Archives for posts with tag: being and becoming

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

Short one this morning. One white voice taking notice of more black lives lost. It’s not okay, it’s not acceptable, and we can, as a nation and as a species, do better. Being white should not be an advantage in the 21st century, that it so obviously is, is something worth being aware of – and ashamed of. Certainly, it is something worth fixing. Black lives matter. They do. Lives of all colors “matter”,  but – the lives we need to be talking about right now are black lives. Brown lives. Lives of people of color. Because for some reason, we continue to tolerate a lesser standard of treatment for those lives. Less regard for their value. Less money in their paychecks. Less liberty under the same constitution that values constitutional freedoms so highly for white lives. It’s a bitter bill to swallow. Take your medicine anyway, white America. Heal this massive wound. (We can’t heal something we refuse to see…)

Racism is not a problem that needs to be corrected by people of color. It’s a problem white people need to fix. Go ahead, tell me you are not racist. Worse still, tell me there’s no problem. If that’s your position, please take time to educate yourself – there is a lot of evidence that tends to disagree with that position. White people need to be speaking out and taking a stand on this. We need to object when we see it. We need to correct the bullshit racism of our elders, of our family members, of (perhaps) even our friends. We need to raise our white voices, and carry them to the highest offices in the land, and demand reform. Real reform. Real change.

Be part of making the world truly a better place. “All lives” won’t matter, not really, until black lives really do matter – to white people.

I don’t really think I should have to say any of this. It’s too obvious, and change is too long overdue. I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation after so many years. Be part of making real change. Be the person you most want to be. Make room for your fellows, and for strangers, and yes also for people of color,  to also be the people they most want to be, under a flag that truly represents “liberty and justice for all”. We’re going to need some verbs, and a lot of new beginnings, and our results may vary as we learn new ways – but it does need to happen, and let’s be real, it’s white people that need to make that change. Yes, all white people. Use your voice, use your vote, use the power of your “all mighty dollar” – your choices are involved. Mine, too.  (How will you object, without becoming proof of the problem?)

It will take white choices and white voices to address the American sin of racism; we made this mess, and we need to clean it up.

Are you ready to change the world?

Boundaries are funny things. Relationships are fraught with things to do with boundaries: tested boundaries, inadvertently violated boundaries, well-intended willful transgressions of boundaries, and failures to set and manage boundaries with care (or skill). I have, more than once, been situations such that I’ve set a boundary, unsuccessfully reinforced that boundary, and later found myself in violation of my own boundary/limitations! I’ve received firm “push back” regarding a thing I did/said or did not do/say that seemed, in the moment, unreasonable to me, because I’d been letting that person “off the hook” on something very similar that mattered to me, and subsequently feeling a lot of resentment when they undertake to set that boundary, themselves. Instant drama. I mean, for real – this is a major shortcut to conflict, strife, and unhappy discourse. It can develop into a serious see-saw of repeatedly broken “rules” in a relationship, and result in resentment building up over time, even though in some cases it would certainly appear that all concerned want the same basic outcome, and are setting a same/similar boundary on a single clear concern. 0_o

…Humans being human…

I reminded myself, yesterday, to “get off the see-saw” when my partner approached me courteously and set a clear simple boundary (that I had, myself, set at some previous time, under other circumstances). I felt my annoyance flair up. Didn’t I say… I stop myself. Here’s the thing; my Traveling Partner was only asking of me something that I myself want to see be our shared routine. So… what’s with the aggravation? Isn’t a cheerful “sure thing!” more appropriate? If something matters to us both, enough to set boundaries to support it, aren’t we in agreement on the value/importance of that thing or practice? It would seem so. Do I really need to “have my moment” on it? Isn’t it enough to appreciate that we’ve had a meeting of the minds on the topic? Do I actually also need to have “credit” for “coming up with it”? For real?

…Why do I care who gets “credit” for a quality-of-life-improving idea, within the context of a healthy partnership?

Clinging to our righteous position on some detail or another (particularly something as facile who suggested what first) when all seem to be in agreement on the basics of what has value and what is to be done about that, well – it’s just stirring up drama. lol I don’t much care for pointless drama. I really don’t. So, I took a breath, offered my enthusiastic agreement to the requested boundary, and moved on with my day. Why would I choose any differently? 🙂 In relationships in which people have shared values, similar (or the same) ideas, and yes, even boundaries, are highly likely. Staying focused on the outcome instead of the request (or suggestion) makes so much more sense than fussing over being asked to do what we, ourselves, would ideally like to see done. lol

I smile to myself over my coffee. Sure, sure, changing a habit, and building a new practice is a lot of repetition. Being responsible, accountable, and aware of my actions is routine stuff (and yeah, sometimes challenging) – ideally, I catch my own mistakes and correct those, and move on. No fuss, no bother, no nagging, no turmoil. 🙂 Practices need practice. I’ve got time for practicing. The same is true of my Traveling Partner. We’re both equally human. My TBI doesn’t make me more (or less) human – it just requires me to be mindful, to need a few reminders, a bit of patience, and a lot of practice. 🙂 We have time for that.

I listen to birds seeing beyond the window, and let my thoughts wander to mornings at the new address… what will those be like? What birds will be seeing? Will there be squirrels on the deck there? I was out there yesterday, briefly, tape measure in hand. The neighborhood is quiet. I could hear birdsong and breezes. It’s exciting to contemplate this move… another beginning. 🙂

…I like beginnings…

 

Last evening was relaxed, and contented. I shared that time with my Traveling Partner. All is well. We checked in with each other regularly, gently, careful to be our most considerate and our most kind. The evening followed a difficult morning, for sure, and we were not planning to worsen that experience, or prolong it. We let that shit go. We each embraced a new beginning, individually, and together. There were verbs involved. Now and then, our results varied (at least initially).

I crashed early, likely one of the consequences of my emotional bad weather from earlier in the day. I slept deeply, waking once or twice – noisy neighbors, partying on a Saturday night – and returned to sleep quickly each time. I woke early, late for me, managing to sleep in a couple hours. I made coffee. It’s good. I refilled my vape with this “peach gummy” flavored juice I made, then found my morning halted momentarily when I could not change the battery in my vape device. Shit. Small thing. I shrug it off and grab a different vape to use, frowning with distaste at the “vanilla latte” juice I no longer favor. I try a few more times to unscrew the cap from the battery box on the other vape, without success. I use a tool or two, no luck there either. Fuck. I set it aside, refusing to allow the morning to become characterized by frustration.

I make a point of letting my frustration go. This particular challenge need not command the whole of my attention this morning; I’ll deal with it later. 🙂

I sip my coffee and reflect on yesterday, ever so briefly. This, too, need not command the whole of my attention this morning. 🙂 I’ve already dealt with it. 🙂

I hit my vape. Less than satisfying. I sip my coffee. Very satisfying indeed. I contemplate balance, and choices. I contemplate emotion and reason. I think about our new life in a new home in a new community, and find myself wondering if at long last Emotion and Reason will take her place on the wall somewhere, in our home?

Because love matters more.
“Emotion and Reason” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

It’s a leisurely Sunday morning. I think about some household chores I’d like to get done today. Nothing major: vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, do some laundry, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, routine quality of life stuff that simply has to get done, regularly. I’m okay with it. Doing those things is a meditation of sorts. My Traveling Partner is very helpful with the housekeeping. He counts on me for some of it, I count on him for some of it. Together we get it all done. Partnership. I feel calm, and okay with myself, my life, my relationship, my recent choices, the move ahead of us…. Hell, I feel okay with the rather gray morning, that hints coyly at sunshine later, but promises nothing. It’s a pleasant day, and I’m in a good place. It’s enough.

I may never be “fully over” or entirely free of PTSD. I’ve learned to spend more time on joy than on sorrow, and on creating order than on creating chaos. I’ve learned some practices that help me bounce back in hours instead of days (or weeks). I’ve learned not to take my own moments of despair personally. The actual damage was done so long ago, how does it actually even matter now? I don’t take that personally, either. I’m human. I feel a pang of deep, abiding regret for the pain my PTSD causes my Traveling Partner… then I give myself a moment of kindness and compassion, and some for him, too; his PTSD similarly causes me pain. I let it go. We’re in this together, although we are each having our own experience. 🙂 Forgiveness is about letting go of the hurts, and growing, and moving on from that chaos, and beginning again, isn’t it? I regularly choose to begin again, right here, with my Traveling Partner, because it really is the sort of partnership worth forgiving the small hurts, and sharing this complicated journey toward being the human beings we each most want to be. Nothing about that suggests we’re traveling with a clear plan, a detailed map, or smooth illuminated pavement. Our results vary. There are a lot of new beginnings, together, and individually.

The clear simple perspective of a quiet Sunday brings me a satisfying peace.

I sip my coffee and think about the move ahead of us. That’s not until July, and I have time to plan, to anticipate, to consider, to daydream, to tackle real questions, to discuss, to share, to work out this-or-that detail. We’ll enjoy many hours of conversation about rooms, placement of objects, things we may need (or want) in the new place that we do not have now. A budget is already beginning to take shape. A countdown of sorts has already begun.

Life is very good. I’m okay. I happen to have PTSD, and maybe I’ll always have symptoms flare up unexpectedly? Maybe I won’t. I’ll become what I practice.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping coffee and thinking about dear friends. Thinking about family. Thinking about people. We don’t know what we don’t know; we’re each having our own experience. However unique, individual, or different, we feel we are compared to “everyone else”, we just don’t really know what is going on in other lives in any really deep, detailed, or complete way. We see bits and pieces. We make a lot of assumptions. We ask too few questions, and sometimes don’t listen to the answers when we do ask. We tend to behave as though we are more similar than we really are, while also thinking we’re having a fundamentally different experience of being human. We’re not. And also – we are. LOL It’s complicated.

I think about how to be “more present”, how to listen more deeply, how to “be there” for others when needed, without undermining my ability to “be there” for myself.

I think about kindness, compassion, and consideration. I think about how long this journey to being the woman I most want to be sometimes feels, looking back. I think about how astonishingly short it sometimes seems, in any one moment. I think about change.

…Apparently it is a morning well-suited to thoughts. 🙂

I think about how much work love can take… and how rewarding doing that work can be. I think about how pleasant yesterday was.

Life in the time of pandemic is peculiar. I’ve connected with some friends more deeply – or at least more often – and my partnership with my Traveling Partner on life’s journey seems to have deepened, and become stronger in practical ways, and deeper, emotionally. (We snarl at each other now and then; pandemic living has some challenges. We take it less personally, and bounce back more readily.) We’re human. We love each other. We both find working at love worth our individual and shared effort. We’ve both said as much, in actual words, at some point in the past several weeks.

Preparing to move feels strange, but maybe this is the last time? Maybe it isn’t. I’d probably serve myself best by avoiding becoming attached to the idea of permanence. lol Non-attachment for the win? Again?

Always, and already, life presents an opportunity to begin again. 🙂