Archives for posts with tag: love and lovers

Weird weekend. (I could stop right there, honestly…)

“Baggage” is a tough challenge for people who have been traumatized. It can be super hard to put that shit down, and properly “begin again”. Our baggage tends to linger in our hidden corners, tucked away carefully where it’s difficult to see how problematic our thinking has become. We struggle with decision-making and outcomes that create an unpleasant experience or prevent us from thriving in our lives. It’s hard sometimes.

I’m hopeful that a particularly painful and difficult conversation with my Traveling Partner really does have the promising positive outcome it appears that it may… I’ve just got to set down some baggage and back away from it, then do some things differently going forward. Him too, I suppose, although in this instance the focus was for sure on me and the chaos and damage I sometimes struggle with.

Love and words. So many words. So much love.

Once we were “on the other side” of that difficult conversation, we enjoyed our evening together. I woke this morning feeling loved (and hopefully he did too). I’ve got a massive headache, still managed to enjoy a cup of coffee with my partner before I left for the local co-work space I sometimes work from. So far a promising start to the day and week. Nice.

Moving back into my studio was a sort of mix of manual labor and thoughtful work and careful selection. Now that it’s finished, I can’t fathom why I stalled for so long. I find myself returning to my studio again and again, thinking about creative projects. I’ve rekindled my eagerness to finish a particular manuscript that has been languishing in a file on my hard-drive for awhile – almost a decade. Long overdue, and I did not understand that two things were holding me back: 1 poem I had included that I had serious second thoughts about, and those journals tucked away in a bin. Funny; I took care of the journals, and now project after project that had been stalled seem to percolate to the surface for their moment.

What’s holding you back? When will you tackle that?

How much baggage are you dragging along every day? How much can you “just set down” and walk away from? Are there things you could let go of, that you… just don’t? What is that doing for you? (Seriously, you probably wouldn’t cling to some of that sticky bullshit if you weren’t getting something out of doing so, if only the strange comfort of familiarity – which is totally over-rated.)

I’m no therapist, just saying – lightening the load makes for an easier journey. 😉

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. There’s a garden to plan. A life to live. Love to embrace and nurture. Already time to begin again.

It’s the 10th of January. Not fancy as days on a calendar go, nothing splendid like the first of a new year, still… a good a day as any to make a change for the better, isn’t it? There’s an entire day ahead, suitable for making changes. Pick something, do the thing, see the result, refine the practice, and repeat. Easy. 😉

I woke this morning from an interrupted night’s sleep. The artificial “sunrise” of my alarm seemed to come too soon, and too brightly (although I opened my eyes just as it came on, and it comes on quite dim, so… perception vs reality can be quite subjective). I had the sense that I’d been awake, or awakened, often during the night. I felt groggy as I rose, showered, and dressed. I made it out the door without waking my Traveling Partner, or so it seemed. I know he also had a restless night. He woke me twice to tell me he was sleeping poorly, and managed to keep me “on alert” (without intending to, I’m sure) by fussing and swearing in the other room because he was having a rough night. At some point he must have returned to bed, because that’s where he was when I woke, and seemed to be sound asleep. I found myself more pleased that he was sleeping than I had been annoyed to be awakened, myself, and grateful to get out the door quickly and quietly to head to the co-work space.

I love working from home. The practical reality of it is, though, that sometimes in the early morning hours when my partner would like to be sleeping it can be a poor fit. The local co-work space works as a pleasant compromise without the tedious, time-consuming, and risky commute into the city. That’d be a miserable way to spend 15 hours every week if I had to do it daily. I sip my coffee feeling fortunate to have so many options, and the freedom to choose from them. So, here I sit in an office, sipping coffee. I’d rather be home…but only if that reliably meant enjoying my morning over my coffee at home comfortably without stress or fussing over whatever, and dealing with stress because one or the other of us had a bad night. I like “easy”. Like… a lot.

I remove a couple paragraphs. I lost the thread of my thoughts. I sip my coffee thoughtfully.

Winter mornings are not well-suited to early morning camera walks. The sun rises so much later in the morning that it encroaches on the start of my typical work day. Instead of waking to the earliest hint of daybreak sometime around 04:30 or 05:00, I wake to my artificial sunrise well before dawn. With this in mind I’m thinking about making my everyday practice to head directly to the co-work space every morning that I don’t go into the city (not just Tuesdays and Thursdays), and just let that be what it is until the dawn comes earlier, allowing me to grab my camera and hit the trails around and about first thing, before work. Once the sun is rising around 06:30 or earlier once again, I can go back to my happy practice of hitting the trail first thing with my camera, then returning home to get my work day started there after I know my partner is awake. This works really well most of the year.

I reflect on how nice it is that we support each other with such care, generally. Seems nice. Oh, we do struggle and fuss at each other over some fairly petty bullshit. We’ve got communication challenges because cPTSD is messy and my TBI is… challenging. We’re human. I get irked with him. He gets irked with me. That’s just real. Frustration and bullshit and baggage are parts of the human experience. We’re pretty fucking human. Sometimes it is easier to love each other from a bit of a distance. LOL

This morning I miss him. I reflect more on what works than on what doesn’t. I’m grateful for the love we share. Could I do better? Yes. Could he? Yes. Do we both need more practice? Yup. I smile thinking of him fondly without overlooking the practical realities of loving him. Love doesn’t need me to tell myself pretty lies or to whitewash my lived experience. Love is no happily ever after fairytale. It’s also not a tragedy. Love is love. Part of living life. It’s complicated and messy and sometimes needs more from me than I feel I have to give. My results vary.

I just keep practicing.

It’s time to begin again.

Here we are, a new year. Today is my first day back to work after the New Year’s holiday. I sip my coffee and wonder what sort of year this one might be…

The weekend was filled with year-end sorts of things, including the massive journal-disposal project that I’ve been mulling over for a long time, and honestly didn’t expect to sit down, start, and finish so… “soon” isn’t the right word. “Unexpectedly” also missed the mark. I just… I guess I’m glad it is behind me. Surprised I pulled it off, perhaps. 🙂 After wandering through many hundreds of thousands of words across something like 15,000 pages, I’m glad to be done with it and free from the storage and “document security” headaches that went along with keeping those journals all these years. There were some worthy observations of life in those pages, for sure, and some beautiful, poignant, or insightful turns of phrase, and I’m glad I took a look back. Those details were sparse compared to the tedium, the tantrums, the madness, and the committing-to-paper of details that generally do best lived-in-the-moment and not written down for later review. I mean… damn I was angry a lot. Bitter. Disappointed. Frustrated. Lusty. Struggling. Did I mention the lustiness? Yeah… I could have made a career writing pornography, I’m sure. LOL

…In some sense the hardest part about letting go of these journals and the years of writing was discovering that I already had

It was interesting to see the change in my writing at the point at which my Traveling Partner and I had gotten together. Before we were lovers we were friends, and it was at that point I also began tapering off the various psych meds I was on at that time, (in part due to his encouragement and fueled by his astonishment at what I was taking and at what dosages). I really couldn’t write easily (or paint) on those meds; my creativity was severely impaired. To get that back, I had to go off the meds I was on (and it would be until very recently that I stayed wholly off all those medications, generally). My partner was very supportive of my painting and writing and my wellness.

At my most heavily medicated, I wrote very little.

My Traveling Partner and I had met many many years earlier – we resumed our friendship when we reconnected, working for the same employer in 2009, but didn’t start hanging out until early in 2010. By March that year we were nearly inseparable friends, jovially sharing our commute on public transit each day.

I was tapering off the psych meds, and both my writing and my painting were becoming a bigger part of my experience.

In October, after we each/both broke things off with other relationships, we moved in together. By May 2011 we’d gotten married. My writing exploded in an environment in which I felt emotionally safe to just write, to just fucking be. It wasn’t always comfortable; there were times when my Traveling Partner would actually choose to leave rather than be around me while I was writing or painting. There was so much “bottled up inside me” that finally “had a voice”. It was an intensely creative period.

2011 used a lot of pages!

When I think back on that time, and I think specifically about how much my current partnership has both inspired and supported me creatively… I’m astonished, and filled with love and gratitude. My Traveling Partner, as much as any one person ever could claim to be, has been my muse. My inspiration. My day-to-day “driving force” – for change, for momentum, for growth and progress, for continuing to begin again. Love makes it all matter so very much. He is also more uniquely capable than any one other human being of hurting my feelings in an instant, moving my heart, pissing me off, and being part of my journey. Fuck I love this guy. I could say more… but I think I’ve said it all at some point… I mean, just based on the amount I’d already written down since we got together…

My partner’s presence felt in every volume. Inspired by love.

I’m not sure…, but it could be that this post is sort of a love letter to a human being who played an important part in freeing me to truly work on becoming the woman I most want to be… finally. That can’t be an easy part to play in this messy life of mine.

If I could have easily done just one additional thing with all those journals it would have been to run the entirety of the content through some sort of algorithm that could reduce it down to just the unique observations – removing the duplicates, the mad spirals, and the redundancy, leaving behind only the things I said, wrote, and observed, each just the once. I wonder how much would actually be left? What wisdom have I gained (and lost) over time? I sip my coffee and think about that… and the way redirecting my writing to this space, this practice, has improved the quality of my writing. (It’s easy to see, having taken the opportunity to compare those volumes to these posts more or less “side by side”.)

I actually “write more” these days. It’s not always obvious; no clutter to measure by. lol I’m also much happier – and it was clear flipping through those pages that the deeply conflicted, traumatized, chronically unhappy woman I once was has been transformed over time. I still have challenges. I still have work to do. I’ve still got an eye on my mental health – and probably always will. I’m also doing pretty splendidly most of the time, by most measures. It’s a good place to be, and I’m grateful to my partner for sharing this journey with me. He’s a hell of a good “traveling companion” for a trip like this. lol I gotta remember to say thank you. 😀

In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just begin again… again. 😀 I wonder where this path leads…

Here it is. New Year’s Day. Another year wrapped up and a new year beginning.

…the new year is a blank page…

I’m still working through disposing of my old journals. It’s an interesting project, although it has tended to be a bit more emotionally engaging that I’d ideally like it to be. There are a lot of opportunities to make a willful point of letting some small bullshit detail go. Choices to be made to put down some baggage. I shred page after page, poignant moments, moments of rage and disappointment, moments of frustration and doubt, moments of discontent and disillusionment, moments of profound insight and great delight…memories of love and anger, and bearing witness to the passage of time.

Sometimes it’s necessary to let something go before I can truly begin again.

I’m glad I found so many little sketches. Saving those matters to me more than the words I’d written about whatever events they captured (or were inspired by). Some of these, though, were done on the reverse side of a page I don’t care to preserve… those I photograph, before shredding the page. They’ll live on as a digital image, now, and nothing more.

“Glow Opera Ballerina”, 5″ x 7″ ink on paper, 1999 – shredded.

I’d inserted various bookmarks and objects as placeholders between the pages of some volumes. Photographs. Notes. Love letters. A CD-R. Wait…what? A CD-R? (I wasn’t even certain we had a media reader that could read that, after all this time.) The name on the disk was not particularly revealing… almost as if intended to obfuscate the contents from casual view. I asked my Traveling Partner if we had a means of reading a CD-R? We did. Taking a look at the contents without opening any individual item, it was pretty clear this was a disk that would do best to join the various journals on the path to destruction. I thought to shred it, but… the shredder wasn’t happy about that choice. My partner suggested microwaving it for a couple seconds.

Unreadable by intention.

There were quite a few other interesting items in the bin with the journals. Old manuscripts, never finished. Individual pages of poetry that had been scribbled on napkins, note paper, or legal pads. Correspondence I have saved over the years – letters from my Dad, from my Granny, from old friends, and a largish manila envelope of the letters exchanged with my first husband while I was away at war, both his to me and mine to him. Some of this I’ll no doubt keep, but I’m starting to view some of this old stuff – explicitly anything to do with my first husband – as a sort of malicious “horcrux” (if I may borrow that notion) that has the potential to continue to be toxic for my day-to-day experience of myself, just through existing. Maybe it is time to destroy all of that, too. (I kept it for years because I was fearful I might someday need to prove what I’d been through.)

Old manuscripts and correspondence will need attention, too, another day.

It’s a lot to process. I think the commitment to getting it done as part of my individual new year’s celebration keeps me from getting overly involved in the raw emotions poured out onto these pages, at least a little. So many pages. So much rage and hurt and sorrow. Yeah, I definitely don’t need to drown myself in the hurts of the past – quite the contrary. It’s time to let it go. Page by page, volume by volume – this project has been overdue for a very long time, and it feels like quite a relief to finish it.

What about you? Are you ready for a new year? A new beginning? New practices, or resuming useful practices you’d let fall by the wayside as time went by? Will you be making a big change?

…Are you ready to begin again? I know I am. 🙂 Happy New Year!

…But maybe it is?

I am sitting in the co-work space, hours before my work day needs to start. I’m alone. It is quiet. There isn’t even any cheery pop music or inexplicable disco playing on the PA system, just the steady low “shhhhhhh” of the heating, and the occasional sound of a passing car, or passing storm. My coffee? Just an ordinary cup of hot liquid pulled from the name-brand coffee-pod machine on the counter in the break area. It’s fine. Ordinary. Comforting.

Although my Traveling Partner accepted my apology yesterday afternoon for delivering an unexpected and hearty helping of my bullshit and bad temper yesterday, he is icy this morning, and our interaction as I prepared to leave was minimal, and emotionally distant. He seems pretty hurt and mad, still. That’s him working through his shit, I guess. I don’t dig into it, I just get my shit together and head out. I continue to consider him kindly and with love as I head to “the office” – I mean, what else? I love that guy. We’re both quite human. He’s got his bullshit and baggage, and I’ve got mine. Sometimes shit gets complicated. Love is love, and there’s no lack of that. We’ve each also got trauma-built behaviors that once functioned as coping mechanisms that are no longer appropriate (that the other one thoroughly dislikes) – there’s plenty of room for further growth and incremental change over time. I know when I’m feeling angry, let down, or hurt, it can be really difficult to trust that he is working on such things – I can only imagine it must be similarly difficult for him to be certain I am “working on me” under such circumstances.

…Later I’ll talk to my therapist about all of this, and much more…

Last night was the second night of unexpectedly shitty sleep. Night before last it made some sense; the storm outside was noisy. The wind and rain were an understandable cause of my interrupted restless sleep. I napped about an hour when I first went to bed that night, woke and remained awake until sometime close to 1 a.m., returned to sleep and woke to my alarm feeling groggy and out of sorts. It wasn’t a great start to the day. Last night followed a similar pattern; I crashed hard and slept for about an hour (I think) then woke abruptly (but feeling as though I’d never slept) and didn’t go back to sleep until around 1 a.m., again waking to my alarm. I am so tired. Being deeply fatigued tends to also make the subjective experience of my arthritis pain much worse. So. There’s that.

…What the hell is fucking with my sleep though?? My thinking is fuzzy, and my emotions are raw and near the surface. I sip my coffee and take a breath. I take a moment to appreciate how nice it is to “have someplace else to go” that allows me to stay on track with work and whatnot, while also getting out of my partner’s space so he can maybe get some additional rest, or work without interruption (as can I).

While I was awake last night, I reached for a book. This one; The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. No time to read? The author summarizes it here. Apparently, it’s even been made into a movie that will hit theaters in January… could be a good way to start a new year. This is content that lands in the “self-help” space, and is largely very practical mindfulness & self-awareness focused. The language is more 21st century American than any one of several options from amazing teachers such as Thích Nhất Hạnh, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, and Rick Hanson. Many voices, a fairly basic consistent message. Choose the language and teacher that you find suits your style most, I guess (and there are others, many). I read a variety of them and value the repetition. My results still vary. lol I continue to practice the things that seem most likely to help me become the person I most want to be; we become what we practice.

My Traveling Partner pings me with a video share. “This“, he says. I pause my writing and queue it up to watch it. He often makes very useful and apropos recommendations. And also? Love and respect. I appreciate that he took the time, and I “accept his bid“.

Growth doesn’t come from what we’re good at, or what comes easily to us. One of life’s painful truths right there. Growth is often ridiculously uncomfortable and fraught with conflict or comes out of actual misadventure. “Progress” is often paired with growth – or so it seems to me, sitting here with my coffee this morning – it’s just that “progress” is on the other side of growth from wherever we started. An outcome. A result. At least, that’s what I’m thinking this morning.

I hear myself sigh aloud. My coffee is almost gone, and already cold. It’s time to begin again. Again.

Later, I went to my email and found the latest Just One Thing newsletter from Rick Hanson in my inbox. The content is (hilariously) relevant and very apropos. The topic? “See Your Part”. Timely. I figured I’d add a link to it – good content, and worthy of a moment of self-reflection.