Archives for posts with tag: finding my way home

It’s been another few days. I’m not gone. I’m fine. Life is… good. Contentment seeps in along the edges. I’ve moved back into my studio. “Everything” is back in its place. This is enough.

…Hardly fantastic motivation for early morning writing, though, I will say…

I hear my Traveling Partner’s merry laughter in the other room, and the sound of comedy. Yeah. This is enough. 🙂

I’m finding new routines. New timing. Sorting out new ways to enjoy my experience in this new space, now freed of the stress and chaos of repair work in progress. Perhaps you are used to counting on me, each and every morning…? Are you feeling sorrowful or bereft, or perhaps just bored, or jostled from your own routine? I hope you will be patient while I figure a few more self-care details out in this new home… I promise you, there is a ton of amazing content on the internet! (It is vast, indeed.)

…So… Until the next time. 🙂

The week began with unexpected (but welcome) contractors. It continued, yesterday, with the return of the (now expected, still welcome) contractors and the completion of the dry walling, taping, texturing, and painting. Today? Carpet, and, I think, the completion of the last bit of our moving “adventure” (which was the discovery of a leak, by way of the visible damage it had caused). Finally.

New homeowner shit. I’m not bitching – I’m delighted to have a home. I’m just counting down the days (hours, now?) until I can sigh contentedly, feel safe, settled, and at home – without huge holes in the walls, and an entirely unfinished closet, and paintings stacked everywhere in a seemingly haphazard way. lol 🙂 I’m sipping my coffee feeling grateful for this house, our home, this partnership, and my partner – and mentally listing for myself all of the many things we’ve gotten done since we moved in, just 98 days ago. 😀

…Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? I feel simultaneously that I’ve “been here a long time” (and thus, it feels unreasonable that I’m not yet wholly “moved in”) and also feel as if we just moved in “a couple weeks ago” (in which case, it totally seems reasonable to still be “sorting out some details”).

In early April, we began looking for a home of our own together, quite seriously. The search became “urgent” in an earnest “this has to get done because we’ve got to move” sort of way, in spite of the pandemic, at the end of April. By May 19th, we’d found what we were looking for, and made an offer. I’m still surprised by how quickly that went. We closed at the end of June, and began moving in. Pandemic restrictions at their most severe (up to that point), we did the move ourselves, and it took just shy of 10 days to get it all “done”, such that we were no longer moving out of anywhere, just putting finishing touches on moving in. That makes it all sound rather easy – and it was as easy as my Traveling Partner could make it, no doubt. Organized. Well-considered. Planned carefully. Executed skillfully. Still hard. Still a lot of manual labor. Some fussing. Some crying.

…There were some trying moments, that’s just real…

Since we moved in, there has been what now seems like an inevitable cascade of “small things” to handle. Squeaky doors. A hot tub leak. Quite a bit of spilled water. Cleaning. Things to assemble. Small repairs. Totally ordinary homeowner stuff. lol At first it mostly felt new, and delightfully autonomous (no call to a landlord, no delay in getting stuff done that wasn’t chosen), then it began to feel sort of “crushing”. (Strictly temporary. Change is.) We fixed things, and moved on. I feel a bit as if this last bit of contractor work really finishes the move, is what I’m saying. (Omg, so many words just to get to that idea. Sorry.)

No idea what comes next. New adventures. Everyday life. Contentment. Romance. New recipes? New neighbors.

A sunny day on the deck, a view of the forest beyond.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Shouldn’t “embracing change” be easier than this? Is “easy” not actually “a thing”? Questions over coffee, on an overcast summer morning. My mind wanders unproductively between sips. The coffee is good, and that’s enough for this moment, right here.

I was sitting barefooted, cross-legged, in a favorite chair (the only comfortable chair in the new living room, presently… more room in the new house, same amount of furniture), on a morning so quiet I imagined I heard my Traveling Partner sigh as he woke, in another room. It’s a quiet house (so quiet!), and it seems unlikely that I actually heard the soft sound of his sigh, over my aquarium and my tinnitus. He approached a moment later, wearing his “just woke up” face. I offer to make coffee, and we share that. It is, generally speaking, a pleasant moment on a summer morning. I pretend, for the purposes of joy and love, that I’m not in the pain I’m in. I make room to be kind, and to listen, and to offer whatever support I can; he’s in pain, too. It’s been 10 days of fairly intense labor, getting moved out of the rented duplex, and into our home. For reasons of pandemic, and limiting exposure, we handled almost all of every bit of it ourselves, instead of hiring movers. I’m not sure I still think that was a great idea. lol

It was 10 days trying to get the internet set up. I wrote in the mornings, anyway. 🙂

“Home”. Damn, that sounds nice. I let the sound of it roll around in my thoughts contentedly for some moments. I find it so important to savor the successes – small, large, and in between. What I am suggesting is really taking time with those successes, enjoy and appreciate them, linger over their memory, and invest more of my cognitive and emotional bandwidth in that enjoyment and awareness, than I do in fussing over what didn’t work, or worked out uncomfortably or with problematic other outcomes. That “negativity bias” can really become an emotional wound, over time, swallowing up all the joy, and all the fun. Having a home of our own is a major milestone in our life together, and for me, in my own life as an individual human being. Huge win. Definitely needful to celebrate that. 🙂

I sip my coffee and look out the window of my new studio/office space here. I see the neighbor’s new fence, two pear trees, branches laden with young fruit hanging over the fence, and the cream-colored wall of their house just beyond. I see a sliver of gray sky. The neighbors – and neighborhood – are very pleasant, and very welcoming. Every new conversation begins in a similar way, with an apologetically, charmingly awkward excuse for not shaking hands or offering a hug; the pandemic is still a thing (very much so) in America.

…I hear my Traveling Partner call to me. As he wakes, his pain is more well-managed (mine, too, it seems very human). I want to hang out… I want to write. It’s been a while. There’s much to say, much to share. I think. Maybe. I mean… you’re here, reading, I should make that worth your while, yes? 😉 Perhaps, for now, this is enough?

Perspective, or view? What matters most? What is “enough”? Where does joy come from?

I sip my coffee. Finish my writing. I begin again.

 

With fall really here, and the new job feeling very real as life settles into new routines, I take a moment to remind myself that “this too shall pass”. That’s neither good nor bad, and it’s neither the journey, nor is it an impediment to my forward progress; change is.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rain-soaked lawn

The holiday season nears. Life is settling down into a different normal, a new routine of quiet week nights at home, generally solo, sometimes out on an evening doing a thing. Evenings are so short now, it’s rare that I actually want to do something enough to do it on a weeknight. There’s a certain minimum time commitment on the self-care side that is non-negotiable, and most of that sort of thing (for me) I handle at home. I see my traveling partner on weekends, generally, and the time is well-spent, merry, and intimate. This week has been spent mostly, and rather unusually, on sleeping. lol No kidding, I get home, have a quick bite, have a long shower, some meditation, and then crash out. So tired. No idea why, really, and not too worried about it, since I am actually sleeping and getting the rest I clearly need.

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, park bench

Everything seems to fit. No wonder I am occasionally quite cross with myself over having to move! It does feel like “have to”; the commute is not particularly sustainable long-term. I think about that…. This commute is more or less the same length as the commute I made daily for 13 years to a very different job, in the context of a different relationship (an ex) – both of which were much less comfortable or pleasant than those I enjoy now. I guess that’s part of it, though; my own quality of life at home is far better than it was back then, and part of this commute experience is the awareness of the time I am losing neither at work, nor at home, but spent out in the world, on mass transit (where, trust me, humanity is not at its finest day-to-day). Well, “mystery” solved. lol

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, rocks

I find myself thinking over ways to make the commute itself more pleasant, or more productive. The rain hasn’t helped. I can take my Kindle along on the light rail, but on days when it is pouring down rain, I probably won’t pull it out of my waterproof bag. I would contentedly meditate on the train, but the sounds of voices sometimes makes that “difficult” isn’t quite the right word… “not possible” fits better.

autumn leaf

autumn leaves

I smile, sip my  coffee, and notice that I am… bitching to myself. It isn’t helpful or productive to do so, nor is it particularly interesting (to me, or anyone else), and it tends to reinforce negative thinking. I set all that aside, and take another sip of my coffee. I feel my shoulders relax. I let the quiet calm of this moment set in… and then notice I spelled “calm” as “clam”, so I re-read the sentence as letting the quiet clam set in. I have a good laugh over it. There is so much to enjoy in life, I remind myself. I’ll definitely make a point of doing that. 🙂

autumn leaf

autumn leaf, stone

Today is a good day for simple pleasures, moments of great delight, and finding joy in small things. Today is a good day to appreciate what’s right, more than grieving what’s wrong – and to do so at least as often, generally.

I woke this morning with some effort, and even after a (long) hot shower, yoga, meditation, and the first sip or two of an excellent cup of coffee… I still feel rather sluggish and slowed down. I have no idea why my morning is starting in slow motion – I slept well and deeply through the night, and went to bed at quite a reasonable hour.  My mood is… ‘quietly merry’ describes it best, I suppose, and I am not inclined to criticize my mood or the choice of words to describe it. Slow or not, the day is off to a lovely start.  That’s enough.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My heart is a temple to the Goddess of Love.

My last thoughts as I faded into sleep last night were of my traveling partner. My first thoughts on waking were similarly of him, inasmuch as they were of love, generally, and I find it difficult to think about love without also thinking about my traveling partner. It is one truth of my heart that the love he and I share has tended to redefine love quite a lot for me. It’s nice to observe that while the time we spend together (as in ‘in shared space’) is quite limited these days – every precious moment is also completely wonderful. It’s lovely. When we met it was also this way, and it remained so through the first many months we lived together. Our beginning was so natural, and such a wonderful fit, that we two beings disinclined toward matrimony at all would find our way to each other – and marry. Life’s hard knocks taught us both to doubt the value of a romantic contract…and loving each other changed our minds about that, and given us practical and emotional perspective that still colors our experience in a powerfully positive way. We rely on each other utterly – even when we don’t live together. What’s even better? We can.

"Cherry Blossoms" 12" x 16" acrylic on canvas 2011

“Cherry Blossoms” 12″ x 16″ acrylic on canvas 2011

I’m not bragging – we work at love, my traveling partner and I, and for a couple of years it wasn’t easy. Historically, our ‘others’ haven’t found the same profound value in the intense way my traveling partner and I love each other, that we experience ourselves. Real, significant, adoring, heartfelt love that works can be a tad threatening for those that don’t have it, that doubt it, or that didn’t understand that the work required is not diminished by the profundity of the affection; there are verbs involved – a tremendous lot of them, and far more of them than I had understood, myself (thus those couple of challenging years – I am still building needed skills, myself, and I know for my traveling partner, my TBI presents unanticipated challenges for him, too). Conveniently, although the work is not diminished by the depth of the affection – neither is the affection itself diminished by the necessity of doing the work – Love is ever a worthy cause in which to ‘mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor’. Yeah…I’m pretty sure that if I am not inclined to feel that way about someone, it’s not ‘love’.

"Communion" 24" x 36" acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic and glow. 2011

I woke in solitude this morning – I’m okay with that. I enjoy it. The morning is still and calm, and pleasant. There is no stress. I smile thinking about the time spent loving, lately, and how wonderful it is to feel a cherished relationship deepen and grow without struggling to also figure out my own shit, work on me, paint, write, and exist along this peculiar trajectory – having my own experience is rather effortless without the minute-to-minute sense that everything is tangled up with having to be ever vigilant about what I am saying, doing, feeling… living with the TBI and my PTSD are difficult enough without having to constantly be on the look out for opportunities to ease the impact on someone else. The choice to move into my own place is continuously reinforced as being a good one through the day-to-day ease that has resulted. It matters a great deal that love feels renewed, restored, and once again the wellspring of my creative drive and the smile on my face.

"Contemplation" 11" x 14" acrylic on canvas 2012

“Contemplation” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas 2012

The unconventional choice to live alone – and apart from my spouse –  is working out pretty well; love is enhanced rather than diminished.  I knew when I was quite young (as early as 14) that living with others was problematic for me. I don’t crave continuous community, and my triggers are numerous and commonplace – but I enjoy being able to while away social hours with friends and lovers when it is comfortable, if I can easily disengage when the time comes (and be permitted full autonomy over determining when that time has come). I didn’t heed my own self-knowledge, and allowed myself to be persuaded (again and again, over many years and multiple relationships) that what I understood would be good for me wasn’t an acceptable choice. Decades later, I finally allow myself room to breathe, to grow, to be. I am realizing – and accepting – that it is okay to trust myself; who knows me better than I do? And in trusting myself, and taking care of me in the way that suits me most and meets my needs over time most effectively… I find my way ‘home’ to this place in my  heart where love resides, and I feel free.

"Lovers" 10" x 14" watercolor on paper 1992

“Lovers” 10″ x 14″ watercolor on paper 1992

Today is a good day to look my demons in the face with a smile and say “you have no power over me!” It doesn’t matter that it may not be true tomorrow – it’s true today, and that’s enough.