Archives for category: Frustration

Weird weekend. (I could stop right there, honestly…)

“Baggage” is a tough challenge for people who have been traumatized. It can be super hard to put that shit down, and properly “begin again”. Our baggage tends to linger in our hidden corners, tucked away carefully where it’s difficult to see how problematic our thinking has become. We struggle with decision-making and outcomes that create an unpleasant experience or prevent us from thriving in our lives. It’s hard sometimes.

I’m hopeful that a particularly painful and difficult conversation with my Traveling Partner really does have the promising positive outcome it appears that it may… I’ve just got to set down some baggage and back away from it, then do some things differently going forward. Him too, I suppose, although in this instance the focus was for sure on me and the chaos and damage I sometimes struggle with.

Love and words. So many words. So much love.

Once we were “on the other side” of that difficult conversation, we enjoyed our evening together. I woke this morning feeling loved (and hopefully he did too). I’ve got a massive headache, still managed to enjoy a cup of coffee with my partner before I left for the local co-work space I sometimes work from. So far a promising start to the day and week. Nice.

Moving back into my studio was a sort of mix of manual labor and thoughtful work and careful selection. Now that it’s finished, I can’t fathom why I stalled for so long. I find myself returning to my studio again and again, thinking about creative projects. I’ve rekindled my eagerness to finish a particular manuscript that has been languishing in a file on my hard-drive for awhile – almost a decade. Long overdue, and I did not understand that two things were holding me back: 1 poem I had included that I had serious second thoughts about, and those journals tucked away in a bin. Funny; I took care of the journals, and now project after project that had been stalled seem to percolate to the surface for their moment.

What’s holding you back? When will you tackle that?

How much baggage are you dragging along every day? How much can you “just set down” and walk away from? Are there things you could let go of, that you… just don’t? What is that doing for you? (Seriously, you probably wouldn’t cling to some of that sticky bullshit if you weren’t getting something out of doing so, if only the strange comfort of familiarity – which is totally over-rated.)

I’m no therapist, just saying – lightening the load makes for an easier journey. 😉

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. There’s a garden to plan. A life to live. Love to embrace and nurture. Already time to begin again.

Thinking about a question of perspective, of sorts. I occasionally have experiences where it is clear that the understanding of me held by the person I am interacting with is very much not at all consistent with how I understand myself. I often wonder how that comes to be, and whether it is their misunderstanding (of me) causing the mischief or my own potential lack of awareness of how I present myself: how my behavior is received, and how the words I say are understood. Are they “speaking with a golem” of the woman I actually am that stands somehow between us? Is it me? Am I so thoroughly lacking in understanding of my words and actions in a practical way? Is it both? Neither?

…Am I the woman I understand myself to be, and if so, is that true only when I am alone, or also when I am interacting with others? If I am not she… who the hell am I? A construct of the expectations and assumptions of others? That doesn’t seem quite right to me, so I keep thinking about it…

I think about it during the commute to the office. I think about it over my morning coffee. I think about it while I bite my nails. I think about it as I walk down the hall to a meeting. I think about it in the break room. I think about it at my desk while I work.

I think about this question now and then – and today is definitely one of those times. I think about it without gaining wisdom or coming to some sort of reliable conclusion. I think about it…

…Then I put it aside and begin again.

I’m drinking water and counting myself grateful to have indoor plumbing, hot and cold running potable water from a tap in the house, and additional filtration that ensures the water is clean, and free of weird tastes or sediment. It’s nice. I’m drinking water because I’ve already had my coffee and frankly I do need to be drinking more water. Recent longevity-associated articles reporting on the value of being well-hydrated did not go unnoticed. I started paying attention to the differences on days when I am not well-hydrated vs days when I am – and nights. Yes, drinking more water definitely results in getting up to pee more often during the night, but that doesn’t seem to have anything at all to do with whether I sleep well and deeply, or how easily I return to sleep, so… small price to pay? Well, I guess I hadn’t previously thought so, until I noticed that being well-hydrated seemed to also reduce my snoring (noticeably), as well as improving my ability to lubricate naturally (still a pretty big deal for me, personally, in spite of being post-menopause I really enjoy sex), like, a lot. So I’m pretty committed to drinking more water.

Keep practicing.

…I learned quite recently, and yes “the hard way”, that one bad spell with my mental health can wreck that progress in mere hours. Friday evening I went through some shit and had a nasty flare up of my PTSD on this whole other difficult to describe level. It was bad. I put my Traveling Partner through some bullshit over it (always regrettable and complicated). It got bad enough that I actually had a flashback, and those have gotten to be very rare. The ridiculous level of hysteria I ultimately reached (calling it a “panic attack” doesn’t do the chaos justice at all) caused me to cry a quantity of tears that finally resulted in a loss of moisture that definitely resulted in me more than a little dehydrated by dawn. I woke Saturday morning with a stuffy head, swollen eyes, and feeling like “everything had come crashing down”. It passed, but… it wasn’t good. The low point was the painful awareness that even medicated, I am at risk. I am grateful to have the partner I do. The chaos and damage don’t reliably “take no for an answer” once shit skitters sideways. The self-directed shame and disappointment immediately add an additional gut-punch that makes bouncing back hard. On top of all of that? Damn few people actually “get” what flashbacks are actually like, and they aren’t portrayed in the movies or in media very skillfully (how could they be?).

It’s important to take care of myself. Regardless of the chaos and damage, regardless of my personal starting point on life’s journey, or where I am standing when I begin again. Problematically, this is true for everyone; self-care matters. I don’t “get a head-start” when I practice good self-care – I don’t even get to start at the same starting point as “everyone else”. I’ve started this journey where my starting point happened to be. Self-care is a thing that it is very helpful to do – for everyone. I’m still me. Still have the issues I have. Still have to work on those issues. Still have to trust that incremental change over time will improve things. Still have to recognize that my results are going to vary. My demons got the better of me on Friday night in a big way. I’m fortunate to have a loving partner willing to support my long-term wellness and growth. I’m grateful that I can understand that there is no implicit promise that having a loving partner will actually make this shit any “easier”. I’ve still got to walk my own hard mile. I’ve still got to do the work. I’m still going to fall down now and then, and have to pick myself up and start over. Begin again.

Some practices are more critical than others. Some practices are more emotionally nourishing than others. Some are more or less effective for me as an individual. I did not imagine the simple act of drinking enough water would be one of those very simple very big deals among all my practices, but here we are.

Selecting good practices is a bit like building a healthy diet… fruit is delicious. Sooo tasty. Filled with nutrients we need. Yum. The thing is, though, it’s also full of sugar. Like a lot of sugar. For many of us, building our diet around tasty fruits is not notably healthier than building it around any other tasty sweets. [Note: I am not a nutritionist or dietician, nothing I say in this blog should be construed as medical or dietary advice. I am using “diet” and nutrition metaphorically here.] Veggies may not be as sweetly delicious and tempting in the way luscious ripe fruits can be, but they do make a far better foundation for my diet. So… it matters to choose with care. Whether we’re talking about a healthy diet, the practices we choose for our emotional wellness, the partnership in which we spend our days (and nights)… or the practices we choose for our physical wellness. Turns out some of the most basic practices for my self-care support both my emotional wellness and my physical wellness (looking your way drinking water and eating more veggies!!). It’s worth thinking about for more than a moment. Abandon any one of those cornerstones of a good life, and the foundation isn’t solid enough to rest upon.

Get right down to it, and there’s just no magic bullet, or pill, or single solution to “all of the shit we go through”. No partnership can bear the weight of all of our bullshit. We’ve got to do all the things we can – everything we know to do, as reliably as we’re able to learn to practice. Through practice. Sounds like a huge thing to commit to, but taken a practice at a time, doesn’t it just amount to living life? I think about it a while, let the songs play. Watch the tiny bar of sunlight creep across my desk.

My partner comes in and rubs my shoulders and neck for a moment. “You writin’ a book?” he asks with a laugh. I laugh back; there are no shortcuts.

It’s time to begin again.

What an absolutely shit-tastic fucking morning. Maybe I get it back on track, maybe I don’t. Maybe I sort myself out and feel some amount of joy or enthusiasm for living, maybe I don’t. I’m not depressed, I’m just… an emotional trainwreck, this morning. Medicated? Yep – and there are reasons for that, and this morning the medication isn’t enough to overcome my bullshit and baggage. My results absolutely fucking vary. Sometimes I don’t “get it right” and I have to deal with whatever hurt or lack of courtesy I’ve delivered to some (probably) unsuspecting other human being (who may even matter to me)(probably) – and also deal with supporting myself, soothing myself, and managing my self-care. It blows.

…Then I deal with the pile-on bullshit of the aftermath, the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame, frustration, self-directed disappointment, the feeling of futility, the sense of “making no progress” and the potential descent into despair, because… “this?? again??” Also major suckage.

Here’s the thing, though, and I’m trying to hold on to it ferociously right now; I do deal with it. I do get past the moment. I do manage – again and again – to soothe myself, sort it out, and move on. It’s just not “easy”, and I’m “having a moment”… about having had a moment. So fucking annoying.

This too will pass. Emotional weather means occasional storms and showers of tears. That’s just real – and very human.

I tried to go to work before I was quite ready, in spite of “where I was at”. I had to park the car and just let the tears fall. I couldn’t really drive. I for sure could not have worked. In an office. Around other people. (I’m 100% done with crying at my fucking desk during work hours. lol) So, I got that over with parked on a dark side street. Then I went on to the co-work space I’m presently working from (working from home is a bit too distracting right now, and sometimes very noisy with the new CNC machine) and got my day more or less started.

…Now I’ve got to begin again, properly. Be the woman I most want to be. Deal with people. Process tasks. Handle communications. Be present and engaged. It’s hard. It sounds like too much to ask. The morning started incredibly poorly and I’d honestly rather just “run away from home” and be literally anywhere else but trapped in my own experience of life and love and self. I’d rather be hiking a muddy forest trail, or a cold oceanside beach. I’d rather be sitting at a sidewalk café with an espresso drink and book. I’d rather be watching a high desert sunrise, or playing with a kitten. Hell, I’d rather be home alone doing the fucking dishes. Anything but being the woman I am, in this moment, living this life, feeling these feelings. Fuuuuuuuuuuck. I’m not a g’damned machine. Just a human being.

…I think about my assorted medications. Is there a pill to take for feeling miserable and emotional and filled with shards of chaos and damage? (No, no there is not. Bitch, pull yourself together. Fucking hell – it could be, and has been in the past, so much worse.)

I sigh out loud, drain my untouched cold cup of coffee impatiently. It’s time to begin again. Again.

This morning’s commute was certainly… something. I left early and beat almost all the traffic. Easy commute, eh? Well… no. Life is still handing out lessons. LOL

I pulled into the drive-through of the local branded coffee vendor before heading out of town. Oh. Shit. I left enough earlier that they aren’t even open yet (although it must have been pretty close … all their lights were on, including the menu board). Okay, no problem, I head on up the road figuring I’d stop at the next one.

…Also closed. No problem…? I guess I’ll try the next one… I mean, there are various coffee places every couple of miles on this route – how hard can it be to get a cup of coffee on the way to work? 😀 It’ll continue to get later as I drive, so… sooner or later, everyone will be open, right? Right…

…Also closed…

…Also closed…

Fucking hell. I feel myself start to get frustrated as I try one more time (with a promise to myself to just give up on this bullshit and pour a cup at work)…

Coffee. Mmmmm. Finally. So good.

…the fuck is up with this parking lot flow, though? … g’damn… am I lost now?? For fucks sake.

…It takes me a minute to get turned around the correct direction in their weird parking lot (which is shared with two fast food places with interlaced drive-throughs)…

Finally heading up the road to the office. Traffic still pleasantly light, and I make good time getting to the city. The city is dark and quiet and I quickly get to my usual parking location. “Lot Full”. Are you kidding me?? I can’t tell from the signage if this is really the situation…or if they just “aren’t open yet”… I look behind me figuring I’ll back out and park elsewhere… but now there’s truck behind me, and a car behind him… fuuuuuuuuck.

…Eventually, we get it sorted out. One of the vehicles behind me pulls to the side (he clearly plans to wait for… something?), and the other backs out. I back out too. The other guy pulls back in next to the ticket machine, and starts his wait. lol I circle the block and go to the next closest parking lot near the office. It’s unfamiliar to me and I feel a bit “thrown off” by my crap-tacular timing this morning. It is what it is. Knowing my limitations as I do, I snap a picture of the location of my parked car, and another outside the door to the elevator – these will help me find my car when I inevitably forget (at the end of a busy work day) where the hell I parked.

I’m a block further from the office than usual, as I walk down the sidewalk. I’m not stressed about that – it’s just a few extra steps – but the morning has been a weird one so far. Still is. There is not a single soul visible anywhere (which is a bit strange even at this early hour). The city is spooky quiet, hushed, muted, and I feel apprehensively as if there are invisible watchers behind every window.

It’s fine. I’m fine. Just a weird morning. My timing is so far off it seems to color my entire experience.

As I walk past the entrance of my usual parking lot I see the vehicle door is now open. (Omfg… for real? I was basically 5 minutes early, and just too impatient to wait?? Fucking hell… This day, though.) I laugh at myself and keep on walking. (No, I am not going back to the car to repark it; that version of me doesn’t really exist now. Mostly.)

I badge into the office… and the elevator drops me on the wrong floor. 0_o

I forgot my half-finished coffee in the car.

I grab a can of iced coffee (“nitro cold brew”) from the break room refrigerator, set up my workstation…

…and begin again.