Archives for category: pain

I’m sipping my morning coffee on a sunny summery Saturday. No firm plans, no clear expectations; just me, this coffee, and this morning moment with my thoughts.

It’s expected to be a hot day. I won’t want to go for a walk in the heat of the afternoon. I think over where I might like to walk this morning… my thoughts are still fuzzy with “just woke up” fog and imprecision. Right now? Walking doesn’t even sound pleasant; my knee aches, my ankle aches, and my back hurts.

…Oh hey – no headache (right now)! Win!

My tomato plants are growing tall, and strong, and they are blooming plentifully. My Traveling Partner suggested yesterday that they be moved a bit further apart (realistic potential because they are planted in garden bags with handles, and can be moved with care). Maybe I’ll do that today… before it gets too hot…?

I picked strawberries from the garden on Thursday. So yummy! Fully ripe. Fresh. Delicious little bites of summer. There are a few left, and there are more on the plants, ripening in the sun. It’s a small plot of strawberries, and likely will be finished for the year before July ends. I think about putting a narrow raised bed along the opposite side of the step-stone walkway along which the strawberries are planted, into which I could plant more… maybe next year?

There is so much potential in this one human lifetime. So many choices. So many paths on which to travel into an unknown future… I don’t have much more going on than these musings this morning. It’s enough. πŸ™‚ There’s this whole sunny day ahead, and so much potential…

…Time for a second coffee, and a new beginning. πŸ™‚

Fresh. Out of so many, how do I choose? πŸ™‚

I can’t even string together enough swear words to adequately describe the pain I am in this morning. It’s just physical pain. It’s even mostly the “healthy pain” of spending a day working in the garden, stooping, bending, lifting, digging, kneeling, standing, reaching… all good stuff. Fuck I hurt though. That pain on top of my arthritis, on top of my [whatever the fuck is wrong with this bullshit] neck/headache pain – it’s a lot. I’m sipping a very good cup of coffee this morning, working on shrugging off the pain, to get started on the Sunday routine – housekeeping, chores, upkeep. The details of having good quality of life do not take care of themselves. (Note: if you think that the details of having good quality of life “just sort of happen”, then I suggest you look around for that person who is clearly caring for your clueless ass and say “thank you” once in a fucking while, and oh yeah – how about helping out?)

It was a lovely day in the garden, yesterday. There’s more to get done (I didn’t quite finish, even with my Traveling Partner’s help): there are yet a handful of dahlia tubers to plant, some final tidying up of beds (for this go ’round), and tools to put away. I enjoyed the work, and the effort. I am pleased with the results. I focus on those things, and turn my attention away from the pain I am in. That, and good self-care now, are the best I can do. Some yoga and pain management first thing when I woke, and hopefully once this coffee is done, I’ll be in fair shape for the chores ahead.

If you’re reading this as a healthy fit twenty-something, feeling immune to the aches and pains, and possibly just the tiniest bit dismissive or smug about your fitness, I have only this to say; your turn will come. πŸ™‚ I don’t mean in a harsh way, I’m just saying that I understand that you “don’t get it” – we don’t know what we don’t know. I didn’t get it in my twenties, either. I couldn’t. It was outside my ability to truly understand. Enjoy ease and comfort and freedom of movement while they last you, my healthy fit friends of all ages. We’re all at risk of losing that fitness – whether through age or adversity – and once it is gone, it can be damnably difficult to get it back. (I keep working at that. Slow progress is still progress.)

Be kind to people. It’s unlikely that we know what someone else is really going through – even if they do try to tell us. Our own pain is typically the worst pain we know – and if it “isn’t that bad” we may not have a real reference with which to understand what someone else is going through. That’s as true for me as for anyone else. My partner tells me when he is in pain. I tell him. We hear each other. We earnestly seek to support each other with real care and consideration. We still can’t really know the pain the other one is experiencing. How bad is it, really? Well… I suspect it is always 100% “bad enough” that we do well to be kind to each other. I mean… that’s a small thing, isn’t it? So huge for the person we are being kind to, though. Oh, and when we’re in pain? When we’re suffering with it? Still, be kind. Sure, it’s an excuse one can offer for being a jerk to someone to say we are in pain. It’s even pretty real, right? Be kind, anyway. Pain hurts, for sure, and it can be a huge fucking challenge to muster one last shred of resilience to make that effort… but when we treat people poorly because we hurt, that person doesn’t feel our pain – only their own. From being hurt by being treated poorly. By us. Are you seeing how cyclical that can be? I’m just saying… it may be worth the effort all around, for all of us, every day, to be kind.

“I’m just being real.” I’m suggesting be kind instead. (Or, you know, in addition to being “real”… how about that?)

“I’m just giving helpful feedback.” I’m suggesting that if you must, that you do it in a kind way. Legitimately kind. If you can’t? Maybe don’t bother – especially if you weren’t asked for feedback.

“I’ve got my own shit to deal with.” Don’t we all? I’m just suggesting it may be less of a burden if you are also being kind to people you interact with.

“I’m all about ‘tough love’ and I’m only kind to people who deserve it.” It’s possible you’re missing the point of both “tough love” and kindness and I’m not sure what to say about that, at all. “Tough love” is about love. (It’s also about setting reasonable boundaries to avoid letting someone abuse your affection… seems like it would be possible to do so with kindness, too. I don’t know. I’m not walking your mile.)

Kindness may not save the world, but have you seen what the lack of it does to the world? It’s in the news a lot. Hate crimes. Road rage killings. Family violence. Kindness is a lot less news-worthy, generally… but the outcomes are far better.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a rant. πŸ™‚ It’s just the pain I am in coloring my experience. That’s why I’m on about it; I expect to needs these words, myself, as soon as I interact with my partner, neighbors, or the community beyond. This is a blog post I’ll re-read a number of times, today, as pain wears me down and I fight back for one more shred of resolve to get one more task completed. πŸ™‚

Take care of yourself today. Take care of those dear to you. Be kind. We all need more kindness, day-to-day. If we’re not willing to provide it, how will those around us understand to proceed, themselves? “Please be kind to me, I’m having a tough time today” are not easy words to say… maybe we would do well to practice, that, too? Anyway… practices need fewer words, and more practicing, and here it is, already time to begin again. πŸ˜‰

Raindrops on a rose bud.

My Traveling Partner and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. 11 years as lovers, 10 years married. We didn’t do much about it, aside from noting the moment together, enjoying each other’s cooking, hanging out, and spending precious moments together. It was a very human experience; we also took turns dealing with our own, and each other’s, physical pain, and occasional off notes in love’s symphony. lol So human. We enjoyed good conversation, a deep connection, abiding affecting for each other, and some great music. Again, nothing particularly fancy or extraordinary, and with the pandemic being what it is, we spent our time together at home. πŸ™‚ It is enough.

On one of my walks, I noticed the wild roses preparing to bloom. So soon?

It was a lovely weekend, and that’s how I remember it when I look back, in spite of being also aware that there were some moments I could have handled better (and some that perhaps he could have handled better). Yesterday I was in so much pain, generally, that by day’s end I’d maxed out on OTC and Rx pain relief, and still hurt enough to just call it a day quite early, thinking I’d just read quietly until whenever I felt sleepy… I don’t think I ever even picked up a book (or my Kindle).

I woke ahead of the alarm, with that painful day quite behind me, and an entirely new day ahead of me. I got up. Dressed. Went for my walk. Returned. Showered. Made coffee. Greeted my partner as he started his day. Now… here I am. πŸ™‚ Sipping my coffee. Writing. Simple verbs. An ordinary morning.

Which moments are worth celebrating? Milestones like anniversaries seem an obvious choice. Perhaps it is less obvious to celebrate a routine pleasant Monday morning and a good cup of coffee? There are so many moments of suffering in a human life… I find value in celebrating even the small successes, and easy wins. Doesn’t seem to do me any harm to do so, and it tends to fill my day-to-day experience with small celebrations, which, generally, is quite pleasant. So… I do. πŸ™‚

“The Alchymist” finally has a proper home in my garden. πŸ™‚ Worth a moment to celebrate a very long journey to “home”.

A neighbor gave me a hand digging the hole for my only full-size potted rose, yesterday. I didn’t expect it, and was astonished that it was done so quickly. It was splendid to successfully replant The Alchymist into the garden from the big nursery pot it has endured for so long. 6 years? 7? (Could be going on 10…) I smile thinking of the remaining 3 roses that will go into the ground this Spring. I’m delighted that I have, thus far, managed each replanting without killing new growth, tearing off or breaking new shoots, or knocking off buds. πŸ™‚

I was surprised how many buds there were on the long graceful canes of The Alchymist, already. Last year it only had one flower. LOL

…Small celebrations…

I remind myself to take a moment for life’s goodness, however humble, and to celebrate successes, however small. These moments are worthy of taking note, of savoring, of really enjoying – however brief they may seem, however modest in scale. An amazing, beautiful life can be built on small moments. πŸ™‚

…And already it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚ What are you celebrating, today?

It’s definitely Spring, now. Tiny green leaves are unfolding from swellings that became small buds on so many of the trees and shrubs! There is a green “mist” of unfolding forming in the view beyond the deck. Green things sprouting from the damp of the forest floor. Swampy ground becoming more firm. Little birds everywhere. My flower beds still reflect the sales-appeal-focused (simple, but hardy and low maintenance) plantings that were in place when we bought the house. (I’ve added very little, so far, planting only some dahlia tubers and a bare root rose that arrived a bit ahead of my expectations.) The primroses reflect a lack of care in color choices. They are still lovely, and blooming like they’ll only get one shot at it, ever.

Simple, lovely, enduring – and so beautiful in the Spring sunshine!

There are other wonders to come; flowers that have sent up leaves, blades, stalks, some with buds… I wait to see what flowers open next.

Next weekend seems the likely one for planting the rest of the container roses into the garden beds. It would be nice to tell them so, and know whether they are eager to stretch their roots, or have any thoughts on placement… fanciful musings over coffee on a Sunday morning.

My Traveling Partner has spent much of this new Spring cleaning things, tidying, bringing order to chaos – even “tuning the sound stage” in our living room, and finishing some dΓ©cor and design plans we’d made when we moved in (all delayed by the unexpected water damage and resulting fuss and bother after the AC was installed). He’s added acoustic treatments that removed the notable echo in the living room, and refined the placement of various objects to even further improve our listening (and viewing) experiences. It’s gorgeous and sounds wonderful.

…Every time I step into the living room, now, I grin so hard my face hurts. I feel very loved. I’m enjoying our considerable collection of music all over again, as if it were new. It definitely feels like Spring…

Pain? Pain is pain. That’s still a thing I live with. I shrug it off when I can. I attempt to be patient with myself and people around me when I can’t. I try to be consistent with my self-care and pain management. Work? Work is still work. I still work – it’s a necessary part of my life, for now. I like the new job – honestly? I like it enough that my enthusiasm for the work collides with my desire to hang out with my partner, and sort of drains away any time I may have planned for writing, for painting, for most endeavors that are not work, or time with my partner, or necessary housekeeping to keep those parts of life running most smoothly. lol Self-care fail? Yeah, admittedly. Small now… but it is the sort of thing that can fester over time and become chronic resentment, utterly without ever intending it. I keep an eye on it, and this morning, in a small inconsequential moment of disharmony, I acknowledged the opportunity and stepped away to write a bit.

…French toast later…

There’s often a new beginning just ahead. A choice. An opportunity. A whim. A change – desired, chosen, or inflicted. A moment of inspiration. A moment just being.

…This coffee is good, itself a new beginning of sorts…

…What about this moment? This blog post? These words? More beginnings…? I think maybe, yes…

I think about photos, songs, moments… and I think about love.

Thank you, Love “Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

A new beginning can be a bit scary, sometimes. Too often I have found myself hesitant to walk away from something that just doesn’t work for me. You too? I admit, it’s also often true that once I’ve taken that first step, life unfolds with less effort when I choose well – based on my values, and the real truths of my heart (and reality), and take those steps in the direction I actually want to go. Worth the moment of anxiety, doubt, insecurity, or fearfulness? Very much so; that’s just a moment, and it doesn’t last. Life, when we’re most fortunate, continues on beyond that moment. πŸ™‚

…This coffee is just about gone… French toast is sounding pretty good… it may be time to begin again. πŸ˜€

Most of the time, these days, I’m writing from a contented, emotionally fairly comfortable place. Life is pretty good day-to-day, in spite of the pandemic. I don’t have the terrifying, chronic, so-frequent-as-to-be-routine, issues with emotional volatility that I had 8 years ago. I’m fortunate. I also “work hard” at this. There’s a lot of practice. A lot of very necessary restarts, do-overs, and new beginnings. My results vary. I am entirely 100% made of human, from the soaring heights of the most delightful moments of great joy and celebration, to the lowest depths of the most grim, bleakest darkness, the most despairing moments of sorrow, ennui, and futility. Anger gets a turn in there, somewhere. Frustration, too.

…So does love. So does hope. So does happiness – yep, even happiness gets her day in the sunshine. Doesn’t happen to be today, but today this moment is apparently not about feeling good. At least not right at this very moment, right here, right now, which mostly sucks.

…This too shall pass. It sure will. Eventually. I wonder sometimes if that’s actually a good thing at all. Storms pass. The weather clears up. It’s so tempting to just move on from the things crying out for attention during stormy weather, once the sun is shining again. Something to think about.

I’m not sure what to say “about” this moment, right here. I feel…angry. I… feel hurt. I’m annoyed and frustrated. Not just with myself and my own limitations. Not simply with “not being heard”. It’s complicated. I don’t have a healthy relationship with anger. I am aware of that. Mine or anyone else’s; it’s not specific to whose anger it is. I’m uncomfortable with anger. I’m especially uncomfortable with mine. That’s true. Today, I’m angry with my Traveling Partner. (This may be the first time I’ve written that sentence in this blog, I’m not certain.) I haven’t lost any affection for this human being I am so fond of… I’m just angry right now. I don’t know what to do with/about that… it just is, and I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it. So. Here I am. In a separate space, door closed, headphones on, working on “being alone right now” – which is very tough in a small house during a pandemic. As I said; uncomfortable. I’m not lashing out or escalating. I’m maintaining a self-inflicted disciplined calm, because I just don’t know what else to do with or about my anger. I clearly can’t act on it. I’m also having trouble conversing through it to resolve things with my partner; I start weeping. It makes conversation difficult and needlessly, unproductively, emotional. Not okay – and I’m frankly not at all interested in taking the risk of damaging anything I own by having some tantrum, or finding myself in the middle of further emotional escalation and angry words with my partner. Anger feels like emotional poison to me. I know there are ways to process anger more skillfully than I do. I haven’t finished that work, yet. I am unskilled. It takes a lifetime to process a lifetime of trauma, apparently…Or, at least, I have not, personally found a shortcut to the work that must be done to heal the damage that already was done.

Yelling at one’s partner is mistreatment. I work to avoid raising my voice. I don’t even like “yelling across the house” in a conversational way (seriously seriously dislike that shit – if I’m not in the same room, let’s just not converse, or hey, it’s a small house, join me in a shared space). I’m human, though, and I am more easily provoked than I want to be. If I raise my voice, I’ll also apologize for that, and having accepted responsibility for that behavior, immediately seek to bring the volume back down. It’s hard. I don’t always succeed. I struggle with anger – particularly when I am not feeling heard, or when I am being interrupted, or when I feel mistreated myself, in the face of mockery, insults, or other such (also very human, unpleasant, not okay things, but I particularly detest mockery). I work on not yelling. I ask people in relationships with me to not yell. It’s a choice. Take a kind tone. Speak gently. Choices. Encourage each other. Worthwhile – but, yeah, there are verbs involved, and it takes a lot of fucking practice, and it’s got to actually really matter. No one can do the work for you. Hell, you may even find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to choose to make these changes or do this work without much encouragement or reciprocity. Hard, right? Sometimes, yeah. For anyone.

What makes any of that shit worth it? Why is the ongoing effort – and ongoing frustration with having to make that effort – worth it at all, if it won’t placate an angry partner, or restore the peace, or diminish the chaos, or create calm? …I think about that question a lot, and I’m pretty clear on my answer; it’s about being the woman I most want to be, myself, for myself. I’m okay with feeling anger. I’m not okay with losing my shit and yelling at someone I love. Doesn’t matter how provoked I feel. Doesn’t matter who is “right” or who is “wrong”. Doesn’t matter whether I am in pain, or exhausted, or absolutely 100% justified in my opinion, or my understanding of the situation. What matters is … who do I most want to be, and is my behavior consistent with that standard? How does that woman respond to such a situation? How does that woman maintain her calm, stay balanced, and process strong emotion? I think that over, looking for answers, and a next step to being that woman… more so today, than yesterday. More so tomorrow than I am right now. We become what we practice.

…That’s true for everyone, and everything we choose to practice (or fall into habitually). Just saying. Choices. Practices. Beginnings.

Again.

…I hear the tv in the other room. My partner bravely checked-on me, and expressed his desire to hang out – in spite of the chaos, what matters most is our affection for each other. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Hard to set down the baggage. Sometimes it’s even hard to begin again. I take a breath, and steady myself to take that step…