Archives for posts with tag: emotional self sufficiency

Good flight, so far. Lots of storms. Lightening. Beautiful. I entertain myself shooting video clips of lightening in the distance as it illuminates the clouds. The sky is “already ” beginning to show signs of the coming dawn. My brain feels confused by that; the clock says 01:14. Soon we’ll land, and upon reconnecting, it’ll be 3 hours “into the future”.

I haven’t slept. Although I often doze on long flights, it’s rare that I actually sleep deeply or restfully. I didn’t expect to. I dozed a couple times. 20-30 minute catnaps, nothing more. I will nap in the hotel, after check-in.

… time passes…

It’s evening, now. Almost 18:00. Florida “has thick air” – dense, still, humid. There has been a hint of coming storms in the air here, all day. The storms over the midwest seem to have followed me here. lol I turn off the A/C in the room. Shut off the lights as night falls. I shoot a few videos. Reliably the most “dramatic” and eye-catching lightening immediately precedes turning on the video, or quickly follows turning it off. LOL Timing matters.

I sit quietly, entertained by “nature’s lightshow”. The heaviest of the drenching rain has moved on, but the lightening persists. There was a balcony light on for a while. It’s off now. Timers? My footage would have been much better without that fucking balcony light. I stop writing for a few minutes and just watch, listen, and breathe. My cell phone is on the charger; no video right now. LOL Timing matters.

City lights in the distance seem to sparkle. Cars move along roadways. It all seems so… “fancy”. I feel lucky to see it; there are very few thunderstorms where I live.

I was so wiped out from traveling that once I checked into the hotel, and got sorted out for where things are located (like the convention I’m actually here for), I crashed hard and napped for a couple hours. Got up. Showered. Went and checked-in to the conference itself. Had another nap. Roused myself and attended the evening conference “mixer” – just a meet-n-greet of various professionals attending, and the folks who are hosting the whole thing. It was pleasant enough, I supposed. Not so much my thing, personally, but I was tickled to run into a couple folks I know from elsewhere: a former colleague, folks I’ve met previously through vendor partnerships when I was employed other places. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Once it was clear the socializing was beginning to turn into “partying”, I made a gracious exit and returned to my room, delicious but unfinished Mai Tai still in my hand. Those are fucking strong. I have one last sip as I enter my room, and put the rest in the mini fridge. (I probably won’t finish it; that’s a lot of alcohol for me, and I rarely drink.) Tasty. Too much. Like travel and conferences. LOL

The thunder rolls on. An hour ago I was unbelievably sleepy again… now, less so. I’m captivated by the lightening, and spellbound by the thunder. I’m missing my Traveling Partner. We chatted awhile, a bit ago, before the thunderstorm started. Soon, sleep, but for now, I’m just sitting here with a glass of water, enjoying this thunderstorm. 😀 …This too shall pass. Storms do. Impermanence demonstrated. I sit with that metaphor, sipping my water.

Soon enough, it’ll be a new day, and time to begin again.

…It’ll be another. 🙂

In this case, it’s a lovely sunny Spring morning, a Friday. I took the day off because I’ll be on a plane heading to a work conference late tomorrow evening, sleeping thousands of feet overhead as I wing my way to the conference location. I’m not exactly excited about it… I’m not exactly not excited about it. I spent so many years as the partner staying behind, staying home, venturing out seldom, that this still has some novelty and interest – especially after two years of pandemic life. But, whether I am excited or not, I definitely do want and need time to chill, to plan into it, to prepare with care – because when I give up that time and don’t do those things, my experience feels frenetic, chaotic, and stressful. Besides all that, a Saturday departure makes a short weekend with my Traveling Partner (who is the more likely of the two of us to be staying at home, these days). I didn’t want to undermine those limited precious minutes we share, so taking the day off results in something more or less like a normal weekend, at least in duration.

I’m sipping my coffee contentedly. Just finished off the payday stuff – that’s a pretty low stress endeavor these days, and I feel that. The lack of stress, I mean. It’s pretty splendid that the mere mention of a payday, or a bill, or indebtedness, or budgeting doesn’t send me into a massive anxiety attack of some kind, or trigger my PTSD. A lifetime ago, being even a penny off on the painful process of balancing a checkbook with my first husband would almost guarantee I’d have terrible dark painful new bruises afterward. Literal violence, over pennies. What a lot of horrible bullshit. I can look back now and see that I should have walked away much sooner, but it wasn’t so obvious at the time. Understanding now that I was also viewing life through the lens of a fairly serious brain injury that was not actually rehabilitated (and that I was not, at the time, aware of), I am much more compassionate with that younger version of me.

Have you ever thought about that? How easy it actually could be to cut your younger self some fucking slack? Bad decisions are pretty commonplace when we’re young; we have limited life experience, and we’re the sort of creatures that commonly learn best through our mistakes. So… yeah. Every one of us has fucked something up, probably pretty badly. The world is going to make a point of ensuring we get a proper reckoning, more often than not. We could at least be there for ourselves, after the fact, right? We could bring our wiser perspective to our recollection of events, be kind to that younger self who just didn’t have all the tools or knowledge to do things much differently, and be just a bit more nurturing of ourselves on that look back – couldn’t we? And why not? The events of the past are past. Treat yourself more gently now and then. It’s okay to be your own best friend.

I’m not saying ignore warning signs that you need real help – definitely seek out and get the help you need. Think your mind “doesn’t work right”? Get therapy. Just like you would if you had a broken bone, or a terrible case of flu – get qualified help. Get treatment. Embrace change. Don’t like who you are? Make other choices. Change your thinking. Change your practices. Walk away from a situation that you are not thriving in. Jobs? There are plenty. Find one that you enjoy and doesn’t entirely drain away your joy in life! Relationships? Yeah, I know, we get attached, we feel that connection, we hope… But a bad situation is a bad situation. You could walk away. Maybe you should? Don’t like where you live? Move! Okay, resources are limited, so maybe that feels out of reach – but setting a goal is within reach. Making a plan is within reach. Exploring options is within reach. Steps. Incremental change over time adds up.

Anyway. It’s a lovely day, in spite of this being a world filled with violence and chaos, and threats to our freedoms, and shitty entitled ass-clowns seemingly just every-fucking-where… it’s okay to choose joy, and to live life. Savor what feels good. Seek to change what isn’t working so well. It’s okay to look back on yourself with kindness, and with respect for what you have endured so far, and how far you’ve come to get where you are now.

…It’s okay to begin again. 😀

I woke in a sweat, uncomfortable and shaking, tearing my consciousness from a nightmare that I had gotten pregnant – at 60, post-menopause – and unable to terminate my terribly risky and thoroughly unwanted pregnancy because the law had changed, and my bodily autonomy as a human being was utterly lost. My heart was pounding. I paced restlessly for a moment or two, feeling vaguely unsettled and with a persistent “uncomfortable” feeling in my guts.

I laid back down, fighting sensations very much at odds with each other; the sweats and discomfort, the fatigue and sleepiness. I felt peculiarly averse to going back to sleep. I wasn’t exactly nauseous… but I felt suspiciously as if I might feel better if I got sick and got past it.

Predictably enough, I was quite sick moments later. Something I ate apparently did not agree with me. The stressful nightmare was likely a byproduct of the combination of physical and emotional discomfort – one from whatever I ate that did not agree with me, the other from the recently leaked not-quite-official-yet Supreme Court document regarding the likely end of Roe v Wade. My physical discomfort was greatly eased by vomiting. My emotional discomfort… well, it’s no surprise that it persists.

…Tell me again why someone besides me, myself, has anything to say about whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term? I’ve chosen to be childless. Period. Seriously. I did not want to be a mother. Why would my choice be out of my hands? When I hear people spouting bullshit talking points about the sacredness of life from the moment of conception, I reliably find myself wondering how they are so easily able to overlook the sacredness of the life of the pregnant person, herself? How do they justify what is fundamentally a position that states women should be coercively required – forced – to bear a child? Forced to bring a pregnancy to term that they do not want. Forced to endure a potentially life-threatening pregnancy for months. Forced, potentially, to go through all that and the trauma of giving up a child for adoption in order to avoid motherhood? How is that acceptable?

I hear a lot of religious arguments against abortion. My thoughts on that are basically… by all means, if your faith restricts you from terminating a pregnancy, definitely do not do that, then. I get it. Your religious freedoms absolutely permit that choice for you. My religious beliefs do not in any way restrict me from choosing to end a pregnancy. My religious freedoms should ensure that I continue to have access to a full measure of reproductive medical services – including abortion. I know, it probably sounds like I am taking this damned personally for a woman on the other side of menopause… doesn’t even affect me, directly, right? I am taking this personally. Having abortion available to me ensured I was able to choose to be childless by intent. My choice. I was able to graduate high school. I was able to join the Army once I did. Both of those would have been beyond my reach, without having been able to terminate a pregnancy while I was in high school. I had birth control measures available. I used them. My birth control failed – which is not uncommon. I was fortunate to live at a time when abortion was available to me, when I needed it.

I needed to get that off my mind. Thank you. If I’ve upset you, I regret the distress I’ve caused you. Not enough to change (or withhold) my thoughts on this topic, but it isn’t my intention to cause you suffering if we disagree.

…But… can anyone tell me why it seems acceptable to tell someone that they must be forced to bear a child against their will, or potentially under life-threatening circumstances? Why is the not-yet-viable-outside-the-womb fetus “life” worthy of respect and value – but the living breathing human person with that fetus in their body is less so? I don’t get it. Like it or not, that’s really what is being proposed; forcing people who do not want to bear a child to go through that process because someone else is not okay with an abortion that they have nothing to do with at all. Yes, I’m unreasonably angry about this, and taking it personally. It feels personal.

It’s late. My guts are no longer churned up. I’m no longer sweating. My breathing is relaxed and even. It’s quiet in these wee hours, and I am alone with my thoughts in the night. I’m okay, though. No despair. Just quiet. There’s no stress to these sleepless hours; tomorrow I return home to the welcoming embrace of my Traveling Partner. I’m definitely homesick. I’m eager to be at home all through the month of June.

A yawn unexpectedly splits my face. I’m tired and sleepy. Time to try that sleep thing, again. Tomorrow is a new day, and plenty soon enough for new beginnings. 🙂

I’m in a strange headspace this morning. It’s a long weekend. My anniversary with my Traveling Partner coming up. 11 years married. 🙂 Worth celebrating. Where would life have taken me if I had not taken this path? I don’t know, and never will know; it is the path I took, and the path I travel now. I’m okay with that.

The headlines in the news are pretty grim. Every day more terrible news about the war in Ukraine. Nearly as often some terrible family killing or murder-suicide or mass shooting or femicide or report of a child killing someone with a gun left too easily accessible is the story of the moment. If you’re reading the news in America, you’ve likely got a news feed filled with violence. It’s fairly shameful that this is who we are. (Oh sure, “not all Americans…”, but we vote, and we put the people in power who do nothing to make the changes we need to keep people safe and free. We each have a chance to do better.)

So, today I sip my coffee. I figure I’ll help out today by not killing anyone, by refraining from acts of violence against others, by embracing calm and contentment and making merry with my partner. I’ll treat passing strangers kindly and with courtesy. If I run an errand, I’ll drive gently and considerately, and I’ll refrain from flipping off stray asshats who drive like they own the fucking road and have nowhere to go other drivers. Choices. I’ll do better, myself. It’s a place to start.

The seedlings on my windowsill are doing well. Promising. New life. Fresh vegetables grown at home. 🙂 I’m excited to have “a real garden”, although admittedly I begin every gardening adventure with maximum enthusiasm and commitment and I acknowledge the variable outcomes. lol I think my own best previous gardens were the balcony garden I had in my first apartment with my Traveling Partner (herbs and roses, and later some wonderful tomatoes), and the garden I had in the garden at #59. That one was lovely – just steps away from my apartment, with water right there easily available. I grew tomatoes, carrots, and some salad greens, that I recall were delicious, but bolted quickly in the summer heat.

I rarely took pictures of my vegetable garden, and the few pictures I had were lost when #59 was burglarized (my laptop was stolen). So… here’s a squirrel visiting my container garden on the patio there.

I sip my coffee and think about my parent’s garden when I was growing up and still living at home. At the time, I felt like an involuntary laborer most weekends. The whole family would have breakfast, usually my Dad would cook. Then we’d all go out and work in the garden in the mid-morning, on weekend mornings. It was a lot of weeding, as I recall. As kids we didn’t do much of the heavy work, or planning. I had my own 4″x4″ square plot to call my own, too. I rather foolishly planted it in Jerusalem artichokes, which thrived beyond my wildest expectations, filling the bed and coming back year after year. lol Why was that a problem? No one in my family ate them. LOL There’s something to be learned there.

…There’s almost always something to be learned…

My Traveling Partner is making me a raised bed for our front yard. I’ve planned it modestly – a manageable size that I can count on myself to take care of. I’ve outlined an “L” shape that will “nest” within the edges of the flower beds, and give about a 30 inch (about 72 centimeters) walkway between the flower beds and the raised bed. I’m excited about it! It’s a very sunny spot, well-suited to growing food. The grow bags in the back are excellent for cooler weather vegetables and things that like a bit of shade during the heat of the day. I like having both. It’s not a lot of square footage in this new bed – just 20 sq ft, but I know I can manage that comfortably without help, and that matters. I get about 3 sq ft out of each grow bag (of the size I have), and the four of those give me another 12 sq ft of growing space. 32 sq ft doesn’t sound like a lot of garden, but it’s the most I’ve had since the 20 ft x 20 ft community garden plots I had back in the very early 00’s. I had two of those; they were completely beyond my ability to manage them, but I hung on to them year after year, puttering around and playing at gardening without much to show for it. I don’t think we ever actually ate any produce from my own garden there (it was mostly herbs, roses, and flowers). My greed overcame my ability. There’s something to be learned there.

So, this time, I am hoping I’ve found the right balance between ability and will, between sunshine and shade, between yearning and having, and even between vegetables and flowers. I’ve learned some things. I’m sure there’s more to learn. There almost always is.

I find myself thinking about my parents, their garden, and the things that motivated so many of their choices and practices. Their garden was not “just for fun” – they fed us from that garden. We often didn’t have a lot of cash resources, and were not “wealthy”. In fact, I’m fairly certain we were “poor” by many definitions of that word, but that garden fed us and it fed us well. It set my expectations of what vegetables taste like way too high to eat supermarket produce and be happy with that (it often tastes almost flavorless without a lot of seasonings). I miss those flavors! My parents were not “doomsday preppers” or serious survivalists, but my Dad had an interest in survival, bushcraft, and the practical details of life without “extras”. He hunted, and we ate game. I grew rabbits, and we ate those, too. We fished, and crabbed, and ate our catch. The house we lived in was in quite an ordinary residential neighborhood, crammed pretty close to other houses, but we explored the countryside through family visits elsewhere, and trips to see my Dad’s friends out in the rural areas of the state. Most of the backyard was garden. We had a complete set of the Foxfire books and I read them eagerly. There were often evening conversations at the dinner table (or in the kitchen or by the fireplace in the winter or outside while working on a project together) about “what if…?” – What if the power grid failed? What if we use up all the oil? What if there were a new ice age? What if there were a serious drought? What if there were a major food shortage? What would we do to live, survive, and thrive… if? We were encouraged to really consider it, and to develop useful skills.

I have my doubts that anyone is truly “self-sufficient”. We are interdependent, each of us contributing something to a larger whole. Family, community, workplace… it’s not just one person standing in a garden, selecting that perfect ripe tomato. Where did the seed come from? The garden tools – were those hand-crafted individually by that gardener? The water… what is the source? How much of what is being used in the garden has to be purchased elsewhere? I sip my coffee and think about self-sufficiency vs interdependence. I think about “what if”… and wonder what my own life might be like if I suddenly found myself without electricity. What if there was none to be had? (“Generators!” Sure, sure …and when the fuel runs out..?) I slide contentedly down this rabbit hole on a sunny morning, as a rather large gray cat makes his way along the fence beyond my window.

A stranger passing by, curious about what I’m up to on my side of the window.

I call out to my Traveling Partner to come look at the hefty visitor making his way along the fence so carefully. I haven’t seen this cat before. He moves on; he has things to do, clearly, and no time to waste on us.

Today I’ll finish cleaning up the aquarium and put it up for sale with all it’s parts. I’ve been slow to finish this project, less out of reluctance or sorrow than avoiding the effort involved. I’ve been working at it a bit at a time, but now the time has come to finish it off and get it gone, and reclaim that space for other purposes. Here, too, there’s something to be learned.

…There’s almost always more to learn. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Improving my self-care, and slowing down a bit, along with assorted other verbs and changes, has been having some pleasant outcomes. My fitness is improving (physical therapy for the win!), my memory and ability to sort/store information – and then also find it again – is also improving a bit (I can thank better sleep, and just generally slowing the fuck down for that). All of this adds up to feeling a bit more “on the ball” and cognitively sharper (it doesn’t hurt that I’ve also cut my cannabis use way back – a tale for another time). Ever the student, never a “report card”… except for today. Today I feel like I “got a good grade”…

I had offered verbal assurances to my Traveling Partner that I’d run a couple errands today on my lunch break. Simple stuff, but easy to forget (for me): swap out an empty propane tank for a full one at a local retailer, and swing by the pharmacy to pick up allergy meds. No problem – but it’s the sort of thing that often plagues me with repeated forgetfulness in the busy-ness of a typical work week. I get immersed in the work details, and forget the “us” or “me” details entirely… or don’t follow through in spite of my awareness of the need, in the background, feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Very human.

Today I did not forget. Win! It gets better…

I left the pharmacy and went to my car. I love my Mazda. Fun to drive. Keyless ignition. Great back-up camera. Lots of ease-of-use features that fit me particularly well. Rainy day, so I left my keys in my pocket, grasped the door handle and pushed the wee thumb button that would unlock the door based on the keys being “right there with me”.

…Nothing happened. No click, nothing. Door did not unlock. Fuck. Oh, well. I didn’t panic, I just pulled the actual physical key from the fob, unlocked the car and got in.

…The car didn’t start. Weird. I did some troubleshooting (foot on the break? check! ignition switch lit green? check! car in park? check!). I took a breath, and exhaled. I’ve got a “supercomputer” in my pocket pretty nearly all the time (my cell phone), so I quickly googled “Mazda CX-5 won’t start”. Right there, in a list of the most common causes, the likeliest of the most common causes in bold font: key fob battery. Oh yeah… that battery is the same one that has been in that fob since I got the car… 3 years ago? 4? Conveniently, I was parked at the drugstore… and they’ve got batteries. 😀 I went back in, opening up the fob as I went (a subtle indicator of how much it actually was stressing me out), found the battery I needed, and had the package half-opened before I even got to the register. Checked out, finished replacing the battery in my key fob on my way back to the car.

I pushed the “unlock” button and felt more than reasonable relief when the lights on my car flashed merrily back at me. My car started right up, too.

No panic. No fear. No confusion. Very little stress. I am okay right now, too – no “after-shakes” or pounding heart. No headache. No dry mouth. No madness. No harm done. Hell, I wasn’t even late getting back from my lunch. Who even is this woman looking back at me in my mirror these days?? lol

There’s something to be learned here… or… something that has been learned? Discovered. Renewed? I smile and grab a bottle of water as I head back to my desk. I’ve got things to do, and it’s already time to begin again.