Archives for category: Metaphors

I’m counting the days until my birthday, like a kid. Just 24 days to go, and I’ll be… 60. Wow. I’m still pretty astonished by two things about this:

  1. I’m turning 60 (at all).
  2. 60 doesn’t “feel old” from the inside.

I sip what’s left of my iced coffee. I got a 20 ounce coffee this morning. Extra shots. I’m still pretty groggy in spite of that, and in spite of the sunshine streaming in through the windows reminding me that summer is very nearly here. I’d love to have slept longer. I woke up, and I’m “awake” for most values of being awake – I’m just struggling to fire up some sort of lively sense of engagement with the day (and the work ahead of me). I suspected that might be the case, and I sort of abstractly ascribe it to the combination of seasonal allergy symptoms and general fatigue from poor quality sleep. I don’t know how accurate those assumptions are, but I’m satisfied that the truths revealed are at least feasibly accurate. Mostly. Probably? I’m for sure still feeling stupid and fuzzy-headed, and lacking the clarity of mind that I want to expect (and most likely should not wait around for, based on how I am feeling right now). I’m stuck betwixt having awakened and also feeling like I never completed that process fully. lol

Twice I’ve had interesting (to me) ideas to write about. Twice those have slipped away leaving behind only a recollection of having been interrupted in the middle of a thought. lol

…There’s damn little coffee left in this cup, and the local coffee shops here in town won’t open for another 10 minutes. I’ve already had 20 ounces of coffee as it is. Enough for the whole day (served in a single cup – how convenient)! I don’t really need more.

Roses blooming in the garden.

I let my mind wander to the weekend… beautiful weather in the forecast. What will I do with the time? Garden? That sounds likely. Maybe go for a drive with my Traveling Partner? Shop? Tidy up my studio? (It sure needs some attention.) Make a couple batches of shower steamers? Get some romantic sexy fun time going with my partner? Read a book? Sit around watching my partner play a video game? Write letters to old friends? Some of all of these things?

A jay checking on my gardening.

Here it is a new day… a blank page… choices to choose and opportunities to accept or to disregard… and it’s time to begin (again).

Iced coffee (black) and a fizzy water (plain, cold) and a day of work ahead of me. I’m not even bitching, it’s simply where the day is, at the moment.

I slept rather badly. Couldn’t fall asleep, but wasn’t stressed about it. Minutes of meditation and daydreaming became hours, and when I finally had to get up to pee, I looked at the time. It was late. I’d be getting a nap at best, and that is what came to pass. I returned to bed and crashed hard, waking abruptly around 04:15, though I don’t know what woke me. I got up, dressed, and headed to the city for the work day. With the changing season, I caught the sunrise on the commute – it was lovely. Shades of peach and pastel pinks and oranges created an exciting backdrop for the blue of the shadow-side of the mountains out on the horizon. It was almost distracting, and I almost pulled over to watch the sunrise with my whole attention.

I’m doing my best to stay engaged. The work day is just beginning. I’m tired though, and my mind wanders, and I keep coming back to some communications challenges that persist for me (brain trauma is a hard one to beat for lasting challenges). I also keeping thinking about my garden.

I clearly planted something here, but I don’t recall when or what.

I’m thinking about a sunny spot in the front flower beds where two clean rows of… something… have now sprouted. I don’t recall what I planted there. I forgot to jot down a note in my notebook, too, apparently. It’s obvious I did plant something; those rows are too orderly to be happenstance. So… what did I plant? I sip my coffee and wonder, and then find myself wading into a metaphor…

…When I look at life as a garden, and consider the care, the cultivation, the practices, it all fits so well, and then… there are these seedlings that have sprouted, which I clearly planted… and eventually they’ll become something, but I don’t know what, and it’s hard to be at all invested in whatever they are. If I water them… well, they might be weeds, do I want to water and care for them? What if they turn out to be something noxious or undesirable? If I don’t water them… well… maybe they’re something unusual, fancy, expensive, or carefully selected with my garden’s lasting beauty in mind? What then? Will I have squandered precious resources?

I find myself still struggling with some things as a human being. Communication is one of those things. Specifically, I have a problem with interrupting. I work on it pretty aggressively, but still (often) come up short of the desired outcome – which is listening deeply and not interrupting people (any people; everyone wants to be heard). The “seeds” of this challenge were planted a long long time ago. The nurturing or care those “seeds” were given most likely either did nothing to reduce the likelihood I’d interrupt people as a chronic issue, or potentially made it worse, by whatever success as a coping mechanism it may have once had. This thing isn’t a fucking “seed” any more; it’s g’damned tree. It’s massive, and it’s branches shade so much of my experience interacting with others that it affects the entire garden, now. What the hell? When I did even plant this thing? How have I not been more successful at least pruning the fucking thing back to some sort of manageable size??

I sip my coffee thinking about what we “plant” in our lives that grow to vex us later. It’s not always a walk in a manicured rose garden, this thing called life. I’ve definitely got to be more diligent about “ripping out the weeds”… and also garden with more care, taking better notes, and making a clear point of being present in the experience.

…If nothing else, I most definitely need to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee thinking about work. Thinking about life and love. Just sitting here thinking. Yesterday wasn’t a great day… but it also wasn’t actually a bad day. Neither my Traveling Partner nor I had slept well the night before. We were both more than a little cranky as a result. We managed not to snarl at each other to the point of being insufferably unpleasant, though we were also not super cheerful or inclined to be close, and it showed in our interactions. Prickly. Terse. Irritable. We could have done better. So much better. Even after a decade of living and loving, we have room to improve on how we treat each other, how we behave under the influence of stress or fatigue, and how skillfully we heal and soothe each other. Still, we spent much of the evening hanging out together more or less contentedly. That was nice. Looked at through a different lens, it was actually a pretty good day, generally.

Another sip of coffee, my thoughts turn to work. Sometimes I love this job. Sometimes I see myself as just another “corporate whore” making a go of it, earning a paycheck, and keeping that going to keep bills paid and food on the table, doing my best but also understanding that it’s a paid gig because I would not stick around doing this shit for free. Practical. Pragmatic. Still doing my best, because that’s what I’m paid to do.

“Baby Love” in bloom, May 15, 2023

I think about how far I’ve come, for some minutes. 15 years ago, life did not look like this. I lived in a seriously run down apartment in an area characterized by economic struggle (and mostly inhabited by students, and people who could not afford a nicer place or something closer to work). I had a job with a title that sort of impressed me when I took the job, but turned out to be camouflage for dirt wages and a toxic work culture. I was surviving, but definitely not thriving. My mental health was in bad shape, and I was pretty heavily medicated without great results. My relationship(s) were suffering my lack of good mental health care. My self-loathing and despair had become a quagmire of sticky trauma preventing me from making changes. Change was coming… but I didn’t know it, couldn’t see it, and for sure was in no condition to make wise rational choices about how to best move forward from where I stood. My life had reached some sort of steady-ish equilibrium of misery that had enough to sustain itself for whatever remained of a lifetime, and I had mostly sunk into a deep apathy about it – the resulting persistent anhedonia and general misery oscillated with occasional (frequent) explosive tantrums.

15 years later, I barely recognize myself as the same woman. I have a nice little house in a pleasant suburban neighborhood on the outskirts of a cute town in a country county. I’m surrounded by good neighbors, working-class skilled laborers, machinists, makers, professionals… you know, people. Good-hearted people, mostly kind nice people. Good neighbors. It’s a nice town. My job title? These days it rarely reflects the complexity of the work, and it doesn’t much matter; I’m paid fairly for the work I do. I work for companies, generally, that treat folks well. My mental health is in a great place, relatively speaking. I could be healthier. I could be “saner”… incremental change over time is still something I count on. Slow progress, steady progress. I feel hopeful, generally, and positive. I make changes fairly often, rarely really large changes – doesn’t seem necessary, generally. Small things make big differences. There’s no “equilibrium of misery” – misery feels incredibly shitty these days, because it is rare. I’m fortunate that I’m rarely miserable. Anhedonia? No thank you. Explosive tantrums? Rare enough these days that they are not a feature of my experience, just an occasional and unfortunate circumstance that trips me up when shit goes sideways. CPTSD. It’s not going to “go away”, it just gets better, slowly. 🙂 I’ve got better tools. So many tools.

…Then there’s love. This partnership. One of the best “tools” in my toolkit is my partnership with my Traveling Partner. Healthy relationships may not “fix” everything… but unhealthy relationships? Surely capable of destroying progress and emotional wellness! I’m glad every day that I’m so fortunate to have this partnership. I feel cared-for and supported day-to-day. We’ve got our issues and challenges; we’re still human primates, we still lead with our emotions, we still fuss over vexing bullshit and blow small stuff completely out of proportion now and then.

It’s been a hell of a journey. In May, we celebrated love together, 12 years of it. In June we’ll celebrate that I’ve stuck around to see 60 years of sunrises. Wow. That feels like a bigger deal than 21, 30, or 40, by far.

…I guess the entire point here is, taking things a step at a time becomes, at some point, an entire journey. Choices, verbs, steps, decisions, circumstances, events… time passes. This too will pass – whatever “this” is. The journey is the destination. There’s value in trying to make it a good one, one change at a time, one choice at a time. Begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee from the quiet chaos of the co-work space. It’s much earlier than my work day generally starts, and I’m okay with that; this is my time. My Traveling Partner woke early, feeling less than ideally well. I woke early, too, although I’m not sure why (and it doesn’t really matter). I had planned to work from home. He asked me to work in the co-work space, so he could maybe get some more sleep. Makes sense. Sure, no problem.

…Yesterday, we’d discussed a plan for him to head back out with the truck and camping gear, different route, different locations, maybe leaving Saturday morning. Neither of us expected him to wake up feeling unwell this morning. No idea how that changes the planning, but I’m prepared to roll with it, I suppose. What else can I do besides flex and walk on? 😀 I definitely care more about my partner’s health than I want to insist on some solo time at home! Priorities.

I take another sip of my coffee. Fairly ordinary. I promise myself a better cup of coffee a little later, when the nearby coffee shops begin to open. I find my heart is still with my partner, wishing him well, and hoping he did indeed manage to get more sleep. Nothing quite like the healing power of getting enough rest.

I definitely do find myself yearning for some solo time at home. The thing is, though, there’s the additional need for that time to be available to me without wrecking my partner’s experience to get it. It matters to me that if he hits the road to go camping, he’s doing it with enthusiasm, and joy, and out to have his own good experience, not just accommodating me at his own expense. You know? Reciprocal consideration. He gets it. He’s eager to get out into the wilderness with the truck.

The world is a strange and sometimes vile place. People can be… horrible. I feel safe in my Traveling Partner’s arms, and in his good company. I’m often astonished by how badly people choose to treat each other… sometimes even in the context of relationships one might expect to be characterized by love. Why is that, I wonder? Are we not able to become truly “civilized”? I’m not feeling bitter about it, this morning, just… puzzled. I’m not perfect. I’ve been an absolute bitch more than once, myself. I’ve been a bad friend, a bad partner, or just plain mean. That’s just real. I spend a lot of time reflecting on such things, and seeking to work out how to be a better human being – or even simply the person I most want to be.

I think about the politics of our time, and the repetitive “conditioning” we’re all subjected to by “special interests”, media, and advertisers, and how easily we fail to notice when ideas are being crammed into our thinking by someone with an agenda. I think about the issues of the world…and in the abstract, they almost all seem “solvable”, if only we were willing. Pretty appalling that we readily reject solving some problems if there is any risk that the solution will benefit everyone. What’s up with that bullshit? I take another sip of my now-cold coffee. More questions than answers.

…How can I do better, myself? I can at least work on that…

I let my mind wander awhile. Finish my coffee.

It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee, a bit groggy at the start of the work day. I spent a portion of the evening swapping messages back and forth with my Traveling Partner. He was out on the road hundreds of miles away. Connectivity wasn’t great, and we’d already had a couple phone calls interrupted mid-sentence due to lack of signal strength. The gist of it all was mostly to do with terrible weather, and a less than ideally fun experience for this shake-down journey to test the gear and how we load it.

…Some things could be improved, and a bunch of stuff did not turn out as planned…

My Traveling Partner arrived home in the wee hours. I got up to welcome him home, greet him, and hear the tales of a traveler. Unexpected flooding, muddy side roads, and poor visibility due to a combination of things, rendered the experience less than ideally fun or satisfying. It made sense to cut it short, make some corrections, and begin again. 😀 I returned to bed after we spent some chill time reconnecting.

…A new day begins…

And so, here I am with this coffee, and falling back on an existing routine, more or less. I’m not vexed by the change of plans. My Traveling Partner understands the relative importance of getting this “me time”, and he’s suggested that he’ll likely give his away time another shot – with a difference selection of trails and camps, and a different direction of travel, perhaps – in just a day or two. I eye my list of things I’d planned to do with my solitary time. Some of it I can as easily do when my partner is at home, it just requires me to make it an actual priority for myself. That’s a healthy exercise, itself. I definitely need more practice putting myself on my own list. lol Over time, my results have varied.

I watch the sun rise through the windows of the co-work space. I’m still groggy. The beams of morning sunlight illuminate the artificial forsythia on this deck, bringing it to life for a time. I sip my coffee and consider beginning again.