Sunday, May 31, 2015

Seven days - No Problem

Well, I did it. I made it seven days without touching Facebook. That was a tough challenge. Not the toughest challenge I've ever had to face. I mean, I've run the Dirty Dash, broken my ankle, moved a lot, made a few movies, gotten a divorce. You get the point. I constantly challenge myself to do better, be better, and live better. This Facebook challenge was just all a part of becoming a better me and I'm so glad that I did it.

I returned to Facebook this morning to exactly 69 notifications. Yeah buddy. During this seven day digital abstinence challenge, I did not turn off notifications, so throughout the week my phone would light up with "So-and-so tagged you in a post," and "So-and-so commented on your status." I didn't see what the comments or posts were, but I knew they were there and it was everything in my power to not swipe on that notification and see what was being said about me. Every night as I got into bed, my finger would hover over the Facebook app icon on my phone and I would think, "It's only just a peek. No one will know but me." But I don't give up so easily and the biggest judge of everything Stephanie is ME. So, I didn't click and eventually I calmed down and realized that it simply did not matter what was going on on Facebook. If someone tagged me, I would text them and ask if it was something important that I needed to be aware of. Most of the time I visit Facebook for personal reasons, but I do also have a few Facebook pages for the film production company I run, the feature film I shot, or the film festival I jointly run with friends. It was hard to give those up and I admit that I did visit the film page on Saturday to update that we were back into editing mode.

A little side-note here, while I'm on the subject. Life has been difficult for many, many months. I realize that the Ex and I put an entire feature film project on hold while we dealt with our own personal issues and made the decision to get a divorce in March. Many people are itching to see this project come to a close and be able to sit in a theatre with their family and friends and watch the final product of a summer well spent. We're getting there. One big thing I'm deeply learning through all of this is that life never stops. We finally got together yesterday to continue editing and we both admitted to being extremely nervous to be in the same room with each other again. No matter how much two people want to be friends after a divorce, it's not easy to just continue forward as if nothing happened. I needed a break from him and I assume that he needed the same from me. And while I would have loved to get back to editing sooner, I just flat out couldn't. Not just because I didn't want to see him, but because I also took a nose dive into school and am only completing my first month of 30-40 hours of school work a week, while also working a full time job and attempting to lead a somewhat normal life of taking care of my dog, cats, and house. It's been rough and has taken way more strength and time than I ever thought I had available. Please bear with me as I flounder through life and edit a feature film with my ex-husband.

Now, back to writing about that time-waster called Facebook...

When I logged on this morning, I was excited to see all the posts that my friends had made and look at all the likes on my post about stepping away for a week. In checking every one of those 69 notifications, my heart started beating faster and I started to get a little stressed out. Facebook stresses me out! I tried scrolling through my feed, but that stressed me out even more because I realized that I was spending precious time looking at stuff I didn't need to look at. Almost every single person on my friends list is important to me and I want to know what's going on in their lives. But at the same time, it stresses me out! And I say that almost every person on my list is a friend, because admittedly I have friends that I've never even met in person, we're just friends on FB because of our film connections. It's silly, because if they follow me as much as I follow them - they know nothing about me. But, if they follow me more than I follow them, that means that there are "strangers" running around out there who know more about my life than they should. That's weird to think about, but it is the way our world works now.

While I was away, I did so much more with my time!! Are you ready for all the cool updates?

I actually went to bed a little earlier than normal. I got five hours of sleep instead of four. Sometimes I even managed six hours of sleep. I took myself out to dinner and did my homework at a bar. It was awesome! I learned that I can listen to my two-hour lectures while doing yard work and hiking in the Boise foothills with Frodo. I had enough 4G coverage to listen to an entire lecture while hiking and enjoying the outdoors. I am so glad I've discovered this in my first month. School will be easy sailing from now on... kind of... okay, not really. I cleaned my house during the week instead of waiting until shoving it all into Sunday night at 11pm. I spent more time with Frodo and the cats. I started editing our feature film. I went on a date with someone other than me.

Wait, what?!

Not perusing Facebook for a week allowed me to get my homework done faster, get my house cleaned at a decent time, and keep up with life. I managed to find time to get everything else done because NO FACEBOOK! Which enabled me to say YES to a date this weekend. I went out for sushi with an amazing man. It might be too soon to tell, but I think there could at least be one more date in our future. As long as I keep my facebooking down to a minimum, I'm sure I could squeeze time in for him. We'll see... I won't be pusillanimous about seeing him again either, because I am not a timid dater. I grab life by the balls.

After taking a week-long hiatus from my addiction and feeling my stress levels spike when I finally got back to it, I think I'm going to continue my break from Facebook. I'll probably check it every day, but it won't be every time that I get bored, and it won't be for minutes on end. Or every time I think my brain needs a break. My brain does not need a break as often as I thought it did. And if it does, I'll just get up off my ass and walk around for a bit. That sounds healthier than sticking my nose in my phone anyway. So, Facebook, you addictive asshole, I'm breaking up with you. We'll still see each other around, but I'm not going to live my life wondering what you're saying, or how you're doing. I'll check in with you when I feel like it, and you can keep your stress to yourself. Besides, I've found someone new to be addicted to...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I'm in Love

I've met someone.

I've fallen in love.

I've never felt this way before.

I can't believe this is happening to me.

I don't deserve this.

But it's happening.

I'm in love.

I found me.

For the first time in years, maybe for the first time ever, I've discovered true love. I didn't even know that this could be possible, but I'm here to tell you that it is. It is more than possible and it can happen to anyone. So many people tell you that the first step to loving someone else is to love yourself. I always thought, "I love myself, of course I love myself. How could I not?" I'm discovering that I never truly did love myself. I spent more time hating myself than loving myself. I had no idea how wrong I was until I learned to truly love myself.

And for those disappointed souls who think they've just lost their chance with an amazing girl... I'm talking about me. I'M IN LOVE WITH ME.

I love my thoughts.

I love my brain.

I love my skin.

I love my body.

I love my emotions.

I love how I treat my dog and cats.

I love how compassionate I am.

I love that I care about my friends and family and think about them everyday and only wish them the best.

I love that I can be the most independent woman I've ever met.

I love that I can look amazing in a dress and also mow the lawn and pull weeds like a badass.

I love all my talents.

I love me.

I'm still in the early stages of this love - discovering every little aspect of me. Of course, I run into things that I don't like and down right hate about myself, but I'm learning that those aspects of me make me who I am. It's okay to dislike something about yourself, but don't let it rule your life. We all have flaws. Perfection is a figment of our imagination, but I think that any of us can come pretty damn close to it. I see me and I like me.

I didn't come to this realization on my own. I have a handful of friends who have helped me discover these beautiful things about myself. Who have helped me love my mind and my body. Friends who only point out the good things about me and skip over my flaws. Friends who love me and in turn help me love myself.

Before you can love another, you have to love yourself.

These friends, obviously, love themselves and that is what makes them beautiful and amazing and the most incredible people to be around. To those friends, I say THANK YOU for loving yourself.

Now, it's time to switch gears and stop crying...

Life is kicking my ass. I am quickly discovering that my time management skills are lacking. I work 40+ hours a week (give or take), and am now a full-time student at Full Sail University, studying Digital Cinematography. I am on track to get my Bachelor of Science Degree in three years. My ass is officially kicked. While I am maintaining a 4.0 after only three graded assignments, and also completing all of my projects at work, I am not able to keep up at home. My yard is a disaster and I'm lucky if I get the floors swept and the bathrooms cleaned. I like clean, so not being able to touch those areas of my life (my house) really bug me. I'll get there. I'm only three weeks in to this whole school thing... I'll get there.

...maybe I am good at time management though... The first week of school I was in Seattle visiting with friends and family, the second week I don't remember, and this third week was all about spending time with colleagues and friends from work during a business trip. AND I got all my assignments turned in and my work completed. Although I am going in to work on a holiday (tomorrow), but that is more logistical than not being able to keep up. Construction work near your studio does not make for clean audio. Holidays equal no construction. Yay!

Life is. That's the best way I can describe it right now. Life is...

This past week, an optional assignment has been presented to us students and after much contemplation, I have decided to participate. The assignment was given to us on Wednesday, and it has taken me until Sunday night to finally bite the bullet and go for it. This assignment involves anyone reading this blog via my Facebook post, so all three of you.

We have been tasked with giving something up for seven days. Seven days doesn't sound long, but when you're addicted to something that is not good for you, seven days can be torture. My first thought was, "I'll give up alcohol. I've done it before and I really need to just stop burying my pain in booze." Then, our instructor said that we have to give up something digital.


So, I'm still drinking. And am about one sip away from finishing a bottle of wine that I have consumed while writing this blog. Judge away friends, I still LOVE me.

And the bottle of wine has been completely consumed. So there.

Digital addictions. We all have them. I will fully admit that I am addicted to social media. Most particularly, Facebook. I used to be addicted to Twitter, but have weened myself of that over the years. I like Instagram, but can honestly say that I'm not addicted. I check it once a week if I remember to. And the same goes for Twitter. But Facebook? Fuck. I can't even count the number of times that I visit per day. Our instructor told us that we have to give up something for seven days that makes us cringe. The thought of stepping away from Facebook makes me cringe. I've slowly stepped away from it over the last several months, only checking when I have time (which is rare), but I still check it daily. It's bad. I'm addicted.

I'm giving up Facebook.

For at least seven (7) days.

I'm actually doing it.

Honestly, this is probably the best thing for me. Social media fucks people up. We only see what people want us to see. All the happy's. All the awesome life changing moments. All the vague-booking drama. We see what people want us to see and it doesn't always make us feel great. Facebook aids depression. While I'm dealing with a divorce, I see all these happy couples going on their 10-year anniversary vacations and posting pictures of them kissing in front of iconic places of interest. I am so happy for them and these posts of love just make me swell with love, joy, and pride for them, but it makes me examine my own life and how I couldn't even last in a marriage for 11 years. It's tough and it's not anyone's fault but mine for reading their posts and attaching these posts to my life. They are posting for them, not for me to be envious. That is something we all need to recognize and have a difficult time doing. So to those people posting, keep posting! I love seeing how happy you are, I just might be a little envious, but mostly I strive to be as awesome as you are at love.

Being asked to give up Facebook for seven days, because school, is a godsend. I am not coping well with my ex-husband is posting about all the fun he and his new girlfriend are having. It is downright ripping my heart out, but they are happy and that's all I could wish for. Social media has made breakups and new relationships incredibly difficult to deal with. People have the ability to censor themselves and we as onlookers have the ability to flat-out not read their posts. But it happens. People don't censor and we continue reading. While I have stopped following my ex-husband's posts, admittedly, I still visit his page every other day. I feel like shit when I do. One, for invading his privacy (although it is on a public forum, so I guess there's no privacy about it), but for two because it is difficult to read. We were together for 16 years. This shit is hard to read.

So, as I post this to my blog and also share a link on Facebook, I am saying goodbye for at least seven days. It will be hard to not check those photos that my brother and sisters post of my niece and nephews, and not to follow all the fun my friends are having, but I must say goodbye. It is for the best and maybe I'll come out a better person on the other side of this. I have a feeling that I'll love myself even more for giving myself the freedom to give up an addiction that is negatively impacting my life.

If you want to get a hold of me, texting is great. Calling is better. I do still have some unanswered Facebook messages, and those are fine. I check them on my phone, so just like email, I don't have to see Facebook posts - we can still communicate. Let's keep talking, my friends.

I love you.