Archives for category: Love

So this is home, is it? Here, now? Interesting that it feels so much so, so soon, so easily, so completely… Is it that way in each new place? Do I make myself at home, everywhere? It’s possible… I don’t take the bait when my restless monkey mind suggests I could dig into old journals and past blog posts looking for “truth”. The relevant truth is here, now, and it is enough. I feel at home here.

I woke well before day break. Dawn is still some time from now. The morning is dark in these wee hours, and the busy street I live on is utterly silent and without traffic so early on a Saturday morning. I woke early, rested, unable to sleep any longer. Easily handled; I got up and made coffee. πŸ™‚

The move is over. I live here. There’s more unpacking to do. I still can’t reliably find my way around in the dark. I’m still constantly misplacing things I’ve set down “for a moment” in some convenient spot “where I can’t lose track of it”, then wandering off and forgetting where I’ve set down… my phone… my keys… that list I just made… It’ll be some time before I really know this space and where everything is “put away” in it. I have regular reminders that I am not yet entirely unpacked, and moments of anxiety about things that may be lost, or overlooked, and actually it’s just that there’s quite a lot still in boxes. An example is that I don’t unpack books until I am certain I have the shelves where I really want them – but some of the boxes of books have some little odd other thing in the top of the box, if there was a bit of space there, but I don’t easily remember that item X is in that box of books over there – for now it just “feels missing”. Getting fully moved in is a process – but it’s lovely that I already feel “at home”, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I notice that the pre-dawn darkness has lightened up enough to become dawn. Daybreak is here, and the sunrise will soon follow. I decide to set aside my writing, and take my coffee to the deck…

The day begins.

There is no handy view of the sunrise here, but the scent and sound of the forest so near at hand calls to mind so many mornings out in the trees, camping. The traffic hasn’t yet commenced, and all I hear are the sounds of forest life, and a breeze stirring the leaves of trees so close they seem almost within reach. I love the view from the deck. There is no grand vista here, no horizon on the horizon, no broad expanse of meadow…but there is also no busy pedestrian trail, no playground equipment, no basketball court, and no neighbors smoking cigarettes on the patio next to mine. This feels safe, and private, and comfortable. The deck gets some sun, it gets some shade – the roses are doing well here, and making a good recovery from the exposed heat of summer at the other address. I enjoy the convenience of having a water source at hand, making caring for my garden much easier. I check the yard from my deck vantage point, looking for forest creatures who may have chosen to visit, but this morning there are none. There will be other mornings. πŸ™‚

The move is over. The rest is just housekeeping. πŸ˜€ I live here. This is home. I sip my coffee as the sky lightens, and smile. Joy feels good. Contentment feels good. Feeling welcome in my own space, and in my own life, feels very good indeed. I take time to really savor these feelings – and to welcome myself home.

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™‚

Living alone sometimes also means feeling lonely. I’m fortunate that it doesn’t come up that often for me; I enjoy living alone. In the words of my Traveling Partner, I “thrive on it”. It’s true. I’m content, I’m happier, I rarely struggle with my symptoms (aside from noise sensitivity and shitty sleep), and it’s been ages since I had a bad meltdown. My symptoms and bad flare ups are mostly triggered by… people. So yeah, living alone works better. But.

Life is a funny thing, is it not? It seems, often, to force me to deal with the shit that is the most difficult when I feel least prepared to do so. Living alone works for me. But. And it’s what comes after the but that is a heavy burden to bear this morning – and I’m “not alone” on this one – but, I am lonely. This morning I ache with it. I woke with it. I went to bed with it. I felt it as a sharp pain late last evening, cuddling the wee stuffed puppy my Traveling Partner gave me as a gift on a whim. (I already love this little stuffed dog, fully house-broken, and very quiet. lol) Loneliness is a real thing, and I really feel it now and again, and it is painful. Anxiety may be a liar, but loneliness? Loneliness is a bully who follows me home, relentlessly mocking me where I am most vulnerable.

Loneliness is actually painful. When you feel it, and you notice, and you wonder that you actually physically hurt – no need to keep wondering, that shit is real. It is uncomfortable. Biology probably intends to drive us to seek out companionship, which makes good sense; we are social creatures, who thrive in company, who succeed together, who celebrate in groups and tribes and families… alone we are… vulnerable to attack. Less well-defended. Small. Singular. Loneliness sucks, and chronic unaddressed loneliness can become mental illness or physical ill health, and even be fatal.

The little stuffed dog surprised me; gift wrapped and left on the front seat of the car, which I’d come to pick up for the week of moving, a couple days early since he wouldn’t be using it, himself. There it was. Soft. So soft. Cute button eyes that sparkle a bit. So soft. I turned to my partner has he came around the corner smiling and tears came to my eyes. His embrace wrapped me in warmth and love and we stood wrapped in each other’s arms a long moment. I miss specific things about cohabitation, mostly to do with intimacy and touch. Like it or not, I’ve made a specific willful exchange in life; I have exchanged hugs, kisses, everyday interactions, contact, intimacy, and frequent sex in favor of improved mental and emotional health (it is generally an unmistakably positive choice that benefits me).

An alternate spelling of “I love you”.

Today, I am lonely. I ache with it. I miss being greeted at the door when I get home in the evening. I miss shared meals. I miss hugs – I miss hugs maybe most of all, even to the point of hugging occasional strangers (in contextually appropriate moments) (if you know me in life, you get how hilarious this actually is). I miss being an everyday part of my partner’s life. I miss having sex, pretty much any day I don’t get to. This morning all of these things make me feel sad. I’m also feeling fairly practical and realistic about it, and understand myself well enough to “get” that it isn’t about inviting random strangers into my bed (didn’t work in my 20s, isn’t the solution now), but I am unquestionably still searching for a really comfortable balance between living alone, and finding/creating the quantity of emotional intimacy and touch that I need to be emotionally well over the long haul.

This morning is hard. My hand reaches without thinking to the little stuffed dog. I scratch its ears as though it were real. I stroke its soft “fur”. A real dog? A real cat? Other pets? I’ve got both baggage and boundaries in this area. Pets are not a good solution to the loneliness issue for me. Β I used to have cats. They absolutely destroyed some precious things I could not replace…and… they walk in their poop, then all over everything else. Just no. Dogs? I grew up with dogs. I even like dogs. But… being responsible for another living creature’s entire livelihood and well-being isn’t something I’m super well-qualified for, frankly, otherwise I might have done the motherhood thing… and… dogs smell bad (to me), and caring for a dog well is a huge time commitment…and… okay, okay, I just have baggage and it wouldn’t be a great fit, can we leave it there? lol Chinchillas? More chaos and damage, and… they seem to me to be every bit as sentient as any primate, so that just feels too much like keeping a prisoner. I can’t. Guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, reptiles… I’ve had pets. Lots. (I’ve got an aquarium now, and that’s about my speed, really.) They don’t fully “solve for X” in this equation.

Filling the hole in my experience labeled “I miss being touched” with animal companionship would be, realistically, a second best (for me). Instead, I’ll attempt to be more aware of my needs, learn to communicate them more clearly, learn new/more/other ways to take care of me that may meet those specific needs – bitch about it, undoubtedly – and walk on, wiping my tears away and getting back to other things.

But. I do get lonely. Yes, it hurts. Finding some sanity, contentment, and balance are actually worth the hurting right now, even in this shitty lonely moment. I just have to begin again, and do my best to take care of the woman in the mirror. We’ve always got each other. It’s generally enough.

I woke this morning to a cooler apartment than usual after such a hot day; I’d fallen asleep with all the windows and the patio door wide open, without meaning to. I’m sort of glad I didn’t notice. It’s lovely to feel the cool morning breeze and the apartment refreshingly comfortable instead of stifling and oppressively still and warm. I’m even more glad that no passing stranger noticed the opportunity to quietly slip into my utterly unsecured dwelling and take all of my (conveniently packed) belongings while I slept (rather more soundly than usual). I wake feeling comfortable, grateful, appreciative, and relieved all at once. I sip my coffee wondering if this particular mix of emotions has a name of its own.

Another good day to begin again.

The dawn sky is shades of peach and a watery pale blue. Another hot day ahead. Peculiarly, I have my headphones on… no music. I must have meant to put some on… I didn’t actually do it. Even noticing this, I don’t actually pause to remove the headphones, or to put on music. I sip coffee. I write. I am content in this moment and the headphones are simply not relevant, nor are they uncomfortable. So… there they sit. On my head. Without purpose. lol Funny human primate.

I’ve still got a week to go before I have keys in hand, a new address, and a busy long weekend of getting moved out of here. So many boxes, in stacks and groups and piles and pillars and arrangements in spaces… and still a week of waiting remaining to be waited out. I still have more stuff to go into more boxes. A few more evenings and a weekend will take care of that.

I chuckle to consider a faraway friend making the journey to help me move; we’ll be basically “camping” in this space by the time he arrives, and then in the new house after the movers do their thing. I’m pretty blown away by the affection of friends who will help with moving. Friends who not only help with moving but will also travel more than 700 miles to do so, and do that with the expectation that there will be no comfortable convenient hospitality of the sort I usually provide is absolutely a treat, a wonder, a rare delight – and appreciated on a whole different level, that involves more than a little awe, and perhaps a tiny bit of bewilderment, and a sense that I need to step up my own friend game… because… I am not sure I’m that person, myself, and just… wow. I could be, though, right? Choices. I am fortunate indeed to have such friends.

What next? I have so much of the next few days tightly planned, centered on this move… I make a point to also take care of this fragile vessel. The hot days are difficult. I make a point to slow down a little bit, to drink a lot more water, to attempt to get adequate rest – even if that means laying down while evening is still daylight, windows and doors wide open to breezes, and at risk of falling deeply asleep without securing the premises. lol I finally got a really good night’s sleep, in spite of the heat. πŸ˜€ I really needed the rest.

The “hard part” of the packing comes next. It is time to box up all the books, and take down all the paintings. This also means having to work a little more to manage my anxiety as it comes and goes; bare walls reliably fill me with anxiety and a subtle continuous stress – “you don’t belong here” is the message of bare white walls, to me. It’s fairly important to my mental and emotional wellness that I not subject myself to unadorned walls any longer than necessary. Β Still, it is time, and it must be done. The weekend will be a good one for it. πŸ™‚ Once the keys are in my hands, and that first car load is unpacked, there will be at least one small painting along for that trip, and it will go up before I even head back for another carload of household goods. No kidding. If it fits in the car, I may very well simply take the big painting that is most likely to be hanging above the fireplace. It’s a touch that makes me feel very at home, and the message it sends becomes “I live here”. Comforting. Safe. Real.

Gnothi seauton. “Figuring out my shit” turns out to be less about changing it, sometimes, than understanding it, and working with it instead of fighting it all the damned time. πŸ™‚