Illegal Immigration Across the Canadian Border, #AlternativeFacts, and a Fictional Massacre: A Mamma Hamster’s View of the World

“In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.”
― Michael Crichton, Timeline

I feel like I’m living in an alternate reality or perhaps like I’ve been dropped inside the pages of a badly written dystopian novel.  The last few weeks feel like a montage for news that should never happen.  I turn on NPR, listen to the latest events, and shout, “WHAT?!” then change the station.  I find myself avoiding social media.  It’s too exhausting.  It’s like living with a pony in your living room—a pony you’re in denial about it.  Pony?  What pony?  I don’t see any ponies.  (Steps over steaming pile of road apples.) But ignoring the situation doesn’t change anything.  It doesn’t make things LESS exhausting.

When I started blogging this year, I planned on focusing on me, on my life.  When in doubt, keep your eyes on your own page.  Yes, blogging is social media, but it’s social media I can control.  But, it turns out…that’s exhausting, too.  Because the metaphorical pony is STILL THERE.  Even if I’m yakking on about organizing or whatever, I still feel the enormity of the events that are happening all around me, events that are completely out of my control. I don’t want to offend anyone, but there are things happening right now.  Ignoring these events feels even MORE ridiculous than ignoring an imaginary pony.

I live in a small town in Michigan.  If I left my home right now, I could be in Canada in under an hour.  For those of us living near the eastern border of Michigan, traveling across the border into Canada is NOT a big deal.  People live in Windsor, but work in the Detroit area and vice-versa.  For us, it’s almost like crossing into another state, rather than another country. Our two countries are more alike than different.

Or so I thought.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that asylum seekers are crossing from the US into Canada illegally, that people are willing to risk their lives, to risk losing their fingers and toes in the frigid winter temperatures, rather than stay in the United States.

 

I consider the United States a “safe” country, a beautiful country.  I thought the only people illegally crossing the Canadian border were people running from the law, not folks with children looking for a better life, afraid of being banned for being Muslim.

The United States is a place of freedom—freedom of speech and religion.  The United States is a country that fights for equality.  People seek refuge in our country.  They come from all over the globe to be here, in the United States.  But, then I see Canada’s Prime Minister’s tweet:

I wish my own leaders could learn from his example.  Prime Minister Trudeau behavior is a positive influence in an uncertain world.

 

Meanwhile, back in the United States…we’re experiencing “Alternative Facts,” a fancy word for lies.

 

The media is being criticized for not covering the “Bowling Green Massacre,” an event that NEVER HAPPENED!

 

 

Seriously?

This isn’t a partisan thing: Democrats versus Republicans.  This wasn’t a one interview slip up.  Several interviews were given regarding this non-existent event.  I guess this must be “Alternative Facts” in action, and yet I can’t imagine why anyone would say something like this, why anyone would want to create an imaginary massacre.  Is reality is too boring? Now, we have to worry about nonexistent events, too?

It’s like we, in the United States, are running around, afraid of all the bad things might happen, logic is being thrown out the window.  In my opinion, it seems like the United States is facing the “Mamma Hamster Effect.”  We’re so afraid and stressed, we’re willing to harm the ones we SHOULD be protecting, like a mamma hamster killing her own young because she perceives her sacrifice is for the greater good.  We are a reactive society rather than proactive.  Stuff keeps happening…and we’re shocked.  And entertained.

Alternative facts: We react with Tweets and Facebook posts.

Fake Massacre: An endless discussion ensues.

Are we so bored with our lives that we would rather be controlled by fear?  We’re so afraid of change, we’d rather cling to erroneous beliefs?  The political scene feels like a giant soap opera.  Is it any wonder why many people are feeding on these distractions?  It certainly is easier to be outraged and do nothing, than to be proactive and take charge of one’s life.

 “I have more respect for people who change their views after acquiring new information than for those who cling to views they held thirty years ago. The world changes. Ideologues and zealots don’t.”
― Michael Crichton, State of Fear

Pay attention to what is happening around you.  Don’t ignore the metaphorical pony in the room because it’s inconvenient.  See the sensationalism for what it is.  Be proactive.  Take control.  Stand up for those who are afraid to speak. Be a good neighbor. Be a good citizen.  Do NOT allow yourself to be sucked into the ugliness.  Allow your voice to be heard through your art and your writing.  Do NOT stop living because of fear.  Plan ahead.  Be creative. Try new things. Educate yourself.  Learn about other cultures.  Don’t expect someone else to fix your problems but also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. We are together in this world—one people, the human race.

Living with Perimenopause: Part Two

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
― Ernest Hemingway

If I could give only one piece of wisdom, share only one thing that’s had a tremendous impact on my mental and physical heath.  I’d tell you to get outside and go walking.  I know this isn’t always feasible.  I know that life happens, weather happens, and our own bodies are not always very cooperative, but walking was my gateway to feeling better.  It’s one of my keystones.  Without it, I feel like all the other things I try to do to help myself, tend to unravel.

My goals are simple.  I go outside, pick a direction, and walk for fifteen minutes.  When my time is up, I go home.  Fifteen minutes out.  Fifteen minutes back.  That’s it.  That’s how I get in a half hour of walking.  I can usually fit walking into my life 3-4 mornings a week.

If I could give you TWO pieces of advice, I’d tell you to get more sleep.

  1. Walk
  2. Sleep

Yes, yes, YES!  I can already hear your excuses.  You’re a special snowflake.  You don’t need the same amount of sleep as everyone else.  Human adults need approximately 8 hours of sleep per day.  Children need more.  But…you’re special.  You can live on NO sleep and make up for your lack of shuteye by drinking copious amounts of coffee, tea, and/or energy drinks.  You’re not going to listen to me, because I’ve been there.  I’ve been making excuses for decades!  Too much to do.  To little time to do it in. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I said.

And then…I started perimenopause.  My body felt foreign.  My mind seemed to shift. Everything I thought I knew about being me…changed.

If you’ve ever suffered an injury, you’ll notice you feel tired, more so than usual. Why? Because you need sleep to heal.  Children also need more sleep, more than adults, because their bodies are growing. You need sleep to grow.  Healing injuries is a form of growth. Makes sense, right?  Anytime your body is in construction mode, it needs hours to get the maintenance work done.  There isn’t a magic wand fix.  Your body can only do so much.  It’s not as if you can’t heal during the day, but there’s a LOT going on while you’re awake.  Most of your body’s construction work takes place while you’re resting.sam_1629

I’ve been regularly depriving my body of much-needed sleep for a long time.  Decades.  I was in retail management for nearly 20 years.  In my experience, most managers are sleep deprived.  They live on caffeine and adrenaline.

When I started experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause, everything came crashing down on me, all of my years of trying to fit 28 hours in a 24 hour day stopped.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I felt like a zombie.  I felt like I was losing my mind!

For one thing, I wasn’t sleeping as deeply as I did in the past.  Every little noise woke me up.  I’d have a hot flash and THAT would wake me up.  I felt like I was constantly waking up.

So, let’s do some math.

If I go to bed late and get up early, allowing 5-6 hours beddy-bye time, and then those few precious hours get eaten up with perimenopausal tossing and turning…guess how long it will take before Juli goes crazy.  There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture!  In addition to this dilemma, my body is going through some serious changes. Plus, it’s not as young as it used to be.  All those aches and pains… Yeah, Juli’s body is definitely in “construction mode.”

What does this mean?  Sleep is now a VERY real necessity.  I can’t play games with the clock, not anymore.  I HAVE to get enough sleep!!  Sleep is another keystone.  I can’t possibly feel healthy without it.

If I want to get enough sleep, I have to go to bed earlier.  It’s simple math.  If I want to STAY asleep, I have to eliminate as many distractions as I can.  A cool, dark bedroom helps, but I was already doing that.  And still waking up.  Slept with a fan on.  Still woke up. I reluctantly bought some earplugs.

sam_1633

It took a few weeks to get used to them.  They were uncomfortable, even though they’re made of soft foam.  But, they work.  I need to use TWO alarm clocks, an obnoxious cat, and my hubby to wake me up  in the morning.  The earplugs block out almost everything.  But they do work!

Now that I’m getting enough sleep, I no longer feel like I’m losing my mind.  Sleep has helped tremendously with my battle with depression.  Even my aches and pains have lessened, simply by getting more sleep.

Walking is NOT groundbreaking.  Sleeping is NOT groundbreaking.  These are things I should have already been doing.  Perimenopause is NOT for wusses.  It’s not horrible, either.  Yes, it has kicked my tush, but it’s also FORCED me to live a healthier lifestyle. Maybe there’s a reason why some women breeze through perimenopause and others, like myself, feel like they’re going through a nightmare.  Perhaps this is nature’s way of getting adrenaline junkies, like myself, on track.  I’d like to be around and healthy in the future. Perhaps this is the start.

More posts to follow…

Take care and sleep tight!

xo Juli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventy-Nine Days

I’ve been away from WordPress for a while. Seventy-nine days, to be precise.  Over the years, I’ve struggled on and off with my pet demons: Depression, Procrastination, Fear, and Perfectionism.  They’re nothing new to me.  They are the enemies I’ve known so long, we should probably get matching coffee cups.

shake-it-off-mug

*Like this one from The Hillywood Show.

(I don’t know anything about your pet demons, but I’m sure mine drink lots of coffee!)

That said, I’ve known for some time that something else was going on, something I couldn’t quite grasp.  Vague symptoms have been popping up; little stuff that could have been anything, but all together add up to something.

I’m in my middle years, in my forties.  I’m not a kid anymore, but I’m not quite ready to look at retirement villages either.  Honestly, for a minute there, I REALLY enjoyed being in my forties.  I liked the idea of finally being in a place in my life where I didn’t care as much about random opinions.  I could focus on me.  My body wasn’t young anymore, but I finally felt comfortable in my own skin.  Being in your forties is like being in the middle of the herd.  It’s safe. It’s a good place to be.

Until it wasn’t.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like something wasn’t right, like I didn’t know my own body anymore, especially over the last few months.  I’ve had memory lapses, entire conversations…GONE!  Mood swings. Bouts of depression that have left me confused, because they’re not like the ones I’ve had in the past.  My body is achy, then it’s not!  I’ve had difficulty sleeping, like every sound is being magnified.  I’ve gained weight, but I’m active and I’m not overeating.  Sometimes, I get symptoms that vaguely seem familiar, symptoms that remind me of being pregnant, and yet I am most certainly NOT pregnant. I’ve been worrying over everything, almost to the point of paranoia.

For a while, I thought that maybe Depression was morphing into something else, something darker.  But there was no consistency to it.  I’d feel depressed, then BOOM! Now, I’m fine.  Oops!  Now, I’m not.  That’s not how my bouts of depression usually work. I usually slide slowly into my depression, then gradually pull myself back out.  But lately, my brain is all over the place.  I’ve been feeling like I’m losing my mind.  I was plagued with thoughts of dying, but NOT of suicide.  It’s more like I thought maybe there was something REALLY wrong with my body, that it was finally failing me for good.

I’ve been grasping at every straw I could think of, trying to figure this all out, trying to make myself better.  But I couldn’t put it all together.  Aches and pains are common.  Lack of sleep happens to all of us, from time to time.  Everything I’ve been experiencing seemed so random and unrelated.  Plus, my symptoms were inconsistent.  I’d feel like I’d lost my mind, then I’d feel like me again.  Sometimes, I’d feel BETTER than old me, more focused than old me.  So what does that mean?  It’s still a symptom, even if it’s a positive one.

It means…I am NOT crazy.

I’m NOT dying.

(Okay, technically I am dying, because we’re ALL dying, but not right this second.)

I’m going through PERIMENOPAUSE, the time in a woman’s life BEFORE menopause hits.

For the record, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent woman.  I honestly didn’t know this was a “thing.”  My mother had Multiple Sclerosis.  She died in her fifties.  My maternal grandmother passed away a few years ago.  The matriarchs of my biological family are mostly gone.  The only assumption I had about menopause is that it happened to women in their fifties.  That, and yay!  No more periods.

I didn’t know that a woman’s body goes through changes five-ten years before menopause hits.  I had no idea this was normal.  I thought I was losing my mind!!!

I think Magnolia’s The Perimenopause Blog has more information out there, in one spot, than just about any other place on the web, but her post: The 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause, was especially eye-opening.  I have 27 out of 35 possible symptoms listed. So…umm, yeah.  That says a volumes.

Is this too much information to share?  Maybe. I didn’t get into all my personal gory details, but I felt like I had to say something.  I wanted to get this information out there because I KNOW I’m not alone.  This is a thing.  It’s a natural part of a woman’s life.  It effects the lives of everyone around me.  Plus, there are things I can do to help myself, now that I know what’s going on.

I’ve already made some small changes in my life, and I’m already seeing some benefits, but I’ll share that information in another post.

In the meantime, check out The Perimenopause Blog.  Learn something new.  Do stuff.  And thank you so much for ALL the kind words!

I appreciate you all so much!

xo Juli