Archives for posts with tag: emotional self sufficiency

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. 🙂

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. 😀

Already time to begin again.

I’m sipping my second coffee and smiling. It’s a lovely morning. I woke from a strange (and amusing) dream that had been influenced by recent videos my Traveling Partner and I had watched together. He made an appearance in my dream. We laughed together over coffee when I shared the details (and did a fairly good impression of my partner’s “exasperated-still-loving-you” tone). It was a wonderful start to the morning just to share conversation and coffee together. 🙂 Ordinary stuff – but so so sweet.

…Don’t forget to enjoy the small things; sometimes they matter most.

The morning is still dark. The weather is relatively mild (especially so for January, but, you know, the climate is changing). I look over my “to-do list” for tasks I may have been dodging – maybe get one or two of those done today? I smile softly to myself. Mornings like this make everything that follows feel easy.

I pause my writing to do a bit of travel research I’d promised to take care of for my partner.

I glance at the time as I hit send on the email… already time to begin again. 😀

So far…, so… I’m not perfect. Not even close. If “perfection” were the measure of human success, I would be an abject failure. Just saying, there’s something to appreciate that a. the bar is way lower than that and b. we even get to “set the bar” for most values of “success” in life ourselves and then also score the results. “It’s not that bad.” describes a lot of things. Pro-tip: there’s real value in pausing to reflect on how good it is and how bad it isn’t now and then. The results may surprise you.

“Good enough” has to be good enough, sometimes. 🙂

Are you wondering why I linked that track in paragraph 1? Here it is again with the lyrics. 😉

Last weekend I was ill. Like, dragging myself to the bathroom for multiple episodes of all manner of biological disaster through the night on Friday, and running a bit of a fever all day Saturday after my guts were utterly emptied from both ends. Yick. Horrible. My fever finally broke in the early evening on Saturday. Yesterday I was exhausted (in spite of drifting in and out of a restless sleep most of Saturday), and a bit faint and dizzy feeling. I managed to push a couple loads of laundry through the machines, and even put away most of that, but anything more was honestly beyond me. My Traveling Partner was super helpful and supportive and kind, and the only moment of discord between us was a bit of frustration with me over my relative incompetence in that state that made it super difficult to do the one “thinking task” (and it was a way easy ask) that he called upon me to do late in the afternoon. Thankfully, he saved me from possibly bricking an expensive laptop by being more aware than I was that I had “gone down the wrong path” on that task. My own frustration with the situation resulted comically in being mad enough to “storm off” to take a walk… which amounted to going to check the mail because I did not even have the strength to take a real walk of any distance. Hilarious. Had to come home and fucking behave myself and work on making things right with my partner like a grown-up.

Today feels like “just another work day”, but with a helping of “why did I think I would actually be fully up to this already?”. I didn’t sleep well, either. I had slept so much (I suspect) in the prior days (without drinking much coffee) that I ended up “over slept”, and since yesterday I did have coffee… I couldn’t sleep. Since I didn’t have quite half my usual amount of coffee, I also ended yesterday with a wicked headache (or was still sick…?), and the medication I took for that tends to result in not being able to sleep deeply. The result was a restless night. Funny… I’m okay though. There are things that matter more. Life? Love? Beauty? This quiet contented moment of reflection? The grocery list I don’t want to forget to shop for later. lol

I yawn and rub my eyes. I pause and write my Traveling Partner a love note. I fucking love that guy. I also appreciate him. I take a sip of coffee and a big drink of water and get ready to begin again.

I am sipping my coffee and… yeah, just sitting here quietly, sipping my coffee as the minutes tick by gently. It’s pleasant and easy on my consciousness. Feels nice. I’m not pushing hard in any particular direction. I’m not trying to provoke suitably shareworthy words, or insightful thoughts. I’m just… being. Nice morning for it. I’m not specifically meditating. I’m also not not meditating. I am simply sitting here quietly with my coffee. Well, I was. Now I’m writing about that moment. lol

One of the things I’ve been wrestling with internally, for the last week particularly and also since I destroyed 20 years of pen & ink journals, is the question of “who am I?” or, more particularly, to narrow that grand question down a bit, who am I when I’m alone – the “real me”, the me that is mostly truly me, without the add-ons of external inputs, fears & doubts, insecurity in my relationships or professional role… the real actual me person that I am because this is who I have chosen to become over time. My “me”. How I see myself. As near as I can get to an understanding of this self that I am, and the woman I most want to be… without regard to what anyone else thinks about me – or her. It’s a surprisingly difficult exercise in self-reflection. It “feels important” right now.

…I’ve been through some shit over the course of a lifetime. A lot of it has “changed me”…but now I’m wondering what does that really mean? Changed how? Some of the changes that trauma makes on a human being, in addition to being “lasting” changes, could be described as “involuntary”, and potentially “undesirable” – what does that mean for “who I am” – or who I want to be? What parts of me aren’t “really me” or feels as though they “aren’t mine”? How much of me is me, and how much of me is “chaos and damage” and evidence of lasting trauma? Is that a fair question to ask – and what does the answer even mean? Yeah, I find myself going deep on this one. Not sure why it keeps coming back to me among all the many things upon which I could choose to reflect, but there it is. I want to understand this better.

Why should anyone at all – or any event – have more say over who I am than I do myself?

I think about it awhile longer. I don’t have any answers today. It’s just a Friday morning and a good cup of coffee in a quiet place. Seems a worthy opportunity to reflect on this journey of self.

I glance at the time. This doesn’t end here…but it is time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about my recent meltdown, and the later realization that it may have been connected in some way to the recent clutter-reducing destruction of many years of paper journals. After so many years of working to improve my emotional wellness and heal whatever I can of my PTSD, it took me by surprise to have such a bad episode so recently. I was completely taken by surprise – and frankly, that’s almost comical; intellectually, I know not to just “tick a box” and call myself “well”. Mental illness doesn’t work like that – it’s more a journey taken over time. A lifetime.

When I began talking it over with my therapist, it became pretty clear that the chaos and damage that surfaced in those painful moments sourced with some of my earliest adult trauma in my first marriage, and I know that that had its foundation in the childhood traumas that are older still. I was (and am still) dealing with the lasting effects of family violence. In the here-and-now, where such traumas are not part of my current experience, I was nonetheless “primed” for panic because the daily news is filled with stories of family violence, family killings, and domestic violence related femicides (I do my best to avoid reading those articles, but the headlines are everywhere).

Firstly, let’s just get this out of the way; don’t kill people you say you love. (This seems obvious…?) Don’t raise your hand in violence outside the explicit requirements of actual fucking warfare. Just… don’t. Violence is ugly, unnecessary, and the outcomes are unpleasant and often quite permanent. If you are an American in the United States, our social contract with each other states – in writing – that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are “inalienable rights”, and this means you are explicitly agreeing that these things are sacrosanct and not to be taken lightly. So… yeah. Don’t fucking kill people. Especially do not kill your fucking family. Jeez… who are we that this has to be said??

So, yeah. Here I am almost 60, and I am still dealing with the traumas inflicted on me as a child, and those inflicted on me as a young adult. We’re talking about horrors of many years ago… more than 30 years ago. Fucking hell. You’d think spending something like 30-40 years in therapy (on and off, and most recently a pretty consistent 10 years or so) would mean… no more chaos and damage. No more panic attacks. No more freak outs. No more tears.

It doesn’t work that way. It’s more like the crumpled paper analogy suggests (used as a lesson for anti-bullying, but quite relevant). The damage is done. The lasting outcomes are… lasting. The lost trust. The peculiar defensiveness. The hyper-vigilance. The thinking errors. Some of it can be corrected and eased over time… with practice. Some of it… maybe it’s always part of who we are as survivors. Scars that tell the tale.

Note: having been hurt doesn’t get us out from under our own obligation to be the best human being we know how to be. Being hurt is not an excuse for inflicting hurts on others. Just saying… adulting is hard.

I’m not sitting here feeling gloomy or tragic. I mean, fuck yes it’s a major bummer, and frustrating as shit… but… there’s hope for further improvement over time. I come back again and again to the tools that work, and to the lessons learned over time. I take a moment to reflect on how much progress has been made, and how much easier things actually are. So many new beginnings. The chaos and damage doesn’t tell the whole story, and living mired in my nightmares is no longer my way. That’s something. My results still vary. I still need practice practicing the practices that shore up my wellness and promote healing. That’s just real. It’s a commitment to healing – and to living well.

The harder part here may be balancing what I know through experience and study with what I achieve through my words and my actions – making the understanding a living experience isn’t an instant win. There are so many verbs involved. Try, fail, try again… repeat. Very human. (Don’t give up, just keep practicing and improve over time.) While I’m not personally to blame for the horrors or violence inflicted on me, I am personally responsible for those that I inflict on others subsequently – whatever the hurts that shaped me.

I sip my coffee enjoying the quiet time to reflect on the powerful impression trauma makes on our entire being, and the way it can shape who we become and color how we see the world around us. Worth a moment or two of self-reflection and I find myself wondering if it is too soon for another trip to the coast to watch the waves pound the beach on a stormy afternoon while thinking about the lasting effect of trauma, and how best to begin again? If not that, well then, it’s another work day, and other beginnings have my attention.

Another day, another new beginning. 🙂 Time to choose my adventure…