Archives for posts with tag: be love

Well…

…55, eh? Okay, let’s do that, then. Hardly avoidable without drastic, unpleasant measures, easier – far easier – to go with it.  🙂

My plans today are fairly loose, and more “about me” than not. Some self-indulgence, some chill time, some phone calls, a walk in the woods, lunch out, some pampering, all suffused with the additional luxury of this being a “work day” in the middle of the week, which I’ve taken off for no purpose but to enjoy this moment celebrating my survival.

Birthday Flowers

I’ve made it to Level 55, y’all!!! OMG!

I made an unfortunately shitty cup of coffee after my shower this morning. I’m drinking it anyway. The mug is warm in my hands, and I’m frankly grateful for the luxuries of potable water, an electric kettle, and very fresh, carefully roasted, whole bean coffee. I mean, seriously, bitching about a less-than-ideally-well-made cup of coffee would amount to nothing more than inconsiderate rudeness to the woman (me) who took the time (mine) and made the effort (also mine) to make it in the first place. lol I suppose I could have dumped it out and started over. It just wasn’t that big a deal this morning… and I think maybe I get extra experience points to also enjoy this moment, present and aware – even aware of the less than excellent cup of coffee. 😀

This is a day on which I’ll spend considerable time reflecting on the “XP” accumulated along life’s journey. I’ll contemplate Level 54, and wonder if I missed really cool “side missions” that could have benefited my personal growth later on. Did I overlook any fun Easter eggs? Have I failed to appreciate the profundity of one circumstance or another? I’ll look ahead in the game play, as much as I am able, and try to sort out Level 55 before I get going in earnest… What does the map look like? Where are the obvious hazards? Which “short cuts” waste time and resources, and are best avoided? Are there known strategies that work better than others? What are my resources, my limitations, my skills – what is my plan? In every life-level, there is some moment, or event, or “bad guy” to conquer (there’s a reason games are a great metaphor for living)… what form will it take? What will the important lessons turn out to be?

In the game of life, we don’t really get to repeat a level…but… it’s possible to half-ass a level so thoroughly that very little is gained (or even to “fail” it at great cost to ourselves), or find we’ve wasted our time such that we don’t really have any XP to show for it at all, and just sort of ooze over the finish line into the next level without much in the way of progress. We can’t really level up prematurely, either, but we can gain so much XP in a single level that the level becomes peculiarly, radically transformative. Sometimes we expect levels to have that kind of importance… 18… 21… 30… 40… and sometimes they don’t, in spite of our expectations (lookin’ your way, 40). 55? This isn’t a level people spend much time talking about… I wonder what surprises await me?

…55 doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy, aside from simply being here; as a much younger woman, I did not anticipate getting this far in the game. 55, from the perspective of 20, seemed “old” (in spite of being only 35 levels ahead of me)… now it just seems… well, not old, that’s for sure. I wonder where the day – and this level – will take me? So far, at approximately 2 hours of game play on this level (already)… it’s a level full of questions, and speculation, and it’s not very difficult (yet). LOL

There is this lovely day ahead of me, a blue sky overhead, birdsong, sunshine, and plans for lunch. It’s a good start. I guess I’m ready to press “Start” and begin again…

I arrived home last night in due time. The ride from the airport to my place was efficient and pleasant, the taxi was clean, and the driver gave me a discount – for being nice. (What a peculiar world this has become, that basic civility and pleasantness are provided a cash reward, due to being uncommon.) The evening was relaxed; I’d left the house in a comfortable state to welcome my return. It’s a favorite practice; leave it as you’d wish to return to it. 🙂 A good practice in life, in relationships, in the wilderness, at my workstation, in the kitchen… I’ve yet to come up with an exception of any note.

A quiet evening passed gently, without fuss, suffused with the glow of relaxed contentment, and emotional riches. Clearly, I needed to reconnect with dear friends. I’m glad I made the trip.

I mostly slept well, last night, and slept in this morning. The night was interrupted by frequently needing to pee; Portland’s milder cooler spring climate does not require so much water consumption, and as is the way of things, my body naturally made that adjustment. lol I didn’t expect to sleep in so deeply, so easily – or so late, waking up well past 7:30 am. I felt great waking slowly, then attempted to stand. Every muscle protested, as though I’d done a lot of heavy lifting, or engaged in a grueling physical competition. I didn’t do any of those things – just spent a few days in the Fresno area heat, in the company of friends, going here and there, on my feet, back and forth, doing things, and stuff – mostly just hanging out. I feel like I’ve been beaten. LOL Fuck. The higher humidity of the Pacific Northwest grabbed me by the arthritis with a real commitment to making me pay for ever leaving. LOL

Yoga helps.

Mmmm. Coffee’s good, too.

More yoga helps.

I’m still stiff as hell, but I’ve got this beautiful day off ahead of me – and it’s all mine. I’ve no idea yet what I’ll do with it, but it is mine, and I’d planned it to recover from my trip away. Good call, too; I don’t need it as much as I thought I might, but having it feels like a wonderful way to care for myself. 😀

A beautiful day, a beautiful moment.

Golden morning sunshine peeks through the brash spring green leaves of the Big Leaf Maples beyond the deck, catching my attention with shifting breezes. A small brown bird hops here and there looking for seeds, and glancing at me expectantly; I wonder if there is recognition that the human primate is back, or specific understanding that I provide the seeds? The weather report suggests a pleasant high of 72, and a lovely day to be in the garden…

It’s time to begin again.

My anxiety chased me slowly all day yesterday before finally subsiding during the course of an evening phone call with my Traveling Partner. There’s just been so much drama so far this year, of the OPD (Other People’s Drama) variety, that it eventually had begun to affect my consciousness, generally. The outcome? Anxiety at the thought of being any more distant, or distracted, or uninvolved, or unavailable to my partner than I absolutely have to be… making traveling rather anxiety provoking; it held the unspoken potential of somehow leaving him in harm’s way without my support. Yep. I take the safety of my Traveling Partner, and his well-being, rather seriously. I had become, in some fashion, literally “here for him”, and was losing my perspective on being “here for me” as well. lol Oops.

He is so dear, and strangely, humorously, wise; he pointed out that my trip would be taking me to a point almost the same relative distance from him that I already reside, day-to-day, and that digital communication being what it is, and friends, and personal resources, being as they are, certainly if any great need were to develop… I’m no farther away than I am right now. Well, damn. That’s some excellent perspective right there, and my anxiety could find no further foothold, and quickly dissipated, and has not returned. I woke feeling rested this morning, eager to enjoy the weekend with friends, and feeling chill and content. 😀

Well… I guess I’m glad I checked the weather for the weekend… lol

I’m packing light on this trip. I don’t just mean my baggage – I also mean my “baggage“, and that feels good. I’ve got clothes suitable for the weather, which looks to be… typical. Hot. lol Different than here. So different. I checked. 😀 I’ve got my laptop. My kindle (so… all the books). My device (camera, phone, tiny super computer…). A notebook… for notes, obviously. (Actually, it’s for writing poetry, which just “feels better” on paper, with ink, than on a keyboard.) That’s pretty much it; one small carry-on bag, with a couple changes of clothes and basic toiletries. I like to travel light – it’s so much less to fuss with and keep track of. This is true of my metaphysical, emotional, and social “baggage” as well… I feel so much lighter and less “weighed down” today! 🙂

I’m seeing old friends this weekend. Dear friends. The very best of “friends for almost 30 years”, friends. As many of them as can make time for it on this trip down their way, who live close enough to work with me to make it happen. I have a peculiar sense of home-coming, returning to a place I haven’t lived for 20 years (as of this coming October). I also have a lovely sense of “this is already exactly as pleasant as I’d hoped”, in the sense that I have no specific expectations, requirements, or needs beyond enjoying a chill weekend away. 🙂

55 soon… just 11 days. Numbers, emotions, time… it’s a good weekend to reflect gently on life, and to ask all the questions without worrying too much about the answers. 🙂 It’s a good time to begin again.

Well, Monday comes around too soon after a busy weekend. The down-and-back to visit with friends and with my Traveling Partner was… interesting. Worth doing. Strange. In some moments just flat-out weird as the evening developed.  Good party. Good weekend. Weird vibe.

Mental illness doesn’t play nicely – with its victims, or with their loved ones. Let’s note that this is a true thing, and then set that aside.

I never actually slept on Saturday night. It was a huge effort for my Traveling Partner and I to get even an hour together to chill and hang out. It wasn’t the party that kept him busy, it was the on-again-off-again intensifying spiral of OPD generated by his other partner’s mental health challenges more often than not, but also just real-life hosting-a-party crap that comes up over a weekend (“hey, is there more water?”, “hey, I cut myself – where are the band aids?”, “hey, where can I park?”, “hey, what’s the wi-fi password?”, “hey, is the party in the house,too, or just outside?”). We finally got a few minutes together to cuddle, to catch up, to talk… in seconds he was fast asleep in my arms. I haven’t spent such a lovely night in a long while, meditating, relaxed, content, cuddled up with my Traveling Partner for a couple hours. I couldn’t sleep. I knew there would be that risk when I went down; I don’t feel physically (or emotionally) safe in that location now,so… No sleep. Still, huge improvement for me, inasmuch as I also didn’t continue to feel anxious once I got there, and the hours of the night passed gently in each other’s arms.

I dozed off once (so close). I woke to a knock on the door. I got up very carefully so as not to wake my partner, stumbled through putting my pants on, and went to see if there was something urgent that needed attention (the medical bag was with us). Nope. I went back to bed. Some little while later, we were wakened with more conviction; a neighbor had started a burn on their property in the very early just-at-daybreak time of morning. The party people, in various stages of intoxication, could see the fire…but couldn’t puzzle out whether it was a legitimate hazard, or not, at that distance. (It was unfathomable that people might actually wake up at such an hour and do actual work or life things. LOL) Farm folks are often up quite early, doing actual work. My Traveling Partner takes a look, says something reassuring. We go back to bed. He’s out like a light in minutes. I doze for a few minutes myself, wake again, and get up and dress for the morning; it was time for coffee, for breakfast, and time to hit the road. “No sleep at all” would mean a narrow window of opportunity to safely make the drive home before fatigue set in.

The drive back was pretty uneventful, and generally efficient and pleasant. I got home in a timely fashion, and messaged my Traveling Partner and concerned friends that I was safely home. I didn’t hear anything back for many hours (because… drama). I am okay with having made such a short trip down and back under the circumstances, and enormously pleased with how I feel today. (Untouched by OPD, and largely unaffected by the mental health issues of a metamour I am easily able to maintain adequate distance from). I am okay right now. I was okay Saturday. It was a good weekend, generally. My self-care was on point. 😀

There was an interesting moment, conversationally, during the party. Worth taking another look at, but maybe not this morning; it’s not relevant, specifically, to this topic, right here. 🙂 This morning? I’m getting ready for a new work week; it’s time to begin again. 😀

Where will the journey take me? What obstacles are in my path? Are they actually obstacles – or do I just need the gate code?

My gear is packed. I’m rested. The work week is behind me. The weekend is ahead. My anxiety is through the fucking roof, in spite of there being “nothing wrong” in any literal sense; I am facing my inner demons, today, or at least one small cohort of the mocking hateful little bastards, and I am hoping to come through, if not “victorious”, then at least fairly cognizant just how okay I actually am. That’d actually be a pretty spectacularly big deal.

I survived family violence in my childhood home. I survived domestic violence. I survived the Army, and yes, I survived war. I have, actually, survived all of what life has thrown at me so far – even the good stuff. 🙂 What has lingered are the scars, emotional and physical. The learned limitations. The fears. The background stress of my injured brain insisting something is imminently going to go very very wrong. Scary dangerous wrong. Look out for that hazard right there!! Only… generally? No hazard. PTSD instead.

When things went sideways with my Traveling Partner’s other partner (in poly vernacular, my “metamour”), becoming a mental health crisis of epic proportions, affecting an entire fairly closely associated community, it was also a re-traumatizing event for me. The aftermath was even directly emotionally abusive, specifically targeted to be so, hurtfulness set on “stun”, although the weaponized words and emotions were being launched by a human being fairly obviously not in her right mind at the time, I am human, and I feel. All the feelings. I’ve got my own baggage to carry. Afterward, the easy solution for me has been to just “let all that shit go” and walk on. I do not need (or want) that kind of bullshit in my life, and I have learned to turn away from it.

Not all of life’s decisions are mine to make. Funny how that works. I get to make mine, and I have learned to respect, value, and insist upon my agency. It’s precious to me. On the other hand, I’m not strolling through life utterly alone, here; other people have their lives, too, and their own decisions to make, and they so do make them. I live with those decisions, as well as my own, because we’re all in this together. lol One such decision is to have a birthday party at the very location where “all the bad shit went down”, some weeks after the fact, and almost-but-not-quite as if nothing untoward or unpleasant had even been a thing. Weird. I have trouble wrapping my head around that. Inviting me into that environment seems a tad disrespectful, or even callous, although more likely it is merely ignorant of the potential impact to me, or even more likely still, I am highly regarded, desired good company – which may matter more to all of the non-me people involved. lol I got invited.  …And… I’m an adult, right? My friends are adults, too. We are each having our own experience. Mine says ‘do not walk, run, get as fucking far away from that shit, as far as possible, because you do not want to be there when that mad bitch burns her fucking house down’… but… really? Well. I don’t know, do I? Mental health challenges being what they are, and love being what it is, people do make a fairly wide range of choices when loved ones lose their shit in one flavor of mental health crisis or another. People don’t always turn entirely away. I still don’t get it, myself, at this point in life; I’ve stopped taking abuse. Protestations of love are not enough to keep me in an abusive relationship. That’s non-negotiable…but…

…What’s a “safe distance”? In this instance, specifically, when there is no clear certain threat to me personally of any notable sort, what then? So… I’m doing something occasionally suggested in therapy, and utterly resisted by me. Exposure. Facing my fears, in real life. Making the choice to visit friends, and have a good time, in a physical location that causes me a fuck ton of anxiety and stress… for no obvious reason in this moment (the stress I mean; hanging out with friends does not need reasons, and every moment is a good one for hanging out with friends). This could be a very healing thing for me. It’s fucking hard as hell, though, and I find myself dithering a bit as I prepare to leave for the weekend away. It’s just an overnight, down and back, and a chance to look over some real estate on the way back. This? This is an experience to have.

There are verbs involved. Self-soothing. Taking time out to regain perspective. Practices to practice. This? It’s a test. 🙂 I’m content if I get a “C”… I would like to pass it, though. lol I take a deep breath and relax. I’m aware of the physical pain I am in – and the potential that some measure of that pain is directly related to my emotional well-being in some way. Another breath. I let my shoulders slide back down where they belong. I am okay, right now. The road beyond the driveway is quiet. It’s a good time to get started on this journey.

I am my own cartographer. My choices are my own. I walk my own hard mile. My results may vary; and I have choices. I become what I practice. The woman in the mirror smiles back at me. We’re in this together.

It’s time to begin again.