Archives for posts with tag: I’m okay right now

I slept poorly. I slept very little. I woke to the alarm, set for the latest acceptable time to wake before a work day. I made coffee…

…Pretty much all down hill from there, so far. “It is what it is.” I’m in pain. I’m slowed way down with fatigue. I’m cross… with pretty much the world, and everything in it. I’m easily frustrated. Easily angered.

…Did I mention the crossness?

I sat down to work with zero enthusiasm. It’s a very human experience. I’m glad the week is at its end; I’m over it, for sure.

Nothing much sounds any good right now. No solutions that I could consider seem worth considering. If it were solely my own choice, I’d log into a video game and kill monsters for a while, because honestly, that’s what I want to do more than anything else right now; kill monsters. Monster-slaying being generally discouraged “in real life” (most particularly considering by far the vast majority of the monsters most of us face will be in human form, and that would be murder, which is totally not allowed), video games are the near-at-hand proxy.

…I’ve got work…

Yeah. So. I’m in a shit mood, and I’m in pain, and I’d very much like to be left entirely alone right now. The world intrudes. Every minute I have to interact with another person, right now, is an irritant. I’d just fucking go back to bed, if that were an option. Hell, I don’t even want to be around me, right now. Not fun. Less than my ideal best self, for real, y’all.

Work is work. I remind myself I get paid for being a reasonable facsimile of my most professional “best self” for the purposes of completing the work day (and week). I eye my calendar with distaste. Meetings. With people. I look them over with care. Who am I having to meet with? Can it be rescheduled without consequences that ripple into the weeks ahead? Can the underlying need be met without having a meeting at all? Was I invited to meetings I don’t need to be part of? Are there optional meetings that I can simply opt out of without concern? I reschedule what I can. I opt out of those that I don’t need to be part of or have no obligations to. The day still looks unpleasantly full. I frown at my calendar. I frown at my coffee. I frown at the shade still drawn, obscuring the sky beyond the window.

I sip my cold coffee, and allow work to distract me from being pissed off about having to work “on such a completely shit day” (it isn’t, actually). I take a deep breath with each new interaction with a colleague, making a point of being “pleasantly neutral” as much as I can be, seeking to avoid reactions that become over-reactions. Bad moods can be “contagious”. I’d like to avoid sharing this around.

My head aches with fighting off tears; there is no room on my calendar for crying, today. My back aches from the general nuisances of aging, and my arthritis. My cold coffee is gone. Finished. Consumed. I’d like to have another, but don’t really want to interact with my Traveling Partner. (Yep, I’m in that shitty of a mood, this morning, and disinclined to “make shit worse”.) I’ve forgotten my water bottle, too. So… it’s just me and the work in front of me, in this quiet room, alone.

…Looks like I’ll just have to begin again…

It’s been harder than usual to find (make) time to write… or… maybe I’ve been uninspired? There’s truth to the idea that we only grow in uncomfortable circumstances. My circumstances lately have been more than adequately comfortable. My day-to-day quality of life is generally very good, aside from the tedious constant that is dealing with physical pain. (Bah! How banal.) So, yielding the time I might have spent writing, to have a coffee with my Traveling Partner in the morning seems very much worth it. I enjoy those moments. Our short mortal lives are best truly lived, are they not? I don’t know how many hours, days, months, or years we may yet have together.

…Hopefully, you “get it”, and don’t feel that I’ve let you down somehow, with my lack of presence, here. 🙂

I’ve been spending happy hours watching a new school of fish settling into the aquarium. Shrimp, too. A newer, brighter, light shines down on the plants – some healthier than others, and in the bright light, new concerns are illuminated.

Watching fish swim.

…”In the bright light, new concerns are illuminated.” I repeat it silently, several times. Not as some kind of mantra. More that there is a sensation of renewed engagement with an idea that was once an epiphany. I sit with it awhile. I hear, in my head, my therapist’s voice calmly intoning familiar words, “let’s stay with that…”, before asking some question I’d not previously thought to ask, myself, putting me on another path of discovery, or opening my eyes to another perspective.

Some moments are… complicated. Days of pleasant hours in the company of this other human being I enjoy so much have passed gently. Today? We’re both a bit under the weather, feeling a bit off, dealing with head colds, and tempers flare to easily. I feel fragile and raw. Still seething a bit, and feeling entirely misunderstood, and resentful of the lack of patience. Doesn’t matter that I’m here, in the stillness of my studio, safe, and alone, and easily able to step back and reconsider the moment from another perspective. My heart is in that other room, held captive by affection being squeezed between my anger at him, and my anger at me. None of it is really about whatever I’m mad about it; it’s simply a reaction. Emotional weather. Like the weird March snow storm that blew in out of nowhere, today, on a day “too warm to snow”. It’ll pass. It will be no more relevant or significant than any other one moment torn from a lifetime and examined too closely, by the end of the weekend.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax – rather unsuccessfully. I shake my head for a brief instant, rather rapidly, as if to shake off my aggravation. My sigh is too loud. I hear him, softly, gently, through the closed door, from another room, “I love you.” It does seem that way… my reply seems too obvious, really, “I love you, too.”

Sometimes love is complicated. Not “complicated” as if to say “tragic” or “doomed” or anything of that sort. More… complicated in the way that an elegant watch has “complications”. Some of what makes life and love so rich, and so worthy of being “in the moment” – even an uncomfortable one – are these odd details, these “complications”, that are “features” in one moment, and… possibly… sort of a pain in the ass, in other moments. (I mean, for real? I could seriously do without having a brain injury that undermines my ability to manage strong emotion, and layering on top of that the added “bonus” of being sick, and further challenged with easily roused strong emotions… It’s just too much.) Buuuuut… I do love that human being sitting in the other room, and the joy we share is by far the majority of the time we spend together. That’s saying a lot. I could not truthfully say there’s never a cross word between us, or that my TBI “isn’t a big deal” for me, or him, or both of us. It is what it is. I see us both doing our best, and both being pretty human in our effort. There are, though, some moments I could frankly do without, now and then. Hell, I get pretty fed up with me, sometimes. I’m not surprised he does, too, once in awhile. lol Too often, my aggravation with myself is perceived as directed at him, or mis-perceived as an emotional attack. I understand how it could be. It’s not what I intend. I suppose I will get a lot of practice, sorting that out, over a lifetime.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I find myself annoyed that my aquarium isn’t in here – where I could see it right now… only… what is more true is that I don’t want to be here, as much as I want to be there – with him. Relaxing together.

Fuck I wish we weren’t sick. Adulting is already hard enough!

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I think about my plans for tomorrow… more time with the aquarium. Pruning plants. Moving rocks. Cleaning glass. Replanting plants in new places. Looking at the aquarium, under a bright light, from a new perspective.

Yes, of course; it’s a metaphor. It’s time to begin again.

The School of Life doesn’t have a rigid test schedule that is easy to plan ahead for. Cheating is just about impossible. All the tests are entirely open book, and generally really fucking hard. There’s no curve to be graded on; each test, each question, each student stands alone in judgment, generally the internal self-inflicted judgment is most intense. The grading system is mysterious, flexible, and grades can change even in the past; we become what we practice, and the result is that context, meaning, understanding, and perspective over time can all change as we become someone we weren’t at some other, earlier point.

I’m just saying, the tests are hard.

It’s test time. Maybe it sort of always is, but I’m feeling it more this week. My anxiety comes and goes, and it is both unwelcome, and unsurprising. Happily, I’m also not extraordinarily tense about the anxiety itself, an experience which can really add a lot of additional anxiety to the anxiety that is more about the anxiety itself than whatever I may think I’m anxious about. It’s not helpful to have to sort all that out, but it can be majorly helpful to make the attempt to do so. No pressure… time is passing… what, it’s still there?? I chuckle over my coffee in spite of the mild persistent tension of the anxiety in the background. Shit gets real sometimes.

When a fresh wave of anxiety tightens the pit of my stomach, pulls me over my keyboard, pushes my shoulders high, and makes my chest tighten, I push back gently, raising myself up full erect on my spine, breathing deeply, letting my shoulders relax again. Another breath, reminding myself these sensations are only that, this emotion just a momentary experience – emotional weather. Another breath, “this too will pass”. The sounds of traffic and tinnitus mix with the sound of my very even breathing. Another slow even deep breath, the knot in my stomach begins to unwind.

I keep at it for a few minutes (in this instance, about 6 and a half minutes, actually), until the wave of tension and worry passes over me, and recedes. If yesterday is any predictor, it’ll come and go rather more frequently than usual today, not attached to much of anything, besides the general every day stress of managing expenses, change, and adulthood. I’m okay right now. There’s nothing much “wrong”, really. The comfortable awareness of this reassures and soothes me, and I return to sipping my coffee and writing.

Have a flower. It can be helpful to take time for beauty. I’m a fan of pausing for flowers. 🙂

Some of the most stressful things in life are made far worse by our way of treating ourselves, and this one piece of living life skillfully is so very much within our own control, it’s hard to imagine not to at least give improving those skills a try. It’s been a good strategy for me – admittedly, it’s also a lot of work, and self-awareness, and failing, and learning, and getting things wrong, and owning my own poor choices, or behavior, and change, and practice, and… yeah. It’s a commitment to self that rivals any commitment I could ever consider making to another person. I try my best not to let myself down, and when I do let myself down, I try my best to move forward having learned something from the experience.

I’m so human. There’s no “cure” for my head injury, or for my PTSD, and so… this human experience. Very human. Ups, downs, all the things. This week? Anxiety. I’m not mad about it, just saying; I go through it. It used to be worse and more often. It is mostly manageable, most of the time, now. That’s more than something – it’s enough. Truly.

Ah, yes, there it is again, surging up from a ball of background stress and fear lodged in my gut; anxiety. As it begins to grow large and fill my consciousness, I return my attention to my breathing, and make a point of letting it go, again. I shrug in the silence. I can do this all day. All week. All of the rest of my life if necessary. It’s far better than becoming mired in the feeling of anxiety, frankly. I’d rather practice the practices that dial it back. Yes, of course, there are verbs involved; I have to do the things that help. Just thinking about them won’t do it. Bitching about the anxiety, by itself, is also not effective – although it can be enough distraction to break the cycle, so I can’t say “don’t bitch about anxiety”. lol Sometimes that really does work, too.

Art, puzzles, an intellectual distraction of some kind, these are things that can also help reduce anxiety.

Funny thing; the anxiety does not really want me to focus on my breathing or other self-soothing practices at all. It would far prefer that I try to troubleshoot why I feel anxious, as if deep-diving those details and attempting to fix all that would resolve the anxiety. It might. It might not. Anxiety is its own thing, and it’s a bit of a mistake to fuse it with some narrative about “why” that I’ve built up in my head. Instead, addressing the anxiety itself, from the perspective of being an experience built on some specific sensations and emotions, and accepting that it may not be so directly connected to a “why” at all, tends to be most effective. It doesn’t actually matter whether I’m “anxious for a reason” – the anxiety doesn’t care about that at all, and makes shit up on the regular for me to stress “about”. lol I’m not falling for that bullshit anymore. 😉

It is a short work week. I’m missing my Traveling Partner. Anxiety is currently part of my experience. I’m physically fairly comfortable at the moment. My coffee is almost gone. These are all equally true observations of my subjective experience. One human. One experience. Tons of choices.

I take a deep breath and relax, and choose to begin again. 🙂

I wasn’t quite an emotional wreck yesterday, and remained so through much of the afternoon. In a practical biological sense, it can be difficult to lift my mood without outside intervention, sometimes, because I live alone; the shortcut mood-lifter for me is connection, intimacy, physical contact – you know, the mammal stuff. Everyday human primate needs that want very much to be met.

In the evening, an enjoyable few minutes with friends who ‘get me’ enough to provide that feeling of connection in a few minutes of intimate conversation and some laughs had eased much of my storming about restlessly. Hugs go a long way, too. I enjoyed a quiet evening of meditation, and playing my guitar. It was pleasant enough that looking back on the day, that pleasant finish is the thing I recall first and most. That’s a win by itself.

Awake before dawn.

Between one day, and the next… night.

I woke at 3 am. I began things in the usual way; took my morning medication, opened up the apartment to cool breezes, and returned to bed. Huh. No sleep happening… Well. Damn. I roll over. Rearrange the blankets. Find a new position. Take some calming deep breaths. Nothing. No sleeping whatsoever. Shit. I get up, make coffee, and look into the pre-dawn darkness with some pointless suspicion. Why I am awake? The early morning darkness is very quiet. The world is sleeping, or seems so. Not me. I’m awake. I am even alert. I am in no way sufficiently quiet of mind or relaxed of body to return to sleep.

I walk through the apartment in the darkness, with my coffee. (Yes, that’s why the coffee cups in my house are served up not-quite-full-to-the-brim all the damned time; it’s a habit, because I do wander around with a coffee cup attached to my hand, first thing in the morning, in the darkness. lol It’s sure not ‘room for cream’. Want more coffee? Get a refill.) I like this place. The space here feels comfortable wrapped around me, even at 3 am. Even after nightmares. Even when I’m angry, moody, or frightened. The space itself holds nothing in it to cause me alarm in the wee hours, or in the darkness, or in those terrible moments when I lose myself in ancient pain; I am safe here. This place, itself, reminds me that I am okay right now, because I am. No object here, no person permitted within these walls, is of any danger to me. I crafted this safe place for my own heart, for my own safety. I quite love it here at 3 am, wandering about restlessly with my coffee. It’s strange. I woke feeling pretty out of sorts about ‘things in general’, but the soft quiet and safety here – and the rich awareness of how safe I feel – actually went a long way toward calming and soothing me. Nice. Unexpected. Nice. How often is my emotional disarray a response to some subtle feeling that “I am not safe”? Is there potential for that to occur if only my emotional safety feels threatened? Something to meditate on.

This morning isn’t bad. (“The morning feels pleasant so far”. I smile and think of my traveling partner as I correct from the negative phrasing to the positive phrasing.) I’m okay for very nearly every value of okay. I may be tired later, for having wakened so early. (It’s a small price to pay for not forcing myself to toss and turn moodily in bed for another two hours, weeping over imagined bullshit in the darkness.)

How will I start the day? I know I’d like to start it with a smile shared with my lover, a few minutes of cuddling and laughter, some sex and a great cup of coffee. Well… I’ve got the smile. I’ve got the coffee. The rest will have to wait for a morning when I also have a lover staying over. It is what it is. I could make a dismissive joke at my own expense, or gloss over this glaring downside of living alone by making a crack about giving myself a grin in the mirror after “giving myself a hand”, elsewhere. Ahem. (Yep. Still a human primate, emphasis on primate; I have trouble resisting the lewd joke.) 🙂 Instead of making light of this very human experience of ‘going without’, I’m kind to myself this morning, and make room in my heart for compassion and sympathy, and recognition that living alone isn’t always the easy choice. From the perspective of connection, intimacy, and sex, it’s actually quite the opposite of the easy choice – sometimes it sucks. A very human experience indeed.

I frown over my coffee as the sun begins to rise. For one brief instance the full measure of frustration over how many years of my choicest sexually adult years have been spent in partnerships or circumstances in which sexual privation was the rule, rather than the exception, washes over me. I contemplate what that means to me, personally, as an individual, and as a woman. I feel the feelings. I wonder for a moment what other human experiences are like, with regard to sexual economy. I laugh out loud, literally, when it hits me that I’m pushing concepts of human sexuality through ideas picked up from my Econ studies. I wonder whether there is value in doing so. I wonder how the world would measure up differently if we measure other factors of human experience to tell the tale, instead of “GDP”. What countries lead the way in intimacy? In sexual satisfaction? In connected social engagement? Which countries [genuinely] smile the most? Which country has the most contented population? Which countries citizens work most cooperatively? Which countries value emotional intelligence more highly than a college degree? Which population has the highest oxytocin levels, on average? Which countries bring the most critical thinking to government, science, medicine, without excluding emotion from the life of the mind? I sip my coffee feeling awkwardly aware of how limiting measuring human experience in dollars actually is…not just limiting; it’s a lie. There is more to human experience than commerce, so much more. Mostly everything is not at all about money – what a shame we try to monetize all that, too.

asdrf;a

As if I colored the day with a paint brush, in colors of my choosing…

This morning feels as gentle, as kind, and as comfortable emotionally as yesterday felt difficult. I find myself inclined to say I don’t understand why, but realize many small changes over time have resulted in basic good self-care practices I can now count on: listening deeply, accepting my feelings and respecting them, meditation, showing myself the same love and consideration I’d give a friend… Acceptance without attachment. Good stuff. 🙂 I smile, sip my coffee, and notice the sliver of not-quite-orange-not-quite-peach strip of dawn between the tree tops and the sky. The wee hours of night pass so quickly now… that hasn’t always been so.

I reconsider the title, with the rest of the post in mind… That “turn toward the positive” is a real thing that I do. It’s not obvious from this morning’s writing that there are verbs involved, and I could just say that (again) and you’d read the words and probably get what I’m driving at… but maybe not. It’s early. Is there value in also saying, very explicitly and clearly, that I make a willful specific deliberate choice to attempt to ‘turn toward the positive’ on mornings like this one? At 3 am, sexual frustration is something that can hit hard, and become tears or anger quite quickly (for me); it’s the sort of thing that definitely identifies sexual desire as need-related, versus something just nice to have now and then. If I had let my emotions carry the morning, raw and without support, I’d have quickly been mired in tears, and probably had a damned difficult day, based on previous experiences I’ve had living in this fragile vessel of flesh and hormones. By specifically ‘turning toward the positive’, I make choices to re-frame the experience in terms of what I have, what I can affect, and what I want/need to do verb-wise to return to a more balanced state of contentment. It doesn’t ‘solve for X’ specific to meeting the need for physical contact, intimacy, or sex, but it stops me moping around about it, in favor of positive action and experiences, generally. Perspective generally just doesn’t have any down sides… and moping isn’t “sexy”. 🙂

Tangentially, just in case you didn’t get the memo, if you’ve been holding on to an understanding of adult sexuality that suggests to you that people ‘stop being interested in sex’ at some particular age (for example, after menopause), you may be in for an unexpected shock when you get there, yourself. In my own case, my interest in, and desire for, sex has increased, rather than decreased – what has changed is that I’ve become non-negotiable on the requirement for sexual experiences to feel connected, to be intimate, and which support and nurture my sensuous nature. I’m not interested in exploitation or abuse, and I won’t compromise my sense of self-worth to get laid. The quality and characteristics of my wants and needs have changed, the magnitude of my sex drive, the power of my libido and the underlying feeling of urgency to experience sex has not. Frustrating in a world that tends to emphasize female youth as a requirement for sexual attractiveness. I’m not bitching. I’m just saying – if you think that the little old lady waiting for the bus couldn’t really have checked you out with a twinkle in her eye, you are sadly mistaken. She might even rock your world, given a chance.  😉

Beginning again.

Beginning again.

It’s a new day. I’ll begin again. I am my own cartographer, on a journey without a map – that’s okay; the map is not the world, anyway. 😀

 

This morning it felt strange to wake to a solitary experience after so much delightful time in the company of my traveling partner day-to-day. I meditated in the stillness, as the cool park air filled the apartment. I made my coffee without concern of waking someone dear. The quiet was delicious… then… endlessly vast and deep. I allowed myself to steep in the awareness of the solitude for some time before moving on to other things. The meditation cushion is returned to its location by the patio door; I am alone here, now, and it is no longer in the way. I glance at it in passing – moving through this space, getting the feel of it again – and it is a strangely poignant moment.

Damn I miss my traveling partner. Yearning fills my awareness. It’s not a tragic feeling, and the subtle sadness of it comes and goes. We’ll see each other plenty, and we both have work to do, goals to work on, time passes – right? Change is. Impermanence also is. “The wheel turns.” Why that phrase now? Someone said it to me once, under other circumstances… I can’t recall who it was. A colleague? A friend? It is a comforting thought that speaks of forward momentum. I’m okay. He is too, I expect. 🙂

At some point, I remember how much I enjoy music in the morning… I turn on the stereo, and start a favorite playlist, and the day begins in earnest as nerdcore rhymes fill the space. I smile. Still missing my partner… still smiling. It’s enough.

It's a journey.

It’s a journey.