Depression is no joke. Periodically I wonder how many people are struggling with this particular issue at work. Despite my dread, this year was probably one of the best Thanksgiving celebrations I can remember. Earlier in the week I had stopped by my mom's to have her fix my knitting. I gave her a sweater and the turtleneck that I was wearing beneath it. During the transfer she remarked that it was a really nice sweater, I casually mentioned the price which was my way of saying, for this amount, it should be nice, but she took it another way and told me that she's worried about me and money. Last night I was driving home reflecting, letting my mind drift, when all of a sudden I started crying. I really have no way of knowing this for sure, but I felt like my crush was suffering. This came out of the blue, I cried some tears and wished there was something I could do to help him.

I don't know if anyone else is in on this, but I play a game with him every day at work. I walk through the shop to see if I can find him. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to see him right away, other days I have to wait. The time he was away for a week was really hard on me, but probably good in the sense that not getting what you want sometimes teaches you lessons you didn't need you know. Today I didn't see him up close until later in the afternoon. I wasn't expecting to see him, we had several seconds in a walkway to do the check in thing, he asked me a question; what's up, or what's going on, something like that. I  said 'nothing much' because when I see him, every clever thought, sincere rejoinder, and any iota of intelligent speech goes bye-bye. Whenever I don't see him I try to give him space, I feel like he needs space, and I like the idea that I'm observing boundaries even if an idea is all it is in real life.

It seemed as if his mood was about as shitty as mine. I wanted to say something encouraging, uplifting, distracting, flirty, anything other than what I really did. I wanted a way to make both of us feel better, and I have some ideas on things we could do together, but it's hard carrying on those types of conversations at work. Later on another guy stopped me; he showed me a picture of this wrench set and told me I could buy it for him if I was putting a Christmas list together. I knew he was kidding, the conversation led to talk about the tools I lost when I got divorced, most of them weren't mine to begin with, but there were several that I could claim, and never did. I stood there talking and responding until finally I told him that, I can't remember exactly what I said, maybe something about not being able to talk anymore, I think I said I felt like crying, he asked why, I said because I was sad, and practically ran out the door.

I cry at work, and usually it's not a big deal, however there have been some occasions where I have been sobbing uncontrollably, and today, I could not pull myself together. Thankfully the guy I work with is super about this kind of thing, he could tell that this was not anything that would get resolved in a moment or two, he told me to go take some time. I went outside, ran to the back of the lot, and cried my eyes out in a corner behind our plow truck. I was hurt, I was angry, I was devastated, nothing was going right, and it sucked. I want to return to that conversation for a moment, we were talking about love (I have no idea why) and he said that love is when someone else's wellbeing is more important than your own (paraphrase warning). This guy normally doesn't say much to me, I could tell he couldn't figure out why I was so upset, but I knew why. It was what people speak of as the final straw, that one that breaks the camel's back.

Yesterday my step-dad was playing Scrabble with his grandson. I stopped by, not really wanting to get involved, I can't remember why I was in the room initially, but of course the game intrigued me, and I wound up talking to my mom and step-sister about the tiles on the grandson's rack. He badly wanted a bingo, and both my mom and I were pretty sure he didn't have one. This led to a discussion on how to play, with my mom and then me explaining how we played. My mom is into interesting words and letter combinations while I am more about strategic placement of the tiles and blocking my opponent. My mom tells me that this is why she hates playing with me, but the truth is she has probably won as often as she has lost when we play together. Her husband doesn't like playing with either of us because we take so long to lay words down, for me, this is how it has always been other than my brief online foray.

At one point both my step-sister and my mom told this kid to listen to me. My step-sister said I was good, I'm not sure if she was saying that just to be polite since we have never played together, she actually thought I was good based on something others had said, or just wanted to be supportive, regardless, she said it. My mother, not to be out done, went even further. I think she said I was killer, and it was such a strange choice of words, especially coming from my church going, gardening fanatic, walk everywhere so you don't have to drive mother, that I was totally stunned and not really sure what to say. I didn't really say anything right away, then made a comment about losing to her as often as I win, or a phrase of that nature. We went back to the rack, I left, and returned much later to find out that the kid had actually gotten his bingo with the word; EMOTIONS.

I was really proud of him, and congratulated him. Earlier I had told him that he had talent, and I believe that to be true. I'm not sure how old he is, twelve-ish maybe? I don't think he gets a lot of individual attention, his younger brother is quite the handful, I felt as if I didn't contribute much initially, but after I thought about it, and I went into this on Twitter, I felt like I might have underestimated my role in the game. First of all I noticed that the kid was actually way more talented than he thought that he was and gave him that recognition. I've been playing long enough to get a feel for who is good and who is never going to be a fan. I can't pinpoint exactly why I felt he was outstanding, maybe because despite more limited vocabulary he was still coming up with some nice word combinations, perhaps it was his passion and insistence on getting the extra fifty points, or just the fact that a kid his age was content to sit at a Scrabble board at all.

I treated him like an adult, and I feel like that helped too. I didn't talk down to him when he didn't know how to keep score accurately. I double checked my math to see how I was coming up with 20 while he was getting 24, found his error, and pointed him toward the scoring portion of the instructions. I feel like I gave him some food for thought, explained the game in a way that he hadn't heard of or thought about before, I have played with some terrific players, including people I have met here, and while I will never be at some of their levels, I'm not the worst player ever either. However you want to slice it, I feel like this is a great example of it taking a village to raise a child, and I was proud to have done my part since I am typically standoffish at these types of things, mostly because I have no idea what to say, or how to engage with these people that I am related to by marriage.

While I am familiar with the expression about it being darkest just before dawn, the reality is that despite my breakdown at work, and being scolded by my mother, I am really in a terrific place compared to where I have been. Today I almost got some people to help me organize the lot. I've had many tell me that it isn't going to last, it's not worth it, that they've already tried it, but I know that this can be done, and I'm debating about how to do it. I can do it by myself, but it will obviously go much more quickly if I get some help. I had a harebrained idea about attending a sales meeting, and maybe I will still do this at a future point in time, but this weekend, the only things on my agenda are rest, writing, and planning for the upcoming week. The highlight of my day was seeing my daughters. It's been a while, and the hugs and conversations were so worth it. I can't even describe how happy seeing them made me, joyously, profoundly so, indescribably so really.

Wednesday I'm going to the dentist. I would like to meet up with my oldest after that, I have the day off and I am super excited. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the money on some level. I would have more if I was better at managing it, however I could also have a lot less, and I feel that I am a very generous person, and wouldn't change a thing if I was to get all the money I have spent on paintings for others back a hundredfold. Wealth is so much more than dollars in the bank, and I'm not just saying that because I could use some cash. Being able to admit that I was sad was a huge breakthrough for me. Crying it out instead of holding it in was a step forward. I cleaned out my closet and did some chores. My life is incredible and amazing in so many ways, I'm totally unable to express it in any way that will convey how blessed I am to be living it.

Family was a part of it yesterday, but way more than that is that guy. He has taught me things and shown me sides of myself that I had no idea existed. He cares, and it's probably a lot deeper than that, but for now, I'm content with that description. I hurt when he does, and I'm guessing that the reverse is true as well. I firmly believe that we are in each other's eyes for a reason, he was upset about something today, and that one word really hit me hard. I hate it when he's in a bad mood, but I have learned that there is very little I can do about a bad mood or day that anyone is having. Just knowing he is there makes me feel like things are going to be okay. Maybe we will never go out, it will never turn into anything other than what we have now, and if so, I might wish otherwise, but I will also take some time to be indebted for the things he has given me; laughter, tears, emotional support, vulnerability; and so much more.

Truly it is a great day to be me.

Xoxo,

J

P.S. I am so happy that this day is over, I survived, and am grateful for the hardships if that is what it takes for me to grow and learn.

j

I'm tired. I've been listening to the I should be writing podcast and one of the things one of the guests said really stood out to me. Writing doesn't get easier with time so much as you just get use to the difficulty. Screw Brandon Sanderson and his "it's a skill" crap. I've been doing this for years and the baseline difficulty has barely dropped since I started. The real difference is that I'm just use to being frustrated and putting stuff that I'm not really happy with. I wonder how many author find success commercially but don't really like their own work.

On a more general note I enjoyed Thanksgiving. We spent time with the extended family. To anybody who's familiar with love languages I'll reveal that mine is conversation/quality time. I'm always struck by how meaningful conversations beyond meaningless small talk feel to me and I got to catch up with my cousins. While I wouldn't say that my family is particularly geeky in and of itself the interest in ideas/abstract thinking quotient is definitely above average when compared to the general population and it feels like I can launch into one of my rants about the relationship of game theory to everything without it just being verbal onanism on my end.

IRON NODER: WE'LL RUST WHEN WE'RE DEAD

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