Archives for posts with tag: Dancing in the Moonlight

The morning starts well. A soak in the spa. A hot cup of coffee. A soft gray daybreak. A great (explicit) new rap track. There’s so much potential in a new day. Later there’ll be work to do, maybe errands to run, effort to be exerted, or conflict to resolve, but right now? It’s just this quiet moment, early on a Thursday morning. I don’t know what the future holds in a post-pandemic world (or if there even will be a post-pandemic world for humanity, at all…). I don’t know who the next president will be. I don’t know what tomorrow has to offer. The future is undecided.

What do I want life to look and feel like? That’s a good question to ask, to answer, and then to reconsider. What quality would I want to characterize my general experience of life well-lived? My answer to that question has changed over the years. My understanding of “success” has changed. My understanding of “what life is about” has changed, too. What I want for myself – and of myself – has changed. I sip my coffee and think about that. Who does the woman in the mirror most want to be? What are those qualities that are most likely to ease me into the life I most want to live, long-term?

…I suspect I’m either “late to the party” on some of these questions, or simply prone to having this conversation with myself regularly, forgetting all about it, and having to do it again. 🙂 It feels a bit adolescent, but in my own adolescence I felt pretty sure of most things, in my grim angry cynical way. My level of “certainty” about life probably impeded my growth and forward progress, if only by preventing me asking some significant questions of myself. I’m okay with uncertainty these days – which is pretty useful, since there’s a lot of that around. lol

…It’s a nice morning for reflecting on life, over a good cup of coffee. Decent playlist, too. 🙂

I think about life in the context of this place, this dwelling, this address, this community – this is where I am. It’s been a complicated journey of 57 years. As my coffee begins to grow cold, I think about where this path may lead, accepting the uncertainties, embracing the practices that tend most to keep me on this path I’ve chosen. I feel fortunate, and make room for a moment of gratitude. It’s not that there haven’t been some terrible moments in life, some damage to heart and mind and body (some of which I feel even to this moment, now) – but those experiences don’t define me, now. They are not “who I am” – only what I’ve been through.

I think about a conversation with my Traveling Partner early in the week, about self-care, and my unfortunate lack of consistency in such things. He’s got a point, and I know that – and for every good practice I develop, there’s another I need to reinforce, and become more consistent with. It’s an ongoing thing (and why they are “practices”). I think about this day, ahead of me, right now. So far, so good. There’s more to it, and I can “do more/better” with my self-care practices. No criticism, no self-loathing – I’m not beating myself up over it, just reminding the woman in the mirror to make the worthy effort. It’s needful. It’s worthwhile. I benefit greatly from those moments, and am bettered for taking care of this fragile vessel with all the skill I have, and all the energy I can muster for it. 🙂

…New day, new beginning. Time to begin again.

Time to get back to the office. I’m okay with that. My Traveling Partner is pre-occupied with work right now, and when I am at home working, focused on work, the day-to-day communication challenges associated with my brain injury can be a little more obvious, and, I guess, a little more frustrating. Neither of us need that headache right now.

…Having a TBI that affects how I communicate is more than annoying, sometimes, for everyone dealing with it (not just me). It’s doubly hard when so much about “me” makes it super easy to forget, most of the time, that I have some of these issues…then… fuck. There they are. “Issues”. Damn it. I’m not sure which thing is more frustrating… is it that I often ask for clarification because context is not enough to narrow down the meanings of words to just the one thing intended? (So many words have multiple, or nuanced, meanings, and I “hear them all” when people are talking.) Maybe it is that I sometimes “answer the wrong question” (Okay, I do this a lot, and it is super comical until it becomes super aggravating.) – meaning, that, if you ask me a “when” question, I may give you the “why” – and yes, if you humorously reply by asking me the “why” question, indeed, without skipping a beat, you’re likely to get the “when” of it, without me immediately noticing what I’ve done. :-\ I wish it always just stayed funny, though. It’s not like I’m “doing it on purpose”.

…Then there is the seeming “evasion” when asked a question, and I literally just… go blank. Overloaded trying to both understand and answer, usually in circumstances where there is a clear expectation that I will “get it right” because it is “easy” and “should be right there”. I catch up, sure, but by then I’ve somehow communicated a lack of trustworthiness that can seep into even those interactions with people familiar with me for a long time, and aware of my injury. Aggravating for all concerned. Super painful for me to deal with. Way too many opportunities for hurt feelings, all around.

…And how about those opposites? Omg, yeah. I work with numbers – and this particular challenge is painful, and common; I sometimes say the literal opposite of what I am actually thinking (positive vs. negative, yes vs no, even “opposite colors”, and concepts). Like a cruel prank on myself. Fuck that shit. At least this is one I commonly catch, in the moment, myself. It’s just so hard, sometimes. I want to be heard, valued, and accepted, and I want my words to do credit to my thinking. Realistically, I’m not going to get that any more often, or any more easily, than anyone else. Sometimes, it’s just not there for me. Real talk. Sometimes I sound like a complete dumb ass.

My head aches with trying to manage my headaches, on top of staying on top of all the cognitive disarray, get complicated, and although I do okay sitting here at a keyboard… if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve probably seen it, too. :-\ It’s not getting better as I age, I assure you. In fact, in spite of continued rehabilitative work, specific to improving these sorts of things, I recognize that there are some indications some of this is getting worse, very slowly, over time. Certainly, that last transient ischemic attack (July? 2013? 2014?) was notable, and obvious, in my writing, and I still see it in “wrong endings” of words – a type of “spelling mistake” that isn’t about spelling at all, and cropped up immediately after that TIA, and persists, to a lesser degree, even now. Brain damage? Yeah. Brain damage. It is what it is.

…How long before the frustration of friends and loved ones isolates me completely, relegated to fond memories, and deliberately patient, tolerant, excuses for putting up with me… or… just… not. Just quiet sorrow, and regrets…

I sigh heavily in the quite room, listening to David Bowie, “I’m Afraid of Americans” (but only because it was next on this playlist, although… yeah). Glum thoughts over good coffee. Feeling a bit anxious about life, generally, and about aging, specifically, and what it may mean for my relationships. My brain attacks me immediately, and with real force, “he’s not going to love you forever, not like this, not if you can’t communicate; you’ve already lost your looks, what’s even left now…?” My brain whispers my worst fears and insecurities to me.

“Fuck. For real? Right now? I’ve got work you know.” I silently chastise my personal demons, and have another sip of coffee as the tears slide down my face. “I’m not having it, you vile bitch, just go ahead and head on back to The Nightmare City, I just don’t have time this morning.” I frown into my coffee, annoyed with myself, my insecurities, my vulnerabilities… my humanity.

I switch up my playlist to something lighter, and hope for the best as my tears dry. It’s a place to start…and it’s time to begin again. This morning, that’s got real meaning; it’s an opportunity to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, accept that these are experiences and feelings I need to address in an authentic, honest, and gentle way with myself. I take a couple of deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly and evenly after each, until it feels comfortable. I feel myself relax a bit. I make a point to fill my thoughts with recent positive interactions with my Traveling Partner, and the delight of a recent long email from a dear friend, and the recent triumphs and achievements at work… there’s a lot to be grateful for, to be satisfied with, and to enjoy.

I finish my coffee. I start my day.