Archives for category: Brain Injury

Well damn. I guess I’m a real grown-up… 6 days to my 60th birthday. Wild. In spite of some hard living, some hardships, some trauma, some misadventure… I am standing in this place, considering this milestone birthday ahead of me. Wow. I mean, I legitimately did not expect that making it this far was ever a given. Wasn’t at all sure I would… but here I am. 😀

My Traveling Partner and I have plans to camp for a few days. Really getting away, out into the trees, away from the traffic, the stress, the work, the world… the people. I know that I, personally, really need a break from “everything”. Just for a minute. A few quiet hours. Some distance. A different view. A new perspective. A moment of my life that isn’t in any way whatsoever about working, earning a living, maintaining a household… just fresh air, soft breezes, sunshine, and birdsong. Maybe the occasional passing shower. 🙂 I already know my results will vary, and that the plan is not the experience, and neither is the map the world. So. There’s that.

…No idea what the days ahead will really be like, I just know I’m looking forward to logging out of my work tools, and locking the door of the house behind us as we leave for a few days. 😀 (Will I write? Maybe, but I won’t have a cell signal, and my words will be ink on paper, for later – I’m also going equipped to paint in watercolor, and I’m taking my camera of course. My Traveling Partner is taking along a couple of good books, and his fishing tackle.)

Slow days ahead. I’m eager to embrace that, without giving a thought to what may be “on the other side” – we’ll see when we get there, eh?

In the meantime, there are flowers in the garden, and sunny days in the forecast. The weather is lovely and mild, summery and warm without being unpleasantly scorching hot, generally. Life (and love) feel good. I’m not rushing through that feeling, either; I’m making a point to slow down and savor it, as much as I can, as often as I notice how very pleasant things seem to be, presently. Quiet reflection is a worthwhile use of my time, particularly when my thoughts feel infused with soft joy and contentment. I smile thinking of my Traveling Partner; he’s also eager to get out on the road. The truck is already packed of all but a handful of last minute items (my camera bag, food…).

I catch myself in a fit of sneezing – seasonal allergies. Fucking hell, where are those tissues…?? It reminds me to check the tracking on my inbound prescription refills… will they be here in time…? Looks like they will, and I find myself feeling relieved about that. One less thing that could cause background stress while I’m earnestly working to rest my busy mind. 😀

Well, damn… looks like time to begin again. 😀 If I don’t talk to you before I leave… I’ll drop a note right here when I get back. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about love. I’m listening to jazz in the background – nice change from the insipid pop tracks that are often playing in the co-work space. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Miles Davis, “It’s not the note you play that’s the wrong note – it’s the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong.” Sometimes love is like that. Some moment of miscommunication, or a misstep in the way we treat each other, feels “off”, like a “wrong note” in an otherwise beautiful piece of music… and it does very much seem to matter greatly what comes next, maybe even more so than that “wrong note” itself.

I sat down to write this morning grateful for the quiet time to reflect and write before this morning’s unusually busy Friday meeting calendar; back to back for about 4 and half hours. Ouch. My phone rang – before 0600, which was entirely unexpected, but… it was my Traveling Partner. I hadn’t replied to his text messages, of which there were… several. My “do not disturb” settings go to 0600, though, so I didn’t get notifications on those, and didn’t expect to hear from him either. He was alarmed that I didn’t respond, so he called. Fair enough. He expressed surprise that I was already at my desk, and concerned that I wasn’t out walking. I felt surprised that he didn’t remember me bitching about my meeting calendar and that I planned to go into the co-work space since my meetings would begin quite early compared to most days. Somehow, the interaction was less affectionate than it was… something quite different than that. lol Shit.

The morning is a chilly one, and I ache. After the “off moment” with my Traveling Partner this morning (which managed to feel rather “parental” in tone), I’m sort of cross. I know I can move past it. I’m just annoyed to have started the day thinking I’d have this quiet time “entirely to myself”, only to become mired in ruminations, anxiety, and finding myself juggling my baggage. Human, I suppose. Pretty annoying though.

…It’s bizarrely difficult (for me) to get even an hour of completely uninterrupted quiet time for reflection and writing, sometimes, which is it’s own self-care issue worthy of consideration… some other time, perhaps.

Here’s the thing – back to that quote I started on – it matters more what follows that “off moment”, than the moment itself. Whether I react. How I respond. What I say in reply to what has been said. How I choose to take the circumstances as they come. I can do/say/think about it in ways that aggravate things further – or I can “let small things stay small” and practice compassion, openness, empathy, and non-attachment, and move on to enjoy the day as it unfolds. No, I’m not saying it’s “easy” – there are definitely verbs involved, and the effort is “all mine”, at least inasmuch as I only control my own actions, words, and thoughts. My results vary. A lot. I’ve got room to grow and improve. I can do better. So…

…Looks like time to begin again. 🙂

Summer is approaching. Mornings, here, are sometimes still chilly. Night time temperatures still fall well below 50 F/10 C. Things cool off before the sun warms them once more. Some afternoons barely hit 70 F/21 C. Pretty comfortable weather, generally, and very good for sleeping… I wake with the sun a lot of mornings in spite of that. Like this morning. It’s nice quiet time for reflection, though, if I wake thoroughly and don’t find myself stumbling groggily through the first hours of the day.

This particular morning I am sipping my coffee and watching the sky beyond the windows change color, hints of pale grays and strange blues give way to peach, lavender, pink, and hints of orange as the sun rises. Pretty. I think about the flowers in the garden. I think about my upcoming birthday (11 days away, now) and our planned camping trip (5 days!). I think about pain, and pain management, and these stiff contrary bones. I think about recent delicious meals, and how much I appreciate my Traveling Partner’s cooking, and how nice it is that he’s been doing more of that lately. Good times, shared. I think about that, too. No misery here. It’s a pleasant morning. I think about the weekend ahead. I think about spending time in the studio… which competes for my attention, alongside “time in the garden”, “time on the trail”, and “time off-roading with my partner”.

Planted these last fall, and I’ve already forgotten what they are, other than “pretty”.

I pause my musings long enough to really appreciate how fortunate I am to enjoy so much of this life, so thoroughly. “This too shall pass.” Good times are wonderful. Savoring them, and reflecting on them, is delightful and healthy. Healing. Still, part of the point in doing so is to ensure they become part of my implicit memory as well, and a well-spring of future resilience upon which I can call when times are darker, and life feels less rich and satisfying. Just keeping it real; my results vary. I have some rough moments here and there. You too? We all do.

I write less often these days. Not because there’s nothing to say, nor because I am wrapped in joy 100% of my time, nor am I, contrariwise, wrapped in misery. I’m just over here living life. I write less because, honestly, I spent much less time in solitary reflection, and less time forcing myself through practices to pull myself out of some messy emotional quagmire. I live. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Succeed. Fail. Begin again. I try. I explore. I set boundaries. I yield to circumstances. It’s life. It’s not perfect, but it’s also quite a lot better than “just okay”. I sometimes feel I am on the edge of “thriving full-time”, which is pretty remarkable, considering the entirety of my experience.

I sip my coffee feeling my moment shift gears from “quiet reflection” to feeling filled with gratitude and love. It’s a nice start to a new day. I smile and think about my partner, at home, still sleeping. My heart beats with love.

It’s time to begin again.

Memorial Day is sometimes a hard one (for me). The days leading up to it this year were particularly difficult, though I don’t really have a reason why. I’ve lost a few folks over the years. That will never not be true in my life; once we lose the first one, it’s all “more” from there. Spent some time over the weekend reflecting on those losses, and those people. I spent the time with my Traveling Partner, and it was a very healing time we managed to share. I’m grateful.

Losses are hard. We feel our own pain most (and worst, generally). Running from it doesn’t change it – the way out is through. The challenge is not getting stalled in the momentary misery of grief.

The weekend was summery, and fairly mild. We got out among the trees. I got out into the garden. We drove beautiful miles and shared deep conversations. I needed that. We both did, I guess, and we’re better for it.

I’m sipping my morning coffee a bit surprised at how poorly I slept last night after a couple days of extraordinarily good sleep, deep and restful… last night my anxiety flared up with the recollection that today is a work day. Silly, but real. I woke numerous times to double-check that my “sunrise alarm” was actually set. It was. Every time I checked. lol It remains true that a few days of healing and emotionally gentle and nourishing time don’t “fix” anxiety. It comes and goes. My results vary. This morning I got up and managed to start the day without taking it personally or escalating it beyond the obvious; it’s disordered, and there is no reason to feed it and give it more energy.

I smile when I think about the weekend, and my Traveling Partner. Good times.

…Time to begin again…

How am I still so fragile? After all this time? Tears come and go. At this point, after days of it, I’m not even sure why. Post-menopause, it “shouldn’t be” hormones… but… I keep fucking about trying to “fix shit” with my body as I age, so… I don’t know. Anything I take to remedy some ailment or condition has potential to fuck with my body’s systems and my emotional balance, so… yeah. I just know the world is too much for me. Just… all of it.

…I keep finding myself weeping and in real emotional pain… but why, for fucks’ sake, why??

…I mean… I guess it’s enough that the world is this messy strange violent circus of nightmares, with an ever-increasing body count. That, by itself, is worth weeping over. I just can’t sustain doing all the fucking crying, by myself. It would make more sense to stop the killing, wouldn’t it? I drink more of this bottle of water sitting next to me. Tears = drink more water. A lot more.

…I have the strange slightly hilarious thought that maybe the water drinking itself is causing the tears somehow. That’s ridiculous, it’s just a passing notion.

My sleep is chronically disturbed and restless, this isn’t new, it’s just… yeah… chronic.

Ping…ping…ping…ping… work pings on my consciousness. My Traveling Partner pings me eager to iron out details for this or that, or share something cool. Ping. Scam calls. Ping. Another email. Ping. An announcement in a Slack thread at work. Ping. A walk-up co-work colleague with a question. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Everyone, everything, seems to want a piece of my attention, or a moment of my time. I feel overwhelmed, but it’s all quite ordinary. There’s nothing to see here.

A long time ago, in another life, a 14 year old me, feeling something similar, packed a small bag, and lacking any notable experience of the world, just sort of … walked away from her home, her family, and her life, headed… nowhere. Away. I didn’t have a plan exactly… I was “going to Florida”. Why? A rock star I was crushing on lived there, and… I don’t know. I thought I needed a destination? I was fortunate; I survived the adventure to return home to commonplace misery. I survived to see adulthood, to go on to survive domestic violence, military service, warfare, trauma… you know, life. I’m almost 60 now. Still holding on.

…Shit… is this about that? I don’t feel any obvious angst over turning 60, specifically, it’s more… the issues hang on right along with me. How much further does this journey go? How many more verbs are there? G’damn it – when can I relax and just fucking be?? I’m so tired…

Why do I feel so trapped?… Why does this all feel so fucking pointless??

…I’ve got tools. I’ve got verbs. Choices. This isn’t “hopeless”… just hard.

…I’ve just got to begin again. Again.