Archives for category: Frustration

My neck and back hurt. I did my physical therapy “magic moves”, with limited benefit. I catch myself “pulling on” my neck, even knowing that is not helpful. Background stress drives physical pain, much the same way physical pain makes me more vulnerable to background stress. Yep. It’s a cycle. How best to break that cycle? Choose the most appropriate practice(s) and do that(those) thing(s). “Simple!” (It isn’t.)

Trigger Warner for Snowflakes: discussion of gun control.

I’ll go home early today. I’m fortunate to have a job, a role, and a boss, with room for empathy and compassion. A lot of folks are suffering emotionally this week. Maybe everyone. Another school shooting. Another round of back and forth bullshit over gun ownership vs violence, and the regulations we may need to reduce the latter as a consequence of the former. I have my own thoughts on that. You’ve got yours. Honestly, I’m not opposed to civilian ownership of firearms generally…but… I also think that there are individuals that likely ought not fucking have firearms within easy reach! (Um…duh.) My thoughts? Maybe overly simple…

  1. To own a firearm, I think a person should be required to have specific training on the use and safety practices of each individual type of firearm they wish to own. No exemptions. Pass a fucking test. (There don’t seem to be many objections to the requirement to pass a test to drive a vehicle… just saying.)
  2. To own a firearm, I think a person should be required to be licensed for that firearm in their state – and I think the training requirement and knowledge test isn’t enough; get a mental health “physical”, and demonstrate that you are rationally and emotionally fit to have that weapon. (People routinely have to pass a physical exam to get a commercial driver’s license, or a psychological screening to work in some environments – how is this any different?)
  3. To own a firearm, I think a person should have to carry specific insurance against the chance that their firearm is misused, used in a crime, or accidentally injures someone. (Again, own a car? You’ve got insurance. Own a home? You’ve got insurance. Own a business? I bet you’ve also got insurance.)
  4. One last detail – I don’t think “open carry” is appropriate everywhere, and should be explicitly prohibited for civilians. I think “concealed carry” should be heavily restricted. If your firearm is a “home defense” weapon, keep it at home. If it is a hunting or sporting firearm, keep it secured until you go hunting, or lock it up at the gun club where you do your target shooting.

I’m just saying, I see a huge difference between responsible gun ownership and every ass clown with an agenda having “a right” to have a gun. I don’t understand why any potentially responsible gun owner would object to 1. getting training and passing a test, 2. passing a mental health screening to ensure emotional fitness and ability to assess risks, 3. having insurance to protect themselves financially against any potential bad outcome associated with their firearm, or 4. not carrying their firearm in places where firearms ought not be. What am I missing?

Oh. I know. I know what I’m missing; it’s a misleading question. What I am “missing” is that there are quite a few angry or emotionally wounded individuals who know they are, who want a gun knowing they are potentially at risk of using it inappropriately – or even explicitly intending to – who do not want their “rights” restricted. There are a lot of other folks who just don’t even want to have to deal with the question “should I really have a gun?”, because they have doubts. My next question is – why would we ever let those people make the decisions regarding access to firearms, for everyone?

Too often I read the news, and someone says “obtained the gun legally”, followed somewhere by “could not have predicted…”, when, actually, it’s often far too predictable, because that eventual killer started out as angry, violent at home (or known to have expressed violent ideations on some forum or another), and struggling with their overall emotional wellness. Yes, we fucking could have known – someone probably did know. Maybe someone even reported the individual to law enforcement because they did know, and were concerned, and tried to do the right thing? How horrific is that? To have the solution within such easy reach… and just let it happen all over again?

Maybe get the fuck up out of women’s reproductive decision-making for one fucking legislative season and work on something that really does need (and have) a solution?

Wow. It feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks for reading. Please write and phone your legislators. Ask them to stop being dishonest assholes about this issue and develop some realistic, responsible gun ownership laws. This is not a partisan issue; I promise you none of the slaughtered children were Republicans or Democrats.

I write the word. You read the word. “Tantrums.” We probably both think of children, first. Adults having tantrums are… embarrassingly human. I’ll bet you’ve done it. “Thrown a fit.” Maybe, “lost your shit”? Did you “blow up” over something small? Tired? Not feeling well? Headache? Suddenly you found yourself in the middle of an emotional firestorm, losing both self-control and resilience? I don’t know anyone who can be entirely honest and say they’ve never, ever, lost their composure inappropriately over some moment or another. It’s unpleasant to experience. It’s unpleasant to witness. It’s unpleasant to be around. Each and every one of us who has found ourselves succumbing to the worst of who we are in some moment, who has blasted some innocent bystander, colleague, – or worst – someone we care about deeply over our bullshit, knew right then and there that we were fucking wrong as hell. We probably didn’t say as much. Maybe we never even apologized. Maybe we think because the “facts were on our side” it excuses our shitty behavior? Is it you, this time? Was it them? Do you think you were “right”? Do you think they were? (Do you actually think that matters more than the unpleasant moment you’ve created?)

“Am I the asshole?” Good question to ask oneself in a moment of tension or conflict. Just saying.

I’ve been there, for sure. It’s definitely not “always me”, though; I am but one human among many. Even narrowing the view to just the company I work for. Just my community. Just my family. Just my partnership. Even with my “issues” – it’s not always me. Just saying. Any one of us can, and likely will, succumb to emotional weather, however pleasant the emotional climate may be. Storms come and go.

I sat down to write, over the weekend, but my thoughts had not yet become a thing I could express in words. It was fatiguing weekend of relaxing effort. lol My body was tired. My mind was seeking a moment of quiet to really process things. Maybe I get that moment when I seek it, maybe I don’t. It sometimes ends up being the sort of thing that keeps me restless and wakeful into the wee hours, quiet, and reflecting, filtering, sifting, sorting, all the thoughts and questions, and moments. In the meantime, I’m struggle to put my thoughts into some coherent share-worthy whole. Interruptions. Distractions. Endless seeming “high priority” distractions, and demands on my time and attention.

My Traveling Partner is having his own experience.

Our A/C seemed to be malfunctioning. I mean… it demonstrably was “malfunctioning”, keeping in mind the intention, and settings, should have it cooling the house, and it is doing quite the opposite. Time spent troubleshooting (and snarling at each other), eventually pays off; blown fuse replaced. I struggle to “keep up” with his shifting emotional weather, some days. That was one of those. I imagine my own notion of resilience as a deep, calm, still pool. I perceive his (substantial) resilience more as a wave pool; big swings that reliably settle into calm fairly quickly. We’re each having our own experience. It’s not “personal” – not even truly “adversarial” in any clear way. Just quite different from each other, and sometimes not complementary. We are so similar…and so different. I don’t think I’d change that… I’d just like to be a bit better at it than I am… preferably without having to gain those skills through experience. lol

I continued to write, but ultimately set it aside over distractions. The pain I was in had increased, even though our stressful moment was quite brief, and it colored my thinking. I finally gave up on it. Today it’s days later, and reaching for words in a different moment of stress and conflict, and I find this, half-finished, waiting for me. A reminder that emotional weather comes and goes. That we are each having our own experience. Each seeking to understand the world through the lens and filter of our own experience – and often completely limited to that context, because it is all we truly know. Empathy is hard sometimes. Compassion requires more verbs. Kindness, too. Finding my way to a fully accepting and loving place is hard right now. I’m angry.

I remind myself that my Traveling Partner and I both have only good intentions. That we both love each other. That we are each doing our best with shared goals in mind. That we are individuals seeking to thrive – and help each other to do so – on a shared journey. It’s hard to be the best version of myself when I am feeling angry, or misunderstood, or unappreciated. I know that’s true for him, too. I look at my calendar – another meeting. I take a breath, and begin again.

Improving my self-care, and slowing down a bit, along with assorted other verbs and changes, has been having some pleasant outcomes. My fitness is improving (physical therapy for the win!), my memory and ability to sort/store information – and then also find it again – is also improving a bit (I can thank better sleep, and just generally slowing the fuck down for that). All of this adds up to feeling a bit more “on the ball” and cognitively sharper (it doesn’t hurt that I’ve also cut my cannabis use way back – a tale for another time). Ever the student, never a “report card”… except for today. Today I feel like I “got a good grade”…

I had offered verbal assurances to my Traveling Partner that I’d run a couple errands today on my lunch break. Simple stuff, but easy to forget (for me): swap out an empty propane tank for a full one at a local retailer, and swing by the pharmacy to pick up allergy meds. No problem – but it’s the sort of thing that often plagues me with repeated forgetfulness in the busy-ness of a typical work week. I get immersed in the work details, and forget the “us” or “me” details entirely… or don’t follow through in spite of my awareness of the need, in the background, feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Very human.

Today I did not forget. Win! It gets better…

I left the pharmacy and went to my car. I love my Mazda. Fun to drive. Keyless ignition. Great back-up camera. Lots of ease-of-use features that fit me particularly well. Rainy day, so I left my keys in my pocket, grasped the door handle and pushed the wee thumb button that would unlock the door based on the keys being “right there with me”.

…Nothing happened. No click, nothing. Door did not unlock. Fuck. Oh, well. I didn’t panic, I just pulled the actual physical key from the fob, unlocked the car and got in.

…The car didn’t start. Weird. I did some troubleshooting (foot on the break? check! ignition switch lit green? check! car in park? check!). I took a breath, and exhaled. I’ve got a “supercomputer” in my pocket pretty nearly all the time (my cell phone), so I quickly googled “Mazda CX-5 won’t start”. Right there, in a list of the most common causes, the likeliest of the most common causes in bold font: key fob battery. Oh yeah… that battery is the same one that has been in that fob since I got the car… 3 years ago? 4? Conveniently, I was parked at the drugstore… and they’ve got batteries. 😀 I went back in, opening up the fob as I went (a subtle indicator of how much it actually was stressing me out), found the battery I needed, and had the package half-opened before I even got to the register. Checked out, finished replacing the battery in my key fob on my way back to the car.

I pushed the “unlock” button and felt more than reasonable relief when the lights on my car flashed merrily back at me. My car started right up, too.

No panic. No fear. No confusion. Very little stress. I am okay right now, too – no “after-shakes” or pounding heart. No headache. No dry mouth. No madness. No harm done. Hell, I wasn’t even late getting back from my lunch. Who even is this woman looking back at me in my mirror these days?? lol

There’s something to be learned here… or… something that has been learned? Discovered. Renewed? I smile and grab a bottle of water as I head back to my desk. I’ve got things to do, and it’s already time to begin again.

I’m annoyed. Not my best look. I don’t like how feeling aggravated feels. When these feelings, so personal, crop up in interactions with friends or colleagues or loved ones, it’s worse. I guess I kind of expect strangers to be occasionally unpredictable, occasionally unpleasant, or antagonistic, or irritable. I suspect I don’t leave enough room for people close to me to have those moments, too. I feel reliably hurt when someone “comes at me” unexpectedly over something that seems, to me, to be inconsequential – or at least not worth all that negative emotional energy suddenly coming my way. It’s too easy to center my experience as what matters most. Hard to find the right balance of agreeable, kind, compassionate, empathetic, approachable… and do that while also managing skillful boundary setting, deep listening, and non-attachment. It’s a very human experience. I get mixed results.

…I keep working at it…

I take a breath, have a glass of water, and walk away from the moment. “Let it go,” I remind myself, “it isn’t personal; we’re each having our own experience.” Words. For an instant I feel myself resist – embracing those hurt feelings, and my initial flare-up of my own anger and aggravation feels so… important. At least momentarily. I have that “what about me?” moment. Very angst-y, very cross. Another breath. I let it go. Again. I sit down at my computer to work it out in words. (Thanks for listening.) I put on a video – rain falling on a country road. It’s the background noise I’m looking for. It tends to help push the tinnitus into the background; it’s loud today.

…My Traveling Partner comes into the studio with an ice tea for me. He glances at the title, and back at me, as he hands me the tea. “That’s nice.” he says. I think I detect a hint of sarcasm. I’m not certain. I’m a bit tone deaf to some of those conversational nuances (and it’s why I have worked at not using those sorts of things myself, with mixed results). I worry that he thinks I am writing about him. I figure he’s probably been with me long enough not to read into one of my titles what my intent – or content – actually may be.

…The iced tea is very pleasant, but with a hint of something… bitterness, maybe? He had said he did not like this batch. I don’t taste bitter very well (at all?)… and many people dislike bitter flavors if they are strong. So… maybe that’s it? Maybe there’s a metaphor in there somewhere? Something about individual perspective, and subjective experiences…?

I feel like a jerk when I take some small moment of discord as a personal attack. I guess that’s appropriate; it’s not ideal, and hinders pleasant social interaction. I contemplate whether an apology is due (usually, if I’m wondering, then yeah, it’s due)… and what, precisely, I am considering apologizing for – because that matters. Sarcastic non-apologies, or defeatist passive-aggressive attacks phrased as apologies are neither helpful, nor are they any sincere reflection of regret. I reflect for a moment on what it is I regret, from that moment, right now…

There is a bee, in spite of the chilly day, nosing around in the pear blossoms beyond the fence. I only see the one, and I wonder if the bee feels like it has happened upon amazing abundance… or is just doing bee things, unaware of it’s solitary moment in the pear tree? You can spare me the word of caution against anthropomorphizing the life of a bee. I get it; bees are not people. Well… I mean… they are not what we understand ourselves to be as people…but I’m not sure we truly know all there is to know about the consciousness of other sorts of creatures than ourselves. We barely have any fucking idea how we work, or what our consciousness “is”. lol

Chilly day. Tasty iced tea. Pleasant bite of lunch with my partner. A moment of human failure worth a word of regret. All part of this very human experience… I breathe, and get ready to begin again.

I am in an unreasonable amount of pain today. I can’t argue with the experience; it’s the one I’m having. Physical therapy-recommended exercises often help. Not so much today. Staying active, or distracting myself, works a lot of the time to reduce my subjective experience of being in pain. Today the pain just seems to color every experience. Sometimes medication dulls the pain. I guess I’m grateful that it probably did do that, today, although I’m not sure I feel that…I’m fairly sure it could be worse. My Traveling Partner has his own experience – both with his own pain, and of course having to exist alongside mine. That’s got to suck.

Meditation could help… sometimes it helps a lot. Today it’s just another box I ticked on the “list of things to do about pain”. Down the list I went. Some things helped somewhat. I’m doing my best to be okay with that and not lash out at “the world” over the pain I am in. There’s no “fault” in this here-and-now experience of pain. It is what it is. Uncomfortable. Limiting.

My world shrinks when I am in this much pain… so… I spent a portion of the evening in an altogether different world, in Minecraft. My world. My way. My peculiar blocky homes and wanders, walkways and walls, tunnels and staircases… for a couple hours I am elsewhere. Oh, sure, I still hurt… but, I’m not focused on that; I’ve got a glass tower to build, or a pyramid, or a terra cotta tile floor to lay, or…

…There are verbs involved. Doing the verbs does not guarantee a particular outcome, or offer any assurance of success – it’s just that not doing them definitely limits the chances of getting that outcome or success, at all. So… verb verb verb verb. Even in Minecraft.

I just keep at it. One moment, one day at a time. This happens to be the struggle I’ve got. It’s maybe not that big a deal for someone else… they’ve got their own struggles. Maybe pain isn’t one of those. Maybe it is. We’re each having our own experience. Each walking our own path. What’s odd, I think, and also kind of … hopeful? Is that we’re also each sharing some basics of lived human experience that can allow us to look upon one another with compassion, empathy, and fond regard – if we let ourselves. We “get it” – maybe we’ve “been there”, or just understand through similarity. Handy. Sometimes it’s hard being human… feeling lonely on top of that just suuuuuuuuuuuucks. Let’s not do that. Share. Listen. Be open to “being there” for someone else. Be there for yourself, too. (Definitely be there for yourself!)

I’m sort of “over” Minecraft for the moment. I still hurt. Pain is distracting me and preventing me from becoming sleepy, which definitely sucks. I feel a yawn come over me… can I sleep? Will I at least rest?

Fuck pain. I mean… just… yeah. I’m not enjoying this experience of today, though I really wanted to. I’ll just have to begin again. Maybe less pain tomorrow?