Archives for the month of: August, 2017

Waking up was hard this morning, but with some commitment, I managed it. I did not sleep well last night, and it was very late before I was able to fall asleep. Today, I’ll park at the nearby-ish park-n-ride location, and ride the bus to work. I am not sufficiently rested to be driving in commuter traffic.

Emotionally, I am in a far better place this morning than I was the evening before last, or, again, last night. My visit to see my therapist was well-timed, and the offered insights were helpful.

I arrived home to roses in bloom.

A pleasantly long conversation with my Traveling Partner ended my evening, and although I have been feeling lonelier than usual lately, it definitely went a long way toward putting that right, just hearing the love in his voice.

Moments matter. I make time to really appreciate seeing all the roses recovered from the summer heat and the move.

Waking up is still a struggle this morning. I’m making today work on about 3 hours of nightmare-filled sleep. I sip my coffee, relieved to find it is not too hot to safely drink and drain the cup. I make a second. I’m eager for the weekend after a couple fairly stressful weeks. I even have plans (and if I didn’t, my plan would be to make the drive down to see my partner) – this weekend is Musicfest NW. I’m pretty excited about the lineup. I’m almost as excited about my appointment with my new eye doctor Saturday morning, though, as I am about the music. LOL (I really really need new glasses.)

A few minutes go by, fuzzy and vague, music in the background. I lose track of time thinking about moments that are not now. I smile, finish off the last of coffee number two and pull myself back to “now”. Being present, even for the painful moments, the tired moments, the frustrating moments, matters so much. Life is an experience, disconnecting from it sort of defeats the purpose of living.

I allow myself a moment to “reset”. I’m okay. There’s climate and weather, right? The “climate” of this life is fairly choice, quite good actually, much of the time. I’ve still got emotional weather to deal with now and again. I’m very human.

The morning sky reminds me that change is a thing, and life itself has cycles and seasons; the still-pre-dawn-at-this-hour sky becomes a metaphor and a reminder. I make coffee number three, and begin again. My results do vary, and there are verbs involved… I’m definitely having my own experience. 🙂

There’s a metaphor in the resilience of a rose bush. 🙂

My evening ended on a blue note. I wasn’t just kind of blue, I ached with it. I felt… low.  I logged off for the evening, uncertain if media-over-stimulation might be contributing, although there wasn’t much that was definitely bad in the news (well, bad relative to the constant droning and pinging of real-world bullshit, which is bad already, and fairly ceaseless).

My tattoo had begun to itch a little, as the surface skin began to pull away from the healed skin beneath. A little like a sunburn pealing, it was nagging at me for attention, and I really did not want to scratch and damage the tattoo. I couldn’t really relax. I was feeling sort of tense of fussy, just generally, waiting to hear from my Traveling Partner that he was safely on his way back to the world after a weekend of festival camping I could not take time off to enjoy with him. (I’m not welcome with his other partner, regardless, and realistically, my “issues” would not be likely to do well for an entire week of festival-going; it’s not really about the time off.)

Looking back, there were surely things I could have done differently, other practices, other choices… I yearned for connection but was too distracted and irritable to do so comfortably. I declined a number of offers from people dear to me to chat (“I’m here if you need to talk…”). I just wasn’t really up to it. I was mired in my bullshit mood, for the moment. I put on a favorite old jazz album. (Maybe you are listening to it now…) I wrote a cross email to a friend who finds some humor in my cross prose. I lingered in a long sensuous somewhat-warmer-than-tepid shower for like… forever. I gave myself a pedicure and a foot rub (I grant you, a foot rub is better when someone else is doing it, but it’s still pretty nice to do for myself). I crashed early with a book I then did not read; I fell asleep. Sleep may have been what I really needed; I woke to the alarm.

Don’t look directly at the sun.

It’s a new day. I get to begin again. Shortly before I went to bed, my Traveling Partner sent me a quick “I love you”, and I could once again see him on the locator map. It felt comforting that he was again “in range”. When I woke, his message letting me know he’d arrived “home” was waiting for me. I check the locator map to see where he meant by that. lol

I can choose.

I woke with a headache and a snarl, and I also woke rather slowly and with great effort. I slept poorly, both restless and wakeful, I didn’t get the rest I need. It is a new day.

My pounding head reminds me that although there are no loose bits rattling around inside, this fragile eggshell is cracked. I smirk at myself, aware that some of my tendencies – things like linguistic complexity where none is required, “being deep” in casual conversations, the peculiar awareness of and communication via living metaphors, the likelihood that I will take something sarcastic at face value, the difficulty ending a conversation, oh, just a whole bunch of things, really… “quirks”, eccentricities, moments of weird – are complex outcomes of a brain injury, of PTSD, of surviving some nasty shit by learning to cope with it. I can say I’m “broken” with something like a comfortable feeling of familiarity. I used to let it define me… differently.

For awhile I fought it. I refused to define myself in terms of the chaos and damage. I refused to “be” broken. Other times, I wallowed in it. Yielded to the damage. Gave in to the chaos. Gave up on changing anything.

Time passes. Change is.

This morning I woke up snarling at myself. Frustrated by the headache. Annoyed by feeling so groggy. Eager to get to the coffee…

I am unsure whether it is the caffeine, the comfort of the hot mug, or the slow familiar waking ritual of making it, then drinking it, that serves so well to put the day on track. It does though. It does put the day on track, generally. This moment of warmth – literal and metaphorical warmth – enjoyed alone each morning, a moment to “get my head right”, and get past the headache, or the arthritis stiffness, or the stuffy nose, or the lingering recollection of a bad dream, or… well, whatever the waking moments of consciousness throw at me. I’ve got that cup of coffee to help me turn things around. Does it actually matter to me what the mechanism of action actually is? Not in the slightest.

Be broken, if it helps. Grieve if you are hurting. It’s not especially helpful to squash down all the feelings with a lot of “shouldn’t” and “don’t” and extra helpings of criticism taken from the words of others, and reformed in your own words and returned to your narrative as your own thoughts. No one needs guilt or shame on top of the things that already suck so much – and those things don’t only weigh us down and hold us back from going on with things, they also tend to stop us embracing what is authentically good about who we are – chaos and damage and all. Some of this broken shit frustrates me, daily. Some of this broken shit is part of who I am.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

Some of my most cherished individual qualities are very likely specific to my brain injury – or my PTSD. Some are things I like most about myself, others are things that other people have indicated they really appreciate about me. I’ve no intention of “fixing” those things. Don’t want to. Don’t need to. What if fixing the rest would also, by necessity, fix those things as well…? This thought is one underlying my focus on “being the woman I most want to be” rather than focusing on “fixing all the things wrong with me”; some of the things I may think are “wrong with me” in one moment, or from one perspective, may actually be very “right with me”, after all. 🙂

I’m rambling. Sipping my coffee. Grateful to have taken the time to really wake up before going on to other things. I take time to appreciate the value in waking up early enough to let myself really become my best self before I go on with my day. I pause to wonder how I got through so many years of launching myself from bed first thing, and immediately dressing and getting out the door quickly; it seemed efficient at the time. It was a grueling and fairly punishing routine, in practice, and I often treated people who are unfortunate enough to interact with me very early in the morning fairly badly, especially in that first hour after waking. I’m not suggesting that getting up at 4:30 am to depart for work at 7 am would be “the right choice” for everyone, there are other needs, and other ways. This just works for me. By 6 am, I am feeling mostly human. Awake. Aware. More able to respond, and less likely to react. The headache has dissipated. It feels like a lovely morning.

It feels like I can begin again. 🙂

…Or is it a tickle? I’m not sure, and really, does it matter? (Okay, okay, I won’t be flippant; it would matter were this medical, rather than metaphorical. 😉 )

The soft fine nearly invisible hair that surely must grow on my shoulder (cuz the tattoo artist made some point of running a razor over it) is starting to grow back. It itches ever so slightly, ever so temptingly. As soon as my fingertips touch the tender skin, I jerk my hand back as if I’d touched a hot stove; I don’t want to scratch it, and risk damaging either skin or artwork. I know the sensation will pass. It’s good practice to resist the potential comfort and satisfaction of mindless scratching. I like this new art too much to do that, so I commit to awareness with real ferocity.

Most likely unrelated, the mental or emotional “itch” of restlessness and discontent – something like a strong craving for, say, french fries… only not at all about food. I want. I hunger. I yearn. I’ve no idea what it is (yes, I do), though, although it feels vaguely urgent (it’s not vague at all), and just out of reach (oh, I could reach it… ahem… but that’s not what satisfies, is it? lol)… as if… if I just could name it, I could have it. But… what is “it”?

…I’m pretty sure I know… lol. I totally know.  I’m a fairly simple creature in some respects. More than likely this is either frustrated artistic inspiration (not quite moved in enough yet to break out the paints, honestly, and no it isn’t), or… something… else. Still quite human. 😉

Lust

Ah but there actually is more to life than that particularly excitingly deliciously fun bit that occupies far too much of my attention; it took me awhile to catch on. Still, if it’s a physical sort of urge, I do find physical sorts of solutions to be most helpful. I get home from an early shift at work, and before I sit down to write, I take care of the woman in the mirror. Yoga. A lovely cup of tea in the garden. A shower. Dinner. Great music. I don’t try to bullshit myself that any of that can in anyway really meet the specific need, but it’s lovely time, well-spent and pleasant, and for now that’s enough. It has to be; at least for now, I’ve only got one partner. lol It may be awhile before I see him, although I do have plans to head down his way soon… it doesn’t feel soon enough.

The music continues. The stereo is hooked up, and I dance through some evening chores and tidying up, singing along with favorites, feeling energized by what I can’t have in this moment, instead of feeling beat down by my frustration. Lovely bit of progress, that. It’s enough. 🙂

We’ve all got something, right? Something broken, something that doesn’t work the way “everyone else” manages the thing? Some quirk or bit of eccentricity? What the hell is “normal”, anyway?

I sat with the results of yesterday’s handiwork more than a little frustrated to be so thoroughly stalled by “a hole in my thinking”. It happens. I just couldn’t actually make knowledge and action cooperate in the necessary way. The stereo and TV are hooking up now, the connection to the digital world is established. The sub-woofer – trust me, necessary with the music I favor – is not yet hooked up. I couldn’t quite get it done. Another day perhaps, or with help from my Traveling Partner – if he ever does make it over to see the new place before I eventually, some day, move out. (The lingering mild bleakness is simply that shred of personal frustration that I need help with something I know how to do, because knowing how is not itself enough to get past my injury every time.)

There have been moves which resulted in quite a lot more disruption over hooking up the stereo. This time? No tears. No panic. No anxiety – just that last moment, there at the end of the day, when my brain just completely failed me, sitting there staring at the back of the amp, the back of the sub-woofer, cables carefully laid out… and I couldn’t make sense of any of it. I had marked all the other cables so it was more a color matching game than anything else, just to keep things fairly efficient. For some reason, perhaps feeling rushed, I didn’t mark the sub-woofer or tag the cables when I readied them for the move – and I did do something I make a specific practice of not doing these days… I had unplugged both ends of all the cables associated with the sub-woofer. Oops. Shit.

I’ll tackle the sub-woofer again next weekend, early in the day. I often find my injury is a bigger deal cognitively when I am fatigued, so my next step is try again, in the morning, a couple hours into the day. No point being stressed out about it; I live with this. 🙂

I bitched about the moment on Facebook, and a friend commiserated in a healthy way. I felt less alone with my issues and grateful to be a social creature. I sip my coffee and smile. Learning to be kind and to be compassionate, myself, has definitely paid off in more good relationships that are mutually nurturing and supportive.

My sleep is wreckage this weekend. No idea why. I’ve managed to sleep in both yesterday and today – but it’s merely been the consequence of prolonged wakefulness during the night, and needing to get more sleep after being wakeful. My nights are currently like two longish naps. lol I feel pretty well-rested though.

I’ve ended up with this nagging sensation that there is “a great deal to sort out”, but when I attempt to turn my attention to it, there’s nothing there, really. It’s strange. I end up feeling highly distracted, this morning. It’s reason enough to begin again. Breakfast? Coffee on the deck? I think so. 🙂 It’s a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror.