Archives for category: Frustration

Oh my, this is a great cup of coffee… hot, smooth, and not at all bitter… did I mention hot? The warmth of the mug in my hand is comforting as I wake more fully. I slept decently well, waking only once, briefly. I’m a bit groggy as I sit here scrolling through the news. I’m not sure why I’m doing that, though; it is neither comforting, nor pleasant. If I just go by the headlines, this morning, America is a fucking dumpster fire. It frustrates and saddens me. So much corruption in our institutions. A government that does not appear capable of fulfilling the basic expectations of governance. Human beings treating human beings – and this wet rock we share – badly. The news ranges from “what the fuck?” to actually horrific. There’s very little good news, unless of course, as an individual, you’re a huge fan of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, or frauds, large and small. Plenty of that mess to go around. :-\

Mmmm… this coffee, though. I close the tabs for articles I thought I might read beyond the headlines. I don’t really want to deal with any of that this morning. I’ve got a busy day ahead, with work tasks on my plate that are frankly an unpleasant necessity in a business scenario I find objectionable. (It is what it is… and what it is, is a paying job; the decisions are not always my own.) I don’t really see value in further weighing my heart down, in advance. The news can wait for a later time.

Yeah. Good cup of coffee. Good moment. I smile and remind myself how soon my Traveling Partner will return (Friday is so close!!)

I breathe, exhale, relax, and finish my coffee…It’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

…Home…work…home…work… Back and forth, pretty much continuously, distractingly interspersed with a couple days off, not quite convincing me that I have ample leisure. lol Omg – fuck this. I sigh and sip my coffee. I breathe, exhale, relax… And remind myself that the bills are paid, and this home is comfortably warm on a chilly morning. I had hot water – and indoor plumbing – and sweet smelling shower gel in my morning shower. This cup of coffee? Work was involved in that, too; coffee beans aren’t free. The electricity that ran the burr grinder? Paid for that, too, with money I worked for. So…okay. Work is thing, I guess I’m stuck with that for now.

…I’m so ready to get off this treadmill. Have been for a long time. It aggravates me to see articles about the need to “raise the retirement age” – let that shit be optional, voluntary, and self-determined! Damn – you think I want to be “gainfully employed”? Um… no. It’s just that our society is built on the exchanges of goods and services made possible by the additional exchange of currency. Currency that represents our labor (and in a most bitter and unfortunate additional bit of truth, the “exchange rate” of life force for currency is neither “fair” nor “equal” and some human beings are most definitely paid too little for their time, whereas others are paid far far more than any real value that could be assessed based their life or humanity). So… work. Home to enjoy. Work to pay for it. Back and forth.

It really does bug me when “retirement ages” are set such that they only account for those who wish to work longer. Of course, it would also bug me if the agency of adult human beings was undermined such that people who are capable and eager are forced out of the workforce solely due to their age. Either way, it’s the lack of agency I’m actually objecting to; we are not machines, we’re not all identical in appearance – or intention. Some people earnestly want to work in their later years – I’ve met a few. (Keeping things real, I’ve met far more who felt they had to continue working because they needed the money and were not financially prepared to retire.) I’ve also met people who are looking ahead to retirement before they were 30. (I’m one of those, but I’m also likely going to be someone who has to keep working due to not being financially prepared to retire.)

Sipping coffee thinking about the work-life treadmill on a Thursday. Of course, I have choices, and I mull them over now and then, fully aware I could, perhaps, paint full time (and be creatively contented and probably below the poverty line), or go into business in my working profession as an independent consultant, or do some other work I’d never considered but is incredibly lucrative – people who have freed themselves from the treadmill do exist. I just don’t happen to be one of them. lol This morning I’m tired, and I woke with a headache from a dream that I was commuting to work driving my car backwards. lol Too many late-ish nights, not enough sleep? Another sip of coffee, and an internal commitment to going to bed “on time” tonight, is the only result of my fatigue-y cynicism.

The truth is, I’m good at my profession. I’ve chosen to continue it a couple times after attempting to escape it. I’m pretty skillful at the “going to work every day” thing, in a way that quite a few people I know are not. I support myself, loved ones, and creative endeavors through these skills, and I feel satisfied with all of that. I’m just tired this morning and yearning for a freedom from routine that I not only don’t have – I’m neither comfortable with, in fact, nor skilled at managing well. lol It is what it is. (This sort of thing is specifically why I don’t make major decisions while deeply fatigued or stressed out; my thinking changes when I am relaxed, and able to face challenges from an emotionally neutral, practical perspective, and I make very different decisions.)

Choices. Verbs. The things that are. The things that are not – or are not, yet. The wheel keeps turning. If I don’t like my circumstances, there are alternatives. If I don’t like the person I see myself becoming, I can make changes. If I don’t like the conversation going on around me, I can walk on. Hell, even when the conversation I’m not enjoying is the internal “conversation” going on with myself, I can definitely “fix that” – I can begin again. πŸ˜‰

The possible (likely) impeachment of the US President? I don’t care right now, at all. Local weather? I’m indifferent; it’s meaningless. Work? Connectivity? Housekeeping? The appointment I have scheduled later? Nothing matters beyond one small (huge) thing; I’m sitting alone, heart aching, while my partner is elsewhere, also alone (an assumption), and probably having a less than ideal experience, too.

…I’m not even sure what went wrong, exactly. We started down the path of a conversation… we converse daily, often, and manage both deep conversations, and light-hearted banter (and lots of things in between) quite effortlessly, most of the time. Was I pre-disposed towards frustration, after spending a morning frustrated by technical difficulties, on a rare day working from home? Was he having his experience from within a context that had him potentially predisposed toward difficulties, himself? Is this even “about” either of us, at all? We are each having our own experience – this much is reliably true. I feel, at the moment, sort of bitter, rather heartsick, fighting off tears I don’t want to deal with, and feeling that I am a failure as a partner because – how can I not manage something so fucking basic as a conversation??

In all respects it was a lovely morning to start with. I sit staring disinterestedly into this 3rd cup of coffee, trying to hold onto the morning’s delights. Elusive. Those moments feel as if they were only a dream, now. I am acutely aware I have a “routine” check up with my therapist coming in a couple weeks, and I find myself struggling with a feeling of shame over maybe really needing that time, even after so long, and so much progress. It flares up as resentment and anger, then recedes as a sort of sad gray shadow over my experience, and a hint of despair and futility. “Doesn’t it ever stop…?” My demons attack where I am weakest, that’s a given, and I’m unsurprised by the bleak feeling of doubt, the sense of loss, of abandonment, the feeling of hurt and unworthiness. Damn, this is shitty.

…I hope he’s okay (he’s probably feeling shitty, too).

I look into my coffee mug again, as if I were even going to drink it. I put the cup back down. I also don’t care about this cup of coffee – not compared to how much I care that I am enduring this moment, or that he is enduring his… or that we ended up in this place, in the first place. This coffee doesn’t even smell good. I made it the same as always. No interest in drinking it now. It just sits. Same as me. Just sitting here, mired in this mess. I tried the “walk away and calm down” approach to handling miscommunication and frustration… it does not seem to have provided any useful benefit. I mean… I suppose it’s better than waiting around poking a hornets’ nest until one or the other of us seriously lose our temper. I can’t stand raised voices. Instead… oh sure, it’s fucking quiet, but… I am isolated with my despair… my most dangerous personal foe. “Misery loves company”? Nah. I don’t buy that. Misery doesn’t love a fucking thing, it’s grim, stoic – a loiterer who takes everything pleasant and destroys it without hesitation.

…I even know the steps to take to not be here… and can’t raise the motivation to do a thing about it… like giving up. The futility becomes a quiet waterfall of hot tears. A lifetime of frustration and learned helplessness clench my jaws. My back aches with the weight of it. This? This right here is another very human experience. (“It’s just a moment”, I hear my internal reminder on autopilot, “this will pass. It’s just weather, not climate.” I can’t hear it; it feels very distant and irrelevant.)

Too fucking human. So… what’s to be done about it, then? Yeah, um… I don’t know right now. I’m too busy feeling hurt and filled with chaos and damage. Let me get done with all that, then I’ll move on to doing something else… probably sort myself out at some point… maybe even begin again.

Same routine, different location – at least for this morning bit – and I’m okay with that. πŸ™‚ My coffee is still too hot to even sip on, and made in a peculiar molded plastic drip contraption of some utterly ordinary sort. I don’t expect much of it, and I’m considering walking down the corridor to the ice machine to cool it down more quickly, just because ice is readily available…and I really want a cup of coffee, without having to see any people, yet. lol

Air travel has some uncomfortable moments for me. It wasn’t the seating on the aircraft that was the problem. It wasn’t the line to go through security. It was just… all the people. By far too many. All talking. Many grousing about absolute bullshit (much as I am right now, but a lot less of me, and a whole lot more of them. lol) I’m just saying; it was a bit much. The roughest bit was the high-pitched, fast-paced, near-continuous, over-sharing, stream of consciousness from a very insecure-seeming young woman who latched onto anyone near her and just… downloaded. Total brain dump. Unfortunately, seated just behind me on the aircraft, after having to deal with the noise and overshare in the seating area at the gate as well. Loathsome creature. Oh, sure, just one of many human beings, and ordinary enough, I’m sure. Just… fuuuuuuuuck. I did not really need that.

Seated on the plane, I expected things would quiet down. The talking woman never stopped. There was that. A man in a seat ahead of me decided to occupy his time withΒ  video game. A combat first-person shooter. The entire flight. With the volume up, no head phones. (Seriously??) O…M…G… “Complimentary PITA” (pains in the ass) served generously.

…Earplugs for the win.

Getting to the hotel looked like the easy part. I had set my expectations too high, and further, made assumptions that were incorrect. I was nearly in tears by the time I located my ride-share driver (and I assure you, I had to find him, not the other way round), exhausted, cranky from traveling without being medicated (hard to find a smoking area, especially once I was cleared through security, and I was traveling without any cannabis on me), blood sugar low, ankle screaming at me to get off my feet… I was so relieved just to finally be in a car and headed to the hotel, I almost didn’t take a moment to appreciate that in spite of all the stressors, I never snarled at anyone, never actually wept, never broke down. πŸ˜€ I sat back in the seat, took a breath, and looked around…

…So this is Los Angeles, huh? It’s very… busy.

The hotel room is a hotel room. Clean. This one is even quiet. I even (mostly) slept through the night… sort of. Weird ambient light from smoke detectors and whatnot coming from different locations and angles relative to my sleeping self resulted in some restlessness. The bed is comfortable, the linens clean, but it feels unfamiliar, and sleep was difficult in spite of my fatigue. The nearest smoking area, where I can vape, is a long corridor away from the elevator, 3 floors down, and about half a city block walk from the front entrance of the hotel. lol I’ll get some exercise, just getting a quick vape. LOL I’m settled in for a couple days, though… and I’m reasonably comfortable. It’s enough.

I crashed early… then couldn’t sleep. I read awhile, until sleep caught up with me, and the alarm went off too soon. Suddenly, it’s time to begin again, there’s a day ahead of me, I’m surrounded by the vastness of busy-ness that Los Angeles… and… I guess all that’s quite okay. πŸ™‚ All my temptingly ambitious plans about time between working hours have dissipated like dreams – I’ll be content to stay on top of my self-care, and enjoy my work gently. I hope to return home in good spirits, feeling well-cared-for and accomplished. Nothing fancy, nothing broken. πŸ™‚

…I have yet to see the dawn. πŸ™‚ It’s definitely time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Well, last night the guy repairing our A/C came by, fixed a thing, and wryly admitted that doing so hadn’t fixed the A/C. Something entirely else is wrong, and there are parts to be ordered, and it’s fucking hot, in the middle of summer, and uncomfortable as hell, and…

…And my Traveling Partner enjoyed the stifling hot uncomfortable evening in good company, together. It was fine. Hot, sure. Summer, definitely. We drank plenty of water. We stayed comfortable. I enjoyed a cool leisurely shower at some point. Later, I went to bed. It was hot. I still slept. As soon as the outside temperature was equal to, or less than, the inside temperature, we opened the windows to the breezes, and let the house cool down with the night temperatures.

I woke to the sound of rain, very audible through open windows. Lovely. The smell of petrichor quickly dissipated the last of the smell of burning electrical components of the A/C. The house is comfortably cool. I make a cup of tea and sit by the open door to the deck for some minutes, listening to the rain fall. I am thinking about how often what feels catastrophic in life is, after all the fuss and bother, really not that big a deal after all. πŸ™‚

I listen to thunder in the distance, and the shhhhh-shhhhh of the earliest commuters heading down the rain-slick hill beyond my window. I consider how often a moment of patience, of non-attachment, of perspective, have preventing me (lately) from over-reacting to what seems catastrophic in some moment. It’s rarely helpful to treat some circumstance as catastrophic; so few really are. It’s a trap. Stuck in some past or future moment, we let our fear, or our anxiety, or our baggage, call the shots. It’s generally a poor choice.

We could have treated a failed A/C as a catastrophe (it isn’t). We could have bitched endlessly and ruined our shared good time together. We could have been nasty to the repair guy who showed up very late, and then “couldn’t even fix it”. We could have been sour with our landlord, who lives far away, and chose the repair guy based on cost and convenience to himself. Doing those things would not have fixed the A/C faster, and most definitely would have created problems in those helpful relationships. And…seriously? Are there not much more important things to be stressed or angry about than the damned weather, and an A/C failure in summertime? lol The entire fucking planet definitely needs us each to be our best selves – but that’s also a journey, and “the best I can do” right now, in this moment, is likely not the best you can do, or the best some repair guy can do, or the best someone else, over there, can do… we’re each having our own experience. We do well to do our best with each other, because we’re also all in this together. Less a contradiction, than something to meditate on. πŸ˜‰

…So, we did our best to simply deal with the A/C failure, as we do with so many things that go wrong in small ways (which is most things, when they go wrong in some way), and this morning? The rain falls softly. The air is cool and fresh, and the day unlikely to be quite so hot. Good enough.

I sip my cup of tea, thinking about a friend in recovery. Life took a pleasant turn toward success and security for him, and… he relapsed. Fuck. Recovery is already hard without that. I find myself wondering if he knows to forgive himself? If he will remember to begin again, and simply go forward, counting his recovery time from a new date, or hell, even simply acknowledging that we fail, we fall, we stumble, we struggle – and it’s okay; we can get back up and start over. It’s a hard mile to walk. I wish there were anything at all I could do to make it easier for him. I reached out and let him know I’m still here if he needs to talk. I wonder if he understands? He’s taking steps. Even this mess doesn’t have to be catastrophic, but he’s blinded by his regret and shame, and weighed down by guilt and a sense of “letting people down”. Fuck that’s hard. I want to tell him to let it go, to trust that the rain will come, the wheel keeps turning, and this, too, shall pass.

(I hope you’re reading this one, that you get what I’m trying to tell you, and that you are okay. You can begin again.)

My morning started a bit early; the clock tells me it is time to get up. Well… sure…? lol I sip my tea content to be where I am in life, and present in this moment. This morning, after years of practice, years of new beginnings, years of “resetting the clock” and walking my own hard mile, it feels pretty easy, and very natural. It wasn’t an overnight transformation, although there were many epiphanies and “light-bulb moments” along the way – mostly, there was a lot of practice. I see on the calendar that I’ve got an appointment scheduled with my therapist; I scheduled it during a stressful time, shortly before my Mom died (was that really only a couple months ago?). I had to reschedule it, and there it sits on my calendar, in the middle of a week I’ll be out of town for work. lol I smile; rescheduling it doesn’t feel like a catastrophe, either. I don’t actually recall quite why I wanted it, from the vantage point of this rainy morning over a hot cup of tea. Progress. Incremental change over time.

I send my therapist a request to reschedule our appointment, finish my tea, and begin again. πŸ˜€