a wedding, got married, bought a house, renovated the house, moved, and tried to find our normal again. Which is so hard when for nearly 2 years straight, you haven’t had a real normal. Timmy moved from Lake Mary to my tiny apartment last January, we were on top of each other all the time, he traveled a lot, and between the wedding planning stress, the house hunting stress, the house buying stress, the renovation stress, the money stress, and then the moving into said house stress, I had literally used up all my coping methods.

I was a ticking time-bomb that went off in January.

The reality of our life is now more normal, more settled, more calm for sure. But that reserve of emotional mess that I had been carrying around and stockpiling just became too much and I broke in a very real way. I was ready to run away and leave this all behind. Which is not at all a very adult way to handle everything, but I was struggling big time. And my partner was struggling in his own way too, and we just weren’t clicking.

I absolutely sank around election time. Trump and the racial hate and misogyny and general hopelessness became the weight that sank me even further, as though the stress of everything else in our lives wasn’t enough. I cried for nearly two weeks straight. I have been off of Facebook since November, about a few days after the election because I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I miss it a little, but after the withdrawals wore off, I’m good without it.

I took on an additional class, Human Sexuality, to teach this semester, so my life is really busy and full, but emotionally, it’s been challenging to catch the happy ride back up the downward slope. My back pain has been worse than ever, and after a failed radiofrequency ablation (where they burn the nerves in a particular area), I’ve been depressed about my back and wondering if life can ever feel normal when all I think about is my pain.

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Maybe it’s the January/February/March blues that get us all. Maybe it’s a combination of our stress, Trump for me, and the winter meh that got us. But we’ve been in a dark place, and we keep wavering in and out of it. Lately, more out of it than in it, which is definitely progress.

It certainly helps that all the boxes and wedding gifts have been unpacked. Our house is beautiful and we still have a few more projects to go, like painting a few spots, rescreening our porches, redoing the floors in our garage, but those weren’t necessities to getting settled. We’ll be getting started on those soon enough.

We love our neighborhood and the quiet nature that surrounds us. We are starting to fish on our fishing pier with the addition of new fishing equipment, courtesy of Timmy. My parents came to visit a few weekends ago (which was so needed) and they brought my bike. So the other night Timmy and I biked close to St. Pete Beach (and stumbled through a ridiculous argument, again), then to a local restaurant for drinks and games.

It was awesome and it felt like us.

The sun is out more, and it’s warmer, so me likey. I can’t wait to start spending afternoons after work paddleboarding around the waterways, and really soaking up the mood-improving Vitamin D. And we’ll get there soon.

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But Timmy misses Jake and his dad and James, and I’m missing my friends and family a lot. Timmy and I working on our connection harder than we have before, but we need our support system around us to help ground us. So friends and family, come visit us! We have space, and it’s close to everything. It’s honestly like being on vacation all the time, living in our new house.

It’s just now starting to sync for us. Just now. If we haven’t been reaching out to you as much, be patient because the ground is just now starting to solidify underneath us again. That’s just life, I guess, and I know we’ll get back. It’s always ups and downs, and we just have to have faith and put the work in.

Winter sucks. Trump sucks. Hate sucks. But we will rock again.

♥, VB

 

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Top 100 Sex, Lust & Love Blogs & Online Destinations

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YOOOUUU GUUYYYSSSS!! Healthy Sex and You, the sexual health education blog that I’ve been running for two and a half years, has been listed as #95 on this amazing list of Top 100 Sex, Lust, and Love Blogs and Online Destinations!!

“This commendable list highlights the most influential and engaging bloggers who broadcast topics associated with sex, dating, relationships, and love. This list is part of STDcheck.com’s ongoing effort to emphasize the importance of healthy relationships and sexual practices”

As part of being in the top 100 (WHAT AN HONOR), each winner will receive $500 in gift cards. So you know what that means…

GIVEAWAYS TO MY LOYAL READERS AT HEALTHY SEX AND YOU and FROM PEACHES TO BEACHES!!!

Stay tuned for that and more! Again, what an honor to be included on this list. My hope is to remain true to the review:

“The fact that Healthy Sex and You is run by a sexual health educator adds to the decidedly authoritative feel of the blog, but in the best way possible. Rather than the questionable vibe of the many opinionated sex blogs out there, this blog feels like the wise advice of the coolest high school health teacher ever (you know, the one who keeps it real). Well-designed infographics, interesting articles from all over the web, and recurring features like Hump Day music posts combine to make a very cool site where education is the focus. This is the stuff that health classes should be made of: up-to-date information and an informal, non-judgmental safe haven for asking questions and learning about your body and sexuality.”

Thank you again to STDCheck.com! Wishing everyone a happy and healthy weekend!

♥, VB

High Five for Friday

Welcome to Friday everyone! I got the idea for a “High Five for Friday” post from one of my favorite bloggers, Kate at The Small Things Blog. Today marks the end of my first full work week in my new place. Here are the 5 best things from my week:

1. I drive 15 minutes, to and from work. I’ll repeat that: I DRIVE 15 MINUTES TO WORK NOW. After a year of 60+ plus miles each way to the crapvilla known as Lakeland, I can tell you for sure that I’m a changed person. It’s only been one week, but man do I feel like myself again, instead of that crabby monster-she-devil that was posing as me for the last year.

2. I was a single mommy to Floyd this week, and while he wasn’t the greatest house guest (he woke me up multiple times over multiple nights because he had to go out and had diarrhea), it was such an amazing feeling to be able to drive home over lunch, walk him or play ball with him, then drive back to work, all under an hour.

With a rescue dog, we’ve understood for some time now that his anxiety is part of the package, and I’m sure that without Timmy this week, his head was crazytown. The pooping aside, lunch hours are awesome when you live close to work.

3. I’ve been able to cook meals at home now instead of having only Jenny Craig. Jenny Craig was kind of a necessity last year because I arrived home so late and didn’t have the time or energy to cook. And I love cooking, so not being able to cook for months on end just killed me.

I was able to make spaghetti last week, turkey breast taco salad, and salmon with brussel sprouts. Did I mention that I love living closer to work??

4. I haven’t had to fill my gas tank this week. I did last weekend after driving to Lakeland and back since Timmy’s still there while he looks for a place in Orlando. Before, I was filling up twice every week, which equaled around $400-$500 a month in gas alone. God, I’m overdosing on living closer to work.

5. I’m actually jonesing to see my honey. I know that for most of you, you’re thinking, “Aren’t you always? Why would this make her top 5 list?” And the answer would be no, I wasn’t always.

Not to sound like a bitch, but last year sucked, and many times, I wanted to be far away from Lakeland because I felt like I was going insane. Now that I have my own place, I feel more centered and just plain old happier. I get to do things on my own time, on my schedule, I get to decorate how I want, buy and not buy what I want. It’s like the greatest sense of contained freedom.

Now that I’m feeling more like myself, I’m itching to see Timmy. It feels like how it did before, when we had to do shack packs when we spent the night at each other’s places. When we both had our own spaces, we could live as we wanted, and seeing each other was special and something we looked forward to.

Now when we FaceTime, I’m excited to see his face, I’m ready to hear about his day, and I’m prepared to be a partner. That’s an amazing feeling, let me tell you.

Clearly, my first work week with my new commute has been kick-ass awesome. I’m nicer, I’m more relaxed, and I’ve recently become re-obsessed with Law & Order: SVU on Hulu (I had a moment during college, but I kicked the habit until recently).

That Mariska Hargitay is one strikingly beautiful woman. I’d like to thank her for keeping me company this week.

Hope you enjoy the weekend!

♥, VB

Updates and Upgrades

Crazy. Life is totally nutso right now. In a completely good way, though, so don’t think I’m complaining. Big things are potentially in the works, although I can’t really share anything yet. I know, that makes me a huge asshole for dangling some juicy info in your face, and then snatching it away. No one likes those people, the ones who are like, “OOOOOH, I have something to tell you but I can’t tell you.” Apologies.

I partook in one of the funnest bachelorette party weekends over Labor Day weekend for a close girlfriend whose wedding is in two weeks! (What a shock, another wedding to attend!) I know that’s a while back, but honestly I couldn’t really post anything about it or post pictures since the majority of the photos will probably get us all fired from our jobs and brand us ineligible for future jobs. Not that they’re bad or illegal, we’re just being naughty.

“30 Years, 1 Wish” was last Saturday, and I’m feeling a little sad that all of it’s over now. All those months preparing for it, planning, anticipating, ranting and raving at people who couldn’t follow simple instructions, waiting for the big day…all over now. It was one of the most amazing nights of our entire lives, but I’ll be following up with all the pictures and total raised in a later post (sorry, I know I just did that whole, “I have stuff to tell you but not yet thing” again. I couldn’t even make it one more paragraph without doing that, sorry.)

Timmy and I can update you that we’ll be moving soon, but that’s about all I can share (I’M SUCH A DICK!). The short of it: I’m moving to St. Pete and Timmy will be somewhere else. That doesn’t mean we’re splitting up, so don’t freak out people! I just literally can’t take this commute anymore. I spend 12 hours a week on the road. That’s another part-time job. I spend no quality time with him except for the weekends, and that, my friends, does not a relationship make.

I just really really need to be closer to work because I’m involved in so much more here, and will be taking on way more commitments as the year progresses. Not to mention, all the wear and tear on my car from all this driving is hurting my pocketbook, so no means no. And the gas $, oh the humanity. It’s just not fair, I tell you, to spend a rent payment on gas purchases every month. I know I don’t make that much money, but jesus, that’s just torture. So the next few weeks will be spent searching for a new place to live in the St. Pete area. For those of you concerned about me or our relationship status, just think of this move as more new stories for me to share with you.

Finally, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to write any posts because 1) I’ve been waiting for the Women’s Resource Center’s Executive Director to return from vacation in order to total up the funds raised and disperse the checks to the American Indian College Fund and the Colon Cancer Alliance, but mostly 2) I got a new laptop at home and am still learning how to use it. It’s a newfangled contraption that still blows my mind with the upper-level technology it’s got going on.

Why on earth would she spend money on a new laptop when she’s obviously super poor and all that, you’re probably asking yourself. Well, it certainly wasn’t in the plan to get a new laptop mostly because my old laptop was perfect. It was only about two years old, and still was a trustful tech companion. Until one day, I opened my laptop and found a small discoloration on the top left corner of the screen. Surely, I couldn’t have been responsible for that because hello, I take great care of my stuff. And then not even three days later, I opened it again, and found this:

Broken Screen and Broken Dreams

Broken Screen and Broken Dreams

Turns out, Timmy stepped on the corner of my laptop one day, and (un)fortunately cannot remember said accident. But since he’s amazing and generous and a beautiful person, he willingly and of his own accord decided to purchase a new laptop for me, one that integrates all the loveliness that was my old laptop with the newness of a tablet. I give you the Lenovo Yoga.

Laptop now, push the screen all the way back until you get...

Laptop now, push the screen all the way back until you get…

A friggin tablet. Yes, that's right, a laptop that turns into a tablet.

A friggin tablet. Yes, that’s right, a laptop that turns into a tablet.

I feel like one of the coolest kids on the block now. I equate this feeling to what those blacked out figures in the old iPod commercials must have been feeling whilst dancing.

You remember these people, right?

Feeling the groove of happiness

Feeling the groove of happiness

Anyways, that’s what life has been like lately, more or less (actually less since I’ve left out so many details, you’re probably like, “What the hell was the point of this post?”). Stay tuned.

♥, VB

The Most Non-Scientific Ways to Get Through a Sleepy Day

Read the news lately about sleep deprivation? Um, it’s completely terrifying.

Now, on top of worrying about the ozone layer, global warming, Florida drivers and odd occurrences, random acts of God, mosquito bites, cancers of any kind, living up to my potential, being kidnapped for 10+ years, and shootings from fundamentalists from any religion, now I have to fear that lack of sleep will make me gain weight and die earlier. Great. Just awesome.

I’ve always been a nocturnal person, and it just seems like life is stacked against people like me. Even when I was little, like 3 or 4, my parents realized how completely futile bedtime enforcement was, and so instead, they simply instructed me to keep my door closed after 8 pm and not come back out. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was quiet and stayed in that room. Easy peasy.

I’ve been in the working field now for almost 6 years (including graduate school, which, let’s face it, is the most stressful thing you’ve never been prepared for), and I STILL cannot get used to waking up early and working until 5 pm. I’m a useless sack of skin until around 3 pm, and that’s only if I’ve gotten a 20 minute nap somewhere in there. No nap, and my usefulness to society doesn’t actually begin until about 20 minutes until 5.

This is me, every day I’ve ever had to work. Which is every day, every week, every year, until I die.

Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll get used to it eventually, but they are all liars, I’ve decided. You simply cannot make someone whose normal internal clock runs from 11 am until 12 am to get up and do anything productive at 6:30 am until 5 pm. It would be like telling Amanda Bynes to adopt a work ethic like Helen Mirren. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.

Have you ever tried to do something sleep-deprived? Of course you have. Anyone who has kids can also attest to this, although parents are driven by some primal desire to not kill their kids to propagate their genes or something like that. I’m driven by my incessant need to sleep until I’m naturally ready to wake up. I crave sleep all the time. And whenever I do have kids, it’s only going to get worse. I will be a monster.

It’s gotten to the point where my level of desiring sleep and my level of frustration with the ridiculousness of all this are almost the same.

Even as I type this post, I’m struggling with the thought of saving a draft and taking a nap instead of finishing. Pathetic. Am I ever going to grow out of this? Will I always have to be subjected to unfair working conditions and expectations simply because my circadian clock (which is basically your internal sleep/awake clock) is off a few hours from everyone else’s?

I don’t have the answers. What I do have are my ways of getting through a work day when you’re plagued by sleep deprivation. Here’s how I do it:

  • Alarms (yes, plural) go off at 6 am. I hit snooze every 7-9 minutes. Attempt to calculate how much sick time I have built up and if I can use any for today. More than likely, the answer is no. Now I’m just mad.

    this has happened at every hour of the night. Mostly, I hate everything and everyone when the alarm buzzes.

  • I have a huge cup of coffee in the morning, set to brew automatically at 6:30 am so that I don’t have to get up and do it. This is a key point. I do not get up any earlier than I absolutely have to. This includes sacrificing showers, making up cute outfits, and eating breakfast at home.
  • Finally get out of bed at 6:45 am. Coffee is now not going to burn my face off when I get in the car and start drinking.
  • Speaking of breakfast, I pack breakfast to eat in the car or at the office. I cannot remember the last time I ever ate breakfast at home during a workday. It would require me to wake up earlier, and that ain’t happening.
  • I’ve refined my ability to get dressed and put on makeup in less than 5 minutes. I’m a pro at flawless makeup application in less than 3 minutes, and this includes all-over foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadows (usually 2 shades), eyeliner, and Vaseline on lips and eyelashes (which is a great substitute for mascara. No clumps, no black crap, and shiny, separated lashes). This also includes putting on jewelry and shoe selection. A pro, I tell you.
  • I normally don’t have to walk Floyd in the early morning or feed him because he’s dead asleep. He’s an amazing sleeper and I’m so thankful for a pet that doesn’t wake you up to tell you he’s ready to be walked and fed before you’re done REM-ing.
  • Morning sex? What the hell is that? (Moms, cover your eyes).
  • I’m in the car by 7 am. I now listen to the radio on the way to work, and only one station because they make me laugh. I’ve always been a huge advocate of satellite radio, but it puts me to sleep on my hour+ commute in the morning. When I listen to the radio station, I go into somewhat of a fugue state and all of the sudden, I’m at work!
  • At work between 8 and 8:15 am. I eat breakfast, check all my emails, read no less than 5 different online news outlets, and decide whether or not to update my blogs (the actual updating won’t happen until way later in the day, when my brain actually starts to form thoughts). I’ll answer emails here and there while trying not to nod off at my desk. I will also shift positions in my chair every 5 minutes because of back pain. The back pain is usually the only thing that keeps me awake enough at the office in the morning.
  • I think about how all this sitting is shaving years off of my life, and adding that to the lack of sleep, my fear will wake me up long enough to walk through the office to retrieve copies of something.
  • Lunch time! Sleep on my couch or do anything else, like eat. Sleep usually wins.
  • 1 pm rolls around. If I haven’t had any meetings, I will likely have them in the afternoon which will provide just enough adrenaline to keep me alert and awake. If no meetings, the afternoon is just a rapid descent into hell.

    Imagine this person with a much cuter shirt and female parts, and this is me every day.

  • No meetings in the afternoon leaves me wanting to stuff my face with snacks out of boredom and sleepiness. Instead, I log on incessantly to FB and hope that someone posts enough stuff to keep me entertained. I also check People online and make fun of celebrities and their “fashion”.
  • 3 pm starts. I may need coffee or I may become a different person entirely. I start to feel motivation to produce and I normally can get all my tasks for that day done in the last 2-3 hours of the day. I’m the fastest worker you have ever seen during this period of time.
  • 6 pm is here. Time to surrender and cry tears of self-pity as I drive 2 hours home in a sleep-stupor or walk 3.5 miles in St. Pete in order to avoid traffic and get exercise. It’s really a crapshoot.
  • 8 pm. Finally at home. So devastated from attempting to make it through yet another entire day on little to no sleep that the only thing I can comprehend is an episode of Real Housewives or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Attempts at making conversation with me will make my blood boil and my head explode.
  • Try to get into bed around 10 or 10:30 pm. Make chamomile tea. Read. Anything to induce sleep. End up falling asleep at midnight. Shit.

Those are my ways of getting through the day, with little to no scientific proof to back up any of my methods. Learn and take what you can to apply to your lives. Or talk to your doctor. Either one.

Unless you’re one of those morning people. In that case, go jump off of something high and dangerous. You’re not welcome here.

♥, VB