Archives for posts with tag: good self-care

I recently read a meme or a post or an observation somewhere to the effect that we “don’t owe” “basic human decency” to [insert preferred list of “bad people” here]. I found myself astonished that “basic human decency” is so often seen as something we provide on a limited basis, and only to specific qualifying individuals. Then I laughed. Then I felt incredibly saddened. Seriously? “Basic human decency” is something to aspire to because we are human – and decent. It’s a literal baseline for decency; the minimum we offer, because “decent” is a human quality we cultivate. We provide that experience because it is characteristic of who we are. Portioning it out to just those who are adequately deserving suggests to me a fundamental lack of actual decency, altogether. Just saying.

I’m not pointing any fingers. Been there. I’ve been in that place where I was so angry (generally) and so wounded (emotionally), that behaving with any sort of decency seemed… unfair, or unreasonable, or… well… I wasn’t gonna do that. :-\ I did not understand at all that it was not about whether that person was “deserving” of decency – it was always about whether I was sufficiently developed as an adult human being to be capable of decency in those circumstances. It said more about me as a human being than anyone else. It’s very much the sort of puzzle that kept pulling my focus back onto me, when I started down this path – what I am capable of? What I can learn? What I can do to change myself? I have so little ability to change the world, or any one individual, and so much opportunity to become the woman, the person, the human being I most want to be. At this point, I could describe it as my life’s work. (I find it hard to accurately describe how far I have actually come as a person, and how far I recognize that I still have to go.)

My housekeeping? Not perfect. I’m prone to untidiness, but thrive within the context of a lifestyle that is very orderly, well-kept, and managed on a calendar. I have to work at order. I do. There are tons of verbs involved and my results vary.

My self-care? Hit or miss under stress, but generally pretty good these days, otherwise. I work at that, too. It’s a very human experience. More verbs. More practices. I begin again every single day.

My sanity? Mostly fairly well-managed these days. I do what it takes. I see my therapist when that is the needful thing. In years that I’ve been medicated, I’ve stayed the course on my medication(s) and taken prescriptions as directed as much as my memory (and coping skills) allow. I’ve made a point of getting off of medications that were doing me harm. I practice good practices, and I no longer punish myself for my very humanity. I’d say I’m generally sane, mostly fairly rational, and entirely willing recognize my mistakes, whenever that comes up (often). 🙂

My ability to be a basically decent human being? Pretty good, generally, with some misses here or there when I’m not entirely myself, or during some moment of severe stress, illness, or in the throes of misadventure. It’s a work in progress, frankly, I’d like to be more reliably wholly a basically decent human being, as a reliable default setting. I continue to work at that, because from my perspective on life, now, it seems the literal least I can do for the world… which make it sort of obligatory to at least give it a shot, and to really practice it until I am quite skilled. 🙂

My experience is my own. Same for yours. When we make wise choices that are appropriate to our circumstances, we tend to enjoy our experience a bit more. When we practice, and demonstrate, human decency, we are decent humans – something to aspire to, right there. The world would most definitely benefit from having a higher percentage of basically decent human beings. Life gives us opportunities to change, to grown, to learn, to practice – and we become what we practice.

Today is a good day to practice some “basic human decency” – certainly it is worth being good at that. It’s not about whether you deserve my basic human decency, though, is it? It’s about whether I do. (I definitely do.) 😉

The weekend is here. Generally, on a “go-come-back” sort of weekend, I’ve been facing the drive, itself, sort of grimly. Once upon a time, I loved driving. A collision many years ago took some of the shine off of driving, but eventually, many years later, I regained much of my enthusiasm for it, but… trauma re-wires the brain. Well, shit. Damn… that’s… complicated. Now, although I do enjoy driving, I am also (perhaps excessively) wary of my fellow humans behind the wheel. Frustration, resentment, rage – these are all human emotions that can commonly be “weaponized” with the addition of a bit of entitlement, or some assumptions, or a certain sense of righteousness. It’s scary out there on the freeway. Humans are driving cars. :-\

Today feels different. Although the car I’ve been driving is quite a nice one, in great condition, with lots of power and and maneuverability, I often felt it was utterly necessary to have all that at my disposal simply to survive the highway in the first place. I admit that most of the time I drive, I feel it; my life is at risk just performing the task of driving, on the American roadway. That’s pretty shitty. The car, as nice as it is, tended to contribute to the feeling, rather than easing it, although I don’t know why. It’s possibly “just all in my head”, because, again with the frankness, much of our experience of our lives is. (Get over that. It’s a true thing. Learn to work with it, rather than fighting it.)

Today feels different, in part, I suspect, because this new car in my driveway is a better fit for me as a driver, for a number of totally practical reasons (starting with the smaller size of the vehicle generally). It’s also… mine. It feels like a different experience – because it is a different experience. 🙂

There’s a lot to enjoy about newness, difference, and novelty. It’s exciting. It’s energizing. It’s cognitively refreshing. It’s distracting (from things like pain and anxiety). I’m smiling and eagerly gulping down my coffee so I can get on the road… it’s just now 4:30 am. LOL No dilly-dallying!! I’ve got miles to cover! 😀

I’ve no idea what the weekend holds, but it is ahead of me, and it’s time to begin again. Let’s see where this road leads. Zoom-zoom!

My coffee is tasty. The house is comfortable in the pre-dawn chill of a summer morning. The air quality is still pretty poor as smoke collects in the air from distant fires. My mind is more or less… blank. I’m not quite awake yet, at all. I take another sip of my coffee and stare at the screen. It too remains “a blank page” for some minutes before I finally just drop that into the title field, and sit quietly, drinking coffee, aware.

This is not an unsatisfying moment. I am not feeling frustrated. (I chuckle as I write those words, immediately hearing my Traveling Partner’s voice replying in my head “Well, how are you feeling?”) I am feeling content. Just that. This moment does not seem to require more.

We create our experience with our choices, and our understanding of it is a carefully crafted narrative we make up ourselves, that may or may not accurately reflect the details of our experience (or any other – we’re seriously really good at making shit up and convincing ourselves it is real). This particular experience, here, now, is built on my choice to relax and accept that I may not have anything noteworthy to write about this morning, and to fall back gently on “just putting words on a page”, “thinking out loud”, in real-time, unedited and uncensored. I smirk at myself using the word “uncensored” in the context of this particular morning; there’s nothing about the morning thus far that would require, or benefit from, censorship anyway. 🙂

I’ve caused myself so much stress, anxiety, suffering, and heartache, just by insisting that I do more, faster, so often. The arbitrary performance standards we set for ourselves (and each other) often have no basis in what works, or what matters most. Sometimes they are just numbers pulled out of thin air. Why let life become stressful over made up shit? Seriously. Same with our internal narrative; we often make up a story about our experience that is based on untested assumptions, unvoiced expectations, and wholly unrealistic fantastical details that are in no way factual – then we let it stress us out. (Note: consider not doing that!)

This morning begins another work day. One more after that, and it’s the weekend again. 😀 I’m ready for it… but first, I have to live today, in this moment, present and engaged, and doing both things and stuff. lol Have to? Get to.

…It’s already time to begin, again. 😀

This morning I feel a bit as if I am wasting my time writing, at least a little bit. No sense of purpose, direction, or narrative, this morning. No hint of an idea. No phrase to build on. Just a woman and her morning coffee. 🙂 I suppose I am okay with that – and if I weren’t? My options are to choose change – and create it – or let go of my attachment to this moment being any different than it already is, right? 🙂

I sip my coffee and let minutes slip quietly by. I yawn, still sleepy, not yet fully awake, in spite of my morning yoga, and a pleasant shower. I pause to appreciate that I seem to be more or less over this head cold. There is a busy workday ahead of me, which seems less noteworthy than my eagerness to undertake the commute. The new car is an adventure of its own, and the fun of that far outweighs the irksomeness of the commute itself, for now. Perspective worth holding onto for another day, when I may need it more. 🙂

I ping my Traveling Partner, wondering if he is awake or asleep. The lack of more or less immediate reply, at this hour, suggests he is sleeping. I smile just at the thought of him, as my day begins. Love is a great beginning to a moment, or a day, or a journey. I take a moment to direct some of that warmth and affection toward the woman in the mirror, too; she’s worked her ass off getting me here, against some amazing odds.

I glance at the clock and finish my coffee. There’s still time to tidy up before I head to the office. I enjoy preparing for the end of the day and my return home in the evening, and doing so makes for a lovely welcome home. I’ve begun to get really caught up on all manner of things I’d let slip a bit (all that back and forth travel does consume quite a chunk of time), in spite of having been ill. I enjoy the momentary sense of accomplishment, before moving on to other things. I check my “to do list”, and begin with a verb. 🙂

Change takes time. I mean, obviously when change is forced on us, some parts of change and changing, and certainly the requirement to do so, can hit us with real force in a very immediate way, no doubt about that. What I am pointing out is more that the skillful adaptation to change takes time. I roll with my changes as skillfully as I am able to, in the moment, but it does definitely take me some time to “get used to the new normal”. The experience of “change taking longer to get used to” is something I recognize as part of my TBI and the day-to-day realities of dealing with it, but it is also an experience most people likely have to one degree or another.

When I moved from the smaller apartment (#27) to the larger one right on the edge of the park (#59), the very specifically mirror-imaged kitchen messed with my head for months; I just kept clawing at the wrong side of the doorway for that damned light switch. It was the better part of a year before my brain finished making that change. Even with practice, some things change really slowly.

There’s a different car in my driveway this morning than there was 10 days ago. I was only getting started on getting used to commuting on transit, again. This morning, it’s back to commuting by car, but the car is different. This is no small thing, but it’s also no big deal. It’s both noteworthy and inconsequential. It likely will be somewhat different; the car handles quite differently. Sounds different. Feels different. Surrounds me differently. There are different features to learn. Different placement of some things, compared to the car I’ve been driving. Some things feel more natural than in the sedan. Other things feel quite strangely placed, as though the manufacturer “doesn’t know me at all”. (It’s mostly more comfortable and familiar-seeming than less, though, which is nice.) The new car is a first for me with this manufacturer, actually. A Mazda. Funny how much difference small changes make. They add up, too. It means driving very mindfully is a thing I need to make a point of for some time to come. I can’t really rely too heavily on implicit memory right now; I have none that applies to this vehicle. lol

One very telling thing? I regularly catch myself humming an old Queen song, “I’m In Love With My Car“,  when I am thinking about this car. lol It’s been awhile since I had a car that I felt that way about, myself. 🙂 I’m almost excited to drive to work today. For me, with the injury I have, that also means being very mindful and present is a huge thing, especially the first few weeks driving this car; it’s my one way to keep excitement from resulting in inattention or poor judgement, which can be a common enough result of being overly eager or excited about something, for me.  I’m definitely excited to be driving it. So… a good choice of vehicle? 🙂 I mean… it’s not a powerful luxury sedan (they tend to be a bit outside my comfort zone, and always feel sort of… huge), nor is it a fantastical beautiful sports car sort of machine (which, I’ll admit, I adore on this whole other level, but the driving of which bring out personality traits I don’t find are my best)…but, it’s every bit of the machine I find myself wanting most, day-to-day: nimble, quick, and capable of going where I want to go. I smile when I see it there in the driveway.

Some of the fun in life is about change. Every change is a new beginning. A “do over”. An opportunity to become more the person I most want to be. 🙂 I’m so glad I’m getting over this head cold, too; it’s already time to begin again. 🙂