Archives for category: anger

I woke with a wicked headache this morning. I’m in an absolutely shit mood, too. I woke irritable and cross with the world – on Thanksgiving. For fucks sake. What a… headache. I snarled a warning at my partner, and took my coffee into my studio and closed the door on the world. I put on a video of rain – maybe the sound will sooth me somehow? Fuck this headache. Fuck having a headache on a holiday.

…Omg… so much cooking to do… fuck.

I went to bed looking forward to today, and yeah even looking forward to the cooking. Right now? Right now I am not “looking forward” at all. I’m sitting here in my moment, with this fucking headache.

The sounds of rain are usually so soothing… this morning this video just isn’t getting me there. Headache is that bad. What I find myself listening to is the sound of my computer’s fans spinning up to deal with the high resolution video. I pause it and leave the picture up on the screen. I have no fucks to give. I leave my padded noise-canceling headphones on. They don’t do that much to cancel the very nearby sound of the computer fans, or my fingers on the keys of my mechanical keyboard, but they provide a muffled perspective on everything else. Quieter. My tinnitus is very loud.

I try listening to music. All the songs I usually enjoy are just annoying me right now. So I turn that off, too. I alternate sips of coffee with sips of water. I make a specific point of not looking at the news at all; there’s no chance that will be actually helpful, and some chance it could make things worse (by way of anxiety).

It is Thanksgiving. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for in spite of this headache. I focus on that, bringing my thoughts back to things I am grateful for each time they wander back to this fucking headache. (It can’t last forever…so I’ll just keep at it.) What am I grateful for, sitting here right now, headache and all? I think it over and drink my coffee, which is quite good in spite of my crappy mood.

…I’m grateful for this cup of excellent coffee made from good quality Ethiopian coffee beans. I don’t really know how long coffee will continue to exist, so I enjoy it while it is available and make a point of buying from roasters that are at least trying to source their beans sustainably and also paying the farmers a fair price.

I’m grateful to have a secure roof over my head, a home to call my own, and amenities like indoor plumbing, potable drinking water, and heat. I know there are families that don’t, not only in far away places but also right here in my country, my state, my county, and my community. (Pretty appalling, frankly – use your vote wisely.)

I’m grateful to be so fortunate as to have the luxury of beefing about a fucking headache on Thanksgiving; I know I can head to the kitchen any time and start preparing an ample holiday meal of wholesome good quality ingredients. I have numerous excellent cookbooks for inspiration, and highspeed internet to catch the latest cooking videos from favorite content creators. I am fortunate indeed. Even with the headache.

I’m grateful to have electricity. Like… seriously grateful. I sip my coffee for a minute thinking about how different life would have to be without electricity… and how many of our luxuries (that we mostly take for granted) are entirely dependent on having electricity in the first place.

My sleep has been filled with nightmares for a couple weeks now. I’m not sure why. I’m grateful af though that I am at least getting enough sleep (and rest) to start each day fresh in spite of the content of my dreams. That’s not a small thing. Getting enough actual rest means that I can generally expect that my dreams will not linger in my consciousness for long, once I wake. That’s actually a pretty big deal.

I’m grateful to have so many friends. Sure, most of them are quite distant, geographically, and we often go years without seeing each other. Doesn’t stop us from caring and connecting in between times. I could be a better friend, though… I pause this writing and send some emails to friends, wishing them a festive holiday meal. I miss them – particularly on Thanksgiving. When we were younger and living closer together, we’d often get together for a holiday meal. I do miss that. I’m grateful to have enjoyed it whenever we could. Good memories.

I’m grateful to have a partner who – after waking up irritable himself over not being able to sleep – can drop everything to be comforting and to try to be helpful, when I alert him of my vicious headache and shitty mood, in spite of where he’s at himself. Not one word of doubt that we’ll have a pleasant holiday, either; he knows that we’ll both get our shit together as the morning wears on, and go ahead and do the needful. Good partnership. We’re both entirely made of human, and god damn do we love each other. (I feel tears start falling, streaming down my face… I don’t know why, and I just let them fall. We’re mortal creatures, and sometimes that is reason enough for tears.)

I’m grateful even for the tears; I can feel. That’s kind of a big deal, too.

Rough morning. Still Thanksgiving and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for – this headache does not change that truth. I put on a playlist of love songs and begin again.

It’s hard to read the news. Even the business pages are filled with articles that highlight how monstrous human beings can be. Our mythical monsters are no real competition for the actual human beings who likely inspired them, and continue to plague our daily lives at work, at home, and out and about. Some of us marry monsters. Some of us go to work for monsters. Some of us elect monsters. Some of us create monsters – or even become monsters. Pretty ugly. Take a good look in your mirror. Are you a monster?

Monster or not – do better. Seriously. We’re headed into the winter holidays one more time. Who knows how long humanity really has to fulfill it’s potential? Do better. Look at who you were yesterday. Consider the way you interact with colleagues, friends, loved ones – do better than that. Even one improved interaction today compared to yesterday is that much better. Each effort makes the world just a bit better. Each success results in you becoming a somewhat less shitty human being than you were. That seems worthwhile, doesn’t it?

Maybe you’re not a monster? Maybe you’re just a garden-variety troll, asshole, jackass, jerkwad, tyrant, bully, bitch, or douche-nozzle? Maybe you’re a well-intentioned fuckwit prone to saying or doing just the wrong thing at the wrong time? Do better. Give a shit. Make the attempt to improve. Be a bit kinder. Be more considerate. Really listen to people when they talk to you. Apologize sincerely and make amends when you fuck up or when you hurt someone. Set clear boundaries. Don’t make people guess what you need. You’ll still “get it wrong” – maybe a lot – but each time you do better, the world is a better place for it. That seems worthwhile, doesn’t it?

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “well, none of this applies to me at all, really, I’m fine…”? You’re probably wrong. Do better. Do something better today than you did yesterday. Care – because it matters. We all have room to improve.

Who do you most want to be? What do you want to be remembered for?

I’m not going on and on about this because I’m a perfect human being looking outward on a world of chaos, trauma, and nastiness. I’m on and on about this because I am committing myself to doing better today than I did yesterday. Every day. I don’t always get it right. Sometimes – even in the context of a loving partnership – I sometimes feel like I’m alone in the attempt. (That’s an illusion; most of the time, most of us are at least thinking that we’re “doing our best”, even when we are able to acknowledge that “our best” in that moment is a very dim light in a very dark place.) What we’re able to do isn’t always “enough”. It’s part of the human struggle, isn’t it? I still see caring about the attempt and the outcome as something important. I still have shitty days. There are still times when I am callous or clueless, inconsiderate or terse, impatient or frustrated – I don’t even expect that to change. I just want to do my best, and have part of that be to succeed in doing just a bit better today than I did yesterday. Every day. It’s not easy. There are verbs involved. I fail a lot. In failure there is growth. When I falter, I begin again. It’s a process.

…We could choose to build a better world. Some of the choices are very difficult. Seems like one of the easier choices is simply to seek opportunities every day to do just a bit better than we did yesterday. Every day.

Each day I have a chance to begin again.

This morning is a strange one. The emotional landscape is peculiarly surreal and …”wrong”. All the pieces in my jigsaw puzzle seem the sort to add up to a lovely morning. The sights. The work space. The relaxed timing. The context of a secure home and loving partnership. But I feel strangely blue and on edge. “Background anxiety” sure, only… the background seems to be trying to take over my otherwise pleasant morning without cause. It seems “unfair”, but also kinda “sticky”. This is a difficult moment.

Sunrises and new beginnings.

…It’ll pass…right…?

I sip my coffee and remind myself how much of this is probably just “chemistry”. We just ended Daylight Savings Time for another year this past weekend. I regularly struggle for some days that follow; the change in time/timing on things like medications and sunrises messes with my body and my internal clock quite a lot. Could be that and nothing more. The timing is right for it to be “the thing going on right now”. That, on top of important project milestones with my Traveling Partner’s business… and for me, at work… and of course there’s voting (and the fucking world is basically a toxic mess right now)… and staying on top of my to do list… and holiday travel plans… and… mortality. Fuuuuuuuck… no wonder I feel “low“.

It will pass.

So, I take a few minutes for myself in the time between my morning camera walk, and the start of my work day. I have coffee in this quiet (and quite empty) office space. I laugh out loud when I realize the music playing softly in the background is all very… “emo”. It likely acts to amplify my already rather blue feeling of things today. Knowing that [hopefully] can serve to diminish the effect it has. So… I take a minute for awareness. And coffee sipping.

…I find myself wondering if my frustration with finding “medication management” for my anxiety somewhere local is contributing to my blue morning? The most recent “application” (yeah, it very much was that kind of process) got me a rejection, primarily because I am only seeking medication management support to go along with an existing therapeutic relationship that works very well for me. The provider was pretty explicit that they weren’t willing to take me as a patient unless they could have all of my therapy dollars have both the therapy and the medication management within their office. I’m not sure which irks me more; that they rejected me (cuz rejection just sucks) or that they would be willing to even suggest changing providers over dollars and cents when we’re talking about mental health care – and a therapy relationship that works very well! Fuckwits. Huh. I’m angry about this. Also, yeah, totally human and my fucking feelings are hurt. Wild.

…And I’m still dealing with my anxiety…

Fucking hell.

I amuse myself imaging a tiny imaginary janitor in my consciousness sweeping up shards of this-n-that and tidying up the chaos, sort of squinting back at me, shaking her head, sucking her teeth and shrugging “pay isn’t great, but it’s steady work”, and shuffling off to the next mess.

…It’s living. It’s life. It’s messy. I’m still here. I’ve endured a lot. I am still here. I just keep beginning again.

Self-care is hard sometimes. I’m sipping my first cup of (less than good) coffee this morning, and reflecting on the challenge of managing my self-care, when the actual act of caring for myself and meeting my own needs is one of the actual anxiety triggers I find myself fighting. Yeesh.

I needed some time to think deeply without interruption, and to weep or rage if that is where my thinking happened to take me – without concern about criticism, or self-consciousness, or needing to “put a good face on it” if someone attempted to offer help expecting a result for their efforts. I “had some homework to do” and needed time and space to do it with care. So, I booked an inexpensive room on the coast (love the off-season specials!) and took my camera, my laptop, and my madness out to the coast for an overnighter of self-reflection. I mean… that’s all this trip was honestly good for. “King tides” and absolutely terrible rainy weather definitely kept me mostly indoors, other than breezes and rain and fresh air out on the balcony.

…Hell, I was so focused on the self-work I wanted to be working through, I explicitly planned not to go out for dinner (or lunch), and brought along a pack of ramen noodles and some snacks. Good enough. 🙂

Funny thing is, I was started on my “homework” before I even got to the coast; just making the plans took me through an anxiety “fun house” as I tried to communicate my needs and how I wanted to meet those – and I hadn’t even booked the room yet! See, it’s like this; if going to the coast meets needs of my partner’s, I feel quite relaxed about going, and even eager to enjoy that time. Fair enough. Why not? But, each time I framed the trip (in my own thoughts) as explicitly for me, my anxiety went through the roof. This is not uncommon in my experience with my anxiety; willful, considerate acts of self-care and choice often come with a huge increase in my anxiety that taints both the planning and the experience itself. Makes it very emotionally difficult to balance my needs with the needs of those around me; mine cause me anxiety, and I tend to select away from that emotional experience. Over time, my resentment builds until I can’t mask it anymore, and that creates an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Not ideal. I can do better….

…Can’t I?

So. I danced around wanting to do an overnight on the coast. I brought it up once. Twice. I wasn’t getting traction on the idea with my partner; he was eager to have me around, having completed the most complicated set-up work with the new CNC. He misses me when I’m gone. Shit. This kept getting more difficult each time I tried to sort of slide into the idea for a win. Then I really took a look at what I was doing and saying, and observed how I was failing myself. My partner even explicitly said to me “I sure won’t stop you if you want to go to the coast for you, Baby.” He invited me to take care of myself. He simply expects me to own that in an honest way. Makes sense.

So. I tried again, Friday afternoon. I clarified that I wanted to go to the coast and do some emotional homework and reflect on my anxiety without concern that my emotional experience may be encroaching on his, or awareness of his presence (and his needs) that could distract me from the self-work I wanted to do. I laid out my plan, and asked him to tell me if any of the details were a pain point for how he would manage his day on Saturday. He pointed out that if I lingered at home into the afternoon, I would cut his productive time in the shop short. So I adjusted my plan to account for that; I’d enjoy morning coffee with him, run a couple local errands right quick, then head to the coast around 10:00, putting me at the hotel shortly before noon. I arranged an early check-in with the hotel for convenience. It felt good to be heard, and to have a clear plan that supported my needs. It also caused me quite a bit of anxiety into the night on Friday – just because I made a point (and a plan) to meet my own needs without also couching that in the terms of meeting the needs of others as well. It passed.

I woke feeling light and merry yesterday. We enjoyed a lovely morning and shared coffee together. I ran those errands. While I was out and about, my Traveling Partner pinged me to ask “Are you going to the coast today?” My anxiety spiked hard. Did he not know? Had I failed to clearly communicate? Was it not okay to go after all?? I stopped the car nearby and parked for a minute. Nothing he said was at all a criticism or an attack; he just asked a question. Commonplace stuff that, to check one’s assumptions and expectations. Nothing to fear from that. I breathed through the moment, and answered the question. “Yes”. He sent back smiles and kisses and hearts. Huh. That wasn’t scary at all. It’s as if he was just asking a fucking question. Anxiety is such a liar.

I finished my errands, headed back, and started getting ready to go to the coast. My bags were already packed (it honestly took no time; one overnight, and my camera and laptop bags are pretty much always ready to grab-and-go). “You’re going?” my partner asked. I could see he would actually rather I stayed, and that he would enjoy my company. Anxiety. I shook off the momentary inclination to abandon my plans and smiled “yep, I’m ready.” We kissed good-bye and exchanged loving words and well-wishes, and off I went.

…The traffic wasn’t even bad, and the heavy rain didn’t seem to rouse my anxiety any further. Huh. Something to think about.

The entire drive to the coast was “productive” time alone with my thoughts. Uneventful autumn drive with some truly lovely spots in spite of the heavy rain obscuring that sometimes obscured my view, so I spent it thinking deeply… about anxiety. About, specifically, my own experience of anxiety. I didn’t spend that time berating or criticizing myself, just thinking about how it seems to “work” and what most often triggers my anxiety (specifically in my relationship with my Traveling Partner). Thinking about how I communicate, and where that may be undermining my emotional wellness when anxiety becomes “a thing” in a given moment. Thinking about “fear” and “anxiety” and also thinking about “anger” and “anxiety” – where those overlap, or fuel each other, where they seem to be at odds, and what I can do about – or with – any of it. I spent quite a bit of the drive simply reflecting on how different the outcomes were trying to planning this overnight, depending on how I attempted to communicate my needs, my plan, and how I sought his thoughts or support. It’s a lot. Which sometimes also causes me anxiety.

Once I settled into the room, I sat on the balcony in the chilly wind, watching the tide recede, and thinking about anxiety. I had a list of questions to reflect on and to answer for myself. I got to work on that. No, I did not “solve for X” and wake this morning having cured my anxiety… but I feel pretty good, and I think I have a clearer understanding of some useful ways to diminish my anxiety in the moment, and allow it to dissipate more readily. Do I still need help with it? Fuck yes. I’m grateful to have a loving supportive partner and a really good therapist. 🙂

Late in the evening, my partner pinged me with a progress report on his day and some loving chit-chat. He asked if I would be home “in the morning”. I understood him to be saying he’d like me to be home in the morning (vs later in the day). He asked if I would bring donuts. 🙂 Hell yes. 😀

So…now I’m sitting here sipping hotel coffee, watching the dawn unfold, rainy and gray. I woke to darkness and a low tide. No surprise; Daylight Savings Time ended last night and I also read the tide tables yesterday. lol The featureless gray that woke me as “daylight” wasn’t actually daylight at all, really, it just wasn’t quite dark, and I was well-rested. I’ll be gone before the next high tide – so I’m glad I saw the one yesterday. 🙂 The wind blew so hard during the night it scooted the chairs on the balcony from one side to the other. It’s a stormy sort of morning, lovely to watch from the warm of this room. I enjoy my coffee.

…It’s already time to start packing and getting dressed; I don’t want to miss the good donuts. LOL

Weird day. Weird week. I think one of the most challenging things about learning to manage my mental health and emotional stability over time has been also holding on to an understanding that I can do 100% of my best, make a ton of progress, gain resilience and emotional intelligence as an individual – and still struggle enormously in the context of any one relationship with another human being (who is on their own journey, having their own experience). It’s that parenthetical that gives it away, right? We’re each walking our own hard mile. Each having our own experience. It won’t matter much however much self-healing and emotional recovery from trauma I do in some relationships; that other person’s own pain and trauma is going to have a lot to say about how much we’re able to understand and enjoy each other. Sometimes that sucks. It’s certainly complicated. I can’t do much about another person’s journey besides doing my best to be a considerate fellow traveler.

I sit with that for a minute. Grateful to come as far as I have. Frustrated when it is clear that some days, in some interactions, the “us” is affected by elements outside my direct control. Yesterday (was it only yesterday? I check my email for confirmation, yep, yesterday), I had a seriously difficult day. Some of it was me. Physical pain sucks ass. Anxiety is a motherfucker. Expectations can throw a wrench into the best machinery and shut things down until the details of a shared understanding emerge. At the end of the day, yesterday, I took a minute to look at stats on this blog; I couldn’t recall if I had posted and if I had, whether I was just bitching pointlessly and creating new drama from old drama. Oddly, a different post had been linked as one that was viewed, and since I find it interesting where the curiosity of folks who read my blog may take them, I clicked the link to see what I had been writing about that day

…You may recall that I’ve said I write for myself, as a way of reaching out to myself with hopeful reminders, and useful tips that I may one day lose track of…? Yeah, this was one of those lovely moments of serendipity, and the blog post that was linked seemed almost to speak directly to me now:

Don’t sit there being miserable, filled with frustrated rage, stalled, wounded, or oppressed. Choose something different… and yeah, maybe even if that means walking away from everything you have chosen before, to choose differently, with greater wisdom, with more self-reflection, with greater awareness, and more commitment to the person you most want to be.

…Maybe you need to hear this…? You did not “ruin everything”. You are not “a complete fuck up”. You are not “the reason all of this went wrong”. You are neither master of the universe nor the single cause of all the world’s ills. You just aren’t. You aren’t that significant, actually. Neither are you unimportant. You matter. You just aren’t to blame for every fucking thing. Ever. Let that shit go? If nothing else changes, today, in this moment, you can choose to let  that shit go…

…Yeah. Wow. A bit on the nose, and I really really needed to hear that – and I needed most to hear it from me. I’m pretty fucking hard on myself, sometimes. Far more so than is necessary. Too often I internalize someone else’s emotional experience, take it completely personally, getting more hurt and more angry and more painfully aware that they (may) be taking something I’ve said or done quite personally themselves…without seeing my own error. Messy. Messy…human…and fairly fucking stupid. I mean…yeah. Easy mistake to make, and once a human primate is convinced that someone has wronged them, it’s fucking hard as hell to get them to walk that back and reflect on the part they played themselves in how things went sideways. I’m not pointing fingers here – I’m talking about me. Why would I be breaking this down if it were actually about what some other person did or said? The most I can do about that is bitch about it. If I focus my thoughts on my own words and actions, and reflect on the differences between those and what I might expect from the woman I most want to be, I may be able to understand myself more deeply – and do better.

…Let’s be super clear on an important detail, though; I’m not trying to be the best version of me that anyone else has in mind. I just want to be the best version of me that I can, myself, envision. She’s probably still not “perfect” – and I’m quite certain some of the things I like most about her won’t at all be what anyone else wishes I would become. I’m okay with that. It’s me that I have to satisfy. When I look back on this life, the only scorecard that counts is the one in my own hand. “Was I the best person I could be? Did I make time for the people I love? Did I do some good in the world? Was I the woman I most want to be?”

…Moving on…

I woke this morning wanting to paint. I finally got around to it shortly after 2 p.m. My Traveling Partner wanted to hang out, and our mortal time together is too brief, so I put off painting to hang out. I’m not sure that was 100% my best decision-making… I tend to fall short on self-care first, and where I currently am mental/emotional health-wise, I need this time with a canvas in front of me and a brush in my hand. Fuck I love that guy, though, and he’s got his own stress to wade through. I definitely want to be there to give him the support he needs when he needs it. As individuals we are so… similar and also so different, it’s easy to get taken-over by each other’s emotions. We are definitely at very different “mile markers” on our journey, and neither one of us has a map. Complicated. There are verbs involved.

My head is full of inspiration, sitting here in my studio. My painting playlist is loaded up and my ears are filled with yet another layer of inspiration. In spite of the stress of the week that is ending, I feel hopeful and grateful. It’s a good life, in spite of my challenges. I’m fortunate to be where I am in life these days. I’m aware of how fleeting good fortune can be and I do my best to stay humble and to prepare for whatever may lie ahead on life’s journey. For me, though, hope and joy and love and gratitude are rarely the well-spring of my artistic inspiration; these feels are so much more than enough on their own. It’s the hard stuff, the darker stuff, the hurts, the trauma, the tedium, the tears, the unexpressed anger that so often push me to my studio. Funny… how is it those are the things that seem so hard to express “appropriately”? Canvas and paint = no censorship, no excuses, no holding back. Art doesn’t have to worry much about being polite in good company, or taking care not to hurt the feelings of others. It can just be what it is. Strangely, even knowing this about myself, what hit the canvas today, so far, has been very much about this tiny hopeful flame that ignited within me very recently. It’s complicated (what isn’t?). I don’t know quite what sparked it, and I very much don’t want to extinguish it. So… I tend “my hearth” and look after my heart, and I take some time to put on canvas what I can’t put into words so easily.

…She’s not finished yet…I don’t know what to expect from her once she is. She’s a late addition to a series I’ve been painting for awhile. You get to see her “first” (well, after my Traveling Partner, who looked in on my progress a few minutes ago from the shores of his own journey).

“Every Dawn a Beginning” 12″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas w/glow, glitter, and resin details. 2022

It’s time to begin again. Again. May there ever be a new beginning.