Category Archives: Onwards

Children of Hoarders, Delving into the Psyche, Depression/Anxiety, Onwards, Spirituality, The Zebra

It’s like that Greek myth where Pandora cracked open Zeus’ brain and all the crazy came out, leaving him refreshed and way less assholey.

The sunbeams were crazy awesome tonight.  Like the sun was grasping desperately before being dragged down into the underworld against his will. Or something less demonic. Whichever.  Adjusted in #snapseed

I’m in the midst of cracking shit open right now. The cauldron of my psyche is boiling and shit’s bubbling up to the surface that I never knew or consciously realized. I feel like I’ve been in that dark forest that a hero is supposed to head into to fight the monsters and I’m finally finding my way to the caves where the monsters live instead of just hiding in the darkness, too overwhelmed with all the new sensations to move.

I think my writing style is to throw as many metaphors into as small a space as possible with the intent to dizzy my prey readers into thinking I’m a better writer than I am?

Ahem.

As a child, I definitely had perfection issues. If I created something and didn’t like it, I considered it a failure. More often, if I created something and never finished it, I considered myself a failure. But when I was around middle school-age I started noticing imperfections in others around me and I saw that they could be beautiful. Messy handwriting, a botched-then-fixed art project, an unconventionally-beautiful body shape. And the more I began to notice imperfections, the more I began to realize that perfectness is bullshit. So I let all that shit go.

Except. Just a few weeks ago I realized that for the past few years I have been clearly and consciously, and very seriously, trying to choose what my character flaw will be. Will it be my flakiness? That’s adorable and forgivable. Maybe it’ll be my various superstitions – eccentricity is quirky and cute. It could even be my anxiety. I fucking love my anxiety. It defines me and I don’t even know who I’d be without it. The anxiety has to stay. (To be clear – there is actually zero sarcasm in that last point. Which is probably super fucked up.) But I cannot allow my other flaws – my desperate need for constant approval, my inability to be there for people when they need me sometimes, the fact that I sometimes miss jokes if they are too dry – those things have got to go.

So. Um. Maybe I still have perfection issues after all?

I have a fear of failure that I have been unknowingly nurturing and nourishing in the dark recesses of my mind. Coddling it and encouraging it to grow by secretly promoting this perfect me I wanted to create. The more I focused on becoming perfect in all the ways I felt needed to be perfect, the more anxious I became. Trying to hold it all together like a 1960’s Tonight Show guest with a few too many spinning plates, running more and more frantically between them. It’s exhausting.

I imagine that perfection is a goal that my Child of a Hoarder self set for me. From one extreme, I believed I needed the other.

I am pretty open about my various traumas, but I am seeing now that there are things I am still unwilling to talk about, at least until I feel I have a more perfect understanding of them, or a more perfect control of them, or a more perfect acceptance of how imperfect they are. I’m afraid to talk about dating in case a guy might not like me and my friends realize that I’m unlikeable, I’m afraid to show my personal creative writings to friends in case they find out I’m no good at it. I’m afraid to ask too much of people in case I become a burden and they stop loving me.

But obviously this keeps me imprisoned with only myself as cellmate, and I’m not always nice to me, or reliable in the things I tell to myself. And I don’t want that life. So I am forcing myself to write about things and talk about things. Transparency keeps me sane.

Those character flaws I considered keeping grew bigger and stronger, became my jailers, pacing back and forth in front of my cell all night long (and all my days were nights). I remember at one point last summer, in my deeply religious fear of Murphy’s Law, I nearly panicked when I dropped something and commented, “Dammit, gravity!” For a moment, I was literally afraid gravity would hear me and, just to prove a point, stop working and everything would float away. I immediately caught the ridiculousness of the thought and laughed it off. Mostly. A kernel of that fear lingered.

It is because of that general thought process, I think, that my entire spirituality has been shattered. Caught between the atheistic beauty of the tangible world and the metaphysical mysteries that also ring true for me, I couldn’t orient myself. And I was afraid to publicly stand for something that might not be understood by everyone. So I turned to science because no matter what science is unfailingly there and real and right. But in the process I lost my faith. After all, if there is no bigger message in the world, than what are the gifts I have been given? Why was I granted sanity when my mom wasn’t? If there’s no ultimate purpose, then maybe I am just a spoiled child? I still don’t know any more than I did before about what my spiritual thoughts and leanings are, but at least I can now see the pieces on the floor for what they are and I can take time to put them together in new ways to see what fits for me.

But I honed the good traits until I was crazy, too. My desire to see all sides of every story is a beautiful and important trait to have, but it grew so strong that I could no longer see which side was my side. Like a tulip made of glass mirrors, each petal was broken and on the floor, reflecting every thought I might have on a subject. I had no sense of north, again with no way to orient myself. I couldn’t find me anymore, lost in a sea of concern for balance and justice that was more important than having an identity of my own.

Over the last couple of years I’ve stopped talking and writing. All of these things were growing like weeds and muzzling me. Sometimes I was too afraid to speak, but sometimes I just didn’t know where to begin. Interestingly, over the last year, I’ve become physically weaker, I’m in more pain, I hardly sleep, my depression and anxiety are through the roof, I’ve been sicker, and I’ve gotten fatter. By coincidence (or divine intervention?), I got the chance to participate in an interview for an upcoming series on NPR about the ACE study. I met with the doctor here who has been working on this for close to 30 years, and we talked about how childhood emotional trauma can affect our physical selves as adults. Science has found a link. It’s there. It’s clear. But because it’s so intangible, I tend to discount it. I feel like it’s crazy to find connections like that, despite the fact that, apparently, they are there. Despite the fact that I have seen connections like that over and over in my own life and body, I still wonder if I’m making up excuses (probably, hilariously, a leftover trait of my childhood trauma. How appropriate).

I don’t know what science might have to say about Louise Hay’s book, Heal Your Body, but I looked up “feet” because I’ve been having various problems with mine – from internal pains to the fact that I cannot stop dropping things on them. The suggestion was that feet problems can mean that you are standing, or lingering, in grief. AND HOLY FUCKING HELL AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH.

All of this has come up in the past few weeks. And a lot of these words came out of my fingers tonight in the past tense, suggesting that I am healed from this Crazy. The truth is that I probably have more to travel on this particular trip into the dark corners of my psyche. Hell, the last few days have been a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows. But I do feel like a major shift has happened. Like I’ve got a map, or a flashlight, or like at least I know the monsters I have to fight on this journey.

I can’t ever stop talking or writing, you guys. It’s dangerous, both psychologically and physically. Now here’s hoping that pain in my foot goes away. You hear that, Psyche? I’m leaving the grief behind.

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

36

family <3

So it was my birthday more than a week ago and I haven’t even blogged about that yet. Someone should take my temperature.

I was pretty much brokenhearted* that I couldn’t responsibly make Disneyland happen this year so I was trying to heal my soul by finding a suitable alternative. And then I realized I could go to Julian, a tiny historic mining town in our local mountains. If I crossed my fingers hard enough, it might even be cold like actual winter (or, as my frister calls it, a theme park winter). And I crossed my fingers hard enough, I guess because it was about 45 that day. My San Diegan blood was beside itself with excitement over such a dramatic experience. The children on the trip with us were less pleased. They were all, “I’m cold” and “This weather is cold” and also “Can we go inside now because it’s cold.” We even saw snow:

snow
theme park snow

My family and I visit Julian on a fairly regular basis. It’s the place (the only place, really) to go pick apples in the autumn, and there are some good campgrounds in the mountains nearby. But I’d never gone for one of the carriage rides. I was raised by grandparents who had lived through the depression and we were never allowed to do frivolous things like have fun because they were too expensive. Sometimes I stop suddenly and think, but wait. I’m a grownup now. I CAN DECIDE TO BE FRIVOLOUS IF I WANT. So we went on a carriage ride.

kids in a carriage

Did I mention that Bethany and her family were there, too? Cause they were. Which was extra fun because they’d never been before and we took them on the grand tour of important things like the candy store and the cemetery and pie. (What? We like cemeteries, okay?)

What do you mean you don't hang out in cemeteries on your birthday?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here but for about 10 years I couldn’t consume cow dairy. I discovered that it gave me emotional reactions which would cause me to turn into the Hulk and yell and throw a lot of things. Eventually I figured out that I could tolerate dairy from other animals without the same issues. But back when I moved in September I ordered pizza to “pay” people for helping me and they didn’t take the extra home so I had a lot of cheesy pizza around and very little self-control so I wound up eating *cough*anamountofpizza*cough* and didn’t even throw one thing. So, after ten years, apparently I can have dairy again. I FEEL SO FREE OKAY.

clouds

The point of this all is pie. Julian is famous for their apple pies and they top it with cinnamon ice cream. And it is the literal best food in the entire galaxy. And it had been so long since I’ve had any. And I don’t want to go saying anything too crazy here or anything, but it might have been almost as good as a trip to Disneyland.

Cinnamon ice cream. Best.

In the evening we headed back to town and had dinner with some friends where someone may or may not have misheard my story about the farting carriage horse as “whores” and we all laughed until we peed a little.

a good omen on Imbolc, I think

Last year I had high hopes for being 35. I mean. It wasn’t 33. 33 was a load of shit. It was, to quote myself, a fucking motherfucker. And 34 was pretty good. So I figured 35 would be nice, too. And I won’t ever say that 35 was as bad as 33 because no one died, but it sure was harder in a lot ways. So I’m over having expectations for years or ages. I just hope I can survive 36. If it’s not too horrible then it’s all the better. My friend Claire texted me early in the year and asked how my new year was going and I was just all, “Whatever. Who cares. What even is happiness. Joy is overrated.” Because I have partly evolved into a french art film, apparently. And I don’t think I’m depressed, really, I’m just jaded. Life has been relentless and I am tired. I’m taking each moment as it comes and just trying to keep swimming. So I don’t know if 36 will be better – god, please don’t let it be worse – but I’ve let any expectations go. Here’s to another year which will hopefully suck somewhat less! At the very least I can expect to giggle until the end of time about the farting whores of Julian.

Chalked.

*Not EVEN exaggerating. Checking my SoCal privilege. Ahem.

7 Days, Creativity, Onwards

A Goodbye to 7 Days

7 days alternate: last one

Today was our last chance ever to get together for a 7 Days group shot. Things like this are always difficult to do during the holiday run since everyone is always busy or out of town or sick. And today we were missing a few people for various reasons, but those of us who could got together one last time at the beach. When I started this all those years ago, I never expected I’d end up on a beach with a group of amazing people I shared this whole 7 Days experience with. I just figured it would be a fun thing to do. In the end it changed my life.

It also changed my photography. It was this group that inspired me to buy a DSLR, and that challenged me to always have something interesting to show off. Back in college the alternative processes were always my favorite part of photography. I loved working with the sepia, solarizing prints, or using oil paints to enhance a photo. The same is true today. I’ve done through the viewfinder photos, multiple exposures. I’ve used creative lenses and filters, iPhone techniques, and underwater cameras. I’m not sure where I’ll find the inspiration to keep trying new things, but I don’t want to stop.

7 Days: Day 7 (Guess What Else I Got?)

7 Days: Day 3 (Help from the Holga)

7 Days: Day 3 (Pink Hat)

7 Days: Day 1 (Kayak Adventure)

7 days: Day 2 (Inside. Also a Floaty Hand.)

As I looked around at my friends today on the beach, each setting up their shot, testing the light, hooking up remotes, each in their own world of preparation while chatting all together, I got the sense of that melodic cacophony of an orchestra warming up. And by the time I thought to start rolling video, most of that was finished, but I took some anyway and came home and, in the spirit of learning new things, threw together a quick iMovie video which you can see here.

Thanks, everyone, for being here always. To the future!

You can see the whole set here.

Edumacation, Geek, Onwards, The Zebra, This is a Woman

On Ravenclaw, Pottermore, and Self Esteem

RavenclawRavenclaw manicure. I knew if I looked far enough back in my photostream I’d find a relevant picture for this entry.

I remember being probably about three years old, spending the afternoons laying on my grandma’s bed in her red bedroom, working through a learn-to-read series. I loved the books, but often I’d wind up daydreaming instead of paying attention (this was to be a theme in my life). But I do remember that when she spelled out “A-P-P-L-E” I just heard the phrase “pee-pee” and giggled at the bathroom humor (which was also to be a theme in my life).

When I was about to enter kindergarten I took a test, I guess it was basically so my teacher could see what things I already knew. This is just my assumption. Anyway, in this test, apparently, I was told to count as high as I could go and I had to be stopped somewhere after the 70’s.

In third grade, I was tested for my school’s GATE program (they called it CORE) and despite the fact that the only question I still remember today, I got embarrassingly wrong, I was entered into the program. Four days a week I’d leave my classroom and spend an hour doing cool language arts stuff (cause my school was a kickass language arts magnet).

While I loved being a part of CORE, and I’m so glad I had that opportunity (especially as school got harder for me), it also saddled me with certain self-esteem issues. Because being a CORE kid came with expectations. My teachers would regularly point out to the whole class (which. wtf were they thinking? WHO benefits from that?) that the CORE kids were super fast workers, while I was still only halfway done with the assignment. I often frustrated teachers with my daydreaming because they felt that if I just stayed focused I’d reach my potential. I never seemed to meet the expectations that the “smart” kids were supposed to.

Please understand that I am not – absolutely not – knocking teachers. Teachers are some of the most important people in our culture and I highly respect them. And nearly all of my elementary school teachers were not only good at their job, but I remember them as people who I loved very much, and I know they loved me back. Overall I was blessed with mostly good teachers.

Maybe it’s because things were just different back in the dark ages 30 years ago, or maybe it’s because we know so much more now, and I’m sure it’s because my attention issues are really mild and probably not diagnosable as anything even by today’s more comprehensive standards, but I was left alone to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t actually as smart as the other CORE kids, or as smart as everyone seemed to think I was. It was a sort of weird place to be. It was obviously considered a high honor in my world to be considered smart – to have been labeled “gifted” – and I was proud of that just as much as it made me feel like shit. I don’t think I ever talked about this as a kid. Maybe I was too ashamed of myself and afraid people would figure out they were wrong about me or maybe because I just couldn’t find the words to express it. I don’t know. But the seed was planted.

And then when I was in fourth grade my mom suffered her nervous breakdown and my life went to shit. I was absent more days than not and tardy on the days I showed up at all. The kids around me would ask why and I didn’t know what to tell them. Teachers would scold me for not going to bed earlier (not that easy to do when your mom keeps you out until midnight, you know?) and I felt ashamed of all the mistakes I was making. I began to hate school when I’d always loved it before. My grades started suffering and everything fed into those insecurities that had already been planted in me.

And that’s just how it was. I did OK in English classes, usually getting B’s, sometimes C’s. Math classes were nearly always D’s if I was lucky. I didn’t understand how to study, and I had no interest in grades at all, except to hate myself when they weren’t good. I feel like in many ways I slept through my education, wandering bewildered through where I was told to go, only vaguely aware of the goal at the end.

In ninth grade something happened where I was suddenly able to gain control of small parts of my life and I suddenly stopped having all those absences and tardies. I cannot tell you what changed in me that year, but it was not the only major change I made in my life. I suppose it was my Oak Tree calling me to the next step of growth.

Even after that, though, I was still only a mediocre student in high school. I didn’t take it seriously. In fact, in my first go at biology I wound up with a 17% in the class. That’s, like, not even an F. But it wasn’t because it was a hard subject for me. It was because I just never did any work. In fact the next year when I retook the class, they put me in an honors-level course (as is per the custom when someone flunks a class?) and I wound up with a B.

Senior year something clicked and I worked really hard all year and received my first (and so far only) 4.0. But when I entered college things started sliding back downhill quickly.

In high school I took all the AP courses, but never took the AP tests. I think I was too afraid. While I wasn’t consciously aware of it, I think I believed I’d fail them. And I couldn’t handle failing. So I just didn’t try. I think the college-choosing process went similarly. I wound up going to the community college for lack of aiming for anything else.

It’s a strange loop to be stuck in. Too afraid to fail, desperately wanting to be a smart as everyone acted like I was, and unwilling to try because I was too fragile to handle failing.

And being at the community college, instead of a four-year school, just confirmed for me that I wasn’t smart. High school counselors and teachers acted like community college was for the people too stupid to go directly to university (or maybe that was just my perception). So, basically, I failed before I ever began. And since I didn’t really have any actual goals in mind for transfer or career, I just sort of dropped out.

And I struggled with this for years. Well, to be honest, I still sort of do. I definitely have some insecurities that I am still working on.

But there came a time when Harry Potter came into my life. Don’t laugh. Harry Potter is real, man. Of the four houses, I’d wonder which one I’d get sorted into. I knew I wasn’t Gryffindor material. I’m not that brave and I certainly don’t want the glory. None of the glory. That’s my motto. (I’m OK with recognition. Just not glory.) (And by “recognition” I mean that I’d prefer it if it’s given discreetly and that no one looks at me all at once and we just move on with things quickly, please.) And I didn’t relate to any of the Slytherins at.all.ever. Which left Ravenclaw, renowned for their intellect, and Hufflepuff, described in the books as “for everyone else.” (I paraphrase because I am too lazy to go look it up right now. Don’t judge. Those books are all the way across the room. And I can’t even accio them. Stupid muggle genes.) Since I assumed I wasn’t smart enough for Ravenclaw, I figured I must belong in the catch-all house intended for people who are just leftovers, not good enough to be sorted anywhere else.

I KNOW BETTER NOW.

I don’t know why Hufflepuffs aren’t more celebrated in the books, but I think that’s why the house is so generally disrespected. It wasn’t until I got deeper into the lore of the Wizarding World that I began to really understand the complexities of the different houses, and to understand what Hufflepuffs actually are. They aren’t leftovers at all. They are characterized by being loving and loyal. By operating on feelings rather than glory or knowledge. And I began to see that Hufflepuff is, really, possibly the best house (aside from it’s unfortunate bumblebee colors, I mean). I mean. Helga Hufflepuff took everyone into her house because she saw that everyone is amazing. Because you don’t need to be brave or smart or driven to be important. That’s what Hufflepuff is. And I’d be proud if I were in Hufflepuff House.

And I do think I’m sort of on the cusp of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. A lot of my social anxieties are based in my intense desire to want to make people happy and know that they are loved (of course, one can also be loving and loyal without the anxiety part). But if there is one character who I most relate to in the Harry Potter stories it is by far Luna. She was flighty and dreamy, she was fiercely loyal, she believed in unbelievable things, and she was a Ravenclaw.

And then when I was sorted into my Pottermore house, I was sorted into Ravenclaw. And it might sound crazy, or fanatical, or childish, but that changed me. It gave me the confidence to begin to be able to see that I am not stupid. That I can get good grades and that I can finish college. That I had the ability all along, I was just missing the support, and the sane life, and the help to find my strengths among my weaknesses.

And so a few weeks ago I finished my first college course in something like 16 years and I got an A. And now I’m a week into a physiological psychology class which is challenging. Parts of it are fascinating to me (and therefore easier), but parts are more abstract (hello, molecular biology!) and things that are less tangible are sometimes harder for me to comprehend (when my son was born and my midwife handed him to me I said, “Oh! A baby!” cause I was legit a little surprised). But I’ve learned so much about myself, and I was given the confidence to believe that I can that now I’m able to see the parts that are challenging for me, and work harder at them. Because I know that I can understand this subject. I have the capacity and I will. It’s only taken me 30 years to get to this point.

Religion is probably not genetic. This shit is FASCINATING, people.
This is the fascinating part of physiological psychology

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

Begin.

It’s been just over two years since my mom died. But I could swear it’s just been one.

I mean, I can account for all the time that passed, and I remember things that happened in that time, but somewhere along the way I feel like I essentially lost 2012. It’s okay. It sounds dramatic to write it out like that, but I assume it’s just part of what grief is.

Well, and recovery from The Worst Year Ever. In 2011 my ex-husband and I split up and just as I was getting my life in order, my mom died leaving me her only heir to clean up her mess (literal mess – it was a hoarder’s house), while in the middle of that (luckily I had wonderful people help me with it) my face and hands suddenly went numb for some reason. I swear I was living Betty Draper’s life what with the dead mom and numb hands. WTF, even? I mean. Of ALL the fictional worlds to mimic, my life goes with Mad Men? NO, LIFE, NO. PICK HARRY POTTER INSTEAD, MKAY?

And so when 2011 was over… I mean. I don’t even honestly know. 2012 happened, somehow. I went to Disneyland a lot. That was probably just as effective as Prozac. I wasn’t really depressed, or maybe I just wasn’t severely depressed. But I certainly wasn’t exactly awake. There were some dark times. The anniversary of her death hit me really hard and most of July was bleak. I braced myself this year for another difficult summer, but it wasn’t nearly the same. It was okay. And I’m sure it would have even been normal except that I’ve spent all of this year holding my breath for other reasons.

I feel like I’ve essentially lost a couple of years now. Things are so different, I don’t even recognize my life from three years ago. I’ve had to let go of a lot. For practical reasons, as well as out of kindness to myself.

I remember when I was a kid I had a list of things that would make my life perfect, or that would mean my life had begun. I know better now than to think life isn’t happening all the time. I may wait for certain things, but I don’t stop living while I wait.

Even so I feel a little like that that younger version of myself now. Like I’ve spent the last two, almost three years, waiting. And that’s not such a big deal for me as an adult with many years under my belt, but three years is a massive chunk of my kids’ childhoods and I feel a little resentful that it’s been stolen from me or them or us or someone. Or no one. I don’t think my kids have noticed, really. But, because of grief, these last few years have been sleepy and surreal for me, and I guess that colors my perception of things.

But now I’m a student. And I am probably/hopefully/most likely/with any luck moving soon to a place of my own. And my divorce is final now. And, I’m a little bit hesitant to say it because of the way the last few years have felt, but I almost feel like my life is about to begin.

Life isn’t what they tell you. It’s not grow up, go to college, fall in love, buy a house, have the babies, be happy, do good in the world, die a peaceful death when you are old and have lived a good long life. It’s grow up in a fucked up alcoholic-hoarder home, feel too stupid to go to college, have zero plans, be essentially asleep in life, get married, have the babies, accidentally start a feminist movement online, finally wake up, get divorced, lose your alcoholic-hoarder mom, go back to school, try to buy a house, live until you are eleventy-one making a difference in the world all the while. It doesn’t look at all like I was promised when I was a little girl. Life isn’t neatly packaged. It’s awkward and convoluted and messy. Life isn’t linear. Life is a web, everything connected to everything. And that’s okay. That’s beautiful. But you have to know what you are looking at to see the beauty. If you expect linear, a messy web isn’t going to look nice. Expect the web. Know now that life is messy and that makes it beautiful.

Onwards

The Platinum Rule

I wrote this on Tumblr awhile back:

A long time ago in another lifetime I was sent to some work training thing where they teach you corporate bullshit like “paradigm shift,” or “thinking outside the box.” In this case they taught us about the Platinum Rule. And, despite what I’d like to say about it, I actually find it really valuable. The point is that we’re taught the Golden Rule – to treat others as we’d like to be treated. And that’s important when we don’t know how the OTHERS would want to be treated (not the OTHERS like in Lost. We don’t treat them with either Rule, we just hide). But the Platinum Rule states that we should treat others as THEY want to be treated. Every person and every situation each person is in is so different that there isn’t just one answer.

I wrote that in response to a Stephen Fry quote about depression which came (to my attention) shortly after Allie Brosh’s post about depression.

But the thing is that the Platinum Rule applies to everything. Depression, pregnancy, body image, weddings, procreation, vegetarianism, fandoms… Everything. You know all those “Things not to say” lists? If we all followed the Platinum Rule, we wouldn’t need them.

So why don’t we all follow the Platinum Rule?

I don’t know. But if I had to guess, I would say it’s because the Golden Rule is easier. We created etiquette as a sort of rulebook for life. So we’d know how to handle certain situations that might otherwise be unfamiliar to us. We all know these rules and we have come to expect them from people. People who don’t follow these rules are considered rude because we don’t understand what they are thinking.

But etiquette doesn’t cover every situation ever. So we covered our asses by creating the Golden Rule. If you’re in a situation that your understanding of etiquette doesn’t cover, go ahead and act the way you’d want people to act to you. This is mostly a good thing. It covers all the basics like, “don’t murder people” because you wouldn’t want to be murdered. Or “Give The Hand* when another driver lets you go first” because you’d want someone to give you The Hand if you allowed them to go first.

But then you get to the next level of How To Interact With Other Humans. Those gray areas where your best intentions turn into hurtful things because you don’t know what’s going on in the other person’s head. Where, instead of assuming how you should act, you ask how they want you to act. Because while you may have worries and a gentle reminder to relax might work for you, if someone tells me to relax while I’m having an actual anxiety attack, I only tense up further and become angry on top of anxious, because what I really need at the moment it just to be understood. And possibly some Xanax.

And so here I am. Promoting this Platinum Rule. Which seemed, at first, to be some of the corporate-est bullshittiest corporate bullshit out there, but turns out, upon actual implementation, to be some of the best advice I ever received. So go forth and Platinum each other. And, yes. Let’s always call it Platinuming Each Other.

*You know. The Hand. That little gesture that’s not really a wave? It’s more just a presenting of your hand. But other drivers know you are saying, “Hey, thanks!” and not just, “Look! I have a hand!”