Archives for posts with tag: love and lovers

Fuck, being a human primate can be ridiculously complicated and fraught with misunderstanding, conflict, distraction, and absolutely pointless emotional garbage, sometimes. Just saying, I am not enjoying my Sunday experience, today. I seem to be endlessly at odds with my Traveling Partner, which completely sucks (and not in any of the good ways). I am in pain, which is more suckage layered on top of other suckage, and the end result? Unusual. (Maybe that’s progress?)

I am sitting in the “food court” seating of my local grocery store, thinking thoughts, drinking an electrolyte beverage, and… writing. Using my cell phone instead of my computer at home. My Traveling Partner is trying to get some rest after our unpleasant moment(s) (which were peculiarly interspersed with a couple very nice meals, and some fun hang out time). I can’t seem to find a really good way to create (or maintain) a reliably quiet environment for him to nap, typically. So, yeah, I got the fuck out of the house, without really having a plan… but I did have a couple errands and a short grocery list.

I ran out of errands and shopping in about an hour. That’s shit for nap-worthy time, so I figured I’d just sit down somewhere and write. I don’t have to be at home to put words to page, so… yeah. Tick a self-care box, however awkwardly.

That’s sort of where shit went wrong this morning… My Traveling Partner was feeling restless and wanting to go for a drive – we’d had so much fun doing that yesterday! He invited me to go for another drive. I get it. It did sound fun, and we did have a great time yesterday… only… there were (and are) other things I very much wanted to do today, and I said so. Somehow it managed to become an unpleasant interaction; the more I tried to “explain” with some sort of reason not to go, the more annoyed he got. I felt like I was being criticized for wanting to do things other than “whatever he wants to do”. I don’t think that’s how he intended it (or how it actually was), any more than I was intending to reject him as a person (though it sure seemed at some points that he was taking it that way).

Most troubling for me is that I came away from the discussion feeling perhaps I am “too much to handle”, or that I have no legitimate potential to be a better partner (than I am)… or a partner at all…

He went for a drive, by himself. I had a couple hours to myself. When he returned home things were strained and frosty for a while. I made lunch. We ate. Things seemed to be improving… It’s rarely that easy, eh? So… here I am. Writing a blog post at the grocery store. lol New experience. I wonder what I can learn from this?

Yesterday, though? Amazing. Entirely different experience. What an incredibly lovely day together. We went for a drive out towards one of the interesting camping destinations we had discussed (but which my partner couldn’t reach due to snow just a few days ago). We figured most of the snow would be gone after a few days of heat. (Foreshadowing; we were wrong!)

It was a gorgeous day to go for a drive. A great day to share an adventure with this human being I love so deeply! As we headed further into the forest, we saw a couple unexpected camouflage-wearing guys, just walking down the road… no gear. My partner slowed down and we stopped to ask if they were okay? Nope. They were stuck in a snow bank up the road, and had been walking down the mountain hoping to catch a cell signal. (Good luck with that, there!) My partner offered to give them a ride back to their truck and pull them out, if we could. We could. We did. It was amazing to feel so prepared! Being able to give fellow travelers a hand feels great. It was even fun.

I am impressed and proud of my Traveling Partner and his skill and general readiness. I am super excited to get out there with him again, more, and further. Nothing about today’s stress changes yesterday’s joy, delight, and wonder. I make time to reflect on that and cherish him from afar.

It’s hard to get “everything” “right all the time”, and however much I may feel like this is what is required or expected of me, it’s not a reasonable expectation. What is reasonable is that I will make room to listen, make a point of hearing my partner, communicating that he is heard, continuing to do my best, and keep practicing.

I know my results will vary. I know frustration and disappointment suck. Still, my best effort has to be enough (for me), even when it also “isn’t enough” (for someone else). Intent matters. Will matters. Sometimes I am going to fail. That’s just real. When I do? I will begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee thinking about work. Thinking about life and love. Just sitting here thinking. Yesterday wasn’t a great day… but it also wasn’t actually a bad day. Neither my Traveling Partner nor I had slept well the night before. We were both more than a little cranky as a result. We managed not to snarl at each other to the point of being insufferably unpleasant, though we were also not super cheerful or inclined to be close, and it showed in our interactions. Prickly. Terse. Irritable. We could have done better. So much better. Even after a decade of living and loving, we have room to improve on how we treat each other, how we behave under the influence of stress or fatigue, and how skillfully we heal and soothe each other. Still, we spent much of the evening hanging out together more or less contentedly. That was nice. Looked at through a different lens, it was actually a pretty good day, generally.

Another sip of coffee, my thoughts turn to work. Sometimes I love this job. Sometimes I see myself as just another “corporate whore” making a go of it, earning a paycheck, and keeping that going to keep bills paid and food on the table, doing my best but also understanding that it’s a paid gig because I would not stick around doing this shit for free. Practical. Pragmatic. Still doing my best, because that’s what I’m paid to do.

“Baby Love” in bloom, May 15, 2023

I think about how far I’ve come, for some minutes. 15 years ago, life did not look like this. I lived in a seriously run down apartment in an area characterized by economic struggle (and mostly inhabited by students, and people who could not afford a nicer place or something closer to work). I had a job with a title that sort of impressed me when I took the job, but turned out to be camouflage for dirt wages and a toxic work culture. I was surviving, but definitely not thriving. My mental health was in bad shape, and I was pretty heavily medicated without great results. My relationship(s) were suffering my lack of good mental health care. My self-loathing and despair had become a quagmire of sticky trauma preventing me from making changes. Change was coming… but I didn’t know it, couldn’t see it, and for sure was in no condition to make wise rational choices about how to best move forward from where I stood. My life had reached some sort of steady-ish equilibrium of misery that had enough to sustain itself for whatever remained of a lifetime, and I had mostly sunk into a deep apathy about it – the resulting persistent anhedonia and general misery oscillated with occasional (frequent) explosive tantrums.

15 years later, I barely recognize myself as the same woman. I have a nice little house in a pleasant suburban neighborhood on the outskirts of a cute town in a country county. I’m surrounded by good neighbors, working-class skilled laborers, machinists, makers, professionals… you know, people. Good-hearted people, mostly kind nice people. Good neighbors. It’s a nice town. My job title? These days it rarely reflects the complexity of the work, and it doesn’t much matter; I’m paid fairly for the work I do. I work for companies, generally, that treat folks well. My mental health is in a great place, relatively speaking. I could be healthier. I could be “saner”… incremental change over time is still something I count on. Slow progress, steady progress. I feel hopeful, generally, and positive. I make changes fairly often, rarely really large changes – doesn’t seem necessary, generally. Small things make big differences. There’s no “equilibrium of misery” – misery feels incredibly shitty these days, because it is rare. I’m fortunate that I’m rarely miserable. Anhedonia? No thank you. Explosive tantrums? Rare enough these days that they are not a feature of my experience, just an occasional and unfortunate circumstance that trips me up when shit goes sideways. CPTSD. It’s not going to “go away”, it just gets better, slowly. 🙂 I’ve got better tools. So many tools.

…Then there’s love. This partnership. One of the best “tools” in my toolkit is my partnership with my Traveling Partner. Healthy relationships may not “fix” everything… but unhealthy relationships? Surely capable of destroying progress and emotional wellness! I’m glad every day that I’m so fortunate to have this partnership. I feel cared-for and supported day-to-day. We’ve got our issues and challenges; we’re still human primates, we still lead with our emotions, we still fuss over vexing bullshit and blow small stuff completely out of proportion now and then.

It’s been a hell of a journey. In May, we celebrated love together, 12 years of it. In June we’ll celebrate that I’ve stuck around to see 60 years of sunrises. Wow. That feels like a bigger deal than 21, 30, or 40, by far.

…I guess the entire point here is, taking things a step at a time becomes, at some point, an entire journey. Choices, verbs, steps, decisions, circumstances, events… time passes. This too will pass – whatever “this” is. The journey is the destination. There’s value in trying to make it a good one, one change at a time, one choice at a time. Begin again.

It’s a lovely sunny (hot) weekend. I’ve spent some time in the garden. Spent some time making shower fizzies. Spent some time on the trail. My Traveling Partner has spent some time traveling. He’s spent some time unpacking the truck, now that he’s home. His adventures were not ideally successful, camping-wise, it’s just too early (this year) for some of the location he (we) wants to go to. We learned a lot about better ways to pack the gear, and other things we’d like to add to that. We (meaning, in this case, he) learned a lot about what the truck can do out beyond the paved roads, too. Worthwhile.

He sent me pictures along the way. (credit to my partner for this image)

I got some solitary time. I also feel incredibly loved; I can’t even fully wrap my head around my partner’s willingness to just keep hitting the road to give me some space, once he understood how badly I needed that time to myself. I am so very loved.

There are sights to see on a small scale, in the garden.

The garden is looking good. I finished the spring and early summer planting by adding a couple tomato plants – a yellow cherry tomato, and an heirloom San Marzano plum tomato variety. I tried to ensure that everything I planted in the veggie bed met two basic criteria: we actually eat those particular vegetables, and the varieties can be expected to do well in my location. lol Flavor, novelty, and experimentation were not my first concerns; I want success this year. I want to harvest veggies and take them straight into the kitchen to add to a salad, a side dish, or a stir fry. I want lush green greens, and good harvests. Everything can be relied upon to taste fresher than the store, just because it’s growing right here, and allowed to ripen before picking, no need to strive to achieve better flavor beyond that, really, it’ll be fine. : D

The lupines are blooming out on the trail.

So… a pleasant weekend. Enough. More than enough. Good…


Fuck I am in so much pain. :-\ It sucks. My neck aches, and my occipital neuralgia has flared up. My back aches with arthritis, in spite of the sunshine and the heat. It seems unfair. On top of that, this morning on my walk, I got buzzed by an aggressive jay (I probably strayed to close to a nest, maybe), and without thinking, planted my right foot, and twisted “out of the way”. The twinge of pain in my right leg, outer thigh up high toward my hip, shot through me and immediately impaired my ability to walk (at all). I was (and remain) incredibly grateful I already had my cane with me, but I could have done without the additional pain (and injury). I hobbled carefully back up the trail, and headed home.

My Traveling Partner is in pain, too. He’s been working pretty hard for more than a few days. The pain makes him cross and easily irritated. I suppose I am, too. He makes a point to grief me about mulch left on the sidewalk, assuming that was a byproduct of my gardening instead of the remnants left behind after I cleaned up most of it after cats or racoons made a mess of things last night. I point out the error, and he accepts the correction graciously, but walks away while I’m still talking, and without apologizing for the irritated accusation. It’s that kind of day, I suppose. Pain shrinks our world, and pulls our focus inward, while filtering everything through our negative state of mind. Very human. I don’t make any kind of point about it, instead I just return to my writing, letting the moment go. It’s not personal, it’s just pain.

…Don’t get me started about the allergies. The cottonwood trees are blooming, and I am apparently allergic to those. LOL Fuuuuuuck. Summer’s coming. 🙂

There’s more to do. It’s time to begin again… slowly… while also managing this pain. lol (It’s still a lovely weekend and I am in good company.)

I’m sipping my coffee from the quiet chaos of the co-work space. It’s much earlier than my work day generally starts, and I’m okay with that; this is my time. My Traveling Partner woke early, feeling less than ideally well. I woke early, too, although I’m not sure why (and it doesn’t really matter). I had planned to work from home. He asked me to work in the co-work space, so he could maybe get some more sleep. Makes sense. Sure, no problem.

…Yesterday, we’d discussed a plan for him to head back out with the truck and camping gear, different route, different locations, maybe leaving Saturday morning. Neither of us expected him to wake up feeling unwell this morning. No idea how that changes the planning, but I’m prepared to roll with it, I suppose. What else can I do besides flex and walk on? 😀 I definitely care more about my partner’s health than I want to insist on some solo time at home! Priorities.

I take another sip of my coffee. Fairly ordinary. I promise myself a better cup of coffee a little later, when the nearby coffee shops begin to open. I find my heart is still with my partner, wishing him well, and hoping he did indeed manage to get more sleep. Nothing quite like the healing power of getting enough rest.

I definitely do find myself yearning for some solo time at home. The thing is, though, there’s the additional need for that time to be available to me without wrecking my partner’s experience to get it. It matters to me that if he hits the road to go camping, he’s doing it with enthusiasm, and joy, and out to have his own good experience, not just accommodating me at his own expense. You know? Reciprocal consideration. He gets it. He’s eager to get out into the wilderness with the truck.

The world is a strange and sometimes vile place. People can be… horrible. I feel safe in my Traveling Partner’s arms, and in his good company. I’m often astonished by how badly people choose to treat each other… sometimes even in the context of relationships one might expect to be characterized by love. Why is that, I wonder? Are we not able to become truly “civilized”? I’m not feeling bitter about it, this morning, just… puzzled. I’m not perfect. I’ve been an absolute bitch more than once, myself. I’ve been a bad friend, a bad partner, or just plain mean. That’s just real. I spend a lot of time reflecting on such things, and seeking to work out how to be a better human being – or even simply the person I most want to be.

I think about the politics of our time, and the repetitive “conditioning” we’re all subjected to by “special interests”, media, and advertisers, and how easily we fail to notice when ideas are being crammed into our thinking by someone with an agenda. I think about the issues of the world…and in the abstract, they almost all seem “solvable”, if only we were willing. Pretty appalling that we readily reject solving some problems if there is any risk that the solution will benefit everyone. What’s up with that bullshit? I take another sip of my now-cold coffee. More questions than answers.

…How can I do better, myself? I can at least work on that…

I let my mind wander awhile. Finish my coffee.

It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I am sitting with a glass of iced tea, taking a break from work, and checking the map to see where my Traveling Partner is, on his journey. As if on cue, an old love song about an absent lover plays. My heart is filled with love and gratitude – not just for the solitude for this brief time, but also because it is a “brief time” until I welcome the beloved traveler home to me.

Working from home is pleasant. This quiet time lets me be quite focused and purposeful. I do find that I miss some of those distractions and interruptions, in spite of myself. I mean, I do love that guy, after all. 😀 He’s pretty special. Honestly, there’s not that much different about working from home, from my studio/office. Work is work.

…This tea is good though…

The map tells me my partner has covered about 165 miles or so, since he left (around 09:15 this morning)… here it is shortly past 13:00. Seems like he’s making good progress, though we left the details pretty open and I’m not at all certain what the destination (for today) will actually be – just a sense of approximately where he’s headed. It makes for an adventure even for me, from this vantage point here at home.

…I do miss him quite a bit, and the house seems very still and quiet…

There’s plenty of everyday stuff to get done, and the absence of my Traveling Partner doesn’t change any of that. I start some laundry. Empty the dishwasher. Take out the trash. Have a soak in the hot tub. Getting this solo time was never about doing something spectacular or novel. It’s about freedom to exist for a few days unfettered by expectations, other agendas, and the day-to-day steady consideration of what everyone else around me may need from me. A few days alone with my thoughts, alone with my breathing (and my anxiety), alone with my questions (and my chatter), just… alone, to breathe and to be. Simple stuff. Ideally, he’s getting needs of his own met with this outing that maybe I’m not easily able to meet. I don’t know. I hope so.

I do miss him

…I’m also okay with missing him; he’ll be very much truly and thoroughly welcomed when he returns. 😀 Sometimes it’s really helpful to miss someone, to regain a sense of their value in one’s life, to experience the “without” that is such a poignant reminder of all the wonder of “being with”… you know? My sense of my partner’s absence comes and goes; it’s only been hours. How will it feel once it has been days? I grin at myself; I’m okay alone, but damn I do love that man who is my Traveling Partner.

I finish my tea, finish my break, and begin again.