Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

You Can’t Make This Up

Posted: June 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

On my way to work this morning I spied three bunnies crossing the road. Two little black bunnies, one short hair and one fluffy stopped in the oncoming lane. Middle of the lane and just to the left of center.  A larger cream colored bunny legged it straight to the middle of my lane and stopped.  Of course I slowed to a stop. They just looked at me. I eased forward the tiniest bit to see if the movement would get them going nope. They had no fucks. A young woman was coming from the opposite direction and she slowed to a stop. They looked at her, and had no fucks. She honked her horn, they looked at her again but still had no fucks.

Not until I put the car in park, put the break on, opened the door, and said, “Get out of the street bunnies!” did they suddenly recall they had fucks.

And they got out of the street.

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Ruger SP101 Holster

Posted: March 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

It took me a few tries to come up with a holster the size I wanted that had enough retention, but the gun form is a HUGE help.

rugersp101

Self-Compassion

Posted: March 2, 2018 in My Brain Meat, Uncategorized

Over the last few months, I find that I often feel lonely and isolated.  It gets me down, not for long periods of time, as I know that it is not a rational reaction.  But when it hits it crashes down on my thought process like a ton of bricks and effects how I feel about any given thing.  Self-esteem, already a fragile construct, takes grievous injury from nearly any incoming stimulus and the first reaction is nearly always an overreaction.  That leads to self-doubt, which is like the follow up uppercut that ends the round and wham my emotional health hits the mat while the ref counts to ten.  There are better ways to live life.

I have said before that I worked with a therapist for a while (two actually) and that really helped.  I don’t feel overwhelmed with anxiety or fearful of attempting things because I might fail.  I learned to ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  The fact is that the worst thing that can happen 95% of the time is something not to be afraid of.  I have to regularly remind myself of that, which usually entails greatly limiting my exposure to social media.  Unfortunately, social media is how I keep in touch with my already small social circle and that is another contribution to feeling socially isolated.  I talk to my wife about some of these issues, she is pretty sharp and more in touch with this process than I have been.  She brings up, not for the first time, that I do not practice mindful self-compassion.

She might be right.

So why do I feel isolated?  I have friends.  I know they are friends, they comment on my social media (joking).  My personal perception is that I am removed from community.  I don’t feel like I have a tribe.  Social circles may be social but quantity is not indicative of quality.  Hopefully the seven people who read this blog won’t take that as a back handed Bilbo Baggins reference.  Community is a social unit comprised of people who have something in common, norms, religion, values, identity, and hobbies.  The list is exhaustive.  I don’t feel like I have a tight connection with the people around me so every criticism is like a hammer blow pushing me out of the circle.  This is highly damaging to a person’s self-esteem and the lower your self-esteem the less likely you are to engage in actions of self-compassion.

Active compassion is the precursor to empathy and moves people to alleviate the suffering of others.  Therefore, self-compassion is relieving your own suffering.  Sounds easy right?  If you step on a tack, do you leave it in your foot or do you hop around in one of nature’s dance lessons trying to pry that thing out and go on about your business?  The problem is that you feel the tack, it hurts, your immediate response is as close to involuntary as it gets. “TAKE IT OUT!” Your brain screams.  However, if you don’t have a gauge for pain, or maybe your gauge is broken, you may not know when to engage your self-compassion routines, and take action.  Possibly, you are sitting there thinking that sounds weird, pull the “tack” out.  Great, good, awesome.

What if you think that you deserve to have that tack in your foot?  What if for some reason you start to feel that you are not worthy of relief from pain and suffering?

I read that self-esteem is our overall subjective emotional evaluation of our own worth.  So if we think we aren’t worth much then the chances are we won’t do much to help ourselves.  It is natural for us to internalize the judgement of others and add that to our self-image.  The problem is we often believe what we choose to believe is our own truth rather than fact.  I start to think that people don’t like me.  Do I ask them whether they do?  Of course not!  It’s totally obvious right?  Wrong.  The inner Drew just jumps right to the negative response.  The answer is to rebuild or shore up that self-esteem. Re-program yourself from the negative and start working on the positive answer.  Learn your tells, ask people if you are in doubt.  I always talk about mega communication even if you think you are beating a dead horse, but I don’t think I have been practicing it.  Because who the hell randomly asks their friends, “Hey man do you actually like me or are you just being polite?”  I know, I would feel stupid asking that too but knowing that my gauge is broken means actively monitoring the relationship.  I wonder if that is why introverts feel like being social is exhausting.  I mean I am writing this and it even sounds like a lot of work to me.  I imagine that putting into practice will be an effort and feel difficult because our self-image is like a brick wall.  Not too hard to build, materials are abundant, but really fucking hard to change once the mortar sets.

Solution- Improve your self-esteem.  You know I don’t think I can find that in my emotional owner’s manual.  Lost the manual, what do you?  Use Google of course.  Oddly enough, there about a zillion sites out there with all manner of tips.  I picked a few that I want to work on.

Positive self-talk

Cut out the self-deprecating humor, humor is a shield that keeps you from getting to the issue, lets you laugh it off and is often a construct to comfort others.  Actively ditch the negative self-talk until it is no longer habit.  Use the words, “I am awesome!” until you start to believe it.  When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk take a moment and ask yourself if you would tolerate hearing someone say those things about someone you love.

Stop comparing yourself to others

This is hard.  Really damn hard.

Get more exercise

It is hard to start but I always find that I feel much better when I am more active.  I imagine that is true for most people.

Don’t strive for perfection

No one is born with the ability to do anything perfectly well.  Even decades of practice may not grant that ability.  I know that a lot of my anxiety came from having unrealistic expectations of myself.

I know there are more things to do, more practices to incorporate and more affirmations to be aware of, but you know baby steps.  I hope that making myself more aware will help with practicing mindfulness and self-compassion.  If you don’t suffer any of these sensations or thoughts and find it difficult to fathom the mindset of people who experience this, don’t worry about it.  You only need to do one thing.  Tell your friends that you like them.  You value them and their presence in your life.  It’s going to feel touchy feely and awkward but trust me; you will do worlds of good if you just tell people how you feel about them.

Of course I did

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

I made a holster for my pistol, because that is how I roll . . .

rapwnewholster

I thought I had made the pattern slightly too small but it actually fits perfect with good retention but still easy to draw. I am sure I will make various types until I find one I like best, I may even buy some kydex and make a hybrid model.

Range Day 24 FEB 18

Posted: February 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

Last week I bought a Ruger American Pistol in 9mm.  It was the more expensive of the two Ruger pistols I was considering but I am totally happy with my choice.  The pistol fits my grip well, handles easily and operates like a champ.  The image below was my first 50 rounds.  I had one more outlier in my second 50 rounds.  I was firing 115 gn Blazer FMJ.  I only had two 50 round boxes on me and I would have bought more at the range but they had it for $18.50 a box and I got mine for $11 per box.  So if you go to WCW Kenmore ranges and they tell you they have competitive ammo prices, they are not being truthful. I was also the only person on the line keeping my shots in the eight inch circle.  Funny since I have not been shooting for very long.

24feb range day

No Worries, I’m good.

Posted: February 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

Some friendship is tenuous, unexpectedly so in fact.  I know someone who over the last year has become a vegan.  I don’t judge others on this choice, I understand the various reasons.  I know more than a few people who follow that particular path.  It isn’t my path.  They respect my decision and I respect their decision.  The only time it creates conflict is when we choose to dine out together.  This particular person posted one of those memes that compare the habits of others to something terrible in order to shame them for their personal choices. In this case it was comparing pigs to dogs.  Her point was that you love your dog, it is a living thing, you are sad when it dies.  A pig is also a living thing and if it is your pet you would also be sad when it dies, yet people eat pigs (yay bacon) and not dogs. I did not point out that there are places in the world where dog is regularly on the menu.  I did point out that I personally would eat a dog in a given situation because as much as I like dogs (I like most animals quite a lot) if I have the choice between starving to death or eating a dog I can safely say that I would probably carve Fido into stew meat.  The other person found this abhorrent and disgusting.  I admit that the idea of eating a pet is a terrible one but in a situation where food is so scarce that you might think about eating your pet is it really a service to the animal let it live when you can no longer provide for it?  That same dog in the same situation will probably be out looking for other animals it can eat and animals not your friend would happily dine on you.  Pigs may be smart and cuddly and just as good a pet as dogs but if people is all there is to eat then people is what they will eat.

I did not bother to pursue the conversation.  It turns out that this person has actually stopped following me in social media already.  Now I don’t know if that was inspired by my comments about eating a dog or if it pre-dated the interaction.  But I am a leather worker, have been for years and she had even praised my work in the past.  Her husband had already asked me about making belts and pouches for his next gig at a Ren Faire in spring.  Now she is telling me that she thinks I am insane because I would eat the dead carcass of another animal.  Her phrasing actually implied that she thinks everyone who eats meat is insane, including her other “friends” and acquaintances.  There was an unexpected vehemence there and I cannot help but wonder how many other people she is interacting with every day, also via social media, who do not realize that she thinks they have a disgusting, insane habit.  She painted a picture where I am somehow less than she is because I would eat something else that had a “life force”.

BAM, another person gone form my sphere.  I know, it seems like trend lately.  Some of it is because I am choosing my fights.  I cannot tell you how many people I have snoozed for 30 days on FB because I just don’t have the energy to deal with their flailing and inability to listen to my points in a civil discussion.  I have also recently removed a good dozen or so people from my social media.  I am not angry at them, in fact I am indifferent.  I am choosing to keep the people near me who actually interact with me and, heaven forbid, occasionally converse with me on any given subject.  It does my social paranoia no good what so ever to have people around who never seem to want to talk to me of their own choosing.  I just start thinking that I obviously don’t have much impact on them.  That’s fine, I am an acquired taste, I know.  There are some down sides to this practice.  If you aren’t careful you can end up with an echo chamber of people who just mirror your opinions and ideas.  So far that hasn’t happened.  I connect with people via social media who hold vastly different opinions and we still manage to get along just fine and even seek out each other’s company.

I don’t have time for shit like that.  Rai reminded me this morning to seek mindfulness.  A concept that I touched on a lot when I was working with a therapist but really my goal was to address my social anxiety which I count as a success since I am way better than I used to be.  Because I learned that anxiety is just worrying about something that hasn’t happened and may not happen yet.  Even if it does happen what is the worst possible outcome?  When you break the fear down it is a lot easier to figure what you should and should not be anxious about.  Like going to a social function really doesn’t have any dire consequences.  A bad night out doesn’t generally end in death and destruction and torment.  But I think that I spent so much time working on the anxiety issue that I let mindfulness slip away.  Cultivating a mindful attitude is also key to reducing stress and anxiety.  It is easier to maintain a mindful outlook when you are not dealing with a cacophony of voices, internal or external.  This is true for me, it may not be for you.  So I am trying to do the things that reduce my stress.  I am looking for my joy and I am trying to compartmentalize things so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, which has been a large part of my anxiety ingredient list for many years.

Don’t fret.  I am not depressed.  The world may make me sad or angry or even afraid but I am not on a self destructive path.  I am just trying to be a lot more choosey about what I let in.

This resonated with me

Posted: February 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

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