Archives for category: The Big 5

I woke with a headache and a snarl, and I also woke rather slowly and with great effort. I slept poorly, both restless and wakeful, I didn’t get the rest I need. It is a new day.

My pounding head reminds me that although there are no loose bits rattling around inside, this fragile eggshell is cracked. I smirk at myself, aware that some of my tendencies – things like linguistic complexity where none is required, “being deep” in casual conversations, the peculiar awareness of and communication via living metaphors, the likelihood that I will take something sarcastic at face value, the difficulty ending a conversation, oh, just a whole bunch of things, really… “quirks”, eccentricities, moments of weird – are complex outcomes of a brain injury, of PTSD, of surviving some nasty shit by learning to cope with it. I can say I’m “broken” with something like a comfortable feeling of familiarity. I used to let it define me… differently.

For awhile I fought it. I refused to define myself in terms of the chaos and damage. I refused to “be” broken. Other times, I wallowed in it. Yielded to the damage. Gave in to the chaos. Gave up on changing anything.

Time passes. Change is.

This morning I woke up snarling at myself. Frustrated by the headache. Annoyed by feeling so groggy. Eager to get to the coffee…

I am unsure whether it is the caffeine, the comfort of the hot mug, or the slow familiar waking ritual of making it, then drinking it, that serves so well to put the day on track. It does though. It does put the day on track, generally. This moment of warmth – literal and metaphorical warmth – enjoyed alone each morning, a moment to “get my head right”, and get past the headache, or the arthritis stiffness, or the stuffy nose, or the lingering recollection of a bad dream, or… well, whatever the waking moments of consciousness throw at me. I’ve got that cup of coffee to help me turn things around. Does it actually matter to me what the mechanism of action actually is? Not in the slightest.

Be broken, if it helps. Grieve if you are hurting. It’s not especially helpful to squash down all the feelings with a lot of “shouldn’t” and “don’t” and extra helpings of criticism taken from the words of others, and reformed in your own words and returned to your narrative as your own thoughts. No one needs guilt or shame on top of the things that already suck so much – and those things don’t only weigh us down and hold us back from going on with things, they also tend to stop us embracing what is authentically good about who we are – chaos and damage and all. Some of this broken shit frustrates me, daily. Some of this broken shit is part of who I am.

“Broken” 14″ x 18″ acrylic and mixed media with glow.

Some of my most cherished individual qualities are very likely specific to my brain injury – or my PTSD. Some are things I like most about myself, others are things that other people have indicated they really appreciate about me. I’ve no intention of “fixing” those things. Don’t want to. Don’t need to. What if fixing the rest would also, by necessity, fix those things as well…? This thought is one underlying my focus on “being the woman I most want to be” rather than focusing on “fixing all the things wrong with me”; some of the things I may think are “wrong with me” in one moment, or from one perspective, may actually be very “right with me”, after all. 🙂

I’m rambling. Sipping my coffee. Grateful to have taken the time to really wake up before going on to other things. I take time to appreciate the value in waking up early enough to let myself really become my best self before I go on with my day. I pause to wonder how I got through so many years of launching myself from bed first thing, and immediately dressing and getting out the door quickly; it seemed efficient at the time. It was a grueling and fairly punishing routine, in practice, and I often treated people who are unfortunate enough to interact with me very early in the morning fairly badly, especially in that first hour after waking. I’m not suggesting that getting up at 4:30 am to depart for work at 7 am would be “the right choice” for everyone, there are other needs, and other ways. This just works for me. By 6 am, I am feeling mostly human. Awake. Aware. More able to respond, and less likely to react. The headache has dissipated. It feels like a lovely morning.

It feels like I can begin again. 🙂

We’ve all got something, right? Something broken, something that doesn’t work the way “everyone else” manages the thing? Some quirk or bit of eccentricity? What the hell is “normal”, anyway?

I sat with the results of yesterday’s handiwork more than a little frustrated to be so thoroughly stalled by “a hole in my thinking”. It happens. I just couldn’t actually make knowledge and action cooperate in the necessary way. The stereo and TV are hooking up now, the connection to the digital world is established. The sub-woofer – trust me, necessary with the music I favor – is not yet hooked up. I couldn’t quite get it done. Another day perhaps, or with help from my Traveling Partner – if he ever does make it over to see the new place before I eventually, some day, move out. (The lingering mild bleakness is simply that shred of personal frustration that I need help with something I know how to do, because knowing how is not itself enough to get past my injury every time.)

There have been moves which resulted in quite a lot more disruption over hooking up the stereo. This time? No tears. No panic. No anxiety – just that last moment, there at the end of the day, when my brain just completely failed me, sitting there staring at the back of the amp, the back of the sub-woofer, cables carefully laid out… and I couldn’t make sense of any of it. I had marked all the other cables so it was more a color matching game than anything else, just to keep things fairly efficient. For some reason, perhaps feeling rushed, I didn’t mark the sub-woofer or tag the cables when I readied them for the move – and I did do something I make a specific practice of not doing these days… I had unplugged both ends of all the cables associated with the sub-woofer. Oops. Shit.

I’ll tackle the sub-woofer again next weekend, early in the day. I often find my injury is a bigger deal cognitively when I am fatigued, so my next step is try again, in the morning, a couple hours into the day. No point being stressed out about it; I live with this. 🙂

I bitched about the moment on Facebook, and a friend commiserated in a healthy way. I felt less alone with my issues and grateful to be a social creature. I sip my coffee and smile. Learning to be kind and to be compassionate, myself, has definitely paid off in more good relationships that are mutually nurturing and supportive.

My sleep is wreckage this weekend. No idea why. I’ve managed to sleep in both yesterday and today – but it’s merely been the consequence of prolonged wakefulness during the night, and needing to get more sleep after being wakeful. My nights are currently like two longish naps. lol I feel pretty well-rested though.

I’ve ended up with this nagging sensation that there is “a great deal to sort out”, but when I attempt to turn my attention to it, there’s nothing there, really. It’s strange. I end up feeling highly distracted, this morning. It’s reason enough to begin again. Breakfast? Coffee on the deck? I think so. 🙂 It’s a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror.

Tough day at the office.

I put on a new playlist, one with beats and edges and emotions – all of the emotions. I let it carry me from here to there. It covers a lot of emotional ground, highs and lows and inbetweens. I dance. I manage some housekeeping along the way. I medicate. I cry a few tears that weren’t at all about me.

I dislike endings, even though they are no more permanent than the beginnings are, and with few exceptions, generally precede beginnings. I take time to feel the weight of the truth of it. This too shall pass – a helpful thought. Change is. We don’t always choose it, sometimes it just shows up to the party uninvited.

I don’t mean to be vague-book-y at all here, truly I don’t. There were some organizational changes made at work. I lost a team member. Funny thing about that, though; I’ve grown. Some of my colleagues are my friends. He’s one such, and so – my heart loses nothing. I dig working alongside this guy. He’s sharp. Get’s it. He’s got a good heart, and a lot of commitment and skill. It will suck not seeing him already working when I get in each Tuesday. I will have to go digging each Monday for the information he always provided me in his hand-off each week. But, and this is real and so important, we’re friends. There’s nothing lost there. I’m still here. He’s still here. We’ve got each other’s numbers. lol There’s nothing to see  here, besides change, and change is always with us.

I still cried. I did. Yep. (I’m grateful I didn’t have to break it to him. I had it easy.) Change is a thing, but fucking hell – we’re a fantastic team at this. I miss him already. I worry whether he’s okay. We are friends; I want to help. I smirk at myself in a moment of honesty; now I have to do verbs to maintain this friendship. I can’t just show up to the office.

Tomorrow will be different. It also won’t be the end of my work week. So much change for one week… I gotta get some rest, though. Soon I’ll have to begin again.

All of the pain this morning, and a hearty helping of “aggravated with America” besides. Fuck this bullshit. I snarl as I open the windows to the breezes. I hobble around making coffee on my aching ankle, the broken foot experience is largely behind me now, this is just routine, everyday, ceaseless “holy-fuck-is-there-anything-at-all-left-down-there-that-properly-functions-as-an-ankle??” pain. The rain yesterday was a relief. Today my arthritis is acting up. This headache seems worse than usual. I am on the edge of tears and my anger just simmers, waiting for a moment to call its own.

It’s just pain.

The splinter in my finger adds to the experience in an extra frustrating way; every time I hit a key with that index finger, I either feel the stabby irritated inflamed pain of the splinter in my finger, or somehow manage a sloppy assortment of unnecessary letters (mostly “g”) that must then be removed. It’s extremely aggravating. My quirky sense of humor is such that at this point, I wish I’d left all the “g’s” in place for amusement. (You’re welcome.)

It’s just pain.

It’s just physical pain. There are literally more important things going on right now than my individual physical pain.

Again I let it go. Start over. Begin again. I do what I can to support my physical needs along the way. There is work to be done “out there”. The difficult work of seeing past my privilege. The work of using my privilege as an umbrella, rather than as a shield. The work of being considerate. The work of being helpful. The work of being kind. The work of setting a good example by being the change I wish to see in the world. The work of listening past my own biases. The work of recognizing we are each having our own experience. The work of compassion. The work of being the village it takes to raise our children to become the future caretakers of the only world we currently call home. The work of seeking a true truth stripped of provocative buzzwords and catchy slogans, laid bare of ideological bias. The work of being a better human being today than I was yesterday – every day.

Fuck… that’s a lot to do. I could say “I hurt too much, today, I’ll get on it tomorrow…”, only… they seem the sort of tasks that would quickly pile up, get out of hand and… oh. That’s right where we are. Now. Shit.

Well. I guess I’ll begin again. Will you?

The time is now.

 

So human.

This morning, I wrote, as I do, but to a dear friend, only. It met my own needs, and I considered no others this morning. Huh. Still human.

The other day, I got poked by a rose thorn, but thought nothing of it; roses have thorns, it’s a thing people know about. Today I am fussy and irritated by the discomfort of the thorn still lodged in the pad of my index finger, rather inconveniently precisely where my finger strikes the keys of my keyboard. I don’t actually do anything about the thorn, I just bitch about the discomfort. Still human.

I read the news, get caught up, feel annoyed with myself for wasting precious limited lifetime on media bullshit, again, knowing it messes with my head for hours, sometimes days. I sometimes do it anyway, even to the point of reading and rereading the same news, covered the same way, by nearly identical media outlets, multiple times…until I finally notice I’m learning nothing new, and don’t even actually care. Still human.

I make a cup of chamomile tea to enjoy as the evening winds down, and can’t quite enjoy it, either because it is still too hot to drink, or perhaps because now I don’t understand why I didn’t make coffee, which I’ve already had more than enough of today…but I don’t know which, and don’t move to change anything. Still human.

I distract myself from all of these things with thoughts of love, and loving, and feeling grateful to be so well-loved, and so thoroughly accepted – and then distract myself again with my disappointed recollection that my Traveling Partner still has not made it over to see my new place once… Which… well, he’s hundreds of miles away, and has only been within an hour’s driving time of this address for about 24 hours in the past 5 (6?) weeks, so it’s not really a realistic expectation. Still disappointed. Still human.

It’s a life. My life. It’s not the life I had 7 years ago. Hell, it’s not the life I had 3 years ago. It’s a pretty good life. I’m content – and this is true nearly all of my time, even moment-to-moment, generally. That’s… yeah, so much beyond what I could have hoped for a decade ago. Sure, it’s taken awhile, and I’m still so very human. Still have ups that are too far up. Still have downs that are scary far down. Still have many moments and emotions in between the extremes. It’s a life. My life. I’m very human.

Just one moment of many

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again.