Tag Archives: self discovery

Brainwashing, it’s not just for cults anymore

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

I am always my own worst enemy. The thoughts that run rampant in my head can take a turn for the worst, and when this happens my life crashes. Of course, I have big batches of time where I am sane-ish, when I get things done, take care of myself, and feel good. But when things tip, when I lose my balance, these thought come rushing in, and suddenly not writing and sleeping all day sounds great. Instead of eating an apple, I eat ice cream, and getting enough sleep? yeah, that’s one big joke.

So how does one stop crazy thoughts?

I could read books. There are plenty of spiritual/ self-help books that focus on being in the here and now, that offer meditations to let those negative thoughts go. But really I don’t have the time, and I would only do it when I’m doing well.

So I have opted for an easier way, a more passive way, and I’m doing it right now. Subliminal messages. Oh, yes. I am employing the ancient art of brainwashing on myself. I am using a series of tapes, some that are subliminal, some guided imagery, some sleep programming.

If I can’t find will power within myself, then I shall brainwash myself into it!

Right now I am doing tapes that focus on health, healthy eating, and weight loss. But they also have ones on creativity, getting more done, overcoming fears, and tons of other topics.

I have had enough of my brain getting in the way of self-discipline, leaving me the moment things get tough. Maybe these won’t work. Maybe they will. The other day I was planning on eating nachos for lunch. I started to grab the stuff and suddenly did not want them anymore. I had fruit instead and an hour later when I was actually hungry, I made a sandwich.

apocalypse, mango, magoes,

Photo by Tatters:)

I figure as long as the messages aren’t turning me into part of some mad woman’s secret assassin army, it’s all good.

Do you have self-discipline? Are you able to keep the negative self-talk to a minimum, or do you also try to drown the voices in egg rolls and cheese cake?

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20 days of freaking out

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

Sane is not a word most people would use to describe me, which is why twenty days before I am going on the annual work trip to San Diego I am trying desperately to lose weight. Yes, ye, I said annual trip. And yes, after seeing pictures of me last year on the beach, I wanted to throw-up and cry. I vowed to never go back to the beach looking like that. I VOWED! And then I ate ice cream.

So here I am twenty days before we leave and at least sixty pounds overweight. Can a person lose three pounds a day??

Seriously I’m counting calories, getting my butt into odd yoga position, and doing cardio until vomiting seems like a fun idea (well I’ve been doing it for two days now). Point being, why do I do this? Why didn’t I watch my calories intake over the past year? Seriously, I knew this was coming. Why didn’t I exercise more? I have tons of videos for those days when my gym buddy can’t go; there was no reason why my lazy ass couldn’t have done something, anything, other than partake of second breakfast and sit on my ass.

Do you do this to yourself? Are you a last minute panic person or do you take your time and get a bit done every day so it’s easy?

Post Cupcake Sadness

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Photo by thesparechangekitchen

Photo by thesparechangekitchen


My loving husband bought me gluten free chocolate cupcakes. For the sake of my sanity, we won’t discuss the calorie count of these amazing treats. Before I ate my cupcake, I asked my daughter to make one of the gluten free cake mixes.

She rolled her eyes and asked why. Um, hello, post cupcake sadness. She looked at me as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.

Post cupcake sadness is a serious condition. While eating one’s cupcake there is happiness and joy, which can last for a while. But the next day, or a few short hours later, when there is no cupcake, there is much sadness, wishing one had waited to eat the cupcake, and hoping cupcakes will magically appear.

But now there won’t be the horrible post cupcake sadness. Now I can go and have a yummy piece of cake, and all will be right with the Universe again.

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

See, it’s all about being prepared.

How do you prepare for life’s difficult moments?

The Hand Clap of Death

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zumba, Alica Mckenna-Johnson

Photo by ilovememphis

So my friends, or supposed friends who I work out with, wanted to try Zumba at our gym. It’s fun; I enjoy the music; the teacher has enough perky energy to run Disneyland, and in my head I look magnificent. Of course in my head I also still look 16.

So there I am bouncing around following the steps. I’m sure I looked like a drunk elephant, but in my head I’m graceful. Since I am totally willing to live in my own reality, everything was just fine. Until the teacher added a clap to the steps. In my head it didn’t seem like a big deal; however, in the cruel florescent light of reality, my brain stopped working when I tried to clap.

zumba, Alica Mckenna-Johnson

Photo by Cimm

I froze.

My feet twisted into some warped version of a salsa move with my arms flailing around my head. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t figure out how to do the steps. My poor brain was overtaxed with trying to convince me I really was looking like my sixteen-year-old self rocking the Zumba. All short circuited because of a single clap.

I laughed, what else was there to do? I shook my arms and legs, laughed again and began to do whatever weird concoction of moves the teacher put together, but I didn’t try to clap again.

Are you good at choreography-style workouts? Can you clap in the middle of a set of steps without frying your brain?

Please State Your Subject Before You Speak

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Alica Mckenna Johnson

My poor abused hubby, I think he’s ignoring me.

So, conversations with me can be a multidimensional event.

I’ll start a conversation, one line, in my head, in an email, and then start talking out loud, frequently to my husband, who for some reason hasn’t yet mastered the art of reading my mind an therefore has no idea what I’m talking about.

Here is an example:

Me (looking up from my computer): Logan, the book definitely has homosexual themes.

Logan (my 18 year old son): Okay.

Me (frustrated sigh): The book you are reading for school.

Logan (laughing): Oh okay. I wasn’t sure if you meant the book you wrote, or the one you’re writing, or some new plot you’re working on, or a book you read, or a fanfiction.

Rod (hubby bows and spreads his arms): Welcome to my world.

I glare at them all, just because the conversation started in an email with a friend didn’t mean they shouldn’t have known exactly what I’m talking about!

So how do I adjust to fit the lack or unwillingness of my family to maintain a psychic connection with them at all times in case I need to speak to them?

I announce the subject before I start speaking.

Example

Me (walking into a room): Phoenix Child, book one.

Hubby (sighs and continues folding laundry): Okay, go.

Me (ignoring the sigh): So what do think Sara would drink after being attacked by a walk-in while recovering at a trendy San Francisco café?

Hubby: Water?

Me (snorting): No, it’s cold. It needs to be something hot.

Hubby: Tea?

Me: she’s not British. (rest of conversation completed in head). Oh, great perfect, and the shot of caramel really shows her hidden girly side. Thanks honey.

Hubby shakes his head in awe of my awesomeness and continues to fold the clothes.

Are you a multidimensional conversationalist? How do you start conversations with your family that started in your head?

Do writers make good cult members?

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Kevin Bacon, Alica McKenna-Johnson

Kevin Bacon by Sagindie


I watched The Following with hubby, okay I peeked at it while doing other things like hiding behind pillows, and hubby. This is a seriously scary show, very good, but I’m thinking too scary for me.

Anyway one of the followers gets a text saying “do it now.” She strips revealing words written all over her body then stabs herself in the eye with an ice pick.

While wondering how the serial killer could control other people so easily via the internet, the answer came to me.

They are all writers! The killer is a Lit Professor, he has obviously promised to help them craft the perfect novel.

Kristen Lamb, Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by Kristen Lamb, an author pushed to the limit?

The woman, poor, poor creature, obviously went insane after being told to revise her book for the fourth time. The text was telling her to get to work, the words on her body her finest, most beautiful, and poetic lines which he has told her to remove from her novel, and the ice pick to the eye? Well hasn’t every writer felt like that when they’ve been told to revise?

Yes, this graphic, violent, bloody, scary show is all about the writer’s process, and our willingness to ‘kill our darlings’ or possibly other people to get a book deal.

Training my Husband

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Alica McKenna-Johnson

My hubby 🙂

I adore my hubby. Rod is a wonderful partner, and we have been married for many years. Wait, let’s see, girl child is 13 so for 14 years we’ve been married 🙂 And while he is almost perfect, I do have a few things I want to vent about, because, really, a woman can only take so much.

1. Some days Rod works late, or he’s extra tired from hauling boulders, or gets wrapped up in the internet, and he makes my dinner and brings it down to me late. It’s very frustrating and really our normal schedule is completely reasonable.

2. There have been a few mornings when Rod is home when I get out of the shower, and he has forgotten to take my towels and put them in the dryer so my towels are hot and fluffy. Its days like this when I really worry about the quality of our relationship.

3. There have also been several months when I start my period and Rod doesn’t have a stash of chocolate waiting for me. I do worry that his thoughts are straying from me and our marriage when he isn’t totally focused on, well, me.

4. When Rod finishes the laundry and hangs up my tee shirt he doesn’t always make sure the designs on the front all face the same direction and he mixes my black and navy blue tee shirts.

It’s the little things that make or break a marriage. If I didn’t love him so much I’m just not sure if our marriage could handle the strain.

So what about all of you? Please use the space here to freely vent out your spouse, partner, significant other, or pet.

Take it slow and make it hot.

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I like to snack, but I also am hoping to lose weight, and the two don’t always go well together. Of course I do try to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes I just want something else. So I snack hot.

You see, I have a delicate tongue. I like spicy, but I honestly can’t handle very hot and spicy foods, which means I eat them slower. You are beginning to see the mad brilliance of my plan, aren’t you? When I snack on spicy foods, I can’t eat them as fast, nor can I eat as much. If I do, my tummy will be very unhappy, and in all honesty, my butt the next morning. Ouch.

My favorite slow and spicy snacks:

Dried mango covered in chili: This is sweet and spicy and reminds me of the Mexican tamarind candy. Trader Joe’s has it, and all I can eat is one piece instead of the whole bag of plain dried mango.

Wasabi peas: Not only do I get the crunchy/ salty combo, which is important for any balanced diet, but sometimes a pea will have a lot of wasabi on it and I get a ‘fun’ rush of heat which clears my sinuses and makes my body shudder. So really this is a whole body food.

waasbai peas, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Isa Costa, spicy snacks

Wasabi Peas by Isa Costa

Hot Cheetos or now as I react badly to MSG, Barbara’s Jalapeño Cheese Puffs : Now these are an extra treat because the nutritional value is much lower, but again I can’t eat as quickly or as many so they get put on the list.

Spicy Chocolate: There are many different brands to choose from, but dark chocolate with chili in it is something to be savored slowly. Make sure to get one with a good kick, or you’ll eat it too fast.

So what is your favorite slow and spicy snack???

Betrayed by Junk Food

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Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Chocolate

Chocolate Understands

So it’s one of those mornings and the adult part of my brain that was trying to get me to work out, lost. Which means it is now time for junk food. So I am pondering what to eat when I realize that I no longer have my junk food favorites. Sure I can order Chinese, but I want something now and the restaurant isn’t open yet.

Deep sigh.

So I head to the store but what can I get?

I’m vegetarian gluten and dairy free- by allergy not choice. What in hell can I eat???

Junk food is supposed to mask my emotions not make unhappy ones. Is junk food now betraying me??

I slog through the aisle trying not to cry because explaining why I’m sobbing in front of the display of macaroni and cheese is not something I want in my police records.

Then I see them, the one food that is obviously a gift from the gods because it spans the healthy food junk food yummy barrier, AVOCADOS. Carefully I fondle select two perfect avocados and head to the chips. Picking a bag of organic blue corn chips, that were on sale, I scurry to the froze food section where I grab a box of vegan, gluten free taquitos and coconut based caramel ‘ice cream’.

I have succeeded! The Universe loves me. I can now go home and medicate my sorrow in junk food that won’t make me pray for the grim reaper to come for me the next day.

As I prepare my feast I will listen to this lovely, happy making teaser from the BBC radio 4 production of Neil Gaimin’s Neverwhere. Benedict Cumberbatch is singing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0169jdc

Juggling Explosives

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Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn't he make juggling look easy?

Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn’t he make juggling look easy?

Last night I had a minor melt down. I managed to hold off until the kids were in bed then the ugly thoughts and tears began. Now my overly emotional state might have been caused by the email saying I hadn’t placed in a writing competition I’d entered, the fact that I had gone almost a week without thyroid medication, or that I worked straight through the weekend and got the see my husband for only a few minutes each day (I’m rather high maintenance).
No matter the reason, I was in a bad place.

And while I was sorting my clothes- the nice ones to give away and the sweat pants which would fit once I abandoned my diet and stopped exercise, because why does the crazy night clerk at Circle K need to look good. I mean surely Circle K would hire a failed writer, mother, wife, human being right???

I had a thought. Yes, it hurt a lot a little bit, hush! I imagined myself as a juggler trying to keep all these balls in the air, work stuff, paperwork, work kids, personal kids, hubby, house, cooking, writing, sleep, social media, blogging, reading, working out, showering, crap that come along and fucks up my day. And there are all these balls and they are different size (based on importance) and some things like my family and work have more than one ball because, hello, there is a lot of shit to take care of.

Cold, heavy dread suffocated me as my eyes filled with tears. I shuffled to my computer and began filling out on line application to Circle K. I was never going to be able to do all of this, never. Needing a moment to figure out what my assets to the Circle K International team might be I scrounged up a hidden Snickers bar and while numbing my sorrow with chocolate and caramel, I began to imagine my life without writing.

I could still write a little bit, and of course pop in a social media and blogging enough to maintain what I had already created but I couldn’t keep trying to pretend I could do it all, when I was obviously failing at EVERYTHING!!!
So after moping about and finishing my Snickers bar, I decided to go to bed. I stumbled over the pile of clothes and as I brushed my teeth, not looking in the mirror because I didn’t need to see the evidence of five years of dieting failure at that particular moment, I had another less painful thought.

What if I gave each of the three main areas in my life one hour?

What if I gave one hour during my six ours off per day to my family? I could clean (we have a small apartment so I could get a lot done) I could prep food for dinner, or put together something, or put something in the crock pot. Sure my family isn’t home, but I can still support them and the space they live in by doing 1 hour a day. AND, because I am a multi-tasking fiend, I can listen to audio books while I’m doing so.

Okay this was sounding reasonable, which is not something I normally hear from the voices in my head so I paid close attention.

If I also gave 1 hour of focused time to work, one hour where I did something focused with the kids (preferably) or paperwork (an occasional necessity) I would feel better about how I’m doing my job. And I already read to them at bedtime, so 30min are already getting done, if I’m having a bad day and need to count it in.

This plan also gives me 1 hour to dedicate to writing every day. One hour where I will focus on my writing and nothing else.

Now I can still check Facebook and Twitter while the kids watch Sponge Bob, and I can read blogs while I eat lunch. Multi-tasking can still happen. But maybe, just maybe I will feel like less of a failure at life if I focus some time every day on the three areas I feel like I am always sucking at.

What do you think? How do you juggle your life?