Archives for category: Despair

It’s a Saturday morning. I am awake early. I make a delicious cup of coffee, and later a couple of eggs, prepared simply, with a bit of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I feel content and satisfied. I scroll through my feeds; too many memes and shares, not enough original content. I move on. I do some self-study on topics currently most interesting to me. I take time to meditate.

I feel good.

I think about these things before I sit down to write. I consider how routinely I “begin again” and how often I suggest it as a great practice, recognizing what I’m really saying is something as elementary as “don’t beat yourself up over that, just start over”, which is less succinct, and less likely to become clear programming. I find myself wondering if that’s really enough to be at all helpful for friends or readers who haven’t yet tried a new beginning in that sense that I mean, and don’t quite know what to do with that moment of transition between the end/consequence of the one moment, and the fresh-start newness of the next.

I drink my coffee and mull that over. Is it a complicated question? “How to Begin Again” doesn’t seem the sort of thing that would, generally, require explicit instruction… but… I already know I’m wrong about that, a lot. So…

  1. Step one, well, I guess something’s gotta end, or be completed, or fail horribly leaving us feeling wretched and lost, or at loose ends, or puzzled, or discontent, or… Yeah. I guess step one has to be the end of something or other. Let’s start there. πŸ™‚
  2. Now begin again.

Okay, okay. I’m being a smart ass, and a bit flippant, and maybe that’s not appropriate for you, in your circumstances, right at the moment? Got it. I’ll… begin again.

  1. Let’s go ahead and still start with something that ends. πŸ™‚ A circumstance, a moment, an experience – and hey, maybe that’s your “now”, right now, and it hasn’t ended yet, and you’re really quite unhappy and miserable and feeling beat down by life, or overcome by ennui or sorrow, or frustration… damn. That sucks. Let’s step 2 the hell out of that, shall we?
  2. Breathe. No kidding. Take a moment and just get some wholesome cleansing deep breaths. Let that other shit go, just for a moment or two at least? Surely that’s fine? It’s a choice. Take a moment for you, and just breathe.
  3. Even while allowing yourself to consider what has passed, whether success or failure, however miserable, worried, or anxious, please also work on letting go of your attachment to the specific outcome, and let go of any expectations you were holding on to. Let yourself have a clean slate on this – it’ll be okay to do that, I assure you. πŸ™‚ The map is not the world, and clinging to an understanding of an experience or circumstance can definitely color your future experience and decision-making.
  4. Go ahead and feel your feelings. Yep. Feel ’em. Emotions are not the bad guys here, and we can develop a less reactive, more awareness-based approach to our emotional life. Finding balance between emotion and reason is a very nice bonus to all this practicing. πŸ™‚
  5. Still breathing? You’ll want to keep that going, generally. πŸ™‚
  6. If you are wanting to literally re-start whatever you just failed at, now’s the time, perhaps, to consider what success really looks like – and maybe also ask yourself some questions about why you view it that way? Is that your own legitimate authentic honest assessment, or have you borrowed someone else’s opinion’s or values there? Please consider usingΒ  your own. πŸ™‚ (Much easier to succeed in life when you are pursuing your own goals.)
  7. Make a plan. Oh, I know – an ever-loving fuck-ton of you, out there, are not planners at all. I’m not saying a word about whether or not you execute a specific plan. I am most definitely suggesting that you still sketch out some sort of loose notion of what you want to get done, even if it’s only in your head, and even if you follow through completely differently. When we feel prepared, our stress level in life is generally lower. Just saying. Think it through. Consider your next steps, and your goal. Consider alternate outcomes – a lot of them. Be okay with as many of those as you are able to allow yourself to be. Consider how those alternate outcomes may also be quite okay, maybe in totally different ways. (Some people might call this “daydreaming”, but it can be done very productively.)
  8. Allow yourself to acknowledge what is and has gone well. Contemplate for some moments all manner of similar experiences or circumstances or events or relationships that have turned out quite well, based on your choices in the past. Consider them. Savor these memories of success and sort of “fill up your consciousness” with the things in life that you appreciate, and have turned out quite nicely.
  9. Still breathing? Don’t forget to breathe.
  10. Now’s the time. Whatever it is, take another lovely deep relaxed breath, recognize and enjoy your humanity, and be aware that through our challenges is our path to growth; we don’t learn much from our successes, or the easy wins in life. We don’t become stronger by way of experiences that don’t test our strength. We can’t fathom the depths of our capacity for joy or love without also experiencing the weight of our pain and sorrow.
  11. Ready? Do the thing. ❀ (All sorts of different steps and verbs go with this one, obviously. You get to choose those; that’s on you.)

I still think it’s fine to just… start with step 1 and finish with a step 2… but… I’ve been practicing for a while, and at this point, it does feel pretty natural to sort of cram all the rest of that between them. LOL

I smile and think about this journey of mine, and how far I’ve come from that hurt creature uncertain life is worth living… that was only… 5 years ago. The world isn’t really a “better place” than it was then, in most regards, and actually, it seems a bit worse, in a number of ways. Still… I feel better, about the world, about myself, about my life, about my ability to love and to heal and to nurture, and to make wise choices. I treat myself, generally, reliably well. I treat others better than I was ever able to before – or knew how to do. Strange to consider how all this progress has been built on so many small beginnings.

I planned. I prepared. I packed the car before I left for work, eagerly contemplating getting out of the office “early” (I’d already worked more than 40 hours this week, before Thursday event started, and part of that on my weekend, it wasn’t going to be “leaving early” any more than my “extra” day off tomorrow is really “time off”; I was just fucking done). Looked pretty good from the vantage point of beginning the work day – at 5:30 am.

1:00 pm came and went. Pretty much every minute of the day had, at that point, be spent fighting one small work-fire or another – for other people – and data entry.Β  A fucking mountain of it. I’m not actually complaining about that; it’s part of the job, and I am both skillful and fast. It’s annoying to be offered “help” with it, and spend still more time fixing mistakes – and the more fatigued I am from the extended work hours week after draining week, more and more of the mistakes I have been fixing have been my own. So human. I’m convinced everyone I work with is pretty spectacular, and working to the absolute limit of their ability, generally. I fight back tears of frustration so much more often than people realize.

2:00 pm came and went. I missed a ping from my Traveling Partner, asking if I’d left the office yet. He’s eager to see me and spend time together. I message back that I should be done soon.

3:00 pm came and went – more things break. More things to fix. More questions asked. More questions answered. Support this thing. Find that data. Finish this task, then that one. Swamped by low-priority non-negotiable workload, the minutes… are hard. I’m… so done. I’m aggravated by the long hours I end up choosing to work because the work needs to be done. No back up. Team of one. I have a few snarling “fuck this shit” moments, feeling, in the absence of immediate direct stimulus to the contrary, unappreciated. Here’s the thing, though; I’m very much appreciated, and valued. I even recognize that. In the moment, it’s still hard to feel overworked. It’s hard to have to choose self over profession – more often than I want it to be. I matter more. …But…but… money is a shortcut to quality of life. Fucking hell. Some days I feel so trapped.

As 4:00 pm approached, I started wrapping things up, even while recognizing there was more I could do. Of course there is. Always. Very few people work for organizations that understand structured managed workload based on organized routines and interdependent orders of operation. Most organizations just race at break-neck speed from crisis to crisis, reacting – regardless of how well or poorly they plan. I shrug thinking back on the day. It’s a business approach that keeps me employed. I manage chaos. I gently and firmly seek to impose order on chaos. Chaos won today. I don’t really feel like talking about work. lol

I finally got out of the office. Into the car. Couldn’t get myself to start the car. Stared at my phone awhile feeling… distant. Cut off. Confused. Irritated. Overwhelmed. I just wanted someone to help me figure out what to do next… which, considering I just left work, seems odd to me now; I tend to be so purposeful. I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

I called my partner. No answer.

Fuck! I feel… left behind? “Ignored”? (Way to take it personally, when I know I’m… what exactly? Shit. What the hell?)

I called my partner. No answer.

I start the car and start driving… a direction. A quiet observant voice in the back of my thoughts suggestions I am not actually in any shape to be driving. I try to process that thought. It’s hard.

Where am I going?

The phone rings in the car. I click the phone button sort of… habitually. I don’t feel present. It’s my Traveling partner. Just the sound of his voice… I start crying like a little kid. I want to say that the whole day has been mean to me. I want to cry because nobody likes me (so emotional, so not a real thing – just feelings). I’m trembling all over and notice that I feel cold. We talk. He says words. I heard sounds. I hear emotion. His soft tender tone. “Take care of yourself…” I hear him encouraging me. I feel soothed. He suggests my blood sugar may be low. He’s probably right; I realize when he mentions it that I haven’t really taken the time I need to care for myself today, at all.

The phone call ends and I feel energized, cheerful, recharged… and my blood sugar is still low. And I’m still mired in rush hour traffic. And there’s no where good to stop. My frustration surges again. Tears spill over…

…Where am I going? I’ve ended up on the freeway, a small salad later, and I am apparently headed south for the weekend at a decent clip, thinking… okay, I can do this, this is fine…

Brake lights. So many brake lights for so far ahead. We sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Creep forward. Sit. Creep. Sit. Creep. Sit. The guy ahead of me is reading a newspaper with the overhead light in his car on. Creep forward. I figure maybe I should get off the highway, and take a rural route, and slowly move over just in time for the exit I want.

As I come around the curve of the ramp, I start noticing more how noise sensitive I also am. I’m also pretty nearly blinded by all the high intensity headlights that are so popular now; no divider, nothing to stop assholes with their high beams on from really fucking up my vision completely. Aging sucks ass. Fuck. I can’t see well enough to drive safely, I’m feeling reactive and noise sensitive – this shit isn’t about work at all, and it is very much about self-care. I turn left instead of right. Even though I’d been on the road at that point for almost 90 minutes, I was far closer to home than to the freeway headed south. lol I don’t even feel frustrated by the long drive home; I’m relieved to be out of the traffic.

My Traveling Partner catches up with me on the phone later. We agree that doing my usual early morning drive just makes sense. No one has hurt feelings over it. I mean, we miss each other, and yeah, I’ll admit I was crying for some minutes once I admitted to myself that I was not going to make the drive tonight – just pure disappointment and longing for the company of this human being I love so much. I’ve been home a little while. Car’s already packed. Some healthy calories later, a couple big glasses of water, an appropriate amount of cannabis for the need of the moment, and some unmeasured time meditating, I realize I didn’t write – again this morning. The sudden blast of resentment that blows through my consciousness catches me by surprise – without surprising me. I get it; it’s time to take back my time. πŸ˜‰

It’s time to begin again.

Notice how I did not say “here’s the thing, though”…? Yeah, I can’t be sure, generally, if some noteworthy notable notion, or thought, or moment is the totality of such things, which would warrant the use of a firm and defining “the”… but… still… here I sit, with words, moments, notions, things, and thoughts… some of which may be worth sharing.Β  πŸ˜€

I feel pretty good about finding that comfortable. It took a while to get here. I used to crave certainty, firmness, and a clear dichotomy to feel comfortable with my place in the world. It was not only limiting, it was bullshit. lol I’m glad I’m generally free of it.

There were verbs involved. This is a journey. I have made – and continue to make – choices. Some choices are less obvious than others. Some are less effort than others. Some are less profound than others, as changes go. Some are more of all of that, and then some.

Choose.

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.

I did not say any of this is easy… but…

…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 letΒ  that shit go…

…and begin again. ❀

I am sipping my coffee in a state of contentment and feeling generally okay after an entire day of rest, following the recreational weekend. It’s worth it to take time to get adequately rested. So often, I enjoy a great time, let that occasion undermine my self-care, and move on to a new work week, and interacting with people, without “getting caught up”, and really caring for myself. It’s a poor choice to take that approach.

How much Monday misery is fully and wholly a byproduct of enthusiastic weekend endeavors? Probably quite a lot of it, and I suspect that Monday’s reputation for being a shitty day of the week is caused more by hangovers of various sorts, than by any actual day-of-week-related flaw. (Don’t even start with me about how you “don’t get hangovers”; the science suggests otherwise, and if you don’t like the word, don’t use the word, but for fuck’s sake don’t bullshit yourself about needed after-care!)

I’m sitting here grateful to be more aware of such things than I was when I was in my 20s – my quality of life could have been so much better, and there could have been so much less fucking drama! “Self-care” was not in my vocabulary.

I smile, and sip my coffee. Yeah… I don’t even try to go off the coffee. I recognize the irony. I don’t avert my eyes from the lessons I learn about addiction, generally, and good self-care, just because this particular intoxicant is legal. The legality of any given intoxicant has not one thing to do with whether it is effective, or what effects it actually has, or whether there is a hangover. Words are not experiences. Experiences exist independent of the words we use to describe them.

Take care of yourselves out there in the world, Party People! It’s Monday. Tomorrow is “terrible Tuesday”, too, and intoxicants vary widely in both effect, and duration of effect. If you’re working, you may not be at your best. That annoying argument? Probably a byproduct of your chemistry – you’re usually so much more reasonable, and measured in your responses. That flare up of bad temper? Yeah, excessive is a good word for that – it’s worth reminding yourself that you’re probably prone to being a bit over-reactive right now. You could do better. Are you drinking enough water? Have you had nutritionally dense healthy calories? Have you gotten the rest you need? You don’t need to dissolve into a private emo nightmare of drama and woe – you can practice good self-care, and heighten your self-awareness. Being more considerate of yourself (and, let’s be frank, of others) may ease some of the (literal) headaches of a (hungover) Monday… I’m just saying; you have choices. πŸ˜‰ Your results may vary, but you can choose how to deal with that, too. πŸ™‚

…Adulting takes so much practice. Have you “already completely fucked this day up”? Just begin again. ❀

Yesterday was hard. Just watching the world watching the Kavanaugh confirmation stuff going on was sufficiently painful to make for a difficult day. He’ll probably be confirmed. It’s a damning indictment against all of us, and this world we’ve built. Seriously. (I’m quite serious.)

…Which leads my morning musings elsewhere, because there’s more meat on this bone than one man’s plum lifetime government appointed gig; it’s about all of us. It’s about the way we listen. It’s about the way we treat others in their moments of pain, grief, and stress. It’s about how readily and easily we dismiss the concerns of others, most especially if we don’t experience life the same way, or suffer with the same disadvantages. It’s about privilege, and the dichotomy of having it versus not having it, and how confusing the chrysanthemum flower Venn diagram of privilege actually is, with its overlaps, and intersections. It’s about how little we care about the pain of strangers, and how quickly we minimize the pain of loved ones because (although we likely mean well) it is uncomfortable to share it.

Be considerate. Listen deeply. Understand that the experiences of others may not be your own – and that this does not invalidate those experiences! It’s less about trusting their narratives, and much less about their veracity and your willingness to believe, and so much about “basic human decency” and being considerate, just generally. I’m saying we could all do better on this one, and that we all do well to make the attempt.

I’m pretty fucking done with angry men shouting me down. I’m pretty fucking done with angry men deciding what my truth is. I’m pretty fucking done with being dismissed, diminished, shouted down, talked over, or patronized. I’m done with a whole fuck ton of bullshit. I’m pretty fucking angry, myself. So… what am I going to do about any of it? Well… I’ll for sure be voting. That’s one thing I can do. Speaking truth to power is another. Refusing to soften my tone, or yield my position, these are also things I can do. Already am. All those things. Still… I could do those things more skillfully, I’m sure.

It’s time, then, to begin again? Isn’t it always? πŸ™‚