Archives for posts with tag: can you hear me now?

I am sipping my coffee and watching the sunshine beyond the window brighten the stucco of the wall across the street. I think of my spring garden; it’s time to plan the new year’s crops. It’s a small garden, and the planning is a considerable portion of the fun in it for me. I look forward to contented weekend moments with seed and plant catalogs open to page after page of brightly colored flowers and tasty looking fruits and memories of gardens past becoming a plan for Spring. It tempts my attention away from work for a moment. Healthy. We are not our jobs. πŸ™‚

I open a separate tab while I write – my “to-do list” – and jot down notes as the thoughts drift through my mind. Why wait and risk losing a worthy idea? I make notes. Just a handful of words. The names of specific spaces.

In spite of the obvious sunny day beyond the window, my arthritis shrieks at me about it being winter. I’m in pain. I take steps to make it as manageable as I am able to do. I grief myself momentarily over my nails – I need a manicure but don’t feel like dealing with it at all. I let that go. It can wait, and giving myself shit over something so petty makes no sense. I’d rather read a book. lol More likely to distract me from the pain I’m in, too.

…I think I’d like a nap…

I sigh out loud in this quiet room. It sounds louder than I mean to be, and I hear that expression from deep within alerting me of unmet needs of some sort. I think about self-care. Damn, a long hot soak in the hot tub would be nice… the water needs changing. It’s that very strange time of year in winter when thoughts of Spring get ahead of the weather a bit too far. I’ll settle for a hot shower later – and a plan.

…I like having a plan…

A handful of years ago, I completed a manuscript of my poetry. That’s honestly the end, right there. That’s as far as I actually got with it. I just… stalled. I’m not even sure why. I let myself think it was to do with a painfully angsty and adolescent poem I included and had second-thoughts about… but no, when I was inspired to revisit this manuscript last night I discovered I’d already removed that. Then I found a spelling error. Then I remembered the poetry I salvaged from my journal destruction project on New Year’s this year. Then I noticed a formatting error. One detail at a time I corrected the errors I found, and cleaned things up a bit. I reached out to the friend who had written the original forward for my manuscript (“Can I still use this?”) and got his enthusiastic approval. I feel far more ready to see this published than I had previously… this year? That’s what I’m thinking, yeah.

My Traveling Partner asked me what I was working on at some point. I shared. It was a sort of “why now?” moment… Yeah… Why now? I’m not sure, really. I think, like the destruction of those old pen & ink journals, it’s just that the time has come to clean up loose ends. Put down old baggage. Finish stalled projects – or toss them in the bin. Clear the clutter. I need the stronger foundation to support my emotional wellness. Clutter is an impediment.

…This weekend I’ll start with getting moved back into my studio now that my new desk is built. πŸ˜€

Already time to begin again.

Here we are, a new year. Today is my first day back to work after the New Year’s holiday. I sip my coffee and wonder what sort of year this one might be…

The weekend was filled with year-end sorts of things, including the massive journal-disposal project that I’ve been mulling over for a long time, and honestly didn’t expect to sit down, start, and finish so… “soon” isn’t the right word. “Unexpectedly” also missed the mark. I just… I guess I’m glad it is behind me. Surprised I pulled it off, perhaps. πŸ™‚ After wandering through many hundreds of thousands of words across something like 15,000 pages, I’m glad to be done with it and free from the storage and “document security” headaches that went along with keeping those journals all these years. There were some worthy observations of life in those pages, for sure, and some beautiful, poignant, or insightful turns of phrase, and I’m glad I took a look back. Those details were sparse compared to the tedium, the tantrums, the madness, and the committing-to-paper of details that generally do best lived-in-the-moment and not written down for later review. I mean… damn I was angry a lot. Bitter. Disappointed. Frustrated. Lusty. Struggling. Did I mention the lustiness? Yeah… I could have made a career writing pornography, I’m sure. LOL

…In some sense the hardest part about letting go of these journals and the years of writing was discovering that I already had

It was interesting to see the change in my writing at the point at which my Traveling Partner and I had gotten together. Before we were lovers we were friends, and it was at that point I also began tapering off the various psych meds I was on at that time, (in part due to his encouragement and fueled by his astonishment at what I was taking and at what dosages). I really couldn’t write easily (or paint) on those meds; my creativity was severely impaired. To get that back, I had to go off the meds I was on (and it would be until very recently that I stayed wholly off all those medications, generally). My partner was very supportive of my painting and writing and my wellness.

At my most heavily medicated, I wrote very little.

My Traveling Partner and I had met many many years earlier – we resumed our friendship when we reconnected, working for the same employer in 2009, but didn’t start hanging out until early in 2010. By March that year we were nearly inseparable friends, jovially sharing our commute on public transit each day.

I was tapering off the psych meds, and both my writing and my painting were becoming a bigger part of my experience.

In October, after we each/both broke things off with other relationships, we moved in together. By May 2011 we’d gotten married. My writing exploded in an environment in which I felt emotionally safe to just write, to just fucking be. It wasn’t always comfortable; there were times when my Traveling Partner would actually choose to leave rather than be around me while I was writing or painting. There was so much “bottled up inside me” that finally “had a voice”. It was an intensely creative period.

2011 used a lot of pages!

When I think back on that time, and I think specifically about how much my current partnership has both inspired and supported me creatively… I’m astonished, and filled with love and gratitude. My Traveling Partner, as much as any one person ever could claim to be, has been my muse. My inspiration. My day-to-day “driving force” – for change, for momentum, for growth and progress, for continuing to begin again. Love makes it all matter so very much. He is also more uniquely capable than any one other human being of hurting my feelings in an instant, moving my heart, pissing me off, and being part of my journey. Fuck I love this guy. I could say more… but I think I’ve said it all at some point… I mean, just based on the amount I’d already written down since we got together…

My partner’s presence felt in every volume. Inspired by love.

I’m not sure…, but it could be that this post is sort of a love letter to a human being who played an important part in freeing me to truly work on becoming the woman I most want to be… finally. That can’t be an easy part to play in this messy life of mine.

If I could have easily done just one additional thing with all those journals it would have been to run the entirety of the content through some sort of algorithm that could reduce it down to just the unique observations – removing the duplicates, the mad spirals, and the redundancy, leaving behind only the things I said, wrote, and observed, each just the once. I wonder how much would actually be left? What wisdom have I gained (and lost) over time? I sip my coffee and think about that… and the way redirecting my writing to this space, this practice, has improved the quality of my writing. (It’s easy to see, having taken the opportunity to compare those volumes to these posts more or less “side by side”.)

I actually “write more” these days. It’s not always obvious; no clutter to measure by. lol I’m also much happier – and it was clear flipping through those pages that the deeply conflicted, traumatized, chronically unhappy woman I once was has been transformed over time. I still have challenges. I still have work to do. I’ve still got an eye on my mental health – and probably always will. I’m also doing pretty splendidly most of the time, by most measures. It’s a good place to be, and I’m grateful to my partner for sharing this journey with me. He’s a hell of a good “traveling companion” for a trip like this. lol I gotta remember to say thank you. πŸ˜€

In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just begin again… again. πŸ˜€ I wonder where this path leads…

…Oh, but it’s gone now. Sorry. Bit of a teaser. Too click-bait-y? That’s on me. Cold coffee and a bit of wait time; we have a houseguest coming (my Traveling Partner’s son, on vacation). Should be fun, but I am admittedly distracted by the nagging thought that there is (still) another task or bit of housekeeping that could be done before our guest arrives… The feeling is an illusion; the essentials are handled and the house looks tidy and welcoming. The reality of it, though, is there is (nearly) always more that could be done to improve one’s quality of life in some small way.

…My eye lands on an “extra” coffee cup sitting on my desk; it could have made it into the dishwasher. I overlooked it.

…I suddenly remember that I’d said I would weed under the deck (definitely needs it) but until just now, I’d forgotten that.

…This nagging headache could use some mitigation, maybe some acetaminophen or ibuprofen. I can pretend that will help, until maybe I forget I have a headache, and it eases a bit?

…I had made a really well-crafted list of things I wanted to … was it “do”? or… specifically write about? paint? …fuck… Well, at least it is a Saturday. (It is a Saturday, isn’t it?? I pause to check. It is. I could trust myself more, I guess.)

…A couple of weeks to the new job…

…There are quite a few local trails and small parks I have not yet visited. This could be a good time for that. I remember, too, that my partner and his son have been planning to camp for a few days while he visits. When (if?) they do, it will be the first time since we moved here (more than two years ago, now) that I’ve had the house to myself for more than a couple hours (no exaggeration). I’ll enjoy the solo time at home. I generally have to go somewhere for that luxury.

My Traveling Partner sticks his head into the studio (again). He’s “grabbing little moments” as often as he thinks to, before our guest arrives. I love that he cares to do so. Hard to focus or concentrate, though. lol I am struggling to write coherent complete thoughts or find meaning in words.

…Relationships are important, and rejection is painful. Easier to let go of the writing for now. I can begin again later. πŸ™‚

I queue up my favorite Portishead + Morphine playlist… reminders that “this too shall pass – or maybe not, but fuck, it’s life, right?” It’s enough to keep me engaged in the work in front of me, honey-smooth and mellow, low notes and minor chords, and the occasional poignant moment in the background. An Rx solution to “take the edge off” – not enough to put the pain to rest completely, but frankly, I wouldn’t be comfortable with coming so close to shutting down my ability to think and work and write in the middle of a work day.

Weird world. Chaos and pain and anger everywhere. Hate. Killings. More killings after that. Blood in the streets. What a strange and terrible time to be alive – but it’s not as if we get a choice; we’re born into the world as it is. Nothing more.

I take a breath, and exhale. I go looking for something more uplifting to listen to in the background. I don’t have anything in mind aside from being distracted from my personal experience of subjective pain, and the very ongoing need to manage that. It’s a good track for data entry, and I pull my shoulders up, straightening my spine. I don’t “feel any better”, but I know “good posture” results in “more up time”. I feel a certain subtle resentment over turns of phrase that conflate human beings with machinery… I am not a machine. Just this fleshy meat sack wrapped around a consciousness. Humbling. Limited.

It’s been an amazing (delightful) few days. I’m not sure what the “secret sauce” has been. My Traveling Partner has been in the shop (a lot) working on projects (several for me), and I’ve been enjoying sharing some of that time, and helping where I easily can. The quality of life lift that results his handiwork is more than pleasant or convenient; I feel very loved. Every time he finishes some project that is the result of some stray “I wish I had a…” or “it would be cool if this would…” kind of remark, I feel heard and understood. It’s special. I feel respected and cared for.

A new cutting board, made for me.

…Then, in some unexpected moment, he’ll snarl at me out of frustration or annoyance over something or another, and I am reminded how human we actually both are. lol Which is to say, “very”. Very human, indeed. Most of the time I let those moments go. Sometimes I laugh with him over it. Sometimes I cry. (Yeah, very human.) Those sorts of moments are more common when one of us is in pain. Pain shrinks our world, pulls our focus inward, and we lose perspective.

My Traveling Partner comes in to share with me his latest finished work; lovely earrings, laser cut from wood. They delight me. (Earrings are the only jewelry I commonly wear, and I do love a fun new pair of earrings!)

Partnership has highs and lows. Pain comes and goes. There’s this moment, now, and very little else has to grab my attention “right now”. It’s okay to take a breath, and begin again.

I heard from an old old friend this morning (he’s not that old, really, we’ve just been friends a long while). It’s been too long. It’s good to “hear his voice” again, even via email. Heart-warming.

I sit sipping my coffee thinking about threads and connections, and making a mental note to reach out to other old friends I haven’t heard from – or communicated with – in a while. We are social creatures. In a pandemic, there are perhaps additional verbs involved. Email. Actual letter writing (of the sort that requires pen, paper, an envelope, an address, and a stamp, and involves the postal system and many days waiting). Catching up on other blogs. Exchanging recipes, and anecdotes. Catching up on old times. New times. Other times. Changes…

…There are always changes…

Good coffee. Nice morning for it. Yesterday kicked off the new year very well, at least in this household. I smile feeling simultaneous gratitude and hopefulness. There’s another day ahead. One more after that in the long holiday weekend…then… back to it. All the things. It’s a season of change; I find myself wondering what to expect, although I know very well that expectations are very premature so soon in the new year. lol

This morning the rain falls from a gray wintry sky. I ache. I shrug off the awareness of physical pain, and nudge my thoughts in the direction of taking down the holiday dΓ©cor. Good day for it. It’s time.

…And time to begin again.