Archives for posts with tag: don’t be a dick

Friday. Already? Time to think about the weekend… that’s nice. It’s been a good week. Productive. Chill. I can’t bring a moment of real stress or conflict to mind (in my own right-here-right-now experience of living life). It’s a nice pace to be, poised on the edge of a weekend, without a complaint or grievance. 🙂

…What to do with the weekend, though…?

I’d like to get a couple miles on my hiking boots tomorrow – maybe run up the road to the wildlife refuge and walk the loop there? Work my way back errand by errand? Sounds like fun. Housekeeping Sunday.

Last Sunday my Traveling Partner encouraged me to just “take the day” on Sunday instead of my usual housekeeping and whatnot. It was soooo good to relax that way. We did a couple things together (projects in the shop) and I relaxed. Properly. It was very restful. At some point during the week, my sleep went to shit and by last night, I was kind of stupid with fatigue and sleepiness, and as wobbly getting around as if I’d had several quick shots of rum. My Traveling Partner encouraged me to go ahead and crash – it wasn’t even 5:30 pm at that point. I didn’t think I’d sleep… he woke me hours and hours later to hang out for a little while before he considered calling it a night, himself. I probably could have slept all night, but it wasn’t what I’d wanted to do when I did lay down hours earlier. I’m still astonished that I crashed so hard, and slept so deeply. I had no difficulty returning to sleep a bit later, and woke quite on time this morning, feeling wholly rested.

I yawn, thinking about sleep, later, and smile, thinking about how nice it is to feel so loved, now. It’s a good place to be.

Tomorrow? Another mile on these boots. For now? Love is enough. 🙂

Is the dim light of dawn, before sunrise, “too early” to go for a walk? Does coffee actually “taste good” at all? Is a desktop 3D printer “worth the money”? Am I “beautiful”? Am I “fat”? Am I “stupid”? Is that remark on the tip of my tongue “in good taste” or “hurtful”? Is that bag of groceries “too expensive”?

…Is this a moment I can afford to waste on trivia?…

It’s a matter of perspective in every case, and for each question that I’ve listed so far, isn’t it? Is there a single objective truth answering any one of these questions? I don’t think there really is. Perspective is a tricky piece of adulting. We seem to develop perspective over time, and if we’re fortunate we begin from a helpful place with parents, educators, and elders, leading us through learning, with great care to “stay real”. Doesn’t happen for everyone (that’s pretty “real” all by itself), and certainly a great many human primates reach adulthood either lacking any sense of perspective, or mired in weird distortions created by emotional chaos, thinking errors, and misinformation. Perspective is a big deal.

The dim light of dawn, before sunrise, is “too early” to go for a walk, if the path will be treacherous, slippery, or known to be the active hunting territory of a cougar. Certainly there’d be better times to walk such a trail. On the other hand, given a level paved suburban “trail” through a safely lit park, in the company of a friend, maybe not so hazardous after all?

Which one is this?

Coffee only “tastes good” to those who have a taste for it. Just saying; if you don’t like coffee, no, it doesn’t “taste good” at all. Hell, I enjoy a good cup of coffee – and I not-uncommonly quaff a cup that is… just not good. So… yeah. Perspective weighs in, again.

I suppose, with things like “affordability”, the questions are very relative. A desktop 3D printer is probably super affordable given adequate income, bills all paid, surplus resources, or a likelihood that it may itself become a source of revenue. It wouldn’t be “worth the money” if viewed as an entertaining toy coming out of a limited budget that would result in not paying the bills, or not being able to buy groceries, or fill a prescription for life-sustaining medication. There’s definitely more to “affordability” than the price tag of an item.

Beauty, and the evaluation of beauty, is so incredibly subjective and individual. Am I beautiful? I sometimes think so. Sometimes other people say so. My mirror doesn’t lie to me, though, and I am an entirely ordinary-looking middle-aged woman. What is “beauty”? If it is a feeling and sense of self, I could easily call myself beautiful and feel that I truthfully am, most days. If it is a practical matter of size, shape, symmetry, and fashionable aesthetic? I’m most likely not even “pretty”, “cute”, or “attractive”, to most people. I’m just a 58-year-old woman with a few extra pounds. I’m sufficiently comfortable with who I am and how I look that I don’t make any practical effort to change it with cosmetics, and that works for me. I like comfortable.

The “fat” and “stupid” questions work a lot like the “beauty” question, really; they are subject not only to my own perspective, but also to the subjective perspectives of others around me. Am I fat? Well… I guess, yeah. My doctor would use medical language to say as much, and my health would benefit from losing some weight. A male friend of many years acquaintance would disagree; he likes the aesthetic, the softness, and the hug-ability of a plump woman. Is he wrong? No, just has a different perspective on the matter of weight and fitness. Similarly, if I am having a conversation on a topic I know well, with someone who knows much less about it, I may sound very smart. On the other hand, if I were to attempt to chat up a physicist by fronting and showing off how much I know about physics? I’d sound very stupid indeed, and I’d look a major fool. Very relative. Standing alone in a room considering all of what I know in the context of all there is to know, I’d hesitate to call myself “smart” – there is so much more I could learn, know, or come to understand. 🙂 I’d also hesitate to call myself “stupid” – that there is vast knowledge available, and I only know a fraction of it, is not the defining characteristic of stupidity in my dictionary. (Your results – and your dictionary – may vary.)

Is the remark on the tip of my tongue “in poor taste” or “hurtful”? God damn, it sure could be. I hope it isn’t. I’ve grown a lot over the years, and it is not my way to hurt people carelessly (or by intent, generally), or to present myself in a way that is objectionable for people to be around. I would not even be “the one” to get to decide whether a remark is in poor taste or hurtful – that would need to be decided by the recipient, or the individual I hurt by it. In that instance, it is their perspective that matters, not mine.

Groceries can be expensive. Sometimes that is a matter of perspective, sometimes it’s just a painful punchline to a joke that isn’t funny in a life full of struggle. “Can I afford groceries for my family?” is a question I hope none of us this morning has to ask. Wishful thinking. No doubt someone out there is very worried about this question, and it’s a legit source of stress and heartache. Perspective, here, is more about getting through, getting by, and for those of us not facing that specific struggle, perspective has to extend to being kind at the check out line day-to-day; we don’t know what that other person is truly going through.

It’s a strange time. The pandemic had been seeming to recede, and people got excited (and careless). In that careless excitement lurked the ongoing hazard of new variants with new characteristics, and here we all are, trying to sort out when and where masks still just make fucking sense, and whether or not it’s worth the obvious risks to socialize in groups, yet. For me, my own perspective, it seems a bit premature. I enjoyed my coastal getaway, but I still keep my mask handy. I still avoid groups and close contact with strangers. I still avoid crowds and enclosed shared spaces. I go here or there to run an errand, but attempt to minimize my direct contact with people. I work from home and feel fortunate that I can. I hang out with my Traveling Partner, so grateful to share this peculiar time with this singular individual, fortunate to live and love with a human being I value and enjoy. Feels weird to have moved to new community, but never dined out in one of the local restaurants, or set foot in the shops in the downtown area, but… would it be worth dying for? My perspective is that it can wait – living and loving matters more. So, I take care, take precautions, and stay mindful that this is not a universally shared perspective. 🙂

I stare down into my coffee cup, and then at my to-do list for today. Another Sunday. More housekeeping. Aquarium maintenance, gardening, a quick trip the hardware store… It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I could start with “I’m sipping my coffee…”, but I haven’t tasted it yet. It’s sitting here, hot, ready – too hot to drink, so perhaps not entirely ready. There’s probably a metaphor there, maybe one worth considering with great care.

It’s a rainy spring morning. I don’t mind the rain, so it isn’t the rain that has soured the start to this particular day… it’s just weather. So are these tears. Just emotional weather. Some mornings the challenges of making life in a share space with another human primate are emotionally difficult, frustrating, and push hard on every shred of resilience I’ve got. Living alone often requires more laborious work just getting everything done, but it does not require so much emotional work. It’s work that has to be done, in either case. Just work. Omg, though, some days I really just want to take things easy… where’s the fucking “easy” button around here??

My Traveling Partner comes in, rubs my shoulders and my neck, and says kind, tender words. It helps for a moment. I relax into his love. That helps, too. Love matters. As with other things requiring effort, avoiding the work involved in creating enduring love only results in love not enduring after all… so… we work at it. Humans being human. My partner knows this; he’s pretty skilled at love, generally. Still human. Very. We both are. We have shared much with each other over a decade, learned a lot (both of us) about love and loving, and living our life together while also taking steps to be the human being we each most want to be. There’s a lot of joy in this journey. Some stumbles. Some sorrows. Sometimes things seem quite complicated, other times very straightforward; I’m rarely certain whether the complexity of any given circumstance is self-imposed or imposed upon us.

I sip my coffee thinking about love – now that my coffee is cool enough to drink. I take a moment to give myself some credit for the pure ferocious sheer will-to-change (and grow and improve) that is characteristic of the way I love… and the frustration and resentment that can sometimes result from those efforts, if the result is successful (meaning the desired change was made), but… inadequate (in that it did not have the desired result). I have, over years and relationships, grown weary of being willing to change. It’s not fair to my current relationship that the baggage I’ve picked up over the years weighs us down, now. It’s just the nature of “baggage” to function in that way; it takes still more will to set that shit down and move on.

…This is a good cup of coffee…

I sigh aloud in this quiet room. It sounds louder than it is. I think about the day ahead, looking forward to an errand that needs to be run, trying to sort out my thoughts such that I don’t return home to discover there was one other thing that needed doing, or picking up from somewhere. Lately, I often feel as if I “can’t hear myself think”, or as if I’m struggling to hang on to a thought, however engaging, if there is any hint of a distraction of any sort at all. I sometimes feel as if I am being distracted from what I’m thinking about by the thing I am doing that I am thinking about. I only know one thing that seems to sort that sort of cognitive chaos out properly; solitude. My mental “buffers” are full, and in spite of sleeping decently well, I’m just not managing to process everything…and now my headspace is all clogged up with bulging random thought-clobs of garbage and jumbled nonsense, and it’s hard to finish any new thought at all. Or – so it seems to me, subjectively, as an internal experience.

It was August 2019 when I last went camping… perhaps I am overdue?

It’s lovely to have a home I can call my own. It’s especially nice to share this experience with my Traveling Partner… but I guess I still need what I need as this human creature that I am. Maybe it’s time to get out into the trees again, to sleep under the stars, to wonder with awe at my mortal fragility in a wilder world, to face my doubts and fears in a place from which there is no turning away from answering “the hard questions” in life? I didn’t camp at all in 2020 – pandemic closed the places that are my regular favorites, and later resulted in astonishing crowding at those that opened back up. I’ve had my vaccination… perhaps it’s time to plan a long weekend somewhere solo camping? I’ve had this thought several times, but each time I explored the idea further, it was clear that crowding in a lot of favorite spots is still an issue, and seriously the entire point is to get the fuck away from other human beings and the sounds coming out of their face holes, and yeah, even to get away from their mere presence in my awareness. Proper solitude can be hard to come by (and not everyone enjoys it – nothing wrong with you if you don’t!).

Coffee half-gone, thinking productively about how best to meet some of my emotional needs without placing a burden on my partner (who is also stretched thin emotionally by the challenges of pandemic life, himself), and how to be a better partner to him, myself; I’m feeling less weighed down by frustration and sadness. Work is work. Some things take quite a lot of it. Some challenges are more complicated – and often, as a result, more rewarding once overcome. Still, the journey, itself, is the destination; if I get hung up on outcomes and task completion, I lose so many opportunities to live joyful moments. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let go of random bullshit pinging on my consciousness. Another breath. Another moment…

…Another opportunity to begin again. 🙂

Most of the time, these days, I’m writing from a contented, emotionally fairly comfortable place. Life is pretty good day-to-day, in spite of the pandemic. I don’t have the terrifying, chronic, so-frequent-as-to-be-routine, issues with emotional volatility that I had 8 years ago. I’m fortunate. I also “work hard” at this. There’s a lot of practice. A lot of very necessary restarts, do-overs, and new beginnings. My results vary. I am entirely 100% made of human, from the soaring heights of the most delightful moments of great joy and celebration, to the lowest depths of the most grim, bleakest darkness, the most despairing moments of sorrow, ennui, and futility. Anger gets a turn in there, somewhere. Frustration, too.

…So does love. So does hope. So does happiness – yep, even happiness gets her day in the sunshine. Doesn’t happen to be today, but today this moment is apparently not about feeling good. At least not right at this very moment, right here, right now, which mostly sucks.

…This too shall pass. It sure will. Eventually. I wonder sometimes if that’s actually a good thing at all. Storms pass. The weather clears up. It’s so tempting to just move on from the things crying out for attention during stormy weather, once the sun is shining again. Something to think about.

I’m not sure what to say “about” this moment, right here. I feel…angry. I… feel hurt. I’m annoyed and frustrated. Not just with myself and my own limitations. Not simply with “not being heard”. It’s complicated. I don’t have a healthy relationship with anger. I am aware of that. Mine or anyone else’s; it’s not specific to whose anger it is. I’m uncomfortable with anger. I’m especially uncomfortable with mine. That’s true. Today, I’m angry with my Traveling Partner. (This may be the first time I’ve written that sentence in this blog, I’m not certain.) I haven’t lost any affection for this human being I am so fond of… I’m just angry right now. I don’t know what to do with/about that… it just is, and I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it. So. Here I am. In a separate space, door closed, headphones on, working on “being alone right now” – which is very tough in a small house during a pandemic. As I said; uncomfortable. I’m not lashing out or escalating. I’m maintaining a self-inflicted disciplined calm, because I just don’t know what else to do with or about my anger. I clearly can’t act on it. I’m also having trouble conversing through it to resolve things with my partner; I start weeping. It makes conversation difficult and needlessly, unproductively, emotional. Not okay – and I’m frankly not at all interested in taking the risk of damaging anything I own by having some tantrum, or finding myself in the middle of further emotional escalation and angry words with my partner. Anger feels like emotional poison to me. I know there are ways to process anger more skillfully than I do. I haven’t finished that work, yet. I am unskilled. It takes a lifetime to process a lifetime of trauma, apparently…Or, at least, I have not, personally found a shortcut to the work that must be done to heal the damage that already was done.

Yelling at one’s partner is mistreatment. I work to avoid raising my voice. I don’t even like “yelling across the house” in a conversational way (seriously seriously dislike that shit – if I’m not in the same room, let’s just not converse, or hey, it’s a small house, join me in a shared space). I’m human, though, and I am more easily provoked than I want to be. If I raise my voice, I’ll also apologize for that, and having accepted responsibility for that behavior, immediately seek to bring the volume back down. It’s hard. I don’t always succeed. I struggle with anger – particularly when I am not feeling heard, or when I am being interrupted, or when I feel mistreated myself, in the face of mockery, insults, or other such (also very human, unpleasant, not okay things, but I particularly detest mockery). I work on not yelling. I ask people in relationships with me to not yell. It’s a choice. Take a kind tone. Speak gently. Choices. Encourage each other. Worthwhile – but, yeah, there are verbs involved, and it takes a lot of fucking practice, and it’s got to actually really matter. No one can do the work for you. Hell, you may even find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to choose to make these changes or do this work without much encouragement or reciprocity. Hard, right? Sometimes, yeah. For anyone.

What makes any of that shit worth it? Why is the ongoing effort – and ongoing frustration with having to make that effort – worth it at all, if it won’t placate an angry partner, or restore the peace, or diminish the chaos, or create calm? …I think about that question a lot, and I’m pretty clear on my answer; it’s about being the woman I most want to be, myself, for myself. I’m okay with feeling anger. I’m not okay with losing my shit and yelling at someone I love. Doesn’t matter how provoked I feel. Doesn’t matter who is “right” or who is “wrong”. Doesn’t matter whether I am in pain, or exhausted, or absolutely 100% justified in my opinion, or my understanding of the situation. What matters is … who do I most want to be, and is my behavior consistent with that standard? How does that woman respond to such a situation? How does that woman maintain her calm, stay balanced, and process strong emotion? I think that over, looking for answers, and a next step to being that woman… more so today, than yesterday. More so tomorrow than I am right now. We become what we practice.

…That’s true for everyone, and everything we choose to practice (or fall into habitually). Just saying. Choices. Practices. Beginnings.

Again.

…I hear the tv in the other room. My partner bravely checked-on me, and expressed his desire to hang out – in spite of the chaos, what matters most is our affection for each other. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Hard to set down the baggage. Sometimes it’s even hard to begin again. I take a breath, and steady myself to take that step…

Snow is falling. I don’t mind that; it’s pretty, and I’m comfortable at home. What I do mind are these tears. Oh, and the headache. The tinnitus. The crossness and fatigue that come of sleeping poorly. I mind all those things. “I’m doing my best.” It’s not “enough”.

I’ve lost my sense of enthusiasm even for something as innocent and delightful as a snowy winter afternoon.

I’ve lost my balance, and my way, and I’m as a hapless motorist in a blinding snow storm – drifting, then… stuck.

I’ve lost my perspective.

I’ve lost my sense of humor about all the maddening bullshit that has to do with caring for this meat suit until it finally rots around me.

…I’m just tired…

My Traveling Partner is annoyed with me. I’m not communicating well. I’m terse without realizing it. Apparently. I’m making a completely fucked up mess of the day in all but one respect; work. I’ve got this work in front of me. For now it keeps me anchored and aware that in some future moment maybe things won’t feel so utterly completely shit… I mean… “this too shall pass”… ? Right? I just need to stay focused on this spreadsheet for another couple hours…

…It’s surprisingly difficult to hold on to non-attachment when I need it most…

I’m angry with myself and disappointed. I don’t tell myself I’ve set the bar too high; I’ll myself that I’m fraud and a failure and a clown because I am not right now 100% of every inch of the woman I most want to be… in spite of this headache, and this fatigue, and this absolutely entirely fallible mortal and very human experience. It’s a moment. It’s not a great moment. It’s not a delightful moment. It’s not a moment I’m going to want to carry with me for a life time of recollection… but it’s part of my experience of being this particular human being. It has to be enough – and it has to be just another moment, one more step, one mile on a much longer journey. If I let it swamp me and become “everything”… yeah, then I definitely lose my way. 😦 Been there, too.

I take a breath. I let the tears fall. I watch the snow flakes coming down. I let the minutes pass without requiring anything more of them – or me.

The snow continues to fall. It’s beautiful. It’s cold out there. I stare past my monitor to the window and into the sky. That sky isn’t so blue right now. Weather versus climate. The pain in my neck is distracting in an unpleasant way…but it reminds me to turn my attention back to the work in front of me. Whatever. It’s something.

…Sometimes “something” has to be enough to hold onto. That’s okay. There will be a chance to begin again.