Archives for category: Frustration

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. 🙂

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.

I’m sipping my coffee, early, in the co-work space. It’s hours before the work day will begin. I am reflecting on emotional reactions and what sorts of things I react to. My inclination is to think that my reactions are reliably to the real-world events going on around me. You, too? Something happens, and I react to that, right? Only… I have to point out that it’s quite clear that human primates don’t really seem to “work that way” – we react to a lot of things, don’t we? We react to events. We react to things we hear other people say. We react to things we read. We react to the reactions of other human primates. We react to our own emotions. We react to our assumptions.

…Wait… Do we really react to things that lack any substantial reality at all? That seems likely to go very wrong, very easily… But we sure do. News stories (whether fact-checked or not). Books (both fiction and non-fiction). Conversations about future potential events that have not yet come to pass (and maybe never will). Opinions of people we have never met (even if they have no direct influence on our own experience). Our own assumptions even trip us up; we react to things we assume are going on, without a reality check of any kind. How fucking dumb are we? This is an instant short-cut to full-on drama. The map is not the world. Our assumptions are not reality. I don’t really know what to say about that… don’t do that? Maybe check yourself (and your assumptions) and slow down before you lash out at someone over something that isn’t real, isn’t true, or didn’t happen the way you assume that it did.

This isn’t unusual stuff; humans make assumptions. Humans have emotions. Humans react to their assumptions with emotions. Funny that our big brains don’t really help us out with this one. I sit here with my coffee thinking about it. Asking myself “how can I best ensure that I’m not reacting to fictions of various sorts and inflicting my reaction on people who don’t share my assumptions?” It’s a worthwhile question. Another worthwhile question is “how can I make a point of avoiding making assumptions in the first place?”

I stare into my half-finished half-cold cup of coffee. Maybe you assume I could just go make another, if I am discontent with this one? Could I, though? Is there even coffee here in this place? Water to make it with? A cup to use? Some kind of coffee machine? Any actual need or desire to do so? The unknown details begin to pile up… undermining the assumption that I could just go make a fresh cup to address a need that may or may not exist in the first place. Some of our most common assumptions day-to-day are resting on very little actual information. I often find that when I begin checking the details about an assumption I’ve made, I’m quite wrong about it – regardless how commonplace it may be, or how firm my convictions are about what is fundamentally just my imagination going to work, until/unless confirmed through questions and observation.

Assumption making is one of the most common thinking errors. It’s so prevalent and problematic, it’s got it’s own place of honor in The Four Agreements. Untested assumptions cause all kinds of chaos and miscommunication.

My morning began early, this morning. It began with a reaction to an untested assumption (that was likely completely and entirely incorrect). There is a lot of potential to derail a (potentially lovely) new day over that kind of bullshit, so I chose instead to let it go, to just drop it entirely, and move on from that moment. I let go of my assumption(s) (that’s not always easy or effortless, but do-able). I made the choice to begin the day differently and hope for a good outcome.

Here I am. New day. New beginning. New opportunities to be the woman I most want to be.

I’m admittedly still a bit cross. Another cup of coffee might be nice, though. (Yes, there’s coffee here, and a coffee machine, and potable water from a tap, and a clean mug if I don’t want to re-use the one I’ve got at my desk.) It’s time to begin (again).

Fuck, being a human primate can be ridiculously complicated and fraught with misunderstanding, conflict, distraction, and absolutely pointless emotional garbage, sometimes. Just saying, I am not enjoying my Sunday experience, today. I seem to be endlessly at odds with my Traveling Partner, which completely sucks (and not in any of the good ways). I am in pain, which is more suckage layered on top of other suckage, and the end result? Unusual. (Maybe that’s progress?)

I am sitting in the “food court” seating of my local grocery store, thinking thoughts, drinking an electrolyte beverage, and… writing. Using my cell phone instead of my computer at home. My Traveling Partner is trying to get some rest after our unpleasant moment(s) (which were peculiarly interspersed with a couple very nice meals, and some fun hang out time). I can’t seem to find a really good way to create (or maintain) a reliably quiet environment for him to nap, typically. So, yeah, I got the fuck out of the house, without really having a plan… but I did have a couple errands and a short grocery list.

I ran out of errands and shopping in about an hour. That’s shit for nap-worthy time, so I figured I’d just sit down somewhere and write. I don’t have to be at home to put words to page, so… yeah. Tick a self-care box, however awkwardly.

That’s sort of where shit went wrong this morning… My Traveling Partner was feeling restless and wanting to go for a drive – we’d had so much fun doing that yesterday! He invited me to go for another drive. I get it. It did sound fun, and we did have a great time yesterday… only… there were (and are) other things I very much wanted to do today, and I said so. Somehow it managed to become an unpleasant interaction; the more I tried to “explain” with some sort of reason not to go, the more annoyed he got. I felt like I was being criticized for wanting to do things other than “whatever he wants to do”. I don’t think that’s how he intended it (or how it actually was), any more than I was intending to reject him as a person (though it sure seemed at some points that he was taking it that way).

Most troubling for me is that I came away from the discussion feeling perhaps I am “too much to handle”, or that I have no legitimate potential to be a better partner (than I am)… or a partner at all…

He went for a drive, by himself. I had a couple hours to myself. When he returned home things were strained and frosty for a while. I made lunch. We ate. Things seemed to be improving… It’s rarely that easy, eh? So… here I am. Writing a blog post at the grocery store. lol New experience. I wonder what I can learn from this?

Yesterday, though? Amazing. Entirely different experience. What an incredibly lovely day together. We went for a drive out towards one of the interesting camping destinations we had discussed (but which my partner couldn’t reach due to snow just a few days ago). We figured most of the snow would be gone after a few days of heat. (Foreshadowing; we were wrong!)

It was a gorgeous day to go for a drive. A great day to share an adventure with this human being I love so deeply! As we headed further into the forest, we saw a couple unexpected camouflage-wearing guys, just walking down the road… no gear. My partner slowed down and we stopped to ask if they were okay? Nope. They were stuck in a snow bank up the road, and had been walking down the mountain hoping to catch a cell signal. (Good luck with that, there!) My partner offered to give them a ride back to their truck and pull them out, if we could. We could. We did. It was amazing to feel so prepared! Being able to give fellow travelers a hand feels great. It was even fun.

I am impressed and proud of my Traveling Partner and his skill and general readiness. I am super excited to get out there with him again, more, and further. Nothing about today’s stress changes yesterday’s joy, delight, and wonder. I make time to reflect on that and cherish him from afar.

It’s hard to get “everything” “right all the time”, and however much I may feel like this is what is required or expected of me, it’s not a reasonable expectation. What is reasonable is that I will make room to listen, make a point of hearing my partner, communicating that he is heard, continuing to do my best, and keep practicing.

I know my results will vary. I know frustration and disappointment suck. Still, my best effort has to be enough (for me), even when it also “isn’t enough” (for someone else). Intent matters. Will matters. Sometimes I am going to fail. That’s just real. When I do? I will begin again.

Iced coffee (black) and a fizzy water (plain, cold) and a day of work ahead of me. I’m not even bitching, it’s simply where the day is, at the moment.

I slept rather badly. Couldn’t fall asleep, but wasn’t stressed about it. Minutes of meditation and daydreaming became hours, and when I finally had to get up to pee, I looked at the time. It was late. I’d be getting a nap at best, and that is what came to pass. I returned to bed and crashed hard, waking abruptly around 04:15, though I don’t know what woke me. I got up, dressed, and headed to the city for the work day. With the changing season, I caught the sunrise on the commute – it was lovely. Shades of peach and pastel pinks and oranges created an exciting backdrop for the blue of the shadow-side of the mountains out on the horizon. It was almost distracting, and I almost pulled over to watch the sunrise with my whole attention.

I’m doing my best to stay engaged. The work day is just beginning. I’m tired though, and my mind wanders, and I keep coming back to some communications challenges that persist for me (brain trauma is a hard one to beat for lasting challenges). I also keeping thinking about my garden.

I clearly planted something here, but I don’t recall when or what.

I’m thinking about a sunny spot in the front flower beds where two clean rows of… something… have now sprouted. I don’t recall what I planted there. I forgot to jot down a note in my notebook, too, apparently. It’s obvious I did plant something; those rows are too orderly to be happenstance. So… what did I plant? I sip my coffee and wonder, and then find myself wading into a metaphor…

…When I look at life as a garden, and consider the care, the cultivation, the practices, it all fits so well, and then… there are these seedlings that have sprouted, which I clearly planted… and eventually they’ll become something, but I don’t know what, and it’s hard to be at all invested in whatever they are. If I water them… well, they might be weeds, do I want to water and care for them? What if they turn out to be something noxious or undesirable? If I don’t water them… well… maybe they’re something unusual, fancy, expensive, or carefully selected with my garden’s lasting beauty in mind? What then? Will I have squandered precious resources?

I find myself still struggling with some things as a human being. Communication is one of those things. Specifically, I have a problem with interrupting. I work on it pretty aggressively, but still (often) come up short of the desired outcome – which is listening deeply and not interrupting people (any people; everyone wants to be heard). The “seeds” of this challenge were planted a long long time ago. The nurturing or care those “seeds” were given most likely either did nothing to reduce the likelihood I’d interrupt people as a chronic issue, or potentially made it worse, by whatever success as a coping mechanism it may have once had. This thing isn’t a fucking “seed” any more; it’s g’damned tree. It’s massive, and it’s branches shade so much of my experience interacting with others that it affects the entire garden, now. What the hell? When I did even plant this thing? How have I not been more successful at least pruning the fucking thing back to some sort of manageable size??

I sip my coffee thinking about what we “plant” in our lives that grow to vex us later. It’s not always a walk in a manicured rose garden, this thing called life. I’ve definitely got to be more diligent about “ripping out the weeds”… and also garden with more care, taking better notes, and making a clear point of being present in the experience.

…If nothing else, I most definitely need to begin again.