Archives for category: winter

It’s an okay morning. Saturday. Good cup of coffee. Had a pleasant frosty-morning walk through bare wintry vineyards as the sun rose, this morning. Returned home once my Traveling Partner pinged me that he was awake and starting his day. Could be that was a mistake (in timing)… I rushed home rather eagerly, to enjoy the day with my partner, and I may have been working from expectations and assumptions that were a poor fit to the reality of the morning.

I got home and he was just making his first cup of coffee, immersed in the emotional experience of being angry about the condition in which parts had arrived, and the likelihood that the parts he had ordered are not in any way actually usable for the order he is working on. His anger over the situation seems reasonable. He shares his feelings. He shows me the parts. His anger is evident, and he is actively working through it. (The way out is through…and…we become what we practice. Hold that thought.)

…I have difficulties with anger, particularly the expressed anger of male human beings with whom I am in a relationship (it feels uniquely terrifying and threatening even when only expressed verbally), and it makes it sometimes very difficult to endure the experience of being in proximity to that visceral emotional experience in the moment… It could be that this alone makes me potentially unsuitable for long-term partnership. I find myself thinking about that today. Today, my partner explicitly challenged my overall value as his partner due to my “lack of ability to be emotionally supportive”.

My sense of things is that I listened with consideration, compassion, and care for some length of time while he vented his feelings (my watch suggests about 40 minutes, but I don’t think that matters as much as that he didn’t feel supported). Maybe I don’t really understand what my partner needs from me when he’s angry about something? Listening doesn’t seem to be it. Even listening deeply and offering support, or asking how I can be helpful (if I can at all), doesn’t seem to meet the need. Commiserating with his position doesn’t seem to meet the need, and often seems to prolong the intensity of the emotional storm. Attempting to “be helpful” or offer any “troubleshooting” perspective is usually unwelcome (and most of the time I don’t have the specific expertise to offer that in the first place). It’s often been my experience that eventually, however supportive I am seeking to be, one common outcome is that at some point, the anger that is “not about me”… becomes about me. Terrifying, even in a relationship where there has never been any violence. The anger feels threatening. This is a byproduct of violence-related trauma in prior relationships. Decades later, I’m still struggling with this. It seems unfair to my current (or future) partner(s).

When a person with PTSD embarks on making a relationship with another human being who also has PTSD (or similar concerns), there are some additional complications that sometimes make living well and harmoniously together more than a little difficult to do successfully – and it’s less than ideally easy, no matter how much we may love each other. Sometimes love is not enough. Maybe that seems obvious? It probably should be obvious. I sit with that thought for a few minutes, uncertain what it is really telling me. Maybe nothing new. I mean… I know, right? It’s hard sometimes. (“This too will pass.”)

…Resilience is a measure of our ability to “bounce back” from stress…

Using meditation and mindfulness practices is one means of building improved resilience. Resilience lets me “bounce back” from stress more easily, and allows for greater “ease” in dealing with stress in the moment. Resilience supports improved intimacy. Resilience along with non-attachment is a good means of learning not to take things personally. Resilience makes some practices produce better results – “listening deeply” can be incredibly difficult and emotionally draining without resilience, for example. Resilience is like a glass of water, though; once the glass is emptied, no amounting of drinking from it will result in slaking thirst. I’ve got to refill the glass. (It’s a wise practice to keep it “topped off”, too; that’s where self-care comes in.)

G’damn, I really need some time away to invest in my own wellness and resilience. Quiet time taking care of the woman in the mirror for a few days, without any other agenda or competing workload. My resilience is depleted. Even “doing my best” is not enough right now – I feel comfortable acknowledging that. Can’t efficiently move forward from one place to another if I don’t recognize where I am right now – and start there. In this particular instance, it is less about physical fatigue than emotional and cognitive fatigue. I’m “brain tired”. I’ve been lax about my meditation practice, and it’s clear how much that does matter. I’ve taken on too much, and can’t seem to dig out in order to get to the practices and experiences that support my wellness; I’m scrambling just to get “all the other shit” done, that seems to have been given a higher priority than my emotional wellness or mental health. I can’t blame anyone else; it’s called “self-care” for a reason. I’ve been giving 100% of what I have to offer to work, to the household, to my partner, and not leaving much “left over” to take care of myself.

I find myself wondering if I would do well to leave for the coast a day earlier. It would probably be good for me. Probably not good for my partner who has been missing me, and potentially feeling un-cared for and lacking an adequate portion of my undivided attention and emotional support. I’ve only got the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else has – and figuring out how to parcel that out is sometimes difficult. I could do better. Seems like everyone needs a piece of me… and the only person who seems ready to yield what they feel is their “due” is… me. Fuck. That’s how I get into this quagmire of cognitive fatigue and emotional fragility in the first place, though. Taking care of myself really needs to be a non-negotiable – at work, at home, and in life, generally. I could do better.

…When I take better care of myself, not only is there “more in my glass” to share with others, the glass even gets bigger and holds still more… and I know this

We become what we practice. When I practice calm, I become calmer. When I practice good self-care, I become cared-for, resilient, and confident in my worth. When I practice deep listening, I become a better listener more able to “be there” for others. Understanding this is important. It is true of unpleasant emotions, too. If I “practice” losing my shit in a time of stress, I become more prone to being volatile. If I “practice” anger by way of confrontation, venting, or tantrums, I become an angrier person less able to manage that intense emotion appropriately. True for all of us; we become what we practice. How do I become the woman – the person – I most want to be? Sounds like I need to practice being her …and when I fall short? I need to begin again.

I finish my coffee. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. Begin planning the packing and tasks needed to prepare for my trip to the coast. I remind myself to take time to meditate, to check my blood pressure, to stay on time with my medications. It’s a lot to keep track of some days, but the pay off is worth it; I feel better, enjoy my life more, and I am more able to be there for my partner when he needs me. I’ve just got to do the verbs.

Time to begin again. Again. It’s slow going, sometimes, but I do become what I practice.

Yesterday was rough. I’m not really sure why. I think about it over my coffee for a few minutes.

It is the week following the daylight savings time change for Spring, and while it’s not as hard on me as the one in the autumn, it does change the timing on all my medications, and that does affect my experience. Maybe that was it? Maybe it was the headache? Maybe it was a byproduct of my sour mood after my Traveling Partner snarled at me (after I allowed myself to be distracted while he was sharing information he expected I would need in order to complete an errand I had offered to run on his behalf)? Maybe it was the cascade of shitty other (small) experiences that followed? I mean, it was a lot to take: I smashed my hand in the car door, broke a couple nails, almost ran out of gas on a day when timing mattered, my GPS failed while I was in a strange city, and I also missed a meeting I had planned to attend and had to reschedule… I mean, seriously? Shitty bunch of happenstances.

At any rate, yesterday was rough. I finally got home from running that errand… in a vile mood, cross, feeling dark and just fucking seething with negative energy, generally. I still had hours of work ahead of me that needs to be completed before I take a week off next week. Somehow, together, my Traveling Partner and I still managed to have an okay evening together. We ate a meal… I don’t remember what it was now. I was just grateful to dine in quiet harmony with this human being I love, avoiding opportunities to be at odds with each other, and just enjoying what remained of the day. It was enough.

It’s likely that my whole self is just needing the down time I’ve already got planned – I’m “all peopled out” for the time being, and every additional interaction with another person is… too much. lol We’re social creatures, though, and it’s an unreasonable ask to be wholly entirely “left alone” when we live and love and work with … people. Next week I’ll get away for a couple days, unplug, walk the beach alone with my camera, walk the trails along the coast that lead across meadow and marsh and through the salt-sprayed forests. It’ll be lovely. And quiet. I’ll nap. I’ll write. I’ll read. I’ll meditate. I’ll make each day a pause from how busy life can feel. Hopefully, the result will be that I come back to the day-to-day feeling recharged and grateful and appreciative of the good life I lead, instead of snarling my way through the minutes feeling crowded and encroached upon. 🙂

…I have stayed at the same place often enough now that they texted me this morning to ask if I’d like my usual early check-in for my arrival on Monday…

My attention slips to work before I’ve even finished writing, and before I’ve actually started my work day. It’s been that kind of week, and, honestly, that’s part of the challenge for me right now; I’m exhausted and struggling to put my attention on taking care of this fragile vessel. Human.

I sigh out loud and sip my coffee.

It’s time to begin again.

Another morning. Another Friday. Another cup of coffee. 😀

I sat down with other thoughts, but as the minutes passed my thoughts just sort of … dissipated. I’m left with this pleasant quiet moment and this cup of coffee. It’s enough. I feel contented, and I am safe and warm inside, while a strangely snowy rain falls steadily outside.

I woke too early. Headed to the co-work space early. I was hopeful my Traveling Partner would be able to get some additional rest (he was already up when I woke), but based on the continued conversation via text, I guess he was not able to go back to sleep. I sip my coffee hoping he has at least had enough rest to support the needs of his day. I’m tired, but not groggy (which is nice), and I would have happily gone back to sleep after getting up to pee at 04:25, but his audible exclamation of relief that I was “finally” up fueled a decision to, instead, properly get my day started a bit early. I’m not cross about it; should be a short day, today.

I think about the weekend ahead. What will I do with it? What will we do with it together? Sunday evening I’ll head into the city for a work “on site” event that spans a couple days, before returning home Wednesday. The week after that I’ve got a couple days on the coast planned. I find myself hoping he is easily able to sleep while I’m gone.

My back aches from the cold chilly weather. My face hurts because my occipital neuralgia has flared up. My head aches, but, honestly, when doesn’t it? It’s all just physical pain. Noise. I breathe, exhale, and relax – which rarely seems to actually reduce the pain I’m in, but sometimes does sort of “push it off to the side” and render it rather harmless. I take time to meditate. Do some yoga. I feel ready for the day ahead. It’s a good feeling.

I yawn and queue up a study playlist – maybe this week I’ll take my next certification exam? Life itself doesn’t give us many “credentials” for basic adulting or successfully thriving… but “credentials” are out there for the taking, on a wide variety of topics and skills, in many areas of human endeavor. Feel like you need one? Go get it! Do the coursework. Do the study. Take the test(s). Looks great on a resume – and feels pretty good to complete. 😀 What are you interested in? Are you learning that? If not, why not? What are you waiting for? You’ve got the entire internet in front of you and you’re sitting here with me? Ready this? I promise you my feelings will not be hurt if you choose, instead, to go learn something that could have a significant payoff in skills, ease, or enjoyment of life – or even money. lol Do you.

The day begins to break through the pre-dawn gloom. It’s snowing now (again). The sky is gray. It’s time to begin again.

This morning I sat down with my coffee and the recollection of a simple task I had reminded myself to handle this morning. Easy stuff. Add a profile picture to an email account. No problem. On it. But… no. It wasn’t that simple. I appeared not to have administrative access to those details, directly. Wild. Am I not an administrator on this account, I wondered? I checked. Nope. I am an administrator… should be able to do this… what am I missing…

I get a log in prompt… no saved password. Well, shit. What was that password? I noodle around awhile unsuccessfully. I drink more coffee. I go do something else. I come back to this task. I repeat those steps and a few others.

I started to become frustrated, then paused. Walked around the block. Came back to my desk thinking about the context in which the email account with the profile I was looking to update was created, just this week… I found my success almost by mistake, looking at a sticky note with a password jotted down, crossed out, rewritten; I had been figuring out what the password would be, and went through a couple iterations. I didn’t think it would have been for this email account (for which I had failed to save the password on my computer)… but the timing was similar… so… I tried that one. It worked.

Here’s the thing; we go through this life without clear instructions, and without a map to guide us. Doesn’t matter if you follow some strict belief system with rules laid out explicitly or not – we’re largely on our own and making most of this shit up. True of hiking new trails, finding a new apartment, building a new relationship, or yeah, even setting up new email accounts. We don’t always have all the information we may need. Our decisions are not made in advance, generally. Our results will vary. The outcomes are not certain. It’s not always a given that someone else will have an easy answer for us, even when we know what questions to ask (and we often don’t).

…Sometimes we’ve just got to figure it out…

(No, I’m not saying it’s “easy” – it fucking isn’t.)

Begin again. Try something else. Approach the thing differently. Give it a rest and come back to it. Work at it. Take notes. Maybe just move on from it if the struggle subtracts all remaining value from the potential achievement. There are verbs involved – count on it.

“Success” isn’t even always about what we think it is… sometimes it’s about the decision-making to “cut our losses” and just do something else. lol

Figure it out. You’ve got this. One way or another…

Are you ready to begin again? 🙂

I am sipping my coffee and thinking about the day ahead. Time to see the eye doctor again and get a new Rx for my glasses. Routine. I recall other errands I need to run and tasks I committed to handling. The day suddenly feels busy. I glance out the windows – it’s snowing. lol What the hell? It’s March! 0_o

Next week I’ll be in the city a couple days for a work thing. It’ll probably be more fun than not, and I’m almost looking forward to it… but what I’m really looking forward to is that the week after that, I’ve got an entire week off for Spring (and it’s snowing?!). I’ve planned to spend some of that on the coast with my camera and my thoughts. The rest I am eager to spend with my Traveling Partner, just hanging out and being friends, lovers, and companions. 🙂

The snow continues to fall. I hear sirens somewhere not-too-distant.

I’m definitely due for some down time. Not because I chronically overwork myself or fail to ever take the time I need; I’ve gotten much better about that over the past few years. I’m tempted to say I’m good at getting the down time I need… mostly. It’s true that I’m decently good at it these days. It’s also true that I have to work so hard at that, that I sometimes need to take it a step further and just make a point of really being entirely alone at least occasionally, for a bit more time – like, days. I’d just pack my gear and go camping, but the weather isn’t my idea of “well-suited” for that purpose with all this cold and snow and stormy crap. lol

I breathe, exhale, and relax; even thinking about the planned trip to the coast that feels suddenly so imminent is enough to put me in a good mood, and release the stress from my shoulders, and from my face.

My Traveling Partner pings me from home; he’s awake, and starting his day. I look at the clock. The sky is lighter, snow still falling. Seems a good time to begin again. 😀