Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

I woke feeling merry – then moved to get out of bed. Holy crap, why the evolutionary-hell did it seem utterly necessary to develop arthritis pain?? I sigh, and ease myself slowly from the bed to something more or less like a standing position and make my way to my yoga mat.

(There’s a chance I watch too much Rick and Morty…)

Yoga helps. I’m not so stiff afterward. My coffee is tasty and hot. I’m still smiling and aside from being in pain, I “feel good”. I am learning to define  how I feel by qualities other than physical pain… it definitely makes a better experience, day-to-day. I suspect this will be a valuable trait as I age. lol Besides… fuck pain!  I put my headphones on, crank up some favorite dance tracks, and keep moving. I may be a plump, curvy, middle-aged fat chick with some wear and tear, but I’m fucking smiling, bitches – and I feel wrapped in love and smiles this morning in spite of pain. 😀 Wubba-lubba-dub-dub!!! 😉

Finding my joy has been a journey all its own, and part of “all of the everything” along the way. I can recall being a deeply bitter, disappointed cynical shell of a human being, a dry rotting husk where my heart could have been. Unpleasant. (That describes both me, I think, and my experience, itself.) It wasn’t surprising, knowing what I know (which is most of everything) about my experiences. What surprises me even now, though, is how much I yearned to be someone completely different. Not “different from the woman I am” as much as “a woman having a different experience than I am” – and looking back it took a long damned time to figure out (with help, frankly) that my own choices were a large part of where I landed in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming poor people for poverty, or rape survivors for having PTSD and trust issues, or domestic violence victims for struggling with repressed rage and learned helplessness; no victim blaming here at all, implied or explicit. What I am saying, is that I didn’t recognize how much personal control I have over my own state of being. I could always make choices that change the quality of my experience for better or for worse – that’s a lot of power, and carelessly wielded it results in a lot of emotional chaos. We do have choices. A lot of them. So many choices it can be a little overwhelming… does it matter if I wear a dark blue wonder woman tank top under my sweater this morning? Not so much… but it’s a choice. The choice whether or not to budget my finances is a much bigger deal, as choices go. Or, the choice whether or not to labor away in a job that defies my values, and working for a person I don’t respect, and who treats me poorly – that’s a big deal for sure, and yep, also a choice (and a choice I am very glad I made differently, at long last).

The music keeps playing. I keep dancing in my chair while I write. Now and then the music moves me such that I’ve got to get up between paragraphs and enjoy a particular track in a more physical way. I love to dance. I make no claims of skill – I just enjoy movement, and music, and the way they go together so well.  At 53, and more than a bit self-conscious about … something… I don’t comfortably dance with ease and freedom in public spaces (anymore/yet). It can bring me near to tears to brush too closely to plentiful recollections of being young, fit, sexy, flexible, and so easily able to be the music in a physical form. Stiff from arthritis pain, back broken in two places, fused and wired back together, and too heavy to feel light on my feet for very long has talked me into a level of self-consciousness about being seen exactly as I am that I’ve not yet sorted out, and which creates conflict in my sense of rhythm, which adds to my self-consciousness. At any rate, it’s a source of emotional discomfort that I rarely discuss. It’s part of my journey these days; there is so much music I want to see live, and I want to be comfortable in that world, too.

The unexpected frankness with myself this morning, on this tender sore place in my heart labeled “too fat” opens my eyes to how much I’m hurting over this, and the tears spill over my cheeks like tiny waterfalls. The worst of it is the sting of knowing that the mocking skinny girl lurking in my thoughts isn’t about experiences I’ve had of other women; she’s the woman in the mirror, at a much younger age, that woman so easily able to dance, lacking any awareness of where life would take her, and brutally insensitive about others. Straight up, it’s not about treating other women badly over matters of weight, appearance, or beauty. I know my own heart. I know that woman. I know what she was about. I know her. I find myself acutely aware of who I was and the content of my thoughts, then. Life itself got tired of my shit, and now I am faced with all manner of many things I was uncomfortable with as a younger woman. lol Well-played life. You’ll make me wise, yet. Perspective matters, and it can be painful to develop.

Kindness matters too. And compassion. My tears dry as I savor the wry humor of being so carefully placed in life to experience a broad range of experiences. Gnothi seauton. I could have been a better person than I was in my 20s, but I wasn’t – and I wasn’t even aware of what a basic and shitty human being I actually was. Self-awareness demands a lot of me, and this morning it demands that I acknowledge how much I yearn to feel as comfortable on the dance floor as I do in my living room. As comfortable with my partners as I do when I am alone. Funny… until I became aware I felt otherwise, I didn’t realize this is a journey I also very much need to take… so… I guess it begins here? In a blog post I didn’t realize I was going to write, about an issue I find more personal than my sexuality… my emotional comfort with my physical self. Again. Still.

I’m still smiling. Still sipping my coffee. Still dancing through the pain. All good things – and there is further to go on this journey, and I suppose that is also a good thing. 🙂

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I woke ahead of the alarm, feeling fairly rested. Within minutes of sitting down to the computer with my coffee, I was sucked into Facebook, and quickly found myself outraged. They got me. lol I put it aside and let it go. Even the most heinous political news is subject to this one caveat, and it can’t easily be argued with; what has been changed, can be changed. As little as that, such a small idea, and I am breathing more easily, I am more relaxed, and I am less agitated. I remind myself that however greedy, vile, callous, or stupid, powerful old rich white men die. (I know, I know, it often seems to take far too long.) Not my usual? Sorry, I’m less pleasant first thing in the morning when I have to face being a woman in Whitemanistan, just saying. The very soundtrack of my experience is altered.

What does “power” look like? 

Damn. Still mad. Sorry… I’ll just have to begin again. lol

Flowers. Raindrops. Moments. 

I take a sip of my exactly-the-right-temperature-to-enjoy coffee. I breathe. I relax. I turn my attention to the lovely evening I shared with my traveling partner and our friends last night. The smile on my face is immediate, and lingering. My posture changes. My breathing deepens and becomes more even. What we fill our attention and our consciousness with really matters. It’s a weird balancing act, too, because some of the vile bullshit in the world urgently needs our attention – all of us, collectively and individually, and turning away from it isn’t really an option… We all still need chill time, and a calm core of inner peace to thrive, as emotionally intelligent self-aware beings capable of sustaining healthy relationships. News media is selling a product, and our outrage is a powerful attention getting tool for generating clicks and views and likes and subscriptions. It’s about the revenue, not the “truth”. I sigh quietly, and sip my coffee.

What matters most?

I decide on a weekend without a lot of “digital clutter” in my consciousness. A hike sounds much better, frankly, or some time in the studio. I smile thinking back on the evenings with my beloved Traveling Partner this week; it’s been a rare joy to see so much of him. I feel secure in his affection, and wrapped in love. It’s a wonderful feeling. I smile, and ponder for a brief moment how such precious fleeting emotional experiences so easily become something we chase or yearn for, upending our lives in pursuit of what is not permanent – and can’t be. I’m glad I’m not doing that, now. I enjoy this powerful emotional moment, consumed for a time by its fragile saturating loveliness. It’s no surprise how easily such things become a perpetual “carrot on a string” dangling in front of my inner Bugs Bunny. lol Aren’t we each fools for love?

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (from Shakespeare, sonnet 18)

I sip my coffee, thinking about love. Well… and also the farmer’s market, and carnivals… and country fairs… and rope swings at the edge of local watering holes. Summer. LOL It’s a cooler morning this morning, leading to a day forecast to be more spring than summer. I’m okay with that too. Neither spring nor summer truly have my heart, though I enjoy them while they last. 🙂 Love also has its spring, its summer…

Summer afternoons soon become autumn evenings…

I make a second coffee. The world is quiet, for now, but mostly because I don’t have my music blasting, nor am I cramming digital content into my face holes. There is a whole world of grief, of celebration, of noise, of drama, out there – more than enough to go around. I give up my share this morning in favor of stillness and quiet joy. It’s enough.

Love matters most.

 

This adulting nonsense is so hard, sometimes! Most particularly the part where I find myself having to balance long-term and short-term needs, or just generally sort out wants from needs, develop new perspective on old situations, or balance the whimsical with the practical. So hard. Still, not learning and doing these things, while certainly among the many options available, seems to hold the greatest promise of huge disappointments later on. So, I practice, I learn, I grow – I continue to adult, with varying levels of skill.

The house-hunt is a case in point. I just haven’t been getting far looking at tiny fixers. Some of them have been quite cute. Several of them would definitely meet most of my needs for long-term housing, and would satisfy the shorter-term (more urgent-seeming) desire to move from the place I am in right now. Fucking hell – there’s more to it than swiping my card, regardless of whether or not I have pre-approval in hand. Irksome. There are criteria to be met with a VA loan. There is the ever-present reality of a “seller’s market” in an industry quite willing to refrain from the sort of economic regulation and clear process requirements that might cut into anyone’s ability to drive commissions higher (through higher prices generated by aggressive bidding among home-seekers, encouraged by realtors). Frustrating. I just want somewhere to call home. Coming to terms with one element of my dissatisfaction (specifically that I don’t actually want to live in a crowded residential suburb with an ugly commute) turns my attention to the beauties of rural living… and… the scarcity of land. Damn it. LOL I look at page after page of listings of parcels of land in my state… I’m sort of limited, though, to the region commutably close (by car) to my job, right? Yeah. So is everyone else, and most of the jobs in the state… right here in this area. Plenty of big lovely parcels of remote unimproved land out there, though… if I thought I could do a 10 or 12 hour commute I’d be in good shape. “Remote” has various magnitudes of meaning, but none of those mean “convenient to the office”. lol Well shit, at least I am still laughing.

For a moment this morning I wanted to sit down and write “Dear Universe, please send land I can afford, I’ll manage the rest. I’ve been very good this year” and hope for the best. 🙂 Sometimes there is a lot of gentle relief in having a child-like heart in these matters. Adulting mostly generally just sucks. lol

I sip my coffee and smile to myself. It’s not that bad, honestly. I’m house-hunting. That’s something pretty huge. It’s a time-consuming process, and well… that does take time. So, okay. I keep looking. I keep gathering resources. At some eventual future point there is a predictable logistical collision between available opportunities, resources, time, and decision-making, and then, shortly afterward… an outcome. I don’t even know what that outcome will be.

What if, and it’s not off the table, the thing that truly makes sense is to continue to work and save for retirement – the real brass ring in this game – and then utterly and wholly relocate (even out of the country)? Well… at that point, having a house would be no advantage at all. So. Yeah. Life is weird. I’m living one, this one, mine. I’ve no idea where this path leads, really. I think I know what I want… but I’ve inched along on this journey of self-understanding just enough to suspect that any notion I have of knowing what I want is, itself, a bit of an illusion. What is enough? (Honestly, that one is a frustrating bit for me; my idea of “enough” and the VA’s idea of “enough to loan me money for” are rather different… because… I’d live in a fucking yurt in the high desert well away from everyone, or out in the trees in a tent, or… yeah. I’m not actually all that fancy, as fancy human primates go.)

So, what can I do on a Tuesday to get a little farther to goal? Study, I suppose. Do my homework as a consumer. Be well-informed about what I am getting myself into. Be ready “when the time comes” … for whatever the outcome may be. Am I “there yet”? Nah, there’s a lot more to know than I ever will. It’s quite possible, at any point in life, to be more prepared than I am. There are verbs involved.

I sip my coffee. I think about life’s menu. I think over all of the many options – and these are only the ones I even know about, myself. I think about simple. I think about fancy. I think about enough. With one last swallow of now-cold coffee, I think about journeys, and progress, and beginnings, and verbs.

I head to my meditation cushion to begin again. 🙂

I was already feeling sort of testy about weird man/woman shit when drama erupted in a relationship totally not my own, still somehow spilling over into my experience, by way of my Traveling Partner supporting a friend going through a bad bit as a failed partnership ends. I’d have been, perhaps, less enraged by how that friend is being treated by an ex… but emotions are what they are, including personal loyalty, and I found myself wondering what I could do to actually help – and offering up “anything” that could be to my Traveling Partner.

I’m still angry this morning. Maybe it was the Facebook post about the news article on “stealthing”, maybe that’s what got my ire up? That’s some unsavory wrong-headed bullshit, all by itself, and enough to make any woman angry – even the suggestion of it, and reading the article, was enough to anger me. Ancient rage. The sort that does not stifle easily. For some reason, in April of this year it seems a popular topic for news articles. That bothers me too.

A pleasantly distracting picture of the first spring goslings. 🙂

The scene on the bus ride home last night, though, irritates my consciousness in this whole other “see your therapist soon!” sort of way, like picking at a scab, or scratching a bug bite… I feel very much that I should not “pick at this”, unfortunately that’s often the rallying cry of “this is some root cause to a bit of your madness, but let’s not deal with all that now” that pushes things into dark corners of chaos for the later “amusement” of my personal demons. It wasn’t an uncommon scene, either… a young woman and a young man riding the bus together…

He was tickling her. She said “stop”, laughing. The way she said stop, and it came up repeatedly as the bus ride continued, caused more heads than mine to turn. Her laughter, to me, sounded uncomfortable. She said “no”. She said “stop”. She said “quit it”. She said these things firmly. She continued to laugh while she said them, mostly. He kept on. I was very uncomfortable, but in a confined space, like a bus, was an involuntary witness. When my stop approached, I stood at the door, which was immediately next to them, they were facing me. I turned to face her and made eye contact. “This bus ride was very uncomfortable for me.” I said. Heads turned. Conversations stopped. She held my gaze. People were listening.  “You keep telling him no”, I said to her, “but you are laughing. He keeps doing this thing that appears to be violating your boundaries, you keep telling him no – and you keep laughing. If you are enjoying this, why are you telling him no? If you are not enjoying this, why are you complicating your effort to set boundaries by laughing?” I waited. She looked uncomfortable and said nothing. He finally spoke up for her “she’s having a good time.” He said it firmly with conviction, he looked resentful of the intrusion. I turned to him as the bus pulled forward from the last signal light. I looked into his eyes for a long minute before saying slowly, with forced calm,  “I wasn’t talking to you, and it isn’t up to you to decide if she’s having a good time. It is up to you to decide if you will respect her boundaries and require clear communication of consent.” I turned my back on him deliberately, and turned back to her. The bus doors opened, and I felt my eyes fill with tears I didn’t intend to share, and only enough time to say “Your choice of behavior is teaching him that it is acceptable to violate your boundaries.” I can hope she heard me, but I’ll probably never know. I walked home sad and angry. Sad because this bullshit goes on all the time. Angry with the woman in the mirror because it’s my fault, too. Angry because it took men who understood consent to bring it to my awareness. Angry because I even had to be persuaded and cajoled into taking care of myself, into learning to set clear boundaries firmly, into learning that my agency actually matters, and that my consent is sacred and must remain inviolate – and is my own. I had to learn not to laugh uncomfortably any time I said “no”. I still struggle with these things, and that is one source of my anger.

I got home angry. The addition of needless break-up drama in other lives that matter (don’t they all?, isn’t that why it’s so hard to turn away?) didn’t help ease my simmering fury. It was an evening that touched on a lot of my chaos and damage. It all felt very personal. The pendulum swung from anger at a human experience of one sort, to a very different sort – that ugliness whereupon people behave as though they have some entitlement to what is not their own, in the midst of breaking up. Stealing things, tit for tat bullshit, and “getting even”. Ugly. I am so fucking sick to death of people behaving in these ways. We are not each other’s property. We are not chattel. We are not entitled to some particular outcome in life, which when deprived of it we are then entitled to steal, to break shit, or to commit assault or murder. Your relationship ended? Get the fuck over that shit, and walk on. Leave it all behind. Don’t chase after each other, poisoning the future. Treat each other well in celebration of love that once was. Vengeance? That’s bullshit. Walk away. Your life and your heart matter most, all the rest are just the material trappings of existence. It’s hard to stand idly by while a friend is robbed, and my anger at the pettiness and drama of his ex acting out surged again and again as the evening wore on… but not because of him (or even her, although her behavior has certainly cost her my respect, and any potential for friendship in the future; I’m just not okay with that behavior). I stayed angry because the events of the evening touched me – me personally, my own heart, and I am having my own experience.

More goslings, and a moment of perspective.

I’m fortunate to have a strong, reciprocal, boundary-respecting, loving relationship with my Traveling Partner. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it is my first relationship in which my boundaries are respect and my explicit consent is required, just generally and day-to-day. When we got together, I was almost 50. It’s more than a little uncomfortable to be aware of that, and of the years of internal struggling and suffering that preceded it. I stayed angry through much of the evening, because I am still so very angry with myself, with my circumstances, and with all those preceding relationships in which my agency was not valued, my boundaries were not respected, and my consent was violated regularly. I am angry now, because I spent so much time then laughing uncomfortably, and waiting for unpleasant moments to just… end. I am angry because I have been punished for taking care of myself, for setting boundaries, for walking away, and for speaking up for myself. I am angry because it took so long to choose to change – and to understand that indeed, I had to change before my circumstances could. Even then, there were verbs involved.

Evenings are short during the week. My temper simmered over dinner. I continued to fret and stew over drama in the shower, and as the evening began to reach its end. I didn’t really want to go to bed angry… I wished my Traveling Partner well, and logged off of devices, and sat down on my meditation cushion in front of the open patio door. I let the cool marsh breeze wrap me the scent of meadow flowers. I let everything else fall away, and just took time to breathe, and to be, and to listen to the rain fall. Over some unmeasured time, I found my way back to the present moment, content and calm. It wasn’t that my anger no longer existed, it simply found a welcome home within my own heart, and some understanding. Calm anger. Weird. I went to bed and found sleep while listening to rain tapping at the window.

Sure. I still feel angry about the things I am angry about. There are plenty of things worth feeling angry about. This morning I sip my coffee also feeling content that I am able to put things in context and gain understanding from them, over time. I can grow. I can choose change. I can be more removed from drama than I once was. I can offer support to people close to me, without being destroyed in their dumpster fire. I can heal. I can walk on.

I can begin again. So can you. 🙂

Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all.  He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of  house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. 🙂