Archives for the month of: October, 2019

This is a morning so different from yesterday. I feel rested. My coffee tastes good. I feel good in my clothes. The pain I’m in today is just physical, and seems irrelevant. I’m not exactly “merry”, but… so far so good. 🙂

Last night was calm, suffused with contentment and warmth. It was enough to get me past the harder moments, of earlier in the day. Practice makes perfect. LOL No, it doesn’t – but it does prepare me for more opportunities to use those skills. I’m going to need them… it’s the point of practicing.

Another day of work, of life, of love, of… practicing practices. I sip my coffee, aware that it is a Friday. Aware that I’m mortal, but not aggrieved by it. I sip my coffee and think about returning to my natural hair color… I mean… it’s something to ponder. 🙂

In the meantime, there’s still this entire day ahead of me, and no knowing what it holds. I think I’ll go find out…

Time to get back to the office. I’m okay with that. My Traveling Partner is pre-occupied with work right now, and when I am at home working, focused on work, the day-to-day communication challenges associated with my brain injury can be a little more obvious, and, I guess, a little more frustrating. Neither of us need that headache right now.

…Having a TBI that affects how I communicate is more than annoying, sometimes, for everyone dealing with it (not just me). It’s doubly hard when so much about “me” makes it super easy to forget, most of the time, that I have some of these issues…then… fuck. There they are. “Issues”. Damn it. I’m not sure which thing is more frustrating… is it that I often ask for clarification because context is not enough to narrow down the meanings of words to just the one thing intended? (So many words have multiple, or nuanced, meanings, and I “hear them all” when people are talking.) Maybe it is that I sometimes “answer the wrong question” (Okay, I do this a lot, and it is super comical until it becomes super aggravating.) – meaning, that, if you ask me a “when” question, I may give you the “why” – and yes, if you humorously reply by asking me the “why” question, indeed, without skipping a beat, you’re likely to get the “when” of it, without me immediately noticing what I’ve done. :-\ I wish it always just stayed funny, though. It’s not like I’m “doing it on purpose”.

…Then there is the seeming “evasion” when asked a question, and I literally just… go blank. Overloaded trying to both understand and answer, usually in circumstances where there is a clear expectation that I will “get it right” because it is “easy” and “should be right there”. I catch up, sure, but by then I’ve somehow communicated a lack of trustworthiness that can seep into even those interactions with people familiar with me for a long time, and aware of my injury. Aggravating for all concerned. Super painful for me to deal with. Way too many opportunities for hurt feelings, all around.

…And how about those opposites? Omg, yeah. I work with numbers – and this particular challenge is painful, and common; I sometimes say the literal opposite of what I am actually thinking (positive vs. negative, yes vs no, even “opposite colors”, and concepts). Like a cruel prank on myself. Fuck that shit. At least this is one I commonly catch, in the moment, myself. It’s just so hard, sometimes. I want to be heard, valued, and accepted, and I want my words to do credit to my thinking. Realistically, I’m not going to get that any more often, or any more easily, than anyone else. Sometimes, it’s just not there for me. Real talk. Sometimes I sound like a complete dumb ass.

My head aches with trying to manage my headaches, on top of staying on top of all the cognitive disarray, get complicated, and although I do okay sitting here at a keyboard… if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve probably seen it, too. :-\ It’s not getting better as I age, I assure you. In fact, in spite of continued rehabilitative work, specific to improving these sorts of things, I recognize that there are some indications some of this is getting worse, very slowly, over time. Certainly, that last transient ischemic attack (July? 2013? 2014?) was notable, and obvious, in my writing, and I still see it in “wrong endings” of words – a type of “spelling mistake” that isn’t about spelling at all, and cropped up immediately after that TIA, and persists, to a lesser degree, even now. Brain damage? Yeah. Brain damage. It is what it is.

…How long before the frustration of friends and loved ones isolates me completely, relegated to fond memories, and deliberately patient, tolerant, excuses for putting up with me… or… just… not. Just quiet sorrow, and regrets…

I sigh heavily in the quite room, listening to David Bowie, “I’m Afraid of Americans” (but only because it was next on this playlist, although… yeah). Glum thoughts over good coffee. Feeling a bit anxious about life, generally, and about aging, specifically, and what it may mean for my relationships. My brain attacks me immediately, and with real force, “he’s not going to love you forever, not like this, not if you can’t communicate; you’ve already lost your looks, what’s even left now…?” My brain whispers my worst fears and insecurities to me.

“Fuck. For real? Right now? I’ve got work you know.” I silently chastise my personal demons, and have another sip of coffee as the tears slide down my face. “I’m not having it, you vile bitch, just go ahead and head on back to The Nightmare City, I just don’t have time this morning.” I frown into my coffee, annoyed with myself, my insecurities, my vulnerabilities… my humanity.

I switch up my playlist to something lighter, and hope for the best as my tears dry. It’s a place to start…and it’s time to begin again. This morning, that’s got real meaning; it’s an opportunity to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, accept that these are experiences and feelings I need to address in an authentic, honest, and gentle way with myself. I take a couple of deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly and evenly after each, until it feels comfortable. I feel myself relax a bit. I make a point to fill my thoughts with recent positive interactions with my Traveling Partner, and the delight of a recent long email from a dear friend, and the recent triumphs and achievements at work… there’s a lot to be grateful for, to be satisfied with, and to enjoy.

I finish my coffee. I start my day.

Yesterday was weird. Started well. Went well. Then… rather unexpectedly, my mood just went straight to shit in an instant. I wasn’t even sure why. My noise sensitivity got crazy intense, and the frown on my face seemed to “come from within” from this whole other deep deep place that felt like “this is me,now”. It was hard. I looked over my work calendar, and cleared off the meetings I had remaining; none of it really required me, that I could tell, and all of it could be rescheduled. So, I did.

I was still fussing with an analytical question I was wracking my brain over, when I left, and committed to finishing that off, from home. I looked at the days ahead, and determined I could spend this one (today) more wisely as a “training day”, tackling annual “tick the box” training regularly assigned to everyone and due in just a couple weeks, and finishing off some certification training and testing I’d committed to earlier in the year. It seems a practical and efficient way to give myself some room to sort myself out without the risk of infecting my workplace with my toxic bullshit and baggage. 🙂

…Sitting here with my coffee, I feel fairly “grown up”, having managed this piece of self-care adequately well. Yesterday was weird though.

I got home tense and cranky. I stayed tense and cranky long enough for my Traveling Partner to make other plans for his time that evening, while I was in the shower trying to “wash off” my shitty mood. (No surprise, I was not able to wash off my mood. lol) I wasn’t surprised; his self-care skills are very good, generally, and he knows that it does neither of us any good to sit by and endure each other’s bullshit. There are better ways. 🙂 He was heading out for the evening, shortly after I was changed into “comfy clothes”. A few minutes of conversation. A kiss. He was gone.

I sat quietly for a time. Still so cross with… whatever… I was irritating myself without trying. I made a salad. I the dishes in the dishwasher. I sat a while more. Distracting myself was harder than usual; noise sensitive, cross, anhedonic… I wasn’t fit for my own company (and these days I really like me). At some point, I dozed off on the couch, wrapped in a snuggly soft throw. The phone woke me. My Traveling Partner calling, some time later (I never looked at the time)… did I want to join them for dinner? …Italian. Um… I’m sleeping. Deeply. LOL How rare is that?? I thanked him (I think. I hope.) and declined.

…Some further time later, I heard someone in the house… I felt disoriented in the darkness; I had lights on in the living room, where I had been dozing on the couch… I was waking out of context – in bed, no clear recollection of going to bed. I slipped out of bed, still confused, and quietly went to the door. Home intruder? Break in? Um… probably not; I hear the sound of someone using the hall bathroom. I call down the hall way, “hello?”. My partner answers, and I relax, finally pulling myself fully into the present. I’m not really awake though, and hadn’t even put my glasses on. Staying up long enough to connect, to embrace, I went back to bed pretty soon after he got home.

I woke reluctantly when the alarm went off. I feel pretty well-rested this morning, but I’m also glad I adjusted my work plans to make room for self-care. I needed to ease up on myself, and although I still don’t know what the hell went wrong with me yesterday, I’m pretty sure caring for myself in a way that demonstrates that I matter, to me, remains important, today.

Self-care choices are not always easy. It’s taken me years to break habits of self-abuse, self-exploitation, and inwardly directed mistreatment of all sorts. I still practice self-care, because I still need to. It still takes commitment, effort, and deliberate willful consideration, to choose to care for this fragile vessel, and the being of emotion and reason who resides within.

I’ve got a work day of training ahead of me, self-paced, isolated by headphones and the door of my studio. This suits me, although I am already feeling much better this morning. I find myself wondering if my poor sleep is something I need to be taking more seriously at this point… I smile and sip my coffee. The short to do list I’ve got for later seems wholly manageable and it’s not driving any stress at all. So far so good. I finish off my coffee while I rock out to this playlist… it’s time to begin again. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee, and pondering how it is that so much of the absolute worst of what humanity is capable of makes the news, but the best of what humanity has to offer often does not? Why are we so hung up on directing precious (monetized) views, likes, clicks, and shares of the worst garbage and horror that humanity can devise? Where is the good news? The kindness? (And omg, why aren’t goodness and kindness and compassion and happy endings more news worthy??)

…I move on from that, closing the browser tab with the news on it. I feel pretty much that “I already know all this” and honestly don’t need to be reminded of how horribly human beings are capable of treating each other; I already strive to do better than that – even better than I have done, myself, the previous day, every day. Nope. I’m not perfect. I’m not even going there. We’ve literally all got room to grow. 🙂

What can I do, today, to make the world just the tiniest bit better, myself, through my own efforts? It’s a good question. I sit with it awhile, sipping my coffee.

How about you? What are you doing to be the person you most want to be? Anything? It’ll take verbs, you do know that, right? “…Do no harm…” may not be enough. It may be utterly necessary to take active measures to do good in the world. To do good, even in your own life… feels like it should be easy and obvious…but… what about those acts that are done from good intention, that have poor results? That’s a thing. What do you do to prevent those missteps? How do you know that what you do to live your values, to “stay in the lines” ethically, to “do good” is truly enough? What’s “doing your best” really made of?

I sip my coffee and filter my thoughts through the lens of my work, professionally. I keep sipping my coffee, and thinking. Adulthood is complicated.

I get my “every day carry” together for another work day. (Yesterday I forgot my work badge to get into the building. Hilarity ensued.) Today, I’ll do better to be the woman I most want to be. I didn’t do badly, yesterday, it was a good day. I can still do better. I run the clock back on my day, gently, and think it over, looking for choices I could have made differently, and words I could have used with more skill. Thankfully, I have time to begin again, and that’s definitely worth doing. 🙂

…Oh hey, look at the time… 😉

What a delightful homecoming! I enjoyed my Traveling Partner’s return, and we spent a delightful, and most peculiar, weekend together. Peculiar in the sense that it often felt like a time warp – back to that first year together. Exciting to spend time together, exciting to get to know each other more deeply, and occasionally challenging as expectations collide with reality, or miscommunication confounds a moment. It was very… real. 🙂

I spent a lot of time talking about potential futures, with my partner. Longer-range planning, and very long-range planning, a future that includes a comfortable retirement, and a home of our own. We shopped together – wow I have missed that so much! He takes suggestions, inspires new thinking, and accepts gifts with humble & practical delight. I overcome my surprise at his suggestions, and accept moments of change both large and small, with eyes open to the value of his perspective, and a heart full of love. The result? I definitely feel more future-focused, more aligned on key details of our shared planning, more certain of our mutual commitment, and so well-loved. 😀

It was, in brief, a lovely weekend spent in the company of someone who loves me, and who I love.

I’m sitting here sipping my morning coffee before dawn, nothing new there. Another work day ahead, also pretty routine. New boots on my feet, a new sweater wraps me in warmth – and love. I’m smiling. Hell, I don’t even hurt much, as I sort out my thinking to begin a new day. Even hearing him breath or sigh as he turns over in the other room is enough to deepen my smile. I’m definitely entirely in love with this particular human being. I’m okay with that. I’m even okay with how very much love asks of me, as a human being – all the growth is worth the time, consideration, and numerous additional verbs. We are both, each, better human beings for loving each other. 😀

…I could be more skillful at love, I know. Plenty to learn. Plenty of opportunity to practice. It’s a lovely morning for beginning again. 😀