Archives for category: Post Traumatic Stress

It’s early on a Monday morning. The alarm clock was an unwelcome sound, when it went off for the first time in two weeks. I got myself up, did some yoga, made coffee… all very “normal” sorts of workday morning things. I still don’t feel properly awake. I definitely feel “weird” about work. lol This is my first bit of early morning writing in this new space… I fret a bit about whether the sound of my typing will disturb my sleeping partner in the adjacent bedroom, and attempt to “type quietly”, aware of the sound and cadence of my keystrokes. I drink my coffee. I read a bit of the news (before giving up on that quagmire of negativity and emotionally evocative word-smithing in favor of meditation). Seems a routine sort of Monday, thus far, although I’ve yet to dive into the work day ahead.

…I’m mostly just sipping coffee and “soaking in the vibe” of this new place…

Morning coffee; same routine, new location.

There’s the most gentle vague hint of daylight-to-come visible through the view-obscuring-but-not-wholly-opaque window shade. I consider opening that up and letting in the morning light. I don’t actually do anything about it; I just sit here sipping my coffee rather contentedly. It’s enough.

There’s ever so much more to write “about” this move that is, in most respects, now behind me (us), but today, this morning, does not feel like the time to do that. It’s easy enough to celebrate the successes, to share what worked, to acknowledge what has gone well…and I’m entirely made of human. It’s a given, is it not, that more than a few things likely didn’t go ideally well, and maybe a thing or two went so badly sideways that the emotional hurts still linger? I assure you, there is much to consider, with care and with love and with compassion, before I am really up for talking about painful moments, upsets, complications, or hurt feelings, mostly because that was the rare and the few and the limited of all the many moments I shared with my Traveling Partner during this move – and we’re still getting work done on the moving in piece, even though the moving out is completed. I’m still celebrating the wins and savoring the successes – and I’m definitely sure those matter most. There is time later for reflection. 🙂

This past weekend felt more like a “regular weekend” than it felt like part of moving. Win! We grilled on the deck. We watched favorite shows. (We continued to unpack! lol) We kept things tidy. My Traveling Partner did some important household repair tasks. We each did routine chores like laundry, dishes, and taking out the trash. Humans living life. Simple, wholesome, very “normal” stuff… the new normal, here, at home. It seems enough. 🙂

New day ahead, new view, and new perspective.

I glance at the time, and into my empty coffee mug. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

It is the Sunday before a Monday – the Monday that I return to work, after taking time off to move, actually. I woke peculiarly early on a day I could have slept in. My Traveling Partner was also up early. We enjoyed our coffee together, listening to jazz, and discussing politics in a genial, civil way. We disagree about some things, small details mostly, and it’s rather pleasant to share, discuss, and acknowledge those differences without a shit-storm of drama or ire. Reasonable people, discussing things in a reasonable way. 🙂 Nice start to a Sunday.

In most regards, today, specifically, is a day I’ll use to “get back on track” with various routine matters of home-care and quality of life management. I’ll do some basics that generally “feel like” Sunday to me, personally. I’ll take out the trash (making a point to empty all the little waste baskets that sit conveniently in every room), and the recycling (making a point to break down any recent boxes that have arrived in the past day or two, preventing those from piling up unattractively). I’ll double-check that the pantry is well-stocked, and make a list of things that are running low or gone; I may not go to the store on a Sunday, but I like to have a list ready. Today, on this particular Sunday, I’ll also log into all my work tools, here in my new studio/office, and make sure that I have reliable connectivity, and that my tools and equipment are wholly set up and ready-to-go for what will likely be a very busy week. I’ve made little notes for myself, too, and these I’ll add to my Sunday “to do list”, too, there are various small useful errands on little notes in my notebook (we did not have connectivity for nearly two weeks, so a lot got written down on paper). One of those notes reminds me “write a blog post”, and so, of course, I do… 🙂

Most of my lists are simply practical reminders of what I’d like to get done. I carry a wee Rite in the Rain notebook, tucked in my purse, or a pocket, for convenience. 🙂

I sip my coffee, eyeing the worn rather old etched slate coaster on my desk. It’s been thoroughly cleaned since the move, but looks perpetually dirty. The worn inelegant surface hints at many years of use. The thin crack that runs across the surface suggests it has been kept for some reason beyond function or aesthetics. I smile. It reminds me of my Granny. It came from her kitchen. “Can I have this one?” I’d asked, on a visit to her home on Frenchtown Rd, many years ago (1997?). “Sure, Sweetie.” She’d replied with an indulgent smile. I didn’t expect it to be my last visit. I’m sure she didn’t either. We are mortal creatures, and our lives are finite, each moment precious. I find myself tearing up a bit, wishing sentimentally she had lived to see my Traveling Partner and I moved into our home together. She would have been so pleased for us. There’s even room for her to have visited, quite comfortably…

A souvenir of “home” – or, at least, of the places I come from.

The open window beyond my desk doesn’t have much of a “view”, and I already love the view it does have. It functions a bit as a “blank page” for writing, and has few “distractions” or features to draw my eye inadvertently. The two rather poorly pruned pear trees dangle fruit-laden branches over the new fence. I smile, even at the less-than-ideally leveled fence boards. Our neighbors replaced the falling down fence between our yards the very week we moved in. It’s clear they had not built a fence before. Funny that the quirks of this new fence provide more kind humor than irritation, for me. The neighbors are pleasant kind people, and the community is very welcoming. This new place already feels like home. In short, I like it here, and I love this house. 🙂 I expect I’ll spend many contented hours writing, and painting. (The closet in my studio is filled with stored art. I chuckle to myself at the possibility that what stops me painting, often, is more to do with having so many laying about than any lack of inspiration in the moment. LOL)

A closet full of paintings, neatly stacked by size. Some will hang, some will sell, some will linger waiting for their moment.

I finish the last sip of my now-cold coffee, and think over the day ahead. I hear my Traveling Partner call my name from somewhere else in the house; we’re still not used to having the extra bit of room that makes trying to talk to each other from different spaces sort of silly. I smile. It’s time to begin again.

Shouldn’t “embracing change” be easier than this? Is “easy” not actually “a thing”? Questions over coffee, on an overcast summer morning. My mind wanders unproductively between sips. The coffee is good, and that’s enough for this moment, right here.

I was sitting barefooted, cross-legged, in a favorite chair (the only comfortable chair in the new living room, presently… more room in the new house, same amount of furniture), on a morning so quiet I imagined I heard my Traveling Partner sigh as he woke, in another room. It’s a quiet house (so quiet!), and it seems unlikely that I actually heard the soft sound of his sigh, over my aquarium and my tinnitus. He approached a moment later, wearing his “just woke up” face. I offer to make coffee, and we share that. It is, generally speaking, a pleasant moment on a summer morning. I pretend, for the purposes of joy and love, that I’m not in the pain I’m in. I make room to be kind, and to listen, and to offer whatever support I can; he’s in pain, too. It’s been 10 days of fairly intense labor, getting moved out of the rented duplex, and into our home. For reasons of pandemic, and limiting exposure, we handled almost all of every bit of it ourselves, instead of hiring movers. I’m not sure I still think that was a great idea. lol

It was 10 days trying to get the internet set up. I wrote in the mornings, anyway. 🙂

“Home”. Damn, that sounds nice. I let the sound of it roll around in my thoughts contentedly for some moments. I find it so important to savor the successes – small, large, and in between. What I am suggesting is really taking time with those successes, enjoy and appreciate them, linger over their memory, and invest more of my cognitive and emotional bandwidth in that enjoyment and awareness, than I do in fussing over what didn’t work, or worked out uncomfortably or with problematic other outcomes. That “negativity bias” can really become an emotional wound, over time, swallowing up all the joy, and all the fun. Having a home of our own is a major milestone in our life together, and for me, in my own life as an individual human being. Huge win. Definitely needful to celebrate that. 🙂

I sip my coffee and look out the window of my new studio/office space here. I see the neighbor’s new fence, two pear trees, branches laden with young fruit hanging over the fence, and the cream-colored wall of their house just beyond. I see a sliver of gray sky. The neighbors – and neighborhood – are very pleasant, and very welcoming. Every new conversation begins in a similar way, with an apologetically, charmingly awkward excuse for not shaking hands or offering a hug; the pandemic is still a thing (very much so) in America.

…I hear my Traveling Partner call to me. As he wakes, his pain is more well-managed (mine, too, it seems very human). I want to hang out… I want to write. It’s been a while. There’s much to say, much to share. I think. Maybe. I mean… you’re here, reading, I should make that worth your while, yes? 😉 Perhaps, for now, this is enough?

Perspective, or view? What matters most? What is “enough”? Where does joy come from?

I sip my coffee. Finish my writing. I begin again.

 

I’m awake. I’m groggy. I’m drinking coffee. My calendar is full. My list of things to do seems as long as it has been for days. We’re definitely moving. In past moves, this is the part of moving when the self-care tasks fall by the wayside, and I typically find myself trapped in a cycle of “overdrive” and exhaustion, working unrelentingly until I collapse for minutes or hours, then back at it for every minute I can squeeze out of this fragile meat-based machinery, until fatigue finally nails me to a bed, a couch, or the floor, and I sleep for a few hours, and repeat the process day after day until the move is completed. Then, I spend days feeling disrupted, moody, bewildered, and overwhelmed, as I get used to a new place. Bleh. It’s not fun, but it’s “worked okay” for me, for many values of “okay”, generally. It’s often simply what I’ve had to work with, or perhaps I just didn’t understand it could be done very differently?

New day, new move, and a very different plan. My Traveling Partner keeps me self-care focused (“Hey, you’ve been out here working in the sun for awhile, are you drinking enough water? Have you taken a break?””Have you eaten something today?”). We each work on the things we’ve committed to with real purpose. We take time together to chill, to play, to laugh, to consume comfortable amounts of media content, and to enjoy each other. Hell, I even slept restfully last night, and woke at a fairly normal time this morning! He woke in a good mood, himself (we’re both fairly grumpy, many mornings, until we sort ourselves out and are properly awake). This move doesn’t just feel “different” – it feels good. 😀

I sip my coffee and look at my list. Nodding to myself, I double-check the details (“when does the donation drop-off open, today?”). My Traveling Partner comes into the studio, and says something pleasant, and rubs my neck for a few minutes, and reminds me about my posture without nagging. He puts on music in the other room, and I feel myself beginning to really wake up for the day ahead. There’s so much to do, and in a practical sense, with all the paperwork out of the way, the real work “begins” – building on the real work we’ve been doing for weeks, boxing and packing things. I smile to myself. There are certainly a lot of verbs involved, and this time? This time, those include self-care verbs, and verbs to do with love and loving, and shared verbs – so many shared verbs. It feels good to have my Traveling Partner’s help with this move. The last couple had some fairly poignant lonely moments (his, for him, too, I know). This feels very different.

My smile turns to a grin, and I feel filled with joy. It’s already time to begin again. 😀

Moving day gets closer every day. The boxes neatly stacked in the garage continue to multiply. Working together on move details is creating a fun distraction from the routine, and minimizing stress, for both of us, it seems. It’s certainly the easiest, and most pleasant, move I’ve undertaken in the past decade. 😀 I’m grateful to have the driveway space to park my car; using the garage to “stage” the move was an excellent idea (my Traveling Partner has had several great ideas upon which this move is built, and I’m grateful for that, too).

So many boxes, all neatly labeled and ready to move. There’s still more to pack.

We spend some time every day packing things, moving what we don’t use every day into a convenient position to move it to a truck, and from the truck into our home. Keys in hand, we’ll be standing in our own home this weekend! I smile every time I think about reaching this milestone, with my partner.

Yesterday I was grumpy as hell. Not moving related, just having a rough day, and dealing with a lot of pain. My Traveling Partner was patient with me, supportive, and good-natured. I crashed hard a little earlier than usual, and slept deeply through the night, waking once for a drink of water after a parching nightmare, and finally rising to begin a new day only moments before the alarm went off. So far, so good. 🙂 New day.

The kitchen is packed. All the books are packed. My studio is (mostly) packed. Our computers continue to entertain us, but the moment for packing those will be “now” quite soon. I’m impatient to move through the days. A couple more work shifts, and then… moving. Understanding more about how my PTSD and my TBI affect me as a whole human being (than I once did), I’ve planned to take enough time off to get entirely moved in, and also to get acclimated to new noises and new shadows, a new route to travel from bed to bathroom, a new view from new windows… everything new. I’ll no doubt “get lost” in the new house more than once before I have the “map” in my head right. My Traveling Partner assures me with much love that it won’t take long, and encourages me to return to work earlier, if I want to. 🙂 I don’t expect to sit around the house feeling bored, in any case – there’s so much to do! 😀

…I’m looking forward to coffee on the deck on a summer morning…

…And the squirrels. The squirrels are here on my deck. 🙂

Change can be so terrifying and disruptive, most especially when it is unexpected, or perceived as a challenge, limitation, or unpleasant whim of circumstance. This move could have felt much different… the limitations presented by the pandemic, on top of my landlord telling me he would be asking me to vacate as soon after pandemic restrictions on doing so were lifted (so he could, himself, move in to this duplex), on top of the realities of finite resources… it could have been incredibly scary. My move from #59 to this duplex felt rushed, forced, aggravating, and very stressful (even though I chose it). I was unhappy to have to leave, I would have been unhappy to stay, and I was very grateful to find this lovely alternative in a seemingly quiet neighborhood (turned out to be much noisier than my initial impression led me to believe). It’s been a good place to live, in general. This move, though? This feels like a great move, and the timing feels pretty good, too. 🙂 I sip my coffee feeling grateful and contented.

I listen to the traffic beyond the window. Busy street. I won’t miss that. Noisy house. I won’t miss that, either. Listening to my neighbors on the other side of the duplex wall? Not going to miss it. My Traveling Partner? I sure won’t have to miss him – we’re moving together (and into a home that is more suited to our shared needs). 😀 I sip my coffee. It’s gone cold, and I don’t mind; it’s a good cup of coffee. A pleasant Thursday morning, a routine work shift ahead of me, and one more tomorrow… then… moving day. It’s coming. There may be a break in the cadence of my writing, as I shift from one residence to another, new routines, new floor plan, new timing. I’ll get back to the routine with new inspiration. 😀

A gray dawn lights the room slowly. I finish this cup of coffee. It’s time to begin again.