Archives for posts with tag: giving and receiving

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. 🙂

Giftmas is approaching quickly. I am feeling merry and cheerily invested in what is as likely to be a solitary holiday as not; there is no certainty in my planning these days, and I am learning to be okay with that. It is in the planning that my own comfort lies, and in clear communication and expectation-setting when plans begin to shift, or go sideways unexpectedly. Each of life’s disappointments, hardships, and changes open my eyes to some new perspective or opportunity, a little like a holiday advent calendar.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don't - that's okay, too.

Let it snow? Sure, why not? Or don’t – that’s okay, too.

Last night was wonderfully merry, and definitely my idea of a festive holiday season. My early Giftmas present arrived on my doorstep, and when I got home one of my neighbors brought it over; he’d taken it in knowing I was not home. I had no time to open the box before a small posse of my former colleagues from another company (and dear friends) stopped by for some holiday cheer and catching up on things.  We enjoyed a (rare treat for me) glass of sherry together, and hung out sharing anecdotes, and generally enjoying a couple precious hours together. I miss those guys; seeing them every day was the best part of that particular job. It’s always been the people that matter most, though I didn’t always understand that. 🙂

Eventually, alone again in my quiet sanctuary on the edge of a marshy meadow, fire reduced to glowing embers, I opened the box. I cried happy tears that couldn’t be held back. I ran my fingers along the glossy black enameled lines of the new mixer. Some feminist, right? Standing in my kitchen in fuzzy spa socks, caressing a kitchen appliance, crying happy tears. I laughed out loud, still weeping with joy. Down to the tiniest detail, that man loves me. Fuck, I hope I am truly worthy of such profound emotion.

This mixer is black… it replaces a beige one, a color that was, at the time, a compromise; I had wanted a white one, then. My traveling partner ordered this new mixer, standing in my kitchen while we talked of other things. He chose one that matches my current appliances, understanding my aesthetic. He may even have understood that there is significance in how very “opposite” the glossy black is in my eyes – a gift given truly from a place of love, utterly the opposite in every way to the off-white mixer, which was given out of obligation and delivered into a relationship characterized by violence, violation, and destruction. (Although I loved the old mixer for its exquisite functionality and utility and purpose, every time I used it old damage and pain would surface to fill my consciousness again…over decades.) This morning, I stood in the kitchen making my coffee, smiling at the beautiful black mixer on the counter, alluring, promising good times in the kitchen, and reminding me only of love.

This morning the apartment is filled with music. There’s housekeeping to be done; my Traveling Partner is planning to be over tonight. The mixer stands ready for adventures in baking, and I have a stack of cookbooks next to me that I began flipping through last night. I look at them, and smile, and somewhere in a dark corner one of my demons lays down and dies, as happy tears slide past my smile. “I’m free!!” something inside me shouts with joy. I’m not sure quite what, or quite why.  I’m okay with feeling this good in this moment.

Today is a good day to be merry. Giftmas is almost here. Today is a good day for giving, and a good day for loving. Baking holiday treats may not change the world, but they’ll sure make the house smell wonderful!  😀