Archives for the month of: February, 2017

If I were to paint the morning on canvas I would start with a neutral gray background. It’s just that sort of morning. Routine. Ordinary. Generally pleasant. Nothing driving any noteworthy stress – or delight. There are moments when I wonder if I’ve forgotten something I’ve committed to. Other moments when I feel fairly certain the morning is complete. The dangling loose ends of unfinished weekend conversations linger in my thoughts; some are emails I’ve not yet replied to, others are chats ended abruptly at the end of an evening or with a knock on the door. I sip my coffee and think about the world.

It’s a peculiar morning, lacking specific form or trajectory; the day could become anything at all. I’m okay with that. I make a second coffee, and consider the best ways to let the day unfold, unhindered by my expectations. I remind myself that I need to stop by the pharmacy for my Traveling Partner after work, and set an alarm and add a calendar event to see that I don’t overlook it.

I sip my coffee and wonder at the morning. I feel calm and content, and generally rested. There is nothing to object to about the start of the day, in any specific way. It’s all quite pleasant enough. The morning somehow fails to satisfy beyond basic satisfaction. I re-read that sentence and laugh at my monkey mind still reaching for “more”, after finding enough. I breathe and relax. I sip my coffee contentedly. I allow enough to be truly enough. No wonder human primates find their lives so difficult; we go looking for difficulties even when none exist in our experience of the moment. Silly primates.

I smile and put on my headphones, choosing to enjoy this moment, here, without further delay. It’s enough to change the moment… it is enough to change the world (in some very tiny, barely noticeable way, but still… there it is, changed).

 

I woke from troubled dreams sometime around three, still in pain. With effort, I pulled myself fully free of sleep and made the hard choice to take something for my pain, and tried to go back to sleep. I’m in less pain now, but the sleep thing didn’t really work out, so I’m up with a nice cup of coffee much too early on a Sunday, but still feeling well-rested, and now I’m not in so much pain…so… there’s that. 🙂 I don’t even recall with any clarity what my nightmares were about… debt… loneliness… “failure”. Dreams of discouragement and heartbreak. I remember the mood and the emotions, but the details are fading quickly. I think I’m okay with that. 🙂

I’ve no idea what today holds. I’ve got the laundry sorted… I guess I’m doing laundry. Well, it needs to be done, and living alone it’s entirely on me to do it. Now and then I may yield to some moment of adolescent foolishness, forgetting that no one else will undertake the day-to-day tasks of maintaining my lifestyle, and put aside some bit of housekeeping or another. I end up regretting that as soon as I am faced with non-negotiable workload on timing not of my choosing. So yeah, laundry today. lol I think back to the holidays; I’d lost control of my recycling in the weeks after the Yule holiday, unexpectedly, having set aside good quality boxes, thinking I might move in January, then faced with snow and ice such that physically getting to and from the recycling bin wasn’t logistically possible (for me) while also carrying the recycling. The recycling piled up a bit, and because it was “an eyesore”, I moved the boxes into my studio, where there was more space… which became more boxes. My Traveling Partner and a friend noticed I had fallen behind, and on a visit they helpfully undertook breaking down the boxes and hauling them up the driveway to the recycling bin for me. I had it on my list to do for that upcoming weekend, and I definitely appreciated their help with that; the task had begun to overwhelm me, and the likelihood I might continue to put it off had increased because of that. (I try not to get to that point with any one housekeeping task for that reason.)

Yesterday's blue skies took no notice of my pain. I made a point of noticing the blue skies. :-)

Yesterday’s blue skies took no notice of my pain. I made a point of noticing the blue skies. 🙂

I looked around yesterday, in the morning, and spent the day on housekeeping, aside from the delightful hours I spent with my Traveling Partner in the afternoon. It was a day well-spent, in spite of the amount of pain I was in. This morning I don’t hurt so much. There’s still some housekeeping to do, and I’m torn… I’d also like to paint, but I think this particular weekend is one to spend on self-care in the form of unpaid labor: laundry, vacuuming, tidying things up generally, preparing my tax documents. These are all also a good use of my time. These are things that do need to be done. Being an adult, it is fully on me to do these things. Being adult, I know that as investments go, investing my own effort into my desired quality of life matters a great deal.

"Irises" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

“Irises” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

For me, adequate studio time is a quality of life concern. 🙂

"Hillside Meadow" 8" x 10" acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

“Hillside Meadow” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, February 2017

I listen to the rain fall. There’s likely time, and light (later), for painting too; that is the advantage of having real studio space right here. I’ll have to see where these moments take me, today. Perhaps I’ll light a fire and read a book instead? I sit quietly, listening to the rain, and the wind chime rocking in the pre-dawn wind, distracted from my writing.

Rainy morning, before dawn - what does the day hold? Where will my journey take me?

Rainy morning, before dawn – what does the day hold? Where will my journey take me?

Today is a good day for being and becoming. Today is a good day to take the very best care of the person in the mirror. Today is a good day for meditation, for housekeeping, for sipping coffee and watching the rain fall. Today is a good day to change the world within these walls, and within this heart. Today that’s enough. ❤

Funny that the two conversations happened on the same evening, in near-real-time simultaneity, although I didn’t quite notice that until after the fact.

Each moment the only moment.

Each moment the only moment.

One friend reached out to let me know he’s doing better, that things I have shared previously have more value now that he is more able to understand, and that he is more or less generally mostly okay, but… Yeah. I remember smiling to myself as I read his message. I understood the poignant moment of changed hearts. Sometimes the very solo journey through our own chaos and damage, however successful for us, ourselves, however healing and however much growth we experience… it’s not well received by some who love us dearly (or have said that they do). I’ve lost quite a few “friends” along the way; people who were more invested in who I had been than they were willing to accept (or understand) who I am becoming.

These are my choices. This is my life. The decisions about me that matter most are my own. This is as true for you, as it is for me. 🙂

Most of what we think we know about each other we've made up in our own heads.

Most of what we think we know about each other we’ve made up in our own heads.

We’re walking our own mile. This journey, like it or not, is a solo-hike of self-discovery. It may sound a bit existentialist – but we are born alone, we live our experience in a uniquely solitary way (however much we surround ourselves with the busy-ness of other lives), and we will each die alone – even if we are surrounded by our loved ones. We are each having our own experience.

Another friend reached out to me to tell me sternly that I am “in a very dark place” and that my “soul is in danger” and also that he doesn’t know me anymore. That last is a true statement. The rest is internal narrative he’s made up for himself, that meets his own needs, and has nothing whatever to do with me, so no point internalizing any of that.  It probably goes without saying that he doesn’t read my blog. lol My soul is in danger now, but not while I was contemplating suicide after a lifetime of struggling with my PTSD? I’m in a very dark place because my politics lean left and I’m comfortable saying so, and think that the quality of life of people different than me is also worth fighting for? Funny way to conduct a discussion, and I frankly don’t tolerate emotional manipulation or bullying. His choice to end our friendship is surely his own, and although it was a poignant moment, the underlying truths of the conversation are that we don’t see the world similarly, and my views are received as a threat to his perspective.

I went to bed still feeling a little sad about losing a friendship that has existed since 1986. I also felt hopeful and encouraged that another friend was sticking with us in the mortal world, to walk another hard mile, and find his own way. It was a complicated experience, emotionally rich and fairly adult. I slept well and deeply.

I woke feeling content, settled, and emotionally comfortable. I also woke feeling rather acutely aware that of the friendships that have ended over divergent politics in the past 16 or so months, they’ve all been male friends, and all of those friendships have ended on some moment during which I spoke up firmly, and positively, about my values, and stood up for people who are at a disadvantage. In each case, my lack of willingness to argue set off a storm of fury for the friend in question, that could not be silenced or eased except by silencing my own voice, and yielding my own understanding, and negating my own opinion. Each of these friendships ended in some moment when only my full capitulation to their rightness would suffice. Each ended with me feeling bullied or silenced (or at least aware of the attempt to silence me).

I don’t prefer to argue. My mind is not changed through argument or bullying. My thinking is changed through reasoned discourse, with cited references and real data, and being heard. I still recognize facts as things with actual reality, and I’m pretty strict about what qualifies. (I’m dismayed by how much opinion and made up shit people tout as ‘fact’ without even blinking, solely because it sounds true or feels agreeable and fits their world view.) Shouting at me alienates me. Silencing me fuels my resentment, my anger, and creates distance. That’s no way to conduct a friendship. lol

I am, myself, quite entirely made of human, and I am also capable (and at risk) of being hung up on an opinion not well supported in fact, because it sounds true, feels agreeable, and fits my world view. I try to stay on top of that sort of foolishness with plenty of reading, fact-checking, consideration, empathy, new perspective, and wholesome reasoned dialogue with friends more expert in one area or another than I am, myself. I do my best to be the human being I most want to be. I am painfully aware of how little actual value “being right” has, particularly if “being right” is wrecking someone else’s experience, robbing them of opportunities, or generally just creating a shitty world. For a lot of people, “being right” isn’t actually about any sort of factual accuracy, or progress for humanity, it’s only about winning some invisible trophy to hold over others, a way of feeling important or valued, specifically by making others “wrong”. “I’m right and you must succumb to my will!” is toddler bullshit. lol We can do so much better as beings.

Yeah. Pretty far left… and not allowing myself to be shouted down anymore. That can be uncomfortable for friends who liked a different set of characteristics about me – and that’s the point this morning. I am my own person. This life, my life, is about me. No kidding. Even if I give it in selfless service to others, it’s still my own experience of life, and can’t be muted or shouted down or denigrated or dismissed or diminished, without my accepting that experience, and permitting it. I’m walking my own mile, because it’s the journey I’ve got – and it’s mine. I may share some portion of the journey with a friend or a lover, but even then, I’m walking my mile, while they walk theirs. We are each having our own experience. I can’t change that – and in the process of changing who I am, learning to become the woman I most want to be, myself…I’ve lost some friends, who wanted a very different me. Well…but… only sort of. I’ve lost associations with individuals who were fond friends of a woman who is not, now, me. Some friends outlast changes and personal growth, others do not. There are choices involved, and some of those choices are not mine. 🙂 I’m even okay with that.

(It doesn’t matter if I’m okay with that… Reality does not care what we believe, or what we are okay with, and we are each having our own experience. Some of the choices going on around us simple are not ours to make.)

Begin again.

Begin again.

Today is a good day for perspective, for balance, and for walking my own mile. I’ve no ill will for friends I’ve lost over time, and wish only the best for them on their journeys. I’ve grown, so have they, and people change. Being and becoming. This is how we change the world.

Well… damn. I slept rather restlessly, waking briefly, often. Around 3:20 am I woke, really woke, and got up for a drink of water, took my morning medication, and went back to bed. I mean, shit, it’s Saturday; I can sleep in!! 😀

I forgot to shut off my alarm, though, before I went to bed. It went off at the usual time. I’d only just really fallen deeply asleep, and without a thought I rolled over, turned it off, and went back to sleep. Restful, blissful, deep deep sleep… So nice. At some moment, probably approximately 5:51 am, my consciousness roused just enough to smile to myself and feel some amusement that I hadn’t at all planned the day or the weekend. How strange is that?

How strange is that?

No, hey, you there – sleeping – that’s strange, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

My eyes opened ever so slightly and noted perceptible loss of darkness in the room… then it hit me; it’s Friday and I have work today. Fuck. Fuck, and damn it, and… LOL.

I didn’t quite launch myself from the bed, and I was calm and fairly together as I checked the time. 5:51 am. I felt a huge wave of relief; I can be entirely on time for my day, nonetheless, and start doing the things. No need to rush through my routine at breakneck speed, very little of the morning is spent on that. I accept that I won’t have coffee, or write, this morning and get one with things.

By 6:15 am, I’ve showered and dressed (a t-shirt and jeans go well with both my hiking boots and the work culture, so… yeah, done and done).  I start the dishwasher while I make coffee… and even sit down to tell the merry tale of misadventure before I leave for a work day I’d forgotten I have. The chaos in my morning… isn’t. I’m okay right now. My routine pays off. Practicing the practices pays off. I am resilient… and I’m ready to bounce. I’ll even leave the house on time! 😀

I’m not bragging. …I suppose if you aren’t aware that oversleeping on a work day could have put me in a state of unmanageable hysterics as little as 7 years ago, on this whole other “do you think we should… call someone?” level, it might not make sense that I am smiling, and merry, and even quite pleased with the morning so far. Why punish an entire Friday for 81 minutes of sweet restless sleep stolen from my morning? I must have needed the rest pretty badly. I’m glad I got it. 😀

Ready? Begin!

Ready? Begin!

Today is a good day to pause, and appreciate what works. Today is a good day to build on what is. Today is a good day for being quite human, and being quite okay with that. 🙂 Isn’t that enough?

This morning over my coffee I watched a video that resonates with me, another way of saying things about this amazing journey, another way to say “the way out is through”. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too? The Nerdwriter is a personal favorite, and this particular video on “Kintsugi” says much, quite simply.

So, this morning I go forward into the day thinking about the chaos and damage in another way; I am who I am because I’ve been through what I’ve been through, and made the choices I’ve made, and lived the moments I’ve lived… and I like a lot of who I am. There is a balance to be struck between grieving past trauma, and respecting the woman in the mirror; it’s been a hell of a journey, and we’ve come a long way together. Some of my “best” qualities as a thinking, feeling, reasoning, loving, being are a direct result of my brain injury…so… who am I? Am I my trauma? No. Am I some creation beyond or outside my experiences of trauma? Not that either.

I think I’ll stop throwing away broken porcelain. There is a better way. 🙂