Archives for category: Words

[Oh hey, I’m talking about emotion and domestic violence in this one. No surprises. Please take care of you. <3]

Think about this carefully; anger doesn’t solve very many relationship problems. It’s not that anger is “powerless” – it isn’t. It’s a dangerous force for change, particularly in the context of lost self-control, lost perspective, and a righteous sense of entitlement, possession, or justification. Tragedies happen by way of uncontrolled rage. Clearly, anger can be quite powerful. “Violence never solved anything” is both true and false – and very much dependent on what we mean by “solved”. If we end an argument with violence, we’ve ended the argument certainly, but whether that counts as a solution depends on whether everyone walks away undamaged.

There was a time I didn’t understand emotional violence as violence – primarily because I lived in a messy tangle of both physical and emotional violence, served up with a hearty helping of military life, as well as gas-lighting. Emotional violence was the least of my worries. I didn’t understand my experience. I lacked the emotional intelligence to understand that I had options – and choices. It’s hard to look back comfortably on the choices I did make. Like a barefooted journey across hot asphalt and broken glass, every step did more damage. I lived with continuous fear and anxiety. I rarely slept. The emotional violence in my relationship was the least of my worries; I just wanted to survive the physical violence. I eventually got out of there, safely away, and sadly still unaware of the worst of the damage that had been done, because that wasn’t physical at all.

Physical injuries heal in a physical way. Bones mend. Scars fade. My arthritis follows me everywhere, but as a consequence of earning my freedom from fear it is a reminder that I live…still…it fucking hurts. I never forget how I got here. Tomorrow is 22 years since a nightmare ended. I ended it. I walked on.

…I took the chaos and damage with me…

The worst of the damage was emotional. I didn’t understand that for a long time. I understood “symptoms” – complex PTSD has many – diagnosis in hand, I recognized that I seemed to have no ability to manage my emotional volatility, as a symptom – as something that happened to me. I didn’t understand how accountable I actually was for my actions, though. I didn’t really “get” that like it or not, when my feelings become choices that become actions that affect other people, I am responsible for my actions. There’s no argument there, so just don’t. “Hormones”, “PTSD”, “a terrible headache” “a tough day” – none of these things actually make it okay to be emotionally violent with someone (most especially and particularly someone I say I love). I didn’t understand that I could – no, seriously, I totally mean this – I could choose to behave differently. My experience is my own. My emotions are entirely mine to feel. My choices are mine to make. I am responsible for my actions. Not one moment of personal misery really excuses treating someone else badly.  I was slow to learn this lesson. I carried the violence forward into my future with me, woven into the damage I’d survived, and expressed it as uncontrollable impotent rage, meltdowns, tantrums and frequent loss of rationality. I’m done making excuses for emotional violence – few people die in a literal way from emotional violence, but the life they are left with is changed. It’s really not okay to behave that way. (Nope, PMS, PMDD, they don’t excuse it either. Get help. Make amends. Say you’re sorry, for fucks sake. Do better over time.)

I’m glad to be moving. Escalating domestic violence next door is uncomfortable to live around. It fucks with my head when I hear the yelling through the walls, the slams and bangs, vague and undefined. There are no good guys. Only human beings unwilling to choose differently and calling it “love” (it isn’t).

Look around. There’s a lot of that going on. We can choose differently. All of us can do better. I can. You can. That person pulling out a gun on the highway to shoot a teenager can choose differently, too; they chose their actions. Think about what that means. Feel your feelings. Behave well. Treat others well. Recognize the subjective nature of your emotional life, and don’t inflict weaponized emotions on other human beings. Fuck your hormones. Fuck your PTSD. Fuck your anger. Care. Care enough to choose better behavior. Care enough to be the person you most want to be. Care enough to seek help if you need help. Care enough to take care of you – well. Care enough to take a step back from a difficult situation. Care enough to understand that each of us is having our own experience – and it’s ours, not to be taken from us. None of us belongs to another.

I say that, then sadly spend minutes contemplating the very real continued existence of slavery and violence around the world. I don’t really know what to say. I am saddened by the constant awareness that there is so much violence loosed on the world. That we wear the face of our own destruction, as a species.

We can all do so much better to treat people well than we actually do. What will you do today to become the person you most want to be? We become what we practice. What are you practicing?

I didn’t get anything like enough sleep last night.

I saw a great little duplex early in the morning. I got home feeling hopeful and eager, but without any cause to make assumptions about the outcome. The unexpected phone call late in the afternoon, letting me know the unit is mine, and gently inquiring if I am still interested… well, sleep just didn’t come easily on the level of excitement that resulted. I still needed to get up early this morning to return the Zipcar I’d reserved. (From the perspective of going to and from the new place from this place it seemed practical to use a car, instead of public transit.)

Today, I’ll meet up at… holy cow… my new place (wow, I’m still so excited!) to pay the deposit. I’ll take public transit out from downtown (near the office) to the house and try out the commute for ease and travel time on a day when neither is critical.

It’s funny… my move before last, bringing me to the apartment community I currently live in, was a product of months of searching, looking at units, exploring the communities near work, and emotional uncertainty reinforced by Other People’s Drama (well… and mine, too, let’s be real). The choice never felt like it was really mine; it was the choice I ultimately had in front of me when the time came that moving was no longer optional. This current experience began with a similarly forced feel to it, then… it cracked open and changed completely when I met my new landlords yesterday morning, and got my first look at what will be home for the next year (and perhaps as much beyond that as life carries me before I purchase a place truly my own). I walked away feeling yearning and wistful to have the little duplex be my own, before a decision was made; I actually really like it. My landlords strike me as delightful people, and we connected over morning conversation, finding each other more alike than different, really wanting there to be a connection – and creating that experience together, over a common experience; we like that little duplex. 🙂

So, the move is on! It’s real. I have a new place, an old place, and a journey to make between them. Aaaaaand… the move date is sooner than I expected, and a comfortably negotiated compromise for both them and for me. I’d have liked to make the move later, to amass greater resources. They’d like to avoid having it vacant. They are, themselves, moving to another place, in another community. I’m scrambling… and yesterday the excitement caught up with me and wrecked my sleep utterly.

An unexpected visit late in the evening by my Traveling Partner, on his way from one moment in life to another, was an emotional salve and then some. He’s a very calming influence in stormy emotional seas. I wasn’t having tantrums, or meltdowns, or raging – but I was “over excited” like a little kid, and just couldn’t seem to soothe myself or achieve the sort of calm that promotes sleep. He knows me well. He knew just what to do about it to be helpful, and when he left I put out the lights, and called it a night. There really wasn’t anything “wrong” – I’d just had too much of all sorts of good things. 🙂

It’ll be some days before the move properly begins to show signs of actual movement between places, but I’ve got boxes ready, and a to do list, and a lot of experience. The excitement of it lingering in my memory woke me ahead of the alarm clock. I get the morning started, yoga, shower, writing and coffee, and…

…The anxiety hits me like a wall. What if I’m wrong? What if this is a terrible idea? What if this all goes horrible awry? What if it is too good to be true? I pause and stare across the meadow for a while; this won’t be my view much longer. Lingering dew sparkles on the grass and the points of the needles of the pine that seems so poorly placed, just beyond the patio. I sip my tepid coffee. I breathe. I relax. Change is. Sometimes that’s scary. It’s hard to trust myself – harder than I’d like. Second-guessing and anxiety about the move is going to come and go – because I’m human – and that’s got to be okay, too. I consider other moves, other experiences in life. My coffee is finished. I’m smiling.

It’s time to begin again.

…It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day… it’s a new life for me…

 

Ready? Let’s do this!

…It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day… it’s a new life for me…

…And I’m feeling…good. 🙂

I feel right

…even…happy.

It’s a nice morning. Things to do. I ended the day, yesterday, on a bitter note. I was overcome by sorrow and tears. I’ve no idea why. Tired? Hadn’t meditated? Wasn’t sufficiently well medicated to support needed emotional resilience? All of those things, I suspected at the time, and what was weird is that although I was totally overcome by it, and also utterly unable to lift a hand to help myself – even though I knew what I needed to do – I still somehow managed it, rather by happenstance; I was trying to make an angsty moody sort of post on Facebook, pretty typical really, and quite human, and I went to attach an appropriate picture to that post… I kept scrolling through pictures of smiles, and pictures of flowers, and pictures of forest hikes, and pictures of the way the light hits the water in the summertime, and… I started giggling, just a bit hysterically. I just couldn’t find “photographic evidence” to support my misery in the moment. LOL I’m okay. A fears tears aren’t fatal. 😉

Growth over time. We become what we practice. New self-care practices built over time become default habitual behaviors that support us.

The evening actually ended well. My moody moment was obviously more biology that emotional reaction to things, or events, and I finished the evening taking care of me, and noodling around on my bass, calmly, contentedly – and then crashing out rather later than I intended – so this morning I slept in a bit. 😀

There’s an entire lovely day ahead… I wonder where my path leads today?

Ever wake up to a lovely morning, resting contentedly in the context of a beautiful moment, begin your day and…

Change? Change. A change that literally “changes everything” – or least feels like it does – can rock my world, shake my foundation, and result in a surreal overload of mixed metaphors, mixed emotions, and general confusion that lasts…well, it used to last until well past whatever the crisis du jour happened to be, and there used to be a lot of them. So many changes and moments were overwhelming crises of circumstance that resulted in chaos, upheaval, and “too much to handle”.

Medical problems. Unexpected bills. Break ups. Lost jobs. Hell – new jobs. Good stuff can do it, too. Love? Love causes some major changes in life and decision-making about the future, I guess I’ve just tended to assume all that anxiety was “excitement”, or failed to notice it in the hormone storm of positive sex-charged emotion. I like to feel emotionally comfortable. I like to plan my life such that even the “unexpected delights” and surprises are not entirely unexpected, nor entirely surprising. I like to feel prepared.

Sometimes I’m not “prepared”. I’m very human. Life can be scary.

Context and perspective are helpful – change is still change. Soon this will no longer be a stopping point on my morning commute.

My anxiety flared up severely – and so did my anger – yesterday morning, as I left for work. I haven’t managed to fully resolve it, but I’m reached an equilibrium with my emotions that feels… manageable. It’s only over a rent increase, really. I’m angry about the circumstances, which seem sleazy, exploitative, and just… douche-baggery for profit. My anger started getting out of hand, my anxiety shot through the roof, and I still had to go to work. I talked things through with my Traveling Partner, gaining perspective as I vented my irritation, resentment, and anger as gently as I could  (Seriously? He’s doing me a favor to be there for me, and isn’t at all involved or responsible, so “taking it out on him” would be inconsiderate and unkind.) So, I talked about it, over messaging, and stayed practical about it as much as I could. I wasn’t “looking for satisfaction” or confirmation that I am “right”, just a reality check, and some supportive understanding. He’s super good at those things, and our conversation ended as I reached the office, feeling… prepared, although still angry. I love feeling prepared!

I’m fortunate that I can fairly easily move, because now I don’t just want to – realistically, I have to (which is why I was feeling so angry, I was making very different plans). The suggested rent increase isn’t sustainable for me, and the circumstances of the increase are such that I certainly don’t care to rent from this landlord anymore, at all, and don’t feel valued as a tenant.

What a strange turn to yesterday’s lovely morning. Still, these days it’s such a mundane bit of adulting, writing about it almost wasn’t a thing… only… it’s still on my mind. I spent my lunch yesterday, and my evening, looking at available rentals, where they are located relevant to work, how much they cost, how soon they are available, and considering each in the context of real life concerns: features, amenities, utility costs, convenience to goods and services, nearness to public transportation (because now I have to move before we have second vehicle – one of the changes we discussed while we were hanging out night before last), nearness to green spaces, nearness to neighbors, and how quiet and safe the communities appear to be. It’s a lot to consider. It’s my life – and worthy of such consideration.

…I had other things on my mind, other things to write about…

I think back, smiling, to hearing my Traveling Partner remind me I already wanted to move (though I hate the process of moving), and that this – however poor the timing – is an opportunity to improve my quality of life through my choices. It’s true, too. The frantic panicked feelings all mixed up with my anger and my anxiety began to fade away as my options began to open up (through skillful Google-fu, and studious inquiry). The number of potential choices became a list of bookmarks in my browser, phone calls and emails to send inquiring about various rentals… houses…duplexes…apartments…condos…townhouses… My criteria stopped being based on “oh-my-fucking-god-what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-I’ve-got-to-find-somethingfast!!” and started being based on “wherever I move, the details need to improve, and can”. I struck everything from the list that didn’t achieve that – and still had a decent list of immediately available rentals to act on that shorten my commute, reduce my rent, and improve my day-to-day quality of life – and in one case appears to do so while also keeping me very near to green spaces, and increasing my quiet and my privacy. Nice.

I’m moving. I am okay with that. Change is. I sometimes wish it weren’t so much, so often, but… wishing is a child’s plaything, not a productive tool for managing change. So, I let that go. I confidently choose a move date. I’ll be somewhere new on August first. I don’t know where – but I know I’m moving.

Beginning again? And then some! 🙂

…It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day… it’s a new life for me… 

Have you ever noticed how time sort of “stands still” in those fully engaged intimate moments of connecting with another? I know, I know – those moments are so fleeting, so cherished, so hard to pin down, or duplicate later. I still find them “timeless”, at least in the moment.

That’s how it was last night. My Traveling Partner came over and hung out awhile, before he heads off for work elsewhere, far away. We talked rather seriously through the evening. The future is vast, and broad, and the choices on life’s menu seem to… breathe… expanding and contracting day-to-day, sometimes moment-to-moment, and I am having trouble choosing my adventure with any comfort or efficiency.

Sometimes life is uncomfortable – and inefficient.

We talked. We enjoyed a pleasant evening hanging out. No TV. No music. Just us two, talking about things to come, where we’re headed in life, what we each want – or need. As evenings go, it was intimate, nurturing, adult, romantic, supportive, practical, and connected. It met needs upon needs upon needs, no tears or tantrums required. No demands. No frustrations. Two people who love each other, loving each other. Sharing.

Sometimes it’s not about words.

We talked – and we also just chilled with each other, hanging out in my somewhat too warm apartment. He shopped and talked about things he needs in life. I went over recent changes in thinking, and discussed the profundity of change. We shared pictures. We shared anecdotes. We shared concerns. We shared hugs and kisses. The evening was quiet and relaxed. We’d thought about going out for a movie, we could have done it, we didn’t need to “do” so much as we needed to “be” – together. So we did that.

This morning I’m smiling. I slept more deeply, and woke feeling more rested, than I generally do. I grin at myself to notice the quality of my smile. I “hear” a Nicki Minaj track in my head, in the background, it’ll probably be there all day (or at least until a love song replaces it). 😀 I find myself wondering about the connection between feeling so well-loved, and sleeping so well… Is that a thing?

Lovely moment. Lovely morning. Lovely day. Loving love… so… loving life, too. Funny how hard it was to find my way to this place. No idea how long it may last (it’s not really a helpful question). I let the cool morning air fill the apartment, sip my coffee, and smile. There’s nothing to add to this, really. Life is no less complicated, busy, or challenging, just because there is Love, but the love does seem to make all the rest less… troublesome. It’s enough.

Love is enough. Loving starts with me. Starts with the woman in the mirror and how I treat myself. What a strange puzzle. There are definitely verbs involved.

We become what we practice. ❤