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Out of Gems

Occasionally, I play those cheeky games on Facebook. I limit myself to one at a time because they tend to be time-consuming and you always reach a point in the game where it is nearly impossible to be successful without purchasing on all those special, sparkly gems that you need for all those extra game goodies. All those lovely unicorn trees and dancing water flower sprites inevitably end up being a requirement to complete a mission or adventure. These games are designed so that eventually you will need a sparkling pink marshmallow boat load of gems in order to be successful. In a cruel twist of fate, the world you were building suddenly comes to a screeching halt unless you dig into your wallet and surrender those debit card digits. There is always that small amount of money that you easily rationalize spending. “Pft! It is only a $1.99”, however, once you give into “it is only” then everything becomes a slippery slope and soon, you need more gems so you spend more money on precious glittery little gems to fill your cartoon kingdom with yummy flying magic dragon tarts.

Meanwhile, here in the real world, I live on a tight budget that does not allow for too many gem purchases. My household tends to allocated our money for more tangible items such as food or a place to live. I know that there our other households where twenty dollars a month isn’t a deal breaker but at my house, there are weeks where twenty dollars is the difference between eating or not. That is just my less than sparkly reality. I do, however, still enjoy playing a game every now and then.

More often than not, I have to stop playing in all those magic kingdoms because I arrive at that tipping point where I can not continue dwelling in my fantasy world without purchasing gems. I lose out on missions or special buildings due to lack of gems. The worse ones are the special missions for extra wonderful prizes in which I start the mission but find that I am unable to successfully complete it because I lack a sparkly boat load of gems. Eventually, I quit playing.

A few weeks ago I quit another one of these games. I spent weeks building a shiny, thriving city. I attempted special mission after mission, only to fail, repeatedly. My wonderful, carefully planned city became a futile exercise in wasted time. I invested hours planning, decorating, harvesting and selling all kinds of weird items only to run out of time. Every mission designed to only be successful if you purchase gems and use them to grow 300 boots on a tree in less than 24 hours. Sigh. Discouraged, I quit showing up every day.

A week after I abandoned my city. I was grocery shopping when it occurred to me that all these failed missions are ireily similar to how I feel some times. I feel like, years ago, I started out to build a life. I had huge sparkly, magical dreams. In hindsight, all those unicorn, marshmallow, glitter filled, sugar plum visions were fruitless missions that I was unable to complete due to lack of gems. All those elusive gems necessary to a construct a successful life, whatever they were, I was missing them.

Instead, I attempted to succeed despite where you are or what you have. I am not sure that has gone well. My kingdom looks more like a nuclear bomb went off rather than a joyful world of success. The moving to Prescott endeavor is a perfect example. I’ve wanted to move to Prescott for close to a decade, no lie. Finally decide to go for it only to discover that affordable housing for a family with pets is near impossible to find, let alone secure. I need a gem to finish this quest. I have no money to click and make one appear.

I am at the point where I have to ask, do I abandon this effort or do we pursue further?
Where are all the gems?

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine

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Lonely Girl

Loneliness.

At one point in time, in everyone’s life, we all come face to face with the formidable opponent called loneliness. None of us are immune from experiencing seasons where we feel like we have been hung out in the storms of life all by ourselves. I wish I could change that but it is simply a fact of life that we all must learn how to wade our way through. No amount of wishing will ever change that reality. We all will face loneliness. Each of us will be alone at some point for whatever reason.

I must stress that it is imperative to say, loud and clear, I have had tremendous support and friendships throughout my life. I have been on the receiving end of some of the greatest outpourings of love in my life. I am extremely thankful for the people who joined my life and provided support whether it was in the form of friendship or money or just a phone conversation to let me vent my frustration. I am an abundantly blessed gal in this department of life. I see these loved ones. I acknowledge their gifts and help in my life. I am in both debt and gratitude to some superb people.

I am not speaking about having a life void of family, friends, loved ones and all the brilliant, extended support they contribute to our lives. I am talking about the loneliness that shows up right as you are about to fall asleep and in the dark, you come face to face with the stark reality that despite generous love and support, when it comes down to the grit of life, it is only you.

Your life may be full of loving family and friends but when the gnarly, huffing, beast of loneliness stares into your soul, you are stripped of all pretenses and you know, you are the only one who is responsible. You are the only one who is going to catch it when the shit hits the fan. You are the one who will feel the brunt of any bad choices. You are the one who has to muster the strength to carry it, whatever it is.

Loved. Supported. Encouraged. Helped. Alone.
Truth is, we can have all the extended love and support in this world but still be alone.
At least, I have always felt this way. Maybe this is my truth.

I had one of those lone moments again today. Only this time there was added element. I’ve been looking for housing in Prescott. It is turning into a nightmare. Any place that we can afford, doesn’t take pets. Any place that takes pets, we can’t afford. That is only part of the problem. The few places that we can afford and allows for pets don’t have rental units open for months. Which means, if we move and have no place to live, I am spending our savings on a hotel while we wait for a place to live and I can’t do that because as a mother, as a human being, this reality makes you the biggest failure. Ever.

I was on the verge a major meltdown today when I stopped myself, closed the bedroom door and applied for a job in Prescott. When I successfully applied for a job, I sat staring at the computer screen and was overwhelm with the ugly glare of that haunting, burdened beast. I uttered, to myself, “I never thought I would still be alone at almost 50 years old.” That’s the blaring, cold reality. I am still alone and responsible.

When I was a naive, 23 year old, single mother whom struck on her own to make the best life anyone ever had come true, I envisioned a life that blossomed and grew as I headed into my senior years. I dreamed of a large loving family and a warm, picture perfect home with a roaring fireplace. Life did not turn out like I tried to make it happen. Instead, I am alone, carrying more responsibility, handling one crisis after another and just starting over again. Hell, I’ve started over so many times, I can’t even remember how many times I’ve done it.

I don’t know what this is but it is not the life I set out to create and the older I get the colder it gets and the more alone I am.

Just not cool, life. Just not cool.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

 

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Where are you?

Sunday, December 17, 2018

It has been a long time since I have had time or energy to write. The seasonal job proved to be more than I anticipated. It was a tremendous struggle to work the job and complete the temporary assignment. The job itself was not difficult but it was physically demanding. I spent many nights in pain, unable to sleep and barely able to function for days. I am happy to say that I did fulfill the job assignment and it ended on a good note. I am now in recovery mode physically but happy to have seen it through to the end.

I thought a lot about writing, photography, crochet and moving while I was shipping out all those custom order Christmas cards. I find it humorous that some times an easy way to identify what is important to us is by the things we miss in life. If we do not miss some thing, it must not have been that important. Photography, I knew I would long to do again. There is never enough photography in my world. Crochet, was a bit of a surprise but I do find it relaxing. I also enjoy making practical and useful items. Blankets, scarves, hats, those sort of things. Writing. This one really surprised me because for the most point I have fostered a love/hate relationship with writing. It is something that comes natural to me but I have resisted it with a fierce determination for the majority of my life. I often have words, sentences or paragraphs rolling through my mind. I think about words just like I see photographs. Typically, I push them aside till they fade away into oblivion. I was caught off guard when I discovered that I actually missed being at home pounding at the keyboard. I literally stopped in my tracks when the desire to go home and write filled my mind and heart. So, here I am.

Moving.

Moving has been an adventure in my own mind. It always is though, isn’t it? Relocation, whether from one house to the next or one city to the next, it turns everything upside down. My decision to move proved to be no different. In the past few weeks, I have researched a variety of cities, in a few different states for a kaleidoscope of reasons. I’ve been to Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. I have scoured coastal cities, mountain towns, bustling downtown neighborhoods and quiet college towns. I have cried a little, laughed much, wrestled with anxiety and had a few “hell no’s” for good measure. I have crunched numbers until my calculator up and walked away disappearing forever.

Through all the researching, discovery and indecisiveness, where have we landed?
Arizona.

The thought of leaving Arizona proved to each of us that this magical state we live in is indeed home. As I explored the idea of living anywhere else, my mind quickly focused on counting the days till I could get back to Arizona. The more I considered leaving Arizona, the more I realized that I just wasn’t done here. There is so much more that I desire to do and see here. I would often tell myself that adventure lies anywhere but my heart just could not let go of the fact that I wasn’t finished here. As the weeks hurried by it became very evident that we wanted to stay in our home state of Arizona.

And where is Arizona? Believe it or not, that is only about 99% decided, maybe 98%. There is a slim chance we may only move a far as a different apartment in Chandler. We are however aiming for Prescott or Prescott Valley area. We’ll know in 12 days if we make it.

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine

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Waiting Sucks

So, I am sitting here trying to work on my posts for the week. I am having trouble focusing on the tasks that I would love to get done. My stumbling block today is the job interview followed by the painful waiting to learn if you impressed enough to be employed! Ugh! You never really know how patient you are until some one asks you to wait. Am I right?

It is entirely possible that I would be more patient with the waiting if I had not woken up with a dreadful anxiety storm brewing in my gut. I had a couple of dreams that caused me to fret. From the moment, I woke up, the stage was set for worry. The moment my feet hit the floor, my day has been centered on keeping my anxiety and worry in check. I am not sure I could accurately articulate how exhausting it is to be in a state where most of your energy and focus are consistently trained on keeping your thoughts and emotions in control.

I struggle with anxiety on any given day, however, suddenly today, I find myself blindsided in an intense battle to keep myself from falling of the edge of normal. Days like today, where even my dreams cause me to barely sleep and I wake up in a panicked worrisome condition, I often feel down right defeated before I ever open my eyes. I am tired of fighting with it.

Over the years, I’ve learned ways to cope. Today, while I wait to hear about my job interview, will simply be a day of coping. One coping trick to another until I go to bed and pray to God that I do not have any more bad dreams or wake up screaming.

I struggle all day to stay on the right track and keep moving forward. Most days I am successful. Some days take more effort and determination. I wrestle all night just to get a few hours of undisturbed sleep.

I guess, I am just realizing, it is no wonder I am always tired. There is never a reprieve from stress, worry, anxiety or fear. I have nowhere to run. It’s never going to change or end. There is no way out. I have spent my whole life holding on for the day when it all stop and I can have peace. I used to believe that day was going to arrive, some day, some where, some how. I used to hope that peace would show up like a knight on white horse and rescue me but now, I do not think that is ever going to happen.

Wow.
Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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“S” Words

Good Monday Morning!
Hope everyone had a super weekend. No dreaded Mondays here. Monday is just the beginning of a marvelous week brimming with opportunities. Today, I would like to share three ‘s’ words to catch up on my weekend.

Stymied.
Last week, I was stymied and was unable to make all my weekly blog posts. After my interview on Tuesday, things kind of, sort of, maybe snowballed into a blur of inactivity. I think it was the stress that built up prior to the interview. I had to take a break. To prevent another stumble with the blog, I am doing my best to write my posts ahead of time so I can have them ready to go. I’m pretty sure that is how successful bloggers do it. 😉

Second.
Tuesday, I had a job interview. I was extremely nervous but I managed to pull myself together and arrive on time. Once I checked in, I was informed that I would be participating in a group interview which is a completely new phenomena to me. I am not sure the reasoning behind such an interview, however, I did my best with the situation. Wednesday afternoon brought the much-anticipated e-mail requesting a second interview. Whoo-hoo! So, today, I am tackling interview number two which is an individual interview. Wish me luck!

Sleep.
Ah! The ever elusive friend, sleep. For over 16 months, I worked an over night job and try as I might, I still stay up all night and sleep during the day. I don’t find it troubling if I don’t have a job and have to function in the normal world of day jobs but that is just not the case. I am working hard to correct my sleep schedule so that I catch my Zz’s at night like most everyone else. Thank you, melatonin.

So, there you have it, a brief update.
Have a spectacular day!
Be brave.
Jamie Christine

 

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Winds of Change

October 5, 2017 – Day 5

Cliche title. I know, but if the cliche fits…

I am really late making it to the keyboard today. There is a reason.

Yesterday, I alluded to the fact that I did not want to show up and do nothing but complain about my life and my anxiety. That is not me. That is not who I want to be in this life. I understand that life can be, at times, formidable which makes it extremely easy to take a ride on the Complain Train. There are times when life moves in and all around us with such pressure that before we know it, we are coasting in a first class seat on our way to an all out b!t#h fest. After yesterday’s post, I could feel myself settling down in that first class seat. I decided that today, I was getting off the Complain Train and canceling my reservations at the festival.

When I woke up, I was still pacing and agitated. I’m having an issue with my car right now, however, I had a few errands today which meant I had to drive the car. I woke up worried and panicking about it. I could not change what I had to do. I could not put it off for another day. I took deep breaths, broke my day up into small sections and only focused one section at a time. Completed my first errand. Had lunch. More deep breaths then headed out for my second errand.

My second errand was that I had to drive my son to a job interview. On the way out the door, I grabbed my crochet bag to give me something to do while I waited for him. We arrived safely. My son went into the building for his interview. I parked in a shady spot, it is the Valley of the Sun after all and settled down with my crochet.

I am not a super crocheter but I can make a few things and my skills are improving all the time. I rolled the windows down and continued working on my chevron scarf. Yes, I sat in my car, in 90 degree weather, crocheting a scarf, in the Valley of the Sun.

It was so nice. I probably should come up with a better descriptive word here but nice suited my situation perfectly. It was calm, quite and blowing through the front windows of my Kia Soul was the gentlest of winds.  Winds of change indeed because they blew right through me. I even said out loud, to myself, maybe I just needed to be outside. To clear my head so I could think straight. To breathe deeply of the calm that being outside brings. It was peaceful as I let the wind just blow all that junk out of my mind and spirit. While I sat there, crocheting, I thought about the past few months, the job searching, the stress and the worry. Focusing on one step at a time, breathing and being outside renewed a peace in me. By the time my son was done, I had completely a huge section on my scarf and I could think clearly again. I just let the wind blow it all away.

When I arrived at home there was a surprise waiting for me in e-mail box but that is for tomorrow.

Be brave.
Jamie Christine

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Kaboom?

October 4, 2017 – Day 4

I actually did not think that I was going to make it here today. It has been one of those days where I find myself running in circles, panicked and going no where. I feel like things are about to explode. I am doing all that I can to keep that from happening.

You know that scene at the end of Disney’s Toy Story when Woody ignites the firecracker on Buzz Lightyear’s back sending them spiraling into the sky. They are going up and up and up. Forces are shaking all their little toy parts as they zoom past the moving truck and soar into the wild blue yonder. Woody screams, “This is the part where we blow up?!” I feel like that. I feel like I’ve got a lit a rocket on my back. I feel like I am scrambling to prevent an explosion.

Yesterday was a productive day for me which included paying October’s rent and applying for jobs. When I climbed into bed at just past midnight, I had successfully applied for 16 different positions. I keep checking my emails repeatedly and so far nothing. I know, give it time. But that is what is freaking me out. I do not have a lot of time. I absolutely have to start making money asap or November’s rent will not be paid. I’ve got 30 days to come up with the money to cover the rent or what? I do not know what.

Of course there are other bills and other issues that all need money. Money is so tight or not even available. That is when I am tempted to kick myself in the ass because I can’t pull my shit together. The pressure to berate and attack myself because of my anxiety and my failures is so overwhelming that it shakes me like I am riding a rocket rattling around like Woody’s eyeballs under his little cowboy hat. Yee-haw!

This just the beginning. I have 30 days for it all to build, shake, rattle and roll. Thirty days of praying for miracles, scrambling for solutions and doing everything that I can to stay one step ahead of the big kaboom. I know, I get it. Everyone goes through rough times. I am not special. No one gets a free pass from trials. It’s just that after 40 years, you’d think that life would let up a bit but fat chance of that happening.

I did not want to write this post. I do not want to whine or complain. I hate complaining. I hate always being in some kind of predicament. I can not talk to much to my sons. Even though they are in their 20’s, I stress them out and I do my best not to do that to them. I try to talk to friends but no one knows to do. They listen, say sorry but what else is there. Everyone is trying to do the best that they can in the situation but so far we just keep going up and up and up.

I hate to keep bringing up my anxiety. I do not even know why I do it. I am used to functioning and hiding it. Lately, I just can not hide anymore. I think that I wish or want people to know that I am not as much of screw up as they have typically perceived I am. I wish people understood that I do not mess up my life on purpose. It is just that tough. But in my past experiences, the world doesn’t want to hear any of your problems. It only wants to you carry on. What else can you do. At the end of the day, everyone has problems and you are no exception.

No doors are opening. I’m going to need more money than I have, eventually. I feel like screaming, “This is the part where we blow up!”

My uncertainty is this, will there be anyone who says “Not today!” Buzz Lightyear to the rescue? All I know to do is too keep trying, keep applying for jobs, keep searching for answers and keep typing because right now, this is it.

Be Brave.
Jamie Christine