Archives for posts with tag: choose change

Initially, I wrote it off as coincidental; the rise of negativity, the more intense emotionality, the unpredictable temperament, while it could have been the new Rx… why would I assume it necessarily was? I mean… I’ve got issues. lol Then, my Traveling Partner noticed, largely by way of being hit with an unhealthy dose of it on the receiving end. Then, a couple of friends noticed it – one of them by way of the negative affect of my posture, and facial expressions. Oh. Hell. No. I am not putting myself through that. I’d only been on it a handful of weeks, and already struggling with nightmares, weird shifts in mood and/or perspective, and a powerful (slow) spiraling negativity that was definitely worsening. I follow up with appointment making, and begin to taper off of the new Rx, (after getting some relief, but not nearly enough to make the trade-offs worth it).

…24 hours later, the bleak gray “certainties” that had been rapidly becoming my perspective began to lift. Yesterday was a lovely day, and it was easy to enjoy, and the smile on my face felt real, not forced, and although I’m dealing with pain, this is me… dealing with it. So. Some better. Much better. Pain sucks, but pain along with feelings of muted despair, terrible mocking nightmares, and moody bullshit…? Worse.

I didn’t write over the weekend. I was definitely aware that my thinking and emotions were increasingly colored by this prescribed, regulated, managed, and also notably not working out well for me, personally, prescription drug experience. (I was definitely “on drugs” – which happens to any one of us far more often at the hands of a physician than a street dealer!) I’d ideally rather not drag everyone else into the muck with me. Making the choice to recognize and act upon the problematic symptoms sooner than later is merely a byproduct of being well-supported in my relationships, and having already experienced the outcome of excessive trust placed in someone else’s judgement over my own first hand knowledge, of my own first person experience. Seriously, though, if you’re on a medication with a problematic effect, please talk to your doctor – don’t just quit! Some drugs have a very particular or difficult withdrawal effect, and you’d want to be supported properly with appropriate care. πŸ™‚

I woke easily, this morning, no nightmares chasing me. The alarm was unwelcome, and honestly, I expect this on a Monday morning after a lovely weekend; I’d rather stay home, in the garden, enjoying another coffee, and hanging out with my Traveling Partner, or a friend, or the squirrels and chipmunks if everyone else is busy. πŸ™‚ Not gonna lie; I think work is highly over-rated. Still, it gives a certain structure (and cash-flow) to my day-to-day experience. πŸ˜‰

So, it’s a routine Monday, after all that, following a lovely weekend of sunny days, gardening, and running errands. I’m sipping coffee, and looking ahead to the work week. I have the thought that it will be a busy one. Then I wonder about the impact of the Google outage… holy shit a lot of everyday life goes through the internet somewhere, these days. I sit with that thought for a moment, feeling grateful I don’t have all my household electronics controlled by way of an internet connected device. I actually didn’t notice there’d been an outage until my Traveling Partner read about it on the news. lol We were contentedly busy being people, in real life. Most enjoyable. πŸ™‚

I look at the clock. Yep. Choices. Every choice I make is a whole new beginning. From the small things like “shall I have another coffee?” to the bigger things like “who am I and how do I want to live?” – the answers send my experience along a new path. I grow. I become. Journey-as-metaphor works, because it’s just so close to accurately describing what life, experienced along a timeline, is really like. There’s still no map… but these are my own choices, nonetheless. πŸ™‚ I become what I practice, and it’s time, already, to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and marveling, a little awestruck, but not in any pleasant way, really, at the quantity of posts, reposts, and shares in my feed that are seriously… emo. Like… bleak. Self-denigrating. Depressed. Blue. Despairing. So many of these are also coming from friends and associates I understand to be lovely people, from the perspective of my experience of them as individuals, in some cases gifted, warm-hearted, and thoroughly promising samples of what humanity is capable of, which… is weird. People who simultaneously appear to be on a journey of growth and improvement, and also appear to be mired in negative assumptions and self-loathing. That’s a lot to take over a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. (Personally, I’d rather not have to wade through all that suffering; I’d rather have brunch.)

I find myself wanting to answer each such post. To correct the thinking errors. To correct the mis-assumptions. To fact-check. To lift people up, by giving them tools to prevent themselves from drowning in their own bullshit. It’s not that easy, is it? A lot of people are ever so carefully crafting that experience. Building the narrative that supports it, with great care. Seeking emotional support and feedback from others who will nurture the suffering – instead of nurturing that human being who is their friend. Drama creeps in from the edges pretty quickly. I breathe. Let each one go. That is my own challenge; to refrain from reacting to each new outrageous self-deceit posted by a friend. Sometimes, attempting to correct these things only reinforces them by way of repetition and sharing. (See? We have learned something from social media!)

For fuck’s sake, people, try not to hate yourselves. Let go of hating each other, too. Try to assume positive intent. Oh, I know, you’ve been hurt – or soaked up the residual lessons resulting from the hurts your parents and community perceive, invent, or celebrate. (Quick aside for the white people in the room; no, this doesn’t get us off the hook for being aware of our privilege, or make it okay to shrug off generations of abuses delivered to others, or in any way defend the heinous institutions and practices that have held back our brothers and sisters of color. You’ll want to let that go, too – real wrongs definitely do need to be made right, and I am calling bullshit on racism, sexism, and xenophobia, just in general.) It’s time to let go of treating yourself like shit. That’s what I’m saying.

If nothing else, don’t be a dick. Not to yourself. Not to other people. Not – perhaps especially not – because you think it’s “just a joke”. When the humor comes at the expense of someone else’s injury, it’s not funny. If you’re laughing at other people’s pain, maybe spend some money on therapy instead? Sort that shit out. Why do I care? Because when we treat ourselves poorly, mock others for our amusement, and allow the world to strip away our humanity, we create a shitty experience for everyone involved. Why does it even have to be like that? Truth: it doesn’t. We can each choose differently.

My friends are all – each and every one – so special to me. I see your charm, your wit, your heart. I enjoy your merry laughter, your presence, and your forward momentum in life. I worry when you are in distress. I celebrate when you triumph over adversity. I celebrate your milestones. Your self-loathing? I’m betting neither of us really benefit from that. Maybe consider letting that go? You are so worthy. ❀

Really? You only need to begin again. Like, but a whole lot of times, probably, and yeah, it’s a slow transformation. It’s there for you, though. So am I.

It’s a journey with a lot of stairs to climb…

Ready for it? Here it comes… The next opportunity to make a profound change, or improve something, or embrace something (someone?), or “make that next move”… coming up any second now… Watch for it…

Oh. Wait. I don’t mean to be a let down, or to mislead you… but… that’s literally every single moment, ever, and right now. Seriously. Don’t like your life? Make some different choices than you have been making. They don’t even have to be huge choices. I’m not talking about “leave-your-mate-quite-your-job-move-across-the-world” changes, here, although those exist, too; it’s the small every day changes. Does your quality of life leave something to be desired? Let’s just start there, with something small.

Look around you right now (I’ll wait).

Okay. Based on what you see, from your vantage point right now, what could you be doing differently that may improve the quality of your life? Just that. No need to overwhelm yourself, just some small thing. Maybe “there’s clothes all over my floor” becomes “I’ll stop dropping my clothes on the floor”, followed by “Oh, hey, I’ll just pick these up right now, too”? Small stuff. Not all of everything all at once. Just… something. Practice it until it becomes “natural” – and by “natural” I mean that it will, over time, become something that is just part of who you are, you just do it, and it doesn’t really occur to you not to. That’s a thing, and it really happens.

By the way – it already has. Take another look around you, and hold that thought; you practiced everything you do that results in the life you live, over time, until it became who you are. Yep. Dishes in the sink? Clothes on the floor? Books you never read? A job you hate? Even things like screaming tantrums and hormonal rages. Chronically shitty attitude about life? Yeah, you can practice a mood or state of mind, too, and omg that can feel so hard to change – I mean, aren’t you “just who you are”? Nope. Not a thing. We are a product of our choices over time, our environment, our genes – lots of things – but we can definitely change a lot of it. It’s our choices that make that possible. We’re highly adaptable. We become what we practice, even if that wasn’t who we were when we started our journey.

So… today? Today my devices don’t control what I’m doing with my time, and aren’t permitted to pull my focus from “real life”. I use them, they don’t use me. I’m not a life support system for a fucking phone. πŸ˜‰ That’s my change today – it’s actually pretty huge. I did okay with it yesterday. My notifications are off, and my ringer turned off during the work day, and when I’m driving (really anytime I don’t care to be interrupted by it). I don’t “need” Facebook, either, really, and the day went just fine setting firm limits with myself. I look at my phone when I need something from it. It’s not a tether that requires me to interact with the world on other people’s terms or timing. More practice today. πŸ™‚ Every day. All of the minutes. Nothing but practice. I expect to fail some. That’s okay. I’ll just start over. Endless new beginnings, and we definitely become what we practice. πŸ˜€

Language matters too; put the past in the past tense. Put the person you want most to be in the present tense – then be that. (It does still take practice.) Don’t be tempted to let others define you. Definitely “use your words”. πŸ˜‰

Time to begin again.

I am enjoying the literal darkness, quite specifically before dawn – already the days shift such that the sun is no longer already beginning to rise when I do. Now I’m up sooner, sipping coffee and listening to the bullfrogs on the marsh well before the sky even begins to lighten. I’m okay with that – seasons change. If I weren’t okay with it, there’s nothing at all I could do about it – seasons change. πŸ™‚

Change is, whether I choose it or not, whether I am able to embrace it, or fight it every step of the way, clinging madly to what once was. Change just is. When I am able to participate in change in a wholesome aware sort of way, I generally find it isn’t even unpleasant to face change. I think this idea explains the quick (fairly painless) shift from panic regarding an unexpected rent increase that I wouldn’t be able to afford long-term, to enthusiasm about an upcoming move; I recognized imminent change coming, and dived right in to make choices that willfully guide my path through that process. Or something. I at least like how that sounds. πŸ™‚

There is so much to do. I guess I’ve got to just keep diving into these changes. lol πŸ™‚

…In the meantime, there is life to live, alongside and mixed in with moving. Fucking complicated. lol I often feel very distracted lately, caught up in the move going on in my head, already. I have to pull myself back to “now” again and again. The value in making a point of doing so is obvious to me now, where perhaps once I wouldn’t have really understood why it was worth the bother; life happens outside my head. Living requires more verbs than daydreams. My most precious memories are not about what I was thinking at the time, they are about what I was doing, and who I was with. πŸ™‚

Today is a work day, and it is my “Friday”. Ahead of me there is time to pack things in boxes, and time to take down paintings, and time to take things from here to there – although that is still a couple weeks away. Behind me are memories. Here I am sipping coffee in the one fully real moment I’ve ever got – now. I’m taking time to enjoy it, just as it is, pre-dawn darkness and all. πŸ™‚ Why wouldn’t I? It’s enough.

 

I went to bed knowing the likely outcome of the election, already feeling tense and stressed out. I slept. I even slept deeply. I woke early. I checked the news briefly, long enough to know that we’ve made our choice. Huh. America’s first openly out “rapist-in-chief”. It’sΒ vile, although he’s certainly not the first narcissistic racist misogynist homophobic wealthy white man of privilege to hold the office (not even the only one in my lifetime). I sigh. I close the news.

I wonder if I can go fourΒ years without checking the news again… Four yearsΒ seems an eternity, although I know better than that; four years is a fraction of the years I’ve been alive, and a smaller fraction still of human kind’s history on earth. It’s just four years. It seems horrifying to give this particular human being so much “power” over so many vulnerable people… and I think about “checks and balances” and high school lectures about American government, and also the challenges our first African-American president had getting fuck all done because some insecure bigots couldn’t bear the idea of a brown president, and were so easily able to stop him in his tracks with obstructionist bullshit. Four years will pass. If we don’t destroy the world in a misuse of nuclear armament, someone new will move into the office in just four years.

I’ve been around for 14 presidential elections. Social media stoked emotion to magnitudes of intensity I associate with mental illness for this one, and we all more or less survived with our sanity intact. Mostly. It’s the first election I recall where there were fatalities at polling places. I take a deep breath. I feel myself relax. I think about past presidents, in my own lifetime. They haven’t all been what I would consider “good people”, but clearly they had the followers to become president. Being a good human being has not seemed to be an American criteria for holding office. Ever. Our “democracy” is available for purchase, which is… grotesque. It’s also not actually democratic. I find myself wondering who really owns the new guy – someone does. Someone always does. If not going into it, then on the way out the door. It’s a profitable gig, and not because of the paycheck that goes with it. We’ve known it for a while. We tolerate it, although I don’t know why we do.

Bernie’s right; we’ve got to keep pushing. There is work to be done. We’ve got to keep insisting on clean air, clean water, better consumer protections, rational healthcare and prescription drug prices, laws that are fairly applied, and real equality for all our citizens, real democracy, justice for victims of violence, for victims of bias and hate, and continued forward momentum as human beings – and there are verbs involved. If we want to change the world, we have to choose change. The loudest voices, the angriest voices, don’t have to be the voices that make the rules, even within our own hearts… but yeah, there are verbs involved. We’ll have to begin again.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Begin again. Each practice. Each moment. Right here. Right now.

Today is a good day to begin again. Today I will do my best to set aside my own fear – terror, really – of what comes of this choice America has made. I’ll take a deep breath and begin again each time my fear and anxiety rise up. Most things, day-to-day, in most moments of my experience are not directly affected by who is president. I take a deep breath. I relax. I begin again.