Archives for posts with tag: heal thyself

Most of the time, these days, I’m writing from a contented, emotionally fairly comfortable place. Life is pretty good day-to-day, in spite of the pandemic. I don’t have the terrifying, chronic, so-frequent-as-to-be-routine, issues with emotional volatility that I had 8 years ago. I’m fortunate. I also “work hard” at this. There’s a lot of practice. A lot of very necessary restarts, do-overs, and new beginnings. My results vary. I am entirely 100% made of human, from the soaring heights of the most delightful moments of great joy and celebration, to the lowest depths of the most grim, bleakest darkness, the most despairing moments of sorrow, ennui, and futility. Anger gets a turn in there, somewhere. Frustration, too.

…So does love. So does hope. So does happiness – yep, even happiness gets her day in the sunshine. Doesn’t happen to be today, but today this moment is apparently not about feeling good. At least not right at this very moment, right here, right now, which mostly sucks.

…This too shall pass. It sure will. Eventually. I wonder sometimes if that’s actually a good thing at all. Storms pass. The weather clears up. It’s so tempting to just move on from the things crying out for attention during stormy weather, once the sun is shining again. Something to think about.

I’m not sure what to say “about” this moment, right here. I feel…angry. I… feel hurt. I’m annoyed and frustrated. Not just with myself and my own limitations. Not simply with “not being heard”. It’s complicated. I don’t have a healthy relationship with anger. I am aware of that. Mine or anyone else’s; it’s not specific to whose anger it is. I’m uncomfortable with anger. I’m especially uncomfortable with mine. That’s true. Today, I’m angry with my Traveling Partner. (This may be the first time I’ve written that sentence in this blog, I’m not certain.) I haven’t lost any affection for this human being I am so fond of… I’m just angry right now. I don’t know what to do with/about that… it just is, and I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it. So. Here I am. In a separate space, door closed, headphones on, working on “being alone right now” – which is very tough in a small house during a pandemic. As I said; uncomfortable. I’m not lashing out or escalating. I’m maintaining a self-inflicted disciplined calm, because I just don’t know what else to do with or about my anger. I clearly can’t act on it. I’m also having trouble conversing through it to resolve things with my partner; I start weeping. It makes conversation difficult and needlessly, unproductively, emotional. Not okay – and I’m frankly not at all interested in taking the risk of damaging anything I own by having some tantrum, or finding myself in the middle of further emotional escalation and angry words with my partner. Anger feels like emotional poison to me. I know there are ways to process anger more skillfully than I do. I haven’t finished that work, yet. I am unskilled. It takes a lifetime to process a lifetime of trauma, apparently…Or, at least, I have not, personally found a shortcut to the work that must be done to heal the damage that already was done.

Yelling at one’s partner is mistreatment. I work to avoid raising my voice. I don’t even like “yelling across the house” in a conversational way (seriously seriously dislike that shit – if I’m not in the same room, let’s just not converse, or hey, it’s a small house, join me in a shared space). I’m human, though, and I am more easily provoked than I want to be. If I raise my voice, I’ll also apologize for that, and having accepted responsibility for that behavior, immediately seek to bring the volume back down. It’s hard. I don’t always succeed. I struggle with anger – particularly when I am not feeling heard, or when I am being interrupted, or when I feel mistreated myself, in the face of mockery, insults, or other such (also very human, unpleasant, not okay things, but I particularly detest mockery). I work on not yelling. I ask people in relationships with me to not yell. It’s a choice. Take a kind tone. Speak gently. Choices. Encourage each other. Worthwhile – but, yeah, there are verbs involved, and it takes a lot of fucking practice, and it’s got to actually really matter. No one can do the work for you. Hell, you may even find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to choose to make these changes or do this work without much encouragement or reciprocity. Hard, right? Sometimes, yeah. For anyone.

What makes any of that shit worth it? Why is the ongoing effort – and ongoing frustration with having to make that effort – worth it at all, if it won’t placate an angry partner, or restore the peace, or diminish the chaos, or create calm? …I think about that question a lot, and I’m pretty clear on my answer; it’s about being the woman I most want to be, myself, for myself. I’m okay with feeling anger. I’m not okay with losing my shit and yelling at someone I love. Doesn’t matter how provoked I feel. Doesn’t matter who is “right” or who is “wrong”. Doesn’t matter whether I am in pain, or exhausted, or absolutely 100% justified in my opinion, or my understanding of the situation. What matters is … who do I most want to be, and is my behavior consistent with that standard? How does that woman respond to such a situation? How does that woman maintain her calm, stay balanced, and process strong emotion? I think that over, looking for answers, and a next step to being that woman… more so today, than yesterday. More so tomorrow than I am right now. We become what we practice.

…That’s true for everyone, and everything we choose to practice (or fall into habitually). Just saying. Choices. Practices. Beginnings.

Again.

…I hear the tv in the other room. My partner bravely checked-on me, and expressed his desire to hang out – in spite of the chaos, what matters most is our affection for each other. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Hard to set down the baggage. Sometimes it’s even hard to begin again. I take a breath, and steady myself to take that step…

My coffee tastes different this morning. It’s not because I am sitting cross-legged on the surprisingly comfy Queen bed in this seaside hotel, not even because it’s fairly typically-terrible hotel coffee made in a fairly generically terrible-coffee-making drip machine sitting atop the small room-sized hotel refrigerator, but more because I am sipping it solo, with no chance at all of sharing the moment with my Traveling Partner. Right at the moment, in all practical terms, we’re traveling separately (he’s sleeping still, at home, I hope, and I am sitting cross-legged in sloppy-loose blue jeans, laptop perched precariously on my lap, waiting for my terrible coffee to cool enough to drink properly).

I’d say my goal of relaxing and getting some “down time” before shifting gears to start the new job has been successful; I woke having entirely forgotten about Daylight Savings Time, and looking at the clock and finding “6:30 am” to be both believable, and an acceptable time to wake on a leisure morning… I woke up. I laughed when I finally noticed the discrepancy between the clock that I had checked upon waking (which automatically updated) and the one that did not (provided by the hotel, plugged into the wall in the usual way). I shrugged it off and got started making terrible coffee and looking over the notes I took at several points yesterday, as I walked and wandered, waited and reflected, breathed and meditated.

The ocean does not care when or whether I check into my hotel room, nor when I leave. My presence makes no difference to the timing of the waves, or the fierceness of the winds.

I arrived to the shore much too early to check into the hotel, and my room was not yet ready. Didn’t matter much; the endless ocean tickled the shore without regard to check-in times. The hotel graciously allowed me to use the private beach access in the meantime, and I went down what seemed like 1001 concrete steps to the beach. The wind was brisk and cold. There were bundled up families flying kites and enjoying the day. There were even barefooted kids playing in the shallow water of the waves as they spread across the beach, then receded; they seemed as shore birds, running forward as the water pulled back, running back as the waves spread forward. I found myself reflecting on that. There’s something to learn, there, I suppose.

…This coffee is simply dreadful. I add sugar and the available non-dairy creamer. Still awful. I’m still drinking it…

I gave up beach walking when my legs became tired, and trudged patiently up those many steps once more. Room not yet ready, I headed into town and, masked and distant, and wandered through enticing antique shops.

In a shop filled with carefully crafted miniatures, I find room after room of furnishings that seem to be idealized versions of various stages of my own aesthetic, and wonder if, after all, so many of them could really have come from… doll houses?

The tourist “traps” that line the street are the sort common to any seaside town I’ve visited… saltwater taffy shops, “old time” candy stores, antique shops, t-shirts, sea shells, and nautically themed whatsits of all kinds (lighthouse sculptures, pirate “treasure”, glass fishing floats and paperweights, and “the world’s best” of some local dish). I wandered until I was more distracted by my own thoughts than engaged by what I saw in front of me, and returned again to the hotel, and to the beach, to walk and reflect awhile longer.

I sat for a long while, occasionally attempting to light a joint in the fierce coastal “breeze” without success.

I spent a couple of contented hours walking, and thinking. Reflecting on lessons learned, both generally (and recently), and also specifically (with regard to my most recent job, and how to make good use of what I learned in future roles). It was time well-spent. Aside from the wind and my tinnitus, the only thing I was hearing was… me. I walked the beach listening deeply to what the woman in the mirror has to say… about life… about love… about work… about a future that is unknown (and largely unknowable). I contemplated the confounds of expectations and assumptions.

…At check in time, I made my way to my room, let myself into this small space that is more or less my own (until check out time), and unpacked my baggage – literally, and metaphorically.

…Damn this is dreadful coffee. Wtf? Why am I putting myself through this? LOL I stare into the cup, warm in my hand, astonished by its prodigious awfulness with a certain amount of respect; it’s a hell of an achievement for a cup of coffee to be this bad.

I took time to reflect on all I’d seen, and on my notes, and the many “living metaphors” the day had presented to me.

I ask myself “the hard questions” on my mind as the day becomes evening… What matters most? What has me chained to some past moment? What have I accepted as the basis of my sense of self? Is that truly “who I am”? How do I free myself to soar to greater heights? Where does my path lead? The moments, questions, and the thoughts they carry with them crash onto the shore of my consciousness, and recede one by one. I find “embracing change” to be a process, and an ongoing practice. Taking some time alone to be with my thoughts – and, unavoidably, with my self, is a useful break for “sorting things out”. For finding the signal in the noise. Life may not have a map, but I can sure jot down some notes as I might if I were writing down directions to go from here to … somewhere else. It’s important to be clear on the desired destination. It’s important to be aware of where I stand right now. ūüôā With those things in mind, how much more easily can I begin again?

…It’s that time, isn’t it? Beginning again, I mean. The new job starts tomorrow. The new laptop was delivered Friday, and is waiting for me to set it up.

…Fucking hell I am missing my Traveling Partner this morning. I missed him ferociously last night, too. The value in missing him has nuances that are worthwhile experiences of their own. Missing him reduces the likelihood that I will take his precious presence in my life for granted. Missing him reinforces how much I enjoy him being part of my experience. Being absent the many things he does for me (and for us), large and small, reminds me that I legit don’t do as well for myself on my own as I seem able to in this specific partnership. (Not dissing myself or minimizing how much I appreciate myself for (and as) myself, just saying there’s a ton of stuff that just doesn’t seem to stay on my radar, and my sometimes general lack of fucks to give, or pain, results in more chaos than I easily manage… and that seems far less likely in his company, and with his help.)

…And both of us make an excellent cup of coffee that is so much better than this warm brown liquid that I’ve decided can’t at all be called “coffee” – it’s just that bad, and I am seriously missing something better… and my partner… this morning. ūüôā

The sun is not yet up. Check out time is not for another 3 hours. There is time to walk on the beach, time for a bite of breakfast, and time to find a better cup of coffee. LOL There’s time to begin again.

A group of rocks along the shore, exposed at low tide, inaccessible at high tide. Even in that, there is something to reflect on, a metaphor in action, something to learn about who I am, and where I am headed.

I look at the clock, and see daylight beginning to show through the curtains. Definitely time to begin again. ūüôā

Yesterday was odd. Delightful. Strange. Productive. Unpredictable. It was odd. I was a bit emotional at times – hormones, maybe? I don’t know. “Post menopause” doesn’t not happen to mean “never going to struggle with hormonal fluctuations again” however much I wish that it did. ¬†There’s something worth observing about that observation, that is more general. Wishing doesn’t change ‘reality’ however convenient that would be… on the other hand, we do create rather a lot of our ‘reality’, our subjective individual experience, with our thinking and our choices. It seems a bit cruel that both those things are true; some of my most delightful thinking is of the wishful variety. lol

Regular ‘reality checks’ yesterday proved highly worthwhile. Assumptions I was tending to make, and taking some very impersonal things more than a little personally, colored my experience at a couple points and put my day at risk of sucking. New practices are showing real results; I noticed the assumptions and the taking of things personally, and allowed myself a gentle course correction through mindfulness practices, a few moments of meditation, the occasional moment of stillness, a clarifying question or two, as well as simple ‘I statements’ expressing my experience as clearly as I was able, periodically during the day. As it happens – it all worked quite nicely. I had a very exciting and productive work day, and a lovely evening at home with my loves afterward, and seemed to have done so without drama, or bullshit, or blowing someone else’s good day. Hard to beat that kind of success when it comes time to face myself on a blue day when my internal voice is clamoring for justice, or vengeance, or crying out that life isn’t fair. (I have some very wounded¬†moments now and then, and I do all I can to prevent them from escalating beyond what is appropriate in the moment.)

It was actually a nice day all around. I look back on it and wonder a bit helplessly what all the fuss was about at any point yesterday? It’s hard to understand. I feel very human, and very puzzled.

My morning is starting well. I’m hopeful, and feel a sense of contentment and calm joy. My traveling partner will be home a day or two more, and my usually-at-home partner seems to have benefited from her weekend adventure in wonderful ways. It’s good to have everyone at home for a couple of days.

I’m content to recognize that we are not necessarily who we think we are – or who anyone else thinks we are, either, and that our choices really matter. So does how we define what we see in the world around us – and those definitions may have more to say about our experience than the ‘reality’ of it often does. I’m finding that meditation, as a regular practice, tends to insulate me from getting to wrapped up in my own thinking errors, or internal narrative, and builds a more accepting and aware me, able to be present and aware, and enjoying so many more moments that are entirely enjoyable.

Enjoy each precious moment for what it does offer; time doesn't give second chances.

Enjoy each precious moment for what it does offer; time doesn’t give second chances.

Today is a good day to continue on a good path. Today is a good day to reach for a dream. Today is a good day to stand tall and smile and say to the world “I am, and you are, too – let’s do something with that!” Today is a good day to be the change I¬†wish to see in the world. Today is a good day to reach past the obvious, and to choose to be the best of who I am. Today is a good day to change the world.

Good morning – or afternoon, or evening – I hope that the moment you find yourself in feels comfortable and that you are content, if not generally, then at least right now.

Yes, you.

This post is for you. Each of you, all of you, any of you. Because you are reading these words. Because you stopped by just this once to check out this blog, for some reason, today. Because you’ve bookmarked it and read it often. Because you clicked a link to my blog¬†from a comment on some adult blog, figuring on more of the same, and instead of being disappointed, you’ve come back a few times to read more. Because you don’t even know me, and find value in sharing some piece of my experience anyway. Because you do know me, you know me well, and you quietly read each post, rarely speaking up to make a comment or observe a detail, or offer a helpful suggestion, understanding perhaps that there is a fundamental loss of privacy happening, between you and me, when I write and you read – and knowing me, you understand how vulnerable and raw that may actually feel. Because you know me, not as well as you’d like, and you remain curious and fascinated, and enjoy the vicarious ‘insider information’ that occasionally feels like you know so much more about me now. ¬†Because you’re a troll or a spammer, out there doing your thing, and some¬†one time, some¬†one post, actually touched you – you’re still spamming me, but you made one pleasant, sincere, heartfelt comment that even had good spelling and grammar. ¬†Because you are you, and you are reading these words, long after some little joke of mine has begun to wear thin, or some metaphor has finally be over-worked to death.

This post is for you. Thank you. That’s really it, just a thank you. ¬†I kept a journal for years, you see, and although I write nearly compulsively, and often find I ‘don’t get it’ until I see something¬†in words, I found myself drowning myself in the very words I love so much, and writing endlessly the damaging ruminations and negative thoughts I was stuck on. I wrote volumes. This is the simplest truth, I know; they are stored in a bin or two in the attic, save for some small number that have more meaning, or capture an important time of change. Those sit unread on a bookshelf by my bed, in case I need to ‘check myself’ about who I was then, or what events seemed to be about at that time. ¬†As 2012 drew to a close, and I approached my 50th birthday, my whole experience sort of crashed in around me and I found myself mired in pain and doubt and regret, and frankly unsure that continuing to live had any value at all. ¬†I didn’t really discuss that detail of my¬†experience with anyone. I tried once or twice, and it was quickly apparent that I wasn’t getting anywhere, or making a connection.

Writing in my journal wasn’t helping me, anymore, and I was no longer sure my writing had value of any kind, or any purpose, or have¬†anything of interest to any person. I was quietly planning to ‘check out’. Then… life went from bad to worse. It was all pretty subjective – the factual details of my experience of everyday life just weren’t particularly ‘bad’, not even a little. It was my emotional experience, my personal, subjective, internal experience of ‘self’ that had finally just caved in. ¬†I started this blog then, aware at the time that these could be the last things I had to say, to share, and for me that meant that doing my best to make them ‘worthy’ and genuine and real was important to me. ¬†This blog ended up being a big piece of ‘saving my life’.

This is no longer a salvage operation. I’m building on the best of who I am learning to be, and taking those tools, and experiences, and each day working to be just a bit better at being me, at being the best of me, that I can. You’re part of that. Thank you.

Why am I saying ‘thank you’ today? Because you thanked me first. ¬†Yesterday was an interesting day for that. ¬†I got a flurry of emails about a particular post, and it happens now and then, and this particular flurry of grateful and appreciate words felt so warm and nurturing – not saying thank you would be rude. ¬†Thank you for caring how I am doing. Thank you for finding value in my observations on life, and my commentary on my challenges, my growth, my progress, and life’s curriculum. ¬†It’s an amazing journey, and it matters to me that we’re sharing it.

I hope your today is a success Рhowever you define it Рand that your choices are wise and support your needs over time. I hope today the challenges seem less challenging and more rewarding, and that you take a chance on you. You deserve the best you have to offer. You matter.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I'm grateful.

Like a potted rose slaking its thirst on a gentle rain; I’m grateful.