Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

Short one this morning. One white voice taking notice of more black lives lost. It’s not okay, it’s not acceptable, and we can, as a nation and as a species, do better. Being white should not be an advantage in the 21st century, that it so obviously is, is something worth being aware of – and ashamed of. Certainly, it is something worth fixing. Black lives matter. They do. Lives of all colors “matter”,  but – the lives we need to be talking about right now are black lives. Brown lives. Lives of people of color. Because for some reason, we continue to tolerate a lesser standard of treatment for those lives. Less regard for their value. Less money in their paychecks. Less liberty under the same constitution that values constitutional freedoms so highly for white lives. It’s a bitter bill to swallow. Take your medicine anyway, white America. Heal this massive wound. (We can’t heal something we refuse to see…)

Racism is not a problem that needs to be corrected by people of color. It’s a problem white people need to fix. Go ahead, tell me you are not racist. Worse still, tell me there’s no problem. If that’s your position, please take time to educate yourself – there is a lot of evidence that tends to disagree with that position. White people need to be speaking out and taking a stand on this. We need to object when we see it. We need to correct the bullshit racism of our elders, of our family members, of (perhaps) even our friends. We need to raise our white voices, and carry them to the highest offices in the land, and demand reform. Real reform. Real change.

Be part of making the world truly a better place. “All lives” won’t matter, not really, until black lives really do matter – to white people.

I don’t really think I should have to say any of this. It’s too obvious, and change is too long overdue. I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation after so many years. Be part of making real change. Be the person you most want to be. Make room for your fellows, and for strangers, and yes also for people of color,  to also be the people they most want to be, under a flag that truly represents “liberty and justice for all”. We’re going to need some verbs, and a lot of new beginnings, and our results may vary as we learn new ways – but it does need to happen, and let’s be real, it’s white people that need to make that change. Yes, all white people. Use your voice, use your vote, use the power of your “all mighty dollar” – your choices are involved. Mine, too.  (How will you object, without becoming proof of the problem?)

It will take white choices and white voices to address the American sin of racism; we made this mess, and we need to clean it up.

Are you ready to change the world?

Was it me? Was it them? Is anyone at all “right”? Is anyone “the good guy”? It doesn’t feel like it. We’re each having our own experience. Really listening to each other – both of us, reliably – is not a thing right now. This shit went so wrong that even the neighbors are awake with it. It’s not okay. I can tell I’m not “the good guy”. It’s pretty much a given that I’m not the good guy, any time shit blows up; complex PTSD is nasty shit, and most of the time, in most circumstances, when things fall apart this badly, this fast, it’s on me. I’m not being hard on myself, or sarcastic, or fatalistic, or catastrophizing. It’s just statistics. If something goes this badly, this quickly, I can reliably assume with considerable likelihood of being correct that it’s me, because far more often than not, it is. My words. My actions. My reactions. My… something. My PTSD. It’s hard to take, as answers go, and at least right now I’m feeling mostly despair and that bleak sense of “this again?” I feel like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Metaphorically speaking.

…I’m so tired of it…

…I’m so tired of me.

Is this “who I am”, when it comes right down to it?

I’m tired of PTSD. So tired of it. The unexpected flash of unreasonable anger/frustration/rage/tears that sweeps in out of literally nowhere, and just lays waste to every fucking thing that could ever have been good about a moment is beyond comprehension, and seems defiant of management or control. It leaves an emotional film of unpleasantness and sorrow over everything that follows for some time.

…But… I have all these excellent practices… all this therapy behind me… all these good intentions… all this fucking work. My demons howl with laughter and general merriment. I can hear them like a Greek chorus, “Fuck your practices you stupid meat puppet! We fucking own you. We will own you until it kills you or destroys everything you love.”

Sure, there’s shit my Traveling Partner fucks up, too. He’s human. I think it’s easy enough to acknowledge his humanity. Sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes he’s an asshole. Sometimes he’s not either of those things, and shit still goes sideways. I’ve got to acknowledge that he definitely loves me, too; how else could he have stayed through so much of my bullshit? How else could he continue to approach me, seeking to calm things down and soothe me when he is hurting, himself?  Is it enough? Is love actually enough? Can it really keep me trying? Can it really lift me up? Is love enough to get me to hang in there through another freak out? Another break down? Another fuck up? Another moment of missed communication, sabotaged joy, lost delight? Is love enough to endure more of this shit? Is it unreasonable to expect it to be?

What do I even do right now? (What do I even do right, now?)

I’ve lost my appetite. My coffee tastes sour. My head aches. My tears just keep slowly flowing down my face. This is an incredibly painful moment. We’re on the edge of doing something really wonderful together… and I continue to suck as a human being. God damn it. Fucking hell. This is miserable.

…Why am I choosing misery?

(Breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Breathe. Exhale. Let it go, some more. Breathe, exhale, let it go, be here – present in this moment. I remind myself that I am “okay right now”.)

So, now what? I don’t know. I know my partner is hurting in the other room. Emotional pain because this was a painful moment. Physical pain because he’s a human, and aging fucking sucks; old injuries hurt worse as we age than they did when we were recovering from them. Both of us are hurting. There’s no physical violence in this relationship, but we sometimes treat each poorly. Harsh. Unkind words are for sure “better than a punch in the mouth” – but they aren’t good. It’s not what I want from myself. It’s not want I want for myself.

…I just want my pleasant relaxed morning back. I want to roll back the clock and treat my partner well, and feel well-treated in return. We missed our moment. I can’t refuse to own my part in that. I can’t turn away from my critical failures. The way out is through. We learn best through our mistakes and failures. Growth is uncomfortable.

“Begin again.” It’s feeble, but I heard it. That’s something, I guess. I think I want to, too. I just don’t feel confident about the outcome, right now. 😦 That’s even okay. It’s enough to make the effort. It’s enough to begin again.

…and again…

…and again…

We become what we practice. It’s time to practice calm. It’s time to practice loving words. It’s time to practice listening deeply.

…It’s time to begin again.

 

Sipping coffee on a Friday morning, before work. I’m stiff and aching today, and really missing the experience of anticipating a Saturday brunch with a friend. I mean… brunch isn’t an “essential”, and I’d rather not put humankind at risk over a desire for brunch out, but I do miss it. 🙂 I try to spend more time reflecting on, and savoring, the experiences I enjoy, right now, than I do complaining (or ruminating over) the ones I am missing.

…So, moving right along…

Yesterday was pleasant. My Traveling Partner spent his time doing his thing. I spent the day “at” work – in my studio, doing work things, on the work calendar, using work tools. It was a good day, generally. My partner and I enjoyed each other. The day unfolded gently without tension. I smile, and give myself over to a few minutes of joyful reflection and recollection.

My eye lands on the aquarium next to my desk. Needs some work. My early concerns that the plants would not fill enough quickly enough to provide a healthy environment has, over mere weeks, become concern that the floating plants will take over the entire 10 gallon space. lol Balance is needed. Nature needs a hand, in this instance, with some healthy pruning, a water change, and some aquascaping. 😀 Work I look forward to. The weekend is just ahead…

The “sunrise” is more a vague gray lightening of the overcast sky. It’s another rainy day. My back aches with it. I take something for that, rather than wait until I hurt so much I’m a seething rage-monster waiting for an opportunity to blow an inconsequential challenge way out of proportion. 🙂 Honestly? A fairly commonplace experience, hardly worth commenting on, certainly not worth bitching about for more than a paragraph, today. 🙂

…It’s already time to begin again…

I slept badly. Restless dreams. Woke ahead of the alarm, feeling… alarmed. I turned over and got comfortable again, just in time to hear the alarm go off. I felt stiff and sore getting up, which has persisted beyond a few minutes of yoga. I made my coffee in the dim ambient lighting of various household indicator lights, and a small lamp left on. The morning feels chilly, and my bones ache. The pain in my neck is a pain in the neck, slowly becoming a headache. I remind myself to take something for that, before the work day begins. I sit quietly, for awhile, wondering what’s missing from my experience of the morning, this morning. Something feels missing

…At some point, after some reflection, I accept that I just “don’t feel into it” today… like… disengaged from my experience, and generally… uninterested. I try to tempt my consciousness to be a tad more joyful… or at least minimally appreciative to have another shot at living life… Minecraft? I shrug silently. “Whatever.” How’s the coffee? Fine, I guess. No enthusiasm. I’m in pain, and I slept badly, and this entire day ahead of me, from the vantage point of right here, right now, can just… yeah, I’m not so into it, this morning. I at least manage to avoid feeling altogether bleak.

So…okay. New day, old practices. I breathe deeply, and sit more upright. I exhale and feel my aching cramped shoulder, perpetually twisted in an impression of being a rock of some kind, relax just a bit. Another breath. Another exhalation. I let thoughts drift in, and I let each one go. The pain in my shoulder is connected to the pain in my neck, that becomes the headache at the base of my skull – and just on the left side, leaving the right side taunting me with what life could feel like if I didn’t hurt like this. I tear up a bit. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let that go, too. These honest tears that threaten to fall aren’t shameful in anyway, I’m just… also not into that. lol

Time spent on meditation helps me gain some perspective. I know this is only “emotional weather”, and may source with unremembered dreams and poor quality sleep. It’ll pass. I remind myself to be kind – to myself, too – and give myself some support and consideration. The sky beyond my window reveals a gray rainy-looking day ahead. No wonder I hurt so much, I think to myself. Damn, …this headache, though…

I sip my coffee, and half-listen to a video I only half-wanted to watch, anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter. I find myself rather earnestly wanting to simply fold up into a pile of warm heavy blankets and just… cry. Or sleep. There is a work day ahead of me, and much adulting to do, on an utterly ordinary routine day in this life in the time of pandemic, and it’s not going to wait on a headache. I sigh quietly, and breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let that shit go… again. Feels like it may be a long day, today. I remind myself to let the moments unfold without pre-loading them with expectations and assumptions, and to give the day a chance to be more than this moment is, right now.

Practicing healthy practices that support emotional wellness day-to-day doesn’t mitigate my fundamental humanity, or erase the challenges I have – and my results vary. There is no “perfect” to get to, no “finish line” to cross with a champion’s raised arms, triumphant in victory. The journey is the destination… and sometimes the path is rough going, and poorly illuminated. This too will pass. It’s a moment. Like other moments, it is finite, and of limited consequence taken all on its own. I make a half-assed attempt at shrug. One day of many – sooner or later there will be one that isn’t characterized by contentment and joy. That’s just real. I let that go, too.

Another deep cleansing breath. I exhale. I relax. I think about a second coffee. It’s time to begin again.

Lots of stuff in the news recently about “getting back to normal” and “opening the country back up”. Are you eager to see that happen, or dreading it as potentially premature? Personally, I’m sort of just watching things unfold with a measure of interested curiosity.

I’m pretty sure there will be a “new normal”, and that we would not be wise to simply hit a reset button and go back to irresponsibly not washing our hands and carelessly coughing into open air, or shopping while we’re sick and contagious. One fairly notable thing about “going back to normal” – we can each choose to live a more healthful, safe, life. We can individually continue to commit to exceptional consideration with regard to contagion and personal space. We can continue to wash our hands regularly. We can continue to properly cover coughs and sneezes. We can continue to not go out into the world when we are sick. These all seem like good practices. Why would anyone choose to give them up? Seriously.

This seems a good time to really look into the mirror and acknowledge where my individual practices and habits do (or don’t) support good community health, generally, and make the corrections needed to see that I do practice behaviors that support good community health – and that I am actively promoting those within my relationships, and my community, generally. We’ve had the nudge we all needed, in the form of a pandemic for fuck’s sake, so now it’s time to build reliably healthy habitual long-term behavior for the good of our communities. It’s not that hard, it just needs practice. 🙂

I sip my coffee and let my thoughts move on.

I sit and wonder about our fantasy notions about “normal”, and what we think that means. Isn’t “normal” simply a matter of what we’re most used to, most of the time, rather than any reliably true perception or statement of what may actually be a healthy state of things? I mean, if I live somewhere where there is trash in the streets everywhere I go, that would probably seem to be pretty “normal”. It would not, however, be a healthy situation, or in any way perceivably good. I’m just saying; there’s an obvious difference in meaning between “normal” and “something worth seeking”. “Normal” is often used to limit and control people’s behavior – through shaming them using comparisons to that stated “normal”. I sip my coffee and think about how often I am, myself, out of step with some individual’s concept of “normal”. I think about how individual our perceptions of “normal” actually are. I wonder about where those perceptions actually come from, and how or why we may reinforce them – even when we disagree with them. It’s a weird system. 0_o

It’s a weird morning.

I sigh quietly and update my “to do list” with a couple additional tasks my Traveling Partner asked me to take care of. I think about the long weekend ahead, and the camping trip that I’m not taking because all the state parks are closed. I find myself missing the anticipated solitude more, simply because it is now the week that I would have been camping. In fact, I’d be headed for the forest right now, car packed, ready to hike in, set up camp, and while away some hours just listening to the wind in the trees. The plan was 5 days… come back, spend a day with my Traveling Partner before returning to the work routine. Hell, when I made my camping plans, it wasn’t even a given that my Traveling Partner would actually be in town to spend that 1 weekend day with me, after my camping trip. lol We’ve been together basically 24/7 for something like 60 days now – I was at home sick with a cold for several days leading up to my employer’s decision to have the company working from home “until the pandemic is over”. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the things to do with spending this time together. I miss solitude. The challenge is finding the balance between cherished solitude and joyful intimacy. It’s there, but there are some verbs involved.

My view shifts to include the computer at my desk. The keyboard under my fingers. The monitor in front of my face. My glance sweeps the room surrounding me, and all the things within it that comfort and nurture me, support my hobbies, my art work, my writing, my job. I pause for gratitude. This good quality of life is a team effort; my Traveling Partner and I add more to each other’s experiences than we subtract, by far. For now, solitude is an out of reach luxury, and it’s in very short supply. That serves to make it quite precious, worth savoring the experience when I get to enjoy it. I admit to myself that if I had a surplus of solitude right now, and no time with my Traveling Partner (an experience I have endured in the past), it would be just as hard, just as frustrating, just as unsatisfying as any moment right now ever is – and on top of all that, it would also be quite lonely. I shrug off my bitching with this bit of practical perspective, and move on with my morning, aware that he is having his own challenges with these circumstances. (It can not be easy to be with me 24/7… I’m a bit much, sometimes.)

I become aware of the clock. Aware of the time. I guess I’ll begin again. 😉