sunday morning coffee break

So, I wanna start a weekly blog that I write to recap the ridiculousness of life in a normal week.  I was thinking about this last night before I came home to find that my dog had destroyed another door way in my house, and I came up with “sunday morning coffee break” because I love drinking coffee early on Sunday mornings and kind of reflecting on what happened in the previous week and thinking about the week ahead.  Typically it causes me great anxiety and this is week is no different.  So, this should be fun!

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literally me this entire week

Let’s start with…. Things That Made Me Feel Like A Huge Failure This Week

  1. (I have no idea how many of these there will be) Not being able to work because anxiety destroyed my life on Monday.  Not being able to do the job you’ve been doing for 10 years because you have a mental breakdown at your desk (not even work related!) and realizing that you need to go home and get in bed — that’ll make you feel like you suck.  Using your own paid time off that you’re trying your best to save up for having a baby (thanks no federally mandated paid parental leave, America.  Only first world nation to have this issue) a couple of years from now will make you feel like you suck.  Knowing over all that you seriously just suck at adulting will make you feel like a huge failure.  Thanks, anxiety.  Go jump out of a moving vehicle.
  2. Your dog eating through not ONE but TWO doorways in your house, through the drywall, down to the studs because he apparently has more anxiety than you do will make you feel like you suck. Feeling like a horrible pet parent because you want to get rid of said dog will make you feel like you suck.  Having no answers makes you feel like you suck.  Not wanting to get rid of your dog because you really love him, but you really love your house that you’re paying for for the next 29 years will make you feel like you suck. So, we’ve had Trevor for 2 years.  We have no real grasp of what he went through the 2 years before we adopted him, so I don’t think he can help whatever triggers his anxiety (NEWSFLASH: NEITHER CAN I! I feel you, Trevs).  Needless to say, ol Trev will be crated when we leave the house.  It’s frustrating because we’ve been in this house for almost a year, and suddenly after being perfectly fine, he’s like LET’S KILL EVERYTHING.  I’m not a bad pet Mom, so don’t pet Mom shame me.  I can’t handle SanctiMommy Pet Mommying — I’ll get enough of that if I ever have a kid.
  3. Your period will make you feel like a failure.  Not because I want to be pregnant, but because periods are just horrible.  Enough said.
  4. Breaking down to your psychologist because your SSRI has made you gain weight and thusly triggered body image issues quite literally from the pits of hell.  I can’t tell you all how much I hate myself and how I look.  How much I don’t love myself.  It’s disgusting and embarrassing to discuss.  So, you aren’t alone.  Whoever you are reading this.
  5. Starting to “sell” something because I seriously ADORE the products but I’ve always poo pooed selling stuff.  But, whatever.  Perfectly Posh is amazing and not having huge cystic acne on my chin proves it.  I’m serious.  I don’t “sell” stuff.  I used these products and tripped out because they are so good and so affordable.  So, do this pathetic anxiety ridden wonder a solid and go to https://alenachughes.po.sh/ and look around.  You wont be sad about ANYTHING you buy.  I haven’t used one product that I’m not flipping out over how great it makes my skin feel.
  6. I don’t have a 6.

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN SO NEGATIVE!  But, I had to get it out there.  I had to get it off my chest.  It’s not all bad!  The drywall can be fixed, Trevor is a great dog, my period will go away, my anxiety is manageable (HAHAHAHA), and I’m working on loving myself with hopefully the help of Jesus, a therapist, and exercise.  Not every week is great, that’s my point.  Not every week will be good, and that’s just real life.

I’m gonna get up and get my house cleaned up, listen to some Christian music, take my Effexor, and get this new week started. Can y’all relate that sometimes it just all goes bad and all you can do is sit back and let your husband MJ cry face your picture and go on with life?  I’m sure you can.  And you are not alone!  Well, we are not alone.  This little collection of folks who comes here to read what I have to say, get a laugh, and go on, thank you.

Lets make it through this next week together.  Or with alcohol if it’s anything like last week, okay.

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If you see something, say something.

My sister in law sent me a text a couple of months ago and used the phrase ‘if you see something, say something’ and that really stuck with me.  I’d never really heard that phrase used in such a context.  Anxiety has always taught me that nobody really wants my opinion, my compliments aren’t valuable nor are they wanted, and it’s better that I just keep my mouth shut than put myself out on a limb and reach out to someone.

I’m saying…. to heck with that.

When you reach out to another person, your ego is on the line.  That’s why it’s easier to sit silently and let words go unsaid.  Rejection is a lot bigger and a lot more all encompassing than being turned down for a date.  Rejection in friendships hurt.  Reaching out and getting little in return is an anxiety suffers nightmare, which is why when folks lose touch (a natural part of life) people like me tend to never reach out again after an incident of being shut out.  Personally, my nightmare is passive aggressive behavior.  Something I have worked on, at length, in the last 8 months is ridding that behavior from my life.  I’m certainly not perfect, but I find it to be infinitely more productive to mean exactly what I say and to not lay out a code and hope others find some sort of inference in my shade. [If you are reading this and thinking ‘well, this whole post is micro-aggression’, you’re wrong. I am speaking strictly to my own intentions with words and my own behavior.]

But seriously, why are we silent when we have something to say that could brighten someone’s day?  A genuine smile and a compliment to your cashier at the grocery store, a comment on a picture of an old friend, reaching out to someone and asking how life is, these are all easy things.  For me, now, it’s less about what response I get in return and more about knowing that I made the effort to put positivity out there.  I didn’t let words hang in the air and go unsaid out of fear of rejection.  Learning to navigate life since addressing my struggles with anxiety has been all about casting fear out and letting kindness and love in.

Human interaction is difficult.  Heck, guys.  Being a person in this world is hard.  It’s not easy taking on the task of different personalities, someone’s deeply felt hurt, and coming out on the positive side.  In my mind, the best thing we can all do is continually extend kindness to one another.  Granted, in so many cases, some folks are just deeply nasty and maybe don’t deserve it, but it’s not about them.  It’s about you.  It’s about how soundly you can sleep at night knowing that you projected kindness and positivity as much as possible that day.  The sooner we all stop giving people the interaction they ‘deserve’ and start giving them the interaction that is best for our own mental and emotional well being, we will plainly see how positivity shapes things.

In the spirit of full disclosure, for the entirety of writing this, anxiety has told me that I am a joke, a fraud, a liar.  That I am not truly a kind person because I have a sarcastic personality and I struggle with various issues including my own pride.  That people will roll their eyes and talk about how fake I am and I shouldn’t even post this blog.  That is okay.  Every single day is a struggle, every interaction will not always be positive, and that’s just part of life.  Nothing is perfect.  But, I feel like there’s at least one person reading this who agrees that they feel uplifted when someone simply offers them kindness.

So, today, if you see something, say something.  If you’re scrolling through your social media feeds and a friend looks beautiful, tell them.  If their child made you smile, tell them.  If you miss someone, say it.  If you love someone, say it.  There’s no good reason in this world to hold onto those words today or any other day.

Happy Sunday, everybody.

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SLAY QUEENS!

In the words of the always eloquent Joseph Robinette Biden, today is a Big F’n Deal.  96 years ago today, the 19th amendment was ratified and women were FINALLY given the right to vote in the United States of America.  Less than 100 years ago, man.  Less than 100 years ago, Chad could vote and I could not.  Though I do not personally know any woman who lived through a time that she did not have the right to vote, those women certainly exist.  And, like it or not, those women have the chance to actually vote for a woman for President in November.  America, you big ol lug, come here and let me cuddle you.  Maybe slap you around a little bit, lovingly, and then hug you.  Seriously though, today is AWESOME.

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with this collection of rare coins that my Granny Rusha had.  One, coincidentally, was a coin with the depiction of Susan B. Anthony.  If you’ve never taken the time to read about Susan B. Anthony, she is certainly worth a Google.  She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the OG’s of Women’s Suffrage.  So, for those of y’all following along at home — I’ve pretty much always been this way.  Obsessed with feminists and admiring the women who came before me who did more than I will likely ever do. Granted, I went through a brief period at the end of high school/beginning of college where I took on some different views, I grew out of that and back into what I’ve always been; an outspoken advocate for those without voices, a feminist, and a big ol lovely Democrat.  You like me and you know it.

Anyhow, I take today very seriously.  Since turning 18 in October 2004, I have never missed an election.  Not a primary, not a general, not a special, nary an election.  It doesn’t matter how little the ballot is or how big, I’m going to be there.  The right to vote is so important to me that in 2004, I drove to Morehead on the morning of my Papaw Doc’s wake to vote in the Presidential Election that was held that day.  Doc Nichols would’ve told me to stay at the house if he knew who I voted for, too.  In fact, one of the last conversations we had before he died, he begged me not to vote for George W. Bush.  So, that’s kind of what I’m talking about when I say there was period that I took on some different views.  I also still love the Bush family and I cannot and will not explain to that to you because I can’t.

Women are pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.  Not just because I am one, but because all of the people in my life who are the strongest, smartest, kindest, and all around amazing human beings are mostly women.  There are times that I certainly get down and out about the direction of this country, and specifically the direction of the American electorate, but not today.  So much has happened for the betterment of equality in the last 100 years, and for that I am so grateful.  We still have so much left to do, but for today, let’s celebrate!  Stop missing elections, ladies!  Too many women came before you that put their voices and lives on the line for you to actually have the right to vote!

Alena, why are you the way that you are? Idk.

So, I’m gonna try to shine up this turd a little bit.  My Mama and I had a big long talk yesterday about my writing wherein she really encouraged me to do this thing.  I mean, how many freakin’ times have I said I am gonna do this thing?  Who knows.  I looked back in my archives and I’ve got blogs dating back to 2012, so I’ve been trying to turn over a cold engine for four years.  But, this time, I feel like I might be onto something.

While I can’t really tell you if I will ever ‘make it’ as a writer or a blogger or whatever, it’s seriously the only thing I have ever been good at other than eating and sleeping.  I’m the Michael Phelps of naps and snacks, for sure, but not really anything else.   I’ve never really been able to come up with a sleek title to this blog, the dang hyperlink is just my name, and that’s always really annoyed me.  There has to be something that sets me a part, right?  I have thought that to myself approximately 3024823094823904823490823490 times and typically come to the conclusion that no, there’s really not, and my grammar isn’t even that great, so I go on with my day.  But, here I am again with a new title/look, and a new approach.  Kind of.

I always get the best ideas when I’m running and by the time I get back to my house, I forget them.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the beginning of a beautiful blog about growing up in Appalachia planned, and literally forgot every single word by the time I sat down at my laptop.  Still don’t remember it.  I just know I really like being from a small, Appalachian town, even if every single human in this whole place fundamentally and vehemently disagrees with me.  I drive around in my little old lady Rav 4 with my Hillary Clinton bumper sticker just to make people uncomfortable.  Guys, I love it.  It cracks me up when people speed up on 23 to pass me and stare me down.  I mean, I flat out cackle.  Sometimes I even smile and wave.  I physically cannot help myself.

Anyway, my point (that previous paragraph wasn’t even a point) is, I don’t have an angle.  My sister told me last night, “your angle is your honesty” and that’s true.  I’m honest about being a big ol feminist, a big ol liberal, and a big ol Christian and I get those things don’t go together for some of y’all.  I don’t have the chops for a lifestyle or design blog, I don’t want to just talk about politics because ew, I don’t want to just talk about Kentucky Basketball even though I love it pert near sinfully, I can’t Mommy blog because I don’t have kids, I don’t want to Christian Wife blog because I’m not cut out (nor do I want to) tell you what you are doing wrong (and all I am doing sooooo right!), the list goes on, and on, and on, and on.  So, why not write about everything?  Right?

Truth is, I grew up in a holler in eastern Kentucky.  I have a bachelor’s degree that I don’t use, but still consider myself a student of history.  On any given day, I answer an estimated gazillion phone calls and people get my name wrong at least once.  Alena isn’t an easy name to say with a thick drawl anyhow.  I’m not country, but I am country.  I say stuff like pert near and anyhow to be funny, but don’t regularly use them in every day language.  I do sometimes use really colorful language and that’s hard for people to reconcile with my Jesus loving and I’m sorta sorry for it, but y’know, you aren’t me so don’t worry about it.  If you are reading this, I have probably hurt your feelings, but little do you know that I have probably worried myself to death thinking about how I hurt you.  I cope daily with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.   Facebook politics drives me absolutely insane, I hate ill researched political memes, and Lord, I dislike Donald Trump even more than all of that.

Y’all know this stuff.  If you’re new here (oh my gosh, hi!!!!), you’re learning it.  So, maybe I’ll cover a little bit of everything.  Maybe one blog will be for you and the next one wont be.  Regardless, I promise you it’ll be the most sincere thing you’ll read today or that day or whatever day you stumble across this hot mess.  I’m gonna talk about marriage and fitness and macros and stuff you hate, but maybe stuff you love like pizza, Doritos, sour beers, and cats.  Wait, that’s just stuff I love.  Maybe you just wanna pop in here and creep, or maybe you just wanna feel better about your own life.  That’s fine, too.  I’m good for it. I don’t know how to really get this thing off the ground, but scouts honor, I’m giving it an honest go this time.

SERIOUSLY, I’M NOT JOKING THIS TIME YOU GUYS.

#healthyaugust & other concerns

No, I haven’t fallen off the wagon.  My shoulder has, but I haven’t.

At the end of July, I strained a muscle in my back doing shoulder shrugs.  The stupid part is, I knew I messed up and I kept going, which is actually pretty close to the story of my life.  So, if you’ve ever looked at a diagram of the muscles in your back, your traps are massive and are basically incorporated into everything you do, including but not limited to: moving your head to check both ways before pulling out of a parking lot, looking down at your iPhone, sitting at a desk (they stabilize your head), lifting yourself up out of bed, pulling a shirt over your head, holding a flat iron up to straighten your hair.. this list, dude.  This is list is huge.  The last 3 weeks have sucked.

I really am trying to get on board with this organized, healthy life thing.  The first week August, I did great.  And by doing great and running my guts out (not even weights!), I aggravated that strain again and finally had to go to the doctor.  I feel so disgusting and useless this week.  My house is a wreck, I am mentally a wreck, I feel like I look like a wreck physically, and I’m just a whole pile of hot mess.  It’s bad.

Do you ever get to the point that you’re like well everything is disgusting, including me, so it’s just best that I give up and not try.  I want to give up.  No, not like suicide give up, but eat a bag of Doritos in my overrun with cat hair house and not shower for several days give up.  I operate best under structure, and I have none of that right now.  I gotta get my crap together, man.

#healthyaugust is still happening.  I haven’t gotten too off point with my eating, but my workouts haven’t been great, so I don’t expect to drop a lot of pounds or inches.  When I went to the doctor on Monday, I have officially gained 20 pounds and that’s awesome.  Totally awesome.  Needless to say, this week has not been the week for Alena to feel great about herself.

But, here we are.  I guess I’m just writing this out to see it myself and to also let you all know that you are not alone.  So, I’m posting all these great workout pictures on Instagram and I’m totally on board, sometimes you just have a shitty week.  This has been a shitty week.  For real, I could make you a list of things I don’t like right now about myself, about how I look, about everything, but there’s no need.  We’re all struggling to get out of bed every day and put our best face forward.  Don’t be discouraged and think that it’s just you.

I suppose a good place to start would be cleaning my house and then using my new steam mop. Maybe hang up the clothes that have been on my guest room bed for a month and wash some towels. A good idea might be to get the layer of cat hair off the furniture and actually dust.  But, in reality, I just want to go home and get in bed and I can’t tell you what will win after 4:30pm.

All of these problems are so menial and superficial, but these are the things in the every day that get a person down.  People certainly have it harder than me, trust me that I know that.  But, sometimes doesn’t it just feel good to be like — this sucks and let me tell you why.  I just wanted to tell you why.

Here’s to getting through it and having a better day next time.  Or better week, even.  Hopefully.