Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

Tonight the “silence” sounds reminiscent of a hot summer evening, sweltering temperatures, and the night air filled with the sounds of insects. Crickets. Mosquitoes. All of the many kinds of buzzing and crawling and flying things… and maybe a street light buzzing along with all of them. Dense. “Shimmer-y”. My tinnitus has been with me a long while. I don’t have a clear recollection of not having it. It differs left and right.

Why mention it at all? No reason really. I’m sitting here listening to it, which gets me to contemplating it with greater care. Sometimes I might start to panic, thinking I can’t hear anything else now, and have to pause to very willfully listen to other sounds to coax the tinnitus to recede into the background of my awareness once more.

Why on earth am I sitting here listening to my tinnitus? I didn’t mean to be, actually. I sat down to exchange courtesies with my Traveling Partner, check in with some friends, and catch up my personal email for the day before moving on with the evening. I put on headphones with the intention of listening to music. lol I never got that far. Something distracted me, and I’ve been sitting here listening to the sound of my poor judgement. (I don’t actually know for sure what causes all of my tinnitus sounds. I do feel pretty certain it would not be this bad if I had been a committed fan of hearing protection in my 20s and 30s.)

Funny what can catch my attention for a moment. I smile to myself, hit “play”, and begin again.

What a peculiar few days (couple of weeks?) it has been. I haven’t done anything particularly noteworthy… I go to work. I return home. I meditate. I read. I do just enough yoga to continue to use all my joints. I do just enough housekeeping to stay mostly fairly tidy. I don’t feel mired in sorrow, or at all blue. I’m just dealing with more pain than usual. It takes a lot out of me. I feel less like going anywhere or doing anything, once I’ve managed to put a work day behind me. Weekends aren’t much different; more meditation, more reading, no work of the employment sort, lots more squirrels, still managing pain.

I miss my Traveling Partner, but I am glad I’ve taken the time to get rested. I’m even, generally, sleeping (mostly) through the nights, and getting to bed at an hour that ensures I’ve gotten adequate rest. It’s something. Right now, it’s enough. Clearly I’ve been needing the rest. I’ve even finally gotten entirely over all of whatever contagious crud has been going around. Other than the pain I am often in, I feel pretty good. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee. The weather seems already inclined to turn toward spring. I’ve begun carrying the new camera with me everywhere. I look ahead to the weekend, another on which I will be generally at home. I’ve brunch plans Saturday with a friend that will take me an hour across town – which, these days, hardly seems like a drive at all. lol I’ve got a ticket to a concert Saturday night.Β In between those, regularly planned time hanging out with another friend. Busy Saturday. Sunday looks like a good day for rest and laundry – or a hike! If the weather holds up, Sunday could be a lovely day to take the camera on her first outing into the trees down some near-ish trail. A plan begins to take shape.Β  πŸ˜€

I smile into my coffee as I take a moment to recognize I’ve probably been quite slowed down just by the fact that it is winter – that’s a thing, it happens to all kinds of creatures, our seasonal clocks don’t all affect us the same way. I don’t consider myself someone with any sort of profound seasonal affective symptoms, but I am still a mammal, a primate, a living creature with circadian rhythms, and it is still winter. πŸ™‚

…I’ve got a plan to begin again. This morning, that’s enough. πŸ™‚

 

“Fuck Portland.” It came out as a snarl. I said it more than once. It was an unpleasant commute. I said much worse as I crept east on Division at less than 10 miles per hour. I waited at least twice at all but one intersection on my usual route. My GPS mocked me by pointing out it was “the usual traffic”. “Oh, Google,” I sneered, “I disagree.” Construction delays? Nope. A freight train halting traffic at important crossroads? Nope. Bus traffic? Nope, not this time. No, this time it was… Portland. Yep. The very culture itself combined with certain specific circumstances and… commuter hell.

One of the things I least appreciate about the area is the odd practice of extending courtesy to who or whatever is directly in one’s view, while utterly disregarding the existence of anything else at all. In this case, very polite drivers yielding the right of way of other drivers who have no interest in so doing, and haven’t consented to giving it up; a car waiting to turn, dense commuter traffic on a primary road that has the right of way, and lo! The oh-so-polite Portlander just fucking stops dead still in the middle of the road to allow someone whose turn it is not to go ahead and make their turn – sometimes, even if doing so requires just sitting there awhile as the perplexed driver who recognizes they do not have the right of way wonders what the hell is going on, until they finally also recognize that this polite clown is actually no kidding going to fucking sit there until eternity – unless that turn gets made. This is an experience over which I just seethe. I get very angry. Anger is hard on me. I’m not good at it. I have to practice the best possible anger-related skills and practices, or risk utter failure at adulting with skill. So. I practiced all the way home.

I did say “fuck Portland” a bunch of times, I won’t even minimize that – but I said it. I didn’t scream it while beating my fists on the dashboard, or throwing myself against the car door, or throwing shit. I just said it, and I totally meant it in the moment, too; fuck Portland. Fuck city convenience. Fuck traffic. Fuck the endless badly maintained pothole covered pavement. Fuck the multifamily housing being added to even the smallest available remaining city lots. Fuck the high rent. Fuck having to listen to neighbors through thin walls. Fuck being far away from family.

Oh.

Oh, hell. Is that what this is? Am I feeling lonely, and it is erupting as anger? Why the hell would I find anger a more comfortable emotion than loneliness?

I got home, and sat awhile in the parked car in the driveway, listening to the rain fall and the shhh shhh of passing traffic. I checked the mail, and tossed the pile of nothing into the recycling bin on my way to the front door. I let myself in, expecting to feel at ease, and when I didn’t… I sat down to write. My “safe space” isn’t always a meditation cushion next to a patio door, or a fireplace, sometimes it is pen and paper, or a keyboard and a text box.

My writing is interrupted by conversation with my Traveling Partner. It’s funny. I’m already totally over being angry. Definitely more invested in this conversation with this human being I love so much. So… I think I’ll do that, for awhile, and see where the evening takes me. It’s a nice way to begin again.

The first time I heard “YOLO”, I remember being rather struck by it in a positive way, which was before I was fully aware how often it is attached to a level of foolhardiness or stupidity so vast as to be quite noteworthy, and… on purpose. Wild. Kinda scary. Definitely not at all what I might mean were I to observe that “you only live once“. Not at all. I’d be saying “live your life – truly live it, awake, and aware, and willful, you may not get another shot at this, so do your best”.

I try, every day, to take my own best advice. Sometimes I even succeed.

I am enjoying a relaxed quiet evening, but it isn’t “everything”. I plan the weekend, making sure my needs over time are considered ahead of the needs of the moment (which often aren’t truly needs at all, but instead some distraction or alluring momentary fancy). I smile when I realize how excited I am to have two days in a row to sleep in, and no driving. I feel that twist, and become a pang of regret and loneliness; I won’t see my Traveling Partner this weekend. I do need some real down time, though, a chance to rest, and a chance to take care of this space I live in, and some time to finish moving into my studio, so that days I am inspired to paint are as effortless as days I am inspired to write. These are things I need. πŸ™‚

My mind wanders to that dark corner labeled “all the shit you forgot to take care of”, and instead of a panic attack, I find myself just sort of mentally “tidying up”, letting myself consider a large number of very assorted sorts of loose-end-y kinds of things I am prone to forgetting, just generally. I moved in July. Did I account for 100% of everything? Did I pack something, forget about it, and continue to overlook it because I don’t recall it even exists? So many distracting weekends away. How does a person rediscover what they have entirely forgotten, when that is a needful thing? That’s only sort of rhetorical; I do manage it, but I couldn’t explain in a million years quite how, and it’s very hit or miss. So… I guess I only sort of manage it. LOL Nice that such things don’t set off a storm of anxiety these days. The fear made it terribly difficult to catch things up, fix them, or complete them, or address whatever had or might go wrong with any skill. Now it generally just feels like another thing that needs doing, and once done, I’m done with it completely. I check off a few things, an address or two to update, things like that.

Strange night. I’m in a lot of pain, and the headache is just… extra. I’m managing a good mood in spite of that.Β  I’m still smiling from a few minutes of chat with my Traveling Partner. It’s a nice evening. It’s… a nice life. I frown, remembering how my every day moments “now” had been so thoroughly tainted by past events… when did that change? Will it stay like this? I feel the weight of my frown become stress in my shoulders and pause, breathe deeply, and sit more erect as I exhale. I’m okay right now. Right now isn’t something that needs troubleshooting. Right now I’m okay, and that’s enough. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I’ll begin again. πŸ™‚

I am taking a few minutes to relax and consider things. Consider the week that has just ended. Consider the weekend just about to begin. Consider this moment right here, and moments past that were entirely different. I am taking time to consider writing in the morning, versus writing in the evening, and which really works best for me – and I am considering whether there is any need for so much structure around what is (for me) such a natural thing? I am considering the contents of my pantry, which are depleted, and my fridge, which is almost empty; I’ve been sick, and there’s been no shopping done in more than a week. More than two.

I am distracted from my considerations by the smile on my face; I adult well enough to manage life without having to grocery shop for nearly two weeks. Nice. πŸ™‚ (To be fair, though, that’s mostly true because I’ve spent the last week sick, and disinclined toward much besides broth or soup or coffee or tea, and certainly I’m almost always well-stocked on all of those. lol)

Today at work I had two relatively special personal moments of… some kind. I’m not sure what to call either. I reached a point of feeling the crushing workload as, indeed, crushing – overwhelming, distracting, complex, unsatisfying, and even frightening; this was driving a lot of anxiety and I started to have a panic attack – in the office. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckityfuck. Shit. Damn it. Okay okay – I managed a deep breath. I managed another. I managed to admit to myself that I hadn’t been practicing good self-care, and if nothing else, I really needed a break. No. Not a walking meeting. A break. No, no, not a moment to help someone else with another task. Stop that. A break. No. Damn it. Not an opportunity to vent about these frustrations (that are so transitory). A proper break, away from the work, just – a break.

So I took one.

I got up from my desk, moved to a more comfortable seat in a spot without any connectivity or active devices within reach. No one to talk to, with, or at. No issues. No questions. I took the 10 minutes I really needed. With me. No judgment. No criticism. Just a few moments of meditation, smack in the middle of the work day. It felt sooooooo good. When those few delicious quiet moments concluded, I wasn’t feeling panicked or anxious or unprepared or inadequate or even over-taxed. I was ready to work.

So I worked.

One of the things I went back to work with was a calm settled appreciation for the great team I work with. We support each other. There’s a lot of authenticity and caring. It was a crazy busy week – and it was good. I stopped working a couple times later, throughout the day, simply to briefly thank the colleagues who have helped so much. We count on each other. We can. It’s that kind of place, and I couldn’t help contrasting that with, of all things, the current federal administration. I felt a moment of poignant sorrow and understanding; can you imagine what working in that fog of hate, confusion, and chaos must be like for rational beings who mean well and want to serve America in a positive way? That would definitely be a job to leave. I find myself stalled for just a moment considering all those folks feeling trapped in jobs they very much want to leave.

I went home feeling profoundly grateful for the life I am living right now. That felt pretty good, even if I did arrive home in pain. Just arthritis, right? We age. We deal with pain – as it turns out feeling our bodies age isn’t especially comfortable. lol

Tonight it’s a gentle night of self-care. I need that. It’s also a night of packing, tidying up, and readying myself for another trip down to see my Traveling Partner (who’s the traveler now!? lol) – I miss him greatly and find myself eager, in spite of also feeling soooo fucking tired. I look forward to getting over that. In the mean time, I’ll make a list tonight, and tomorrow I’ll begin again. πŸ™‚