Archives for category: Frustration

I’m relaxed and smiling this morning. I’m happy yesterday is behind me. Though I had gone into it expecting the day to be in some small way “celebratory”, the day had something very different in mind for me. I spent much of my morning in a state of frustration (because, reasons) and grief (over my Mother’s death last summer), bouncing between tears, and a roller-coaster of (mostly) negative emotions of various sorts. It was hard on me, and hard on my Traveling Partner, who was, let’s be honest, having his own experience, too.

…Turns out grieving colors our experience, and socks that are too tight can wreck a potentially delightful day. Who knew? (Well, probably most of us, but nonetheless, we can all be taken by surprise over such things, and that is what is so unexpected.)

Once my partner and I recognized that I was struggling with grieving (and feeling fairly foolish about it, some 9+ months after my Mom died), dealing with my bullshit was easier. Dealing with his? I shrug it off, now, as “humans gonna be human”, but yesterday was hard for both of us, for a variety of reasons. At some point after I went to bed last night, he realized that his physical discomfort (see “socks that are too tight”, above) was wrecking his mood. This morning he was merry and comfortable, his usual loving self. I was over whatever (grief) was biting my ass, yesterday, too. Very different experience of each other. 🙂

Building a life characterized by contentment and sufficiency does not, ever, guarantee a smooth easy ride to the end of a happy life. lol There are verbs involved. Results may vary. We’re each having our own experience. Bullshit and drama are a very human experience. So. Sipping my morning coffee this morning, feeling infused with perspective, and decently well-rested (although short on sleep). Will it be a good day? No idea – but it is a new one. I get to begin again. 🙂

We really are social creatures.

Yesterday, the afternoon got dreadfully noisy, irritatingly so, when a neighbor chose to rev an ATV in his driveway, for well a couple hours, and then also drive it back and forth in front of his house, a couple houses down the street, and up just past ours, then turning it around and doing it again, constantly revving the engine aggressively. He wasn’t going anywhere, just making a fuck-ton of noise. It was grating on my nerves, and also, very obviously, on my Traveling Partner’s nerves, as well. I was maintaining as much “chill” as I could (admittedly having to resort to deep breathing exercises). My partner paced, and snarled abstractly at rude neighbors and noise, generally.

…I got more tense and aggravated, as my partner got more tense and aggravated. It became harder to manage, over time. That was as annoying as the noise. Why should my successful effort to maintain some inner calm fail because my partner is visibly aggravated? Hardly seems “fair”, but then – it isn’t about “fair”, is it? It is what it is. We are social creatures. We exist in shared context with each other. We are “each having our own experience” – but we’re doing it alongside one another, within view, sharing the journey. Our mood may be “contagious”. We spread that shit around.

…Spread the good moods, please, and the harmonious states of being; we could use more of those. lol 🙂 (I bet there are verbs involved.)

We got past it. The evening was lovely.

This morning I sit with my coffee quietly. I am facing a different moment of frustration (life has plenty of those to offer). I breathe, exhale, and work on letting it go, with limited success. So human. Again, it is what it is. Wishing it away, or railing against circumstances isn’t helpful. I allowed myself to get excited about something, and that excitement became implicit expectations in my head – and in my decision-making – and now, the timing is “off”. A whim of circumstance intervenes in my anticipated joy, and I’m… annoyed. Frustrated. Irritated. Waiting.

…I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I repeat this exercise several times. It’s harder to let go of it fully; I am anticipating my partner’s annoyance and frustration with it later, and that’s not helping. I begin again. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let even that go…

Things change. They change again. Change is. That, by itself, is a layer of complexity in our expectations – implicit or otherwise. I remind myself to be mindful, to maintain perspective, to embrace sufficiency. I sip my coffee, and begin again.

So much effort in keeping small things small, in being considerate day-to-day, moment-to-moment, in managing reasonable boundaries, in clear communication… all the things.

(It’s all worth the effort.)

Perspective – gaining it, maintaining it, and keeping it, is huge right now. I’m not any better at it, I think, than anyone else. More effort. A lot of deep listening. A lot of letting shit go. A lot of “taking a step back” and “trying to see things from another point of view”.

I don’t claim to have a lock-down on making things work. I often struggle with my timing, my phrasing, my “tone of voice”, my TBI, my bullshit & baggage – like anyone else.

Today is another fairly ordinary day of life in the time of pandemic. I’m at work, working. My Traveling Partner is also at home. So far it isn’t unpleasant. It does get “real” now and then. We manage it – probably as gently and skillfully as either of us understand how to do, or are able to.

Today, I don’t take much time for words. Seems like a day for actions. 😉

…It’s time to begin again. There are verbs involved.

However much we love the people we love, however good the hearts of those around us, especially in such trying times, it’s not a reasonable expectation to think it will always be easy, or that we will always “get it right”, just because we want to (perhaps even more than we usually do). Sometimes an otherwise comfortable moment may skid sideways, and suddenly become a challenge, or moment of conflict, hurt, or sorrow. So human.

…I could say “deal with it” or “happens to everyone”, and try to shrug it off irritably. I’m not really that person, though, and more often, I simply retreat to “sort myself out” and cry for a few minutes. Generally just some handful of tears of frustration and disappointment, sometimes tears of hurt, or tears of anger. It’s true, though; I cry over shit. I used to be very strict with myself over crying, working furiously to shut it down, stuff it into a dark corner of my consciousness, wrap it up quickly, hide it, wiping those errant tears away as quickly as I could, before anyone could see them, splash some water on my face and move on with things. It was not a helpful approach. Now? Now I just go ahead with it, generally, and cry. (I often seek out some privacy for that purpose, because I also don’t find someone else’s intervention, disapproval, need to “fix” things, or whatever like that at all helpful in those moments, either; sometimes I just need to cry.)

I only bring it up because I often feel some better after having – and experiencing – my emotional moment. It matters to be present with those feelings. To feel and acknowledge them, without shame, without guilt, can be incredibly freeing, and a big step toward restoring balance.

Things in the world are pretty scary right now. The media isn’t doing much to help with that, with the ceaseless 24/7 COVID-19 coverage painting every news story as somehow “about” that, and presenting a picture of the world that somehow suggests there is nothing else newsworthy going on, at all. It’s a weird lens through which to view the world. Eventually, it may “get to you”. Go ahead. Have that moment. It’s okay to cry over it, too. Give yourself a break if you do; it’s a very human thing, and honestly, not at all harmful. 🙂 You may even feel a bit better for a while, having giving yourself a chance to feel it.

…Then, begin again. Move on from that moment. Let it go. Grief is a real emotion. Feel it when you feel it. It does not have to own you, or make you over in a new image. You can choose to let it go, when you’re ready.

I am sipping my coffee in the studio. Starting my day. It’s another work day. Another Tuesday. Another day in the time of pandemic. My Traveling Partner wakes early. We’re both struggling with physical pain, this morning. Rainy day ahead? Maybe. I don’t give myself the time to over think it; it is what it is. Another sip of coffee, and I do what I can to let even the mundanity of physical pain “just go”. (It’s not that effective, right now, and my results definitely vary on this point.) I breathe, exhale, and relax. Just another work day in the “new normal”.

I glance at the clock; already time to begin the day in earnest. (I’ve been making an effort to keep to my usual schedule for a sense of normalcy.) Time, in fact, to begin again. 😉

Another working day spent in the time of pandemic, another opportunity to connect with my Traveling Partner more deeply, with more openness, and greater… something, something, and etc. I mean, love still takes some work, and being my best self still takes real commitment to self-awareness, and practice (which feels pretty hit/miss sometimes, for results). We are each individuals. We’re in this together. Shared experience. Individual experience. All the overlap between. If we share nothing, we lose our connection, over time. If we share everything, we lose our sense of individual self and agency. There is a balance. In these days of isolation and confinement, it sometimes feels like dancing – the awkward, often self-conscious dancing of youthful uncertainty, which is a bit uncomfortable at times; we’re not kids anymore.

I worked a fairly routine day yesterday. Each time I took a break, I left my studio (which is also my “office”) and discovered some new thing had been done around the house. My Traveling Partner keeps busy with various quality-of-life-focused projects. It passes the time in a healthy way.

…He moved the furniture around…

You know, it could have been drama and bullshit, but honestly, it’s just furniture. If we don’t like where it is – and I mean either of us, over time, could decide it is a poor fit – we can move it around differently. We have that freedom. We have that power. Each of us. Both of us. I managed to find peace and balance with all of it super quickly, which was nice. No one needs my drama and bullshit right now, right? I’m unsettled by the quantity of small changes as the aesthetic of our home inches further and further from what I most ideally enjoy, myself, but there really are two people living here, and it is our home, not exclusively mine. It matters to be open to new arrangements of things. There’s so much joy in it when we both feel a comfortable sense of place. When we both feel at home.

The street is nearly silent outside this morning. These days there is very little commuter traffic through this neighborhood. People who can, really are working from home. People who don’t need to work are generally really staying home. A quick trip out for supplies revealed a world in which suburban men commonly work in the garage, or in their yards, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, building and making things to improve their quality of life, and that of their families. I saw a dad-aged man teaching a little girl to ride a bicycle… on a Wednesday. It was beautiful. It got me wondering, decades from now, how will we view this time of pandemic, looking back? Our perspectives are not universal.

Some people will remember store shelves stripped bare, and being unable to buy stable food items, and basic household items.

Some people will remember the profiteering, the incompetence and mismanagement, the heinous disregard for employee health and safety shown by some companies.

Some people will remember having to work from home, after years of begging for the privilege of being able to do so.

Some people will remember being sick, or supporting sick family members.

Some people will remember the anxiety, the chaos, the fear-mongering, and the uncertainty.

Some people will remember losing their jobs – others will remember being forced to work.

…And some people, who were children in the time of pandemic, will remember long happy weeks at home, with their parents and siblings, connecting over fun projects, entertained, loving, and they will, perhaps, look back on this time with real fondness, as a time when they enjoyed all the love and attention from their parents that they could ever possibly need. I like to think about that as a tiny pin-prick of an upside to all this COVID-19 stuff; some children will get loved more, by attentive parents who perhaps don’t realize that their efforts to stave off boredom, and keep their youngsters developmentally on track, is making some amazing memories.

Then, I frown over a news article pointing out how terrifying this time must be for people in abusive relationships, or households that experience domestic violence. 😦 Let’s don’t be that. We can each do so much better than that.

Be considerate and gentle with your words. It can really wear even your nearest and dearest down quite a lot, over time, to be in such close contact for so long. Social distancing can complicate that – you’re probably not hanging out with anyone else. The lack of variety may serve to highlight small things, which can make them appear to be The Next Big Deal Breaker. Doesn’t have to be that way. 🙂 Choose kindness. Choose authenticity – and positive intent. Be your best self, even though that definitely takes practice.

I’m saying it to you, because I’m saying it to me. There are verbs involved. Work. Effort. Commitment. Self-reflection. A lot of do-overs and new beginnings. A lot of practice.

I’m ready for another work day in the time of pandemic. I’m ready to begin again. 🙂