I slept well again last night. It’s wonderful. I definitely needed the sleep. By midday yesterday, after a great night’s sleep the night before, my body and mind were pretty certain sleep was the thing, and I wanted more than anything to go home at lunch time for a nap. 🙂 Instead, I went home for a sandwich and some yoga, enjoyed a walk in the fresh air, and got back to work. It was a long day, but a short ‘commute’ home – I was ‘in for the night’ by 7:00 pm , and by 8:00 pm I was fed, showered, and curled up under the covers teasing myself with the promise of reading for a while. I went straight to sleep and woke to an alarm clock I had fortunately remembered to set.

This morning, my pour over coffee is luscious, warm, and crafted according to my preferences. I didn’t have to ask, or compromise, or go out for it. I can count on me for a good coffee in the morning. I am learning how much I actually can count on me, for all sorts of things. The last two times in my life I have made an attempt at living alone were characterized by fairly chronic anxiety, insomnia, and poor decision-making, and like living with an ill-tempered child. This time is rather like an idealized version of living with my best friend. It’s still just me, here; I  have learned to treat myself fairly well. What matters most [to me] is clearer, and what to do about it seems more obvious [to me].

Although I am having my own experience, I am still a human primate; intimacy, connection, and contact are important to me. I thrive on love. Affection matters. Touch matters. Feeling valued matters. Being visible is a big deal, emotionally. Adjusting to how those things fit into this new context is taking some time, and firm adherence to good self-care practices; I rely on myself to take care of me almost entirely now. I’ve been here before, but this is my first shot at doing it skillfully, effectively, and achieving notably good results. I still want, need, and count on the positive interactions I enjoy with others to fill emotional needs for connection, and contact. I am a social creature, and even at my most reclusive I thrive when I enjoy close connections with others. There are, of course, verbs involved. My choices matter; interactions are not all equally valuable, or equally pleasant. My results vary. 🙂

Yesterday I went to the mail box after work, I’m not getting much mail here yet but I know bills and statements will be coming to this address now. There is a certain loneliness in an empty mail box, living alone. I opened the box…nothing. Oh, wait…there at the back…an envelope. I noticed happily that it appeared to be a real letter, and from someone dear to me. A ‘welcome home’ card! The handwritten note inside commented that she thought I might like to get some mail that isn’t a bill. I felt understood, valued, and loved. It was a nice moment. I am peculiarly sentimental about such things; I will keep the card for some time.

A smile came in the mail today, wrapped in a plain envelope.

A smile came in the mail today, wrapped in a plain envelope.

I still write letters on paper, and send cards, myself. I do it because of how I feel when I get one, at some moment when I am feeling distant, disconnected, or alone. A few minutes, the price of a stamp, the effort to address an envelope, and the consideration it takes to put the words together and follow them with a 🙂 and a signature are a small price to pay for the powerful moment delivered in a plain envelope. I find myself thinking about sending sweet notes, pictures, drawings and cards to my traveling partner – a sort of love delivery service. Living apart I do miss those small moments of connection, and finding new ways to connect over distance is something I consider often. (Consideration being one of my Big 5, this makes sense to me.)

In moments of great hurt or anger, I find value in letter writing, too, although of the sort I would not generally consider sending; there is clarity in seeing words on paper, and it can be a calming perspective, allowing me to take a step back from the moment, and see things through new eyes. I find writing a good self-care practice, generally, and the act of writing to an individual, about relevant things shared between us, can often soothe my heart in moments of hurt, or ease my anger or doubt, and sometimes helps me gain perspective or understand something better than I did before I saw it in words. I can’t point any fingers at my TBI on this one – I have no idea whether this is a shared experience that many people value, or unique to  me. I am learning to doubt ‘uniqueness’ on a number of levels. 🙂

There is power in our words. We choose them and express what we can. Our lies can affect someone else’s reality. Our anger can do real damage to someone else’s heart. Our lack of consideration, or disregard, can tear down a relationship. Our support and compassion can tear down walls. Our love can change someone’s mind, or heart. Hell, our love can change the world – it just takes a lot of it to overcome the chaos and damage. Even the words we direct at ourselves, in the privacy of our own minds, have enormous power over how we understand our experience, and how we experience ourselves.

I had observed, hanging out with my traveling partner over the weekend, that living alone I miss the welcome home greeting each evening when I get home from work. It’s a poignant moment these days; I unlock the door content and smiling, and there is this instant of pain when I step across the threshold into silence, alone. It’s a hard moment for me.  I wondered last night what I could do, myself, to meet that need. If words matter…can I throw words at the problem? Last night I explored that a bit with a sticky note in the bathroom, on the mirror, reminding myself of some task I didn’t want to forget…and at the bottom of the note I drew a wee heart, and added “You are loved, and thanks for taking care of this right away. You matter.” I had forgotten about it completely when I woke – and seeing it first thing made me smile in much the same way getting the nice card from my aunt did, last night. I don’t know that I have more to say about it, right now. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of a practice, but it was interestingly effective and thought-provokingly so.

I have plans to hang out with my traveling partner this evening after work. I am eager for the day to pass to get to that point; our time together is precious, and pretty wonderful. Living apart highlights the value of the time together, and small things stay small; we both put more into ‘now’, and appreciate the time together in a more willful way. It’s lovely. I don’t waste time wondering why it took living apart to feel this secure about love; I am content to act on what I observe, and I am eager to be in his arms, feeling the warmth of his flesh, and his smile.

I bloom when conditions are right, and in my own time. Don't we all?

I bloom when conditions are right, and in my own time. Don’t we all?

Today is a good day to enjoy the company of a ‘best friend’ I can count on every day, every moment, without ever wearing out my welcome [me]. Today is a good day to appreciate love and lovers, and the value of a hug, and a welcome home. Today is a good day to treat myself well, because it is the best way to treat me. Today is a good day to enjoy the journey.