Archives for category: Logic & Reason

I woke from a deep sleep to some kind of noise…a persistent sound of some sort…a beeping, or chiming, or… and it wasn’t stopping… Oh. My phone was ringing. Only one number rings through my “Do Not Disturb” settings; my Traveling Partner. I quickly lurch from bed and careen through the apartment, stumbling on shit that doesn’t match my mental map of my apartment; there are stacks of boxes everywhere. I reach the phone and answer it, delighted to hear his voice. No emergency, he’s just back in town and wanted to hear my voice. πŸ™‚ It was a short call, and a quick return to sleep…

…only…

Nope. Not sleeping.

…I couldn’t so easily return to sleep. Β Just as I was about to drift off my brain decided to attack with a barrage of insecure doubt and anxiety and dread, and oh, just all the things available to keep me laying wakefully for some time. I did eventually return to a restless unsatisfying sleep. Nightmares of loss and loneliness occupied my sleeping mind until the alarm went off.

I woke feeling okay. Feeling thoughtful. Feeling… thought-filled. lol This too will pass. I make a point of reminding myself how pointless rumination is, and that anything of substance that truly needs to be considered will still need to be considered later… after I wake up, after meditation, after my morning coffee, and perhaps even just quite a lot later today – after work. Perspective is helpful. Context matters. Oh, and also – brains make shit up all the damned time. lol My imagination is just as likely to work against me as to delight me. So, I shrug off as much of the weird lingering insecurity, anxiety, and doubt as I am able to, and I push on with the morning.

I have a practice for this one, and although it works, it’s not to be undertaken lightly first thing in the morning by a sleep-addled brain. (I learned that the hard way!) My practice for dealing firmly with insecurity and anxiety is to look my fears in the face without flinching. Seriously – I consider as frankly as I can whatever bundle of fears and bullshit that is freaking me out, and I consider it as if it were simply a given and life is no kidding going to deliver on all of it as if it were a promise. Feeling insecure about my relationship? I consider life without it, no bullshit, no drama – what does that look like? Could I still be okay? What advantages might that bring? Is there a future from that point that may still be quite nice? Does it change who I am? What am I truly afraid of? Is there an opportunity for growth, here? This works for any sort of insecurity, doubt, and anxiety, really. Emotions are powerful. It’s a good idea to choose some moment when it feels truly safe to fully consider my deepest fears. Results vary. Scary, tense, anxious, insecure, doubtful emotions can go sideways so easily, plunging me into real despair… but, all the more reason to learn to face them unafraid of the emotions themselves, and there is so much to learn.Β They’re still only emotions; getting to know them well, becoming comfortable with emotion, generally, and working to develop a measure of emotional intelligence that supports good quality of life is not only completely achievable, I have found that improving my emotional intelligence improves my interactions with others, too, and sort of “tidies up my thinking”. πŸ™‚

So much of what goes on in our heads is actually completely made up bullshit going on in our heads. πŸ™‚ I am as likely to find my anxiety provoked by things that are delightful, or changes that suit me better than whatever had changed ever could, as I am by things that are legitimately worth being anxious about. Silly primates – given both emotion and reason (which work so nicely together), and yet time and again we keep trying to choose one over the other. lol

I sip my coffee and watch the dawn slowly becoming day. I consider my imminent move. Just two more work shifts before that actually becomes a thing happening in the moment…and one of those work shifts is today. This is happening!! πŸ˜€ My conversation with my partner last night opened some opportunities in the context of moving that I hadn’t considered, and although I spent some time wracked with anxiety (because changing plans sometimes causes me anxiety), the opportunities themselves are worth considering fully. Later.

The calm of the morning develops like a Polaroid. I feel settled and secure, and focused on changes that meet my needs over time. I feel content. I feel loved. Fears and doubts fade away as the sky lightens, and anything that lingers to day’s end can be fully considered at some later point, in a comfortable, practical way.

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

This morning I woke later than usual, slower than usual, and with a smile on my face. I feel rested. Patient with myself, and relieved of yesterday’s emotional burdens (and baggage). I don’t know with any certainty that any specific action I took made a difference, but there is definitely a difference in the way I feel about life, the move, myself… all of the things feel different today, in a very pleasant way. Change is. Feelings pass. Moments pass. Life is a process and a journey with very little “standing still” in it. “The infinite” is largely a concept that I don’t ever seem to touch directly. lol I’m okay with that. I don’t even want to try to get my head around “infinite sadness”.

I am distracted from my writing moment-to-moment by the dew drops sparkling on the lawn beyond the window as the sun rises, and by the shards of light thrown around the room by the glittery sequins on the light summer top I threw on this morning in anticipation of today’s expected warm afternoon. I’m okay with the mild distraction; I will be more likely to get on with packing boxes when I’m done writing, and less prone to being sucked into Facebook.

It’s a lovely morning, so far. Perhaps yesterday I simply needed to shed a few stray tears that had gotten backed up over time? I’m okay with being gentle with myself over a few tears. Living alone has some emotionally difficult moments. So does every other lifestyle. lol No one is off the hook for being human, and we are beings of both emotion and reason. πŸ™‚

I think of my Traveling Partner off on a weekend adventure with his other partner. Moments we don’t share, and much of the time this extends even to conversation after-the-fact. He rarely “catches me up”, which sucks for me – I love a traveler’s tales! I miss him greatly and yearn to share more of his life – and for him to share more of mine – than he currently does. Conveniently for both of us, enough emotional time has passed that I am not uncomfortable running into my ex casually (she has no power over me, emotionally or otherwise at this point, and I’m done grieving); next year I’ll go to festivals unconcerned about messing with their good time (yes, I dislike drama enough to be considerate of an ex), and take advantage of the happy opportunity to kick it with my Traveling Partner out in the world, each doing our own thing. That’ll be fun for both of us. There are a lot of music festivals in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. πŸ˜€

Today there is no hint of loneliness to be found in my experience. I make a point of feeling its absence, and filling my awareness with gratitude. Loneliness sucks. I find it worthwhile to be really aware of its absence, fully. I do indeed thrive, living alone. I smile, sip my coffee, and consider this sweet moment – nothing fancy about it. A woman at a desk. A computer, a keyboard, a cup of coffee. Sunshine bouncing off of sequins, dew drops, glittery nail polish. A smile. It’s enough to start the day here, and begin again. πŸ™‚

I woke to the alarm after a restless night. 4th of July, of course, is a noisy holiday. I’d enjoy it more if more other Americans enjoyed it more often at public fireworks events, rather than in their driveways, streets, and the park beyond my patio. It was well past 11 pm before the bangs, crackles, and booms died away. I let it go, and got what sleep I could.

There is a peculiar low-hanging mist on the meadow this morning. The day is forecasted for a high of 88 degrees. I’m dressed for the hot weather, and appreciative how little time I will have to spend in the heat (it’s a work day, the office is well air-conditioned). I try to avoid fussing and fretting about how hot this apartment will be when I return to it, and instead work on cooling it down now. To be relatively comfortable at day’s end, on a such a hot day, Β it needs to be below 70 degrees in here when I leave the house for work. I miss the tree that used to shade this place, keeping it comfortable even on very hot days. I feel my anger about the loss of the trees here surge, and begin to combine with other small irritants that have eroded my contentment here over time. I take a deep breath, and let that go, too.

I got to hang out with my Traveling Partner last night, and it was beautiful and connected and joyful…and…real. We really talked about a couple of things we’d been very careful about for some time. It was…needed. It was even tender. It was… worth having the conversation. I was able to say “I miss living with you…” and feel the tears start as my heart filled with the recollection of us two, living together, in our own place, for that one precious perfectly lovely year of deeply connected new relationship joy… and he didn’t resist, or become tense, or angry, or any of those things. He looked at me tenderly, with concern, and affection, and said something sane and wise… “You thrive living alone…” I don’t recall what else he said, or what came first, or what came after, just those words, and the somewhat puzzled look on his face, and the clear desire to “be there” for me, and to understand. I do thrive living alone, this is a true thing. He’s so right about that. Β I do miss living with him… but… I don’t miss cohabitation generally. I actually do thrive – really thrive – living alone. I am disinclined to easily recognize that, when I think about living with my Traveling Partner, no fault of his; I’d never lived so well with another person, ever, than with him. It was… the very next best thing to living alone (which I hadn’t really done previously for any length of time)! I’d probably feel uncomfortable saying it so boldly and firmly this morning, if we hadn’t had the conversation we had last night.

For him, it is a beautiful thing to see me thrive. For me, living alone is the first time I truly have (thrived, I mean). The conversation at least got to the real point; I would enjoy spending more time with him. πŸ™‚ We agree contentedly it has been a busy year for us both. He’s eager to see me in a more comfortable space, feeling safe again (I just haven’t since the burglary back in November). He steers my excitement about getting moved in such that I stay focused on what works for me, and don’t invest heavily in what might work for him in some abstract circumstance in which he lands on my doorstep for a long stay. He trusts my ability to create a beautiful home. I trust that he wants to spend time there with me. I let go of a little more baggage.

I got to reconnect briefly with another friend over the weekend. We exchanged birthday gifts. It was a fun moment. I smile and think of him every time I see the lovely pin he crafted, pinned on my hiking cap. My cap goes everywhere with me during the spring and summer, and often in autumn, and even sometimes in winter… a good all-purpose cap. It had been rather dull and unadorned. Now it seems to shout “you are loved” or “life has purpose” or… “damn I look good!” or something else positive and lovely, without undermining the practical nature of a good cap. I miss hanging out with him, too. A poignant moment of recognition of how much joy busy lives can rob us of… and I let that go, too. Busy, indeed, and legitimately so; there is no point grieving the positives in life. Are we each thriving? Is that not enough? πŸ™‚

A simple cap, a fancy pin, a life now built on contentment and sufficiency.

It is a lovely summer morning for consideration; this morning that consideration is from me, for me, to me. I consider my feelings. I consider the context. I provide myself perspective. I embrace change and consider the needful things. I consider the planning. I consider the future. This morning I allow myself to be aware that indeed I do thrive living alone. I consider the chaos and damage that brought me here in life, without anger, without frustration, and without judgement. I am here. This is who I am. Thriving. Wow. Thriving… that’s a big deal. πŸ™‚ It’s also very much “enough”.

One day in a life worth living…

The sun peeks over the horizon, tangerine and sparkling, turning the needle tips of the awkwardly place pine just beyond the window quite gold and glittery. There is a female duck at the edge of the meadow keeping a careful eye out for cats while having a look for tasty morsels in the grass. Day is beginning. Where will it take me?

 

[Oh hey, I’m talking about emotion and domestic violence in this one. No surprises. Please take care of you. <3]

Think about this carefully; anger doesn’t solve very many relationship problems. It’s not that anger is “powerless” – it isn’t. It’s a dangerous force for change, particularly in the context of lost self-control, lost perspective, and a righteous sense of entitlement, possession, or justification. Tragedies happen by way of uncontrolled rage. Clearly, anger can be quite powerful. “Violence never solved anything” is both true and false – and very much dependent on what we mean by “solved”. If we end an argument with violence, we’ve ended the argument certainly, but whether that counts as a solution depends on whether everyone walks away undamaged.

There was a time I didn’t understand emotional violence as violence – primarily because I lived in a messy tangle of both physical and emotional violence, served up with a hearty helping of military life, as well as gas-lighting. Emotional violence was the least of my worries. I didn’t understand my experience. I lacked the emotional intelligence to understand that I had options – and choices. It’s hard to look back comfortably on the choices I did make. Like a barefooted journey across hot asphalt and broken glass, every step did more damage. I lived with continuous fear and anxiety. I rarely slept. The emotional violence in my relationship was the least of my worries; I just wanted to survive the physical violence. I eventually got out of there, safely away, and sadly still unaware of the worst of the damage that had been done, because that wasn’t physical at all.

Physical injuries heal in a physical way. Bones mend. Scars fade. My arthritis follows me everywhere, but as a consequence of earning my freedom from fear it is a reminder that I live…still…it fucking hurts. I never forget how I got here. Tomorrow is 22 years since a nightmare ended. I ended it. I walked on.

…I took the chaos and damage with me…

The worst of the damage was emotional. I didn’t understand that for a long time. I understood “symptoms” – complex PTSD has many – diagnosis in hand, I recognized that I seemed to have no ability to manage my emotional volatility, as a symptom – as something that happened to me. I didn’t understand how accountable I actually was for my actions, though. I didn’t really “get” that like it or not, when my feelings become choices that become actions that affect other people, I am responsible for my actions. There’s no argument there, so just don’t. “Hormones”, “PTSD”, “a terrible headache” “a tough day” – none of these things actually make it okay to be emotionally violent with someone (most especially and particularly someone I say I love). I didn’t understand that I could – no, seriously, I totally mean this – I could choose to behave differently. My experience is my own. My emotions are entirely mine to feel. My choices are mine to make. I am responsible for my actions. Not one moment of personal misery really excuses treating someone else badly. Β I was slow to learn this lesson. I carried the violence forward into my future with me, woven into the damage I’d survived, and expressed it as uncontrollable impotent rage, meltdowns, tantrums and frequent loss of rationality. I’m done making excuses for emotional violence – few people die in a literal way from emotional violence, but the life they are left with is changed. It’s really not okay to behave that way. (Nope, PMS, PMDD, they don’t excuse it either. Get help. Make amends. Say you’re sorry, for fucks sake. Do better over time.)

I’m glad to be moving. Escalating domestic violence next door is uncomfortable to live around. It fucks with my head when I hear the yelling through the walls, the slams and bangs, vague and undefined. There are no good guys. Only human beings unwilling to choose differently and calling it “love” (it isn’t).

Look around. There’s a lot of that going on. We can choose differently. All of us can do better. I can. You can. That person pulling out a gun on the highway to shoot a teenager can choose differently, too; they chose their actions. Think about what that means. Feel your feelings. Behave well. Treat others well. Recognize the subjective nature of your emotional life, and don’t inflict weaponized emotions on other human beings. Fuck your hormones. Fuck your PTSD. Fuck your anger. Care. Care enough to choose better behavior. Care enough to be the person you most want to be. Care enough to seek help if you need help. Care enough to take care of you – well. Care enough to take a step back from a difficult situation. Care enough to understand that each of us is having our own experience – and it’s ours, not to be taken from us. None of us belongs to another.

I say that, then sadly spend minutes contemplating the very real continued existence of slavery and violence around the world. I don’t really know what to say. I am saddened by the constant awareness that there is so much violence loosed on the world. That we wear the face of our own destruction, as a species.

We can all do so much better to treat people well than we actually do. What will you do today to become the person you most want to be? We become what we practice. What are you practicing?

It’s well before dawn. I woke early, feeling rested. I got up. It’s a work day. The bull frog chorus in the marsh seems almost to coax the thin band of color gradually developing on the horizon. The night was black and starless when I woke. The horizon is now a strange pale yellow-blue that seems more typical of a watercolor than of real life, and a single planet, or satellite, or some other typically bright celestial object shines brightly. The scraggly pine to the left of my view through the window of my studio is silhouetted against the lightening pre-dawn sky. It is the morning of a new day.

10 days left on this perspective…

I got a great start on packing up for the move, this weekend. The dining room space is filled with the boxes and items I intend to move on the very first day, and I’ve moved on to boxing up everything else. Finishing with the porcelain, I’ll move on to paperweights, then perhaps the pantry, then… well, it doesn’t much matter what order I do all that in, really, so long as it is completed before the movers come. πŸ™‚ They are an expensive service, and I am not a woman of great means; it is important to be well-prepared in order to keep costs low. I keep that in mind as much as I can, and work to stay mindful that the goal is to do as much myself and with friends as is practical, avoiding exhaustion, and being sure to take good care of myself, and try to limit the mover time to just those large or awkward items best handled by them.

There is so much more to do… and only 10 days to do it…

I enjoyed a lovely brunch with dear friends visiting from faraway, and one that lives quite close that I rather oddly rarely see; we all live busy lives, filled with details, and distance. It is a rare treat that circumstances brought us all close for a little while, to enjoy one another again. The distance falls away, and we are, for a time, as we were – changed only by the events that have shaped who we are now, and only subtly so in the context of enduring friendships such as these. It was fun. I miss them quite often, and it was a joyful moment of connection to not miss them, however briefly. πŸ™‚

However busy life seems, it is important to take time to connect, to share, to love, to play, to enjoy moments, and to take good care of this fragile vessel. πŸ™‚

I’m counting down the days now. In 10 days I get the keys to a new place, and begin a new journey. I build a new “drama free zone” in which to contentedly reside. I’m excited about that. I only barely recall the initial panic and anxiety of realizing I would need to move more or less immediately, when I had just made completely different plans than that, but it is a very abstract recollection of words that say something, without a visceral emotional connection to the experience. Β My memories of this move, so far, are infused with enthusiasm, although I am aware that developed well-after the decision to move was made. I feel more than usually aware of how much of my understanding of my experience is crafted in my thinking, and is very subjective narrative, rather than truly “factual” etic reality. I know I was panicked… I just can’t feel that any longer; I have built this experience differently than that. lol

10 days…

The time will pass whether I measure it or not.

…more than enough time to begin again. πŸ™‚