Archives for posts with tag: begin again

Yesterday, I had yet another opportunity to patiently explain to someone that they do not get to tell me what I think, why I think it, or how I came to the conclusion I did. It seems obvious, really; my opinion is mine to decide, and to decide even whether to share it. Attempting to force assumptions about my opinion, or my thoughts, or my feelings, upon me is… fucking dumb. A.) That isn’t how opinions or thinking work. B.) No one likes that shit or needs that from anyone else. Lastly, C.) Fucking hell, people, how hard is it, really, to ask a question and listen to the fucking answer?

It’s an extra special nightmare frustration when that person is a man and his tone is condescending and patronizing. I’m not a child or a little girl, and frankly, on its own maleness does nothing whatever to make any stated opinion or observed fact somehow more relevant, worthwhile, or legitimate, at all. I’m just… yeah. So done with that bullshit. lol I managed to walk on from that interaction without resorting to insults or name-calling, which turns out not to require any sort of heroic effort of any sort, I just reminded myself silently that I had things to do, and that arguing with an ass clown was not on my list today. lol

On and on. Trump didn’t change it – maybe didn’t even “make it worse” – but his presidency pushed it into the forefront (again)(I mean, really, we’ve fought this fight before, and had made a lot of apparent headway, but… no… here we are). Kavanaugh isn’t “new” or novel, or frankly even fucking interesting. Been. Here. Before. Been here all along. Maybe we can all work on this? We can do better. I mean, seriously America? Fucking Nazis? Are you kidding me?

Words matter. Choose them with care. Really listen to people. Really share your authentic actual thoughts with them (versus just quoting some regurgitated sound bite you lifted from a talking head on cable news). Connect for real. Ask the deep questions that matter most. Listen – really listen – to the answers. Put content over bullshit. Show your fellow citizens some “common decency”, consideration, empathy, and respect. Maybe even let “I disagree with that position” be the actual end of a conversation or disagreeable moment, and walk on.Β You don’t have to persuade or convince everyone that your position is right. Maybe it isn’t. Share it if you care to, then let that shit go, too. Quality of life is not about being right. Great relationships are not built on being right. Contentment and happiness are not made up of moments of being right. Fucking just listen once in a while, and even, now and then, accept that you do not know all of everything… or… just maybe.. in some particular instance… insisting on being right, regardless of perceived factual correctness, maybe be quite the wrong thing to do.

…Then… also… respect both your own expertise, and the expertise of your associates. Ask more questions than you answer. Listen to what you’re hearing, and really be present for that. Learn stuff. Grow. Assume positive intent. Have positive intentions yourself! Be authentically who you are – rightness and wrongness and error, flaws, mistakes, and character failures, and all; we don’t become who we most want to be if we can’t start from who we are right now and move on from there.

What I’m saying is, arguing is dumb. It wastes time, and people who are arguing are not listening to each other. Arguments are made up of people throwing their words at other people who are, at best, throwing words back – without listening at all. It’s ridiculous and gets no further toward truths than standing still quite silently would do, and quite possibly, standing still silently would be more effective. (It probably is, actually…)

Don’t argue.

Don’t yell. (Not really relevant, it’s just super unpleasant, and effective only for escalation the emotionality of the interaction in an unpleasant way; if you’re yelling to make your point, you already lost the argument. Just stop.)

Talk to each other. Really listen. Grow because you are hearing new information – or because you have the wisdom to refuse to incorporate ad copy, memes, or straight up misinformation, in your thinking, in spite of hearing it, again. Ask clarifying questions; there’s always more to know. Get context, and check your assumptions; you’re wrong more often than you realize (I promise you this is true).

People can be really fucking repetitive with shit they pick up along the way that they did not really think through themselves, or apply any critical thinking to, when they adopted it as their own. They cling to that shit. It’s tedious. Don’t follow the crowd. It makes for dull conversation, filled with half-baked bullshit, and actual lies.

Do better. Think your own thoughts. Use critical thinking skills to examine what thoughts you think you have. Check your assumptions for accuracy. Check your expectations to ensure they are shared, and realistic, and not left moldering in a corner all implicit and unverified and shit. Easy stuff. Slow the fuck down and ask yourself some questions about the thoughts you tell yourself are your own. Are they really? Fact-checked, lately, Bruh? Did you make any effort at all to determine whether the words you are about to say reflect who you truly are, consistent with the values you claim you have?

My coffee is tasty this morning. I’m mostly ignoring it. My nightmares were a tad too much “Handmaid’s Tale” for my emotional comfort, and I woke feeling confused, angry, resentful, irritated, puzzled, frightened, restless, and yearning for freedom. The conversation, yesterday, in which some rando man-human specifically told me I don’t think what I do, and can’t because I’m wrong about thinking it, was still grating on my nerves. lol At 55, I fucking well know what my political leanings are, what my philosophy of life is, and where I think my ideas potentially take me in life. I’m pretty over men thinking they have something to say to me about what I think. (Wow. I’m obviously still fucking angry about it, too… and only on this whole meta level as an archetypal conversation repeated over time, not the specific moment and individual. Wild. Why are we still here, at all?)

I grin when I think about the end of that conversation (for me). “I disagree with your position. We have nothing further to discuss.”

Sometimes, I gotta just walk on, and begin again. πŸ™‚

I sat in traffic seething, most of the way home. I got home feeling aggravated, mostly without any reason for it. It had been a difficult (and weird) day in the office, but honestly none of it really needed an emotional response, so… what was up with me? 0_o

I wasn’t having an easy time sorting it out, and a flash of inspiration took me back to childhood.

…Oh, I remember… πŸ™‚

There were these coloring pages, nearly always captioned “what’s wrong with this picture”, with the goal to find the “mistakes” in the image. From that moment of inspired recollection, I moved on to visualizing myself, exactly as I was, and started “looking for the mistakes” in a self-care context.

  1. Was I in pain? Yeah, that was probably contributing to my experience, for sure.
  2. Was I thirsty? Well, I’d had nothing but coffee yet… and it was well past 3 pm, so… probably. Shit.
  3. Was I hungry? Shit. I’d entirely overlooked any sort of lunch, so… yeah. Low blood sugar, too, probably. Shit.
  4. What about medication, was I on track for all that, too? Well… no. Hardly.
  5. …And I hadn’t even gotten up from my desk once aside from going to two meetings on my calendar. Yikes.

No wonder I was cranky and feeling disproportionately angry with small things. Who wouldn’t be angry after being treated in such a crappy way all fucking day? I went ahead and chilled the fuck out, calmed myself with reminders that I could, in fact, manage my behavior 100%, regardless how I experience my emotions in the moment. (What a relief, eh?)(Seriously – can be done. You control your behavior completely.)

I got home safely. I rarely take OTC pain relievers (for good reasons), and last night I made an exception; it made a difference pretty quickly. I had a big big glass of cold water – from the tap – and took time to experience and savor the moment of gratitude that I have safe drinking water on tap. I made a fluffy scramble of eggs and chopped dark leafy greens of various sorts, and enjoyed having refrigeration and a decently well-stocked pantry. I generously partook of the tasty cannabis at hand. My nerves unwound. I found myself feeling more than soothed… merry? Content, certainly.

Take care of this fragile vessel, humans, and this fragile vessel will insulate you from a lot of drama and bullshit. Treat it like crap, and a crappy experience is what you can expect to endure. Just saying. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. lol

Today? Today I’ll do better. Today? Today, I’ll begin again. πŸ˜€

It’s today, already? Again? Wow – a whole entire new day ahead of me to get started with. I’m not feeling especially ambitious about it, but… there are certainly more than a few things I’d like to start, start over, work on, or finish… so… there’s that. lol

…I could so easily go back to bed for a few more hours…

Well. It somehow manages to be time, already, to get my things together and head to the office. The weekend was quite delightful, and still very much present in my experience of this moment, right here. Time to let that go, while still enjoying the sensation and recollections of it. πŸ™‚

This moment, now, is very much enhanced by remaining firmly within it. Present. Here. I finish my coffee, ready to begin again.

I admit I love the increasing cultural encouragement to embrace our authentic selves that I see popping up everywhere, often in the form of a response to some thing or other, phrased as “do you”. I like that. Definitely. Do you. Be you. Invest in you. Grow your brand – and your self. Explore who you are. All that sounds pretty awesome, and very supportive and encouraging… but…

…It also sounds “too easy”. I know, I know. Authenticity is actually pretty fucking daring, even now, and it requires self-awareness, self-compassion, openness, honesty on this whole other level a lot of people are not prepared for, and a willingness to let go of attachment to our own assumptions about who we in fact our, when those conflict with who we in fact are.Β It’s not actually easy to be our authentic selves in a culture built on controlling people through their insecurities, fears, and doubts. It’s even… brave. There’s still another “but” to move beyond…

…It’s also not enough to just drift in a sea of our own filth and basic bullshit. It’s not really the ideal “do you” scenario, is it? To just… stall in life and make no attempt to become the person we most want to be? To just… rest, assume the most slack possible approach to the question “who am I?”, and just… not bother doing more or being better? I mean… aren’t we capable of more?

This morning I am thinking about what it means to “do me” and how I can become the woman I most want to be. I know there are choices to make. There are verbs involved. I know my results with vary. I know that being authentic – truly frank and real – with the human being in the mirror has to come first, and be reliably a thing I do for myself, without fail. I know I have more questions. More opportunities. More chances to begin again.

I guess I’ll get started on that now… πŸ˜‰

I woke a bit early. Not early enough to go back to sleep. I got up.

I dithered a bit with my morning routine. One thing at a time. Got through it. Great. Fine. Necessary. Completed.

I sat down, eventually, with my coffee. It’s been awhile. Mostly just… sitting quietly. Scrolling. Done with that, too. Bored? No. Ennui? Not that either.

Anxiety.

Just garden variety anxiety on a Wednesday morning, without specific context or cause. It is the nature of an anxiety disorder, of any sort, really, to deliver some anxiety, however “well-managed”, now and then. Must be my morning for it.

β€œAnxiety” 10β€³ x 14β€³ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic 2011

It’s been with me awhile. “All my life” does not feel like an exaggeration. I take it much less seriously these days, seeing it for the fraud it actually is, and managing its presence more skillfully than I once could. Still… annoying to deal with, every time… and dealing with it is non-negotiable. Deal with it, or fall apart. Deal with it, or break down. Deal with it, or lose my shit completely in some very inconvenient or problematic way. Deal with it – or deal with the consequences of failing to do so. Fuck anxiety.

I don’t need to troubleshoot my anxiety. It’s got a familiar face; work, life, money, “the world”…Β  I’m real with myself about it. There’s more anxiety about more things than is entirely reasonable (it’s a scary fucking world right now, frankly, being a little anxious seems pretty damned reasonable). I take a deep breath and let myself relax each time I notice it surging forward, bubbling up from my consciousness to become part of my immediate awareness; it helps. It helps, too, not to deceive myself or play soothing mind-games to try to wish it away. I examine what seems to be driving my anxiety. I consider those things with care. Real? Exaggerated? Imagined? Sometimes anxiety is pretty legit, and functions to hold my focus on some concerning detail, until I take an appropriate action. Sometimes anxiety is just… wasted emotion. A reaction without a cause worth acting on. Disordered thinking. Sometimes, of all the irritating things, it is not anxiety at all – sometimes I have conflated the physical experience of excitement with the physical experience of anxiety, and don’t yet realize I’m just excited about something, and could enjoy that moment of anticipation much more, if I stop defining it as anxiety.

I breathe. Relax. Let it go. I let it all go. This thing over here? I let that go. That thing over there? Yep. That, too, I let it go. Another breath. Another concern. Another moment to let shit go. It’s a practice, and it requires practicing, and that means verbs, and that means choices, and that means… working at it.

Still.

So, yeah. Mindfulness is enormously helpful with managing my anxiety. It’s not a “cure”. It’s a tool, and a way of experiencing life, that can be very helpful. I feel much better when I maintain a rigorous meditation practice than when I don’t. I feel much better when I am able to maintain exceptional sleep hygiene, than when I don’t. I feel much better when I am open, authentic, vulnerable, and real with myself – and others – than when I am not. I feel much better when I get out of the house, get plenty of healthy exercise, and a good measure of both social and solo time. It’s not some one practice that eases my anxiety; it’s practicing the ones that work best for me in a consistent way.

Sometimes I fail.

Sometimes I succeed.

I just keep practicing.

It’s one of the challenges of achieving mental and emotional wellness; the work is on my end. I have to do the verbs. I’m going to be the one practicing the practices to improve my own experience. It’s my journey, built on my choices. Incremental change over time is fucking slow as hell, and can be incredibly discouraging; I still have PTSD, a TBI, a broken back, and a very human experience. All the improvement in my experience of self and life I could ever imagine will not change those things. No cure. Just practice, growth, and incremental change over time. πŸ™‚

Sure. I’m anxious this morning. I have an anxiety disorder. I also, unrelated but metaphorically relevant, have a thyroid that failed years ago. I take medication for it, and go on with living my life. Anxiety isn’t really a lot different; I’ve got some fail sauce and messed up wiring in my emotional experience; I practice meditation, breathing, and other assorted practices for that, and go on with living my life. If my thyroid medication doesn’t work ideally well, I go back to my physician, and we make changes. If my anxiety flares up, I go back to my practices (and, in some cases, also back to my therapist), and make changes. “Easy”. (It isn’t, but it is generally adequate.)

I breathe. Relax. Run my writing through a spellcheck (which will reliably miss at least one error, regardless). Hit publish…

…And begin the day. It’s a whole new one, all my own. Fuck anxiety.